Bitcoin Weekly Recap 5-20-2016
Russian Anti-Bitcoin Proposal Withdrawn
The Russian Ministry of Finance has withdrawn a legislative proposal that would effectively ban Bitcoin and other digital currencies, after receiving criticism last week from the Justice Ministry and others who objected to the measure. The bill had been in the process of being debated by the Duma, even as various government ministries have offered wildly differing opinions on the topic. Some have criticized the redundant nature of certain aspects of the Finance Ministry proposal, while others have focused on the overly broad language in the draft version of the bill and the lack of justification for criminalizing the technology.
Officials have acknowledged that the measure could be re-submitted at some time in the future. For now, however, the odds of an imminent ban on cryptocurrency seems to have been dramatically reduced. Some are already calling for additional public debate on the issue so that future standoffs can be avoided.
Canadian Judge Dismissed $500 Million MtGox Class Action
An effort to bring a class action on behalf of roughly 100 Canadian Bitcoin users who suffered losses as a result of the MtGox theft came to an end recently when an Ontario judge dismissed the suit. Though there is a token effort to maintain the suit, that will apparently come to an end on June 17 when the dismissal is finalized. The attorneys representing the group, Charney Lawyers PC, announced the case’s dismissal on Wednesday.
Coindesk has reported that sources have indicated that the exchanges’ bankruptcy filing last year was a clear factor in the judge’s decision to deny the plaintiffs class action status. It should be noted that this development does not bar the plaintiffs from filing individual cases to press their claims, provided that there are no statutory limitations on those actions.
Hacker Steals Bitcoin; Gives it Away to Fight Terror
In one of the stranger stories involving Bitcoin, the hacker known only by the alias Phineas Fisher has reportedly stolen 25 Bitcoins and donated them to a crowdfunding project for the Rojava Plan. Rojava is a region in Syria that has been autonomous since 2012. The region is currently under embargo by the Kurdistan Regional Government, and has turned to crowdfunding to raise money for its fight against the terrorist group ISIS.
“Fisher” acknowledged that the donated money was stolen electronically from a bank, and promised more donations of that kind in the near future.
Mycelium Crowdsale Raises More Than $2 Million
Mycelium’s recent crowdsale effort netted the Bitcoin wallet service more than $2 million in investment funding since it was launched on May 1st 2016. The crowdsale made news at launch for its unique approach to fundraising. Investors who purchased the company’s colored coin tokens were able to receive a percentage of the company in Stock Appreciation Rights.
Mycelium also recently announced that it was integrating the Gildera payment system for fiat currency – a move that is designed to enable the company’s customers inside Canada and the U.S. to use their national currencies to purchase Bitcoin. That announcement comes on the heels of last month’s news concerning the company’s plans to issue a new wallet product with expanded support for digital assets, a variety of currencies, and multiple platforms.
Fake Hacker Convicted of Bitcoin Extortion of Mitt Romney
The US Department of Justice recently obtained a conviction against Michael Mancin Brown, the Tennessee man who had falsely claimed to have stolen 2012 Presidential candidate Mitt Romney’s tax returns and tried to extort $1 million in Bitcoin from his accountants. After accounting firm PriceWaterhouseCoopers refused to pay, Brown took to Pastebin to further his scheme. He was identified by the Federal Bureau of Investigation soon after, and a raid of his home revealed evidence of the extortion effort.
What they did not find, however, was evidence that he had ever hacked anything. Apparently, it was all a scam – from beginning to end. Unfortunately for Brown, that end will formally take place at his sentencing hearing in August, where he could face as much as 25 years in prison and $250,000 in fines.