Start off your week with today's top news stories in Money & Tech:
Prolific Silk Road vendor Cornelis Jan Slomp, or "SuperTrips" as he's known to his customers, plead guilty to federal charges of conspiracy to import and distribute various controlled substances, including 104 kilograms of MDMA, and substantial quantities of cocaine, LSD, marijuana, methamphetamine, ketamine, and Xanax. Slomp had allegedly been importing envelopes containing these substances through the Chicago O'Hare International Airport, where an undercover investigation caught up with him. Slomp will be tried in the Federal Court in Chicago, where he faces a mandatory minimum of 5yrs and a maximum of 40yrs in prison with a $5 million fine.
Already becoming a bitcoin-friendly city, Amsterdam now has a bitcoin ATM. The new BTC-O-MATIC machine has been installed at coffee shop Courtyard of Wise, near the Amsterdam Central station, and will be operating this Wednesday during the Dutch Ethereum & Bitcoin Meetup. The machine has also arrived in time for the Bitcoin Conference 2014 coming up in May.
BitcoinWebHosting.net has partnered with Sucuri Security to offer website protection and malware removal for bitcoin. Now Bitcoin Web Hosting customers can opt-in to Sucuri's website security suite, which includes protection from DDoS attacks, out-of-date software, malware distribution and website blacklisting. As Sucuri COO Tony Perez puts it, "It's our mission to protect every website on the Internet, and [this] is a step in that direction."
In response to the local Bitcoin Boulevard project in Cleveland's Cedar & Lee district, Ohio has effectively banned the use of bitcoin for alcohol sales. The state's Liquor Control Law indicates that payment for alcohol in Ohio with anything other than US currency is prohibited, which includes bitcoin, since it has not been recognized as a currency. Maryland and Nevada have also both issued new advisory warnings on bitcoin, similarly encouraging consumers to 'do their homework' and familiarise themselves with the risks of digital currencies.
In the wake of China's renewed vow to cut bitcoin funding, leading bitcoin exchange BTC China has finally been forced to cease customer deposits with the China Merchants Bank. However, CEO Bobby Lee does not expect this closure will have a substantial impact on their business, given that BTC China customers can still use accounts with other financial institutions, including the Bank of China.
Despite the growing uncertainty, China will host its first Bitcoin conference, The Global Bitcoin Summit 2014, which will be held at the China National Convention Center in Beijing on May 10th to 11th. The event hopes to attract top notch experts, economists, investors, lawyers, and even government agencies, to help shed light on future bitcoin trends in China and abroad and help attendees build a bridge for better communications and continued growth.
Bitcoin incubator Boost VC hosted a bitcoin hackathon this past weekend. First place was awarded to bitcoin startup Coinviz, which boasts the ability to easily visualize block chain transactions and information. Second place went to bitcoin derivatives platform Coindash, which helps bitcoin investors hedge their investments for reduced volatility risk. And third place went to betting platform Bitbook.ie.
Yelp appears to have added a new category allowing business owners to specify whether or not they accept bitcoin, under the 'More business info' section on its Yelp page. For bitcoin enthusiasts eager to transact in the cryptocurrency wherever possible, this added feature makes finding local businesses much easier.
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