ZipZap Reportedly Raises $1.1 Million in Funding

Financial services company ZipZap has apparently raised $1.1 million worth of funding that will partially be used to grow the company’s cash-to-bitcoin service into an even bigger product, CoinDesk reports.

The funding was apparently closed back in June, with Brock Pierce;s AngelList syndicate and Blumberg Capital taking part in the investment round.

Wells Fargo investment advisory representative Jim Griffin will be joining the company as the senior vice president of currency and foreign exchange.

This investment brings the total amount of capital raised by the company to an impressive $2.7 million.

ZipZap has gained enormous popularity in the bitcoin community for their service that allows consumers to buy bitcoin via local retail stores. It’s the ultimate level of convenience, and just last week, the company announced their services were being expanded to an additional 34 countries in Europe.

ZipZap Homepage Screenshot

Soon, ZipZap is planning to expand even further to places like Iceland, Luxembourg, Norway, the Philippines, Portugal, and a slew of other places.

In the United Kingdom alone, consumers have access to ZipZap’s buying service at 28,000 locations. How’s that for choice?

ZipZap is eventually planning to take their services a step further in the future, too, with the inclusion of litecoin and dogecoin purchasing.

For more information on ZipZap, you can visit their official website here.

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A newly-released memorandum dating back to May 2013 (and obtained via the Canadian Access to Intermation Act) originating at the Canadian Finance Department suggests that bitcoin and digital currencies could serve as “an attractive payment method for criminals,” The Canadian Press reports.

The internal memo was said to have been prepared for now-deceased finance minister Mr. Jim Flaherty, and while it makes no indication as to what the levels of abuse are, it does make clear that bitcoin can be used for illicit purposed. Sound familiar? That’s because cash can be used for these purposes, too.

“Virtual currencies such as Bitcoin have been criticized for their potential to fund illicit activity, such as money laundering and terrorist financing,” the memo reads.

“For example, there have been a number of security incidents in which Bitcoin wallets or other infrastructures have been compromised,” the memo includes. “These incidents have exposed users to either theft of Bitcoins or theft of personal information given to Bitcoin exchanges.”

It’s one of many notes circulating throughout governments (and this one proves just how far back the topic of bitcoin was being discussed within governments) that make similar claims, and there are likely to be many more in the months and years ahead.

For many lawmakers and government officials, it’s difficult to see beyond the fact that thousands of bitcoins were lost during the Mt. Gox collapse, or thousands more seized from an underground drug marketplace (granted, these are two events that took place after the memo was written, but you get the idea).

These are stories the mainstream media eats up and spits out — often misinforming and misleading the general public — or just generally giving them the wrong impression.

And the bitcoin community is working hard to change that. Just today, we learned that Representative Jared Polis was co-hosting an even on Capitol Hill promoting bitcoin and educating lawmakers.

Congressman Jared Polis is no stranger to bitcoin. The democratic Representative from the Second District of Colorado has long stood up for the idea of bitcoin and digital currency, even going to far as to welcoming Robocoin to the nation’s capital to show off their bitcoin ATM.

Capitol Building USANow, Polis is co-hosting an event on Capitol Hill designed to demonstrate the machinations of bitcoin to the country’s lawmakers from some of the best and brightest in the industry.

BetaBeat reports that major bitcoin companies like Coinbase and BitPay will be engaging with members of Congress at the Rayburn House Office Building on Independence Avenue with the sole intent of getting the people responsible for making laws to understand and perhaps even embrace the digital currency.

These companies will reportedly be joined by other companies like Expedia that have started accepting bitcoin in order to show that bitcoin can indeed be incorporated into many business models safely and securely.

Polis told BetaBeat:

[blockquote style=”2″]This demo day will allow Members of Congress who may not be as familiar with digital currencies to ask experts in the field questions about their potential, how they work, and the appropriate role for government to play in their development.[/blockquote]

As we all know, members of Congress aren’t exactly the most tech savvy, but if the community can come together with patience and show them that bitcoin isn’t the currency of criminals, they may be more than will to help pave the way to widespread adoption.

