Kvě 29

China’s Biggest Exchanges to Add Ethereum, Other Altcoins as Demand Surges

· May 29, 2017 · 7:00 am

As altcoins continue to gain popularity throughout the world, Bitcoin exchanges in China are also getting in on the action and listing alternative cryptocurrencies.


Huobi to Support Altcoins

As the moratorium on cryptocurrency withdrawals is expected to soon end in China, exchanges in the country seem to be turning their attention to alternative cryptocurrencies. Two days ago, one of the big three exchanges in China, Huobi, announced it will launch Ethereum trading on May 31.

The announcement reads:

We are excited to announce the CNY/ETH will be listed on our exchanges. Trading will start at 12:00 May 31st (GMT +8). ETH deposit and withdrawal is available from now on.

Today, Huobi released a list of altcoins that are to be added in the future according to the rank of the coin in said list. According to Huboi’s underlying model, Ethereum, Litecoin and Ripple are the highest ranking coins following Bitcoin, followed by Dash, Zcash and Dogecoin.

Online news service cnLedger tweeted:

The list was ranked using a model created by Huobi which factors in the coin’s strategy, marketing, activity, risk and technology to calculate the relevance of the coin.

The list and underlying model can be seen in Huobi’s official announcement.

BTCC to Get In On the Action as Well

Huobi isn’t the only Bitcoin exchange in China that is to list alternative cryptocurrencies.

After a two-week poll, in which over 190k votes by the cryptocurrency community were counted, Ethereum Classic will be listed in the BTCC exchange. Bobby Lee, CEO of BTCC tweeted:

Although the exchanges employed a completely different method in which Huobi used a model to rank cryptocurrencies and BTCC used a community poll, both exchanges are interested in opening the doors for the Chinese community to invest in  alternative cryptocurrencies.

Huobi and BTCC, however, are not the first exchanges in the country to list alternative cryptocurrencies. The China-based Yunbi exchange allows users to buy and sell cryptocurrencies like Etherem, Ethereum Classic, Zcash, QTUM, Bitshares, and others. BTC38 also offers a multitude of cryptocurrencies to be bought and sold for CNY. Lastly, CHBTC also lists Ethereum, Ethereum Classic, and Litecoin.

Crypto in Asia

Although less-known exchanges in the country offer altcoin trading, most Chinese users are only familiar with Bitcoin and Litecoin, given that most cryptocurrency investors use one of the big three exchanges in the country, BTCC, OKCoin and Huobi.

China plays a big part in the Bitcoin world, ranking in the top 3 countries by daily trading volume but other countries in the continent are becoming increasingly interested in cryptocurrencies and it’s not just Bitcoin and Litecoin.

Take Japan, for example, where the recent Bitcoin law has created an accentuated demand for cryptocurrencies, making the JPY the biggest Bitcoin pair in the world by trading volume and that’s not all. Other cryptocurrencies are also gaining traction in the country.

Co-Founder of IndieSquare and Community Director at the Counterparty Foundation, stated in a recent blog post:

First, one of the unique characteristics of the Japanese crypto space is that altcoins are very popular as a means of investment and some of them have very strong and dedicated communities; some even more active than the Bitcoin community itself in a way. Among them, two of the most popular altcoins in Japan are XRP(Ripple) and XEM(NEM).

In South Korea, Ethereum and Ethereum Classic are also extremely popular, even more so than Bitcoin whose daily trading volume is smaller than that of ETH or ETC.

With China adhering to the altcoin craze, could Asia become the capital for alternative cryptocurrencies?


Images courtesy of Shutterstock.com, Twitter 

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Kvě 21

Japan Bitcoin Prices Hit 300,000 Yen, Trade Volume Doubles

· May 21, 2017 · 11:58 am

Bitcoin spot rates on Japanese exchanges hit 300,000 yen ($2690) Saturday as the largest trading market continues to buoy prices.


Japan Exchange Frenzy: Coincheck Sees 97% Increase

As Bitcoin breached the $2000 barrier worldwide Friday, Japan’s exchange spreads had begun widening, with asking prices exceeding $500 above the average amount quoted on resources such as Coinmarketcap.com.

