July 14, 2015- In This Issue:


Nasdaq Dives Deeper into Bitcoin Research and Blockchain Partnerships

In May, Bitcoin Magazine reported that the leading stock exchange Nasdaq would begin experimenting with the blockchain technology that powers Bitcoin. In June, Nasdaq announced a partnership with San Francisco-based Bitcoin API startup Chain to implement the first blockchain technology pilot projects in Nasdaq Private Market, a recently launched marketplace that handles pre-IPO trading among private companies.


In a recent analysis, the prestigious MIT Technology Review notes that, though it's much too early to tell whether bitcoin is the future of money, the Nasdaq experiment will test whether it can be the future of financial record-keeping.


In the Nasdaq Private Market pilot project, 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. Besides the existing record-keeping tool, corresponding entries in the blockchain will contain certain important information about the transaction, such as the timing and number of shares involved.


Errors in financial record-keeping can be costly. "There's really no great system in place to ensure that this is done accurately along the way and is auditable to the beginning of time," said Nasdaq's CIO Brad Peterson. He and his colleagues at Nasdaq think the blockchain can be essential to such a system.



Greece Gets Its First 2-Way Bitcoin ATM

Four-month old Bitcoin startup Bitchain has installed the first 2-way Bitcoin ATM in Athens, Greece. The ATM has been installed at a Greek co-working space TheCube in the light of the recent liquidity crisis.


The ATM will facilitate Bitcoin to Euro and vice-versa conversions in order to help the citizens of the cash-strapped nation. The ATM has a daily withdrawal limit of €1,000, which exceeds the daily ATM withdrawal limit of €60 in Greece by €940.


Bitchain employee Adrian Verde said, "The banks are withholding the people's own money and a bitcoin ATM could help in such a situation."


Joaquin Fenoy, Bitchain's Chief Technological Officer said, "It's very good for people in the Third World, who are now dependent on Western Union and services like that. Someone in one part of the world could put in money, and a family member could take it out in Africa, for example. That is one of the objectives: remittances."


Zero Fees


Bitchain ATMs generally charge a 4% transaction fee, however, the ATM in Athens will be an exception to this rule. There will be no fees charged and the Bitcoin price will be taken directly from Kraken.

Bitcoin Center Launched at 1871 in Merchandise Mart

A portion of office space at 1871 - a hub for digital startups at the Merchandise Mart - will now house entrepreneurs focused on expanding the new field of technology surrounding the digital currency Bitcoin.


The Chicago Bitcoin Center, described as "an incubator to serve as Chicago's key resource and center of gravity for blockchain-based technologies," launched Friday morning at the Inside Bitcoins Conference at Navy Pier.


"The Chicago Bitcoin Center is open to designers, developers, entrepreneurs, and all those dedicated to building tomorrow's next chapter of financial technology," said Matthew Roszak, founder and CEO of the Chicago Bitcoin Center and founding partner of Tally Capital, a Chicago-based venture capital firm.


Funding for the new center was provided by four investors who are placing a bet that the digital currency is the future of the global economy.


The new incubator will cater to innovators who want to explore new ways to use the digital currency and revolutionize the way people send digital assets online.


It will foster entrepreneurs through mentorship by industry leaders. Advisers also will help with public relations and governmental affairs.

Bitcoin: Greece's New Euro Workaround?

Joaquin Fenoy was wandering the streets of Athens Friday, doing his bit to ease Greece's currency restrictions. He wasn't handing out cash, but rather installing an ATM with a withdrawal limit of €1,000 (about $1,100). That's €940 above the €60 daily ATM withdrawal limit the Greek government put in place to stop a bank run as its creditors decide the country's financial fate.


There is one catch, though: You need to have the virtual currency bitcoin to use it.

Fenoy, 36, is the CTO of Bitchain, a four-month-old startup based in the Barcelona suburb of Sant Cugat del Vallés. He and his co-founders-Jordi Alcaraz, 39, and Miguel Alcaraz, 44-launched the company in March to build an international network of bitcoin-based ATMs manufactured by BTCPoint, a Barcelona/Silicon Valley company (and Fenoy's former employer).


Bitcoin ATMs are a fast-growing offshoot of the six-year old bitcoin currency. The first one was opened in a Vancouver coffee shop in October 2013, and there are now 429 worldwide. To buy bitcoins at an ATM, a user inserts money, and the equivalent in bitcoins are put into his virtual wallet. To turn bitcoins into cash and withdraw it (which is more likely in cash-strapped Greece), users send bitcoins to a virtual address supplied by the ATM; they are then given a QR code that they scan to receive cash.

Bitcoin Could Prevent Future Economic Catastrophes in Greece and Worldwide

European leaders announced Monday morning that they had reached a deal meant to resolve Greece's debt crisis, The New York Times reports. The new bailout for Greece would involve both "serious reforms" and "financial support," said Donald Tusk, president of the European Council.


Last week Greek voters issued a surprisingly loud and clear statement of support to Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras, and defiance to European authorities and the International Monetary Fund. In the referendum celebrated on July 5, the Greeks said no to the bailout deal proposed by the country's creditors.


The agreement on the new bailout deal is tough on Greece, but better than alternatives that have been discussed in the frantic negotiations of last week. It appears that Grexit - the forced exit of Greece from the Eurozone and perhaps from the European Union itself - has been avoided for now.


The question remains whether the current agreement and the detailed bailout plan that is expected to be unveiled in the next hours or days are solid enough to provide a stable and sustainable solution to the Greek crisis. The situation in Greece remains very difficult - so difficult, in fact, that the possibility of a parallel currency for Greece, either issued by the government or spontaneously established by the citizens themselves, remains plausible.