bitcoin Business

George Osborne Bitcoin speech – BBC writing the news before it happens

BBC website carrying article on future George Osborne Bitcoin speech

Our next door office neighbour Dan from Bitcoin company Coinative pointed out a BBC article to me this morning that covered a George Osborne Bitcoin speech. The thing is the George Osborne Bitcoin speech hasn’t happened yet and whilst the BBC talks about it in a knowledgeable manner it is all futures.

You really have to ask yourself why the Beeb has bothered. Usually news websites are dead keen to be the first to get news out about an event because the first to print gets the highest spot in the Google search rankings. The BBC however has such huge global presence that surely it doesn’t need to do this.

The government approach to Bitcoin is going to be an interesting one to follow because in reality the virtual currency runs contrary to how a government wants to work. They need to know what you are up to financially so that they can tax you. The whole point of Bitcoin is that you can remain anonymous. How therefore would a government be able to grab your cash. Moreover it would have to grab a bit of Bitcoin (if you get my drift). The one thing a public purse needs with its finances is stability and Bitcoin is nowhere near stable.

Notwithstanding that, George Osborne is right to be taking a look at Bitcoin. Bitcoin does represent innovation and the possibility of introducing new ways of working for businesses. We are a long way from a government endorsement of Bitcoin but this is a step in the right direction.

Getting back to the BBC, the whole article basically just says that George Osborne is going to announce that they are going to look at Bitcoin. This afternoon. Seems to me that the Beeb could have waited until this afternoon and announced it after the speech! What have they gained?  Oo they rank #1 on Google for “George Osborne Bitcoin“.

bitcoin Business

Bitcoin ETF listing getting closer

Bitcoin ETFinvestors Winklevoss Twins set to list on New York’s NASDAQ exchange writes Dan Howitt.

Bitcoin is currently inaccessible for most investment banks as there is a lack of regulation when trading in it. This means currently Bitcoin is classified as a high risk asset. However when Bitcoin is wrapped in an Exchange Traded Fund, like gold is today, the regulation concern goes away completely. Check out this vid on Bloomberg.

If this Bitcoin ETF goes through, I would be expecting an 3x upswing in price per Bitcoin, trading at $643 at the time of writing. Many investment banks have been sitting on the on the fence. The ETF will open the flood gates.

This month is also launching their wallet service – where you can buy Bitcoins with a credit and debit card. Again, the likelihood is a massive price increase. Circle are essentially going for mass market adoption and have around $20 million in VC funding.

The Winklevoss brothers who are rumoured to own around 1 percent of all Bitcoins have said they are forecasting the price to reach $40k.

note from TD: is a Bitcoin investor and bought in at £292 (approx $500). If the price hits $40k we will throw a party.

1 Exchange Traded Fund – an investment fund traded on the stock exchange.

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Bitcoin exchange UK – First Bitcoin exchange to get a UK Bank Account

Further steps towards the endorsement of Bitcoin as a currency by both USA and UK governments with the opening of a Bitcoin exchange in UK and the Bitcoin Auction in the USA.

Bitcoin exchange UK – City of London based Bitcoin exchange now has a bank account in the Isle of Man. RBS – UK government owned & connected to the faster payments network (RBS is probably in need of every source of income it can get).

This coincides with yesterday’s US Marshals Service (USMS) auction of 29,000 bitcoins confiscated from Silk Road last year. A number of parties have stated that they took part in the auction but bids as high as $650 were insufficient. The Bitcoin price at the time was around $610. This morning the bitcoin market price is up to around $650 with rumours on Twitter that it could go as high as $900 (don’t buy based on what I’m saying here 🙂 )

The real news is the effective endorsement of Bitcoin as a currency by both the US and UK governments. A Bitcoin exchange in the UK it is of particular interest as hitherto you have had to buy and sell Bitcoins offshore.

The fact that the IOM based offshoot of RBS is involved does point to a tentative first toe dip in the Bitcoin water by UK Gov. Further endorsement comes from the fact that Bitcoin is actively monitored by Google’s Finance ages – see featured pic/screenshot. Today’s GBP is £386 which is up 32% from when I bought my Bitcoin.

