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Vague Laws Leave Crypto Users Confused in Almost Half of the US

In Nearly Half of the US, Crypto Users Unsure if They’re Breaking Laws

Justin Wales and Arnaldo Rego, lawyers at Carlton Fields, have surveyed all 50 states in the US, looking for clarity on money transmitting laws as they relate to cryptocurrencies. As adoption and general usage increases, states appear to be failing to keep up, leaving many enthusiasts to wonder if they’re committing a crime.

Also read: Square’s Big Week: Crypto Patent, Shares Leap, and Lightning Plug

In Nearly Half of the US, Crypto Enthusiasts Cannot be Sure of the Law

Of 50 US states, 12 have been judged “unclear” in terms of money laundering laws and how they relate to cryptocurrency. That’s significant due to the way enthusiasts have been prosecuted in the United States by regulators. Legal researchers from the law firm Carlton Fields examined all 50 states, and Washington, DC with regard to cryptocurrency law.

In Nearly Half of the US, Crypto Users Unsure if They’re Breaking Laws

A tad better than “Unclear,” 11 additional states were deemed “likely not applicable to cryptocurrencies” in their money laundering laws, making a combined half of the country a decidedly risky place for those who exchange regular amounts.  

“There was a time when it made a lot of sense for states to regulate money transmission,” legal researchers note in their examination, “or the business of transferring funds, currency, or other substitutes of money. In a pre-digital economy, almost all money transmitter businesses had to be physically located in the state where they offered payment or financial services for its residents, such as facilitating the payment of electric bills or exchanging currencies before a trip.”

Borderless

Digital currencies are almost by definition borderless, zapped around pocket to pocket through smartphones, laptops, desktops, tablets without thought about jurisdiction. Indeed, researchers underscore how “in the crypto era, state-by-state money transmitter rules just make things more complicated. There is no clarity about whether a company issuing a token, operating a wallet or facilitating crypto to crypto or crypto to fiat transactions needs a license in every state in which it could theoretically operate.”

In Nearly Half of the US, Crypto Users Unsure if They’re Breaking Laws

Take, for example, the state of Michigan. It has been categorized as “unclear” for crypto users by Mr. Wales and Mr. Rego, and an anecdotal survey of news coverage seems to confirm that analysis. Just this month, in fact, these pages reported on the SEC action against Tokenlot, a Michigan-based outfit, touting itself as an “ICO superstore.”

The resolution of the case reads rather unsatisfying: “Without admitting or denying the SEC’s findings, Tokenlot, Kugel, and Lewitt consented to the SEC’s order and agreed to pay $471,000 in disgorgement plus $7,929 in interest, and they will retain an independent third party to destroy Tokenlot’s remaining inventory of digital assets,” according to Steven Peikin of its Enforcement Division.

The Wolverine State is a Prime Case in Point

Back in late 2017, another Michigander, Bradley Anthony Stetkiw, ran afoul of federal law while using P2P exchange Localbitcoins.com. The SEC accused the man of “buying, selling and brokering ‘deals for hundreds of thousands of dollars in bitcoin while failing to comply with money transmitting business registration requirements set forth in Title 31, United States Code, Section 5330,’” these pages also documented.

Readers could be excused, then, for placing Michigan into the column of states openly hostile to decentralized digital money. Not so fast. The state ranks in the top ten in terms of crypto usage (8th), and in its largest city, Detroit, “a bunch of cryptocurrency-based automated teller machines…are popping up in great number in liquor stores, gas stations, and cash-checking locations.” Go figure.

In Nearly Half of the US, Crypto Users Unsure if They’re Breaking Laws

Complicating matters more, researchers also explain, “Today money transmitter businesses often have to apply for separate licenses within the states they operate, in addition to registering as a ‘Money Service Business’” with federal regulators. “This has made the cost of offering money transmission services across the country incredibly expensive and time-consuming. Though the cost and difficulty of obtaining a license varies by state, as of August 2018 every state except Montana requires at least some money service businesses to obtain a money transmitter license to lawfully operate.”

For Americans, “it’s not always clear how decentralized payment networks or the issuance of digital assets implicate existing regulations. Some states, for better (Wyoming) or worse (New York), have explicitly amended legislation to address digital assets, but for every clear piece of legislative guidance, there are many jurisdictions that leave entrepreneurs –  and in some cases, digital currency users – in the dark,” they warn.

Do you think clearer guidance is needed on crypto usage? Let us know in the comments below. 


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Bitcoin Enters the Scrabble Lexicon

Bitcoin Enters the Scrabble Lexicon

To its holders, bitcoin is immensely valuable. Except, that is, for holders of the seven tiles required to spell ‘bitcoin’ on the Scrabble board. The word, which has now been added to the official Scrabble dictionary, is worth a mere 11 points. The significance of its inclusion to Bitcoin proponents, however, is notably greater.

Also read: Bitcoin Glyphs Added to Apple’s Shortcuts Application

Bitcoin Enters the Scrabble Bag

Bitcoin Enters the Scrabble LexiconWhat do twerk, beatdown, zomboid, and puggle have in common? They all number among the 300 new words to have been included in the sixth edition of Merriam-Webster’s Official Scrabble Players Dictionary (OSPD). The reference guide, first published in 1979, is used at official Scrabble tournaments across North America to determine what’s a word and what’s just a jumble of letters. Until now, bitcoin fell into the latter category, deemed too new and niche to warrant admission in the hallowed guide.

