Category Archives: Crypto

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Vitalik Buterin: Focus on Crypto Adoption, Not ETFs

Ethereum co-founder Vitalik Buterin Tweeted out his critique of those focusing too much on ETF approval, pointing out the accessibility of purchasing cryptocurrency should be focused on to promote ”actual adoption”.’

I think there’s too much emphasis on BTC/ETH/whatever ETFs, and not enough emphasis on making it easier for people to buy $5 to $100 in cryptocurrency via cards at corner stores. The former is better for pumping price, but the latter is much better for actual adoption.

— Vitalik Non-giver of Ether (@VitalikButerin) July 29, 2018

His Tweet cites specifically ”making it easier for people to buy USD 5 to USD 100 in cryptocurrency via cards at corner stores” as the more important task for the cryptocurrency community while saying ETFs would be better merely for pumping the price rather than increased adoption.

The statement received mixed reactions from the crypto-Twittersphere.

One user disagreed with the necessity of using cryptocurrencies for everyday transactions, saying that fiat currencies work perfectly well for that. Another argued that being paid in cryptocurrency would be a more effective way of spurring adoption than being able to purchase small quantities easily with fiat.

Largely, the sentiment online appeared at odds with Buterin’s statement, either championing the benefits of ETF approval or critiquing the use of cryptocurrency payments for everyday purchases and arguing this should not be its primary use.

Circle co-founder and CEO Jeremy Allaire said recently that a significant catalyst for the industry and cryptocurrency adoption has been the development of hundreds of thousands of blockchain-backed dApps, frequently created by companies that operate with their own tokenized ecosystem.

Blockchain testing has certainly helped push forward the industry in a positive light, with institutions such as NASA and Citi pursuing their own initiatives.

Will we see ETF approval?

The US Securities and Exchange Commission’s (SEC) recent clarification that neither Bitcoin nor Ethereum were securities has been welcomed by the majority of cryptocurrency users, who believe this is a positive indication that an ETF may be approved.

However, the SEC cited several issues that meant it could not approve the Winklevoss twins’ ETF proposal for the time being. These problems primarily include the threat of price manipulation of the market, hence an inability to protect investors, as well as the issue that most Bitcoin trading is done overseas with no regulatory oversight.

If the market becomes regulated to the SEC’s standards, it has said it would consider approving a Bitcoin ETF, although it seems very unlikely that standardized regulations could be adopted globally by governments. As well as this, most Bitcoin exchanges would not give the SEC all of their private information as requested, particularly the most prominent exchanges which are not based in the US.

 

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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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Which Countries Are Most Likely to Adopt Bitcoin First?

Bitcoin replacing a country’s government currency would be a huge achievement for cryptocurrency as well as a historical milestone. But which countries are most likely to adopt such a nascent currency?

One of the biggest drivers for adopting a cryptocurrency would be necessity. Countries where citizens experience hyperinflation, political instability, or other factors that shake confidence in a government currency typically see higher demand in alternative currencies like Bitcoin.

Countries possibly adopting Bitcoin on a major scale, for this reason, would be Iran, Venezuela and Argentina, to name a few.

Iran has made headlines with plans to withdraw EUR 300 million from German banks. Rising tension since 2015, when the US left the Nuclear Agreement, has only amplified with Trump entering the presidency.

The tension has only weakened confidence in the Iranian rial, leading to higher than market prices within Iran borders. Couple this with the US sanctions placed restricting liquidity and hyperinflation of 112%, and Bitcoin easily becomes the currency of choice for Iranian citizens.

While rial’s hyperinflation will lead to holders of the currency losing more than half of their value, this is nothing compared to Venezuela’s economic crisis.

A year ago, a cup of coffee in Venezuela was 2,200 Venezuelan bolivar (VEF), or around USD 0.20. Since then, inflation has been rampant, causing that same cup to be sold at VEF 1,400,000, for an effective annual inflation rate above 60,000%.

This has led to an extreme demand for the cryptocurrency; peer-to-peer exchange Localbitcoins shows Venezuela traders selling Bitcoin at rates of VEF 9 billion (USD 75,000) to VEF 19.5 Billion (USD 158,531). Despite these massive premiums and the cryptocurrency experiencing a correction of its own, Bitcoin is still a more attractive option than the fiat currency.

Such an extreme devaluation of the currency makes Venezuela a prime country to embrace Bitcoin wholeheartedly.

Argentina is in a similar situation and currently has the higher interest rate in the world (40%). Continually rising prices coupled with increasing unemployment rates makes Bitcoin a viable currency in this case, over the Argentine peso.

Cashless societies could also be primed for a crypto take over but cryptocurrency needs a lot of refinement before this could become a reality.

Contactless payment methods are already very convenient and with credit cards, even offer cashback rewards and customer protection. For cryptocurrency to penetrate markets like Canada, Sweden and the UK, digital currencies must not only offer similar characteristics but be much better than existing systems.

A good scaling solution needs to put in place as well, in order for Bitcoin (or whatever cryptocurrency a society adopts) to handle the number of transactions.

The third set of countries likely to adopt Bitcoin are the ones that are already open to cryptocurrency-related businesses, regulatory wise.

Countries that fall into this category include Japan, Estonia, Singapore, Australia, and South Korea. Sweden also goes into this category because despite its cashless society, recognizing Bitcoin as a legal form of payment.

Countries that are Bitcoin-friendly will typically have a higher percentage of citizens already exposed and actively using the cryptocurrency, making it far easier for Bitcoin to become widespread.

Being on welcoming turf also allows companies to come in and introduce new use case scenarios for the cryptocurrency, thus improving Bitcoin’s penetration rates.

