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Hayden Otto Discusses the Rise of North Queensland’s Bitcoin Cash Movement

Hayden Otto Discusses the Rise of North Queensland’s Bitcoin Cash Virality

Bitcoin cash merchant acceptance has grown significantly over the last year according to the BCH merchant directory Marco Coino. One specific region, North Queensland, Australia has an extremely dense population of bitcoin cash accepting retailers. This week, News.Bitcoin.com spoke with Coinspice Executive Editor Hayden Otto about the influx of adoption in North Queensland and how it’s become a hub for bitcoin cash supporters.

Also read: How to Exchange Your Amazon Gift Cards for Bitcoin Cash

North Queensland Loves BCH

Digital currency acceptance is a big deal to bitcoin cash proponents and many supporters work tirelessly every day to get online merchants and brick-and-mortar retailers to accept BCH for goods and services. Right now, according to Marco Coino data, there are three specific regions which have a great number of BCH accepting merchants compared to the rest of the world — Slovenia, Japan, and North Queensland, Australia.

Hayden Otto Discusses the Rise of North Queensland’s Bitcoin Cash Movement

Hayden Otto, Executive Editor for the publication Coinspice, chatted with News.Bitcoin.com this week about the vast amount of BCH support in the northern part of the massive Australian state. Otto can be seen in a number of videos giving people lessons on how to use BCH, promoting bitcoin cash to retailers, teaching people how to use Local.Bitcoin.com, and regularly discussing important BCH topics on social media. The young entrepreneur explained to our newsdesk why North Queensland (NQ) residents prefer the “cash version” of Bitcoin and how other cities and towns worldwide can emulate NQ’s virality for bolstering crypto payments that work.

Hayden Otto Discusses the Rise of North Queensland’s Bitcoin Cash Movement

News.Bitcoin.com (BC): So when did North Queensland (NQ) really start taking off as far as BCH adoption is concerned?

Hayden Otto: There was BTC adoption from 2011 or so that naturally switched to BCH at the fork. Pretty much all BTC held in the region was dumped for BCH in the weeks immediately following the fork. NQ has always been pro the cash version of Bitcoin with good local networks that were immune to Blockstream/Core narratives. I think that long history has meant that BCH adoption hasn’t been an overnight thing, however, something did change in late 2018 where I suspect a critical mass was gained.

BC: Why do you think BCH is so prevalent in North Queensland?

Hayden Otto: Early on, the merchants decided to adopt BCH exclusively. Supporting a single cryptocurrency allows a merchant to adapt quickly with minimal training but the big plus turned out to be that such installations allowed the extraordinary properties of Bitcoin BCH to shine.

Particularly BCH’s speed advantage which has a huge influence on the user payment experience. Merchants supporting Bitcoin BCH were viewed as trendy and modern by customers and the merchants really responded to that energy and engaged the community.

Hayden Otto Discusses the Rise of North Queensland’s Bitcoin Cash Movement
Over the last two years, there have been many photos shared on social media demonstrating NQ’s passion for bitcoin cash.

BC: There’s a video of you using Bitcoin.com’s BCH Register app at the Grand Central Cafe (GCC). Can you tell us how the Grand Central Cafe got introduced to the app?

Hayden Otto: GCC does a lot of BCH business and was originally onboarded with the Bitcoin.com Wallet. When the BCH Register App became available, the local BCH merchant group chose them to trial it.

BC: With so many merchants in the area, what other payment services do people use in the region to pay with BCH in North Queensland?

Hayden Otto: Most merchants simply use the Bitcoin.com Wallet or BCH Register. There were a small number of Travelbybit PoS being used but these merchants have elected to adopt Bitcoin BCH exclusively.

Hayden Otto Discusses the Rise of North Queensland’s Bitcoin Cash Movement

BC: Can you tell our readers about the North Queensland BCH meetup?

Hayden Otto: They always get a good turnout for their meetups and typically it is a combination of merchants, users, and business leaders. There are many smaller meetups that typically occur on a weekly basis and on a less frequent basis they hold a large meetup and organise a speaker to video call in. At their last major meetup, Gabriel Cardona and Corbin Fraser were speakers while Amaury Séchet and Andy Murphy were organized for the one before. With these large meetups, attendees are always sporting custom T-shirts, BCH gadgets, badges or just wearing lots of green.

BC: You’ve filmed a lot of videos onboarding BCH merchants. Can you tell us what drives you to do this?

Hayden Otto: I think emergent_reasons said it best: “We have the morally pleasant benefit of not needing to lie to do great marketing.” I’ll onboard until Bitcoin BCH becomes the first global currency.

Hayden Otto Discusses the Rise of North Queensland’s Bitcoin Cash Movement
Hayden Otto is also well known for appearing in the short film called “The Tale of Two Bitcoins.”

BC: Who owns the BCH mobile with the green Bitcoin Cash symbol that’s posted in a lot of NQ pictures shared on Twitter and Reddit regularly?

Hayden Otto: The BCH car(s) belongs to a local Bitcoin BCH enthusiast who created them from donations and input from local suppliers and made them available to the local BCH community for events or visiting VIPs.

BC: There’s a BCH-only automated teller machine (ATM) in North Queensland correct? Can you tell us about the machine?

Hayden Otto: There are actually many Bitcoin BCH-only ATMs in North Queensland. With recent changes to AML/CTF laws, they have been temporarily withdrawn from service while they are modified for compliance. I have tested the prototypes, they’re great. Watch this space.

Hayden Otto Discusses the Rise of North Queensland’s Bitcoin Cash Movement
NQ has a few Bitcoin Cash mobiles.

BC: What’s your opinion on the current state of BCH adoption right now?

Hayden Otto: Bullish. There are many Bitcoin BCH startups in North Queensland, several with million dollar plus seed capital.

