Will The Bitcoin System Change Drastically in 2017

Will The Bitcoin System Change Drastically in 2017

Bitcoin continues to be as popular as it is volatile. Prices have been fluctuating since the beginning of the year, hitting an all-time high at more than $1,300 per unit a couple of weeks ago. Nevertheless, value has yet to stabilize for a number of factors.

The cryptocurrency market has more competitors entering the game every day, with alternatives like Ethereum and Litecoin gaining more ground in the digital world. Still, they all suffer similar setbacks when it comes to prices.

Below, we take a look at the seemingly unusual phenomenon that has been affecting Bitcoin value over the last couple of months. Cryptocurrency still has to pass some big hurdles if it ever wants to stabilize as a trustworthy option to gold and bonds.

The market is small and it moves fast

When compared to precious metal markets like gold and silver, the market size of Bitcoin is so small that it makes it too easy for someone to come one day and make a major investment that would significantly impact currency movements.

Forbes estimates that with just a $50 million buyout of Bitcoin in one day, the market would flip causing volatile price hikes and plunges across the world.

Doing this, of course, is not as easy as it sounds, but it remains a possibility that fuels distrust among traditional investors in safer value-preservation assets.

Is Bitcoin as good as Gold or bonds?

While Bitcoin has been gaining many supporters and endorsements that legitimize it as a real-world currency, it still doesn’t have as much credibility as more traditional methods such as stock shares and precious metals.

The inherent issues of Bitcoin trading make it a hard sell to most people not well-versed in next-generation finances and transactions, and particularly cryptocurrency.

Moreover, there is no regulatory body creates rules for the Bitcoin market which is why is so appealing to certain groups on the Internet. However, economists have been increasingly talking about digital money could end up in its adoption and regulation.

There is a hard fork in the Bitcoin horizon

There is an unresolved paradigm that deals with how the Bitcoin transaction system works at its core, but that issue is coming to an end in what many predict will split the virtual currency in two.

Essentially, the Bitcoin transaction process deals with exchanges through a network that can no longer support the high-demand of users, miners, developers, and others that use it every day, thus slowing and halting its growth both in price and adoption.

Two potential solutions have come up, but only one of them will be implemented by developers of the Bitcoin network once community consensus reaches 95% for either option.

The first, Bitcoin Unlimited, would grant greater power over the network to miners, who would decide to “increase” its capacity if and when needed. This option has faced some technical difficulties in the past during its development phase.

Segregated Witness, on the other hand, would “double” the capacity of the network and allow a greater influx of transactions while also retaining decentralized control over it. This, however, is not the greatest long-term solution since it is still limited.

Pressure from third parties to implement such a framework that would enhance transaction volumes in the Bitcoin network. The impending possibility of change has the market on its toes which also explains the radical price changes.

Either choice will have a permanent impact in Bitcoin as we know it, effectively splitting the cryptocurrency into two parallel systems that will compete and affect each other’s price with a high projected correlation.

 

David Ogden
Entrepreneur

Source: Coinbase

 

David

Bitcoin slumps as traders’ fears of a hard fork

Bitcoin slumps as traders' fears of a "hard fork"

bitcoin slumps as traders fear hard fork

Just this month the currency swelled to an intraday high of more than $1,350, but it's come crashing back down as a dispute over the underlying technology threatens to break it into two separate currencies: bitcoin and bitcoin unlimited.

Bitcoin transactions are gathered into so-called "blocks", and developers have been embroiled in a long-running debate over the size limit of a block.

Currently, there is a one-megabyte maximum on processing batches of transactions, but some in the industry want to increase the size as the network capacity increases. Others say increasing the block size would be unsafe.

The rift could cause a split, or hard fork, in the currency. If bitcoin unlimited gained enough support, it could have an impact on the underlying blockchain technology that supports bitcoin.

David Ogden
Entrepeneur

 


Courtney Goldsmith
City A.M. 

David

A Regulated Cryptocurrency

A Regulated Taxable Cryptocurrency

A regulated Chrypto currency

Regulatory compliance and cryptocurrency are unlikely bedfellows; paying tax on crypto transactions isn't even in the room.

But times are changing. We are seeing a crop of services doing just those sorts of things, leveraging the transparent, immutable nature of distributed ledgers to track and trace cryptocurrencies.

