Woah, bitcoin. Woah. BitPay announces their new proposal for decentralized, passwordless authentication. Coinbase creates a vault service, while vault service Xapo adds another high-profile customer in New York institutional trading platform Coinsetter, and another institutional trading platform, Vaurum, discloses that they single-handedly won the Silk Road bitcoin auction - with some help from their VC backer Tim Draper. Even the Winklevii are having a good day, with their ETF expected to soon trade on the NASDAQ under the ticker “COIN”. Yes, the second half of 2014 is off to a roaring start…
My apologies for the late edition today. Of course, since it’s been a news day, I’m naturally going to focus on something completely different. Something forward-looking.
The MIT Bitcoin Project team plans to announce the three student winners from Round 1 of its BitComp - the elevator pitch - tomorrow morning. I had a chance to review some of the 45 entries as a judge, and will say I was incredibly impressed.
There were various wallet implementations that promised to stress superior anonymity, security, and usability as core features. There were marketplaces that aimed to disrupt eBay’s dominance in peer-to-peer exchange, without the shady underbelly of Silk Road, and crowdfunding projects aimed at creating decentralized Kickstarter-esque platforms. There were gambling sites that ranged in focus from soup-to-nuts parimutuel sports betting, friendly wager enforcements, and new prediction markets creation. There were charitable applications, educational apps, and projects geared towards improving the ethnic and gender inclusivity of Bitcoin. There were even teams working on near-field communication point of sale solutions which would allow bitcoiners to transfer money via taps or even sound transfers.
And those were just the bitcoin 1.0 ideas.
One team is creating a platform which will facilitate the use of and dispute resolution for smart contracts. Another is creating a bitcoin trading algorithm which uses machine learning algorithms to improve system-wide liquidity. Another hopes to decentralize online identities by creating a block chain controlled version of Facebook Connect. And yet another is building an analytics platform for machine-to-machine micro-payments.
In perhaps the most ambitious pitch I reviewed, the team plans to build tech that facilitates drone deliveries paid for with bitcoin.
Go ahead, I chuckled at that one, too. Until, of course, I realized that the student was serious and, dare I say, measured in his pitch: ”I want to emphasize that I am more interested in developing the technology in this project than the commercial applications, as commercialization may be postponed until September 2015 due to FAA regulations.”
These kids have done their homework. If round one of the BitComp is any sign of things to come, we’ve got a lot to look forward to on college campuses everywhere. Wow.
Just a friendly reminder that your tips help me pay the rent and feed me. In the spirit of patriotism and to celebrate the recent bitcoin price rally, why not send a little tip? :-)
Now for Today’s Tid Bits:
VC Tim Draper Win Gov’t Auction, Partners With Vaurum to Provide Bitcoin Liquidity in Emerging Markets
Tim Draper, managing director of the VC firm Draper Fisher Jurvetson, was the sole winner of last Friday’s USMS 30,000 bitcoin auction. Draper is partnering with Vaurum, a bitcoin exchange, to “provide liquidty and confidence to markets that have been hamstrung by weak currencies.” Draper was an early investor in Vaurum; he met the start up at the Boostincubator last summer. Vaurum’s post can be found below.
BitPay Seeks to Decentralize Digital Identification with BitAuth
BitPay, has launched a new password-less means of authentication named BitAuth. BitAuth, works through the same elliptic-curve cryptography as Bitcoin. The user signs each request using a private key, and the server verifies the signature and matches it with a public key.
Coinbase Announces High-Security ‘Vault’ Bitcoin Accounts
‘Vault,” a new highly secure account for storing large amounts of bitcoin is about to launched by Coinbase. The ‘Vault’ has been described as a savings account for bitcoin, and it will only be made available to 5% of existing Coinbase users. The new account also plans to incorporate a multi-signature feature once security experts have properly examined it.
Winklevoss Bitcoin ETF to Trade on NADSAQ Under ‘COIN’ Symbol
For the past year the Winklevoss twins have updated their ETF filing four times, and according to their latest filing the ETF will trade under the symbol ‘COIN.” No launch date has been announced for the ETF. While SecondMarket’s Bitcoin Investment Trust (BIT), plans to launch in the fourth quarter of this year. The trust will circumvent the regulatory limbo the Winklevii have found themselves in, by transforming the BIT in to a open fund for public investors.
Chicago Newspaper Taps Bitcoin, Beyonce for Ad Experiment
Today, an ad will run in the Chicago Sun-Times for the Beyonce and Jay-Z concert that will give readers the ability to buy tickets through a QR code with bitcoin. The ad is group effort involving Gold Coast Tickets a local ticket broker, Blockchain and Coinbase. The first 24 tickets sold in bitcoin and will be 25% off. The Chicago Sun-Times also accepts bitcoin for subscriptions, becoming the first American newspaper to do so. The Beyonce and Jay-Z concert is on July 24th at Soldier Field.
US Marshals Mistake Causes Bitcoin Fund to Lose 100 BTC
On June 18th the US Marshals leaked an emails for prospective bidder in last Friday’s auction, this included the email for the company Bitcoins Reserve. This eventually led to the company losing 100 BTC, or about $65,000. A company’s email was hacked, a thief impersonated the company’s CTO, and through a series of unfortunate events 100 BTC was lost. Bitcoins Reserve will not pursue the attacker another further.
Russia Softens Stance on Bitcoin
After previously stating that it would crack down on bitcoin, the Russian central bank now says it won’t inhibit the usage of the digital currency. The Bank of Russia is currently “accumulating information” about crypto-currencies, according the bank’s deputy chairman, George Luntovsky. Luntovsky said, “These instruments [crypto-currencies] should not be rejected.”
Meet Britain’s Bitcoin Barrister
Eitan Jankelewitz, a 33-year-old lawyer in the Technology Practice at a London-based law firm, represents bitcoin businesses in the UK, and is also advising the government on the legal framework surrounding bitcoin. Britain’s “Bitcoin Barrister” spoke with the Wall Street Journal in an interview about bitcoin’s tax situation, the companies he represents, and the future of the currency. The young lawyer advises over a dozen businesses in the UK and throughout Europe.
Are you a student working on a new student-led bitcoin venture that you would like to have profiled in the new “Campus Bit”? If so, send me your pitch! The best submissions will get airtime in front of an audience that now includes thousands of bitcoin’s leading executives. Get to it!
P.S. Tomorrow is the big day! Last chance to register in advance for the Bitcoin Finance 2014 Conference (Bitfin) in Dublin, Ireland on July 3-4. Not only is Bitfin a generous Daily Bit sponsor, but they boast the best Bitcoin event to date for those interested in interactions and integration with the broader financial establishment (banks, payment networks, etc.). Check it out.