Category Archives: LocalBitcoins

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LocalBitcoins Takes off in Argentina and Venezuela as Inflation Rockets

October 2018 has seen record Bitcoin trading volumes on peer-to-peer platform LocalBitcoins in Argentina and Venezuela.

Given the economic crisis in both of these South American countries, BTC has fast become a financial refuge for many nationals, with the governments of both Mauricio Macri and Nicolás Maduro struggling to save their economies from going under from highly unsustainable inflationary situations.

Such is Bitcoin’s current impact on both of these nations at present, blockchain voting project Democracy Earth developer Santiago Siri, has suggested that the Argentinian Central Bank should place up to one percent of its national reserves in Bitcoin.  BTC has become a veritable safe haven with ATMs now becoming widespread to cater for demand, and significantly more merchants across the country accepting Bitcoin as payment

Argentina, which is now on the IMF help list of struggling economies needing financial aid, has seen LocalBitcoins recently post a record trading volume of almost $9 million BTC on its platform as the peso continues its nosedive against the US dollar.  Since April, the number of bitcoins transacted using LocalBitcoins increased from 13 to 33, 153% in just a few months.

The inflation rate in Venezuela under Maduro is almost impossible to keep up with, such is its persistent decline. The Petro, brought in as a panacea to trade embargoes and sanctions and a plummeting bolivar, is still heralded by Maduro’s government, but referred to by many others as simply non-existent, despite shop fronts sporting “we accept Petro” signs.

The IMF is now predicting an inflation rate of 10 million percent by 2019, which would put the country in the same league as Germany in 1923 before the rise of Nation Socialism and Hitler’s rise to power in the 1930s. Germans at this time shopped with wheelbarrows filled with Deutschmarks. Maduro’s citizens have been making their own shopping bags out of bolivars in order to transport larger denominations of the same currency.

In this climate, Bitcoin has become the only safe currency, albeit secured largely underground with overseas dollars, and has seen accelerated activity in past weeks due to the government’s switch from the Bolivar Fuerte (VEF) to the Sovereign Bolivar (VES). P2P trading on LocalBitcoins has skyrocketed as a result, with total BTC trading volume for October 2018 standing at almost 900 million bolivars (approximately $14.4 million).

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Venezuelan Bitcoin Volume Rallies With Bolivar Redenomination

Venezuela’s peer-to-peer (P2P) Bitcoin trading volume has rallied to record highs on Localbitcoins, the most popular P2P Bitcoin trading site in the world. This massive surge of Bitcoin trading in Venezuela likely has to do with the turbulent switch from the Bolivar Fuerte (VEF) to Sovereign Bolivar (VES).

In the past week, there has been VES 506.3 million of trading volume, shattering the old record of VES 175.8 million set the week before.

Due to hyperinflation of Venezuela’s fiat currency, at the rate of 100,000% per year and increasing towards 1,000,000% per year, Venezuela’s government was forced to redenominate the VEF by chopping off five zeros and launching the VES. This means each VES is worth 100,000 VEF. This was because buying groceries with the old fuerte had become an intensely arduous task and was rapidly getting worse; people had to take multiple bags loaded with cash to the store just to buy common food items. A cup of coffee worth less than USD 0.50 cost VEF 2.5 million.

The switch to the Sovereign Bolivar officially occurred during August 2018, and a currency switch like this causes widespread panic and fear. Venezuelans are choosing to offload their Bolivars for Bitcoin, since Bitcoin is far more stable and a much better currency. Venezuelans are forced to buy goods after work, whatever they can find, and trade them later for the goods they really want, since the Bolivar loses value so rapidly.

The trading on Localbitcoins, amounting to BTC 1,143 worth roughly USD 8 million, is probably just a small fraction of total Bitcoin volume in Venezuela. These volume numbers are just for Bitcoin traded via Localbitcoins escrow, many Localbitcoins deals occur outside of escrow, while lots of deals occur through Bitcoin dealers as well as other P2P trading platforms.

What can certainly be discerned from this data is that Venezuelans are buying Bitcoin faster than ever before, likely due to a lack of confidence in the newly released Sovereign Bolivar. Just because the Venezuelan government redenominated their currency doesn’t mean the situation is any better. The inflation rate will continue to accelerate as before and if projections come to fruition, the Sovereign Bolivar could be utterly worthless in less than a year.

