Category Archives: Altcoins

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38% of South Africans Polled Regret Missing Early Bitcoin Uptake

A recent poll in South Africa on awareness and attitudes towards cryptocurrency has shown that 38% of respondents wished that they had invested in digital currency before, writes Cointelegraph.

The poll was conducted by Pan-African financial services company Old Mutual Limited. The annual Savings and Investment Monitor survey for South Africa revealed that in general, South Africans were currently largely positive about cryptocurrencies.

Along with 38% of people responding positively to the statement “I wish I had invested in [crypto] before”, another statement, “You can make a lot of money with them”, received a huge 71% agreement from the public.

The statement “They are bad news, like a pyramid scheme” seemed to resonate with 43% of respondents, while 53% had no idea how digital currencies actually worked.

Overall, and clearly important for the development of cryptocurrency in the region, according to the poll, more South Africans were unaware of the industry than those who were, with a 60/40 split.

As Bitcoin News reported recently, South Africa is developing its cryptocurrency space. The South African Reserve Bank has recently taken steps to introduce a new non-state self-regulatory body (SRO) aimed at overseeing further developments in the industry. Further to that, the SARB has announced that it wants to build a proof-of-concept wholesale payment system for interbank settlement using a South African rand token on DLT.

Europeans, according to recent statistics, are reported to be far more familiar with cryptocurrencies and take up in some countries such as Switzerland and the UK is significant. A recent ING survey suggested that 66% of Europeans were familiar with crypto and 33%, when prompted, saw it as the future of online spending. The awareness rate was found to be lower in the US with only 57% of respondents having heard of cryptocurrencies.

 

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NEM Strengthens Regional Foothold with Two New Blockchain Hubs in Australasia

Creators of the XEM digital currency NEM have announced that the company is to open two blockchain hubs in Australia and New Zealand.

The Australian hub will be located in Brisbane at Fortitude Valley and its New Zealand counterpart will be established in Westport. NEM Foundation’s director for Australia and NZ, Jason Lee, said that both hubs will be represented by a NEM staff member in place with a role to “educate and inform the general public and businesses about the benefits and applications of blockchain”.

The Australian hub is hosted by TravelByBit which promotes the use of cryptocurrencies in Australia’s tourism industry and has become a supporter of numerous businesses which accept Bitcoin and other digital currencies for food, services and travel around the country.

Caleb Yeoh of TravelByBit, who is also a board member of Blockchain Australia, welcomes the NEM connections and sees it as another positive move towards Australia’s wider cryptocurrency “education and adoption”.

The New Zealand hub in Westport, just a 45-minute flight from New Zealand’s capital Wellington, will also include a co-working space and will provide regular educational and engagement activities as well as a NEM incubation platform.

New Zealand’s Minister of State for Trade and Export Damien O’Connor is positive that such hubs demonstrate the country’s desire to be in the vanguard of promoting new technologies in the region. He stated:

“Blockchain development represents an exciting new frontier for startups in New Zealand and it’s great to see that going on in our regions with such strong international support.”

The XEM Foundation is now a feature of 47 countries around the world and the two regional hubs see themselves as key in being able to encourage local startups and to promote NEM’s Global Community Fund which currently has $ 300 million allocated to it annually.

Asian markets, primarily Japan and South Korea, will be encouraged by XEM’s new presence in Australia and New Zealand, giving the company a real foothold in Australasia.

 

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Possible Addition of 6 Cryptos, New Coinbase Blog Post Reveals

Coinbase recently published a new blog post stating the possible addition of several new cryptocurrencies to their platform.

The assets in consideration are Cardano (ADA), Basic Attention Token (BAT), Stellar Lumens (XLM), Zcash (ZEC), and 0x (ZRX).  The announcement was made at the same time within Coinbase and publicly to remain transparent, and perhaps to avoid a similar situation when Bitcoin Cash was added.

These assets were considered based on the criteria Coinbase has laid out in their Digital Asset Framework. The blog post goes into further details, discussing specific reasons why each asset stood out to the Coinbase team.

The platform says adding any or all of the above tokens will require “additional exploratory work” and places no promises on listing any of them for trading. This is unlike the Ethereum Classic support that is currently being worked on, due to its technical similarity to Ethereum.

Other caveats are discussed in the blog post as well, such as the possibility of some of the new assets only being available for purchase and sell, with no send/receive functionality enabled. This would give some coins purely investing characteristics, like what Circle is doing with their Circle Invest app.

The last two restrictions the post discusses is the way users maybe able to interact with certain assets: for example, Coinbase may only support deposits and withdrawals from transparent Zcash addresses. This is a likely scenario, in order to be in compliance with any financial regulations that may apply.

