Dub 15

Mexico Sets New Bitcoin Volume Record After Trump’s Remittance Threat

Bitcoin price remaining above $5000 resulted in new trading highs for several countries worldwide last week, the latest data shows.


Mexico, Venezuela Post Record Localbitcoins Volumes

According to monitoring resource Coin Dance, which tracks trading volumes on peer-to-peer exchange platforms Localbitcoins, Paxful and Bisq, certain markets continued to see spikes in Bitcoin activity.

As Bitcoinist reported, the moves form part of a trend which accelerated in many places in line with Bitcoin price climbing steeply earlier this month.

As with the previous week, it was Venezuela, Peru, Mexico, Kazakhstan and others leading the way over the past seven days, Localbitcoins data confirms.

The period to April 13 was especially successful for Mexico, which set a new all-time trading record of 10.67 million pesos ($568,000) on Localbitcoins.

The peak contrasts sharply with the previous week, in which 8.6 million changed hands, and just clipped the previous record of 10.62 million set in March 2018.

Topping the list of motivations for the behavior remains US foreign policy, president Donald Trump threatening to target traditional fiat-based remittance channels. This, Bitcoinist explained, opens up the door to Bitcoin as an alternative.

A glance at other jurisdictions tracked by CoinDance tells a similar story, while Venezuela joined Mexico in beating all its previous weekly records.

In terms of the country’s highly-volatile fiat currency, the Sovereign Bolivar (VES), last week saw the equivalent of 30 billion units trade across Localbitcoins, beating the previous all-time high of 26.4 billion set the week before.

Kazakhstan, Tanzania Get Taste For Bitcoin

Beyond South America, as before, Kazakhstan continued its trading boom, also setting higher volumes last week than ever before – 55 million tenge ($145,000).

The uptick accompanies political upheaval in the Central Asian country, after veteran president Nursultan Nazarbayev unexpectedly quit his office last month.

In a fresh wave of interest, Tanzania also produced recent highs, with 165 million shillings ($71,000) across Localbitcoins. The country’s all-time high of 294 million from April last year, however, remains intact.

As Bitcoinist noted, the Bitcoin price surge also led to the reemergence of other Bitcoin financial phenomena. Focused on Asia, both Chinese and South Korean buyers began paying fiat premiums for cryptocurrency this month.

In China, over-the-counter purchasers of stablecoin Tether (USDT), from which they can diversify into other assets, faced higher CNY prices than their USD counterparts.

South Korean exchanges meanwhile saw the return of the so-called ‘Kimchi Premium,’ a mark-up for Bitcoin and other assets in won terms which last week averaged around 1.5 percent.

According to data from CoinMarketCap, overall 24-hour trading volumes for Bitcoin on regular exchanges totalled approximately $10.9 billion Monday. Adding altcoins, the figures reaches just over $38 billion.

What do you think about last week’s Localbitcoins volumes? Let us know in the comments below!


Images via Shutterstock, Coin.dance

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Dub 13

Uber IPO: Cryptocurrency Will Be a ‘Huge Beneficiary’

Uber Technologies Inc. expects a valuation of about USD 100 billion when listed on the New York Stock Exchange. Large IPOs such as Uber’s and others could bring spectacular benefits to the crypto industry. At the same time, business solutions allowing Uber users to pay with Bitcoin are now moving to center stage.


Uber IPO: Bigger Than Bitcoin’s Market Cap

On April 11, 2019, Uber filed with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) to offer shares of its common stock. In its recently released prospectus, Uber does not mention the magnitude of the IPO, which could be one of the biggest ever.

However, according to The Financial Times,

The company is aiming to raise $10bn from its IPO and recently told some of its investors that it could be valued at $90bn to $100bn, according to people familiar with the matter. The company was last valued at $76bn in a private fundraising in August.

Thus, the estimated valuation would surpass today’s Bitcoin market capitalization of about $89 billion.

The transportation company bases its projections on its leading technology, expertise, and massive network, which comprises millions of drivers, users, shippers, and other participants around the globe.

Moreover, Uber details in its prospectus financial data as follows:

  • Revenue derived from our Ridesharing products grew from $3.5 billion in 2016 to $9.2 billion in 2018.
  • Gross Bookings derived from our Ridesharing products grew from $18.8 billion in 2016 to $41.5 billion in 2018.
  • Consumers traveled approximately 26 billion miles on our platform in 2018.

