Monday, 18 November 2013

BitBuzz Daily: Senate hearings and that price surge - A roundup of bitcoin news from around the web

If you are reading this, unless you have been hiding under a rock recently, you are probably already aware that the price of bitcoin exploded to new heights, hitting $750 overnight. That, apparently is due to a surge in trading over in Asia as reported by CNBC and also an expectation that the Senate hearings into digital currency, held by US Homeland Security, will have a favourable outcome for bitcoin.

On that note, and as expected, much of the bitcoin news around today, is related to those hearings of course and so far, according to Timothy B. Lee at The Washington Post, it has been a bit of a bitcoin love fest.

The Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs, chaired by Sen. Tom Carper (D-Del.), is holding the first congressional hearing on the future of Bitcoin. The first panel features senior figures from the Obama administration. And their comments about Bitcoin have been remarkably positive.
After the officials gave their opening statements, Carper's first question drew a parallel to the Internet. He pointed out that in the early days of the Internet revolution, many people raised concerns about illicit use of Internet technologies. Yet in the long run, he argued, the Internet has had a hugely beneficial effect on peoples lives, making possible previously unimagined services like Facebook and YouTube. Carper wanted to know if the witnesses saw Bitcoin in the same light.

One of the people testifying at this week's hearings is Jerry Brito, who believes if the US come down too harshly on bitcoin, it will go elsewhere. In his piece for The Guardian, he looks at how the debate over the growth of bitcoin hinges on US regulation and if they try to exert too much control, the States will end up losing out to countries such as China and Canada.

If the United States does not foster a reasonable regulatory environment for Bitcoin, the country might soon lose its head start in what could be the next great technological revolution. That's the message policymakers should hear today and tomorrow when the US Senate holds hearings on the virtual currency.
While Bitcoin is an international phenomenon, the United States has been central to its growth to date. Bitcoin's lead developer, Gavin Andresen, is an American based in the United States, as is the Bitcoin Foundation that employs him. The most innovative startups building out Bitcoin's infrastructure are also US-based. These include the merchant services provider Bitpay in Atlanta, backed by PayPal founder and early Facebook investor Peter Thiel, and the consumer-friendly wallet service Coinbase in Silicon Valley, backed by early Twitter funders Union Square Ventures.

What these Senate hearings and price rise have done, if nothing else, is suddenly push bitcoin into the spotlight in mainstream press. The Telegraph in the UK published this article about the price surge and the hearings are also covered by Ryan Tracy in The Wall Street Journal here.

In Australia, the Sydney Morning Herald mentions how the Senate Committee have been told bitcoin is “a legal means of exchange.”

And, yes, all of the above, comment on the price of bitcoin, which, you will now know soared ahead of the hearings. When everyone starts talking about the new highs reached, China usually comes into the conversation. This article on CNN by Stan Stalnaker explains why China wants to dominate bitcoin.

China is quietly positioning itself to dominate the brave new world of Bitcoin.
Until recently the digital cyrptocurrency was considered a joke by the financial mainstream, but the view is starting to shift now that prices have surged above their April peak and are now hovering around $600.

Bitcoins are still being viewed cautiously by lawmakers and regulators in the United States. In fact, there are two Senate hearings this week about the risks Bitcoin poses. But that is decidedly not the case in China. There has been a steady drumbeat of positive news in the Chinese press this year, including a landmark report on CCTV, China's national television network.

China's fascination with the currency upstart resulted in an estimated 40,000 client downloads a day and a burgeoning acceptance rate from online retailers down to physical traders standing in Tiananmen Square.

A very Senate hearing and bitcoin-price centric roundup today but it’s what the world is talking about right now and I am not sure that will change much this week!

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