The FBI recently did a risk assessment on bitcoin that was published in by @jason that is shared below along with my original assessment published on the coinr blog 18 months ago.

FBI risk assessment of Bitcoin:
— 8.8m+ Bitcoins in circulation, avg. market price $4-$5
— As of April 18, ’12, $8m+ trans. occured over past 30 days
— From May ’11, prices fluctuated from $30 (June ’11) to $4 (Dec. ’11)
— Obstacles include no laundering software, no ID of acct. owners or location, no historical records with actual identity
— Law enforcement can’t target one central company for investigative purposes
— LulzSec reportedly received $18k in donations, tried to purchase botnet

Coinr Blog

A new ‘virtual currency’ seems to have taken the financial and technology worlds by storm in recent months.

Google the phrase ‘regulatory response to bitcoin’ and watch the hit counter climb over time, expect this trend to continue as the total traded value of the bitcoin ‘currency’ continues to grow and regulators around the world start to understand the significance of this new decentralised transnational virtual currency.

While bitcoin appears to have solved the double-spending risk problem of purely virtualised currencies it has more problems than positives.

  • Being decentralised it has no regulation other than that set initially, so if it is changed over time there is little control for current or future investors. Sure this is unlikely now but once momentum is gathered (as it rapidly is doing) then the temptation for those able to bias the system will grow.
  • Being devoid of a home nation (or nations) it…

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Noca is the free paypal for merchants

A new payments service has arrived. bills itself as a solution to the relatively expensive but wildly popular paypal

This is fairly ambitious since paypal has somewhere between 220 and 300 million registered accounts depending on who you believe.

That said, this is the exactly right place to focus on if you are to enter this highly competitive market.

I have been watching paypal since 2000 (did due diligence on it for an investment by a bank) and think this one will be interesting…

Tech Crunch did a good review and the comments are very high quality too -including responses from Noca staff.

So how do they do it? They use ACH and interbank clearing networks so the consumer’s issuing bank takes the risk. I assume this means a purchase via Noca hits your account like a cash advance (which means less detail on – if you use that – and similar systems) and no frequent flyer points. Hard to check right now though since you need to have a US account to use it at least for now.

It is like the existing direct debit service on paypal except paypal don’t pass the savings onto the merchant and Noca does from what I can work out.

The merchant benefits more than the consumer, so it will be a supply led solution like a lot of payments solutions. This could be it’s downfall though since consumers won’t want to sign up.

Watch this space… There is also more on it at