Every once in a while, the Bitcoin ecosystem is faced with a major curveball that no one saw coming. One of the most popular Bitcoin wallet solutions, called Hive Wallet is no longer being developed or maintained. To be more precise, there hasn’t been much growth going on over the past year or so, according to the developer. All Hive Wallet users are advised to do, is to move over funds to a different Bitcoin wallet solution, such as Mycelium or Breadwallet.
One of the major drawbacks regarding most Bitcoin debit cards is how they are unavailable to US customers. The reason for this is due to impending independent regulations in every state, combined with federal regulations and guidelines. However, this is not keeping various global companies from shipping these cards to customers all over the world.
Xapo – Bitcoin Debit Card with Lots of Promise
Bitcoin debit cards are far from a perfect solution to push Bitcoin adoption and awareness to new levels. That being said, these cards do allow Bitcoin enthusiasts to spend virtual currency at millions of worldwide locations, as long as the merchant has a payment terminal to process credit and debit cards. For online payments, these Bitcoin debit cards will work with popular services such as Paypal and Apple Pay.
Bitcoin is a powerful tool to accomplish just about anything in this world and one of the options to harness that power is by creating a local ecosystem. Not only can underbanked nations benefit from Blockchain technology, but people in remote areas are a catalyst for Bitcoin adoption. A local farming Bitcoin ecosystem is not something most people would have envisioned, but in Australia, they are somehow making it work.
Every now and then, a popular Bitcoin service will relaunch under a different name. In some cases, this is due to outside influences, such as a change in managerial positions or a new investor. But in the case of BitLendingClub, they simply want to remove the “Bit” part of the company name and continue under the brand name “Loanbase”.
BitLendingClub – A Success Story for Two Years Straight
Over the past two years, BitLendingClub has achieved many successes in the market of extending Bitcoin loans to customers. It goes without saying this is a very delicate market, as Bitcoin transactions can not be reserved if someone doesn’t pay their loan back. To reduce the risks of these events taking place, BitLendingClub introduced a strict verification procedure for all users.
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.
Argentina is one of those underbanked nations in the world, where local residents are looking for ways to move funds in and out of the country in a convenient manner. Unfortunately for those people, the Argentinian government has enforced very strict capital controls, all but eliminating the option to move funds outside of the country. Bitcoin offers major potential in this regard and Argentina is warming up to virtual currency.
Unisend – Argentinian Bitcoin Exchange
Unisend (Argentina) is a well-respected company in Argentina, as this is the country’s first order-book exchange. There are not that many Bitcoin exchanges in Argentina to begin with, despite there being an increasing demand for options to buy and sell Bitcoin by local residents.
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.
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.