These companies are still mostly in stealth mode but products are beginning to reach test stage. There is a lot of Bitcoin BCH momentum in North Queensland that has yet to be reported on.

BC: How can other towns and cities emulate what’s happening in North Queensland with BCH adoption?

Hayden Otto: There are some simple rules:

  1. Merchants need nothing more than a Bitcoin.com Wallet to get started.
  2. If anybody in your user group wants to purchase some BCH, consider underwriting a merchant instead. Purchasing coins from a merchant is cheaper than getting them from an exchange and the coins stay in the community.
  3. Spend and replace – this costs you nothing but it provides great examples to others. Merchants will start encouraging users with specials and so on.

What do you think about all the merchant adoption in North Queensland, Australia? Let us know what you think about this subject in the comments section below.


Image credits: Shutterstock, Twitter, Hayden Otto, Reddit, Marco Coino, and Pixabay.


Want to create your own secure cold storage paper wallet? Check our tools section. You can also enjoy the easiest way to buy Bitcoin online with us. Download your free Bitcoin wallet and head to our Purchase Bitcoin page where you can buy BCH and BTC securely.

The post Hayden Otto Discusses the Rise of North Queensland’s Bitcoin Cash Movement appeared first on Bitcoin News.

Source: Bitcoinnews.com

Blockmodo Lets You Create a Snapshot Cryptocurrency Price Widget

Blockmodo Lets You Create a Snapshot Cryptocurrency Price Widget

Cryptocurrency prices never stop moving, as the market exists in a constant state of flux. There are instances, though, when it’s useful to be able to hit the pause button and view the price of a cryptocurrency at a fixed point in time. For such occasions, Blockmodo’s snapshot widgets provide historical prices that are easy to absorb at a glance.

Also read: Bitcoin.com Just Rebranded – Check out Our New Look

Snapshot Widget Shows Crypto Prices Frozen in Time

If you’re composing an article that addresses cryptocurrency prices at a specific point in time, it may be beneficial to have a visual representation. Until recently, your options were limited to screenshotting the chart and then embedding the image into your report. Blockmodo has now created a snapshot tool that provides a cleaner, lighter and less laborious alternative. Its price widgets page provides the ability to include a snapshot price quote, accompanied by relevant market data. The code can then be embedded into your blog or website as HTML, where it will form an aesthetically pleasing miniature chart.

A snapshot widget can be particularly useful for situations where you want to be able to show context to readers. This might be because a particular digital asset has just experienced sudden volatility or passed an all-time high, for example.

A snapshot of Bitcoin Cash’s price was taken on June 17th, 2019. The price was 429.91 USD with an open price of 427.06 USD. Bitcoin Cash price quote.

Use a Streaming Widget for Real-Time Data

In addition to its snapshot widgets, Blockmodo provides more conventional streaming widgets that display the live price of a particular digital asset. Alternatively, for real-time data on BCH and BTC, Bitcoin.com provides a host of streaming widgets. Our bitcoin cash and bitcoin core widgets have recently been updated to reflect Bitcoin.com’s new branding. Available in white or black, Bitcoin.com widgets are finished in a tasteful green, and provide live updates on the state of the bitcoin markets, pegged to various fiat currencies.

What are your favorite crypto price widgets? Let us know in the comments section below.


Images courtesy of Shutterstock.


Did you know you can verify any unconfirmed Bitcoin transaction with our Bitcoin Block Explorer tool? Simply complete a Bitcoin address search to view it on the blockchain. Plus, visit our Bitcoin Charts to see what’s happening in the industry.

The post Blockmodo Lets You Create a Snapshot Cryptocurrency Price Widget appeared first on Bitcoin News.

Source: Bitcoinnews.com

Bitcoin.com Just Rebranded – Check out Our New Look

Bitcoin.com's Refined Branding: Check Out Our Whole New Look

You may have noticed that Bitcoin.com is looking a little different. We’re excited to unveil our new look after six months of hard work. Our domain has a long history, and as a company we’ve grown a great deal. After consideration of the crypto future ahead of us all, we decided to reshape Bitcoin.com’s design to present a greater image of things to come.

Also read: How to Exchange Your Amazon Gift Cards for Bitcoin Cash

Bitcoin.com’s Revamped Design Is Here

Operating the domain Bitcoin.com has been a wonderful experience and we’re pleased to give our visitors the very best services when it comes to the growing crypto industry. Bitcoin.com is a very unique website and most people don’t know but the domain was registered in January 2008, a whole year before Satoshi unleashed his invention on the world.

Bitcoin.com Just Rebranded – Check out Our New Look
Bitcoin.com’s home page.

Since then, Bitcoin’s first angel investor, Roger Ver, took over the website in 2014 after it passed through many hands. Ver began to mold the web portal into a site that offers educational resources, news, and unique tools that help people use bitcoin. When we first created the Bitcoin.com brand, our website was much simpler. Over time, however, we added a plethora of tools, services, and resources that provide our visitors with everything they need to jump into the crypto ecosystem. In order to match the consistency of the powerful resources Bitcoin.com offers, we refined our design with a new logo, colors, and themes.

Bitcoin.com Just Rebranded – Check out Our New Look
Check out Local.Bitcoin.com, the private, peer-to-peer BCH marketplace.

You will probably notice our logo is missing the Bitcoin symbol. When redesigning the website, we decided it was best to distinguish Bitcoin.com from the various Bitcoin cryptocurrency networks out there today. The intention of the new logo is to prevent users from any potential confusion from the domain name mixed with the old logo. Moreover, after five years and the craziness of 2017, we felt it was time to update our appearance and express ourselves as a company that fosters innovation. You will notice that the new color scheme is more contemporary and reflective of the evolving industry we’re in. Every section of the website has been revamped to highlight our services such as the Bitcoin.com Wallet, Local.Bitcoin.com, cloud mining, Markets.Bitcoin.com, daily news, Buy.Bitcoin.com, bitcoin cash games, BCH developer SDKs, and our block explorer.

