The current growth in Bitcoin price is quite dizzying. Today it hit $240/BTC. Many commentators call it an irrational bubble. However there are a few features of Bitcoin that may make it not quite as crazy and irrational.
Here are the basic facts:
There is a hard circulation limit of 21 million Bitcoins.
There are at time of writing roughly only 11 million of bitcoins
This is the first major digital asset that is also fungible (unlike say domain names) and not under the control of a single entity or government
1 Bitcoin is just an arbitrary unit. There is no problem owning 0.0000001 Bitcoins
There is no barrier to entry to hoarding, earning and spending Bitcoin
It’s international by default
The hard circulation limit together with the current limited amount of Bitcoin means this is pretty much a good old fashioned land rush. This is what most …
As a continuation of my coverage of the new FinCEN guidelines for Bitcoin businesses I wanted to cover how it affects non US businesses.
If your Bitcoin exchange busines is based outside the US, you may be thinking hah those damn gringos and their silly rules. You don’t need to worry about it right? You would think so, however FinCEN states in Foreign-Located Money Services Businesses.:
An entity may now qualify as a money services business (MSB) under the Bank Secrecy Act (BSA) regulations based on its activities within the United States, even if none of its agents, agencies, branches or offices are physically located in the United States. The Final Rule arose in part from the recognition that the Internet and other technological advances make it increasingly possible for persons to offer MSB services in the United States …
On March 18th this year (2013) the closest thing we have in the US to a Federal payments regulator FinCEN (Financial Crimes Enforcement Network) issued new Guidelines for Virtual Currencies.
What is FinCEN
There are a lot of misunderstandings in the reporting of these rules. FinCEN‘s job is to:
FinCEN’s mission is to safeguard the financial system from illicit use and combat money laundering and promote national security through the collection, analysis, and dissemination of financial intelligence and strategic use of financial authorities.
Thus they are not a banking regulator. This is neither the FDIC or the Federal Reserve. This isn’t the Secret Service either whos job it is to “to safeguard the nation’s financial infrastructure and payment systems to preserve the integrity of the economy”.
FinCEN isn’t there to protect consumers either. FinCEN’s only job is to enforce the BSA which funnily …
Tell us a bit about Monomi
Monomi is a product my company is developing. We’ve been working on it for about a year now.
We are a software agency and we had a lot of clients who wanted to open shops. We offered them open source solutions and the option for building it for them. But as years passed we had more and more requests for stores.
There wasn’t really a good option available in Latin America for building stores, so we thought lets build one.
So we started working on it May last year. We launched our private beta in November and public beta in December and have around 800 stores. We’re focused on making it super easy for everyone to start a shop.
Are your customers mainly in Colombia right now?
Yes mainly in Colombia, but we have some in Argentina, Mexico, Venezuela and …
In a part of the world just starting to open up to e-commerce OmbuShop is one of the first online shop platforms in Latin America.
I spoke with co-founder Ernesto Tagwerker over coffee in Buenos Aires over the challenges and opportunities facing them. In particular with an interest in payments.
Tell us briefly what OmbuShop is?
OmbuShop allows people in Latin America for the first time to create a simple on-line store and easily accept payments for their products.
Designers love us as our shops are fully customizable down to the pixel level.
Which countries are your primary focus?
We are currently targeting Argentina, Chile and Mexico. Future markets are Colombia and Brazil. We would also like to eventually expand outside Latin America.
Who are the partners and background?
My partner is Lucas Mourelle who is a very respected graphic designer here in Buenos Aires. He designs both …
CCLite is an open source application for managing community currencies. Hugh Barnard just released 0.9.0.
I thought it would be interesting to ask him a few questions.
What is CCLite?
Software for mutual social currencies, therefore LETS style currencies but fairly adaptable to other models.
When did you start work on it originally?
About 2005 but it’s off/on depending on the rest of my life
How did you get into the Community Currency world?
Encyclopedia of Social Inventions which opened my eyes to other ways of doing currencies. Then I met Michael Linton in about 2005 and started cclite.
How many currencies do you estimate are currently using it?
10 that I know about, it’s GPL so I don’t really know my users.
Is it mainly used in the UK or elsewhere as well?
Downloaded from everywhere but that doesn’t, of course, imply use. That’s why I’ve been machine translating foreign …
To much fanfare MasterCard just launched their new PayPass Online not to be confused with their PayPass Wallet NFC offering.
We’ve packed a whole lot of choice into one ingenious, little button. You see, the PayPass checkout button not only lets you use our PayPass Wallet to checkout quickly and securely, it lets you use any digital wallet offered by a PayPass partner.
I applaud them for trying but unfortunately it is flawed on many different levels. They missed a great opportunity, but they don’t even seem to fix the fundamental security issues in the existing network.
First the good:
User only enters payment information once
User only enters shipping information once
Example code for Java/.NET/Android/IOS
Partner’s can create their own wallets
Now the very bad:
No OAuth 2
Returns full credit card account to merchant (yes you read right)
Very complex flow
No embedded payment functionality
Reliance on 3rd …
After our review of Coinapult yesterday I thought it would be interesting to ask Ira Miller the founder a few questions.
When did you launch Coinapult?
Coinapult launched on Apr. 12th, and by Apr. 16th, BitInstant had integrated with us.
How did you get the idea?
Through my other Bitcoin businesses, I’ve often run into the issue of sending a customer Bitcoin when you don’t have an address for them. A prime example is when giving a refund. In the past, I found myself sending an extra email each time, asking the customer for an address to send the refund to. This was a hassle for both parties.
My prime design inspiration came from InstaWallet, which has long been the go to wallet for Bitcoin beginners. It was clear that a Bitcoin over email service would be widely useful, so I wanted to make it …
PayPal finally took off when they pivoted into their successful email money service. The formula is easy. You can send money to anyone all you need to know is their email address. As long as they are based in one of the blessed countries they can then either sign up for a paypal account or receive the money in an existing account.
BitCoin doesn’t rely on email addresses. Rather accounts are identified by long crypted strings known as addresses.
So what do you do if you want to send money to someone who doesn’t have a Bitcoin wallet and account yet?
With Coinapult you don’t need to sign up at all. All you do is enter the email address of you and a recipient.
Coinapult then creates a new BitCoin address. You transfer the funds you want to send to this address using …
Thomas Baekdal posted a great article we need to drastically simplify payments online that has received quite a bit of attention today.
His proposal is to use an iframe to a third party payment site similar to how Facebook embeds it’s widgets. This would allow you to pay very quickly as well as selectively share address, email etc. with the merchant.
We in the OpenTransact actually proposed something very similar last year at the Internet and Identity Workshop.
OpenTransact is a new very simple standard for performing amongst other things payments. It is designed to be extremely simple to use and embed. It is already being used in my startup PicoMoney as well as various other sites such as Austin Time Exchange.
OpenTransact allows anyone to create very simple payment links that we call TransferRequests. This allows you to format a link very easily …