[textmarker color=”C24000″]Source[/textmarker] BetaBeat [textmarker color=”C24000″]Image[/textmarker] Brandon Harper/Wikimedia

There’s a new bitcoin-related start-up in Colorado, and they’re hoping to start a bitcoin ATM network in America’s 38th state, beginning with a location in Aurora, a Tuesday announcement stated.

The idea: allow residents of Colorado to easily get bitcoin through the intuitive interface available on the Lamassu units XBTeller is making use of. And if they were just curious about digital currency, XBTeller is coupling their ATM with a so-called “educational kiosk” that will teach consumers the basic ins-and-outs of bitcoin.

“The Bitcoin protocol may be the most significant invention of our time – a grand experiment and global phenomenon based on free will and math; we are thrilled to be apart of it,” said Noah Berger, CEO of XBTeller.

In attempts to get the people of Denver excited about the arrival of the bitcoin ATMs, XBTeller says they’re giving away bitcoin. By hiding it.

Beginning Wednesday, July 30th, XBTeller will be providing clue via Twitter to followers as to where bitcoin paper wallets will be hidden around town. Each paper wallet, the start-up says, will be funded with between 0.1 bitcoins and 1 bitcoin.

That first location I mentioned previously is located at The Big Tomato, a hydroponics and organic center in Aurora. An XBTeller attendant will be on-site to help out.

You’re probably wondering about the cost of using such an ATM. XBTeller says they’ll be charging a flat, 5 percent commission for transactions conducted using the machine.

But it seems as if the primary goal is to get newcomers into bitcoin using educational tools.

“The majority of people haven’t heard of Bitcoin. Of those who have, many are misinformed about its purpose and potential, and only a tiny fraction actually own or use it. We aim to change that by building an experience that targets the 99 out of 100 people who don’t have a bitcoin wallet on their phone yet,” Berger added.

“I think that experience starts best with a conversation and an opportunity to ask questions. It’s hard to walk up to an ATM and feel a personal connection, so we’ve added the human back into the process.”

XBTeller– founded in January of this year — says they plan to bring additional units to Denver, Boulder, Blackhawk, and Breckenridge by the end of the year., the online travel agency that began accepting bitcoin before it was the cool thing to do (that’s a joke, put your pitch fork away), has made an announcement this morning regarding a recently-held contest.

The company recently announced they have exceeded $1.5 million USD worth of sales paid for using bitcoin — sales which include hotel, Amtrak and airline bookings.

The company began accepting the digital currency in November of last year following a request from a so-called “intrepid customer” who had asked whether or not he could use bitcoin to pay for an airline ticket.

“If our customers have a need, we’ll go to great lengths to come up with a solution,” said Jeff Klee, CEO at “In this case, that meant finding a way to accept bitcoin payments for airline and hotel transactions that traditionally were only done with cash or credit card.”

In order to facilitate the bitcoin acceptance, the company opted to work with San Francisco-based Coinbase — a service that allows merchants to accept the digital currency and have it instantly converted to dollar, should they so choose.

And Klee is nothing short of pleased of the results.

“We appreciate how easy Coinbase made it for us to do so. In retrospect, it was one of the best decisions we’ve made for our business and our customers,” he remarked.

A free trip to London

Just in case you weren’t aware, when CheapAir announced their $1.5 million bitcoin sale milestone, they also said they would be sending someone to London for free, which includes airfare, hotel accommodations, and even a pass to the Inside Bitcoins conference.

All community members had to do what tweet to the company why they deserved the trip. On July 23rd, CheapAir reviewed the submissions and came to a decision on who would be sent to the United Kingdom.

That lucky person is Patrick Cines, a Penn State University student. Serving as the President of the Bitcoin Club at the school, he’s got major plans ahead of him, and he’s using the free trip to his advantage.

