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Bitcoin: Investment of the Decade?

The Investment of the Decade: Bitcoin vs. World's Megacorps

  • When compared to the world’s top 10 companies in terms of capital quantum, Bitcoin’s increase in value is the highest with a return of USD 9.2 million on a USD 100 investment.
  • Amazon, Apple and Visa are the only three companies with a return percentage of more than 1,000% (3,156%, 2,345% and 1,597% respectively)
  • China’s Alibaba had the worst-performing stock, with a return of only USD 208 on the initial investment.

As per an analysis from howmuch.net, Bitcoin’s value in the past 10 years has increased the most when compared to the top 10 largest firms in terms of market capitalization. As seen in the graph, an investment of a mere USD 100 just 10 years ago would now be worth approximately USD 9.2 million. In comparison, the same investment in Amazon’s stock would stand at USD 3,300 today. In spite of the recent bearish trend, Bitcoin saw a whopping 9,150,088% increase in price.

It is also important to note here that the price of Bitcoin is more volatile than the stocks of other companies. In perspective, Bitcoin’s price ranged from USD 20,000 in late 2017 to USD 3,500 in late November. In contrast, the stock prices of some of the other firms has also fluctuated significantly, however the fluctuation in amount is far less substantial than that of Bitcoin.  This relative stability in price is associated to the predictive nature of these firms’ business models and structures, something which is not possible when it comes to Bitcoin.

Bitcoin has also faced a lot of backlash and criticism in the past few years, swaying off potential investors. This flak and volatile nature coupled with Bitcoin’s surge in price have indeed made the art of investing in Bitcoin seem a highly precarious endeavor.

 

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UK Insurer Legal & General Picks Amazon for Blockchain Pensions

UK Insurer Legal & General Picks Amazon for Blockchain Pensions

Reuters reports that UK insurance firm Legal & General has settled on Amazon as its client to work on what it says will be the first corporate pension blockchain system.

Amazon Web Services (AWS) will launch a managed blockchain system by Legal & General to manage bulk annuities. This involves the insurer assuming the control of the defined benefit or final salary pension schemes from their clients.

Legal & General Reinsurance CEO Thomas Olunloyo explained why they chose blockchain technology in their pension solutions:

“[blockchain suits] the long-term nature of annuities business as it allows data and transactions to be signed, recorded and maintained in a permanent and secure nature over the lifetime of these contracts, which can span over 50 years.”

He references how blockchain uses a shared database to securely process and settle transactions without needing an intermediary to verify the transactions. While banks and other financial institutions have already been investing a lot of resources into researching blockchain-based applications, fintechs and insurance techs (or insurtechs as they are known) have been considering it to further cut costs and enhance the simplicity of back- and mid-office processes.

For now, Legal & General will only apply the platform for bulk annuity clients outside of its chief focus within United Kingdom and the US, although sources have said that these two markets could also benefit in the future.

AWS GM for Amazon Managed Blockchain at AWS Rahul Pathak described the deal as allowing the insurer to “focus on building new business… instead of dealing with the challenges of keeping a blockchain network up and running”.

Amazon’s managed blockchain services only went live early last month, as reported by Bitcoin News.

 

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Amazon’s Cryptography Patent Triggers Bitcoin Integration Speculation

Amazon's Cryptography Patent Triggers Bitcoin Integration Speculation

Joining some of the most recognized brands in the world, American multinational tech company Amazon has now filed its own application for a blockchain-based patent focused on cryptography, according to AMBCrypto.

The patent itself was actually filed over two years ago just before Christmas 2016, but the ‘Generation of Merkle Trees as Proof-of-Work’ filing was only recently discovered when Anthony Pompliano, co-founder of Morgan Creek Digital, shared a post on Twitter:

BREAKING: Amazon has filed a patent in the US for a proof-of-work system that leverages cryptography.

There’s not a large company in the world who isn’t going to join the revolution.

THE VIRUS IS SPREADING 🔥

— Pomp 🌪 (@APompliano) May 16, 2019

Pompliano went on to say that the “virus was spreading”, referencing how even large corporations and institutional money was now joining the “(crypto) revolution”. It should be noted, however, that the relation to cryptocurrency from the patent is only based on its patenting of a proof of work authentication based on cryptography, which bears some semblance to the algorithm used to secure the Bitcoin network, and the blockchains of many other cryptocurrencies.

The patent singles out the technology’s use to “purely mitigate any Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attack” with a detailed SHA-256 hashing algorithm, the same used by Bitcoin.

