Looking Back on March: A Month in Review

April has now arrived, and March has left. Looking back, March was a very exciting month for bitcoin. The month started with bitcoin prices rising quickly after a relatively calm February. Bitcoin entered march at just under $255 USD per bitcoin. Prices continued to rise until a year high $298 per on March 11. Many were sure the price would break $300, but exchanges rates took a full turn, as bitcoin began to dip. It has continued to drop since the high of $298, and the cryptocurrency ended the month at an exchange rate of around $247.

The are several major events that most likely contributed to the steep price changes. 50,000 bitcoins were auctioned by the US Marshal Service from the Silk Road bust on March 5th. The bitcoins were divided up into 20 blocks, and auctioned separately. The bitcoins were all purchased by three anonymous bidders. This auction seems to have contributed to the rise in bitcoin price. Midway through March, admins at Evolution, one of the largest DarkNet Markets, ran off with 120,000 bitcoins. this theft is one of the major factors contributing to the price drop in the following weeks.

Several large corporations began accepting bitcoin in March. T-Mobile began accepting bitcoin the second week of the month. The company is allowing pay-as-you-go phone users in Poland to top-up with bitcoins. What’s more, they are offering a 20% bonus. Rakuten, a Japan based retail giant, also began accepting bitcoin. Neteller, an  e-money/e-wallet stored-value service, implemented bitcoin deposits at a 0% fee. Neteller has integrated bitcoin for users worldwide. However, the server is not available to those in the US. Lastly, Reddit announced that bitcoin can now be used in Reddit markets, via Twitter, on March 9th.

Bitcoin was adopted by several very popular services, for both good and bad. ChangeTip has added tipping support on twitch.tv. ChangeTip is a popular service that allows users to tip set amounts of bitcoin to users through a variety of platforms, including Twitter, Reddit, and Youtube. Twitch.tv is one of the most visited sites in the US, and is dedicated to allowing users to stream video game content, as well as view others streams. As of March 20th, viewers can send tips to streams through ChangeTip. Before this integration, users were limited to PayPal donations as forms of tipping streamers. Early in the month, uTorrent, a hugely popular BitTorrent client with over 100 million users, automatically installed a cryptocurrency miner to automatically run on user clients. This abuse led to an outrage from the public, and many users uninstalled the software. In response, BitTorrent removed the miner three days ago, on March 28th.

On March 7th, Spain made a huge step in bitcoin integration. Bitcoin ATM provider BTCPoint partnered with Spanish national bank Banco de Sabadell. The result of the deal is 10,000 new Bitcoin ATMs throughout Spain. Spain citizens will be able to withdraw and deposit from any of the ATMs. They will not require an account with the bank.

Undeniably one of the most controversial issues this month is regarding formal federal agents Carl Mark Force IV and Shaun Bridges. Both were charged with money laundering and wire fraud late last March. Force IV, of the DEA, and Bridge, of Secret Services, were both involved in Silk Road investigations. Both obtained hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of bitcoins through extortion, bribery, and theft during the investigation.

March of 2015 was a controversial month in the bitcoin world. March, which marked the 5th anniversary of the first fiat value assigned to bitcoin was very interesting, to say the least. Crazy things will have to take place this month to surpass the chaos of the last.

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