Despite Europe being far more open to the idea of Bitcoin and other virtual currencies, there are still quite a few hurdles to overcome when purchasing Bitcoin for the very first time. There are already various exchange platforms available to European customers, but having more competition in this market can only be beneficial in the long run. CoinCorner, a reputable Bitcoin exchange based in The Isle of Man, has now expanded their services to European customers.
Titanium Comics has been making a name for itself in the Bitcoin community over the past few months. Not only is this company one of the first to sell their published work in exchange for Bitcoin payments, but they are also offering a limited edition of “The Arcane #2” using Ascribe.io. It seems that managing a digital work of art on the blockchain is the way forward for content creators.
Bitcoin is in a position right now, where it can get you into a lot of trouble; but apparently out of trouble too! We are not talking about the financial aspect of Bitcoin, but more about how virtual currency knowledge can be wielded to reduce jail time. This scenario played out quite well for Pascal Reid, a person recently convicted for money laundering while selling Bitcoin.
The Trials and Tribulations of Bitcoin Users in the US
While it is technically not illegal for individual Bitcoin users to buy and sell virtual currency to other people in a peer-to-peer fashion, you just never know who you will be dealing with. A few people have been assaulted when dealing with another person for a Bitcoin trade and meeting up to exchange funds.
Various banks around the world are experimenting with Blockchain technology, which can only be seen as positive news for the future of Bitcoin. One Dutch bank is taking things a bit further, as they are looking into using Ethereum’s concept for their own needs. A smart cash wallet is allegedly in development, which could combine the banking infrastructure with distributed ledgers.
Rabobank Embraces Disruptive Blockchain Technology
As much as some Bitcoin enthusiasts would like to see things differently, virtual currency is not here to overthrow the banks overnight. In fact, most banks and other financial institutions are showing some level of interest in leveraging Bitcoin technology for their own needs. With little to no innovation in the financial sector over the past 60 years, Bitcoin has shaken up things on a large scale.
Quite a few Bitcoin enthusiasts are closely eyeing the regulatory proceedings in the United States. Multiple states are looking at ways to give Bitcoin a legislative and regulatory framework, affecting both individual users and companies in the area. After the disaster of BitLicense, California was the next state on the list to propose a framework draft. That Bitcoin bill was shut down quickly though, as it failed to pass in Legislature a few days ago.
One of the more convenient ways to buy digital currency is by locating a Bitcoin ATM in the area. Rather than completing online verification procedures and relying on bank transfers to clear before buying Bitcoins, these ATM’s will take fiat currency bills. Doing so allows the entire process to be completed much faster, while getting some hands-on experience with a Bitcoin ATM as well. Bern, the capital of Switzerland, now has its very own Bitcoin ATM.
Bitcoin and virtual currency are on the minds of a lot of people, ranging from consumers to legislators and from bankers to academics. Despite resistance by the financial sector to embrace Bitcoin itself, the underlying blockchain technology is catching the attention of many developers and engineers. Things have just gotten a lot more interesting now that Ledger has launched.
Ledger – Not to be Confused with the Bitcoin Hardware Wallet
The name Ledger will ring a bell for most of our readers, as this is one of the many companies producing Bitcoin hardware wallet solutions. But the Ledger in this article is not that company, but rather the name of an academic magazine focusing on cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin.
Making a Bitcoin exchange platform more appealing to international customers can be done in various ways. Offering more international payment methods is just one way to tackle this problem. In the case of major Bitcoin exchange BTC China, the team decided to rebrand to “BTCC”, as part of their international expansion plan.
Interesting Name Change for International Expansion
Having the term “China” associated with a Bitcoin exchange can cause a few issues down the line. Novice users might assume that BTC China is only available to Chinese or Asian customers, even though the platform can service nearly every country in the world right now. Plus, with most of the Bitcoin trading volume originating in China, a name such as “BTC China” could create a bit of confusion in the community.
Slowly but surely, the financial world is warming up to the idea of both Bitcoin and blockchain technology. While the latter category is an area of expertise being explored by banks and other financial institutions around the world, Bitcoin is making its way to OTC markets. But that is not all, as ARK became the first public fund manager to invest in Bitcoin just recently.
ARK Web First ETF To Invest in Bitcoin
Investing in Bitcoin as an ETF is not as straightforward as some people might think. An ETF can not, unlike individual Bitcoin traders, purchase virtual currency directly and call it an investment. ARK Web purchased publicly traded shares of Grayscale’s Bitcoin Investment Trust (ticker OTCQX: GBTC) to make their virtual currency investment.
