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Should Bitcoin Have Regularly Scheduled Hard Forks?Bitcoin Magazine
Hard forks are a rather contentious issue in Bitcoin
. The controversy surrounding hard forks can be seen most prominently in the context of Bitcoin
XT 's implementation of BIP 101. While there have been successful Bitcoin
hard forks in the past, the ...
Posted on 13 October 2015 | 10:20 am
Posted on 13 October 2015 | 8:50 am
Posted on 13 October 2015 | 8:39 am
Bitcoin Price Gains; More To Come?newsBTC
Earlier this morning, we published our twice daily bitcoin
price watch piece. In the article we suggested the levels that we were looking to keep an eye on in the bitcoin
price during today's European session, and further, how we would use these levels ...and more »
Posted on 13 October 2015 | 8:39 am
European Bitcoin Exchange Yacuna Announces ClosureCoinDesk
The UK-based exchange, founded by ClickandBuy veteran Andrei Martchouk, offered bitcoin
, litecoin, ultracoin and dogecoin trading for users across Europe. It had waived all trading and withdrawal fees in February – framing the move as a bid to boost ...
Posted on 13 October 2015 | 7:19 am
Posted on 13 October 2015 | 4:44 am
Posted on 13 October 2015 | 1:05 am
UK banking giant Barclays has signed contracts with two blockchain startups, according to the New York Business Journal.
Posted on 13 October 2015 | 3:42 pm
European cryptocurrency exchange Yacuna has announced it will close next month.
Posted on 13 October 2015 | 7:18 am
Another Latin American e-tailer, Famsa, is now accepting bitcoin for online purchases.
Posted on 13 October 2015 | 4:44 am
CoinDesk breaks down Multichain, a private blockchain solution for banks that has seen a growing number of downloads.
Posted on 12 October 2015 | 3:55 pm
Bitcoin compliance solutions provider Scorechain has raised €500,000 ($570,000) in seed funding.
Posted on 12 October 2015 | 8:40 am
Poland’s Ministry of Finance has said regulating bitcoin should form "part of initiatives at the EU level".
Posted on 12 October 2015 | 7:53 am
Blockchain platform Setl claims to have surpassed 1 billion transactions per day, in what it terms a "milestone" for scaling the technology.
Posted on 12 October 2015 | 5:15 am
Fix Trading Community, a global industry trading body, has announced the creation of a digital currency and blockchain technology working group. The non-profit organisation, which boasts some of the world's biggest banks as its members, is responsible for addressing business and regulatory issues impacting global multi-asset trading. Fix's new group will be chaired by Sean […]
Posted on 12 October 2015 | 1:00 am
Travis Patron argues that, due to blockchain technology, corporations will see computers not only take over as employees, but as customers too.
Posted on 11 October 2015 | 2:49 am
Commonwealth central bankers say they want to look closely at the potential impact of digital currency before adopting a stance toward the technology.
Posted on 9 October 2015 | 2:30 pm
What has been said and by whom? CoinDesk has rounded up the top bitcoin and blockchain related headlines from across the world.
Posted on 9 October 2015 | 12:46 pm
Are you up to date with the latest bitcoin and blockchain news? Test your knowledge with our quiz for the week commencing 5th October.
Posted on 9 October 2015 | 10:37 am
Advertise with Anonymous Ads
Singapore-based remittance startup Toast, previously known as Cryptosigma, has pivoted away from bitcoin and blockchain technology and reportedly raised $850,000 (S$1.2m) in seed funding. The startup – which seeks to facilitate remittances for Filipino workers living in Singapore – announced its re-branding in a blog post in July and said it would for now operate […]
Posted on 9 October 2015 | 5:09 am
Ed Boyle and Daniel Delshad argues that, in order to cross the chasm into mass adoption, bitcoin needs to connect with existing debit card networks.
Posted on 9 October 2015 | 3:21 am
Blockstream has announced it will launch its first commercial Bitcoin sidechain by early 2016. The sidechain, codenamed “Liquid,” offers instant transactions, providing a fast settlement layer for bitcoin exchanges, brokerages and other industry members.
As its main advantage, Liquid provides instant and secure transactions among all users of the sidechain. While Bitcoin transactions can typically take up to an hour to be sufficiently secured by the blockchain, Liquid offers a similar level of security within seconds.