 

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P2P Becoming the Indian Way to Trade Crypto Following the Banking Ban

Peer to Peer (P2P) trading is on the march in India due to the country’s banks shutting down crypto services this year.

Since the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) decision earlier this year, Indian traders are adapting as only Indians can do, and are doing it with great success too, with homemade P2P platforms and exchange adaptations using P2P trading.

Peer-to-Peer trading cuts out the banks completely. Out of this move, a new service KoinLoop has launched such a service, born out of two collaborating exchanges; KoinEX and WazirX. The latter’s CEO argues that his company also has the cheapest BTC price in India, adding:

“If banking is something the exchanges are not allowed to do, then the solution is something that direct banking doesn’t come in.”

As Bitcoin News reported recently Dabba is also taking off as a way of avoiding the RBI ban. Best described as a way of trading through something called a “hawala” network rather any system connected with an exchange, Dabba is becoming increasingly popular. The trading only takes place through an overseas bank account mainly based in the UK, with Dubai another favorite.

Mainly using the messaging app Telegram its use best explained simply thus:

“The broker accepts money in cash, buys Bitcoins using an overseas trading account and sells them when the bet placed in India is settled. The difference is paid in cash to the customer.”

The KoinEX system offers a P2P trading solution called Loop which offers clients access to the trading of BTC, ETH, and XRP. CEO Rahul Raj explains:

“…buyers and sellers on Loop can create their own listings (like a marketplace) or explore existing listings to choose their best trades,” adding, “…while it’s still early days, Loop has been very well received by the Indian trading community and we are seeing increasing traction every day.”

LocalBitcoins have also seen a local boost to trading since the ban with the Indian rupee (INR) volume increasing 25% from around 68 million rupees to 85 million rupees to August. BTC saw a similar hike in trading volumes with a hike of 23% over the same period.

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Bitcoin Is Better Than Gold

With the increasingly frequent comparisons of Bitcoin to gold, both as a store of value and a means of transferring value as a form of payment, traditional investors are now weighing in on the advantages of the world’s most popular cryptocurrency.

Is Bitcoin superior to gold for use as a currency?

The standard

Gold is perhaps the first decentralized currency, defined as a thing that has value but not under the centralized control of any governing body. It has been a sign of wealth and one of the most popular currencies for thousands of years. Physical gold holds its value since it can only be slowly mined over time, rather than printed rapidly like fiat.

Scarcity

Both assets are similar in that they are mined. However, Bitcoin has a limit on how much it can be mined – there will only be a maximum supply of 21 million Bitcoins. While gold has been determined to be finite, its total supply is unknown and only estimated. Should new, large deposits be suddenly discovered one day, its price would be significantly affected. Even a large unknown deposit on Earth can cause a big price crash.

Ease of transfer and security

Although physical gold is globally recognized as a currency, it is arduous to use for international commerce and finance. The metal is highly valued by the ounce, currently USD 1,200, but when dealing with large amounts of money, it can be very heavy. To send USD 1 billion to another country would require 52,000 pounds (approximately 0.25 tons) of gold. This would require a tremendous amount of effort and costs for customs, shipping and security. Additionally, it would take many days for gold to cross international borders, with multiple points of risk at en route.

Compare this to Bitcoin, where USD 1 billion can be digitally transferred anywhere in the world instantaneously, at a fee of only a few cents, with no additional costs. This digital transaction isn’t exposed to compliance with any jurisdiction’s regulations wither and cannot be intercepted nor hijacked once broadcast to the network.

Additionally, Bitcoin is cryptographically secure and has yet to be hacked despite years of attempts. Gold can be physically secured, but at great cost. Bitcoin’s cryptographic security can’t be compromised by even the most powerful supercomputer. Bitcoin transactions can be done instantly and leave no trace besides a note in the blockchain ledger that they occurred, while a gold transaction is very visible since it has to be moved physically, and a tremendous amount of traceable activity occurs when being moved.

Liquidity

Finally, gold has a huge paper market on COMEX, where its paper issuances can supposedly be redeemed for physical equivalents in a vault. However, COMEX’s vault contains less than 1% of the amount needed for all the paper gold issued. More is being printed too, saturating the market and keeping the price of the precious metal far lower than it should be. There is no equivalent situation for Bitcoin, since Bitcoins are highly liquid and there is no need for paper Bitcoin. The only reason paper gold exists is because its physical counterpart is difficult to transact.

