Dub 11

IMF Poll: Cryptocurrency Payments Will Be Mainstream By 2024

An ongoing poll by the IMF shows that more people believe that cryptocurrency will be the most popular payment means for lunch by 2024.


More People Prefer Crypto

As at press time, more than half of the respondents say they would use cryptocurrency to pay for lunch in five-years’ time. Of the almost 26,000 votes cast, 56 percent chose cryptocurrency, while another 29 percent selected mobile phone payment.

With the continued integration of cryptocurrency payments onto mobile platforms, perhaps some of those 29 percent could pivot to the crypto side. Meanwhile, cash and bank card payments so far have a combined total of 15 percent on the poll.

However, ongoing developments in the virtual currency payment arena mean that the options provided by the IMF aren’t necessarily mutually exclusive.

Case in point, Coinbase on Wednesday (April 10, 2019) announced the launch of their cryptocurrency Visa card. The card allows UK customers to spend Bitcoin, Ethereum, Litecoin, and other cryptocurrencies instantly at every Visa-accepting merchant, i.e. everywhere.

A portion of the company’s blog post announcing the launch reads:

Coinbase Card supports all crypto assets available to buy and sell on the Coinbase platform, meaning they can pay for a meal with bitcoin, or use ethereum to fund their train ticket home.

Bitcoin Accepting Merchants Increasing Globally

Cryptocurrency in many ways is an extension of the cashless trend that continues to take root across the world as consumers aim for greater retail payment convenience.

As previously reported by Bitcoinist, a Kaspersky Labs research showed that 13 percent of people across 22 countries have used Bitcoin (BTC) to make purchases.

There are already restaurants in different parts of the world that accept cryptocurrency as payment for meals. More than 1,500 restaurants in Denmark alone accept Bitcoin. There are also establishments in New Jersey and Nyeri, just outside of Nairobi, Kenya that take crypto as payment for meals.

According to Coinmap, there are more than 14,600 establishments that accept Bitcoin across the world. This figure takes into account cafes and restaurants.

Issues with Cryptocurrency Micropayments

According to a recently published research by DataLight, Bitcoin is already the preferred choice for large value cross-border transfer due to the fee structure. However, the report goes further to predict that Bitcoin will surpass Visa and Mastercard for micropayments within the next decade.

There are a few issues that could potentially emerge in the wake of such a trend. The first is the tax implications attached to making retail payments via Bitcoin given the spotty cryptocurrency taxation in many jurisdictions.

The revelation that the Bakkt lunch could see the arrival of “Bitcoin for Starbucks coffee” did bring up this particular consideration. If laws aren’t created write-off cryptocurrency microtransactions, then tax filing might become onerous for those who pay for lunch with BTC.

Another issue is the incentive for people to spend what is essentially a valuable investment for lunch and other micropayments. In Arnhem, for example, the place dubbed “world’s most Bitcoin-friendly city” has seen a gradual drop in the use of BTC for payments.

Will everyone be paying for lunch with cryptocurrency in 5 years? Share your thoughts below!


Images via Twitter (@IMFNews) and Coinmap.org, Shutterstock

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Dub 01

Ukraine’s Capital Kiev May Soon Accept Bitcoin for Public Transport

Authorities at the Kiev City State Administration (KCSA) are reportedly re-examining the merits of adopting Bitcoin (BTC) payments in the city’s public transport system. The move is part of efforts to upgrade Kiev’s public transport infrastructure to meet up with the standards seen in other major cities across the globe.


Accepting Bitcoin on Kiev’s Public Transport System

According to iaftnews, the KCSA is going back to its previous plan of adopting BTC payment in the city’s public transportation network. Inside sources with knowledge of plan revealed:

The question has already been raised in 2018, but this idea had to be temporarily abandoned, given the cost of bitcoin at that time. Now, as you know, bitcoin has fallen heavily in price, which opens up new opportunities.

Back in August 2018, reports emerged that the KCSA planned to launch BTC payments for bus fares within the city. However, the plan failed to materialize but it appears that the city is trying a second time to implement the process.

