VIDEO: BBC News visits Tradehill for the day – “Unraveling the mysteries of Bitcoin”

Behind the scenes photo of Jered Kenna and Alastair Leithead talking about Bitcoin in the Tradehill Conference Room.

Behind the scenes photo of Jered Kenna and Alastair Leithead talking about Bitcoin in the Tradehill Conference Room.

WATCH HERE: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-22366064

The virtual currency Bitcoin is growing in popularity and some are even calling it the future of money, but how does the system work?

The currency is not controlled by a government or a central bank and is traded on the internet, as the BBC’s Alastair Leithead explains.

Via BBC News 

The Examiner: The Bitcoin frenzy – Interview with Tradehill CEO Jered Kenna

Over the last couple of weeks, everybody has been weighing in about Bitcoin, the digital currency that might be the money of the future, or a bubble bursting right in front of us. After being worth only $30 in March, on Wednesday, Bitcoin reached an all time high of $266, then plummeting to just over $100 in a few hours, and now stabilizing around $120. When Bitcoin’s price started to increase unexpectedly, it became the one thing everybody in Silicon Valley was talking about. (For those who don’t know what Bitcoin is, this video explains it perfectly in 3 minutes).

The extreme volatility on Wednesday cooled a lot of people off, prompting some to call Bitcoin a bubble ready to burst, and caution everyone about taking it too seriously. However, the New York Times reported that high level investors such as the Winklevoss twins invested in Bitcoin.

Examiner.com caught up with Jered Kenna, CEO of Tradehill, the second largest exchange platform for bitcoins after Mt. Gox, before it had to shut down last year due to a payment dispute with startup Dwolla. Tradehillrelaunched successfully in March with a new B2B service, Prime, seed investment, and a new team.

Examiner.com/Nora Poggi: Why was this the right time to relaunch?

Jered Kenna: We relaunched before the price increase, we hoped to be the first there and ride the wave. There has been a lot more interest from institutional investors, the VC community is really picking it up now so a lot of tech investors are getting into Bitcoin and putting money directly into Bitcoin. That’s also fueling the price increase. Some investors are looking at it seriously.

NP: Why do you think the price picked up so suddenly? Is the euro crisis fueling this ?

JK: I don’t think people are hedging against the euro with Bitcoin. The crisis brought a lot more attention and exposure to Bitcoin. People found out about Bitcoin because of the euro crisis, but we’re not flooded by people from Cyprus trying to buy bitcoins, so it’s not a direct correlation.

NP: Tell us about Tradehill’s new B2B service Prime.

JK: Prime is targeted at accredited investors and businesses. We’re dealing with clients that are making larger investments, and due to that we’ll have fewer clients with a higher average account balance, so we’ll be able to provide better dedicated service and dedicated account managers. There won’t be waiting time and responses will be quick. This service is mostly for VCs and high networth individuals who like to trade in alternatives. We’re speaking with a hedge fund right now, and looking at traditonal finance guys looking for a more professional experience. It’s going to be more traditional traders who want to enter the space and who want to be comfortable.

NP: What about the dark pools feature you added? How are people going to benefit?

JK: Dark pools are really useful, because they allow people to buy and sell large amounts of bitcoins without moving the price. If you want to buy 1 million dollars worth of bitcoins, you’ll run the price up and that’s what’s happening now with the volatile prices. They eat up all the supplies and the price goes up. Dark pools allow you to do that, same for selling large amounts without running the price down. It’s a big advantage, next to an open book infrastructure.

NP: What about the bubble talk? What do you think of the argument that the government will eventually take Bitcoin down, and what can you really do with your bitcoins now?

JK: I don’t see it so much as a bubble, but rather an extended period of volatility. You’re going to see points where the price jumps up and bumps down, I don’t see the price exploding, it’s extremely volatile because it’s extremely new, and some people are jumping on it too quickly. Some others who got into it early are cashing out right now. I think the price is going to change a lot over the next 6 months and couple of years. Right now there are I think over 500 merchants accepting bitcoins through Bitpay, you could rent a hotel room with bitcoins, and more and more people are accepting it as a form of payment. WordPress is the 25th most visited site in the world and they accept bitcoins.

Governments are going to introduce regulations to regulate virtual currencies, and Tradehill is already compliant with the regulations and will be proactive. We have more lawyers than engineers right now, so we’ll be on top of that. As long as people are proactive, the government will see we’re working within their realm. A lot of people thought Paypal was going to get shut down, and it definitely didn’t happen. I think you will see companies trying to get around the regulations that will get shut down. Governments will make it more difficult to comply.

