The Leftover Bits 5/1/15: Ripple, Western Union, Lions Gate and GoCoin

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The Leftover Bits is the web’s best source for daily Bitcoin News

Western Union Acknowledges Ripple, Kind of

A few days ago, Ripple Labs CEO Chris Larsen announced on Twitter that his company had entered into a pilot program with Western Union. A spokesperson for Ripple Labs confirmed the deal to CoinDesk, but no details were given. We had urged caution about the deal, stating that Western Union had not confirmed it and that there was no guarantee the program would exit “pilot status”.

Today, Western Union acknowledged that it had entered into “preliminary talks” about a pilot program but said it was too early to speak any further on the issue.

Being in “preliminary talks” about a pilot program is a bit different than actually working on one. Still, it is something and indicates that Western Union is indeed taking cryptocurrencies seriously.

Lions Gate Accepting Bitcoin

Lions Gate has partnered with GoCoin to begin accepting Bitcoin at its online store and for special company branded events. GoCoin CEO Steve Beauregard made the announcement at Inside Bitcoins NYC during his speech and it was later confirmed to CoinDesk by Lions Gate. A Lions Gate logo can also be seen in the slides of Beauregard’s speech.

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The move could be seen as an extension of Lions Gate’s recent olive branches to online viewers. While the company is known for attempting to sue anonymous pirates after its Expendable 3 film was leaked before its release, the company has also been attempting to interact with online viewers. Last year, they announced an online service and they recently announced that the last Robin Williams film’s trailer will launch on SnapChat.

California’s Bitcoin Regulation Moves Forward

California’s “AB-1326 Virtual Currency” act has passed through one committee and will be heading to another before it can reach the state’s legislative body for debate.

On Tuesday, AB-1326 passed California’s committee on banking and finance and will be heading to an appropriations committee, according to Bitcoinist. If passed, it would require that all “virtual currency exchanges” register with the state commissioner of oversight, follow stringent solvency and know-your-customer (KYC) regulations and pay a $5,000 registration fee.

Inside Bitcoins has a more complete breakdown of the bill; it sounds even worse than BitLicense’s early version. California, unsurprisingly considering its tech roots, is a hot spot for Bitcoin innovation. Strong regulations like the ones proposed in AB-1326 will likely stifle that innovation and investment.

At first glance, the bill appears that it would a disaster for both Bitcoin and specifically the California Bitcoin economy.


 

The Leftover Bits will return next week, with the promise that it will be released on time, Monday through Friday, before 3pm EST (that is 8pm BST for you Brits). Enjoy your weekend.