Shapeshift Admits ‘Imposition of KYC’d Accounts’ Hurt Company Financially

shapeshift fox

The instant digital asset exchange platform ShapeShift has laid off one-third of its team because of the “dramatic and severe” crypto recession as well as being cautious in “a challenging regulatory environment.”


Crypto Winter Cold Bites Shapeshift

In a detailed announcement, the company’s CEO, Erik Voorhees, revealed “with a heavy heart” that the company has let 37 of its employees go or one-third of its team. Voorhees:

Today, we let 37 employees go, reducing the size of our team by a third. It’s a deep and painful reduction, mirrored across many crypto companies in this latest bear market cycle.

According to the CEO, the issues within the company which led to firing people were structural, legal, financial, and customer-related.

Shapeshift is not the first company to feel the negative effects of 2018’s prolonged bear market. Bitcoinist reported that industry giant Bitmain has laid off its entire Bitcoin Cash development team last month.

KYC Stung Financially and Psychologically

One of the reasons for which ShapeShift has reached a point where it had to lay people off according to its CEO is introducing know-your-customer (KYC) accounts.

Vorhees noted:

Business was declining from both aggregate market recession and increased competition. Our imposition of KYC’d accounts, themselves the result of trying to be cautious in a challenging regulatory environment, caused many of our most valuable API partners to leave us for competitors who have not perceived regulatory risks in the same way. We expected it, but still, it stung both financially and psychologically.

The instant online exchange introduced mandatory KYC requirements back in September 2018, resulting in a backlash from some users.

Immediately after that, self-hosted payment processor BTCPay announced that it intends to ditch the platform and use an interim solution as quickly as it’s possible.

“The shapeshift button does not work anymore, and they will probably require KYC soon. Instead, I am thinking about open sourcing (ShapeShift.io) by making it easy for anyone to be liquidity provider like shapeshift,” BTCPay Server tweeted in September 2018.

Were regulations the biggest factor in ShapeShift downsizing? Let us know in the comments below!


Images courtesy of Shutterstock

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Source: Blockchain

State of Emergency

emergency helicopter

The year has started with a bang! 


Stocks and cryptos are rallying strongly so far yet volatility is still really high.

This afternoon, we’ll have a special webcast at 3:00 PM GMT to discuss some of the main themes going into 2019 and how to position your portfolio.

This session is open to everyone and we’ll be honored if you can join us.

Feel free to register now at this link.

@MatiGreenspan

eToro, Senior Market Analyst

Today’s Highlights

Shutdown: Day 18

Volatility Still Elevated

Ethereum Classic Hacked!!

Please note: All data, figures & graphs are valid as of January 8th. All trading carries risk. Only risk capital you can afford to lose.

Traditional Markets

Stocks have managed to rally off the lows and are now firmly in green for the year. Here we can see the Dow Jones’ all-time high in early October and the recent low from December.

There does seem to be some progress being made in the US trade war with China. The Fed also seems to be signaling that they’re less likely to be hiking rates this year. In contrast, the US government shutdown only seems to be heating up.

Today marks the 18th day of the partial shutdown and according to rhetoric from the White House, it seems that the President is willing to let it last an entire year if necessary.

President Trump has announced that he will address the nation tonight at 9:00 PM EST. Many expect him to declare a state of emergency in order to circumvent Congress in getting funding for the border wall.

Market volatility has come down a bit from the extreme highs of December but is still quite elevated.

Ethereum Fork!

So, there’s been a lot of confusion here and I’m very glad to cut right through this one for you and clarify.

First, some background… We’ve discussed already that the Ethereum blockchain is about to see a major upgrade. The name of this upgrade is Constantinople and it is scheduled for on or around January 16th.

Constantinople will be implemented as a hard fork on Ethereum. If you’re not 100% sure how forks work, please review this short explanation now.

