Saturday, April 5, 2014

Bitcoin News and views April 5 , 2014 -- Neo & Bee Share Price Plunges to 0.0001 BTC as Trading Resumes , CEO Danny Brewster faces fraud allegations in Cyprus ..... BTC China Dismisses PBOC Fears in Open Letter ..... Canadian Government to End ‘MintChip’ Digital Currency Program ..... Bitcoin could get boost from Square and Stripe moves .....


Neo & Bee Share Price Plunges 

to 0.0001 BTC as Trading 

Resumes

 (@danielcawrey) | Published on April 5, 2014 at 01:17 BST | CompaniesInvestorsNews,Startups
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Cyprus-based bitcoin savings and payment network Neo & Bee resumed trading on Havelock Investments today amid turmoil surrounding the company and its CEO.
At 5PM EST on 4th April, buy and sell orders for Neo & Bee on the private bitcoin-only investment exchange platform resumed after six days of suspended trading.
Neo & Bee saw high volume at the outset of resumed trade activity, with a plunge in prices from 0.002 BTC ($0.89) down to 0.0001 BTC ($0.05).

Source: Havelock Investments
Source: Havelock Investments

Questionable activity

On 28th March, Havelock halted trading of the NEOBEE fund on its site due to what was then referred to as “questionable trading activity”.
Havelock Investments made an announcement earlier today that the ticker name for Neo & Bee would be changed from NEOBEE to NEOBEEQ.
In the announcement, Havelock noted it has not received an update from Neo & Bee as of yet:
“Financial information on the status of the company [Neo & Bee] has not been released. The units of this Fund will continue to trade even if the company will file for bankruptcy.”

About Neo & Bee

Founded by Danny Brewster, Neo & Bee is a savings and payment processing infrastructure for bitcoin, and started doing business in Cyprus with plans to expand to the larger European market.
Neo is the company’s banking arm, with physical branches. Bee is the payments portion of the business, thus the Neo & Bee name as two separate functions working together as one organization.

Danny Brewster. Source: Twitter
Danny Brewster. Source: Twitter

However, the company has been experiencing turmoil as of late. On 31st March, the company’s shares were suspended from trading on Havelock due to some strange trades. Brewster, the CEO, made a statement on 2nd April in order to reassure the company’s investors.
The Cyprus Mail reported on 4th April that Brewster was facing fraud chargesstemming from two customers that claim they never received bitcoin that they had paid for from Neo & Bee. Brewster has made it known to the bitcoin community that he is currently not in Cyprus.

About Havelock

Havelock Investments bills itself as a bitcoin-based source for “private companies looking for venture capital”, according to its website.

Source: Havelock Investments
Source: Havelock Investments

Since the NEOBEEQ trading symbol went live for Neo & Bee trading, the Havelock site has been experiencing intermittent outages with CloudFlare proxy placeholders often taking the place of active webpages.
The two largest companies currently on Havelock by market cap are Crypto Financial, which provides fiduciary services within the cryptocurrency industry, and an ASICMiner shares fund.
Havelock Investments makes money via fees on its all-bitcoin platform. There is a 0.4% trading fee and it also charges users 0.0010 BTC, with 0.0005 BTC being paid as a network transaction fee, for withdrawals.
This story is still developing. CoinDesk will monitor and provide updates as new details become known.

 (@danielcawrey) | Published on April 5, 2014 at 01:17 BST | CompaniesInvestorsNews,Startups

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Cyprus-based bitcoin savings and payment network Neo & Bee resumed trading on Havelock Investments today amid turmoil surrounding the company and its CEO.
At 5PM EST on 4th April, buy and sell orders for Neo & Bee on the private bitcoin-only investment exchange platform resumed after six days of suspended trading.
Neo & Bee saw high volume at the outset of resumed trade activity, with a plunge in prices from 0.002 BTC ($0.89) down to 0.0001 BTC ($0.05).

Source: Havelock Investments
Source: Havelock Investments

Questionable activity

On 28th March, Havelock halted trading of the NEOBEE fund on its site due to what was then referred to as “questionable trading activity”.
Havelock Investments made an announcement earlier today that the ticker name for Neo & Bee would be changed from NEOBEE to NEOBEEQ.
In the announcement, Havelock noted it has not received an update from Neo & Bee as of yet:
“Financial information on the status of the company [Neo & Bee] has not been released. The units of this Fund will continue to trade even if the company will file for bankruptcy.”

About Neo & Bee

Founded by Danny Brewster, Neo & Bee is a savings and payment processing infrastructure for bitcoin, and started doing business in Cyprus with plans to expand to the larger European market.
Neo is the company’s banking arm, with physical branches. Bee is the payments portion of the business, thus the Neo & Bee name as two separate functions working together as one organization.

