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N.Y. Official: Require Licenses for Digital Currency Exchanges. Canadian Mint ready to test its own digital money project. As the government body responsible for the production of loonies, toonies, nickels and sundry “limited-edition” collector coins, the Royal Canadian Mint is hardly the first thing that comes to mind when you think of cutting-edge technology. But that may be about to change. Q&A: MintChip boss explains why project 'isn't a stretch for us' Digital currencies such MintChip offer enormous opportunities for both consumers and business, but experts warn the space is fraught with peril. Marc Brûlé, the Royal Canadian Mint’s point man on its virtual money project, talked to the Financial Post’s John Greenwood about what makes MintChip different and why it will be successful Continue reading. Sometime before the end of this year, software engineers at the 105-year-old Crown corp. will begin pilot testing a novel form of digital currency that so far has received little attention but which has the potential to revolutionize how we do business.

Mr. Mr. Even MintChip is a stretch, he believes. Royal Canadian Mint readies its version of Bitcoin: MintChip. Mobile payments may edge a little closer to becoming commonplace in Canada, with the unveiling of the prototype of the MintChip, a digital currency that’s akin to Bitcoin – only this currency was designed by the Royal Canadian Mint, is backed by the Canadian dollar, and has been paired with a credit and debit machine. In the last couple of years, Bitcoin has been hitting the mainstream. As an open-source form of money, not tethered to any central bank, country, or institution, Bitcoin’s fiercest supporters say it’s one of the best ways to privately transfer money online without the need to involve third parties. However, with the lack of regulatory oversight comes the risk of volatility – the value of the currency skyrocketed as high as $1,200 per Bitcoin in November 2013, although it was worth just $12 at the beginning of 2013.

Related In April 2012, the Mint announced it’d be launching the MintChip, billing it as a digital currency stored on a microSD card. MintChip Misses the Point of Digital Currency. News - Bitcoin not a currency says Japan government. 7 March 2014Last updated at 02:15 GMT A number of countries have imposed restrictions on transactions in Bitcoins Japan's government said Bitcoin is not a currency but that some transactions using the virtual unit should be taxed. "If there are transactions and subsequent gains, it is natural...for the finance ministry to consider how it can impose taxes," said chief cabinet secretary Yoshihide Suga. Japan also said banks cannot provide bitcoin as a product to customers.

The government is trying to determine the total volume and value of bitcoins in circulation around the world. China ban Some estimates put the global market for Bitcoins, a virtual currency created, or 'mined' through complicated computer algorithms, at about $7bn (£4.2bn). Countries and their tax authorities have been grappling with how to regulate it, with some seeing it as a route for tax evasion or money laundering. News - MtGox gives bankruptcy details. 4 March 2014Last updated at 04:12 ET Customers concerned about their Bitcoin holdings travelled to Japan More details have emerged into what led MtGox, one of the largest Bitcoin exchanges, to file for bankruptcy. There was a "high probability" that the bitcoins had been stolen through a bug in MtGox's systems, the firm said in a statement. Investigations to find the culprits are under way, it added.

MtGox filed for bankruptcy in Japan on Friday. Days earlier the site had closed down after losing an estimated 750,000 of its customers' bitcoins. Much of the statement released on MtGox's website confirmed details contained in a leaked document that surfaced just days before the bankruptcy application. 'Crimes punished' As well as the 750,000 bitcoins belonging to customers that were lost, the company said it had also lost approximately 100,000 of its own. The value of Bitcoin has suffered with the closure of MtGox A call centre has also been set up to answer customers questions. The Mt Gox bitcoin scandal is the best thing to happen to bitcoin in years | Money. It may take a giant scandal to make Bitcoin respectable. Bitcoins, the esoteric digital currency that enthusiasts believe will one day take over the world, may one day be used everywhere from supermarkets to 401k retirement plans, but right now it is in a temporary shambles.

Bitcoins are traded by digitally savvy geeks on several exchanges, the same way that Wall Street traders use exchanges to make bets on the US dollar and the Japanese yen. Today, Bitcoin’s biggest and most important exchange, known as Mt Gox, suddenly just disappeared. The scandal is this: 774,000 bitcoins – worth $409m and a decent outstanding percentage of all bitcoins in existence – are missing. The whole debacle is one of the biggest scandals to happen in the bitcoin world, which knows scandal could create a “disastrous spiral of disbelief”, in the words of Henry Farrell. Then the first cord was cut between Bitcoin and its past: Silk Road collapsed.

Big-name supporters popped up. Mystery of the missing bitcoins: Fate of $365M unknown after major exchange closes. Has $365-million just been stolen, or nothing? Kolin Burges, a self-styled “crypto-currency trader,” certainly believes he is out more than $300,000 after Mt. Gox, a Tokyo-based bitcoin exchange, went dark Tuesday. “I’m very angry,” said the former software engineer who travelled to Tokyo from London for answers after the company failed to tell him what had happened to his bitcoins which at one point were worth $342,000.

