Category Archives: Bitcoin Cash

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Goodlatte First Member of US Congress to Disclose Crypto Holdings

US Congressman Bob Goodlatte has declared his private Cryptocurrency holdings, becoming the first member of Congress to do so.

Goodlatte, who currently serves as the chair of the House Committee on the Judiciary, has reported that he currently holds a number of cryptocurrencies, namely Bitcoin (BTC), Bitcoin Cash (BCH) and Ethereum (ETH).

Clearly, holding cryptocurrencies in itself is not at all unusual but perhaps a rarer disclosure when made by influential politicians, given the current state of regulation in the US surrounding cryptocurrencies.

The disclosure was filed in on 10 May that congressman Goodlatte owns between USD 15,001 and USD 50,000 worth of BTC, while also holding positions in BCH and ETH valued at between USD 1,001 and USD 15,000 each.

The reason for the disclosure is a result of a Congressional Blockchain Caucus legal advisory that request that all employees of the United States executive branch reveal any crypto holdings within 45 days. The advisory was not simply limited to crypto but all holdings.

Crypto clearly runs through the congressman’s family as his son Bobby Goodlatte Jr has Coinbase investments. Also, Congressman Goodlatte is a member of the Congressional Blockchain Caucus itself. The founder of the group is Jared Polis who requested guidance early this year on crypto disclosure. Analysts are expecting him to be the next politician to disclose crypto assets.

Polis argued in February that, because crypto assets are regarded as commodities by some agencies, Congress should treat them as traditional assets for disclosure purposes. He argued:

“Members of Congress and covered employees are already required to report certain asset holdings over certain amounts, including reporting any commodities holding over USD 1,000, a Member or covered employee should report any virtual currency holding as they would report any other commodity, such as gold.”

Polis is notably pro-crypto, once suggesting that the US dollar be banned and replaced with Bitcoin, and is also one of the first US politicians to accept Bitcoin campaign donations.

 

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Coinbase Move Towards Primary Banking with New Support for Sterling

Coinbase has made another change to its platform making it easier for UK users to deposit and withdraw UK pounds.

The current system has caused frustrations for users particularly those that have UK bank linked to their account and wish to deposit the proceeds of a transaction changing Bitcoin, Ethereum or Litecoin into sterling.

The current process requires users to transfer their cryptocurrency into sterling, then pay into a euro account on the Coinbase platform and only then transfer the funds in Euros to a UK account, incurring SEPA transfer fees and losing money on the exchange as the euros then get changed back into pounds sterling.

The new system was introduced due to numerous complaints regarding Coinbase’s lack of a user-friendly system. Users complained about the difficulties in withdrawing as opposed to depositing. The exchange clearly prefers clients to either buy cryptocurrency with money on the exchange or deposit their funds rather than leave it on the platform which is always a risk due to potential hackers but needs to speed up its process.

The new system, which apparently will not be available to all users immediately, was described by Coinbase UK’s chief executive Zeeshan Feroz as being “progress towards becoming a primary bank account”.

It is suggested that sterling support will mean Coinbase users get access to the UK’s Faster Payments system offering same day deposits and immediate transfers. Coinbase had previously partnered with UK bank Barclays and currently allows most banks to transfer funds into UK accounts.

Last week, the San Francisco Exchange introduced a digital gift card program aimed at revamping old business models, offering European clients other ways of accessing cash for crypto. Many potential clients are dissuaded from signing up to platforms such as Coinbase due to lengthy verification processes, sometimes waiting many weeks before a user’s bank can be verified and linked for payments.

 

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Another Blockchain Party, This Time at Sea with 2,500 Cryptolites

A third floating blockchain conference is planned for September of this year with an entire ship reserved for a potential 2,500 cryptocurrency enthusiasts sailing the Mediterranean Sea.

The cruise is organized by cryptocurrency exchange CoinsBank taking in Barcelona, Monte Carlo and Ibiza as 100 speakers deliver presentations on current developments in the industry.

Those at sea will include a mixed bag of pioneers and experts from the industry including John McAfee, founder of McAfee security and Bobby Lee, the founder of BTCC and a crypto expert. Others on board will include venture capitalist and philanthropist Brock Pierce and CEO of Bitcoin.com, Roger Ver. Apart from speeches, the main speakers plan to also run workshops and one-on-one consultations.

