Here’s How Europeans Can Deal With Negative Interest Rates

Here’s How Europeans Can Deal With Negative Interest Rates

Here’s How Europeans Can Deal With Negative Interest Rates

Low and negative interest rates have been a burden for account holders across Europe for some time. And it’s only getting worse, as the European Central Bank just announced a new rate cut to a record low of -0.5%. Private and corporate customers in many countries on the continent don’t have a lot of options to preserve the value of their holdings, at least not in the fiat money world. However, cryptocurrencies which have seen a revival this year offer a real alternative – one that can bring income instead of losses.

Also read: Big Banks Won’t Touch Crypto Clients – But These Smaller Banks Will

Interest Rates Freezing Deeper

The European economy never fully recovered from the 2008 global meltdown. What started as a subprime mortgage crisis in the U.S. the previous year, eventually grew into a large-scale international banking crisis followed by a worldwide economic downturn. On the Old Continent, it sparked a debt crisis which hurt countries using the common currency, the euro. Governments and central banks embarked on massive bailouts of financial institutions and other policies — such as a never-ending cutting of interest rates — to prevent a collapse of the traditional financial system.

Here’s How Europeans Can Deal With Negative Interest Rates

These monetary and fiscal measures did not help countries such as Italy, Spain and Greece to get out of the debt swamp. The Italian economy, the eighth-largest by nominal GDP, slowly caught up with the generally weak Eurozone growth indicators, but it continues to suffocate from its huge public debt accumulated through excessive government spending for decades. At least a third of Italians live in poverty or risk of social exclusion. Italy’s projected growth for 2019 is only 0.1%, according to the IMF, and the national institute of statistics, Istat, found the economy stagnating in the second quarter.

Economic growth has been slowing down across the rest of the Eurozone, largely due to the looming trade wars and the Brexit saga which hurt international commerce and economic prospects. Eurostat revealed that gross domestic product of the group’s 19 countries grew just 0.2% during the same three-month period, compared to Q1 of 2019 when the bloc’s economy expanded by 0.4%. The annual growth registered in the second quarter was 1.1%. Between April and June, the German economy, the largest in the monetary union and the EU, shrank by 0.1% quarter-on-quarter and slowed to 0.4% year-on-year.

ECB Announces More Quantitative Easing

On this backdrop, the European Central Bank (ECB) made good on its plans to implement new measures to stimulate Europe’s sluggish economy. Actually, these measures are nothing new, per se: a deeper deposit rate cut, by 10 basis points to an all-time low of -0.5%, and a fresh open-ended round of quantitative easing. In November, the bank will start purchasing 20 billion euros’ worth of bonds each month. That’s a commitment which will continue indefinitely, or at least until ECB decides to raise interest rates. The “new” in these moves obviously applies to the fact that the benchmark interest rate hasn’t been lowered in the past three years, and QE hasn’t been implemented since last December.

Here’s How Europeans Can Deal With Negative Interest Rates

This decision came from an ECB conference in Frankfurt last week. Later, Eurozone’s central bank clarified that the interest rate, at which European banks deposit funds, will remain at the newly introduced level until inflation reaches the 2% target. The institution also said it’s planning to exclude some European banks from the subzero rates. Negative interest rates have already caused adverse reactions in European countries. A political initiative in Germany, for instance, aims to legally prohibit banks from imposing punitive interest on savings of up to 100,000 euros.

The new record low rate is being introduced as Mario Draghi is preparing to step down as the head of ECB. Draghi, who will soon vacate the post, has never raised the interest rate during his eight-year term. He will be replaced by Christine Lagarde, the Managing Director of the International Monetary Fund who will assume the new office on November 1 this year. Some predict a rough start to her term as analysts believe 2020 will be the year when the next big financial crisis may hit.

Cryptocurrencies Are a Safer Bet for Europeans

In the current situation, where residents of many countries in the Eurozone and its periphery are forced to accept the burden of negative interest rates, decentralized digital currencies are becoming a viable alternative for savers, spenders, and investors. That’ll be even more so if predictions of a new major crash in the fiat system come true. This year’s rebound of crypto markets is a proof of that, and the number of crypto proponents in the region is likely to grow.

