#Blockchain Smartphone Developers Embrace Crypto as Opera Integrates BTC and TRX

Smartphone Developers Embrace Crypto as Opera Integrates BTC and TRX

The love-in between smartphone developers and cryptocurrency users is smoldering. What started out as a flirtation by HTC and Samsung has blossomed into a full-blown affair, incorporating hardware and software support from a string of companies. Today, Opera ramped up its cryptocurrency support, integrating Bitcoin Core and Tron into its mobile browser wallet.

Also read: Running Bitcoin Cash: An Introduction to Operating a Full Node

Opera Sings Crypto’s Praises

Cryptocurrency users awoke this morning to the news of another smartphone integration. Opera’s Android wallet now supports BTC and TRX, in addition to ETH, with the promise of iOS to come. As the developer explained, “All of Opera’s features, like the free unlimited VPN, the built-in ad blocker and Crypto Wallet, follow the same line of thinking – you should be able to access them as fast as possible … You can now choose to add a Bitcoin card to your wallet, making it possible to send and receive money from the web.”

Smartphone Developers Embrace Crypto as Opera Integrates BTC and TRX

With 350 million users, the browser’s support for Bitcoin and Tron is significant. In the case of the former, it provides censorship-resist money directly within the web browser, enabling BTC to be spent on third party websites that accept the cryptocurrency. Tron integration, meanwhile, will prove a boon for decentralized applications, supplying smartphone users with access to a panoply of apps that exist beyond the purview of the Apple or Google Play stores. Opera has been supporting crypto for some time, having incorporated Ethereum into Android browsers last year, and Apple iOS this spring. It was the first major browser to integrate a crypto wallet, enabling crypto payments to be securely made on sites directly within the mobile browser.

Samsung Launches Galaxy Series Preloaded With Cryptocurrency Wallet
Samsung caught crypto headlines this year when it integrated ETH and later BTC into the Galaxy S10.

The Convergence of Crypto and Mobile

Mainstream crypto awareness and ultimately adoption appear a realistic prospect at this rate. Whereas in the past major tech companies merely flirted with blockchain, recent developments suggest a full-blown love affair in the making, with the end result likely to be a wider appreciation of cryptocurrency among smartphone users.

Facebook’s much-vaunted crypto payments system Libra could help in this respect. Although it’s a centralized protocol, it opens the possibility of a few billion monthly users exploring the topic more broadly, which can only be a good thing. Libra launches in 2020, so expect the hype train to keep rolling until then.

Zuckerberg’s big beast is not alone. Last month, popular Japanese messaging app Line launched Bitmax, an app-connected cryptocurrency exchange boasting five assets: BTC, BCH, ETH, LTC and XRP. Staying in Asia, Taiwanese electronics firm HTC has unveiled its new Exodus 1s handset equipped with a built-in hardware wallet to hold crypto. Unlike its predecessor Exodus 1, the 1s runs a full Bitcoin node – the first smartphone to do so. This means that users can contribute more fully to the security of the ecosystem and verify their own transactions.

Smartphone Developers Embrace Crypto as Opera Integrates BTC and TRX
HTC’s new Exodus 1s

The Budget Blockchain Phone

The Exodus 1s is a device tailored for crypto devotees rather than neophytes, and barriers to entry are lowered from a cost perspective also: it’s just $250, a major reduction on the Exodus’ $700 outlay. Paradoxically, some geographical barriers remain: the device is only available in Europe, Taiwan, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates (UAE), with more locations to be announced in future.

The convergence of bitcoin and smartphone wallets certainly makes it easier for individuals to spend their chosen cryptocurrency and interact with decentralized applications (dapps) on the go. Just last month, HTC announced that its original Exodus 1 handset would start supporting Bitcoin Cash (BCH) through its partnership with Bitcoin.com, in a collaboration that has seen the Bitcoin.com Wallet preloaded on the handset.

Smartphone Developers Embrace Crypto as Opera Integrates BTC and TRX
Opera’s Android web browser now supports BTC.

Of course, HTC is not the only mobile platform which is touting crypto-centric handsets. Samsung has been blazing the trail for a while, and its Galaxy S10 now supports 18 dapps and over 30 cryptocurrencies including BTC, ETH and HT. Millions will soon be able to use bitcoin with apps via the Blockchain Wallet Samsung has started including on its flagship handsets this year.

Can we expect more mobile giants to enter the crowded cryptosphere? Absolutely. In fact, they’re already mobilizing: Apple released a cryptographic software called CryptoKit for iOS 13 in June, and LG have hinted at their own crypto wallet by trademarking “ThinQ Wallet.”

These tech companies aren’t operating in silos, either: several have come together to create a government-backed blockchain network that will allow citizens to ditch hard copies of important documents in favor of a blockchain-powered mobile solution. As well as LG and Samsung, the consortium includes financial IT company Koscom and South Korea’s Shinhan Bank.

The days of spending cryptocurrency solely on desktop, or locking it away in hardware wallets, destined never to be spent, are over. There’s no obligation to spend crypto of course – it’s yours to use or store as you see fit. At least now, thanks to the efforts of smartphone developers, you have the option to deploy your digital assets on the web and on the go.

Do you think smartphone integration of cryptocurrency will lead to broader adoption? 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.

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#Blockchain Cashaa Launches Banking Solution for Indian Crypto Owners

Cashaa Launches Banking Solution for Indian Crypto Owners

Banking services platform Cashaa is offering a solution for Indian crypto owners facing banking restrictions imposed by the country’s central bank, the Reserve Bank of India (RBI). The service allows users to deposit up to 1 crore rupees (~$141,012) per month to purchase cryptocurrencies.