Coinbase may also stagnate the launch of these assets in certain regions, most likely testing them in other markets before they are available to the US customers.

No promises have been made on timeline for adding support to these tokens, as they have only discussed the possibility of them being on the platform. But if selected, Coinbase will be making their first expansion into smaller capitalization cryptocurrencies.

With many of Coinbase users being intuitional traders as well, this offers them an exposure to the segment of the crypto-market that was previously untapped.

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London Gallery Owner Helps Crypto Wealthy Make Expensive Choices

There is an increasing number of platforms being launched to help wealthy consumers part with their cryptocurrency, usually on luxury items, writes the China Morning Post.

Such entrepreneurs have created a business seemingly out of very little, but nonetheless, they are serving a specific crypto elite and creating a thriving retailer-consumer database.

Working from her gallery in London’s Mayfair, Eleesa Dadiani is one of the new providers to the crypto rich, with clients ranging from 20 to 70 years of age. It started a couple of years ago, she maintains, has noted that those who had made significant profits from cryptocurrency trading really had no idea how to spend it. Using her established clientele through her gallery Dadiani Fine Arts she decided to make it happen by forming a syndicate of retailers and customers to turn some of this wealth into goods. She explained:

“A couple of years ago, when we saw bitcoin perform as well as it did, there was no way to use those coins. You were rich on screen, but what could you do with it? You could invest in ICOs [initial coin offerings], but what about something tangible? The answer was ‘Nothing’.”

Dadiani is certainly a believer and wants to make cryptocurrency do what it was intended for. Her gallery was one of the first globally to accept multiple cryptocurrencies; she currently supports Bitcoin, Ethereum, Ethereum Classic, Litecoin, Ripple, Dash, and NEM. Her customers come to her so she can help them make that otherwise difficult crypto purchase.

The list of her client’s purchases are impressive to say the least, from bloodstock to jets, from gold bullion to rare cars, she’s handled them all. Even the purchase of four Formula 1 cars valued at £4 million ($5.3 million) wasn’t enough to dampen her enthusiasm for her role as crypto “ middle-man.”

She says she has little time for crypto-idealists trying to create decentralized government-free crypto utopias, suggesting that people need to make a “cognitive shift” and find a way of integrating cryptocurrency into real life through gradual change. She argues:

“These libertarians, they don’t understand money, they don’t understand history,” she says. “They know nothing about politics or international relations. You have to understand the world you live in before you can change it.”

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Ripple Has Eye on Monopolizing India’s Finance Sector

Ripple (XRP) as announced that it wants to take over 50% of India’s finance sector by processing payments with low fees and efficient systems, according to CCN.

The announcement was made at the recent Scaling and Digital Disruption in Fintech conference by Ripple Vice President Asheesh Birla, where he suggested that he saw Ripple’s digital currency XRP becoming India’s dominant force, outgrowing Bitcoin.

XRP, which has dropped from over USD 3 at its peak to around USD 0.44 today, was due to become part of a company giveaway of XRP 2 billion to the entire population of the country, according to Birla. The project was conceived in order to familiarize all Indians with the cryptocurrency and encourage its adoption on the sub-continent. Ripple’s vice president explained his reasoning and why they abandoned the idea:

We looked early on at India, and we looked at two billion people – a huge market. And we decided, how do you get two billion people onto Ripple? Do we give the currency away to every Indian, that’s like two billion – just give it away?”

The cost of the giveaway would have been significant, amounting to about USD 880 million at XRP’s current rate, but notably, if the coin had returned to its all-time highs the tokens would have blown out to USD 7 billion in value.

Clearly, getting coins to 2 billion people, many of whom have no access to electronic data or banking, would have been an impossible task. Earlier, Ripple had even considered larger giveaways. Birla explained that the company decided that a better distribution method would be through building a network of banks.:

“…we realized that if you get the top three banks in India onto Ripple, you get 80% of the market share… And so we realized in the next five years, one billion people will become banked in India, but they’ll be banked through their phone. So then we started targeting mobile phone providers and telcos.”

Birla says that Ripple now has 50% of Indian market “either integrated onto Ripple or in the deal, in the sort of pipeline to be signed to India”.

Securing the Indian market and working with the Japanese and South Korean banking systems could help Ripple establish a global financial network on the blockchain.

 

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New Power Rate Approved for Upstate New York Crypto Miners

Regulators in New York state have given approval to a new electricity rate scheme for cryptocurrency miners.

In response to the permission given earlier by New York state to 36 municipal power authorities to charge higher rates to crypto miners, the Massena municipal utility has come up with its own plan.