Blockstream, which received a $21 million funding round last year and employs several Bitcoin Core developers, intends to deploy the sidechain among different exchanges and other Bitcoin service providers. Users with accounts at several of these exchanges will then be able to move bitcoin from one account to another within an instant, instead of having to wait for the transaction to confirm on the blockchain.
Speaking to Bitcoin Magazine, Blockstream CEO and co-founder Austin Hill explained the added advantages of using Liquid:
“Liquid is mostly targeted at exchanges, and through them at institutional traders. These traders are the market makers that continually move funds back and forth from one exchange to the other, making use of arbitrage opportunities, as such minimizing spreads and increasing liquidity. These more sophisticated traders look at bitcoin's confirmation times as a negative, and really do need the type of speed of markets that Liquid can offer.”
But it’s not just exchanges and their users that can benefit from Liquid, Hill continued:
“We also have customers that are end users themselves. They buy and sell bitcoin on multiple exchanges for their own customers' needs. A good example of that would be wallet provider Xapo; it is a huge benefit for them to have instant access to all the other markets. Another example could be companies that use bitcoin for remittances. Right now they need to adopt sophisticated hedging strategies to counteract the volatility of bitcoin; instant transactions can obviously even that out.”
Sidechains are basically alternative blockchains that use bitcoin as a currency unit. First conceived a year ago , they allow for bitcoin to move in and out of different “pegged” blockchains. As such, users of a sidechain can transfer bitcoin using varying rule-sets – not just those imposed by the original Bitcoin blockchain (such as the 10-minute confirmation time).
Much like Blockstream's open-source testnet sidechain “Elements,” Liquid uses a “federated consensus” security model to confirm transactions. This holds that bitcoin sent to the sidechain are locked into a typical multisig address on the Bitcoin blockchain, requiring several private keys to unlock. The keys needed to unlock these bitcoin are effectively transferred to Liquid, where they can be used to transfer the pegged value within the sidechain.
As opposed to the Bitcoin blockchain, transactions on Liquid are not processed by miners. Instead, some of the companies using Liquid will act as as functionaries that validate transactions for each other using tamper-resistant hardware boxes with a special software stack embedded. Transactions confirm if a supermajority of these functionaries sign them. While this introduces a minimal level of trust in the system, it’s exceedingly difficult for functionaries to cheat the system, as no one entity is in charge. A supermajority of functionaries would need to be compromised at the same time in order to block transactions or steal funds.
“There have previously been a number of attempts by different exchanges to try and realize something like this,” Hill said. “Customers were asking for it, and these companies wanted to test the benefits. But previously, all attempts to do this included some form of counterparty credit agreements, or agreements to accept transactions with no confirmations. Because of the required trust involved in these kinds of solutions, they were never actually launched. By using a federated consensus sidechain, we can give exchanges the control of their own funds, but with the added functionality of instant transactions.”
Exchanges and other industry members that wish to join the Liquid sidechain must subscribe through Blockstream, which charges a monthly fee. So far, some of the world's biggest bitcoin exchanges and other prominent industry leaders have joined the project. This includes Bitfinex, the world's top U.S. dollar exchange by volume, Kraken, the world's top euro exchange by volume, BTCC (formerly BTCChina), one of the leading Chinese yuan exchanges, Unocoin, a leading Indian ruble exchange and wallet service, and Xapo, one of the top funded wallet services in the space.
The post Blockstream to Launch First, Instant-Settlement Sidechain for Bitcoin Exchanges appeared first on Bitcoin Magazine.
Hard forks are a rather contentious issue in Bitcoin. The controversy surrounding hard forks can be seen most prominently in the context of Bitcoin XT ’s implementation of BIP 101.
While there have been successful Bitcoin hard forks in the past, the problem with hard forks of the Bitcoin blockchain is that they’re, well, hard. Any change to the Bitcoin protocol that requires a hard fork essentially requires near-complete consensus to avoid a potential blockchain split.
For example, there are many individuals in the Bitcoin development community who do not believe that BIP 101’s use of a 75 percent majority vote by miners as a mechanism for enabling a larger block size limit is such a good idea.
Hard forks are difficult, but they have to happen from time to time in order for Bitcoin to grow and evolve. For this reason, some have proposed the idea of scheduled hard forks. This would essentially create a regular update schedule for the blockchain for changes that require a hard fork during the implementation process.