Recently the IRS has been rattling sabres at Coinbase in a move to get cryptocurrency holders to pay tax on transactions. According to court filings, less than 1000 people have registered to pay tax on Bitcoin transactions in the last three years.

Enter Node40, a blockchain accounting system which has grown out of a business hosting Dash masternodes.

Node40 co-founder Perry Woodin explained the company was being paid mostly in Dash for its infrastructure services and had to report US taxes.

"We asked our accountant how to do that and he wasn't sure. Most accountants look at capital gains for gains and losses; they look at first in, first out.

"That strategy doesn't work for digital currencies because of the way transactions are built with multiple inputs and all these inputs have potential gains and losses and various days carried."

Sean Ryan, co-founder Node40, wrote a program to figure out gains and losses. Users import transactions from their Dash wallet and these are analysed against the blockchain to work out the average US dollar value for every single transaction.

Ryan said: "You upload your list of transactions and you get the final number. We don't actually calculate any percentages for taxes – so, for example, your jurisdiction would say that if you made this much income, we are going to tax you at say 22%.

"What we do is present numbers that you would be obligated to pay taxes on. There are levels that allow you to get to those answers, all the way down to the individual components that make up an individual transaction.

"Because these ledgers/blockchains are open they are mathematically sound, all you need to do from an engineering perspective is extract the pieces of data from the blockchain that are most relevant to specific transactions."

The user can then annotate transactions using Node40, like they might with QuickBooks or TurboTax: who they sent the funds to, who they received them from, marking certain things as tax exempt in the case of assets purchased rather than income received.

"There are some additional nice things like being able to set custom values on what your incoming purchase was. If the market value says one Dash is worth $100 but you bought it from somebody who was willing to sell it to you for $90, we allow people to override that initial value," said Woodin.

"Once people have gone in and started annotating transactions, we produce nice reports that show then their performance of their asset with their portfolio. Then as a last step they are able to generate their IRS documents, and that's a capital gains document – form 8949."

The recent surge in cryptocurrency values, not least Dash which has shot up in price, is probably also garnering attention. But Woodin pointed out that holding crypto that goes up in value does not constitute a taxable event.

"If you are just buying something and holding it, there is no taxation even though there's an increase. If you received it as income or if you are exchanging it for some other asset like dollars, euros then that's a taxable event."

Woodin said the ongoing IRS Coinbase scenario has definitely got people edgy and this may be the year people begin to start paying their taxes on crypto.

"I think by next year it's just going to be assumed that if you are transacting in digital currency, you are going to be paying taxes. It's that conversion from digital currency to fiat where the government is going to say: why do you have a deposit in your bank account with no record of income?"

Node40 Balance is now live to use with Dash and will be ready for Bitcoin later in the year.

"There are certain exemption limits and thresholds that we observe. We have four different KYC levels that we enforce. Up to €150 we just need to know the shopping cart details from the merchant which includes the name of the consumer and the email address," said Kaufmann.

"If it goes higher there is another flag at €800, then at €4000 and every time the consumer has to provide more information."

So rather like transaction reporting as it exists today. Kaufmann added that a large transaction – say €25,000 to buy a load of servers – would merit closer scrutiny.

"We have the capability of doing an online verification where people can jump on Skype with our customer support. We will take a picture of their passport number using machine readable zones that are scanned into the system and then we verify it and run it against a sanctions list.

"There is some very profound filtering going on. We do have tools that allow us to look back at the history of Bitcoin transactions. We are careful to follow Swiss data privacy laws and have the support of a fintech-friendly regulatory regime," he said.

David Ogden
Entrepreneur

 


 

By Ian Allison

 

David

Bitcoin Can Allow Mobile Payment System

Bitcoin Can Allow Mobile Payment System

Bitcoin Can provide mobile payment system

What Bitcoin solves…

The essence of mobile payment systems is to make the life of individuals comfortable. Mobile payments are supposed to offer clients a convenient method of paying for goods and services while on the go. Since mobile payment solutions were introduced, experts have been saying that mobile payment is the biggest innovation in this age and that it is set to change the lives of individuals and businesses alike.

The beauty of mobile payments is that individuals do not have to carry cash whenever they are traveling. As long as people have their smart phones, they can successfully make purchases and pay for services using special applications on their mobile phones.

