Bitcoin Weekly 2014 May 21: Circle debuts consumer product, Kryptokit returned to Chrome, UK Pirate Party, and Dogecoin NASCAR

Bitcoin WeeklyAfter a long time waiting, enigmatic Bitcoin company Circle has showcased a consumer product and it’s an easy-to-use wallet. KryptoKit vanished from the Chrome Extension Store for 30 minutes on Tuesday–proving to be a glitch on Google’s part. The UK Pirate Party may get a chance for another member of Parliament with the help of bitcoin donations. And, for fans of Dogecoin, its NASCAR debut is putting the meme-based alt-currency into a race car video game.

Circle announces consumer product

Internet-based finance company Circle has showcased its first consumer product at this year’s Bitcoin 2014 in Amsterdam.

The product is a wallet-service that provides easy deposit and withdrawal of both fiat currency and bitcoins. The service differs from a traditional Bitcoin wallet in that when fiat deposits are made the money is converted into bitcoins and when a withdrawal is made the bitcoins are converted into fiat money. Customers will not have the complexity of a dollar balance displayed next to a bitcoin balance.

Circle also intends to differentiate its product from wallets and exchanges by making the transaction happen instantly and easily. Coinbase, for example, can take several days to convert between bitcoins and money. And using an exchange such as BTC-e or Bitstamp means an arduous process of wire transfers or cashiers’ cheques that could take even longer.

Once released to the public, the product will be free. The service will have no subscription cost or fees for deposits or withdrawals.

Circle is also a registered money transmitter in the United States, thus the company is required by law to keep full reserves of customer deposits and to maintain compliance prove to regulators that they exist. This resonates with the Bitcoin exchange community and the move towards proof of reserves by exchanges such as Vault of Satoshi and Kraken.

KryptoKit mysteriously removed from Chrome (and returned)

Tuesday morning, Bitcoin payment web extension KryptoKit was removed from the Google Chrome Extension Store. Although it did return almost thirty minutes later.

To shed some light on the situation, a member of the Google Chrome team took to Reddit to explain what had happened. According to Tyler, a Chrome Product Manager, the problem occurred because of a malware developer bent on stealing bitcoins.

That’s when something went wrong at Chrome.

“The pipelines that we use to detect malware flagged the real KryptoKit extension as being nearly identical,” Tyler wrote, “causing the extension to be blacklisted.”

A discussion on Reddit brought the matter to the attention of the Chrome team. “Many of us are enthusiasts, too!” confessed Tyler.

Once the problem was found, the extension was quickly restored.

Tyler went on to reassure readers that Google has no animus against KryptoKit in specific or Bitcoin apps in general. An important gesture, especially in light of Apple’s repeated rejection of Bitcoin-related apps from the App Store.

UK Pirate Party fundraiser raised in part with bitcoins

The trend of bitcoin donations intersecting with politics continues this week with the UK Pirate Party. The political party’s fundraising campaign on crowdfunding website (similar to Kickstarter) made its goal with a rush of bitcoin donations, reports Loz Kaye, leader of the party.

@Falkvinge And it’s #bitcoin donations that means @PiratePartyUK has hit fundraising target :) –

— Loz Kaye (@LozKaye) May 21, 2014

The UK Pirate Party asked for the £5,000 needed to run in one region of the UK to put a Pirate Party MEP (Member of European Parliment) into the Parliament.

With three hours to go for the fundraiser, the party has received £5,161.

The party has not yet released any information as to how much of the total was paid for in bitcoins.

In June 2011 the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) ceased accepting Bitcoin donations due to concerns about the legal status of the currency; the political advocacy group resumed accepting BTC donations in May 2013. Since then, politicians have begun to take notice of the currency. In April Candidate Ossian Smyth with Ireland’s Dun Laoghaire Green Party started accepting bitcoins for his political campaign.

Of course, while Bitcoin has a strong community behind it, and sending it is easy, the complexity of bitcoin donations may still rest largely on the shoulders of the politician receiving it, says Dr. Bitcoin.

Dogecoin to be immortalized in NASCAR video game

In spite of being seen by much of the cryptocurrency as an alt-coin joke for being based on an Internet meme dog, Dogecoin enthusiasts have gotten the coin some advertising.

A Reddit campaign that raised $55,000 put Dogecoin livery on driver Josh Wise’s car for the Aaron’s 499 in Talladega and the NASCAR Sprint All-Star Race. As a result of this appearance, the livery on WIse’s car will be added to stock-car simulation video game NASCAR ‘14 via upcoming DLC.