Uber has become omnipresent. Its global ridesharing footprint covers 63 countries, encompassing a population of over 4 billion people, as shown in the graph below:

Digital Currency Group CEO, Barry Silbert adds that billions of dollars in private company stock will be unleashed from IPOs this year.

“The crypto asset class is going to be a huge beneficiary,” he says

You Can Already Use Bitcoin

Uber’s direct acceptance of payments in Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies may still be a long way off, however.

In the meantime though, some Uber drivers around the world are unofficially accepting BTC instead of their local fiat currency.

Some users in Argentina, for example, have expressed interest in paying for Uber with bitcoin while some drivers wouldn’t mind receiving some bits instead of the depreciating peso.

For instance, an Uber driver, under the Reddit username bjandrus, wrote that he was already accepting bitcoin off the books for rides. However, he complains, the process is problematic because the Uber app does not support BTC payments.

It remains to be seen which ride-sharing company will officially begin accepting bitcoin first.

However, paying for Uber in bitcoin indirectly is already possible. For example, there’s the gift card option from Bitrefill and others, including the Coinbase e-gift card supported in select EU countries and Australia.

There are also third-party services as well as cryptocurrency debit cards that allow you to pay for anything, including Uber, Lyft etc. using bitcoin.

https://twitter.com/VenditExchange/status/1088929593577357313

How do you think IPOs such the one expected from Uber could benefit the crypto industry? Let us know what you think in the comments below.


Images via Uber Technologies Inc., Shutterstock

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Dub 08

Bitcoin Goes Mainstream As Miss Universe Receives Lightning Torch

Bitcoin adoption took a step in a new direction this weekend after a former Miss Universe contestant joined the Lightning Torch transaction relay.


Rosa-Maria Ryyti HODLs Lightning Torch

In what appears to be an unexpected choice, Jeremias Kangas, founder of P2P trading platform Localbitcoins, opted to pass the Torch outside the cryptocurrency community – to Miss Universe Finland 2015, Rosa-Maria Ryyti.

Lightning Torch began in January this year as a stress test for Bitcoin’s Lightning Network, a solution which will allow Bitcoin to scale up to meet the needs of mass adoption.

While Lightning itself has only existed on the Bitcoin mainnet for around 15 months, the Torch has demonstrated the network’s resilience, with various high-profile figures becoming involved.

The relay works by nodes on the network accepting, adding the Torch transaction and adding a nominal amount of bitcoin, currently 10,000 satoshis, before passing it forward.

So far, the Torch has had around 275 owners, with Ryyti opting to hand it to Colombian Bitcoin guru BTC Andres. In total, there will only be enough ownership spots for the sum of the transaction to reach 5 million satoshis.

“I was honored to receive the torch from pioneer Jeremias Kangas and now there are only 8 places left,” she told her 35,000 Instagram followers.

The funds raised will be donated to Bitcoin Venezuela.

Ryyti also set up an account on Tippin.me, the Lightning-enabled tips service used in Lightning Torch.

Bigger And Bigger

Ryyti’s advocacy of Bitcoin predictably struck a chord with the cryptocurrency community. On social media, the model gained considerable acclaim, despite a conspicuous lack of feedback from non-crypto followers from Instagram.

The event is not the first time the Torch has ventured outside of crypto, with perhaps its other outing also becoming its best-known when Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey took over in February.

Jack Dorsey Joe Rogan Podcast JRE

As Bitcoinist reported, his custody was more than a token gesture, Dorsey subsequently pledging to integrate Lightning in both Twitter and his payments startup Square. The latter is currently hiring developers for its dedicated venture, dubbed Square Crypto.

BTC Andres meanwhile held the Torch for only a short time before passing it elsewhere among the South American Bitcoin community.

Currently, the invoice lies with DJ Booth, creator of Lightning-enabled Bitcoin crowdfunding platform Tallycoin, where Torch creator Hodlonaut is currently raising funds for the plight of Venezuelans.

According to monitoring resource 1ML.com, Bitcoin mainnet Lightning currently has 7876 nodes, over 39,000 channels and a total capacity of 1080 BTC. The figures represent monthly growth of 9.8 percent, 14.7 percent, and 40 percent, respectively.