In this upcoming case, the Ethereum upgrade has been widely embraced by the community and until now there have been no major players protesting Constantinople. So most likely it will be a smooth upgrade. This means that the entire network will probably implement the upgrade together and there will be no action required from the end users.

It’s important that we emphasize this because there are several projects out there piggybacking on the upgrade and taking advantage of people. One of which, called Ethereum Nowa appears to be an outright scam.

Ethereum Classic Hacked!!!

Not to be confused with Ethereum, Ethereum Classic is a legitimate fork of Ethereum. A disagreement among the community back in 2016 led to a chain split. Since then Ethereum Classic (ETC) has not done too well, especially when compared to her sister Ethereum (ETH).

Last night Coinbase put out the following alert on Ethereum Classic.

TL;DR: Etherum classic has been hacked!!

Explanation: The most common type of attack in crypto is known as a 51% attack. Basically, if a foul player manages to control more than half of the network’s mining power (hashrate), they can basically rewrite history.

Lingo: Rewriting history is also known as a reorganization or “reorg” and the most common reason to do this would be to create a double spend. Or, erase a previous transaction so you can get your coins back and spend them again.

Coinbase’s blog identified no less than 15 reorgs, several of which contained suspicion of double spend activity amounting to an approximated $1.1 million, which has been siphoned from the network.

Again, it’s important to understand that ETC is not the same as ETH. In the initial moments after the blog was released, both coins sold off in the confusion but ETH did manage to regain composure fairly quickly.

The reason is that Ethereum has a hashrate of about 20 times that of Ethereum Classic. So while it might be possible to temporarily get enough hashrate to control 51% of ETC’s network, it would be practically implausible to affect ETH in this way.

Putting things into perspective, if someone is dreaming about trying to 51% attack Bitcoin, they would need about 4,500 times the amount of hash than they do to attack ETC.

So, anyone claiming crypto is in a state of emergency is dead wrong on this one. Simply put, this is yet another great example of how negative news is nothing more than a learning opportunity. All the newcomers that joined crypto in 2017 should be much more comfortable now with how blockchain and crypto works and that is ultimately a good thing.

Have an amazing day ahead. Hope to see you at the webcast.


This content is provided for information and educational purposes only and should not be considered to be investment advice or recommendation.

Past performance is not an indication of future results. All trading involves risk; only risk capital you are prepared to lose.

The outlook presented is a personal opinion of the analyst and does not represent an official position of eToro.

eToro is a multi-asset platform which offers both investing in stocks and cryptocurrencies, as well as trading CFD assets. 

Please note that CFDs are complex instruments and come with a high risk of losing money rapidly due to leverage. 65% of retail investor accounts lose money when trading CFDs with this provider. You should consider whether you understand how CFDs work and whether you can afford to take the high risk of losing your money.

Cryptocurrencies can widely fluctuate in prices and are not appropriate for all investors. Trading cryptocurrencies is not supervised by any EU regulatory framework. 

The post State of Emergency appeared first on Bitcoinist.com.

Source: Blockchain

Yellow Vests in France Planning a Bank Run to Collapse the Euro

yellow vest Paris Protests euro bitcoin

If ever anyone wished they could turn back the clock it would be wildly unpopular and “elitist” French President Macron. His decision to raise fuel tariffs in November has mushroomed and his country has succumbed to a wave of protests and violence the likes not seen since the 1960s. The yellow vests are everywhere and beyond causing chaos on the streets, it seems they’re now turning against the banks.


What’s Going On in France?

So far in Paris, demonstrators have fist-fought with riot police, cars have been set alight, and monuments damaged. While the number of protestors has fallen slightly, their proliferation has not.

According to this Facebook page, Yellow Vest protesters are now planning another demonstration outside the Rothschild Bank of Lyon on January 9.

Rothschild de Lyon

Rothschild de Lyon Yellow Vest Protest

Reports are also starting to abound that the infamous protestors are now planning a “bank run.” They are calling on all French citizens to withdraw their euros from the banks.

