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 18

Anti-Euro Bitcoin Art Pops Up in Paris Amid Protests

The French are nothing if not expressive. In the country of the language of love, free speech, and Charlie Hebdo, Pascal Boyart has revealed his third piece of revolutionary street art in Paris with a Bitcoin QR code hidden inside.


The Bitcoin Revolution in France

Onlookers around the world, especially from the Bitcoin clan, watched excitedly as Bitcoin became a part of the Paris protests.

One of the Yellow Vest protesters wore a sign on his back saying ‘Buy Bitcoin,’ and the movement became associated with more than just unemployment, taxation woes, and various other social unrest issues.

For many, they believed it to be more about cryptocurrencies, a movement to run the French banks, topple the Euro, and spark the Bitcoin revolution.

In all likelihood, the percentage of yellow vest protestors who actually know about cryptocurrency is pretty slim. Ledger’s CEO Eric Larchevêque previously told this author in an interview:

The yellow vests do not really know about Bitcoin… They do not really think that cryptocurrency will solve their problems.

However, the fact remains that the Bitcoin movement is taking to the streets in France. This is now the third piece of street art from Pascal Boyart spreading the word about Bitcoin.

In the same vein as other pieces, the mural is provocative and radical in nature. It depicts French painter and Impressionist Eugène Delacroix burning a $100 euro note.

The piece signals the end of a reign of centralized institutions devaluing people’s savings and controlling their financial independence.

The significance of using the French romantic artist in his moral will not be lost on artists, historians, or literature aficionados. Delacroix is famous for his use of expressive brushstrokes and for shaping the movement of the Impressionists.

PBoy Pascal Boyart Is a Legend in Himself

Now the third piece of street art he’s created to spread awareness about Bitcoin, a quick glance at his website or Instagram account is enough to leave you breathless. Pascal Boyart is one really, exceptionally creative and hard-hitting artist with strong political views.

He’s also staunchly anti-centralist, sells his artwork through OpenBazaar, and accepts donations in cryptocurrencies.

Boyart’s work has been featured not only by several cryptocurrency outlets including Bitcoinist, but also in The New York Times, The Washington Post, Le Monde, and Reuters, among many others.

Bitcoin may be smaller than Amazon in terms of market value. We may still be in the nascent stages, and perhaps most French people don’t know about cryptocurrencies. But with activists like Pascal Boyart spreading the word, at least there are sparks starting the fire.

What do you think about the latest Bitcoin-inspired mural in Paris? Share your thoughts below!


Images courtesy of Shutterstock, pboy-art.com

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Bře 17

Gatecoin Ordered to Cease All Operations, Enters Liquidation

Gatecoin, a cryptocurrency exchange based in Hong Kong, has announced that it is shutting down and entering liquidation following failed attempts at recovering lost funds stemming from a dispute with a past payment services provider. 


The news comes via an official statement on Gatecoin’s website.

As detailed by the company, Gatecoin ran into trouble with its banking partners in September 2018, which forced the lesser-known exchange to commence a working relationship with a payment service provider (PSP). Said provider is apparently fully-compliant with French regulations. However, Gatecoin blames the PSP for failing “to process most of the transfers in a timely manner.” States the exchange:

[This] in turn almost paralyzed our operation for many months and caused substantial loss on our side.

Things apparently got worse when Gatecoin decided to replace the problematic PSP with “more reliable alternatives.” The prior PSP allegedly retained a significant portion of the exchange’s funds. Legal action apparently had little effect on recovering the funds — which seems a little suspect. Explains the statement:

After months spent trying to recover those funds, we commenced legal action against that PSP but were advised that it is unlikely that we would be able to recover the funds from them in full.

This financial difficulty, undoubtedly paired with the continued bear market, has forced Gatecoin to close up shop. The company was ordered to wind up by a court on March 13, 2019, and a provisional liquidator has been put in control. All operations must be ceased immediately. “Please rest assured that we will assist the liquidation process in order to expedite the realization and redistribution of our assets to the creditors,” the statement claims.

Gatecoin now joins the growing list of failed exchanges and bear market fatalities as the blockchain and cryptocurrency industry continues to flush out the waste and separate the wheat from the chaff.

What do you think of Gatecoin’s closure? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below!


Images courtesy of Shutterstock.

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Bře 16

Andrew Yang is the Bitcoin-Friendly U.S. 2020 Presidential Candidate

With the exception of Wyoming and a handful of other states, blockchain regulation in the U.S. has been disappointing at best. Yet, there may be a ray of hope from Democrat Presidential candidate Andrew Yang.


Who Is Andrew Yang?

Andrew Yang is an entrepreneur and founder of Venture for America (VFA), a non-profit organization with a mission of:

Mobilizing the next generation of entrepreneurs and equipping them with the skills and resources they need to create jobs.