Bitcoin.com Just Rebranded – Check out Our New Look
Learn the basics of Bitcoin.

With our growing number of bitcoin cash resources, tools, and services it made sense for our branding to change too. During the design launch, Bitcoin.com CEO Roger Ver stated:

The rebrand is a bold new chapter for Bitcoin.com. It’s an invitation to everyone out there: let our products show you how economic freedom can empower you.

Bitcoin.com Just Rebranded – Check out Our New Look
Keep up to date with the latest crypto market price action at Markets.Bitcoin.com with the top 500 cryptocurrency market caps.

Improving the Overall Visual Experience of Bitcoin.com

For six months we’ve tirelessly worked on our brand and website design in order to present a cohesive visual interpretation of our company and its crypto evolution. Today, we’re thrilled to unveil our new brand and show off all the hard work we’ve put into every facet of the web portal. When you visit our landing page you will see the fresh new look accompanied with great resources on getting started with bitcoin basics.

Bitcoin.com Just Rebranded – Check out Our New Look
Mine bitcoin without having to buy equipment.

The homepage also includes guides on learning how to accept borderless BCH payments, access to our local BCH marketplace, a merchant directory so you can spend BCH online and in-store, and learn to mine bitcoin without technical knowledge or owning machinery. The new design gives us a better visual identity so we can continue to provide awesome looking charts, crypto market valuations, the latest news stories, podcasts, and videos.

Bitcoin.com Just Rebranded – Check out Our New Look
Look up bitcoin cash (BCH) and bitcoin core (BTC) transactions using our block explorer.

“Bitcoin is designed to be usable and accessible for all — Our new color palette, in addition to our products and tools, reflects that principle,” Bitcoin.com Head of Design Andrew Todd remarked during the launch. “Reimagining our brand, we took a step back and identified our values. With universal accessibility being our most important value, we set out to create a color palette that would not only resonate with people and help create a lasting identity, but would work seamlessly across devices, in different environments, and for people with visual impairments.” Todd continued:

Our new logo also exemplifies accessibility. It consists of bold and legible ‘Bitcoin.com’ logotype paired with a clean grid of blocks, which is representative of the intended scalable nature of Bitcoin blocks themselves. Color-wise, we have the brightest green moving in an upward-right trajectory, showing constant growth — This is finished by tight kerning of the Bitcoin.com lettering, reinforcing the solidity of our brand.

Bitcoin.com Just Rebranded – Check out Our New Look
Start accepting bitcoin cash (BCH) today and get help getting started with our merchant solutions.

It was important for us to update our brand to make it easier for you, the visitor, and we think the new design improves the overall experience and usability of the site. While the aesthetics of the brand were a large factor, we are still molding Bitcoin.com to be the perfect place to gain information and resources on all things bitcoin-related. We plan to continue to adding to the features of our web portal and we think the new style fits perfectly with the bright future ahead. So if you are just noticing the new changes, take a look around and explore Bitcoin.com in a whole new light.

What do you think about Bitcoin.com’s revamped brand and image? Let us know what you think about this subject in the comments section below.


Image credits: Bitcoin.com


Want to create your own secure cold storage paper wallet? Check our tools section. You can also enjoy the easiest way to buy Bitcoin online with us. Download your free Bitcoin wallet and head to our Purchase Bitcoin page where you can buy BCH and BTC securely.

The post Bitcoin.com Just Rebranded – Check out Our New Look appeared first on Bitcoin News.

Source: Bitcoinnews.com

What’s the Deal With the Lightning Network?

What’s the Deal With the Lightning Network?

Remember that layer two scaling solution they promised for Bitcoin back in the day? Does anyone know what happened to it? It feels like we’ve been waiting for a finished Lightning Network longer than Mt. Gox victims have been awaiting restitution. For now, Lightning is accessible to users with the skills to navigate its quirks and complexities, but for beginners, LN can be bewildering – and its challenges don’t end there.

Also read: Bitcoin Trades for a Premium in Hong Kong During Protests

Scaling Solution or Solution in Search of a Problem?

As the first major layer two project to be built on Bitcoin Core, Lightning is literally a lightning rod for critics of offchain scaling. Building a second layer solution as ambitious as LN was always going to be a huge undertaking, even with millions of dollars of investment and the support and goodwill of a vast swathe of the BTC community. Regardless of whether Lightning sinks, swims or treads water, its development will not have been entirely in vain.

What’s the Deal With the Lightning Network?

At the time of publication, LN has a capacity of 949 BTC, down from its peak of over 1,000. The number of nodes and channels has also dropped in the last 24 hours, resulting in a current total of 8,780 nodes, around 60% of which have active channels. The average channel capacity stands at 0.027 BTC, while the average node capacity is 0.216. Lightning Network is presently capturing just 0.0045% of all available BTC. Critics have seized upon this as evidence that Bitcoin’s much-vaunted scaling and micropayment solution isn’t seeing use. Defenders have stressed that as an instant payment rail for small purchases, the amount of BTC locked up in the network is immaterial; provided there’s enough liquidity to easily send and receive sub-$100 payments, LN is fit for purpose.

What’s the Deal With the Lightning Network?

Lightning Network: The Good, the Bad and the Ugly

One reason why the Lightning Network’s capacity has decreased, from its March high of over 1,000 BTC, is on account of a single provider, LNbig, closing a bunch of channels. This provider was granting the network at least 25% of its liquidity, and their channel closure and removal of BTC locked on the network did not go unnoticed. 16 of the 20 largest nodes on the network are operated by LNbig. Explaining their decision, LNbig observed:

When you open a lot of channels – everyone scolds you that you are capturing the network. When you close – there are also concerns. I would be very happy if other large players would now open channels and bring more liquidity to the network. But oddly enough this almost does not happen.

