Bitcoin Takes A Big Step Forward

bitvestment partners stepBitcoin has taken big strides to market the currency and to promote it so that it is used more regularly as traditional currency and credit cards are used now. The next big step is a ‘Bitcoin Bowl’ that they have agreed to with ESPN. This kind of exposure should definitely boost the public acceptance of the digital currency, Bitcoin. Jeff Stone of the International Business Times writes that the Bitcoin Bowl should “win over a public still skeptical of digital currencies and to get some good headlines in a year marked by bad press for its falling price and bankruptcy scandals, Bitcoin promoters are turning to America’s favorite pastime-football.” The marketing strategy for this pairing is rather bold, but should result in more usage of the currency. The agreement states that an NCAA-sanctioned game will occur on December 26 on Tropicana Field home to the Tampa Bay Rays. The O’Brady’s restaurant chain and magicJack, the USB manufacturer, have both formerly sponsored this particular game. For Bitcoin and most notably, Bitpay this game has the potential to really propel them into the national spotlight as the main sponsor for this highly televised event. The Executive Chairman of BitPay, Tony Gallippi pointed out that Bitpay probably has the most to gain from the press of the Bitcoin Bowl because, as the Bitcoin payment system, they are accepted at over 30,000 businesses. Media exposure from the bowl should get them into the TVs of more that 100 million Americans. This endorsement is huge for the future of Bitcoin.

In addition to getting exposure to all of ESPN’s viewership, BitPay has struck a deal that will allow ticket buyers to purchase their tickets to the game with Bitcoins. A spokesman for Bitcoin has also announced that the winning team’s university can opt to receive their $500,000 in prize money in Bitcoins! The Bitcoin Bowl is the first major deal between Bitcoin and a TV network and they are contracted to sponsor the bowl for four years. It seems like the purchasing and marketing possibility ideas are endless.

Fed Positive About Bitcoin

Janet YellenThe appeal of Bitcoin, for many, has been the fact that it is unregulated. Therefore, the idea of regulating the currency makes many uncomfortable. To ease those worries, the Federal Reserve Chairwoman, Janet Yellen said in February that the Fed as a regulatory entity has no authority over digital currency. Those who were worried about regulation rejoiced and continue to use and celebrate the ease of transaction with Bitcoin. However, not everyone was pleased about Yellen’s announcement.

Some who have invested in Bitcoin feel that regulation may be the key to helping the digital catapult into the mainstream. Barry Silbert, the CEO of SecondMarket is one of those who feels that Bitcoin could use a bit more regulation. Silbert is an investor in the digital currency and one of its largest proponents, but he believes that more regulation is the only way for Wall Street to have a larger involvement in the digital currency landscape overall. Based on a document that was released earlier in May, it seems that the Federal Reserve Advisory Committee agrees with Silbert. The document notes that the lack of regulation allows Bitcoin to be used for illicit activities and that Bitcoin does not demonstrate any threat to current avenues of commerce, but could rather open up new pathways. The report specifically states that Bitcoin’s “global transmissibility opens new markets to merchants and service providers…Driving capital flows from the developed to the developing world should increase consumption.” This advisory council, the FAC, is made up of the most elite in the banking industry. Bitcoin is continuing to grow in popularity around the world and with a ringing endorsement from the FAC and a successful Bitcoin conference in Amsterdam, the stock is climbing, so it may be time for the Fed to get involved to make the most of this digital currency phenomenon.

Bitcoin May Pave the Road to Washington

bitvestment partners washingtonGood news has come for Bitcoin. Now a federal agency may be on the cusp of allowing a limited amount of the digital currency to be used for funding political campaigns. This could go through the Federal Election Commission as soon as the impending mid-term elections.