Last week, a dedicated exchange appeared in the form of Bolt, which aims to allow Lightning-based trades between Litecoin and Bitcoin using a technology known as cross-chain atomic swaps

What do you think about Miss Universe Finland 2015 participating in the Lightning Torch? Let us know in the comments below!


Images via Shutterstock, Bitcoinist archives, Instagram

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Bře 26

Bitmain Says It Won’t Give Up on World’s Biggest Cryptocurrency IPO

Bitcoin mining giant Bitmain has officially announced its new CEO and says it will restart the IPO listing process sometime in the future. The company endured a difficult 2018 with administrative upheavals, staff layoffs, and significant losses.


Bitcoin Mining Giant Gets New CEO

In the latter part of 2018, Bitmain laid off a couple of departments amid reports of financial difficulties. In a blog post published on Tuesday (March 26, 2019), the company explained the decisions taken as part of its efforts to align its business model.

An excerpt from the statement reads:

It was a difficult but necessary decision as we continue to build a long-term, sustainable and scalable business. We did our best to compensate our employees above the legal requirement.

Bitmain also made some changes to its leadership structure with Haichao Wang, the former Engineering chief appointed as the new CEO. Co-founders Jihan Wu and Ketuan Zhan remain directors of the company and continue to have a say in “big decisions.”

Bitmain Will Restart IPO Listing Process

As reported by Bitcoinist on Monday, the Bitmain IPO application at the Hong Kong Stock Exchange (HKEX) expired after six months. According to the company, regulators and other mainstream stakeholders aren’t yet sold to the immense potential of the emerging cryptocurrency industry.

In the meantime, Bitmain says it will restart the application at some time in the future. Despite the failure of its first IPO application, the company said the process did deliver some positives for the company especially in the area of financial transparency.

Concerning transparency, Bitmain is yet to publish its financials for the second half of 2018. Speculation is rife with reports of huge losses for Q3 2018 of about $740 million.

Any attempt to refile another IPO application will see the company being forced to publish its financial report for Q3 and maybe even Q4 2018 depending on the reporting period stipulated by the stock exchange operator.

Bitmain Will Focus on Innovation and AI

Bitmain also revealed that its focus for 2019 will be on streamlining its business process to focus on innovation in both the cryptocurrency and artificial intelligence (AI) market.

Back in February 2019, Bitcoinist reported on the company’s new 7-nm chip touted to deliver more efficient Bitcoin mining. On paper, the new chip will offer about a 28.6 percent improvement in power efficiency, compared to previous iterations of the company’s 7-nm chip.

For innovation in the AI scene, the blog post also mentions agreements already inked with important stakeholders across China. Bitmain says it plans to lead the way in terms of cutting-edge innovation for neural processors.

What do you make of Bitmain’s stated goals for 2019 after the difficulties experienced in 2018? Share your thoughts with us in the comments below.


Image courtesy of Shutterstock.

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Bře 19

Dubai’s First Bitcoin ATM Let’s You Buy With Cash, No ID

If you’re in the UAE and want to buy some bitcoin, you can do so without KYC from the first Bitcoin ATM in Dubai. Don’t get too excited, though. You can’t make withdrawals yet–and you’ll need to show ID when you do.


The First Bitcoin ATM in Dubai

The good news is that Bitcoin ATMs are gaining traction around the world. Now there’s an operational machine in Dubai hotel and wellness center Rixos Premium Dubai JBR. However, the functionality of the machine is pretty limited for now.

For those looking to venture into the world of digital currency without having to undergo KYC or even show an ID Card, this is the path forward.

Users can simply purchase bitcoin with cash, no questions asked. They can’t sell them though, not through this machine anyhow. According to Anhad Dhingra CEO of Amhora, the company that owns the ATM, that option will be available in a couple of months.

Not All Good News for Anonymous Bitcoin Buyers

If you thought that using a fat wad of cash to purchase bitcoin was a great way to stay anonymous, think again. Remember, that you’ll need some sort of wallet to send your bitcoins to and an existing exchange to sell them afterwards. 

Moreover, when the Dubai Bitcoin ATM rolls out the sell option, users will have to swipe their Emirates ID card or passport.

Buy Bitcoin at Just Five Percent Commission

Amhora is fully licensed by the Department of Economic Development and will charge users a five percent commission on the total purchase. While this may sound steep to regular users who shrink from Coinbase and its high fees, the average Bitcoin ATM charges around 7.5 percent.