They added: “I would like to encourage everyone to run more nodes in the network and put their liquidity there … I will give up the place with great joy. I have a lot of open and not working channels in which liquidity is locked on my part. But for the future of the network, I do not close most of them.”

What’s the Deal With the Lightning Network?

Operating nodes and funding channels is currently a labor of love for LN benefactors, but the network can’t rely on their benevolence in perpetuity. LNbig, for example, claims to earn around $20 per month in commissions for transactions they route at a rate of 2-300 tx per day. The cost of opening and closing channels, on the main BTC chain, however, has been estimated to cost them around $1,000 in fees to date.

Ultra-low fees are one of Lightning’s USPs, but if these fees are insufficient to cover the costs of liquidity providers, is it hard to see how LN is sustainable. Calculating the number of transactions per day that occur on LN is difficult due to its design, but LNbig has estimated this figure to stand at less than 2,000. This would suggest that LN is currently seeing just 5% of the usage of Bitcoin Cash for payments.

Coming Soon Since 2016

The Lightning Network was an ambitious project from the outset, which goes some way towards explaining it being constantly “18 months away” since its inception. Lightning’s complexity extends not only to under the hood, but to the front-end as well. At present, getting started with LN calls for a degree of technical know-how, particularly if you want to set up your own node and hold your funds non-custodially. Due to problems that have emerged during the network’s lengthy development process, Lightning Labs have had to develop new components, adding additional moving parts that must be mastered and maintained.

For example, watchtowers will be added to LN soon, tasked with keeping an eye out for fraudsters trying to double spend by broadcasting old transactions. While watchtowers are likely to enhance the network’s security, it adds another step to the setup process for businesses or individuals wanting to operate a routing node. Moreover, watchtowers will be data-hungry, meaning that they will likely be operated by a few major players. Creeping centralization is a recurring theme with the Lightning Network; there is nothing to suggest that influential actors will abuse their position of trust, but it’s hard to shake the sensation that the system is steadily moving away from Bitcoin’s permissionless design.

A Semi-Permissionless Network

In theory you can send funds to anyone on LN, but in practice there may be few channels to isolated users on the network, forcing you to go through a routing provider. It’s easy to imagine a scenario in which a U.S. routing provider refuses to have dealings with a known Iranian address for legal reasons, or where a dissident’s address is left isolated from the hub of the network for political reasons. It is evident that many of the greatest challenges facing the Lightning Network are not technical in nature.

One recurring issue is the lack of incentives between participants. At present, LN’s earliest adopters are bootstrapping the network out of the good of their hearts and because they want to see the project succeed. There’s nothing wrong with this of course; Bitcoin was born the same way. But at some stage, there needs to be economic incentives for participants to secure the network. Not only do channel providers make a pittance – or potentially a loss, depending on onchain fees – for their services, but watchtower operators also lack an incentive. Lightning Labs’ solution to this is to add in yet another function to the network – the ability for people to send funds to watchtower operators. It all seems like a lot of hard work, some would argue, to solve a problem that could have been fixed overnight by increasing the block size.

What’s the Deal With the Lightning Network?

But to make such assertions is to veer into deeply political territory. For ideological reasons, “big blockers” and their small block counterparts took opposing forks in the road to Bitcoin scaling long ago. Now that the Bitcoin Core camp is married to Lightning, there can be no going back. The economic and emotional ties run too deep. It’s unclear if or when LN will be considered production ready, but it remains a fascinating project that will likely exist in some shape or form, whatever happens. Even if it fails, Lightning will surely inspire the next wave of second layer solutions to be built on Bitcoin.

With Bitcoin Core supporters having spent the last two years arguing that BTC is a store of value and not a medium of exchange, their biggest challenge, in a post-Project Libra world, may be convincing the public to start spending bitcoin again.

What are your thoughts on Lightning Network? Let us know in the comments section below.


Images courtesy of Shutterstock.


Did you know you can verify any unconfirmed Bitcoin transaction with our Bitcoin Block Explorer tool? Simply complete a Bitcoin address search to view it on the blockchain. Plus, visit our Bitcoin Charts to see what’s happening in the industry.

The post What’s the Deal With the Lightning Network? appeared first on Bitcoin News.

Source: Bitcoinnews.com

Bitcoin Trades for a Premium in Hong Kong During Protests

Bitcoin Trades for a Premium in Hong Kong During Protests

Right now, thousands of citizens from Hong Kong are protesting certain leaders and opposing a proposed extradition law. Alongside the protests, the country’s political issues are reportedly pushing wealthy Hong Kong residents to move their capital offshore. Since last week, the price of bitcoin core (BTC) has gained a premium in Hong Kong as the digital asset has been trading between $75-150 higher than the global average.

Also Read: How to Exchange Your Amazon Gift Cards for Bitcoin Cash

Political and Economic Unrest in Hong Kong Spurs Capital Movement Offshore

Tens of thousands of Hong Kong protestors have filled the streets of downtown Victoria Park and started marching toward government buildings on Sunday, June 16. The crowds of people dressed in black have been chanting things like “resign” and “withdraw” due to their hatred for the proposed extradition law. The ruling would basically allow Chinese authorities to come in and extradite any Hong Kong citizen to mainland China if they are accused of a crime. It all started in 1997 after Beijing took over and promised to keep Hong Kong’s government intact under “one country, two systems.” Before 1997, Hong Kong was a British dependent territory but the sovereignty over Hong Kong was transferred to China. Everything was fine up until 2014 when pro-democracy protests called the Umbrella Movement stirred the Chinese government and things have never been the same since.

Bitcoin Trades for a Premium in Hong Kong During Protests
Sunday’s protest in Hong Kong was one of the largest turnouts so far.