However, it is instructive to note that the manner in which experts envisioned mobile payment services had not been proven to be accurate. Initially, two giants, Apple and Samsung, were touted as the potential leaders in mobile payments.

Apple introduced its solution, Apple Pay that is based on its proprietary operating system. Samsung, banking on the open Android platform, was keen enough to develop its solution, Samsung Pay. A third competitor, Square, also emerged. Therefore, at first, the mobile payment market was set to be dominated by these three giants: Apple Pay, Samsung Pay and Square.

But the response of the market has not been favorable to the likes of Apple Pay and Samsung Pay. So far, consumers have not embraced these two major mobile payment solutions in a manner that is similar to the way they have embraced their mobile devices. For example, Apple Pay has failed to break into the market and reach its projected rates of growth.

Similarly, Samsung Pay is still struggling to hit its projected numbers. Interestingly, the story is not different when you consider Square. Therefore, all these three major global mobile payment services have failed to create the buzz and excitement that they expected to create in the market.

Cryptocurrencies in general, and Bitcoin, in particular, may be the perfect solution to the problems that consumers experience when they are using the likes of Apple Pay and Samsung Pay. No one can deny that the use of Bitcoin has been growing steadily over the years. To many, Bitcoin is the perfect solution to the problems that they encounter when they would like to pay for goods and services without using cash.

For example, the use of Bitcoin does not involve intermediaries as it is the case with the conventional methods. Besides, individuals can send and receive Bitcoins at the convenience of their homes or anywhere else. Moreover, many people find that using Bitcoins costs much less than what they may have to pay concerning transaction fees when using the conventional mobile payment methods.

Moreover, you do not need to have a bank account to use Bitcoin. In fact, Bitcoin helps you to make and receive payments as an unknown entity. The element of anonymity when using Bitcoin is very attractive to many people who do not like the current model used by global mobile payment services.

Therefore, it is highly likely that Bitcoin is going to be the future of global mobile payments. The anonymity aspect of the payment method, its low transaction fees, and convenience are some of the attributes that make it better than the conventional methods.

David Ogden
Entrepeneur

 

Artical By AliRaza

David

UK Banks Shun Bitcoin !

Banks in the United Kingdom are turning a deaf ear to bitcoin exchanges, despite the government’s pro-blockchain position, according to financial writer Roger Aitken, writing in Forbes. Unless the situation changes, the banks will undermine bitcoin’s progress and drive Cryptocurrency entrepreneurs out of the banking system.

This fact together with the uncertainty  surrounding the pound due to Brexit could be a disaster for those who live in the UK, the banks are feeling under threat. Hopefully the government will step in and tell them not to be so stupid.

Cryptopay, a bitcoin brokerage, recently informed customers that it will no longer support British Pound deposits and withdrawals on account of new bank policies. Such incidents have increased as bitcoin has gained popularity.

Cancellation of GBP deposit and withdrawal facilities limits people to Single Euro Payments Area (SEPA) transfers, making Cryptopay’s buying and selling useless to most British customers.

U.K. Banks Shun Bitcoin

A dozen or more U.K. brokerages and bitcoin exchanges have suffered over the past three to four years as banking facilities have become unavailable. Some have closed or resorted to awkward arrangements.

Britcoin, which became rebranded as Intersango, started in 2011. It faced problems with U.K. bank transfers before eventually closing. An August 2012 update noted that bridging the gap between bitcoin and the conventional banking system was costly on account of technical issues, missing transfers, and accounts frozen and closed without warning.

In 2014, Bit121 had a promising start, but banks withdrew their support and the exchange closed.

In Bitcoin We Trust suffered the same fate. It resorted to using postal orders before giving up.

Coinfloor, one of the only U.K. exchanges still operating, uses SWIFT transfers, which incur hefty costs and delays. The minimum transfer is £1,000 (c.$1,250).

Banks Pour On The Pressure

CoinJournal, a bitcoin publication, saw its banking services come to an abrupt end after its U.K. banking provider Barclays terminated its business account. CoinJournal received no official warnings prior to its account closure. Even more alarmingly, Barclays still hasn’t given a reason for the extreme action.

CoinJournal believes the decision taken by Barclays to close its business account was an “automated” call, after seeing a pattern of banking transactions involving prominent bitcoin exchange and service provider Circle.

