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The Ten Top Cities to Visit With Bitcoin in Your Pocket

Investopedia recently used Coin ATM Radar, coinmap.org and other metrics to calculate the best cities around the globe to visit with Bitcoin.

You don’t have to be in London or New York to use or access your bitcoins.  ATMs are turning up in the most unlikely places, such as the sleepy Devon town of Kingsbridge in the South West of England, where just last month a Bitcoin ATM was set up in the corner of the town’s Tourist Centre.

The Prague subway now has ten new machines spread across its route and the German Federal Financial Supervisory Authority (BaFin), has clarified that banks in Germany now have the right to upgrade existing ATMs in the country to facilitate certain cryptocurrencies. With the last ATM count approaching 4000 worldwide, it won’t be too long before one is accessible wherever a traveler finds themselves.

So, until then, for the global traveler, where is the best place to cash out some BTC or buy dinner? The following breakdown includes Investopedia’s top dogs when it comes to accessing or spending your crypto funds. Here are the top ten based on Bitcoin accessibility and usability.

  1. The global base of mega crypto exchange Coinbase is San Francisco, not only home of the street tram and Fisherman’s Wharf, but also home to 177 Bitcoin-accepting merchants and 29 Bitcoin ATMs.
  2. Canada has a reputation for being crypto friendly, having been recently described as further advanced in cryptocurrency policy than its US neighbor. The coastal city of Vancouver boasts of 86 merchants accepting the digital currency as well as 48 Bitcoin ATMs around the city.
  3. Half a million Dutch households own crypto so it is unsurprising that Dutch capital Amsterdam is Bitcoin-friendly to the traveler. There are about 74 merchants around the tiny country, with a population under 800,000, accepting Bitcoin. Although, ATMs are not yet patronized as that of the neighboring cities. Approximately 60% of the households in the Netherlands who invest in cryptocurrencies started doing so in 2017.
  4. Ljubljana, Slovenia with a tiny population of 272,000, Ljubljana has 51 merchants accepting Bitcoin and five ATMs.
  5. Tel Aviv, Israel. Israel’s financial center offers 58 merchants that are more than happy to take BTC and has 4 Bitcoin ATMs. Bitcoin is a fact of life in the country, and the government has acknowledged it as a taxable asset with investors purchasing gold and real estate with the flagship cryptocurrency, cherishing its anonymity.
  6. Along with Malta, Switzerland is Europe’s real crypto mover and shaker. Out of the world’s six biggest initial coin offerings (ICOs) last year, four took place in Switzerland, according to Swiss financial watchdog, Swiss Financial Market Supervisory Authority (FINMA). In Zurich 64 merchants take Bitcoin and eight ATMs serve a tiny population of 366,000. Bitcoin is now available as payment at 1,357 railway ticket kiosks around the alpine nation.
  7. Tampa, Florida may seem an unlikely place to find a community utilizing cryptocurrency but the city provides as many as 93 merchants accepting BTC. Also, a good scattering of 13 ATMs around the city means that travelers are never far from a source of cash.
  8. Both Venezuela and Argentina are in financial crisis. However traveling in Buenos Aires with Bitcoin is made easy with a huge 130 merchants accepting Bitcoin and 3 ATMs, although the government of Argentina has promised to swell those numbers over the next few years. In fact, with no intention of keeping things small, Argentina plans to become the world’s biggest player with pre-agreements to install 4,000 ATM around the South American country.
  9. New York usually does things big, hence 117 ATMs around the city, meaning that most areas of the city are covered whether up, mid, or downtown. 122 merchants also accept Bitcoin as payment. Wall St. has been making noises about crypto this year, so it shouldn’t be too long before banks update their fiat ATMs in America’s banking metropolis.
  10. The UK was quick to take to cryptocurrency; 88 merchants accepting Bitcoin and 74 ATMs around the busy and culturally diverse capital illustrate this enthusiasm. London made the news recently when a mosque announced that it had successfully reached and exceeded its target of donations over the Ramadan period – in cryptocurrency.

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Demand for DLT Expertise Skyrockets by 300% in the US

In the US, Glassdoor’s job search website has reported four times more offers on blockchain and cryptocurrency positions in August 2018 than that of the previous year.

The significant rise in job vacancies in the US blockchain and crypto market is buoyed by those positions requiring software developers, which now represent every fifth vacancy. In August 2017, 446 jobs posted were related to keywords “blockchain” and “Bitcoin.” This number rose to 1,755 in August this year, despite the downward trend in crypto markets since the end of 2017.

The greatest demand was seen to be in New York and San Francisco which accounted for 24% and 21% of all positions. Most of the positions, almost 80%, were divided amongst America’s 15 major cities.

