Binance Now Supporting Visa and MasterCard Payments

bitcoin visa mastercard

Binance, the world’s largest cryptocurrency trading exchange by volume, announced today that both debit and credit card payments for cryptocurrencies are now open — thanks to a partnership with Simplex, a fully-licensed financial institution that offers online fraud-protected payment processing solutions. 

Binance users are now afforded the opportunity to purchase Bitcoin (BTC), Ethereum (ETH), Litecoin (LTC), and XRP (XRP) via Visa and MasterCard debit and/or credit cards — a process which takes between 10-30 minutes on average.

The fee for card payments is 3.5 percent per transaction or $10 USD — whichever amount is higher.

Facilitating Mainstream Adoption

The move comes as part of Binance’s long-term goal or increasing both the adoption and accessibility of cryptocurrencies for the wider public. Explained Binance CEO Changpeng Zhao:

We want to provide Binance traders with fast and easy access to crypto, in the most secure way possible. Partnering with Simplex allows us to instantly bridge the gap between credit card payments and crypto for traders globally. On, you can now buy crypto with credit cards and start trading in minutes.

Likewise, Simplex CEO and cofounder Nimrod Lehavi stated:

Easy and fast credit card payments, for mainstream users, is a key factor in wider adoption of crypto in general. We’re thrilled to partner up with Binance and together enable a much better, fast and easy experience.

It should be noted that purchasing cryptocurrencies through Binance via Simplex is subject to local bank policies.


Continual Development

Binance’s partnership with Simplex comes shortly after the world’s leading exchange launched support for euro and British pound sterling trading via and Ugandan shillings trading via Binance Uganda.

Zhao sees the construction of fiat gateways as critical to facilitating mainstream adoption of cryptocurrencies and cryptocurrency trading, stating:

The crypto industry is still in its early stages and most of the world’s money is still in fiat. Building fiat gateways is what we need now to grow the ecosystem, increase adoption and introduce crypto to more users.

What do you think about the partnership between Binance and Simplex to allow debit and credit card payments on the platform? Let us know in the comments below! 

Images courtesy of Twitter, Shutterstock.

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Source: Blockchain

‘Bitcoin’ Branded Altcoins Were a Phenomenon of Soaring BTC Price

bitcoin forks

Bitcoin has been forked to spawn more than 40 Bitcoin-branded altcoins in its history, and many remain completely unknown, new data published this week reveals.

Bitcoin Forks Surged At Price All-Time High

Compiled by cryptocurrency data analytics firm DataLight and uploaded to social media January 29, the summary sheds light on a host of altcoins which split off from the Bitcoin network at various points beginning in 2015.

Names include Bitcoin X, Bitcoin Red and Bitcoin All, familiar coins such as Bitcoin Diamond and Bitcoin Gold, along with more unusual entries such as Bitcoin Ore, Bitcoin Uranium, and Bitcoin God.

A total of almost 50 spinoff forks currently make up the tally, with DataLight noting that December 2017 – the month in which the Bitcoin price 00 reached its all-time highs – sparked 19 such forks.

“None of them became widely adopted,” the company adds.

In fact, the surge in BTC price at the end of 2017 appears to coincide with the emergence of new Bitcoin-branded forks.

Fork Me Once…

As Bitcoinist reported, the advent of the first wave of Bitcoin forks in 2017 received major publicity.

Coming four months after Bitcoin Cash, arguably the best-known Bitcoin fork, names such as Bitcoin Diamond and Bitcoin Gold failed to achieve credibility in the eyes of the industry. Commentators at the time accused development teams of simply trying to capitalize on the process to ‘create  money out of thin air.’

Bitcoin God, which also appeared in late 2017, was intended as a parody of the situation along the lines of Useless Ethereum Token, which had earlier mocked the ICO craze.

For those forks that have in some way endured, questions still remain as to their true purpose or unique selling point.