Problems with Regularly Scheduled Hard Forks
Bitcoin Foundation Chief Scientist Gavin Andresen and Bitcoin Core Contributor Peter Todd were both recently asked for their opinions on scheduled hard forks during the Bitcoin governance panel at Bitcoin Pacifica 2015, and neither of them seemed overly bullish on the concept. For one, Todd noted that the schedule may become useless because it is not set in stone.
“I would point out that -- I would start by at least doing one,” he said. “Trying to go figure out what does a schedule actually look like. You can delay the schedule; it becomes very tricky.”
Todd, who always seems to be able to pick out the flaws in any proposal, also noted that miners could ultimately decide to veto any hard fork they don’t like.
“Let’s look at this from an adversarial point of view,” he said. “If we have a hard fork and some miners decide that the next hard fork they disagree with -- the reality is they can go veto a hard fork.”
Measuring Consensus is Hard
A third issue pointed out by Todd had to do with figuring out what would be implemented in each individual hard fork. In his view, there does not exist a good mechanism for coming to consensus, nor measuring it:
“Well, again, we don’t have good methods for this other than to accept that hard forks are hard, and getting consensus is something that kind of needs to happen. Maybe we do need some technological measures, such as miner voting, maybe proof-of-stake voting, but beyond that, it’s really hard to imagine how you actually create durable social institutions when they’re so easily undermined at protocol, almost by design.”
Hard Forks Have to Be Hard
Gavin Andresen also shared his cynical view of regularly scheduled hard forks, mainly pointing out that there could be issues because “people are lazy and they don’t like upgrading.” According to Andresen, this could cause issues related to having proper validation between users on the network. The key point that Andresen made during his comments had to do with making sure that hard forks were hard to pull off:“I think hard forks have to be hard. I actually do agree with Jeff Garzik. There has to be community consensus, and the community has to be aware of what’s going on with them. I don’t know, I’d have to think a little bit more of: Would it make sense to have a regular schedule, where if there was nothing in the hard fork, maybe the hard fork just doesn’t happen.”
The post Should Bitcoin Have Regularly Scheduled Hard Forks? appeared first on Bitcoin Magazine.
BW, a dominant Chinese bitcoin mining company with approximately 8 percent of global mining power, is positioning itself to step out of the shadows of relative obscurity and into the spotlight — a spotlight powered by efficient, clean and incredibly inexpensive hydroelectricity. Not only is it preparing to take a more active role on the Bitcoin world stage, but it is also planning to release a host of new products and services in the coming months, including the 14 nanometer chips and miners.
“We are very excited about the advances we’ve made,” Virgilio Lizardo Jr, Head of International at Bitbank told Bitcoin Magazine in an exclusive interview. “The chip promises to be the cutting edge technology that BW prides itself in producing. We will also be offering the 14nm chip in a miner for consumers. The power, efficiency and noise reduction benefits aims to introduce a new standard to the industry.”
More details about this new technology will be forthcoming the weeks ahead.
BW was co-founded by LK Group Limited and CHBTC on Aug. 10, 2014. BW stands for Bi Wang which in Chinese literally means “Coin website.” Wenjie Zhai, one of the very first Bitcoiners in China and the CEO and founder of LK Group, is the current CEO of BW. Songxiu Hua, the founder of Bitbank, CHBTC.com, and Jua.com, acts as the CTO of BW although he is not involved in the day-to-day operations of the company; his primary role is to offer technical advice and website consultation.
In 2015, BW joined the Bitbank family of Chinese Bitcoin companies with a focus on combining bitcoin mining resources in order to find greener and more efficient ways to mine. Over the years, Bitcoin has drawn criticism for its consumption of energy. The electricity required to run and cool mining equipment is costly, in terms of both economic and environmental resources.
BW points out that mining anything — metals or bitcoin — has an environmental impact. But by harnessing the plentiful hydroelectric power that is available in remote regions of China, BW’s bitcoin miners are able to put that green energy to use in a way that creates a far smaller footprint than any other form of mining. Furthermore, because of the power source’s rural locations, BW is able to get the electricity — much of which would otherwise go to waste — at a very low rate.
“Hydropower offers a long-term, low-cost and stable source of electricity with the potential to increase the amount of miners in the future,” says BW. “The mining farms are located in rural developing areas. By investing there, this contributes to the local economy by creating new jobs in the area….These areas are surrounded by natural beauty and an abundance of water and we work hard to keep it this way for future generations to enjoy.”