Apart from software and technology developers, analysts and market researchers, risk managers and marketing managers represented the majority of positions advertised. Ethereum co-founder Joseph Lubin’s ConsenSys and IBM were shown to be the most active employers according to the survey amongst the 200 crypto industry positions, with Coinbase and Kraken looking for blockchain specialists.

In order to promote education in fintech, to boost the sector even further and meet employers demands, universities have increasingly joined the blockchain revolution offering courses in both cryptocurrency and blockchain. A recent analysis of curriculum in the best universities by Coinbase this year shows that 22 have a cryptocurrency or blockchain program and 11 of these have more than two relevant courses, with US universities currently leading the charge.

Outside of the US, the National University of Singapore and the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Zurich have two or more courses, and universities in the UK, Denmark, Switzerland, Australia, and Singapore have their own crypto programmes.

Campbell Harvey, a Professor of International Business at Duke University said that he has seen law students particularly benefit from taking blockchain classes. “Law students that are trained in blockchain, they don’t need to apply anywhere. People are just asking them to join their firms.”

Most of the surveyed students engaged in human sciences say they would prefer blockchain to informatics. It remains to be seen if the demand from blockchain and crypto expertise in the workplace will be met by universities’ output of new young crypto professionals.

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Coinbase Continues Expansion with Eyes on Irish Republic

San Francisco-based cryptocurrency giant Coinbase has revealed that it is considering the Irish Republic as its next push to expand local markets around the globe.

Dublin has been cited as the exchange’s next target and to that end has already begun an employment drive in the city taking on customer support analysts, a compliance officer and an office manager.

The Irish state development agency, IDA, is currently supporting the Coinbase plan for the capital. This support is in keeping with IDA statements earlier this year which were very supportive of cryptocurrency.

The state body, IDA Ireland, is the agency responsible for the attraction and development of foreign direct investment in Ireland. Its new initiative, established by the Irish Blockchain Expert Group, an IDA Ireland-led forum, has been set up to involve Irish companies working with blockchain technology towards innovation and promotion of the republic.

Ireland currently has a very forward-thinking approach to blockchain technology. Recently, National University of Ireland (NUI) authors of a study on the adoption of blockchain approached the government to promote a more widespread use of the technology in the country.

Both IDA and Coinbase have declined to comment on the move, although it appears Coinbase has a clear strategy for Dublin, incorporating the local Coinbase Ireland Limited recently and installing four directors from the US-based parent company. However, an IDA spokesman commented recently before the move, that:

“We regard blockchain as an area with huge potential and we are seeing great interest among IDA Ireland’s client base. This initiative will enhance the blockchain industry in Ireland and our position as a global blockchain centre of excellence.”

It appears that IDA also sees the potential of extending this initiative to major players in the cryptocurrency sector, not a view shared by some of the country’s major banks. The Irish co-founder of Eircoin complained recently that he feels that the Banking and Payments Federation of Ireland (BPFI) is discriminating against crypto-related accounts.

He praised IDA for their work on promoting cryptocurrency in Ireland while pointing an accusing finger at the BPFI and their continued accusations of the misuse of Bitcoin, which he suggested reeked of “regulatory capture”. He said it suggested that if Bitcoin sellers were involved in terrorist financing, the law would intervene, accusing banks of intervening where they did not belong.

 

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Landmark Hearing: US Hacker Ordered by Court to Pay Bail in Bitcoin

A US court has ordered an alleged hacker to pay for his bail using cryptocurrency.

Magistrate Judge Corley has ordered the defendant, Martin Marsich — a 25-year-old Serb/Italian national charged for a hacking offense to pay an equivalent of $750,000 in cryptocurrency for bail.

Marsich is accused of hacking US video games company Electronic Arts (EA), and obtaining in-game currency to buy and sell in-game items. He is also said to have sold access to online games though black-market websites. Marsich is accused of hacking into 25,000 user accounts.

Residing Judge Corley has been in the news before regarding cryptocurrency. Last November she ruled in favor of the IRS, against cryptocurrency giant exchange Coinbase. Judge Corley ordered the cryptocurrency platform to submit information about clients’ transactions to the government agency.

District Attorney of St Mateo County, Steve Wagstaffe was quoted saying, “[he has] never heard of anyone bailing out of jail with cryptocurrency in any courtroom.” While acknowledging that cryptocurrency was acceptable in the federal court, he claimed that a similar bail “would fly in a San Mateo County Superior Court”

Assistant District Attorney Abraham Simmons explained that “judges can order many kinds of bail, including real estate owned by another person.”

Further, he was quoted saying, “The judge could order just about anything…It really is quite broad…What the objective is, is to get the defendant to comply with an order to appear later.”