Sharing the DataLight piece, veteran trader Tone Vays said he was taken aback by the scale of hard fork activity on the Bitcoin network. He added:

We all know that (Bitcoin Cash) (aka (BCash)) was the big one (and) has now split into (Bitcoin ABC) and (Bitcoin SV) but how different are they from the other 40+ on this ever-growing list?

What do you think about the number of Bitcoin forks? Have they strengthened or weakened Bitcoin? Let us know in the comments below!

Images courtesy of Shutterstock, Datalight

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Source: Blockchain

Florida Judge Overturns Ruling That Bitcoin Isn’t ‘Money’

florida court

A Florida appeals court has overturned a ruling that acquitted a Localbitcoins trader of money laundering and working as an unlicensed money transmitter.

Bitcoin No Longer ‘Poker Chips’?

As local news outlet Miami Herald reported January 30, Michell Espinoza, who sold bitcoin worth around $1350 to an undercover police detective in 2014, will now face a jury.

Prosecutors argue Espinoza should have registered as a money transmitter before advertising services on P2P trading platform Localbitcoins. A settlement in 2016 threw out the charges after a judge agreed Bitcoin was not legally money.

“Basically, it’s poker chips that people are willing to buy from you,” a defense witness said in court at the time.

The Third District Court of Appeal, however, has other ideas.

“Espinoza’s bitcoins-for-cash business requires him to register as a payment instrument seller and money transmitter,” the Herald quotes lawmakers as saying Wednesday.

A trial date has not yet materialized.

Setting A Precedent

Espinoza’s case was complicated by the fact that the undercover officer told him he planned to use the bitcoins to buy hacked data.

Nonetheless, the implications of a potential successful conviction are significant. The case could allow law enforcement to prosecute more Localbitcoins traders if there is a reason to suspect they are engaging in “business” and not sales of “private” bitcoin holdings.

The U.S. has strived to enshrine obligations surrounding taxation and securities in law for cryptocurrency issuers and holders, but the national landscape remains patchwork.

As Bitcoinist reported, individual states have taken markedly different approaches to cryptocurrency, ranging from openly accepting to openly hostile.

Such is the headache for some businesses looking to serve the US market, exchanges including Bittrex and Coinbase have opted to segregate their domestic and non-domestic audiences by setting up entirely separate platforms.

In December, a bipartisan bill appeared in Congress aiming to exempt cryptocurrencies from securities law.

What do you think about the Miami appeals court’s decision? Let us know in the comments below!

Images courtesy of Shutterstock

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Source: Blockchain

Iran Lifts Bitcoin Ban to Make Way For ‘Crypto-Rial’

Iran Considers State-Issued Cryptocurrency Ahead of Imminent US Sanctions

Iran has lifted the ban on Bitcoin and cryptocurrency as it takes another step towards its own sovereign cryptocurrency amid talks with foreign nations as potential partners.

Iran Unbans Bitcoin, ICOs

Today, Iran’s central bank has released an early draft of its cryptocurrency laws, lifting the previous ban on Bitcoin, cryptocurrencies, digital tokens, and ICOs, reports to Al Jazeera.

Nevertheless, the regulations will impose restrictions on the use of virtual currencies inside the country. Thus, individuals will be allowed to have bitcoin, though banks and businesses will likely be prohibited from transacting in cryptocurrency to preserve the rial monopoly.

The document also formally recognizes cryptocurrency wallets and exchanges as well as mining to generate cryptocurrencies through computing power.

iran irancoin cryptocurrency

‘Crypto-Rial’ Talks Underway

According to the Tehran Times, Iran is currently in negotiations with eight foreign nations as part of efforts to incorporate cryptocurrency payments into international payment transactions. This move comes as the country looks for ways to counter US-led economic blockade.

Commenting on the plan, Mohammad Reza Modoudi, the acting head of the country’s Trade Promotion Organization (TPO), said:

Representatives from Switzerland, South Africa, France, England, Russia, Austria, Germany, and Bosnia have visited Iran to hold related talks about the issue.