Bitcoin can also be easily converted to local currency via peer-to-peer exchanges. Localbitcoins, for example, lists traders willing to buy or sell Bitcoin online at any one time in over 248 countries. It would be significantly more difficult to liquidate gold as it is likelier to find a buyer for Bitcoin than it is for the precious metal.

Ultimately, if fiat currency collapses it is clear that Bitcoin is in a much better position to become the top global currency, due to Bitcoin’s advantageous characteristics. This makes Bitcoin much more ideal for international commerce and finance than gold.

 

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Nigeria Can Be Empowered By Bitcoin Says Foundation CEO

Lady Victoria Walker, CEO of the United Digital Currency Reserve Foundation, has recently stressed that the understanding and deployment of bitcoin can kickstart the financial growth in Nigeria and Africa as a whole, reports Niger247News

In a recent presentation Lady Walker, who is also a blockchain and cryptocurrency speaker, as well as Principal Consultant at Cryptoria Investment Research, maintains that for Nigerian banks to deal with blockchain technologies, it first needs to understand cryptocurrencies:

“Many banks and regulators are confused and do not fully understand how Bitcoin and blockchain technology work, but I think once the Central Bank of Nigeria and other key figures get to understand the true nature of blockchain technology and what it can bring economically, I believe they may embrace the technology with open arms.”

The UK based fintech entrepreneur feels that new technologies such as blockchain and cryptocurrency are essential factors in empowering African leaders to inject growth and financial inclusivity into their economies, she argues:

“Britain imposes a ‘super tax’ on remittances sent to African countries, causing a loss of £1.8bn a year from money sent home by workers. Think about it, £1.8bn is taken away from the people sending money to support their families in Nigeria.  Imagine what £1.8bn a year could do in the pockets of families depending on money sent to them from abroad? This is where blockchain technology comes in. It solves a problem like this by making it easier and cheaper to transfer and remit payments internationally.”

Nigeria has had a difficult cryptocurrency history. Early last year it was reported that the Central Bank of Nigeria was considering implementing its own cryptocurrency, but later the same year, it was advising banks to distance themselves from virtual currency, warning them, “not to use, hold or transact in any way with the technology.”

The remarks came at a time when Nigeria’s interest in cryptocurrencies was flourishing. According to data from Coindance, weekly trading volume on Localbitcoins in Nigeria surged 500 percent in 2017.  Nigeria then, was among top countries using Google to search for ‘bitcoin’, alongside South Africa, Slovenia, Holland, and Austria. Although, it was reported at this time that a Ponzi scheme may have been partly responsible for the clicking figures. The scheme reportedly cost investors UD$50 million in early March of that year.

In a press release issued in March of this year, the CBN is now reiterating its warnings of last year, suggesting that due to crypto investments being unprotected, investors will be at risk. Lady Walker maintains that it is lack of knowledge which holds back the tide of progress in the African crypto space, which in turn creates institutional and public skepticism such as the CBN’s.

“People are skeptical because that is human nature. We are natural cynics and skeptics and rarely trust what we don’t understand. This is why I urge people to truly understand the nature of the industry, asset and also yourself”

Lady Walker believes that there will come a time when all Nigerian banks will have to adopt cryptocurrencies of their own, but due to the current volatility of the crypto market, it remains a future goal of those who see cryptocurrency as the financial future. She maintains:

“Bitcoin is a reality. We have all major world governments scrambling to make sense of it and world leaders sharing their views on the currency. For the past 700 years, our world has relied on the European legacy banking system for means of payments and transactions. Bitcoin is definitely challenging the traditional way when it comes to transfer of value. Just like the internet changed how we shop, bank, date and find information.”

About 40% of Nigeria’s population is unbanked, which blocks nearly half of the population from the financial economy. To this, the fintech CEO argues “All you require is a smartphone and internet to start sending and receiving payments. No I.D required, filling out paperwork, etc… Do you know how much this could change things for the people of Nigeria?”

