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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Pro 16

Gab Says Bitcoin is The Clear Solution as ‘Free Speech Money’

Censorship-free social media platform, Gab, took to Twitter to proclaim the gospel according to Bitcoin. Describing the grandaddy of cryptocurrency as “free speech money,” it pledged to educate its near million-strong community.


The Next Evolution Of Online Payments

In recent tweets, Gab calls for the next evolution of online payments, in the form of un-censorable money. This must take payment processing online out of the hands of a small number of gatekeepers. Touting Bitcoin as “the clear solution,” Gab cites Silicon Valley’s inability to de-platform it from using the cryptocurrency.

Gab sees its role now as being to make Bitcoin easy to purchase and use. Something it says it can (and will) achieve with enough education and time. Gab:

We aren’t doing it because it’s hip or cool or the latest technology fad. We are doing it out of necessity.

All well and good, but Gab is hardly the first to the ‘championing of Bitcoin’ table. What does it think it can bring with it which is different?

A Community Of Almost A Million People (And Growing)

Taking a clear swipe at what it calls “vaporware crypto startups,” Gab mocks their relative lack of interest from users. Despite raising tens of millions of dollars, these startups cannot match Gab’s highly engaged community, according to the tweets.

Gab claims its users have been “put through the ringer for years,” for standing by its mission of delivering free speech. It adds:

Bitcoin is inherently pro-liberty and pro-freedom. It is free speech money. Gab has the distribution to introduce it to a huge and growing community.

A million people doesn’t sound all that impressive though, next to over 35 million authenticated users, already using cryptocurrency. And it’s rather telling that Gab chose Twitter to spread its message, rather than its own platform.

No Room At The Inn

Gab’s championing of Bitcoin comes on the back of its recent banning from PayPal. Despite this, Gab starts the tweet-storm praising PayPal’s achievements in initially breaking down barriers to online payments.

Ironically, Gab has repeatedly found itself de-platformed, often as a result of its refusal to de-platform those who have been barred from other major platforms. This has led to a reputation as a haven for hate speech.

Despite this latest missive, Gab has not always had the smoothest of paths regarding Bitcoin. Earlier this year, it had its Coinbase account closed without warning. This led it to describe centralized exchanges as “cancer,” and “contradictory to everything crypto stands for.”

The social media platform has since switched to the self-hosted BTCPay Server solution, reducing its dependence on third-party payment processors such as Coinbase and BitPay.

Gab now claims it “…has the power and community to reverse the current bear market. That’s not an understatement.”

Holding your breath while waiting for that to happen is not, however, recommended.

Will Bitcoin be increasingly used by de-platformed entities? Share your thoughts below! 


Images courtesy of Shutterstock

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Pro 14

To The Moon! Bitcoin Space Travel Gets Closer As Virgin Galactic Takes Flight

Billionaire Richard Branson appeared to cry tears of joy when his ‘Bitcoin-friendly’ Virgin Galactic reached the edge of space for the first time December 13.


World Sees First Commercial Space Flight

Branson, who revealed himself as a Bitcoin believer and investor in 2013, watched as SpaceShipTwo, the latest vehicle from the Virgin Galactic and The Spaceship Company, broke free of Earth to mark a “momentous achievement” for crewed space travel.

“SpaceShipTwo is now the first crewed vehicle built for commercial service to reach space. (With due credit of course to the amazing SpaceShipOne prototype for paving the way),” he wrote in a dedicated blog post.

Virgin Galactic aims to make both space tourism and long-distance point-to-point travel using rocket power a viable commercial enterprise.

In 2013, Branson announced the project would accept Bitcoin for flights, calling the cryptocurrency a “brilliantly conceived idea.”

“Sometime in the future, innovative payment models such as… Bitcoin will become serious challengers to traditional banks, which will spur more competition and give customers even more options,” he forecast at the time.

Galactic is a company looking into the future, so is Bitcoin. So it makes sense we would offer Bitcoin as a way to pay for your journey to space.

Bitcoin To The Moon

Like the Bitcoin ecosystem, the project has had its ups and downs. In 2014, a crash during the fourth test flight of SpaceShipTwo resulted in the death of its copilot, while its pilot sustained serious injuries.

In the intervening years, Blockchain technology has meanwhile become the focus of a more general push to advance space exploration.

As Bitcoinist reported, NASA is among the entities looking to enhance their operations using both Blockchain and artificial intelligence (AI), specifically within the field of communications.

Blockstream satellite

Bitcoin transactions can also be broadcasted via satellite. Four have been launched by Blockstream to date, covering a large part of the earth to protect against network interruptions and providing anyone in the world with the opportunity to use Bitcoin.

