What the hell happened in the middle of 2009? Jerry Neumann, an early stage investor in such companies as 33across and BankSimple, couldn’t sleep last night. So he decided to play with investment data from Crunchbase, TechCrunch’s crowd-sourced, somewhat spotty record of start-up rounds. “New York City is on a roll, right? Right,” he writes. Looking at the data, New York VCs like Betaworks, the sleeper Great Oaks Venture Capital, Greycroft Partners, Hudson Ventures, DFJ Gotham, Union Square Ventures and Village Ventures doubled their efforts in early stage investing since the end of 2009 and they haven’t slowed down. Read More
Meze Grill, a Mediterranean restaurant near Columbus Circle, was one of the first known brick-and-mortar establishments to accept Bitcoin due to evangelism by neighbor and Bitcoin enthusiast Bruce Wagner. Now the restaurant is going further down the Bitcoin rabbit hole by operating as a small-scale exchange. Hey, accepting Bitcoin already got the place on international television and into the pages of Daily Intel–adding the cryptocurrency to the actual menu only seems logical. Come in with cash; walk out with Bitcoin! Just don’t go at lunch hour. Read More
It seems like more and more investors are jumping in on the sport of Bitcoin speculation; with so much potential volatility, there’s plenty of money to be made buying and selling BTC. Even professional foreign currency traders think so! We’ve been impressed by the sophistication of the Bitcoin economy so far, but at the same time there’s a clear contingent of Bitcoin-naysayers who think the idea that a chunk of code goes for $13 or so means we’re looking at a big fat Bitcoin bubble and would love to short the market. So it seems like only a matter of time before the 8-bit traders start innovating more complex digital financial instruments.
Ruxum, a Bitcoin exchange launched last week by a former Citigroup vice president, is considering brokering short sales and other derivative transactions. But not just yet, founder Chad Pankewitz told Betabeat in an email. Read More
Ladies and gentleman, we have a third new Bitcoin exchange. “Bitcoin exchanges popping up like daisies!” says the Bitcoin Money blog. About a month after Mt. Gox was hacked and Tradehill.com hit the web, a former Citigroup vice president now based in Canada and China is launching Ruxum Exchange in invite-only beta. The site emphasizes usability and its “Wall Street-level security,” according to TechCrunch, and accepts USD, EUR, GBP and JPY with more currencies to come. The site’s security is rigorously audited by a third party, according to Ruxum, and it has back-up databases in two separate physical locations and has developed procedures to deal with breaches. Otherwise its security measures are pretty standard: encrypted passwords and data connection, requiring strong passwords, and so on. “These are people who don’t fuck around,” observed one Reddit user. Read More
Colorado-based Nick Carlson came to fame when he advertised his services as a software developer willing to work for Bitcoin; he posted the ad on a few forums and it was picked up by Launch, which ran a splashy story about the cryptocurrency about a month before Bitcoin really hit mainstream awareness. “I’m testing the waters to see how viable Bitcoin is as a currency for services like software development,” he wrote on his blog. He got an offer for 60 Bitcoins for 12 hours of work, which at the time equated to roughly $30 an hour, well below his normal rate of $75 to $150. “However, I expect Bitcoins to appreciate significantly in value in the coming months,” he told Betabeat at the time. Read More
It was a tweet from a stranger that crystallized the concept of Bitcoin for Bruce Wagner. “I can explain the benefit of Bitcoin in four words,” one of Mr. Wagner’s 12,000-some Twitter followers wrote. “Briefcases full of cash.”
At the time, briefcases full of pennies seemed more apt—one unit of the new virtual currency was then worth $0.06. Then, in one day, the price of a Bitcoin jumped to $0.22. Mr. Wagner, a former I.T. specialist who now produces and stars in his own web TV shows, became obsessed with the things. He sat at his computer, too excited to eat, reading the myriad white papers, trade blogs, technical analyses and forum discussions about Bitcoin. For five days, he hardly slept. He just kept thinking, This is amazing. This is going to change everything.
The last time he’d been this excited was when Windows came out. He got his hands on some Bitcoins and sold when the price doubled. It kept climbing. He invested more.
Bitcoin is Internet gold, a digital currency developed by a community of programmers in 2009 that represents the first plausible manifestation of an unregulated global “cryptocurrency” first imagined by anarchist computer hackers in the late 90’s. Read More