Also read: Indian Finance Minister Answers Crypto Questions at IMF Meeting

Cashaa’s Banking Solution

U.K.-based online banking platform Cashaa announced Monday that it will start enabling users to buy cryptocurrencies with INR on Oct. 23. The company explained that “While access to crypto in India through banking no longer exists, Cashaa was able to find a solution,” elaborating:

On the occasion of Diwali, an Indian festival for wealth and prosperity, Cashaa will be enabling INR deposits and purchases of crypto in India for Indian residents, up to 1 crore INR per month.

Cashaa cofounder Janina Lowisz confirmed to news.Bitcoin.com on Tuesday that “people can buy BTC, ETH and our own token CAS with INR so far,” noting that BCH will be added by Christmas.

Cashaa Launches Banking Solution for Indian Crypto Owners

To access Cashaa’s banking services, users need to have the platform’s native token. “We will enable this [buy crypto with INR] service for Indian residents who have at least 2,500 CAS in their Cashaa wallet,” CEO Kumar Gaurav said earlier this month. The coin, currently trading at $0.008, can be used to pay for services and fees on the platform.

Founded in June 2016, Cashaa currently offers personal and business accounts. A large number of its users are in India, the company revealed. Its services allow users to purchase cryptocurrencies using credit or debit cards, deposit funds via bank transfer in over 200 countries, and withdraw funds in users’ local currency. In addition, the company claims that its “crypto-friendly bank accounts have received a huge demand including more than 700 business signups, many of which are in the process of onboarding.”

Banking Restrictions and Regulatory Uncertainty

Cashaa explained that it has been working to provide a solution to users in India ever since the RBI banned financial institutions from providing services to businesses dealing in cryptocurrencies. The ban went into effect in July last year and banks subsequently closed accounts of crypto exchanges, forcing some of them to shut down. Several writ petitions have been filed with the country’s supreme court to challenge the ban. The court is scheduled to resume hearing the case on Nov. 19.

A number of crypto exchanges responded to the RBI ban by launching exchange-escrowed peer-to-peer (P2P) trading. Bitcoin.com also has a P2P marketplace for bitcoin cash available to users in India.

Cashaa Launches Banking Solution for Indian Crypto Owners

Meanwhile, a bigger issue is looming in India — the legal framework for cryptocurrency. A draft bill that seeks to ban all cryptocurrencies except state-issued ones is being considered by the Indian government, which has told the supreme court that this bill may be introduced in the next session of parliament. However, many people in the Indian crypto community believe that the bill is flawed and are heavily campaigning to convince the government to reevaluate the recommendations in the bill.

What do you think of Cashaa’s banking solution for crypto users in India? Let us know in the comments section below.

Disclaimer: This article is for informational purposes only. It is not an offer or solicitation of an offer to buy or sell, or as a recommendation, endorsement, or sponsorship of any products, services, or companies. Bitcoin.com does not provide investment, tax, legal, or accounting advice. Neither the company nor the author is 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 content, goods or services mentioned in this article.


Images courtesy of Shutterstock and Cashaa.


Did you know you can buy and sell BCH privately using our noncustodial, peer-to-peer Local Bitcoin Cash trading platform? The local.Bitcoin.com marketplace has thousands of participants from all around the world trading BCH right now. And if you need a bitcoin wallet to securely store your coins, you can download one from us here.

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#Blockchain Bitcoin.com Launches HashRace Promotion to Maximize Miners’ Profits

Bitcoin.com Launches HashRace Promotion to Maximize Miners’ Profits

JAPAN, TOKYO, October 21, 2019 — Bitcoin.com, the world’s leading resource for cryptocurrency-related products and news, has launched the HashRace, a Bitcoin.com Pool promotion aimed at maximizing profits for its extensive network of Bitcoin mining clients.

The 180 day promotion, which began on October 21st, 2019, will reward miners with an unlimited hashrate bonus for directing their own hashrate to the Bitcoin.com mining pool. Every miner contributing at least 500 TH/s will receive a ‘hashrate bonus’ in the form of free hashrate, dependent upon the individual miner’s contribution over the course of the promotion.

The campaign, broken into two 90-day phases, aims to provide participants with the opportunity to maximize mining profitability before the upcoming Bitcoin halving, forecasted for the Spring of 2020.

During the initial 90 day accumulation period, promotion participants are encouraged to increase their hashrate bonus by directing as much hashrate as possible to the Bitcoin.com mining pool. Following the close of the accumulation period, participants’ hashrate bonuses will be locked in according to their hashrate contribution during the preceding Accumulation Period.

From the onset of the accumulation period, HashRace participants will receive hashrate bonuses based on the amount of hashrate contributed to the Bitcoin.com Pool. After the bonus lock-in, participants will continue to receive their hashrate bonus by maintaining a daily contribution greater than 50% of their average hashrate directed to Bitcoin.com during the accumulation period.

Hashrate bonuses will be received in 30-day intervals over the course of the promotion and participants will typically receive a 7.5 TH/s bonus for every 500 TH/s that they directed to the Bitcoin.com mining pool during the accumulation period.

In conjunction with The HashRace mining promotion, Bitcoin.com has also unveiled The HashRace Top 10 Leaderboard, which will display a real-time ranking of the top hashrate contributors over the course of the promotion.

A larger HashRace Leaderboard Bonus of 10 TH/s per 500 TH/s contributed incentivizes larger mining clients to compete for a place on this top 10 leaderboard.

Bitcoin.com is dedicated to providing industry-leading support and services to both new and existing miners. For more information on the HashRace promotion, visit mining.bitcoin.com/hashrace.

