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June 23, 2015- In This Issue:

  

The Price of Bitcoin Is About to Get a Little Government Help

The price of Bitcoin stands to get a boost this year from an unlikely source - state and local governments.

 

At least two states, New Hampshire and Utah, have bills under consideration that would make it possible for citizens to pay taxes and fees in Bitcoin. New York City has proposed similar legislation.

 

The reason? At least a few elected officials recognize the potential of Bitcoin to help government and citizens alike.

 

New York Councilman Mark Levine, the bill's sponsor there, said he saw accepting Bitcoin as a way to save Gotham a lot of money.

 

"It started with realizing how much money the city of New York is losing on transaction fees on credit cards, ultimately it's several million a year because of all sorts of fees and fines," Levine told CoinDesk last month.

 

New Hampshire Rep. Eric Schleien also sees a cost savings. He considers Bitcoin payments more secure than credit card payments.

 

The governments would not retain the Bitcoin. Instead, they would contract with third parties to convert the Bitcoin collected into U.S. dollars.


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Banks Should Welcome Bitcoin Clients, Canadian Lawmakers Say

The Canadian Senate Banking, Trade and Commerce committee has issued a report encouraging "a light regulatory touch - almost a hands-off approach" to regulating digital currencies.

 

The report calls for the Minister of Finance - Canada's equivalent of the U.S. Treasury Secretary - to work with banks to find "solutions to the lack of access to banking services for digital currency-related businesses." While regulators worldwide have urged banks not to "derisk" by cutting off entire industries or geographies, it is rare for policymakers to specifically cite this controversial sector as wrongly underserved.

 

"The Senate Banking, Trade Committee is the most influential in Canada," said Christine Duhaime, a Canadian anti-money laundering and counterterrorism financing lawyer. "The Senate Committee members have said privately that they intend to ensure that the government takes their report seriously and acts upon it. I believe them."

 

The overall tone of the Canadian Senate report is remarkably friendly to a young industry accustomed to more reactive government measures against the money laundering and national security risks posed by an emerging technology.

 

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Ben Parker: Bitcoin Has Potential in Fragile States

Most of us are familiar with the argument that bitcoin could help the unbanked, but Ben Parker, co-founder and former director of humanitarian news service IRIN, has seen firsthand how the digital currency could play a crucial role in fragile states.

 

In 2013, Parker was director of communications for the United Nations (UN) in Somalia, and in 2012, he led the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs for Syria in Damascus. Parker was also posted in Sudan as a UN communications officer from 2003 to 2006 and was closely involved with raising the alarm about the war in the Darfur region.

 

Having worked in humanitarian affairs and on the ground in conflict zones for the last 20 years, Parker provides a unique perspective on how bitcoin could succeed where it's perhaps needed most - in struggling developing nations.

 

Parker told CoinDesk:

 

"I've seen how countries struggle when they don't have formal banking systems and I've seen also the huge growth of the M-Pesa mobile money system in Kenya. Most recently, I was working in Somalia, which actually has been cut off from formal banking in many ways for 20 years."

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Greek FinMin: "Greece Will Adopt the Bitcoin If Eurogroup Doesn't Give Us A Deal"
While Greece's lenders are pushing the Greek government to accept their terms in order to allocate funds so the country will not go bankrupt, Greek Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis seems to have another ace up his sleeve. The second top thinker in the world according to prospect magazine surprised even his closest aids at a secret meeting when he said "We 've had enough, we 'll run on Bitcoin."

 

Sources very closed to Greece's minister of finance told Greek Reporter that today Yanis Varoufakis held a top secret meeting with high-ranking finance ministry officials to prepare them in case negotiations at the upcoming Eurogroup fail. The anonymous source noted that everybody in the room was staring at each other when Varoufakis - also a prominent blogger - said "We 'll go to Bitcoin, we will be ahead of all the world economies and although it may be painful in the beginning, Greece's economy will thrive in the long term."

 

The Greek Finance Minister went on to explain what is the cryptocurrency and how it will be implemented into Greeks' day to day life by using a special mini computerized card with a chip. All citizens will carry the card as an electronic wallet. The card will be distributed for free to all Greek citizens via the local tax offices but it will also be available for purchase at the country's entry points for 45 euros, or 0,20 Bitcoin each. The sale of the card to tourists is expected to be another form of revenue for cash-strapped Greece.


 

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Magnificent: Barclays and Safello to Co-Create a Bitcoin Platform

Whoever said that financial institutions and Bitcoin cannot co-exist is in for a huge shocker. The biggest news from the Barclays Accelerator event is that Safello has entered into a Proof-of-Concept (PoC) partnership with the financial giant Barclays. CEO and Co-founder of the Bitcoin startup Frank Schuil said,

 

"Safello and Barclays will be working together on creating a new payment platform that will support bitcoins. The collaboration begins with a PoC trial to allow for donations to be sent to charities using Bitcoins."

 

Founded in 2013, Safello got selected for Barclays Accelerator in March this year. Since launching its Bitcoin exchange, the firm has processed over $6 million in transactions and serves more than 20,000 happy users.