Bře 18

Gift Cards and Paxful Offer Economic Options to the Global Unbanked

· March 18, 2018 · 1:00 pm

The global unbanked have been frozen out of most economic ecosystems, but Paxful is changing this through the selling of gift cards on their cryptocurrency exchange.

The rich and elite have a lot of options when it comes to economic decisions. They can invest in gold, stocks, bonds, precious gems, artwork, real estate, automobiles, and cryptocurrency. The only snag they face is the wait to convert the value of one asset into another, but such a problem is a minor one indeed. By contrast, the unbanked are essentially locked out of most economic ecosystems due to having to physically hand over fiat for goods and services. Even getting involved in cryptocurrency is an issue for the unbanked, but Paxful is offering an unexpected gateway: gift cards.

Even Cryptocurrency Has Obstacles for the Unbanked

The number of individuals with a bank account has increased over the last few years, but the problems facing the unbanked and underbanked still exist. In the United States alone, there are 10 million households that are either underbanked or unbanked. Worldwide, the total number of the unbanked is two billion souls. As such, they do not have access to a financial institution in any manner.

As one can imagine, this puts severe limitations on an individual’s economic freedom. All transactions have to be made face-to-face and in cash. This situation puts the unbanked at the mercy of those who would economically exploit them as they have no other options. What good is it to know that an item costs 60% less online if you’re unable to purchase anything online?

Cryptocurrency is viewed as an outlet of economic freedom for people, but even this has some obstacles for the unbanked to face. Almost every cryptocurrency exchange requires the use of a financial account (checking account, debit card, credit card, etc.) as well as identifying documents in order to use it. The unbanked do not have access to these items, which means they would normally be locked out of engaging in the cryptocurrency sphere. Fortunately, Paxful is working hard to make a difference by offering the unbanked hundreds of options to engage in the virtual currency sphere without the need of a bank account.

iTunes gift cards

Gift Cards Offer Economic Access

The humble gift card that a person can buy at any small shop or gas station offers access to the global economy via cryptocurrency. Paxful hosts the fourth busiest Bitcoin wallet by volume, but their status is often ignored due to the low amount of their transactions. People aren’t normally sending hundreds or thousands of dollars per transaction on Paxful, but the p2p network embraces this reality as their goal is to offer an economic lifeline to the developing world.

The number one gift card used by the unbanked on Paxful is iTunes. Last week, a total of $6,635,517 was converted into cryptocurrency via iTunes gift cards, with an average transaction amount of $97. The second most traded card on the Paxful platform is the Amazon gift card. This card featured an average amount of $84 per transaction, and the total volume for the last week was almost $2.5 million. Rounding out the top five payment methods on Paxful are the eBay gift card, the Walmart gift card, and the Best Buy gift card.

Why does Paxful allow so many different gift cards to be used on their cryptocurrency exchange? The answer is that it fulfills their goal of offering economic choices and freedom to people throughout the world, especially in regions that often lack stable financial structures. An unbanked person can easily venture into the crypto sphere and take full advantage of the global economic system just by wandering into a corner store, buying a popular gift card, and then exchanging it on the Paxful platform.

gift cards

Keeping Opportunity Alive

Gift cards are the doorways to a new economic reality for millions and millions of people across the globe. This is why Paxful works hard to keep them available for conversion on the platform, despite any difficulties they may bring. A particular case is the iTunes gift card. This card chews up a lot of the support staff’s time due to some issues, but Paxful refuses to drop it. As Ray Youssef, the co-founder of Paxful, notes:

We are the only p2p crypto service that deals with iTunes gift cards, why? All the others stopped supporting them because of the absolutely massive headache and near impossibility of proving proper account balances on iTunes gift cards. We have chosen to keep iTunes gift card support because it is still how the unbanked of Africa get their bitcoins. We refuse to abandon these unbanked users as the whole idea of bitcoin and Paxful is to help them.

In the end, it’s often the little things in life that make a big difference. Such is the case with the humble gift card. Paxful allows the selling of such cards on their platform as a means of allowing those with no access to the global financial network a way in. Allowing the unbanked to retain their dignity while allowing them to explore financial opportunities is a tremendous gift.

What do you think about Paxful enabling the unbanked to use gift cards to access the cryptocurrency market? Let us know in the comments below.

Images courtesy of Flickr/@401(K) 2012, YouTube/@Paxful, Pixabay, and Flickr/@arvind grover.

