It seems that the online commerce giant eBay has its eyes on Bitcoin. This is of course a bit surprising as eBay is the owner of PayPal which has a lot to loose from Bitcoin’s success. However, in the past week two indications of eBays interest in Bitcoin have popped up.
First eBay added, and then removed, ‘Virtual Currency’ to its categories of items for sale.
But even more interestingly eBay appears to have produced a video about Bitcoin which they posted to their blog. The post is titled What’s the Deal with Bitcoins anyway? And curiously is presented without a date, seems to be only accessible directly via the URL and with this disclaimer at the top, “*This video was created for informational and educational purposes.”
The video does present Bitcoin in an unbiased and educational fashion.
The post and the video asks “What do you think? Are bitcoins the real deal?” however, comments are not allowed. … What’s the deal with eBay and Bitcoin?
Announced this week at the Inside Bitcoins conference the new DATA industry group aims to represent businesses not just in the Bitcoin space but any digital asset including, “emerging payments, virtual currency, and other financial technology innovations”.
DATA, or the Digital Asset Transfer Authority’s founding members include the CEO’s of leading Bitcoin businesses such as BitInstant, BitPay, & BitStamp as well as the CEO’s of other digital currency businesses including Ripple’s OpenCoin and Ven.
However, the groups stated goals seem sure to heat up the regulation debate.
To reach this potential, to inspire confidence in the services we offer, and to ensure fair and responsible treatment of consumers and merchants, we believe our industry must evolve in compliance with law and regulation. We must work proactively with regulators and policymakers to adapt their requirements to our technologies and business models. We must develop and implement common risk management and compliance standards that address the public policy concerns associated with our businesses. And our firms must build risk management and compliance programs that meet those standards.
As Bitcoin continues its move towards the mainstream and Bitcoin businesses experience rocky relations with bankers and regulators, now is a good time to look at previous leaders in the digital currency world.
In the late 90’s and early 2000’s, e-gold was the industry leader. As one of the world’s first successful online payment systems e-gold was a pioneer using many now standard practices such as SSL connections and API’s. Brought down by a run in with regulators in 2008 the e-gold story is required reading for anyone involved in the digital currency world.
Sent in by Wikipedia editor Cadwallader, below is a thoroug review of the e-gold story.
Dwolla is a popular method of moving funds between USD and Bitcoin largely because they “claimed zero chance of chargebacks and appeared to be a small business run by decent people who weren’t necessarily Bitcoin-friendly but at least didn’t seem to be Bitcoin hostile.”
However it seems that Dwolla is going the way of PayPal and has now begun suspending accounts do to ‘suspicious activity’, especially the accounts of user who it suspects are acting as a virtual currency exchange, forbidden in it user agreement. And it seems this move may be due to regulatory pressure.
Monetas is building software for a decentralized financial and legal system that is less dependent on traditional bankers and lawyers.
The business’ founders, Chris Odom (Fellow Traveler) and Johann Gevers aim to make this ‘financial system 2.0’ possible by developing commercial versions of the Open Transactions digital finance library. This software will allow digital finance entrepreneurs to startup micropayment services, financial markets, community currencies, escrow services, and many others all without depending on the traditional banking or legal system.
Johann, Monetas’ CEO, recently shared with me his thoughts on finance, his belief in decentralized systems and his plans for Monetas.
This is particularly exciting not only because an alternative currency is rapidly gaining online payment market share, but because the non-political, borderless nature of Bitcoin is being recognized and openly appreciated.
In fact these are among WordPress.com’s stated reasons for accepting the cryptocurrency. “Bitcoin has no central authority and no way to lock entire countries out of the network.”
Dwolla is an online and mobile payment system, similar to PayPal, however, Dwolla’s fee’s are much lower at $0.25 per transaction over $10, and transactions under $10 free of charge. Like PayPal, Dwolla is based on the US dollar. Un-like PayPal, you can use it to purchase bitcoins at exchanges such as Mt.Gox.
Dwolla has just announced their new mass payment system, appropriately titled MassPay.