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Bitcoin Adoption in Africa Hinders EAC Plans for a Unified Currency

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Bitcoin Adoption in Africa Hinders EAC Plans for a Unified Currency

Economy & Regulation

Due to a declining economy and eroding national currencies, the East African Community (EAC), an intergovernmental central bank organization composed of six countries in eastern Africa have plans to adopt a unified currency. However, the growing popularity of bitcoin and other digital currencies are hindering the East African central bank’s abilities to establish a harmonized EAC currency.

Also Read: Bitmari Becomes First Bitcoin Company to Partner With an African Commercial Bank

‘The Objective of the Bitcoin Founder Is Quite Different from That of the EAC Member States’

Bitcoin Adoption in Africa Hinders EAC Plans for a Unified CurrencyThis past October news.Bitcoin.com reported on the Bank of Tanzania’s (BOT) growing concern about east African citizens investing and using bitcoin. The BOT governor Benno Ndulu has noticed bitcoin’s rise and stated the “[central bank] is now working to see if the BOT should allow [bitcoin], regulate it or ban it.” This week the East African publication the Daily News contacted the BOT to find out how bitcoin is affecting the bank’s plans to initiate a single currency. The unified currency will be considered legal tender in Burundi, Rwanda, Tanzania, Kenya, Uganda, and South Sudan.      

Mr. Bernard Dadi, the BOT’s National Payment System Director, revealed the EAC nation states are still in the process of creating the unified currency, but digital currencies have presented new challenges.

“The objective of the bitcoin founder is quite different from that of the Community Member States on establishing a single currency — As we’ve said, the process to have a single currency is still underway with consideration of available challenges including the growth of bitcoin.”

Bitcoin Adoption in Africa Hinders the EAC Plans for a Unified Currency
Bitcoin is growing popular in East Africa which concerns the EAC members trying to establish a unified six-nation central bank issued currency.

The EAC Member States Are Researching Digital Currencies Before They Decide to Approve, Regulate, or Ban Them

Bitcoin Adoption in Africa Hinders the EAC Plans for a Unified Currency
Mr. Bernard Dadi, the BOT’s National Payment System Director.

According to Mr. Dadi, the BOT is working with cryptocurrency experts from the UK and have attended digital currency workshops. BOT management and senior staff officials are still going over the process of whether they will approve the use of virtual currencies based on the workshop results. Mr. Dadi details that EAC member states have issued warnings about bitcoin and more recently the central banks of Kenya and Tanzania have issued warnings to retail investors.

“Not just in Kenya … South Africa, Swaziland, Namibia, Uganda and other African nations have since warned their people about bitcoin,” Mr. Dadi emphasizes.

Bitcoin Adoption Continues to Grow in Eastern Africa But Removes the Focus Away from the EAC Unified Currency Objectives

The EAC members believe the trending popularity of digital currencies like bitcoin is making things difficult for the unified currency plans. Patrick Njoroge, the governor of Kenya’s central bank, says that the EAC nation states economies have gotten much better due to the partnerships of the six-country intergovernmental organization. The London School of Economics, bilateral trade relations have improved since the EAC’s union began. However, alternative currencies like bitcoin are leading residents in another direction, and its a path the EAC organization believes is not helpful to the unified currency plans.  

Meanwhile, bitcoin use in the six EAC countries is growing, and interest in the decentralized currency is trending in Africa particularly in Uganda, Kenya, and Tanzania according to Google Trends data. East African bitcoin enthusiasts are using exchanges like Localbitcoins, Remitano, Bitpesa, and Xapo. Localbitcoins trade volumes in the EAC region have also seen all-time highs over the past few months.

What do you think of the EAC nation states saying bitcoin is hindering the creation of a six-country unified currency? Let us know what you think in the comments below.


Images via Shutterstock, the African Digital Banking Summit, and the EAC.


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Jimmy Song Uses Andreas Antonopoulos Model, Open Sources Forthcoming Book

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Jimmy Song Uses Andreas Antonopoulos Model, Open Sources Forthcoming O'Reilly Book

Featured

Jimmy Song, well-known bitcoin core developer, has embarked on writing a book for technical publisher O’Reilly. Programming Bitcoin is different with respect to not only the subject matter but also the way it is being constructed. Using the successful model outlined by world renowned educator Andreas Antonopoulos, he will expose each chapter to the ecosystem, open source, and allow the community to contribute.  

