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Bakkt Acquiring Loyalty Rewards Company Bridge 2 Solutions; Will This Give Bakkt the Potential to Drastically Increase Crypto Adoption?

crypto loyalty rewards

  • Bakkt will soon integrate crypto into loyalty rewards programs, which could substantially increase crypto adoption

The Intercontinental Exchange (ICE), which is the parent company of crypto exchange Bakkt, is acquiring the loyalty rewards company Bridge 2 Solutions. Ultimately, Bridge 2 Solutions will be put under control of the Bitcoin Warehouse, which is run by Bakkt, and the goal is to integrate crypto into loyalty rewards programs.

Essentially, Bakkt is looking to launch a consumer-focused digital payments app in the first half of 2020, and the integration of loyalty rewards will increase the capabilities of that app while providing a steady revenue stream. Users will be able to transact airline miles, hotel points, cryptocurrency, and other assets. Therefore, this creates the potential for people to cash out their airline miles and hotel points into crypto, which would be a solid new use case for cryptocurrency and thus could increase adoption.

Additionally, Bakkt is looking into integrating crypto into digital gaming, and to create a direct crypto payment system that will be as easy to use as credit cards, which has the potential to drastically increase the usability of cryptocurrency in retail environments.

 

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Can Facebook’s Latest Project Re-Invigorate the Crypto Space?

Can Facebook's Latest Project Re-Invigorate the Crypto Space_

With Facebook about to enter the cryptocurrency arena, the industry is awash with opinions about how exactly the arrival of the much-discussed coin will impact on all aspects of the digital currency market, and whether these impacts will be negative, positive or a mixture of both.

Facebook’s original vision, created by a small group of enthusiastic students, was pretty profound. They created FaceMash in July 2003 which was to morph into Facebook under the supervision of Harvard students Mark Zuckerberg and roommate Eduardo Save a year later. They put their plan for social media networking into a few words:

“Facebook’s mission is to give people the power to build community and bring the world closer together. People use Facebook to stay connected with friends and family, to discover what’s going on in the world, and to share and express what matters to them.”

Before examining whether Facebook will impact the likes of Bitcoin and its now numerous altcoin alternatives, it may be worth considering just how much impact it has had on populations around the globe, long before it decided launches into its next major reincarnation as a cryptocurrency player.

Across the globe, Facebook now has over 2.38 billion monthly active users as of 31 March 2019. Some 1.56 billion people on average log onto Facebook daily. As of 2014 On average, the Like and Share Buttons are viewed across almost 10 million websites daily. In Europe alone, over 307 million people are on Facebook, and worldwide every 60 seconds on Facebook 510,000 comments are posted, 293,000 statuses are updated, and 136,000 photos are uploaded.

These statistics are outstanding, and it is worth looking at who these users are in terms of a crypto demographic which has proven that millennials have made cryptocurrency their home when it comes to how they arrange their financial lives. The prime target audience for Facebook is Age 25 to 34, representing 29.7% of users; a demographic which also matches that of the majority of today’s crypto users. 50% of 18-24 year-olds, another prime cryptocurrency audience, log on to Facebook when they wake up each morning. One final statistic; Facebook claims that 2.7 billion people use Facebook, WhatsApp, Instagram, or Messenger each month and more than 2.1 billion people use at least one of the Facebook family of services every day on average.

With an estimated 1.6 billion people logging on to Facebook each day and almost twice that amount using Facebook services each month, this creates a market which Bitcoin could only dream of. The impact on Bitcoin could be profound, and in a highly positive way, as billions of users within the 18-34-year-old user group now begin to become aware of a new mode of payment; cryptocurrency. Amongst this huge demographic will be those who may have had little prior knowledge of cryptocurrency or its workings, or simply not trusted it. Facebook’s entry into the market will change that perspective, that lack of knowledge and hesitance in using crypto will change.

