November 11, 2015- In This Issue:






Bitcoin Price Breaks $400 Amid 12% Surge
The price of bitcoin shot past the $400 mark today for the first time since November 2014.

According to CoinDesk's USD Bitcoin Price Index (BPI), bitcoin opened the day at $359.35 before increasing over 11% to $403.30 at  17:15pm (UTC). It has since decreased to $401.79 at press time.

The digital currency began the year hovering slightly over $300, before dropping below the $200 mark to $177.28 on 14th January.

Today's peak price marks a yearly high for bitcoin, which is represents a 10.7% increase in value from its price on 3rd November last year, when it closed the day's trading at $363.31.

However, bitcoin's price today marks a stark contrast to its value in November 2013, when it peaked at an all-time high of $1165.89.

It is difficult to determine the specific reasons as to why the price of bitcoin is currently trending upwards, but industry observers recently told CoinDesk that it may be related to China's tightening of capital controls and a series of positive news for the industry; including the EU's VAT ruling.

Gallery: Bitcoin and Blockchain Feature at Money 20/20 2015
Though somewhat overshadowed by more pressing trends in the payments industry, bitcoin and blockchain were a frequent topic at the annual Money20/20 conference held in Las Vegas last week.

In addition to Money20/20's (Bit)coinWorld conference track that saw top executives from industry firms such as Blockchain, Digital Currency Group and R3CEV take the stage, some of the more interesting announcements at the event centered around the emerging technology.

Blockchain World, a booth sponsored by blockchain technology firm Chain, for example, showcased proofs-of-concept created for name-brand financial institutions including First Data subsidiary Gyft and Nasdaq.

New Data from OTC Trading Desks Reveals Millions of Dollars in Bitcoin Traded Off Public Markets
Over-the-counter (OTC) trading provides a way to efficiently trade larger amounts of bitcoin without driving down the overall market price. Traders using the OTC markets to buy and sell bitcoin are matched directly with a counterparty to execute the trade, rather than broadcasting their trade to the larger markets. These trades are usually conducted by a broker, who performs the function of matching buyers with sellers or even executes trades on its own behalf.
OTC trades are often preferred by larger traders or institutions who want to open or exit a position without revealing their intentions to the market or affecting the market price. For example, many large miners and payment processors use OTC trades to sell the bitcoin they acquire to interested investors without flooding the exchanges. Because of this, OTC trading has always played a large role in the Bitcoin ecosystem, but the extent of that role has been largely unknown until now.
Bitwala Now Lets Users Send Bitcoin to Paypal Accounts
Bitwala's newest feature allows users to send Bitcoin to any PayPal account, anywhere in the world.
Crypto-to-SEPA payments service platform Bitwala is now offering its users the means to send Bitcoin to any PayPal account with the simple requisite of a PayPal email address. The company charges a flat fee at 0.5% of the transacted amount.
In a blog post today, Bitwala made the announcement along with launching the feature with immediate effect. Additional details revealed that the Euro is the accepted currency presently and all transfers made toward destination PayPal accounts will be done with EUR, with the exchange rates dictated by PayPal.
An excerpt from the blog post read:
We are able to top up PayPal accounts in any currencies, but please be aware that we only guarantee the price denominated in Euro. We don't take over any exchange fees that might be charged by PayPal for the currency exchange.

USAA Adds Bitcoin Balance Check Option for Coinbase Users
American financial services company USAA is rolling out a pilot program that will let some of its customers view their Coinbase bitcoin balances through their USAA online and mobile accounts.
The pilot, as outlined in a new blog post from Coinbase, represents a small but deliberate move by the US military-focused insurer to tap interest in bitcoin among its customer base. In an interview with CoinDesk, USAA framed the pilot - which only allows view-only balance checks with no transaction support at this time - as a means to further experiment with the technology.
Declining to offer specific numbers, the company said that it was choosing customers that have expressed an interest in digital currency in the past. The pilot was previously made available to employees in September, as well as to select testers, followed by the full roll-out this week.
U.S. Marshals Will Hold the Final Auction of the Silk Road Bitcoin This Week
Over the past year, the U.S. Marshals Service ( USMS ) has auctioned off a large part of the bitcoin that had been confiscated as a result of the Silk Road investigation. The USMS will hold the final auction for 44,341 bitcoin seized as a result of the criminal conviction and civil forfeiture against Ross Ulbricht. At today's market price, the bitcoin are worth about $15 million.

During the course of the investigation, the USMS seized more than 144,000 BTC from Ross Ulbricht, the creator of the Silk Road marketplace. At the moment of seizure, the bitcoin were worth about $122 million. In addition to these funds, the USMS also confiscated a total of 29,000 BTC from various Silk Road-related wallets.

Bitcoin Doesn't Waste Electricity, It's Used for Security
A common criticism often thrown at Bitcoin is its heavy use of computing power, which in turn requires a large amount of energy. Some critics of the system believe that power is being wasted on useless computations that don't contribute much at all to society, but this line of thinking misses the point of why Bitcoin works in the first place. Mastering Bitcoin author Andreas Antonopoulos gave a talk on consensus algorithms and Bitcoin at University College London ( UCL) over the summer, where he argued against this common misconception about Bitcoin's supposed wastefulness.

The key point that some individuals miss when it comes to the electricity used to mine bitcoin is that the electricity is what provides the security for Bitcoin's decentralized ledger. Without it, the miners who audit the ledger and create new blocks would be far less trustworthy. The loss of trust would come from the low barrier of entry to bitcoin mining. Antonopoulos was able to explain this point during his talk at UCL:
"You will hear people say that Bitcoin wastes electricity. Bitcoin does not waste electricity. Bitcoin uses electricity to underpin the security function because it creates an economic system whereby in order to participate you have to incur cost. And by incurring cost -- the only reason you would incur cost is for the possibility of reward, and the possibility of reward is determined by whether your block meets the consensus rules."