That bitcoin has now made its way into the pages of the OSPD is further evidence of the inroads the cryptocurrency has made in permeating popular culture and becoming a household name. This latest miniature milestone comes days after bitcoin glyphs were included in Apple’s Shortcuts application, and weeks after being namechecked in a new Eminem track. Bitcoin’s Scrabble dictionary inclusion also attests to the increasing weighting given to internet-derived terms, which have come to dominate colloquial speech the world over. Recent OPSD additions emoji, facepalm, bestie, hivemind, and yowza all fall under this banner.

Bitcoin Doesn’t Need Permission to Play

Bitcoin Enters the Scrabble LexiconWhile competitive Scrabble players with a penchant for cryptocurrency will be pleased to note bitcoin’s inclusion in the official dictionary, the exercise is largely academic. Bitcoin-lovers who wished to deploy the word in Scrabble games with friends up until now need only reach consensus prior to placing their tiles on the board. Indeed, there is nothing to stop crypto fans from playing their own version of the game, with double points awarded for spelling out such staples as HODL, FOMO, and shitcoin.

As the original permissionless ledger, the only rules Bitcoin observes are those enshrined in its code. Nevertheless, its inclusion in the Merriam-Webster’s Official Scrabble Players Dictionary serves as a small reminder of how far Bitcoin has come in such a short space of time.

What are your thoughts on bitcoin’s inclusion in the Scrabble dictionary – is it a big deal, or nothing much to shout about? Let us know in the comments section below.


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Markets Update: Cryptocurrencies Dip Again Forming Consolidated Support

Markets Update: Cryptocurrencies Dip Again Forming Consolidated Support

Just when cryptocurrency prices were starting to look better, digital asset markets shaved around $19 billion USD off the entire crypto-economy. Today the cryptocurrency ecosystem’s 1,900+ coins have an overall market capitalization of about $210 billion and about $14 billion in global trade volume.

Also read: Ebang Announces 44 Terahash E-11 Miners With 10nm Chips

The 2018 Dips

Markets are looking gloomy again as last week many markets had spiked between 5-30 percent in value over the last seven days. Of course, most of those gains were erased last night and during today’s cryptocurrency trading sessions. During our last markets update just two days ago, the entire crypto-cap was around $229 billion, but yesterday that all changed. Global digital asset trade volumes haven’t changed much as prices have begun to sink, when usually trade volumes pick up the pace during the dips.

Markets Update: Cryptocurrencies Dip Again Forming Consolidated Support

This Tuesday bitcoin core (BTC) is valued around $6,435 as the cryptocurrency is down 2.4 percent over the last 24-hours. Still holding the top trade volume position BTC has about $4.4 billion in daily volume with a market valuation of around $111 billion. Ethereum (ETH) prices have dropped by 9.9 percent this Tuesday and one ETH is trading for $210 per coin at the time of publication. The third highest valued market capitalization held by ripple (XRP) saw seven-day gains of over 103 percent last week. This week is different for XRP as the currency is down 12 percent today ($0.45 per coin), but is still up 54 percent for the entire week. Bitcoin cash (BCH) values have dipped 6.4 percent today as one BCH is trading for $434 per coin today. 

Bitcoin Cash (BCH) Market Action

Bitcoin cash markets are still up over 2 percent over the course of the last seven days. BCH holds the sixth largest trade volume today below eos and above litecoin. The decentralized cryptocurrency’s overall market valuation is hovering around $7.6 billion with $375 million in 24-hour trade volume. The top five exchanges swapping the most BCH today include EXX, Lbank, Hitbtc, Okex, and Huobi. Binance and Coinex also command 6-7 percent of the global BCH trades today each. The top currency pair traded with bitcoin cash this week is BTC as the digital asset captures 50.8 percent of worldwide exchanges. This is followed by USDT (30.9%), ETH (7.9%), USD (5.5%), QC (1.6%), and KRW (1.5%).

Markets Update: Cryptocurrencies Dip Again Forming Consolidated Support

BCH/USD Technical Indicators

Looking at the 4-hour, and daily charts BCH/USD charts on Bitfinex show that bulls have failed to push past upper resistance two days ago. The Macd indicator (4-H) shows the bearish drop may be a touch overextended at the moment. Both the 4-H RSI (-34.8) and Stochastic (-28.4) momentum oscillators also show markets are entering oversold conditions. There’s a large gap between the two Simple Moving Averages (SMA) with the 200 SMA well above the 100 SMA trendline. This gap confirms the market trend won’t crossover just yet, as the path towards the least resistance is towards the downside. Looking at order books show some key support and resistance levels. On the upside, bulls will be held back from the current vantage point up until $460. A price of $500 per BCH and above shows more resistance levels for buyers to overcome. On the backside, bears will see a temporary stop at $410 and there will also be key foundational support around $380.