Contact Email Address
press@bitcoin.com

Supporting Link
mining.bitcoin.com/hashrace

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#Blockchain 4 Cryptocurrency Projects That Successfully Changed Chains

4 Cryptocurrency Projects That Successfully Changed Chains

Choosing the right blockchain is a tough call for any development team. It’s a decision that entails correctly anticipating project requirements – scalability; speed; community; security – before a line of code has even been written. It’s no wonder that a project occasionally finds its first choice of blockchain isn’t ‘the one,’ forcing it to play the field.

Also read: Bitmain’s Jihan Wu Talks Mining and Industry Growth With Bitcoin.com’s CEO

Unchained: When Cryptos Drop Their Blockchain

Like marriage, blockchain is meant to be a life-long commitment. You pick your network and then you stick with it through thick and thin, because the alternative – to elope with a faster, more scalable model – is frowned upon. It’s also a hassle having to move all your stuff, like your token, community and development stack. And yet sometimes, when irreconcilable differences get too much, the benefits of chain-hopping outweigh those of staying put and sticking it out.

When games developer Biscuit named its medieval-fantasy EOS Knights, it seemed a certainty that the product would remain firmly wedded to the EOS blockchain. Following a name change from EOS Knights to Knight Story, however, the project has now signaled its intention to trade up. Knight Story has switched allegiance from EOS to Tron and will release an upgraded version of the blockchain game in December that will include a revamped economy powered by TRX and TRC-based tokens (including NFTs).

4 Cryptocurrency Projects That Successfully Changed Chains
Game of Trons: you win or you die.

Now that the company has pledged its fealty to Justin Sun, the CEO of TRON and Bittorrent was quick to heap praise upon the project. “There has never been a decentralized game of this scale before,” gushed Sun. “Biscuit’s successful rollout of blockchain gaming for mainstream audiences marks a turning point for the space.”

As for the deeper reasons for the change, Biscuit cites Tron network’s performance, developer-friendly tools, and robust ecosystem of applications. The company also believes Tron will grant it greater opportunities for ‘synergistic partnerships.’ Despite the fact that ‘synergistic partnerships’ sounds like corporate fluff, it may in fact be the key to understanding why a game that boasted 6,000 daily players on EOS would consider pastures new. The move means that in future Biscuit will be able to leverage Tron’s partnerships with Bittorrent and Opera in its ongoing quest to reach a wider audience and attract more players.

4 Cryptocurrency Projects That Successfully Changed Chains
EOS Knights is the second most popular EOS dapp. It’s now moved to Tron.

The Distributed Key to Change

Another project which realized its first choice simply wouldn’t work out is Remme, a public key infrastructure (PKI) solution striving to make passwords obsolete. Originally the team settled on Hyperledger Sawtooth to deliver its goals, choosing the blockchain because of Hyperledger’s parallel transaction execution, private network support with permissioning features, pub-sub events system, modularity, and pluggable consensus algorithms. The team were also enthused by the fact that Hyperledger offered multi-language support during the development phase.

How to Protect Yourself Against DNS Attacks When Using Cryptocurrency

But as Remme explained in July, the potential benefits of Hyperledger were eventually outweighed by a number of obstacles they encountered during the development phase that made migration the only sensible option. In the end Remme was forced to concede that “If we were to continue building on Sawtooth it would require us to direct our energies towards improving the Sawtooth ecosystem itself so it can operate a network our use cases require rather than on our core development.”

For that reason, the team decided to move to a more tried and tested system, selecting the EOSIO codebase of EOS. It’s a choice that appears to be already paying dividends: with greater support and battle-hardened infrastructure, EOSIO is fast-tracking Remme’s progress. After months of delays under Hyperledger, the EOSIO switch has rapidly led to successful testnet deployment and the Remme mainnet is now scheduled for launch this December.

4 Cryptocurrency Projects That Successfully Changed Chains://tron.network

Changenow Changes Its Chain

Crypto-changing site Changenow is in the business of swapping crypto, but in April the company announced it would be making a swap of another nature by transferring NOW Token from Ethereum to Binance Chain. Instead of choosing one chain over the other, however, Changenow decided that half of its tokens should remain on the Ethereum chain with the other half burned and reminted on Binance Chain.

According to a press release, this was done to give the platform’s users freedom of choice, with the Changenow site offering NOW Swaps for anyone who wants to make the change. A better explanation may be that the partial migration allowed Changenow to cash in on the huge amount of hype surrounding Binance Chain, and in the process become only the second coin to be listed on Binance DEX.

4 Cryptocurrency Projects That Successfully Changed Chains

Dev-initely Leaving

It’s not just crypto projects that switch blockchains – sometimes devs jump ship too. Pokkst is one developer who did just that, porting all of his work from Bitcoin Core to Bitcoin Cash, including his non-custodial wallet Crescent Cash.

Explaining the switch, the developer said: “With the complexity of the Lightning Network, Bitcoin (BTC) is a lost cause. Bitcoin Cash still works flawlessly though, just like how BTC used to.”

4 Cryptocurrency Projects That Successfully Changed Chains
Change isn’t always possible.

Thanks to an abundance of choice in the cryptosphere, it’s never too late to change hearts, minds and chains.

What other projects have successfully changed blockchains? 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.

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#Blockchain Running Bitcoin Cash: An Introduction to Operating a Full Node

Running Bitcoin Cash: An Introduction to Operating a Full Node

Setting up a Bitcoin Cash node is a fairly easy task for someone who wants to contribute to the decentralized ecosystem. There are various ways you can run a node whether it’s on a cloud, on a local machine or by leveraging a small single-board computer. The following is a simple introduction for anyone who wants to set up a full node implementation.