Bitcoin is a fairly new currency and as more people begin to understand and classify it, more countries will become more receptive to the decentralized money. It will be interesting to see which country becomes to adopt Bitcoin as a dominant currency and if it’s from necessity, convenience or another reasons.

 

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‘Crypto’ Movie To Explore Cryptocurrency In Nuanced And Exciting Way

Director John Stalberg Jr. is producing a film titled ‘Crypto‘ that he says will explore cryptocurrency in a nuanced and exciting way. Several famous Hollywood actors will star in the film including Kurt Russell, famous for his roles in Guardians of the Galaxy, Stargate, and the Fast and the Furious.

Also starring in the film are Beau Knapp from Seven Seconds, Alexis Bledel from Gilmore Girls, Luke Hemsworth from Westworld, Jeremie Harris from Legion, and Vincent Kartheiser from Mad Men. The director says he is overjoyed to work with such an incredible cast since it will bring this thrilling story to life.

In the movie, an anti-money laundering agent (Beau Knapp) lives with his father (Kurt Russel) and brother (Luke Hemsworth) in a rural New York town. He is assigned to investigate fraud in the area and soon finds himself deeply involved in the underworld, where he meets a cryptocurrency enthusiast turned hacker (Jeremie Harris), an accountant who is laundering money (Vincent Kartheiser), and a shady art dealer (Alexis Bledel).

The cryptocurrency world is notorious for money laundering since it provides a relatively anonymous mechanism to send money anywhere in the world instantly. There are dark web markets where users can buy anything including drugs and weapons. Perhaps Crypto will explore this sort of illicit use of cryptocurrency.

Crypto isn’t the only movie about cryptocurrency that has been thought up by mainstream Hollywood. The Coen Brothers, behind the famous movies The Big Lebowski and No Country For Old Men, are supposedly creating a movie about the Silk Road which is a dark web marketplace that played a key role in the early days of Bitcoin. There is no sign when the Coen Brother’s Silk Road movie will be released, or how the production is progressing.

Crypto is already shooting in New York, and could possibly be the first movie in history about cryptocurrency that stars famous Hollywood Actors.

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Vitalik Buterin Not Worried About Rothschild’s Impact on Crypto

Vitalik Buterin, the co-founder of Ethereum and the Bitcoin Magazine, expressed optimism on the future of finance dismissing claims that the Rothschilds might influence crypto. He insightfully said that the Rothschilds didn’t have enough cash flow to finance their efforts of manipulating cryptocurrency and was confident about the future of Ethereum with the significant changes coming soon to the network.

Vitalik still expects cryptocurrencies to take over from fiat currencies, saying that fiat money will soon become a thing of the past. His views form part of an ongoing internet debate raging over who can or cannot influence cryptocurrencies. They came after dissenting opinions by Joost van der Burgt, policy advisor at Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco, who called Bitcoin a bubble.

In van der Burgt’s opinion, Bitcoin would continue losing its value with the time, and its users would continue making losses. Vitalik dismissed the argument, saying that he was not concerned on Bitcoin or Ethereum price.

Reports indicate that Ethereum is implementing scaling solutions that will continue bringing change to one of the major alternative cryptocurrencies in use. Whether this will bring significant profit gains or not remains a matter for discussion. Nonetheless, Ethereum is an example of how cryptocurrencies will continue to untangle themselves from external manipulations.

 

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Bank of Korea Considers Crypto and Blockchain as Part of “Cashless Society”

South Korea is making huge waves in the cryptocurrency and blockchain space yet again, having announced recently that its central bank, the Bank of Korea (BOK), is considering cryptocurrency and blockchain applications for a “cashless society” project.

As reported by local news source TokenPost on 1 May, the BOK had announced the official launch of its cash-free society project in its 2017 Payment Report; the report gives mention of the BOK working with overseas banking institutes to fully explore the viability of blockchain technology and password security to payment systems. It has also created a research organization to analyse cryptocurrency and the potential effect of virtual money on the financial system.

Cashless society

In 2016, the Korea Times reported that the BOK was planning to make the country a “cashless society” by 2020; a central bank survey found that South Koreans carry on average 1.91 credit cards, 2.03 mobile cards, 1.26 check or debit cards.

The survey also highlighted the decline of cash carriers amongst the population and that the central bank issued 12.3% fewer 10,000 Korean won (KRW) banknotes from 2015 to 2016 with smaller denominations also showing dips.

South Korea began officially piloting the project in April 2017 with a “coinless society trial” where customers would deposit small amounts of change from cash transactions onto a prepaid platform such as mobile cards and then use them at various retailers.

One of the main purposes of the project is to increase customer convenience and reduce the costs of physical money production, which in 2016 had cost USD 47 million.

Furthermore, the government plans to utilize the initiative to “open the underground economy” which is largely cash-based. Kwak Hyun-soo, an analyst at Shinhan Investment Corp, said:

“It can open the underground economy, and thus enhance equivalence in taxation. The shoe box full of KRW 50,000 banknotes that you see in movies will disappear in reality [with the advancement of a cashless society].”

A notable advancement was made by a big business in South Korea with the announcement of Starbucks Coffee Korea Co. beginning to trial cashless stores at three of its outlets.

Visions of a crypto-country

In the wake of multiple controversies in South Korea, including ICO bans and crackdowns on exchanges, the world media was convinced that the third largest fiat-to-Bitcoin market in the world was headed into darker days and as a consequence, innovations on cryptocurrencies and blockchain technologies would be stifled if not entirely dismissed.

However, BitcoinNews has reported numerous occasions of South Korea being one of the most forward-thinking nations when it comes to the mass-scale adoption of the technology. Taxation laws, higher qualities of service from leading exchanges and Seoul’s very own cryptocurrency are amongst many of the stories emerging that now seem to perfectly fit in line with goals of the “cashless society” project.

 

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