“It looks like that’s disappeared,” said Mr. Burges, one of six protesters outside the Mt. Some of them carried signs saying, “Mt. Mr. Q: What’s a bitcoin? Q: Who’s behind the currency? Q: How do you get bitcoins? Q: What’s a bitcoin worth? Q: Is the currency widely used? Q: Is bitcoin particularly vulnerable to counterfeiting? Q: If that’s the case, what’s all this talk about fraud? Q: Is that what happened to Mt. The Associated Press Mt. But, as Mr. Some financial analysts said the “virtual vanishing” of the Mt. Tuesday, Mt. Mt. Mt. This is not the first major bitcoin heist. Why bitcoin isn't dead yet - Business. It's been a rough month for bitcoin. The digital cryptocurrency — which may or may not have been founded in 2009 by a 64-year-old Japanese recluse — was hit by the biggest challenge it's faced so far when Mt.

Gox, the world's largest bitcoin exchange, suddenly announced that hundreds of millions of dollars worth of bitcoins were stolen last month. Unable to handle the loss of that much money, the site has begun formal bankruptcy proceedings. Mt. Gox files for U.S. bankruptcy protection Then last week, a much smaller site based in Alberta known as FlexCoin had something similar happen. The list of woes took an even bleaker turn this week with the death of a 28-year-old woman in Singapore. Bitcoins are units of digital currency that true believers use to complete online transactions securely.

The losses at Mt. Others aren't so sure. Novak says considering abuses in the conventional banking system that people seem to shrug off every week, bitcoin comes off looking comparatively clean. World's first bitcoin ATM opens in Vancouver - Technology & Science. An ATM that converts bitcoins to Canadian dollars and vice versa opened for business in a Vancouver coffee shop today, marking a world first. The kiosk, located inside Waves Coffee House at Howe and Smithe streets in downtown Vancouver, attracted its first customers, along with dozens of people who wanted to see how it worked, shortly after it went live at 9 a.m.

The automated teller machine will be operated by Vancouver-based Bitcoiniacs and Nevada-based Robocoin. They plan to open four more locations across Canada. Customers will need to have their palms scanned in order to exchange up to $3,000 worth of bitcoins per day. Canadian cash can be fed in or taken out from the machine and exchanged for bitcoins on Canada’s VirtEx exchange. The bitcoins will then be transferred to and from the customer’s online bitcoin wallet. The user will also have the option to receive a paper voucher representing the transaction. Read more about bitcoin's history and how it works. A Special Report on the Future of Money. To secure your bitcoins, print them out. By Quentin Fottrell Getty Images Bitcoin was created to provide an anonymous, digital currency free from government control or physical existence. But after the implosion of bitcoin exchange Mt. Gox, and the apparent obliteration of millions of dollars of investor money, some crypto-currency experts say (ironically) that it may not be safe to store the digital money digitally.

Bitcoin is most secure, they contend, after those ones and zeros are turned into paper. “Opening a bitcoin account on an online exchange is like opening a brokerage account in Zimbabwe,” says Alex Daley, chief technology investment strategist for Casey Research, a global independent finance research company based in Stowe, Vt. Many investors on online exchanges—like the now-defunct Mt. But even the biggest bitcoin fans recommend a real wallet or physical safe. Is a print bitcoin the safest option? Bitcoin enthusiasts have been rattled by the implosion of bitcoin exchange Mt Gox. Also see: Mt. MIT Report Finds Bitcoin More Likely to be Spent Than Hoarded. Newly released research from the MIT Technology Review, a faculty-run university magazine, suggests that new bitcoins are increasingly being spent, not hoarded, by users after purchase. The data illustrates that the number of unspent, new bitcoins has declined drastically from 2009, when nearly half of all new bitcoins were held for the entire first year of ownership.

Today, the vast majority of new bitcoins are spent within 24 hours, the findings suggest. The results led the researchers to conclude: “New bitcoins are now more likely to be spent than hoarded by speculators.” Such findings provide evidence that bitcoin is evolving as a currency, and that while far from mass adoption, liquidity is on the rise in the system. Data was drawn from a variety of sources, including bitcoin wallet provider Blockchain, Bitcoin Charts, Coinmarketcap and bitcoin exchange Mt.

