BitcoinWallet.com Domain Name Fetches $250,000

Niko Younts BitcoinWallet

Bitcoin has become big business, if you weren’t already aware. So it should be no surprise that bitcoin-related domain names are going for a pretty penny while on the market.

Such is the case with BitcoinWallet.com — a domain name owned by entrepreneur Niko Younts. Younts tweeted that the domain fetched a whopping $250,000. But it doesn’t end there. Younts has a similar domain, BitcoinWallets.com (plural) that is expected to bring in $200,000. That’s nearly a half-million for two domain names. The domains were registered in 2010 and 2011, respectively.

A quick Whois of the bitcoinwallet.com domain shows it’s in the possession of Alex Charfen — a self-described entrepreneur, teacher, author and speaker. It’s unclear what Charfen plans to do with the domain, but with a six-digit price tag, you can bet it’ll be serious business. (via CoinDesk)

What do you think? Vastly overpriced or worth every cent?

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Blockchain.info App Graphic

The Blockchain.info app on the iOS App Store has been removed by Apple today, in a shocking move the company says has been caused by “an unresolved issue”.

Blockchain.info’s application was the last remaining bitcoin wallet on the app store, with others being taken down in a similar fashion by Apple. Even Coinbase’s app found itself removed a mere three weeks after it was released.

A lengthy response to Apple’s moved was published on Blockchain.info’s blog Wednesday evening.

These actions by Apple once again demonstrate the anti-competitive and capricious nature of the App Store policies that are clearly focused on preserving Apple’s monopoly on payments rather than based on any consideration of the needs and desires of their users.

Cupertino-based Apple is facing serious backlash from the bitcoin community, but at the end of the day, it doesn’t quite affect their bottom line.

Blockchain.info’s application had been downloaded a whopping 120,000 times, and had been on the App Store for over two years.

Perhaps Apple should have added a disclaimer: “As long as the ‘rebels’ don’t threaten our profit margin”. The rebels no longer run the show at Apple Inc, the beancounters are now firmly in charge.

Blockchain.info is urging users to take a stand and sign a petition:

To:
Apple
Please allow Bitcoin wallets on the iPhone.We need a mobile Bitcoin client, and if Apple won’t deliver one, we’ll move to Android.

Sincerely,
[Your name]

As of this writing, the petition has received a little over 1,300 signatures.

Protecting Apple’s business

These arbitrary removals done by Apple are viewed as attempts to protect Apple’s bottom line, with the company rumored to soon be launching a mobile payments feature.

They do not, however, account for how such a move negatively affects the bitcoin community.

With scores of users on the iOS platform, it will now be yet another obstacle to getting a reliable and safe bitcoin wallet to use. The removal of the application also hinders Blockchain.info’s growth in the mobile realm.

It’s unclear where things will go from here, but the situation certainly is messy.

MoneyBeat Logo WSJ

There’s something to be said about this next story. The folks over at the Wall Street Journal today announced they are starting a daily dedicated bitcoin round-up feature dubbed BitBeat on the website’s MoneyBeat section.

The feature will cover the day’s top bitcoin news. Today’s news piece include news of a report released by the U.S.A. regarding the legality of bitcoin in nations around the world, CheapAir.com accepting bitcoin for hotel reservations, and Coinbase teaming up with Mint. Mind you, all news we’ve reported before today, but we don’t want to toot our horns too much!

It’s a sure sign that bitcoin is catching on, with more and more individuals taking interest in this emerging new digital currency. And while the feature likely isn’t aimed at getting the attention of bitcoin enthusiasts, it will be something people who aren’t familiar with bitcoin will see, undoubtedly.

What do you think? A good move on the part of the WSJ?

Kazakhstan FlagIt wouldn’t be an ordinary day without another world government coming out against digital currency bitcoin. This time around it’s the Central Bank of Kazakhstan, with its governor making some interesting comments.

Kairat Kelimbetov, the bank’s governor, said that bitcoin may be deemed as a ponzi scheme by the central bank at a press conference Tuesday in Almaty.

“The issue is rather complicated. Some claim the currency is a good tool of money laundering and an absolute evil. That’s why some monetary authorities, like those in China, have banned Bitcoin,” said Kelimbetov, incorrectly (China has not banned bitcoin). “The Kazakhstan’s Central Bank has no official stance yet (…) however, this year we will decide on whether the currency system shall be deemed as a ponzi scheme.”

Vice Minister of Finance in the country Ruslan Dalenov suggested that if bitcoin continues to gain traction in business, there would be very little work left for bankers. (via Tengri News)

Casascius coinIn what could possibly be the surprise of the century (not), a survey conducted by The Street indicates that three in four people have absolutely no idea what bitcoin is, and have never heard of it.

24 percent of those surveyed say they have previously heard of the digital currency, with even fewer — 2 percent — actually owning an amount of it.

79 percent of respondents said they would never consider using bitcoin, and 80 percent of the respondents said they would rather own gold instead of bitcoin.

15 percent of 18-24 year-olds said they’d rather own bitcoin instead of gold, and 33 percent of 18-24 year-olds think bitcoin helps the U.S. Dollar (38 percent think just the opposite — that it hurts the U.S. Dollar).

