Block Chain Summit Responds to Backlash Over Private Island Bash

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  Boasting an exotic location and the apparent blessing of billionaire Richard Branson, the Block Chain Summit has emerged as one of the most discussed events in the digital currency community in recent months. To be held from 25th to 28th May on Branson’s private Necker Island, little has been known about the conference apart from its available guest list, a factor that has led to speculation as to what the event would seek to achieve since it was first revealed by CoinDesk. In a new interview, however, Valery Vavilov, CEO of leading event sponsor BitFury and venture capitalist Bill Tai shed new light on the gathering, opening up about its planned schedule and responding to criticism that it is perpetuating negative industry stereotypes. Tai, who has previously invested in BitFury, sought to dismiss these criticisms, suggesting that the Block Chain Summit first and foremost will seek to attract attention to how decentralized ledger systems might positively impact the world. Positioning this as a contrast to past conferences, Tai told CoinDesk: “This is not a conference that’s about the pure technology and it’s not a gathering to try to disrupt governments and banks and mess with people’s currency systems. We …

Bitcoin Community Rallies to Aid Nepal Earthquake Victims

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The Southeast Asian nation of Nepal has dominated the headlines this week following a devastating earthquake, which at the time of press, had already claimed the lives of more than 4,000 people. Just as swift, however, has been the charitable response. The Red Cross has committed an initial $300,000 of aid as well as an additional 19,000 non-food relief kits including essential items such as clothes and mosquito nets. Meanwhile, online fundraising platform Global Giving has already raised approximately $570,000 as part of an attempt to raise $1m to support victims. Members of the bitcoin community, in Nepal and around the globe, have also rallied around the cause, seeking to provide both needed aid and a reminder of how bitcoin can help charitable efforts lower the cost of accepting international donations. See Change Foundation founder Erik Bouchard, for example, confirmed that his organisation has so far received over 100 bitcoin donations in 36 hours, “ranging from $1 to $100 [per donation]”. The Nepal-based charity is seeking donations to cover the costs of providing short-term housing units to those affected by the earthquake. More than 740 homes, he said, have been destroyed in his small district, at the epicentre of the quake alone. “People are still sleeping in the streets …