Bitcoin Recognised as a Currency in Japan

Bitcoin Recognised  as a Currency in Japan

bitcoin recognised as a currency in japan

Bitcoin has finally gained the recognition of a mainstream currency along the lines of other fiat currencies. The privilege follows the implementation of a new law in Japan which categorizes Bitcoin as a legal payment option within the country. The much-awaited law went into effect on April 1, 2017 (beginning of a new fiscal year in many countries).

With the new law’s implementation, Bitcoin exchanges will also come under additional regulatory scrutiny. The recognition of cryptocurrency as a legal tender also means the applicability of regulations governing banks and financial institutions to cryptocurrency exchange platforms. They will be required to comply with strict anti-money laundering (AML) and Know Your Customer (KYC) requirements, alongEntrepreneur with annual audits. Other requirements include meeting the stated capital and cyber security requirements to ensure consumer protection.

The recognition of Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies as legal payment instruments is good news for the global cryptocurrency ecosystem. Adoption of cryptocurrency is expected to increase among people, which will, in turn, drive demand and price.

However, reports indicate that the cryptocurrency platforms are still trying to figure out ways to achieve compliance with the new regulations. Recognizing the exchanges’ needs, the Accounting Standards Board of Japan has announced that it has started working on creating an accounting framework for both user and businesses dealing with cryptocurrencies.

It might take a while before companies and individuals get acquainted with the accounting practices, which has raised concerns about legal implications of inaccurate reporting’s/filings due to lack of understanding. Also, few publications have raised concerns about the volatility of Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies and how it might impact those making cryptocurrency transactions.

The new developments are expected to drive the cryptocurrency usage in Japan to over $9 billion in the next three years (2020), which is more than five times the 2015’s $1.7 billion worth of cryptocurrencies in circulation.

David Ogden
Entrepreneur

 

Author: Gautham

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Bitcoin vs Gold: Which is a Better for Long Term Investment

bitcoin v gold which is the better investment

Bitcoin vs Gold: Which is a Better for Long Term Investment

 

Imagine that you have $100,000 at your disposal. You must spend all of it on either bitcoin or gold – no mixing and matching – and the assets will then be stored in a trust that cannot be accessed again for 50 years.

Which option would you choose?

With the two commodities now in roughly the same price range, it's worth putting aside some of bitcoin's short-term volatility and liquidity concerns to compare them as long-term stores of value side by side.

Sure, you might argue bitcoin is newer and flashier, and that it has arguably more utility in the digital era than gold. But, gold has the indisputable track record, having been a cherished store of value for thousands of years across human civilizations.

However, bitcoin's traits have led to those backing the cryptocurrency to believe it could potentially unseat gold over the long haul.

Spencer Bogart, an analyst with Blockchain Capital and formerly of Needham & Company, told CoinDesk:

"If we think about the qualities that make gold a respected 'money' or store of value, bitcoin is actually superior in many regards."

Inflation vs deflation

Another key advantage bitcoin has over gold is that its supply level is fixed and transparent – eliminating fears of the typical inflationary pressures associated with overproduction that could diminish the value of the asset.

"A well-known characteristic about bitcoin is that it’s on a disinflationary supply schedule. While many people think of gold as being the same, gold is actually a sneakily inflationary asset," said Chris Burniske, blockchain products lead with ARK Investment Management.

Burniske added that the global supply of gold has clandestinely increased by 1–2% annually over the last century.

He continued:

"If you were to ask people what gold's supply schedule looks like over time, they probably wouldn't draw you something that looks like an exponential curve. With gold being sneakily inflationary, it’s not set up to preserve value in the way that bitcoin is."

Such characteristics, in theory, serve to increase bitcoin’s future utility as a means of account, exchange and storing value.

They also suggest that bitcoin's value, usefulness and importance to society will only continue to grow as commerce becomes more digitized.

"As more infrastructure is built around [bitcoin], we think that demand will rise relative to its mathematically metered supply, increasing its price support," Burniske wrote in a recent white paper.

Slow and steady

The clear advantages that gold has over bitcoin are trust and reliability, according to those surveyed for this article. However, a change in consumer preferences, new technological disruption or a crackdown by a government could easily kick bitcoin to the end of the bench.

"Gold has something very important that bitcoin lacks: a more than 1,000-year history of being a decent store of value. This is very important for trust and people's willingness to store value in that particular asset," said Bogart.

Gold has also proven itself to be of value even when governments attempt to restrict its usage or outlaw it completely.

