Advertisement
YOU ARE HERE: LAT HomeCollectionsVirtual Currency
IN THE NEWS

Virtual Currency

FEATURED ARTICLES
BUSINESS
October 3, 2013 | By Chris O'Brien
The once-obscure Bitcoin has been making news all year. There have been stories about the wild swings in the virtual currency's exchange rate, moves by financial regulators to shut down some Bitcoin-related businesses, and the attempts by its boosters to gain more mainstream credibility. But this week, the Bitcoin community was hit with a story potentially bigger than all the others: the seizure of the illicit Silk Road website and the arrest of its founder, Ross William Ulbricht, a 29-year-old former physics student from San Francisco.
ARTICLES BY DATE
BUSINESS
February 28, 2014 | By Chris O'Brien
Bitcoin exchange Mt. Gox announced Friday that it has filed for bankruptcy protection, admitting that it had lost 850,000 bitcoins. "There was some weakness in the system, and the bitcoins have disappeared. I apologize for causing trouble," said Mt. Gox Chief Executive Mark Karpeles at a news conference in Tokyo, the Wall Street Journal reported . The company said it lost 750,000 bitcoins belonging to customers, and an additional 100,000 of its own bitcoins. Those bitcoins today would be worth more than $450 million.
Advertisement
BUSINESS
May 19, 2010 | By Alex Pham, Los Angeles Times
Facebook Inc. and Zynga Game Network Inc. ended weeks of tense negotiations by agreeing Tuesday to a five-year deal to keep Zynga's social games on the social network. The agreement between the Bay Area companies officially puts an end to a high-stakes game of corporate poker, one that involved tens of millions of dollars. At issue is a virtual currency Facebook wants all developers on its platform to use in any online commerce, with Facebook taking a cut of all sales. Zynga — which created Farmville, Mafia Wars and several of the most popular apps on Facebook — threatened to start taking its games elsewhere.
OPINION
February 27, 2014 | By The Times editorial board
The sudden collapse of the Mt. Gox bitcoin exchange Tuesday demonstrated to the public just how risky the virtual currency can be. Prosecutors have rushed to investigate, and regulators in the U.S. and Japan, where Mt. Gox was based, are mulling how to extend their purview to bitcoin trades. One senator even called for a ban on the currency. Investors, however, have long been keenly aware of the perils associated with the volatile commodity. While the currency is in its infancy, those with little appetite for risk should stay away.
BUSINESS
December 4, 2013 | By Stuart Pfeifer
German police have arrested two people suspected of illegally generating Bitcoins worth nearly $1 million. Bitcoins are an unregulated, virtual currency that is stored in password-protected electronic "wallets" and used to make purchases on the Internet and at some brick-and-mortar businesses. The currency also is traded in online exchanges, where its value fluctuates widely. Prosecutors in the German town of Kempten said they are investigating whether people used software to create digital Bitcoins worth 700,000 euros, about $950,000, Bloomberg News reported.
BUSINESS
October 2, 2013 | By Stuart Pfeifer
The Justice Department said it has arrested the mystery man who ran a hidden website called Silk Road that served as an Amazon-like marketplace for illegal drugs and guns, which were purchased with Bitcoin virtual currency. Authorities said the website had been used by "several thousand drug dealers" since January 2011 to distribute hundreds of kilograms of narcotics with sales exceeding $1 billion. Federal authorities said they had seized Bitcoin worth about $3.6 million, which they said is the largest seizure ever of the virtual currency.
BUSINESS
February 28, 2014 | By Chris O'Brien
Bitcoin exchange Mt. Gox announced Friday that it has filed for bankruptcy protection, admitting that it had lost 850,000 bitcoins. "There was some weakness in the system, and the bitcoins have disappeared. I apologize for causing trouble," said Mt. Gox Chief Executive Mark Karpeles at a news conference in Tokyo, the Wall Street Journal reported . The company said it lost 750,000 bitcoins belonging to customers, and an additional 100,000 of its own bitcoins. Those bitcoins today would be worth more than $450 million.