Underbanked parts of the world could benefit a lot from Bitcoin and the underlying blockchain technology. Considering there is next to no financial infrastructure to speak of in most of these countries, Bitcoin offers citizens a way to send and receive funds in a convenient way, outside of the governmental ecosystem. India remains one of the frontrunners in terms of Bitcoin adoption, with things looking more and more positive every week.
Over the next few years, many Bitcoin clones will start popping up all over the world. Unlike what the virtual currency community has been used to in terms of altcoins, these clones will mimic Bitcoin technology without necessarily using a form of payment attached to it. That being said, the “new E-Gold” might try to steal Bitcoin’s crown, although there is no guarantee of success so far.
E-Gold: Virtual Payments Backed By Gold, However…
The topic of sending payments online in a convenient and secure manner has brought forth many types of platforms over the years. One of the most popular online payment solutions – for a while at least – was E-Gold, a platform that issued their own “currency” backed by gold assets.
Merging the existing financial ecosystem with the world of Bitcoin and virtual currencies is not an easy task. While there is a clear legal framework for the financial sector, virtual currencies are facing an uphill battle when it comes to regulation and legislation. However, there is a small light at the end of the tunnel, as Bitcoin derivatives exchange LedgerX received temporary approval from the Commodity Futures Trading Commission.
One of the main concerns regarding Bitcoin is the current price volatility. As a result, merchants are not keen on denominating prices in Bitcoin value and offer the customer a conversion from fiat value to Bitcoin value during checkout. Once a payment has been received in Bitcoin; it will most likely be converted to fiat currency immediately. But that situation could be about to change, assuming banks will embrace permissionless blockchains.
Bitcoin allows customers from all over the world to purchase everyday goods in a convenient fashion. Most consumers assume Bitcoin payments can only be used for electronics and gift cards and while there are many shops offering those products, there is a lot more to Bitcoin than just that. Just recently, nutritionally balanced powdered food MANA became purchasable with Bitcoin.
MANA – Similar to Soylent, Gets You Through the Day
Over the past few years, some very niche products and service were made available in exchange for Bitcoin payments. While most people would think of illegal goods and services, there are far more legitimate products to be purchased with Bitcoin and other virtual currencies. MANA is just one example of “out-of-the-box” products you can pay for with Bitcoin.
Various countries around the world are looking at ways to give Bitcoin and other virtual currencies a properly defined regulatory framework. While these talks and decisions will not materialise in the next few months, Scotland could be one of the first countries to create their own virtual currency. At least, that is what UK think-tank New Economics Foundation is proposing.
Despite Bitcoin’s precarious status in Australia, there is still a lot of interest in mining the virtual currency. Australia’s largest Bitcoin mining operator, called Bitcoin Group Limited, will hold an Initial Public Offering on the Australian Securities Exchange. By doing so, Bitcoin Group Limited becomes the first Bitcoin IPO on a major global exchange platform.
In recent months, there has been quite a lot of attention on companies and financial institutions exploring the boundaries of blockchain technology. A handful of major banks are working on their own Bitcoin technology projects and the list of companies is only growing month by month. Just a few days ago, Innovate Finance announced the opening of their blockchain technology lab in London, England.
With everything going on in the world today, it is hard to keep track of the things that remain near and dear to our hearts. Most of the focus in mainstream media headlines relate to refugees, terrorism and financial turmoil. Some people are even wondering whether or not society is losing sight of core values, such as peace and harmony. Bitcoin exchange FoxBit is looking to change that perspective, by launching a “Bitcoin for Peace” campaign.
Bringing Bitcoin to as many everyday consumers as humanly possible is what every virtual currency-related company has set out to do. Some companies will have an easier task in this regard, as they provide a tangible item that consumers can get acquainted with. E-Coin, a Bitcoin debit card provider, recently launched their virtual card service for customers from all over the world.
The E-Coin Virtual Bitcoin Debit Card
While Bitcoin debit cards may not be the perfect solution to increase Bitcoin adoption and awareness, there are certain advantages. First of all, everyday consumers can become familiar with paying in Bitcoin and still utilize a form of payment accepted worldwide, in the form of debit cards. For the merchant, there are lower costs associated, compared to credit card payments, which is an added bonus.
Venture capitalist funds have been flowing to various Bitcoin companies in the past few years. The year 2015 is setting new records in terms of total VC funds raised and there are still almost four months left to go. One of the latest companies to receive (another) round of funding is Abra, a platform focusing on the Bitcoin remittance market.
Abra Brings Bitcoin Remittance to New Levels
The name Abra is not known to that many people, despite the Bitcoin startup unveiling its plans in March of 2015. With a large focus on the Bitcoin remittance market, an area where very few companies seem to make a breakthrough, Abra has been on the radar of venture capitalists around the world.