French banks hold an estimated one-quarter or less of all the funds that would be required should French citizens take such an action. A bank run like this has the potential to paralyze the country and even collapse the euro.

How Did the Yellow Vests Start?

It started back in November after an unpopular decision by the French government to raise fuel prices. This is something that historically doesn’t go down well with the French.

Thousands of protestors took to the streets, many donning yellow vests (gilets jaunes). They set out to demonstrate their discontent by smashing windows, buildings, monuments, and disrupting traffic.

While President Macron did make some economic concessions in December to try to appease protestors, the measures failed to placate an increasingly angry mob. They’ve come to realize that it’s not simply fuel prices that are upsetting them, forming one of the largest anti-government movements since 1968.

Their grievances go way beyond a hike in fuel prices to inflation rates in general, untapped money printing eroding their wealth, and the elitist policies of Macron.

These protests have been some of the most violent in recent times with fires even starting on the prestigious Boulevard Saint Germain in Paris last Saturday.

Images of French boxer punching down a riot policeman have also been rife on social media. And the spokesman for the ministry of the government was even rammed with a forklift.

You really don’t want to piss off the French.

What’s Happened Since?

The government’s reaction has been swift and severe. It will do little to warm the people further to the right-wing regime they feel they are up against.

French Prime Minister Edouard Philippe announced plans to punish people who hold unsanctioned protests. He said that the government will create new legislation to ban protestors from wearing masks at rallies and support:

new law punishing those who do not respect the requirement to declare [protests], those who take part in unauthorized demonstrations and those who arrive at demonstrations wearing face masks.

Known troublemakers will also be prevented from attending the events, just as football hooligans are denied entry to a stadium. The problem with this, however, is that unlike a planned event at a football stadium, the French authorities can’t stop people who aren’t buying tickets or events organized on social media.

And this hasn’t served to stop the riots.

In fact, the movement has gathered momentum, with some seven weeks of protests held every weekend of some kind in different cities across France. As many as 80,000 security forces will be deployed on the streets for the next expected wave of protests that are not limited to Paris.

Other key cities, such as Lyon, Rouen, and Caen, are seeing protests on the weekends causing further disruption. More than 1,400 people have been injured with six people dead so far.

What Does this Have to do with Bitcoin?

Bitcoin fanatics have rallied behind the yellow vests after some of them were seen with signs on their backs saying “Buy Bitcoin.”

paris protests buy bitcoin

The truth is that of the thousands of yellow vests, probably only a handful of them support, understand, or are even aware of Bitcoin. However, this handful is a potentially powerful and growing army.

The French protestors may not be armed with guns and guillotines. But they have a more powerful weapon at hand: knowledge.

Yesterday, Bitcoinist reported that street art in Paris depicting yellow vests in protest and a woman raising the French flag high had a hidden bitcoin prize inside it.

Spreading the word about bitcoin through art, protests, and private meetings are working. It’s attracting the eyes of millions of people in France and around the world.

Protest Outside the Rothschild Bank of Lyon

The yellow vests have so far organized their protests largely on social media. According to the Facebook event mentioned above, some 300 have confirmed and more than 3,000 are interested in attending the protest at the Rothschild Bank of Lyon tomorrow.

The significance of this runs way back to the country’s 40-year-old grievance with France’s private banking system. The French government borrows from them and is forced to repay with high-interest, plunging the country into further debt.

A Possible Run on Banks

The word is spreading throughout social media about a possible run on banks. French boxer Nicolle Maxime has taken to YouTube incentivizing supporters to withdraw their funds from the banks.

Other news sites such as the Daily Crusader are also talking about the significance of this move. This could paralyze the country, collapse the banking system in France, and even cause a collapse in the euro. The ambitious publication notes:

This is potentially exciting news for the bitcoin and cryptocurrency community as a sudden surge of fresh cash could be about to hit the markets…

It may be too soon to celebrate an upswing in bitcoin price 00 just yet. After all, just because the French withdraw their euros does not mean that they will invest them in bitcoin.