Also read:Bitcoin’s “Value — Like Beauty — Is in the Eye of Beholder”

Jimmy Song Uses Andreas Antonopoulos Model, Open Sources Forthcoming O'Reilly Book

Song Uses Antonopoulos Model  

Jimmy Song Uses Andreas Antonopoulos Model, Open Sources Forthcoming O'Reilly Book
Jimmy Song

Bitcoin core developer Jimmy Song will open source write his book, Programming Bitcoin, to be published by O’Reilly in the Fall of 2018. Mr. Song acknowledges and tells of his discussion with noted bitcoin evangelist Andreas Antonopoulos about the best way to put together a book of this kind. Mr. Antonopoulos’ Mastering Bitcoin was also put out in open source as it was being written, allowing for comments, corrections, additions by the ecosystem. It too was eventually published by O’Reilly. In fact, Mr. Antonopoulos wrote the publisher, explaining why Mr. Song was the appropriate choice for the project.

Jimmy Song is a staple on the cryptocurrency/bitcoin speaking circuit. His talks are well regarded, and whenever there is a dust-up or controversy, Mr. Song is thought of as a less polarizing voice. As a developer, he has seventeen commits.

Currently, Mr. Song is a Youtube program host, an advisor to decred, an altcoin project, and was formerly Armory’s VP of Engineering. He’s a prolific blogger, and teaches a two-day course, Programming Blockchain, of which his forthcoming book is largely based.

Jimmy Song Uses Andreas Antonopoulos Model, Open Sources Forthcoming O'Reilly Book

His goal is to condense the seminar in an effort to reach more people. He’s passionate about creating more developers, making the ecosystem stronger as a result, and more “anti-fragile.” He describes his deadline for delivering the book as “aggressive” (this May). His plan is to write a chapter, place it on Github, and then allow the community to contribute.

Learning to Build Civilization

Mr. Song tells of how “gracious” and “generous” a person Andreas Antonopoulos was in sharing insights. The open source idea was something appealing to the developer in Mr. Song, but Mr. Antonopoulos’ Mastering Bitcoin is a reference-type book, covering more topics. Mr. Song’s Programing Bitcoin is language specific, he explains, and he sees the two books as complementary.

Jimmy Song Uses Andreas Antonopoulos Model, Open Sources Forthcoming O'Reilly Book
Andreas Antonopolous

Programming Bitcoin will start at “basics” such as finite fields and elliptic curves, working toward SPV and segwit transactions. Readers will learn to write a Python library from scratch, coded through exercises. He stresses his is more of a “learning book,” whereby it isn’t meant to be exhaustive. A key problem with technical books, especially on bitcoin, is the minute they’re published, the cliche goes, they’re already out of date.

To avoid completely falling into this trap, Mr. Song is aiming to craft a “process book” on bitcoin, how to think about bitcoin. As with Mr. Antonopoulos’ deal, Mr. Song negotiated with O’Reilly for a Creative Commons license. The “minute” it is published it will be available online for free. He doesn’t believe the book will generate much in the way of revenue, and for now plans to use whatever is earned from sales to pay those who contributed.

If it sounds Gandhi-esque, Mr. Song is quick to point out that if his book makes bitcoin better and stronger, so will his personal financial investment as well. Response is strong, especially for a technical book. The Github is active, and contributors are helping it along. Mr. Song believes bitcoin is bringing sound money to the world, and is helping to improve and build civilization. He hopes his book will live up the encouragement he’s been shown by the bitcoin community. 

What do you think of open source writing of a book? Tell us in the comment section below! 


Images via Pixabay, Jimmy Song, Andreas Antonopoulis.


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Markets Update: Cryptocurrencies See Big Gains After New Year’s Day

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Markets Update: Cryptocurrencies See Big Gains After New Year's Day

Markets and Prices

The second day of the new year sees cryptocurrency markets come back after another holiday slump over the past few days. Bitcoin core markets are up 4 percent, averaging between $14,600-14,800 across global exchanges. However many other digital assets are seeing more significant gains as ethereum and bitcoin cash markets have risen 13-18 percent during the morning of January 2.