Also Read: The Fed Plans to Inject $60 Billion per Month Into the Economy

The Required Elements Needed to Run Bitcoin Cash

During the last two years, the Bitcoin Cash (BCH) environment has grown robust and there are quite a few different full node clients. A full node can be any computer that connects to the BCH network by downloading the entire history of the blockchain. Full nodes watch the network to ensure all the consensus rules are being followed and they also offer noncustodial and privacy advantages. At the time of writing, according to Coin Dance there are 1,681 public nodes that can be seen running the BCH network. There are also full nodes running BCH that choose to remain out of sight from the public view. Coin Dance counts six different full node clients in Bitcoin ABC, Bitcoin Unlimited, BCHD, Flowee, XT, Bitcoin Verde, Bitprim, and three other unknown variations.

Running Bitcoin Cash: An Introduction to Operating a Full Node

To get started you need to download the software and sync the full node by also downloading the existing chain data. For our example, we used the latest Bitcoin ABC version 0.20.4, which can be found here. Users can download any type of BCH full node implementation they want to run and basically follow the same steps. Before you start, there are three methods that can be used to install and run your own BCH node. The first one would be running a node using a cloud service like Blue Ocean, Google Cloud, or Amazon. You need to create a virtual machine (VM) and configure everything through that specific operating system.

Running Bitcoin Cash: An Introduction to Operating a Full Node

After downloading the software, you will need to apply the correct port settings and also make sure you have enough storage space and bandwidth. If you choose the cloud route, keep in mind that you are using a centralized server which makes you dependent on their services. Another option is using your desktop or laptop if it has enough speed and enough storage to host the entire BCH blockchain. Today the Bitcoin Cash blockchain is around 134 Gigabytes (GB) in size so you will need at least that amount plus some extra capacity for further syncing.

Running Bitcoin Cash: An Introduction to Operating a Full Node
A reliable connection for at least eight hours or more per day is required to run a well-synced node. Port TCP/8333 is the port generally used to connect with Bitcoin Cash.

Hosting a full node using a local machine is just as easy to set up, but it’s good to make sure your computer won’t be bogged down. A computer with around 2GB of RAM with an internet connection of around 50 kilobytes per second (Kbps) or more will be sufficient. Because the BCH chain is so large in size, it may take a few days to get the entire network synced up on your device. Following the first sync, subsequent syncs will take far less time depending on how often you sync or keep the node online. The last method you can choose when building your first full node is with a single-board computer like a Raspberry Pi. Of course, the Raspberry Pi will also need a 50 Kbps internet connection and enough storage space attached to hold the current chain size and then some (300-500GB). There are a few companies that produce plug-n-play full nodes in a box that do the same thing as a homemade Raspberry Pi kit. Usually, these pre-built kits are more pricey than building your own node, but once you get one in the mail you can sync up in no time without any hassle.

Running Bitcoin Cash: An Introduction to Operating a Full Node
Besides the 134 GB needed to run a full BCH node, you should have free disk space for the future.

In order to download and operate a Bitcoin Cash client you will need:

  • Time: it will take several days to download the entire blockchain.
  • A computer: any computer that runs Windows, OSX, or Linux.
  • Storage space: around 200 GB of initial space for the first sync and another 200 GB of free space for following syncs.
  • Reliable internet: an internet connection that offers a dependable broadband service with speeds of at least 50 kilobytes per second.
  • Unlimited connection services: a full node will need to be able to operate without exceeding upload limits.
  • A constant connection: at the very least a node should run for roughly eight hours a day or non-stop.
Running Bitcoin Cash: An Introduction to Operating a Full Node
At the time of publication, the Bitcoin Cash (BCH) blockchain is 134 GB in size.

Again, you can choose to download another full node client instead of Bitcoin ABC and follow the same process. Bitcoin ABC is written in C++ and is the most popular client with 934 nodes at the time of writing. Bitcoin Unlimited (BU) is a fork of the Bitcoin Core reference client written in C++ as well. Similarly to the ABC version, BU features an adjustable blocksize cap and other concepts like emergent consensus and Xthin blocks. Bitcoin Verde is a complete full node, block explorer and library built from the ground up. BCHD is an alternative full node bitcoin cash client written in Go (golang). Flowee the Hub is another alternative implementation of the BCH network that includes features like libsecp256k1, adjustable blocksize cap, and Xthin blocks. Bitprim’s creators consider its software client to be a high-performance Satoshi implementation focused on user flexibility. All of them need the basic requirements which include a reliable internet connection, storage space, and time.

Running Bitcoin Cash: An Introduction to Operating a Full Node
There are various ways you can run a BCH full node implementation including a cloud server, local machine, or a single-board computer.

The Benefits of Maintaining a Bitcoin Cash Full Node

Running a full node is not hard, and with a cloud account, a local machine or a simple Raspberry Pi 3 starter kit with some storage space anyone can get one going. Building a low-end single-board computer system with an HDMI cable, screen, keyboard, and mouse can cost around $150-250 depending on the quality of equipment used. You have to consider the operational costs involved with running a BCH node too, which will always require a reliable internet connection. Beyond the cost, you will be helping contribute to the BCH network by allowing others to use your node to broadcast transactions. In the same manner, you can be sure your transactions will be broadcast as full node implementations have their own wallet. To that end, operating a full node allows you to run Bitcoin Cash in a noncustodial fashion while keeping your funds secure and permissionlessly broadcasting financial transactions.

It may take some time to set up and a little maintenance here and there, but there are a lot of benefits when it comes to hosting your own BCH node.