Markets Update: Cryptocurrencies Dip Again Forming Consolidated Support

The Verdict: Skeptics Highlight Bets Against the Top Crypto-Markets and Consolidation

Of course, the verdict has changed for this particular markets update to a touch more skepticism. BTC/USD and ETH/USD short contracts are starting to rise again. Cryptocurrency prices are seeing some slight recovery today on September 25 after the initial drop the day before but not by much. Rob Sluymer the managing director and technical strategist at Fundstrat details that the recent dips put some cryptocurrencies in an uncertain position. Sluymer notes this week:

Last week’s decline leaves BTC in a fragile technical position as it attempts to stabilize/base at $6,100-$6,200 support. A break below $6,100 would signal a retest and possible break of $5,800 support with potential risk to $5,000.

Unless there’s a considerable trend reversal trader’s betting against crypto-markets, we could see another downside break to BCH lows of $350, BTC $5,700, and ETH $160. However others believe it is more likely digital assets will follow a consolidated pennant support, and prices will remain in these current ranges. A spike above BCH ($650), BTC ($7,200), and ETH ($290) would show a consistent bearish-to-bullish trend reversal signal.

Where do you see the price of BTC, BCH, and other coins headed from here? Let us know in the comment section below.

Disclaimer: Price articles and markets updates are intended for informational purposes only and should not to be considered as trading advice. Neither Bitcoin.com nor the author is responsible for any losses or gains, as the ultimate decision to conduct a trade is made by the reader. Always remember that only those in possession of the private keys are in control of the “money.”


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Pushing the Boundaries of Economic Change: Bitcoin as a Medium of Exchange in Africa

Pushing The Boundaries Of Economic Change - Bitcoin As A Medium Of Exchange In Africa

Bitcoin is pushing the boundaries of economic change in Africa. In East Africa, a new deal between digital currency exchange Bitpesa and a Japanese firm shows Kenyans are using bitcoin to pay for used Japanese cars, cosmetics and electrical gadgets. In Nigeria, Sure Remit is helping make cash transfers cheaper and in Zimbabwe, TV subscriptions, university fees, and second-hand car imports.

Also read: US Dollar Losing Dominance As A Means For Settling Transactions In Africa

Bitcoin as A Cure for Africa’s Cash Addiction

When Elisha Owusu Akyam bought his Macbook Pro laptop using bitcoin (BTC) earlier this year, he wasn’t just fulfilling a long-time desire – he was making a statement of change in a continent hooked on cash.

Pushing The Boundaries Of Economic Change - Bitcoin As A Medium Of Exchange In Africa
Elisha Owusu Akyam

“Making payments in bitcoin is easier than existing methods,” the 17 year-old cryptocurrency investor from Accra, Ghana, told news.Bitcoin.com.

“Barriers exist for financial inclusion on the continent. Bitcoin eradicates these barriers,” said Owusu Akyam, founder and chief executive of Token Media, a startup that has helped other emerging businesses raise millions of dollars in token sales through its marketing services.

“For instance, the purchase I made in just one payment would not have been possible without bitcoin. I would have had to make payments in parts for a couple of days. This wastes time and costs money,” he said.

Pushing The Boundaries Of Economic Change - Bitcoin As A Medium Of Exchange In Africa

Although Africa has been touted as the cradle of mobile money payments, mobile is effectively only widely used in a few countries like Kenya and Zimbabwe, where about 30 million people combined use cell phones to pay for goods and services. In most countries, cash is still king.

But bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies are starting to catch on, not only as a means of payment, but also for remittances and as a store of value.

Ghana is one of a number of countries in Africa whose economies are currently being reshaped by cryptocurrency. In the West African country, the crypto market is still very small, with issues around regulation casting a shadow over the market’s future, but it “has seen a lot of growth lately,” according to Elisha Owusu Akyam.

Adoption, Regulation, Fraud

Some small businesses have started to accept payment in bitcoin, Owusu Akyam says, while digital currency exchanges are flourishing, with about 15 different platforms, mainly over-the-counter exchanges, allowing Ghanians to buy and sell cryptocurrency.

Basic services like buying mobile phone airtime and data can also be done with the use of bitcoin, he added. At some point in 2016, the highest number of bitcoin searches on Google originated from Ghana, though that in itself didn’t mean much.

“This awareness doesn’t translate into the understanding of bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies as many think it is a scam or fraud,” explained Owusu Akyam, via email. And then there are the issues around regulation.

“The closest we have come to [regulation] is a statement by the Bank of Ghana, cautioning the public on the use of bitcoin as an unregulated activity,” he said. “This unregulated environment has led to the spread of several scams and fake investment schemes that are hurting the image of the cryptocurrency industry as a whole in Ghana.”

Kenyans Use Bitcoin to Import Beauty Products

In Kenya, a new deal agreed between local digital currency exchange and payments platform Bitpesa and Japanese firm SBI Remit shows that Kenyans are using bitcoin for a number of things, including to make payment for beauty products from overseas, through the exchange, at lower cost and faster.

Pushing The Boundaries Of Economic Change - Bitcoin As A Medium Of Exchange In Africa

Elizabeth Rossiello, co-founder and chief executive of Bitpesa, says payments will also include used Japanese cars – a multi-million-dollar industry in Africa – and electrical gadgets. Kenyans intending to make a purchase overseas deposit their local Shillings into Bitpesa’s Kenya bank account before payments are facilitated on the bitcoin blockchain to SBI Remit, which in turn makes the final payment in Japan.