BUSINESS
February 5, 2013 | By Salvador Rodriguez
Amazon.com will give away "tens of millions of dollars'" worth of virtual coins that customers can use to buy real apps from the company's Appstore. The Seattle-based online retailer announced "Amazon Coins" Tuesday morning, saying customers will be able to spend the virtual money on apps submitted to and approved for Amazon's Appstore by April 25. The coin giveaway starts in May. "Amazon Coins is an easy way for Kindle Fire customers to spend money on developers' apps in the Amazon Appstore, offering app and game developers another substantial opportunity to drive traffic, downloads and increase monetization even further," the company said in a statement.
OPINION
February 27, 2014 | By The Times editorial board
The sudden collapse of the Mt. Gox bitcoin exchange Tuesday demonstrated to the public just how risky the virtual currency can be. Prosecutors have rushed to investigate, and regulators in the U.S. and Japan, where Mt. Gox was based, are mulling how to extend their purview to bitcoin trades. One senator even called for a ban on the currency. Investors, however, have long been keenly aware of the perils associated with the volatile commodity. While the currency is in its infancy, those with little appetite for risk should stay away.
ENTERTAINMENT
September 5, 2012 | By Alex Pham
As president of a company that just came out with a game on Facebook called "Sports Casino," Matthew Cullen is surprisingly OK with the prospect that the U.S. is not likely to see legalized online gambling anytime soon. Cullen's company, RocketPlay does, however, has put money on the odds that sports betting will be very popular on Facebook and other social platforms. That's because their game is free to play and involves betting with virtual currency, not the real kind. In many other respects, however, "Sports Casino" resembles many real-money online betting services that operate legally in the United Kingdom, where RocketPlay is based.
BUSINESS
February 25, 2014 | By Chris O'Brien, This post has been updated, as indicated below.
Rumors about the possible collapse of leading Bitcoin exchange Mt. Gox are sending shock waves through the community that has embraced the virtual currency.  Amid radio silence from the company, users are attempting to sort through conflicting signals that the company has shut down or that it is being acquired and possible relaunched. [Updated 9:30 a.m., Feb. 25: Mt. Gox issued a short statement : " In light of recent news reports and the potential repercussions on MtGox's operations and the market, a decision was taken to close all transactions for the time being in order to protect the site and our users.
BUSINESS
February 25, 2014 | By Chris O'Brien and Andrew Tangel
It was supposed to revolutionize the global monetary system. Instead, the bitcoin virtual currency that has captured the imagination of investors and financiers is on the verge of collapse. In a stunning blow to a novel way to buy products and services, the world's largest exchange for trading bitcoin currency shut down Tuesday, triggering a massive sell-off and sending many prospective investors away - perhaps for good. "This is extremely destructive," said Mark Williams, a risk-management expert and former Federal Reserve Bank examiner.
BUSINESS
February 17, 2014 | By Chris O'Brien
Leading Bitcoin exchange Mt. Gox apologized on Monday for a 10-day disruption that has prevented customers from exchanging the virtual currency on its platform and said trading should resume again "soon. " The problem stems from what appears to be a broader issue with the Bitcoin system, which is a distributed set of protocols that are not controlled or maintained by any single entity. In addition to Mt. Gox , the  Bitstamp and BTC-E exchanges were also hit with problems, though the other two have since resumed operations.  Mt. Gox stopped letting customers withdraw Bitcoins on Feb. 7, saying there was some kind of glitch in the Bitcoin system.  The company says it has developed a workaround that it is in the process of implementing.