Also read:Japan’s GDP Grows Due to Bitcoin Wealth Effect

Bitcoin Markets Rebound a Touch After the Holidays

Cryptocurrency markets, in general, have dipped in value over the past week and a half seeing record lows compared to last year’s phenomenal gains. However, following New Year’s day digital asset markets are starting to creep northbound once again. After yesterday’s average of $13,400 per token, BTC/USD markets are now trying to forge past the $14,000 zone, but bulls have been hitting resistance. Volume is very high at the moment as bitcoin core markets are commanding over $18Bn in trade volume over the past 24-hours. The top exchanges swapping the most BTC on January 2 include Binance, Bitfinex, Okex, Hitbtc, and GDAX.

Markets Update: Cryptocurrencies See Big Gains After New Year's Day
South Korea consistently captures the world’s top premiums with prices 15-25 percent higher than the global average.

The USD is still the top currency traded with BTC as the tender holds 38 percent of the global share of trades. The Japanese yen has increased its position jumping to 32 percent after dropping in volume last week. The yen is followed by tether (USDT), the euro, and the Korean won leading the top five currencies traded with bitcoin core. According to Cryptocompare data statistics, South Korea has consistently held the world’s top premiums with prices 15-25 percent higher than the global average. Exceptionally high BTC premiums can also be found in India, Zimbabwe, Venezuela, Brazil, and sometimes Japan as well.

Technical Indicators

Looking at the charts today for BTC/USD looks better than the days prior. The two Simple Moving Averages (SMA), both short and long-term, have converged early this morning. The 100 SMA is now above the longer term 200 SMA which means buyers could take the upside after breaking some more resistance. There is some stiff resistance above the $13,950-14,100 territory and another sizable wall around $14,500. If BTC prices can continue to climb above $15,500 some smoother seas may be in the cards. On the back side, there’s a strong foundation between $13,400-13,500. Further back, support begins to weaken again, but there are definitely pit stops in the $12,000-13,000 range. Both the RSI and Stochastic oscillators show the path to resistance is on the upside. For now, bulls seem to be applying pressure, volume is substantial, and bitcoin core markets look healthier after the week and a half worth of price dumps. 

Markets Update: Cryptocurrencies See Big Gains After New Year's Day
At press time the price per BTC is ranging between $14,600-$14,800 USD.

Alternative Digital Assets Steal the Show

Other digital assets have had much better trading sessions on January 2, and some coins are touching all new price highs. Ripple (XRP) is still making some gains, and each token is worth roughly $2.40. The third largest market capitalization held by Ethereum (ETH) is riding out an all-time high touching $900 per ETH. The currency’s markets are up 18 percent and are seeing $5.7Bn in trade volume over the past 24-hours. Bitcoin cash (BCH) prices are doing exceptionally well and are up roughly 13 percent since yesterday. The price per BCH is $2,800 at the time of writing, and BCH markets have $1.6Bn in daily trade volume. The fifth highest valued market cap is still held by Cardano (ADA), and its markets are seeing 11 percent gains today. The rest of the top ten capitalizations are in the green as well with stellar (XLM) commanding the top performing digital asset on January 2 with its markets up by 25 percent.

Markets Update: Cryptocurrencies See Big Gains After New Year's Day
Bitcoin cash, ethereum, and stellar are the top performing digital assets on January 2, 2018.

Many traders still don’t know what to expect to happen with bitcoin core markets and the rise of other digital currencies into the new year. Right now cryptocurrency markets have amassed a whopping $656Bn valuation, but bitcoin only captures 35 percent of that share. All of the digital assets have very high trading volumes as general markets are seeing $49Bn in crypto-swaps over the past 24-hours. Right now the top-most traded cryptocurrencies on the second day of 2018 include bitcoin core (BTC), ethereum (ETH), ripple (XRP), tether (USDT) and bitcoin cash (BCH).

Where do you see the price of bitcoin and other digital assets heading from here? Do you think cryptocurrencies will see more gains? Let us know in the comments below.

Disclaimer: Bitcoin 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.”


Images courtesy of Shutterstock, Bitcoin Wisdom, Pixabay, and Bitstamp.


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PR: The Segwit 2x Fork Has Been Successfully Launched on December 28th

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Segwit 2x Fork Successfully Launched on December 28th

This is a paid press release, which contains forward looking statements, and should be treated as advertising or promotional material. Bitcoin.com does not endorse nor support this product/service. Bitcoin.com is not responsible for or liable for any content, accuracy or quality within the press release.

