July 10, 2015- In This Issue:


Wedbush Predicts A Bright Future For Bitcoin

In a report authored by Gil Luria and Aaron Turner, Wedbush Securities predicted a bright future for the Bitcoin Investment Trust as well as for the cryptocurrency itself. Though the firm acknowledged the volatility risks associated with bitcoin, it said it ultimately sees the currency continuing to penetrate new markets and expand across the globe.


Publicly Traded Bitcoin


The Bitcoin Investment Trust GBTC 0.99% became the first ever publicly traded bitcoin fund back in March and has since garnered a lot of attention. Wedbush analysts said they see bitcoin's growing popularity pushing GBTC from its current valuation of $30.60 to $40 by next year.


Bitcoin Transactions On The Rise


The firm also said that it saw bitcoin increasing in value to as much as $400 in the coming year as more and more people adopt the currency to facilitate online transactions. Wedbush said that the relatively low-cost transaction fees associated with using bitcoin will give the currency a leg up against other e-commerce payment methods like credit cards or Pay Pal.

Bitcoin is the Internet of Money and Currency is Just the First Act

Speaking at the Wired Money 2015 event, bitcoin expert and author  Andreas M Antonopoulos said that "Bitcoin is the Internet of Money and currency is just the first act."


Antonopoulos said that most people don't have the correct understanding of money, emphasizing that there is a fine distinction between money and currency.


"Bitcoin is not a currency," he said. It is a "network-centric model for recording ownership and trust". It is the "internet of money and currency is just the first act".


Bitcoin Can Solve Identity Theft Problem


While most of the cryptocurrency experts dwell on the transformations that the digital currency can bring about in the financial services industry, Andreas believes that there is an even better application of this disruptive technology: solving identify theft.


Stating that personal information is collected in the traditional banking system, hence consumers are always exposed to identity fraud. The cryptocurrency has the fundamental advantage given that it does not depend on either of the transacting parties' personal information to complete the payment.

Bit-bugs: Bitcoin as the New Safe Haven

It would seem that Bitcoin is no longer in its burbling infancy, when serious analysts used to say "isn't that cute," pinch its cheeks and move on. Now in its awkward, self-righteous adolescence, it spends a lot of its time railing against sinister grown-up conspiracies: fiat currencies, banks-don't get it started on central banks-and the governments that prop them all up.


But as Bitcoin grows up, people are beginning to acknowledge that the kid has a point. Manifesto rhetoric aside, the blockchain is as intriguing a technological innovation as they come, promising a decentralized, nigh-unhackable way to transfer almost any form of information or value. And given the suffocating role central banks have assumed in financial markets since 2008, it's hard to love them-or, for that matter, the private-sector banks whose mess they stepped in to clean up.


But Bitcoin's identity crisis can't go on forever (neither, I acknowledge, can this metaphor). It's high time the cryptocurrency found a niche and made a productive contribution to the financial ecosystem. In short, Bitcoin, get a job.


As it turns out, that might be happening.


Greece Votes "No"

Bitcoin Adoption Sees an Uptick in Vietnam

Vietnam's first Bitcoin exchange, Bitcoin Vietnam today announced that Future.Travel has become the first business in Vietnam to accept Bitcoin in payments.


Future.Travel is a Ho Chi Minh City-based travel agency and provides services such as flight tickets, cruises, tours and hotel accommodations.


Users can now make payments for flight tickets using bitcoin on the website while other services will be handled via offline mode. This is a start, and a good start!


General Director of Bitcoin Vietnam Dominik Weil said,


"Bitcoin Vietnam's exchange was set up last year to help service what is expected to be a global move to digital currencies over coming years. Globally, bitcoin acceptance for payment is growing rapidly and many governments are well advanced in their own digital currency strategies."

Weil added further: 'We are happy to see Future.Travel providing ways for travelers to spend money in Vietnam. All those bitcoin purchases at the local level mean the benefits of digital currency are flowing into the country."

Crypto Facilities Teams Up with Elliptic Bringing Bitcoin to Capital Markets

Two London-based firms, Crypto Facilities and Elliptic, have joined forces to provide a settlement and clearing mechanism to separate bitcoin custody from other exchange functions. The settlement and clearing mechanism marks another step in bringing bitcoin to capital markets. Crypto Facilities is a bitcoin derivative exchange while Elliptic is a bitcoin analytics and security firm.


Crypto Facilities will host client accounts in Elliptic's secure, KPMG-accredited vaults. Under this arrangement, Crypto Facilities accounts are fully insured by an A-rated, Fortune 100 underwriter. Each client will own their own segregated, ring-fenced account that is settled daily on the block chain. The client can see all movement in the account as the block chain independently verifies all activity.


An 'Industry First'


The solution, which the firms herald as an industry first, overcomes the traditional setup of bitcoin trading venues in which client assets are managed directly by the exchange and cannot be audited externally.


"Capital markets would never entertain the idea of having an exchange hold assets or of pooling funds together," said Jean-Christophe Laruelle, COO of Crypto Facilities.

The history of high-profile hacks has demonstrated that this is not a solution for the bitcoin space either. With Elliptic, we have found the ideal partner to define a whole new benchmark for bitcoin clearing and custody."

Why Nasdaq Is Betting On Bitcoin's Blockchain

It's much too early to tell whether Bitcoin is the future of money, but a recently launched Nasdaq experiment will test whether it can be the future of financial record keeping.


The stock exchange announced recently that it has begun experimenting with the blockchain-the publicly accessible and cryptographically verified record of every single Bitcoin transaction that has ever occurred. Transactions are verified and recorded in the blockchain by a network of "miners" all over the world who exchange their computing power for a chance to solve complex cryptographic puzzles and earn money-freshly minted bitcoins. Specifically, Nasdaq will take advantage of a feature in Bitcoin's design that allows additional data to be recorded on the blockchain along with information about a Bitcoin transaction (see "Why Bitcoin Could Be Much More Than a Currency").


Nasdaq intends to use this feature of the blockchain to streamline financial record keeping while making it cheaper and more accurate. Though the company says the blockchain initiative could ultimately be used to record trades of stocks in public firms listed on its exchange, it will begin by focusing on its relatively new private market platform, a service that connects private companies with investors. In this case, record keeping via the blockchain will complement a cloud-based data management tool that tracks who owns shares of a given company, and how much they own.

Visa: Bitcoin Has a Future in Payments

Large existing payments companies are "lowering the drawbridges" and working more openly with new players in the space, according to a Visa executive.


Jonathan Vaux, executive director of new digital payments and strategy at Visa Europe, was speaking at WIRED Money, held in London yesterday.


"I genuinely believe that by working together, we will succeed together. I think that the innovation that the startups bring is fantastic and that the scale the incumbents - the banks, the Visas of the world - can bring is really really valuable," he said.


Removing friction


Vaux's session at the one-day conference focused on removing friction between startups and incumbents within the payments space.