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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Říj 25

Australia Post Delivers ‘Buy Bitcoin’ Service to Its 11.7 Million Customers

One of Australia’s oldest institutions, Australia Post, has announced that customers will now be able to buy bitcoin on participating exchanges within minutes through its Digital iD service.


Australia Post Delivers Bitcoin

Now Australians will be able to buy bitcoin through their post office. Australia Post lets users sign up to local Bitcoin exchanges through its Digital iD service, which eliminates the need to take selfies and verify documents.

Think ‘Log in with Facebook or LinkedIn’ button, but for buying BTC 00.

Brisbane-based Bitcoin exchange, Digital Surge, for example, is among the first adopters of the Digital iD platform, local news outlet Micky reports.

Director of Digital Surge, Josh Lehman, says the new service helps speed up the registration process that could discourage many potential users.

“Digital iD allows us to verify the identity of a prospective Bitcoin buyer in minutes,
instead of the days it takes other exchanges,” Mr Lehman explained.

For the first time, an Australian can log on to a computer, punch in their driver’s licence or
passport details, and be buying Bitcoin within minutes.

Digital iD also works with Australian companies Coinjar and Coin Loft, and could boost confidence for potential investors, who were previously reluctant to submit personal data to questionable online services.

Digital Identity Service Struggles

Australia Post has struggled with its Digital iD program, however, with budget hand staff cuts amid controversy and a potential conflict of interest with another government digital ID program, according to local news portal Innovationaus. In addition, an attempt to gauge the possibility of private sector funding has also been “halted.” 

The Digital iD project was rolled out earlier this year after development began in 2016 with 13 participating organizations, a number which has now grown to over 40, including Queensland Police, CUA, and Airtasker.

The process is simple. Customers submit their national ID such as a driver license or passport once, and then only use a smartphone app and QR codes instead. But ultimately, Australia Post’s Digital iD service does store all of this personal information and (purportedly) lets users share only the bits of data that are required for verification on participating platforms. 

“Digital iD gives people more control over the personal data they share with organizations,” General Manager of Australia Post’s Digital iD, Cameron Gough, says. 

Australia Could be an ICO Hub

A Privacy for Usability Tradeoff

Using this new way to buy bitcoin in Australia may indeed become the easiest method currently available. At the same time, there is a tradeoff for people who value privacy.

In June, Bitcoinist reported that the Australia Taxation Office (ATO) announced it will collect Capital Gains Tax (CGT) on cryptocurrency gains. In other words, users should expect to pay capital gains tax since their newly-purchased bitcoin can be easily traced to their digital ID.

Nevertheless, this has not stopped Australians from buying bitcoin as the number of cryptocurrency holders has nearly tripled since the beginning of 2018. Therefore, Australia Post, which services 11.7 million addresses across the country based on the latest data, could attract some new buyers of bitcoin who prefer to trust a government corporation over some off-shore exchange.

Would you use Australia Post to buy bitcoin? Let us know below!


Images courtesy of Shutterstock

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Zář 18

New Samourai Wallet Feature Makes Bitcoin Transactions Private

A 2-wallet Samourai Stowaway offers to make transactions private by masking user identity while keeping funds safe.


Bitcoin Transactions Are Pseudo-Anonymous

Bitcoin (BTC) 00 transactions are often described as anonymous because users can exchange the cryptocurrency without providing any personally identifying information.

However, Bitcoin transactions are pseudo-anonymous. The history of each Bitcoin transaction is permanently stored on the blockchain. And, anyone can track and view this information.

The abstract of BIP0069 describes the issue of the leak of private information, as follows,

Currently there is no standard for Bitcoin wallet clients when ordering transaction inputs and outputs. As a result, wallet clients often have a discernible blockchain fingerprint, and can leak private information about their users.

Now, the 2-wallet Samourai Stowaway promises to protect user privacy with a mechanism which is based on the trusted cooperation established between two wallets.

In a separate tweet, user @SamouraiDev said,

We will err on the side of caution and privacy. Only two (or more) wallets that have engaged in a ‘trusted’ relationship will be permitted to collaborate in a cahoots spend.