This happened in 1933, when President Franklin D Roosevelt implemented measures to prohibit and criminalize its possession in the US.

"For more than 5,000 years gold and silver have been tried-and-true money. They've lasted basically the duration of organized civilization," said Dave Kranzler of Investment Research Dynamics.

In this light, Kranzler was keen to highlight bitcoin's 'counterparty risk'.

Gold's advantage over bitcoin is that it's not dependent on the operation of the internet, thus affording it a degree of protection from heavy-handed regimes, he said.

"There’s nothing to stop any government from shutting down the internet in their country under the guise of national security purposes or what not,” he said, adding:

"We’ve seen democracies come and go, but totalitarianism always seems to creep back in. And when that happens, the government controls everything."

Elemental value

Gold has also proven itself immune to technological disruption.

According to Burniske, while bitcoin has generated significant cultural cachet, it remains at the bleeding edge and could still be dethroned relatively easily.

"That position is not necessarily going to remain the case if bitcoin is not able to attract new users and provide a happy medium in terms of user experience," he said.

Yet, as asset classes like Dutch tulips, Japanese real estate, dot-com companies and the US housing market have boomed and busted, gold has consistently plodded ahead, withstanding the test of time.

"I don’t think anyone can say with any certainty that any man-made system is going to be valuable 50 years from now," said Josh Crumb, co-founder of GoldMoney and a former commodities strategist at Goldman Sachs.

He continued:

 

"People forget that gold is not a pet rock or a speculative asset, it's an element. Gold is a very low-risk store of value. Fifty years from now it’s going to still be valuable."

While investors like Cameron and Tyler Winklevoss have suggested that technological developments as far fetched as asteroid mining could eventually put upward pressure on the total supply of gold (and reduce its scarcity), Crumb reckons that technological creative destruction poses a much greater threat to bitcoin.

"People have been trying to crack gold for 600 years. I think it's much more likely that we're going to have quantum computing that can change cryptography than asteroid mining that's going to bring back loads of gold," he said.

Complementary or substitutionary?

Perhaps asking whether bitcoin will ever unseat gold as the universal store of value isn't quite appropriate, as it's plausible that the two can, and will, co-exist as complementary assets.

"I like bitcoin, particularly in the short-term, so it's kind of like saying 'Do you like gold or do you like investing in Facebook in 2011?'" said Crumb. "To me, it’s two totally different things."

As is standard practice across other realms of investing, the correct answer to the bitcoin versus gold question will ultimately be determined by the risk profile of each particular investor.

"In terms of proper portfolio construction, you want to diversify. You want to have different types of assets that don’t necessarily move together," said Burniske, concluding:

"There's always room for collaboration. It’s sensational to pit [bitcoin versus gold] as a fight to the death."
 

David Ogden
Entrepreneur
 

Author: Aaron Stanley

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Indians Petition Government Demanding Legal Status for Cryptocurrencies

indians petition government demanding leagal status for cryptocurrencies

Indians Petition Government Demanding Legal Status for Cryptocurrencies

The Indian cryptocurrency ecosystem recently woke up to a shocking news on leading media outlets. It was reported that the use of Bitcoin in the country is illegal and could attract penalties under anti-money laundering laws. However, the report was not entirely accurate, and the news platforms were quoting a Member of Parliament seeking the implementation of cryptocurrency regulations by calling Bitcoin a “Ponzi scheme”.

While the confusion was eventually cleared, the incident has sown the seeds of mistrust about the government’s stance on the digital currency. Going by the example of few drastic decisions taken by the government in the past, they have come together to demand some clarity from the government regarding its stance on cryptocurrency. They have started an online signature campaign, petitioning the government to award a legal status for Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies in the country.

The petition is probably the first strong public campaign organized by the recently formed Digital Asset and Blockchain Foundation of India. Addressed to Arun Jaitley — India’s Finance Minister, Urjit Patel – Governor of the Reserve Bank of India and S Selvakumar – the Joint Secretary of the Department of Economics Affairs Room, the petition makes a mention of various benefits offered by Bitcoin and cryptocurrencies and how it can be used for the betterment of the country. Also, it asks the government to take steps towards stopping bad actors who misuse the cryptocurrency than banning the technology and its use.

The petition on Change.org also says,

“Cryptocurrencies will be available irrespective and the illegal users do not care about its legal status. Please do not take hasty steps and prevent innovation, economic activity and jobs. This will only stop good uses of cryptocurrencies.”