Beyond that, there is little to say that Amazon will be integrating Bitcoin into its marketplace, but that won’t stop the rumor mill from heating up. 

Amazon itself has issued no formal statement, although the door is clearly not closed. Amazon Web Services General Manager Rahul Pathak had said at the recent Consensus 2019 that Amazon would surely obtain a “point of view” on digital assets it they were something that “matters to customers”.

 

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Amazon Managed Blockchain Goes Live

Amazon Managed Blockchain Goes Live

Amazon has just announced its new managed service enabling users to be able to create manage scalable blockchain networks.

The service called Amazon Managed Blockchain is currently available in North Virginia after the company announced the blockchain-as-a-service (BaaS) at its AWS re:Invent conference in November 2018.

Jeff Barr, chief evangelist at Amazon Web Services commented that the service can be used to create scalable blockchain networks that use the Hyperledger Fabric open source framework, with Ethereum in the works, adding:

“You can create your network in minutes. Once created, you can easily manage and maintain your blockchain network. You can manage certificates, invite new members, and scale out peer node capacity in order to process transactions more quickly.”

Michael Fauscette, chief research officer of G2 Crowd, a business-to-business software review site was impressed with the launch suggesting that the adoption of BaaS will be a worthwhile addition other to cloud services with some remarkable differences. The service also secures certificates for access control using AWS Key Management Service technology, eliminating the need for customers to set up their own secure certificate storage.

“The use case ideas are really exploding around blockchain in a way that will drive in a wave of adoption that will happen faster than others,” Fauscette said in an earlier interview.

However, the jury is still out on Amazon for many cryptocurrency users after the retail giant removed its payment options of both Bitcoin and Bitcoin Cash recently. Twitch had used a BitPay payment gateway for users who wished to pay for their subscriptions with BTC or BCH. The cryptocurrency payment option was first added in mid-2018 and initially included options for Ethereum and Litecoin.

 

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Amazon Streaming Service Twitch Removes Cryptocurrency Payment Choice

Amazon Streaming Service Twitch Removes Cryptocurrency Payment Choice

Amazon streaming service Twitch has reportedly removed its payment options of both Bitcoin and Bitcoin Cash.

A Reddit user first noted the change which was then confirmed in the thread by many others, several of whom vowed to cancel their subscriptions due to the removal of both cryptocurrency payment choices. ”Well, I’m taking action now, canceled all my subs + sent them a ticket,” a poster wrote under the handle 1John8Lare.

Twitch had used a BitPay payment gateway for users who wished to pay for their subscriptions with BTC or BCH. The cryptocurrency payment option was first added in mid-2018 and initially included options for Ethereum and Litecoin.

While Twitch has not openly commented on the removal, it has been speculated that it could be due to a low transaction volume and many users not realizing the option even existed.

It was reported in March that the latest software update for Streamlabs, a streaming software popular among Twitch users to receive tips, had removed the platform’s cryptocurrency payment feature also. Streamlab users were able to collect cryptocurrency tips by linking their account to Coinbase.

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Rakuten May Soon Accept Crypto Payments

Japan’s Amazon-analog Rakuten, in its last earnings report, has announced that it will be releasing new features on its pay mobile app which may supposedly allow its users make use of cryptocurrency transactions through the gateway in the near future.

Rakuten didn’t directly say that it would accept cryptocurrencies, however, it did give a hint that all payment options will be accepted and since it already owns a subsidiary that offers cryptocurrency service, hence the possibility of it accepting crypto payments on its app when the upgraded features are released in March.

Rakuten’s involvement in crypto was established when it acquired local crypto exchange Everybody’s Bitcoin last year and was of the opinion that cryptocurrency-based payments will revolutionize the e-commerce industry.

Cryptocurrency payments on e-commerce platforms are thought to be one of the revolutionary hallmarks of cryptocurrency that may usher it into mainstream usage. Up until recently, only a few stores accepted crypto payments and most of these were sponsored by enthusiasts themselves.

As for mainstream stores, it remains to be known what’s keeping them from accepting cryptocurrency payments. More so, a sample survey showed how an average of 3% of Americans used Bitcoin for purchases. Perhaps it has something to do with volatility and the fact that in most jurisdictions, crypto regulatory status is either uncertain or outright banned. However, for Japanese crypto enthusiasts, the possibility of this development by Rakuten may have a positive impact on the industry.

