Bitcoin Weekly Recap 11-20-2015
Eurozone Crackdown on Bitcoin in Wake of Paris Attacks.
Countries within the European Union are pushing the European Commission to implement new restrictions on Bitcoin - along with prepaid cards and what are being termed “anonymous payments” - as just part of Europe’s response to the recent terror attacks in Paris that claimed more than 120 lives. The declared goal involves preventing violent extremist groups from utilizing untraceable payment systems to finance their terror activities.
Bitcoin has been specifically targeted in this latest crisis, largely as a result of the belief that the terror group ISIS may have several million dollars worth of the cryptocurrency - which officials believe could serve as an untraceable means for providing logistical support to its terror agents abroad. Reports indicate that hacker group Anonymous is one of the primary sources for this information.
Multiple sources also suggest that ISIS has amassed as much as a billion dollars worth of non-digital assets -including US dollars, British Pounds, and other currencies and commodities - through oil theft and various criminal activities. No word yet on whether the nations of the world plan to crack down on their own currencies to prevent suitcases full of printed notes from being used for terror financing. Perhaps they simply have yet to realize that those types of transactions are much more difficult to trace than a digital transfer that leaves a permanent record in its wake.
Fidelity Charitable Now Accepting Bitcoin.
Fidelity Investments’ charity arm is now accepting Bitcoin from donors who wish to use the digital currency for their charitable giving. Donors can use their donor-advised accounts to make the donations. Fidelity currently reports at least 60,000 such accounts in operation, and maintains that this is just one more effort to make it easier for those donors to engage in philanthropy with whatever assets they have available. Fidelity is utilizing Coinbase conversion services to convert the cryptocurrency to dollars, to better facilitate transfers to the designated funds and charities.
Bitcoin Threatens Central Banking Effectiveness.
Carolyn Wilkins, senior deputy governor for the Bank of Canada, recently expressed her concern that Bitcoin and other digital currencies pose a direct threat to the effectiveness of Central Bank monetary policies. While not advocating for or against more widespread adoption or use of such currencies, she did note that it is incumbent upon Central Banks everywhere to plan for the possibility that digital currency could become more mainstream.
Among the concerns she cited are such things as the lack of a lender of last resort for digital currencies, and a reduced ability for central banks to implement the type of monetary policies that can impact economies during crisis situations. Wilkins argues that those factors, along with innovations that are altering the landscape of the financial sector, all represent the emergence of a new global monetary dynamic.
Antonopoulos Claims Bitcoin Advances Hindered by Trolls.
There’s always a bridge that must be traversed from the present to the future, and all too often there are those who try to prevent the progress necessary to get from one side of that bridge to the other. Within the Bitcoin community, that bridge sometimes seems to be getting even more difficult to traverse, as debates over everything from technological changes to new protocols seem mired in controversy and heated discussions that threaten to slow progress even more. Andreas Antonopoulos, author of Mastering Bitcoin, thinks that he understands why some of this extreme debate is occurring: trolls.
And no, he doesn’t mean that kind of troll. In this story, there are no smelly fantasy creatures lurking under bridges waiting for goats to cross. Instead, Antonopoulos is referring to internet trolls - the type who frequent forums and attempt to disrupt productive conversations through a combination of insults, illogical dissent, and outright negativity. According to the author and other thinkers such as Core Developer Greg Maxwell, it at times seems as though there are outside powers sending internet trolls into these discussion forums with the express intent of shutting down progress toward consensus.
Some of these trolls may be doing it for fun, but it is also likely that many are paid for their disruptive work, either by competing cryptocurrencies or by governments that want to halt what they see as competition for their own national currencies. Over time, trolling activities create the type of online environment that discourages productive participation, while also sowing the seeds of dissent that can prevent competing ideas from reaching the consensus necessary for positive developmental progress.
CoinTelegraph Moves to Help Paris Terror Victims.
Online cryptocurrency informational magazine CoinTelegraph has proposed an initiative to provide aid to the victims of last weekend’s terror attack in Paris, France. In addition to seeking Bitcoin donations that will help provide direct assistance to those victims and their families, the news site is also seeking help in contacting anyone in the French government who can help them coordinate their fundraising activities. Anyone who has any information that could assist them with this worthy endeavor can contact the organizers at [email protected].
And in Case You Missed it…
I have to confess to having a soft spot for the Big Mac. Yes, I know that’s a weakness that will probably be the death of me someday, but there’s just something about that particular sandwich that speaks to my inner hedonist. So, it was with great interest that I learned this week that the Economist’s 1980s-era Big Mac Index has now been extended to include Bitcoin by BitBond. Check out Thomas Moore’s excellent summation of the Bitcoin purchasing power index in his article Big Mac Index for Bitcoin.
Just a word to the wise, though: you might want to eat before you read it. I didn’t, and ended up making a trip to the local McDonalds after seeing the beautiful image chosen for the piece. I blame our editor for the extra pounds I gained as a result of that adventure…
Our Deepest Condolences.
Finally, everyone here at DCEBrief would like to offer our collective condolences to the victims and families of those whose lives were lost in a number of savage terrorist attacks this month. With all of the justifiable outpouring of sympathy and support for the people of France over the course of the last week, it is perhaps easy to forget that Beirut suffered the loss of 43 people in a suicide bombing just a day prior to the Paris attacks. Just two days ago, similar attacks in Nigeria killed at least 49 people. 34 other victims died the day before in another attack on a market. Just today, gunmen took more than 150 people hostage in a hotel in Mali. More will surely follow in the days, weeks, and months to come.
Terror knows no national boundaries, and does not discriminate in its desire to destroy all that is good in society. Our hearts go out to all who have suffered its effects in recent days, as we extend our thoughts and prayers to the victims of these barbaric assaults on civilization.