Lectures and workshops covered will cover managing crypto investments, understanding regulations and all things blockchain. Other aspects within this main framework will be cybersecurity, trading and scalability issues.

Blockchain and crypto-conferences are becoming fashionable in the new digital world, dressed for fun but with business lurking in the background ready to pounce. It’s not surprising then that CoinsBank has dressed up three conferences to date as parties, given recent history.

In this year’s Dubai Futurama summit, the conference to surpass all others in terms of razzmatazz, the actual blockchain discussions were basically molded around networking events and basically, having fun. However, these events don’t come cheap, with admission prices running into the thousands of dollars; many happy to pay these after striking up a rewarding business relationship or tapping into yet another good idea. A cruise would be no cheaper.

As has been said elsewhere, possibly at Brock Pierce’s highly-publicized recent desert conference, information is great but having a good time in the process of acquiring it makes it even better. Of course, what he actually said was “…the most likely way to get me to attend your conference is to throw really good parties”.

 

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Brazil Accepts Crypto Payments For Cross-Country Transportation

Two Brazilian public transportation companies Viação Garcia and Brasil Sul have become the first of their kind in the country to offer a cryptocurrency payment option. Both bus companies are owned by GSB Group.

Currently, just Bitcoin is accepted, although the buisnesses are looking to expand into offering Bitcoin Cash and Litecoin payment options by July.

How it works

To choose the cryptocurrency payment method, customers must use the online pre-pay service. They are required to open their person online wallets and scan a code that appears on the screen. Viação Garcia or Brasil Sul will then email a voucher to the customer as payment confirmation.

The bus services offer trips between major metropolitan regions for both urban, and semi-urban areas. Additional options offered include sightseeing trips for clubs, schools, companies, unions, religious groups, as well as general private hire events.

Speaking on the crypto-payment adoption, GSB Group Vice President Estefano Boiko Jr. noted: “Many of the economic and commercial operations are migrating to the digital world, and in the road passenger transport segment it’s no different.”

Mass-adoption milestone

The move is being praised as a significant step in the goal of bringing cryptocurrencies into the mainstream. Brazil’s last population census accounted for nearly 208 million people, a hugely significant market should cryptocurrency payment options be adopted by alternative public transport service providers.

In 2017, Brazilian cryptocurrency exchanges accounted for USD 2.5 billion in Bitcoin, particularly notable considering an estimated 60 million people in Brazil do not have access to a ‘traditional’ bank account.

The adoption of cryptocurrency method by GSB Group is also indicative of a larger, global trend in modernising public transport services. Brisk Pass, a German initiative, offers an international blockchain-based system for recording public transport transactions.

Smart contracts allow members of the wallet to use public transportation located all over the world without purchasing tickets with fiat currencies, as they purchase the native BriskCoin token to make their purchases on the platform.

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Coinbase Looks to Acquire Banking Licenses

Coinbase is currently looking into the processes involved in acquiring banking licenses. The Wall Street Journal reports that an undisclosed source revealed that the exchange engaged in conversations with members of the US Office of the Comptroller of the Currency in earlier this year:

“Coinbase Inc and another cryptocurrency firm talked to US regulators about the possibility of obtaining banking licenses, a move that would allow the startups to broaden the types of products they offer.”

Additional Coinbase services

Coinbase has been expanding its services this year to become more than just an exchange. Its commerce API or its “PayPal-like service”, was released in February. Merchants could quickly implement cryptocurrencies as a payment method supporting BitcoinBitcoin CashEthereum, and Litecoin. The platform adds a “PayPal-like” button to e-commerce sites allowing streamlined payments straight to the vendor’s wallet.

Coinbase isn’t the only company to offer these types of services, with BitPay also letting customers pay in Bitcoin and Bitcoin Cash. With the volatility within the cryptocurrency market this year it may take more to encourage merchants to adopt this additional payment method.

Coinbase announced this month that it would be releasing its Coinbase Custody platform. The new product could entice institutional investors, it went on to explain: “The cryptocurrency market is maturing rapidly as more sophisticated institutional participants enter the space. In fact, in the past few months over 100 hedge funds were created that exclusively invest in and trade cryptocurrency. Some of the world’s largest financial institutions have also recently announced their plans to begin trading cryptocurrency.”

