bitcoin price

Bitcoin News Today: Goldman Sachs Puts Its Money Behind the Blockchain

Bitcoin News Today: After a recent string of good news, the price of Bitcoin has inched up some - and remains stable.

After hitting a recent low of $177 in January, the Bitcoin price looks to be stabilizing around $240.

More importantly, though, some major players are sniffing around the cryptocurrency - and are beginning to take it more seriously... with cash.

Goldman Sachs Group Inc. (NYSE: GS) recently said that it is co-leading a nearly $50 million investment in Bitcoin payments startup Circle Internet Financial as part of its effort to buy stakes in young financial-tech (fintech) companies.

The Boston-based company offers a digital "wallet" where people can store bitcoins and pay for things with them. Prior to this investment, Circle, founded in 2013, had raised at least $26 million in venture funding. It's now valued at around $200 million.

Bitcoin news todayGoldman Sachs and venture capital firms are investing tens of millions in the "blockchain" and other behind-the-scenes aspects of the Bitcoin world.
This Bitcoin news sent a ripple through the world of cryptocurrency. The price of Bitcoin has spiked several times since the April 29 announcement.

Circle wants to use Bitcoin technology to transform the way consumers pay for things, by developing cheap, secure, and easy ways for people to transfer money.

Circle instantly converts your physical dollars into Bitcoin and vice versa.

Since Bitcoin came onto the scene, big banks have seen this digital currency as a potential threat.

But Goldman's recent vote of confidence is something of a tipping point, as appears to be the first time one of those big banks has actually invested in the Bitcoin sector.

Regardless of the motives, Goldman's stamp of approval will grease the wheels of mainstream adoption of the digital currency.

While Goldman's investment in Circle may be the biggest Bitcoin news today, it isn't the only important move I've seen in recent days...

More Bitcoin News Today That Will Speed Mass Adoption

Last week, we found out that itBit will be the first Bitcoin exchange to operate out of New York state - the capital of the financial world. The New York Department of Financial Services (NYDFS) granted itBit a banking trust charter.

That means customers in all 50 states can trade Bitcoins on itBit, making it the first fully regulated U.S. Bitcoin exchange.

On April 28, another U.S. Bitcoin exchange operator, San Francisco-based Coinbase, said it would launch a similar exchange in the United Kingdom. Coinbase went a different regulatory route than itBit, so its exchange is only available in 27 states today.

Along with Circle, Coinbase is one of the biggest Bitcoin startups. It's raised $106 million in venture capital and has been valued at $471 million. About 2.1 million customers in 24 countries already use the company's wallet services.

And finally, one more piece of Bitcoin news today: On May 1, Inc. (Nasdaq: OSTK) filed a prospectus with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) to issue as much as $500 million in stock and other securities using the "blockchain." That sounds to me like Overstock CEO Patrick Byrne's opening salvo to create a Bitcoin-based stock market.

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Byrne has dubbed it the "Medici" - an all-digital stock market that would avoid both the New York Stock Exchange and the Nasdaq. According to Overstock's SEC filing, the Medici could be used to trade common stock, preferred stock, debt warrants, and more.

The blockchain is the digital "public ledger" that records and verifies every Bitcoin transaction. Others are eyeing that ledger as the gateway to what's being called "Bitcoin 2.0." That's where all kinds of transactions - mortgages, contracts, trademarks - could be conducted on the block chain with limited regulation.

It's thanks to moves like these and the rise of VC-funded companies like Circle and Coinbase that Bitcoin prices have stabilized as demand for the cryptocurrency rises.

Next up? I'm watching for the SEC approval of the Winklevoss Bitcoin Trust, which would be the first full-fledged Bitcoin ETF.

That would make it easy for just about anyone to invest in the cryptocurrency without actually purchasing Bitcoins.

Look for that sometime later this year.

Why the itBit Exchange Matters: The long journey of Bitcoin toward mainstream adoption took a big leap forward when the itBit exchange launched. This company went to great lengths to satisfy regulators and be a business that every investor will feel safe dealing with. And itBit is custom-built to lure Wall Street investment...

Follow Michael Robinson on Twitter: @Robinson_STI