The entire process is completed within a matter of hours, at half the cost in transfer fees, compared to about two weeks that it usually takes when payment is made via conventional banking methods, for around 7% in fees of the total amount involved, she said.

“If it makes sense for us to settle using cryptocurrency or fiat currencies, then we do. And in this case, we’re happy that SBI feels the same way, so we’re open to using digital or fiat currencies to settle between us,” Rossiello was quoted as saying.

The new service will be available to people in all eight of the African countries where Bitpesa has operations: Democratic Republic of Congo, Ghana, Kenya, Morocco, Nigeria, Senegal, Tanzania and Uganda.

A Store Of Value

In Nigeria, Sure Remit is helping people send money through bitcoin after the startup earlier this year raised $7 million in an initial coin offering that reached its hard cap within a matter of days. The remittance business is a common feature across all African countries where bitcoin has gained traction, from South Africa to Nigeria, Kenya to Angola.

Even though the number of Africans in the diaspora sending money home continues to swell, with the continent accounting for just 6.4% of the more than $620 billion global remittances market, according to the World Bank, the remittance business in Africa should only grow from here. The World Bank estimates that growth to reach about 7%m to over $40 billion this year.

In Zimbabwe, bitcoin is being used to pay for TV subscriptions and accommodation rentals. But above all, it is looked at more as a store of value against fiat currency devaluation, rising inflation and policy uncertainty, as indeed is the case is across much of Africa, including Owusu Akyam’s Ghana.

“The major use of bitcoin is as a store of value or investment. Bitcoin protects Ghanaians against inflation since the Ghana cedi depreciates in value against the US dollar,” said Owusu Akyam, who in many ways represents the face of bitcoin and cryptocurrency entrepreneurship in Africa – youth.

How are people in your area making use of bitcoin? Let us know what you think in the comments section below.


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Zaif Hit With Third Improvement Order, Revises Hack Estimate

Zaif Hit With Third Improvement Order, Revises Hack Estimate

Japan’s top financial regulator has issued hacked crypto exchange Zaif a third business improvement order. The exchange has revised its theft estimate, after discovering that 42,327 BCH were also stolen in addition to 5,966 BTC. Zaif has also signed agreements with two companies for their help with repaying customers and improving its security system.

Also read: Yahoo! Japan Confirms Entrance Into the Crypto Space

Third Business Improvement Order

Japan’s Financial Services Agency (FSA) issued a third business improvement order to Tech Bureau Inc. on Tuesday, Sept. 25. Tech Bureau is the operator of crypto exchange Zaif which was hacked on Sept. 14 but the breach was not detected until Sept. 17. Zaif is one of Japan’s 16 regulated crypto exchanges.

Zaif Hit With Third Improvement Order, Revises Hack EstimateIn its order, the FSA has given the firm until Sept. 27 to submit written reports to explain the situation. Three key areas must be addressed. The first concerns the “Determination of the facts and causes of the leakage…and [the] formulation and execution of measures to prevent recurrence.” The second concerns the “Prevention of customer damage increasing.” The third is about the firm’s “Response to customer damage,” including how it plans to compensate customers.

The order also requires the firm to “review and implement concrete and effective improvement plans” relating to security breaches as outlined in the previous two business improvement orders. The first order was issued on March 8 and the second on June 22.

Zaif Hit With Third Improvement Order, Revises Hack EstimateZaif’s security problem was outlined in the March business improvement order. The agency’s on-site inspection of the exchange at the time revealed system failures and many instances of unauthorized withdrawals. The regulator noted that the exchange’s management team had not “taken appropriate measures to prevent reoccurrence” and had not provided its customers with appropriate disclosure.

Zaif Revises Theft Estimate

Zaif Hit With Third Improvement Order, Revises Hack EstimateWhen Zaif first discovered the breach last week, only 5,966 BTC were confirmed stolen.

The exchange has since revealed that 42,327 BCH and 6,236,810 MONA were also stolen. The stolen crypto belonging to customers total 2,723.4 BTC; 40,360 BCH; and 5,911,859 MONA.

The exchange has also revised its overall theft estimate to approximately 7 billion yen (~$62 million), 4.5 billion yen (~40 million) of which belong to customers.

Zaif’s Plan to Repay Customers

Zaif Hit With Third Improvement Order, Revises Hack EstimateTech Bureau explained that, after the breach was detected, it signed a capital alliance agreement with Fisco Digital Asset Group Co. Ltd., a subsidiary of Jasdaq-listed Fisco Corporation, for help with repaying customers in exchange for the majority of its shares.

Fisco independently announced last week that its basic agreement with Tech Bureau includes “financial support amount of 5 billion yen [~$44.3 million],” which it believes to be sufficient to cover customer damages. “If [the total] damage amount fluctuates after future investigation, we will review again,” the firm emphasized.

In addition, Tech Bureau has entered into an agreement with another Jasdaq-listed company, Caica Corporation, to obtain technical support to improve its security system.

What do you think of Zaif’s situation? Let us know in the comments section below.


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The Daily: Speculators and Investors Hodl, Venezuelans Send Crypto With SMS

The Daily: Speculators and Investors Hodl, Venezuelans Send Crypto With SMS

A study has detected stability in the amounts of bitcoin held for both speculation and investment during the last several months through August. Also in The Daily, Opera launches its much-vaunted desktop browser with built-in crypto wallet, a new service offers Venezuelans SMS-controlled platform for cryptocurrency remittances, and website-building platform Wix integrates coin payments for merchants.