Bitcoin is becoming accepted by more and more businesses. I note that today US online electronics outlet Newegg is now taking the currency. I might even consider taking payments for ads on in Bitcoin. Watch this space for further news on this.

You might have heard it first on

Bank account details (not all but I have them):

Account Name:  Capital Account
Bank Name: Royal Bank of Scotland
Account Number: ********
Sort Code: 16-58-80
IBAN: ****************
bitcoin End User travel Weekend

Forty shillings fine


There is still no Bitcoin Exchange UK

Came across this in the Parcel Yard pub in Kings Cross Station. I liked it so took a photo.
When you look at it you can almost imagine the steam trains chuffing by, whistle blowing, engine driver leaning out of his window with blue overalls,  cap and red neckerchief.

Keep away from the line. Kids! It’s bloody dangerous.

The fine for being caught is forty shillings. Takes me back. Strange to admit I was around pre-decimalisation. My pocket money was 3d which as I recall bought me a Beano and a sweet or two. It went farthing, ha’penny, penny, 3d, groat, sixpenny, shilling, two bob and two and six. As far as I can remember. Correct me if I’m wrong or have missed one out.

It’s ok to take a nostalgic trip but reality is we are massively better off where we are now. It was a nightmare trying to learn adding up in old money.
Winding the clock forward to now my Bitcoin is worth £277. I paid £292 for it a few weeks back. It’s been up and down over the weeks. V volatile but it’s an experiment. Image below shows fluctuations over the past 12 months. No Bitcoin exchange UK mind.


I’m not sure we are going to be better off with Bitcoin. They don’t take it as payment in the Parcel Yard yet and it won’t get me a Beano. Afaik. Cheers…

Apps bitcoin End User

How to buy a Bitcoin – part 2 setting up an anonymous wallet

bitcoin logo
bitcoin wallet app
bitcoin app permissions
bitcoin movement
Following my first attempt at setting up a Bitcoin wallet I decided that having provided my email address this didn’t make me anonymous enough so I started again.

I had considered using the Tor network to make it “totally” anonymous but figured this was totally over the top so I just opened an incognito window and signed on without providing an email address. The downside of this level of anonymity is that it becomes much harder to recover a lost password so there is an element of risk.

Everything has to be written down on paper and not kept on your PC. I don’t have a printer hooked up to my PC so I couldn’t even print any password details. I can email the home printer but that would send the info via Gmail and then via HPs own email server which is not trusted. Neither is Gmail really even though it is encrypted.

It wasn’t just a complex password that had to be written down. Bitcoin addresses, wallet IDs and the mnemonic  that have to be recorded are all extremely long and with my handwriting prone to mistakes. I had to differentiate between upper and lower case text by underscoring the lower case to make sure that a “b” for example wouldn’t be mistaken for a six in future. I backed up the wallet recovery file somewhere secure.

Once set up I bought a Bitcoin from Dan Howitt in the office next door. Dan’s business is Bitcoin – check out his post on the recent HMRC VAT announcement here. Dan transferred one Bitcoin, priced at £292 (E352) to my Bitcoin wallet and sent me an invoice. I then sent Dan’s business the cash via internet bank xfer. We were both happy.

The acquisition process was not as simple as one might imagine but when you think of it if you buy foreign currency you usually hand over cash one way or another in exchange for travellers cheques or notes. It isn’t usually a purely electronic transaction. Also I think that not having a direct link with a bank account is a good thing here considering the nature of the beast.

There is a Blockchain Android App that allows you to carry your wallet on your phone. I looked at this but couldn’t really see how this was different to providing my email address – it asks you for all sorts of access permissions and Android in my mind is not that secure. See the screenshot.

So now I have a Bitcoin. Bought at £292 it is apparently worth £296 as I write. Well on the way to that holiday in Barbados. This is an experiment. I’m along for the ride and we shall see where it goes (probably not Barbados). When there is enough data I’ll stick regularly updated tracker on the site so that you can see whether it is Barbados, Skegness or stay at home:)

The Android tracker is from the Bitstamp Widget from the Google Play Store. You can see there has been a swing of $20 over the last 24 hours. No different to playing the stock market really. It’s all a roll of the dice.

