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The U.S. Government Tried To Shut Down Bitcoin

Bitcoin conspiracy theorists have long suspected the U.S. government, among others, would like to shut down bitcoin.

Bitcoin’s first decade has seen its price explode, making early adopters overnight millionaires, and prompting some of the world’s biggest technology companies to create their own versions of bitcoin.

Now, it’s been revealed federal prosecutor-turned bitcoin and cryptocurrency expert Katie Haun was asked to look into “shutting down” bitcoin by her boss at the U.S. attorney’s office in 2012.

“They said ‘we have this perfect assignment for you’–there’s this thing called bitcoin and we need to investigate it,” Haun told CNBC in a wide-ranging interview, adding a colleague asked her to take down bitcoin.

“That was the first time I’d ever heard of bitcoin.”

Over the next few years Haun would go on to sit on the board of U.S. bitcoin and cryptocurrency exchange Coinbase and teach a class on cryptocurrency at Stanford Law School.

Today In: Money

Any serious attempt made by the U.S. Department of Justice to shut down bitcoin inevitably came to naught, with Haun saying, “it would have been akin to saying ‘let’s go prosecute cash.'”

Haun, who is now the first female general partner at U.S. venture capital firm Andreessen Horowitz and co-heads its $350 million cryptocurrency fund, has worked closely with social media giant Facebook in development of its troubled libra cryptocurrency project.

U.S. government opposition to bitcoin and cryptocurrencies has become far more transparent since Donald Trump entered the White House.

Earlier this year, U.S. president Trump sent shockwaves throughout the bitcoin and cryptocurrency industry when he tweeted a vicious attack on Facebook’s bitcoin rival plans, branding it and bitcoin “unregulated crypto assets.”

Others in the U.S. government were quick to tow the line, with U.S. Treasury secretary Steven Mnuchin adding his voice to the assault on bitcoin, Facebook’s planned Libra crypto project, and other cryptocurrencies, warning they pose a “national security” risk to the country.

Elsewhere, Apple chief executive Tim Cook has warned companies against creating their own cryptocurrencies.

“What we heard with libra were the same criticisms [I’d first heard about bitcoin]” Haun said.

“They were just heightened and they got more attention because of the high-profile nature of the project and the fact that Facebook was involved. I think it would be a really dangerous thing, and frankly a dangerous precedent to start shutting down technology before it’s built.”

Facebook’s libra has been under fire over the last week, with internet payments company PayPal, one of the Libra Association’s founding members, suddenly pulling out of the group on Friday.

Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook founder and chief executive, had hoped to work with global regulators to clear libra’s path to launch in June 2020 but appears to have underestimated the level of opposition to the scheme.

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I am a journalist with significant experience covering technology, finance, economics, and business around the world. As the founding editor of Verdict.co.uk I reported on how technology is changing business, political trends, and the latest culture and lifestyle. I have covered the rise of bitcoin and cryptocurrency since 2012 and have charted its emergence as a niche technology into the greatest threat to the established financial system the world has ever seen and the most important new technology since the internet itself. I have worked and written for CityAM, the Financial Times, and the New Statesman, amongst others. Follow me on Twitter @billybambrough or email me on billyATbillybambrough.com. Disclosure: I occasionally hold some small amount of bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies.

Source: The U.S. Government Tried To Shut Down Bitcoin

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Tim Draper Believes Bitcoin Will Grab 5% of the Earth’s Market Share

While Elon Musk and Jeff Bezos are focused on Mars, billionaire venture capitalist Tim Draper has his feet firmly planted on the ground. Draper might appear to have his head stuck in the clouds with a lofty $250,000 bitcoin price prediction. But from what he tells Fox Business, the early bitcoin investor isn’t stargazing:

“I’m a believer that in four years, something like that, bitcoin will be about a 5% market share of the earth.”

Draper’s Bitcoin War Chest is a Cool $189 Million

He pointed to bitcoin’s best features such as decentralization, transparency, and simply being a better currency than fiat. Draper was an early bitcoin investor, having purchased 30,000 BTC when the price was hovering at $632 per coin. He points out that the investment is worth 10x that amount today, and he’s got no doubt that it’s going much higher.

Draper envisions a future in which bitcoin further disrupts the venture capital business model.

“I eventually want to have a fund where I take in bitcoin and I fund everybody in bitcoin and they pay their employees and suppliers in bitcoin. And then I pay my investors in bitcoin. Because I would then require no acounting, no legal, no bookeeeping, no custody. It would all be done.”

Considering that transactions would be recorded on the blockchain, all relevant participants would be able to see everything. Tim is a big fan of bitcoin but he keeps an open mind about other cryptocurrencies, too. Though he does expect that the number of coins will be whittled down to only the best projects.

Tim Draper has a $250,000 price target on bitcoin. | Source: CoinMarketCap

Tim Draper on Facebook

Everyone knows Facebook is pursuing a $1 billion fund for its new stablecoin, and Draper has been linked to discussions with the company about the initiative. Incidentally, the gloves came off on one of Facebook’s founding members earlier this week, with Chris Hughes calling for the breakup of Mark Zuckerberg’s company. Draper isn’t buying into it.

“If the shareholders will benefit somehow by a breakup, then sure go ahead and do it. But the idea that he has all this centralized power…I think he’s just building a business and it’s a great business. And there are plenty of competitors to him out there. And I’m very pleased that he’s done so well.”