A new rate structure will allow crypto miners operating there to negotiate their own contracts to pay a “fair price”. The utility has said that miners will be able to do this on a case-by-case scenario, which is designed to protect other consumers from inflated rates. New York State Department of Public Service Chair John Rhodes said in a statement:

“We must ensure that business customers pay a fair price for the electricity that they consume. However, given the abundance of low-cost electricity in Upstate New York, there is an opportunity to serve the needs of existing customers and to encourage economic development in the region.”

New York is a haven for cheap power due to its hydroelectricity facilities, with residential consumers paying substantially less than the national average of USD 0.13 per kilowatt hour. This has consequently led to an increase in cryptocurrency mining with other companies attracted to the low rates.

One of these is crypto company Coinmint, who recently announced its plan take over a former Alcoa aluminum smelting facility in the state, a move that would make it one of the world’s largest cryptocurrency mining centers, as Bitcoin News reported.

The smelting plant, located in Upstate New York, signed a deal with crypto-mining company Coinmint to install one of the world’s largest cryptocurrency mining centres there. The 10-year lease, with options to renew, will give Coinmint the opportunity to invest USD 700 million into its new facility, expected to bring over 150 new jobs to the nearby town of Massena.

In March, authorities in Plattsburg New York expressed concerns about new mining operations in the city and passed a moratorium on the activity. This was after it was revealed that the city was reportedly using 10% of Plattsburg’s power allocation in January and February.

Across the border, in order to regulate mining activities in Quebec, Canadian utility Hydro-Quebec has suggested a plan by which blockchain companies would be required to bid for electricity and quantify expected job creation and investment. If implemented, miners would be paying 20% above the standard state rate.

 

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Crypto Trading Bots: Why It May Be Easier to Train Your Dog

Is there a correct way to use cryptocurrency bots in order to enhance trader’s profits and if so, how? Ruchi Gupta asked the question in CryptoGlobe, questioning the effectiveness of automated crypto trading.

Cryptocurrency bots, as the name implies, are robotic. They are promoted as an easy way of trading, as they run on autopilot and don’t rely on the investors’ every waking minute. The tool is designed to make trading decisions on the investor’s behalf according to a pre-tailored algorithm, based either on the trader’s own algorithm or a trading strategy built in by the developer. The more advanced the algorithm, the more likely is a profit can be gained, or so it’s reported.

The crypto bot’s main advantage is peace of mind, as the devices will take of business while traders sleep. No more disturbing “what if” thoughts; everything is in hand and algorithms work for the trader.

So why isn’t everyone using them and putting their attention to more important business while they manufacture money on autopilot?

It appears that off-the-shelf bots with fixed algorithms may be fine in the long term but apparently, they won’t last. Because of the dynamism and fluctuating fortunes of the cryptocurrency market, it’s hard to establish any sense of permanent strategy using the bots, resulting in diminishing results for the expectant trader as time moves on.

To overcome this problem, the latest development is the AI bot, also seemingly suited to those who need to rely on others’ expertise as their own ability to tackle the complexities of trading in the cryptocurrency market is lacking.  The crypto bots with artificial intelligence are a step down that road from the off-the-shelf model, also integrating the capabilities of the custom-built variety, which normally relies on more specific trader knowledge. The AI bots are able to modify strategies to suit the condition of the market, reprogramming themselves as they do so, requiring no further trader intervention, apparently doing the job of both.

If this seems to be the solution for the new crypto trader, the bad news is that a robot is still incapable of accounting for every variable in the market that might affect trade and volume. It’s a robot. It lacks human intuition and, most importantly, given today’s crypto media full of hype, spin, and fake news, basically, it can become confused, limiting its ability to read the market accurately.

So back to square one?

The advice to new traders with a limited knowledge of the cryptocurrency market is, do your homework first before you train your bot.

 

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New Point-of-Sale Crypto Device Could Become Future of Retailing

Pundi X, a blockchain-based Point-of-Sale (POS) provider, has announced a partnership with Hong Kong group FAMA to improve retailing using cryptocurrency, writes Global Finance and Banking Review (GFBR).

The outcome of the partnership with FAMA, the organic food restaurant chain, will be a POS smart device enabling consumers to access easy purchasing using digital currency via cryptocurrency-to-fiat or crypto-to-crypto transactions.

Such solutions for mainstream consumers will simplify cryptocurrency transactions, enabling retailer 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 Pundi X device will allow consumers access to BTC, ETH, NPXS, and other cryptocurrency using fiat money. According to GFBR, purchased cryptocurrency can be stored in the physical card wallet, or used to make cashless payments to top up phones, pay utility bills or buy goods, subject to local regulations in each market.