So I have a Bitcoin. It is accompanied by paranoia about security but we are talking cash here and we have already seen examples of Bitcoins have gone missing  (MtGox) so I don’t think the paranoia is unwarranted.

If anyone has personal Bitcoin stories feel free to share.

Ciao amigos…

bitcoin broken gear End User

Broken Cashpoint/ATM #Bitcoin & the cashless society

This morning on my way in to work I bumped into Tom, kid3’s piano teacher. He reassured me that kid3 was doing very well which is good. We chatted for a bit as we walked along and went our separate ways.

Had I had  to drive to work I would not have bumped into Tom. Nor would I have seen this notice over the ATM cashpoint outside Lloyds Bank. Now the vandalised cashpoint was not any particular inconvenience. The dusty old fiver in my wallet will do me for some time yet.

This does make you think about how much life is left in the “real” money game. The only place I absolutely need cash now is London, where not many taxis take cards or the Morning Star pub where Ness the landlady has a shiver running down her spine every time someone mentions “plastic”.

The offices are in Sparkhouse at the University of Lincoln, right next to the Tower Bar and the Engine Shed. Being a student gaff the beer is very cheap but you always have to queue because all the students use cards and pay for drinks individually – a real bummer if there are ten of them in the “round”. A quick and comprehensive poll of the family student1 reveals that the breed typically only carries a fiver2 around in their pocket/wallet/purse/wad.

I still haven’t got round to setting up that Bitcoin wallet. That’ll be my next job. Hopefully my fiver will last until then.
vandalised lloyds bank atm

More student posts:

What do students and CEOs have in common?
The changing entry-level job market

More Bitcoin posts:

HMRC gives green light to Bitcoin
Bitcoin bet or bubble bursting?

2Like father like daughter eh? 🙂

bitcoin End User

How to buy a bitcoin in the UK – Part1, setting up a wallet

sign up for a Bitcoin Wallet using blockchainJust began the process of buying a Bitcoin. Only the one. A small investment but an affordable investment or loss if it all goes tits up.

I’m working with Dan Hewitt of Coinative on this. Dan gave me a little job to do over lunch so that we could crack on when he got back.

The first step is to

bitcoin End User

Buying a Bitcoin next week

Planning to buy a Bitcoin next week. The guys in the next room to us have a Bitcoin business. Dan Hewitt wrote a post a few days ago.

The process in the UK is not particularly straightforward as UK banks don’t currently support Bitcoin.  All will be revealed next week.

Stay tuned…

How to buy a Bitcoin – Part1

bitcoin Business

HMRC gives green light to Bitcoin business?

pirate flagThe Telegraph has reported that HMRC will announce that it is to remove the 20% VAT from the sale and trading of Bitcoin in the UK.

Until now Bitcoin has been classified as an electronically supplied service or electronic voucher (depending on which perimeter officer received the query) which meant buying from or trading with a business incurred VAT. This effectively made Bitcoin 20% more expensive in the UK than elsewhere, eliminating any chance for UK businesses to operate in this area.

UK businesses now have the ability to sell bitcoins directly to customers without passing on the 20% VAT charge, making the UK with its financial status probably the most advantageous jurisdiction in the EU to operate a Bitcoin related business. Unfortunately, UK banks have shown very little interest in operating with Bitcoin businesses without specific regulation. They are very risk averse and if the government doesn’t tackle the issue, it may mean the Bitcoin economy will flourish elsewhere at the expense of the UK.

For users of exchanges it is important to note that VAT is being scrapped on all aspects of Bitcoin trading. When you buy or sell Bitcoin on a UK exchange the exchange takes a small fee to facilitate the trade. These fees will now be VAT zero rated, meaning there should be a potential 20% saving on fees for customers and no VAT liability for UK businesses operating trading services.

As a Bitcoin startup we welcome this news and have been pushing for this for nearly 9 months. We met with our local MP Karl McCartney who raised our concerns on this issue in parliament and wrote to the Treasury and HMRC on our behalf. We have also written to members of the cabinet and directly to HMRC ourselves. Hopefully our input alongside the many others who have had similar contacts has raised this issue to the level it deserves.

