13% Have Used Bitcoin to Buy Stuff Online: Kaspersky Labs Study

qr code pay bitcoin

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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Source: Blockchain

Venezuela Imposes Capital Controls on Bitcoin Remittance Amid Record Volume

venezuela

Venezuela continues to reach new heights in terms of weekly Bitcoin trading volume. Meanwhile, the country’s government has issued new regulations that impose fees on Bitcoin remittance.


2,545 BTC: New Weekly Bitcoin Trading Record

According to data from Coin Dance, Venezuelans traded 2,454 BTC via Localbitcoins (the P2P trading platform) for the week ending February 9, 2018. This figure surpasses the 2,004 BTC recorded in the previous week.

Last week’s volume amounts to the highest ever recorded in the country. In terms of VES, the country’s beleaguered fiat currency, 24 billion VES worth of Bitcoin changed hands during the period, an increase of 41 percent from the week ending February 2, 2019.

With the continued political, social, economic turmoil in the Latin American state, citizens continue to rely on Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies for survival. The current stand-off in the political scene is sure to exacerbate further the already dire issues surrounding forex shortage and hyperinflation.

15 Percent Fee on Bitcoin Remittance

With Bitcoin trading volume soaring, state officials are getting into the action, introducing exorbitant fees on cryptocurrency remittance payments in the country.

According to the notice published on the Official Gazette 41581 on February 7, 2019, the National Superintendence of Cryptoactives and Related Activities of Venezuela (SUNACRIP) now oversees cryptocurrency-based remittance in the country.

SUNACRIP now has the power to set limits on cryptocurrency payments. An excerpt of the decree published by local crypto news media Criptonoticias, reads as follows:

The ruling defines commissions that range from 0.25 euros ($0.28) as the minimum rate per transaction, to 15% of the funds transferred in cryptocurrencies [sic]. In addition, it limits the sending of remittances to a monthly amount equivalent to 10 Petros (PTR), a cryptocurrency [sic] created by the Venezuelan Government.

The notice also establishes an upper limit for the cryptocurrency payments pegged at $3,000.

The reaction from many commentators on the matter has been unanimously negative. Imposing fees on cryptocurrency remittance is counterproductive to the essence of international payments via cryptocurrency which is the removal of exorbitant fees charged by mainstream services.

According to the World Bank, the global average remittance fees range between 5.2 percent and 9.4 percent. The SUNACRIP fee structure effectively renders crypto remittance more expensive than fiat.

This new directive comes on the heels of an earlier law that seeks to punish what the state considers unauthorized cryptocurrency use.

What’s your take on the remittance fees being imposed on Bitcoin and other cryptocurrency transactions by the Venezuelan state? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.


Images courtesy of coin.dance and Twitter (@SunacripVe), Shutterstock

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Source: Blockchain

Twitter CEO to Joe Rogan: I Think Currency of The Internet Will Be Bitcoin

Jack Dorsey Joe Rogan Podcast JRE

Appearing on the Joe Rogan Experience podcast, Twitter and Square CEO, Jack Dorsey, stated that the Internet will eventually have a currency, which he thinks will likely be Bitcoin.


‘I Think It Will Be Bitcoin’

Appearing on the Joe Rogan Experience podcast, which has over 4.4 million subscribers, Dorsey stated his conviction that the Internet was evolving towards having a native currency. For the Twitter and Square chief, Bitcoin, the top-ranked cryptocurrency seems best-suited to that role.

Commenting on the possibility, Dorsey said:

I believe the Internet will have a native currency and I don’t know if it’s Bitcoin. I think it will be [Bitcoin] given all the tests it has been through and the principles behind it, how it was created. It was something that was born on the Internet, was developed on the Internet, was tested on the Internet, [and] it is of the Internet.

In the past, Dorsey has made similar remarks, commenting in May 2018 that Bitcoin should be the native currency of the Internet. Thus, Dorsey says Square’s focus is solely on BTC with no present plans to offer support for other cryptocurrencies on the Square Cash App.

Bitcoin Enables Better Financial Inclusion

Dorsey explained to Joe Rogan that Bitcoin adds another dimension to the goal of creating easier access to financial services. Elaborating on Square’s decision to offer support for the popular cryptocurrency, the CEO said it gave the company the ability to serve more people across the world far better than was possible using mainstream channels.

Square Cash App

Dorsey likened the Internet to a single nation that exists digitally. Thus, it only makes sense that it would have its own universally accepted currency.

Present-day fiat money is usually subject to nationalistic policies that might not appeal to different places across the globe. Bitcoin, however, is based purely on mathematical algorithms providing a certain sense of neutrality and universality devoid of any geographical or political bias.

Banks Hate Bitcoin’s Disruption

Dorsey also touched on the attitude of banks and other stakeholders in mainstream finance towards Bitcoin. Unsurprisingly, banks and many other financial institutions aren’t fans of Bitcoin’s disruptive tendencies, the Twitter CEO said.

Earlier in January, JPMorgan analysts released a report claiming that BTC’s value could only exist in a dystopian economy. In 2018, ‘nocoiner’ Warren Buffet infamously called Bitcoin “rat poison squared,” which, oddly enough, implies that the banks are the rodents.