A promotion is currently underway in Hong Kong at four FAMA restaurants around the city: Locofama, Sohofama, SUPAFOOD and the Hive Café. Those trialing PundiX pass cards pre-charged with a pre-loaded giveaway will be able to use cryptocurrency to purchase coffee, snacks, beer or a full meal free of charge up to the value of each card using the preinstalled devices at one of the four restaurants.

Larry Tang, founder of the FAMA Group sees the POS system as a great boon for the company and the future of simple payments for services. He explained:

“Our restaurants celebrate traditional methods in our cuisine, but we also see ourselves as innovators and are pleased to be on the frontline in enabling customers to settle their bill with Bitcoin or Ether-based cryptocurrency by using a secure payment option such as the Pundi X POS.”

Pundi X co-founder and CEO Zac Cheah was equally optimistic amount the merger:

“This is the first of many partnerships that we will be setting up across Asia to encourage more widespread use of cryptocurrency in the retail economy over the longer term.”

Cheah explained that East Asian adoption of cryptocurrency was the highest in the world, but despite this, there were limited channels for spending digital currency. This was something that such devices would change, making retailing using cryptocurrency far more accessible to both seller and purchaser.

 

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BitGo Becomes Most Diverse Crypto Custodian After Adding 57 ERC-20 Tokens

BitGo has added 57 ERC-20 tokens to its cryptocurrency custodian service, making it by far the most diverse cryptocurrency custodian in the world. It plans on adding even more ERC-20 tokens. This rapid expansion of BitGo’s custodian service comes only two months after it launched the service in May 2018, following the acquisition of licensed qualified custodian Kingdom Trust regulated by the South Dakota Division of Banking.

Previously, BitGo only offered services for Bitcoin, Litecoin, Bitcoin Cash, Ripple, Ethereum, Royal Mint Gold, and Bitcoin Gold, and such a small selection of cryptocurrencies is typical for cryptocurrency custodians. Likewise, Coinbase’s custodian service, which caused a reversal in the Bitcoin bear market when it launched in July 2018, only offers support for five cryptocurrencies. Cryptocurrency custodians want to be sure that they only offer services for highly secure cryptocurrencies. Cryptocurrencies with low market caps and less mining power securing them are prone to 51% attacks, which causes theft and market crashes that scare away investors.

ERC-20 tokens are based on the Ethereum blockchain and, therefore, are extremely secure since Ethereum has a tremendous amount of mining power securing its network. This makes ERC-20 tokens an ideal addition for cryptocurrency custodians. Indeed, Coinbase announced in March 2018 that it was planning on adding support for all ERC-20 tokens, but it seems BitGo beat them to the punch.

The 57 ERC-20 tokens that BitGo has added include 0x (ZRX), Augur (REP), Golem (GNT), OmiseGo (OMG), Storj (STORJ) and Zilliqa (ZIL).

Even though these tokens all use the Ethereum blockchain, they are distinct cryptocurrencies, and many of them are top ranking cryptocurrencies. In general, it is expected that Bitcoin will be the first choice for institutional investment since it is considered the gold standard of crypto and has the most liquidity, leading to the least slippage.

 

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Coinbase Maintains Optimism Despite Recent Popularity Slide

Crypto exchange giant Coinbase is reported to have recorded a decline in popularity over the past month, according to Ethereum World News.

The downturn in business correlates to a decline in app downloads since the recent fall in the global cryptocurrency market, where prices have suffered a 70% drop over the past six months.

The result is that short-term speculators are looking elsewhere for business and app downloaders have bypassed the Coinbase app, which at its peak was a go-to item in Apple and Google Play apps stores. According to Quartz, Coinbase app downloads have reached their lowest level in the US since last April when Bitcoin was selling at USD 1,250. At one point last year, Coinbase was one of Apple’s most downloaded apps.

Other statistics indicate that the Coinbase online platform has experienced a similar downturn with monthly visits to the site dropping from 126 million in January to 28 million in June with its other platform GDAX losing a further 5% than the parent company.

Despite Coinbase’s recent declining fortunes, the company is continuing its expansion, bringing new products to the market and recently opening an office in Portland, Oregon which has plans to hire over 100 employees.

Coinbase is an “open financial system that is not controlled by a central power”, maintains Coinbase CEO Brian Armstrong who clearly remains upbeat and optimistic. His recent Tweet explained that he sees such slides as simply part of the overall crypto landscape:

“The crypto industry is like no other I’ve seen – lots of up and down cycles (reaching a new plateau each time). There have been 3 or 4 of these now. It can be scary the first time you see it, but to us who have been in the industry for many years, it feels like old news.”

However, another exchange giant, Binance, has seen its fortunes turn out to be quite a different story, with its user base going from strength to strength, experiencing a massive five times expansion since the beginning of the year, and is predicted to bring in USD 1 billion by December.

 

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