The first bitcoin automatic teller machine in Queensland has been seized as part of an investigation into an alleged drug trafficking network linked to the Bandidos bikie gang. Police gang squad officers seized the ATM on Friday morning in a joint raid with customs officials
Brisbane-based bitcoin BPAY startup Living Room of Satoshi has suspended operations, after the Australian Tax Office’s decision to treat bitcoin as property made its business model impractical. The startup offered a service free to users which allowed them to pay BPAY bills using bitcoin. It
Investing.com – Bitcoin prices hovered below the $400-level on Wednesday, as investors sold the virtual currency amid bearish chart signals. Bitcoin (BTC/USD) fell $17.17, or 4.21%, to trade at $390.93 on Slovenia-based BitStamp during U.S. morning hours. BitStamp rallied to $416.65 on Tuesday, the strongest
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Back in March, Newsweek published what would have been one of the year’s biggest technology scoops. An article by Leah McGrath Goodman claimed to have unmasked Satoshi Nakamoto, the reclusive — and likely pseudonymous — genius who invented Bitcoin. Goodman pointed to an elderly Japanese-American
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The first bitcoin automatic teller machine in Queensland has been seized as part of an investigation into an alleged drug trafficking network linked to the Bandidos bikie gang.
Police gang squad officers seized the ATM on Friday morning in a joint raid with customs officials at the Roastery cafe in South Brisbane.
The proprietor was arrested and faces charges, along with a former member and associates of the Bandidos Brisbane Centro chapter, over an alleged multimillion-dollar methamphetamine trafficking network.
It is not known if bitcoin transactions – which have been accepted by the cafe as payment since it installed the machine in May – played any role in the alleged trafficking.
Superintendent Mick Niland said detectives were “forensically examining the machine as we speak”.
Bitcoin is a digital currency whose growing popularity worldwide, chiefly for online transactions, contrasts with the mainstream finance sector’s reluctance to embrace them because of their fluctuating market value.
Centro have been under investigation by Queensland’s crime and corruption commission for alleged drug and violence offences since 2012, when one of its members was suspected of murdering Jei “Jack” Lee during a cocaine deal.
A divisive presence in the Brisbane underworld and disparaged by older gang members as “Nike bikies” who don’t even ride bikes, most Centro members resigned last year in the wake of the Newman government’s punitive laws targeting bikie gangs.
Niland said the raids were the culmination of a two-year investigation into the network, which allegedly trafficked ice and methylamphetamine oil, which can easily be converted to ice.
“This crime gang was targeted as they are a significant risk to the Queensland community. To date, over $2.6m of drugs have been seized during this operation,” he said.
The cafe was one of 19 places raided across Brisbane, Ipswich and Logan by the joint taskforce on Friday morning.
Image credit: Adam Armstrong
Brisbane-based bitcoin BPAY startup Living Room of Satoshi has suspended operations, after the Australian Tax Office’s decision to treat bitcoin as property made its business model impractical.
The startup offered a service free to users which allowed them to pay BPAY bills using bitcoin.
It made a small profit based on the price movement on bitcoin exchanges. Now that Australian exchanges must charge users that buy bitcoin 10% of the amount being purchased, that is no longer possible.
Co-founder Daniel Alexiuc says that development gave users strong reason not to use the service.
“If an electricity bill costs either $100 in Australian dollars or $110 in bitcoin, there is a huge disincentive to pay it in bitcoin. It is basically economically infeasible to run the service in this way,” he says.
“Or any Australian-based GST registered business for that matter.”
The company had been growing steadily and was getting about $20,000 a week in bills up until the ATO’s bitcoin guidance announcement.
Alexiuc says he’s not ruling out Living Room of Satoshi returning should the regulation of bitcoin in Australia change.
“My primary goal was to build a useful and innovative startup for bitcoin-using Australians. We have only been open for a few months, and have been cut short from reaching our full potential,” he says.
“So of course I invested a lot of time and money into the venture and it was not profitable yet.
“I’d love to see Living Room of Satoshi make a comeback, but for bitcoin to be truly useful by business in Australia, it needs to be treated as money for GST purposes.
“I plan to continue improving the service in the background and figure out a way to get it running again in anticipation of a change in regulation.”
He’s hopeful the changes might not be too far off.
“Bitcoin is a new concept that didn’t exist when the laws were written, so I am hopeful that regulators will treat it as something different, and not try to shoehorn it into existing definitions of money.”
Despite the impact regulation has had on his startup, he’s still bullish about the future of bitcoin.
“Bitcoin will not be affected by Australian regulations like these, it is an international currency that will continue its rise unabated,” he says.
“But innovation in Australia will be affected, and innovative startups and companies may find it easier to just head overseas.”