104-Year-Old Jewelry Company's Online Store Begins Accepting Bitcoin

The world’s largest online marketplace for designer engagement rings — run by 104-year-old company H.L. Gross and & Bro. Jewelers — has announced today the immediate acceptance of bitcoin for products sold at Since1910.com.

The digital currency is now one of several payment options accepted at the online store, which also includes GE financing, layaway, wire transfers, PayPal, and of course, major credit cards.

The reason for adopting bitcoin? Customer demand!

“Our customers have asked for this and we listened,” said Brad Gross, a fifth-generation jeweler and co-founder of Since1910.com. “Our goal is to be constantly listening to our customers to provide the best possible user experience. We want our customers to feel like part of the team and to help shape the way Since1910.com does business.”

The Brooklyn, New York-based retailer has partnered up with Coinbase over on the West Coast of the United States to facilitate the transactions. Using Coinbase’s merchant services, they will be able to instantly convert bitcoin revenues into U.S. dollars.

Since1910.com’s announcement comes just over a week from a similar announcement made by REEDS Jewelers based out of the Wilmington, North Carolina area. The company announced they would be accepting bitcoin payments both for online sales and in-store.

An increasing amount of small to large businesses are looking into bitcoin as a viable payment solution. Features include almost instant settlements, no risk of chargebacks, and minimal fees for merchants (especially with large transactions, since the card companies will easily take 2 to 3 percent).

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Updated below with a statement received by NEWSBTC from Lynzey Donahue, a U.S. Marshals spokeswoman.

“Oops!” is the word the probably most accurately describes the mistake made by the U.S. Marshals Service (USMS) when it comes to the auctioning of nearly $18 million worth of bitcoins seized from Silk Road servers last year.

Background: U.S. Marshals Service Poised to Auction Off Silk Road Bitcoins

In an email to bidders that attempted to highlight some changes to the auction’s ‘frequently asked questions’ section, the Service included all recipients in the CC field as opposed to the BCC field, making all send-to addresses visible to recipients.

Shortly thereafter, the USMS issued a recall email apologizing for the faux-pas — but not before a complete list of bidders had been publicly made available.

One of the emails that we sent out this morning inadvertently showed a list of some of the individuals who have asked a question or questions about the pending bitcoin auction. We apologize for the error.

Names on the list of bidders (over 15 total) for the Silk Road bitcoins include a Coinbase executive and a staffer for BNP Paribas. For the privacy of those involved in the leak, NEWSBTC has declined to release a list of names, though the information is easily available elsewhere on the web as of this publishing.

The accidental leak, despite an innocent mistake, could cause great grief who wished to maintain secrecy throughout the bidding process. Whether or not it will actually be a problem remains to be seen, but it seems unlikely.

About the auction

The Marshals auction for the Silk Road bitcoins is split into three blocks: a Series A auction for 9 blocks of 3,000 bitcoins (for a total of 27,000 BTC), and a Series B auction for 2,646 BTC.

The auction — also referred to by the Marshals as ‘Phase 2’ — will take place on the 27th of June from the hours of 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. (Eastern time, presumably).

Bidders are required to register and submit a $200,000 deposit from the United States bank account.

Statement from U.S. Marshals Service:

The U.S. Marshals Service inadvertently sent an email today revealing the email addresses of people who had submitted questions about the Bitcoin auction to a general USMS mailbox that had been created for the auction. The message was intended to blind copy everyone with an attached document that contained frequently asked questions and answers on the subject. The message was not intended for any particular group of people, but for anyone who had emailed a question to the general mailbox to ask about the auction. Only recipient email addresses were disclosed. The USMS apologizes for this mistake which was in no way intentional.

Nicolas Cary, CEO of Blockchain (not to be confused with the bitcoin block chain), has taken to the Twitter-waves to tease the company’s brand-spanking-new Blockchain Wallet application for Apple iOS devices.