In all this is great news for the Bitcoin community and we expect to see an influx of startups buying and selling Bitcoins in the UK. The recognition by a UK government agency is an important step towards mainstream adoption and we are now looking to the Financial Conduct Authority to provide UK banks with the regulatory comfort they need to support this fledgling industry.

Other Bitcoin related posts:

Bitcoin Bet of Bubble Bursting?

Silk Road FTTC and Bitcoin

Bitcoin currency crash due to problems at MtGox (sounds familiar)

bitcoin Business

Bitcoin in the news again – no VAT & school dinners

pirate flagIn the news again, Bitcoin. This time HMRC have decided not to charge VAT on transactions. Seems reasonable.

Made me think about coins. In our house when I get in I empty my pockets onto the kitchen worktop (near the radio). The next morning the pile of coins is substantially smaller, reduced by demands for bus fares and miscellaneous youthful expenses.

The kids no longer need dinner money. We pay that directly into an account each of them has at school and each day a relevant amount is debited at the point of sale. Not good to admit perhap but I have no idea how much cash they burn through in this way. I’m sure someone has a handle on it (will that be the usual lobster thermidor or are we going for the steak and chips today son?).

We also pay their pocket money by direct debit into their bank accounts.

What made me think about all this was the

bitcoin Business online safety piracy

Bitcoin bet or bubble bursting?

two_pence Mt Gox is dead. Apparently. More than 750,000 Bitcoins missing, so they say.  Rumour mill an’ all.

Careless that, or criminal. Either way someone has lost a lot of Bitcoin (Mt Gox has previous – see here from 2011).

Now could be a good time to invest in Bitcoin. The price has dropped considerably. Mind you anytime could be a bad time to invest in Bitcoin, unless you make a living being successful at roulette.

I’m thinking of buying one. Just the one. Just so’s I can feel part of the action. It won’t be a big investment. I once knew a bookie in my local pub. He had a pitch at Market Rasen races and at one race meet I put a two pound bet on a horse with him. He accused me of trying to manipulate the odds with heavy betting 🙂

bitcoin market priceCurrent price is £295 or so (it was earlier this pm – changed already by the time of publication – gotta move faster – see That’s a new washing machine, or simlar. Mrs Davies would say that a new washing machine would be more useful and not depreciate quite as quickly as Bitcoin has over the last 24 hours.

Wives just don’t understand do they?

I’d like to bet that many of the readers of this blog are multi-millionaires thanks to Bitcoin and  here’s me still trying to hack out a living writing blog posts. It could be the answer.

Mind you I do occasionally buy a lottery ticket and I honestly can’t remember the last time I got a single number right. I think there is something going on there. Must be.

I’ll keep you posted.

Mt Gox is dead. Long live Mt Gox.

PS I realise I’m taking a risk publishing a picture of a two pence piece but I think it is in the public interest to do so. The two pence photographed is worth two pence and will be used as part of a transaction to buy something – box of matches1 etc. It may not be possible to do this with a bitcoin.

1 can you actually buy anything for two pence anymore?

bitcoin Business

Bitcoin currency crash due to problems at Mt.Gox exchange

The Bitcoin currency suffered a huge overnight crash in value at the Mt. Gox exchange. An announcement on the exchange forum says “One account with a lot of coins was compromised and whoever stole it (using a HK based IP to login) first sold all the coins in there, to buy those again just after, and then tried to withdraw the coins. The $1000/day withdraw limit was active for this account and the hacker could only get out with $1000 worth of coins.

Apart from this no account was compromised, and nothing was lost. Due to the large impact this had on the Bitcoin market, we will rollback every trade which happened since the big sale, and ensure this account is secure before opening access again.

So everything should get back to normal then… For the moment my money stays in the shoe box under the bed!

I covered Bitcoin last week in my post about Silk Road. The folks at Mt.Gox are rolling back to a pre crash position so people should not lose any money.

See below to see the “crash”. Clicking on the photo will take you to the server showing previous trading history of Bitcoin.

bitcoin trading valuation chart at Mt.Gox