There’s a different kind of advertising taking place on the Bitcoin Cash (BCH) network, using an application called Memopay. The ad campaign platform employs a novel approach to advertise someone’s website, product or service by sending a small fraction of BCH to thousands of public addresses with an encoded OP_return message. Also read: BCH Devs Lock in Code for the Chain’s Next Upgrade: Schnorr and Segwit Recovery Memopay: Onchain Advertising The internet has completely transformed the advertising business into a whole new medium and programmable money is also going to create some new methods of sharing promotional content. For instance, an application called Memopay plans to do just that with its service that offers promoted onchain advertising using the BCH network. Memopay’s website explains that advertisers can reach out to bitcoiners by introducing products and services through onchain messages. The platform uses an OP_return transaction which gives an individual or organization the ability to tether a small message to the transaction and certain block explorers can read the messages. “Memopay delivers your ad message directly to the wallets of thousands of active Bitcoin Cash users,” explains the service. Memopay reaches out to bitcoin cash holders by sending small fractions of dust to an active address with a message tied to the funds. Basically, Memopay sends thousands of transactions by sending a small fraction of BCH dust to active BCH wallets. The service believes each ad message delivered along with a small amount of bitcoin cash “pays for attention.” So far the business has run about six onchain ad campaigns that have added up to a total of 88,063 ad messages delivered. A typical transaction could be like 0.00001111 BCH (1111 satoshis) and Memopay says there have been 95,623,876 satoshis distributed. For instance, the company Cyberian Mine ran a campaign with Memopay because they wanted to drive awareness to potential crypto-focused clients. According to statistics recorded by a Bitdb query in real-time, 10,000 ad messages were delivered and Memopay claims the company saw a 110 percent spike in organic traffic to their website. “You only pay when they click to visit your website,” the website details. In another instance, Memopay tied an editorial that was shared online and delivered the link to 1,000 BCH holders. The company reports that the campaign saw a 2.5 percent click-through-rate (CTR) already after 24 hours. Memopay is also integrated with three of the major BCH block explorers developed by Bitcoin.com, Btc.com and Blockchair. An example of Cyberian Mine’s CPS ad campaign using Memopay. The New Advertising Target: 16 Million Public Bitcoin Cash Addresses The process to run a campaign is fairly intuitive as the user simply chooses an ad mode to drive traffic to a website or pay for clicks only or CPS to drive awareness by paying for each delivered message. Then they have to fill out the request form and create a custom advertising message that will attract consumers. After that, the user funds the provided address with BCH to start the ad campaign. Memopay users then receive a link to the ad campaign’s dashboard to see the real-time progress of the promotional content. The campaign dashboard. Memopay says there are many benefits to using the service and the top attribute is a direct connection to a cryptocurrency audience. There are 16,984,512 BCH addresses and each and every one of them is open to the public’s view. This gives the project transparency says Memopay as “each contact with Bitcoiners is recorded on the Blockchain and can be easily checked.” “[Memopay] is keyword agnostic and customers pay the same price for any keyword used,” the startup notes on the website’s benefits description. “In both Cost-per-click and Cost-per-send campaigns you’ll know exactly what the price is — Ad messages with an active link will be stored on the Blockchain forever.” Paying for attention by using OP_return transactions that will be seen on a blockchain explorer is not new and has been done for years. TD Ameritrade created this picture last year and embedded it into the BTC chain. Paying for people’s attention in the advertising business is basically the name of the game but using blockchain technology adds a different flavor. Advertising using OP_return transactions has been done many times in the past in various ways. For example, back in April of 2018 the online broker for online stock trading and financial management service TD Ameritrade used BTC OP_return transactions to advertise the company. Its logo surrounded by a digital flag is forever etched into the BTC chain as the firm used 68 transactions to create the message. “The blockchain is an amazing piece of technology — And we’re proud to be part of it — Forever,” the banking institution stated at the time.
Back in 2014, a group led by a woman named Ruja Ignatova created a Ponzi scheme called Onecoin which, together with the organization Onelife, defrauded billions from 3 million people. At peak popularity, the group declared that Onecoin would be a “Bitcoin killer” but the pyramid scheme is now in ashes and many of its founders are in hiding after being charged with fraud and money laundering.The Fall of Onecoin and the $4B Global Pyramid Scheme In 2019, many Onecoin affiliates are being charged with crimes by law enforcement agencies from multiple nation states after the Ponzi scheme crumbled to pieces. On Feb. 17, Florida-based attorney Mark Scott was arrested for being a suspect in the $4 billion dollar pyramid operation. Allegedly Scott laundered $400 million that was tied to the Onelife association and operations. U.S.-based federal investigators say that Scott moved the money through hedge funds set up in the Cayman Islands and then sent a great portion of the funds to elite Onecoin members. Last August, Scott was indicted by a federal grand jury on money laundering charges stemming from Onecoin and on the same day a warrant was also issued for his arrest.Since 2014, Onecoin proponents have claimed the Ponzi scheme was a real cryptocurrency with a blockchain and it would be considered the “Bitcoin killer.” Onecoin’s leader Ruja Ignatova who started the project in 2014 has been reported as missing for well over a year. Ignatova and high up associates made off with billions when reports detailed back in January 2017 that affiliate withdrawals exceeded new investments. Not too long after, the official Onecoin ‘exchange’ closed its doors. Before Ignatova went into hiding, investigative journalists noted she bought a yacht worth $15 million for traveling and a mansion in the Bulgarian seaside town of Sozopol for $2.5 million. The newly purchased home has custom-made furniture imported from Germany, a private beach, vineyard, and a large playground. Even though it is was publicly known that Ignatova bought these luxury items in the tourist town of Sozopol, Bulgarian law enforcement has not been investigating the founder’s purchases. Although police in Sofia did raid the Onecoin offices last January as part of a global law enforcement effort to take down the “centralized cryptocurrency pyramid scheme” that defrauded over 3 million individuals. The offices of “One Network Services” and approximately 14 other related firms were searched and evidence was seized.Ruja Ignatova is a gypsy who has always been on the move. Ignatova has been missing in action for well over a year after she purchased a $15 million dollar yacht and a vacation home in Bulgaria.Onecoin Leaders on the Run and Global Investigations Even though Onecoin operations have slowed to a grinding halt and many leaders have fled, the official takedown could still last for years according to Gerald Rubsam, a general prosecutor based in Bielefeld, Germany. Onecoin is being investigated by German law enforcement, but also by authorities in Britain, Ireland, Ukraine, the Baltic States, Italy, U.S., Canada, and other regions. “[Our] investigation is being conducted against eight suspects, mainly employees of one of the companies of the Onecoin group registered in Germany,” explainedRubsam last October. The Bielefeld prosecutor further detailed that law enforcement cannot find Onecoin’s leader. “We have no information on where Ruja Ignatova is currently at the moment,” Rubsam noted.Bulgarian police images from the Onecoin raid. Bulgarian prosecutors have admitted that Onecoin operations were not totally shut down when they raided the offices in Sofia. This is because Onecoin Ltd. is officially registered in the United Arab Emirates and a small group of founding individuals from various countries. Since the beginning of this blatant scamcoin, news.Bitcoin.com has reported and investigated Onecoin many times and well known bitcoin proponents have been adamant in fighting this fraudulent Ponzi. Our investigative report and interview called “Buyer Beware! The Definitive Onecoin Ponzi Exposé” has been viewed hundreds of thousands of times and translated into various languages.Onecoin “Dealshaker” paperwork found during the Onecoin raid on Jan. 18, 2018. The reason most bitcoiners wanted Onecoin exposed is because the scheme was never a real cryptocurrency and didn’t even operate on a blockchain. However, in the long run, it seems most law enforcement agencies have discovered the difference between legitimate cryptocurrencies and this fraudulent pyramid scheme. Even though the project is in ruins today with 3 million victims and many high up leaders on the run, it will still take years to clean up the mess. news.bitcoin.com