However, with the word spreading and the French being somewhat an incubator for innovative bitcoin startups, selling bitcoins from tobacco shops and the increasing yellow vest movement–perhaps what’s bad for the euro could be good for bitcoin.

Max Keiser also said:

If every French person converted 20% of their bank deposits into Bitcoin… French banks and the government would collapse and a lot of bloodshed could be avoided.

It will be interesting to see what–if anything–emerges from this for Bitcoin. Can the Yellow Vests spread awareness for a currency not controlled by central authorities and governments? Let’s hope so, and also for an imminent end to the violence.

Will the yellow vest protest pose a threat to the Euro? Share your thoughts below!


Images courtesy of Shutterstock

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Source: Blockchain

BIS Reports 70% of Central Banks Are Studying Cryptocurrencies

BIS

A new report published by the Bank of International Settlements (BIS) shows that the majority of central banks are studying central bank digital currencies (CBDC). However, most of them are unlikely to issue any type of digital currency in the near future. 


CBDC ‘Unlikely’ in The Short Term

BIS published the results of a new survey on central banks studying the technology behind Bitcoin and cryptocurrencies. A total of 63 banks have responded. They represent jurisdictions, which cover about 80 percent of the population of the world and more than 90 percent of its entire economic output.

The intention of the survey was to find out whether central banks currently are developing their own central bank digital currencies (CBDC) and how likely they are to issue them.

Of the 63 banks, 70 percent said that they are either currently working or will soon be engaged in work on CBDC.

However, this includes conducting conceptual research on the matter, sharing studies and views of developing a “common understanding of this new field of study.” According to the report, half of the respondents have moved to a more “hands-on” proof-of-concept activities in order to test new technologies.

The report reveals that 85 percent of the central banks are unlikely or very unlikely to issue any type of CBDC in the short term (1-3 years).

Back and Forth

In September, Bitcoinist reported that the European Central Bank (ECB) has no intentions of issuing a central bank digital currency.

ECB

It’s also arguable whether a central bank issued digital currency will even fit the mold of decentralized cryptocurrencies. In December, a couple of researches at the St. Louis Fed, outlined that:

Once you add a central bank and remove the “permissionless” network—with nodes that can leave and join as they wish, there isn’t much left to the cryptocurrency you started with.

Nevertheless, some central banks remain open to the idea of CBDC. The BIS report outlines that the Central Bank of Uruguay has completed a pilot programme on a general purpose CBDC.

At the same time, the governor of UK’s central bank Mark Carney has previously said that the Bank of England is open to the idea of a central bank issued digital currency.

What do you think of CBDCs? Don’t hesitate to let us know in the comments below!


Images courtesy of Shutterstock

The post BIS Reports 70% of Central Banks Are Studying Cryptocurrencies appeared first on Bitcoinist.com.

Source: Blockchain

Russia Plans to Ditch US Dollar for Bitcoin, Says University Professor

Russia Putin

A Russian university lecturer with ties to the government says the Kremlin will soon begin investing massively in Bitcoin as a way of avoiding new U.S. sanctions, a move that could happen “in a matter of weeks.”


Russia to Buy Some ‘Digital Gold’?

Speaking exclusively to Micky, Vladislav Ginko of the Russian Presidential Academy of National Economy and Public Administration believes new U.S. sanctions will push the Kremlin into diversifying its cash reserves into Bitcoin.

Ginko who has ties with the government going back more than 20 years says the move will happen in a matter of weeks. Ginko has in recent times appeared on various Russian media platforms clamoring for the adoption of Bitcoin as a haven asset.

Commenting on the issue, Ginko said:

US sanctions may be mitigated only through Bitcoin use. Because of US sanctions, Russia’s elite is forced to dump US assets and US dollars and invest hugely into Bitcoins. The central bank of Russia sits on $466 billion of reserves and has to diversify in case there are limited opportunities to do it (in the future).

