October 10, 2014 - In This Issue:


How Bitcoin Could Save Journalism and the Arts

Micropayment systems have the potential to reward creativity and exceptional content-on a realistic scale

 

The rise of Bitcoin, the digital cryptocurrency, has resurrected the hope of facilitating easy micropayments for content online. "Using Bitcoin micropayments to allow for payment of a penny or a few cents to read articles on websites enables reasonable compensation of authors without depending totally on the advertising model," writes Sandy Ressler in Bitcoin Magazine.

 

This could lead to a whole new era of creativity, just like the economy that was launched 400 years ago by the Statute of Anne, which gave people who wrote books, plays or songs the right to make a royalty when they were copied. An easy micropayment system would permit today's content creators, from major media companies to basement bloggers, to be able to sell digital copies of their articles, songs, games, and art by the piece. In addition to allowing them to pay the rent, it would have the worthy benefit of encouraging people to produce content valued by users rather than merely seek to aggregate eyeballs for advertisers.

 

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Ebola Fight Turns to Bitcoin to Deliver Results in Africa
A dearth of donations for fighting Ebola is leading those on the frontline to consider Bitcoin as a major tool for change - and are introducing the currency across affected African countries.

From Sierra Leone to Liberia and internationally, the community is turning to Bitcoin to resolve the difficulties hampering the current fiat-based effort to stop the spread of Ebola, which has so far claimed almost 4,000 victims, with the vast majority in West Africa.

 

Live Ebola Map, which shows updated information about the spread and mortality rate of the disease, is now accepting Bitcoin alongside PayPal as its two major donation channels.

 

Additionally, the local Bitcoin community is working with charity organizations on-site to facilitate Bitcoin implementation in countries including Sierra Leone.

 

As the Wall Street Journal notes, the unwieldiness of the fiat-based aid model is showing in the painfully slow process of transferring donations to recipients. A complex multistage process of sending funds from major entities to national and regional ones, all within environments where security and volatility of the local currency are major concerns, combine to form an ineffective strategy.

 

Added to this the low amount pledged to begin with, the magnitude of the problem in its current form becomes apparent. Quartz notes that only US$400million of a total of US$988 million recommended by the UN Central Emergency Response Fund has been raised, with only 26% collected.

 

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Netscape Founder Wishes He Invented Bitcoin

It's no question that bitcoin is still in the early stages of development, and companies like Circle are doing their best to make it as user-friendly as possible.

 

Andreessen has high hopes for bitcoin ease-of-use, wanting to one day soon buy a car with bitcoin.

Marc Andreessen,not to be confused with Gavin Andresen, is an American entrepreneur and software engineer. He's the cofounder of Netscape Communications Corporation and was a coauthor of Mosaic web browser. Since Netscape was bought out by America Online (AOL) in 1999, Andreessen has spent his time making other key innovations and investing in technology ventures at his Silicon Valley venture capital firm Andreessen Horowitz.

 

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The status of Bitcoin has upward outlook

The reason for the bounce up to solid ground is due to buyers picking up $7.8 million worth of bitcoins that were selling for $300 each on an exchange on Monday. There had been a sell order at $300 earlier for 26,000 BTC that brought the movement in bitcoin and secured the price upward. It is believed that the sale came from one investor or one group of investors who had set a $300 sell order.

 

Coin Desk calls Bitcoin a tale of two Bitcoin. There was significant consumer advancement in the use of Bitcoin in Q3. DELL and DISH added accepting Bitcoin to the path set by Overstock.com earlier in the year. Jeremy Allaire's Circle opened its own Bitcoin bank. Allaire and his collaborator, Sean Nevill, released the Bitcoin wallet service with a unique concept that allows transfer using a bank account or debit card, which converts into bitcoin.

 

The flash crash of Bitcoin came August 18 just a week after the announcement from Blockchain that it had surpassed 2 million wallets. Tim Draper gave an interview with his outlook that Bitcoin will be $10,000 per bitcoin within 3 years. During the third quarter Bitcoin continued to drop. Some reasons offered are the advance of the US Dollar and global instability and the future competition from Apple Pay.

 

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What Can You Buy with Bitcoins?

This year has been something of a watershed, with a number of merchants - some of them retail giants with billions of dollars in revenue - deciding to accept bitcoins in exchange for goods and services. Many of them are online e-commerce sites, but an increasing number of bricks-and-mortar stores are also now accepting cryptocurrency.

 

While in the past trying to find a bitcoin-accepting merchant for the item you want was often tricky or even impossible, there are now growing options for people who don't wish to pick their way through hundreds of listings just to find products vaguely approximating those they want.

 

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Venezuelans turn to bitcoins to bypass socialist currency controls

 Tech-savvy Venezuelans looking to bypass dysfunctional economic controls are turning to the bitcoin virtual currency to obtain dollars, make Internet purchases -- and launch a little subversion.

 

Two New York-based Venezuelan brothers hope this week to start trading on the first bitcoin exchange in the socialist-run country, which already has at least several hundred bitcoin enthusiasts.

 

Due to currency controls introduced by late president Hugo Chavez a decade ago, acquiring hard currency now means either requesting it from the state, which struggles to satisfy demand, or tapping a shadowy black market. Even small dollar transactions are out of the question for most Venezuelans.

 

While President Nicolas Maduro makes frequent tirades against black market traders, whom he sees as part of the "economic war" on his government and the reason for inflation and shortages, he has never said anything about bitcoin. The government declined to comment on bitcoin policy.

 

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Bitcoin: Not Just for Libertarians and Anarchists Anymore

Mary Fons joined the Bitcoin economy earlier this year. She uses the digital currency to buy gift cards and office supplies. Her partner reimburses her with Bitcoin for his portion of the rent. Unlike many of the currency's early adopters, Fons, 35, isn't a nerd or a self-proclaimed libertarian. She lives in New York and co-hosts the Love of Quilting show on public television. "Why Bitcoin?" she asks. "Because I want to have options. I think it's a beautiful thing open to everyone."

 

Even as the value of Bitcoin has fallen 55 percent this year against the dollar (price on Oct. 8: $344), consumers are embracing the digital currency. People have opened 41 million Bitcoin accounts worldwide, according to the Bank of England. Parents are dispensing allowances in Bitcoin to teach their kids to be digital citizens. Marijuana smokers are buying buds from Bitcoin-enabled vending machines. Consumers in emerging markets such as Brazil and Russia are starting to use Bitcoin to hedge their volatile currencies. While the total value of Bitcoin commerce isn't known, Gil Luria, an analyst at Wedbush Securities, estimates global spending on goods and services using the currency has doubled in the past year.

 

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