Bitreserve’s CEO, “Bitcoin Girl” And Overstock’s Big Losses

Bitreserve has had a busy two weeks. 

The biggest news of the week for Bitreserve, of course, was the naming of its new CEO Anthony Watson, who was recently poached from Nike to serve on Bitreserve’s board. 

As part of this transition, Bitreserve Founder Halsey Minor will become Chairman of Bitreserve’s Board of Directors, and also its Chief Visionary. He plans to focus on the companies “initiatives to utilize innovation and technology to address global financial inclusion and equality.”

Bitreserve lets users shift bitcoin into different currencies (nine so far, with four precious metals as well) via the cloud. At the moment, the firm has $2.1 million in its holdings, with 55 percent in bitcoin, 18 percent in actual U.S. dollars and the remainder in British pounds. Bitreserve says it has over 16,300 members using its platform and to date has enabled $16.5 million in transactions.

“Anthony is extremely savvy, well-respected and has a unique global perspective. His impressive pedigree in finance and tech leadership is indispensable to Bitreserve’s rapid global expansion and the amplification of our world-class security framework. Anthony’s time at Nike, Barclays, and Wells Fargo was focused on matching forward-looking strategies and vision with seamless execution. His career so far has exemplified his personal commitment to Bitreserve’s core principles of financial inclusion, social impact, and transparency. I told Anthony when I was trying to hire him that I believed he was uniquely created for this job, and we’re truly thrilled to have him as our new CEO,” Bitcoin founder Halsey Minor wrote in an email to PYMNTS.

In an interview after Watson’s hiring was announced, he also shared his views on the importance of bitcoin as more than just a currency.

“The negative perception is there,” Watson said. “It would be foolish to say it’s not there. But I think it’s a young currency, and the platform is just being developed. The value of bitcoin isn’t the currency, but the technology. I can’t see many major governments around the world saying, ‘We’re going to move to bitcoin as currency,’ but I suspect that the world will embrace the uses of the blockchain.”

Last week, Bitreserve’s big announcement was about Bitreserve Connect, which Minor said is “where innovation meets money.” 

“I’m extremely proud to announce the launch of Bitreserve Connect, the home for our API, developer community and app directory, that makes it quick and easy for partners to integrate Bitreserve functionality into their financial services apps,” Minor wrote in a blog post. 

But what exactly does that vision mean for the industry?

“A significant portion of the world’s life-changing innovation has taken place in the cloud. I’ve been part of this transformation in industries like music, media, software, and telecommunication. Finance is not immune to innovation and now, it’s time for FinTech to thrive,” Minor said.

And Bitreserve Connect is Bitreserve’s latest offering to help the industry do so.

“Bitreserve Connect allows users to use the cloud money platform to: hold, send and convert money instantly; accelerate development and go-to-market for new ventures; conduct transparent transactions; send multi-currency transactions for free; and secure and protect deposits. It also incorporate’s Bitreserve’s anti-money laundering security,” Minor wrote in an email. “Bitreserve Connect is the first time someone has enabled significant innovation for money in the modern world; in this case, using the proven cloud model. This new innovation unleashes an entirely new way for companies and people anywhere in the world to build and share apps that use money. It’s an innovation on top of an innovation!”

With the rollout of Bitreserve Connect, three major bitcoin communities have partnered with Bitreserve. Those include LibertyX, which allows users to convert cash and paychecks to bitcoin; Bitwage, which allows international workers and businesses to get paid via bitcoin and Easy.Money, which allows people to send gift certificates in any currency of their choice (including bitcoin) around the world.

“With the launch of Bitreserve Connect, we’re encouraging startups and larger companies alike to look to Bitreserve as a resource that enables them to securely expand their reach and focus on organic company growth. We’re currently talking with several potential partners around the world looking to integrate Bitreserve’s functionality into their diverse portfolios of financial services applications,” Minor wrote.

That sentiment was backed up by one of the startups.

“Sending money across borders is a nightmare. Paying employees in different countries means fees for the employer and the employee, plus it adds uncertainty of when wire transfers will actually come through based on differing banking systems around the world,” said Jonathan Chester, COO of Bitwage. 

I suppose we shall see.