Establishing crypto-based trade deals with other countries will likely be a massive step for Iran after the SWIFT ban. Furthermore, reports indicate that Russia, one of the eight countries previously mentioned is also exploring the creation of financial systems that do not depend on the SWIFT network.

According to Al Jazeera, Iran already has a trilateral agreement with Russia and Armenia that involves the use of blockchain technology. Commenting on the deal, Yuri Pripachkin, a senior Russian government official said:

According to our information, an active development of an Iranian version of SWIFT is currently under way.

Iran Serious About State-Backed Cryptocurrency

This week, reports also emerged that the country was set to move forward with its plans to create a state-backed cryptocurrency. Sources say the unveiling of the national virtual currency will be part of the activities during the annual Electronic Banking and Payment Systems, which kicked off today.

Presently, there is no indication of whether the proposed national cryptocurrency will act as a facilitator of trade between Iran and other countries. For now, any ‘crypto-rial’ will be used to execute payments between banks and institutions invested in cryptocurrencies.

What do you think about Iran’s plans to engage with other countries to use its national cryptocurrency? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.

Image courtesy of Shutterstock

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Source: Blockchain

Bitcoin Price Falls Below $3.4K on Downward Trend ‘D-Day’

bitcoin price down red market

The Bitcoin price continues to suffer as the week progresses, losing another 2 percent in USD terms to trade below $3400 January 29.

‘D-Day’ For Bitcoin Price Trend?

Bitcoin’s 3-day losses now surpass 7 percent as analysts describe what they see as a decisive trading period which will determine the broader trend for BTC/USD 00.

“Today is D-Day for down-trend confirmation,” analytics website Woobull creator Willy Woo wrote on Twitter late Monday.

Woo was monitoring accelerating Bitcoin trading volumes for a sign the market could break out of its slow downtrend. Asked at what price it could see an “ultimate low,” he suggested further losses of around 30 percent could still occur.

“The were a lot of coins bought in the $2200-$2800 range on the way up, I can concur this is the likely accumulation bottom, I’m picking in the price will settle lower part of this range,” he added in response to a query.

Market Cap Sheds $3 Billion In 24 Hours

Bitcoin has failed to hold support at $3500 but continues to trade within the $500 corridor predicted by various figures in recent months.

A slide to $2200 would still constitute a stronger performance than that predicted by fellow analyst and trading veteran Tone Vays in December, who warned Bitcoin could soon end up at $1300 or even lower.

For altcoins, the knock-on effect of Bitcoin’s fall was as usual more pronounced. Ethereum (ETH) currently trades at $104, its lowest price since December 20.

Both Stellar (XLM) and Binance Coin (BNB) have lost 10 percent in the past 24 hours alone, making them the worst performers in the top twenty cryptocurrencies by market cap.

The overall cryptocurrency market cap has now reached $111 billion, $3 billion less than a day earlier.

Market downturns have meanwhile failed to shake confidence in areas of the crypto industry, notably Bitcoin ATMs, which Bitcoinist reported continue to expand at an unprecedented rate this year.

What do you think about this week’s Bitcoin price performance? Let us know in the comments below!

Images courtesy of Shutterstock

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Source: Blockchain

The Future of the ICO Hangs in the Balance

kick kik ico sec

The US Securities and Exchange Commission took a fairly harsh view on ICOs, judging almost all to be undeclared securities. But isn’t that response just reactionary, over-broad and perhaps even a little bit lazy? Canadian messaging company, Kik, are fighting back, and the industry as a whole should be glad that they are.

The Promise Of Untold Wealth

Initial Coin Offerings (or token sales) appeared on the cryptocurrency scene in 2013, with notable offerings from Ethereum (raising $16m) and Stellar ($39m) the following year. They became the darlings of the industry by 2017, allowing unbridled raising of start-up capital, and generally impressive returns for investors.