The global remittance industry is huge. World Bank data shows that over $148 billion was sent abroad from the U.S. alone in 2017. As people leave nations gripped by hyperinflation, or simply move to look for better opportunities abroad, sending cash back home becomes a necessity. As the people in Venezuela are discovering, this can be cheaper, faster and simpler with bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies. Here are four ways to send money abroad using crypto. Crypto Remittance for the Masses Bitcoin and cryptocurrency in general can get money from sender to receiver extremely quickly and at low cost. If you’re new to decentralized peer-to-peer currency, it’s worth familiarizing yourself with how it works. From there, one can choose which cryptocurrency you intend to use as a conduit for the fiat cash. Bitcoin core (BTC) and bitcoin cash (BCH) are popular, though ripple (XRP) and ethereum (ETH) are other options you may wish to consider. After selecting your desired cryptocurrency, the next step is to choose a wallet which can store it. Cryptocurrency wallets are essentially software programs that store your public and private keys and interface with various blockchains, allowing you to monitor your balance, send and receive money, and conduct other operations. There are different wallets to choose from: a desktop wallet, which would be downloaded and installed on your computer; an online wallet which runs from the cloud; or a mobile wallet, by far the most popular option as they can be used anywhere while on the go. Other options include hardware wallets which store a user’s private keys on a device like a USB, and paper wallets, which refer to a physical copy or printout of your public and private keys. Both are easy to use and provide a very high level of security. More information on choosing the best wallet can be found here. Now let’s move on and examine four methods of sending cash abroad using cryptocurrency. Localbitcoins.com By far the simplest method for beginners, buying BTC on Localbitcoins and then using it to send cash abroad is extremely popular in developing nations in particular. You simply need to open an account, search for people selling BTC in your country and go ahead and make a bank transfer to the seller. The platform is very secure and uses an escrow mechanism to hold funds, which means the coins can’t be released until both parties agree. Once the buyer has the BTC they wish to send abroad, they can send it to their contact’s crypto wallet, where they can then sell it, or perform the same process on Localbitcoins.com but in reverse. So, if a person wanting to send money from the U.S. to Venezuela wishes to use this method, they would find a buyer in Venezuela after having bought BTC in the U.S., then sell the BTC and receive fiat cash into a Venezuelan bank account. Look for a good fiat to BTC rate while using this method, as you will find many buyers and sellers on Localbitcoins.com with different rates. Airtm Another increasingly popular platform for sending money abroad using cryptocurrency is Airtm. A digital wallet connected to banks and blockchains, Airtm makes sending money abroad via cryptocurrency very simple. As well as BTC and BCH, the platform supports a number of other currencies including ETH, XRP and monero (XMR). Opening an account is easy and Airtm provides a mid-market cryptocurrency exchange rate. There is a crypto dashboard on the website where you can see your total balance in USD equivalent inclusive of all your cryptocurrency balances. From there, you can buy and sell crypto and send it to other Airtm addresses. Recipients can then convert straight to fiat and withdraw. Bitcoin ATMS Bitcoin ATMs (BATMs) are fast popping up everywhere, with over 4,000 scattered around the globe. They quickly allow users to get their hands on crypto or fiat cash. And as a way for sending money abroad, they are a gem. You need only find a BATM, buy BTC or other crypto, send to the recipient in another country and then the recipient can sell the crypto for cash at a BATM. The recipient doesn’t even need to know about cryptocurrency – they can simply make and send a photo of the QR code and the sender can use this bitcoin address directly, which can then be taken out of a BATM as cash. BATMs tend to charge a higher commission than other services mentioned here, it should be noted, so their convenience comes at a price. Bloom Solutions A newer method of sending cash abroad is via Bloom Solutions. Founded by Luis Buenaventura, Bloom aims to reinvent the remittances industry using BTC. By focusing solely on cryptocurrency as a mechanism for cross-border money transfer, Bloom allows users to sign up, and when your credentials have been approved, a rate for using the service is given. You can then deposit funds into your Bloom account and Bloom takes care of it being sent abroad by sending it to a bank account or cash pick-up point. An email or SMS will confirm the completion of the transaction. Based in the Philippines, the service has been praised for its ability to help the unbanked receive remittances. news.bitcoin.com
Coinbase announced on Tuesday that users of its wallet app can now directly store their bitcoin cash. The app update will be rolled out to all iOS and Android users in the next few weeks. Both Cashaddr and legacy address formats are supported alongside Bitcoin Cash Testnet for developers. Adding BCH Support San Francisco-based digital currency platform Coinbase announced on Tuesday that its noncustodial wallet app now supports bitcoin cash. Siddharth Coelho-Prabhu, Product Lead at Coinbase, wrote that “Starting today, you can now store your bitcoin cash (BCH) directly in the Coinbase Wallet app.” However, he elaborated: The new wallet update with bitcoin cash support will roll out to all users on iOS and Android over the next few weeks. BCH support is activated by default — all you need to do is tap ‘Receive’ on the main wallet tab and select bitcoin cash to send BCH to your Coinbase Wallet. Coelho-Prabhu emphasized that the wallet “supports both newer Cashaddr address formats, as well as legacy addresses for backwards compatibility in all applications.” It also supports “Bitcoin Cash Testnet to aid developers and power users,” he detailed, adding that his team also plans “to add support for the JSON Payment Protocol in the future.” The security of the Coinbase Wallet app is more advanced than its custodial web wallet counterpart. According to the announcement, users’ private keys are encrypted and stored on their mobile devices using a Trusted Execution Environment (TEE), or Secure Enclave technology. “This specialized hardware is considered the most secure way to safeguard private data on mobile devices,” Coelho-Prabhu claims. The BCH support follows the BTC support announced on Feb. 5. Coinbase Wallet previously supported only “ethereum, ethereum classic, and over 100,000 different ERC20 tokens and ERC721 collectibles built on Ethereum,” the product lead noted. Other Developments A week before BCH support was added, Coinbase announced that users “can now backup an encrypted version of your Coinbase Wallet’s private keys to your personal cloud storage accounts, using either Google Drive or iCloud.” Coelho-Prabhu described, “This new feature provides a safeguard for users, helping them avoid losing their funds if they lose their device or misplace their private keys.” However, the optional feature was met with a large amount of negative feedback on social media. Tallycoin developer DJ Booth tweeted, “This is a terrible idea and encrypting with a user-chosen password is even worse. Most people cannot choose/remember strong passwords and generally reuse passwords.” After hundreds of tweets disapproving of the new feature, the company responded: “If you feel uncomfortable storing an encrypted backup in your cloud account, you can keep a copy of the recovery phrase (mnemonic seed) by yourself.” Then, on Tuesday, Coinbase announced that it has acquired Neutrino, which describes itself as a blockchain data intelligence platform. “By analyzing data on public blockchains, Neutrino will help us prevent theft of funds from peoples’ accounts, investigate ransomware attacks, and identify bad actors,” explained Varun Srinivasan, Coinbase’s director of engineering. “It will also help us bring more cryptocurrencies and features to more people while helping ensure compliance with local laws and regulations.” news.bitcoin.com
In what some view as a landmark move, Google developers have added the bitcoin currency symbol to the iOS keyboard. Vitalik Buterin’s public request to add an ethereum symbol, however, was met with an unceremonious blow-off. The** move, by a company so successful it’s evolved its domain name into a verb, reflects Bitcoin’s mainstream trajectory.