The introduction of BTC payments in Kiev’s public transport system is part of the city’s drive to revamp its public transportation sector. In February 2019, the Kyiv Smart Cards – a prepaid card that provides access to all forms of public transport in the city went on sale.

Bitcoin payment for bus

Bitcoin as Part of Vision 2024

Kiev plans to make its entire public transport system utilizing only e-ticketing infrastructure by 2024. Like Dubai’s NOL card and Argentina’s SUBE travelcard, the Kyiv Smart Card can be used on the subway, buses, trams, route taxi, electric trains, etc.

Mega cities around the world are pivoting towards the system as a way of simplifying the process of commuting within a metropolis for locals and tourists alike. A

s reported by Bitcoinist, cities in Argentina already allow Bitcoin as a means of payment for topping up the credit balance on SUBE travelcards.

For KCSA officials, the hope is that the developments in e-ticketing made thus far will aid the BTC adoption process. There are also future plans to introduce a single Bitcoin ticket for all modes of public transportation in Kiev.

If approved, the move will significantly enhance the reputation of BTC and cryptocurrencies in Ukraine. In mid-2018, Ukraine’s securities chairman called for the legalization of many cryptocurrencies, saying the world has crossed the “point of no return” as concerning cryptos.

Do you think that Bitcoin is an efficient payment method for municipal public transportation system? Share your thoughts with us in the comments below.


Images via Shutterstock

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Bře 12

Paul Brody: Bitcoin Has No Practical Use

Paul R. Brody, the Global Blockchain Innovation Chief at Ernst and Young (EY), says he sees no practical application for Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies. This statement comes amid a growing rate of adoption of virtual currencies in both developed and developing nations. 


Tokenized Fiat (Not Bitcoin) is The Future of Money

Speaking to Forbes India, Brody opined that he hardly sees any practical application for Bitcoin (BTC) or any of the other over 2,000 cryptocurrencies currently in existence. According to the EY executive, crypto-fiat and not Bitcoin is the future of money.

Commenting on the matter, Brody declared:

Most people and companies earn their revenue and spend their money in local currency; we believe the future of business transactions on the blockchain are tokenized fiat currencies-basically blockchain-linked dollars, euros, yen, rupees and so on. Transacting on a day-to-day business in a foreign currency just adds foreign exchange risk to all your transactions.

For Brody, Bitcoin’s deflationary currency model makes it a poor form of money for widespread global adoption. Instead, Brody maintains that the modern-day fiat model is still the best bet, claiming that hyperinflation is at best a minute probability.

Bitcoin Accepted Here

Global BTC acceptance is up by more than 700 percent in the last six years. More than 140,000 retail avenues across the world now accept Bitcoin as a means of payment.

The top-ranked cryptocurrency continues to see increased usage — from remittance payments in Africa and Southeast Asia to public transportation in Argentina.

As a store of value and an investment asset, BTC continues to outshine mainstream markets despite going through multiple high percentage price plummets. Bitcoin (BTC) has outperformed the S&P, DOW, and NASDAQ over the last ten years.

Saying cryptos, in general, have no practical use would be akin to calling the attention generated by the industry as little more than a fad. Such a characterization seems at odds with the increasing level of institutional adoption of cryptocurrency-based investments. Public pension funds, stock market operators, and other multi-billion-dollar corporations are investing in Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies. That hardly seems like an asset class with “no practical use.”

Blockchain is Boring

While declaring Bitcoin’s supposed lack of real-world utility, Brody believes that Blockchain, despite being the “most boring revolution in technology,” has the potential to affect many aspects of the global business process. However, the EY exec says that blockchain isn’t a one-stop shop solution for every type of business. Elaborating further, Brody declared:

One must carefully choose the kinds of business applications to run on the blockchain. Even though blockchains are getting faster, they are never going to be cheaper or faster than existing banking payment systems or stock exchange platforms.

Speaking during the interview, Brody predicted that blockchain would eventually become like the Internet but with a visible lack of centralization. In the end, Brody believes that the different approaches in the industry will condense into a uniform set of principles that would drive the technology moving forward.

What are the other practical Bitcoin cases that you know? Share your thoughts with us in the comments below. 