Like all things crypto, ICOs went thermo-nuclear in 2017, as media-frenzy meant everyone wanted a piece of the action. With seemingly not enough pieces to go round, that $hitcoin you just bought at pre-ICO prices could score a ten-fold return, even before launch.

Enter the criminals and the woefully under-skilled. Through fraud and/or mismanagement, over half of all ICOs collapsed within four months of the token sale. 2018’s Ethereum price free-fall didn’t help matters either. Somebody needed to act.

Saving Every Crypto-investor

In mid-2017, the SEC had issued a balanced and considered report, following investigation into the DAO project. The report warned ICO issuers and investors that securities laws ‘may’ apply to certain token offerings, DAO included. According to the commission, tokens which promised investors a return were essentially securities, implying that tokens with ‘utility’ were not.

This pretty much made sense to everybody. Selling a token as purely an investment was tantamount to selling company stock or bonds. Whereas a utility token didn’t need to go up in value, as it had other… um, utility. The fact that so many did was due to the buzz around any novel digital tokens at the time. That didn’t suddenly make these tokens securities.

Bitcoin ETF

Nobody wanted to see scammers in the space, so the scrutiny of the SEC was generally welcome. But still the speculators flocked, and they expected a return from every new token on the block.

They didn’t want the utility of a token, just an asset so they could get rich quick. And when they didn’t, they complained to the SEC… who weren’t very happy about it. Somebody had to save these idiots from themselves.

It started in February 2018, when SEC Chair Jay Clayton asserted that “every ICO I’ve seen is a security.” By June, Ethereum had distinguished itself as ‘not-a-security’, joining only Bitcoin as a decentralized cryptocurrency… although how decentralised is now debatable.

Pretty much everything else now fell into the category of securities, and the SEC started proceedings accordingly.

Through Kik and Kin

Kik’s first dealings with the SEC over their Kin token were friendly enough. Just a few informal questions. But over time, things ramped up and became more serious until the commission finally issued a Wells notice, outlining why they think there has been a securities infraction.

Kik’s defence hinges around the fact that it was sold as, and is in use as, a currency. Currencies being specifically excluded from being securities.

Of course, the internet has roundly mocked this, suggesting it is only used in apps, which Kik funded, but the internet is being a dick. By this argument Fortnite V-bucks are a security, as are Amazon vouchers, and perhaps even supermarket loyalty points.

“But,” says the Internet, “did Pantera and Polychain (who invested millions in the token presale) know that the tokens weren’t expected to make a profit?” with a smug look in its eye.

Sadly, we weren’t privy to that conversation. But at the time (Aug 2017), even if they read the white-paper, they likely still expected price to skyrocket, because, you know… August 2017. That still doesn’t make it a security.

But I Heard ICOs Were Already Dead

And you may well have heard it right here on Bitcoinist, but I respectfully disagree. The ICO has retreated, hurt and scared, into its cave, licking its wounds, and hiding from an uncaring world. How did it fall so far from grace? What must it do the regain its position at the crypto table?

It’s almost guaranteed that that the heavy-handed scaremongering of the SEC spooked the market far more than some dodgy ICO scammers. In trying to protect the greedy speculators with eyes too wide to read the small print, the SEC ensured that everyone got rekt… So thanks for that.

Tokens which clearly are securities, are now being shilled through STOs, but that’s really not in the pioneering spirit of Bitcoin. Neither are registration and securities regulations going to prevent STO investors from getting burned. This is not purely a crypto-phenomenon, and has been going on for as long as securities have existed.

Importantly, the SEC must accept that not all tokens are securities, however much investors wanted them to behave that way.

Kik fighting this in court is a good thing for the entire industry, and we should all hope they win. The SEC have overstepped their remit and need to be told so. ICOs are a perfectly valid way to raise funds in the crypto space. The current position of the SEC is only going to see its country falling behind because the Commission only has jurisdiction in the US.

