Bitcoin Litigation

With any new technology there is often a volatile transition period from creation to booming popularity. For Bitcoin this has been true. One example of this now trending is a court ruling in Tokyo that may set a precedent for Bitcoin disputes in Japan. Precedent can be ruled against but there is still so little understanding of how Bitcoin with take hold in the economy that we are unsure the effects of this ruling on Bitcoin as a whole. 

Tokyo’s District Court has ruled that bitcoin is “not subject to ownership”, with a judge informing a plaintiff he could not claim for bitcoins lost in the Mt Gox collapse.

Judge Masumi Kurachi stated that, due to their intangible nature and reliance on third parties, bitcoins cannot be covered under existing law.

Kurachi’s comments, reported by The Japan Times, came during a lawsuit bought against bankrupt bitcoin exchange Mt Gox by an unnamed Kyoto resident.

Representing himself in court, the plaintiff had demanded repayment of 458 bitcoins, today worth $128,144, that were held in his account when the exchange shuttered last year.

It is unclear what impact this ruling will have on other Mt Gox claimants, as thousands of creditors undergo a lengthy process to divide up the exchange’s remaining assets, last valued at $11.5m.

They’ve been told by Payward CEO Jesse Powell, who is assisting the claims process, to expect only a fraction of their original funds back.

Vanishing act

Once the biggest bitcoin exchange in the world, Mt Gox filed for bankruptcy protection in Japan and the US in February 2014 after claiming 750,000 BTC had vanished from its customer wallets.

Though CEO Mark Karpeles maintains the missing coins were targeted by hackers following a transaction malleability bug, others suggest evidence points to insider involvement.

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Bitcoin Rewards

The more bitcoin develops, the more it seems the world is finding all kinds of new uses for it that can revolutionize so many industries across the world. One use of bitcoin that hasn’t been done very much before is the creation of a rewards system in the currency. Qualtrics, a market research firm has added bitcoin rewards to their site in exchange for completing surveys. 

Online survey giant Qualtrics has added bitcoin as a rewards option for consumers who respond to surveys and research requests issued by its enterprise clients.

The Utah company, which is valued north of $1bnfollowing a $150m Series B in 2014, boasts more than 700 employees and investors including Sequoia Capital and Accel Partners. The offering was made possible by bitcoin payments processor SnapCard‘s recent integration with digital rewards platform Tango Card.

Consumers who want to access the platform to obtain rewards points must first sign up to the service to begin taking surveys. Once Qualtrics users earn 50 points for their participation, they receive a Tango Card gift code, which can then be redeemed for Amazon

 and Target gift cards as well as bitcoin.

Qualtrics head of strategy and research Mike Maughan indicated that by offering bitcoin as a rewards option, he believes the company’s clients will be more easily able to reach the increasingly important millennial demographic.

Maughan told CoinDesk:

“Millennials are most familiar with and most likely to be part of the bitcoin movement. A lot of millennials are more on the cutting edge of bitcoin, and those are among the people that are most sought after for their insights right now.”

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Blockchain and its Many Uses

The technology behind bitcoin currency is called blockchain technology. It is up and coming in the investment and technology industries today but few people understand how it actually works. For those that do understand it, there are many different conjectures being made of other uses for blockchain technology, such as online voting and real estate purchases.

As bitcoin and other digital currencies evolve, the technology that underlies them may soon spread into other transactions: trading stock, buying and selling real estate, purchasing music and much more. 

A mini industry is forming to take advantage of the technology called blockchain, aiming to make a wide variety of transactions faster, cheaper and more secure.

The idea is to remove, as much as is practical, people and their bureaucracies from the transference of money, contracts and other data where tracking ownership is important.The several days it takes for a $40,000 payment to clear a bank, for example, could be cut to 10 minutes by relying on blockchain’s specialized, ostensibly highly secure computer networks. Bitcoin does just that.

 “We want to use the Internet to move things around because it’s fast, low-cost and transparent,” said Adam Ludwin, chief executive of bitcoin start-up Chain Inc.Bitcoin-related start-ups raised $375 million in the first half of 2015, or about 11% more than they did in all of 2014, investment tracking firm CB Insights said last week. The number of investments rose 63% compared with last year’s first six months.

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