This week the US Marshals Service held their second auction of Silk Road bitcoins. The auction got off to a slow start with approximately 11 registered bidders placing a mere 27 bids, a huge drop from the first auction which saw over 40 bidders placing 63 bids. It was a syndicate of the digital currency investment fund Bitcoin Investment Trust and the trading division of online marketplace SecondMarket that was the auction's primary winner, taking home approximately 48,000 bitcoins. The award is set to be divided amongst all 104 syndicate participants. Future Silk Road auctions are slated to be announced in the upcoming months.
As many as 250 bitcoins were recently lost for blockchain.info users following a security lapse that took place in the early morning hours of Monday, December 8th. Blockchain.info assumed full responsibility for the mishap via Twitter, saying, “We admit we are at fault. We will be working w/affected users to reimburse those whose funds were misplaced.” Now, in a surprising twist, it appears that the bitcoins were taken, and then allegedly returned by what appears to be a friendly hacker. Going by the name johoe on the popular forum Bitcointalk, the user is claiming that the bitcoins were taken to prevent accounts from being hit by malicious attacks, and that he would gladly return them granted users were able to prove their identities. Johoe later announced “The money has been returned to blockchain.info. Please write to blockchain support to claim refund.”
Over 3,700 comments regarding New York's BitLicense have been made public. Among the commenters are online shopping giants Amazon and Walmart and money transfer service Western Union. Walmart and Amazon both expressed fear that items such as gift cards and similar captive financial products may get caught up in what they're calling BitLicense's broad definition of virtual currency, and Amazon echoed this sentiment. Western Union's comments were directed at competition, asking the NYDFS to include bitcoin ATMs in its BitLicense proposal. A revised draft of the BitLicense proposal will be produced based on these and remaining comments and is due out at the end of December.
The price of Bitcoin this week did a really good impression of a pair of highschool sweethearts trying to make it work after one of them goes off to college. Things looked good between Bitcoin and $375, despite the Silk Road Auction, and the security issues at Blockchain, the price of Bitcoin seemingly resisted all temptations. But Bitcoin was a college man, it wanted to be free, it thought, "I can do better." So its eyes began to wander, it saw $380, and she had great taste in music and made her own rules, but Bitcoin never made it in the door, hanging out instead with $378 who has an inhaler and is allergic to peanuts. And as of Monday night, Bitcoin and $375 look to have called it quits. The price of bitcoin has been in the dumps ever since, and at press time the price of Bitcoin is hanging out around $345, most likely sitting alone in its room listening to The Smiths and updating its OKCupid. If this trend continues, expect Bitcoin to give up on true love and go straight to Tinder.
As if the Silk Road isn't in the news enough, Ross Ulbricht, the alleged mastermind, is facing new accusations that he was involved in six murder-for-hire plots. One of the plots is said to involve a former worker turned thief, who Ulbricht believed had stolen approximately $350,000 in bitcoins from him. Among the evidence collected by U.S. investigators supporting the latest accusations include electronic communications from Ulbricht's laptop. Ulbricht is also being charged for a murder-for-hire scheme in a separate case in federal court in Baltimore, in which Ulbricht allegedly solicited the murder of a Silk Road vendor known simply as Friendly Chemist who was blackmailing Ulbricht by threatening to expose the identities of Silk Road's customers should he refuse to pay a $500,000 ransom. Ulbricht's trial is set to begin on January 5th.
We would like to wish a happy birthday to everyone's favorite meme-based cryptocurency: Dogecoin! The fun-loving cryptocurrency turned a year old on Monday, or seven in dog years. Its year of life has been highlighted by a selfless community that managed to never take itself too seriously and ended up doing a lot of good for numerous causes.