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The Bitcoin Bugle: Bit-what?

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In spite of efforts by occasional news round-ups like ourselves, as well as those of the financial glitterati and alleged evil-doers, almost no one has ever heard of the crypto-currency, and isn't interested in doing so. And now, the most likely source of popular enlightenment—an iPhone app—is no more.

To the general public, bitcoin is not a mystery. They haven’t even heard of it. Fully three-quarters of U.S. residents are not familiar with bitcoin, and nearly 80% wouldn’t even consider using it, a new study from TheStreet and research firm GfK found.

Apple has taken down one of the last remaining iPhone mobile applications that allowed users to buy and sell Bitcoin.

The app, named BlockChain, had been downloaded 120,000 times, and was commonly used as a way to hold and spend Bitcoins….

Other Bitcoin apps have previously come and gone from the Apple App Store.

Despite such notable setbacks—including his own indictment on money-laundering charges—the Bitcoin Evangelist, Charles Shrem, isn't discouraged.

"2014 will be like the Industrial Revolution for bitcoin," Mr. Shrem said in an interview Wednesday at his lawyer's office in Manhattan, one of the few places to which he can travel while serving house arrest.

"Satoshi is like Columbus—he gave us the new world. Now we have to build the bridges, roads, tunnels, synagogues and churches," he said.

Of course, he'll be watching that revolution unfold from his parents' place, where he is under house arrest, or from prison, depending on how quickly the wheels of justice feel like turning in his case. But the news for bitcoin isn't all grim today: The digital dollar at least has Perseus Telecom, and there will always be Brazil. And Estonia.

Bitcoin has taken another step toward inserting itself into the global financial system as Perseus Telecom, a provider of heavy-bandwidth telecommunications connections for securities exchanges and their customers, said it will accept payments in the digital currency.

"Bitcoin is a valuable digital asset and form of payment," said company chief executive Jock Percy.

He said the proposal to accept such payments didn't emerge from Perseus's traditional financial-services clients, but from businesses that provide online gaming to players around the world, an industry for which low-latency international connections are increasingly important.

Brazil has embraced the concept of electronic currencies. “On October 9, 2013, Brazil enacted Law No. 12,865, which created the possibility for the normalization of mobile payment systems and the creation of electronic currencies, including the bitcoin,” states the report. The law allows Brazil to regulate bitcoin, other cryptocurrencies and any future electronic currency….

The report also states that Russia and Estonia show the most public interest in bitcoins. “According to Google’s search statistics, Estonia is the country with the second-largest number of Internet searches for the term “bitcoin”; Russia has the most such searches,” the report says.

Most People Still Don't Know What Bitcoin Is, and Don't Care to Know [WSJ MoneyBeat blog]
Apple Takes Down a Bitcoin App [DealBook]
Hard Times for a Bitcoin Evangelist [WSJ]
High-Speed Provider Perseus Telecom Embraces Bitcoin [WSJ]
Bitcoin Around the World: How Virtual Currencies Are Treated In 40 Different Countries [International Business Times]