** An Unlikely Love Story: Apple, Bitcoin and a Currency Symbol The bitcoin symbol, which has seen deployed in a shortcuts app to aid Siri with command execution, is available on the Google Keyboard on iOS devices. Apple’s native keyboard does not have this functionality. Standing tall among the world’s greats, behold Google’s new bitcoin currency symbol. A Reddit user explained how to produce the key manually: “If any of you guys want to be able to type it, the Unicode code point it: U+20BF. For me, on Linux this means hitting Ctrl-Shift-U then releasing and typing 20BF or 20bf since caps don’t seem to matter which produces a nice ₿.” For Windows, another user proved just why an Android symbol would be very welcome indeed: “On windows, you first have to edit the registry. In order to enable a universal (independent of language settings) input method in Windows, one can add a string type (REG_SZ) value called EnableHexNumpad to the registry key HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Control Panel\Input Method and assign the value data 1 to it. Users need to log off/in on Windows 8.1/8.0, Windows 7, and Vista or reboot on earlier systems after editing the registry for this input method to start working. Then, holding ALT and typing “+20BF” should give ₿.” It’s unclear why Google has opted to add the bitcoin symbol to Apple’s interface and not yet to that of Android. Apple’s penchant for privacy is a good fit for bitcoin users, yet its wallet-gobbling insistence on proprietary software is in direct contrast to Bitcoin’s – and Google’s, for that matter – open-source nature. With most privacy-minded individuals opting for Android over iOS, it’s thus slightly ironic that the bitcoin symbol, a currency arguably geared towards the privacy-conscious, is available exclusively on iOS. Even more ironic is the fact that most iOS users tend to use the native Apple keyboard as opposed to the Google version, pointing to Google’s permissions requirement as an adoption deterrent. Yes to Bitcoin Currency Symbol, But Everything Else Is a No-Go Ethereum founder Vitalik Buterin responded to the news by tweeting Google: “I would like to discuss with you regarding the possibility to add an ‘ETH’ icon.” The search engine-turned-everything-else was quick to reciprocate with a Dear John letter: Thank you for your interest regarding our keyboard product. We regretfully have to inform you that Google will not add any other crypto icons to the keyboard besides Bitcoin because we believe everything else is legally questionable and long-term not viable. Buterin has since deleted his tweet. The Ethereum founder previously reported to have received a job offer from the search megalith in 2018, taking to Twitter to poll his followers on whether he should accept. This time, it was Google who had the last say. From Brand Recognition to Brand Adoption in a Single Keystroke If brand recognition is any indication of eventual mainstream acceptance then Google’s addition of a bitcoin currency symbol to its native iOS keyboard is a sizeable arrow pointing in the right direction. The symbol now features on the Google keyboard currency strip alongside the dollar, euro, yen, pound, Korean won, Russian ruble, Indian rupee, and the cent symbol. It’s alluring to fall into the honey trap that this spells significant news. The tech conglomerate, which under the guise of parent company Alphabet co-founder and president Sergey Brin once admitted that it “failed to be on the bleeding edge [of blockchain]” is finally coming around. That Alphabet is going Bitcoin, and then – just maybe – crypto. (Especially in light of Google’s AI defining bitcoin as a “collapsed economic bubble” or making the cryptocurrency industry the butt of a launch joke.) After all, in the period 2012-2017, Google placed second as the most active corporate investor in the blockchain space. And rumors regarding a cryptocurrency of Google’s own making have been circulating for a while, but that seems far-fetched, with Brin admitting as recently as last year that he doesn’t know “a whole lot about cryptocurrency” save for an amateur ethereum mining rig he’d set up with his son. Offering a Window Into the World’s Collective Conscious While the addition of a bitcoin currency symbol certainly shows Google isn’t turning a blind eye on the world of crypto, this latest news is unlikely to signal Alphabet’s foray into the land of cryptopia. Instead, for a company that makes billions out of listening to us ask questions, it’s only natural that they would give us what we want. According to Google Trends, the search query “What is bitcoin” was the year’s top in the U.S. and U.K. in 2018. A company that, in layman’s terms, “owns the internet” can only stay top by doing what it does best: playing host to the globe’s digital hive mind. And if that collective mind wants bitcoin, then bitcoin is what it’ll get. The ivory tower where cryptocurrency ads go to die or currency symbols to be born. Google has a significant effect on the cryptocurrency market. Unlike other movers and shakers holding the stock market in the palm of their hands, it’s primarily a content ledger, whether that content is organic or paid. Yet when the bitcoin price dropped by 11 percent after Google announced it would follow in Facebook’s footsteps and restrict the display of crypto ads in 2018 (a ban that’s since partially been lifted), it drove home the reality that Google has more of a say in crypto-land than many would like. Time will tell what cascading effect the addition of the bitcoin symbol will have in the minds of everyday iOS users. And, of course, when Android users will get to greet the new family member.
Bitcoin Cash supporters are all about spreading adoption, and many enthusiasts are relentlessly trying to get people to try BCH and merchants to accept the cryptocurrency for payments. Right now, there are three regions in the world with a significant number of BCH merchants: Slovenia, North Queensland, and Japan, areas which continue to add a slew of new brick n’ mortar stores every day. Three Regions With Lots of Bitcoin Cash Accepting Merchants Bitcoin cash merchant acceptance is growing. According to Marco Coino, there’s close to 1,000 retailers willing to accept BCH as a means of payment for goods and services. These merchants can be located all around the world and each country displays the number of retailers who accept BCH in the region. As BCH merchant adoption continues to grow, there are three specific regions in the world that have dense populations of retailers accepting the decentralized cryptocurrency. Slovenia At the moment, the Republic of Slovenia has the most merchants that accept bitcoin cash. According to geo-mapping application Marco Coino, the sovereign state located in southern Central Europe has 207 active BCH retailers who accept the cryptocurrency for payments. Slovenia has always been known for doing business as the country is in the middle of important European cultural and trade routes. Slovenia has 207 merchants according to Marco Coino. The country has always been crypto friendly as well and most of the BCH merchants can be found in in the capital of Ljubljana, home to an area that is known as ‘Bitcoin City.’ BCH accepting merchants in Slovenia include the Asan Chill & Lounge Room, the Malibu Bar, AHZ Design, Venera Shop, the Blackout Bar, Potokar, Hot Horse, Soba’Room promenade bar, and Blockmaster. ‘Bitcoin City’, Slovenia. North Queensland Many bitcoin cash fans are probably familiar with the name North Queensland because residents have posted so many many stories about the region’s BCH acceptance, it’s hard not to notice them. At the time of writing, this northern region of Australia is home to 56 BCH accepting merchants. North Queensland has a large Bitcoin Cash meetup, and the area also hosted the country’s first BCH-only automated teller machine. North Queensland has 56 merchants according to Marco Coino. Right now BCH supporters can purchase meals, get their car fixed, and even get work done on their home by paying for the services in BCH. Merchants accepting BCH in the northern part of the Australian state include Bel Paese Pizzaria, Elements Studio, RJ’s Mechanical, Dawson Moving & Storage, FNQ Computers, and Toasted Bean Coffee. A denser area of North Queensland BCH-accepting retailers is located in the middle of Condon, Kelso, and the Townsville Conservation Park. North Queensland BCH supporters are extremely passionate about spreading bitcoin cash adoption. Japan Ever since Japan legalized cryptocurrency payments, the region has become a digital currency hub. Japan also has a ton of BCH merchants that accept the cryptocurrency for goods and services. According to the Marco Coino application, there are roughly 56 BCH accepting merchants in Japan. Japan has 56 merchants according to Marco Coino. Retailers accepting the cryptocurrency here include the Village Hostel Namba, Hikari Clinic, Ruins Minakami, Good Heavens, Rakan, Yakitori Wine Bar, Ginza Secret, Organic Hair Salon, So Law Office, Cafe de Perle, Soul Food House, and Two Dogs Taproom. The Tokyo BCH meetup is extremely large as well, as the group currently has 1,253 members. One member of the Japanese BCH community is Akane Yokoo, a passionate supporter who is responsible for spreading a lot of merchant adoption throughout Tokyo. Akane Yokoo is responsible for kickstarting a lot of merchant adoption throughout Tokyo Spend & Replace: Kickstarting the Peer-to-Peer Electronic Cash Evolution Other global runners up that are densely populated with BCH-accepting retailers include the U.S., Colombia, Barcelona, Belarus, and London. Bitcoin cash merchant adoption continues to thrive and the many retailers listed on Marco Coino does not include the vast array of merchants using Bitpay and Coinbase merchant services. Many BCH supporters believe in the idea of “spend and replace” when it comes to using the decentralized cryptocurrencies. Supporters believe a deflationary currency can still be spent and replaced over time in order to kickstart its evolution as a solid means of exchange. At the moment Slovenia, Japan and North Queensland BCH supporters are taking the lead by continuously spreading more adoption and merchant acceptance. news.bitcoin.com
