Bitcoin Weekly 2014 February 4: Jagex Games Studio gets bitcoin, Google Now Coinbase integration, ZenMiner shutdown

Bitcoin News For 2015 With SiliconANGLEThis week say another interesting development in the gaming and bitcoin relationship sector when BitPay partnered with a MMO game developer’s payment processor. RuneScape players who use bitcoin will have an interesting morning. Google Now’s digital assistant system can now accept “cards” from Coinbase providing on-demand information on bitcoin market price and transactions. KnCMiner netted $15 million more in investment in a recent funding round and announced a new chip.

In continuing grim news for the cloud-mining market, ZenMiner suddenly shut down amidst diminished bitcoin market value. This makes it amid several mining services to shut down in early 2015 due to mining becoming uneconomical given the previous market.

Finally, the trial of Ross Ulbricht, aka The Silk Road Trial, has reached jury deliberation after the two sides gave their closing arguments on Tuesday.

The Bitcoin market value continues to stay low, hovering around $224 having seen highs around $240 and a dip at the beginning of the February to around $215. Transaction volume is far up from the end of 2014 even though 2015’s market value is greatly lower than the previous year.

The trial of Ross Ulbricht reaches jury deliberation

 

Update: And the verdict is already in, Ross Ulbricht has been found guilty on all seven felony charges including drug trafficking, continuing a criminal enterprise, hacking, money laundering, and fraud with identification documents.

Yesterday, the defense and prosecution gave their closing arguments in the infamous “Silk Road Trial” of Ross Ulbricht, accused of being the Dread Pirate Roberts (DPR), owner and operator of dark web market The Silk Road. Jury deliberation begins today.

Wired ran with a story relating transcripts of the DPR ordering murder-for-hire hits against five people. Although Ulbricht is not currently on trial on charges related to the murder-for-hire discoveries, the evidence of them was brought up at trial. Instead, he is being tried on charges stemming from the operations of The Silk Road such as money laundering, fraud, and drug trafficking.

For good or ill, Bitcoin is related to The Silk Road, and to the trial, as it was the de facto currency used on the board to make transactions across the dark web. The connection of Bitcoin to the black market and its use for facilitating the purchase of illicit goods has led to a certain amount of media attention involving the currency.

The closing arguments have seen coverage on Forbes, New York Times, and Ars Technica.

In summary: Ulbricht’s defense has argued that much of the evidence against him is digital in nature—chat logs, journal, and other items—and could easily be fabricated. In response, the prosecution re-iterated the evidence and dismissed fabrication as conspiracy and fantasy.

Now the community waits to see how the jury finds in the case.

runescape-graphic-thumbnailRuneScape is getting bitcoin payments

 

It was recently announced that Adyen BV, the payment processor for Jagex Games Studio, partnered with BitPay to accept bitcoin. Jagex is also famous for being the developer of old-school and surprisingly popular massively multiplayer online (MMO) game RuneScape. This means that RS players will now be able to buy virtual items and membership in game with bitcoins.

Jagex produces a whole portfolio of online games that have a freemium model. This means that while players can play the game for free, parts of the game from content, quality of life enhancements, and cosmetic items cost money to buy. Ordinarily a user would just slap down a credit card or buy a gift card; but with bitcoin payments it could be just as easy as getting a payment address and sending away.

In 2013, Bigpoint Games GmbH integrated bitcoin payments for numerous web-based MMO properties, also going with BitPay. Bigpoint is working on the MMO-version of HBO’s popular Game of Thrones.

Image credit: Jagex Game Studios, via runescape.com

 

Google Now integrates Coinbase

 

Google Inc.’s Google Now, an intelligent personal assistant developed by the search giant, will soon integrate Coinbase, Inc.’s bitcoin wallet and provide push-notifications from the wallet to users’ Android devices. The news comes amid the announcement of a update that adds “cards” to the service, which act as an alert-based mechanism.

These Now cards will provide timely updates on events such as bitcoin market price changes, the delivery of bitcoin to a Coinbase wallet, and other transactions.

According to Coinbase the update will be rolling out to Android devices over the next few weeks.

KnCMiner $15 million in Series B funding

 

KnCMiner AB has announced a $15 million series B funding round following a successful $14 Series A funding round in September. Accel Partners with participation from existing investors Creandum, GP Bullhound and private investor Martin Wattin.

The company also announced the near-production status of a new 16nm chip process in partnership with Alchip at Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co Ltd. The company expects the new chip design to provider a more efficient ASIC design to the company’s portfolio and allow more market reach.

ZenMiner shuts down suddenly

 

The list of cloud mining operations that have shut down amidst falling bitcoin market prices grows by yet another name this week with the sudden shutdown of ZenMiner, an operation controlled by Geniuses At Work Corporation (or GAW).

According to the story, which first appeared at CryptoArticles,  ZenMiner suspended operations without warning January 31, 2014 and a screenshot of the notice was posted to GetHashing.com’s forums.

ZenMiner shutdown notice

ZenMiner shutdown notice

Cloud Mining Disabled

As a result of unstable market conditions, diminishing bitcoin value and the unbalanced-cost of maintenance and power, GAW and Zen Cloud mining operations have been indefinitely put on hold, effective immediately. At this time, we can no longer support mining services and place our customers’ value and mining efforts at risk. As the bitcoin value and market evolve, GAW and Zen Cloud mining operations will strategically adjust to meet those market conditions.

In August 2014 Geniuses at Work Corporation, parent company of GAW Miners (also listed in the shutdown) acquired an $8 million controlling interesting in ZenMiner. This connection comes with a price, now as GAW Miners and its CEO Josh Garza have come under scrutiny by the United States Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).

SiliconAngle contacted ZenMiner and Geniuses At Work Corporation for comment but have not received a reply at time of posting.

The shutdown of ZenMiner’s cloud mining operation has it joining an ongoing trend where mining operations are unable to keep up with costs due to the falling market value of bitcoin. Recently CEX.IO temporarily suspended operations and ZeusHash, a service of Zeus Integrated Systems Limited, announced a potential shutdown; further, in the past week, yet another mining operation and vendor CoinTerra Inc. filed for bankruptsy.