On December 28th, one of the main hard forks took place in Bitcoin history, Segwit2X, which revealed acute problems in the work of crypto-exchanges, wallets, and decentralization in general. Why ordinary users are left with less and less choice and how to solve this problem?

Recall that after the announcement of the Segwit2X project, the price of B2X futures increased 3-fold, and the day before the fork, the price for them rose by another 75%. Right after the start, the most powerful support for Segwit2X was provided by the miners. The aggregate capacity of friendly mining pools accounted for more than 300 Th/s. All these facts point to the importance of BITCOIN Segwit2X for the crypto-community!

This unanimous support for ordinary users is due to the technologies that B2X offers. It is able to get rid of high commissions for transactions and low speed of the Bitcoin network itself. Furthermore, Bitcoin is no longer decentralized, since the main production capacities are concentrated in the hands of several pools.

And how it feels to live in a world without freedom of choice, where everything is predetermined in advance? Everyone agrees, that such state of events is terrible. And it’s terrible that the crypto-world with its idea of decentralization and independence from official structures is becoming more centralized. Some cryptocurrency exchanges and electronic wallets try to impose their ideology on users, deciding whether to list a coin or not, as well as whether to accrue B2X to their users! At the same time, this ideology is dictated by nothing other than the number of zeros. Thus, companies deprive their clients of the right to choose and monopolize the market. And this will never have good consequences in the long run.

Understanding that they became the hostages of the situation, users initiated the creation of a petition at Change.org to support the fork of BITCOIN Segwit2X, which was already signed by more than 50 thousand people. And one of the users even left a meaningful comment: “The entire decentralized community needs Segwit2X. If we do not decide to be a fork or not, then there is no decentralized community”. Their support was especially valuable to the project team, which from the very first day faced unprecedented pressure and threats on their way since someone thought that BITCOIN Segwit2X has an impact on the Bitcoin rate.

Despite all these obstacles, the fork of BITCOIN – Segwit2X was successfully launched, thereby proving that the freedom of choice in the modern crypto-market is more urgent than ever!

More information about the project can be found on the official website and in social networks:

https://t.me/Segwit2Xfork

https://twitter.com/Segwit_2X

Contact Email Address
pr@b2x-segwit.io
Supporting Link
http://b2x-segwit.io/?utm_source=newsbitcoincom

This is a paid press release. Readers should do their own due diligence before taking any actions related to the promoted company or any of its affiliates or services. Bitcoin.com is not responsible, directly or indirectly, for any damage or loss caused or alleged to be caused by or in connection with the use of or reliance on any content, goods or services mentioned in the press release.

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Bitcoin Cash Used to Pay for Music Records, Gift Cards, Plastic Surgery

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Bitcoin Cash Used to Pay for Music Records, Gift Cards, Plastic Surgery

Mining

With BTC transactions taking forever to complete and fees higher than ever, the adoption of bitcoin cash by small businesses and big miners is going strong. The latest examples of this include paying for everything from plastic surgery to music records.   

Also Read: After Ripple’s Rise BTC Dominance Falls Below 40%

Genesis Mining

Bitcoin Cash Used to Pay for Music Records, Gift Cards, Plastic SurgeryCloud-based cryptocurrency mining company Genesis Mining yesterday announced offering Bitcoin Cash as an automatically traded option. Meanwhile, the fully minable option for all bitcoin mining contracts will be available soon, the company promised.

Founded in 2013, Genesis Mining is one of the largest cloud-based cryptocurrency mining ventures globally. It provides hashing power to many miners from all over the world, focusing on bitcoin, dash, ethereum, litecoin, zcash and monero (which is the only contract in stock at the moment). Now miners can automatically trade their proceeds for bitcoin cash and thus hedge against it taking off without them.

Bitcoin Cash Used to Pay for Music Records, Gift Cards, Plastic Surgery

Music Records, Gift Cards and Plastic Surgery

Bitcoin Cash Used to Pay for Music Records, Gift Cards, Plastic SurgeryOnce miners get their hands on some bitcoin cash they can use it for more than just trading, like paying for music records, gift cards and even plastic surgery.

Music records store Eruce announced a few days ago that it has switched to BCH as its official currency for album order payment. The company used to accept BTC payment but now they explain that: “in the last 2 months, our customers found out it would be very difficult to get their payments confirmed. Usually, our albums cost from $1 to few bucks. With current status of Bitcoin Core, its impossible for us to continue our journey with them.”