That is to say that the potential for millions to simply discover Bitcoin “accidentally” or now take interest due to becoming familiar with Globalcoin through their daily FB log-ins becomes a huge prospect. Altcoins can expect to gain exposure too as more eyes shift towards the crypto market, potentially boosting mass adoption of cryptocurrencies across the board.

This is highly unlikely to happen overnight, but more of a drip feed as Facebook users gradually gain confidence in using a stablecoin and begin to take an interest in the market, and particularly the potential of Bitcoin. Facebook can, therefore, become a route to the cryptocurrency market for billions, and potentially in doing so become Bitcoin’s greatest ally.

 

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Apple’s CryptoKit Edges Closer Towards Phone Support for Digital Currencies

Apple's CryptoKit Edges Closer Towards Phone Support for Digital Currencies

It has been announced that Apple has plans to integrate what it calls an iPhone CryptoKit into its next-generation iPhone.

Although the title sounds like a major step away from a hitherto rather tentative stance on all things crypto, enthusiasts will need to wait for a while before becoming to over-enthusiastic. This is no crypto wallet and, unlike Samsung, Apple is not ready to pander to its many iPhone-holding crypto fans just yet.

However, falling short of supplying a fully- fledged crypto wallet with the latest iOS 13 software will have some of the advantages of a wallet for some users, according to Open Money Initiative co-founder Alejandro Machado who enthused:

“For the first time, developers can leverage the secure enclave to manage a user’s keys in an iPhone, achieving a similar level of security to hardware wallets.”

The new iOS13 plans which will replace Apple’s previous framework announced at its Worldwide Developers Conference in Cupertino, California this week.

The announcement was met with somewhat muted response elsewhere, some not sharing Open Money Initiative’s obvious enthusiasm, with one developer claiming that Apple’s current CommonCrypto already provides many of the functions that CryptoKit offers.

The Ethereum community seems to stoked about a new Apple framework called CryptoKit. There are a few misconceptions I’d like to clear up. (Thread)

— Ronald Mannak (@ronaldmannak) June 4, 2019

Clearly, Apple is holding back, given that its competitor Samsung offers the Galaxy S10 which includes a cryptocurrency wallet compatible with Ether (ETH) and Ethereum-based ERC20 tokens, although it does not currently support Bitcoin, thereby immediately frustrating many users.

 

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Opera Introduces the New Reborn 3 with Crypto Wallet

Opera Introduces the New Reborn 3 with Crypto Wallet

The new Opera 60 a.k.a. Reborn 3 comes incorporated with many value-added features. However, what will interest the crypto enthusiasts the most is the built-in crypto wallet that it comes with. The crypto wallet is serviced through infuria.io.

Opera 60 has been launched for MAC, Windows and Linux and it comprises of several beneficial features such as the Web-3 explorer, a crypto wallet, an ad blocker, free unlimited VPN and a “my flow” feature.

The free unlimited VPN protects the privacy of the user and delivers a safe browsing experience through its encrypted tunnel used for conveying data.  The aesthetics of the browser can also be controlled by the user with its light and dark theme depending on their mood. The ad blocker ensures a distraction-free working environment and the users can easily “opt out of the cluttered version of the web”. Opera has enhanced their features in such a way that they do not become a hindrance in accessibility to its users.

Web 3 is a combination of all the emerging technologies including cryptocurrencies (Ethereum) and a Blockchain system. The crypto wallet allows the user to store, send and receive ETH. It not only allows currency transactions but also houses the identification of the individual. It has private and public keys which help in making transactions. The tokens on the Opera computer browser sync with the Crypto wallet in the Opera browser in the Android smartphone. The transactions are assessed by confirming security passcode on the smartphone which in turn ensures secure transactions.

The Dapps store gives access to crypto-fueled collectibles such as e-commerce Dapps, games, exchange, blockchain-powered blogging services, etc.