Banking is important for both businesses and private individuals. And while cryptocurrencies were invented in part to avoid third parties in financial relations, demand for banking services in the crypto space has been growing in the past months and years. In most cases, traditional financial institutions have been unable or unwilling to provide them. Fortunately, a new generation of fintech companies have been filling the gap, offering competitive financial products for the cryptocurrency user.

Some of them, like Cred which is a partner of Bitcoin.com, allow customers to earn interest on their crypto holdings. The rates are as high as 6% on bitcoin cash (BCH) and 10% on bitcoin core (BTC) invested with the Credearn product. Thus, keeping your digital assets with Cred will bring you much higher returns than converting the coins into fiat and depositing the money into a bank account. That wouldn’t be a smart decision in Europe because of the extremely low and negative interest rates on savings in central bank-issued currency.

No Need to Sell Your Crypto if You Want Some Fiat

If you need fiat liquidity but also want to keep your crypto investments intact, companies like Nexo extend loans backed by a number of major cryptocurrencies. Using digital coins as collateral, you can get an instant credit line in more than 45 fiat currencies, in over 200 jurisdictions. Clients can borrow from as little as $500 and up to $2 million. Nexo charges between 8% and a maximum of 16% per year. They also offer saving options and you can earn up to 6.5% interest on stablecoins such as USDC, TUSD, PAX, DAI, and USDT, with plans to add other cryptocurrencies in the future. A compounding interest of up to 6.5% is paid out on euro holdings as well. Just for comparison, a Swedish bank recently imposed a negative interest rate of -0.40% on euro accounts.

Here’s How Europeans Can Deal With Negative Interest Rates

London-based Cashaa is a company that helps crypto businesses and users open a bank account for both traditional and digital money, still a challenge in many jurisdictions. They operate globally with a few exceptions like the United States and some sanctioned countries. The platform allows customers to accept payments in fiat currencies such as euro and British pound as well as in a number of cryptocurrencies.

The Cashaa U.K. current account comes with a Mastercard which lets you spend your coins while shopping and withdraw funds at ATMs around the world through crypto-to-fiat conversion. You can also make and receive local and international money transfers. Debit cards with crypto features can be ordered from two other platforms based in Britain as well — Wirex and Revolut.

Bitwala is another major European crypto banking and payment provider. The German company is now offering residents of the European Economic Area bank accounts with an integrated bitcoin wallet, a debit Mastercard, and a mobile app. You can use its services to conduct your daily banking activities in both crypto and fiat currency. Customers can also trade digital assets directly from their bank account with Bitwala’s regulated partner, Solarisbank.

Bankera stands out among fintech firms based in Eastern Europe as it has become a leading provider of services to crypto customers in the region in the past six years. The Lithuanian company is currently working to establish an online bank and offer loans backed with digital assets. Its ambition is to become a “one-stop store for all financial services, in the same way traditional brick and mortar banks are.” To achieve that, Bankera plans to use technology to limit counterparties and lower the cost of banking for the end user, while providing innovative solutions.

If you are new to the crypto space and you are looking for a safe and secure way to acquire your first digital coins, you can purchase bitcoin cash (BCH) among major cryptocurrencies at buy.Bitcoin.com using a credit card. You can also freely trade your crypto assets on our noncustodial, peer-to-peer marketplace local.Bitcoin.com, which already has thousands of users around the world. Also, try our newly launched premier trading platform, exchange.Bitcoin.com. Registered users can access it right now.

What’s your opinion about crypto banking as a viable alternative to services offered by traditional financial institutions? Share your thoughts on the subject in the comments section below.


Images courtesy of Shutterstock.


Do you need a reliable bitcoin mobile wallet to send, receive, and store your coins? Download one for free from us and then head to our Purchase Bitcoin page where you can quickly buy bitcoin with a credit card.

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Lubomir Tassev

Lubomir Tassev is a journalist from tech-savvy Bulgaria, which sometimes finds itself at the forefront of advances it cannot easily afford. Quoting Hitchens, he says: ”Being a writer is what I am, rather than what I do.“ International politics and economics are two other sources of inspiration.