Virgin Galactic, meanwhile, will now continue to conduct tests on SpaceShipTwo with aim of creating longer fights and “creating thousands of private astronauts.”

What do you think about Virgin Galactic? Let us know in the comments below!


Images courtesy of Shutterstock

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Pro 13

Cambridge Study: ID-Verified Crypto Users More Than Doubled in 2018

The University of Cambridge Center for Alternative Finance says the number of verified cryptocurrency users has increased in 2018 despite the year-long bear market that has seen prices tumble more than 80 percent.


Retail Cryptocurrency Adoption is on the Rise

According to a study by the Cambridge Center for Alternative Finance, the number of verified cryptocurrency users has more than doubled in the first three-quarters of the year from 2017 figures. The study shows that there were 35 million authenticated cryptocurrency users as at the end of September 2018.

Cambridge University

This increase comes despite the bear market conditions that have characterized much of the year. According to Bloomberg, the study found that the majority of users are individuals and not business clients meaning that institutional adoption is still playing catch up.

Meanwhile, in places experiencing economic turmoil like Venezuela, citizens have been forced to switch to cryptocurrencies. For many of these people, borderless virtual currencies like Bitcoin can provide access to international payments and the global economy. The study notes:

Individuals can be hobbyists, retail investors, consumers, or users seeking a better investment or payment alternative.

The research also found a significant increase in the total number of cryptocurrency user accounts. However, it is important to note that a single user can control multiple addresses (i.e. digital wallets).

 Less than $100 in Bitcoin

In another report by Delphi, a Digital asset research company, only a few BTC wallets hold any significant amount of the digital currency, which supports the idea that retail investors are stocking up on small amounts – buying fractions of a bitcoin.

Of the 22.9 million addresses that contain BTC, 90 percent own less than a tenth of a bitcoin (~$340). The study also showed that 80 percent of those accounts contain less than $100 in BTC. At the same time, accounts with between 10 and 100 BTC own about 25 percent of the total bitcoins in circulation.

The growing number of verified users and number of active addresses, particularly with relatively small amounts, indicate the growing adoption of cryptocurrencies among the general population. Nevertheless, it’s not surprising that early adopters will reap the biggest rewards as Bitcoin and cryptocurrencies now seem to be going mainstream.

Do you think the increase in verified cryptocurrency users signals public confidence? Let us know your thoughts!


Image courtesy of Bloomberg, Shutterstock, Pymnts.com

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Pro 02

Bitcoin Trading Volume Exceeds $2 Trillion in 2018 Despite Year-Long Bear Market

With a few weeks still left in 2018, the total Bitcoin trading volume for the year has already crossed $2 trillion. Many countries have also seen record BTC trading volume at different points of the year with more everyday people seemingly adopting the popular cryptocurrency.


Bitcoin Trading up 61 Percent Since 2017

This volume of trade is especially profound given the tirade of criticism from vocal naysayers who continue to engage in Bitcoin bashing. According to Satoshi Capital Research, the notional value of BTC traded so far in 2018 stands at $2.2 trillion.

The figures posted so far represent a 61 percent increase from last years total volume of $870 billion. However, the growth recorded in 2017 – 96 percent still dwarfs that recorded in 2018 and will remain so unless a massive spike in BTC trading occurs between now and the end of the year.

To put things in perspective, Mastercard recently published its Q3 2018 financials which showed a total transaction volume of $4.4 trillion for the year. The world’s second largest payment card company also settles about $12 billion worth of transactions per day.

From these figures, Bitcoin 00 is already at half the transaction settling capacity of Mastercard despite losing close to 70 percent of its value during the year. BTC’s daily volume which is at $8 billion, isn’t a million miles away from Mastercard’s.

Why do the Nocoiners Rage?

Some might argue that the analysis above is akin to comparing apples and oranges. This is because Mastercard’s figures only cover payments made to retail merchants on both online and offline platforms. The figures for Bitcoin come from merchants, futures trading, exchanges, and even international payments.

However, the fact that a cryptocurrency with a sub-$100 billion market cap is posting figures in the same ballpark as Mastercard is a glowing endorsement of BTC’s uptake. This assertion is especially true given the negative rhetoric espoused by critics such as Paul Donovan of UBS who recently said that the world’s most popular cryptocurrency Bitcoin is on the verge of falling apart.

Things may even get better for cryptocurrency trading as a whole. Earlier in the year, Bitcoinist reported that digital currency trading might grow by 50 percent in 2019 based on a study by Satis Group.

Do you think the 2018 Bitcoin trading volume negates the “Bitcoin is dead” argument espoused by vocal nocoiners? Let us know your thoughts in the comment section below.


Image courtesy of Twitter (@chartingbitcoin), Bitcoinist archives

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