Cutting Dollar Dependence Amid New U.S. Sanctions

Along with China, Iran, and Venezuela, Russia is exploring ways to reduce its US Dollar dependence. Back in November 2018, Russian President; Vladimir Putin, declared that in the wake of new sanctions, the country had no choice but to cut down on its use of the Dollar in international trade.

At the time, President Putin said:

We have no goal of moving away from the Dollar. It’s the dollar that’s moving away from us. Those making such decisions are not shooting themselves in the foot, but somewhere more delicate, further up the body.

According to Ginko, the Kremlin will, beginning in February 2018, look for ways to diversify its reserves. Ginko has in recent times appeared on various Russian media platforms clamoring for the adoption of Bitcoin as a haven asset.

Russian Efforts

If the Russian government and the elite class invest massively in Bitcoin, the price of the asset could experience a sudden upward surge. Such a situation occurred in 2018 when wealthy Chinese citizens reportedly moved money into BTC in the wake of an accelerated currency devaluation by Beijing.

Meanwhile, the Kremlin has been stocking up on non-digital gold as a shield against economic sanctions. Reports indicate the government is selling U.S. government debt in exchange for the precious metal. By August 2018, Russia had already tripled its gold reserve as it gears up for renewed economic tussles with the U.S.

Such is the extent of Russia’s gold-gobbling that global gold purchasing figures reached a three-year high in November 2018. The Kremlin is also pursuing closer economic ties with China to create a new payment system independent of the Dollar.

Will massive Bitcoin investment by the Kremlin lead to any surge in the price of Bitcoin? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.


Image courtesy of Shutterstock

The post Russia Plans to Ditch US Dollar for Bitcoin, Says University Professor appeared first on Bitcoinist.com.

Source: Blockchain

QashBack to Launch Southeast Asia’s First Blockchain-Powered Reputation Management & Permission-Based Marketing Platform in 2019

QashBack Press Release

Bitcoin Press Release: QashBack, a Singapore technology firm, is looking to transform the retail and services industries by developing an incentivised reputation management platform that connects consumers, merchants and advertisers for transparent interactions and ease of mind on data privacy issues.

5th of January, 2019, Singapore – With plans to release in Q2 2019, the QashBack platform is set to revolutionise the online reviews market as it leverages on the characteristics of blockchain technology.

Creating a Win-Win Ecosystem for Everyone

Users on the QashBack platform are rewarded with QBK tokens, the ecosystem’s own cryptographic token, for writing reviews, regardless of their bias. This change alone significantly reduces polarisation bias that is inherent in existing online review sites.

With permission from the consumer, merchants can offer QBKs as an incentive to encourage customers to participate in contests, view advertisements or take up a marketing promotion.

Blockchain technology enables QashBack to acquire real and factual reviews for consumers through its immutability and authenticity. All transactions on the QashBack platform are recorded on the Ethereum blockchain, making them transparent, self-executing, not reliant on any single third party for clearing and cannot be removed or edited.

The Qashback Business Model

QashBack has identified several target markets including Wellness/Beauty, Healthcare, Transit, Shopping, Food & Beverage, Travel, Entertainment and Education within the Southeast Asian region.

Earlier this year, the tech startup signed an exclusive partnership with Oriental Mace Group Berhad to tap on its mobile application, MyBeauty, supported by the Malaysian government as part of their national tourism strategy. The portal encompasses over 1,000 beauty service providers and thousands of product suppliers to the beauty tourism industry in Malaysia.

QashBack’s platform will be integrated with Oriental Mace’s application such that merchants and users transact in QBK tokens, and users are rewarded for viewing advertisements and submitting reviews.

QashBack’s partnership with Oriental Mace will generate a critical mass of users and reviews, as well as grow Malaysia’s beauty tourism industry.