But if they are challenged and beaten then the (not so) humble ICO could rise again…

Only this time, RTFMWhite-Paper.

Will Kik be successful in taking on the SEC? Share your thoughts below!

Images courtesy of Shutterstock

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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

Iran May Unveil State-Backed Cryptocurrency This Week

iran irancoin cryptocurrency

Iran is reportedly expected to announce its state-backed digital currency at the annual Electronic Banking and Payment Systems Conference which starts on January 29th. The move is an attempt to bypass US-imposed economic sanctions. 

Iran-Backed Cryptocurrency

Iran first announced its intentions to launch a state-backed digital currency in the summer of 2018.

The move was occasioned by the fact that the country was set to undergo renewed economic sanctions from the US.

Since then. the country was also kicked out of the Society for Interbank Financial Telecommunication (SWIFT), which has highlighted the need for an alternative way of moving money even more.

According to a new report by Al Jazeera, the country may be announcing the state-backed cryptocurrency on January 29 at the annual Electronic Banking and Payment Systems conference, which this year has a  “blockchain revolution” theme.

The cryptocurrency is expected to roll out in two different phases. The first phase will reportedly involve the issuance of a rial-backed digital token, which shall facilitate payments between local banks and other actively participating institutions.

The other phase will include the launch if an instrument that will enable retail use, i.e. currency.

Alternative to SWIFT?

While it’s currently unclear whether ‘IranCoin’ will be used to facilitate payments between Iran and other countries, it could be positioned by the Iran government as an alternative to SWIFT as Bitcoinist reported last year that Iran and Russia may use cryptocurrencies to bypass US sanctions.

It also wouldn’t be the first time countries are cooperating on creating a joint cryptocurrency. Recently, the UAE and Saudi Arabia announced a joint effort in this regard.

However, it’s questionable whether a state-backed cryptocurrency will provide regular Iranians with access to the global monetary system.

Additionally, the report notes that because ‘IranCoin’ will be nothing like Bitcoin and entirely centralized, it will likely fall short of circumventing any sanctions. This is because the US will guarantee it has no place in any credible international exchange just like the rial.

Speaking on the matter, blockchain and cryptocurrency developer, Yashar Rashedi explained:

They certainly can’t replace the likes of bitcoin due to their centralized nature, but their existence is harmless. […] Even as CBCCs may never find widespread everyday use among the general public, they may be able to offer some new features to startups and developers that had to work with centralized bank APIs before them.

Do you think a state-backed cryptocurrency will help Iran combat US-imposed sanctions? Don’t hesitate to let us know in the comments below!

Images courtesy of Shutterstock

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Source: Blockchain

Top Bitcoin Lightning Apps You Can Use Today (Part 1)

lapps lightning network LN bitcoin

Not only does Lightning Network negate the existence of many altcoins but also takes a hatchet to smart contract platforms by enabling various apps (LApps). Harnessing the BTC network while enabling instant transactions and near-zero fees, these Lapps are already demonstrating some promising use-cases for Bitcoin’s second layer. 

It is just over a year since Blockstream introduced their ‘Lightning Charge’ API, allowing easier creation of Lightning Apps. So it’s high time we took a look at how far the market has come, with a round-up of the best LApps available right now.


The first thing you’ll need is a Lightning-enabled wallet. After all, it’s going to be very difficult to make and receive Lightning Network (LN) payments without one. Fortunately, user-friendly wallets have proliferated in the past twelve months, which means you won’t even need to set up your own Lightning node (though that is recommended to minimize trust).

Early players like Zap (iOS and Desktop), and Éclair (Android and Desktop) are still going strong. Or you may prefer brand new iOS and Android options like Shango or BlueWallet. Even old favorites like Electrum (Desktop) recently announced upcoming Lightning integration.