And, if you are in need of some breast augmentations, tummy tucks or other forms of cosmetic surgery, just head down to Florida. Dr. Danny Soares, a plastic surgeon and Director of a medical center in the Sunshine State, has recently made public his decision to accept BCH as a method of payment for elective surgical procedures. The good doctor has even called on his fellow nip tuck artists to do the same.

Bitcoin Cash Used to Pay for Music Records, Gift Cards, Plastic Surgery

Finally, if you are looking to buy some gift cards for Amazon, Steam, iTunes, Starbucks or many other popular services, someone has launched a new website called Cryptonize.it just for you. It exclusively accepts bitcoin cash, offering merchants a platform to sell their products to the bitcoin cash community while avoiding volatility risks. It has only been up for a few weeks so the site is not very polished yet, has daily spending limits and other growing pains, but will be interesting to see how it develops.

Are you looking to get a face lift or the latest Ariana Grande album with your bitcoin cash? Share your thoughts in the comments section below!


Images courtesy of Shutterstock.


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ICOs Raise Over $1 Billion in a Month for the First Time

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ICOs Raise Over $1 Billion in a Month for the First Time

Crowdfunding

While bitcoin and resurgent altcoins were claiming the headlines in December, ICOs were quietly claiming the money. From a media perspective, the summer of 2017 was when ICO mania hit its peak. That’s when several of the largest token sales concluded, raising hundreds of millions of dollars apiece. But from a financial perspective, December will go down as the most lucrative month to date, with over US $1 billion raised from Initial Coin Offerings for the first time.

Also read: Convenience Stores and Pawn Shops See Foot Traffic from Bitcoin ATMs

Small Sales Are Big Business

The definition of what constitutes a “small” token sale is debatable in a space where millions of dollars are raised for startups that don’t even have a development team. It is evident however that mammoth token sales, especially those that are uncapped, are becoming less prevalent. The last ICO to clear $200 million was Filecoin back in September, and the glut of those tokens were snapped up by institutional investors.

Prior to that, Tezos was the last public sale in which the $200 million mark was troubled. The records made – and subsequent promises broken – by Tezos may be one reason why ICOs maintained a lower profile in Q4 of 2017. Behind the scenes though, it’s been business as usual, with more token sales than ever reaching completion with each passing month. December saw the conclusion of ICOs hosted by Sirin Labs (which raised $158m), Bankex, ($70m), Nebulas ($60m) and Blockstack ($52m).

ICOs Raise Over $1 Billion in a Month for the First Time

2018 Looks Set to Be Another Record-Breaker

December was the first month that ICOs raised over $1 billion, finishing the year on a record high of $1.2 billion, with Sirin Labs and Bankex helping nudge the total over that symbolic threshold. According to Tokendata, this meant a total of $5.6 billion was raised from ICOs in 2017, based on 442 completed ICOs, with a median of $4.5 million raised. Tokendata tends to list only the larger ICOs; throw in the less fancied ones listed by the likes of ICO Alert and Tokenreport and that figure is closer to $6 billion.

January looks like being another bumper month for token sales, thanks to major offerings from the likes of WYS Token, an ecommerce project, and Cryptohawk, an all-in-one cryptocurrency payment solution. The Swiss-based company aims to connect all things crypto, making it easier to exchange cryptocurrencies for offline purchases and providing a payment solution for shop operators. Cryptohawk’s project includes plans for crypto ATMS and credit cards, two financial services that are attracting a lot of attention from ICOs. Lending services also look like faring well in 2018. Salt and Ethlend’s platforms are already live, while decentralized credit scoring system Bloom completed its crowdsale on January 1, raising over $40 million.

Quality Not Quantity

From an investment perspective, ICOs are evidently still profitable, but the days when “X on the blockchain” or “A decentralized Y” could automatically be expected to raise millions are gone. It has been estimated that two thirds of token sales fall short of their soft cap; one analysis of 400 completed ICOs in 2017 found that 35% reported their fundraising figures. The remainder stayed silent, which is indicative of targets being missed.

ICOs Raise Over $1 Billion in a Month for the First Time

It would be surprising if the median return to investors on tokens this year surpassed that of 2017, when Tokendata calculated there to be an average return of 12.8x. With more investors and investor tools than ever scrutinizing every new token sale, the odds of finding ‘undiscovered gems’ are becoming less likely. Even highly publicized gems are capable of performing robustly once released onto the open market, however. Despite increased scrutiny from regulators, signs point towards 2018 being another bumper year for Initial Coin Offerings.