NP: What about your experience as an entrepreneur? It’s been a crazy roller coaster for you, having to shut down and then being able to relaunch. Any advice?

JK: Don’t give up. I think determine if it’s something worth doing, because it’s always a lot more work and effort than you anticipate in the beginning. There are quite a few points when the easy way would have been just giving up and I don’t regret sticking through it. Everything was going really well the first time, we had insane growth and then we had a huge loss due to Dwolla, they moved 6 figures worth from our balance sheet. For a while I was pretty discouraged, and it was quite a hard hit to have your money disappear like that and with no means of recovering it. And I thought about why I got into Bitcoin in the first place, I got into it before it had a value, before it was anything really established. I thought about how much I enjoyed working with everybody in the space, and a lot of people encouraged me to go back into it, there’s a lot of brand loyalty with Tradehill. So I just said screw it, I want to give it another shot.

NP: What’s different this time around?

JK: I said I wouldn’t get back into it unless we had the technical side taken care of, the legal side and the money behind it. We hired 7 lawyers to take care of the legal side, and convinced Miron Cuperman who worked on PCI compliance at Google, to join as the CTO. He was a really big fan of Bitcoin and he’s working for us full time now, he’s pretty awesome. Having him really convinced me it was worth doing. We also raised 400, 000 in seed money and right now most of us are not taking a salary, so we’re working really hard on it.

NP: Is there any solidarity in the space with your competitors, considering how new all this is?

JK: As it evolves and it becomes more real, you’ll see more competition, but I got a lot of support when we had problems last year, I made a lot of great friends like Charlie Shrem from BitInstant. Right now it’s true that some people hate each other, but we all want to see it succeed. When something bad happens it makes the whole place look bad, so it reflects on all of us.

Via Examiner.com

The Week: Jered Kenna, The Face of Bitcoin

Jered Kenna, the face of BitcoinBitcoin, the decentralized electronic currency that may or may not be a libertarian fantasy, has had a rollercoaster of a week. Its value peaked at a staggering $266 on Thursday before plummeting to $71 Friday,according to Mt. Gox, one of cyberspace’s leading Bitcoin exchanges. (Watch a three-minute Bitcoin explainer here.)

At the beginning of this year, a single Bitcoin was worth just $13. And when the virtual currency launched in 2009, each coin traded for mere pennies. That means a lot of early buyers have gotten very, very rich.

Here, in no particular order, are 5 people who ended up making a lot of money by investing in the digital currency everyone’s talking about:

1. Charlie Shrem
Age: 
23
Occupation: CEO of BitInstant, a service that transfers cash to Bitcoins
Shrem was a senior at Brooklyn College when he first learned about Bitcoin in 2011. Instead of “mining” for coins himself, he purchased several on Tradehill, a digital currency exchange like Mt. Gox. His first purchase of 500 Bitcoins was for $3 to $4 each, and then thousands more when the value hit $20. According to Bloomberg Businessweek, “Shrem wears a ring engraved with a code that gives him access to the electronic wallet on his finger. Friends tease him that a thief could cut off his finger to get the ring.” Hence his nickname, “Four-finger Charlie.”

2. Jered Kenna
Age: 30
Occupation:
 CEO of Tradehill Bitcoin exchange
Tradehill, which at one point was second only to Mt. Gox, suspended service in 2012, butreopened on March 18 of this year. Its young CEO, Jered Kenna, accidentally deleted 800 Bitcoins when he wiped his computer clean in 2010, losing a commodity that today would be worth tens of thousands of dollars. It wasn’t too big a deal, though; as one of Bitcoin’s first investors, his initial purchase of 5,000 coins was for 20 cents each. Nowadays, he’s one of the world’s foremost Bitcoin authorities. “Before, you only had people that were only willing to spend $500 or so,” he tells the International Business Times, “but now you have people that are putting down [as much as] $1 million.”

3. Roger Ver
Age: 34
Occupation:
 Investor and former politician
Ver ran for California State Assembly in 2000 as a libertarian. (He lost.) A subsequent dust-up landed him in federal prison, and after a 10-month sentence, he relocated to Tokyo, where he lives today. Ver became infatuated with the promise of the decentralized crypto currency soon after it launched, and was an early evangelizer of Bitcoin’s potential. “I didn’t leave my house and spent every waking moment reading about Bitcoin,” he tells Bloomberg Businessweek. A self-described “angel investor in several Bitcoin startups,” Shrem affectionately calls Ver “BitcoinJesus” for the way he used to give coins away freely.