Crypto proponents believe the current political strife will push more people toward decentralized assets. The protesters demand that Chief Executive Carrie Lam resigns and withdraw her plans to initiate the extradition law. “Our demands are simple. Carrie Lam must leave office, the extradition law must be withdrawn and the police must apologize for using extreme violence against their own people,” John Chow a Hong Kong-based banker, told press on Sunday. Additionally, a few days ago, Reuters reported that wealthy Hong Kong residents have started moving funds offshore to escape possible economic turmoil.

“Some Hong Kong tycoons have started moving personal wealth offshore as concern deepens over a local government plan to allow extraditions of suspects to face trial in China for the first time, according to financial advisers, bankers and lawyers familiar with such transactions,” Reuters explained on June 14. One specific tycoon who wished to be unnamed revealed that the capital outflow has “started,” adding:

We’re hearing others are doing it, too, but no-one is going to go on parade that they are leaving — The fear is that the bar is coming right down on Beijing’s ability to get your assets in Hong Kong. Singapore is the favored destination.

Bitcoin Trades for a Premium in Hong Kong During Protests
The reason Hong Kong tycoons are moving money is because if the bill becomes law, Chinese courts can request Hong Kong courts to freeze and confiscate assets related to crimes committed in mainland China.

The BTC/HKD Premium

In addition to the wealthy individuals moving capital, crypto enthusiasts have noticed a premium on BTC growing larger in Hong Kong. For instance, over the last few days on the cryptocurrency exchange Tidebit, the price of BTC has been $75-150 higher than the global average. At the time of writing, 1 BTC is currently 73,100 HKD or US$9,337 in Hong Kong which is more than $100 higher than the Bitstamp price at $9,230. Speculators believe the unrest in Hong Kong has sparked some flow into bitcoin so people can hedge against uncertainty. Other exchanges such as Bitpoint and Liquid show similar BTC/HKD premiums as well.

Bitcoin Trades for a Premium in Hong Kong During Protests
Local.Bitcoin.com buyers in Hong Kong looking for bitcoin cash (BCH).

There’s also been some demand in Hong Kong for bitcoin cash (BCH) on Local.Bitcoin.com as there are buyers looking to purchase BCH in person for cash and alternative payment methods as well. On the data aggregation website Coin Dance, BTC/HKD volumes have been rising week after week on Paxful as well. It’s difficult to say how the Hong Kong government will handle the large protests and whether more money will flow into the crypto economy. As of right now, Hong Kong is not China and they are still two very distinct systems but many citizens fear that some day that will change.

What do you think about the recent political and economic climate in Hong Kong? Do you think the unrest will push more people into seeking out cryptocurrencies? Let us know what you think about this subject in the comments section below.


Image credits: Shutterstock, Pixabay, Getty, Merlin, and Twitter.


Verify and track bitcoin cash transactions on our BCH Block Explorer, the best of its kind anywhere in the world. Also, keep up with your holdings, BCH, and other coins, on our market charts at Bitcoin.com Markets, another original and free service from Bitcoin.com.

The post Bitcoin Trades for a Premium in Hong Kong During Protests appeared first on Bitcoin News.

Source: Bitcoinnews.com

Crypto Cards Expand and a Futuristic Promotion in the Weekly Update From Bitcoin.com

Crypto debit cards supporting bitcoin cash expand their international reach and a platform offers shopping at Walmart using BCH. Watch these and other developments discussed in this week’s video update on Bitcoin.com’s Youtube channel, and get a chance to take part in a futuristic promotion.

Also Read: What Makes Slovenia a Cryptocurrency Adoption Leader – Bitcoin.com Mini-Documentary

Futuristic Promotion in the Weekly Video Update

This week’s show features a number of technological and businesses developments that make bitcoin cash payments more accessible around the world. These include Coinbase expanding its Visa debit card service to six new European markets, allowing its users from these countries to spend BCH from their accounts to pay in millions of locations where Visa is accepted, as well as to make fiat cash withdrawals from ATMs.

The show also provides an update on Local.Bitcoin.com, the privacy-focused peer to peer global marketplace for trading bitcoin cash (BCH) which was officially launched on June 4. Over 14,000 people have already signed up to the service and created thousands of active orders. Additional topics cover Coinex exchange listing the SLP token honestcoin (USDH), a stablecoin issued on the Bitcoin Cash network backed 1-to-1 for USD, Cointext integration into Electron Cash allowing users to send BCH to any phone with SMS messaging capabilities, and the Alagoria platform which lets you buy items sold by Home Depot and Walmart using BCH and get a 10% discount.

The weekly update also features a promo code to the Blockchain Futurist Conference 2019, taking place August 12-14 in Toronto, Canada. Starting this Monday, you can save 50% off the price of tickets when paying with bitcoin cash and using the code shown in the video. Bitcoin.com will take part in this event as a sponsor, with a special video presentation from Roger Ver.

Make sure to subscribe to the Bitcoin.com Youtube channel and leave a comment on the latest video.


Images courtesy of Shutterstock.


Verify and track bitcoin cash transactions on our BCH Block Explorer, the best of its kind anywhere in the world. Also, keep up with your holdings, BCH and other coins, on our market charts at Bitcoin.com Markets, another original and free service from Bitcoin.com.

The post Crypto Cards Expand and a Futuristic Promotion in the Weekly Update From Bitcoin.com appeared first on Bitcoin News.

Source: Bitcoinnews.com

VPN Providers Defy Order to Connect to Russia’s Internet Censor

VPN Providers Defy Order to Connect to Russia’s Internet Sensor

Russian regulators have once again moved to expand oversight of the online space in an attempt to ensure compliance with various restrictions Moscow is trying to impose. But as in other cases, their efforts have been met with resistance. Over a dozen VPN platforms, popular among crypto enthusiasts and other privacy-conscious users, have refused to join the state-run system for blocking banned websites. Some of them have already announced they are moving abroad. The game of cat and mouse continues, with Roskomnadzor vowing to block nine of the refusers within a month.