Praised by the Obama administration in 2012, Yang was selected as a “Champion of Change,” and later, in 2015, recognized as a “Presidential Ambassador for Global Entrepreneurship.”

Somewhat a dark horse in this electoral race, Yang caused a flurry of excitement among the cryptocurrency community last summer. He declared that he accepted bitcoin, ether and other cryptocurrency donations for his campaign:

Along with the words:

Let’s build the future together

This sparked a storm of comments from his followers asking whether that meant that he supported the mainstreaming of cryptocurrencies. There were also plenty of enthusiastic statements like:

Nothing stops crypto, even Presidential candidates are jumping on!

Yang also had to contend with a decent amount of criticism. The usual opposers claiming that untraceable donations would lead to a flow of illicit funds and foreign financing. They even pointed out the damage to the climate from PoW mining.

Knowledge of Bitcoin Back to 2013

Regardless of the mixed reactions to his news last summer, the 44-year-old Yang of Asian descent could certainly bring the promise of the winds of change in American politics.

And his knowledge of Bitcoin goes back at least as far as 2013 when he tweeted about the then price meltdown when the price dropped under $600 USD:

How far this outsider will get in the presidential race and how much he will do to thrust cryptocurrencies front and center if he wins remains to be seen. But, we wouldn’t mind betting that either way, he’s got a few satoshis hodled away for a rainy day.

And who knows, maybe his bits could even help fund his presidential campaign!

Do you think Andrew Yang holds bitcoin? Share your thoughts below!


Images courtesy of Yang2020.com

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Bře 15

Tether’s New Terms of Service Spark Fractional Reserve Concerns

Popular stablecoin Tether has updated its  Terms of Service (TOS) on February 26th, once again raising questions over its dollar peg. 


No One Does it Better Than Tether

Tether 00 has regularly come under suspicion over its claims that it’s 1-to-1 backed by the US Dollar and that it has been used to manipulate Bitcoin prices. In June 2018, Bitcoinist reported on a paper by two researchers at the University of Texas, who claimed to have identified potential evidence of direct price manipulation since November 2017.

tether

In December, however, the rumors about its dollar peg began looking increasingly thin. Bank statements revealed that $2.2 billion was present in Tether’s account at Puerto Rico’s Noble Bank on January 31st in 2018. Data from CoinMarketCap shows that the same amount of Tethers existed back then.

Just a few short months later, the company has once again managed to turn the cryptocurrency community against itself, with a controversial change in its TOS.

Social media users noticed that they had removed the previous claims that Tether was fully backed by US Dollars. Instead, that’s what the site currently says:

Every tether is always 100% backed by our reserves, which include traditional currency and cash equivalents and, from time to time, may include other assets and receivables from loans made by Tether to third parties, which may include affiliated entities (collectively, “reserves”). Every tether is also 1-to-1 pegged to the dollar, so 1 USD₮ is always valued by Tether at 1 USD.

So It Began

Users on different social media platforms, including Reddit and Twitter, quickly took aim at the controversial move.

Popular cryptocurrency commentator IamNomad outlined that there’s a reason for real concerns, saying:

“…without clarification “loans to third parties” and “collaterial” could mean a whole mess of things. Are they being put in some 30d cash bond (ie corporate loan) to get intrest or worse case lending it out on bitfinex margin pool.”

Since then, Tether has issued a formal statement on the matter, outlining that the change in the TOS was communicated directly to customers through a “required active opt in.” The company reassures its users that “Tethers remain completely stable and 100% backed, because Tether’s reserves always equal or exceed the number of issued Tethers.”

It’s Not That Simple, Though

Despite Tether’s announcement, the controversy maintains.

“Slippery language by Tether. “100% backed” <=> “may also include receivables from loans issued.” Imo this is a clear transition from full to fractional reserve banking,” noted Tuur Demeester, founding partner at Adamant Capital.

It’s easy to see why one would be concerned that his Tethers might not be backed by US dollars, but rather than “receivables from loans issued.”

What do you think of Tether’s updated TOS? Don’t hesitate to let us know in the comments below!


Images courtesy of Shutterstock

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Bře 14

OKEx Trades Over $2.4Bn in Crypto Derivatives in 24 Hours, Tops BitMEX

OKEx just hit a record in crypto derivatives trading, knocking BitMEX off the top spot. 


Turning Things Around

OKEx ended last year amid a deluge of criticism from angry traders. Not only was the Asian-turned-Malta-based exchange called out for market manipulation when it forced the early settlement of BCH futures, without warning, right before the fork, but it was also slammed for falsifying trading volume.

However, the leading digital asset exchange that tells traders “it’s OK to be daring” has put all that behind it — and its relentless efforts to beat BitMEX at its own game appear to be paying off.

