Bitcoin Weekly Recap 7-22-2016
PUD to Allow Energy Rate Increase for Bitcoin Miners, ‘High Density Load Customers’ in County
In Chelan County Washington, the Public Utility District (PUD) board recently approved an energy rate increase that would allow certain “high density load customers” to be charged higher prices for their electricity usage. The targeted customers include server farms in the area, as well as technology-based enterprises like Bitcoin mining operations. The new rates are the result of an effort to recover costs associated with efforts to serve those energy-intensive commercial enterprises. According to sources, the new rates go into effect on the first day of 2017. Affected customers may be able to take advantage of a five-year period of transition, but only if they can demonstrate that they meet certain set criteria.
While the news may come as a disappointment to miners who will see their costs rise, it should ultimately eliminate the need for any renewal of the current moratorium that prevents other Bitcoin miners, server farms, and similar companies from establishing themselves in the area. That moratorium was imposed after the County’s inexpensive hydroelectric power drew a number of Bitcoin mining companies to the area several years ago. At the same time, many Bitcoin miners in the area view this as a betrayal of sorts, since they were drawn to the area with promises of cheap energy, invested money in their communities, and now find themselves targeted with higher electricity rates.
Russian Anti-Bitcoin Effort Stalling
After roughly two years of threats and attempts to stifle the spread of Bitcoin acceptance and use within their nation, Russian officials seem to be on the verge of calling for a truce of sorts. Part of that may be due to a dawning realization that digital currency may be something that the Russian government simply cannot effectively ban. It might also be due to the government’s expressed desire to attract more blockchain investment in the nation. Whatever the reason, officials have recently come out in favor of new rules that would classify Bitcoin as a foreign currency and allow for it to be used abroad without being fearful of potential prosecution at home.
The fact that the proposal is being put forth by the same Ministry of Finance that has long sought to criminalize Bitcoin and jail those who use it is just one indication that officials have realized that some accommodation may be inevitable. The proposed legislative changes would preserve the ruble’s place as the only legally permitted currency for use in Russia, while still offering some measure of conciliation to Russian Bitcoin fans.
iPayYou Unveils Twitter Payment Service
Seattle firm iPayYou recently announced the rollout of a new Twitter-focused service that provides Twitter social media account users the ability to exchange Bitcoins, regardless of whether or not the recipient has a Bitcoin wallet. Instead of sending the currency to a Bitcoin address, the sender can send it to the recipient’s Twitter handle. The tweet then directs the recipient to the company’s website. There, the Bitcoin can either be deposited in the recipient’s account or exchanged for fiat U.S. currency. The company anticipates that this new tool will be useful for everything from P2P transactions to charitable giving, and has plans to expand its capabilities to encompass other popular social media platforms.
European Union Intellectual Property Office Report Bitcoin Enables Piracy
In a report that should surprise absolutely no one, the European Union Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO) recently declared that Bitcoin is one of two main culprits in thwarting the group’s anti-piracy efforts (Tor is the other, of course). According to the report, certain Tor network providers of illegal content like music and television shows have embraced subscription models that allow users to pay using Bitcoin. EUIPO’s complaint centers on the difficulty experienced when trying to trace those Bitcoin transactions to either the customer or the pirate company. Expect this to become an even more prominent argument for increased government control of all digital currency in the near future – because methods of payment are apparently always the real villain when crimes are committed.