Also read: Russian Prosecutors Fail to Block Crypto Website

VPN Services Move Out of Country

In March this year, the Federal Service for Supervision of Communications, Information Technology, and Mass Media, Roskomnadzor, demanded from 10 VPN service providers to connect to the Federal State Information System (FSIS). The register keeps information about websites, the access to which has been restricted after they were blacklisted by Russian authorities. Roskomnadzor wants to confirm the VPN services do not allow their subscribers to access these sites.

The telecom watchdog sent out notices to Tor Guard, Vypr VPN, Open VPN, Nord VPN, VPN Unlimited, IP Vanish, Hide My Ass!, Hola VPN, Express VPN, and Kaspersky Secure Connection. Seven companies have refused to collaborate, including four that have moved their servers out of the country, and another two have not responded at all. Six more platforms, which have not been notified by the agency, also indicated they won’t connect to the FSIS. So far, only Kaspersky has agreed to cooperate.

VPN Providers Defy Order to Connect to Russia’s Internet Censor
Roskomnadzor

Alexander Zharov, head of Roskomnadzor, stated last week that nine VPN platforms which have not fulfilled the watchdog’s requirements, may be blocked within a month for not complying with the law that prohibits the provision of services facilitating the bypassing of government restrictions. “It seems Roskomnadzor has recently compiled a second list of VPNs and asked them to filter traffic,” Sarkis Darbinyan, lead legal expert at Roskomsvoboda, a Russian NGO fighting internet censorship, told news.Bitcoin.com.

Darbinyan also shared that another provider, Avast Secureline VPN, has just announced it’s withdrawing from the country in connection with Roskomnadzor’s actions. The company believes compliance with such requirements would violate its own principles and the right to freedom of the Internet. And because it won’t be in a position to bring any benefit to its Russian users, Avast informed them they will not be able to renew their subscriptions in the future.

The Battle for the Runet

A database maintained by Roskomsvoboda contains over 173,000 websites, forums, messengers, news outlets and other online platforms that have been banned at some point. The restrictions have been mandated by various state institutions including several government agencies, ministries and the Prosecutor’s Office. Many of them are still offline but some, like the crypto exchange aggregator Bestchange.ru, have been taken out of the blacklist.

VPN Providers Defy Order to Connect to Russia’s Internet Censor

Another encouraging example comes from the case with the blocking of a VPN service provider called Hidemy.name. The platform was taken offline by a ruling of a regional court in the Russian Mari El Republic in 2017. The owner of the website sought help from Roskomsvoboda and in May of this year, the organization’s legal team managed to successfully challenge the court’s decision.

Sarkis Darbinyan noted that Russian judicial authorities did not dig deep enough into how VPN technologies work and the lawyers were able to identify many procedural violations. This led to the cancellation of the original ruling and the unblocking of Hidemy.name by Roskomnadzor. However, “this battle is not over yet, so we will continue to fight for the rights of Russian users to VPNs and to protect companies that provide such secure and safe services,” Darbinyan commented.

VPN Providers Defy Order to Connect to Russia’s Internet Censor
Hidemy.name

According to amendments made to the Federal Law “On Information, Information Technologies and Information Protection” in late 2017, VPN providers and anonymizers are expected to register with Roskomnadzor and connect to the FSIS within 30 working days. One of their key obligations is to limit access to internet resources that are banned in the Russian Federation.

The same applies to search engines and the Russian internet companies Yandex, Sputnik, Mail.ru, and Rambler have already complied. Earlier this year, Google was sanctioned for failing to meet this requirement. Roskomnadzor now claims the internet giant has already paid the 500,000 ruble (approximately $8,000) fine imposed by a Russian court and is now filtering searches in accordance with the FSIS rules.

Roskomnadzor’s Next Move

If Russian regulators find that the law has been breached, they may adopt a decision to restrict access to the VPN providers who have violated its provisions. Roskomnadzor is now expected to take measures aimed at blocking the VPN services which have refused to comply with its requirements as well as those that have not replied to its notices. It remains unclear, however, what the watchdog’s next step will be.

Various approaches have been employed in the past regarding other non-compliant companies. For example, it took the watchdog almost a year to act against Telegram, the messenger founded by the Russian-born entrepreneur Pavel Durov, which enjoys great popularity in the crypto community. Other messaging platforms such as Blackberry, Imo and Line were banned much faster.

VPN Providers Defy Order to Connect to Russia’s Internet Censor

“It does not look like Roskomnadzor and Russian ISPs [Internet service providers] are really technically ready to block VPNs. For sure, they can block websites where users can download apps. That’s the easiest thing to do. But they absolutely cannot make Apple and Google remove a mobile app. Of course, the most difficult thing for them would be to actually block an application and break connectivity with the servers of these operators. And they understand it,” said Darbinyan. The activist added that this will become a huge problem for Russian regulators after the epic failure to block Telegram.

Government agencies are now trying to improve their blocking capabilities. “The Main Radio Frequency Center, an entity subordinated to Roskomnadzor, requested in March the development of an automated blocking system. It should be available by December 2019. The system will monitor how search engines, VPN services, proxy servers and anonymizers comply with the requirements of Federal Law № 276-ФЗ [the one that affects VPNs]. Maybe after supplying learning DPI [Deep Packet Inspection] tools to all ISPs to recognize VPN traffic by patterns, they will be more effective,” Roskomsvoboda’s representative pointed out. “It looks like it is going to be a long game of cat and mouse,” Sarkis Darbinyan said and elaborated:

Let me remind that most of the VPN services that have received notifications from Roskomnadzor already have a fairly rich experience in working in China and bypassing the Great Firewall. So they can easily adapt to work in Russia in these new circumstances.