Also read: Rethinking Bitcoin’s Market Cap, ICOs Printing Money

Study Finds Investors, Speculators Hodled This Summer

The amount of bitcoin core intended for both speculation and investment have remained relatively stable during the summer months in comparison to the previous period since December, when a large number of speculators entered the crypto market, while many long-term investors sold approximately $30 billion of the cryptocurrency. According to the latest update of a study conducted by the analytics firm Chainalysis, between May and August around 23% of the available BTC (4.8 million) was held for speculation, and 30% (6.4 million) was held for investment purposes.

The Daily: Speculators and Investors Hodl, Venezuelans Send Crypto With SMS

According to the authors, the findings indicate that the space has become less sensitive to hype, meaning that nowadays crypto prices are not influenced so much by news, positive or negative. They believe the market has recalibrated following the entry of many new participants since 2017. As such, a major price move can be expected only in the event of a significant change, such as the introduction of restrictive regulations or important technological improvements. The researchers also point out that the continued presence of both long-term investors and new speculators signifies the expansion of the user base in terms of more people acquiring cryptocurrency, but growth will also depend on the next step towards wider adoption.

Opera Launches Desktop Browser With Wallet

The Daily: Speculators and Investors Hodl, Venezuelans Send Crypto With SMSOpera, which is trying to attract more crypto enthusiasts, is releasing a desktop edition of its browser that comes with a built-in cryptocurrency wallet, as promised this past August. At this stage, the application has been offered for beta testing only. A select group of testers with early access can pair their desktop wallets with those in the Opera mobile browser for Android, while regular users will be able to take advantage of the functionality after the official release of the software.

The new version called Opera Labs allows users to control their cryptocurrency funds and browse decentralized apps based on the Ethereum network. A representative of the company, quoted by Hard Fork, confirmed interest in expanding the features to include support for other blockchains as well. The integration with the mobile app means that signing ETH transactions will require a confirmation with a fingerprint scan using a smartphone. The developers claim that the associated private keys are stored on the phone’s hardware and will not be transmitted.

Crypto Remittances via SMS Offered to Venezuelans

The Daily: Speculators and Investors Hodl, Venezuelans Send Crypto With SMSCross-border transactions and payments have been hit hard in economically troubled Venezuela whose citizens have experienced the negative effects of hyperinflation, international sanctions and government instituted reforms. A new service has been launched to offer Venezuelans fast and easy remittance in cryptocurrency.

Dash Text, an offline wallet operated with short text messages sent via the GSM network, has been launched in the South American country where many people have mobile devices but less than half of the population uses smartphones, while electricity and internet outages are a common occurrence. A beta version of Dash Text, an SMS service introduced by a Venezuelan company, is now available to subscribers of one of the country’s three major telecoms, Movistar. Using simple text commands, users will be able to set up a wallet, receive and send dash.

It’s been estimated that every year Venezuelans residing abroad send at least $1 billion in remittances to their families back home. However, new tightened rules governing remittance have seriously complicated the process. Dash, a cryptocurrency with features offering fast transfers and improved privacy, has enjoyed growing popularity in Venezuela. Another option for locals to transact in dash comes with the KRIP phones designed with a built-in dash wallet and functions enabling the purchase and spending of the altcoin.

Website Builder Wix Adds Support for Crypto Payments

The Daily: Speculators and Investors Hodl, Venezuelans Send Crypto With SMSWix.com, a platform that allows users to create websites without the need to become or employ programmers, has recently integrated a service that will make it possible for online merchants to accept crypto payments. The new billing method has been introduced thanks to a partnership with the Cyprus-based company Decentralized Vision, which raised $117 million through a private sale earlier this year to fund the development of its Pumapay project. The payments will be processed using its native PMA tokens. Wix claims to have more than 110 million users of its point-and-click system for building internet pages.

What are your thoughts on today’s news tidbits? Tell us in the comments section below.


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Securing a Major Exchange Listing Is No Guarantee of Success

Securing a Major Exchange Listing Is No Guarantee of Success

It is widely assumed that securing listing on a major cryptocurrency exchange will ensure an altcoin’s long-term success. Many ICO buyers and project leaders believe this to be pivotal in determining their token’s fate. A look at the demand for less popular tokens on major exchanges, however, reveals this notion to be false.

Also read: Ebang Announces 44 Terahash E-11 Miners With 10nm Chips

Big Exchanges Aren’t All They’re Cracked Up to Be

Securing a Major Exchange Listing Is No Guarantee of Success“When Binance?” is the refrain of token-holders in Telegram groups. To many ICO teams, securing a major exchange listing is the holy grail, the pinnacle of achievement. The liquidity, validation, and credibility that a tier-one exchange provides is instrumental in advancing projects to the next stage. The guaranteed pump that heralds listing on an exchange such as Binance is also welcomed by token-holders, who relish the chance to offload their assets and pass them on to the next wave of traders.

