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Apple Loses Near Equivalent of Bitcoin’s Entire Market Cap in One Day

Apple Loses Near Equivalent of Bitcoin's Entire Market Cap in One Day

Apple’s recent hit in valuation due to the recent slowdown in China’s juggernaut economy illustrated to Bitcoin and cryptocurrency followers just how far the industry needs to develop to become a household name itself.

Falling revenues at the company are unprecedented in recent times with shares trading at their lowest since July 2017, and the hit it took last week was one of the worst since January 2013.

Given that Apple is just one company, albeit, one with total global recognition, it was nonetheless able to wipe $65 billion of its evaluation last week, roughly Bitcoin’s total market cap, and continue in business. At the time of writing Bitcoin’s market cap stands at $66,903,300,377 with its value at USD3,830.48 according to CoinMarketCap.

The cryptocurrency environment is still attempting to recover from its hammering of December 2017, with 2018 showing a $700 billion loss from its market cap and cryptocurrencies shedding 85% of their worth. However, tech giants appear to be having their own unique problems too as the world’s 5 household names in tech, Facebook, Amazon, Apple, Netflix, and Google, may have lost over $1 trillion from their all-time high.

Market Analyst, eToro guru Mati Greenspan comments that this slump could well be in Bitcoin’s favor suggesting that “A correlation of <0.1 is considered weak. If the stocks keep sliding and bitcoin rising, that grey line could plummet. Then Bitcoin might be seen as a safe haven.”

Apple’s CEO Tim Cook suggested that China, Hong Kong and Taiwan account for almost 20 percent of the company’s revenue, so that any slump in those regions is sure to impact company profits as a whole, adding, “While we anticipated some challenges in key emerging markets, we did not foresee the magnitude of the economic deceleration, particularly in Greater China.”

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Hitting the Sales With Crypto

Hitting the Sales With Crypto

2018 might not have been the best year in terms of cryptocurrency market performance, but it did see a host of new ways emerge for people to buy everyday items using digital currencies. Here are some of the options for consumers looking to spend some of their holdings during the winter sales.

Bitcoin ATMs

This year the number of Bitcoin ATMs across the globe doubled, with an average of six new installations emerging every day and the total number standing at around 4,050. Some of these machines are limited to transacting Bitcoin purchases only, while the rest can be used to make a quick sale for cash.

They can be found in up to 84 countries, including the US, UK, Canada, and Austria. Over half of the ATM machines offer services for at least one other cryptocurrency including but not limited to Ethereum, Litecoin, and Dash.

The nearest ATMs can be found using Coin ATM Radar.

Coinbase e-gift cards

Coinbase customers in the US, Australia, and select EU countries can withdraw funds from their account directly into an e-gift card vie WeGift. Options are available in fashion, food and drink, entertainment and home and leisure, with top brands including Nike, Adidas, and Dominos. The service is offered without fee, with some online merchants also offering a bonus of up to 5%.

Amazon, online stores

Bitrefill offers residents of Germany, France, the UK and the US online vouchers for major retailers, available to purchase with Bitcoin. It includes Amazon vouchers which also can be exchanged for Bitcoin on the decentralized trading platform LocalBitcoins.

Major retailers offering vouchers on Bitrefill and participating in the seasonal sales include Asos, Decathalon and Debenhams.

A number of other e-commerce sites accept cryptocurrency payment methods directly, including retail outlet Overstock, technology retailer Newegg, and some sellers on the alternative retailer for vintage or handmade goods, Etsy.

Check for local outlets

For those looking to spend cryptocurrency directly in local outlets, there are several websites available to help find stores willing to accept this payment method. Where to Spend Bitcoins provides this service for the UK, while Coinmap.org provides an international perspective. Europe and North America have the most condensed number of outlets, with South America, South Korea, and Japan also hosting a significant number.

Coinmap is particularly good for finding and supporting small businesses that share a faith in Bitcoin.

Where next?

In 2019, look out for more fast food restaurants offering a cryptocurrency payment choice, with this year’s trends indicating some of the most well-known names will expand into this service.

In January, KFC Canada offered “The Bitcoin Bucket,” a chicken tenders, waffle fries combination box, for USD 20 in Bitcoin, an offer which quickly sold out. Particular branches of Subway including in Altoona, PA have accepted Bitcoin as early as 2013, while the summer of 2018 saw 522 Venezuelan branches also include Dash as a valid form of payment.