What ICOs are you looking forward to in 2018? Let us know in the comments section below.


Images courtesy of Shutterstock, and Tokendata.io.


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PR: The Money Token AI Assistant, Amanda, Will Provide Blockchain Backed Loans to the Crypto Community

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Amanda - AI Loan Services

This is a paid press release, which contains forward looking statements, and should be treated as advertising or promotional material. Bitcoin.com does not endorse nor support this product/service. Bitcoin.com is not responsible for or liable for any content, accuracy or quality within the press release.

MoneyToken team presents Amanda — the AI assistant behind the MoneyToken platform.

The announcement was published on the MoneyToken blog.

It`s a groundbreaking concept — AI providing loan services to the crypto community.
— Alex Rass, co-founder of MoneyToken.com

Getting a loan backed by crypto-assets just took another step forward. To create a lightning-fast platform and speed up loan approvals, MoneyToken team has created an artificial intelligence system — Amanda.

She will be providing loan registration and approval services based on cryptocurrency assets as collateral and loans in stable currencies.

Amanda will walk borrowers through and oversee the entire process, from loan application to automated status checks to repayment, and will alert them of any margin calls.

https://twitter.com/timelf123/status/946842314068160512

Amanda will also be capable of:

  • Consulting with users of the platform on any questions
  • Helping out during MoneyToken’s Token Generation Event
  • Updating registered users and investors on any news and information

Amanda is the start of an amazing fusion of today’s technology — Blockchain meets AI. We are totally thrilled by what we have going on here; MoneyToken is building an ecosystem, not only to provide much-needed loan services, but also to create a platform that can take the crypto community to the next level.
— Jerome MacGillivray, co-founder of MoneyToken.com

Amanda will be launching in a demonstration mode to showcase the features of MoneyToken before the official platform launch in 2018.

What’s behind the MoneyToken project?

MoneyToken — A Blockchain based Financial Ecosystem.

MoneyToken includes:

  1. Cryptocurrency-backed Loan Platform.
  2. Stablecoin.
  3. MoneyToken Exchange service.

MoneyToken’s desire is to give the cryptocurrency investment community the means to leverage their crypto assets in return for usable stablecoins or fiat currency, providing you with the opportunity to stay in the investment game long-term and gain funding right now.
With MoneyToken, there is no reason to sell your BTC when you need cash or stable currency.

Telegram chat – https://t.me/moneytoken
YouTube channel – https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCz9r7r5BSoq4eE6guMa7P-w
Medium – https://medium.com/@moneytoken
Twitter – https://twitter.com/MoneyToken
Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/moneytoken/

Contact Email Address
james.hendersonmt@gmail.com
Supporting Link
https://medium.com/@moneytoken/money-token-ai-providing-loan-services-by-alex-rass-and-jerome-macgillivray-fe393122cd76

This is a paid press release. Readers should do their own due diligence before taking any actions related to the promoted company or any of its affiliates or services. Bitcoin.com is not responsible, directly or indirectly, for any damage or loss caused or alleged to be caused by or in connection with the use of or reliance on any content, goods or services mentioned in the press release.

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Koreans Deposited 64 Times More Fiat Into Crypto Exchanges in 2017

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Koreans Deposited 64 Times More Fiat Into Crypto Exchanges in 2017

Featured

The South Korean government has for the first time obtained data of the total amount of fiat deposits made at cryptocurrency exchanges. At the end of last year, the amount of deposits was 64 times higher than in the previous year.

Also read: Russian Regulators Draft Law to Restrict Crypto Mining, Payments, and Token Sales

Koreans Deposited Over 2 Trillion Won

On January 1 the Korean Financial Supervisory Service (FSS) obtained data on deposits made at cryptocurrency exchanges for the year 2017. Sedaily reported:

The balance of deposits as of December 12 last year amounted to 2.067 trillion won [~USD$1.95 trillion]. This is a 64-fold surge from 32.2 billion won [~$30.3 million] at the end of 2016. This is the first time that the total amount of deposits in the virtual money market has been confirmed.

The publication revealed that the total amount of deposits in 2014 was 2.5 billion won (~$2.35 million) and it was 9 billion won (~$8.46 million) in 2015.