BCH Microblog ‘Member’ Shows the Future of Reddit-Like Forums

BCH Microblog 'Member' Shows the Future of Reddit-Like Forums

BCH Microblog ‘Member’ Shows the Future of Reddit-Like Forums

Since the Bitcoin Cash upgrade in May 2018, software developers have unleashed a slew of microblogging protocols that utilize OP_return transactions. One application called Member is a BCH-based browser that makes use of these types of transactions and the extra space added to the data carrier size. While still in its infancy, the Member platform has matured into a censorship-resistant Reddit but with geolocated posts, reputational ratings, and native BCH tipping.

Also Read: At Least 19 Central Banks Give Way to Monetary Easing As Economy Slows

The Member Client Continues to Grow

Years ago, Reddit was an interesting online place that allowed many groups to connect, share news and content, and discuss in a forum-like atmosphere. These days, Reddit is synonymous with mass censorship and deplatforming as the corporate entity has banned a variety of subreddits this year. The crypto community caught wind of Reddit censorship last year when the company removed the subreddit /r/darknetmarkets. Reddit users can’t even trust the company’s founder and CEO Steve Huffman who was forced to apologize when he got caught altering pro-Trump related thread comments.

BCH Microblog 'Member' Shows the Future of Reddit-Like Forums
Reddit censorship has increased significantly in recent years.

Bitcoin supporters have seen severe forms of censorship on the subreddit /r/bitcoin as the owner and moderator Theymos and his minions deleted thousands of comments from visitors and suppressed the conversation during the block size debate. Last May, a former moderator who worked alongside Theymos told Bitcoin.com’s podcast host Matt Aaron how he was removed from the group of administrators after he failed to toe the line. Censorship like this has driven the BCH community to foster censorship-resistant microblogging communities like Memo. In tandem with Memo, another application called Member could push the Reddit-like forum concept to new heights using the BCH chain.

BCH Microblog 'Member' Shows the Future of Reddit-Like Forums

Member has been around for some time now but the application has matured a great deal since news.Bitcoin.com reported on it last year. The application’s creator, a developer called Freetrade, describes the platform on Github, calling it a BCH blockchain browser. “It reads and allows users to create actions in the Memo/Member protocol — The client is an HTML5/JS BCH blockchain browser app with no outside js dependencies and it can be run from a website, or from a local file system,” Freetrade’s Github repo details. “Currently it connects to the Member server to get content, and uses Bitbox to get utxos and broadcast transactions.”

BCH Microblog 'Member' Shows the Future of Reddit-Like Forums
Member treats topics like subreddits

Getting Acquainted With the Member App

In order to use Member, you need to have an account with the social network and microblogging app memo.cash where all posts are permanently recorded to the Bitcoin Cash chain. You can sign up for Memo here and it’s a good idea to fund your Memo wallet with a small fraction of BCH so you can post on memo.cash and the Member platform as well. To access Member, go to the website and press the “Login” tab at the top right side of the screen. You can also sign up directly from the Member Login page by pressing the “Create New Account” tab.

BCH Microblog 'Member' Shows the Future of Reddit-Like Forums
Creating a new account with a Memo private key.

Member will tell you to connect your wallet address to get started so you can post. After pressing “Ok,” Member will direct you to a page that shows your new BCH address so you can send a small fraction of funds. If you already have an account or started by signing up for memo.cash using the link mentioned above then Member asks you to paste your Memo private key (compressed WIF format, starts with ‘L’ or ‘K’) into the Login window. After these steps are complete, you are free to explore the Member app but also to create posts, upvote, tip people BCH, and initiate a geolocated post.

BCH Microblog 'Member' Shows the Future of Reddit-Like Forums
Creating a new account without a Memo private key.

To create a new post on Member, simply press the “New post” tab on the upper left side of the user interface. The platform will open a window that allows you to customize a new post with a title and text. You can also post a memorandum or post directly to the memo.cash feed. After creating a post, other Member users can reply to the thread just like a traditional Reddit post and they can “like” the post as well. Moreover, you can be tipped bitcoin cash as Member offers a native BCH wallet that allows for tipping users. If you observe Member’s main feed, it’s set up similarly to the front page of Reddit and there’s a large variety of threads and discussions hosted on the feed. Additionally, you can check the most recent posts on the Member feed by pressing the “Posts (new)” tab on the upper left side of the screen.