A (reasonably) comprehensive list is available here. Although it comes with the caveat that recent additions will likely contain bugs, be custodial or closed-source, etc.

In other words, it’s okay to be #reckless, but be sure to test this bleeding edge technology with only small amounts for the time being.


Now you’ve got your lightning wallet, why not use it to buy stuff? More and more online stores and marketplaces are integrating Lightning payments. Here are two favorites.

CoinMall is a peer-to-peer marketplace where you can buy and sell digital products with zero-fees. And Bitrefill is a popular online store selling mobile top-ups and a wide range of gift cards, with which you can buy just about anything.

They have even started selling gift cards for the Azteco-like FastBitcoins. So you can now buy or gift bitcoin, and have it delivered via LN.

Monetize Your Content

One of the great things about LN is the ability to instantly send (and receive) micropayments. This makes it feasible for content creators to receive bitcoin (even as little as a few satoshis) for their work.

Writers can publish their work on the Y’Alls website, which charges readers half a cent per article through LN. Or if you already have a WordPress blog, why not use Lightning Publisher For WordPress. This Blockstream LApp allows readers to see a preview of your post, but requires a Lightning payment to read the rest. BTCPay Server announced a similar service just yesterday.

Another Blockstream LApp is FileBazaar, which allows you to sell digital files through an ad-free storefront interface. Images, video, audio, pdfs, and text can be stored in a simple directory, browsed, previewed, and purchased.

Tips Gratefully Received

Perhaps all this is a bit too much and all you really want is a simple tip jar. After all, the world should be able to recognise your greatness from a 140 character tweet (for example), and reward you accordingly.

Again, you are spoilt for choice in this regard, with nanotip, LightningTip, and all vying for your attention. CoinTippy is another service that specifically allows you to collect rewards on Reddit, Twitter, Telegram, and Twitch.

And That’s Just The Start…

Check part two for even more LApps, covering gaming, gambling, messaging, e-commerce tools and more.

Have you tried any Lapps? Let us know your favorites below!

Images courtesy of Shutterstock

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Source: Blockchain

6 Wealthiest Ethereum Wallets May Have Faked Decentralization

Something fishy took place in the world of Ethereum on Dec 1, 2018.

New analysis from AI-powered blockchain investigator ORS CryptoHound has uncovered unusual activity on the Ethereum blockchain, which took place last month.

ORS CryptoHound took a look at the one hundred largest Ethereum transactions for the last quarter of last year and, in doing so, found a strange pattern in the blockchain’s wealthy elite:

  • The six wealthiest wallets all transferred a sizeable sum of ether coins on the date in question — totaling almost $500 million at the time of the transactions.
  • Each of the wallets in question contained a 92-98 percent share of OmiseGo tokens (OMG).
  • The wallets were all seemingly created on the same day.
  • The wallets all cycled their holdings via multiple transactions in a notably similar manner until all of the initial tokens being tracked were divided equally among 39 new wallets containing exactly 150,000 ETH.

ethereum eth

Clearly, the transactions from the six wealthiest wallets in question were all coordinated — but why?

Though the team behind the investigation did not directly point fingers, it did suggest that one or more Ethereum whales — or prominent stakeholders — attempted to make the project appear more decentralized than it really is by separating the aforementioned ether coins and OMG tokens. This would be done to make Ethereum appear to have more integrity.

Fabrizio Fontana, a Chief Analyst of the ORS CryptoHound research team, hopes that the AI-driven investigative tool may be used to highlight similar oddities in the future — stating, by way of a press release:

This investigation is one of the early case studies showing AI’s potential in blockchain and cryptocurrency analysis. Our goal is to provide a free and easy-to-use platform for everyone who wants to collect as much data as possible about a specific blockchain address or transaction.

What do you think about the transactions ORS CryptoHound uncovered? Share your thoughts with us in the comments below! 

Images courtesy of Shutterstock.

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Source: Blockchain