Do you run a Bitcoin Cash node? Let us know how you set yours up and what you think about this subject in the comments section below.


Image credits: Shutterstock, Bitcoincash.org, Pixabay, Wiki Commons, and Fair Use.


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.

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#Blockchain Bad for Business: How KYC/AML Makes Everyone a ‘Terrorist’

Bad for Business: How KYC/AML Makes Everyone a ‘Terrorist’

Two reports from risk solutions group Lexisnexis assert that anti-money laundering (AML) and know your customer (KYC) policies can negatively affect a business’s bottom line and customer service significantly. A recent trip to the local post office for a money order certainly had a negative effect on my own experience, thanks to the same regulations, which make paying customers feel like they are suspected terrorists just for doing business.

Also Read: Bittrex Pulls Out of 31 Markets Citing Regulatory Uncertainty

Everyone’s a Suspect

A recent visit to my local post office here in Japan, to get a simple USD money order for a passport, opened my eyes to just how far the KYC/AML freight train has already progressed. The small huddle of post office staffers were looking at each other nervously during the process, and when the transaction finally appeared to be finished, I approached the counter to take my documents and change. The woman pointed at the money in the tray, embarrassed. “This money,” she said in English, “how did you get it?” I stared at her blankly, half surprised and half annoyed at the question.

“Do you have a job?” she doubled down, politely. She informed me that on top of the $50 processing fee to create the money order, I would now have to wait for two weeks while it was approved. The awkward questions were the result of new anti-terrorism regulations that had been implemented in the recent past, and it became clear what had likely happened. She didn’t know how to run through the new protocol. The experience was off-putting and unprofessional. Not in small part owing to the implied assumption that I was a potential terrorist. All I could think at the time was “This is why we need crypto.”

The intrusive questions of regulators can be unexpected and over the top.

Uncovering the True Cost

The insanity of the anti-money laundering (AML) and know your customer (KYC) inquisition is just beginning. And like any inquisition worth its salt, nobody truly expects it. KYC and AML measures may be viewed as necessary evils in the crypto space by many, but they nonetheless stand to choke out crypto and businesses’ primary utilities and efficiency, while few seem too openly notice or care.

The Financial Action Task Force (FATF) continues constricting slowly but surely like a red tape boa, making policy “suggestions,” and devising plans to make sure they are enforced, while transactions ranging from crypto trading to getting a simple USD money order have become almost farcical for the level of privacy invasion they can entail. There is a quickening happening in recent years, and the squeeze is now being felt directly. None of this is, of course, good for business.

The 2016 Lexisnexis report for Asia, “The True Cost of Anti-Money Laundering Compliance,” states:

A majority of respondents (55%) indicated that AML compliance has a negative impact on their firms’ business productivity. An additional 15% felt that AML compliance actually threatens their firms’ ability to do business.

The 2019 Lexisnexis AML compliance study for the U.S. and Canada

Citing the groups most responsible for the pressure, the study explains that “Among compliance organizations, the international Financial Action Task Force (FATF) is seen as having the most influence on compliance operations, followed by the regional Asia/ Pacific Group on Money Laundering and APEC Counter-Terrorism Working Group.”

The new 2019 version of the study for the U.S. and Canada presents a similar picture, and further details who gets hit hardest by centralized, force-backed regulatory bodies like FATF: small business. “[The] cost of AML compliance as a percent of total assets is higher among smaller firms (up to .85%) compared to mid/ large firms (up to .08%). This is driven by the fact that there are certain overhead investment requirements regardless of scale,” the report elaborates.

Customer Service Doesn’t Like It Either

Not only is the average annual compliance spending for U.S. and Canadian firms high, according to the 2019 study, considering “The projected cost of AML compliance across all U.S. and Canadian financial services firms is $31.5B,” but these practices can be bad for worker morale and customer onboarding. The 2016 report notes:

The opportunity costs are seen as highest in China and Thailand, where 36% and 26% of respondents respectively estimated that AML compliance leads to the loss of 5 – 6% of account opportunities.

Many potential clients, turned off as I was at the post office by prying questions and unprofessional presumptions, simply leave during the application or onboarding process. The employees that have to process myriad account alerts, intrusive interviews and convoluted application processes also suffer. It seems few people enjoy accusing complete strangers of being evil criminals. The Asian report notes that “Seventy-six per cent of respondents were concerned or very concerned about job satisfaction issues in their AML compliance departments. Survey results also indicated that low morale has a negative impact on compliance operations productivity.”

Where Does It End?

Real ID is currently being implemented in the U.S., making it impossible for citizens of the country to take a domestic flight or enter a federal facility without it. In lockstep with FATF guidelines, tax agencies worldwide are cracking down on users of cryptocurrencies, demanding payment in the absence of clear and simple guidelines, and via money that’s not rightfully theirs. Workers at the post office are forced to rudely ask complete strangers if they even have a job. Some are questioning how far all this can go. After all, life is inherently risk-laden. Perhaps the best bet for all the regulators of the world is to put everyone in padded rooms (except themselves, of course) with straitjackets, finally achieving the violence-wrought “peace” they’ve been ostensibly seeking for so terribly long. After all, it’s better safe than sorry, right?

Op-ed disclaimer: This is an Op-ed article. The opinions expressed in this article are the author’s own. Bitcoin.com is not responsible for or liable for any content, accuracy or quality within the Op-ed article. Readers should do their own due diligence before taking any actions related to the content. 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 information in this Op-ed article.


Images courtesy of Shutterstock, fair use.


Did you know you can buy and sell BCH privately using our noncustodial, peer-to-peer Local Bitcoin Cash trading platform? The Local.Bitcoin.com marketplace has thousands of participants from all around the world trading BCH right now. And if you need a bitcoin wallet to securely store your coins, you can download one from us here.