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Wired – Bitcoin's Street Sellers

Wired – Bitcoin’s Street Sellers:

Wired writer Robert McMillan (@bobmcmillan) makes some face-to-face, in-person trades and describes the experience.  Excerpts:

“Welcome to the quickest, most private way to buy the internet’s most successful digital currency: in-person and face-to-face.”

“Buttonwood meetups started in New York a few months ago and fanned out to San Francisco and Los Angeles. Buttonwood is an allusion to the May 17, 1792 agreement, struck under a buttonwood tree at 68 Wall Street, that set down the rules for what became the New York Stock Exchange.”

“After some haggling, Light types Copley’s Bitcoin address into his mobile phone and transfers just over half a Bitcoin ($50) to Copley’s digital wallet [for payment of silver bullion]”.

He used to buy and sell on a (temporarily shuttered) marketplace called Bitinstant. But a few months ago, ‘it started to ask for too much of my information,’ the student says. Given the nature of his business, he wants to buy Bitcoins without being tracked.

These are the kinds of deals that have regulators worried.

It’s traditionally been tough to quickly buy Bitcoins with U.S. dollars, and recently it’s become tougher.  […] That [regulation has] led to a pretty healthy off-the-books market for Bitcoin traders. […] Buyers and sellers can also hook up over Internet Relay Chat at #bitcoin-otc”

“Buyer’s Best Friend will give you Bitcoins back for cash, much like you can get cash back from a credit card, but you are supposed to purchase something first.”

“Though trading an obscure crypto currency may sound very modern, the whole transaction has a decidedly old-fashioned and human flavor to it.”

 – http://www.wired.com/wiredenterprise/2013/07/buttonwood
 – http://bitcointalk.org/index.php?topic=261116.0

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Wired – Bitcoin's Street Sellers

Wired – Bitcoin’s Street Sellers:

Wired writer Robert McMillan (@bobmcmillan) makes some face-to-face, in-person trades and describes the experience.  Excerpts:

“Welcome to the quickest, most private way to buy the internet’s most successful digital currency: in-person and face-to-face.”

“Buttonwood meetups started in New York a few months ago and fanned out to San Francisco and Los Angeles. Buttonwood is an allusion to the May 17, 1792 agreement, struck under a buttonwood tree at 68 Wall Street, that set down the rules for what became the New York Stock Exchange.”

“After some haggling, Light types Copley’s Bitcoin address into his mobile phone and transfers just over half a Bitcoin ($50) to Copley’s digital wallet [for payment of silver bullion]”.

He used to buy and sell on a (temporarily shuttered) marketplace called Bitinstant. But a few months ago, ‘it started to ask for too much of my information,’ the student says. Given the nature of his business, he wants to buy Bitcoins without being tracked.

These are the kinds of deals that have regulators worried.

It’s traditionally been tough to quickly buy Bitcoins with U.S. dollars, and recently it’s become tougher.  […] That [regulation has] led to a pretty healthy off-the-books market for Bitcoin traders. […] Buyers and sellers can also hook up over Internet Relay Chat at #bitcoin-otc”

“Buyer’s Best Friend will give you Bitcoins back for cash, much like you can get cash back from a credit card, but you are supposed to purchase something first.”

“Though trading an obscure crypto currency may sound very modern, the whole transaction has a decidedly old-fashioned and human flavor to it.”

 – http://www.wired.com/wiredenterprise/2013/07/buttonwood
 – http://bitcointalk.org/index.php?topic=261116.0

All News – Daily E-mail Subscription – Twitter: @BitcoinNews

Wired – Bitcoin's Street Sellers

Wired – Bitcoin’s Street Sellers:

Wired writer Robert McMillan (@bobmcmillan) makes some face-to-face, in-person trades and describes the experience.  Excerpts:

“Welcome to the quickest, most private way to buy the internet’s most successful digital currency: in-person and face-to-face.”

“Buttonwood meetups started in New York a few months ago and fanned out to San Francisco and Los Angeles. Buttonwood is an allusion to the May 17, 1792 agreement, struck under a buttonwood tree at 68 Wall Street, that set down the rules for what became the New York Stock Exchange.”

“After some haggling, Light types Copley’s Bitcoin address into his mobile phone and transfers just over half a Bitcoin ($50) to Copley’s digital wallet [for payment of silver bullion]”.