BCH Microblog 'Member' Shows the Future of Reddit-Like Forums
Creating a new post on Member.

Geolocated Posts, 2,000 Characters, and a Reputation System

You can also tether your location coordinates to a custom message using the Member app. At the top left side of the screen simply press the “Map” tab and the website will take you to a map of the world. Like a traditional geolocation map, your browser will ask you if you want to give the Member map your location coordinates so you can get a visual look at your area. The choice is optional but if you do, you can tie a special message to your location that’s written on the BCH chain. Essentially you or anyone can tether a message to any location in the world for less than a U.S. penny at any time. Just click the map with your mouse pointer to select the message location, write it and post it to the Member map. After a few minutes of exploring the Member app’s features, the platform is relatively easy to understand and use.

BCH Microblog 'Member' Shows the Future of Reddit-Like Forums
Member users can tie a message to a geolocation from anywhere in the world at anytime for less than a penny per message.

Member’s creator Freetrade has been hard at work adding more services to the application like reputational ratings and increased character limits for messages. The software engineer recently made it so Member users can reply with much longer character limits. “Member now allows 2,000 character replies by chaining transactions together — Member also treats topics more like subreddits,” Freetrade told BCH supporters on September 15. This announcement got the /r/btc community on Reddit pumped due to their intolerance of censorship. “Wow, now we’re talking,” a BCH proponent opined after Freetrade revealed the 2,000 character extension. “Reddit is slowly dying because of censorship and abuse from admins — If we could create a decentralized alternative on BCH that would be huge,” he added. In addition to the character extension, Freetrade has introduced a web of trust infrastructure to the Member platform. The new idea allows you to rate other Memo profiles using the Member app by giving them a public trust rating. Freetrade has shown that as the reputation system matures, robust trust graphs could be created.

BCH Microblog 'Member' Shows the Future of Reddit-Like Forums
(Right) bootstrapping memo.cash ratings. (Left) An example of a more mature trust graph initiated by Freetrade’s ratings.

There’s been a lot of development within the BCH ecosystem and Member’s improvements have bolstered a microblogging and censorship-resistant Reddit-like experience. As with most peer-to-peer and decentralized blockchain applications, Member needs to gather more users over time. Memo and Member have seen a lot of lively users since they were created and both have grown a great deal. While projects like Blockpress have fallen to the wayside and are now defunct, the Memo and Member apps have remained strong after the long crypto winter and the blockchain split in November 2018. One difference between the two clients is the Memo protocol browses both BCH and BSV blockchains but the Member app only browses the BCH chain. Freetrade continues to work on making the Member client more robust and has put together a list of certain elements of the project he could use help with.

What do you think about the Member client? Let us know what you think about this project in the comments section below.


Image credits: Shutterstock, Member, and Pixabay.


Do you need a reliable bitcoin mobile wallet to send, receive, and store your coins? Download one for free from us and then head to our Purchase Bitcoin page where you can quickly buy bitcoin with a credit card.

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Jamie Redman

Jamie Redman is a financial tech journalist living in Florida. Redman has been an active member of the cryptocurrency community since 2011. He has a passion for Bitcoin, open source code, and decentralized applications. Redman has written thousands of articles for news.Bitcoin.com about the disruptive protocols emerging today.

PR: Liven Announces Strategic Partnership with Bitcoin.com

PR: Liven Announces Strategic Partnership with Bitcoin.com

PR: Liven Announces Strategic Partnership with Bitcoin.com

Liven, the lifestyle rewards app that lets users spend and earn cryptocurrency rewards in over 1,000 restaurants across Australia, is introducing Bitcoin Cash into the LivenPay ecosystem. Meanwhile, Liven’s native token, LVN, gets listed on ZB.com after a successful completion of its oversubscribed ZB UP Launch.

Up until now, diners using the Liven app at participating restaurants have been able to settle their bills with a single button tap, using major credit and debit cards, as well as the LivenPay cryptocurrency (LVN), earning rewards between 10% and 30% of their bill, paid in LVN. The LVN earned is the diner’s to keep, send to friends or, of course, spend at any other restaurants within the Liven network.