Danny Brewster. Source: Twitter
Danny Brewster. Source: Twitter

However, the company has been experiencing turmoil as of late. On 31st March, the company’s shares were suspended from trading on Havelock due to some strange trades. Brewster, the CEO, made a statement on 2nd April in order to reassure the company’s investors.
The Cyprus Mail reported on 4th April that Brewster was facing fraud chargesstemming from two customers that claim they never received bitcoin that they had paid for from Neo & Bee. Brewster has made it known to the bitcoin community that he is currently not in Cyprus.

About Havelock

Havelock Investments bills itself as a bitcoin-based source for “private companies looking for venture capital”, according to its website.

Source: Havelock Investments
Source: Havelock Investments

Since the NEOBEEQ trading symbol went live for Neo & Bee trading, the Havelock site has been experiencing intermittent outages with CloudFlare proxy placeholders often taking the place of active webpages.
The two largest companies currently on Havelock by market cap are Crypto Financial, which provides fiduciary services within the cryptocurrency industry, and an ASICMiner shares fund.
Havelock Investments makes money via fees on its all-bitcoin platform. There is a 0.4% trading fee and it also charges users 0.0010 BTC, with 0.0005 BTC being paid as a network transaction fee, for withdrawals.


Neo & Bee CEO Danny Brewster Faces Fraud Allegations in Cyprus

 | Published on April 4, 2014 at 18:38 BST | CompaniesCrimeNews
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Danny Brewster, CEO of bitcoin services company Neo & Bee, is reportedly facing fraud charges filed by two customers in Cyprus who claim that they have never received any bitcoins from the company.
According to a report in the Cyprus Mail, the customers paid €15,000 and €20,000 respectively, for the bitcoins, which never materialised. Police are investigating, the newspaper says.
Earlier this week Neo & Bee was caught up in a media frenzy, after it emerged that the company may be facing insolvency. Neo & Bee then asked Havelock Investments to suspend trading of LMB Holdings shares.
LMB Holdings is the parent company of Neo & Bee, and the request was made after Neo & Bee detected what it described as “questionable trading activity”.

Online statements

Neo & Bee had a potential PR disaster on its hands, as online commentators started making serious allegations, alleging that Brewster left Cyprus and defrauded investors.
Brewster returned fire on the Bitcoin Talk forum. He admitted that he was temporarily out of the country, but stressed that was away on business. The CEO then said he was looking for an investor for the troubled company.
However, Brewster consequently said he had changed his plans, after receiving threats targeted at his daughter. He is now looking to sell his entire equity in the company and pull out of Neo & Bee altogether, he said.
However, the Cyprus Mail states that it contacted the police authorities and learned that Brewster has not reported any threats, either against him or his family. Brewster claims otherwise. In his Bitcoin Talk post, he specifically said that the threats were reported to the authorities.

Jumping ship

Brewster referenced his staff and some personal matters in his most recent public statement. That led to suspicions that there was a falling out between Brewster and his Cyprus-based team.
Now it appears that the staff have had enough. One employee told Cyprus Mailreporter Elias Hazou that “no one’s in charge” and that staff members were “clearing out”. Hazou says the company’s head office in Nicosia was “all but deserted” yesterday.
The staff member confirmed that the local staff had not received their March wages and that they did not know anything about Brewster’s whereabouts. Brewster apparently left Cyprus on or before 19th March and the staff member had not heard from him since.
This would explain why Neo & Bee has not issued any public statements about the current situation, as they appear to have been kept out of the loop over the past two weeks. Moreover, since the staff have now, temporarily or otherwise, deserted the premises, it seems that there is nobody aside from Brewster to communicate for the company.


BTC China Dismisses PBOC Fears in Open Letter

 | Published on April 4, 2014 at 12:08 BST | AsiaBTC ChinaExchangesNews,Regulation
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Shanghai-based exchange BTC China has published a statement reassuring Chinese investors that its operations will resume as normal despite looming regulatory uncertainty.
The People’s Bank of China (PBOC) is widely expected to issue a public notice later this month, which would effectively put an end to bitcoin-related money transfers in China, including yuan deposits. The rumoured notice is expected to go official on 15th April.
However, since nothing is official yet, there is plenty of misinformation floating around. In turn, the spread of PBOC-related fear, uncertainty and doubt has been blamed for the latest price slump.
Until the rumoured PBOC statement is issued, it’s unclear how it will impact exchanges and bitcoin-related businesses in China.

