Gyft is reporting a drop in Bitcoin payments, but Barclays is about to take the digital currency into the mainstream. Here are the cryptocurrency highlights of week 36:
- While 2014 was a strong year for Bitcoin in terms of merchant adoption, 2015 has so far been more about the blockchain while merchants are finding themselves with disappointing results from BTC payments. Digital card platform Gyft is the latest company to be added to this list. When Gyft first integrated Bitcoin payments in 2013 they accounted for 90 percent of sales, but more traditional payment methods such as PayPal and credit cards have managed to reverse the numbers as they currently account for 90 percent of sales. CEO Vinny Lingham points to Bitcoin’s price volatility as the main reason for this, stating “it’s just not stable and you can’t price things in the currency”.
- One the other hand Bitcoin transactions may receive a big boost from Barclays, one of Britain’s biggest banks. The Sunday Times is reporting that Barclays is about to take the first step in bringing the digital currency “into the mainstream”. Initially the bank will allow people to make donations to charities in Bitcoin. To do this, the bank has stepped into a partnership with a Bitcoin exchange. The experiment will start by the end of 2015.
- The last batch of a little more than 44,000 Bitcoins seized by the US Marshals Service (USMS) from online drug market place Silk Road will be likely be auctioned off this year. The USMS had previously already auctioned off 130,000 Bitcoins from the 174,000 coins it had originally seized from Silk Road in total. Even though the winning bids are not disclosed (and likely below market rates), it can be estimated that the sales have so far generated about $50 million. At current rates, the last batch could add another $10 million.
- Former US Secret Service agent Shaun Bridges, who went rogue during the investigation into Silk Road, has pled guilty to money laundering and obstruction of justice. Bridges managed to steal $820,000 worth of Bitcoin from the online drug market place and is now facing a maximum of 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine.
- The price of Bitcoin is no longer going sideways. Compared to the previous week the price has increased by more than two percent or about $6 per coin. The current exchange rate is roughly $234 per BTC. The price of Litecoin stabilized in the second week after its first halving event, currently trading just one percent higher than one week ago at $2.89 per coin.