In a country which has a considerable percentage of the unbanked population and ranks at the top for receiving the highest remittance, Bitcoin can offer an efficient and inexpensive solution. The use of cryptocurrencies and their underlying technology will not only speed up the financial services sector but also a range of other industries. With the adoption of distributed ledger technology, the government can also combat rampant corruption and red tape. But strict cryptocurrency regulations will stifle progress in this regard, preventing the country from keeping up with the global trend.

David Ogden
Entrepreneur

 

Author: Gautham

David

Ethereum style smart contracts for Bitcoin in June

Ethereum style smart contracts for Bitcoin in June

Ethereum style smart contracts for Bitcoin in June
 

Ethereum has gained a lot of attention over the past year or two as it became the second most valuable cryptocurrency by market cap. The platform enables the execution of smart contracts, a feature coming to Bitcoin in the form of RSK.

On a recent episode of Coin Interview, RSK’s co-founder, Gabriel Kurman, claimed that RSK’s private testnet will turn into a public testnet on May 22nd at the 2017 Consensus conference. RSK will then be launched on Bitcoin’s mainnet approximately a month later.

“RSK goal is to add value and functionality to the Bitcoin ecosystem by enabling smart-contracts, near instant payments and higher-scalability.”

A smart contract is simply a computerized transaction protocol that executes the terms of a contract. According to the Elements Project, smart contracting platforms with more expressive scripting systems, such as Ethereum and RSK, are attractive to developers as Bitcoin’s scripting system is limited by design for security reasons.

Ethereum is in essence a programmable blockchain. Rather than giving users a set of predefined operations, such as bitcoin transactions, the platform allows users to create their own operations, of any complexity. In this way, it serves as a platform for many different types of decentralized blockchain applications, including but not limited to cryptocurrencies. “Ethereum allows us to move much faster than building on Bitcoin due to its turing complete script,” explains Augur co-founder Joey Krug.

The team behind RSK has done everything they can to make it easy for Ethereum developers to move to their platform. According to the original RSK white paper, the platforms virtual machine is backwards compatible with the Ethereum virtual machine (EVM), which “gives the opportunity to developers working on Ethereum to benefit from the robustness of the BItcoin blockchain.” The EVM allows developers to create applications using programming languages modelled on existing languages like JavaScript and Python.

Ethereum co-founder Charles Hoskinson has hypothesized that the smart contracts written on top of these kinds of systems will be released on multiple platforms. The process would look similar to releasing mobile applications for both iOS and Android, developers may decide to release their applications on Ethereum, RSK, and Ethereum Classic.

In addition to RSK’s advanced smart contract capabilities, the sidechain also has the potential to decrease the transaction burden on the main Bitcoin blockchain. “We have the Lumino Transaction Compression Protocol (LTCP), which allows 2,000 transactions per second on chain and the Lumino Network which will allow up to 20,000 transactions per second off chain,” said Kurman. “Every single developer is going to be able to plug in, and run their contracts. It’s going to operate against the Bitcoin testnet for a month approximately, and then we’re going to apply [it] to the Bitcoin mainnet.”
 

“We expect RSK to be multiple times more secure than other platforms because it has Bitcoin’s hashing power behind it, and it's fuel should cost 1/10th of that of Ethereum. RSK is subsidized by Bitcoin, plus its virtual machine is six times faster than Ethereum’s given Sergio Lerner's improvements.” – Gabriel Kurman RSK co-founder

The initial version of the RSK sidechain will not require any changes to the underlying Bitcoin protocol to implement the necessary 2-way peg (2WP) to work with Bitcoin. The 2WP allows the transfer of bitcoins from the Bitcoin blockchain to a secondary blockchain and vice-versa. The “transfer” is in fact an illusion: bitcoins are not transferred, but temporarily locked on the Bitcoin blockchain while the same amount of equivalent tokens are unlocked in a secondary blockchain. The original bitcoins can be unlocked when the equivalent amount of tokens on the second blockchain are locked again in the secondary blockchain.

 

In the short term a federation will manage the multisign keys to release the bitcoin on the way back from the peg, Kurman explains. According to the RSK website, well-known Bitcoin companies, such as Xapo and Bitpay, have signed up to be notaries for the sidechain. According to Kurman, these notaries will participate in the governance of the federation, and provide more services to RSK. “The federation will provide multiple services in the future on top of the peg such as security checkpoints in each block, oracle services, and providing liquidity,” he said.

