Bitcoin Finance News Roundup - 16th March 2015

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Bitcoin Finance News Roundup – 16th March 2015

Price news

The psychological $300 barrier was momentarily breached on Tuesday this week, and bitcoin looks to be continuing its slow but steady rise for another assault on the barrier next week.

Seven-day average price: $288.53 End of week market cap: $4.0 billion

(Prices quoted according to Coindesk Bitcoin Price Index)

US Bitcoin Auction Winners Revealed

Following my article last week, some of the winners of the US government’s auction have been announced. The first reveal was US bitcoin exchange itBit announcing that they had won 3,000 of the 50,000 bitcoins on offer. This seems like an strange move for a bitcoin exchange, because it’s not clear why an exchange would require any large surplus of bitcoin.

According to the US Marshalls, there were two other winners of 20,000 and 27,000 BTC. Thanks to some blockchain sleuths, the winner of the 27,000 has been traced back to a mysterious bitcoin company called “Cumberland Mining”. To buy such a large chunk of coins ($8m at current prices), Cumberland are obviously not a small player and seem to have connections to a number of major bitcoin exchanges, yet their business is as yet unknown.

Blythe Masters Joins Bitcoin Startup

In a hugely surprising move, Blythe Masters, former head of JPMorgan Chase commodities trading platform, has joined cryptocurrency startup Digital Asset Holdings (DAH) as chief executive. DAH is building a trading platform for financial assets based on bitcoin for use by institutions such as big banks and asset managers.

As a major player in the traditional finance industry, Masters was instrumental in developing the credit default swap market and her move to the world of bitcoin has been described as the equivalent of “Darth Vader joining the light side”.

There is little information on exactly how this platform is going to work and I’ll be following the developments closely. For now it looks like financial assets will be linked to the blockchain, rather than the platform being used to trade bitcoin the currency itself.

Goldman Sachs Release Report Praising Bitcoin

Another story this week that points to the traditional financial establishment jumping on the bitcoin bandwagon is the release of the Goldman Sachs’ report “The Future of Finance: Redefining The Way We Pay in the Next Decade”.

The report discusses bitcoin’s potential to revolutionise transactions, describing bitcoin and and cryptocurrencies as a ‘megatrend’. Considering such a positive review of the technology, it will be interesting to see if Goldman makes any moves to get involved in the space this year.

Record Bitcoin VC Funding

Bitcoin startup 21 Inc. have announced the completion of a record $116m in venture funding. We’re not even through March and 2015 VC funding in the bitcoin industry has already reached $191m. 2015 certainly looks set to break last year’s total investment of $347m.

While slightly less mysterious than Cumberland Mining, no one is quite sure what 21 are planning to do. Whatever it is, it looks like it might involve some combination of bitcoin, consumer appliances, the internet of things and ecommerce. Now that they have announced funding hopefully we’ll be finding out soon.

Full disclosure: Neil Woodfine is an employee of bitcoin exchange OKCoin and is invested in bitcoin. The views expressed above are purely the author’s own and do not represent any organisation. None of the above should be considered as investment advice.

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