Besides taking a leadership role in preserving the natural environment, BW also wants to protect the Bitcoin environment. As it expands, and as more Chinese miners begin to take advantage of plentiful and cheap hydroelectricity, BW is mindful of the potential for centralization of Chinese mining.
In China, “most of the miners are Bitcoin enthusiasts who see the potential of Bitcoin and want to do their best to help the development of Bitcoin,” says BW. “This includes being aware of how much percentage of the network we are part of and being responsible stakeholders in the ecosystem.”
The company also credits the Chinese government with being a supportive partner. “The government has been encouraging of Bitcoin mining companies because Bitcoin is a technology that combines elements of hardware and software. They have observed the benefits and profits it has produced and have been supportive of this.” Recently, Bitbank received a grant of 50,000 Yuan and office space in a new innovation and high-tech zone built in the city of Zhongshan, Guangdong province. The city plans on investing 67 million Yuan over the next 5 years on the initiative.
At a time when the Bitcoin protocol is in a state of flux, as developers debate scalability options and the future of block sizes, BW is playing the part of the cautious observer; at the same time, as the fifth-largest mining pool in the world, it has also decided to take on more of a leadership role in the Bitcoin community.
“Though Chinese miners have greatly contributed to the development of Bitcoin, we feel that there is a wall between China and the rest of the community. Perhaps even a ‘Great Wall?’” says BW. “There are many factors that contribute to this: language, culture, distance, etc. At BW we would like to work towards helping to increase communication and cooperation in the community, especially when it comes to China.”
The post The Unknown Giant: A First Look Inside BW, One of China’s Oldest and Largest Miners appeared first on Bitcoin Magazine.
Grupo Famsa, one of the largest household appliance-, electronic products- and consumer products-focused retail company in Mexico has begun accepting bitcoin payments with a partnership with BitPay, a leading bitcoin payment processor.
Mexican bitcoin exchange Bitso shared the news on its Facebook page :
“Now, customers can buy directly in Famsa with bitcoin, Enabled by our friends BitPay”
Founded in 1970, Famsa has more than 420 stores across 78 Mexican cities and 37 cities in the United States. The company records around $1.1 billion in annual revenue, and more importantly, Famsa provides banking and credit services including personal car financing through its Banco Ahorro Famsa.
Famsa’s integration of bitcoin shows its strong interest in the digital currency and its advantages. As a retail company, Famsa recognizes the inefficiency of credit card and banking payments for costs and security. Bitcoin payments could eliminate a huge portion of their financial management costs.
However, the company hasn’t announced its intentions to integrate bitcoin onto its financial platforms and services at this point.
Famsa’s acceptance of bitcoin follows Mexico’s largest e-commerce platform Mercado Libre’s decision to accept bitcoin payments on behalf of its merchants.
Surprisingly, Mercado Libre has taken the initiative to accept bitcoin on its platform, then distribute the balances to the merchants’ accounts after the transactions have been confirmed by the corporation.
“In MercadoPago we continue improving so your customers can count with more ways to pay you, maintaining your business with a foot into the future. This new payment option is completely transparent to you and your customers. They can utilize bitcoin to pay you and you will receive the payment in an instant,” announced Mercado Libre.
The post Billion Dollar Mexican Retail Company Famsa Accepts Bitcoin appeared first on Bitcoin Magazine.
Portland-based blockchain startup Chroma has launched Chroma.fund, the world’s first blockchain-enabled IPO platform to allow anyone to purchase shares of companies without brokers and intermediaries.
The Chroma.fund platform issues digital certificates for stocks on the blockchain network -- a transparent distributed ledger which allows both investors and companies to track the purchases of stocks on the platform.
The company is targeting companies that are not large enough to go through an IPO in major stock exchanges such as the Nasdaq.
“We're targeting a sector that has been locked out of investing in private companies since the 1930s: individual investors who earn less than $200,000 a year,” Chroma.fund CEO and co-founder Marcus Estes told Bitcoin Magazine.
“Large corporations have for years benefitted from their ability to raise money directly from the public. But smaller businesses are forced to rack up credit card bills and bank loans in order to get their dream off the ground. As of today, your local coffee roaster may use Chroma.fund to raise investment from their customers and community. This movement will reshape the entire American economy,” he said.
Each certificate or “bond” issued by the platform represents a pre-defined percentage of a company’s gross revenue. Payments to investors and owners of the bonds issued by the Chroma.fund platform will be received through the company’s payment utility in U.S. dollars. The investors can trade these certificates on a securities exchange that the company plans to launch as soon as they receive approval from authorities.