**In an age where governments are trigger happy at censoring or shutting down networks, it is reassuring to know that Bitcoin can operate sans internet. **Network censorship, after all, is not some dystopian storyline but a power exercised by many democratic governments across the world. Thankfully, there are solutions that enable people to send and receive bitcoin even in a worst case scenario. For an advanced technology, it turns out that cryptocurrency can get surprisingly low-tech. Send Bitcoin by Radio and Circumvent Network Censorship Imagine waking up one morning to find that the internet is down. Not because the wifi’s been disconnected: instead, your government has pulled the plug . You’ve no idea when it’ll be back online, and in the meantime, you’re cut off from life as you know it, ranging from contact with loved ones abroad to paying for anything by card. Since society isn’t big on keeping cash these days, and ATMs stock up on only so much paper money at a time, chances are you’ll have to sidestep – or engage in – a few fistfights if you’re to put a meal on the table. Since bitcoin is, itself, a form of digital currency, it takes a good amount of preplanning to set up a transaction, but in theory, it could still operate even when conventional options are forcefully removed from the equation. While most of us will hopefully never experience a dystopian world of intermittent internet, the productivity sages remind us that a failure to plan is planning to fail. Knowing how to transact with cryptocurrency in a chaotic world is the sort of knowledge that might just come in handy one day, and in the meantime will make you the most interesting guest at the dinner party. Depending on the political stability of your geographic location, learning how to send bitcoin without internet could be nothing more than a fun Saturday afternoon science project. Then again, it could provide the way out of a tight spot one day, whether it’s transferring funds to a buddy stuck in the middle of the ocean or bribing a zombie to feast on the coins stored in your brain wallet instead of devouring your brain. Bitcoin Over Airwaves 2014 saw the earliest mentions of bitcoin being sent via the airwaves. Hamradiocoin was one of the early vanity altcoins, geared at the ham radio industry. While it wasn’t entirely clear why said niche industry needed a dedicated currency, its current $794 market cap – unchanged since May 2017 – adds to crypto’s rich historical arsenal of questionable coins. But the idea of marrying Marconi and Satoshi was bound to lead to more useful experiments. A step in the right direction saw Finnish company Vertaisvaluutta.fi propose the creation of a P2P half-duplex CB/HAM radio cryptocurrency. Also in Finland, Kryptoradio partnered with a national broadcaster to pilot a cryptocurrency data transmission system that broadcasts bitcoin transactions, blocks, and currency exchange data via national DVB-T television networks in real time. The project failed to launch its commercial phase, with founder Joel Lehtonen explaining: The project raised huge audience and there has been some serious commercial interest but nothing I am really interested in because they would destroy the original idea of Kryptoradio – distributing the Bitcoin ledger autonomously without internet connectivity. Come 2018, there was a new experiment in town. Ingredients: Brooklyn-based gotenna, a mobile, long-range, off-grid consumer mesh network, and bitcoin privacy wallet Samourai Wallet. A New Zealand developer transported crypto from a distance of 12.6km away, entirely offline, using only a network-disconnected Android phone and four portable antennas. Though as his Twitter recount acknowledges, it took one heck of a prep, including setting up relay stations. Fast forward to this year, and in perhaps the most simplistic effort yet, Coinkite founder Rodolfo Novak managed to move BTC some 600km away from Toronto, Canada to Openbazaar co-founder Sam Patterson in Michigan, USA. And in that moment, Bitcoin-by-sky went international. Advocates for Bitcoin by Air In 2017, computer scientist Nick Szabo and PhD researcher Elaine Ou delved into the topic at Stanford’s Scaling Bitcoin conference, introducing a research project that proposed tethering bitcoin to radio broadcast to secure consensus proofs using weak signal radio propagation. (View their talk, a copy of the presentation, and our coverage of the event for further information.) With Novak and Patterson’s latest feat, crypto Twitter went wild. Szabo, showing that he’s still a firm proponent of taking bitcoin skyward, chimed in to congratulate the duo for a successful sendoff that not even a snowstorm could stop. How to Send Bitcoin by Radio As Novak and Patterson have illustrated, you don’t need to overload on gear or make space for satellite storage in your backyard to send bitcoin by air. Accompanying an SDR ham on this quest was nothing more than a 40m 7Mhz antenna and the JS8call application. While the setup seems simple enough (Google “ham radio for beginners” for a primer), in practice this is probably not something you’ll dive into unless you’re just messing around or, in real life, shit gets real. Gearing up is as easy as H-A-M In truth, there are restrictions aplenty when it comes to sending bitcoin by radio. First off, legalities. To stay on the right side of the law, some countries require you to be a licensed ham operator, and even then you’re unable to send any encrypted messages or use the airwaves for commercial purposes unless so licensed. At this point, it’s not yet clear which governmental task force will join the SEC and co in clamping down on illegal apocalyptic bitcoin-via-radio transactions. Since legal restriction is the mother of all invention, Novak and Patterson circumvented this by broadcasting their experimental, non-commercial wallet encryption sendoff via public cypher. Then there’s prepping it all. For this to be a viable – albeit last resort – solution in an actual nail-bite situation, sender and receiver would have to set it all up in advance. Novak and Patterson were able to execute their experiment by communicating and collaborating in lieu of the transfer, using a brain wallet. (The brainwallet, which is simply storing your mnemonic recovery phrase in your brain, is not to be confused with the recent more nefarious version – the deathwallet popularized by CEO Gerald Cotten who took the keys to Quadriga’s crypto kingdom to his grave.) Thus, if you’re going to use this as a backup plan for when stuff hits the fan, you’d better secure a right-hand wo/man and a fool-proof project management blueprint while things are still web-friendly. If this process seems as though it walked off the pages of a James Bond novel, yes. It’s decidedly more involved than a mere intra-wallet send-off. However, if you’re gung-ho on testing out alternative bitcoin transports, don’t let the naysayers stop you. Yours might well be the next proof of concept the interweb is waiting for. The blog Better Off Bitcoin, for one, offers a run-through protocol tutorial. Scalability Is a Big Bottleneck Clearly, scaling is a non-issue here. For the foreseeable future, sending bitcoin by radio happening unless it absolutely has to. According to Australian crypto trader Boss Cole, “As Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies are moving into the future, it is an interesting concept to think about what would happen if we instead went into the past. It is possible and easy to transfer Bitcoin without an internet connection, but it is not convenient. There are a number of projects working on this with satellites or their own infrastructure, however at the time of this writing they are not “popular” simply because there is no real demand.” He continues: In the case of government censorship, the infrastructure would change rapidly. If we were dealing with serious problems, the infrastructure would follow. Because it is possible. If we went into the dark ages, the main way to transfer Bitcoin would be transferring private keys between individuals. This would be simple, but not convenient. Not even extreme weather conditions can deter the determined from sending bitcoin via radio waves So while it’s theoretically possible to take to the skies and send crypto wallets around the world and all the way into space, DIY bitcoin ionosphere amateurs won’t soon be sending satoshis to the dark side of the moon any time soon. Why Radio Wave Transmission Might Be Necessary We tend to associate worst-case scenarios in which the main character has nothing but a walkie talkie and an old ham lying around with Hollywood’s portrayal of doomsday. Yet for unstable regimes like Zimbabwe and Venezuela, internet blackouts were how 2019 got its start. In reality, network censorship is an all-too-common control tool for many governments around the world. India leads the pack with 288 shutdowns between 2012 and 2019, with 134 instances in 2018 alone. The Middle East and Africa aren’t strangers to forcing citizens into offline mode, either. Under the Communications Act 2003 and the Civil Contingencies Act 2004, the U.K. has an internet kill switch, which could be enforced in light of a serious threat such as a significant cyber attack. The U.S. has had, for the past 85 years, the power to kill electronic communications under the Communications Act of 1934. And with talks of Russia considering a test run to decouple from the global internet, we risk taking a rude awakening if we assume the world’s 72,558 Google searches every second to be an unquestionable given. Bitcoin for Every Situation It might have taken a mini-library worth of code to get NASA astronauts to the moon, but sending bitcoin there won’t be nearly as hard. All you need is a radio. Okay, that and a moon rocket. But the point is, this new technology can be just as comfortable – or accessible – even when when the tech you’re using is decidely old school. Bitcoin might have been invented on the internet for the internet, but it can straddle both the digital and analog worlds. Cryptocurrencies like bitcoin walk the line between money under the mattress and cash in the bank. As these trailblazers show, bitcoin can straddle those worlds not only functionally, but also technically. Thanks to the efforts of the pioneers profiled here, crypto has shown it can survive in even the most challenging environments. Sending bitcoin by radio isn’t quite carrier pigeon, but in tech terms it might as well be. Which, says crypto developer John Villar, is “probably the most low end you can get before smoke-signaling a brain wallet.” news.bitcoin.com
South Africa has been ranked as the top country for ownership of cryptocurrency, according to a global survey by social media management company Hootsuite and global agency Wearesocial. The survey found that 10.7 percent of internet users in the country own cryptocurrency. Thailand is second, with 9.9 percent of mobile users owning cryptocurrency and Indonesia third with 9.5 percent, while the global average was 5.5 percent. Africa Steadily Embraces Cryptocurrency The Global Digital Report 2019 also placed other sub-Saharan African countries such as Ghana and Kenya within the top 45 nations in the world where a large number of people owned cryptocurrency such as bitcoin. The results were based on the survey of internet users aged between 16 to 64 years during the six months to September 2018. The survey confirms that Africa has embraced the digital currency revolution. A growing number of people on the continent are utilizing cryptocurrency to fulfill both personal financial needs and entrepreneurial ventures such as transferring goods, services and money internationally and domestically. There is also an emerging generation of Africans buying virtual currencies as investment vehicles, while a relatively small number of Africans trade digital currencies speculatively for profit. In, 2018, Paxful Inc., a peer-to-peer bitcoin exchange, reported seeing significant growth in Africa. The U.S.