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Report Cites Record Exchange Transaction Volumes in 2018

Report Cites Record Exchange Transaction Volumes in 2018

The latest Diar report shows that 2018 was a record year for cryptocurrency transacting volumes with huge increases across most major exchanges.

The report states that in the US markets, crypto exchanges such as Kraken and Bitfinex led the way in 2018 with increases of 192% and 50% respectively. San Francisco-based giant Coinbase also showed significant trading increases with a rise of 27% over 2017 trading. Coinbase reported a hike in trading from 82.7 million deals over the year to 94.4 million.

However, Diar predicts a drop off in 2019 spot markets to below the 2017 level despite increases of available cryptocurrencies on the market. In terms of mining activity, Bitcoin miner revenues were also on the up, according to the report, earning a huge USD 5.8 billion in 2018. This, despite monthly figures slumping by 83% over the course of the same year.

Diar commented on the changing face of cryptocurrency mining, indicating that many companies have shifted to operating large numbers of small mining pools rather than larger operations, as a protection against attack. The report stated:

“Unknown miners closed December having solved a whopping 22% of the total blocks up from 6% at the start of last year. The Bitcoin network is currently less likely to experience an attack given the fact the BTC.com controlled pools have lost dominance over the network.”

Another significant factor regarding the direction of the market is that high liquidity OTC transactions are finding greater favor among investors compared to physical BTC markets, reflected in Coinbase observing a 20% increase in BTC trade volume during OTC markets hours.

 

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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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