GABI Deploys First Round of Client Capital in Bitcoin

Here’s some pretty interesting news coming from the news wires.

It’s been freshly announced that the Global Advisors Bitcoin Investment Fund (GABI) has deployed their fund assets into bitcoins after completing an initial offering period in early September.

The price of bitcoin is low. Our last quote was $402 USD at Bitstamp, which means the timing if this is incredible for the fund.

The press release issued today notes that the bitcoin purchase was done with digitalBTC, a digital currency solutions company with locations in Boston, Massachusetts, Tinton Falls, New Jersey, and outside in the United States in Australia.

“We are delighted to have executed our initial over-the-counter bitcoin purchase with digitalBTC and we look forward to expanding our relationship as GABI’s assets grow. digitalBTC offers GABI valuable liquidity and price discovery while being a strong counterparty,” said Daniel Masters, Director of GABI, and co-founder of Global Advisors Jersey Limited (GAJL).

Bill Brindise of digitalBTC adds, “Our digitalX Direct platform is specifically designed to provide real time liquidity for institutional investors and large commercial operators who purchase bitcoins. As a publicly listed company, subject to strict reporting and disclosure requirements, we are also very pleased to be dealing with GABI, given their licensing regime and look forward to being able to provide similar liquidity in future.”

Jean-Marie Mognetti, Director at GAJL adds, “In addition to digitalBTC, GAJL also established relationships, based on trust and transparency with a limited number of exchanges. These exchanges – Bitfinex (Hong Kong) – Coinsetter (New York, USA) – have been approved by GABI’s compliance department following an extensive due diligence process to make sure they fall within the operational limits imposed by our local regulator.”

The release adds that GABI is now open for additional subscriptions on a monthly cycle.

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The bitcoin community’s favorite CEO isn’t done when it comes to discussing the emerging digital currency that has swept the tech industry off its feet over the past year.

Today on his official Twitter account, Overstock.com CEO Patrick Byrne teased some news that we can all expect in about two weeks at a bitcoin conference that’s slated to take place in Las Vegas, Nevada on October 6th.

No doubt about it, you can expect the announcements to be related to bitcoin. The fact that he’s waiting for a bitcoin conference to take place for him to spill the beans should be enough to convince you.

But what will he announce?

Anyone’s guess (which I suppose is the same as saying nothing), but I’ll open the floor to you in the comments below.

Byrne isn’t explicitly listed as a featured speaker on the Inside Bitcoins conference page (Update: he’s listed), but hey, now you know he will be present. For your information, the event takes place from October 5-7 at the Flamingo Hotel & Casino.

Other recent announcements from Overstock.com include:

  1. Overstock Donating 4% of Bitcoin Revenue Toward Cryptocurrency Adoption
  2. Overstock.com Has Received $1.6 Million in Bitcoin Payments
  3. Patrick Byrne: Overstock.com Keeps 10 Percent of Bitcoin Income as Bitcoin

Keep it locked here for the latest on this front.

Updated. See below.

Square is a new, modern way for business owners to accept credit cards. Long before I started this website, I was a tech reporter for another site I used to run and spoke to Square CEO (and also co-founder of Twitter) at length about this platform. It’s pretty innovative, and for a bitcoin enthusiast, it’s seemingly been missing one thing: bitcoin integration.

According to an article published earlier this month by CBC News, that could very well be in the works.

Speaking at length on the topic of Apple Pay — Apple’s newly-announced payments system that makes use of near-field communications (NFC) — Dorsey revealed that his company is working on a register that will accommodate Apple Pay. And something else.

[blockquote style=”2″]We’re building a register so that sellers can accept a credit card, so they can accept cash, so they can accept a cheque, so they can accept Bitcoin and so they can accept any form of payment that comes across the counter including future ones and burgeoning ones like Apple Pay.[/blockquote]

Square already has a kind-of-sort-of register system that requires users to have an iPad and custom stand with built-in card reader, but what Dorsey speaks of sounds like an all-in-one system, with obvious NFC capabilities.

What it means for business owners

So, what could an eventual bitcoin integration into Square’s register mean? Well, for starters, it would make it a whole lot easier for Square users (and there’s many) to accept the digital currency.

And if it’s easier for a merchant to accept bitcoin, more users could be inclined to actually use bitcoin, and that’s certainly a great thing for this growing digital economy.

But quiet honestly, if this actually happens, we wouldn’t be surprised in the least bit. Square has already shown their interest in bitcoin. back in March, it was announced that Square Market — Square’s online marketplace — had integrated bitcoin acceptance.

It would only seem to make sense that the integration would make its way to Square’s core product.

I’ve reached out to the Square team to try and get more information on Dorsey’s statement. When and if I receive a response, I’ll update you accordingly on Facebook or Twitter, and here, of course.

Update: I received the following from a Square spokesperson:

[blockquote style=”2″]I’ll just use this as an opportunity to reiterate our belief that Square sellers should never have to miss out on a sale; they should be able to accept any form of payment. Consumers are looking for fast, easy ways to find everything from a local service to unique goods across the country.[/blockquote]

The spokesperson added that the company does not have anything additional to add to Dorsey’s statement at this time.

[textmarker color=”C24000″]Hat tip[/textmarker] BankInnovation.net

British exchange Netagio (which deals with bitcoin, gold, and sterling trading) reported this morning that they  have attained assurance for their bitcoin storage/holdings to an international standard (ISAE 3000).

