Capital Group went to the North American
Bitcoin Conference we met with many of the leading people in the industry
on cryptocurrencies, and received a lot of opinions on the future of the market.
Last week we published an article called “Bitcoin Arrives”
which went over cryptocurrency from a historical and ideological perspective by
highlighting some key information in the industry.
It seems that people are moving past the idea that these
cryptocurrencies, like “Bitcoin”, will be used for illegal activity. Whether it
was a payment processor, a merchant, a banker, or a government official, each
had their individual opinions about how to properly handle it. One side is
talking about how the United States government will come in and regulate the newly
adopted payment processor, while some are arguing about how it’s a temporary
thing and going away.
In New York, the Bitcoin
community met with regulators to negotiate how to handle this new form or
system of payment. The New York Department of Financial Services discussed
about “BitLicense” as a potential requirement since the digital currency
exchange platforms that are popping up are now deemed “transmitters of money”.
If the company is accepting a FIAT currency into Bitcoin, and exchanging it
among users as well as different currencies, the company is being categorized
as a transmitter of money, and this is a place where the government is required
to regulate how these transactions are handled.
The New York State Attorney’s Office Office charged
Charlie Shrem, CEO of BitInstant, for facilitating in a money laundering
scheme, who oddly enough was suppose to be at the North America Bitcoin Conference.
The focus in this case though is not the use of Bitcoin itself but the way he transacted
with Silk Road users. The same process of money laundering can be done with
cash, gold, or wire fraud. Government officials are looking at the lack of
regulation that is surrounding Bitcoin.
Other than regulation, it’s important to watch how companies
are reacting to this lack of government oversight. Yesterday, we saw a big blow
to the Bitcoin community when Apple removed the last Bitcoin wallet app Blockchain
from their app store. Bitstamp dropped as low as $752 yesterday with the
release of this information, which seems to be a reaction to the news. This
still seems to be pretty stable compared to the 50% drop when China’s biggest
Bitcoin exchange, BTCChina, stopped accepting deposits in Chinese yuan in
December. The market has seemed to be less volatile recently when China allowed the
acceptance of the Chinese yuan again this past week.
As more governments are opening up to digital currencies, we
are seeing more support from big companies. Overstock’s CEO Jonathan Johnson is
active in the limelight on his personal investment in Bitcoin and started
accepting Bitcoin at Overstock. Now Overstock is discussing about accepting the
less talked about altcoins. Accepting Bitcoin for companies has brought in some
pretty good press and sales. Tigerdirect
accepted Bitcoin, and did $250,000 in sales in 17 hours. Now we see more
companies that are accepting Bitcoin like Tesla, Zynga, Dominos Pizza, Virgin
Galactic, Wordpress, and many more.
There is much speculation about the market with numerous articles
covering various movements. The Google support team discusses their integration
of Bitcoin for Google Play, while Google Ventures has funded a Bitcoin startup
called Ripple. Overstock.com’s CEO claims
it’s a matter of time before Amazon accepts Bitcoin. Ebay has publicly backed
the idea of integrating Bitcoin while Coinbase has recently received $25
million from Silicon Valley venture
capital firm Andreessen Horowitz.
What we are seeing is a pretty positive growth in the
market, and a lot of attention from various venture capital and investment
companies. If we look at the price of Bitcoin we are seeing it continue to
go up with some reversals, but ultimately in an upward trend. We see a lot of
activity in this market and continue to monitor what is happening in the
You can read this article posted on Development Capital Groups Blog, here