With support for LVN or ‘old-fashioned’ fiat currency, and soon to be Bitcoin Cash, LivenPay aims to make the day-to-day use of cryptocurrencies both attractive and accessible to the everyday people, resulting in a global loyalty rewards program that will eventually support a plethora of cryptocurrencies.

“With LivenPay as the ‘on-ramp’, we want to entice users and businesses around the world to enjoy the benefits of using frictionless, global cryptocurrency payments. With our future pipeline of cryptocurrency integrations, Bitcoin Cash is the next step to expanding cryptocurrency support and being truly blockchain and currency agnostic” said CEO and Co-Founder William Wong.

LivenPay’s existing ecosystem makes it simple and straightforward to integrate new cryptocurrencies into its growing network of over 1,000 participating businesses and 500,000 tech-savvy consumers.

“The integration of Bitcoin Cash is a logical and exciting step for LivenPay, given that their popular and current business model is going fully global in 2019. With the support of Bitcoin Cash, LivenPay will soon create a perfect entry-point for hundreds of thousands of people into the wider blockchain and digital currency ecosystem,” said enthused cryptocurrency legend and Bitcoin.com Executive Chairman Roger Ver, who is also LivenPay’s official advisor.

Liven users will soon be able to pay for their meals with Bitcoin Cash through the Liven app.

The team soon hopes that paying with LivenPay will just be as ubiquitous around the world as taking an Uber, whether you are in Shanghai or St. Petersburg, as Wong’s take-away comment surmises:

“LivenPay enables people to grab a bite wherever in the world their feet may fall, whether it is a celebratory meal out or a burger joint for lunch. It also allows for the mass adoption of crypto from fiat, whether that be from Chinese Renminbis or Russian Rubles.”

Website: https://livenpay.io
Whitepaper (English): https://s3-ap-southeast-2.amazonaws.com/livenpay.io/LIVEN-WhitePaper(EN).pdf

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Bitcoin.com PR

Bitcoin.com is your premier source for everything Bitcoin-related. We can help you buy bitcoins and choose a bitcoin wallet. You can also read the latest news, or engage with the community on our Bitcoin Forum. Please keep in mind that this is a commercial website that lists wallets, exchanges and other Bitcoin-related companies.

How Crypto Became a Gambler’s Paradise

How Crypto Became a Gambler’s Paradise

How Crypto Became a Gambler’s Paradise

Comparing cryptocurrency trading to gambling is like comparing crypto tribalism to religion: the analogy is correct, but it’s also tired. What bears emphasizing, then, isn’t that crypto trading and crypto gambling are often indistinguishable, but the extent to which the two disciplines permeate the cryptosphere. From the most popular dapps to the leading hacks, everything of interest within the space can be interpreted as a form of gambling. It’s the reason why crypto is so fascinating and so addictive.

Also read: HTC Adds Native Bitcoin Cash Support to Its Flagship Smartphone

The Whole World Is a Game

The gamification of everything is the endgame of life itself. Soon it will be impossible to go for a jog without receiving a high score or being showered in shitcoins for your efforts. Competition is what drives us as humans. The desire to be better than one’s fellow man or woman is the reason we’re here today on the internet, and not still living in mud huts. Combining money, mathematical puzzles, economics and copious amounts of game theory, crypto is a heady concoction of all the things that spur a man to get out of bed in the morning and conquer the world.

And the use of “man,” on this occasion is deliberate. There are many reasons why crypto has been historically male-dominated, some of which are too contentious or tangential to delve into here. This much, however, needs said: men are greater risk takers in life. It’s why their fortunes are more likely to fall in the extremes than in the mean: atop the mountain or in the gutter, but rarely in between. It’s also why crypto’s greatest success story so far has been letting men do what they were gonna do anyway: gamble, both literally and loosely, while striving to stack more sats than their peers.

How Crypto Became a Gambler’s Paradise

Gambling on a Future for Dapps

What is altcoin trading if not a game to end up with more BTC than you started out with? Whether you get there through charting ichimoku clouds or rolling high-low in a crypto casino seems immaterial. To understand the extent to which gambling dominates the cryptosphere, there’s only one place to start – the dapp store. Hit up your favorite dapp tracker (Dappradar or State of the Dapps are probably best) and take a look at the most popular decentralized applications on each chain.