But when the bright lights that accompany a major exchange listing have faded, and the excited Telegram chatter has dropped to a murmur, the hard work begins. Creating a project whose token has long-term value and capable of generating demand is tough. A lot of project leaders simply don’t have what it takes to stick the course and put in the hard work, community building, protocol enhancing, and partnership forging. Toasting your exchange listing is easy. Ensuring your token justifies remaining exchange listed is tough.

Tier-One Exchanges Provide Liquidity – Not Demand

There are many things that a tier-one exchange such as Okex, Huobi, or Binance can provide, not least liquidity. With so many other assets readily available, including ETH and BTC trading pairs, slipping in and out of a particular token is easy. But one thing these platforms cannot generate is demand. There needs to be a reason for traders to want to purchase a particular asset, and that’s where a lot of projects falter.

Binance saw $1.3 billion traded in the past 24 hours, including $42 million of EOS and $20 million of stellar. Work your way further down the list of traded tokens, however, and you’ll find hundreds of tokens that captured between 0% and 0.01% of the platform’s total trading volume. In the last 24 hours, just $71,000 of QLC Chain (QLC/BTC) was traded and only $12,000 of Bread (BRD/ETH). With Binance’s less popular trading pairs, there are dozens of assets with even lower volume: in the case of VIA/BN and RLC/BNB, just $742 and $549 respectively.

Securing a Major Exchange Listing Is No Guarantee of Success
Some of the least popular trading pairs on Okex

Many Altcoins on Major Exchanges Have No Volume

On Okex, the low volume markets look even worse than those on Binance. Many of the 500+ trading pairs listed on the Hong Kong exchange have zero or single digit volume. In the last 24 hours, just $1 of Unikoin Gold (UKG/ETH) was traded and a grand total of $4 of Change (CAG/BTC and CAG/USDT). In fact, 50% of all trading pairs on Okex recorded less than $35,000 of volume in the last 24 hours.

Securing a Major Exchange Listing Is No Guarantee of Success
Given the cost of securing a major exchange listing, ICOs may conclude that the juice isn’t worth the squeeze.

Huobi, the third largest exchange in the world after Binance and Okex, fares marginally better, but its least popular pair (ADX/ETH) still struggles to break the $1,000 threshold. At Bitfinex, the world’s fourth largest exchange, the ultra-low volume is particularly severe: $79 of Aragon (ANT/USD and ANT/BTC) was traded in the last 24 hours, $166 of Everipedia, and $66 of PAI/USD.

Many of the prestigious exchanges mentioned here charge listing fees that run into the hundreds of thousands of dollars. Tokenized projects eyeing a tier-one exchange would do well to note the fate of coins that were added to them in the last six months. For every altcoin that has found traction, there are a dozen more that are dead in all but name. Major exchange listing is no guarantee of success.

Why do you think there are so many dead coins on major exchanges and do you think the worst performers should be delisted? Let us know in the comments section below.


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Ebang Announces 44 Terahash E-11 Miners With 10nm Chips

Ebang Announces 44 Terahash E-11 Miners With 10nm Chips

The China-based Ebang Communication, one of the largest ASIC mining chip makers in the region has announced a new series of mining rigs this week at the World Digital Mining Summit in Tbilisi, Georgia. Ebang has revealed three new bitcoin mining rigs for its Ebit Miner E-11 series that claims to boast hashrate speeds between 30-44 trillion hashes per second (TH/s). 

Also read: Here We Go Again — Crypto-Community to Deal With Another Foundation

Ebang’s New E-11 Miner Claims Speeds of Up to 44TH/s

Ebang Announces 44 Terahash E-11 Miners With 10nm ChipsBitcoin miners will have a lot of mining rigs to choose from, as it seems a wide variety of new machines will be entering the market shortly. This week the firm Ebang Communication has announced it will soon be launching three new ASIC mining devices for SHA-256 compatible coins. The firm’s next generation Ebit E-11 series models will utilize 10nm semiconductor technology with efficiencies up to 44J/TH. According to Ebang’s website, the E-11 series miners sales will be “forthcoming.” 

The three models were highlighted on the company’s advertisement display published on the Chinese forum and messaging service Wechat. According to the ad, the new Ebit miners will be the E11 (30TH/s), E11+ (37TH/s), and the more powerful E11++ (44TH/s). The news follows Bitmain Technologies announcement at the mining event in Tbilisi, when the company’s CEO told the crowd about the firm’s next-generation ASIC BM1391 7nm Finfet chip design. If Ebang’s claims are true, the E11++ may outperform Bitmain’s new Antminers but only by 2J/TH. Further, if the machines eventually launch publicly, the Ebang Ebit E11 and the new Bitmain Antminer BM1391 will be the most powerful bitcoin mining devices on the planet. 

Ebang Announces 44 Terahash E-11 Miners With 10nm Chips

Next Generation Miners: With Specs Like These a Lot More Hashrate Is Coming Soon

Of course, depending on the pricing of all the mining units being manufactured this year, these two will also battle a lower tier of models that still outperform most of today’s machines with speeds up to 33TH/s. For instance, GMOs B3 (33TH/s), Whatsminer M10 (33TH/s), Canaan’s Avalon 9 (30TH/s), and Innosilicon’s T2-Turbo (24TH/s). Most all of these models, including the new Bitmain Antminer and Ebang’s E11++, will be using semiconductors between 10-7nm. All of them use next-generation chips except for the Bitewei Whatsminer M10, as the Shenzhen-based mining chip manufacturer claims the machines still use 16nm architecture.

