Monthly Archives: September 2018

Crypto POS Comes to Nigeria, Reflects Global Trend

Nigeria is cashing in on its first crypto-based point of sale (POS) system which will enable users to pay in Bitcoin and Ether along with the country’s local currency, the Naira.

Globally the amount of such crypto-based POS systems is on the rise, with Indonesian payment company PundiX hugely influential in facilitating the spread. POS provider PundiX, has also recently announced a partnership with Hong Kong group FAMA to improve retailing using cryptocurrency for purchasing organic foods throughout the company’s chain.

Such solutions for mainstream consumers will simplify cryptocurrency transactions, enabling retail outlets to install their POS devices for speedy acquisition or spending of major cryptocurrencies and could become the future for both retailers and consumers.

The same company has finalized a POS deal with Brazil’s BitCapital that will see 1,000 X POS devices distributed to hundreds of retail outlets there. BitCapital states one of its main goals as creating an infrastructure network that can make cryptocurrency to fiat transactions as straightforward as it’s achievable.

PundiX’ move into the African continent is unsurprising given recent attention by fintech companies eying the opportunities for business in the sector. Michael Lawal, business development manager at PundiX, explains the simplicity of how the system works, talking a user through a demonstration of the first live transaction in the African continent:

“I have 0.01 BTC and I am going to make a transaction of 200 Naira …The cashier provides three options – to pay either with cash, XPOS card or XPOS Wallet. If you are paying with Xwallet you will need to scan a QR code…Once you choose your payment option, the cashier automatically calculates the rate of conversion using current market rates to the local currency, which is Naira. You have two seconds lock-in period to safeguard the consumer and the merchant.”

The system only takes seconds to confirm a transaction issuing an instant receipt outlining all of the details of the payment.

Nigeria could become a major fintech center given that the country holds Africa’s largest contingent of Bitcoin users and has a population of 185 million, representing the continent’s largest population of potential users and investors. Local Bitcoins is reported to have seen a trading volume of $260 million in this year to date.

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UNLOCK Conference, Global Meeting for Blockchain & Crypto in Dubai on 15-16 January 2019

The 2nd edition of the UNLOCK Conference will be held in Dubai, United Arab Emirates (UAE) on 15-16 January 2019 at the Ritz Carlton Hotel. This will be a global meeting of the most powerful players in the crypto and blockchain fields, and is proud to announce a media partnership with the event.

The UNLOCK Conference will cover a full gauntlet of crypto and blockchain applications, including gaming, e-commerce and retail, health, real-estate, banking, equities and securities, food industry, energy, logistics, and transportation. Dubai is an optimal location for the UNLOCK Conference since it is on the cutting-edge of blockchain and crypto with 20 blockchain case studies underway and the goal of having 50% of Dubai’s government services on the blockchain by 2021. Dubai is a powerhouse in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region and among the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), an alliance of nations on the Arabian Peninsula which border the Persian Gulf.

It is expected that the MENA and GCC will be a hotbed for crypto and blockchain long-term, with numerous startups expected in the regions in the coming years. This makes the UNLOCK Conference in Dubai critically important for planning the future of blockchain and crypto in the MENA and GCC. Dubai’s neighbor, Bahrain, is already experimenting with FinTech sandboxes for the launch of crypto exchanges and startups.

The themes of the 2019 UNLOCK Conference include initial coin offerings (ICOs), cryptocurrencies, the future of crypto exchanges in an increasingly regulated world, scalability and interoperability of blockchain, governments and blockchain, investing in blockchain, utilization of blockchain for supply chains and trade, tokenization of everything in a futuristic digital economy, artificial intelligence (AI) and blockchain, blockchain anonymity, blockchain payments, blockchain in the transportation and energy industries, blockchain for telecommunications, blockchain for cloud services, and identity verification on blockchains.

