The US Marshals Service released preliminary results from their Friday auction of the 30,000 bitcoins previously seized from the Silk Road. According to the US Marshals, 45 registered bidders participated and 63 bids were received during the course of the 12-hour long event. Among the notable participants were bitcoin financial services company Circle, Barry Silbert's SecondMarket and Bitcoin Investment Trust, bitcoin investment firms Pantera Capital and Binary Financial, and online retailer Bitcoin Shop. More information is expected to be released later today, although it is still unclear how much information will be revealed.
The Australian Tax Office has delayed the release of their eagerly awaited ruling on the taxation of Bitcoin, which many had hoped to see by the end of the financial year, leaving open the question of whether businesses accepting bitcoin should treat the digital currency as money or property. In their announcement of this delay, the ATO explained that, "To ensure our advice to the community is comprehensive and robust we have sought further advice from external legal counsel."
In California, Governor Jerry Brown signed Assembly bill AB-129 into law on Saturday, officially reversing the previous law which had declared all alternative currencies illegal in the state. With this new law in place, a wide range of alternative currencies, including digital currencies such as Bitcoin, as well as points and coupons, will be considered legal money as forms of payment.
Global inter-governmental agency the Financial Action Task Force has released its report entitled 'Virtual Currency: Key Definitions and Potential AML/CFT Risks' which offers a preliminary assessment of the virtual currency risks around money laundering and terrorism financing. The report goes into detail providing "a number of examples of money laundering offences involving virtual currencies" and "establishes a conceptual framework of key definitions, which could form the basis for further policy development."
Andreessen Horowitz's go-to partner for digital currency investments, Chris Dixon, spoke with Wall Street Journal's MoneyBeat recently, telling them that he and founding partner Marc Andreessen both see a bright future for Bitcoin. As Dixon put it, "Probably 10,000 of the best developers in the world are working on this project. Because they are not sitting in a building called Bitcoin Incorporated people seem to miss that point... You read these criticisms that 'bitcoin has this flaw and bitcoin has that flaw,' and we're like 'Well, great. Bitcoin has 10,000 people working hard on that'."
Israeli startup DNA.Bits has announced plans to use blockchain technology similar to Bitcoin's to better store genetic and medical record data, making the information fully accessible to the researchers who need it, while maintaining privacy and individual anonymity. This new system could prove valuable to any companies conducting this research, which Jerusalem Center for Genetics and Society fellow Smadar Horowitz calls, "a game changer in the fields of drug discovery, personalized medicine and genetic counseling."
Australian bitcoin payments startup BitPOS is launching a new campaign with the International Anti-Poaching Foundation to help save Africa's endangered wildlife. The campaign accepts donations in bitcoin, as well as PayPal and credit card, which will go towards training the IAPF's anti-poaching teams across Africa. As IAPF's Managing Director Ian Mackenzie-Ross says, "The idea that we can tap into donations from around the world via one collection point is ideal, it couldn't be simpler."