The decision was likely “a result of us using Circle to transfer fiat from ad revenue into bitcoin to pay our writers and some overheads,” a representative for the publication told CCN.

Similar scenarios have played out in Australia and New Zealand.

BitNZ, a New Zealand bitcoin exchange, has announced it is closing due to the refusal of New Zealand banks to allow bank accounts to trade bitcoins, and has advised customers to withdraw all funds before April 15, 2017.

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission is scrutinizing attempts by Australia’s biggest banks to swallow fintech companies developing technologies like blockchain solutions in the financial sector.

P2P Services Fill The Void

Peer-to-peer services match individual buyers and sellers in the U.K. in lieu of traditional exchanges. Trust is established by reputation.

Once a buyer has paid, usually with a bank transfer the seller sends the bitcoins.

As for other nations, Russia recently relaxed its regulatory position and taken a “wait and see” approach. It has effectively legalized bitcoin and allowed for exchanges to operate.
Switzerland is a more progressive country. It is easy to buy bitcoins through a network of ATMs on the rail system.

In Japan, it is possible to pay electric bills with bitcoin.

The United States has a more complex regulatory framework. But progress is on the horizon since the New York BitLicense took effect in 2015, with other state’s following a similar approach.

Bitcoin is legal in China, although the central bank recently stopped highly leveraged trading.

U.K. Banks At Odds With Government

The banking sector is clearly at odds with the U.K. government, which is openly pro-blockchain. The situation is peculiar, with the government saying the country is open to bitcoin but the banking sector standing in the way.

Since the financial crisis, the taxpayer has become the majority shareholder in the Royal Bank of Scotland, holding at around 82% of the bank. This would normally translate into a certain amount of leverage by the taxpayer.

The U.K. also has a reputation for being a fintech hub, to which the banking sector seems to have taken exception.

For whatever reason, the banks have closed ranks and chosen not to work with bitcoin.

The fact that bitcoin is decentralised and fiat currency is centralised could be at the root of the conflict.

Also read: Blockchain platform Waves raises more than $2m at the start of the crowdsale campaign

What’s To Be Done?

Money cannot flow easily from the blockchain economy to the traditional financial sector and vice versa without banks’ cooperation. The bitcoin sector is not large enough to offer all the goods and services needed to make bitcoin a sufficiently broad means of payment.

Bitcoin’s volatility also makes it an unsuitable unit of account or store of value. While it’s a great transfer medium, its price against fiat fluctuates too much for most people.

The bitcoin economy won’t expand until bitcoin is better suited as a means of payment. But it won’t be better suited without more growth and stability.

Waves, a custom blockchain tokens platform, offers a solution – fiat-backed blockchain tokens. It raised $16 million last summer through crowdfunding. Waves can act as a gateway between the blockchain and the fiat world.

Customers pay money into the gateway using a bank transfer or another suitable means, and the gateway issues them the same sum in blockchain tokens

The same exchange occurs in reverse when customers cash out their Waves GBP and have them sent as “real” GBP to their bank account. Waves essentially serves as a toolkit.

Sasha Ivanov, CEO and founder of Waves, noted that Waves can make money more efficient. By putting fiat money on the blockchain, Waves can make it more transparent and faster, and it can reduce the cost of sending it abroad.

Ivanov thinks Waves can introduce competition and encourage banks to become more accountable. If banks in one sector in one country won’t work with Waves, it will work with those in another jurisdiction.

Waves does not immediately solve the problem of U.K. banks’ hostility to bitcoin, but it suggests the roadblocks are not insurmountable. The answer may be to work around them rather than with them.

David Ogden
Entrepreneur

 

David

Will $1,000 become new baseline for Bitcoin

Recently, the price of bitcoin surpassed US$1,000 for the first time since the first few days of January. It stabilized at the $1,020 margin in most global markets and exchanges. Some regions like South Korea, Japan and China demonstrated arbitrage opportunities, with bitcoin being traded at around 7~8% premium.

bitcoin being traded at around $1,100 in South Korean #bitcoin exchanges including Korbit & Coinplug. Nearly 7% premium. pic.twitter.com/NeuWFzhn9f

— Joseph Young (@iamjosephyoung) February 3, 2017

Although many factors can be analyzed to explain the recent price surge of bitcoin, the most evident factor is the decline in the value of US dollars. Previously, when both the mainstream and bitcoin media reported that the Chinese market controlled approximately 93% of the global bitcoin exchange market, analysts and investors closely looked at the development of the Chinese market and regulations. As such, events like the devaluation of the Chinese yuan or introduction of tightened policies such as the imposition of regulation on Wealth Management Products were perceived as major factors behind the increasing value of bitcoin.