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Kvě 04

Gift Off Noted US$290k Monthly Turnover In Bitcoin

Source: bitcoin

Bitcoinist_Bitcoin Turnover Gift Card

Bitcoin is a booming business in the United Kingdom, assuming one knows how to play their cards right. Gift Off, a company specializing in selling gift cards for Bitcoin, recorded an all-time high turnover in February of 2016.

Also read: Credits Brings Blockchain-as-a-service To UK Public Sector

Gift Off Turnover Is Impressive

Cryptocurrency enthusiasts in the United Kingdom will have heard of Gift Off before, as this Norwich-based online shop sells gift cards in exchange for Bitcoin payments. Up until this point, the company has sold close to GBP2.1m worth of gift cards, of which over GBP200k was processed last month.

Considering how Gift Off is focusing on various gift cards, it seems there is a growing demand for buying these cards with Bitcoin. Plenty of Bitcoin users are on the lookout for gift cards, especially when it comes to everyday shopping purposes. HS Samuel, one of the available options,  is not exactly your run-of-the-mill store, but they have an appeal to Bitcoin users who are looking to buy rings and jewelry.

This is not the first venture for Gift Off co-founder Rusty Nash, as he sold Amazon gift cards in exchange for Bitcoin in the past. However, that business model was not as scalable as he wanted it to be, which is why he went into business as Gift Off. Interestingly enough, Amazon now supplies gift cards to this UK company at a discount, allowing for higher profit margins.

Given the limited number of use cases Bitcoin offers to the average consumer, there is a significant opportunity when selling gift cards in exchange for Bitcoin. To cover the costs of obtaining the cards itself, Gift Off converts their Bitcoin at one of the many UK exchanges, converting the necessary funds to Pound Sterling.

The success of this Norwich-based company has not gone by unnoticed, as Gift Off is currently rounding up investments, which has resulted in over GBP30,000 being raised so far. It is impossible to deny the success this business has had so far, and projections indicate yearly revenue could increase by as much as 130% compared to 2015.

What are your thoughts on the success of this company? Would you run a similar business in your country? Let us know in the comments below!

Source: EDP24

Images courtesy of Gift Off, Shutterstock

The post Gift Off Noted US$290k Monthly Turnover In Bitcoin appeared first on Bitcoinist.net.

Gift Off Noted US0k Monthly Turnover In Bitcoin

Kvě 02

New Ransomware Strains No Longer Want Your Bitcoin

Source: bitcoin

Bitcoinist_Lansing Board of Water and Light

Most people around the world are well aware of the potential effect ransomware could have on their computer. But in some cases, the effects are far more dire, as a Michigan municipal utility had to shut down all of their services. However, instead of asking for a Bitcoin ransom, the Internet criminals want gift cards.

Also read: UniChange Giveaway: Free Virtual Bitcoin Debit Card

Ransomware Developers Moving Away From Bitcoin?

Although the world of ransomware is constantly evolving, several features and properties have remained the same through the past few years. One of those properties was how ransomware victims would have to pay a fee in Bitcoin, as internet criminals felt this was the best way to  receive anonymous payments online.

As it turns out, that situation is coming to change, albeit internet criminals are becoming far more aggressive with their attacks. A utility company in Michigan was recently infected with malware, which was spread through a malicious email attachment. Due to this infection, the company was forced to shut down all of their internal systems, as well as the customer assistance phone line.

It appears as if there is a new form of ransomware making the rounds, which does not want victims to pay in Bitcoin. This comes as quite a surprise, considering how crypto-ransomware has been quite the profitable business for internet criminals in recent years. Moreover, the installed antivirus on the utility company’s network was unable to detect the malware, as only three types of software are currently capable of doing so.

What is rather surprising is how ransomware developers are currently looking to get victims to pay in gift cards, rather than Bitcoin. Although a gift card does not necessarily include personal information of the recipient, these codes are easier to track than Bitcoin payments ever have been. Cards from Amazon and iTunes seem to be among the favorites, for the time being.

But there is also a good reason as to why internet criminals would like to obtain these gift cards, as they can be easily resold on the Internet. This removes any form of leaking information regarding the involved parties altogether, as the recipient who uses this gift card will be the one getting flagged in the databases.

What are your thoughts on ransomware developers preferring gift cards over bitcoin for ransom payments? Let us know in the comments below!

Source: NetworkWorld

Images courtesy of Shutterstock, BWL

The post New Ransomware Strains No Longer Want Your Bitcoin appeared first on Bitcoinist.net.

New Ransomware Strains No Longer Want Your Bitcoin