Bitcoin Weekly Recap 7-1-2016
Another French Politician Denounces Bitcoin
Yet another French politician has come out against Bitcoin recently. This time, it was Paris’ Bernard Debré, who currently represents the city as a National Assembly of France deputy. After learning that some people are using Bitcoin to purchase drugs online, Debré responded to a question about how to deal with the situation by calling for the well-known digital currency to be banned in the city. He then went a step further and suggested that Maison du Bitcoin – the Bitcoin center that was first opened in Paris in 2014 - should be removed from the city entirely.
Referring to that online Darknet where those drugs were being bought and sold, Debré noted that you can purchase almost anything from it. He cited weapons, explosives, drugs, and other illicit items among the items he found listed for sale. The Assembly member reportedly believes that a ban on Bitcoin operations in the French capital will have a significant impact on reducing Parisian participation in that online criminal activity.
Indian Merchant Payment Processing Brings Bitcoin to Main Street
BitPay has partnered with India’s Coinsecure Bitcoin trading platform to successfully provide merchants in India with the ability to accept Bitcoin payments from the nation’s 1.2 billion consumers. That means that the world’s second-most populous country will see the digital currency take on a more mainstream feel as Indian Bitcoin users begin to use their coins to purchase tangible goods. Merchants who accept the payments will be able to receive the country’s national currency as payouts.
The achievement is being promoted as an excellent opportunity for the people of India, who often confront a variety of payment challenges in their everyday lives. Many lack basic banking services, and many others have difficulty getting debit or credit cards. This new option will enable those consumers to buy and use Bitcoin for online purchases, expanding e-commerce in the country even as it expands awareness and acceptance for Bitcoin.
New Plutus App Makes Crypto Wallets Contactless Cards
Despite new technologies designed to facilitate merchant ability to accept Bitcoin for purchases, overall acceptance for digital currency payments has been a slow work in progress. London-based startup Plutus hopes to accelerate that mainstreaming process with a new app designed to enable any contactless payment terminal to accept either Bitcoin or Ethereum payments. Unlike many previous payment terminal options, however, the new app will enable the payments even when the merchant does not actually accept digital currency payments.
Bitcoin and Ethereum are converted during the payment process so that the actual payment amount is presented as fiat currency. As a result, merchants will not only not need to actively accept digital currency as payment, but will not even be aware that those currencies are being used.
The company plans to launch the decentralized exchange that will provide support for the app in the fall, once testing and security evaluations are completed. The app is currently ready, but won’t be unveiled until sometime this winter. Users will then be allowed to register, with Know Your Customer processes in pace to ensure that the company is in compliance with regulatory requirements.
July 1 Florida Ruling: Judge to Determine Whether Bitcoin is Money
The debate about whether Bitcoin can be accurately considered money is about to get even more interesting as a Florida judge is set to rule on a money-laundering case on July 1, 2016. At issue is a question raised by the defense in a money laundering trial that has its origins in an attempt by defendant Michel Espinoza to sell $30,000 in Bitcoin during an undercover sting operation at a motel in Miami Beach. When prosecutors charged him with money laundering violations and prohibitions against operating unlicensed money transmitting businesses, Espinoza’s attorneys countered by arguing that the laws could not apply since Bitcoin is not considered to be money.
This decision is likely to only add to the ongoing confusion among officials across the country, as different states and federal agencies have reached different conclusions about Bitcoin’s status. Defined as property by the IRS and currency by the Treasury Department’s Financial Crimes Enforcement Network, how Bitcoin is ultimately addressed remains an open question. It is unlikely that this ruling will be the final word on the matter.