Digital Currencies

Digital Currencies

If Bitcoin Community Doesn’t Take Action, Opportunists Like Trademark Lawyer Could “Box Them In”

btc logo clean

An attorney in upstate New York is the first to have the bright idea to trademark the word “Bitcoin,” a move that could afford him some attractive business opportunities if the currency gains widespread popularity and the Bitcoin economy of exchanges, merchants, software, mobile apps and websites grows.

“A registered trademark in a civil law country gives the holder of the mark the exclusive right to use the mark in commerce, for a prescribed period of time, usually ten years,” the lawyer, Michael Pascazi, told Betabeat. “Anyone infringing upon the mark in those countries, where it is registered, would be subject to money damages, and an order to stop the infringing.” Mr. Pascazi is counting on those suits turning into royalty agreements, where he could license the mark to other businesses. Read More

Digital Currencies

No One Forced Me to Drop Bitcoin Trademark Application, Lawyer Says

Mr. Pascazi.

Michael Pascazi, the lawyer who filed a trademark application for the use of the word “bitcoin” in commerce, wrote to clarify to Betabeat that he wasn’t “forced” to withdraw it, as our headline yesterday said. “In the world of business one has to choose his/her battles carefully,” Mr. Pascazi said in an email. “If some negative comments directed at me, clearly to serve the interests of others, was all that it took to get me to change my course of action; well then, I would not be much of a litigator. The negative comments only reinforced my belief that there are people out there that don’t want their ‘apple carts upset.’ And the saying ‘thou protesteth too much’ comes to mind. The USPTO application clearly hit a nerve, perhaps a ‘why didn’t I think of that’ nerve.” Read More

Digital Currencies

Lawyer Drops U.S. Trademark Application After Pressure from Bitcoin Flamers. Now He’s Looking to Trademark Abroad

bitcoin trademark application

The New York lawyer who filed three weeks ago for a trademark on the use of the word Bitcoin “in financial services, namely, providing a virtual currency for use by members of an online community via a global computer network” is withdrawing the application today after a flood of angry anonymous emails.

And immediately filing applications for the trademark in other countries.

Michael Pascazi, the Fishkill-based attorney, filed the application on behalf of Magellan Capital Advisors LLC, a corporation that shares his address but which he maintains is a separate entity although “there’s interrelations. This is not someone off the street.”

Bitcoin enthusiasts were incensed at the application’s claim to “first use” of the word Bitcoin in commerce on June 22, 2011, the date the application was filed. As evidence, Mr. Pascazi submitted a letter from Celine Pascazi offering to sell Bitcoins for $17.50, also dated June 22. Bitcoiners say the digital currency has been in circulation since as early as 2009.

Mr. Pascazi is aware that Bitcoin has existed for a while. But he was skeptical that its use in commerce could be proven in court, he said. Read More

Digital Currencies

Leading Indicator? Price of Bitcoin Mining Rigs Going Down

Bitcoin logo by

The price of the Bitcoin has stayed strong despite a high-profile security leak and flash crash at the then-leading Bitcoin exchange Mt. Gox. But there’s some indication that demand may not be keeping up with the minting of Bitcoins by enterprising programmers in basements, bedrooms and data centers. For months, Bitcoin enthusiasts were buying up graphics cards, which can be used in mining, on sites like eBay and Newegg. But the price of these components may be going down, an indication that demand for mining rigs is decreasing as the market gets flooded with Bitcoins.

One Bitcoin miner, posting on the Bitcoin Board forum, is bearish on the business of mining. “I looked at eBay — the COMPLETED LISTINGS — and it looks like the going rate at eBay is coming down. Selling for $140 with free shipping — and you can’t ship a 5830 for less than $8,” he said of one of the cards.  Read More

Digital Currencies

Those 500K Bitcoins That Caused a ‘Flash Crash’ Weren’t Real

Mr. Karpeles.

It looks like the hacker who breached Mt. Gox made off with about $34,000 worth of Bitcoin and then artificially crashed the market by dropping a sell order for 500,000 BTC, according to the post-mortem about the hack published by Mt. Gox. But while the hacker did withdraw 2,000 in actual BTC, which Mt. Gox is replacing at their own expense, the enormous sell order was vapor:

We would like to note that the Bitcoins sold were not taken from other users’ accounts—they were simply numbers with no wallet backing. For a brief period, the number of Bitcoins in the Mt. Gox exchange vastly outnumbered the Bitcoins in our wallet. Normally, this should be impossible.

The sales could not have been completed because there were no actual Bitcoins to transfer. The hacker had simply assigned himself a huge number of BTC, which was enough to place orders on Mt. Gox and confuse the market.  Read More

Digital Currencies

The Feds Are Contemplating a BitCoin Crackdown. Who Should They Police First?


Despite the vagaries of figuring out who should regulate a digital cryptocurrency that may or may not end up disrupting the global financial system, NERDr reports that the U.S. federal courts are ramping up their investigation into Bitcoin this week, which begs the questions: Who should they go after first and how? Between the Bitcoin Miners, Bitcoin Exchanges, Bitcoin Commerce, NERDr thinks Bitcoin Wallet Owners are the most unlikely target, despite their sheer number and possible criminal intent. Read More

Digital Currencies

Bitcoin Price Holds in Spite of Hacks


Bitcoin, the digital cryptocurrency, is a plausible universal web-based money with two major failure points. One is government regulation, due to Bitcoin’s usefulness in criminal activity and potentially disruptive threat to the dollar and the global financial system (oh, is that all?); the other is its susceptibility to being stolen, counterfeited, or vaporized by virtue of being made of ones and zeros. After a few years of merry trading, Bitcoin is having a moment–speculators are going crazy over it and the mainstream is learning about it. But it’s also facing its first real viability tests. Read More

Digital Currencies

Man Doubles, Then Triples His Money Selling Bitcoins for Cold Cash


“A friend wants to sell any amount of Bitcoin (up to $9,000 worth) for cash today in NYC (or from elsewhere) at TradeHill Last Price. Call me,” local Bitcoin evangelist Bruce Wagner tweeted two days ago.

True to the spirit of Bitcoin (recall: digital cryptocurrency that touched off a gold rush among geeks-turned-investors and speculation as to whether it’s the financial sector’s turn to feel the disruptive might of the internet), the seller wanted to remain anonymous. Our questions were relayed to him by email via Mr. Wagner, who facilitated the trade’s one-day turnaround.

“Actually, I have never had ANYONE that I know… be UNABLE to sell them all in one day,” Mr. Wagner typed over Gchat. “I know one guy who wanted to sell Bitcoins.  He tweeted it on Twitter, and one guy drove down to NYC from Boston within 2 hours…. just to buy them with cash.” Read More

Digital Currencies

Bad Days for Bitcoin: Trading Around $14 After Epic Hack, and Shunned by the EFF


The main Bitcoin exchange, Mt. Gox, is still down after an epic hack that drove the currency’s price below a penny. You can now file a request to recover your account, Mt. Gox says, but they’re still working to repair the security breach that allowed a hacker to break in to their database via a third party who had access to it. But competing exchange TradeHill is back up, and there the currency has resumed its bumpy movements after having flatlined since Sunday. The currency is trading at about $14 right now. Read More