Coinbase Custody is a storage service for a minimum of USD 10 million in crypto. Financial institutions will be expected to pay USD 100,000 as a set-up fee and an additional monthly premium dependant on holdings. Coinbase claimed: “We have leveraged our experience safely storing more than $20 billion of cryptocurrency to create Coinbase Custody, the most secure crypto storage solution available.”

Industry issues

Coinbase believes its recent progress will accelerate the world’s adoption of cryptocurrency by bringing new capital and greater awareness to the industry.

The volatility of Bitcoin still stands to be an issue and has led to merchants withdrawing the payment option. This was one of the main reasons for Steam halting Bitcoin payments at the end of 2017. The rise of crypto-related crime is enough to deter investors in the interim.

As much as 30,000 people who have fallen victim to Ethereum-related theft, suffering an average loss of USD 7,500 each, according to Chainalysis. Exchanges have been targeted in large-scale hacks with Coincheck losing USD 550 million worth of NEM cryptocurrency (XEM) in January and Coinsecure losing USD 3.5 million in Bitcoin (BTC). With legislation and regulation becoming a hot topic among unions and governments, 2018 is set to be an interesting year for cryptocurrencies.

Coinbases profitability values the company at around USD 8 billion. The growth and reinvestment into new ventures such as the banking industry shows Coinbase’s faith in the future of cryptocurrencies.

However, not everyone believes that the company is heading in the right direction. Reddit user Bitcoin Yoda explains how Coinbase Commerce is moving in a different direction to Satoshi’s vision: “A purely peer-to-peer version of electronic cash would allow online payments to be sent directly from one party to another without going through a financial institution. Any intermediary between your BTC payment and the merchant is violating the definition of Bitcoin and your privacy.”

Is Coinbase’s pursuit of becoming a bank turning its back on the ideologies behind crypto?

 

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Bitcoin Cash Undergoes Hard Fork, 16% of Its Network Splits Off

Bitcoin Cash updated its protocol and executed a hard fork at block 530,350 one week ago, but 16% of Bitcoin Cash nodes did not switch to the new protocol. This amounts to roughly 350 nodes out of a total 2200 nodes on the Bitcoin Cash network.

Bitcoin Cash itself was created by forking Bitcoin’s protocol amid much controversy in August 2017 near block 477,000. Now Bitcoin Cash is the 4th most valuable cryptocurrency behind Bitcoin, Ethereum, and Ripple with a market cap of $20 billion.

The most significant protocol change that Bitcoin Cash introduced was to increase the maximum block size to 8 MB, which allows more transactions per block. This reduces transaction fees and makes it easier to use Bitcoin Cash as an everyday currency versus Bitcoin where transaction fees have been high enough at times in the past to make small transactions like buying a cup of coffee unfeasible. Hence the word cash in its name.

When the Bitcoin Cash fork occurred one week ago, any nodes that did not update their protocol became incompatible with nodes that did change their protocol. It can result in risky situations, leading to a loss of money. For example, if someone sends Bitcoin Cash from a wallet they didn’t update to an exchange that is updated they would lose their money. This issue is one of the most dangerous things about cryptocurrency forks.

Essentially, the 16% of Bitcoin Cash nodes that did not update are running on their own distinct blockchain and could be considered a new cryptocurrency. It is unknown whether this 16 % of nodes simply forgot to update or if keeping the old protocol was intentional and organized. If it was indeed intentional this new cryptocurrency may soon get a name, like Bitcoin Cash Legacy for example.

The protocol changes introduced on the hard fork include another block size increase from 8 MB to 32 MB and smart contracts. Introducing smart contracts to Bitcoin Cash makes it competitive with Ethereum, the 2nd most popular cryptocurrency, and is a major improvement. Smart contract functionality will allow users to develop decentralized applications that integrate the Bitcoin Cash blockchain.

The block size increase from 8 MB to 32 MB is more controversial as the 8 MB size is already eight times more than Bitcoin’s 1 MB, and is quite enough space for the foreseeable future to keep transaction fees low. In fact, Bitcoin Cash block sizes are often less than 100 KB and almost always less than 1 MB, so changing the block size limit to 8 MB like the original protocol does actually makes no difference versus Bitcoin. Upping the block size limit to 32 MB seems senseless.