However, due to the requests of the Chinese central bank, Chinese bitcoin exchanges came to a consensus to add trading fees. As a result, inflated volumes were eliminated and the Chinese bitcoin exchange market began to demonstrate legitimate trading volumes.

Upon the “clean up” of Chinese bitcoin exchanges as the People’s Bank of China (PBoC) like to describe it as, it was revealed that the USD/BTC pair is more liquid than the USD/CNY pair. In other words, major USD supporting exchanges like Bitfinex, Kraken and Bitstamp represent a larger trading volume to that of the Chinese bitcoin exchange market.

According to bitcoin trading data providers like CoinMarketCap, the BTC/USD pair is currently demonstrating a daily volume of $41 million, while the BTC/CNY pair is demonstrating roughly half of that, at around $21 million.

Therefore, it can be said that economic uncertainty, financial instability or political events in the West or the US in particular will have a larger impact on the price of bitcoin and its trend.

There is also news that Bitcoin’s price jumped by around $30 just yesterday shortly after it became clear that Bitcoin Unlimited had overtaken segwit in hashrate share.

In other news Infinity Economics opened it new wallet to some 80,000 owners, who can now send and recieve XIN to one another. The next stage to be implimented with be the voting system, which will allow owners to formulate the direction of the coin.

David Ogden

 

David

Bitcoin is back above $1,000

 

Bitcoin is back above $1,000

Bitcoin is is back above $1,000 for the first time since January 5. The cryptocurrency was higher by 1.5% at $1,000.10 a coin as of 11:39 a.m. ET.

It's been a wild year for bitcoin. It began 2017 with a 20% rally during the first five days of the year before crashing 35% on concerns of a crackdown on trading in China.

Thursday's gains have extended bitcoin's winning streak to a sixth straight session as trade appears to be benefitting from uncertainty surrounding Donald Trump's presidency. The cryptocurrency has gained nearly 10% since Trump was inaugurated on January 20.

I believe that is the $1,000 level can be maintained  we will see a rise again later in the year. The recent trend has been upwards but it wil peak and then fall again.

I have been earning free bitcoins at Bitearn , by completing surveys, the rewards are not great , the equivalent of less than a pound a day, which I transfer to my wallet. This adds interest to tracking the market both in Bitcoin and other Cryptocurrencies.

Today Infinity Economics Launched thier wallet to members. The next few weeks will see added functions, as it is much more than a wallet.

David Ogden

Earn Free Bitcoins Here

 

 

David

Everything You Need to Know About Bitcoin

Everything You Need to Know About Bitcoin

Many netizens have heard of bitcoin, the digital currency. This means it exists electronically. To be more precise, bitcoin is a type of cryptocurrency – the implication of security and encryption is important. Cryptocurrency, or digital currency, is an invention of the Internet. Basically, someone out there thought, "hey, what if…Read more. In this post, we attempt to identify 10 questions about Bitcoins that can give you a clearer understanding of what it is, what it does and how you can use it to buy products or services online.

What are bitcoins?

Bitcoin (capitalized) refers to the software or network (ie: the Bitcoin Network), while bitcoin (not capitalized) refers to the digital currency itself (ie: two bitcoins). he price fluctuates, depending on what people were willing to pay for it. It traded for as low as pennies (during the infancy stage) to as high as USD1200 during its peak in 2013.

Who developed the idea of bitcoins?

The idea of Bitcoin was conceptualized by Satoshi Nakamoto, an anonymous figure. In May 2008, he shared a white paper [PDF] about Bitcoin, a peer-to-peer cryptocurrency. Without disclosing who he was, Satoshi outlined how the currency would work: bitcoins would be ‘mined’ by computer software, transferred directly amongst users and recorded in an untamperable ledger without the need of a third party.