Compared to an average press time rate of $2080, major exchange Coincheck currently quotes a spot rate of 260823 yen ($2344).

Japan Bitcoin Prices Hit 300,000 Yen

Fellow exchange BitFlyer registered a 97% increase in trade volumes in the 24 hours to press time Sunday. By contrast, Kraken saw USD/BTC up 21%, Bitfinex 51% and GDAX 45%.

Dotcom, Saxobank: ‘I Told You So’

Momentum in Japan has steadily increased as Bitcoin gains more of a public profile in business and media circles. Most recently, a drive focussed on mainstream availability – and hence adoption – of Bitcoin payments will see hundreds of thousands more outlets able to accept the virtual currency.

These outlets include those of major payment apps and by extension Alipay.

The Japanese exchange climate is also of interest to traders abroad as prices accelerate and opportunities for profit-taking via arbitrage become an increasingly hot topic of conversation on social media.

Taking kudos already meanwhile are those who predicted current prices when Bitcoin was worth much less.

Among those were Saxobank and Kim Dotcom, both of whom forecast a $2000 Bitcoin in 2017.

The banking world has also seemingly reacted to the new personality of Bitcoin, with Norwegian Skandiabanken offering cryptocurrency-denominated accounts.

Mempool Woes Continue To Haunt Users

At the same time, however, all is not well. On a technical usability level, the Bitcoin network’s backlog of unprocessed transactions means that many investors are unable to benefit from arbitrage or other trading-based options afforded by the diverse exchange market.

The mempool is hovering around all-time high levels, vastly inflated compared to even two months ago, with even significant fee rises unable to impact on waiting times.

Having briefly dropped Friday, queues are now lengthening once more, with tools such as transaction accelerators either maxed out or charging comparatively high fees to increase the probability of a speedy confirmation.

A test transaction from Bitcoinist with a fee of 120 satoshi per byte, unconfirmed for 24 hours, would currently cost $4.66 to accelerate with BTC.com.

What do you think about the differences in exchange prices for Bitcoin? Let us know in the comments below!


Images courtesy of CoinCheck, BTC.com, AdobeStock

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Dub 05

Japan: Bitcoin Payments Could See 260,000 Stores by Summer

· April 5, 2017 · 5:00 am

Bitcoin payments may be accepted at over 260,000 stores in Japan by this summer following partnerships between the country’s Bitcoin exchanges and major retailers.


Bic Camera to Trial Bitcoin Payments

Japanese electronics chain Bic Camera has partnered with Tokyo-based bitFlyer, which runs the country’s largest bitcoin exchange that currently comprises about 10% of the Bitcoin market.

This Friday, Bic Camera’s flagship shop in Tokyo’s Yurakucho district along with Bicqlo Bic Camera, a hybrid outlet with Uniqlo, will begin a trial run using bitFlyer’s bitcoin payment system, according to the official release.

Customers will be able to pay up to 100,000 yen (~$900 USD) with Bitcoin, which will also include reward points at the same rate as for cash payments. The trial will determine if Bic Camera will expand Bitcoin payments to its other 39 nationwide locations.

260,000 Merchants Can Now Accept Bitcoin

Meanwhile, another Tokyo bitcoin exchange, Coincheck, has partnered with Recruit Lifestyle, the retail support arm of human resources conglomerate Recruit Holdings.

Coincheck, which currently holds 99% of the bitcoin payment market share in Japan, will bring Bitcoin payments to shops that use AirRegi, a point-of-sale app developed by Recruit Lifestyle, by this summer.

To pay with bitcoin, customers can simply scan the barcode displayed on the app. Coincheck will process the transaction, converting the bitcoin into yen for the merchant.

Additionally, the app also supports Alipay, China’s leading third-party payment solution. However, Chinese tourists visiting Japan will be able to finally spend their bitcoin, something they cannot do in their home country.