The implementation of advanced technical means to control the Russian online space is part of package of measures introduced with the new “Digital Economy National Program” legislation, also known as the Runet law. It was adopted in April by the State Duma, the lower house of Russia’s parliament, and according to its sponsors, its goal is to protect the Russian segment of the Internet from external threats turning it into a “sovereign” space. Critics say it will not only limit internet freedom but also affect negatively many businesses that rely on the World Wide Web, including crypto platforms.

As news.Bitcoin.com reported, some of the law’s key provisions include the building of a system that will channel Russian internet traffic through government-controlled routing points as well as granting unlimited powers to Roskomnadzor – the agency will be able to cut off non-complying internet providers at will. It’s been estimated that the system will draw more than 30 billion rubles (almost $500 million) from the state budget, an amount that has raised some eyebrows. But, financial costs and security concerns aside, the question many Russians are asking themselves is if the Runet will after all remain ‘Internet’.

Are you using a VPN service? What’s your opinion about Moscow’s requirements toward VPN providers? Share your thoughts on the subject in the comments section below.


Images courtesy of Shutterstock.


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What Makes Slovenia a Cryptocurrency Adoption Leader – Bitcoin.com Mini-Documentary

Slovenia has a population of just 2 million but contains more retail locations accepting bitcoin cash payments than the entire United States. What makes this small country such a cryptocurrency adoption leader? Watch the following video to find out.

Also Read: How to Exchange Your Amazon Gift Cards for Bitcoin Cash

Slovenia: The Crypto Country

A short new documentary on Bitcoin.com’s Youtube channel highlights the thriving cryptocurrency ecosystem in Slovenia. The video features some of the places where you can pay with bitcoin cash (BCH), different Slovenian startups developing technologies for the market, as well as Roger Ver going shopping to test out the country’s now famous crypto-friendly locales.

One of the major factors in making Slovenia an international cryptocurrency adoption hub is its welcoming regulatory attitude. The documentary shows that not only is the possession of digital assets legal in Slovenia, but capital income from trading cryptocurrency is not subject to income tax for individuals.

In addition, the country’s political leadership is open and receptive to innovation, as shown in the video by the former Prime Minister Miro Cerar. All this makes the country particularly attractive to entrepreneurs in the growing digital asset industry.

Solving the Enigma

According to the documentary, the single biggest reason hundreds of Slovenian retail locations have begun accepting cryptocurrency payments is Eligma. This is the startup that developed Elipay, a transaction processing system that enables in-shop mobile purchases with BCH, BTC, ETH and its own ELI token.

The prime example of this comes from a giant shopping center called BTC City, in the Slovenian capital of Ljubljana, where many of the stores now accept cryptocurrency payments through the Elipay system. It shows that there is a growing trend for actual usage in Slovenia, as the number of Elipay wallet users already exceeds 15,000. The video also mentions that the Elipay system now accepts payments from the Bitcoin.com Wallet app, allowing the owners of the more than 4 million user-generated wallets to make in-store purchases in supporting locations.

What do you think about Slovenia being such a cryptocurrency adoption leader? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.


Images courtesy of Shutterstock.


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Accept Direct Crypto Payments Using the Rocketr Gateway

Accept Direct Crypto Payments Using the Rocketr Gateway

It’s in the best interest of businesses to offer their customers a variety of payment options. Cryptocurrencies can undoubtedly bring more buyers and many merchants have introduced support for digital assets. A platform called Rocketr helps merchants accept payments in crypto, including bitcoin cash.

Also read: Piixpay Lets You Pay Bills and Invoices With Cryptocurrency

Payment Platform Supports Traditional and Crypto Options

Rocketr is a payment gateway that allows merchants to integrate a variety of payment methods including traditional options like credit cards and Paypal, but it has also been supportive of cryptocurrencies such as bitcoin cash (BCH). Its services are offered for a relatively low fee of 0.5% on all transactions and there are no other hidden charges for setup or maintenance.

The Rocketr Payments platform lets you accept all kinds of payments and invoice clients directly from a single dashboard. Its API provides you with the opportunity to customize checkouts and it allows for webhooks and instant payment notification. These features notify your Rocketr application when an order is completed.

Accept Direct Crypto Payments Using the Rocketr Gateway

Companies can also use a product called Storefront which is a complete e-commerce platform. It is designed to satisfy the needs of online businesses specializing in sales and delivery of products and services in the digital space. Many of its integrated features, such as the built-in messaging system and livechat support, are offered free of charge.

Rocketr has also developed a POS application that supports multiple cryptocurrencies including BCH. It lets you accept direct payments in several other major digital coins like BTC, ETH and LTC as well as fiat currencies such as USD, EUR and GBP. The software, which is available in Apple’s App Store, comes with many useful features, one of which lets customers add a tip to their bills.

If you want to process BCH payments you can also check out the Bitcoin Cash Register app for both iOS and Android devices. The simple Point of Sale software developed by Bitcoin.com allows merchants to accept electronic cash at any retail location. Payments are easy, safe and no account or registration is needed to install and use it.

What other applications for direct crypto payments would you recommend? Let us know in the comments section below.

Disclaimer: Readers should do their own due diligence before taking any actions related to third party companies or any of their affiliates or services. Bitcoin.com is not responsible, directly or indirectly, for any damage or loss caused or alleged to be caused by or in connection with the use of or reliance on any third party content, goods or services mentioned in this article.


Images courtesy of Shutterstock.


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Source: Bitcoinnews.com

Indian Crypto Community Petitions Government for Regulation

Indian Crypto Community Petitions Government for Regulation

Following widespread reports of the upcoming Indian cryptocurrency bill, the crypto community has started a petition for the government to quickly implement a regulatory framework for cryptocurrencies. In addition, a television network operated by the Upper House of the Indian Parliament has aired a program discussing the bill, and three Right to Information requests have been filed seeking answers about the bill.