State-Owned vs Commercial Banks

According to the news outlet, approximately 1.4 trillion won of the deposits went through state-owned banks, such as the Industrial Bank of Korea (IBK), while deposits totaling 743 billion won went through commercial banks last year.

Koreans Deposited 64 Times More Fiat Into Crypto Exchanges in 2017Most major Korean cryptocurrency exchanges use commercial banks and not state-owned banks. Bithumb uses Nonghyup Bank and Shinhan Bank, Coinone uses Nonghyup Bank, and Kobit uses Shinhan Bank.

However, newcomer Upbit uses IBK. This exchange is backed by Kakao Corporation, which owns the country’s most popular chat app, Kakao Talk. The publication detailed, “The reason why the deposits through national banks are larger than commercial banks is that the virtual accounts that were mainly used in the Upbit business, [which] started from August last year, passed through IBK.” Upbit is now reporting the largest 24-hour trading volume of all South Korean crypto exchanges.

Lawmakers Look to Act Fast

Koreans Deposited 64 Times More Fiat Into Crypto Exchanges in 2017Democratic Party lawmaker and a member of the House of Representatives of the National Assembly, Park Yong-jin, obtained the data above. He was quoted commenting, “the risk of losing assets will increase if there is a problem with the exchange due to excessive funding due to the overheating of virtual currency speculation,” adding that:

The National Assembly and the financial authorities are trying to strengthen the management and supervision of exchanges. We have to hurry.

In August, Park submitted a proposal to revise the Korean Electronic Financial Transaction Act to provide a regulatory framework for bitcoin, as news.Bitcoin.com previously reported. However, this bill has not been adopted.

What do you think of Koreans depositing over 2 trillion won into cryptocurrency exchanges last year? How much do you think they’ll deposit in 2018? Let us know in the comments section below.


Images courtesy of Shutterstock.


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Convenience Stores and Pawn Shops See Foot Traffic from Bitcoin ATMs

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Convenience Stores and Pawn Shops See Foot Traffic from Bitcoin ATMs

Emerging Markets

Bitcoin is continuing its popular trend throughout society, and these days the decentralized currency can now be purchased at your local bodega, gas station, deli, and convenience store. According to recent reports, bitcoin teller machines (BTMs) worldwide are popping up in great numbers; most notably in the U.S. as the country now commands roughly 1,279 crypto-dispensing devices.

Also read: Localbitcoincash.org Plans to Add Zero-Fee BCH-Based ‘Shapeshifting’ Trades

The Last Months of 2017 Sees an Increase in Bitcoin Teller Machines With the U.S. Commanding Over 1,200 Devices

During the end of 2017, the bitcoin teller machine environment has been growing fast as the market has seen a 7.6 percent increase in machines worldwide over the past few months. The biggest markets for BTMs reside in the U.S., Canada, the UK, and Austria. However, at the moment the U.S. has over 75 percent of the BTM market share globally with roughly 1,270 tellers according to Coinatmradar’s data statistics. On the global level, the most prominent BTM manufacturers include Genesiscoin, General Bytes, Lamassu, and Coinsource. Other BTM producers with smaller machine percentages are Bitaccess, Covault, Bitxatm, and a few unknown manufacturers.

Convenience Stores and Pawn Shops See Foot Traffic from Bitcoin ATMs
The U.S. leads in BTMs by 75 percent.

Coinsource is the largest BTM provider in the U.S. with over 160 machines, and the company aims to install 1,000 in 2018. Coinsource and another company, called Coinbtm, are also the only teller machine startups allowed to legally operate in New York due to the state’s Bitlicense regulations. The firm Coinsource was created by Bobby Sharp and Sheffield Clark, two businessmen who grew passionate about bitcoin and thought BTMs were a great way to get started.      

“It was just this interesting phenomenon, and the plug-and-play aspect was pretty nice,” Sharp told the publication, Pacific Standard,this week.  

You don’t have labor costs — Your labor is a machine.