Wallet Users Can Establish Private Transaction Channels

Currently, each time users perform a payment transaction, they must exchange the Bitcoin address. This handicap impedes Bitcoin from becoming a mainstream currency. For some experts, the implementation of Reusable Payment Codes might help to solve this issue.

BIP47, “Reusable Payment Codes for Hierarchical Deterministic Wallets,” proposes a technique that can help to simplify the payment process while enhancing the user’s level of privacy.

BIP47 allows for the establishment of an invisible channel between two users. As defined by Justus Ranvier, the BIP’s author:

This BIP defines a technique for creating a payment code which can be publicly advertised and associated with a real-life identity without creating the loss of security or privacy inherent to P2PKH address reuse.

The 2-wallet Samourai Stowaway can allow users to establish private payment channels with each other, without revealing their Bitcoin addresses.

In this regard, SamouraiDev indicates that they have taken “an undefined byte in the BIP47 payload and are using it as a ‘feature’ byte so other wallets can detect functionality.”

Do you think that concealing the Bitcoin address will improve the privacy of Bitcoin transactions? Let us know in the comments below.


Images courtesy of Pexels, Samourai, Shutterstock, Twitter/@SamouraiDev.

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Zář 02

Anything Besides Bitcoin is ‘Useless’ – Tone Vays and Nouriel Roubini Square Off

David Drake, founder of LDJ Capital, was the moderator for a match up between Nouriel Roubini and Tone Hays. Drake was quick to note Roubini’s prediction of the 2008 economic crisis. 


In the discussion, Roubini notes that his experience in blockchain stems from his ability to see a bubble when it exists.

Vays responded with his outlook on the crypto space. Former trader Vays, now a speaker and prominent YouTuber, says he disagrees with Nouriel on the dysfunction of the crypto space. However, Vays maintains that anything besides Bitcoin 00 is ‘useless,’ and ‘anything else is scammy or fraudulent.’

Roubini placed a strong emphasis on the tension between institutions and regulations.

Vays went on to compare Bitcoin to nuclear waste — if you don’t know how to properly store it, disaster may strike. Vays still remains a devotee despite this apparent pitfall.

Roubini held fast, remaining extremely skeptical of crypto. Roubini emphasized numerous pump-and-dump schemes, as well as traders exchanging “shitcoins day in and day out.”

Roubini says that while 99.9% of cryptocurrencies will fail, Bitcoin is the only crypto that would exist should everything else go haywire. Tone Vays was quick to respond by noting the ‘unconfiscatable’ nature of Bitcoin — if stored correctly, as well as unconfiscatable value transfer.

Roubini quickly back that ‘it is not true they cannot be confiscated,” noting economists like U.S. Secretary of Treasury Steve Mnuchin who worry that the currency may become the next ‘Swiss bank account.’ Roubini was extremely skeptical that any modern government, especially the Trump government, would tolerate the ‘anonymity’ associated with Bitcoin.

During the tail end of the dialogue, Roubini lit into crypto mining, saying that the centralization of mining is a hypocrisy in light of the crypto’s decentralized claims.

Neither party pulled any punches, and the match-up led up to a brief talk about mining centralization before wrapping up for good.

What are your thoughts about the Roubini-Vays match-up? Let us know what you think in the comments below!


Images courtesy of Shutterstock

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Srp 09

Pantera Capital CEO Says Investors ‘Overreacting’ to Bitcoin ETF Delay

Dan Morehead, CEO of Pantera Capital, calls for calm in light of the delayed SEC decision on Bitcoin ETF.


In a continuing saga between investors and the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), Dan Morehead calls for long-term thinking. This assurance comes amidst a tumultuous affair involving legislators, regulators, and investors alike.

10,000 Years?

According to CNBC, Morehead says the following in regards to Tuesday’s SEC decision:

I still think it will be quite a long time until an ETF is approved. The last asset class to be approved for ETF certification was copper, and copper has been on earth for 10,000 years.

After the SEC postponed its decision on a Bitcoin 00 ETF Wednesday, a bearish dip ensued. Subsequently, Morehead went on to acknowledge the following regarding the dip and ensuing fears:

The main thing to remember is that bitcoin is very early-stage venture, but has real-time price feed — and that’s a unique thing. People get excited about the price and overreact

Rather than feeling pessimistic, the Pantera Capital man pointed towards new ventures like the Starbucks Bakkt project saying:

That is going to be a very profound impact over the next five or 10 years for the markets, and, to my mind, that’s what people should be focused on.