BTC China remains confident

However, in the face of this BTC China appears undeterred. The exchange points out that the so-called 15th April rumour and the uncertainty it spawned has already caused plenty of issues. In an open letter addressed to the Chinese bitcoin community, the exchange dismissed claims that it had received any official guidance from the PBOC:
“We’ve been tracking this issue. Whether it is local banks, Beijing’s central bank level, media channels and industry peers, we are paying close attention and keeping in contact. If we have any updates, we will immediately inform you.”
The exchange stressed that people are not afraid of the notice itself, but rather the “unknown” and uncertain future for the bitcoin space.
“We just don’t know what the outcome will be,” BTC China CEO Bobby Lee told CoinDesk. “At this stage, it’s too early for me to speculate on the options we have. We just don’t know enough right now.”
Lee added:
“What we’re hearing is that banks will disallow us from using commercial bank accounts to store customer deposits, what’s not clear to us yet is whether the business of running a bitcoin exchange will be classed as legal or not.”

Doom and gloom

BTC China then outlined the possible effects of the 15th April notice, dismissing many doomsday scenarios which have been proliferating in recent days. The exchange insists that the “core values” of bitcoin, notwithstanding the price, will remain intact regardless of what the PBOC chooses to do.
The exchange also argues that the notice will probably not have a long-term impact on the price, although it has already caused short-term price fluctuations.
BTC China also pointed out that many countries around the world are moving to supervise or regulate the bitcoin market. It cites recent regulatory moves in New Yorkthe UKSingapore and other financial hubs as proof that the world’s most developed economies are becoming actively involved in bitcoin.
The exchange argues that central banks and regulators are expected to tread cautiously. The impact of bitcoin on the wider economy is negligible for the time being, so rather than ban bitcoin and force it underground, regulators are more likely to recognise it as just another trend and regulate it to mitigate the risks.
This is actually a very good point and for the time being regulators appear to be doing just that. A P2P system would be next to impossible to dismantle, forcing it underground would simply make the risks much greater.

The great bitcoin bubble of China

BTC China admits that the domestic bitcoin market is indeed a bubble. The exchange explained its creation as follows:
“A general lack of domestic investment targets, coupled with the lack of understanding of bitcoin led to bitcoins becoming speculative grade. After the April 15 message, investors will re-evaluate bitcoin, an industry reshuffle may also occur.”
The exchange adds that it would welcome a reshuffle and that it sees the notice as “pre-dawn darkness.” It insists that China’s bitcoin community needs confidence to develop further. BTC China insists it is doing its part to restore confidence.
BTC China says it will upgrade its bitcoin trading platform, introduce regular third-party audits and publish their results, but more importantly it says it will expand its communication with regulators. The exchange is also planning to introduce new products which are currently in beta and it will also try to improve the overall user experience.
In essence, BTC China insists it is in it for the long haul.

Canadian Government to End ‘MintChip’ Digital Currency Program

 (@pete_rizzo_) | Published on April 4, 2014 at 20:44 BST | AltcoinsNewsRegulation,TechnologyUS & Canada
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The Canadian government has announced that it will end its MintChip electronic payment system, and that it will look to sell the business to the private sector.
Announced in 2012, MintChip was not a digital currency akin to bitcoin, but rather a digital payment mechanism meant to function as an electronic cash that could be transferred between users.
Still, MintChip was widely viewed as an alternative to bitcoin that was famously criticised by Bitcoin Foundation director Jon Matonis for “missing the point” of the technology. A spokesperson for the Canadian Mint confirmed the news to The Wall Street Journal, stating:
“The Mint is currently working with the [Canadian] Department of Finance to explore divestiture options. The Mint is also in the process of completing development of MintChip to package the assets for divestiture.”
The news is surprising given that as recently as this past September, the government was reportedly working on a second version of its MintChip concept.
Further, the development is notable as it was theorized by some in the community that Canada’s potentially harsh rhetoric regarding bitcoin regulation was meant in some way to promote the government-made MintChip, though such a connection was never established.

How MintChip works

MintChip used a silicon chip with a unique ID as a store of value, which was then to be sent to brokers who would trade them to consumers and businesses.
Users could embed MintChip devices onto USB sticks, wallets, laptops and tablets, or store their digital cash with a third-party service provider. A value of ’1′ on the chip would equal one Canadian dollar.
For a more detailed overview of MintChip’s design and how it could be used to facilitate payments, click here.