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#Blockchain How to Safely Store Your Wallet Recovery Phrase

How to Safely Store Your Wallet Recovery Phrase

As a cryptocurrency holder, security is paramount – and you can’t be too careful when it comes to your wallet recovery phrase. Unless you want your meticulously accrued crypto to disappear into the ether (or your ether to disappear into the cryptosphere), safely stashing your wallet mnemonic is vital. You must do everything in your power to construct a fortress around your recovery phrase, which you’ll need should you misplace your smartphone or lose your wallet.

Also read: Bitcoin and Mnemonics: The Art of the Secret Phrase

Hide Yo Seed, Hide Yo Phrase

Just as you’d source the biggest deadbolt and fiercest Rottweiler to guard a physical bounty, protecting your crypto from nefarious third parties requires vigor and cunning. The following guide outlines a variety of ways you might go about storing your wallet recovery phrase – as well as the pros and cons to each approach. Be it a 24-word mnemonic, conventional password, numeric PIN, or a combination thereof, it needs to be stored in such a manner that you and you only can access it. There’s no perfect solution to this problem, but these five options come pretty close.

cold storage

Steel Punch Card

Protect your recovery phrase from physical deterioration caused by fire damage, flooding and other acts of god by engraving it onto a steel plate. Services such as Blockplate are perfect for this purpose, supplying materials that are stainless, rust-free, acid-resistant, non-toxic and fireproof. In essence, you are turning your recovery phrase into the Terminator – an object that can, unlike a piece of paper, withstand a ridiculous amount of damage and stay the course.

As for the cons, they should be obvious: you still have to stash the plate in a safe place, and if it falls into the wrong hands, well, there’s not much you can do. Consequently, you might consider storing your prized plate offsite – close enough to your home to access it conveniently, but sufficiently well hidden.

Bank Vault or Safety Deposit Box

There’s still some merit in the idea of storing valuables offline in a bank or safety deposit box. Sure, banks occasionally get broken into, and CCTV footage of masked raiders ransacking reinforced concrete rooms – even those deep underground, as in the Hatton Garden heist – is enough to give anyone pause. But 99.9% of the time, valuables locked in a bank stay there until such time as the account-holder calls by to make a withdrawal. It’s far better to store your recovery phrase in a physical vault than on a note-taking app, in the cloud or, heaven forbid, in a document on your desktop. Hackers gonna hack.

Split the Secret

Sharing schemes distribute parts of a secret among a set of trusted participants, none of whom know what the others hold. Shamir’s Secret Sharing is one such algorithm with a hierarchical component inbuilt. Which is to say that you can regulate the trustworthiness of participants in the scheme, for instance by making blood relatives more trusted than associates. Apparently, the Winklevoss twins used a similar principle to store shards of private keys in safety deposit boxes spread throughout the country.

The drawback to splitting your wallet seed into parts and doling it out is that multiple participants could conceivably collude to meet the threshold requirement of shares and uncover the phrase. However, if you don’t like sharing, you can still use this approach but retain all the parts yourself in separate locations – ideally with a backup of each for redundancy.

Brainwallet: The Bitcoin Wallet That’s All in Your Head

Memorize It

Memorizing a wallet recovery phrase is surprisingly easy once you create a memory palace to hold it. This is essentially a well-known physical location (e.g. your kindergarten, first home, workplace) that you visualize and then traverse in your head, laying down words from your wallet phrase as you go from room to room. Once committed to memory and rehearsed a few times, odds are you’ll recall those 12 or 24 words for life. This technique is particularly good when crossing borders, where you wish to transport cryptocurrency without possessing a physical clue to its existence. Relying solely on your brain is a dangerous game, though, which means that even with a memory palace in place, you’ll want a physical copy of your wallet phrase, dotted down and stashed in a safe place.

Obfuscate It

Even if an adversary discovers your wallet recovery phrase, it will be worthless to them if you’ve taken steps to obfuscate it. Techniques can range from the basic (rearranging the words) to the more elaborate, such as switching the first letter in certain words, or writing down their equivalent in a foreign language you’re familiar with. Use your imagination, in other words, and whatever technique you deploy, keep a record of how to unscramble the message in a separate place. Just don’t title it “Secret to unscrambling my wallet seed.”

Ellipal Hardware Cold Wallet Review

Plan for the Inevitable

Another thing to bear in mind is that when you check out of this world, your recovery phrase will vanish with you, unless you pass it on to your inheritor. So, remember to include instructions on accessing your secret phrase in your will. Someone else might as well spend those satoshis you’ve assiduously accrued during your lifetime.

It’s also prudent to make more than one copy of your recovery phrase and store it in a different location. After all, none of the above methods are entirely foolproof: as well as being robbed, banks can burn down or go bust. Just remember to safeguard your get-out-of-jail copy with the same rigor as you employed for the original.

What other wallet recovery phrase techniques do you recommend? Let us know in the comments section below.

Disclaimer: This article is for informational purposes only. Neither the company nor the author is 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 content, goods or services mentioned in this article.


Images courtesy of Shutterstock.


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#Blockchain Bitmain’s Jihan Wu Talks Mining and Industry Growth With Bitcoin.com’s CEO

Bitmain's Jihan Wu Talks Mining and Industry Growth With Bitcoin.com's CEO

At the World Digital Mining Summit in Frankfurt, Germany, Bitcoin.com’s CEO Stefan Rust sat down with Jihan Wu, cofounder of Bitmain Technologies and Matrixport. The two discussed how cryptocurrencies being used for payments is spreading and how Bitmain is doing after the bear market last year.