Image courtesy of Bitcoinist archives.

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Bře 03

Major US Retailer Ditches Visa – Now Considering Bitcoin’s Lightning Network

US retail giant, Kroger, is no longer accepting Visa credit cards at its chain of Smith’s food and drug stores. So Anthony Pompliano tweeted an offer to hook them up with Bitcoin’s Lightning Network nationwide.


Fees-a Not Accepted Here

It all started on Friday when Kroger announced the move to no longer accept Visa credit cards, citing excessive fees. The Smith’s chain comprises 134 food and drug stores across 7 states, employing 20,000 staff.

Card fees charged by Visa are higher at Smith’s than any other credit card brand, explained Kroger CFO, Mike Schlotman:

Visa has been misusing its position and charging retailers excessive fees for a long time.

Visa is actually due to increase fees for the banks processing card payments on behalf of merchants in April.

Pomp And Circumstance

In the circumstances, it seemed only natural for somebody to suggest a crypto alternative, and Pompliano rose to the occasion. “Who knows someone on the leadership team there?” he tweeted.

The Morgan Creek Digital team will fly to meet them and get them hooked up with the Lightning Network nationwide.

A couple of hours later a product manager from Kroger Digital tweeted a response and set up a conversation.

Obviously, the Ripple army dove right onto this, questioning Lightning Network’s readiness, and suggesting XRP as a better alternative. More interestingly, someone suggested selling Smith’s gift-cards on BitRefill, which would certainly make a zero effort stop-gap solution.

The Tip Of The Iceberg

But this is a very big deal. Smith’s is the second Kroger brand to stop accepting Visa credit cards, after Foods Co. supermarkets in California. Successful implementation of a Lightning Network payment solution at the retailer could lead to a wider roll-out across Kroger brands.

kroger

Kroger is the largest supermarket chain by revenue and the third largest employer in the United States, along with the third largest retailer in the world. As of December 2018, it operated 2,765 supermarkets and multi-department stores, either directly or through subsidiaries.

Ripple army excepted, I’m sure there is a high level of confidence in Pompliano and Morgan Creek Digital to make this work.

And Visa… you only have yourself to blame!

Will major retailers like Kroger accept Bitcoin and Lightning Network payments? Share your thoughts! 


Images courtesy of Shutterstock

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Úno 14

13% Have Used Bitcoin to Buy Stuff Online: Kaspersky Labs Study

Researchers at cybersecurity firm, Kaspersky Labs say one-in-ten people have now used Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies to make purchases online. Also, data from Bitcoin directory service platform, Coinmap shows that businesses accepting Bitcoin have surged by more than 700 percent within the last six years.


Online Retailers Accepting Bitcoin

According to a survey by Kaspersky Labs, about 13 percent of people have used cryptocurrency as a payment method. The study collected responses from more than 12,000 consumers in 22 different countries.

The results of the survey show that crypto use is still the least popular method with 81 percent of respondents saying they used credit/debit cards for online purchases. However, the implication of having 13 percent of people across multiple countries using Bitcoin is profound from an adoption point of view.

13 percent of people have used Bitcoin

Commenting on results, Vitaly Mzokov of Kaspersky Lab said:

Despite a fall in cryptocurrency prices, there is still a strong desire for digital transactions amongst consumers. Our consumer research has found that 13% of people have used cryptocurrency as a payment method, which was surprising to see.

Cryptocurrency prices fell by more than 80 percent in 2018. However, a fraction of internet shoppers seem to have no problems using virtual currencies. More importantly, online retail outlets aren’t shying away from accepting cryptos.

These results also counter the mainstream narrative that cryptos fund no utility in the online retail arena. Critics like JPMorgan would have people believe that merchants aren’t accepting BTC and crypto’s only appeal comes via risky speculative investments.

Bitcoin Acceptance Continues to Grow

Concerning the pace of BTC acceptance, data from Coinmap shows that businesses that accept Bitcoin across the globe have increased by 702 percent since December 2013.

Global Bitcoin Acceptance Heat Map

According to Coinmap, there are now 14,346 venues that accept BTC as against 1,789 recorded almost six years ago.

