Leading payment technology and services provider First Data has signed on the dotted line to acquire mobile gift card platform Gyft at a valuation of just under $100 million. This is good news for merchant clients with First Data and Gyft, but also for the people who shop at those stores. The acquisition will expand the options for First Data's over 300 national retail prepaid clients, providing their customers the ability to buy, send, manage and redeem gift cards from their mobile devices with Gyft. First Data president Guy Chiarello says “This [partnership] means that the same robust toolset deployed by big box retailers will be coming soon to small- to mid-sized businesses, perfectly synched with our mission to offer innovative solutions to help our clients grow.” The deal is expected to close next month pending shareholder approval.
Leading bitcoin payment solutions provider BitPay announced a new plan today which offers merchants unlimited basic payment processing free-of-charge, forever. According to the company's blog post announcement, this has been their plan all along since they began in 2011, when they looked at the current payment landscape built around credit cards, without many alternatives, and "saw an opportunity to finally give merchants around the world relief from interchange fees" by making "bitcoin every merchant’s favorite form of payment." Well they've certainly got their work cut out for them, taking down the big bad credit card monopolies. But then offering their services free-of-charge is definitely a strong start.
The Wikimedia Foundation announced today that they have finally begun officially accepting Bitcoin for donations. Given the recent influx of requests from the Wikimedia community for Bitcoin, along with developments in Bitcoin tax guidance, the Foundation says they were "encouraged to once again review our capacity to accept bitcoin." Their solution? Partner with Coinbase's payment services to immediately convert their bitcoin donations to U.S. dollars, thus minimizing the legal risks and required technical implementation, while making it easier to account for and legally manage.
New Zealand ATM operator Bitcoin Central has announced that it will be forced to close its facilities and sell its ATM equipment within the week, after local banks refused to provide their support. Prior to this news, New Zealand had been viewed as a prime example of Bitcoin's mainstream potential, given the successful opening of bitcoin and dogecoin-accepting supermarket Bitmart earlier this year, and the approach of the country's first cryptocurrency conference "Bitcoin South" coming in November - not to mention the promising words from Reserve Bank of New Zealand deputy governor Geoff Bascand, who said recently that Bitcoin is a "very low cost payment method with strong security features" that "could supplant cash as we know it in years to come." No formal statement has been heard from any of the recently skeptical banks, however, so the current situation for Bitcoin in New Zealand remains uncertain.
Arizona's first Bitcoin ATM apparently wasn't in the favor of Zeus, as reports indicate that the Tucson business housing the ATM was struck by lightning on Friday night, causing a power surge that knocked out the machine's vital components. The $1,000 dollar Skyhook machine had been installed by owner Brian Williams roughly two weeks prior and had processed about a dozen transactions during its short life, mostly in the $10-$15 dollar range. Now in the wake of this natural disaster, Williams says, "It's kind of like getting punched in the face. I'm trying to pick up the pieces and trying to figure out where we are at." Williams has also apologized to his customers for any inconvenience this may have caused, and hopes to get the machine up and running again by the end of the week.
A new Bitcoin app ‘The Bitcoin Alphabet – For Kids and Everyone Else’ explains Bitcoin’s every concept from A to Z - or ‘alternative currency’ to ‘zero-confirmation transactions’ - through a mixture of illustrations and simple text. According to the app's description on the App Store, "Each page is filled with cartoons, illustrations and fun facts about the coming revolution in digital currency." As author Chris Bozak explains, “I wanted to create something that boiled down what I think are the basic tenants of the bitcoin ecosystem – for kids... The subject matter is something that is totally foreign to people, no matter their age. So I just aimed to produce something that everyone could process.”