“Reddit asks. Reddit gets,” Cary’s tweet read with a sneak peak screenshot:

Blockchain App Sneak Peak Shot

Cary’s tweet today comes just a couple of weeks following Apple’s reveal of iOS 8 — the latest iteration of the company’s mobile operating system. Shortly after the company seeded the software beta to developers, they released an amended list of App Store rules.

In those rules, community members almost instantly noticed the addition of a new regulation:

11.17 Apps may facilitate transmission of approved virtual currencies provided that they do so in compliance with all state and federal laws for the territories in which the app functions

The addition came following the company’s strict policy of not allowing bitcoin-transmitting applications, which most certainly caused an uproar. Users took to smashing — even going so far as to shoot — their devices in protest.

Turning tides

Shortly after the news came out, NEWSBTC spoke to Blockchain’s Nic Cary to inquire as to whether or not his company would be resubmitting his app to the App Store — which had previously been pulled on the count of policy violations.

“We will definitely be resubmitting the Blockchain iOS app and look forward to the day where we can invest and improve the experience,” Cary told us, including that “A lot of users and development have migrated to Android so Apple has a big job ahead to swiftly cultivate and attract apps.”

It’s unclear just when the Blockchain Wallet app will make its return to the App Store, but it’s certainly looking like it’ll be happening soon.

There are the type of executive teams that remain reclusive (looking at you, BTC-e), and those out and about actively furthering the cause of digital currency in today’s technology-obsessed world.

Take the Coinsetter executive team, for example. In a blog post today, the New York City-based bitcoin exchange announced that two company executives would be speaking at industry conferences this month.

Coinsetter Homepage

Company CEO Jaron Lukasiewicz will be speaking at the Forex Industry Conference (also known as FXIC NYC) on Friday, June 20th at the Grand Hyatt Hotel in Manhattan, New York City.

From the Coinsetter blog today:

At this highly attended forex industry event, Jaron will discuss why institutional market participants should be excited about bitcoin and what the future holds for the digital currency industry. The FXIC NYC event brings together leaders in the forex field to learn from one another, exchange ideas and network.

Next Wednesday, Coinsetter CTO Marshall Swatt will serve as a panelist at the next held ON21 Vision Series event.

The ON21 Vision Series will explore the cryptocurrency space with an in depth discussion of the technical and financial attributes of bitcoin’s successes and how the currency will continue to evolve in the future.

Why it’s important

It’s important to have executives on the front lines of these types of speaking engagements. Enlightening industry executives from the people who know best (business-wise) is vital for a widespread understanding of how this industry and digital currency works.

It’s refreshing to see this, and we certainly hope to see a lot more of it in the future.

ESPN Events has announced that Atlanta, Georgia-based BitPay will serve as the new title sponsor of the annual St. Petersburg Bowl — an NCAA-sanctioned post-season college football game that has been taking place since 2008.

BitPay, renowned for its business of allowing merchants to easily accept bitcoin payments and convert them instantly to local currency, will have the game known as the Bitcoin St. Petersburg Bowl beginning with this year’s game, slated to be held on the 26th of December at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Florida.

StPetersBurgBowl Logo“Our goal is to continue to move bitcoin into the mainstream and sponsoring the St. Petersburg Bowl offers us that opportunity,” noted Mr. Tony Gallippi, Executive Chairman at BitPay. “College football fans and the bitcoin community represent a similar target demographic – tech-savvy men between the ages of 18 and 40.”

BitPay has secured the game title sponsor opportunity for three years until the December game in 2016.

Aired nationally on ESPN — a major sports network — the St. Petersburg Bowl game is watched by many sports fans (particularly those interested in football, quite obviously), and BitPay’s hoping to use the opportunity to “further promote interest in the digital currency on a national scale.”

“We’re extremely excited to welcome BitPay to college football and our bowl home in St. Petersburg,” says Brett Dulaney, who heads the St. Petersburg Bowl. “We look forward to a long and mutually beneficial arrangement.”