-based company said Africans now accounted for the largest number of people buying and selling cryptocurrency on its platform, with average monthly transactions totaling $64.5 million. Over the past year, users from the African continent of 1.2 billion people soared by 225 percent, Ray Youssef, chief executive officer of Paxful, said. Transactions on the exchange climbed 60 percent in Nigeria, Africa’s biggest economy, 25 percent in South Africa, the continent’s most sophisticated economy, and by up to 100 percent in other parts of Africa. South Africa Consults on Crypto Regulation The top ranking for South African cryptocurrency ownership comes at a time when monetary authorities in the country have asked the public to make submissions on policy and regulatory proposals for crypto assets like bitcoin. There is currently no regulation for cryptocurrencies in South Africa, a situation which has prompted the South African Reserve Bank (SARB) to come up with measures that provide legal protection or recourse to investors and users. Whereas the rest of the South African financial system is tightly regulated to prevent issues of market failure, the crypto market isn’t, SARB said. In its policy paper, the central bank makes several proposals including leaving crypto-assets without legal tender status, so as not to recognize them as electronic money. The document also recommends that an appropriate regulatory framework be developed through a registration process for crypto-asset service providers. It also proposes a review of existing regulatory frameworks followed by new regulatory requirements or amendments to existing regulations. “The phased approach, starting with the registration requirement, could lead to formal authorization and designation as a registered/licensed provider for crypto asset services operating in South Africa at a later stage,” states the central bank. source: news.bitcoin.com
On Feb. 14, a group of Bitcoin Cash (BCH) developers sat down and discussed the featured items for the scheduled upgrade this coming May. According to the programmers, two specific features will be ready for the upgrade: Schnorr signatures and Segwit recovery. The developers also detailed that certain features like nullfail and the 100-byte transaction size will not be ready for the May hard fork. Two New Features Make the Cut for the Upcoming Bitcoin Cash Hard Fork On Valentine’s Day, cryptocurrency developers Mark Lundeberg, Antony Zegers, Amaury Séchet, Jason B. Cox, Andrea Suisani, and Matias Garcia discussed the upcoming May upgrade with the meeting’s host David Allen. The fourth meeting was published to Youtube so BCH participants can listen in on what’s going on with development. At the moment the developers say that two improvementsare ready for the May upgrade while a few others will have to wait until the next fork. “Schnorr signatures and Segwit recovery will be ready for the May upgrade,” the video explains. “Other items such as nullfail, minimal data push, and amending the 100-byte transaction size limit will not be ready for this upgrade.” The team of developers also discussed the testing and planning for the upgradesprior to the hard fork commitment. Examples include setting up a common source for shared information, deciding on common parameters, the concept of a persistent node with mining pool, and other test plans. “There are a number of items that we had looked at over the last few months that were in consideration for the May hard fork — So far it looks like only a couple of the upgrade features will make it, like Schnorr,” explains developer Jason B. Cox. “That [feature] is looking pretty good so far and it’s gotten a lot of code review. There’s the Segwit recovery which I believe is also going to make it.” “Yeah I don’t think there are going to be any more items added, but Schnorr has like one patch to go to make it work,” Bitcoin ABC’s lead developer Amaury Séchet replied to Cox. Mark Lundeberg further explained the Segwit recovery feature, seeing how it wasn’t discussed during the last meeting and not many people know what it is, in comparison with the Schnorr feature. Lundeberg detailed that there is a specifications page up now up at the Bitcoin Cash repository which explains and shows the code to the Segwit recovery concept. Essentially, when BCH is sent to a Segwit address it can no longer be accepted on the BCH chain due to the clean stack rule. Lundeberg explains this feature will make Segwit addresses exempt from the clean stack rule and the coins will be recoverable. Schnorr Likely to Be Added to the Bitcoin Cash Chain First At the moment, the two new features are “frozen” into the BCH protocol so developers can begin experimenting on the testnet. Overall, the BCH programmers seem confident in the two featured upgrades for May and it seems Schnorr signatures may be implemented on BCH well before BTC developers get to it. However, Bitcoin Core developers are currently in the midst of working on Schnorr signatures as well and Blockstream just published a new standard for multi-signature transactions called MU-Sig. The protocol purportedly helps bolster the Schnorr implementation. In fact, Core developer Greg Maxwell boasted about the new MU-Sig protocol on the r/btc forum and made some dubious claims. “Sounds like Bitcoin ABC is rushing ahead to deploy our signature scheme proposal (bip-schnorr),” Maxwell stated. However, many BCH supporters didn’t care for Maxwell’s trolling commentary and explained that he and Blockstream developers “did not invent the Schnorr concept.” Mark Lundeberg said that he was aware of the MU-Sig protocol and explained that “BCH can use this too — it’s something purely on the wallet side; the nodes continue to verify the Schnorr Signatures the exact same way regardless.” Overall, BCH enthusiasts on Reddit and social media seem positive about the upcoming upgrades and many supporters wholeheartedly believe that Schnorr will be implemented before the BTC camp plans to upgrade. news.bitcoin.com
**The cryptocurrency markets have produced several days of bullish price action, with BTC testing resistance near $4,000 for the time in five weeks today. In doing so, it’s broken the 100-day moving average for the first time in 272 days. In other market action, both BCH and ETH rallied to test resistance near $150, and EOS spiked to again rank as the fourth largest cryptocurrency by market capitalization. ** BTC Tests $4,000 for First Time in 5 Weeks The cryptocurrency markets made a second bullish leg-up today, with only two of the top 50 crypto assets by market cap posting a drop in price during the last 24 hours as of this writing. BTC rallied to test resistance at the $4,000 area today, marking the first time that BTC has entered $4k territory since Jan. 10. Today’s gains were also driven by a slight uptick in volume when compared to yesterday. BTC/USD – Bitfinex – 1D In the last two weeks, BTC has gained approximately 16.25% since bouncing off local support at approximately $3,350 to currently trade for approximately $4,000 on Bitfinex and $3,900 on Bitstamp. BTC now has a market cap of $68.91 billion and a dominance of 51.50%. When looking at the stochastic RSI on the weekly chart, BTC is at its strongest since December 2017. BTC/USD StochRSI BCH and ETH Test $150 Bitcoin cash produced the second strongest gains of the top 50 cryptocurrencies by market cap today, rallying to test $150 for the first time since Jan. 10. BCH/USD – Kraken – 1D Since bouncing off support at $100 on Feb. 18, BCH has gained 38.5% to currently trade for nearly $146. When measured against BTC, BCH is currently trading for 0.0375 BTC, an 11% gain in two days. BCH is currently the sixth largest crypto asset with a capitalization of approximately $2.61 billion and a dominance of 1.94%. BCH/BTC – Bittrex – 1D Ethereum is currently trading for $150. In the last two weeks, ETH has gained roughly 43% over the dollar after establishing support at the $100 area. ETH/USD – Bittrex – 1D When measured against BTC, ETH is currently testing resistance at the major long-term price level of 0.0375. Ethereum is the second largest crypto asset with a capitalization of $15.53 billion and a dominance of 11.62%. ETH/BTC – Bittrex – 1D XRP Attempts to Convert $0.34 Resistance Into Support Ripple has gained 11.5% in two days, with the markets currently attempting to establish support at the recent resistance area of roughly $0.34. XRP/USD – Poloniex – 1D When measured against BTC, XRP is currently trading for nearly 0.000085 BTC after gaining more than 1% in a single day for the first time during February. XRP is currently the third largest cryptocurrency with a market cap of $13.86 billion and a dominance of 10.37%. XRP/BTC – Bitfinex – 1D EOS Overtakes LTC by Market Cap Of the top 