However, he also touched on the philosophical aspect of Bitcoin changing people’s perception of what constitutes value. For Dorsey, it is vital that people critically examine the emerging trends or risk being left behind much like the way the Internet revolutionized communication and the global business process.

As for staunch critics of Bitcoin who repeat worn out rhetoric, Dorsey says:

Technology will continue to march on and make you irrelevant.

Do you think that Bitcoin will become the native currency of the Internet? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.


Images courtesy of Shutterstock, Youtube.com

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Source: Blockchain

Bitcoin ATMs Ignore Market Downturn, Rapidly Spread Throughout US Cities

bitcoin atm

Bitcoin ATMs continue to spread across the United States at a rapid clip. 


Chicago is the latest city to see an increase in ATMs supporting both the cryptocurrency market leader and various popular altcoins — thanks to an Atlanta-based company called Lux Vending, which has dropped 30 ‘Bitcoin Depot’ ATMs throughout the Chicago already this year.

The addition to Lux’s machines reportedly brings Chicago’s total Bitcoin ATM count up to nearly 100.

The fifth-most-populous North American city is already a hotspot on the Bitcoin radar, with major exchanges CME Group and Cboe Global Markets already offering non-physically-settled bitcoin futures contracts. San Francisco-based exchange giant Coinbase recently set up an office in Chicago, and various cryptocurrency-oriented startups currently call the Windy City home.

bitcoin atm

Brotherly Bitcoin Live

Philadelphia also reportedly has nearly 100 Bitcoin ATMs operating in its area — many of which are “hidden in plain sight” in places like Rittenhouse Square, South Philly, and Queen Villiage, according to Philly-based Straight Up Capital’s Sean Keefe.

Keefe also told KYW NewsRadio 1060 that he expects more business to begin accepting the dominant cryptocurrency as the ATM machines become more popular and more widespread.

Bitcoinist Bitcoin ATMs Milestone

Know Your Coinstar

In related news, Coinstar recently launched support for the purchasing of Bitcoin with individuals’ ever-growing collections of spare change. Though this news caused a good deal of excitement when it broke, interested parties soon had their parades rained on after the machines reportedly required extensive know-your-customer (KYC) checks that validated in ultra-sluggish fashion.

Nevertheless, the developments from Bitcoin ATM companies and Coinstar are undeniably positive. The United States currently houses more than 3000 machines by itself — far more than any other country in the world — despite the year-long-and-counting market downturn.

What do you think about the continued proliferation of Bitcoin ATMs it US cities like Chicago and Philadelphia? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below! 


Images courtesy of Shutterstock.

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Source: Blockchain

On the Brink of…College? ‘Bitcoin Baby’ Receives BTC From Ad in The Times

Bitcoin baby

A rather interesting listing has popped up in The Times of parents seeking to raise money for their newborn baby via Bitcoin donations. 


‘Bitcoin Baby’ Asks for College Donations

Little Izabella Anna Bowles was born on January 6th, 2019. Her parents, however, have decided to waste absolutely no time in saving up for her college fund.

Unlike regular parents, however, Wioletta and Peter, have decided to ask the cryptocurrency community for their financial support.

A listing published in The Times reads:

Bitcoin Baby

On 6th January 2019 to Wioletta (nee Witek) and Peter, a daughter, Izabella Anna Bowles, sister to Philip, Weighed 2.2kg.

Bitcoin College fund: 1ZAB5XeKMdvax2S8eZT7GQ6Nj4xjbsw1Y

The cryptocurrency community has been quick to respond. The first recorded transaction to that address was on January 10th. Four days later, the address has already seen 154 transactions and it contains 1.03581043 Bitcoin (BTC) 00.

At the time of writing this, the BTC in the address is worth around $3,660.53.

The Times is no stranger to publishing Bitcoin-related content. On January 3rd, 2019, the newspaper featured a front cover ad celebrating Bitcoin genesis block’s tenth birthday, which famously includes a headline from The Times on January 3rd, 2009 that reads:

The Times 03/Jan/2009 Chancellor on brink of second bailout for banks.

The same issue also published an article of BitMEX’s CEO Arthur Hayes warning that the end of cash is “sooner than you think.”

Begging or Crowdfunding?

Izabella’s parents initiative has been regarded by some as a “disguised way to beg” as the Reddit submission has been flagged and removed as it constitutes “begging for money.”

However, the overwhelming majority of users have been nothing but welcoming. The accumulated amount of BTC best shows that.

One thing most of them seem to agree on, however, is the fact that it was a bad move by the parents to only publish the 33 alphanumeric address instead of the alternative QR code.

A lot of users are also making the case that while the current amount of Izabella’s college fund might be insufficient to cover her tuitions if the bullish predictions for Bitcoin’s price come true, it might be more than enough in the future.

Will the Bitcoin baby receive enough money to cover college? Share your prediction below!


Images courtesy of Shutterstock, reddit

The post On the Brink of…College? ‘Bitcoin Baby’ Receives BTC From Ad in The Times appeared first on Bitcoinist.com.

Source: Blockchain

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

Gab free speech money bitcoin

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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Source: Blockchain

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

Virgin Galactic

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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Source: Blockchain