Bitcoin Weekly Recap 2-19-2016
Butterfly Labs Settles FTC Charges
In a statement released this week, The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) revealed that it has settled its lawsuit against Bitcoin mining company Butterfly Labs, ending litigation that had been ongoing since 2014. The suit involved FTC allegations that Butterfly engaged in deceptive business practices in both the development and sale of its mining hardware. Other allegations included claims that the company used deceptive tactics in its handling of customer orders.
Under the terms of the agreement, Butterfly Labs and two company officers have agreed to monetary penalties totaling more than $38 million. Due to a court finding of defendant inability to pay, the lion’s share of that amount was conditionally suspended. Instead, the company agreed to pay $15,000 to the FTC, and each of the two individual officers was ordered to pay $4,000. That suspension is contingent upon the defendants complying with the agreement’s terms concerning future sales, marketing, and customer order processes.
Arnhem Burger King Now Accepting Bitcoin
Bitcoin users patronizing Burger King in the Netherlands city of Arnhem can now experience the true meaning of the restaurant giant’s now-retired, but still relevant slogan, “Have it Your Way.” The famous home of the Whopper will now offer Bitcoin payment as an option for its customers, making it the 100th company in the city to accommodate the digital currency and its fans.
This is just the latest triumph for the Arnhem Bitcoin City project, which spent much of the last year working to encourage greater Bitcoin adoption within the city and transform it into what the group has termed “the world’s most Bitcoin-friendly city.” Since its launch on May 28, 2014, Bitcoin City has helped to expand the currency’s merchant base from an initial 15 businesses, in an effort to transform the city into a place where cryptocurrency users can rely solely on Bitcoin for all their purchasing needs.
New UN Paper Examines Bitcoin’s Possible Impact on Underdeveloped Nations
A researcher named Brett Scott has released a new paper for UNRISD (the United Nations Research Institute for Social Development) that explores how Bitcoin and blockchain technology are currently being used to find solutions for various economic and social problems. That paper - titled How Can Cryptocurrency and Blockchain Technology Play a Role in Building Social and Solidarity Finance? - provides his thoughts on the technology’s potential, and includes some controversial commentary suggesting that there may be hints of colonialist thought among crypto advocates. At just 25 pages of text and annotation, it’s a fairly quick read for anyone interested in another take on the subject.
Australian Flux Party Seeks Bitcoin Approach to Politics
Here’s an interesting view on politics from our friends Down Under. Reuters is reporting that the new Flux Party in Australia has some novel ideas that it wants to bring to the nation’s government. Flux has indicated that its immediate goal involves getting six of its members elected to the nation’s Senate. The party’s basic platform holds that their candidates will avoid proposing new policy prescriptions, while agreeing to forsake their own consciences. Instead, they are committed to only voting in accordance with how party members trade votes via the blockchain.
If that sounds like a departure from representative democracy as we currently know it, then give yourself a pat on the back. The Party’s founders are pretty clear about their intent to progress beyond representative democracy to what they are calling “Democracy 2.0.” Like many utopian idealists, the people behind Flux envision a world in which direct democracy - something that America’s founding fathers debated and rejected due to the danger such rule posed to individual liberty – will replace the more common representative forms of government seen in most of the world’s free nations.
Silbert: Negative Interest Rates and Cash Bans Help Bitcoin Price
In a Twitter post this week, Digital Currency Group’s Barry Silbert offered a prediction about how current monetary, finance, and social trends might impact the price of Bitcoin. The tweet made reference to a number of current trends and policy decisions: negative interest rates, efforts to ban cash, mobile growth, capital controls, and currency wars, and offered his view on what it all might mean for the world’s most well-known digital currency:
“I couldn’t dream of more bullish [sic] case for bitcoin.”