With regards to the fluctuating value of cryptocurrencies, particularly in the current volatile market ,and how this would affect a “crypto-paid” bail, Simmons commented, “I would imagine that either side would alert the court of an extreme change in the value of the asset, but it doesn’t mean that the court would care one way or the other.”

The initial complaint charges Marsich with:

“…intentionally accessing a protected computer without authorization to obtain information for the purposes of commercial advantage and private financial gain…and accessing a protected computer to defraud and obtain anything of value.”

Marsich was arrested while boarding a flight to Serbia on August 8th by San Francisco Police. If convicted, the defendant could face a maximum of  5 years imprisonment, a fine of $250,000 plus restitution.

Although bail bonds paid using cryptocurrency may be regarded as beyond the norm, paying taxes in this may well become acceptable in the US after the Rules Committee of the Arizona House of Representatives passed a bill this year that allows residents of the state to use cryptocurrencies in making tax payments.

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Malta Makes Huge ICO Funding Gains as Crypto Investment Funds Rise in 2018

New crypto funds are continuing to open despite a falling market and apprehension over ETF decisions, according to the latest analysis from Crypto Fund Research.

With things seeming to go well for crypto funds, collectively amassing $7.1 billion, they still lag behind traditional hedge funds, with most of the institutional investment managers playing a wait and see scenario. Cryptocurrencies’ next big hurdle, now that digital currencies are very much out there in the financial sector, is to start encouraging institutional investment on a larger scale.

It is thought that 2018 will see more crypto hedge funds arrive on the scene, which is on target to reach 165, nine more than in 2017. Statistics show that until July 31 of this year, there were 96 new crypto hedge funds and venture capital funds with more than half of those existing today being launched in the past 18 months.

There are currently 466 crypto funds across the globe with San Francisco, New York, Singapore and London topping the list for 2018 launches. In addition, Austin, Dallas, Hong Kong, Philadelphia, San Diego, Tokyo, and Zug are not far behind in terms of multiple launches of crypto hedge funds and capital ventures since January this year.

In terms of ICOs, launches have also accelerated this year to date, also seemingly undeterred by a bear market. However, 50 percent of all projects in 2018 have failed to raise more than £100,000. This low figure was put down to investors concerns about scams

Service tokens accounted for 42 percent of new ICOs, but utility tokens attracted the most funding at $22 million per project, followed by crypto tokens at an average of $7 million.

Another hurdle for new ICOs remains that problem of getting projects listed on exchanges, which has become an increasingly lengthy process. The number of projects that managed to get listed in the shortest possible time fell by 22 percent this year, due in part to tougher exchange requirements and new regulatory demands.

In overall terms, 2018 has been 10 times better than the previous year for ICOs, according to a market status report published by ETF on August 8, with more money being raised and more ICOs being launched in the second quarter of the year.

A notable fact coming out of the report is that small nations are winning in terms of making the largest gains, with Malta, Gibraltar, and Singapore coming out on top. Malta raised an average of £119 million, almost twice the funds raised by second on the list Gibraltar. Other statistics show that although it is clearly European nations that are making the largest gains in terms of overall fundraising, North America is still the crypto giant at $4.98 billion with 116 projects, a huge 65 percent of all the funding raised. Europe came in second at $1.12 billion, with Asia coming in third with $751 million.

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Healthcare Companies on Board for Blockchain Data Sharing

Two leading firms in intelligence and blockchain technology for healthcare are developing a platform for the storage and exchange of genomic data, reports Cointelegraph.

The companies will develop a platform to automate data acquisition, utilizing smart contracts, allowing data providers to store, manage, exchange, and profit from genomic and other types of clinical data. It hopes to cater to individuals and large data providers such as biobanks, allowing them to maintain ownership of genomic data and profit from it.

Longenesis targets lab tests results as one of its main areas of focus, developing a blockchain to store and exchange  important longitudinal health data. The company foresees that its work will establish two new fields of clinical study.

Earlier in March, Nasdaq reported that one of its listed companies, Genetic Technologies Limited, had partnered with a blockchain tech firm Shivom to build a “mass genomic data analysis” platform, purporting to allow users to “donate” their DNA for clinical research in a bid to accelerate cancer detection.

Healthcare and clinical research is an expanding area as doctors and hospitals increasingly need secure access to a patient’s entire health history. This new, rapidly evolving field provides fertile ground for experimentation, investment, and proof-of-concept testing.

New platforms are emerging almost daily such as a diagnostic blockchain infrastructure aimed to host, train and use artificial intelligence (AI) in healthcare, and a blockchain-powered platform designed to track and protect pharmaceutical data.

In April, US healthcare giant United Health Group announced a blockchain deployment to keep records up to date, examining “how sharing data across healthcare organizations on blockchain technology can improve data accuracy, streamline administration and improve access to care”.

 

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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

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