QBK Token Sale Details

The estimated receipts of US$18 billion per year will generate sustainable and rapid demand for QBK tokens. Qashback will mint one billion QBK tokens, of which 10% (one hundred million tokens) was made available for public sale on 10th of December 2018. The opening value is set at US$0.40 per token. Over US$14 million had been raised during the private sales launched in July, with contributors consisting of high net-worth individuals and institutional backers.

The funds raised will be used to support the growth of Qashback’s ecosystem. These include furthering research and development, facilitating market penetration and business expansion, and financing operational expenses.

Contributors who are looking to trade QBK on various crypto exchanges will get the opportunity to do so from 5th of January 2019 as the QBK token will be listed on UDAX Hong Kong that day. The technology firm also has plans to list in other top exchanges such as Coinsuper, Dobi Trade, Upbit, and LAToken during Q2 and Q3 2019.

To find out more information, visit the website: https://qashback.net
Connect on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/qashback
Follow on Twitter: https://www.twitter.com/qashback
Chat on Telegram: https://t.me/QashbackICOofficial
Get the latest updates on Medium: https://medium.com/@qashbackofficial/

Media Contact Details:
Contact Name: Chris Tan
Contact Email: social@qashback.net

QashBack is the source of this content. Virtual currency is not legal tender, is not backed by the government, and accounts and value balances are not subject to consumer protections. Cryptocurrencies and tokens are extremely volatile. There is no guarantee of a stable value, or of any value at all. Token sales are only suitable for individuals with a high-risk tolerance. Only participate in a token event with what you can afford to lose. This press release is for informational purposes only. The information does

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Source: Bitcoin PR Buzz

Multi-Currency Wallet App Quppy Announces Launch of White Label Wallet Payments

Quppy Press Release

Bitcoin Press Release: The Quppy team is proud to announce that white label payment technology is now available on its platform.

Jan 04 2018, TALLIN, ESTONIA – Unique, Multi-Currency, Cross-Platform Crypto-Wallet Quppy, has announced that it now offers users white label technology on its platform. The solution, which can be applied to projects of any type, uses a decentralized white label Wallet from Quppy and Quppy Exchange to accept payments through the system, and buy & sell cryptocurrencies.

The Quppy team can now create a wallet for a client’s own coin or for other coins, regardless of their availability in the wallet. This very unique service allows users the freedom to launch projects based on their own platform, and will even enable the project to display it’s own custom design and logo. Users will also have the ability to add and remove these functions, and additional ones, based directly on their requirements.

The platform remains completely decentralized, so that only the client has direct and unequivocal access to their funds.

Benefit Now

The new system serves to payment providers enabling them to use third-party technologies and support payment acceptance for their merchant customers.The white label simplifies the payment processing for customers.

Fraud Risks Minimized

The new payment gateway offers tools to help fighting fraud. The system protects genuine revenues while reducing the costs and administration associated with fraudulent activities.

Rapid Deployment Time

No need to build anything from scratch. With the white label the client has his own platform ready for action.

Other advantages:

  • the tested core;
  • good for when there’s a lapse of technical experience;
  • a private service for technical development;
  • lower long-term labor cost long term (no shares/equity given);
  • no need to create your own platform.

24/7 support

The multilingual team provides constant support of the project. It also monitors the overall system performance. As the system is multilingual, the project can be translated into multiple languages.

Additional Features

  • use the Quppy promotion experience to be on top;
  • legal support;
  • technical support.

Besides, Quppy opens IBAN accounts in European Banks, EU collection accounts, Virtual IBAN in SEPA. The accounts support SEPA transfers on the territory of the European Union and the CIS as well as other countries.

In the 1st quarter of 2019 it is planned to start issuing corporate cards. Any transaction complies with all safety requirements without exception.