Part of Bitcoin’s appeal is Satoshi Nakamoto’s anonymity, who many view as a selfless act towards a new era of financial revolution. Online detectives have identified a few candidates, including a real-life Japanese person sharing the same name. Some even theorized that Satoshi Nakamoto is a pseudonym for a collective.

In May 2016, the Bitcoin community was shocked when Australian entrepreneur Craig Wright identified himself as Satoshi Nakamoto. Some people believe his claim, some didn’t, but on the whole the Bitcoin community is unaffected – the Bitcoin ecosystem is decentralized, and cannot be controlled by any person(s), including the creator.

What is so special about bitcoin?

Bitcoin is a peer-to-peer currency and runs on a system which allows you to send and receive bitcoins without a third party. To put simply, fiat currencies rely on third parties, such as banks or payment processors like Visa, to verify the transaction. This is how you and I can ensure payment sent was indeed received. However, bitcoin transactions are recorded in a public ledger called the bitcoin blockchain. This information are permanent and publicly viewable on Blockchain.info and cannot be edited or deleted.

This means that the transaction records act as proof of transaction. Bitcoin is also programmed to be non-duplicable, which means double spending is highly unlikely.

What is decentralized currency?

Bitcoin is also a decentralized currency, as in no one government, individual or group holds authority over it. This makes bitcoin spendable anywhere in the world as long as the receiver accepts bitcoins as payment.

Decentralised currencies are a unique concept. Similar to the internet, it is free from geographical boundaries – this is why bitcoin is also dubbed ‘the currency of the internet’.

Due to lack of control and regulations, many countries are understandably wary of bitcoin – and other cryptocurrencies in general – but some progressive countries such as Japan have started to recognize it as currency.

Is bitcoin anonymous?

Bitcoin’s anonymity is a myth. Or rather, it is now much harder to make anonymous transactions with Bitcoin. Because as the ecosystem matures, many bitcoin service providers have started implementing KYC/AML regulations. KYC/AML stands for know your customers/anti-money laundering . This requires users to submit proof of identity and proof of residence.

It is also fairly easy to trace bitcoins. Bitcoins are usually bought from bitcoin exchanges, received as payment, or donated. With transaction details publicly viewable online, it is possible to trace where the bitcoin came from.

 How do you use bitcoins?

Bitcoin can be used for spending, similar to money. Some people also keep them for investment purposes, while others prefer to use them as a method to make international money transfer.  Bitcoin exists electronically and is kept in ‘bitcoin wallets’. There are many types of bitcoin wallets: desktop wallet, mobile wallet, online/web-based wallet, hardware wallet and even paper wallet.

To read more about bitcoin storage, check out this article by CoinDesk. You can have as many wallets and bitcoin addresses (where you receive money from others) as you like.

How many people are using bitcoin?

Estimates vary – it is hard to find out the exact number of people who use Bitcoin. One way to measure number of bitcoin users is by measuring the number of bitcoin wallets. According to CoinDesk’s State of Bitcoin and Blockchain 2016 report, bitcoin wallets doubled to 12.77 million in one year, from the end of 2014 to the end of 2015. Even though many bitcoin users have more than one wallet (it is common to hold a few wallets), this is an indication that the number of bitcoin users worldwide is increasing.

Another way to estimate bitcoin usage is by the number of bitcoin transactions, which has steadily increased. Although this could mean that the same people are simply making more bitcoin transactions, it is fair to assume that there are new bitcoin users in the mix, too.

How do I acquire bitcoins?

There are three main ways to get bitcoins: mine them, buy them, or work for them.

Bitcoin Mining
Bitcoin mining used to be really profitable. However at the current time it is no longer cost effective for the average individual. One will need to buy specialised Bitcoin mining equipment, get/rent dedicated spaces for them, and pay their associated costs (rental, electricity and cooling costs).
Buy Bitcoins
You can buy bitcoins from many online exchanges. There are a lot more options now than ever before – there are global bitcoin exchanges and also country-specific bitcoin exchanges. You can also buy them from other people via Localbitcoins.
Work for Bitcoins
Some people get paid in bitcoins, instead of cash currencies. Websites such as XBTFreelancer… and Coinality list jobs with bitcoin payments.There are other less effective ways to acquire bitcoins. You can get (very) small amounts of bitcoins from bitcoin faucets, which pay you to look at advertisements. You can get them as donations. There are also bitcoin ‘investments’ but if you wish to not lose money, Badbavoid companies that are listed in itcoin Badlist.