Previous sponsors of the St. Petersburg bowl include magicJack (voice over IP service) and Beef ‘O’ Brady’s, a sports bar/restaurant franchise.

Tickets to the game will be available via traditional channels (such as TicketMaster), but also by paying with bitcoin (this includes merchandise, too).

Bitcoin in sports

This isn’t bitcoin’s first encounter with sports.

Earlier this year, NBA team Sacramento Kings announced they would be accepting bitcoin for game tickets and merchandise. And most recently, the San Jose Earthquakes (Major League Soccer) announced they too would be accepting bitcoin — even in-stadium at concession kiosks and in their gift store.

The St. Petersburg Bowl game kicks off at 8 p.m. local time on December 26th. For more information, visit bitcoinstpetebowl.com.

To date, there’s been a few documentaries on the topic of bitcoin, but we haven’t seen a terrible lot on altcoins. Until now, of course.

Award-winning director Adam Cornelius and This American Life contributor Chris Higgins have come together to create Coined, the self-proclaimed first feature-length documentary that hopes to take an in-depth look at alternative digital currencies.

Filming for the project began in January 2014, and to date, both Higgins and Cornelius have shot nearly 20 hours of footage with a heavy focus on dogecoin.

This footage includes on-camera interviews with dogecoin founder Billy Markus, footage of the famed dogecar raced by NASCAR driver Josh Wise (along with interviews of Wise himself), interviews with Josh Mohland (who created the dogecoin top bit), footage of a dogeparty near Wall Street, and other interviews with enthusiasts and activists.

In order to keep the project going, the two have formed a Kickstarter campaign to fund the rest of the film. They are seeking a total of $72,000 — with just about $1,099 raised at the time of this writing.

[ot-video type=”youtube” url=”https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=48pjSgIZCaE&feature=youtu.be”]

“Dogecoin is like Bitcoin’s goofy, awesome nephew, but it’s also serious business. We’ve interviewed key Dogecoin community members—including Billy Markus!—who are turning an internet meme into a part of the global economy. It’s a rare privilege to capture a story with so much heart, at the moment it happens,” said Higgins. “We went to Kickstarter because we want to build a community around this film, much like the communities that form around altcoins themselves.”

For more information on the project, you can view their homepage here. Kickstarter campaign details can be found here.

Several industry leaders in the bitcoin landscape are slated to meet up today at the Haas School of Business at the University of California, Berkeley to discuss the future of bitcoin and digital currency.

Taking place between 1 p.m. and 3 p.m. local time today, the roundtable is being hosted by the Berkeley Master of Financial of Engineering Program. Twenty-two Haas students will be allowed to attend the event in-person (on a first-come, first-served basis), and another 100 students will be able to stream the event on WebEx — Berkeley’s platform for streaming video (link).

Later in the day, a video recording of the roundtable will be made available on the engineering program’s official website, located here.

Here’s who’s on the panel:

  1. Michael Casey: Senior columnist, Wall Street Journal (covering global economics and markets).
  2. Jesse Powell: CEO, Kraken. Kraken is a fast-growing crypto-currency exchange that allows for the trading of more than just bitcoin, such as litecoin and even dogecoin.
  3. Kevin Zhou: Chief economist, Buttercoin. Another bitcoin-trading exchange, but has not publicly launched yet.
  4. Tariq Dennison: Founder, GFM Group in Kong Kong.

Executive director of the Master of Financial Engineering Program at the Haas School of Business, University of California at Berkeley, Linda Kreitzman, will be moderating the event.

Kreitzman helped launch the Financial Engineering program at the Haas Business School in 2000, and serves as an advisor to start-ups both here in the United States and in Europe.

For more information on this event, you can visit the Haas School newsroom here.

[textmarker color=”C24000″]Image[/textmarker] © BrokenSphere / Wikimedia Commons