The registration for the UNLOCK Conference 2019 is open, and the early bird special of USD 800 per ticket is running until 15 October 2018. After that registrations will cost USD 1,000 until 28 December 2018, followed by the late registration period where tickets will cost USD 1,500. UNLOCK Conference is running a special where 4+ attendees registered in the same group nets a 20% discount.

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Popular Wallet Says Goodbye to Fiat Currencies in Landmark Gesture

The popular Bitcoin platform Samourai has announced that it is removing all fiat currency conversion facilities from its wallet in order to promote the flagship currency.

The move is revolutionary in the sense that Samourai is clearly making a move that many exchanges would like to, but so far have resisted. Samourai appears to be positioning themselves for a future where Bitcoin’s value isn’t measured in fiat terms but as a stand-alone currency. This intent is clarified in the company’s latest statement:

“All fiat currency conversions have been removed from Samourai Wallet. We understand this may inconvenience some, it may even be enough to cause us to lose some users, but we believe it is fundamental that our existing and future users understand that when they transact within the Bitcoin network, when they participate in the Bitcoin economy, they are transacting with the token native to the Bitcoin network, BTC, and nothing else.”

The announcement also reminded its clients of its accessibility to a number of alternative language users, with Chinese and French added to its new release. Some 12 languages are now available to cover a range of nationalities around the globe. The wallet is also available in some less commonly spoken languages such as Brazilian Portuguese, Bulgarian and Turkish.

The news that Samourai was completely dumping its fiat currencies reverberated quickly around crypto space with some concern,  but the company has made it clear that it’s time for its users to give up thinking about cryptocurrency in fiat terms, which is fast becoming the norm although early adopters may have needed the reassurance of making fiat conversions. Samourai argues:

“In 2015 when we first launched Samourai Wallet… we reasoned that a fiat based conversion rate would be a convenient feature for users who wished to have a rough idea of what their BTC stash was worth in fiat currency at any given time.”

The company asserts that that “crutch” is still a factor, so action was needed in order to educate the crypto community to a new way of thinking about the cryptocurrency’s worth:

“Many news outlets, data providers, prominent persons, and innocent users started to refer to bitcoin transactions in USD terms instead of BTC terms […] We reasoned that ‘Users aren’t ready’ to give up thinking in fiat terms, and with education, they would eventually change.”

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BitTorrent Will Start Paying Users Crypto For Seeding

The popular peer to peer file sharing site BitTorrent, which has hundreds of millions of users, is launching Project Atlas, where BitTorrent will merge with blockchain technology. BitTorrent will be offering Tron (TRX) as an incentive for seeders, which will create a paradigm shift in the filesharing industry. This follows the acquisition of BitTorrent by Tron, the 13th most valuable crypto with a market cap of USD 1.5 billion, in June 2018.

BitTorrent and other torrenting sites have always had an incentive for seeders to upload faster since they would be able to download more quickly. Now BitTorrent seeders will be paid TRX for seeding files longer, as well as seeding with higher bandwidth and dedicating more of their computer storage to BitTorrent. This is a new and exciting idea for the torrenting industry, never before have users been able to earn money by seeding files. This should re-invigorate the number of seeders and download speeds on BitTorrent.

Further, users will be able to pay TRX for faster downloads. This TRX will be paid towards the seeders, fueling the system where seeders are paid for their services. It’s a win-win situation, downloaders will get their files much quicker, and seeders will earn money for facilitating that.

The CEO of Tron, Justin Sun, says “Project Atlas is the foundation for a new way of content distribution. To start, the product will feature faster downloads, more seeds, no mining, and backward compatibility. It is adapted to the world we live in today: mobile, connected, and transparent. We aim to eventually empower all content creators and their communities by eliminating the middleman and enabling content creators to distribute directly to users”.

As Sun says, BitTorrent users who choose to use old clients that don’t have TRX technology will still be able to use the network, making Project Atlas fully backward compatible. This is a good decision, since torrenters often stick to a client that works for them and generally don’t check for updates, so previous users who like their client will stay on the network. However, due to the exciting prospect of earning money by seeding, it is likely many users will upgrade.

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