Further, Sarah Meiklejohn, one of the most well-known block chain analysts, compiled the data. A closer look at the data. Bitcoin: Bitten. What a Shrem CHARLIE SHREM was a featured speaker at a gathering of Bitcoin enthusiasts in Miami on January 26th. The next day he was making less welcome headlines, after being arrested and accused of conspiring to provide $1m-worth of the virtual currency to shoppers on Silk Road, an online marketplace for illegal drugs. Silk Road was shut down last year. Its alleged founder, Ross Ulbricht, has since been indicted. Now crimebusters are turning their attention to the exchanges that allowed customers at such black-market bazaars to trade traceable old-economy currencies for near-anonymous virtual ones.

Mr Shrem’s arrest shocked Bitcoin groupies; the 24-year-old has been one of the currency’s most vocal advocates, and was seen as having no links to its dark side. His exchange, BitInstant, has financial backing from the Winklevoss twins, internet entrepreneurs who claim that Facebook was their idea. In America regulatory guidance has been slow in coming. The Bitcoin Bubble and the Future of Currency — Money & Banking. A few days ago, the value of all the bitcoins in the world blew past $1 billion for the first time ever. That’s an impressive achievement, for a purely virtual currency backed by no central bank or other authority. It’s also temporary: we’re in the middle of a bitcoin bubble right now, and it’s only a matter of time before the bubble bursts. There are a couple of reasons why the bubble is sure to burst. The first is just that it’s a bubble, and any chart which looks like the one at the top of this post is bound to end in tears at some point.

But there’s a deeper reason, too — which is that bitcoins are an uncomfortable combination of commodity and currency. The commodity value of bitcoins is rooted in their currency value, but the more of a commodity they become, the less useful they are as a currency. Still, it’s worth taking a look behind the bitcoin bubble, because there are fascinating implications for anybody who cares about payments, or currencies, or trust. But is that a good idea? Ben Bernanke’s letter to Congress: Bitcoin and other virtual currencies “may hold long-term promise” America’s top central banker has given his cautious blessing to bitcoin, the virtual currency that famously requires no central bank. In a letter ahead of today’s congressional hearings, US Federal Reserve chairman Ben Bernanke mostly distanced himself from virtual currencies, saying the Fed “does not necessarily have authority to directly supervise or regulate these innovations or the entities that provide them to the market.”

But he also said that bitcoin and its ilk “may hold long-term promise, particularly if the innovations promote a faster, more secure and more efficient payment system.” Dear Senators: Thank you for your recent inquiry regarding virtual currencies. As you noted, virtual currencies have been receiving increased attention from U.S. authorities over the past several months. Wristband Lets Users Unlock Bitcoin Wallets With Heartbeats. We’re tempted to file this one under “the more things change, the more they stay the same.” A wristband, called Nymi, that taps the user’s heartbeat as a biometric marker, will also double as a bitcoin wallet. “The wallet is physically stored on the Nymi,” Yevgeniy Vahlis, the manufacturer’s chief cyrptographer, said in a release. So instead of a wallet with twenties and ones in it, we’re now invited to wear a wristband with 0s and 1s in it.

Irony aside, the wristband offers an innovative approach to keeping things protected and convenient as the number of smart connected devices grows. When the user wears the watch and presses its face with a finger from the other hand, the double-sided contact closes a circuit which allows the device to get a rough ECG reading — it’s not a medically useful reading, but accurate enough to offer biometric identification. A futuristic video shows a user opening his car and hotel doors and paying for a cup of coffee with Nymi. Of course, heart rhythms vary. Where there's muck there's bitcoins. Never has the old English expression "where's there's muck there's brass" been more true. For those of you not familiar with those wise words: They come from the northern county of Yorkshire, where "brass" is slang for money, and "muck" is, well, muck.

Dirty work can yield riches. That's the task facing James Howell from the Welsh city of Newport, after he threw out a computer hard drive forgetting that it was full of bitcoins that are now worth around $7.5 million, the BBC reports. The 7,500 virtual coins - which are a form of digital currency - were valued at around $20 when he first "obtained" them in 2009, the story notes. I'm a bit fuzzy on how one acquires bitcoins, but my understanding is you don't necessarily just purchase them. Rather, you can apply some computer wizardry involving algorithms, searches and data mining, and if you're successful, you are the proud new owner of the things. For Howell, then, bitcoins have perhaps been a case of not-so-easy-come, but easy-go. In Bitcoin's Orbit: Rival Virtual Currencies Vie for Acceptance.

Stockholm’s homeless now take credit cards. In Australia, bitcoins can be used to buy a car. The Future of Money in a Mobi-Digital World. Money-laundering rules for virtual currency. Pay for your Starbucks latte with Square Wallet. How will you buy dinner in space? PayPal Galactic. Bitcoin takes off in Berlin. Germany accepts Bitcoin as currency. Branson's Virgin Galactic to accept bitcoin for tickets to space.

Bitcoin now legal tender for a college education.