February 29, 2016 - In This Issue:

 

   

Japan considers making bitcoin a legal currency
Japan's governing Liberal Democratic party is planning to propose legal changes that would define bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies as currencies.

The changes would mean bitcoin could be more tightly regulated and taxed, and are likely to lead to more investment in developing cryptocurrency infrastructure in Japan.

Tomonori Kanda, an official in the financial affairs section at the party's headquarters, said legislative changes were discussed on Wednesday and the LDP aimed to raise the matter in parliament.

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Australian Reserve Bank Sees a Digital Dollar Future
The future could be one wherein the Australian dollar could cease to exist through physical notes and coins to become digital instead.

In a recent speech given by Tony Richards, head of the Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA)'s payments policy department, he revealed that the RBA had kept a watchful eye on the growth in demand for digital currencies such as Bitcoin, to speculate and believe that Australia will, in the future, have a central-bank-issued digital currency.

In a report by the Sydney Morning Herald today, the RBA sees a future wherein digital dollars will circulate and co-exist alongside banknotes and other forms of Australia's national currency, including coins.

While Richards stated that the central bank isn't "actively" considering the introduction of a digital dollar in Australia just yet, the executive confirmed that it's possible that the bank authorities will produce and distribute such a currency in the future.

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Burger King Arnhem Rewards Bitcoin Customers With Free Whopper
That seems to be the mindset of Burger King Arnhem right now, based on the information provided to us in this Reddit post. While it is nothing short of commendable to see such a major fast food chain accept Bitcoin payments, the fact they pass along savings to customer sis even more amazing.

A lot of merchants and retailers dealing with digital currency payments do not offer particular discounts when making a payment. Granted, online orders can be quite different from in-store purchases in this regard, although the end result should be the same in either case. Frictionless payment methods for the business owner should lead to some form of reward for the customer.

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New York is the Bitcoin ATM capital of the world
Last week, a Skyhook ATM in SoHo was offering Bitcoins to customers at a rate of $430.54. The machine, at the Bitcoin Center on Cleveland Place, is powered by a Nexus 7 tablet and allows users to insert stacks of cash to convert to digital currency. Next to it sits a Genesis ATM that lets users do the opposite: Turn their Bitcoins into stacks of $20 bills. Even with the upfront costs (the Genesis machine sells for $14,000), these machines are bringing their owners serious coin.

New York has 43 publicly accessible Bitcoin ATMs, the most of any city in the world, according to the website Coin ATM Radar. The currency is notoriously volatile, but for owners of Bitcoin dispensers, the machines bring a steady source of revenue. Zach Harvey, CEO of Lamassu, which has a machine at Le Village French Petite Bistro in the East Village, told currency news site CoinDesk the average owner sees about $20,000 in cash deposited monthly, netting about $1,100 in commissions.

Bitcoin ATMs are found as far as Corona, Queens, and Brownsville, Brooklyn. Chris Yim, co-founder of Bitcoin broker LibertyX, which sold its four Bitcoin machines last year to focus on retailer partnerships, told Crain's a rapidly increasing number of New Yorkers are using the technology for "rebittances," or Bitcoin remittances, as a cheaper alternative to traditional money-sending services such as Western Union.

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Australian Startup Rewards Customers Paying Bills with Bitcoin
An Australian startup that acts as an intermediary to enable Australians to pay their bills with Bitcoin is now rewarding customers with a first-of-its-kind loyalty program.

Living Room of Satoshi, aptly named after Bitcoin's pseudonymous creator Satoshi Nakamoto is an Australian blockchain-based payments company that enables its users to settle their bills with bitcoin. Customers can use bitcoin to pay for utilities, home and property rent, school fees, credit card payments and insurance premiums.

Now, the payments company has announced a loyalty program which will reap rewards for Australians who choose to make their payments in bitcoin.

The rewards include the likes of Apple TVs, PlayStation 4 consoles, Fitbit wristbands and even Australian dollars in denominations of $50 and $100 that can be redeemed for points accumulated through the loyalty program.

CEO and co-founder of Living Room of Satoshi, Daniel Alexiuc, sees the rewards program as a novel way to spread bitcoin awareness in the country. Furthermore, users who have been using the company's services over the past six months will also be rewarded with points retrospectively. Alexiuc stated:

We want to promote bitcoin as an easy, fun and useful payment option for everyday bills. Now you can be rewarded for being part of the ecosystem.
Speaking to CCN, Alexiuc revealed insights about bitcoin and blockchain adoption in Australia, as well as the progress being made by Living Room Of Satoshi as a bitcoin-friendly, blockchain-based company.

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