May 22, 2015- In This Issue:

   

Bitcoin index called 'stepping stone' for currency

Bitcoin's reliability remains suspect despite its growing legitimacy as an investing option, a currency expert said Tuesday.

 

The New York Stock Exchange launched a bitcoin index on Tuesday. It marks the first exchange-calculated index for the currency, with a real-time price tied to the Coinbase marketplace.

 

Despite bitcoin's increasing use as an asset-including an exchange-traded fund launched earlier this year-its reliability makes it tough to classify as a real currency, said Win Thin, senior vice president and global head of emerging markets at Brown Brothers Harriman.

 

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What Bitcoin's History Means For Its Future: Q&A With Nathaniel Popper, Author Of 'Digital Gold'

Many are describing Bitcoin as the Internet of money. But digital currency's development is in such an early stage, it's currently similar to the Internet in 1994.

 

The new technology's short, turbulent history makes for a riveting book, "Digital Gold: Bitcoin and the Inside Story of the Misfits and Millionaires Trying to Reinvent Money," by Nathaniel Popper, a New York Times reporter covering the intersection of Silicon Valley and Wall Street.

 

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Wall Street momentum adds to year of bitcoin legitimacy

A top secret bitcoin startup called 21 Inc. finally disclosed its business plan this week and the strategy points to the many uses of the virtual digital currency beyond the obvious.

 

With $116 million of backing from top tier venture capital firms and former Treasury Secretary Lawrence Summers signed on as a strategic advisor, 21's emergence is also further proof that bitcoin has rapidly moved from fodder for weirdo science fiction to the realm of real business tools. The New York Stock Exchange's announcement on Tuesday of its own bitcoin price index, one that could be used as the basis for all manner of derivative contracts, is yet another signal of bitcoin's usefulness to mainstream businesses.


Wall Street, Silicon Valley Battling for Bitcoin's Future Says 'Digital Gold' Author

Most people think of bitcoin as digital gold in the form of an online token, but the idea of a scarce online good is only part of the story, says Nathaniel Popper, author of 'Digital Gold.' 'The network in which bitcoin lives is also a hugely important part of bitcoin's appeal,' says Popper. 'The network is an e-mail system for money where you can send somebody funds in Kuala Lumpur without having to go through a central service like a bank. You can simply send money anywhere.' Popper says a lot of 'millionaire misfits' were early bitcoin adopters because they loved the idea of a currency that no government could track and no bank could collect fees on. The future of bitcoin is now being driven by a tug of war between Silicon Valley and Wall Street. 'Marc Andreessen is the biggest Silicon Valley name who has put his reputation on the line for bitcoin,' says Popper. 'And what you are seeing on Wall Street is that all the banks have groups that are working on Bitcoin. They want to use it to increase productivity to streamline operations which is what Goldman Sachs is trying with their recent investment.'


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More votes of confidence for bitcoin in U.S.

It is undeniable that bitcoin - and the notion of virtual currencies - are becoming mainstream elements of economies on a worldwide scale. Whether or not governments sanction the use of bitcoin is now almost irrelevant to its prevalence in international markets. While it is still an illegal form of trade in some countries, its illegality has never truly deterred its usage, and western countries are slowly but surely setting the precedent for its regulated use in major markets. Bitcoin still has a long way to go in the U.S. in terms of becoming a mainstream, widely-accepted currency, but it is certainly at the most advanced stage it has achieved thus far. On Tuesday, the New York Stock Exchange announced that it is going to start monitoring bitcoin's value. The NYSE Bitcoin Index (NYBXT) will monitor how much the currency is worth relative to the U.S. dollar using Coinbase, a bitcoin wallet and exchange service headquartered in San Francisco, California in which the NYSE made a minority investment in earlier this year.


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When Goldman Sachs Began Flirting with Bitcoin

A few hours after Newsweek released its story about the man it alleged to be Satoshi Nakamoto, in March 2014, four men took the stage at an auditorium in the New York headquarters of the Wall Street giant Goldman Sachs to talk about Satoshi's creation.

 

This was a private conference for some of the bank's most powerful hedge fund clients. In addition to appearances from former New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg, the former head of the Bank of England, and the former president of the World Bank, Goldman had put together a four-person panel to educate its clients on virtual currencies. The panel, according to several attendees, was led by the co-head of technology at Goldman, a tall, bald physics PhD named Paul Walker. He opened the fireside chat by describing the two things about Bitcoin that everyone seemed to be able to agree on: "It's something on the Internet that seems to be worth money, and it seems to have been invented by a mysterious person." But, Walker said, in a joking reference to the morning's story from Newsweek, "the last part may no longer be true."


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