Led 11

Who Needs ATMs? This iOS App Cashes Out Your Bits at Retail Stores

· January 11, 2017 · 3:00 am

Spare app has added Bitcoin payment support, allowing users to cash out in national currencies in select U.S. regions using any iOS device.


Spare: Cash Out Bits at Your Local Store

Spare, an alternative finance app that allows users to withdrawal cash on-the-go through various merchant locations, now supports Bitcoin.

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Using the Spare app, users can now cash out their bitcoin at certain local stores. The services is currently available in certain parts of the U.S, including New York, Colorado, New Jersey, Philadelphia, and Washington DC.

While there are currently a few alternatives to cash out bitcoins such as exchanges and Bitcoin ‘ATMs’, Spare bypasses these legacy methods using a secure QR code that is shown to a pre-designated merchant, who will then give you cash in exchange once approved.

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Spare founder and CEO D’ontra Hughes told Bitcoinist,

SPARE is mainly solving the issue of liquidity with your own bitcoin balance. So, when you don’t have a bitcoin ATM nearby – you would use our merchant network. The merchant does not have to accept bitcoin, as the technology converts and issues a market value that can be redeemed in cash.

The Santa Monica-based service also claims to benefit small businesses by “increasing foot traffic” and reducing the liability of having extra cash on hand while reducing the operating and security costs of housing a Bitcoin ATM.

“I get people asking if I have an ATM all the time. Now I can finally help them with SPARE and do it all from my iPad,” reads one review from a merchant called Rose Market. U.S. residents can download the app right now to see how many participating merchants are nearby.

Bitcoin ATMs: Few and Far Between

The Bitcoin infrastructure has growing immensely throughout the years, with a growing number of merchants and services accepting Bitcoin, alongside online exchanges enabling users to convert into almost any currency.

Bitcoin ATMs have also evolved and grown in popularity since the first one was placed in Canada in 2013. There are currently 945 ATMs throughout 55 countries according to Coin ATM Radar with the highest density in North America and Europe. Additionally, not all machines are “two-way,” i.e. you can only buy bitcoins but not receive cash for your bitcoin deposit.

bitcoinist_atm_map_usaDespite the growing numbers however, their availability is still just a drop in the ocean when compared to regular ATM networks and legacy banking infrastructure. Even if there is one in your hometown, they can be hard to find and more often than not, you’ll have to travel to reach it.

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“No more you have to waste time searching for Bitcoin ATMs, as everything can be done directly from your iOS device,” adds Hughes.

The Underbanked & Unbanked

Bitcoin enables peoples to transact directly without involvement of governments and middlemen with limited infrastructure — only an internet connection is needed.

Thus, it can also help the unbanked and underbanked population who do not have access to financial services. Currently, there are an estimated 2-3 billion people in the planet with little or no access to financial services. Moreover, more than half of adults in the poorest 40% of households in developing countries lack a bank account.

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But while Bitcoin can be used to transfer money internationally for much lower fees than traditional payment methods, converting them into cash can be a problem. This is commonly known as the “last mile” problem in remittances.

Spare’s approach of ‘crowdsourcing’ merchants to replace ATMs could prove to be a helpful tool in getting cash into peoples’ hands from their received bitcoins.

Meanwhile, the company has also announced it will be extending its services internationally to Puerto Rico, Canada, Mexico, Italy, Spain, and Nicaragua. Therefore, such a solution has the potential to close the loop, and deliver on the promise of much cheaper blockchain-based remittances compared to legacy services like Western Union.

Can merchants be a better solution for cashing out than Bitcoin ATMs? Share your thoughts below! 


Images courtesy of Shutterstock, Coinatmradar, Spare

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Kvě 24

Blockchain-based Remittance App AirPocket Comes To Latin America

Source: bitcoin

Bitcoinist_Remittance

Blockchain technology has a lot of potential to disrupt the financial sector, and DigitalX is one of the companies wielding the blockchain for remittance purpose. Now that the company has inked a deal with Telefonica in Latin America, AirPocket will be coming to that region very soon.

Also read: Lisk Expands Team Heading Into May 24 Launch

People active in the world of cryptocurrency and blockchain will have heard of DigitalX before, as the company wields distributed ledger technology for financial purposes. Through its AirPocket mobile app, anyone in the world can become a remittance provider, which established a peer-to-peer network of money transfer agents.