An independent review was conducted by BDO LLP, a professional services firm operating internationally, and it was found that Netagio has their stuff together, to be frank.

The ISAE 3000 standard (where ISAE stands for International Standard on Assurance Engagements) was developed by the International Auditing and Assurance Standards Board (IAASB), and the idea is to ensure quality of assurance (which goes much deeper than it sounds).

BDO LLP’s review determined that Netagio has “adequate controls in place” to achieve control procedures with relation to the storage of bitcoins. In other words, the audit determined that Netagio is safely storing user funds.

Apart from the storage of bitcoins, Netagio’s exchange platform has met the rigorous compliance requirements adhered to other financial exchanges, which is good news for its users.

“We are delighted to have our Bitcoin storage environment be positively assessed in line with the ISAE 3000 standard. This latest recognition reinforces our commitment to growing our secure, peer-to-peer exchange platform on which to trade Bitcoin, gold and sterling, and is a stepping stone towards maturity in the community of companies operating in the Bitcoin space. As the Bitcoin economy is gathering pace, with various jurisdictions considering regulatory frameworks, any steps we can take to achieve internationally recognized standards and assurances will give further credibility to Bitcoin’s place in financial and retail industries,” said Simon Hamblin, Netagio CEO.

“As a Bitcoin exchange, it’s important for Netagio to be able to assure customers that the relevant controls are in place for the Bitcoin storage environment. It is good to see Netagio leading the way for the industry by commissioning an external assurance review,” added George Quigley, Partner at BDO.

Some hot news this morning coming from a major activist group.

Greenpeace USA has announced their United States-based operation will begin accepting bitcoin donations today, becoming one of the first major international charities to accept the digital currency.

The organization has offices in forty countries, and operations on a budget exceeding $200 million annually. With a variety of focuses, Greenpeace aims to educate the public on issues like commercial whaling, deforestation, genetic engineering, and more.

To make the acceptance happen, Greenpeace has partnered up with Atlanta-based BitPay, a company that processes bitcoin payments on behalf of other companies by allowing them to instantly convert the digital money to local, fiat currency.

“As a completely independent organization, we do not take money from corporations or governments and rely primarily on individual donations,” said Mr. Ben Kroetz, Greenpeace USA Director of Online Strategy. “BitPay’s reputation as a trusted and secure third party bitcoin payment processor made it easy for us to begin accepting bitcoin thus opening us up to new markets and donors.”

[ot-video type=”youtube” url=”https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zVu9eawb1QY”]

Greenpeace is heavily reliant on donations in order to continue their mission, and traditional avenues of accepting these donations often end up with 3 percent of the amount donated lost to processing fees.

By accepting bitcoin, Greenpeace effectively receives 100 percent of what was donated, which in turn will go toward current campaigns the organization is working on here in the US.

“BitPay strives to bring bitcoin to nonprofits like Greenpeace,” says Elizabeth Ploshay, Non-profit Account Manager at BitPay. “For each bitcoin donation Greenpeace gets 100% of what is being donated increasing the amount of each donation received.”

Greenpeace donation page

The Greenpeace USA donation page can be found by following this link.

There’s been quite a bit of news lately coming from BitFury. From mining products to strategic investments, it certainly seems like they are growing rapidly.

And it will probably come as no surprise to learn that the company has brought in some new additions to their board of directors to keep them guided properly as their operations expand.

Those new additions compose the company’s new strategic advisory board, which will be responsible for working closely with BitFury leadership with relation to technology “to build on the company’s silicon leadership position as it pursues more advanced semiconductor technologies and implementation.

The additions also bring venture experience, which will help corporate leaders at the company better make business decisions.

“The new additions to BitFury’s board of directors and advisory board represent some of the highly respected experts in the technology and venture industries,” says BitFury CEO, Valery Vavilov. “These new members of our board of directors and advisory board will provide valuable input to ensure that BitFury is well positioned to retain its leadership role in silicon design and technology in the fast-paced and constantly evolving virtual currency marketplace.”

Just who are these two new members?

The first is Dr. Jackson Hu, a described semiconductor industry veteran, and previously the Chairman and CEO of UMC (the world’s second-largest semiconductor foundry). Today, he’s the Chairman and CEO of NeoEnergy Microelectronics, and also a Venture Partner at WI Harper.

“What impressed me early on in my conversations with BitFury was the revelation that they’ve designed custom, ASIC chips that go to market at the same design efficiency as standard chips,” Hu said. “It struck me as ingenious—I hope to build on that technology and business leadership by imparting some of the lessons I learned in my career.”

Jonathan Teo is the second addition. In the past, he’s been a partner at General Catalyst Partners and Benchmark Capital, and was also responsible for international research and development at Google. Today, he’s the founder and partner of Binary Capital.

“BitFury is poised for rapid, global expansion, and I’m optimistic and excited about supporting the company’s ambitions with the strong support of the board of directors and advisors Valery and team have put together,” Teo remarked.

The news doesn’t end there. Joining the company’s board of directors (not the strategic advisory board) is Bob Dykes, President of Tanjarine. He will service on the Budget and Audit Committee. With 35 years of experience in the semiconductor industry, Dykes has worked previously at the likes of VeriFone, Juniper Networks, and Symantec.