“The underlying crypto security will also make these bonds tradable, if and when we're approved to launch a securities exchange,” said Estes.
Rebuilding Wall Street from Scratch
The Chroma.fund platform has one main difference from other blockchain-based crypto security and asset settlement platforms such as Symbiont, T0 and Digital Asset Holdings. While these platforms work to optimize existing financial platforms and banking systems in the Wall Street, the Chroma team is trying to rebuild the Wall Street scratch, and replace traditional financial platforms and settlement systems like the Nasdaq.
“We're closely watching Symbiont, T0 and Digital Asset Holdings. Each of them could be considered a competitor, if not for one key distinction: They're selling technology to Wall Street -- we're using Bitcoin to rebuild the system from scratch. You don't need a broker to invest on Chroma.fund,” Estes told Bitcoin Magazine.
Estes further emphasized the importance of bitcoin and its underlying technology, the blockchain technology in the development of their platform, Chroma.fund. Over the past few months, many platforms seeking to issue crypto security on the blockchain network have emerged. However, the majority of them are still trying to create and develop their own blockchains and issue their own cryptocurrencies, instead of using an existing secure blockchain such as the bitcoin blockchain.“Using a traditional web application to store investment certificates is a really bad idea. It would be as hard to do well as storing credit cards. The blockchain makes it possible for us to rebuild Wall Street's complex system of registering ownership of investment securities at a fraction of the institutional cost. Which means we can afford to take smaller companies public. Chroma.fund wouldn't be possible without Bitcoin,” Estes said.
The post Chroma.Fund: Rebuilding Wall Street with Blockchain-Enabled IPO Platform appeared first on Bitcoin Magazine.
Luis Buenaventure, co-founder of one of the best known bitcoin remittance companies in the space, Rebit.ph , has published a blog post on Medium claiming that the cryptographic currency does little to help cheapen remittances.
Bitcoin remittances, better known as “rebittances” (a term Buenaventure claims to have popularized), allow customers to send cash to friends or family abroad. Effectively, this means that only the rebittance service itself uses bitcoin, both the sending and receiving end of the transaction merely touch cash. Since it is cheaper to send bitcoin around the globe compared to fiat currency, companies such as Rebit.ph aim to compete with existing remittance giants like Western Union and MoneyGram.
In his sobering blog post, however, Buenaventure severely nuances the advantages of using bitcoin in this manner. According to the Rebit.ph co-founder, who departed the company last August, bitcoin doesn't really enable cheaper remittance from a customers' point of view. This is because nearly all of the costs made by remittance (or rebittance) companies are in “the first and last miles” of the process anyway. In particular, it's converting digital money into physical cash, and distributing this cash to the different end-points to be picked up locally, that bears most of the cost. Buenaventure says it makes little difference whether the funds made it there as digital dollars or as digital bitcoin.
In the case of the Philippines, where Rebit.ph is most active, the end-points consist of local pawnshops that hold a firm grip over the national remittance market, Buenaventure explains:
The pawnshops are the last mile , and no one, not even the banks, are close to touching their aggregate dominance. As such, they can charge whatever they want for their services, and the oligopolistic nature of the industry ensures that there is very little difference in price between one provider and another.
The costs of a bitcoin-powered remittance and that of a transaction powered by MoneyGram or any other traditional provider are markedly similar, because the local currency needs to flow through the same physical channels.
But using bitcoin instead of fiat currency behind the screens is not completely pointless, Buenaventure maintains. Most importantly, the flexibility of the cryptographic currency allows rebittance companies to set up shop with far fewer startup costs. Since SWIFT transfers are slow, competitors such as Western Union and MoneyGram need to hold plenty of fiat currency in reserve locally in order to keep up with demand. The speed of bitcoin transfers, on the other hand, allows rebittance companies to get hold of local fiat currency much faster.
“This 'prefunding' strategy is the main thing that young bitcoin remittance startups are now able to circumvent. Instead of advancing $100,000 to each country that you want to do business in, you settle each transaction in real-time with bitcoin. From a cost perspective, it’s the difference between building a huge server farm versus pay-as-you-go hosting on Amazon AWS, and is a true game-changer.”