This moved by the election commission marks a greater acceptance of Bitcoin. Many individuals and businesses are now at the point where they accept Bitcoin as if it were a credit card, why shouldn’t political campaigns? This has come up before, but the election commission wouldn’t let it pass last fall. This time around they seem much more likely to vote in favor of allowing the digital currency. Currently there is not a law prohibiting Bitcoin in elections and a few political groups already accept it. However, the majority of those in races are waiting for the election commission to give the go ahead.

Those who already accept Bitcoin include Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott who is running for governor. Additionally, the Libertarian Party collects about $20,000 in Bitcoin each year because they say it aligns with their currency philosophy of non-regulation.

But, of course, the fact that Bitcoin is unregulated and anonymous that has made it so popular, also makes it controversial. With the expansion of Bitcoin, Attorney General Eric Holder pointed out to lawmakers that any virtual currency poses a threat because it makes it harder for law enforcement to find illegal activity. Additionally, the anonymous transactions that make it so attractive to users also allow major online sales of drugs like the black market operation, Silk Road. It comes down to the fact that if the government is going to support campaign donations with Bitcoin and bring it into our government system, they are going to have to find a way to regulate it. However, since Bitcoin is already traded it could be considered, the already established, in-kind contribution like stock, bonds, or gold pieces, which are sometimes given to campaigns.

The Financial Revolution That Is Bitcoin

bitvestment partners w3c conferenceBitcoin may be the beginning of a financial revolution that the Internet has long been awaiting.

Computers and smartphones now reside with over a third of the world’s population. However, online commerce is still leaning on a banking system that is outdated and uses computer code that existed before the Internet came into being. The introduction of Bitcoin is starting to change how online commerce operates. Bitcoin is a digital currency that does not rely on a centralized body, like the banking system, to handle transactions.

The CEO of the web payments company Digital Bazaar, Manu Sporny states, “The rise of Bitcoin has changed everyone’s idea of what a good payment system should be…Bitcoin raises the bar, so everyone’s got to come in and match that in some way.” The future of Bitcoin’s influence will be discussed at the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) that will soon be held in Paris. The W3C is an important body in determining Internet standards. Big players at the conference will be Deutsche Telekom, Telefonica, AT&T, SWIFT, PayPal, Gemalto, and the Federal Reserve. They will discuss the future of web payment standards while in attendance.

Bitcoin was definitely a large topic of conversation at the conference. Bitcoin is interesting because it has skyrocketed in value from $30 last year to over $1000 at the end of the year. There are a few computer principles that make the currency work, namely decentralized time stamping, public key cryptography and a proof of work system. This combination guarantees to revolutionize online transactions. Bitcoin makes it cheaper to move money around and may cut out the money for companies like PayPal that get a cut for handling consumer’s transactions.

Even putting thoughts of revolutionizing finance aside, Bitcoin still has caused a stir by decentralizing transactions. Currency, or what we perceive as currency is just a form of ownership or dis-intermediated trust and Bitcoin is helping to change the game.

Acceptance of Bitcoin on the Rise

bitvestment partners 4Some companies have been resistant towards accepting advancing Bitcoin technology, while some are eagerly embracing the new form of currency. Bitcoin is quite complex, but it is not necessary to fully understand the mathematics and cryptography behind Bitcoin to know that it works well. Many experts support Bitcoin and cite reasons for using it as a valid form of payment.

An immediate and short term-benefit is that Bitcoin features lower transaction costs. When compared to companies like PayPal, credit cards, and Western Union, etc. that have transaction fees of 2-4%, Bitcoin’s 1% is quite appealing. The lower cost for transactions is across every type of exchange including micro-transactions, peer-to-peer transactions, and international transactions. Where PayPal may charge a flat $0.30, plus a percentage for any micro-transaction, Bitcoin offers an environment where micro-transactions are actually economically viable.

Bitcoin is not tied to any particular country and is therefore less risky than any traditional currency that is rooted. Bitcoin is theoretically less risky because it is less susceptible to political risk and is more stable. Bitcoin numbers are finite, so there will not be issues of inflation. The biggest political risk Bitcoin faces is that it was not recognized for a few days in China last year and a situation like that may surface again.