Today, the most popular electronic payment options in Japan include Suica and Rakuten’s Edy, which are accepted at 380,000 and 470,000 locations, respectively. But with these recent moves, virtual currency could soon enter their ranks as AirRegi terminals are already used at 260,000 eateries and other retail locations nationwide.

Japan: Land of the Rising Bits

Bitcoin transaction volume in Japan began to increase significantly since 2016, and in January 2017 its volume exceeded 541.1 billion yen (about 20 times compared to the same period last year).

Just recently, on April 1, 2017, Japan’s Payment Services Act for virtual currencies went into effect, recognizing Bitcoin as a legal payment option while forcing cryptocurrency exchanges to register with the government. Starting in July, purchases of virtual currency will be exempt from the consumption tax.

Overall, the new regulations and tax incentives are expected to boost consumer confidence and growth of the domestic virtual currency market, which already had over 4,000 locations accepting bitcoin.

Will these new partnership make Bitcoin a mainstream payment method in the country? Share your thoughts below! 


Images courtesy of Shutterstock, air-regi.com, 

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Led 17

Japan Rises to Become 2nd Biggest Bitcoin Trader in the World

· January 17, 2017 · 5:00 am

Counterparty Foundation Community Director Koji Higashi has agreed that Japan’s future in Bitcoin is an “upward trend” and could challenge China in trading volume.


Japan: World’s #2 Bitcoin Trader

His comments follow mainstream media alleging the number of Japanese outlets accepting Bitcoin had quadrupled to over 4,000 in 2016 alone.

In a blog post Monday, Higashi said that in contrast to China’s falling trading volumes due to exchange inspections and uncertainty over legislation, Japan’s legal setup was fostering increased crypto adoption.

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“…It seems to me few people are aware of what’s happening in Japan now, especially its ever increasing bitcoin trading volume and signs of wider bitcoin adoption,” he wrote.

In terms of trading volume, in fact, yen is already the second biggest currency after Chinese yuan.

The figures Higashi highlights make for surprising reading. Data from Cryptocompare supports his findings, with Japan’s volume just a hair above the US at present. It should be noted, however, that not all exchanges are accounted for in the charts available.

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Japan’s daily trading volumes are now between 120,000 and 150,000 BTC (excluding OTC and P2P trading) – still only around 15% of China, yet enough to support a solid trend, he states.

“Japan is not quite there to challenge the China’s spot yet but it’s notable that about 10% of the bitcoin trading in the world comes from Japan now,” he continued.

Future Uncertain… But Better Than China

A recent Bitcoinist article highlighting purportedly huge increases in merchant adoption in the country meanwhile met with criticism from locals, who said that despite the claims made by Japanese media outlet NHK, the reality remained that using Bitcoin even in Tokyo was next to impossible.

However, a list of where you can spend your bits in Tokyo was compiled by Japanese exchange Coincheck here.

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Still, Higashi too errs on the side of caution, adding that the current status quo did not necessarily signal a flood of adoption – and could ultimately mean the opposite.

“I think the new virtual currency law in Japan will turn out worse than Bitlicense in some aspects contrary to popular media narratives,” he said about the latest Japanese legislation which should come into effect in Spring.

Under this legislation, businesses getting into the cryptocurrency sphere will have the “entry barrier lowered,” Higashi said, leading to increased participation and trading. He predicts that,

At the end of this year, Japan may end up becoming the Number 1 country for Bitcoin trading officially.

Bitcoin Business Gets Ready

Meanwhile, the country’s Bitcoin ecosystem is wasting no time in grabbing the public’s attention amid a more favorable climate.

Tech company GMO Internet announced Tuesday that it would enter the Japanese Bitcoin market with a wallet and exchange service specifically due to the regulatory changes.

Extant exchange BitFlyer is even advertising on major television networks, producing a pitch which is decidedly Japanese in nature, complete with a jingle users have been translating on Reddit.

What do you think about Higashi’s forecasts and the future of Bitcoin in Japan? Let us know in the comments below!


Images courtesy of Shutterstock, cryptocompare.com, counterparty foundation

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