“I entered the contest because I want to help UK students set up bitcoin clubs at their schools,” he said. “I am going to use this trip to expand the College Cryptocurrency Network’s international presence. Our goal is to help promote bitcoin awareness and use on college and university campuses worldwide. Additionally, we provide a platform for students to collaborate on startups and innovations and we even provide students with a platform to apply directly to companies in the bitcoin industry for internships and full time jobs. I’m so thankful to CheapAir that I can represent!”

A big congratulations to Patrick Cines. Enjoy your trip!

See update below.

Canadian bitcoin exchange CAVIRTEX took to social media on Tuesday to tease a little something our Canadian bitcoin friends might find exciting.

The company is apparently planning to deploy a small network of bitcoin ATMs in Canada. With little other information, the company posted two images on their official Twitter account.

The first image depicted a lone unit branded with the famous Canadian flag. The second, a series of units. Eight of them to be exact. Not a terrible lot more is known about the deployment of the network, thought he company did indicate that one of the units would be destined for Ottawa.

That’s no surprise, either. The machines appear to be manufactured by Ottawa-based BitAccess. The devices feature AML/KYC security measures, and also allow for two-way transactions. That means customers can either buy bitcoin with fiat, or sell their bitcoin in exchange for fiat.

CAVIRTEX BitAccess ATM Single

A number of BitAccess ATMs are already in operation around the world, and when I last caught up with BitAccess’s co-founder Abdul Haseeb Awan, he told me the machines were doing upwards of $10,000 per day in transactions.

Given the tease, we would expect more information to be surfacing soon from CAVIRTEX on this ATM network (which we’re sure you Canadians are eager about). I did reach out to the company, however, but did not receive a reply before time of publishing.

Update: I’ve just heard back from a spokesperson at CAVIRTEX who says the units will be deployed over the next month in Ottawa, Toronto, Niagara Falls, and Vancouver. The fee structure has not been announced.

More information coming soon.

It is being reported that the European Commission will be trying to implement strict bitcoin regulatory policies in the near feature, following a recent European Banking Authority warning that aimed to prevent financial institutions in the European Union from dealing directing with bitcoin, either by buying or selling the digital currency until firm regulation is in place.

Chantal Hughes, spokesperson for financial services commissioner Michel Barnier, said:

[blockquote style=”2″]It’s imperative to move quickly on this issue […] The potential for money laundering and terrorist financing is too serious to ignore.[/blockquote]

Of course, most of us wouldn’t quite be surprised to learn of these developments. After all, the fear of laundering money and financial crime and terrorism is one of the main reasons multiple financial authorities seek to regulate this digital currency.

European Commission Logo

Take New York State, for example. The New York Department of Financial Services recently released a proposal of bitcoin regulations, which has been met with both praise and resistance.

And many in the community — or at least those who haven’t been living under a rock — have expected this desire to regulate to come with the increase in popularity of digital currency.

The question now is: how strict will regulations be? Further, will they stifle innovation that’s coming from the cryptocurrency sector?

It’s too soon to tell now, but it will be interesting to revisit this topic when new regulations begin coming out of Europe.

[textmarker color=”C24000″]Source[/textmarker] Vancouver Sun

Now that Apple has taken a softer approach with bitcoin wallet apps on their App Store, cryptocurrency companies are beginning to come forward and get their apps approved.

One such app is ANX Vault, by ANX (these are the folks that recently shipped out a batch of bitcoin debit cards). The company says that they have launched sending and receiving functionality on the app — a feature that’s been available right along on the Android version.

“ANX, the world’s most innovative Bitcoin exchange, which recently announced the world’s first Bitcoin debit card, confirmed their redesigned mobile app ANX Vault (Version v1.0.3) for iOS and Android is now available for download via the Apple App Store and Google Play store,” the company wrote in a Tuesday press statement.

iOS users who make use of ANX services will be able to conduct their bitcoin sending/receiving business, in addition to being able to send bitcoin by email.