Also read: SEC Wants Second Look at Bitwise Bitcoin ETF Proposal

A Virtual Economy at Work Approaching Critical Mass

The World Digital Mining Summit (WDMS) is a two-day mining conference that hosts an assembly of industry leaders, mining rig manufacturers, cryptocurrency pool operators, and other individuals passionate about crypto. During the event, Bitcoin.com’s CEO, Stefan Rust, had the privilege of sitting down with Bitmain cofounder Jihan Wu and discussed a wide variety of subjects. At first, Wu explained how he got into Bitcoin and that while working for an investment firm, he happened to read something about Bitcoin and found it “really interesting at that time.” After looking into it for two days straight he decided that bitcoin was a good idea. Wu was actually the first person to translate Satoshi’s Bitcoin white paper into Chinese for residents living in the region.

Bitmain's Jihan Wu Talks Mining and Industry Growth With Bitcoin.com's CEO

“I was the first one to translate the [white paper]. At that time in the Chinese media said Bitcoin was either a scam or it does not work,” Wu explained to Rust. “I happened to understand economics and some high-level principles of computer science so I knew [Bitcoin] works in both economic ways and in computer science ways. So I translated the white paper and tried to get more positive feedback from Chinese social media.”

Bitmain's Jihan Wu Talks Mining and Industry Growth With Bitcoin.com's CEO

While recalling his old QT wallet, Wu emphasized that it’s been an amazing journey. “I still remember back then no one knew about bitcoin and right now there are 20 million or 40 million users around the world and almost everyone now more or less have heard about bitcoin — I believe there are actual users getting involved in the cryptocurrency economy and those [individuals] are really starting to use cryptocurrencies for payments. A way to store their cash account — I believe this kind of user base will increase more and more.” Wu continued:

This is a virtual economy at work and it’s quite difficult in the beginning but I think we are almost near critical mass.

Bitmain's Jihan Wu Talks Mining and Industry Growth With Bitcoin.com's CEO

The Bitmain cofounder remarked that he believes the 40 million crypto users globally had initially stemmed from investor types, but nowadays he sees more ordinary people joining the economy and “especially young people.” “[Individuals] are really pushing cryptocurrency into the local payment network and people start to use it,” Wu said. Rust also brought up spending bitcoin cash (BCH) in Slovenia where there are hundreds of merchants that accept digital assets for products and services. “Lots of people still today believe [Bitcoin] is undoable or it’s out of their imagination how cryptocurrency can be really adopted by real life use cases,” Wu replied. “I think it’s a miracle, I think it’s amazing and lots of miracles are happening nowadays.”

Bitmain's Jihan Wu Talks Mining and Industry Growth With Bitcoin.com's CEO

Bitmain Continues to Produce Next Generation Mining Rigs and Chips

After discussing cryptocurrency adoption, Wu also explained how Bitmain was doing this year. “After the bottom of the bearish trend last year we’ve seen a very fast recovery in the money industry and we can see the hashrate growing very fast. Bitmain’s sales volume increased a lot and we released a new generation of mining rigs and mining chips.” Wu detailed that the company also released new artificial intelligence (AI) chips. He further explained that Bitmain’s mining pools mined different cryptocurrencies and remain top-ranking mining pools. Wu stressed:

It’s a good year for Bitmain.

Bitmain's Jihan Wu Talks Mining and Industry Growth With Bitcoin.com's CEO

Additionally, Rust and Wu talked about regulations in China and how roughly 60% of the world’s hashpower is located in the country. The two executives discussed the possibility of China banning bitcoin mining and how the Chinese government is dealing with oversight. The Bitmain cofounder and Bitcoin.com CEO conversed about a slew of other subjects like the ecological impact of bitcoin mining, the reward halving, and a lot more insights from someone who’s seen the cryptocurrency mining industry grow immensely, first hand. If you want to check out our exclusive interview with Bitmain’s Jihan Wu, check out the video below.

What do you think about Jihan Wu’s perspective of the mining industry and cryptocurrency ecosystem? Let us know what you think about the interview in the comments section below.


Image credits: Bitcoin.com.


Did you know you can buy and sell BCH privately using our noncustodial, peer-to-peer Local Bitcoin Cash trading platform? The local.Bitcoin.com marketplace has thousands of participants from all around the world trading BCH right now. And if you need a bitcoin wallet to securely store your coins, you can download one from us here.

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#Blockchain Court Postpones TON Hearing Till February, Impatient Investors May Get 77% Back

Court Postpones TON Hearing Till February, Impatient Investors May Get 77% Back

The New York court reviewing Telegram’s contested coin offering in the U.S. has postponed a scheduled hearing on the case till February. The defendants, Telegram Group and its subsidiary TON Issuer, have been banned from distributing and selling the tokens. Investors who don’t want to wait for the launch of the blockchain project can receive 77% of their money back if they form a majority.

Also read: Bittrex Pulls Out of 31 Markets Citing Regulatory Uncertainty

‘Positive Step’ Gives Telegram Time to Prepare Defense

In a move that Telegram described as a positive step, the District Court of the Southern District of New York has postponed а hearing on the lawsuit against its token sale filed by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) on October 11. The regulator believes the coin called ‘gram’ (GRM) is in fact a security, not currency and insists the messenger has attempted to conduct an unregistered offering in the United States.

Court Postpones TON Hearing Till February, Impatient Investors May Get 77% Back

Telegram already rejected the commission’s interpretation of its ICO and filed its own petition with the court, proposing to postpone the launch of the Telegram Open Network (TON) and the public sale of its native crypto until next spring to allow for the resolution of all legal issues surrounding the project. A restrictive order obtained by the SEC was supposed to be reviewed during a hearing planned for October 24. Now the court has rescheduled it for Feb. 18-19, 2020.