A Positive Outlook

Morehead says “It’s all perspective,” as he pointed towards the fact that cryptocurrencies retain an 82% consistency. CNBC’s Chloe Aiello notes that,

Bitcoin was last down 6.3 percent at $6,288.30, which still makes it about 82 percent higher year on year[…]

Regardless of bearish markets and often unstable outlooks, Morehead remains a proponent of optimism in an ever-changing financial landscape.

What do you think about Dan Morehead’s insight? Tell us your thoughts in the comments below!


Images courtesy of Shutterstock, Twitter

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Čvc 27

Now You Can Buy A Texas Mansion With Bitcoin

The sellers for a newly listed mansion in the city of Highland Park, Texas are open to taking Bitcoin for payment. The listing is just another example of a rapidly expanding cryptocurrency real estate market attracting buyers from across the world.


Many industries have been expressing interest in cryptocurrencies, but those in the real estate world are paying particularly close attention. Using digital currencies like Bitcoin in real estate transactions keeps growing in popularity even as the cryptocurrency market has hit rough waters in 2018.

Neeraj Agarwal of Coin Center, a cryptocurrency focused think tank, says digital currency are a good tool to carry out real estate transactions with since they are a way to “send large amounts of money pretty easily with relatively low fees and little interference from middlemen.”

A Booming Crypto Real Estate Market

Unsurprisingly, real estate transactions with cryptocurrencies are increasing in number. As of mid-July, a total of 20 homes have been bought with Bitcoin across the globe. Realtor Stephan Burke believes 25-30% of real estate sales will be carried out with cryptocurrency in five years.

One of the newest real estate listings where the seller will take Bitcoin is located in Highland Park, Texas. The 9,281 square foot house is listed at $9,975,000 and comes with five bedrooms, 5.3 baths, a swimming pool, and a underground climate controlled garage with an elevator to the guest suite.

According to Burke, those using Bitcoin to buy and sell real estate are smart people who are able to see the future.

A Flurry of Change For Home Buyers

Ever since Sothby’s International Reality said in September 2017 they successfully brokered one of the first Bitcoin real estate sales in the United States, the worldwide housing market was forever changed.

A real estate company in Spain sold an apartment in Barcelona for Bitcoin in January, the first time the cryptocurrency was used as legal tender for a real estate transaction in the European country. A couple in British Columbia said in the same month they would take Bitcoin in exchange for their five-bedroom mansion on Vancouver Island.

In June, people had the opportunity to use cryptocurrency to bid on a 16th century Italian Renaissance mansion with an estimated value of $44 million dollars. Nestled in the heart of Rome, the house was built by famed architects Giacomo Della Porta and Girolamo Rainaldi.

And in early July, an agent in Newark said on Facebook they successfully sold a property for Bitcoin, a first in the state of Delaware.

A growing number of real estate agents are recognizing how digital currencies are changing the real estate market, and many think transactions with Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies are here to stay.

Joe Onyero of Properbuz, a social media real estate platform, says it makes sense to use digital currency to eliminate middlemen since it can currently take a lot of time to buy a property due to all the different parties involved in a transaction.

Additionally, real estate websites like Open Listings are making it easy for people to plug in search terms like “bitcoin” to find property that can be bought with digital currency.

Do you think cryptocurrency has a future in the real estate world? Would you ever buy property with a digital currency like Bitcoin? Let us know in the comments below!


Image courtesy of Open Listings, Shutterstock.

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Čvc 19

Crypto Company Change Launches App to Trade Bitcoin Commission-Free

A stream of positive developments and new products is helping to boost Bitcoin’s adoption rate. One of the latest products is Change Wallet, a mobile app for trading Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies with zero commission fees.


Change CEO Predicts: Cryptocurrencies Will Be Used As Much As Fiat Money

Change, a company headquartered in Estonia and financed from Singapore, has launched Change Wallet – a mobile app that allows users to buy and convert between cryptocurrencies. This multicurrency app supports digital assets such as Bitcoin, Ether, Ripple, Litecoin, and Tether.