Bitcoin Cash developers have received some criticism from the Bitcoin community about leaving nearly 1/5th of their network behind.

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Seminole County Tax Collector Starts Accepting Crypto Payments

The Seminole County, Florida tax collector office headed by Joel Greenberg announced today that they would begin accepting cryptocurrency payments for their services. Specifically, they will be accepting Bitcoin and Bitcoin Cash through BitPay. This is a major milestone for BitPay since it is their first partnership with a government agency.

Launched in 2009, Bitcoin (BTC) is the most popular and widely-used cryptocurrency in the world with a market cap of USD 150 billion and daily trading volume of several billion dollars. Bitcoin Cash (BCH) was created in August 2017 by forking Bitcoin; it has all the characteristics of Bitcoin besides a protocol change which allows more transactions and lowers fees via increasing block size to 8 MB. Since it has lower transaction fees than Bitcoin, it is cheaper to use BCH as an everyday currency, hence why it’s called Bitcoin Cash. BCH has a market cap of USD 25 billion and daily trading volume in excess of USD 1 billion per day, making it the most popular cryptocurrency behind Bitcoin, Ethereum, and Ripple.

The tax collection office of Seminole County will be using BitPay, which provides technology that allows merchants to easily accept cryptocurrency and convert it to USD or other fiat currencies. BitPay protects merchants from price volatility by instantly converting cryptocurrency to fiat at the time a sale occurs. This is why the tax collector chief, Joel Greenberg, is able to say he does not perceive any risk to the county from price volatility by accepting cryptocurrencies.

Accepting cryptocurrency payments actually reduces payment risk, since cryptocurrency is irreversible, unlike credit/debit card payments which can be reversed in identity theft cases, resulting in hefty chargeback fees for the merchant. Payments with Bitcoin and Bitcoin Cash are cryptographically secure, and transparent since all transactions are viewable in the block explorer.

The Seminole County tax collector office will be accepting cryptocurrency payments for a wide variety of services including tag, title, registration, driver’s licenses, birth certificates, hunting and fishing licenses, as well as ad valorem and non-ad valorem taxes.

The fact that cryptocurrency is being viewed and utilized as a safe alternative to cash and cards by a tax authority is a good sign that the government is becoming more open to cryptocurrency usage, and is another mile marker on cryptocurrency’s road to becoming a global currency.

 

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A Fork in the Road for Major Dutch Exchange as It Dumps Bitcoin Cash

Dutch cryptocurrency exchange BL3P has announced it plans to follow Hong Kong exchange OKEx and remove Bitcoin Cash before the announced hard fork due to take place on 15 May, according to a recent BL3P blog post.

The exchange suggested that the move was pre-planned, stating, “Since there already was a planning for the removal of Bitcash the hard fork has become a reason and strict deadline for the removal of Bitcash from BL3P.”

Reddit has been flooded with comments surrounding Bitcoin Cash (BCH) since it forked from Bitcoin in August 2017, receiving a plethora of favorable and less supportive points of view concerning the new currency, reports Bitcoinist.  Volatility in BCH markets has remained higher than that of Bitcoin,  fluctuating considerably as Bitcoin prices fell over the weekend.

According to the Cointelegraph, the Dutch exchange’s release manager Tom Zander was putting a positive spin on the fork last November when he suggested that Bitcoin Cash would find its own market, commenting, “It is now up to the next billion people to start to use Bitcoin Cash. In at most six months I’m sure we’ll just drop the ‘Cash’ and call it Bitcoin.”

In shutting down its operations and asking customers to withdraw their funds, the company blog  announced, “BL3P maintains a strict selection policy when it comes to support for altcoins, bitcash, unfortunately, does not meet these requirements.”

Despite slightly faster and cheaper transactions than Bitcoin, the alternative BCH currency has had many detractors, often claiming that it is essentially stealing the code and the brand name of the original Bitcoin. Many investors suggest that it has no infrastructure and no support, whereas Bitcoin has thousands of websites, merchants, and casinos which support it, and a network effect of millions of people.