4 and 5. Cameron and Tyler Winklevoss
Ages: 
31
Occupations: Entrepreneurs
The Winklevoss twins are back in the spotlight. According to the New York Times, Mark Zuckerberg’s old Harvard nemeses “have amassed since last summer what appears to be one of the single largest portfolios of the digital money,” owning 1 percent of all Bitcoins currently in circulation. Before the big plummet this week, their portfolio was reportedly worth over $11 million… because they’re the kind of guys really strapped for cash.

Via The Week

International Business Times: The Bubble is Unavoidable and Necessary

The value of the bitcoin has skyrocketed amid a recent flood of capital into the virtual currency, but many are wondering whether its appreciation will hold strong or if it’s a speculation bubble that’s ready to burst.

Bitcoins exist only in a digital form and have become an increasingly popular form of direct online payment between two parties secured through encrypted networks. It has also gained wider recognition as an asset for trade and speculation.

Earlier this week, the value of a single bitcoin rose above $200 for the first time, a tenfold increase from its value of $20 at the beginning of the year. It peaked at a high of $266.

On Wednesday, however, the virtually currency’s value took a major dip, dropping to a low of $105 before settling at between $150 and $175.

Some view the price swing as a sign that bitcoin’s value has peaked and is beginning to decline, while others see it as a momentary blip in an otherwise upward trend.

Jered Kenna, CEO of the Tradehill Bitcoin exchange in San Francisco, told the International Business Times that bitcoin’s recent appreciation was being driven by an influx of capital from professional investors and currency traders.

“Before, you only had people that were only willing to spend $500 or so, but now you have people that are putting down [as much as] $1 million,” he said.

This indicates that more people are investing in bitcoin as an asset, driving its value up.

Unlike most government-backed currencies such as the U.S. dollar, there is a finite supply of bitcoins that exist in a market without any centralized regulating authority, making it subject to wide price fluctuations — much like a publicly traded stock.

Bitcoins are bought and traded on various online exchanges with transactions that are carried out directly between two parties through peer-to-peer networks.

In order to purchase bitcoins, a buyer must link their bank account to an exchange service to open up a virtual wallet where bitcoins can be stored online. Alternatively, bitcoins can be stored offline on portable harddrives to provide fruther security against hacking.

First introduced in 2009, there are about 11 million bitcoins now in online circulation. The global supply is set to increase gradually and cap at a firm 21 million by 2140.

Bitcoins are generated through a virtual “mining” process in which complex algorithms must be decoded within the peer-to-peer networks of the bitcoin market. These algorithms require vast amounts of computing power and time to solve and typically require groups of computers working together.

At the moment, it can take as long as three years to mine a mere 25 bitcoins, which at today’s rates would be worth less than $4,000. In other words, an individual would most likely spend more money to mine the bitcoins than they are worth. This approach is meant to space out circulation over time and prevent any one person from suddenly accumulating a trove of bitcoins before they’ve entered the market.

Scarcity is a major factor in the bitcoin’s value. People who have them tend to hold onto them with the expectation that they could appreciate and then be sold at a profit.

Of course, if there are no people willing to pay higher prices for bitcoins, then a bubble is revealed and begins to burst as more people try to sell off their bitcoins at falling prices.

“For sure, there will be a bubble, but it’s impossible to say if we’re in one right now,” Kenna said. “Some people are going to make a lot of money and some people are going to lose a lot of money.”

Kenna said that the bursting of a bitcoin bubble would be necessary to move it past its use as an asset and on to being an alternate means of paying for goods and services, as it was intended.

From there, Kenna envisions that Bitcoin would begin to have greater price stability and could potentially support its own form of a stock exchange.

Via International Business Times

Forbes: Tradehill Exchange Adds Dark Pools Of Bitcoin Liquidity

This week the bitcoin exchange Tradehill launches dark liquidity, or dark pools, for client institutions and individuals that do not want to reveal their trading size and identity. In trading on dark pools, market participants have the ability to execute large block trades without adversely impacting the price in either direction.

Based in San Francisco, Tradehill Inc. has relaunched successfully as a business-to-business bitcoin exchange for institutional investors and individuals qualifying as accredited investors. The original Tradehill founded by CEO Jered Kenna in 2011 had operations in the U.S. and Chile and maintained a consistent second position in daily trading volume after Mt. Gox.

