The Leftover Bits 29/4/2015: Coinbase Comes To The UK, BTCS Joins Spondoolies, and Ripple Flirts With Western Union

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The Leftover Bits is your source for daily bitcoin news. Everything you need to know, in a easy to digest format.

Western Union Testing Ripple

Ripple, for whatever reason, seems to have an in with the traditional players in finance. In a surprise move that reinforces that belief, Western Union is running a “pilot” program with Ripple, according to Ripple’s official Twitter.

Western Union has yet to confirm the news, but if it is true and a project does come of it, it would be a major win for the controversial currency and all digital currencies. Western Union was previously dismissive of cryptocurrencies. While Ripple is one of the more polarizing digital currencies, due to its centralized nature and distribution, it has shown a remarkable ability to interact with the fiat world. Several local and regional banks in American and Europe have announced partnerships or integration of Ripple in some form. Western Union would be biggest example of that yet.

We shouldn’t get too excited, as mentioned Western Union has yet to confirm the program, and even if it is real, there is no guarantee that it will get past the pilot stage.

Coinbase Launches in the UK

Rejoice UK readers, your savior Coinbase is here! Okay, it isn’t that big of a deal, there are other on ramps in the UK market, but it an encouraging development and is sure to bring more competition to the space. Coinbase UK customers can now purchase Bitcoin with USD or GBP via wire transfer or EUR via SEPA. Users can also use all three pairs for trading.

No mention of fees were made in the blog post announcing the expansion, but fees typically sit around 1% for US users.

BTCS Merging with Chinese Mining Company Spondoolies Tech

In a very surprising move, Bitcoin Shop (BTCS) has signed a letter of intent to merge with rising Chinese mining star Spondoolies. The announcement was sent out to press last night. BTCS says it engages in “transaction verification services” which is a fancy way of saying they mine bitcoins. They also provide merchant services, an integrated shop, wallets and own ATMs (they are also invested in bitcoin ATM manufacturer CoinOutlet). Spondoolies is a Chinese manufacturer of mining equipment and has a growing reputation for reliable machines.

BTCS had recently announced the creation of a brand new mining facility. The integration with Spondoolies will presumably help them fill that facility with the latest tech. BTCS stresses that the deal is dependent on due dilligence and other conditions, so it isn’t a done deal yet.

The two companies have been working on the plan for months now, according to the press release, and there is already some synergy between the companies.  In the press release Spondoolies CEO was quoted as saying “The synergy between the teams is amazing. I have the utmost confidence that together we will build a very successful and prosperous company by growing and expanding our business beyond bitcoin mining equipment.”

We will keep tabs on the deal and update you as it progresses.