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Big News Week For Bitcoin

by Chris Poindexter

A Bit About Bitcoins

[Edit 11:11 am PDT:] Tim Draper, partners with Vaurum, announced today that they were the mystery winners of all 30,000 Btc in the recent auction by the US Marshals Service. In a post on their blog, Vaurum announced the win, and their intention to use the Bitcoin they bought in the auction to provide liquidity for Bitcoin services and an exchange in emerging markets.  

It’s been a good week for Bitcoin, with prices moving higher in midweek trading. One Bitcoin is currently trading for $641, up nearly $100 from this time last week. What that means in a low-liquidity market is a matter of debate — but the news has been overall positive for Bitcoin, and those who bought in last week, while prices were on a downward slope, are ahead by roughly 16% this week.

bitcoin_chartThe biggest news of the week was the announcement by the US Marshals Service of a single winner of the 30,000 Bitcoins auctioned off on June 27th. All 30,000 coins went to a single winning bidder, who was not identified and has not come forward; neither was the winning bid disclosed. All we know so far is that the winner was not one of the syndicates run by SecondMarket, Coinbase, Pantera Bitcoin, or the Bitcoin Shop. The winner beat out 45 qualified bidders, and the agency received 63 bids during the auction. The coins were delivered to the winner on July 1st.

Bitcoin got a boost when tech retailer Newegg, partnering with Bitcoin transaction processor Bitpay, announced it had started accepting payments in the virtual currency. Perhaps it’s somewhat ironic that Newegg is one of the companies that sells hardware to Bitcoin miners, the individuals and groups running collections of computers that solve the equations that create new blocks of Bitcoins. As one of the biggest online tech hardware dealers, it was surprising Newegg waited as long as it did.bitcoin_pay

In California, Governor Jerry Brown signed legislation on Saturday lifting California’s ban on accepting payments in anything other than US dollars. The law is likely to promote more mainstream acceptance of Bitcoin, and other cryptocurrencies like Dogecoin. The new legislation also addresses other payment options, like Amazon Coins and Starbuck’s Stars, according to a press release from Assemblymember Roger Dickinson (D-Sacramento), who introduced the legislation.

In another bit of good news, US residents around the globe, scrambling to fill out their Form 114 Report of Foreign Bank and Financial Accounts, commonly called FBAR, by the June 30th deadline apparently did not have to include their Bitcoin holdings, although the agency reserved the possibility that additional guidance may be coming in the future. The scope of the law is quite broad, and requires Americans to report almost any type of foreign bank, brokerage, or credit card account worth more than $10,000 in any calendar year. Penalties for non-compliance are steep, up to 50% of the account balance for deliberate non-reporting.

At least for the moment, the IRS is still trying to come to terms with Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies, and still classifies them as property. The fact the agency reserved the ability to issue further guidance in the future could mean that even the IRS is starting to come around to the idea of digital currency.

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