 Bitcoin Tracker Week 79

The Good, The Bad — The Top Bitcoin Stories Of The Week

Canadian Senate Looks To Regulate Bitcoin (June 20, 2015)

Canada may regulate bitcoin, but a Senate committee has told the government it’s important to “tread carefully” in terms of how it decides to regulate bitcoin or any other digital currency. The committee urged that it was important to not harm the potential of bitcoin’s power.

“This technology requires a light regulatory touch, almost a hands-off approach. In other words, not necessarily regulation, but regulation as necessary,” the committee wrote.

FTC Warns About Paying In Bitcoin (June 22, 2015)

The FTC has put out a warning about paying on some websites using bitcoin. The report emphasizes that paying with digital currencies comes with a risk, because of the volatility of the currency. The FTC said it has received “hundreds of complaints” about issues related to paying with bitcoins and other digital currencies.

“Payments made with virtual currencies aren’t reversible and don’t have the same legal protections as some traditional payment methods. Once you hit send, you can’t get your money back unless the seller agrees. That’s why it’s important to know who you’re buying from and what policies they have regarding refunds, returns, and disputes,” Kristin Cohen, Office of Technology Research and Investigation for the FTC wrote in a blog post.

Barclays Teams With Safello On Bitcoin Platform (June 22, 2015)

Another financial institution is backing bitcoin. Under a new Proof-of-Concept (PoC) partnership with Barclays, Safello will create a new payment platform to support bitcoins. The partnership will also enable charitable donations to be sent via bitcoin.

“At Barclays, we’re embracing the digital revolution, exploring innovations early on so that we can help to shape their development and co-create the future of financial services with these startups,” Derek White, Chief Design and Digital Officer at Barclays, said in an interview.

FBI Reports Bitcoin Ransomware Losses (June 23, 2015)

A new report from the FBI shows that ransomware continues to spread globally, and victims of bitcoin ransomware CryptoWall reported losses totaling $18 million during the period of April 2014 and June 2015. “The financial impact to victims goes beyond the ransom fee itself, which is typically between $200 and $10,000,” the report said. The financial fraud schemes target individuals and businesses.

“Criminals prefer bitcoin because it’s easy to use, fast, publicly available, decentralized, and provides a sense of heightened security/anonymity,” the FBI report stated.

Bitcoin’s Loyalty Now With Rewards (June 23, 2015)

A new partnership between Tango Card and Snapcard will help people add on loyalty programs to help them acquire bitcoin. Through this deal, consumers can get bitcoin by conducting certain tasks in a program or cashing in on rewards programs to add more bitcoin.

Bitcoin Goes Cross-Border (June 23, 2015)

Snapcard made another headline as it announced the launch of MassPass, its bitcoin-powered cross-border payment platform. According to Bitcoin Magazine, the platform and API will enable businesses to now send cross-border payments with just knowing an email, phone number or bitcoin address.

“Tango Card was able to use our new MassPay API to allow their users to receive Bitcoin Rewards at an email address, phone number or a Bitcoin address, all without taking on any of the currency risk,” Snapcard CEO Michael Dunworth said in an interview.

EU Banks Must Report Big Bitcoin Transfers (June 24, 2015)

According to a Dutch bank employee, cited by CoinTelegraph, major EU banks must abide to new reporting rules when it comes to accounts that are sending and receiving large amounts of bitcoin. That means that for any account that transacts more than €1,000 ($1,120.39), the bank must monitor and report that account. This effort is aimed at tracking money laundering and terrorist financing.

Overstock Misses On Bitcoin Investment (June 25, 2015)

Turns out, bitcoin wasn’t such a great investment for Overstock. The retail giant announced it has lost $117,000 in its investments in the digital currency space. Its cryptocurrency holdings are now valued at $233,000, which is down from the $340,000 reported at the end of 2014.

Billy Joel’s “Uptown Girl” Gets An Update: “Bitcoin Girl” (June 25, 2015)

Consumers can now enjoy a rendition of Billy Joel’s classic music, but with a little cryptocurrency twist. Yes, bitcoin is living in an uptown world. Now, bitcoin has its own following in the music industry. Although the video was released in 2014, it resurfaced in the news this week.

And just to get a taste, that song kicks off these lyrics: “Bitcoin girl, she’s been living in her bitcoin world, where all her currency is peer-to-peer, and no regulations that can interfere…” Perhaps this trend might make bitcoin a bit more hip.

But really, you just have to see it for yourself.


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