Ebang Announces 44 Terahash E-11 Miners With 10nm Chips

The general public has yet to see most of these models in real life, but some of the mining rig manufacturers claim to be shipping soon. Some of the models also detail a price but with some of the other announcements no one knows the costs per machine yet or release dates. So until Ebang and Bitmain release these machines the second tier units sold by GMO, Innosilicon, and others will likely gain some lead time. Moreover, the SHA-256 difficulty at the time and price per mining rig and electric costs will come into play when these other machines eventually launch. 

Additionally, if all the terahash output variances between all these machines are so different for older generation semiconductor technology like 16-14nm (Bitfury has also just announced its own 14nm ASIC chip), and next-generation 10-7nm chips — One can definitely assume even better machines with even more powerful hashrate outputs can be manufactured.

What do you think about Ebang’s new E-11 series miners? What do you think about all of these miners that are expected to launch soon? Let us know what you think about this subject in the comment section below.


Images via Shutterstock, Wechat, Ebang, and Pixabay.  


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Bitcoins For Secured Loans – Indian Industry Still Doubtful

Bitcoins For Secured Loans – Indian Industry, Still Doubtful

Secured loans in the digital lending space are witnessing a lot of innovations. But thinking of cryptocurrencies as collateral forms for these loans is still a big question, one full of regulatory and practical concerns.

Also read: Japanese Corporation Begins Offering Loans Secured by Cryptocurrency

Loans Secured Against Bitcoins

If there is anything that has undergone a change, thanks to digital players in the BFSI space in India, it is – everything. Just pick lending and you can see how big data, social media weight, machine learning, etc. have made KYC (Know Your Customer) and credit-checks different. Add to that the use of APIs (Application Program Interfaces) and virtual elements for fast disbursement, and one can see why speed and ease are making digital loans stand apart.

Bitcoins For Secured Loans – Indian Industry Still Doubtful

So why not use cryptocurrency instead of gold or property to cushion a secured loan? Truly ‘digitize’ a loan? News.Bitcoin.com surveyed players in the industry, and there responses can be categorized as skeptical.

Abhi Upadhyay, a professional in the mobile lending space, dismisses the hope. “Traditional financial institutions like banks are never going to come close to accept cryptocurrency as security.”

But this ‘traditional’ legacy is exactly where and why challengers have started to win. Digital lenders have compellingly questioned deep-rooted processes and red tape in the lending industry in India by experimenting a lot, such as with the use of social media instead of old-school documentation for KYC and credibility checks. So why not bitcoin?

Regulation, Regulation, Regulation

Manav Jeet, Founder and CEO of Rubique, a prominent fintech player in the digital space, says the use of cryptocurrency as a collateral in the case of secured loans is a long shot. The biggest difference is the amount of regulation India posits in comparison to other regions. “We are the best regulated markets, and even in terms of awareness only a tiny portion of Indian population is using cryptocurrency. It will take a lot of time for us to get to the stage where we can imagine this form being used in secured loans,” Manav Jeet insisted.

Bitcoins For Secured Loans – Indian Industry, Still Doubtful

For Piyush Kabra, VP, Finance at Lendingkart, warns the practical problems around encashing bitcoins and registration, again thanks to regulatory reasons, would be factorsas to why cryptocurrency will not work against a loan – not yet, at least.

The use of cryptocurrency in secured loans is a possibility if you ask Saurabh Shankar, head of marketing at Paysense, another digital lending disruptor in India, with data science behind its intent of serving mall-ticket loan segments as well. But he explains how collateral works. “It is an additional security measure for us when we lend to a customer. Any other form of collateral can be used as security for sure, so why not bitcoin? But the current regulatory environment is not exactly an incentive to consider such options. This may also need additional work. Crypto-to-crypto lending may not be too tricky but crypto-to-fiat would be a whole new space to reckon.”

Crypto and Loans – Not Mixing Yet

India is a changing market, but one that is still under-served when it comes to instant, flexible, and small loans for the middle class. Estimates show how digitized customer journeys chop the cost of processing to about 33% of the original cost. Plus, servicing costs is almost 1/10th that of physical channels when we look at digital channels. That’s not impossible to achieve when a player banks on technology to break the loan chain and to disaggregate lumps of delays that weigh down a usual lending process. Using behavioral analytics, cash flows, social media signals, and peer reports instead of legacy underwriting processes or income-tax returns – this is what many smart digital lenders started doing early on.

We are staring at a global fintech software and services sector of $45 billion by 2020 (from what NASSCOM reckons). Interestingly, India has exhibited the second highest fintech adoption rate (59% while the global average is 33%) as per the EY Fintech adoption index.

Bitcoins For Secured Loans – Indian Industry, Still Doubtful

Globally, players like Biterest, Coinloan and Abic have started offering such loans that are secured against bitcoin. There we can see advantages like variety, speed, automation and no limits. It matters when there is no need of liquidation of an asset to get money out of it (the reason people use fixed deposits in secured loans). Then, there is the side of significant appreciation of value over time (which can be higher than loan interest). Also, concerns around forked cryptocurrencies have been addressed by many such players. After all, fungibility, preservation potential, and liquidity are true tests when it comes to how people think of money.