E-commerce shoppers continue to show enthusiasm towards cryptocurrency adoption, although it might take a while before the industry has fully permeated the e-commerce niche. More so, a recent survey showed that 12.7% of Amazon customers would like to see the marketplace selling cryptocurrency products or services.

 

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12.7% of Amazon Customers Call For Crypto Products or Services

amazon, cryptocurrency, bitcoin

A recent survey shows that 12.7% of Amazon customers would like to see the marketplace selling cryptocurrency products or services.

The report conducted by Global financial portal Investing.com had surveyed over 1000 of the multinational e-commerce company’s clients in an attempt to analyze Amazon’s consumption rate, with a view of expanding its services to offer more products.

The results revealed that most respondents, being allowed to choose multiple products, voted mostly in favor of an Amazon-backed computer offering (72.9%), followed by local coupons and deals (51.7%), prescription drugs (36.7%), home security (31%) and even medical marijuana (29.5).

13.7% of Amazon clients unsurprisingly voted for listing cryptocurrency products, especially given calls from the industry to drive cryptocurrency adoption through the huge e-commerce market. Although Amazon has been somewhat reticent, there were indications in November 2017 when Bitcoin was at its hiatus and looked to be stratosphere bound, that internet e-commerce giant had likely acquired digital currency-related domain names.

As for using crypto online for purchasing goods and services, exchange giant Binance’s CEO Changpeng Zhao has said in the past that he sees Amazon eventually accepting cryptocurrencies, suggesting that they are ideally suited for use on the platform. He commented:

“For any internet (non-physical) based business, I don’t understand why anyone would not accept crypto for payments. It is easier, faster and cheaper to integration than traditional payment gateways. Less paperwork. And reaches more diverse demographic and geography.”

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Apple Loses Near Equivalent of Bitcoin’s Entire Market Cap in One Day

Apple Loses Near Equivalent of Bitcoin's Entire Market Cap in One Day

Apple’s recent hit in valuation due to the recent slowdown in China’s juggernaut economy illustrated to Bitcoin and cryptocurrency followers just how far the industry needs to develop to become a household name itself.

Falling revenues at the company are unprecedented in recent times with shares trading at their lowest since July 2017, and the hit it took last week was one of the worst since January 2013.

Given that Apple is just one company, albeit, one with total global recognition, it was nonetheless able to wipe $65 billion of its evaluation last week, roughly Bitcoin’s total market cap, and continue in business. At the time of writing Bitcoin’s market cap stands at $66,903,300,377 with its value at USD3,830.48 according to CoinMarketCap.

The cryptocurrency environment is still attempting to recover from its hammering of December 2017, with 2018 showing a $700 billion loss from its market cap and cryptocurrencies shedding 85% of their worth. However, tech giants appear to be having their own unique problems too as the world’s 5 household names in tech, Facebook, Amazon, Apple, Netflix, and Google, may have lost over $1 trillion from their all-time high.

Market Analyst, eToro guru Mati Greenspan comments that this slump could well be in Bitcoin’s favor suggesting that “A correlation of <0.1 is considered weak. If the stocks keep sliding and bitcoin rising, that grey line could plummet. Then Bitcoin might be seen as a safe haven.”

Apple’s CEO Tim Cook suggested that China, Hong Kong and Taiwan account for almost 20 percent of the company’s revenue, so that any slump in those regions is sure to impact company profits as a whole, adding, “While we anticipated some challenges in key emerging markets, we did not foresee the magnitude of the economic deceleration, particularly in Greater China.”

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Hitting the Sales With Crypto

Hitting the Sales With Crypto

2018 might not have been the best year in terms of cryptocurrency market performance, but it did see a host of new ways emerge for people to buy everyday items using digital currencies. Here are some of the options for consumers looking to spend some of their holdings during the winter sales.

Bitcoin ATMs

This year the number of Bitcoin ATMs across the globe doubled, with an average of six new installations emerging every day and the total number standing at around 4,050. Some of these machines are limited to transacting Bitcoin purchases only, while the rest can be used to make a quick sale for cash.

They can be found in up to 84 countries, including the US, UK, Canada, and Austria. Over half of the ATM machines offer services for at least one other cryptocurrency including but not limited to Ethereum, Litecoin, and Dash.

The nearest ATMs can be found using Coin ATM Radar.