Dhingra enthused:

The commission is very attractive because you can buy bitcoins instantly. Otherwise people have to go through a number of procedures which take a lot of time. At this kiosk, you just insert cash and you get bitcoins instantly. It is possible to purchase bitcoins through banking platforms and debit cards already but since we accept cash, it is very different.

While there have been several prototype projects for Bitcoin ATMs, none of them is currently functioning. This makes Amhora’s ATM the first of its kind in the emirate.

Have you ever bought bitcoin from a BTM? Share your experiences below!


Images courtesy of Shutterstock

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Bře 05

Binance CEO: No Profit-Sharing With Users Due To BNB Security Status

Cryptocurrency exchange Binance will not share profits with holders of its in-house token due to regulatory hurdles.


‘You Don’t Want That’

That was the decision from CEO Changpeng Zhao (known as CZ), who shed light on the issue during an informal social media Q&A session on March 4 hosted by UK-based trading platform eToro.

Asked whether the exchange, which has seen phenomenal success in its short lifespan, would recycle its profits back to investors in its Binance Coin (BNB) token, Zhao said the drawbacks outweighed any advantages.

“No, that would make (BNB) a security, and you don’t want that,” he responded to an eToro user on Twitter.

As with Binance more generally, BNB has seen its value soar as the cryptocurrency is used, among other things, to offer discounts to traders on fees.

Currently the eighth-largest cryptocurrency by market cap, BNB has so far avoided the issue of securities regulation in countries such as the US — where the topic has become a major talking point in the face of shifting regulatory stances.

As Bitcoinist reported, an ongoing debate over whether the number-three cryptoasset, Ripple’s XRP, is a security has long enveloped industry commentators.

binance coin BNB

Exchanges Dodging Bullets

Zhao’s desire to avoid any exposure to potential securities rules thus speaks to a broader trend among cryptocurrency exchanges to circumvent jumping through unnecessary regulatory hurdles.

Platforms such as Bittrex— like Binance’s expansion to multiple overseas jurisdictions — have, at the same time, sought to segregate the US and non-US traders by offering different tokens on each with an eye to simplifying regulatory obligations and minimizing complications.

BNB, meanwhile, continues to attract attention beyond the question of security status. As Bitcoinist reported, Zhao himself described a report analyzing its value last month as “almost scary” in its thoroughness.

Authored by Kyle Samani of Multicoin Capital, the report concluded the token’s value is underrated. BNB/USD currently trades around $11.50, with the pair’s all-time high in January 2018 reaching just under $25.

What do you think about Binance’s position on profit-sharing? Let us know in the comments below! 


Images courtesy of Shutterstock.

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Úno 22

Cluck the Banks: Bitcoin Lightning Network Powers Remote Chicken Feeder

A new and decidedly niche consumer product for Bitcoin’s Lightning Network has launched, allowing anyone to use the payment protocol… to feed chickens.


A Different Breed Of Blockchain Supply Chain

Currently circulating on social media, Pollofeed.com facilitates automated feeding of the birds, powered by Bitcoin Lightning Network payments.

“Pollo Feed is a automated chicken feeder powered by bitcoin lighting payments,” the service’s description reads.

Users use the website to generate a payment invoice and send funds. After, Pollo Feed automatically dispenses a small amount of feed to a chicken in an enclosure in a hitherto unknown location.

The chicken is visible via a stream from within the enclosure, and developers promise that each successful payment will result in video evidence of receipt.

There is as yet no data concerning how many times the chickens have profited from Bitcoiners’ generosity, or exactly how automated the setup is.

Doing More With Lightning

Despite its relatively small appeal as a tool, the reaction to Pollo Feed further demonstrates the rapidly increasing mainstream popularity of Lightning, which just months ago remained all but unknown beyond technical circles and enthusiasts.

As Bitcoinist reported, multiple new services designed to make using the network easy and attractive for the lay consumer have launched this year alone.

In February, these included Lightning Pizza, delivering Domino’s to any US resident and soon elsewhere, and Tippin.me expanding Bitcoin micropayments to Twitter users.

Jack Dorsey, Twitter’s CEO, further stated that it was a case of “not ‘if’ but ‘when’” regarding Bitcoin Lightning implementation in his own payment network Square.