If anything, the survey reminds us that bitcoin is still very much a niche interest, despite it being 5-years-old. It has, however, gained quite a to of traction in the past year (with huge increases in value), and that trend doesn’t seem to be stopping with high-profile names like TigerDirect, Virgin Galactic, and Overstock.com accepting it in exchange for goods and services.

You can view a graphic of the survey results here. (via The Street)

CoinSummit San Francisco

Some details have emerged on CoinSummit San Francisco — two-day invitation-only event that is expected to connect entrepreneurs in the digital currency field with angel investors and venture capitalists, hedge-fund professional, “and others who are looking to learn and network in the virtual currency industry”.

Taking place between March 25-26 2014 at the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts (this is the same place Apple holds a good number of their keynotes), the summit will features speakers the likes of Nicolas Carey (CEO, Blockchain.info), Nejc Kodrič (CEO, Bitstamp), Jeremy Liew (Partner, Lightspeed Ventures), Patrick Murck (General Counsel, Bitcoin Foundation), and even Jackson Palmer (co-founder, Dogecoin). That, of course, is not the entire list. You can find more names on the CoinSummit website.

The summit is a reminder that this industry is rapidly growing. There’s so many innovative creations that just need a bit of capital to get properly going. It’s certainly going to be interesting to see what comes of this event, no doubt. More information and a schedule of events can be found here.

BitAccess Bitcoin ATM

Montreal, Canada has received their first bitcoin ATM, slated to be unveiled this morning at the Montreal Bitcoin Embassy. Built by BitAccess, this ATM will allow enthusiasts and those curious to insert some traditional cash in exchange for digital money, and vice-versa.

“What it really is, is a bitcoin vending machine. It buys bitcoins and it sells bitcoins,” said Fadi Azouz of Vx5 Technologies, who purchased the ATM.

It’s all part of Azouz’s plan to bring 10 BitAccess ATM kiosks to the market this year alone, with plans to bring ATMs to places like Dubai, Caracas, Manila, and Beirut.

“This year alone, there are hundreds of bitcoin ATMs that are going to begin hitting the world market,” said Azouz. “We’re just another player.”

And he’s right. A number of other companies around the world are racing to buy ATMs from manufacturers like Lamassu and Robocoin and get them installed in high-traffic locations. The process isn’t easy though. Often requiring money-transmitting licenses, there are a number of hoops a bitcoin ATM operator must jump through to get the ball rolling.

It’s all in attempts of making bitcoin easier to acquire, with the operator earning money through fees of between 3-to-5 percent per transaction done on the ATM.

“I really started to look into this whole bitcoin ATM thing because when I first bought my own bitcoins, I had a bit of a hard time,” Azouz said. “I started to say, ‘There has to be an easier way.’”

Azouz’s BitAccess rig is tapped into multiple bitcoin exchanges in order to provide users with the best pricing per bitcoin. Users aren’t forced to buy whole units, though. They may elect to purchase portions of a bitcoin, as each unit is divisible up to 100 million times.

If you’re in the Montreal area, the device can be seen at 3485 St-Laurent Blvd. (via Montreal Gazette)

Malwarebytes Bitcoin Page

Perhaps it was bound to happen, but anti-malware software Malwarebytes is now accepting bitcoin for the purchasing of their ‘Pro’ version of the software.

The highly-praised program is used by great numbers from around the world for the removal of malevolent software from personal and business computers, and has been a go-to solution for many IT professionals.

Malwarebytes has partnered up with Coinbase in order to process the digital transactions, which effectively would allow them to immediately convert that bitcoin income into traditional fiat currency, if they choose.

“Embracing the latest technology has always been something which we have done at Malwarebytes. In fact, it is central to the creation and design of our whole product and is the reason why we are effective against cutting-edge malware,” said Malwarebytes CEO Marcin Kleczynski. “Accepting Bitcoin is a natural extension of this ethos. Not only do we see it as a sustainable and secure payment method, we also believe that it provides our users with what they want, choice. We have always striven to provide the widest range of options for keeping people safe from malware, whether it’s on mobile or using a free product, and accepting Bitcoin is another example of this.”

What’s notable here is that Malwarebytes is a relatively high-profile software, and we can’t help but to wonder if this will start a trend in the anti-malware industry.

 

Massachusetts Seal

In response to a local pirate party’s inquiry regarding accepting political donations in the form of bitcoin, the Commonwealth of Massachusetts has given group the green light to collect the digital currency — but not without with strict rules.

The Massachusetts Office of Campaign and Political Finance wrote that the pirate party may accept bitcoin from any United States Citizen not exceeding $500. The funds cannot be spent by the pirate party themselves (treated similarly to stock donations, and must be converted to U.S. dollars within 5 days of receipt at a high-volume exchange that openly does business in the United States.

But perhaps more controversially is the requirement that the pirate party must get a proper name and address of each donor. For a digital currency that is very much about anonymity, this could pose a problem.

Nonetheless, it’s still a move in the right direction.

The pirate party in Massachusetts expects to begin collecting bitcoin donations in the next two weeks. Read the official letter here. (via TorrentFreak)