It’s a business platform, a digital commodity market, a business game and an autonomous economy that may just work its way into the ‘real’ world. Seventh Continent is a 3D virtual world where you can set up and run a business for real profit in Bitcoin or fiat.
“The idea is to offer a new ‘continent’, the ‘Seventh Continent’, to the Bitcoin community where Bitcoin users can do fair and corruption free business,” explains CEO Gregory Harmati. The Seventh Continent is an “independent, free market restricted only by supply and demand”. It aims to create an economy based on freedom, transparency and fair play.
Although the case in question (Crawfurd v. The Royal Bank) happened in the mid-1700s, I think it is highly relevant and bears nicely on the recent controversy surrounding Coinvalidation. This post will also be of interest to anyone fascinated by the history and/or theory of money.
While this particular case involved paper banknotes (which arguably are irredeemably flawed) rather than a ‘hard currency’, it still illustrates nicely the rationale behind a decision which impacted a widely used currency at the time. Of primary consideration in this case was how its resolution would affect the usability of the currency (i.e. a facet from which currency largely derives its value).
As we’re probably all aware of by now, CoinValidation’s plan, if successfully implemented, would presumably lead to the blacklisting of some coins based on their past transfer history (e.g. having at some point been sent to/from deep web contraband marketplaces, having been paid as ransom to malware operators like those of CryptoLocker, having been stolen, having been allegedly ‘laundered’, having been associated with scams/ponzis, &c). In effect, this would destroy the fungibility of bitcoins. Some ‘clean’ coins would be easier to spend and transact with, while other ‘less clean’ or downright ‘tainted’ coins would be more difficult to use. Thus we would be left with a difficult-to-navigate and frustrating-to-use system whereby some coins are worth more than others (due to their varying spendability). And this largely defeats the purpose of a currency as a facile medium of exchange in the first place.
Many articles mention, that the limited Bitcoin money supply is a major advantage of this digital currency. The reasoning usually goes like this. Since Bitcoins can only be created through mining and there is an upper limit of 21 million, Bitcoin is supposed to be inflation proof. This article for instance says, Bitcoin “theoretically eliminates inflation”. If this was true, Bitcoins would not lose purchasing power. The Bitcoins I own today would buy me the same amount of goods and services tomorrow. Or a larger amount in the case of deflation.
BitPay has announced the approval of its 10,000th merchant while at this time last year the company had just reached 1,000 merchants. That’s an increase of 900% for the leading payment processor.
While BitPay is only one option available to merchants it is the largest Bitcoin payment processor and these numbers give a glimpse into the Bitcoin economy.
BitPay’s merchants are still largely ecommerce, 90%+, but they have experienced increased growth in non-US merchants. Earlier this year 40% of BitPays merchants were located outside the US, however these latest numbers show a 10% increase to 50% of customers based outside North America.
In line with the growth in merchants, the volume of Bitcoin sales through the business has also had a dramatic increase. “The month of August was another record month for BitPay, processing over 10,000 merchant transactions worth over $6.4 million. Year-to-date in 2013, over $34 million worth of bitcoins have been spent on goods and services through merchants using BitPay’s platform.”
The Bitcoin economy may be small, but it’s growing rapidly!
It seems that the online commerce giant eBay has its eyes on Bitcoin. This is of course a bit surprising as eBay is the owner of PayPal which has a lot to loose from Bitcoin’s success. However, in the past week two indications of eBays interest in Bitcoin have popped up.
First eBay added, and then removed, ‘Virtual Currency’ to its categories of items for sale.
But even more interestingly eBay appears to have produced a video about Bitcoin which they posted to their blog. The post is titled What’s the Deal with Bitcoins anyway? And curiously is presented without a date, seems to be only accessible directly via the URL and with this disclaimer at the top, “*This video was created for informational and educational purposes.”
The video does present Bitcoin in an unbiased and educational fashion.
The post and the video asks “What do you think? Are bitcoins the real deal?” however, comments are not allowed. … What’s the deal with eBay and Bitcoin?
Bitcoin exchange TradeHill halts trading after its banking partner experiences “regulatory issues”.
After series of Bitcoin businesses being dropped by their banking partners earlier this year, the Internet Archive Federal Credit Union (IAFCU) came to the rescue. The New Jersey based credit union, run by the Internet Archive, has been very friendly to the Bitcoin industry and has worked with a number of businesses who have had trouble establishing relationships with banks.
One of the businesses the credit union partnered with was the US based TradeHill exchange. Late last week Jered Kenna, Tradehill’s founder and CEO, confirmed via Reddit that the exchange had suspended trading due to “operational and regulatory issues” faced by its bank.
IAFCU posted its own statement on the matter , but was not clear on the nature of the regulatory issues.
As the rupee continues to struggle, Indian officials continue their attempts to curb demand for gold.
India is considering a radical plan to direct commercial banks to buy gold from ordinary citizens and divert it to precious metal refiners in an attempt to curb imports and take some heat off the plunging currency.
The RBI will ask the banks to buy back jewelry, bars and coins for rupees. Lenders will have to offer better rates than pawn shops and jewelers to lure sellers.
“We will start a pilot project among some banks where we will allow them to buy back gold from individual households,” the source, an official familiar with the central bank’s plan, said. “This will start soon, we have discussed (it) with banks.”
From New York to Germany, check out a timeline of August events affecting the crypto-currency community here.
For those following the Bitcoin Foundation’s board elections Bitcoin Magazine has posted transcripts from Let’s Talk Bitcoin’s interviews with the Individual Seat Candidates
Two new seats are being added to the Board of Directors. One representing Individual Members and the other is representing Industry (business) Members. In order to be eligible to vote in this election, you must be a current member of the Bitcoin Foundation.
This week members of the Bitcoin Foundation had a series of meetings with regulators and law makers in DC.
On Monday 5 Foundation members, Marco Santori, Patrick Murck, Peter Vessenes, Brian Klein and Jim Harper, met with representatives from a number of US agencies including FinCEN, IRS, FDIC, Federal Reserve, OCC, FBI, DEA, Secret Service, and the Department of Homeland Security.
Frank Schaeffler, a member of German parliament’s Finance Committee has issued a statement recognizing Bitcoin as “Rechnungseinheiten,” which translates to “units of account”. Many news sources are reporting that this makes Bitcoin ‘private money’ or ‘legal tender’ in Germany.
But what exactly does the designation of “Rechnungseinheiten” mean for German Bitcoin users and businesses?
The German parliament stopped short of granting bitcoin full currency status on August 19, but recognized bitcoins as “units of account” when it formally issued regulations for the popular virtual currency.
First NY, then the House and now the Senate, US regulators are turning their attention to virtual currencies.
On Monday the US Senate Committee on Homeland Security & Governmental Affairs sent a letter to Homeland Security for information on any policies, procedures or guidance they have that pertains to “virtual currencies”.
The letter states the committee has initiated an inquiry into virtual currencies, list recent legal actions involving Bitcoin and contains the usual ‘hey were all for new tech, but we need to look at the threats and risks’.
The letter, which can be read here, ask Homeland Security for 3 things to be provided by the end of the month…
Any policies, procedures, guidance, or advisories related to the treatment or regulation of virtual currencies and any minutes of interagency working groups involved in the development of any such policies, procedures, guidance or advisories;
Information related to any ongoing coordination of your agency with any other federal agencies or state and local governments related to the treatment of virtual currencies; and,
Any plans or strategies regarding virtual currencies and information regarding any ongoing initiatives you have engaged in regarding virtual currencies and the name of the person most knowledgeable about any such plans, strategies or initiatives.