 

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Reddit to Resume Crypto Payments via Coinbase Commerce

Reddit, one of the biggest social media communities, is looking to re-establish cryptocurrency payments through Coinbase’s commerce platform. Users will be able to pay for the gold membership using Bitcoin and a variety of altcoins such as Bitcoin Cash, Ethereum, and Litecoin.

Reddit had previously accepted Bitcoin payments and was an early adopter of the payment method, working with Coinbase from as far back as 2013. However, Bitcoin had recently been met with mixed interest with companies withdrawing these services.

Reddit administrator emoney04 said, “The upcoming Coinbase change, combined with some bugs around the Bitcoin payment option that were affecting purchases for certain users, led us to remove Bitcoin as a payment option.”

The implementation of a more streamlined crypto payment system and with cryptocurrencies on what appears to be a steady bull run may see an adoption of digital payments again.

Reddit is not the only company to drop out of crypto payments

Stripe was another early adopter of Bitcoin payments, processing payments for businesses using crypto since 2014. Slow transaction speeds and high transaction fees led to virtual currencies being dropped as a payment method earlier this year.

Dell, which was once one of the largest companies to take Bitcoin payments, and Valve, stopped due to the cost of transaction fees and price volatility. The payment method hasn’t been as popular due to a lack of user interest with PayPal calling cryptocurrency “an experiment”.

Statistics show that Coinbase received around 14 million registrations in 2017 and with the announcement of their new payment platform we could see a wider adoption of crypto payments, as well as companies revisiting the idea of accepting Bitcoin.

With companies such as Santander and Mastercard investing heavily in blockchain as well as a larger public awareness of cryptocurrencies, companies may begin to feel confident in supporting alternative payment methods.

 

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CoinMarketCap Removes Bitcoin.com Amid Bitcoin Cash Controversy

Bitcoin.com has been deleted from CoinMarketCap‘s Bitcoin page after being listed as the secondary Bitcoin website for many years.

CoinMarketCap is an extremely popular tool that lists important information about almost every cryptocurrency in existence, which includes over a thousand different coins, and is ranked by Alexa as the 181st most popular website in the world. It is a big blow to Bitcoin.com’s legitimacy and future traffic to be delisted from CoinMarketCap.

There was no official announcement from CoinMarketCap regarding the deletion of Bitcoin.com, but the action occurred amid threats of legal action from the cryptocurrency community that Bitcoin.com was misleading and defrauding users by showing Bitcoin Cash as the default currency. Both the Bitcoin.com wallet software and a page to buy Bitcoin with your credit card displays Bitcoin Cash as the primary and recommended option, with actual Bitcoin being secondary.

The CEO of Bitcoin.com, Roger Ver, has been an avid supporter of Bitcoin Cash and argues that it is the “real” Bitcoin. He has been promoting Bitcoin Cash on his twitter feed and on his websites. Bitcoin Cash was created in August 2017 and directly forked from the Bitcoin blockchain; the main difference from Bitcoin is that Bitcoin Cash has a larger block size of 8 MB which allows more transactions per block, lowering transaction fees.

Bitcoin transaction fees exceeded USD 50 at one point during the last year, and was over USD 20 for two months straight. These extremely high fees per transaction made Bitcoin unusable as a currency to buy everyday things like a cup of coffee, and instead made it only feasible to use for investment purposes when dealing with large amounts of money.

Bitcoin Cash transaction fees have been much lower than Bitcoin since its inception in August 2017, although this is also partially owing to a lower value (Bitcoin Cash trades at about 15% of Bitcoin value) – hence its name since it is purportedly cheaper to use Bitcoin Cash as a currency due to the lower fee. Fortunately, Bitcoin transaction fees have declined to less than USD 1 at time of writing, although it is inevitable that transaction fees will increase as the value and popularity of Bitcoin rises in the future.

Regardless of transaction fees and the arguments of Roger Ver, Bitcoin Cash has much to catch up on if it were to consider itself a “true” version of Bitcoin. For one, it would have to address the fact that Bitcoin has far more mining power maintaining and securing the Bitcoin blockchain, with a more numerous and diverse – hence, more decentralized – distribution of nodes.

Considering how misleading it is for new users to be told that Bitcoin Cash is the real Bitcoin, it would make sense for this recent move by CoinMarketCap.

 

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