Coinshares CEO, Ryan Radloff, showed this massive increase in BTC acceptance over the past five years in a tweet posted on Tuesday (February 12, 2019). With increasing adoption in countries like Ecuador and Venezuela, the BTC acceptance heat map for the north of South America looks a lot different than it did six years ago.

Reports show that these avenues aren’t restricted to online shopping platforms as brick-and-mortar establishments like Montessori schools and high-end restaurants are also adopting crypto payments. In stores across the United States, Europe, and Asia, the sign “Bitcoin accepted here,” is becoming less of a novelty.

Have you used Bitcoin to pay for goods and services online? Share your experiences below!


Images courtesy of Kaspersky Lab, Coinmap.org, Twitter (@RyanRadloff), Shutterstock

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Úno 10

Bitcoin and Various Altcoins Now Accepted by H&M Distributors

In its slow-but-steady crawl towards mass adoption, Bitcoin (BTC) will now be accepted at American wholesaler H&M Distributors. 


Not to be confused with the Swedish multinational clothing-retail company Hennes & Mauritz AB, H&M Distributors instead deals in cost-effective lighting — specifically, replacement ballasts, lamp holders, and accessories for lamp holders.

Though this may not be the most glorious or exciting announcement in the Bitcoin’s history of acceptance as a means of payment, it nevertheless is another brick laid on the road to mainstream adoption.

H&M Distributors will use the cryptocurrency e-commerce platform Chimpion to facilitate purchases with the market-leading cryptocurrency.

However, Bitcoin isn’t the only digital asset accepted by the company. Ethereum (ETH), Litecoin (LTC), Bitcoin Cash (BCH), Dash (DASH), Bitcoin Diamond (BCD), and others are also accepted. (Though, it’s legitimately difficult to imagine anyone purchasing replacement ballasts with Bitcoin Diamond.)

bitcoin accepted sign

The decision to accept Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies comes after the company realized that the nascent asset class breaks down financial barriers (by removing the need for banks) and allows it to sell its products to a wider international market.

H&M Distributors founder and CEO Herb Needham stated in a press release:

After more than 20 years in the business, we consider ourselves experts in specialty lighting. Accepting cryptocurrency payments allows us to share that expertise with even more clients by removing many of the barriers that made it difficult to sell internationally before. What sold us was the settlement system, which allows us to convert crypto payments to a USD equivalent right away.

The press release also claims that the acceptance of cryptocurrencies allows the company to “pass on even more savings to [its] customers” by way of “drastically reduced transaction fees […] and freedom from chargebacks.”

What do you think of H&M Distributors’ decision to accept Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below!


Images courtesy of Shutterstock.

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Úno 05

First Cinema in Brazil to Accept Bitcoin for Tickets

A cinema in the city of Florianopolis has reportedly become the very first one in the country to allow its customers to buy movie tickets using Bitcoin. 


Going to The Movies With Bitcoin

In 2018, Bitcoinist reported that Major Cineplex Group – the largest movie theater chain in Thailand, was set to start accepting cryptocurrencies as a means of payment for a broad range of services such as the purchase of movie tickets and even popcorn.

Now, Brazil has also seen its first cinema to begin accepting Bitcoin for movie tickets.

cine multi brazil

It’s called Cine Multi and it’s located in the city of Florianopolis. This is the capital and the second largest city in the state of Santa Catarina.

The move is made possible through a partnership between the cinema venue and the Bancryp App, which will facilitate the Bitcoin payments.

Speaking on the matter, the owner of Cine Multi, Fernando Costa, said:

For Cine Multi, which already follows the path of culture, pioneering an innovative market is a huge step forward. Now all the customers besides being in a pleasant environment, will also be pioneers to pay a cinema with Bitcoins.

Brazil’s Interest in Bitcoin and Blockchain

In 2018, one of the presidential candidates – João Amoêdo, expressed his thoughts on Bitcoin and cryptocurrencies, in general.

Noted Amoêdo:

As a means of payment, I see no doubts that bitcoin can be understood as a legal payment method. If both parties want to exchange a product via bitcoin, I do not see any legal barriers to doing so.