According to a media release, the company just registered a record-breaking 24-hour trading volume on crypto derivatives. OKEx racked up more trades than BitMEX or any other futures exchange, “topping the industry globally” while trading $2.4 billion in one day.

Just in case you were wondering where the numbers came from, the company reinforces this was “according to the official data.”

OKEx

Who Trades on OKEx?

At one point, it looked as if OKEx was going to see a mass exodus of traders from its platform. Now, it looks to have turned things around. The introduction of the latest perpetual swap product seems to have been a hit with futures traders, among whom some 56 percent go long on BTC.

This, they say, reflects the market’s overall optimism that the worst of the bearish conditions are over. Head of Operations Andy Cheung enthused:

It is encouraging that traders are positive and open-minded to the future of cryptocurrency. This really strengthens our faith in going further.

He also assured traders that the platform will continue to innovate and work on creating a more “trader-friendly” environment.

Contributing to the volume, OKEx’s perpetual swap registered over $53 billion in total trading volume. It currently has nine different contract types available for trading — including Bitcoin (BTC), Ethereum (ETH), and EOS with 100x leverage, and Bitcoin Cash (BCH), Ethereum Classic (ETC), Bitcoin SV (BSV), Litecoin (LTC), and XRP with 40x leverage.

Do you think OKEx really topped BitMEX? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below!


Images courtesy of Shutterstock.

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Bře 13

Justin Sun Planning $20M Cash Airdrop and Tesla Giveaway

TRON founder Justin Sun announced that he is planning to do a $20 million free cash airdrop, in addition to a giveaway of one Tesla vehicle, to a random winner. 


$20M Cash Airdrop from Justin Sun

Justin Sun, the founder of TRON (TRX) — the world’s 10th largest cryptocurrency by means of market capitalization — has announced his plans to do a $20 million free cash airdrop.

Prior to the airdrop, however, Sun is also going to give away one Tesla vehicle to a randomly picked winner.

“To celebrate BTT & USDT-TRON success, I am planning a $20m free cash airdrop. Good news – it’s coming, bad news – I may decide to give away more! First, I will randomly pick 1 winner for a Tesla up until 3/27! To apply, follow me and RT this tweet! Simple!”

Apparently, the first phase of the Tesla giveaway will end on March 27 and those who want to participate have to follow Sun on Twitter and retweet his post. So far, it has been retweeted over 29,000 times.

As for the second part of the initiative, which includes the $20m cash airdrop, there’s no additional information shared.

The entire stunt celebrates the success of BitTorrent Token (BTT) and the recent partnership between Tether (USDT) and TRON (TRX). As Bitcoinist reported, Tether is set to be introduced on TRON’s blockchain.

tron trx price

$20M — Why Not?

While $20 million might sound like a lot of money for a giveaway, Justin Sun’s recent moves have brought in a lot more.

BitTorrent had its initial coin offering (ICO) in January through Binance Launchpad. It ended in less than 15 minutes, selling $7.2 million in BTT tokens at $0.00012 a pop. At the time of this writing, BTT trades at $0.00075 — a six-fold increase on any investments made in the digital token during the time of its sale.

It’s also worth noting that, according to the token allocation plan of BitTorrent, 20 percent of the total supply is held by the TRON Foundation, 19.9 percent by the BitTorrent Ecosystem, and 19 percent by the “team.” The total supply of BTT is 990,000,000,000. In other words, approximately 594,000,000,000 tokens are held by entities owned by Justin Sun. At current prices, that’s roughly around $445,500,000.

What do you think of Justin Sun’s $20M cash airdrop and Tesla giveaway? Don’t hesitate to let us know in the comments below! 


Images courtesy of Shutterstock, Twitter.

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Bře 12

Paul Brody: Bitcoin Has No Practical Use

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


Tokenized Fiat (Not Bitcoin) is The Future of Money

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

Commenting on the matter, Brody declared:

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

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

Bitcoin Accepted Here

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

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

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

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

Blockchain is Boring

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

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

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

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


Image courtesy of Bitcoinist archives.

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Bře 11

Ledger Nano X Review: A Beautiful Piece of Kit

It feels like a long time since CES in January when Ledger unveiled its latest hardware wallet, the Nano X. I was lucky enough to receive a review device and have been dutifully putting it through its paces since then. With the first units shipping next week, its high time to get excited all over again with a full review. 


Getting Started

Let’s get this out of the way first — the Ledger Nano X is a beautiful piece of kit. It comes nicely packaged with Apple-level attention to detail.

In the box, you get the device itself, a keychain attachment, and tough-looking braided USB cable — plus instruction sheet, recovery cards, and Ledger stickers — if you’re into that kind of thing.