How Crypto Became a Gambler’s Paradise
Top 10 dapps according to Dappradar

State of the Dapps notes six of the dapps in its top 10 as being gambling. Dappradar, which records more crypto networks, including Tron, also has six gambling applications in its top 10. Leading the pack is Wink, the betting platform that uses the same principles as Bitcoin.com’s Cashgames: instant wins, micropayments, and provably fair gambling. Wink can be accessed as a conventional casino or on a game by game (i.e dapp by dapp) basis. In most respects, Wink is indistinguishable from any other crypto casino, with the primary difference being the way in which it’s accessed.

How Crypto Became a Gambler’s Paradise

Online casinos can be banned and geo-restricted, as often occurs at national level. Dapps, while not the censorship-resistant paradise their proponents would have them, are a lot harder to block. It’s no surprise that many of the most popular gambling dapps have struck gold in Asia, where download links are shared in Wechat groups and where wagering on life is a way of life for many.

Trading or Wagering?

Not all gambling dapps can be neatly filed into the gambling category. How to interpret Bulls vs Bears for example? Like many of the leading dapps on Tron and EOS, it’s dubbed as gaming, rather than gambling, and as a skill-based endeavor, that’s technically correct. Players don’t compete against the house, and since the game calls for predicting crypto market trends, there’s skill involved. With talk of a “dynamic wagering environment” and large jackpots, though, it’s clear who the dapp’s target demographic is. Like many new dapps trying to bootstrap, Bulls vs Bears relies on giveaways (in this case TRX tokens for signing up) as a means of getting bodies through the door, or rather users on the protocol.

How Crypto Became a Gambler’s Paradise

In condensing the act of trading into basic binary options – high/low, bull/bear, the dapp bestows the same duality that bifurcates so many other domains in life, from U.S. politics to dead rappers. Are you a bull or bear? Republican or Democrat? Biggie or Tupac fan? Somewhere out there is a dapp for that, where you can wager on binary options for all the things you love and hate.

Further blurring the lines between what constitutes gambling and what’s trading is Guesser. Built on Augur, it’s technically a prediction market that uses crowdsourced wisdom to determine probable outcomes. In reality though, it’s a betting dapp, and a very neat one at that. Guesser appears to have given up all pretences of operating a prediction market, inviting users to “Bet up to” a certain amount on each market.

How Crypto Became a Gambler’s Paradise

There’s More Than One Way to Beat a Dapp

While crypto users have been filling Telegram and Wechat groups with gambling dapp strategies, a handful of more enterprising individuals have been working on their own means of beating the system. In crypto, as in everything else, there’s always a way to fast track your way to riches, provided you don’t mind breaking a few rules along the way.

How Crypto Became a Gambler’s Paradise
Eosplay usage briefly dropped to zero after an attacker found a way to drain the pool of EOS.

Eosplay is the sixth most popular gambling dapp on EOS. For a short while, over the weekend, it was also the most profitable for whoever rented a bunch of resources and used them to clean out 30,000 EOS from the contract. Call it genius, cheating or a bit of both, it was an effective case study in unorthodox ways to beat the house.

People can moan about the rough edges around defi protocols, the unreadability of bitcoin addresses, and the complexity of wallet recovery, but not everything in crypto is quite so wonky. Gambling has been a mainstay since the beginning of Bitcoin, and developers have gotten extremely efficient at it. If crypto builders can approach other ecosystem verticals with the same gusto with which players and devs have approached gambling dapps, mainstream adoption is just a UX breakthrough away. Where there’s a will to innovate, there’s a way, and when there’s money wagering on it, no problem is too big to solve.

From casinos to bitcoin, formerly fringe interests have now been normalized, thanks to those willing to put a punt on them when no one else would. Where gamblers lead, the mainstream tends to follow.

Do you think gambling is one of the best use cases for crypto to date? Let us know in the comments section below.


Images courtesy of Shutterstock.


Did you know you could win big with bitcoin gambling? Choose from a range of BCH games including BCH poker, BCH slots, and many more. All games are provably fair—good luck!