How do I send/receive/spend bitcoins?

Bitcoin wallets come with bitcoin addresses, which represent a destination, similar to an email address. Bitcoin addresses are alphanumeric, between 27-34 characters in length. Many bitcoin service providers have user-friendly user interface which allows users to generate bitcoin addresses, send and receive bitcoins.

To send bitcoins, users simply have to ensure positive balance in their bitcoin wallets, insert the receiver’s bitcoin address, and hit send. There is a small miner’s fee to process the transaction – miner’s fees are given as a reward and incentive to Bitcoin miners for maintaining equipment. Bitcoin transactions usually take less than an hour to arrive, but it can take longer or shorter depending on the fee amount and the bitcoin service provider.

You can spend bitcoins anywhere that accept bitcoins as payment. You can also use a Visa/Mastercard-linked bitcoin debit card issued by companies like Wirex or Coinbase.

What are bitcoin’s disadvantages?

Depending on who you ask, you’ll get different answers. Coders and programmers might argue that bitcoin is already an outdated network, compared to some of the newer cryptocurrency networks available. Here we will concentrate on bitcoin’s disadvantages to the casual user:

Advanced digital knowledge is necessary

Bitcoin can be stolen in many ways. It is the bitcoin owner’s responsibility to keep them safe, and this meant implementing additional layers of security such as 2-factor authentication. Keeping them in web wallets can be dangerous. If you have a significant amount of bitcoins, you are advised to keep them in hardware wallets such as Trezor or Ledger.

Bitcoin service providers can be hard to trust

The biggest names have failed the Bitcoin community. Who can forget the Mt. Gox incident in 2014. It was the biggest bitcoin exchanger at the time and practically disappeared overnight along with almost 745,000 bitcoins. More recently in 2016, thieves stole almost 120,000 bitcoins during the Bitfinex hack – and experts still don’t know how they did it.

Lack of acceptance

Cold hard cash is still the widest and most used form of payment – it’s acceptance is second to none. By contrast, bitcoin is only accepted at a handful of shops. However, bitcoin debit cards help to address this issue – linked to payment processors, they help make bitcoin spending a bit easier.

Lack of protection

In general, bitcoin is not considered legal in most countries around the world. Therefore, theft or scam victims have almost no option for recourse. However, the legal landscape is ever-changing and one of the best spots to update yourself on where bitcoin is acceptable or not is Bitlegal.io.

Anti-bitcoin politicians

While many countries around the world mainly cautioned the public against the risky nature of Bitcoin, some politicians or political parties have extreme views about bitcoin. Russian and French lawmakers are considering banning it altogether.

Wrap Up

Bitcoin is cool, but the underlying technology behind it – the blockchain – is even cooler. Turns out, having a method to record data in a way that cannot be tampered or deleted is a good thing. It is also a cost-effective method to store information. Many companies including major banks have expressed interest in the blockchain technology.

David Ogden
Entrepreneur

David

As Bitcoin Price Surges, Phishing Attacks on Cryptocurrency Wallets Intensify

As Bitcoin Price Surges,
Phishing Attacks on Cryptocurrency Wallets Intensify

Today's Bitcoin to US Dollar exchange rate has reached $902, the first time Bitcoin price has gone above the $900 mark since January 2014, almost three years ago. Nobody knows what's driving this sudden surge of Bitcoin popularity, but cyber-criminals won't bother looking into macroeconomic factors when deciding that the market is ripe and ready for the taking again.

Bitcoin price surge reverberates through cybercriminal landscape

Over the past couple of months, as the Bitcoin price was slowly coming out of the $200-$400 price range where it spent almost two years, cyber-criminals took notice.

The first to do so were ransomware authors, who had to cut down the ransom demands they asked from victims. They had to do this because a ransom of 2 Bitcoin that once meant $400, all of sudden became $1,200, or more, a sum that very few users could afford to pay.

But ransomware victims are occasional Bitcoin users. A more lucrative operation is the phishing market sector, where crooks have yet again turned their full attention to Bitcoin wallet services.