Moreover, Buenaventure wraps up his blog post on an even more positive note. If it were possible to bring the costs of the last mile down, he argues, rebittance services would start to make a lot of sense. Buenaventure believes this cost could be brought down specifically if local currency systems advance from physical cash to digital currency, as this could cut local cash distribution offices out of the loop.
While this is nowhere near reality in the Philippines and most other developing countries, it is not that far-fetched of an idea, as some Third World regions are already progressing in that direction. The best known example is Kenya's M-Pesa, a mobile phone payments system used by almost all Kenyans to transfer mobile minutes.
“The perfect solution appears to be a hybrid between the current bitcoin remittance startups and the ubiquitous mobile-money network that currently exists only in our dreams,” Buenaventure concludes.
“If we can use bitcoin to replace SWIFT during the international part of the journey, and employ the local mobile money network as our domestic transport, then we’ve really got something. Until then, associating bitcoin so directly with cheaper remittances is perhaps missing the point: the cryptocurrency has illuminated an even larger problem that it simply cannot solve on its own.”
The post Rebit.ph Co-Founder: Bitcoin Doesn't Make Remittances Cheaper (Yet) appeared first on Bitcoin Magazine.
This is a guest post by Michael Haley, Operations Manager at AlphaPoint.AlphaPoint is a financial technology company that powers digital currency exchanges and provides institutions aggregate access and order routing to digital currency markets.
Right now, there are active digital currency markets running 24/7 in at least 45 national currencies.1 That is, there are digital currency markets in one quarter of the 180 national currencies recognized as legal tender by the United Nations. 2
Seven years into the onrush of Nakamoto’s protocol, we think it makes sense to ask: Why does this matter? Why is closing the gap on the remaining three quarters important? What opportunities reside there?
Why It Matters
It matters in the first case because the geographic distribution of these markets is misaligned with the distribution of bitcoin market potential. At any given point in time, it is difficult to establish a bead on the aggregate global exchange count. Small exchanges crop up with little media presence and volunteer-run indexes have difficulty staying current.
The pattern, nevertheless, is clear enough: Europe and North America are each serviced by more than 30 exchanges, and East Asia by roughly 20, concentrated in China. Conversely, South Asia, Africa, the Middle East, and Latin America have nothing approaching this density. Further, exchange volumes today correlate with exchange count, with the staggering majority of digital-fiat conversion hosted in the Chinese yuan, U.S. dollar, and euro. The overwhelming majority of bitcoin-fiat trades is against the yuan, virtually all of it at zero-fee exchanges, creating masses of volume whose validity is difficult to pinpoint.3 Beyond this, American dollars and euros come second and third, respectively. Other currencies in aggregate scarcely register.
And yet, digital currency’s greatest mainstream potential and most compelling use cases tend to reside outside of North America, Western Europe, and East Asia.
Instead, the greatest potential beneficiaries tend to be concentrated in national markets whose fiscal, political, and infrastructural histories have rendered basic financial services out of reach for many businesses and individuals: Venezuela, Zimbabwe, Belarus, etc.
Economist Garrick Hileman provides a useful snapshot of this distribution in his Bitcoin Market Potential Index (2014). Of the highest-ranking markets in the index, more than half are based in sub-Saharan Africa and Latin America. Likewise, there are indicators that regulatory clarity is improving in these regions -- in Chile and Nigeria particularly -- at the same time beneficial frameworks continue to elaborate themselves in more established hubs -- places such as Singapore, the United Kingdom, or Luxembourg.4
“We’re working in markets where it’s impossible for companies to sell online without giving away more than 5 percent of their business to payment processors,” said Gabe Abed, co-founder and CEO of Bitt, a non-bank financial institution (NBFI) and universal Bitcoin services firm based in the Caribbean. “Individuals sending money from one island to another routinely lose 12 percent on fees. Credit card acceptance is low, and yet there’s a very high penetration rate for mobile Internet -- so there’s this gap, which is precisely what we’re aiming to fill.”
Opportunities Across Global Markets
This gap between solutions offered by legacy systems and those made possible by the blockchain is falling into sharper relief for consumers and enterprises alike, and the opportunity is massive.5
To put matters in perspective: More than 50 countries host over $1 billion in daily foreign exchange volume. 6 In sum, there is more than $5 trillion in global FX trading per day. Even 1 percent of this total is $50 billion -- more than 1,500 times the current daily total for digital currency trading.
