This week in bitcoin: More big money, more big players enter the bitcoin arena

In this week’s bitcoin review, we take a look at the debut of Circle’s product and BitPay’s funding round.

Circle emerges with a product, BitPay emerges with money

Everyone’s been wondering about what serial internet entrepreneur Jeremy Allaire had up his sleeve when it came to cryptocurrency. His bitcoin startup, Circle, revealed its new product in Amsterday today: a consumer banking platform. Allaire says it’s aimed squarely at ordinary folks who are “terrified” by the far-out features of crypto-coins. That’s why it has many of the same features of traditional online banking: easy interface, insured deposits, high security and even friendly phone operators to hold your hand.

While a first-glance makes it look like little more than a very nice UI on top of a traditional bitcoin wallet service like Coinbase, I’m sure we’ll see more from Allaire’s team than first meets the eye.

It all comes down to the push to get bitcoin in a usable form to the consumer — whether it’s through giving it away to college students or making it easy to purchase goods off Square with the cryptocurrency. As big players like Allaire enter the space, big funding rounds are happening too. BitPay announced a $30 million Series A funding round  — which the company claims is the largest bitcoin funding round ever — this week from Index Ventures, which previously backed DropBox and Skype, alongside other investors like Richard Branson. The e-commerce platform already processes more than $1 million in bitcoin payments a day from clients like WordPress and TigerDirect.

The market this week

The market swung $20 this week, but closed around $444. It’s fairly consistent with where it’s been in the month of May.
Bitcoin price through 3-15
For background on why we’re using Coindesk’s Bitcoin Price Index, see the note at bottom of the post. 

Other news we covered this week:

Here are some of the best reads from around the web this week:

  • Nonprofits are starting to get into the bitcoin game, whether it’s to avoid remittance fees when sending money overseas or to allow people to support causes they truly care about anonymously, reports Vice.
  • Last year, Forbes reporter Kashmir Hill spent a week living on bitcoin — an assignment that ended up with her moving into a hostel and losing five pounds. This year, Hill had a much easier time of surviving only off bitcoin, including a trip to wine country.
  • Forget Silicon Valley or your basement. Serious bitcoin miners are flocking to Washington to take advantage of the cheap power prices.
  • Bitcoin Foundation members are jumping ship after the election of venture capitalist Brock Pierce to the foundation’s board.
  • In the words of Ars Technica, “Such Hack, Much Sad.” DogeVault confirmed that 280 million Dogecoin (out of their 400 million) were stolen in an apparent heist. That translates to about $56,000 stolen.

Bitcoin in 2014

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The history of bitcoin’s price

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A note on our data: We use CoinDesk’s Bitcoin Price Index to obtain both a historical and current reflection of the Bitcoin market. The BPI is an average of the three Bitcoin exchanges which meet their criteria: Bitstamp, BTC-e and Bitfinex. To see the criteria for inclusion or for price updates by the minute, visit CoinDesk. Since the market never closes, the “closing price” as noted in the graphics is based on end of day Greenwich Mean Time (GMT) or British Summer Time (BST). 

Photo from BTC Keychain/Flickr.