NASDAQ tests “blockchain technology,” is actually using bitcoin

A Wall Street Journal article manages to use the phrase “blockchain” 11 times without ever directly revealing that a NASDAQ pilot program is in fact trading bitcoin in a bid to reduce equity settlement times from 3 days to zero. In a feat of wordsmithing, the piece also manages to use the word “bitcoin” 10 times without ever directly implying its use, at one point stretching reason so far as to prefer “satoshi” instead: “One idea is that encrypted, digital representations of share certificates could be inserted into minute bitcoin transactions known as ‘Satoshis,’ facilitating an immediate, verifiable transfer of stock ownership from seller to buyer.” This language manipulation brings the article in line with the popular media angle of “bitcoin is weird, but the blockchain technology could be valuable.” A CoinCenter blog post clears it up: “to be abundantly and perhaps pedantically clear, Nasdaq’s platform will trade shares by trading bitcoins. This is not blockchain-technology standing alone, this is Bitcoin being used by Wall Street.”

Some insight on what 21, Inc is up to, or perhaps not

A recent CoinDesk article offers more in-depth speculation on the exact nature of recently un-stealthed bitcoin startup 21, Inc’s business activities. Exploring earlier business documentation (documentation that 21, Inc today calls “outdated” and “inaccurate”), CoinDesk paints an intriguing picture. Potential forays for 21, Inc include pooled mining, partnering with Intel to include mining chips in a variety of everyday chip applications, a mining pool social network, micropayments to access websites, wifi networks, or download speeds, and other innovative bitcoin-based offerings. CoinDesk also reveals that 21’s mining operations generated 5,700 BTC in 2013, and 69,000 BTC in 2014 (more than 5% of all bitcoins mined in 2014).

ItBit raises $25 million, launches approved exchange in New York

Putting together an impressive compliance portfolio, including a trust company charter from the New York State Department of Financial Services (NYDFS) and a former Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation chairperson on its board of directors, ItBit has closed $25 million in Series A financing. “Regulatory approval from the NYDFS allows us to serve as a custodian for our clients’ assets and expand our services to US customers – the largest market of bitcoin traders in the world – and allows us to do so with the highest standard of care afforded by any bitcoin company,” said CEO and co-founder Charles Cascarilla. Funds denominated in US dollars will be FDIC insured.

Shares of bitcoin investment trust outperform bitcoin price

Shares in Grayscale Investment’s Bitcoin Investment Trust trade at about $49 a share, after reaching highs of $133.70 a share. With each share equivalent to approximately one tenth of a bitcoin, this represents a valuation of $490. The trust offers investment exposure to bitcoin without the need to own and manage personal bitcoin wallets. According to the trust, they allow people to invest in bitcoin “via a security, making it eligible for investment for institutions, certain IRAs and other types of brokerage accounts.”