If you have any questions please contact us via support@quppy.com

Learn more about Quppy White Label program – www.quppy.com/whitelabel
Find Quppy on Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/quppyPay/
Follow Quppy on Twitter – https://twitter.com/QuppyPay/
Check out Quppy on Instagram –https://www.instagram.com/quppypay/
Meet the Quppy team on LinkedIn – https://www.linkedin.com/company/quppy/
Read about Quppy on Medium – https://medium.com/@quppy

Media Contact

Contact name: Valeria Mingova
Company: Quppy
Email: milera1@mail.ru
Phone: +79035075487

Quppy is the source of this content. Virtual currency is not legal tender, is not backed by the government, and accounts and value balances are not subject to consumer protections. Cryptocurrencies and tokens are extremely volatile. There is no guarantee of a stable value, or of any value at all.

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Source: Bitcoin PR Buzz

Grandma-Friendly Bitcoin Lightning Network Wallet Launches in Australia

Australia Sydney Lightning

A partnership to roll out Bitcoin payments using the Lightning Network across Australia went live January 4 with the beta launch of Wallet of Satoshi.


1000 Beta Wallets Launch

The product of payment gateway Living Room of Satoshi (LRS) and TravelbyBit, billed as “Australia’s first cryptocurrency travel agency,” the wallet aims to bring Lightning payments to entry-level Bitcoin users.

As Bitcoinist often reported, LN has made significant progress over the past year, breaking records for both capacity and adoption.

The technology nonetheless remains in an experimental state, and only technically-proficient users could previously navigate it efficiently.

Wallet of Satoshi’s developers wanted to change this, issuing a Lightning wallet with a user interface, which could make it simple to send and receive payments.

“We want everyone and their Mum to be able to participate in the new international economy, so it is focused on ease of use, and is available on iOS and Android,” LRS CEO Daniel Alexiuc told local cryptocurrency magazine Nugget’s News.

Lightning Emerges From The Tech Shadows

While uptake of Bitcoin for small-scale payments remains modest, LN has undertaken preparations to dramatically scale the number of transactions the Bitcoin network can handle.

Interest is tangible; Lightning now has over 5000 nodes, almost 18,000 channels and a total capacity of 543 BTC ($2,050,000) according to data from online monitoring resource 1ML.

“Lightning is the real world retail payment system we’ve been anticipating for years, and it is finally here!” Alexiuc continued.

Wallet of Satoshi is currently only available to 1000 beta users, prior to a full release “in the coming weeks.”

TravelbyBit meanwhile announced it had brought LN payments to all its Point of Sale merchants in Australia, which include Brisbane Airport. In October, exchange Binance invested $2.5 million in the company.

At the same time, other development teams are seeking to corner the ease-of-use market in Lightning, with BlueWallet last week releasing its own offering to which it is still adding features such as the ability to issue invoices (receive LN payments) and make withdrawals to on-chain BTC wallets.

What do you think about Wallet of Satoshi? Let us know in the comments below!


Images courtesy of Shutterstock

The post Grandma-Friendly Bitcoin Lightning Network Wallet Launches in Australia appeared first on Bitcoinist.com.

Source: Blockchain

Overstock Becomes First Major US Company to Pay Taxes in Bitcoin

Investment Into Overstock's Cryptocurrency Exchange Causes Share Price to Rocket

Internet retailer Overstock has announced that it intends to become the very first major US-based company to pay a part of its state business tax in Ohio using Bitcoin. 


Taxes With Bitcoin

According to its own investor portal, US-based internet retailer Overstock is set to pay part of its Ohio state business tax using Bitcoin. Supposedly, by doing so, the retailer will become the first major US company to pay its taxes using the digital currency.

Speaking on the matter was Patrick M. Byrne, Overstock CEO and founder, who noted:

We have long thought that thoughtful governmental adoption of emerging technologies such as cryptocurrencies (when accompanied by non-restrictive legislation over these technologies) is the best way to ensure the U.S. does not lose our place at the forefront of the ever-advancing global economy. […] We are proud to partner with forward-thinking governments and officials like Ohio and Treasurer Mandel to help usher in an era of trust through technology for our nation’s essential financial systems.