While Starbucks denied rumors in August that they would be accepting direct Bitcoin payments any time soon, the coffee chain has partnered with Microsoft and Bakkt to allow people to convert their cryptocurrency into US dollars, with its support for digital currency still leaving many to speculate about future acceptance.

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Crypto Helping Homeless Through Winter on Scotland’s Streets

Scotland may not have gained its independence and its ministers continue to fight Brexit in the UK parliament amid cabinet resignations but with winter coming, at least Scotland’s homeless are getting a helping hand courtesy of cryptocurrency.

These are not good times politically for Scotland but spare a thought for those facing a bitter northern winter living on the streets of Glasgow. Cryptocurrency startup, the Scotcoin Project, clearly have, linking up with non-profit venture Social Bite to fight homelessness.

The project’s aim is to fund charity ventures and fight poverty in Scotland by generating enough funds to place the country’s homeless in rented accommodation and get them off the streets and on their feet in the cold weather. By donating GBP 5 to the homeless fund for every GBP 20 earned from its Scotcoin token sales, the project is coming just before winter starts to bite.

The winter program will be temporary as the project will looking for permanent accommodation through Scotlands’s “Housing First” program in the long term. Glasgow Housing First provides:

“… mainstream social housing and 24-hour support to individuals who are homeless, aged 18 or over and involved in drug misuse. The service places homeless individuals directly into independent tenancies in Glasgow with no requirement to progress through transitional housing programs. By sustaining a permanent tenancy in Glasgow, service users are in a better position to access community support, health care, and social benefits.”

Scotcoin almost became a victim of the country’s independence referendum on 18 September 2014, which resulted in a no-vote; a decision which is still having repercussions today, given that the country voted against Brexit by a majority in 2016 but are still bound to Westminster’s legislation.

Before the independence vote went the wrong the way for Scottish Nationalists, Scotcoin was being held up by its creators as a pro-independence cryptocurrency of Scotland, allowing the country to replace the pound if the country had voted “yes”.

Scotcoin’s leading stakeholder Temple Melville calls the project “an inspiring initiative” and indicated that the match between his company and Social Bite was a natural one as they were already operating in the same field: “One of our stated objectives is to help eradicate homelessness, and Social Bite is already well established within this area.”

Temple claims that he has received funding of a staggering USD 2 billion pledge from Amazon founder Jeff Bezos; if this figure is accurate, with the 4-1 bonus system this would make a huge impact on the homeless project to the tune of USD 50 million. Temple commented:

“We have several thousand holders of Scotcoin and have holders in more than 50 countries worldwide… On migration to our new [Counterparty] blockchain, present holders of Scotcoin will be rewarded for their support by receiving a 4-for-1 bonus, an effective increase in the value of up to 5 times.”

 

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Bitcoin Stabilizes As Market Speculation Falls According to Experts

Bitcoin’s stability over the recent months has cryptocurrency commentators agreeing that speculation is leaving the market and giving way to a sense of stability.

With Bitcoin holding its ground since July of this year, many experts are now predicting that the volatility which preceded Bitcoin’s leveling out has little chance of returning, as Bitcoin’s price shifting 5 percent in a day only once in the last month compared to more frequent higher percentage fluctuations in preceding months.

Some argue that this is a sign of Bitcoin “bottoming out,” others predict a bullish run is just around the corner. What most experts do agree on is that stability is good for the market and most likely a result of speculators falling by the wayside as chances of a quick profit on their investment seems unlikely. Bloomberg Intelligence analyst Mike McGlone sees this as the most likely scenario suggesting “High volatility is a major factor lessening most cryptocurrency use cases for anything other than speculation.”

Bitcoin’s price has reached unprecedented levels of stability during the latter half of October 2018, so far at least. After some volatility in the middle of October, the price of Bitcoin has settled into a narrow trading between USD 6,350 and USD 6,500. The daily volatility of Bitcoin fell below USD 100 on 19 October and continues to be below that threshold as of 26 October. This is the first time an entire week has had such low volatility since at least April 2017.

Charlie Morris, multi-asset head at Atlantic House Fund Management in London asserts that the bear market is coming to an end commenting, “It simply means the market is calm and in balance. That implies that speculative interest is low… Given this bear market is now 10 months old and is getting tired, I’d be inclined to be bullish for the next major move.”

Recent CBOE Global Markets data shows that the 20-day historical volatility of Bitcoin has fallen to 31.5 percent, lower than many major companies, including Amazon (35 percent), Netflix (52 percent), Nvidia Corp (4o percent) and Domino’s Pizza (36.2 percent).