“In the Bitcoin community, we’re used to talking about underbanked people,” said Gabriel Miron, CEO of Mexico City-based meXBT. “But more and more, we’re finding that underbanked businesses are key.” In moving funds between Mexico and, say, China or Brazil, banks perform FX conversion at a loss through the U.S. dollar. “And if you’re not one of a bank’s largest customers, this process can take weeks. Using bitcoin as the rails, we can settle in under 24 hours. Existing bank infrastructure can’t get close to that.”
“We’re seeing that larger firms are particularly interested in more efficient settlement,” said Jesse Chenard, founder and CEO of MonetaGo, adding that smaller enterprise clients are more interested in availing arbitrage opportunities in bitcoin markets to drive down fees. “On a recent $13,000 intracompany transfer, we saved the client $600 in fees they would have otherwise had to pay to Bank of America.” In so many words, the needs and corresponding solutions are diverse, a point recently echoed by Andreas Antonopoulos.7
The opportunities we see can be spaced across two fronts: (1) making digital currencies more widely available, and (2) leveraging them to streamline international transfers. Yet we see these as part of the same movement, as two sides of the same coin -- both predicated on active, stable markets across effectively all national currencies.
More often than not, the speed and cost benefits offered by digital currency will be most dramatic in south-south transfers (between countries in Africa, Latin America, South Asia, etc.), where bitcoin (or other digital currencies) can facilitate FX conversion without needing to move through the U.S. dollar, radically reducing both costs and settlement times.
As markets expand and access improves, and as regulatory frameworks fall into sharper relief, we believe more and more businesses and individuals will recognize these benefits, that south-south trade will help drive adoption forward in the months and years ahead, and that this demand will help make digital currencies more available to the populations that stand to benefit from them most.
1 This number is per publicly available data from bitcoin charts , Bitcoin Average , bitcoinity , Coin Market Cap , and elsewhere. An asterisk: Of course there are national markets for Litecoin, Ripple, and the like, and of course there are reasons to believe DAAP coins will become a bigger part of volumes in the near future. But the fact remains that Bitcoin’s market capitalization dwarfs that of its competitors. Currently BTC capitalization is fifteen times that of XRP. And of course there are informal and P2P markets for digital tokens of all kinds. But here I am defining ‘active markets’ as those serviced by at least one order matching service (one exchange), because informal markets tend to be erratic, illiquid, and difficult to quantify.
2 Source: United Nations Treasury
3 See, e.g. “80% of bitcoin is exchanged for Chinese yuan ” (Mar. 10, 2015 -Quartz)
4 Thanks to Adam Vaziri, Director at London-based DIACLE, for his input.
5 Particularly given how closely exchange distribution correlates with the distribution of the network itself and of merchant adoption. Note, for instance, the overlap between nodes and merchants, visualized onBitNodes and CoinMap , respectively. We would argue the connection is not simply correlative but causal, that mining and exchanges are preconditions for broader use. 6 Source: Bank for International Settlements Triennial Survey (April 2013) 7 IDEO Futures podcast Episode 21.5 (August 2015)
The post Globalizing Digital Currency — Trends, Gaps, Opportunities appeared first on Bitcoin Magazine.
Japanese cryptocurrency management service provider and SmartCoin operator Orb has raised US $2.3 million in seed funding from leading Japanese venture capital firms and angel investors including SBI investment.
With the new financing, the Orb team plans to allocate its funds to the development of Orb’s cryptocurrency management platform, which is currently in private beta.
The Orb team will also use the funds to continue the development of their newly launched decentralized cloud computing system, which allows users and developers to authenticate assets and transactions on the blockchain. Orb co-founder and CEO Masa Nakatsu firmly believes that Orb is a great contribution to the cryptocurrency ecosystem, and will become one of the main competitors of Chain, Ethereum and 21 Inc.
Prior to the development of Orb, Nakatsu has cofounded several multi-million dollar ventures in Japan and Silicon Valley. Nakatsu founded Japan’s largest social lending platform Maneo, with which he raised more than $140 million in funding.
Over the past few decades, Nakatsu has focused on the search of solutions toward the problems of traditional currency systems. Nakatsu founded Musavy, a content curation venture in Silicon Valley and worked with the Business Development department of Groupon.
With his expertise in finance, eCommerce and online payments, Nakatsu plans to grow Orb into a prominent cryptocurrency platform in the near future.
The post Japanese Cryptocurrency Management Platform Raises $2.3 Million appeared first on Bitcoin Magazine.