Category Archives: Bitcoin Cash

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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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Kentucky Derby Is Open for Crypto on the Big Day

It has been widely reported that this year’s Kentucky Derby held on Saturday, 5 May will be attracting more cryptocurrency wagers that at any previous running of the famous race.

The Kentucky Derby is a horse race that is held annually in Louisville, Kentucky, United States, on the first Saturday in May, capping the two-week-long Kentucky Derby Festival. It is become an institution in the US, similar to the Grand National in the UK and the Melbourne Cup in Australia.

US Racing notes reports that Bitcoin, Bitcoin Cash, and Litecoin will feature in wagers far more prominently this year as punters rush to get a bet on the derby. This despite digital currency still needing further acceptance by betting companies. US Racing’s operations director Tim Maxwell notes:

“…both the legality and associated risk management of accepting cryptocurrency needs further clarification before we see widespread adoption in the gaming and racing industry as a whole.”

Maxwell suggests that the reluctance by companies to fully endorse the use of Bitcoin in the gaming and racing industry as a whole is its volatility, adding an unwanted layer of risk management. He does suggest, however, that companies based in the UK, Malta, and Canada are expected to accept Bitcoin payments on a trial basis by early to mid-2019, followed by land-based racebooks and casinos in late 2019 and early 2020.

A blockchain startup chain, Ethorse, allows punters to use ETH to back their favorite coin in the same way they would back a horse on the Kentucky Derby. Maxwell comments: “Punters will be game for a flutter on whether BTC will beat XRP in a match up or if ETH will win by a nose. Just because it is blockchain doesn’t preclude people from making a bet.”

The Crypto Currency Investors Club in US southern state Georgia enjoys it very first gathering of friends for the Kentucky Derby on Saturday. It promises “…an artsy, derby themed Bitcoin, blockchain and cryptocurrency community event”. Attendees can enjoy a glass of mint julep, watch a live stream of the race and place a wager (Bitcoin of course) on one of the renamed “CryptoDerby” horses.

 

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Bitcoin Ex-Dev Mike Hearn Says Bitcoin Cash “nowhere near radical enough”

One of the earliest Bitcoin developers, Mike Hearn, held an Ask Me Anything (AMA) session on Reddit earlier today. Among other responses to the public AMA session, Hearn felt that Bitcoin Cash (BCH) was “nowhere near radical enough” as an alternative to Bitcoin. He further recommended that challengers to the world’s most used cryptocurrency “be willing to think radical, even heretical thoughts.”.

Hearn also expressed “alarm” at Bitcoin Cash’s planned hard fork, cautioning against a move without any “attempt to measure support or whether people are ready or even agree”.

Nevertheless, the former Bitcoin developer said that both Bitcoin and Bitcoin Cash held some interest for him. He said, “Bitcoin and Bitcoin Cash show that disagreements can be ongoing and coexistent…  I’m interested enough to support (hold both coins) through the hardfork and still today.”.

Commenting yet again on the scaling issue for Bitcoin, Hearn insisted that cryptocurrency continues to face critical issues of invalid assumptions: that price was proportional to utility, and that miners and other participants were economically rational. He went on to say that future [Bitcoin] conflicts were unavoidable but suggested that they could be “contained and channelled”.

During the AMA, Hearn also detailed his current work on business blockchain platform Corda and denied having ever worked for British intelligence.

The developer who turned his back on Bitcoin

Hearn made his first public appearance in over two years after decidedly after famously abandoning the Bitcoin project in early 2016, formally signing off with a blog post entitled “The resolution of the Bitcoin experiment“. He cut a frustrated figure then, blaming infighting and network instability for his decision to leave after “the now inescapable conclusion that it [Bitcoin] has failed…”.

Nevertheless, when news of his AMA session surfaced on Wednesday, scores of redditors responded enthusiastically, indicating that much of Hearn’s popularity was intact.

 

Hearn Satoshi

Hearn joined Bitcoin development in 2010 while still a Google employee. He conversed regularly with Bitcoin creator Satoshi Nakamoto, and was the source of new e-mail correspondence with Satoshi that resurfaced in August 2017. Previously not public, they revealed Hearn’s curiosity with the Bitcoin software and showed that his infamous concern with scalability had started very early on.

Although best known for his role in the so-called “Bitcoin civil war” as scaling debates intensified in 2015, Hearn is noted for building the BitcoinJ Java implementation of Bitcoin. He is widely credited with helping build and popularize Simplified Payment Verification (SPV) wallets which today is used by many to transact in Bitcoin on mobile devices. He also claims to have written the first documentation on smart contracts.

 

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