Kevin Davitt from CBOE suggests that Bitcoin’s current status could be the flagship’s new standard position and therefore resistant to major change:

“Perhaps we are witnessing the maturation of a market. It’s far too early to declare this the ‘new normal’ but the persistent range over the last few weeks may be hinting at a structural shift. Time will tell.”

Danial Daychopan, chief executive officer of Plutus, suggests this is the after effect of the heady days of  speculation in 2017, and rather than a hangover, Bitcoin’s current stability is more of a leveling out, commenting that “the cost of the emotional traders has been washed away by the recent crash and with it a lot of the volatility.”

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PwC: 84% of Companies Active in Blockchain but More Trust Needed

A new report out by PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) illustrates the degree to which companies are now seeing blockchain as an essential business tool.

The report shows that out of companies surveyed, 84% were actively involved in blockchain technology in some way. The PwC 2018 Global Blockchain Survey included 600 company executives for 15 different regions.

Everyone is talking about blockchain, and no one wants to be left behind,” reported PwC, adding, “In reality, companies confront trust issues at nearly every turn… As with any emerging technology, challenges and doubts exist around blockchain’s reliability, speed, security and scalability.”

Some 45% of executives said that trust was the only issue that might prevent it moving forward, along with regulatory uncertainty, and compliance and intellectual property concerns. Other research from Cowan suggests that it make take up to six years for acceptance and widespread adoption.

Bloomberg read the PwC figures from a completely different perspective, suggesting that “most companies aren’t diving into blockchain”, pointing out that out of the 600 companies surveyed, “only 15% of them have a live project and only 10% are piloting blockchain’s use”.

Bloomberg suggests that the reason that many companies haven’t leapt in wholeheartedly and adopted blockchain is down to the cost of replacing current systems. Plus companies need to be convinced that there are significant advantages over their existing systems which at this stage is difficult to prove. Graine Mcnamara of PwC explained:

“It’s a little bit stunning how stagnant it is. A lot of people took a few steps and are pausing before the bridge. They might be having a hard time articulating the ROI.”

What must be a considerable selling point to companies is the fact that major players such as Microsoft, Amazon, IBM, Deloitte, JPMorgan and HSBC all have blockchain initiatives either in progress or planned for the future. It is likely that as these initiatives prove their worth the industry will take a more active interest. The interest shown by Facebook this year is likely to add to this impetus.

 

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CEOs Say Amazon and Walmart Sparked Blockchain Revolution

CEOs are posing the question whether major companies such as retail giants Amazon and Walmart, and tech multinational Microsoft adopting blockchain technology will create a “blockchain revolution”, writes Hedge Co.net.

All of these companies have announced recent blockchain projects this year. Walmart published plans to use the technology in partnership with the IBM Corporation and Microsoft recently announced its Azure Blockchain Workbench, aiming to provide developers with tools to implement the ready-to-use infrastructure for blockchain application solutions, according to TruthMedia.

Amazon with its Amazon Web Services (AWS) blockchain templates, will now implement a system similar to Microsoft’s which claims “provide a fast and easy way to create and deploy secure blockchain networks using open source frameworks”.

Walmart’s vice president of food safety and health, Frank Yiannas, says that its new blockchain system reduces food tracking time from six days to two seconds, reducing contamination and food wastage.

According to Luis Manuel Lopez, the general coordinator at Workchain Centers, blockchain initiatives by Walmart and Amazon will have a positive impact on the retail industry.

He says, “Having started in a pure and theoretical technological world, blockchain has come second place in applications that make our life more comfortable, including assembly lines, traceability of objects… we are facing the beginning of a revolution that will change our way of doing business, buying food, curing our illnesses. And this will come sooner or later because it takes time, but it will come, sure.”

Vadim Kurochkin, CEO of Soundeon, sees the moves of multinationals unsurprising as the technology is brought to the mainstream, suggesting that research and development projects will reap the benefits due to increased activity in crypto space.

“As this technology is brought to mass-market, we foresee a robust merger and acquisition activity within the sector. Hence, early crypto-investors in successful, research and development driven projects will reap the benefits.”

Juan Imaz, founder, and CEO of Profede, also sees the potential of such companies influencing others to move towards updating its systems with the new technology:

“The cryptocurrency industry is likely to see a revolution in the near future across different industries, with the addition of giants adding, evaluating and planning to use blockchain which will change how the world works.”