ANX Vault iOS Screenshot

“It relies on industrial strength security standards provided by the ANX platform including optional three-factor authentication,” the company says, adding: “Furthermore, the app supports all major fiat currencies including AUD, CAD, GBP, CHF, EUR, HKD, JPY, NZD, SGD and USD. It supports crypto currencies BTC, DOGE, LTC, NMC, PPC.”

The updated version of the application includes some new features as well, listed below (and quoted from ANX):

  • Quickly view crypto exchange rates and users’ portfolio value in users’ home currency at current exchange rates.
  • Send BTC, LTC and DOGE to any crypto coin address (PPC and NMC also supported on Android devices).
  • Ability to send cryptos to email addresses for people without Bitcoin or crypto-currency wallets.
  • Configure a daily limit to perform withdrawals without requiring 2/3 Factor authentication for faster payments.
  • View all transactions on customer’s ANX account.
  • View all crypto currency assets in one single comprehensive listing.
  • Set alerts to notify clients when a crypto is traded below or above a certain rate.
  • Realtime crypto exchange rates for all supported currencies, view funds instantly.

On the security front (which, let’s be honest, it’s supremely important), the app features “high security encryption”, one-time passwords, and send privilege controls.

You can view ANX Vault on the Apple App Store here, and the Google Play Store here.

One of the well-recognized downfalls of acquiring bitcoin is, well, it can be difficult.

First you must decide how you’ll get your hands on it. Bitcoin ATM? Exchange? Brokerage service? In-person?

But a new start-up based in Seattle is hoping to change things by allowing business owners to utilize their mobile devices to act as bitcoin ATMs of sorts.

Dubbed CoinSafe, the service makes use of an application that will allow said business owners to set their own bitcoin prices (in other words, a markup on the market price of bitcoin, calculated using, and manage their ‘ATM’ service. And according to CoinSafe, the service works anywhere in the world.

Consumers, on the other hand, get a great level of benefits themselves. They are able to acquire bitcoin from trusted, nearby businesses instead of having to meet up with a complete stranger.

And it goes beyond simply buying bitcoin. These consumers also have the ability to sell bitcoin to the store/merchant, in which the app will tell the cashier exactly how much money he should give the customer.

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Overall, the idea is interesting, but the real challenge will be getting merchants and business owners aboard and using the service.

Perhaps one of the biggest selling points is that CoinSafe says they aren’t charging any fees. The service is free. But like any business, they’ll soon have to start making money, so don’t be surprised if this aspect changes.

If you’re looking for additional information on CoinSafe, we would recommend taking a look at the Frequently Asked Questions section here.

Swiss bitcoin services company Bitcoin Suisse AG has announced that they have received membership into recognized Swiss regulatory organizations, giving them the green light to establish a network of bitcoin ATMs, in addition to operate as a licenses financial intermediary and asset manager.

The company has become the youngest member of Switzerland’s lead and perhaps most well-known self-regulatory organization, the VQF (Verein zur Qualitätssicherung von Finanzdienstleistungen).

The company says they have been found fully compliant with existing laws and regulation in country, and as such, have permission to resume its business activities with full force.

One section of their business includes the deployment of bitcoin ATMs, which has been approved specifically by FINMA, the Swiss Financial Market Supervisory Authority.

As of current, the company operates a small network of machines in Zürich, which have been offline pending regulatory approval. And since now that approval has been given, the machines will reportedly be brought online and into active service.

Future plans include bringing more bitcoin ATMs to Eastern Switzerland, in addition to Liechtenstein, for which the company says they are working to bring aboard partners who can help make these plans a reality.

“The membership status is an important leap forward for [Bitcoin Suisse], which  has now been accepted into the elite community of licensed financial service providers,” Bitcoin Suisse CEO Niklas Nikolajsen writes in a press statement.

With the regulatory green light given, the company is now poised to expand its businesses and services with the aim of becoming “a central player in the Swiss Digital Finance marketplace,” with new products making their debut later this year in Autumn.

Bitcoin Suisse adds that investors will be able to purchase company bonds and/or equity later this summer.

[textmarker color=”C24000″]Image[/textmarker] Andrew Bossi/Wikimedia