BUSINESS
December 4, 2013 | By Stuart Pfeifer
German police have arrested two people suspected of illegally generating Bitcoins worth nearly $1 million. Bitcoins are an unregulated, virtual currency that is stored in password-protected electronic "wallets" and used to make purchases on the Internet and at some brick-and-mortar businesses. The currency also is traded in online exchanges, where its value fluctuates widely. Prosecutors in the German town of Kempten said they are investigating whether people used software to create digital Bitcoins worth 700,000 euros, about $950,000, Bloomberg News reported.
BUSINESS
November 18, 2013 | By Becca Clemons
WASHINGTON - Warning that virtual currencies are attracting money-launderers and drug dealers, U.S. officials called for greater government oversight of Bitcoin and other peer-to-peer payment systems during the first-ever congressional hearing on the fast-growing Internet-based technology. Treasury, Justice and Homeland Security department officials told members of the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs on Monday that websites facilitating payments with Bitcoin should receive more scrutiny from federal financial regulators to ensure that the relative anonymity granted by virtual currencies isn't exploited.
BUSINESS
October 3, 2013 | By Chris O'Brien
The once-obscure Bitcoin has been making news all year. There have been stories about the wild swings in the virtual currency's exchange rate, moves by financial regulators to shut down some Bitcoin-related businesses, and the attempts by its boosters to gain more mainstream credibility. But this week, the Bitcoin community was hit with a story potentially bigger than all the others: the seizure of the illicit Silk Road website and the arrest of its founder, Ross William Ulbricht, a 29-year-old former physics student from San Francisco.
BUSINESS
February 17, 2014 | By Chris O'Brien
Leading Bitcoin exchange Mt. Gox apologized on Monday for a 10-day disruption that has prevented customers from exchanging the virtual currency on its platform and said trading should resume again "soon. " The problem stems from what appears to be a broader issue with the Bitcoin system, which is a distributed set of protocols that are not controlled or maintained by any single entity. In addition to Mt. Gox , the  Bitstamp and BTC-E exchanges were also hit with problems, though the other two have since resumed operations.  Mt. Gox stopped letting customers withdraw Bitcoins on Feb. 7, saying there was some kind of glitch in the Bitcoin system.  The company says it has developed a workaround that it is in the process of implementing.
BUSINESS
February 25, 2014 | By Chris O'Brien, This post has been updated, as indicated below.
Rumors about the possible collapse of leading Bitcoin exchange Mt. Gox are sending shock waves through the community that has embraced the virtual currency.  Amid radio silence from the company, users are attempting to sort through conflicting signals that the company has shut down or that it is being acquired and possible relaunched. [Updated 9:30 a.m., Feb. 25: Mt. Gox issued a short statement : " In light of recent news reports and the potential repercussions on MtGox's operations and the market, a decision was taken to close all transactions for the time being in order to protect the site and our users.
BUSINESS
October 2, 2013 | By Stuart Pfeifer
The Justice Department said it has arrested the mystery man who ran a hidden website called Silk Road that served as an Amazon-like marketplace for illegal drugs and guns, which were purchased with Bitcoin virtual currency. Authorities said the website had been used by "several thousand drug dealers" since January 2011 to distribute hundreds of kilograms of narcotics with sales exceeding $1 billion. Federal authorities said they had seized Bitcoin worth about $3.6 million, which they said is the largest seizure ever of the virtual currency.
BUSINESS
August 12, 2013 | By Andrew Tangel
NEW YORK -- The state of New York's top financial regulator is turning up the heat on Bitcoin and other virtual currencies as government investigators grow increasingly alarmed that the emerging industry could aid criminals and terrorists. The state's Department of Financial Services said Monday it has launched an inquiry into virtual currency firms, which it may seek to regulate. The announcement comes as federal regulators have intensified their scrutiny of the industry. "If virtual currencies remain a virtual Wild West for narco-traffickers and other criminals, that would not only threaten our country's national security, but also the very existence of the virtual currency industry as a legitimate business enterprise," Benjamin Lawsky, the state's superintendent of financial services, said in a notice posted on the department's website.
Los Angeles Times Articles
|