Mom & Pop Shops, Bodegas, and Delis Get Crypto-Fixtures That Are Seeing Traffic

According to the publication, clerks and owners of bodegas in the U.S. see the machines getting a lot of traffic. A Brooklyn bodega called 545 Deli Grocery says the BTM in their store is used often. A Manhattan convenience store called Grace News reveals their machine is also popular these days. Another firm that’s been making moves in the U.S. with gas station owners, bodegas and pawn shops is the Athena Bitcoin Network. Athena has 55 BTMs in circulation throughout America and one machine located in Yucatán Mexico at a place called Lapa Lapa Altabrisa Mérida. On December 1 the firm installed six new machines in California. The new BTMs Athena added are located in Anaheim, Colton, Los Angeles, Hesperia, and Culver City.

Convenience Stores and Pawn Shops See Foot Traffic from Bitcoin ATMs

Three Teller Machines Installed Per Day and Alternative Digital Asset Support Increases

Many of these companies are installing machines across many states within the U.S. and a variety of other countries. Coinatmradar shows BTMs are increasing at a rapid rate globally with three BTM installations per day, based on the last seven days using gauge scale calculations from the previous two months.

Convenience Stores and Pawn Shops See Foot Traffic from Bitcoin ATMs
2017 has seen an increase in machines that support other digital assets. Source: Coinatmradar January 2018.

In addition to the increase of a variety of businesses and merchants nationwide adding bitcoin-based automated teller machines, multi-currency support has also increased significantly. In 2017  a lot of teller machine operators implemented support for other digital assets including dash, litecoin, ethereum, monero, zcash, and bitcoin cash.

What do you think about the increase in bodegas and mom and pop shops hosting BTMs in their storefronts? Let us know what you think in the comments below.

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Images via Shutterstock, Pixabay, Coinatmradar, and amCharts. 


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The Bitcoin Exchange That Once Dominated China Is Heading to Japan

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The Bitcoin Exchange That Once Dominated China Is Heading to Japan

News

At one time the Beijing-based digital currency exchange Huobi was once the largest bitcoin trading platform in China before the central bank stopped domestic exchanges from trading cryptocurrencies. This month Huobi has revealed its carved a deal with the Japanese financial institution SBI Group and will be launching two new cryptocurrency exchanges in Q1 of 2018.

Also read: Japan’s GDP Grows Due to Bitcoin Wealth Effect

The Company That Operated China’s Largest Bitcoin Exchange Sets Its Sights On Japan

The Bitcoin Exchange That Once Dominated China Is Heading to JapanBefore the beginning of 2017, China’s top three exchanges swapped the most bitcoins worldwide, capturing the lion’s share of globes BTC trades. One of those exchanges was Huobi, a company headquartered in Beijing who held China’s top BTC trade volumes since 2013. However, in January of 2017, the People’s Bank of China (PBOC) started cracking down on domestic exchanges facilitating cryptocurrency trades within the country. At first, things just seemed like some harsher regulatory action would take place, but the central bank shut down all of the Chinese exchanges who enabled digital asset trades with the renminbi.

Now the trading platform’s parent company Huobi Group is partnering with the financial institution SBI formerly known as Softbank Investment Group. The two plan on launching two virtual currency exchanges one with a tentative name “SBI Virtual Currencies,” and the other “Huobi Japan.”

SBI Believes Huobi Group’s Track Record Is Enough to Fulfill The Basic Agreement

The Bitcoin Exchange That Once Dominated China Is Heading to JapanSBI also reveals the bank plans to use “Huobi’s technology, know-how and human resources” to establish top of the line cryptocurrency-related business in the Asian region. With the partnership and creation of the two new exchanges, SBI Group plans to acquire “30 percent of the equity in Huobi Group’s Japanese entity.” The organization also plans to take 10 percent of Huobi Group’s Korean entity and Huobi, in turn, will receive 30% of the equity in the SBI Virtual Currencies business. SBI explains that Huobi has a solid reputation in the digital currency space which has laid the foundation for the basic agreement:

SBI Holdings has reached a basic agreement with Huobi Group (1.65 million accounts, maximum daily transaction volume of over CNY 30 billion (approximately JPY 510 billion), which has a track record of stably operating a major cryptocurrency exchange in China, to explore the following alliances.

At the moment Huobi Group also operates a global cryptocurrency exchange called Huobi.pro which sees a lot of volume from regions like Singapore, Korea, Hong Kong. The company also still operates its China News and Research Platform and its Huobi Wallet Digital Asset Management service. The two exchanges in Japan will be the company’s next expansion into the Asian region.

What do you think about Huobi creating two new exchanges in Japan? Let us know in the comments below.


Images via Shutterstock, Huobi, and SBI Group. 


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