Additionally, in January 2018, Bitcoinist reported that Brazil turned to Ethereum’s blockchain to monitor and keep track of political expression and a hotel chain has been accepting BTC since January 2017.

What do you think of Brazil’s first cinema to allow users to buy movie tickets with cryptocurrencies? Don’t hesitate to let us know in the comments below!


Images courtesy of Shutterstock

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Úno 02

What Bear Market? Crypto-Concierge Service Did $250M in Sales Last Year

One crypto-concierge service pulled in $250 million of sales despite Bitcoin price and the cryptocurrency market shrinking by over 80 percent last year.


Bitcoin Burning a Whole in Your Digital Wallet?

The perennial problem of the crypto-investor is one of too much money, too little time. ‘When Lambo?’ isn’t down to price, rather finding a chance (and energy) to get down to the showroom.

At least, it must be for some, because even during the year that was 2018, one crypto-concierge service pulled in $250 million in sales.

But cryptocurrency regulation with KYC and AML being what they are today, cashing out for splashing out may attract some unwanted attention or high costs. Founder Elizabeth White, the founder of The White Company, explains the predicament of the new younger crypto-millionaires:

They wanted to spend and enjoy their wealth… [but] were not able to easily exchange the cryptocurrency into cash, due to restrictions and limitations on exchanges etc.

The White Company, which accepts Bitcoin, Bitcoin Cash, Bitcoin SV, Ethereum, Stellar, and its own White Standard stablecoins, worked with Apis Capital Management to provide liquidity, to enable them to accept crypto, whilst paying vendors with fiat.

She claims to have no shortage of crypto-wealthy wanting her services, suggesting that people buy ‘luxury’ items as a status symbol.

Lamborghini have appeal as both… the best automobiles [and] as a recognizable brand that is associated with success. Art is another luxury that gives buyers a sense of status but can also be an attractive investment.

In meeting the demands of her status-obsessed clients, her company managed to transact to the tune of $250 million last year.

Luxury Bitcoin Marketplaces See Mixed Success

Then there is Barry Silbert’s brother Alan. BitPremier, his peer-to-peer service, connecting crypto-hungry owners of luxury goods with luxury-hungry crypto-owners sadly bowed out of the market in September 2017 just as the bitcoin price 00 was going through the roof.

Other luxury marketplaces have sprung up, however. Besides the White Company, there is Crypto Concinnity, which specializes in purchasing and delivering luxury goods and services using the cryptocurrency of choice.

Coinsparrow.io is a concierge service for everyday life letting you book flights, hotels, and other “silly stuff.”

Then there is Aditus.net that claims to be the world’s first concierge service for “crypto-affluents” that offers everything from art and real estate to insurance and even citizenship of other countries.

While I cannot vouch for these sites since I’m a few satoshis short of a Lambo, being ‘crypto wealthy’ does seem to have its perks.

Will crypto concierge services become more popular in the next few years? Share your thought below!


Images courtesy of Shutterstock, thewhitecompanyus.com

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Led 28

Top Bitcoin Lightning Apps You Can Use Today (Part 2)

So we continue our journey into the wonderful (and sometimes weird) world of Lightning Apps (LApps). And as a testament to how far the market has come, my quick ‘listicle’ has morphed into a two-part behemoth.


If you haven’t already, then check out Part 1, covering wallets, marketplaces, content monetization, and tip jars. If you have, then let’s get on with the ride.

Messaging via Lightning Network

International SMS messages cost a small fortune, but with Insms, the price comes down to that of a small lightning transaction. Ideal for anonymously stalking someone in another country. Or, if you need to receive an SMS, but don’t want to reveal your mobile number, Receive SMS has you covered. Temporary numbers to receive messages are currently available only in the US, with more countries coming soon.

But if you think terrestrial messaging is just a little passé, why not send a message via satellite.

Gaming and Gambling

Hammerland is a MineCraft lookalike MMORPG, using lightning for in-game payments (and rewards). Or if you prefer your MineCraft to be more… MineCraft, then BitQuest is the first MineCraft server denominated in cryptocurrency.

