I find that there is a lot of confusion and dismissal in regards to BitCoin. But now that major retailers are getting on board, I think it warrants a second look. But I think they need to distance themselves from the illegal activity (such as Silk Road) which is exactly what The Bitcoin Foundation, an organization dedicated to evangelizing the crypto-currency, is distancing itself from a bitcoin exchange founder accused of laundering money to online drug dealers.
The foundation said that it and Charlie Shrem, who was arrested on Tuesday for scheming to sell over $1 million in bitcoins to drug traffickers, “mutually decided” that it would be best for him to resign from the Bitcoin Foundation’s board.
“The foundation does not condone illegal activities and values transparency, accountability and a high level of responsibility towards its members and overall community,” the charitable foundation said in a blog post. Its self-proclaimed mission is to standardize, protect and promote the untraceable electronic currency.
TigerDirect announced in January 2014 that they are now accepting Bitcoin.
And as far as eBay and PayPal, PayPal President David Marcus tweeted “We’re believers in BTC,” eBay’s US and UK branches say they will let people sell digital currencies in the classified ads sections of the sites.
It seemed like it was only a matter of time before e-commerce giant eBay and its payment platform PayPal addressed the sale and use of Bitcoin on its sites. And, despite concern from government regulators, it appears the company believes in virtual currencies — so much so, that it will soon start allowing their sale on its US and UK sites.
Last week, PayPal President David Marcus tweeted “To clarify: we have no policies against using PayPal to sell Bitcoin mining rigs. We don’t support any currency txn whether fiat or BTC… for a host of regulatory issues. But we treat BTC and any FX txn the same way. We’re believers in BTC though.”
Then, a couple of days later, eBay UK sent an e-mail to one of its merchants that was published on Reddit, which said the company plans to open a “Virtual Currency” category for the sale of Bitcoin and other digital currencies on the UK site.
Please know that per our recent policy update, Virtual Currency (i.e. Bitcoin and Litecoin), whether digitally or physically delivered, cannot be listed in Auction-style or Buy-It-Now listing formats. eBay is opening a Virtual Currency category to allow the sale of virtual currency in Classified Ads format on February 10, 2014. We request that you do not list these items until that date. Please be informed that repeated breach of the policy may further jeopardize your account status. To avoid any inconvenience in future, we’d appreciated it if you go through our help pages or contact us before listing any such items.
While eBay US and UK will start allowing Bitcoin to be sold in its classified ads format, it won’t yet let users sell the currency in the auction or buy-it-now formats. Additionally, all transactions will be required to happen outside of eBay. A eBay UK spokesman told CNET that virtual currency sales will only be allowed on eBay US and eBay UK for now; it’s unclear if the policy will spread to other countries where eBay operates.
“To promote a trustworthy marketplace and ensure compliance with applicable regulations, eBay is updating its Currency Policy,” eBay UK spokesman Steve Heywood told CNET in an e-mail. “The updated policy clarifies that listings for Bitcoin and other similar virtual currencies must be listed in the Virtual Currency Category in the Classified Ad format. This applies to both the US (effective immediately) and the UK (effective 10 February).”
Marcus told CNET in an interview last month, “I really like Bitcoin. I own bitcoins.” But, he also said he’s not yet ready to let people link their Bitcoin wallets with their PayPal accounts. “Whenever the regulatory framework is clearer, and the volatility comes down, then we’ll consider it,” he said.
Bitcoin has proven that it can do well as a traded currency. It’s been around since 2009, but didn’t really get going until 2011 when it was worth $2 per coin. By 2013, the currency had climbed to $20 per coin, and then jumped to $266 last April. Within the past couple of months, it had another price jump and is now hovering around $1,000.
While eBay appears to be opening its doors to virtual currency, China’s largest e-commerce site Alibaba shut the door on Bitcoin earlier this month. The company announced that the sale of Bitcoins on its Web site is now banned. While the majority of site’s sales are made via Taobao’s Alipay system, a handful of merchants were accepting Bitcoin payments or selling the digital currency. [Via CoinDesk]