Yet, talk of cryptocurrency’s use in the BFSI space is full of hesitation and confusion, even for disruptors. Responses from other players like Innoviti and Capital Float could not be elicited. But as Saurabh pins it, conceptually the idea is not bad but the practical side here revolves around regulations and actual ease.

What do you think about the idea of bitcoins for secured loans? Let us know in the comment section below.


Images courtesy of Shutterstock.


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Here We Go Again — Crypto-Community to Deal With Another Foundation

Here We Go Again — Crypto-Community to Deal With Another Foundation

This weekend a new organization was announced at Baltic Honey Badger bitcoin conference called the ‘B Foundation.’ At the event, Satoshi Labs co-founder Alena Vranova divulged the information of a new foundation that will have a mix of “charitable and commercial” efforts.

Also read: The Bitcoin Files Protocol Provides a BCH Secured File Storage System

The B Foundation: A Charitable and Commercial Effort

Here We Go Again — Crypto-Community to Deal With Another FoundationThis weekend cryptocurrency proponents were surprised to hear about a new association created in order to bolster bitcoin core (BTC) and lightning network (LN) adoption. The astonishment is due to the fact that many cryptocurrency enthusiasts believe foundations mix like oil and water within the ecosystem alongside the controversies tied to the original Bitcoin Foundation. Despite public opinion concerning foundations and bitcoin, a group of self-professed ‘crypto-thought leaders’ has formed a union called the ‘B Foundation.’ According to the event slides, the B Foundation members will include Jameson Lopp, Elizabeth Stark, Adam Back, Pavol Rusnak, Alena Vranova, Whale Panda, Alex Petrov, Francis Pouliot, and Giacomo Zucco.

Here We Go Again — Crypto-Community to Deal With Another Foundation
The B Foundation members will include Jameson Lopp, Elizabeth Stark, Adam Back, Pavol Rusnak, Alena Vranova, Whale Panda, Alex Petrov, Francis Pouliot, and Giacomo Zucco.

According to the announcement transcript, the main focus of the foundation will be dedicated to BTC and LN development. The foundation will solicit donations and also be both “charitable and commercial” in order to “match donors and projects.” According to the B Foundation’s Alena Vranova, the group’s governance will be base on a council of board members.      

“The B Foundation will be based in Liechtenstein because of the bitcoin support savvy government — The foundation will be mixed charitable and commercial,” explains Vranova’s transcript. “The governance will be based on a council (for legal), executive team (director, executive assistant, etc), and the board will be non-paid.”

The transcript continues:

I have to say that centralized efforts are much more effective — If you have an Ethereum Foundation with a marketing department and promotions and creates beautiful sleek-looking material and produces materials, it’s much more effective in the short-term.

Here We Go Again — Crypto-Community to Deal With Another Foundation
According to the Twitter crowd, for most people, this announcement triggers doubt and skepticism.

Ex-Bitcoin Foundation Member: ‘It’s Appalling to See Maximalists Defending a New Foundation’

Some people liked the idea of the B Foundation like the former Bitcoin Foundation director Bruce Fenton. “Congrats to The B Foundation, a new non-profit org Some great people with solid track records in Bitcoin,” Fenton explains on Twitter. Although, across forums and social media, a few cryptocurrency community members seemed skeptical about the idea of a foundation and especially one with people who are focused on extreme BTC maximalism.

“As an ex Bitcoin Foundation Board Member (remembering the horror), it’s appalling to see Maximalists defending a new Foundation,” explains Olivier Janssens on Twitter.

Janssens adds:

The only way is having competing projects for separate areas, like Coincenter. Giving one organization all those tasks = terrible idea.

Here We Go Again — Crypto-Community to Deal With Another Foundation
During the Baltic Honey Badger bitcoin conference, the B Foundation collected $850 USD worth of BTC.

Openbazaar’s Brian Hoffman: ‘Divisiveness Dressed up as Something Every Supporter of Bitcoin Should Support’

Openbazaar’s CEO Brian Hoffman detailed on Twitter that he is supportive of efforts to bolster cryptocurrency adoption, but believes an organization aimed at protecting the protocol is a bit contradictory.

“I’m supportive of efforts to educate and promote the use of Bitcoin or related tech, but the idea of having some kind of canonical organization that positions itself as the protector of the protocol is antithetical to the nature of Bitcoin itself — We the people protect Bitcoin,” Hoffman states.

When another bitcoin supporter told Hoffman he sees no threat with the new B Foundation, the Openbazaar founder responds by saying:  

I never said it was a threat — It’s an attempt to sow more divisiveness dressed up as something every supporter of Bitcoin should support.

Of course, the cryptocurrency community will just have to wait and see to find out what this foundation plans to do with donations. The organization has already been soliciting donations and gathered $850 USD worth of BTC on September 23. According to the B Foundation Twitter page, there will be more announcements concerning this group’s actions in the near future.  

What do you think about the idea of another bitcoin-based foundation? Do you like the idea of this new B Foundation or do you feel it adds more divisiveness? Let us know what you think about this subject in the comment section below.


Images via Shutterstock, the B Foundation Twitter account, Twitter, and the theb.foundation website.  


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