Bringing AirPocket to the masses has been a challenge for DigitalX, though, but the company recently partnered with Telefonica in Latin America. Telefonica is the leading Latin American telco, and this new partnership will ensure the DigitalX mobile app will make its way across the entire continent over the next few months.

Blockchain Remittance Through AirPocket and DigitalX

According to DigitalX founder and executive chairman Zhenya Tsvetnenko, the deal with Telefonica is the first of many global partnership announcements. Keeping in mind how DigitalX takes an 11% commission for every AirPocket transaction, bringing this solution to the rest of the world is of the utmost importance.

AirPocket is often touted as being the “Uber of remittance”, as it leverages the sharing economy principle. Additionally, by using a blockchain to complete these transactions, DigitalX has a working example of how this technology can disrupt the financial sector on a large scale while making the process more convenient for its users.

Zhenya Tsvetnenko continued by stating:

“The Telefónica partnership is transformational for our company, and I am not only talking from a revenue opportunity perspective. The fact is, this deal puts our emerging technology company on the global stage and cements our position as a first mover in providing a blockchain application of commercial scale.”

This is a significant partnership between DigitalX and Telefonica, which goes to show AirPocket and its underlying blockchain technology hold a lot of merit for the future. Transferring cash and digital funds between users in a secure and timely fashion is something a lot of consumers have been looking for, and the solution will be coming to Latin America soon.

What are your thoughts on this partnership? Will AirPocket help put blockchain technology on the map in the financial sector? Let us know in the comments below!

Source: The Australian

Images courtesy of Shutterstock, AirPocket

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Blockchain-based Remittance App AirPocket Comes To Latin America

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Úno 04

Viber And Western Union Create Mobile Remittance Solution Despite Cheaper Bitcoin Option

Source: bitcoin

Bitcoinist_Viber

Mobile payment solutions are the new hype right now, as consumers from all over the world are looking for more convenient ways to pay for goods and services. No one would have expected Viber to become a major player in the financial world anytime soon, but their recent partnership with Western Union shakes things up quite a bit. While Bitcoin remains a cheaper remittance solution, this partnership has a lot of potential.

Also read: Rudimental Media to launch Ethereum Based Equity Crowdfunding Site

Mobile Remittance With Viber

In this day and age, there are so many different social messaging applications that it becomes hard to keep track of them all. Viber is one of the more established solutions in this segment, as they serve over 664 million unique users around the world. By offering free VoIP phone calls from a mobile device, as well as a messaging service, Viber has quickly become one of the top social apps available today.

Such a rate of success does not go by unnoticed, and Viber has caught the attention of Western Union. People will know this company from their remittance solutions to send cash around the world in a matter of minutes. When mobile messaging and global payment meet, something interesting is created on the spot.

This partnership between both companies will let Viber users send money to anyone in the world, without even having to visit a Western Union office. That being said, this feature will only be available to US users, and there will be a pickup limit of US$499 per transaction. At the same time, users will be able to collect funds from any Western Union location in the over 200 supported countries.

There is no denying mobile payments are becoming more popular, and Viber has a large user base to target. Western Union makes remittance solutions straightforward, and their partnership creates a user experience for hundreds of millions of users around the globe.Sending money from the comfort of one’s mobile device is an excellent use case for remittance providers.

Keeping in mind how people use social messaging applications such as Viber to stay in touch with friends and family, it only makes sense to leverage the power of instant money transfers through such a platform. The Western Union is the first step along the way for Viber venturing into the world of mobile payment solutions.

Bitcoin Remains Cheaper But Lacks Adoption

On paper, it would make more sense for companies such as Viber to integrate Bitcoin into a remittance tool. The popular digital currency is cheaper and offers a global appeal as well. Plus, services such as Bitpesa are already working with Bitcoin in the remittance sector, to a moderate level of success so far.

At the same time, Bitcoin lacks adoption in both developed and emerging markets. Western Union is the market leader in the remittance sector, and it will take a lot of time until Bitcoin can become a contender. That being said, the modern digital currency offers cheap and instant transfers around the world, regardless of which device is being used.

What are your thoughts on the partnership between Western Union and Viber? Let us know in the comments below!

Source: Finextra

Images courtesy of Viber, Western Union, Shutterstock

The post Viber And Western Union Create Mobile Remittance Solution Despite Cheaper Bitcoin Option appeared first on Bitcoinist.net.

Viber And Western Union Create Mobile Remittance Solution Despite Cheaper Bitcoin Option

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