 

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Intel and Filament Push for a Blockchain IoT Future

Enterprise blockchain developer Filament, which receives significant Intel investment, has released an Internet of Things(IoT)-optimized, USB Blocklet chip.

Filament chief executive Clift-Jennings explained, “Many products, not all, have the ability to connect to USB. These are for manufacturing lines – we have a version of a USB product that plugs into the onboard diagnostics port in vehicles. It’s very much trying to drive toward machines being transactive in nature.”

Blockchain can be used to increase transparency between designers, service providers, and end users, making license management safer, providing production-quality data and becoming resilient against counterfeiting via secure design storage.

Counterfeiting and product integrity

According to BusinessWire, the global total of counterfeited goods has increased to USD 1.2 trillion. Counterfeiting of clothing and textiles primarily affects profits, whereas fraudulent components for machinery, cosmetics, and consumables can have a more detrimental effect by risking health and safety. It is believed that up to 10% of aircraft parts are counterfeit. The outsourcing of services causes difficulty in tracking the source and quality of components, as well as where maintenance is carried out.

The global distribution of manufactured components, must take steps to guarantee the security of plans, and provide data that is tamper-proof and in line with regulations and production standards. This must be achieved while preventing the misuse of plans to manufacture counterfeit goods.

Blockchain IoT shaping the future

Data drives innovation so the ability to share or sell manufacturing data on a ledger could fast track other businesses. Autonomous cars are going to rely heavily on driver data to increase safety in their transition to level 5 (the highest level of autonomy). Having existing hardware produced by IBM or Filament with a variety of companies from Microsoft to Amazon offering blockchain API frameworks, this could quickly accelerate blockchain proof of concept in the industry and change how data is shared an analyzed.

Big companies such as Mastercard are already looking at the applications for blockchain to track goods, providing consumers with product integrity. This could then extend right through to the manufacturing level with the use IoT-optimized hardware.

Intel’s investment in Filament is part of their blockchain initiative for large-scale industrial IoT deployments. The vice president and general manager of Intel, Doug Fisher said, “At Intel, we believe the future of IoT will be enabled by smart, connected, secure edge-devices that drive a data-based economy.”

 

Image source: Saginaw Future Inc. – CIGNYS Corporation has three advanced manufacturing facilities in Saginaw County.
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Amazon Launches Collaboration with Consensys: An Easy Blockchain Deployment Service for Enterprises

One of the world’s most innovative e-commerce companies, Amazon.com, is venturing further into the realm of blockchain after announcing a new startup partnership called Kaleido.

Amazon Web Services (AWS) is the cloud computing subsidiary of the online retailer; for a subscription fee it provides individuals, companies, and governments with a cloud computing platform. The service offers a myriad of solutions and is making blockchain part of the service.

Recently, Bitcoin News reported that Amazon had begun taking on blockchain proposals from partners on AWS. In April, it had also launched ‘out-of-the-box’ blockchain templates for Ethereum and Hyperledger Fabric via the platform.

Boosting enterprises into blockchain

The announcement was made at the 4th annual blockchain technology summit in New York called Consensus 2018. Now, in a new collaboration with leading blockchain incubator company Consensys, the startup called Kaleido will provide a new Blockchain Business Cloud, which is designed to speed up and simplify the blockchain integration and operation process for any enterprise.

In a press release, Kaleido founder Steve Cerveny said:

“If blockchain doesn’t become dramatically easier to use, then companies will have to walk back their investments and our society will be far too slow in realizing blockchain’s significant promise. We designed the Kaleido platform from scratch with new user experiences and tools to radically simplify the entire enterprise journey.”

He added, “They can focus on their scenario and they don’t have to become PhDs is cryptography, we give them a simple platform to build their company on blockchain.”

The company is aiming to provide AWS customers with an “easy button” to access the underlying technology that supports Bitcoin; it is also the first blockchain based Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) solution on the AWS marketplace.

Ethereum co-founder and founder of Consensys, Joseph Lubin said, “We are now entering a new era of simple and inclusive access to blockchain technology that cuts through the hype to advance stronger, more collaborative, business relationships previously out of reach.”

Implications for future enterprises

Simplifying the onboarding process for enterprises seeking to participate in the blockchain boom is a crucial step at this stage; while the value of Bitcoin has garnered institutional and investment attention, the technology that underpins it is also getting more industrial attention than ever, going beyond the financial fascination of digital currencies.