Opera is providing all the tools to make the browsing experience all the more smooth and enhanced by setting a bar for the other browsers with a glimpse into the ‘Web of the future’. Through its tools, it ensures the users a complete control over their digital lives with ample improvised functionalities and aesthetics. With the introduction of crypto wallet, Opera has marked a new era for cryptocurrency adoption in the history of web browsers.

With the increased tensions in the legality of cryptocurrency in India, this is a welcome move to promote cryptocurrency and the many advantages it brings along. The usage of crypto wallets has been growing exponentially worldwide, thereby enhancing the overall experience of digital life.

Crytpo wallet widget on Opera 60 a.k.a Reborn 3

Option to send and receive ETH through the DApps on Opera

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12.7% of Amazon Customers Call For Crypto Products or Services

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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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Ethereum Foundation Awards $5 Million Grant to Parity Technologies for Ethereum 2.0

Ethereum Foundation Awards  Million Grant to Parity Technologies for Ethereum 2.0

In a blog post by the Ethereum Foundation yesterday, the non-profit arm of the Ethereum development network announced a grant of USD 5 million awarded to UK-based Parity Technologies.

It would seem the grant was given to Parity Technologies to fund developments of Ethereum 2.0 in the areas of scalability, usability, and security. Specific areas of interest highlighted included Parity’s efforts on Casper, sharding, lightweight clients and other development activities.

According to the blog post, Parity Technologies had contributed immensely to the furtherance of the Ethereum network by being a major technical contributor. More so, the Foundation considers them as an “invaluable member” in terms of “leadership in core development efforts”.

Parity is famous for its Ethereum software client used by exchanges, miners, Dapp developers, and service providers to facilitate infrastructural processing on the Ethereum network.

Some of its notable efforts include development strategizing towards a more scalable and usable Ethereum network. They have been described as a committed team with “pinpointed focus on the next generation advancements like proof-of-stake, sharding, and WebAssembly“.

The Foundation has informed that the grant will be released in parts according to milestone achievements, such as the completion of eWasm compatibility work, shipping a light wallet for mainnet, and the successful completion of Phase 0 and Phase 1 of sharding.

The Foundation’s past is filled with the trail of such types of funds called DEVGRANTS, although comparatively lower, they also concerned the funding of public works which facilitate the development of the Ethereum ecosystem. Such development includes MetaMask DApp support in standard browsers, Snappy Ubuntu Core, Syng Ethereum for mobile devices, and EthEmbedded Ethereum for embedded devices.

Binance also announced last December that it would be hosting its first SAFU hackathon in Singapore during the Binance Blockchain Week slated for 19 – 20 January 2019. The aim of the hackathon is to explore security concerns in crypto.

 

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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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Coinbase Banning Services to Social Media Group Stirs Up Twitter Again

Coinbase Banning Services to Social Media Group Stirs Twitter Again

Cryptocurrency exchange giant Coinbase has caused a stir on Twitter after excluding social media site Gab and its founder from services.

This is not the first time Coinbase has chosen to single out social network site Gab, having targeted the site in June 2018, closing its account with the San Francisco based company.

Gab launched in August 2016 as a response to censorship controversies involving major social media companies. Founder and CEO Andrew Torba referred to such companies at the time as “the entirely left-leaning Big Social monopoly.”

Although Coinbase gave no explanation for the Gab shutout last June, social commentator Kevin Pham, suggested it might have been in response to a Gab tweet that “crony capitalism” was behind last year’s SEC announcement that Ethereum was not a security.

At the time, Gab’s response to the first ban was “Centralized crypto exchanges/wallets are cancer and contradictory to everything crypto stands for.”

The new ban comes hours after a Gab tweet attacking exchange censorship and extolling the virtues of decentralization. The social network has gained a reputation for allowing expression of views which are controversial with some referring to the social network as “haven for white supremacists”.

I will be withdrawing whatever funds I have left in Coinbase and never using them again.