50 markets by capitalization, EOS produced the strongest gains of the day, with the price of EOS increasing 16.9% over the dollar in the last 24 hours. Over the course of the last two weeks, EOS has gained nearly 55% to currently trade for $3.66. EOS/USD – Bitfinex – 1D When measured against BTC, EOS has broken above 0.0009 BTC for the time since Sep 20, 2018. Eos is currently the fourth largest cryptocurrency with a capitalization of almost $3.27 billion and a dominance of 2.44%. EOS/BTC – Bitfinex – 1D Eos’ gains have seen LTC slide one rank by market cap, with LTC currently ranked fifth with a capitalization of $2.95 billion. Despite this, LTC is testing long-term resistance at the $50 area for the first time since Nov. 14, 2018. LTC/USD – Bitfinex – 1W When measured against BTC, LTC is against testing resistance at a major long-term price area, with Litecoin currently trading for 0.012 BTC each. LTC/BTC – Bitfinex – 1W source: news.bitcoin.com
A recent report published by the Bank of Spain states that Bitcoin is a solution for the creation of a system without censorship. This is in contrast to public comments made by most central bankers who are prone to attack cryptocurrency with little insight into why it is needed. Explaining Peer-to-Peer Electronic Cash to Bankers Banco de España, Spain’s central bank and supervisor of the Spanish banking system, recently published a report aiming to explain how Bitcoin works. The document details the functions of the cryptocurrency, as well as analyzing its strengths and weaknesses from the point of view of the established financial order. It also explains that the best way to understand the aims of the new system is by consulting the original Bitcoin whitepaper written by Satoshi Nakamoto. The report mentions that according to Nakamoto the world needs “an electronic payment system based on cryptographic proof instead of trust, allowing any two willing parties to transact directly with each other without the need for a trusted third party.” Thus the goal is to create an electronic payment system similar to cash which allows remote payments without the need for the intermediation of institutions such as banks. This is meant to enable truly irreversible payments and reduce intermediation costs. A System Without Censorship The report concludes that cryptocurrency was envisioned as a payments system without the possibility of transaction censorship or a central authority with the power to authorize or reject transactions. It states that “bitcoin is an imaginative and elegant solution to this problem” of “the creation of a system without censorship.” However the central bank’s report also determines that traditional payment systems do not seek to resolve this problem and therefore cryptocurrency is not an alternative to them. In line with the common position usually expressed by central bankers, the report ends by saying: “Taking into account that for most agents the existence of trusted intermediaries is not a problem, along with the costs and inefficiencies generated when an attempt is made to eliminate these intermediaries, it does not seem that bitcoin, as it currently stands, is going to have a significant impact for the financial sector as an alternative payment system to the traditional channels.” news.bitcoin.com
In Tuesday’s installment of The Daily, we begin by checking in with a couple of the leading exchanges in the cryptosphere. Kucoin has unveiled a new look and a slew of new features, while Binance is poised to launch the testnet of its long-awaited DEX. We’ll finish by examining an integration between sentiment analysis service The Tie and Trading View that will allow traders to correlate markets with moods. Kucoin 2.0 Goes Live On Feb. 18, Kucoin underwent scheduled downtime to ready the exchange for a major overhaul. Upon the platform’s return, traders were greeted by a new login page, new wallet addresses, new trading engine, and new dashboard. To celebrate the upgrade, traders can enjoy zero fees for the next three days. In a tweet, CEO Michael Gan noted that his team was working to further improve the platform based on user feedback. Stablecoins have a dedicated section in the redesigned exchange, where they now nestle under a tab simply marked “SC.” The new-look Kucoin supports more order types, incorporates new APIs, and has a clearer dashboard that makes it easier for users to determine their security and account verification level. Upon logging in to the exchange for the first time since the upgrade, users will be prompted to set a trading password. Other features incorporated into Kucoin 2.0 include a tiered trading fee discount program designed to increase liquidity, and the ability for users to unilaterally freeze and unfreeze their accounts. D-Day Looms for Binance DEX Binance’s decentralized exchange (DEX) is inching closer to its public release. Tomorrow, Feb. 20, the testnet will launch ahead of the mainnet going live. In an announcement, the exchange explained: “Infrastructure-wise, the testnet of Binance Chain will start with 11 test nodes. We will test various combinations of nodes to optimize performance. While many have asked, the number and selection criteria of mainnet nodes are yet to be decided. At this stage, we simply want to develop a best-in-class DEX as fast as possible.” The DEX will launch with the Binance-owned Trust Wallet integrated, before adding support for third-party hardware wallets such as the Ledger Nano S. Binance coin (BNB), which will be used as a primary trading pair and to cover fees on the DEX, has surged in price in recent weeks in the build-up to the platform’s launch. The Tie Integrates Trading View Technical analysis and sentiment analysis have traditionally been separate disciplines that haven’t easily intersected. The former entails staring at charts, while the latter requires gauging what communities are saying or “feeling” about particular assets, before taking an educated guess as to where the market is likely to move. Sentiment analysis service The Tie has now completed Trading View integration, enabling users to overlay charts from both disciplines. Its BTC chart, for example, shows sentiment closely correlated with price, but with some divergence over the last three days. Alongside the traditional Trading View dashboard are metrics such as sentiment, hourly sentiment, one-hour price projection and the accuracy of this prediction expressed as a percentage. “On top of the technical indicators Trading View already offers, The Tie has added the ability to chart 13 custom indicators including sentiment, NVT ratios, relative tweet volume, and more all on the same chart,” explained the platform. news .bitcoin. com
On Feb. 15, the Dallas-based mobile gifting company Swych announced it will be accepting cryptocurrencies for payments. Starting next week, instead of using traditional payment processors, Swych users will be able to pay using decentralized digital assets such as BCH, LTC, ETH, BTC, and ETC. Swych Mobile Gifting App to Add Support for 5 Cryptocurrencies The popular mobile application Swych allows people to give virtual gift cards from over 600 well known retailers and if the person receiving the gift doesn’t like the store they can easily swap the virtual funds for another retailer. Swych was founded in 2015 by Deepak Jain and is backed by capital investment from UAE Exchange Group, a global money transfer exchange, and payment solutions provider. The gift cards available stem from retailers such as Toysrus, Old Navy, Macy’s, Nike, Target, Best Buy, Gap, Banana Republic, Sephora, Nordstrom, Amazon, and more. Essentially Swych allows users to purchase and send gift cards similarly to platforms like Egifter and Gyft. However, the mobile application allows people to effortlessly switch gift cards if they don’t appreciate the particular brand originally gifted. Swych uses payment providers like Apple Pay, Paypal, Amazon Pay, and Google Pay. But according to an announcement on Friday, the company will be accepting five cryptocurrencies next week. Swych users will be able to pay with bitcoin cash (BCH), litecoin (LTC), ethereum (ETH), bitcoin core (BTC), and ethereum classic ETC. Deepak Jain, CEO of Swych, explained during the announcement that gift cards are a de facto choice among consumers and some of the same consumers also want to spend digital currencies. “We feel we are ahead of the game considering most retailers have not yet chosen to accept crypto payments,” Jain stated. “In keeping with Swych’s mission of providing our consumers with choice and flexibility, we’d like to provide new options based on our customers’ needs — crypto integration is one of the many requests we’ve received. ‘Cryptocurrencies: The Go-to Choice for Consumers’ Jain says Swych is the only application that allows consumers to send gift cards by simply using a mobile phone number. Swych also got into blockchain technology last year and has rolled out a cross border gifting platform that’s built on top of the Stellar network. Jain believes blockchain technology and cryptocurrency solutions will make the digital gifting platforms’ operations become far more efficient. “While digital gifting is undoubtedly an amazing use case for blockchain, so is payments and I think cryptocurrencies are gradually going to become the go-to choice for consumers to make purchases on the internet,” Jain emphasized. “For crypto holders, this means they can essentially use their crypto holdings for gift cards that are spendable at hundreds of different retail outlets,” Jain conceded. “There’s no doubt that this will be attractive to a large portion of the community, irrespective of whether the market is up or down.” news.bitcoin.com