Offering both a transparent open order book and a dark order book, the Tradehill service Prime will be critical for both large investors on the buy side, such as funds and institutions, and commercial participants on the sell side, such as merchant processors and bitcoin mining operators.

As “liquidity” and “market impact” can be synonymous in many cases, the market impact, especially on price, is a key consideration for those larger institutions that are regularly shifting assets between financial markets. If a large trade is executed incorrectly, the market impact can be several percentage points in addition to the typical transaction costs of commission and/or spread.

“Whether you’re trying to sell a large amount of bitcoin above market, or trying to buy without losing your shirt to slippage, dark orders on the Prime platform provide an important tool for larger traders,” said Kenna.

In one week, over 100 new accredited investors signed up for Tradehill Prime. The company requires a $10,000 minimum initial deposit (in bitcoin equivalent or U.S. dollars) and dark orders will be priced in BTC, trading inmicro-lots of $1,000. New clients also receive a $75 account credit to test the integrated trading platform on the open order book.

Tradehill is a U.S-based exchange that falls within the definition of FinCEN’s regulations for virtual currency exchange operators. “Bitcoin’s primary use is value transmission and financial technology in the U.S. is a very regulated space,” according to Tradehill COO Ryan Singer. The company has anticipated this regulation and the recent guidance from FinCEN “really helps the startups in the space build a compliance game plan,” he added.

In offering dark pools of bitcoin liquidity within an exchange infrastructure, institutional clients gain the benefits of anonymity and non-display of orders but without losing any of the efficiencies associated with trading on an exchanges’ public order books. With bitcoin, it is difficult to gauge how much large-block trading occurs off a publicly visible exchange. By comparison, research firm Tabb Group estimates that off-exchange and dark pool trading in the U.S. equity markets accounted for 32% of trades in 2012.

Emma Quinn, AllianceBernstein’s Head of Asia Pacific Trading for equities,says ” We use dark pools to access liquidity for orders we would not normally place in the central limit order book. I think dark pools aid price discovery. There has to be post-trade transparency but once that happens you’ve actually got more transparency on a market than you normally would.”

MIT Professor of Finance Haoxiang Zhu agrees with that assessment writingthat “dark pools can improve price discovery in open exchanges.” He also said, “Adding a dark pool alongside an exchange tends to concentrate price-relevant information into the exchange and improve price discovery. Improved price discovery coincides with reduced exchange liquidity.”

This is precisely where the Bitcoin market needs to be heading and it is a necessary prerequisite for Bitcoin’s evolving role in global trade. Wholesale trading exchanges like Tradehill Prime represent an evolution from the floating-rate and fixed-rate retail exchanges. They can also be considered a precursor to bitcoin-based forex markets as well as more sophisticated derivatives markets for bitcoin futures and options.

Via Forbes

First American Bitcoin Exchange Tradehill relaunches and releases Prime, a B2B digital currency exchange

San Francisco, CA – Tradehill, the first American Bitcoin Exchange, relaunched today. The first product from the refounded company is Prime, a digital currency exchange for businesses and accredited investors.

 

“We are excited to present a new way for businesses and high-end investors to interact with the digital currency economy. Prime is intended to enable every business in the space to have more professional, cleaner, faster and more effective operations. Tradehill has benefited from close relationships with Mt. Gox, Coinbase, BitInstant and BitPay. We will focus the next few months on adding up and comers like Coinlab to the mix” said Jered Kenna, CEO and Founder of Tradehill.

 

What Is Tradehill?

 

Tradehill, originally launched on June 8th, 2011, was the first Bitcoin Exchange in America, and facilitated millions of dollars in Bitcoin exchange.

 

Tradehill shut down and returned client funds in January 2012 due to payments fraud and regulatory uncertainty in the US. Tradehill was the first institution in the Bitcoin market to hold millions of dollars in user funds and process full payouts. Every other Bitcoin company that achieved scale either lost money in a hack or went insolvent.

 

The new team, led by returning CEO Jered Kenna and co-founder Ryan Singer, includes engineering talent from Google, Cloudflare, and The Guardian Project.

 

Businesses and accredited investors can apply to join Prime starting today. After the user’s identity is verified, every client will receive a $75 credit to test trading. Clients will be invited to fully activate their account with a deposit of at least $10,000 USD, 200 bitcoins, or $5,000 in Mt. Gox codes.

 

Contact:

 

Tradehill’s site can be found at http://www.tradehill.com.