 

According to Kurman, miners already have the ability to merge mine the private RSK testnet. “Bitcoin India is already merge-mining with 100% of it's hashing power. Most other major pools are testing the plugin,” said Kurman. “Once a separate soft fork is implemented in Bitcoin, the release [of bitcoins on the sidechain] will be done by a combination of miners and federation — hence a hybrid 2-way peg.”

RSK currently has 30 partners building on the platform from multiple different industries. “Once the source code becomes public and the platform open on May 22, we expect a lot of use cases being ported to RSK given its full compatibility with Ethereum,” Kurman stated.
 

David Ogden
Entrepeneur

 

Kyle Torpey, – Author

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Bitcoin wobbles as traders turn to other cryptocurrencies

bitcoin wobbles as traders turn to other cryptocurrencies

Bitcoin wobbles as traders turn to other cryptocurrencies

Bitcoin wobbles as traders turn to other cryptocurrencies

It's been a volatile period for Bitcoin investors, as holders of the cryptocurrency prepare for a potential 'fork' in the blockchain.

From Friday morning until Monday afternoon, Bitcoin was trading under the $1,000 level, and even fell beneath $900 on Saturday. This is significant as, barring the weekend of March 18 and 19, Bitcoin has traded above $1,000 since early February and hit a fresh all-time high of around $1,325 on March 10.

Bitcoin is currently back above the $1,000 handle, but is well off these recent highs, wiping billions off of its market cap value.

There are several causes for the recent volatility: Chinese regulators cracked down on Bitcoin exchanges, while U.S. authorities rejected a proposal for a Bitcoin-backed exchange-traded fund (ETF). The current concern is over the future of the Bitcoin technology.

Bitcoin faces a scaling issue, where the number of Bitcoin transactions that can happen on the blockchain at any one time is limited. This is creating a backlog of transactions that are needed to be processed and slowing down the system.

A group called Bitcoin Unlimited advocates for increasing the size of the blocks on the blockchain in order to process more transactions, but this has split the community. To increase the block size would involve splitting the blockchain, causing a fork and creating two major blockchains. This would effectively create two different coins and it's not clear which would become dominant.

As a result, investors are hedging their bets or selling out of Bitcoin, waiting to see whether or not the fork will happen, and if so, which blockchain will be favored by the market.

Data from Bitfinex indicates around 49 million more coins have been sold than bought, or roughly 5 percent of total coins traded, in the last 30 days. Through March, the number of long Bitcoin positions held by investors has decreased from 26,858 to above 23,142, while the number of short positions has increased from 9,820 to 14,731.

Meanwhile, the market cap of blockchain assets other than Bitcoin, such as ether, dash and monero, has more than doubled since March 10 from $3.5 billion to more than $7 billion, according to Chris Burniske, blockchain products lead analyst at ARK Invest.

"At the same time, Bitcoin's market cap has gone from $19 billion to $16 billion. Hence, Bitcoin's market cap has lost $3 billion in value while the combined market cap of all other blockchain assets has added more than $3 billion," he told CNBC via email.

"Given these market indicators, it would appear investors are diversifying their blockchain asset holdings, positioning themselves for a generally rising tide in this emerging asset class."

Whether or not the fork happens is hard to tell, but it may harm Bitcoin's brand, according to Jani Valjavec, co-founder of ICONOMI, a digital asset management platform for cryptocurrencies. Valjavec argues the brand is the main thing behind Bitcoin's value.

"It has wide acceptance now, real world use cases, it can be a great store of value, and it is currently trusted by the community. Our understanding is that a hard fork, instigated by two parties with very competing interests, will primarily weaken the brand," he told CNBC via email.

"The next biggest brand in the distributed economy is Ethereum, and that's why we believe it will benefit the most."

However, Fran Strajnar, co-founder & CEO of data and research company Brave New Coin, says the market is still within the parameters of a Bitcoin bull cycle.

"The proposed contentious fork is unlikely but better to happen now than in the distant future. We would end up with the original Bitcoin and remaining miners activating segwit (a well-designed package of system upgrades) and a new, much smaller, privatized alternative version of Bitcoin," he told CNBC via email.

"The sum result of all the network fork (fear, uncertainty and doubt) is we are seeing investors hedge by buying into ether. We expect a price drop if there is a fork but a similar outcome to Ethereum, where the long term market capitalization increases for both assets."

David Ogden
Entrepreneur

 

Luke Graham

 

 

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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 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

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