Alternative Finances

Bots, Overstock and DishTV


The US celebrated Memorial Day this past week, but it might as well have been the 4th of July. Fireworks exploded in the bitcoin community over David Evans’ piece on Overstock’s acceptance of bitcoin, including from Patrick Byrnes himself. Then there were those pesky bots. Bitcoin Price and Volatility index.

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Bitcoin Tracker | Week 26


Bitcoin hovered in the $500’s this week, climbing to $562.95 at the end of this week after starting the week at $519.72 on May 22nd, according to the Bitcoin Price index. That was about the only calm thing that happened in the Bitcoin community this week. Patrick Byrne, the CEO of and self-proclaimed Bitcoin Messiah, hit back hard (and with some expletives to let us really know how he feels) in his response to economist David Evans’ opinions on whether Overstock really accepts bitcoin (it does for a nanosecond but is paid in dollars.) To see the volley, first look at the piece here that poked the hornet’s nest and then Byrnes’ response here and then David’s response to the Twitter volleys here.  Oh, and don’t miss the paint by numbers depiction of how transactions on Overstock really happen.

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On the Plus Side …


And the liftoff is back! Last week, bitcoin crossed the $500 line and has been rising through the week. A major announcement was made by the Satellite TV network Dish to accept Bitcoin, which can really help cryptocurrencies enter the main stage. Coinbase will process the transactions. The Netherlands is opening their arms to companies that are dealing in bitcoin and banks in the Netherlands aren’t as hesitant to deal with bitcoin as their neighbors are.

  • May 29, 2014 – Dish Networks LLC says it is going to be the largest company to accept bitcoins.
  • May 29, 2014 – Now you can buy bitcoin mining hardware at
  • May 29, 2014 – Robocoin has entered Beijing and opened the first BTC ATM.
  • May 28, 2014 – Mary Meeker’s Internet Report points out that over 5 million bitcoin wallets exist and have expanded eight times year-over-year. Android wallets are the most prominent.
  • May 29, 2014 – Canada is the world’s 2nd largest Bitcoin investment market.
  • May 28, 2014 – C7 Data Centers (C7), a provider of cloud, advanced IT and data center colocation services, announced it accepts bitcoin.
  • May 28, 2014 – Bitpay now processes $1 million worth of bitcoin a day.
  • May 28, 2014 – A new project has emerged in conjunction with Bitcoin Indonesia and Coin of Sale (a POS system) to install Bitcoin as the preferred currency of Bali.
  • May 28, 2014 – The Netherlands is home to many banks that have an open mind about bitcoin, national regulators aren’t cracking down in the Netherlands and many startups related to bitcoin have set up in Amsterdam.
  • May 28, 2014 – Amazon was awarded a patent that includes bitcoin as a funding source for its cloud computing services, known as AWS.
  • May 27, 2014 – Overstock CEO Patrick Byrne reported that the company has processed $1.6 million in Bitcoin purchases so far this year.
  • May 27, 2014 – The European cryptocurrency payment solution BIPS announced a partnership with Fidor Bank of Germany to offer European merchants free and fast bank settlements.

On the Dark Side …


This week the Spanish speaking governments are warning their citizens of the risks that exit with digital currency, with both Spain and Argentina issuing statements. A report surfaced over the week suggesting that the rapid increase in Bitcoin price to over $1,000 was due to two bots that opened accounts, but did not fund them, thus driving up the price of bitcoin a la a Ponzi scheme. And, two other myths were debunked:  transactions with bitcoins remain flat; most of the activity remains attributed to speculation and Overstock really doesn’t take bitcoin after all, it’s paid in dollars just like every other merchant.

  • May 29, 2014 – Argentina’s central bank issued a statement warning the public of the risks that exist in using digital currency.
  • May 28, 2014 –The man known as “The Bitcoin Jesus” was hacked and blackmailed and rather than going to police he put out a bounty on the hacker. The hacker backed down.
  • May 27, 2014 –The Wall Street Journal published a letter to the editor written by MPD’s own, David Evans, where he made the point that no matter how bad things get in the world of bitcoin, the bitcoin investors never see any bad – a sure sign of the frothiness of the startup space related to bitcoin.
  • May 27, 2014 – Economist David Evans explains that Overstock doesn’t really accept bitcoin but dollars – and he drags his border collie, Annie, into it too.
  • May 26, 2014 –A report surfaced that suggested that the spike in bitcoin price last year from $200 to $1200 was the result of bots creating fake accounts in an effort to drive up the price. The algorithms, named Markus and Willy, bought up 650,000 bitcoins in the final months of the beleaguered exchange, causing the price of bitcoin to soar above $1,000 in November 2013.
  • May 26, 2014 – While the price of bitcoin is still swirling and trading near the $580 mark, the volume of bitcoins trading is not up and is in fact relatively flat, between 50,000 and 75,000 per day.
  • May 25, 2014 – State regulators in Massachusetts are taking a close look at virtual currencies, joining a task force that is made up of nine state regulators from around the United States.
  • May 23, 2014 – Authorities in Spain said that the tax agency was monitoring developments related to virtual currencies and investigating the possibility that bitcoin would “jeopardize tax controls or be used in money laundering schemes or for other illicit purposes.”


New PYMNTS Report: Preventing Financial Crimes Playbook – July 2020 

Call it the great tug-of-war. Fraudsters are teaming up to form elaborate rings that work in sync to launch account takeovers. Chris Tremont, EVP at Radius Bank, tells PYMNTS that financial institutions (FIs) can beat such highly organized fraudsters at their own game. In the July 2020 Preventing Financial Crimes Playbook, Tremont lays out how.

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