The Leftover Bits: 23/4/15: RoboCoin Remittance, Open Bazaar Updates, Bitcoin Foundation Has New Board Chair

OpenBazaar Updates To 0.4.0 ‘Portobello’

OpenBazaar is the decentralized marketplace seen by many as the spiritual successor to the infamous Silk Road. Yesterday, it updated to version 0.4.0 for Linux and Mac users. Binaries have not yet been compiled (so you’ll have to do it yourself) and Windows users will have to wait until then for its release.

The update adds HD key signing, an internal messaging system, more abilities for the notaries, and a few more additions. Brave New Coin has a write up with an interview of lead Developer Brian Hoffman and the official blog has a post detailing the additions.

RoboCoin Launches Romit For Remittance

Remittance is something that gets talked a lot about in the Bitcoin world. Robocoin has released a new software product called Romit that is intended to allow blockchain remittance without either party holding any Bitcoin,  at a price far lower than MoneyGram or Western Union.

The software can be installed on an ATM or web-enabled Cash register. Senders simply deposit cash and give a phone number for the receiver. The receiver will get a message alerting them of the transaction and provide them with a location where the money can be picked up. The fee sits at a steady 4 % compared to the higher and variable rates of traditional money transmitters.  For an example, according to the graphic posted by Robocoin, a USD $75 transfer from the United States to the Philippines using Romit will cost the user $3.00, while that same transfer will cost $12.48 and $11.60 using Western Union or MoneyGram, respectively.

It is an interesting idea that allows merchants to become Romit cashiers without having to buy expensive hardware. We will have to wait to see if it catches on. At press time there is no obvious way to find Romit cashiers.

Brock Pierce Elected Bitcoin Foundation Board Chairman

Changes at the Bitcoin Foundation continue. Last year, they decided to narrow their focus onto core development. Yesterday, their core development team announced that they would be joining MIT’s Digital Currency Initiative and would be receiving a salary from them.

That left the Bitcoin Foundation with a little question of what they should do now. To help lead them in their new quest to not only find funding but also meaning in the digital currency community that seems to be fine with the idea of moving on without them, they have tapped Board member and former child actor Brock Pierce to head the board.

Pierce, who was elected in a 3-0-1 vote with Olivier Janssens abstaining,  was quoted in CoinDesk as saying that he hopes to work closely with newly appointed executive director Bruce Fenton and the rest of the board, in trying to figure out where to move next.

Presumably, the Foundation will move back to some of the things it was trying to do before it decided to focus on Core development. Namely, promotion, adoption and advocacy.

The next few months will be crucial in deciding the Foundation’s future, or if it even has one.

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