According to the company, Change Wallet facilitates the execution of financial transactions and payments and provides access to an array of other financial services.

Significantly, no commission fees are charged for the transactions executed with Change Wallet, according to Change’s press release dated July 18, 2018.

Change Wallet is now available to residents of the European Economic Area in IOS and Android operating systems.

Joining the experts predicting that Bitcoin is here to stay and that it is eventually going to be used in everyday life, Change’s CEO Kristjan Kangro declared at the launch of the app:

Cryptocurrencies will soon be used just as much as traditional currencies by the masses when paying for good and services.

Solving Traditional Banks’ Major Limitations

Change Wallet allows sending, receiving, and storing several cryptocurrencies as well as fiat currencies, including US dollars and Euros.

As Change’s whitepaper explains, because Change Wallet is a mobile app, it solves three significant problems affecting traditional banks.

Specifically, users can handle all transactions via the app, thus avoiding the inconvenience of needing to go to the bank. Moreover, Change Wallet can provide banking services to the millions of unbanked people around the world.

As Bitcoin continues its inexorable trajectory to test the USD 8,000 resistance mark, the crypto community is encouraged by initiatives, such as Change’s, that contribute to increasing Bitcoin’s adoption rate. One of Change Wallet’s supporters, Roger Crook, former CEO of DHL Global Forwarding, says:

I’m backing this project because I think it’s got an extremely great future, and I see that Change is going to have challenges going forward. I have no doubt that this business is going to thrive and grow globally over the coming years.

How do you think the commission-free Change Wallet will impact Bitcoin trading? Let us know in the comments below.


Images courtesy of AdobeStock, Twitter/, Change

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Čvc 13

Bitcoin Ownership Rising Throughout Canada

Canada has seen an increase in its bitcoin ownership rate from 2.9 percent in 2016 to 5.0 percent in 2017. Usage trends have also shifted, with most Canadians now holding bitcoin primarily for investment purposes. 


The Bank of Canada has released its findings from a two-year long study that was completed to better assess Canadians’ usage and adoption of Bitcoin. The study, which began in 2016, followed central bank chief Stephen S. Poloz’s cautionary advice:

Cryptocurrency’ is a misnomer—‘crypto,’ yes, but ‘currency,’ no.

The Bank’s survey attempts to better understand Bitcoin’s role as currency and was administered in three waves, lasting from early 2016 until mid-2017. It coincidentally aligned with bitcoin’s extreme rise in value, which saw the market leader reach an all-time high of 19,738USD on December 17, 2017. The published study stated that:

The Bank of Canada’s interest in bitcoin is to understand whether its adoption and usage by Canadians could affect the financial system

The survey not only tracked bitcoin usage and adoption but also tried to garner a general sense of the public’s knowledge of cryptocurrency.

Canadians Prove They Know More

The published study revealed that not only had the percentage of those owning bitcoin gone up but that the general knowledge on cryptocurrency for both owning and non-owning citizens had increased. Quebec saw the largest increase in awareness, with a 28 percent improvement in score from 2016 to 2017.

The ownership of bitcoin among men aged 45 to 54 quadrupled over the two-year long research project, with an equally significant rise among those with a college or university level education. In general, bitcoin ownership saw a boost in all provinces of Canada — with notable growth in Ontario and the Prairies.

The survey also highlighted that usage trends have changed. Bitcoin owners in 2016 stated they were more likely to use their holdings for transactional purposes than those polled in 2017, who saw their holdings as a financial investment.

Bitcoin Enters Mainstream Finance in Canada, Mogo Announces BTC Trading App

Onward Canada

In the publication’s introduction, the Bank explains that:

[…] It is important to understand Bitcoin’s potential impact on how the Bank of Canada undertakes its core functions such as the production and distribution of currency.

This illustrates Canada’s preparation and willingness to consider bitcoin as it plans its financial future.

Canada has shown an openness to cryptocurrencies, with the nation reporting in early 2018 that it would not reconfigure its tax law to target them. The crypto-startup CBlocks moved from Miami to Canada earlier this year favoring the country’s less stringent regulations.

What are your thoughts on Canada’s role in the crypto-space?  Leave us a comment below and let us know! 


Images courtesy of Shutterstock, Bitcoinist archives, AdobeStock.

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