Bitcoin is also more secure than traditional currency because using a Bitcoin leaves no data behind, like a credit card. This would have prevented security breaches like the Target attack in 2013. In this way, Bitcoin is more like using physical cash.

For a company, announcing you are accepting Bitcoin can be a huge public relations boost. It seems edgy and new. Additionally, there are advantages with Bitcoin Protocol to brand currencies for breaks on groups like airline miles and coffee shops similar to current loyalty programs.

There are many advantages and exciting opportunities for business and personal means in the future of Bitcoin technology.

Tech Pros Welcome Bitcoin Payments

bitvestment partners nech in motionA new study reveals that U.S. technology professionals would be happy to be paid in Bitcoins. The survey was conducted by Tech in Motion, an event organizer that brings local tech communities together.

Tech in Motion sent the questionnaire to its 18,000 members and received 847 responses. Of those who responded, 51.12% chose “yes, absolutely” to the question “Would you be interested in being paid for your work in cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin?” 18.06% chose the option “Maybe, let’s see where Bitcoin is in a year or two.” The remaining participants said that they would prefer to be paid in traditional currency. Of those who chose not to embrace Bitcoin, 9.92% stated it was because they “do not think Bitcoin will last,” and 1.18% stated they did not know what Bitcoin was.

These results indicate a greater acceptance of the currency and a bright future for the use of Bitcoin in the United States. It is encouraging that Tech in Motion’s survey showed that over half of the participants were eager to start using cryptocurrencies. This may convince U.S. payroll processors to offer crypto-currency options to clients’ employees. Bit pay is in the early stages of beginning to develop such a service in the United States. Canada has already embraced bitcoin options. Wagepoint, a payroll management firm, has teamed up with Canadian virtual exchange VirtEx to incorporate bitcoin options.

Payroll seems the best way to integrate Bitcoin technology into our system. By expanding Bitcoin wage payments, employees will easily acquire and begin to use and spend crypto-currency like U.S. dollars. Tech in Motion’s survey results demonstrate that the IT community is ready to move forward with crypto-currency integration. Their membership covers a wide cross section of the tech industry, including hardware and mobile product developers, software developers, open-source developers, and IT infrastructure producers.

Tech in Motion also conducted rough polling in the cities where their members are located and found that the results were similar to their overall survey. All signs suggest that crypto-currency is on its way in the U.S. with an endorsement from IT professionals.

Bitcoin ATM in NYC?

bitvestment partners izeaAs 2014 approaches, Bitcoin miner and Izea Founder/CEO Ted Murphy has made a number of predictions for the coming year. A big one that’s turning a lot of heads is his belief that at some point in the next 12 months, New York City will see its first Bitcoin ATM.

He elaborated on Bloomberg Television’s “In the Loop,” speaking to Betty Liu:

“Bitcoin is huge right now and there are so many opportunities for entrepreneurs looking to get in this space. I think that you are going to see the first Bitcoin ATM in New York City. You saw the first one happen in Vancouver earlier this year. It did a million dollars in transactions in the first month. So people are accumulating these Bitcoins but there’s no easy way to get the money back out. And I think that you’re going to see the first Bitcoin [ATM] in New York–there are so many transactions happening there, it’s a great opportunity for an entrepreneur.”

He went on to describe how Bitcoin will continue to appreciate in value as more and more retailers begin to accept it as a form of payment. Just last week, Overstock.com announced they would begin to accept Bitcoins some time next year, so it certainly looks as though things are heading in that direction.

While those who don’t understand how the system works might laugh at its apparent boldness or volatility,  the closer you look at the mathematics behind it, the more Bitcoin works as a viable, reliable currency. What we’re seeing right now is more and more individuals across industries and professions coming to their senses and realizing that Bitcoin is revolutionary and that it’s here to stay