In a new correspondence with investors, the messaging platform seeks to reassure gram buyers noting that it views the postponement of the hearing as a positive development that will ultimately lead to resolving the matter through the United States court system. The company believes the new date will allow its team of advisers to better prepare and present Telegram’s position to the court.

Late Move by the SEC May Lead to Fewer Gram Tokens

The new deadline for the TON launch proposed by Telegram is April 30, 2020. The blockchain network was initially scheduled to go live by the end of October. Investors who have purchased rights to the gram tokens were offered to vote on the proposal to postpone the launch. If a majority of participants in either of the two fundraising rounds held so far rejects it, the company will compensate these investors with 77% of their money and issue a smaller number of GRM coins.

Court Postpones TON Hearing Till February, Impatient Investors May Get 77% Back

Telegram, the company founded by Russian-born entrepreneur Pavel Durov, sold the rights to 2.9 billion coins to 171 investors worldwide for $1.7 billion in two private sales in early 2018. That total amount includes a billion tokens bought by 39 U.S. residents for $424.5 million. The platform, which enjoys great popularity in the crypto community for its encrypted messaging service, accused the U.S. SEC of acting in the last moment and claimed it had been trying to get feedback from the regulator in the past 18 months.

When issued, gram tokens will be used to pay for various services provided by applications built on the new blockchain. The nodes of the Telegram Open Network, or “validators,” will be paid a commission in grams called “gas” for the processing of transactions and smart contracts. They will deposit their stakes in GRM coins which will determine the voting power needed to approve or reject proposed changes to the protocol. Grams will also be available for external use and will be traded on digital asset exchanges like any other cryptocurrency.

Do you think Telegram will manage to convince the U.S. court that gram is a currency, not security? Share your expectations in the comments section below.


Images courtesy of Shutterstock.


Did you know you can buy and sell BCH privately using our noncustodial, peer-to-peer Local Bitcoin Cash trading platform? The Local.Bitcoin.com marketplace has thousands of participants from all around the world trading BCH right now. And if you need a bitcoin wallet to securely store your coins, you can download one from us here.

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#Blockchain FATF Starts Checking How Well Countries Implement Crypto Standards

FATF Starts Checking How Well Countries Implement Crypto Standards

The Financial Action Task Force (FATF) has agreed on how it will assess whether countries have taken the necessary steps to implement the crypto-related requirements. “Given the global nature of the virtual asset industry, it is essential that countries implement these requirements swiftly,” the FATF emphasized.

Also read: Where US Regulators Stand on Cryptocurrency

FATF Unveils How Countries Will Be Assessed

The FATF held a plenary on Oct. 16-18, the first meeting under the Chinese presidency, chaired by Xiangmin Liu of the People’s Republic of China. Over 800 delegates representing 205 jurisdictions and international organizations attended the three-day event. The FATF is an intergovernmental organization founded to develop policies for combating money laundering. It currently comprises 37 member jurisdictions and 2 regional organizations. Stablecoins and other emerging assets are top of the agenda.

FATF President Xiangmin Liu opened the FATF Plenary meeting on Oct. 16.

The FATF released its standards on crypto assets and related service providers in June, which the G20 leaders, finance ministers, and central bank governors have already declared their commitments to following. Some countries have already started complying.

The next step is for the FATF to assess how countries implement the recommended standards. The organization declared in June that it “will monitor implementation of the new requirements by countries and service providers and conduct a 12-month review in June 2020.” Since June, the FATF has been working on how it will assess the progress of each country, announcing at the plenary:

The FATF has now agreed on how to assess whether countries have taken the necessary steps to implement the new requirements.

The FATF continued, “Given the global nature of the virtual asset industry, it is essential that countries implement these requirements swiftly, in particular understanding the risks and ensuring the effective supervision of the sector,” adding:

From now on, assessments will specifically look at how well countries have implemented these measures.

“Countries that have already undergone their mutual evaluation must report back during their follow-up process on the actions they have taken in this area,” the FATF specified. The organization also “will closely monitor the developments and will continue to actively engage with the private sector to clarify the FATF’s requirements as they work to comply with them,” the announcement reads.

Stablecoins Are Subject to FATF Standards

Stablecoins were also discussed at the plenary. The FATF believes that these types of assets and “their proposed global networks and platforms, could potentially cause a shift in the virtual asset ecosystem and have implications for money laundering and terrorist financing risks,” asserting:

In general terms, both ‘stablecoins’ and their service providers would be subject to the FATF standards either as virtual assets and virtual asset service providers or as traditional financial assets and their service providers.

Further, the FATF is actively monitoring emerging assets including stablecoins and will continue to examine their characteristics and risks.

Regulators worldwide have been discussing stablecoins since Facebook announced its Libra project in June. Some countries have also ramped up their efforts on central bank digital currencies in response to Libra. Last week, the Financial Stability Board informed the G20 finance ministers and central bank governors that stablecoins, with the potential to be globally adopted, could pose financial stability risk. The G7 also recently released a report outlining various risks of stablecoins.

What do you think of the FATF checking how well countries implement its suggested crypto standards? Let us know in the comments section below.


Images courtesy of Shutterstock and the FATF.


Did you know you can buy and sell BCH privately using our noncustodial, peer-to-peer Local Bitcoin Cash trading platform? The local.Bitcoin.com marketplace has thousands of participants from all around the world trading BCH right now. And if you need a bitcoin wallet to securely store your coins, you can download one from us here.

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