Coinbase e-gift cards

Coinbase customers in the US, Australia, and select EU countries can withdraw funds from their account directly into an e-gift card vie WeGift. Options are available in fashion, food and drink, entertainment and home and leisure, with top brands including Nike, Adidas, and Dominos. The service is offered without fee, with some online merchants also offering a bonus of up to 5%.

Amazon, online stores

Bitrefill offers residents of Germany, France, the UK and the US online vouchers for major retailers, available to purchase with Bitcoin. It includes Amazon vouchers which also can be exchanged for Bitcoin on the decentralized trading platform LocalBitcoins.

Major retailers offering vouchers on Bitrefill and participating in the seasonal sales include Asos, Decathalon and Debenhams.

A number of other e-commerce sites accept cryptocurrency payment methods directly, including retail outlet Overstock, technology retailer Newegg, and some sellers on the alternative retailer for vintage or handmade goods, Etsy.

Check for local outlets

For those looking to spend cryptocurrency directly in local outlets, there are several websites available to help find stores willing to accept this payment method. Where to Spend Bitcoins provides this service for the UK, while Coinmap.org provides an international perspective. Europe and North America have the most condensed number of outlets, with South America, South Korea, and Japan also hosting a significant number.

Coinmap is particularly good for finding and supporting small businesses that share a faith in Bitcoin.

Where next?

In 2019, look out for more fast food restaurants offering a cryptocurrency payment choice, with this year’s trends indicating some of the most well-known names will expand into this service.

In January, KFC Canada offered “The Bitcoin Bucket,” a chicken tenders, waffle fries combination box, for USD 20 in Bitcoin, an offer which quickly sold out. Particular branches of Subway including in Altoona, PA have accepted Bitcoin as early as 2013, while the summer of 2018 saw 522 Venezuelan branches also include Dash as a valid form of payment.

While Starbucks denied rumors in August that they would be accepting direct Bitcoin payments any time soon, the coffee chain has partnered with Microsoft and Bakkt to allow people to convert their cryptocurrency into US dollars, with its support for digital currency still leaving many to speculate about future acceptance.

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Crypto Helping Homeless Through Winter on Scotland’s Streets

Scotland may not have gained its independence and its ministers continue to fight Brexit in the UK parliament amid cabinet resignations but with winter coming, at least Scotland’s homeless are getting a helping hand courtesy of cryptocurrency.

These are not good times politically for Scotland but spare a thought for those facing a bitter northern winter living on the streets of Glasgow. Cryptocurrency startup, the Scotcoin Project, clearly have, linking up with non-profit venture Social Bite to fight homelessness.

The project’s aim is to fund charity ventures and fight poverty in Scotland by generating enough funds to place the country’s homeless in rented accommodation and get them off the streets and on their feet in the cold weather. By donating GBP 5 to the homeless fund for every GBP 20 earned from its Scotcoin token sales, the project is coming just before winter starts to bite.

The winter program will be temporary as the project will looking for permanent accommodation through Scotlands’s “Housing First” program in the long term. Glasgow Housing First provides:

“… mainstream social housing and 24-hour support to individuals who are homeless, aged 18 or over and involved in drug misuse. The service places homeless individuals directly into independent tenancies in Glasgow with no requirement to progress through transitional housing programs. By sustaining a permanent tenancy in Glasgow, service users are in a better position to access community support, health care, and social benefits.”

Scotcoin almost became a victim of the country’s independence referendum on 18 September 2014, which resulted in a no-vote; a decision which is still having repercussions today, given that the country voted against Brexit by a majority in 2016 but are still bound to Westminster’s legislation.

Before the independence vote went the wrong the way for Scottish Nationalists, Scotcoin was being held up by its creators as a pro-independence cryptocurrency of Scotland, allowing the country to replace the pound if the country had voted “yes”.

Scotcoin’s leading stakeholder Temple Melville calls the project “an inspiring initiative” and indicated that the match between his company and Social Bite was a natural one as they were already operating in the same field: “One of our stated objectives is to help eradicate homelessness, and Social Bite is already well established within this area.”

Temple claims that he has received funding of a staggering USD 2 billion pledge from Amazon founder Jeff Bezos; if this figure is accurate, with the 4-1 bonus system this would make a huge impact on the homeless project to the tune of USD 50 million. Temple commented:

“We have several thousand holders of Scotcoin and have holders in more than 50 countries worldwide… On migration to our new [Counterparty] blockchain, present holders of Scotcoin will be rewarded for their support by receiving a 4-for-1 bonus, an effective increase in the value of up to 5 times.”

 

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