— ₿itcoin Maximus (@MaximusBitcoin) January 4, 2019

Coinbase has made no comment on its actions against the social media company or its CEO, leaving commentators speculating as to the reason it may have had to penalize a customer, and considering if a curb on freedom of expression is within the remit of a cryptocurrency exchange

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Samsung Files for UK Crypto Trading Wallet Patent

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Electronics giant Samsung appears to be turning its direction towards cryptocurrencies as it continues to develop the next generation of phones.

This time it is targeting the UK market, with an application already filed with the U.K. Intellectual Property Office for its ‘Samsung Crypto Wallet’. The suggestion is that Samsung is planning to begin building cryptocurrency facilities into its popular range of phones which retail at around $750 in the US.

The trademark application states that Samsung is to develop: “Computer software for use as a cryptocurrency wallet; Computer software for cryptocurrency transfer and payment using blockchain technology; Computer application software for smartphones, namely, software to allow users to transfer cryptocurrency based on blockchain technology and pay via 3rd party’s application software.”

Speculations have been circulating for some time about whether the South Korean giant plans to take the cryptocurrency route, particularly since its filing of three EU trademark applications for blockchain- and cryptocurrency related software in December of this year.

The area of blockchain is one as yet which has been little explored by major phone developers and manufacturers. The first move into the sector was made by Taiwanese smartphone manufacturer HTC recently when the company developed a decentralized bowser called Brave on its HTC Exodus phone calling it the “the first native blockchain phone.” The Exodus provides support for Bitcoin (BTC) and Ethereum (ETH) networks.

Also in November of this year, Sirin Labs’ developed its new smartphone, Finney. The smartphone will compete with the likes of HTC’s Exodus DLT phone and other non-blockchain phones for a market share of the trillion-dollar-plus smartphone industry.

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Coinbase CEO: Virtual Reality and Crypto Next Big Combo

Coinbase CEO: Virtual Reality and Crypto Next Big Combo

Coinbase CEO Brian Armstrong has said that cryptocurrency has the potential to turn Virtual Reality into a full-time job.

Armstrong suggests that virtual spaces could create their own currencies or even make use of existing ones such as Bitcoin or Ethereum by integrating the means for users to spend crypto in the same way as they are currently using fiat.

Developers would see more time spent on such games, according to the Coinbase boss, taking it much further into the realms of Sci-fi by suggesting that players could use the virtual world to support themselves in the real world, cashing in their accrued gaming funds for “real” use, such as paying rent. He speculates:

“Perhaps we’ll see virtual bank buildings with pillars, virtual bank vaults that spin when you open them, and virtual tellers with glasses.” The exchange magnate, clearly a follower of the gaming and VR world added, “Ready Player One had a great visual of coins being collected in the game, and spilling out of characters when they were killed (leaving a big pile of loot on the ground).”

Clearly, Armstrong has seen the potential of turning VR ownership into the real thing via some of his own exchange-listed cryptocurrencies. But in reality, there’s still a long way to go – crossing the bridge from virtual into reality.

Armstrong appears to be in touch with the man on the street, if not through gaming and VR, then certainly in terms of what reality actually means for many of the world’s “have-nots” these days. This was shown by his recent personal $1 million giveaway through his charity project called GiveCrypto.

The project is a global enterprise which will give out cryptocurrency donations to worthy recipients, who will then be able to make personal choices in whether to keep their donations as cryptocurrency or exchange them for fiat. GiveCrypto wants to raise USD 10 million by the end of 2018 and grow to a fund of USD 1 billion over two years. Donations will hopefully come from wealthy donors who have amassed wealth through cryptocurrency, passing on their good fortunes to those in need of financial help. Suggested cryptocurrencies for donations are Bitcoin, Ripple, and Zcash.

Ripple’s co-founder Chris Larsen has already put in an undisclosed donation into the Armstrong charity hat. This may not be all that Ripple will be putting into Coinbase’s coffers if recent news that Coinbase plans to list XRP on its exchange becomes reality…. that’s not a virtual one by the way!

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