The culprits behind these phishing pages targeting Bitcoin users are your regular career phishers. The Cisco OpenDNS team has tracked the operators of some of these Bitcoin phishing sites to numerous other phishing domains, used for collecting credentials for other services, such as Google, Dropbox, Apple, Amazon, and others.

What Any Cryptocurrency Needs to Achieve Mass Adoption

    5 Things Any Cryptocurrency Needs to Achieve Mass Adoption

Bitcoin, the giant in the world of cryptocurrency, continues to defy all expectations of an early demise and rises higher and higher in value and use. Its adoption as everyday money, however, remains negligent among the common people, almost eight years after the digital currency first emerged.

While the title of “ the first cryptocurrency” is no longer up for grabs, the title of “digital cash” still remains unclaimed, ready to be seized by another up-and-coming digital money. In order to become the common medium of exchange for large swaths of the world, a cryptocurrency first needs to fulfill a few crucial requirements.

Easy and inexpensive transactions

Forget about cryptocurrency for a second. Right now, regular people use either cash or card for day-to-day transactions.

Cash has no transaction costs but requires you to be physically present and have adequate change, and card transactions are relatively instant, though final confirmations often happen the next day, although fees are relatively high it is enough to disincentivize very small transactions. Any cryptocurrency wanting to make inroads with the common people has to beat this by having faster and cheaper transactions.

Bitcoin already offers this advantage, though the margin by which it does is growing slimmer by the day, and even now it may not be enough to entice the public to abandon traditional financial means. Any cash or card replacement has to be better by a large enough margin to warrant a change.

The same goes for fees. Cash has no fees. Other money transfer tools, like cards and bank accounts, are able to charge a fee because they are able to function across great distances with greater efficiency. Cryptocurrency has those same advantages over cash, and as such can be expected to have an associated transaction fee. However, that fee must be significantly lower in order to entice your average consumer away from banking systems. Large companies can afford to make major payment changes in order to save a few cents per transaction because of scale, but regular people cannot.

Improvements to Bitcoin’s basic model

Bitcoin retains an enormous lead in adoption ahead of other cryptocurrencies. Compared to traditional financial systems, Bitcoin provides enough benefits and improvements to warrant a switch. If a currency wants to beat Bitcoin as the new money, it has to be objectively better. Faster or more inexpensive transactions, more anonymity, a better governance structure, and other features are needed to set another coin apart to justify its use and adoption. If a cryptocurrency does similar things as Bitcoin in the exact same way, its chances of taking over as the digital money of the future will be extremely slim.

A streamlined Bitcoin substitution mechanism

Right now, Bitcoin maintains a massive lead in adoption over every other cryptocurrency. That lead was earned on the promise and hype, not of Bitcoin alone, but of cryptocurrency and of the Blockchain technology itself.

Attempting to best the great front-runner of digital currency from scratch, and without a truly staggering level of difference between the two, simply won’t happen. The only way to compete with Bitcoin, as previously mentioned, is to provide at least as much utility, and a large chunk of Bitcoin’s utility is its adoption lead. What another cryptocurrency needs, then, is an easy and efficient way to be used in Bitcoin’s place such as an automatic exchange built into the wallet.

An easy fiat currency conversion system

Like it or not, the world still currently runs on government-issued fiat currency. Living entirely off of cryptocurrency, without any method of conversion into fiat, it is extremely difficult at the present time, and not a viable option for most people. The average person will need an easy way to buy and offload a cryptocurrency for it to be a practical option for them. Most cryptocurrencies are only easily accessible through first acquiring Bitcoin. In order to become dominant and widely accessible, that crippling reliance on Bitcoin needs to end.

An aggressive adoption campaign targeted at the common people

Finally, in order to entice the world at large, the digital currency needs to presented in a way that resonates with most people. While some technical users will care about hash rates, cryptographic keys, smart contracts, and ring signatures, the common folk will not. They need to be reached with the language of cheaper fees, faster access to funds, more security, less paperwork, etc. The only way anyone will know why cryptocurrency makes sense for them is for someone to tell them why. In order to achieve that, a successful marketing campaign is needed.

The cryptocurrency world, while new, is wildly diverse. However, in terms of a tool for everyday use in financial transactions, Bitcoin has almost exclusive reign. In order to dethrone the king of digital cash, any competitor has to bring their A-game.

David Ogden
Contributor

 

David