Bitcoin in Canada

The news comes as Canada continues to develop a robust bitcoin ecosystem. Home to the first bitcoin ATM in Vancouver, bitcoin’s profile has been growing within the local community, even as major Canada-based bitcoin exchanges face operational resistance from financial institutions.
Just last week, the most recent version of Canada’s 2014 Federal Budget Implementation Act mentioned potential regulations for bitcoin, though the only provision would apply cash-like controls meant to restrict the movement of sums of digital currency of more than $10,000.
The country’s domestic bitcoin exchanges have reported difficulties since meeting their banking needs recently, a development they attributed to statements made by the Canadian government, which, like most countries, has yet to introduce bitcoin regulation.





http://blogs.marketwatch.com/thetell/2014/04/04/bitcoin-could-get-boost-from-square-and-stripe-moves/




Bitcoin could get boost from Square and Stripe moves

April 4, 2014, 5:24 PM ET
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Two payments companies, Square and Stripe, have said in recent days they are working with the virtual currency bitcoin, lending support to the idea that the bitcoin technology could be used to improve the way money is transmitted.
Reuters
Square said Monday it would begin accepting bitcoin for products ranging from coffee beans to chairs on Square Markets, its online marketplace. Last week, Stripe said it had launched its first test of bitcoin payments that will allow the online back-up services company Tarsnap to accept bitcoin.
“I think this is early adopters adopting a very important technology early,” said Gil Luria, an analyst at Wedbush Securities. “I think others will follow, but it’s not a coincidence that Stripe and Square, two of the most innovative payment companies, were early to see the potential in bitcoin.”
Bitcoin transactions in February averaged $68 million a day, compared with daily averages of $225 million for Western Union and $492 million for PayPal as of the end of 2013, according to a note from Fitch Ratings.
Taken together, it appears that payments companies could be slowly moving toward adding bitcoin as one of the options to complete payments, validating the cries of proponents who have said the decentralized bitcoin network could lower or eliminate transaction fees. The promise of bitcoin as a payment system has been cited by venture capitalists, including Marc Andreessen, as one impetus for putting $74 million into bitcoin companies in 2013, according to data compiled by CB Insights.
Here’s how it works. Bitcoin is a virtual currency that is transmitted through a decentralized, open-source network. A key component of the bitcoin network is the blockchain, which is a public ledger that tracks every transaction completed on the bitcoin network. Unlike currencies like the dollar, bitcoin is created through a cryptographic process called mining in which computers race against each other to solve difficult problems in order to win a block of bitcoins. That process also verifies transactions completed on the bitcoin network.
“The bitcoin network uses the Internet to bypass some of the money transfer hurdles from traditional banking systems and national boundaries,” said Goldman Sachs IT services analyst Roman Leal in a March note. “As a result, the network could theoretically solve some of the pain points involved in the current payments and money transfer ecosystems, potentially driving some savings for merchants and consumers,” the note said.
Of course, the Internal Revenue Service’s recent decision to tax bitcoin like property could dent those ambitions. “This may cause headwinds for bitcoin as a payment mechanism as retail purchases can create taxable events for consumers,” wrote Robert Grossman,  Jonathan Boise and Atanasios Mitropoulos of Fitch Ratings in a note.
One of the major players in the payments space is PayPal, which is owned by eBayEBAY . While a tweet sent from the account of PayPal Chief Executive David Marcus said “we’re believers in BTC,” the company’s official stance is more cautious. “The growth of alternative currencies like bitcoin have the potential to be disruptive technologies, but they are all still in the early stages of development,” said a PayPal spokesman in an email. “We’re closely following this area and look forward to seeing how it develops,” he added.
Stripe is developing its own technology and working with companies to exchange bitcoins for currencies like the dollar, said Kelly Sims, head of communications, who wouldn’t name those companies.
“Online businesses use Stripe to accept billions of dollars each year, and many of them are interested in bitcoin,” said John Collison, president and co-founder of Stripe, in emailed comments. “To date, accepting BTC has been a large enough investment that many haven’t done it yet. So we’re looking to lower the barriers to existing internet businesses accepting bitcoin alongside other methods.”
So far, there’s no word on whether Square would begin accepting bitcoin as a method of payment on its hallmark mobile credit-card readers. “Right now we’re focused on enabling customers on Square Market to pay with bitcoin,” said Khobi Brooklyn, a spokeswoman for Square, in an emailed response to a question about whether Square would further integrate bitcoin.
Square is working with Coinbase to process bitcoin payments made on its online marketplace.
“I view Coinbase as kind of more analogous to Visa,” said Brian Armstrong, chief executive of Coinbase, in a March interview at Coinbase’s San Francisco office. “We just want to be an infrastructure company that has great tools” that can be used by companies to integrate bitcoin payments,” he said. “I think Coinbase can play a role in that ecosystem in helping them,” he added.