If his tone is any indication, perhaps we will be hearing about a VC investment into Zuckerberg’s new blockchain project.

Meanwhile, the bitcoin price is currently hovering at $6,379. It’s a far cry from Tim Draper’s $250,000 target but if he’s right and it captures 5% of the earth’s market share, the moon will seem a lot closer than it does today.

Source: Tim Draper Believes Bitcoin Will Grab 5% of the Earth’s Market Share

NYSE-Linked Bitcoin Exchange Bakkt Just Unveiled a Major Acquisition

Bakkt – the cryptocurrency startup launched by New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) owner Intercontinental Exchange – just yanked the lid off the full range of its blockchain ambitions.

The firm announced today that it has acquired Digital Asset Custody Company (DACC) as part of its efforts to gain regulatory approval for its crypto products.

Reportedly, Bakkt is less concerned with merely building a Bitcoin exchange than they are with offering institutional custody and payment platform services, all of which still requires regulatory approval.

Bakkt Acquires Crypto Custodian DACC

bakkt bitcoin futures

Bitcoin startup Bakkt acquired a crypto custodian to help bring its regulated platform to market. | Source: Shutterstock

The company recently announced its application for a BitLicense, and it is also pushing to become a trust company in New York. The company’s efforts have been repeatedly stalled by regulatory delays, despite positive news around its partnerships with Starbucks, Microsoft, and others.

Coinbase previously acquired a trust charter with the New York Department of Financial Services. Becoming a trust can be a faster process than becoming a BitLicense recipient, which can take several years. Bakkt says in a new blog post that it’s applied for a charter, and recently we reported that they’re also seeking a BitLicense.

Bakkt wants to offer Bitcoin futures contracts that pay out in cryptocurrency, which would set them apart from other Bitcoin futures offerings. Bakkt has several other ambitious projects in mind, but it must get through several layers of red tape before it finally launches.

Adam White wrote in Bakkt’s blog today:

“To provide regulated custody, we have filed with the New York Department of Financial Services for approval to become a trust company and in this capacity serve as a Qualified Custodian for digital assets. […] It is with that same commitment to setting a new standard for securely storing digital assets that we’re excited to announce that we have acquired Digital Asset Custody Company (DACC). DACC shares our security-first mindset and brings extensive experience offering secure, scalable custody solutions to institutional clients. The team’s experience integrating multiple blockchains and operating cutting-edge consensus mechanisms is a valuable addition to our team and future product line.”

Bakkt CEO Kelly Loeffler told Fortune:

“From the ground up what ICE has been building for two years is the safest version of a custody solution for digital assets.”

Custody: The Key to Mass Bitcoin Adoption?

bitcoin wallet crypto

A lack of regulated custodians has kept many crypto-curious institutions out of the burgeoning asset class. | Source: Shutterstock

Bakkt and Coinbase have both claimed that offering secure, modern custodial solutions for cryptocurrency will encourage institutional investors to expand their portfolios to include the speculative asset class. Thus far, Coinbase and Circle’s offerings have yet to make a significant dent in the overall market.

Fidelity, a traditional assets management company, also nears completion of its custodial solution. A range of options doesn’t necessarily equate to investor interest, but their availability may play a vital role during any future bull run. Institutional investors will, at a minimum, have several popular options to choose from if they consider getting into the market, opportunities that didn’t exist in previous times.

Bakkt’s current push is three-pronged:

  • They’ve acquired a company already engaged in playing custodian to digital assets.
  • They’ve applied for a BitLicense.
  • They’re working to become a registered trust.

There are other avenues they might still pursue, such as operating without New York as an available market at first. What is clear is that the company is anxious to get into the game, and the recent bull market activity is probably not far from their mind.

Source: NYSE-Linked Bitcoin Exchange Bakkt Just Unveiled a Major Acquisition

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Bitcoin Trading Volume in Venezuela Explodes to All-time High

In the last week, the amount of Bitcoin traded by Venezuelans via the LocalBitcoins peer-to-peer platform exploded by 30%, to reach an all-time high. The trading by residents of the financially troubled country, whose native Bolivar has been devalued by long-term hyper-inflation, amounted to the equivalent of $8.9m over the seven days up to February 8th. The news comes in the wake of the weekend announcement of new restrictions on the trading of cryptocurrencies for residents of Venezuela by its government, with the South American country’s authorities………….

Source: CryptoGlobe

Bitcoin (BTC) Darknet Transactions Doubled In 2018: Why This Is Bullish

 

Since Bitcoin (BTC) burst onto the global stage in 2009, the cryptocurrency, known for its decentralized, immutable, censorship-resistant, pseudonymous, and borderless nature, has become a medium for transactions of all shapes and size. And just like U.S. dollars and other government-issued currencies, BTC has found use cases in illicit transactions. Whether it be purchasing questionable goods or otherwise, the flagship cryptocurrency has found a place……..

Source: Bitcoin (BTC) Darknet Transactions Doubled In 2018: Why This Is Bullish

Crypto Market Begins to Fall Rapidly Again: Bitcoin Below $3,500

Bitcoin fell below $3,500 as $5 billion was wiped out of the crypto market, and major digital assets like Ethereum recorded a six percent drop against the U.S. dollar. The 4.8 percent drop in the combined valuation of all cryptocurrencies in the global market comes after a strong sell-off on January 11………

Source: Crypto Market Begins to Fall Rapidly Again: Bitcoin Below $3,500

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