The device looks very similar to the Nano S, although the buttons have moved to be either side of the larger and flush screen. The two buttons scroll through menu options while pressing both simultaneously selects the highlighted option.

The set-up is a simple affair, although I would recommend doing it in one session. In my excitement, I started up the device whilst still in Vegas, then realized I should be taking notes… and of course, Vegas doesn’t allow notes. It took a bit of fiddling to get back to the set-up process once I was back home, but it wouldn’t have been a problem if I’d just waited.

Bizarrely, I managed to change the device name on my device, but Ledger Live still sees it as the default name. Now, I can’t seem to alter it at all — but it’s not a huge deal.

Ledger Live

Most of your interaction with the Nano X will occur via the Ledger Live app, for Android and iOS. I mean, you could use it through the desktop version, but there’s no reason why you would – and, in fact, one good reason why you wouldn’t… but more on that later.

The device connects to the mobile app via Bluetooth, which has sparked security concerns from some quarters. However, private keys remain safely stored in the secure chip on the device, which has been updated and has a higher rating than that of the Nano S.

The Nano X supports all 1100+ cryptocurrencies of the earlier model, but you can install 100 different token accounts on a single Nano X — compared to 18 on the S. Installing accounts is a breeze, although there is no way to change the default account name until after you have created it. Again, not a massive problem, but I don’t see why this shouldn’t be possible.

More of an issue is the fact that, if you do at any point decide to use the desktop version of the software, you have to manually add all the accounts again… and the accounts again take the default name. Why it doesn’t sync accounts (or at least account names) with the device/mobile app is a mystery. To be honest, though, the desktop app has no extra functionality, so you might as well just stick to the mobile app.

This works just like any software wallet, allowing you to send and receive tokens, monitor your portfolio, and even buy tokens through selected partner exchanges. Every transaction is confirmed through Nano X, and this is its strength.

The Bottom Line

The combination of hardware-wallet security with the mobility and ease-of-use of a software wallet makes this a pretty compelling purchase. Niggles aside, what’s not to like about that?

The Ledger Nano X costs $119, with free shipping, and orders placed today should be shipped in early April.

What do you think of the Ledger Nano X? Will you upgrade from the Ledger Nano S? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below!

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Bře 10

Ripple CEO Skeptical of JP Morgan’s New Cryptocurrency

Ripple CEO Brad Garlinghouse questioned the purpose and the overall utility of the recently announced cryptocurrency JPMCoin. He also outlined the positives aspects of major financial players stepping in the industry. 


Garlinghouse Questions Purpose of JPMCoin

Brad Garlinghouse, CEO at Ripple — the company behind the third largest cryptocurrency by market cap XRP — expressed his thoughts on the matter of JP Morgan Chase’s recently announced cryptocurrency.

He spoke at the DC Blockchain Summit on March 6. The executive said that he thinks it’s “great” that major financial institutions such as JP Morgan Chase stepping into the cryptocurrency industry. His praises, however, ended quickly. He stated:

That’s the only nice thing I’m going to say about this.

True to his words, Garlinghouse referred to another conference that he had been speaking at where he was interviewed by someone from Morgan Stanley.

This guy from Morgan Stanley was interviewing me, I said ‘So, is Morgan Stanley going to use the JPM Coin?’ And he said ‘probably not.’ So, well is Citi going to use the JPM Coin? Is BBVA? Is PNC? And the answer is no.

Criticizing the interoperability of JPM’s new cryptocurrency, or the lack thereof, he asked if “we’re going to have all these different coins? Are we back to where we are with lack of interoperability? I don’t get it.”

The CEO also expressed his concerns about the lack of merit behind the bank’s cryptocurrency and the fact that it doesn’t solve any real issues.

If you give them a dollar for deposits, they’ll give you a JPM Coin that you can then move within the JPM ledger. Wait a minute, just use the dollar! […] I don’t understand. If you’re just moving within the JPM ledger, and it has to be dollar-to-dollar, one-to-one backing, I don’t understand what problem that solves.

Other Industry Participants Also Skeptical

The CEO of Ripple is not the first one to dismiss the purpose of JPM’s cryptocurrency.

Bitcoinist recently reported that the CEO of cryptocurrency-based payment platform Abra, Bill Barhydt, said that enterprise blockchains, as well as tokens appearing from major global corporations, are “nonsense.” He said:

It’s exactly what’s happening with this enterprise blockchain nonsense; where people have this fallacy that they’re going to make blockchain work inside the firewall. It’s all going to fail miserably[.]

JP Morgan Chase announced its stablecoin dubbed, “JPM Coin,” earlier in February — outlining that its “applications are frankly quite endless.”

What do you think of JPM Coin? Do you agree with Brad Garlinghouse? Don’t hesitate to let us know in the comments below! 


Images courtesy of Bitcoinist archives, Shutterstock.

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