He used to buy and sell on a (temporarily shuttered) marketplace called Bitinstant. But a few months ago, ‘it started to ask for too much of my information,’ the student says. Given the nature of his business, he wants to buy Bitcoins without being tracked.

These are the kinds of deals that have regulators worried.

It’s traditionally been tough to quickly buy Bitcoins with U.S. dollars, and recently it’s become tougher.  […] That [regulation has] led to a pretty healthy off-the-books market for Bitcoin traders. […] Buyers and sellers can also hook up over Internet Relay Chat at #bitcoin-otc”

“Buyer’s Best Friend will give you Bitcoins back for cash, much like you can get cash back from a credit card, but you are supposed to purchase something first.”

“Though trading an obscure crypto currency may sound very modern, the whole transaction has a decidedly old-fashioned and human flavor to it.”

 – http://www.wired.com/wiredenterprise/2013/07/buttonwood
 – http://bitcointalk.org/index.php?topic=261116.0

All News – Daily E-mail Subscription – Twitter: @BitcoinNews

Wired – Bitcoin's Street Sellers

Wired – Bitcoin’s Street Sellers:

Wired writer Robert McMillan (@bobmcmillan) makes some face-to-face, in-person trades and describes the experience.  Excerpts:

“Welcome to the quickest, most private way to buy the internet’s most successful digital currency: in-person and face-to-face.”

“Buttonwood meetups started in New York a few months ago and fanned out to San Francisco and Los Angeles. Buttonwood is an allusion to the May 17, 1792 agreement, struck under a buttonwood tree at 68 Wall Street, that set down the rules for what became the New York Stock Exchange.”

“After some haggling, Light types Copley’s Bitcoin address into his mobile phone and transfers just over half a Bitcoin ($50) to Copley’s digital wallet [for payment of silver bullion]”.

He used to buy and sell on a (temporarily shuttered) marketplace called Bitinstant. But a few months ago, ‘it started to ask for too much of my information,’ the student says. Given the nature of his business, he wants to buy Bitcoins without being tracked.

These are the kinds of deals that have regulators worried.

It’s traditionally been tough to quickly buy Bitcoins with U.S. dollars, and recently it’s become tougher.  […] That [regulation has] led to a pretty healthy off-the-books market for Bitcoin traders. […] Buyers and sellers can also hook up over Internet Relay Chat at #bitcoin-otc”

“Buyer’s Best Friend will give you Bitcoins back for cash, much like you can get cash back from a credit card, but you are supposed to purchase something first.”

“Though trading an obscure crypto currency may sound very modern, the whole transaction has a decidedly old-fashioned and human flavor to it.”

 – http://www.wired.com/wiredenterprise/2013/07/buttonwood
 – http://bitcointalk.org/index.php?topic=261116.0

All News – Daily E-mail Subscription – Twitter: @BitcoinNews

Emily Spaven – Kipochi Links Bitcoin With M-PESA

Emily Spaven – Kipochi Links Bitcoin With M-PESA:

Finance author Emily Spaven (@EmilySpaven) describes the launch of Kipochi (@KipochiPay), a Bitcoin wallet that provides interchange to and from M-PESA.  Excerpts:

“Kipochi has launched a product that allows people in Africa to send and receive bitcoins, plus convert them to and from the Kenyan currency M-Pesa.”

“Kipochi works on all mobile phones as it has SMS, USSD and HTML5 frontends, so there is no requirement for users to have the most up-to-date handsets.”

“Pelle Braendgaard, co-founder of Kipochi [said that] M-Pesa has been around in Kenya for years now, so mobile money is a part of everyday life in the country, which means it will be easy for Kenyans to accept digital currency as the choice for international payments.”

“Kipochi’s goal is to make it easier for people in these [communities of expatriates from Kenya and foreigners living and working in Kenya] to send and receive funds through the bitcoin network.”

“LocalBitcoins.com has also recently turned its attention to M-Pesa, making this option available to traders in Kenya and Tanzania.”

“‘The [tens of thousands of] M-Pesa agents are the target market of LocalBitcoins.com as well,’” [explained  founder Jeremias Kangas].”

 – http://bit.ly/15bcWnr
 – http://www.Kipochi.com
 – http://bit.ly/132zNi5 (Further discussion of Kipochi)

All News – Daily E-mail Subscription – Twitter; @BitcoinNews