December 18, 2014 - In This Issue:










American Express CEO: Bitcoin Protocol Will Be Important

The CEO and chairman of American Express spoke out on digital currencies at the New York Times DealBook conference in Manhattan on Thursday.


The day-long conference is an annual summit of top financial services and government leaders, who gather to discuss their outlooks on the political and economic landscape.


The eponym of the conference, the New York Times DealBook blog, quoted Amex's Kenneth Chenault acknowledging bitcoin's disruptive potential and taking aim at those who suggest bitcoin could displace the credit card industry.


While it may be that many in the traditional finance space have focused on bitcoin's perceived risks as barriers to adoption, Chenault offered a blend of balance and insight when considering the threat the new technology might pose to his industry.



Bitcoin cited in Ford's 2015 Global Consumer Trends and Futuring report

Ford Motor Company has released a its "Looking Further with Ford" publication for 2015 [PDF link] that includes studies commissioned about the future of many different technologies as well as expected trends. Bitcoin made a debut with four mentions across the publication.


The publication is compiled by Sheryl Connelly from Global Consumer Trends and Futuring at Ford and the first mention of Bitcoin comes in comparison to digital currency apps such as Apple Pay and Google Wallet:


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Time Inc. Partners with Coinbase to Become the First Major Magazine Publisher to Accept Bitcoin Payments

NEW YORK--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Time Inc. (NYSE:TIME) has partnered with Coinbase, the most popular bitcoin wallet, to become the first major magazine publisher to accept bitcoin payments. The initiative launched today with Fortune, Health, This Old House and Travel + Leisure, now accepting bitcoin among the wide variety of payment options for subscriptions.

"We are always looking for ways to make it easier for consumers to engage with our brands and this pilot program will give bitcoin users a seamless and simple way to purchase subscriptions"

"We are always looking for ways to make it easier for consumers to engage with our brands and this pilot program will give bitcoin users a seamless and simple way to purchase subscriptions," said Lynne Biggar, Executive Vice President, Consumer Marketing + Revenue, Time Inc. "We hope to expand our partnership with Coinbase in the coming months to create more opportunities to provide greater value to our customers."


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Google Shows Bitcoin Popularity Runs Counter to Price Drops

Price provides one indication of the value of Bitcoin. Google search statistics provide another.


Last year around this time, Bitcoin hovered at a value of more than US$1,000. Since then, the price has dropped as much as 65% and has not returned to the same levels. Many speculate that such price drops are early warning signs that Bitcoin is on the road to failure. The search giant Google contradicts this conclusion. According to a company email, Bitcoin searches have risen by 38% in the last few weeks.


We can interpret these numbers in a number of ways. But this is evident: The price of Bitcoin during a certain period does not show the whole picture regarding Bitcoin�s popularity. Several other statistics are relevant when considering Bitcoin acceptance. A rapid rise of 38% in Google searches for the cryptocurrency is significant. The number of daily Bitcoin transactions has also doubled during the past year.


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Bitcoin for Rockstars: How Cryptocurrency Can Revolutionize The Music Industry

There is an incredibly boring problem in the music industry for which Bitcoin offers a potentially fascinating solution. In fact, I think this might be one of the coolest and most immediately worthwhile applications of distributed ledger and payment network technologies such as Bitcoin.


The problem is simply that no central database exists to keep track of information about music. Specifically, there are two types of information about a piece of music that are critically important: who made it and who owns the rights to it. Right now, this information is fiendishly difficult to track down, to the great detriment of artists, music services and consumers alike.


Decentralized, open-source, global cyryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin and Ripple (full disclosure: I am an investor in Ripple Labs, which is developing this currency) offer a model for how we might address this bedeviling status quo. By applying the technical breakthroughs of these networks, we can sensibly organize data about music for the first time in human history and, more importantly, reinvent the way artists and rights-holders get paid.


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Bitcoin Payment Gateway Coinzone Now Powering 1,000 ZebraPay Kiosk Terminals across Europe

Amsterdam-based Coinzone, partners up with payment processing company Zebrapay, to introduce Bitcoin transactions to 1,000 self-service terminals.


The implementation of Coinzone's API into ZebraPay terminals will enable customers to use Bitcoin to purchase many products and services, including vignettes, pre-paid phone cards, magazine's subscriptions, as well as paying bills and making online payments, reads a company's announcement.


ZebraPay's CEO, Adrian Badea, shared his excitement and highlighted his company's focus on offering a wide range of payment methods to his customers.


 "The Coinzone platform integrates perfectly with our existing payment methods: cash and through the SEQR application. Innovation is a milestone at ZebraPay and with this implementation we have become the first company of our kind in Romania."


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Bitcoin has become too powerful for regulators to shut it down

I'm a Bitcoin optimist. Henry Farrell isn't. In an astute post, he argues that the big threat to Bitcoin's long-term viability comes from government regulation.


Governments are used to being able to control how the financial system works, and the Bitcoin network's decentralized structure threatens that control. So, Farrell argues, if Bitcoin ever really takes off, regulators will try to destroy it.


This is a smart argument. Indeed, I believed it a couple of years ago. The problem is that it's a couple of years out of date. If regulators were going to try to shut down the Bitcoin network, they needed to do it in 2012 or 2013, not 2015.


In early 2013, Bitcoin was best known as the payment system used by the drug marketplace Silk Road. It wouldn't have been surprising if federal officials had taken a hostile stance toward the system. But a savvy lobbying campaign from Bitcoin supporters convinced the feds that the smart play was to make peace with Bitcoin rather than to fight it.


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