62 The government-owned post office in Liechtenstein has begun offering a cryptocurrency exchange service. Initially, the post office in the capital city of Vaduz will sell BTC, with four more cryptocurrencies planned. The service is in partnership with Zug-based Värdex Suisse, the operator of “the largest crypto ATM network in Switzerland.” Also read: Indian Supreme Court Moves Crypto Hearing, Community Calls for Positive RegulationsPost Office Selling BTC Liechtensteinische Post AG announced on Feb. 15 that it has begun selling BTC at the counter of the post office in the capital city of Vaduz. “In search of new business opportunities, Liechtensteinische Post AG has decided to offer a new exchange [service] of cryptocurrencies in its post offices,” Friday’s announcement reads. The Post elaborated: After an introductory phase, the offer will be extended to other post offices and the exchange of additional cryptocurrencies … It will then be possible to change bitcoin (BTC), ethereum (ETH), litecoin (LTC), bitcoin cash (BCH) and ripple (XRP). The announcement further notes that, after making a BTC purchase, customers will receive “a physical crypto wallet” which includes both the public and private keys. Founded in 1999, Liechtensteinische Post AG comprises nine post offices and three postal partners, according to its website. Prior to Dec. 31, 1999, the postal service of Liechtenstein, a country with approximately 38,000 people, was managed by Swiss Post, the national postal service of Switzerland which is a public company owned by the Swiss Confederation. Now Swiss Post owns 25 percent of Liechtensteinische Post and the government of Liechtenstein owns the remaining 75 percent.Partnership With Värdex Suisse Liechtensteinische Post explained that Swiss Post had always been in “the conventional money exchange business,” therefore “nothing is different” by adding cryptocurrencies to the existing service. This new service is enabled through a partnership with Zug-based Värdex Suisse AG, a subsidiary spun off from Bitcoin Suisse AG at the end of 2017 in order to meet the growing demand for POS solutions, Liechtensteinische Post detailed. “Värdex is Switzerland’s largest, financially regulated blockchain and POS network operator,” the company describes itself. It is a member of the Financial Services Standards Association (VQF) and part of the Crypto Valley Zug community. Its website also states that “Värdex Suisse is operating the largest crypto ATM network in Switzerland,” listing a total of 26 locations, all of which support BTC, ETH, and LTC. According to Coinatmradar, there are 48 cryptocurrency ATMs in Switzerland. Zurich has 13 machines, the most in the country, followed by Basel with six machines and Geneva with five. Other major ATM operators in the country are Bity with six locations and Bitc with 14 locations. What do you think of Liechtensteinische Post selling cryptocurrencies at post office counters? Let us know in the comments section below. source: news.bitcoin.com
There’s something about Bitcoin that stirs up strong emotions in people. Libertarians love it. Anarchists adore it. Cypherpunks crave it. But not all of the emotions Bitcoin engenders are positive. Bankers fear it, politicians distrust it, environmentalists resent it, and a few people, why, they veritably hate it. The People Who Love to Hate Bitcoin When people develop an aversion to something, their immediate instinct is normally to steer clear of it. Be it baths or Bitcoin, if you loathe it, you’re prone to avoid it at all costs. For some masochists, however, steering clear isn’t an option. Like a wobbly tooth they can’t resist prodding, they keep returning to Bitcoin time and again, fascinated and repulsed in equal measure. These subjects are prone to defend their Bitcoin obsession on the grounds that they’re simply trying to protect innocent investors from succumbing to its wiles. “Rat poison squared” as Warren Buffet memorably dismissed it. Their inability to leave Bitcoin alone, however, betrays a deeper fear: that the cryptocurrency may achieve global domination, rendering their life’s work redundant. In this framework, Bitcoin’s haters are less motivated by altruism for the innocent than by an existential dread that, should it prevail, they risk being proven wrong and ridiculed. Like moths lured to an open flame, the following subjects just can’t seem to escape Bitcoin’s orbit. David Gerard David Gerard’s hatred for Bitcoin is biblical. If the writer was terminally ill and Satoshi Nakamoto handed him the cure, Gerard would likely refuse to take it on principle. He fills his days screeching at all things crypto, but reserves particular disdain for Bitcoin, the demon that spawned them all. Best known for his blog “Attack of the 50 Foot Blockchain,” Gerard’s work can also be found on sites like Foreign Policy, where he crafts such impartisan articles as “Forget Bitcoin, Try Your Mattress – Cryptocurrency is about as safe as keeping your money in a sock under someone else’s bed.” He also penned a guest post for The Block titled “The problem with Bitcoin.” The problem with Bitcoin, it transpires, is everything. Gerard finishes his tirade in Krugman-esque terms, opining: There’ll be something called “Bitcoin”, descended from the present software and blockchain, for decades. It just takes two interested people, after all. How much it will interact with the rest of the world is an open question. Most new technologies don’t really go anywhere, after all. Nouriel Roubini Nouriel Roubini “Dr. Doom” is the poster boy for Bitcoin hating, and his proclamations don’t need repeating for the umpteenth time. Like a broken clock, Roubini is occasionally correct – as is David Gerard – in taking down fraudulent ICOs and things that don’t need to be on the blockchain. Both merchants of doom have called wolf too many times, however, giving bitcoiners cause to dismiss their every utterance out of hand. As this publication observed in taking Nouriel Roubini to task over his paean to central bank digital currencies, “Whatever happens to central bank digital currencies, they will never displace decentralized cryptocurrencies, just as Roubini will never displace the gnawing pain that tells him he should have bought bitcoin in 2013.” Paul Krugman Nouriel Roubini isn’t the only economist who struggles to understand the economics of Bitcoin. The man who famously wrote: “By 2005, it will become clear that the internet’s impact on the economy has been no greater than the fax machine’s” is similarly skeptical about Bitcoin. In 2013, he penned a NYT op-ed titled “Bitcoin Is Evil” and has been sporadically sniping at it ever since. “BitCoin” as he calls it, is backed by nothing, has no intrinsic value and “Its price rise has been driven purely by speculation – by what Robert Shiller calls a natural Ponzi scheme.” Proving he’s not a complete technophobe, however, Krugman has a hot take to share: he believes Bitcoin’s underlying blockchain is interesting. Constructive criticism of Bitcoin is healthy. In fact, some of Bitcoin’s biggest critics are also its biggest proponents because they recognize that only through picking apart the cryptocurrency and eyeing it through a questioning lens can it be improved. Wherever Bitcoin goes, and whatever sort of financial system it spawns, it will never be good enough for the Roubinis and Gerards of the world who will go to their deathbeds still spitting bile at the cryptocurrency they loved to hate.
Interest in token sales has dropped dramatically over the past 10 months, with investment falling almost 95 percent. Nevertheless, according to a new study, the ICO market is still significantly larger than two years ago. Also read: Localbitcoins to Introduce New User Verification Rules Startups Raised Less Than $300 Million in January Investment in startups conducting initial coin offerings (ICOs) has decreased from $5.8 billion in March 2018 to $291 million in January 2019. That’s according to statistical data recently released by crypto analytics platform Coinschedule. However, despite the obvious drop in fundraising through token sales, in the first month of this year ICOs attracted over 70 percent more capital than in January of 2017. While 2018 saw a great number of token sale projects, despite the falling prices of cryptocurrencies, 2019 started quite slowly for ICOs. Less than 50 were launched in the first week of January and only $6 million was raised by 424 ongoing coin offerings. That’s the smallest combined weekly total collected by ICOs since 2017, as news.Bitcoin.com reported. Another report recently showed that initial coin offerings raised 25 percent less funds during the fourth quarter of last year in comparison with the previous three months. According to Icobench, almost 600 ICOs were completed in Q4 2018 but the total amount of capital collected during the quarter decreased by about $400 million to $1.4 billion. Eos and Telegram Lead the Top 10 ICOs The Coinschedule data shows that March and June of last year were the months with the most funds raised in ICOs – $4 billion and $5 billion respectively. The website also lists the top 10 token sales by raised funds. With over $4.1 billion, Eos is leading the chart. It’s followed by the first and second presale of the Telegram ICO with $1.7 billion and the private presale of the petro, the Venezuelan state-issued digital coin, which according to the government in Caracas accumulated $735 million, although this figure is hard to verify. The authors of the study have also grouped ICOs according to raised amount. 24.1 percent of the capital has been attracted by startups with infrastructure projects. Finance is the second largest category with 16.2 percent, followed by communications with 10.1 percent. Another 7.7 percent of the capital has been collected by trading and investing startups and companies offering payment services form the fifth group with 4.7 percent. What are your expectations about the development of the ICO sector through the rest of the year? Tell us in the comments section below.