Also read: Indian Cryptocurrency Regulation Is Ready, Official Confirms

Petition to Accelerate Crypto Regulation

Since details of India’s “Banning of Cryptocurrency & Regulation of Official Digital Currency Bill 2019” have emerged, there have been constant discussions about this bill, what it entails, and whether it is the bill that will be submitted to the finance minister. While two prominent local publications have claimed to possess information about the bill, many unanswered questions remain.

In an effort to stop speculation and FUD (fear, uncertainty, and doubt), Blockchain Lawyer founder Varun Sethi started a petition on Change.org on June 15 to the Department of Economic Affairs and the country’s central bank, the Reserve Bank of India (RBI). Anyone can sign the petition entitled “Implementing Regulatory Framework for Cryptoassets in India” and possibly help shape the crypto regulation in the country. At press time, 1,437 have signed the petition.

Indian Crypto Community Petitions to Accelerate Regulation

“This petition is neither sponsored by any specific blockchain or cryptoasset company / exchange / group in any manner whatsoever nor has any compensation being received from anyone to initiate such petition,” the petition reads:

The purpose of this petition is to engage the blockchain community and the government in a more democratic and engaging environment to accelerate the implementation of regulatory framework regarding blockchain and cryptoassets in India and relinquish the ambiguity which has developed around it.

“India is home to 2.7 million tech developers which is expected to grow to 5.2 million in [the] next 48 months,” Sethi began. He referenced the banking restriction imposed by the central bank in April last year as well as the Right to Information (RTI) request he filed, which revealed that the RBI did not do any research before implementing the banking ban on crypto businesses.

Indian Crypto Community Petitions to Accelerate Regulation

Sethi also outlined other countries’ crypto regulatory efforts such as Japan, Malta, Canada, Estonia, Germany, and Norway, “to better regulate and tap the potential of this technology.” The lawyer proceeded to make some suggestions for India such as officially defining terms like blockchain and crypto assets, providing a regulatory sandbox for new crypto assets to be tested in, registering initial coin offerings, defining KYC/AML guidelines, and updating the Foreign Exchange Management Act and the Income Tax Act to report crypto income. He concluded:

The success of the petition shall be when the government issues guidelines for a democratic regulatory framework for blockchain and cryptoassets entities in India, perhaps on the suggestions stated above.

India’s cryptocurrency bill was drafted by an interministerial committee headed by Finance Secretary Subhash Chandra Garg, former Secretary of the Department of Economic Affairs. The committee was tasked with studying all aspects of cryptocurrency and making recommendations for its legal framework. Garg recently said that the report containing the regulatory framework for cryptocurrency was ready to be submitted to the finance minister.

Parliament TV Discusses the Ban Proposal

As speculation rises about what India’s cryptocurrency bill contains, Rajya Sabha TV (RSTV), a television network channel owned and operated by Rajya Sabha, the Upper House of the Parliament of India, aired its latest episode of Policy Watch Friday on the government’s decision to propose a ban on cryptocurrency. Policy Watch is a weekly show featuring discussions of national economic policies. Guests on the Friday episode included Mohd. Haleem Khan, a former secretary, Ministry of Finance.

Indian Crypto Community Petitions to Accelerate Regulation

In the show, Khan explained to anchor Kriti Mishra:

The issuance of currencies is a sovereign act … any currencies issued by anybody else comes to that level of counterfeit currency.

Mishra asked Khan about the 10-year jail sentence for “Whoever directly or indirectly mines, generates, holds, sells, deals in, transfers, disposes of or issues cryptocurrency or any combination thereof,” which according to Bloombergquint, “shall be punishable with fine as may be prescribed by the central government in the first schedule or with imprisonment which shall not be less than one year but which may extend up to ten years, or both.”

Khan described that there is a provision even today for a 10-year prison sentence for counterfeiting currencies. He further explained that another law that comes into play is the Foreign Exchange Management Act (FEMA) before concluding: “I don’t find anything wrong with this approach.”

Nischal Shetty, CEO of local crypto exchange Wazirx, commented on the Policy Watch episode:

If you hear the anchor, she’s reading out exact word to word from Bloomberg article … So let’s not assume this is confirmation.

India’s cryptocurrency bill will first need to be submitted to the finance minister for approval and introduced in Lok Sabha, the Lower House of Parliament. If approved, the bill will move to the Upper House of Parliament. Even if it’s signed into law, anyone can still go to court and challenge the constitutional validity of the law.

3 Confusing RTI Replies

At least three recent RTI requests have been filed regarding the bill to ban cryptocurrency: one with the Department of Economic Affairs, one with the central bank, and one with the Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority (IRDA).

Indian Crypto Community Petitions to Accelerate Regulation

The first of the three was filed by the founder of local news outlet Coin Crunch India on April 26, one day after the Economic Times published its article on the bill. “On May 20, 2019, DEA rejected the RTI application citing ‘Section 8(1)(i)’ as the reason for rejection,” the publication shared, adding that “This could mean that DEA simply rejected it because eventually the information has to be made public.”

The second RTI, filed by Sethi, reveals some interesting facts such as how the central bank did not have any knowledge of this bill and did not propose a ban on cryptocurrency. “RBI has actually stated that they have not received any communication from any department and they have also not given any communication to any government department pertaining to [the] drafting of this bill and this is very surprising,” Sethi explained. The third RTI was filed by a journalist at Crypto News India. The IRDA’s reply was short and swift; it says no information was available on the matter.

With so much speculation and misinformation floating around the cryptosphere, the crypto community is awaiting the government to make an official announcement regarding the bill. Further, the supreme court is expected to address India’s regulatory framework for cryptocurrency and the banking restriction on July 23.

What do you think of this petition? Will you sign it? Let us know in the comments section below.


Images courtesy of Shutterstock, RSTV, Change.org, and Varun Sethi.


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