Visa is no longer ignoring Bitcoin and 22 companies have applied for a BitLicense. Here are the cryptocurrency highlights of week 33:
- The biggest payment processors for credit cards, Visa, will reportedly start researching Bitcoin and blockchain technology soon. The company certainly is not the first to do so, but Visa previously acted indifferent towards the digital currency and even stated it does not see Bitcoin as a serious business threat. The latter was remarkable because other financial institutions such as Citi reached a different conclusion, as Bitcoin offers a cheap alternative to the high fees charged by Visa and its competitors. It looks like Visa has now realized that burying their head in the sand is not a great survival strategy and will not make Bitcoin go away.
- The New York State Department of Financial Services (NYDFS) has received 22 initial BitLicense applications. The deadline for filling the applications was on August 8, 2015. The list of companies that applied for a BitLicense include Coinbase, Coinsetter and BitStamp. In the meanwhile the list of companies excluding New York residents from their services is also still growing. Genesis Mining, LocalBitcoins, BitQuick and Kraken have banned New York residents from using their service.
- We already knew Bitcoin was a popular payment method for so-called ransomware, but now a blackmailer in the Netherlands is taking demanding ransoms to be paid in Bitcoin to the next level. An unknown person is targeting the Jumbo supermarket chain, a chain that includes 579 stores, with explosives and sending blackmail letters asking for a large sum of money in Bitcoin. Since May this year, explosives have been found near several stores. In one case the explosive also exploded causing minor damage but no injuries.
- Bitcoin got another big supporter this week as the globally recognized comedian Louis CK became the first major comedian to accept payments with the digital currency. Besides stand-up comedy Louis CK is also known for creating and starring in his own American television sitcom Lucky Louie. Louis CK has chosen BitPay as the processor for Bitcoin payments via his website, which is now one of the four available payment options in total.
- Bitcoin has not yet ended its losing streak, declining for already the third week in a row. This week the digital currency lost almost two percent of its value, or roughly $5 per coin. One Bitcoin can currently be bought at an exchange rate of about $266 per BTC. The recently launched altcoin Ethereum experienced a significantly better week, more than doubling its value to a current rate of $1.71 per ETH.