Lightning continues growing hit new records on a daily basis, with currently capacity topping 715 BTC ($2.8 million) according to monitoring resource 1ML.com.

What do you think about Pollo Feed? Let us know in the comments below!


Images courtesy of Shutterstock, pollofeed.com

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Úno 06

Cryptocurrency Lenders Bite Back At Bitcoin Bear Market With Record Volume

Cryptocurrency loans continue to capitalize on the longest bear market in Bitcoin history, with one company generating $630 million in its first six months.


Records Not REKT

Launched as a mobile app in July 2018, the Celsius Network reported the statistics in an update February 4.

The app has seen 40,000 downloads, $50 million in coin deposits and paid out maximum interest of 7.1 percent, CEO Alex Mashinsky revealed.

“One of the most surprising trends we saw during 2018 was the resilience of our HODLer community; despite BTC and ETH losing half of their value during the second half of 2018 we saw 184 out of 191 days in which deposits outnumbered withdrawals,” he wrote.

P2P Loans

Celsius’ performance and client habits touch on a trend which has continued since last year – Bitcoin HODLers are accumulating, not trading.

While this habit has caused anxiety for some market participants such as miners, as Bitcoinist reported, the crypto consumer loans sector has seen a surprisingly strong boom.

“We did not liquidate a single loan and we did not have a single default from any of our borrowers. We did not lose a single crypto asset or dollar from all our lending activities in 2018,” Mashinsky added.

Loans Meets Options Trading

Instigating loans with cryptocurrency as collateral provides a potential bonus for investors whose crypto holdings would otherwise lie dormant or gradually lose value in a bear market.

Starting out with only a few well-known names such as Bitbond, the market has grown rapidly with the emergence of various projects catering to itchy HODLers.

InLock, another startup new to the space, this month launched an additional product opening up crypto loans to options trading.

Csaba Csabai, Inlock CEO

Dubbed ‘Superposition,’ executives plan for the feature to act as a value preservation tool. Its release coincided with that of the Inlock Base Index, a mechanism for “protecting” the exchange rate of the company’s native ILK token, CEO Csaba Csabai explained to Bitcoinist.

What do you think about the cryptocurrency loan sector’s growth? 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 20

Australian Bitcoin ATM Startup Says Its Raking in $360,000 Per Week

A Bitcoin ATM company from Australia has reported a weekly turnover of $500,000 AUD (roughly $360,000 USD) despite the cryptocurrency bear market. 


$360,000 Weekly Turnaround

Auscoin, an Australian bitcoin ATM company, has reported a weekly turnaround of $360,000 in 2018. According to the reports, it’s currently operating 31 ATMs throughout Australia but it’s planning to expand.

Speaking on the matter, Sam Karagiozis, founder at Auscoin, said:

We currently have 31 Auscoin ATMs in Australia… and our turnover is $500,000 a week, which is just insane considering how much the price of Bitcoin has dropped. […] It just shows there really is a market for it and cryptocurrency is seen as a way of the future for many.

bitcoin atm

Auscoin bitcoin ATM

The company had an underwhelming ICO in 2018 after it managed to raise only $2 million of the projected $30 million. However, it hopes to expand to a network of more than 1200 bitcoin ATMs across Australia.

It’s Getting Easier to Buy Bitcoin

It’s becoming increasingly easier for people to buy Bitcoin at a range of physical locations. According to Karagiozis, accessibility is the main barrier to entry for regular people:

We believe the most significant barrier to entry for everyday people in the cryptocurrency market is accessibility.

Bitcoinist reported that the number of Bitcoin ATMs has doubled in 2018, growing to more than 4,000 in 76 different countries. According to the tracking website Coinatmradar, Australia has 54 Bitcoin ATMs in operation.

At the beginning of the month, France started selling Bitcoin at tobacco shops. The plan is to expand buying bitcoin to 24,000 tobacco kiosks across the country in the near future.

Just a couple of days ago, US-based Bitcoin ATM company Coinme partnered up with international coin counter Coinstar. The initiative has enabled users to buy Bitcoin at 20,000 Coinstar kiosk locations.

Meanwhile, Venezuela is also expected to see its first bitcoin vending machine go live within the next two weeks.

What do you think of the growing popularity of Bitcoin ATMs? Will this have a positive impact on its widespread adoption? Don’t hesitate to let us know in the comments below!


Images courtesy of Shutterstock

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