The value of this partnership and blockchain development is far-reaching; Consensys is a founding member of the Enterprise Ethereum Alliance (EEA), a group of over 500 organizations dedicated to meeting the specific needs of companies with Ethereum. With Amazon and AWS backing the effort, Kaleido could completely shift the landscape for businesses involved in blockchain.

 

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Microsoft and Amazon Embrace Blockchain

Bitcoin, blockchain and cryptocurrencies are at the centre of a global tech breakaway from centralized systems to decentralized; the latest big movers to dip their toes in the future technology are Microsoft and Amazon.

Mainstream industry adoption

2018 has proven itself an extraordinarily productive year for the blockchain industry as a whole. During the massive bull run of December 2017, the world could barely take its eyes away from the value of Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies.

As the dust of the market boom settled through January and February, the global discussion moved away from the literal value of the currency and instead began focusing on how blockchain tech and cryptocurrencies could be part of the modern and future world.

Some of the most definitive and progressive moves have come from major banks and financial institutions which in some regions are struggling to understand and regulate cryptocurrencies, while in other parts of the world, cryptocurrencies are being trialled for “cashless society” projects.

Two of the biggest names in the digital world, Microsoft and Amazon, have begun their foray into blockchain technology. They have entered into the space either due to their curiosities regarding the technology, or because they understand that the technology is an inevitable part of the future.

Multiple approaches from Microsoft

Microsoft has built its success on a centralized system and has not necessarily been a stranger to the blockchain. In 2014, it toyed with Bitcoin payments on the Windows and Xbox stores, but have since been exploring the more technical aspects of the technology beyond that of its monetary value.

In February 2018, Microsoft sought out to solve issues of digital personal data and identity management with blockchain technology. A month later in March, it backed the development of the world’s first blockchain based investment product with its cloud platform, Azure.

More recently, Microsoft displayed its passion for driving innovation by creating a simplified blockchain workbench application development tool on Azure that claims to speed up blockchain-based app creation.

Amazon

The leading e-commerce company has been under pressure for a while to begin accepting cryptocurrencies. Though it doesn’t yet seem ready to do so, Amazon has opened its doors for blockchain related proposals through its cloud computing platform, Amazon Web Services (AWS).

The company that revolutionized the e-commerce industry is setting itself up to be at the front of the race and is investing in blockchain through their partner ecosystem and infrastructure services.

AWS is welcoming proposals from partners who are involved in healthcare and life sciences, supply chain management, security, compliance and are also seeking those who wish to innovate with the company.

It is allowing users to create their blockchain applications via the service with CloudFormation Templates that almost bypasses the longevity of manual blockchain network setups.

A warm embrace

In the face of relentless negativity and speculation, Microsoft and Amazon appear to be on the same track as the rest of the blockchain industry. Despite their views on cryptocurrencies, they seem to have great faith in the technology. Furthermore, their cloud computing services now being tied with ease-of-access tools means that industry innovations can emerge at an even higher rate with Microsoft and Amazon backing them.

 

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Amazon’s New Patent Reveals Bitcoin User’s Data

Amazon was granted a patent from the US Patent and Trademark Office on Tuesday, originally filed in 2014, which may conflict with the nature of Bitcoin’s decentralized status.

The patent primarily focuses on the sharing of data with retailers and telecom companies in order to connect transactions and purchases made with the online retail giant to Bitcoin transaction, customer shipping and IP addresses.

Amazon’s patent would allow them to identify participants in Bitcoin transactions and sell the information to law enforcement agencies among others.

It details methods with which Amazon uses its data stores to identify the participants in Bitcoin transactions to sell that information on to subscribers. Data may be stored across multiple availability zones in a region for a set time window. During that window, data is available to be read, re-read, backfilled, analyzed or moved to long-term storage.

This conflicts directly with cryptocurrencies’ guarantee of a high degree of anonymity for its users, a feature that many users find attractive, and partially the reason it has been used to fund criminal activity, a reason frequently cited by governments for its regulation.

Because IP addresses have proven not to convict those involved in illegal internet activity in the past, it appears that this not likely to be Amazon’s gain, although the company sees law enforcement agencies subscribing to transaction data feeds and paying a service fee in order to analyze customer data.

“For example, a law enforcement agency may be a customer and may desire to receive global Bitcoin transactions, correlated by country, with ISP data to determine the source of IP addresses and shipping addresses that correlate to Bitcoin addresses,” reads the patent description.

Cryptocurrency users and supporters are worried in the wake of the Facebook scandal involving Cambridge Analytica. Questions regarding ethical business practices are increasingly being asked of large corporations who have private user data at their disposal.

 

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