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The latest news on Bitcoin

By Allison Ross · Bankrate.com
Friday, February 21, 2014
Posted: 4 pm ET

News and updates move quickly in the Bitcoin universe.

Here are some quick Friday updates on the major news happening with Bitcoin so you can stay up to date.

Bitcoin price stumbles: As we reported last week, technical issues on major bitcoin trading exchange Mt. Gox caused the exchange to temporarily halt bitcoin withdrawals. Other exchanges also had to temporarily shut down because of this technical issue, and some hackers have tried to take advantage of the flaw, but Mt. Gox has seemingly had the roughest go of it.

Mt. Gox said this week that it would resume the withdrawals soon but has not yet done so. In the meantime, this uncertainty has led to a continued drop in the price of bitcoins. This morning, the price of a bitcoin on the Mt. Gox exchange dipped briefly below $100. However, on other Bitcoin exchanges, the price is hovering in the $550 range, according to CoinDesk, still well below the range of $800 to $900 where it had been trading before Mt. Gox's latest troubles.

(The differences in prices of bitcoin on different exchanges has led to renewed questions about arbitrage, which is the practice of buying a currency or commodity in one market and immediately selling it on another market for a profit.)

CoinDesk, which averages prices from different bitcoin exchanges, has removed Mt.Gox from its index. There's been speculation about what will happen to Mt. Gox, with one Silicon Valley blog questioning whether the exchange was "at death's door."

Winkdex: The ubiquitous Winklevoss twins are at it again. This week, they announced that they've launched a bitcoin price index called the Winkdex. No kidding, that's really what it's called.

The Winkdex "blends" the prices of bitcoins on the three largest bitcoin exchanges, using a volume-weighted average. Of course, other indexes for bitcoins already exist (such as Coindesk).

It appears the Winkdex is a step toward the twins starting their own bitcoin-related exchange-traded fund called the Winklevoss Bitcoin Trust, according to a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission. An exchange-traded fund is a security that tracks an asset -- in this case bitcoins -- but trades like a stock on an exchange.

Bitcoin ATMs: Bitcoin ATMs are here.

According to news reports, bitcoin ATMs are popping up in the U.S., including in Austin, Texas, where the South by Southwest festival is set to get under way in March.

In a press release, Lamassu Inc. says one of its bitcoin vending machines was installed this week at an "upscale cigar bar" in Albuquerque, N.M.

What it all means: Analysts, academics and others continue to go back and forth on where Bitcoin is headed.

Some are arguing these latest developments with Mt. Gox spell bad news for Bitcoin, while others disagree.

Peter Leeds, author of "Penny Stocks for Dummies," says he doesn't think anyone should be interested in Bitcoin, especially these days.

"You're getting in late in the game," he said, saying that he thinks Bitcoin is on a downswing. "It's no different than the dot-com bubble or the tulip craze or Occupy Wall Street. It's in focus and a lot of people are involved early, but as it matures and goes on, the whole game changes."

What is clear is there's still incredible interest in the cryptocurrency.

Is there other important Bitcoin news that happened this week? Share it in the comments. Have you acquired any bitcoins yourself?

Follow me on Twitter: @allisonsross.

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