Earlier in November, Bitcoinist reported that Overstock’s share price soared as the company announced plans to sell its retail-oriented business and to focus on previously acquired blockchain startups.

‘Ahead of Its Time’

Paying taxes with Bitcoin in Ohio became possible in late November 2018 at OhioCrypto.com.

According to State Treasurer John Mandel, who pioneered the idea, Overstock’s move to pay its taxes with the cryptocurrency is ‘ahead of its time’:

We applaud Overstock for becoming the first national brand in America to register to pay taxes via cryptocurrency. Their embrace of blockchain technology was ahead of its time and we’re proud to have them join OhioCrypto.com.

In an interview for Fortune, Mandel also added that paying taxes with Bitcoin reveals certain financial advantages. According to him, taxpayers who use credit cards pay 2.5 percent service fees, while those who use Bitcoin will only incur a fee of 1 percent. Early filers like Overstock, however, won’t incur any fees at all.

What do you think of Overstock paying part of its state business tax in Ohio using Bitcoin? Don’t hesitate to let us know in the comments below!


Images courtesy of Shutterstock

The post Overstock Becomes First Major US Company to Pay Taxes in Bitcoin appeared first on Bitcoinist.com.

Source: Blockchain

‘Ethereum 2.0’ PoS Blockchain Aims to Cut Energy Use by 99%

Ethereum not only hopes to maintain its position as one of the world’s largest cryptocurrencies but also to achieve supremacy by becoming more energy efficient. Ethereum leadership plans to accomplish this objective by minimizing blockchain energy consumption by 99 percent.


‘Ethereum 2.0’ PoS Blockchain Being Built From Scratch

Vitalik Buterin, inventor and co-founder of Ethereum, started 2019 by regaining Ethereum’s position as the second largest cryptocurrency with a market capitalization of over USD 15.5 billion.

However, Buterin admits that Ethereum mining now purportedly consumes more electricity than Iceland. Thus, to sustain or enhance its competitive advantage, Ethereum is aiming to reduce energy consumption by scraping its blockchain based on proof-of-work (PoW) and instead building an entirely new blockchain based on the proof-of-stake (PoS) algorithm.

Vitalik Buterin

In this regard, Vitalik says, “latest ETH update should complete transactions using just 1% of the energy consumed today by replacing PoW with PoS.”

Testnet in 2019? Don’t Hold Your Breath

Peter Fairley, a contributor editor for Spectrum IEEE, writes that energy reduction has been part of Buterin’s vision from the start, concurring that PoW consumes energy excessively.

Buterin envisions that future blockchains will be based on PoS and sharding. Sharding is a database-partitioning technique that involves separating huge databases into smaller, faster and more manageable components, known as data shards.

On December 10, 2018, Buterin tweeted:

Blockchains of the future with proof of stake and sharding will be thousands of times more efficient, and so the efficiency sacrifices of putting things on a chain will become more and more acceptable.

The Ethereum devs decided on the two-blockchain solution in June 2018 dubbed ‘Ethereum 2.0.’ Ethereum contributor Paul Hauner, a co-founder of Australian cybersecurity and blockchain-development firm Sigma Prime, and heads the development of the ‘Lighthouse’ Ethereum 2.0 software client, that uses the Rust code. He expects this app and others to be running PoS on testnets in early 2019.

But due to multiple delays in the past and the complexity of the task at hand, may expect this new radical shift to Ethereum 2.0 to take time and it’ll likely not see the light of day in 2019.

“In October 2017, when mining time had already nearly doubled to 30 seconds, the Ethereum team reset the clock, delaying PoW’s doomsday by about 12 months,” Fairley notes. “And they will likely hit snooze again shortly.”

Weiss Ratings echoed this sentiment, saying they won’t be holding their breath, at least not in 2019.

Do you think a PoS-based blockchain will be capable of reducing energy consumption costs by about 99 percent? Let us know in the comments below.

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Source: Blockchain