For those who prefer to expound less effort to gain (or lose) their bitcoin, there are a wealth of ways to gamble away your money with Lightning. Lightning Spin is a simple ‘wheel of fortune’-type game where sending an LN payment feels like you’re putting in a quarter into an arcade.

Meanwhile, Lightning Roulette is… well, a full-blown game of roulette.

Alternatively, depending on your preference, you can bet on Three-Card Monte. Although sadly the implementation of Thunder Dice, no longer seems to be active.

Setting Up Shop

There are several ways of accepting Lightning payments at your online store. Strike is one of the best and easiest to use, taking a flat 1% fee on all transactions, and offering unlimited free daily withdrawals.

Or if your establishment is a bit less virtual, and almost entirely more ‘brick and mortar’, then you can use nanopos. This simple Lightning Point-of-Sale system works best with stores selling fixed-price items, although it also offers a custom price option. So your customers can now use LN payments to buy coffee, beanies, a hat-stand, comedy tickets, ticker tape, audio cassettes, hearing aids, condoms…

Speaking of random stuff.

Random Stuff

Unleash your inner artist (or just scrawl obscenities on somebody else’s artwork) at Satoshi’s Place, where you can endlessly paint over as many pixels as you can pay for.

Buy a virtual coffee at StarBlocks; Listen to music on Lightning Jukebox; Set up a Twitter-bot to get paid for likes, retweets, and follows.

Or just exchange your cryptocurrencies in seconds for low fees at Shapeshift-esque ZigZag, and hunker down behind TorGuard‘s VPN.

Oh… then wait to see what amazing abilities LApps bring us in the future.

What other Lapps have you tried? Share your experiences below!


Images courtesy of Shutterstock

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Pro 27

Jordan Peterson Now Accepts Bitcoin and Working on a Patreon Competitor

Canadian psychologist Jordan Peterson has made $800 in five days after choosing to begin accepting Bitcoin (BTC) donations for his work.


Jordan Peterson Gets 63 BTC Donations So Far

An analysis of Peterson’s public Bitcoin address reveals an accrued balance of 0.213 BTC since it became active December 22.

Peterson, the author of the best-seller 12 Rules For Life and who regularly undertakes worldwide tours giving presentations on psychology, existentialism, and other topics, is currently setting up an alternative crowdfunding website to compete with market leader Patreon.

I’ve been working on a system for months to allow authors and other people who engage publicly on intellectual issues to interact more effectively with their readers, viewers, and listeners. It occurred to me this week that could serve this function. We are going to try to set this system up on a subscriber model that is analogous to Patreon. It will have a bunch of additional features. I don’t want to over-promise because the system is new. But we’re going to try to get that rolled out as fast as we can. We have a number of people who are interested in moving their subscription over.

– Jordan B. Peterson

The move, which could ingrain Bitcoin donations further in the minds of Peterson’s 1.7 million YouTube subscribers, comes amid a wider backlash against Patreon from conservative circles.

Patreon Faces Backlash

As Bitcoinist reported, the website has instigated a series of bans involving users who allegedly violate its terms with their content, these often coming under dubious circumstances.

In August, Patreon blocked well-known US author Robert Spencer, unleashing one of many social media spats which sparked a PR disaster.

Peterson, who is joined in his endeavor by Rubin Report creator Dave Rubin, opted to create competition after a ban of a user who posted a video on a different website not connected with Patreon at all.

Author Sam Harris, formerly one of Patreon’s highest grossing users, also publicly announced his withdrawal over the incident this month.

“While the company insists that each was in violation of its terms of service, these recent expulsions seem more readily explained by political bias,” he wrote in a final statement to subscribers.

Although I don’t share the politics of the banned members, I consider it no longer tenable to expose any part of my podcast funding to the whims of Patreon’s ‘Trust and Safety’ committee.

Unsurprisingly, Harris immediately faced prompts to turn to Bitcoin on social media as an alternative fundraising option.

At press time Thursday, Peterson had received 63 Bitcoin donations to his public address.

Can a Bitcoin-accepting competitor rival Patreon? Share below!


Images courtesy of Shutterstock

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