Over the last few years, infighting and different visions has led to significant divides within the Bitcoin community, weakening the network effects no matter which chain you support. With all the arguments about scaling, privacy, consensus changes and the various forks, it is amazing that these public networks are still thriving. Nevertheless, the people who maintain the various software protocols that communicate with Bitcoin and the network’s many participants have lives that are finite — which means we don’t know if future generations will change the social contract Satoshi Nakamoto created years ago. Also Read: Core Developer’s 300kb Block Proposal Bolstered in Bid to Push Lightning Adoption Understanding the Social Layer of Bitcoin The technology we all know and love called Bitcoin has changed the lives of many individuals over the last 10 years. However, during the latter half of that decade, the humans who have maintained the protocol have relentlessly argued over how it should operate. This has led to a large community divide, endless fighting, and many different forks. The protocol itself, however, has been able to continuously perpetuate the social contract we call “Bitcoin” during this period. However, the arguments have led to wavering opinions and whimsical ideas that threaten the Bitcoin network’s social contract. “Money presents an important lesson: The larger and more valuable a social institution gets, the more it attracts others to seek control over it,” Hasu Fly Dec. 3, 2018. The independent cryptocurrency researcher Hasu Fly details the social contract very well in his memorable essay “Unpacking Bitcoin’s Social Contract.” Within the editorial Hasu details that fiat money is a social contract or an agreement between the citizens and the state. Many individuals reject this social contract though and believe the state fails to gain true consensus because it uses force as a means to manage each country’s economy. With Bitcoin, things are quite different and the protocol is used by individuals and organizations in a completely voluntary manner. “Many don’t realize that Bitcoin works through a social contract as well,” explains Hasu’s essay. “The social layer and its rules are the heart of Bitcoin.” After describing in great detail on how fiat money and Bitcoin are both social contracts, Hasu then reveals the rules of the network’s underlying social contract. The researcher details that Satoshi Nakamoto settled on four distinct rules: confiscation resistance, censorship resistance, inflation resistance, and counterfeit resistance. Essentially this means the owner of the coins can hold keys to the currency without it being taken away, and the owner can also transact on the network without permission. An owner of any amount of bitcoin knows that the protocol has a limited supply, and last but not least anyone can verify the first three rules at any time using the transparent and public blockchain. The four rules of Bitcoin according to Hasu Fly’s essay “Unpacking Bitcoin’s Social Contract.” Future Generations Could Drastically Change Bitcoin So far the technology has stayed true to the social contract and one could easily say this applies to each network whether it be BTC or BCH. Hasu’s essay also details that most of the time social contracts do not fork, but the BCH fork was a rare case scenario and what was left over was “two weaker social contracts — each agreed to by fewer people than the old one.” However, we have yet to cross past one generation with the social contract in the decade since the genesis block. When people recently discussed changing the 21 million capped supply the community went ballistic, but in 10 more years we don’t know if future generations will be more willing. The average human generation is between 25-30 years and bitcoin could be changed drastically in 40 years if the social contract is not upheld today. Let’s face it, over time generations change things and some of those revisions are good and sometimes they are awful — like changing from the gold standard to fiat and trusting central banks. Satoshi Nakamoto suggested in the genesis block back in Jan. 2009 that society had put too much trust in the central banking system. Future generations have continued to bolster centrally planned economics and Keynesianism. For now, some of the lead developers of reference implementations are kings of the hill – or at least that’s how they act. But over time, younger generations who are smarter and can code better will challenge these open source developers, and at some point their skills will be useless. Ultimately when money is used as a social contract, participants vote by either using the tender or seeking alternatives. Furthermore, money not only applies to its own social contract theory in a general sense, but also weaves within other social contracts within our society. Like it or not, any one of the two dominant Bitcoin chains may be chosen by the masses by coexisting in an entirely different way and one chain may not survive over the next decade. “Bitcoin at its most fundamental level is a breakthrough in computer science – one that builds on 20 years of research into cryptographic currency, and 40 years of research in cryptography, by thousands of researchers around the world,” – Marc Andreessen Jan. 21, 2014. Bitcoin’s 4 Fundamentals Must Be Passed On Still, if the first generation of users decides to stick to the rules of Bitcoin’s social contract they must continue to strengthen the agreement. After 10 years, many well-known bitcoiners are willing to dismiss the global understanding and want to discuss changing the rules. Some supporters want to instill censorship by only giving affluent individuals the ability to transact onchain and store value in Bitcoin, by bolstering a barrier to entry with expensive network fees. All Bitcoin supporters can do is pass on Bitcoin’s social contract and rules to future generations and hope they won’t change the fundamentals. The ultimate goal has always been “hyperbitcoinztion,” but if we waver on the very foundations of Bitcoin’s social convention then nothing will be socially, morally, and rationally justified. Over the last few years, some people have dismissed Satoshi’s genius and the fact he created a near perfect system that has been Byzantine fault tolerant for 10 years with 99.98332 percent uptime. Many people to this day, whichever camp they are in (BCH or BTC), still believe in Bitcoin’s rules wholeheartedly. However, with all the infighting and shifting opinions on the true meaning of rules 1-4 these issues may challenge future generations. The Bitcoin network we know of today may not be the same when our sons and daughters begin to truly participate unless we keep some consistency on the social layer. It is quite obvious that those who do not want Bitcoin’s technology to succeed are attacking the root of the social layer today, and will not relent until they have achieved their aims. What do you think about future generations changing the social contract called Bitcoin? Let us know what you think about this subject in the comments section below.
In 2019 the sovereign state of Liberland continues to gather headway by getting recognized by key leaders in the European Union and members of parliament. On Jan. 31, the micronation claiming the parcel of land between Croatia and Serbia was validated by Jean-Claude Juncker, President of the European Commission. Also read: These Video Sharing Sites Pay Content Creators in Bitcoin Cash Liberland Continues to Strive for Recognition Key members of the European Commission have recently been discussing the micronation known as the Free Republic of Liberland. The seven square kilometer territory on the banks of the Danube was claimed in 2015 by a group of individuals who believe in libertarian ideologies. The President of Liberland, Vít Jedlička, and citizens of the small country profess that no nation claims the land as its own. Since then the group has been fighting to get acknowledged by the rest of the world’s leaders by following the protocol of terra nullius. Seven months ago, Liberland presented its case to members of the EU Parliament in order to get recognized as a sovereign nation state. So far the region has garnered over 550,000 applicants who want to be citizens of Liberland. The Free Republic of Liberland is a seven square kilometer territory on the banks of the Danube river between Croatia and Serbia and was claimed in April 2015. Now the micronation has been acknowledged in a recent parliamentary question asked on Jan. 31 about the parcel of land between Croatia and Serbia. Jean-Claude Juncker, president of the European Commission (EC), stated that Liberland, also known as Gornja Siga, “requires further clarification.” President Juncker’s comments were in response to a question from a member of the European Parliament from the West Midlands region, Bill Etheridge. The question asked about whether the Liberland territory is part of the European Union. Etheridge is also well known for his staunch libertarian beliefs. In the eyes of Liberland citizens, Juncker’s statement seemed to accredit the negotiation between Croatia and Serbia. The micronation believes the EC president’s remark is a step in the right direction towards “global recognition” of a voluntary based government. “This is an extremely important development and represent real progress for us,” Vit Jedlička, President of the Free Republic of Liberland explained after the EC president’s commentary. Jedlička continued: We are a step closer to knowing that it may not be EU territory and that it can become an independent sovereign state. The Liberland Embassy (left) and Miss. Liberland, Kristýna Dolníčková. (right). Cryptocurrency, DAOs and an Open Source Linear TV Liberland is also still very much involved with spreading decentralized and innovative new technologies like cryptocurrencies. The Free Republic of Liberland’s official website states that in a world filled with over-taxation and over-regulation, the citizens of the land believe in bolstering forward-looking technologies such as cryptocurrencies and DAO (Decentralized Autonomous Organization) incorporated systems. Liberland’s “Bitcoin Freedom” boat. The region has also been accepting digital currencies for funding for years and the mini-state utilizes currencies like bitcoin cash (BCH), ethereum (ETH), and bitcoin core (BTC). On Feb. 10, Bitcoin entrepreneur Roger Ver explained on social media that Liberland “has been funded with bitcoin cash more than any other cryptocurrency.” Lead Bitcoin ABC developer Amaury Séchet responded: “They also accepted it from day one — Vít is a great guy.” Moreover, the region is currently in the midst of setting up the first Liberland private linear broadcasting service (online TV) called “Liber TV.” The platform was created by one of the founders of Liberland, Jiří Kreibich, and the application is open source and running in its early phases. Overall, the world’s third smallest nation state continues to make strides towards being acknowledged by global leaders. What do you think about what’s happening with Liberland? Do you think that the micronation will finally get recognized by the larger nation states? Let us know what you think about this subject in the comments section below.
Research carried out by Tradeblock has found the combined trade volume across the futures contracts offered by Chicago Mercantile Exchange (CME) and Chicago Board Options Exchange (CBOE) plummet relative to spot market volume during the second half of 2018. Also Read: Mt. Gox Creditors Neither Need nor Deserve This Kind of ‘Hero’BTC Futures Volume Rivals Combined Trade Activity Across Leading Spot Exchanges During Q3 2018 Despite the hype surrounding the launch of CME and CBOE’s BTC futures contracts at the end of 2017, said markets comprised a small fraction of combined trade activity taking place on Coinbase, Itbit, Kraken, Bitstamp, and Gemini. With the burst of the 2018 bubble, however, spot volume fell by more than 70 percent when comparing January’s trade activity with average monthly volume posted during the second half of 2018. Mixed with a more than doubling in CME futures trade activity, trade volume for CBOE and CME’s BTC futures came to rival that of Coinbase, Itbit, Kraken, BItstamp, and Gemini’s combined spot volume during the third quarter of 2018 – with CME’s volume dwarfing that of each individual exchange.Futures See Volume Drop-Off During Final Quarter of 2018 While the volume of both the BTC spot and futures markets saw decline during September and October, November saw the combined spot markets post their strongest monthly volume since May, while the futures markets posted their second weakest month of the year. While December saw the spot market post a healthy retracement, trade activity in the futures markets fell by more than half to post its worst performing month since launch, suggesting a shift away from the cryptocurrency derivatives offered by CME and CBOE in favor of the traditional cryptocurrency markets. On Feb. 1, CME published a report stating that the average daily trade volume for its BTC contracts was $80 million during the previous 283 days, which, combined with CBOE’s approximately $10.65 million in daily trade, shows that the futures markets are currently falling roughly 4.5 percent short of rivaling the 24-hour trade volume between BTC and USDT on Binance. Do you think that we will continue to see a decline in trade activity across the futures markets this year? Share your thoughts in the comments section below!