Kai Sedgwick

Kai’s been manipulating words for a living since 2009 and bought his first bitcoin at $12. It’s long gone. He’s previously written whitepapers for blockchain startups and is especially interested in P2P exchanges and DNMs.

European Countries Step Up Response to Facebook’s Libra

European Countries Step Up Response to Facebook's Libra

European Countries Step Up Response to Facebook’s Libra

The European Central Bank (ECB) and a number of countries in the region have stepped up their efforts in response to Facebook’s Libra, which has revived a competing ECB project for instant payments. As Facebook engages Switzerland’s financial regulator, the ECB clarifies how Libra can be regulated under EU laws.

Also read: India’s Popular ‘Who Wants to Be a Millionaire’ Show Gives Crypto a Boost

A Wake-Up Call and ECB’s Project Revived

Facebook’s proposed Libra digital currency has given governments worldwide a run for their money. European Central Bank board member Benoit Coeure calls Libra “a wake-up call,” after discussing it at last week’s meeting of eurozone finance ministers in Helsinki. Amid concerns over a sovereign threat, 26 regulators worldwide, including the Bank of England and the U.S. Federal Reserve, reportedly met with representatives of Libra in Basel on Monday to discuss the scope and design of Libra.

European Countries Step Up Their Responses to Facebook's Libra

Coeure told the press Friday that Libra had revived efforts of an ECB-backed project for real-time payments in the eurozone, the Target Instant Payment Settlement (TIPS). The project could allow consumers to use electronic cash, directly deposited at the ECB without the need for bank accounts, financial intermediaries or clearing counterparties. Just like with Facebook’s plans, financial intermediaries will be unnecessary in this new ECB system. “TIPS offers final and irrevocable settlement of instant payments in euro, at any time of day and on any day of the year,” the ECB described.

The project was launched last year and could last months or even years, Coeure revealed, adding that the technical feasibility remains to be seen and opposition from banks is likely. In addition, “We also need to step up our thinking on a central bank digital currency,” he suggested. France’s Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire said last week that the European Union should create a common set of rules for cryptocurrencies to counter the risks posed by Libra.

Strong Opposition by France and Germany

France and Germany have reportedly agreed to block Libra due to the risks the digital currency could pose to their financial sectors, the French finance ministry said. The two countries jointly issued a statement Friday, stating:

France and Germany consider that the Libra project, as set out in Facebook’s blueprint, fails to convince that those risks will be properly addressed … We believe that no private entity can claim monetary power, which is inherent to the sovereignty of nations.

European Countries Step Up Their Responses to Facebook's Libra

Le Maire believes that Libra should not be allowed to operate in Europe while concerns persist about sovereignty and persistent financial risks. “We encourage European central banks to accelerate work on issues around possible public digital currency solutions,” he added in the joint statement with Germany’s Finance Minister Olaf Scholz. The two countries further called on banks to work on improving European payment systems at the European level.

Swiss License for Libra, New Stablecoin Guidance

Meanwhile, the Libra Association has engaged the Swiss Financial Market Supervisory Authority (Finma). The regulator has confirmed that the association has requested an assessment of how Finma would classify its planned Libra project including the issuance of a stablecoin under Swiss supervisory law.

Finma revealed that, based on information provided so far, such a project would fall under financial market infrastructure regulation and would require its payment system license, under the Financial Market Infrastructure Act (FMIA). The requirements under the Principles for Financial Market Infrastructures would also apply to the management of cyber risks. Swiss payment systems are subject to the Anti-Money Laundering Act.

European Countries Step Up Their Responses to Facebook's Libra

Moreover, the FMIA sets out additional requirements for services that increase the risks of a payment system. “Due to the issuance of Libra payment tokens, the services planned by the Libra project would clearly go beyond those of a pure payment system and therefore be subject to such additional requirements,” the regulator clarified, adding:

A necessary condition for being granted a licence as a payment system would be that the returns and risks associated with the management of the reserve were borne entirely by the Libra Association and not – as in the case of a fund provider – by the ‘stablecoin’ holders.

In addition, Finma has updated its stablecoin guidance, which supplements its existing guidelines for initial coin offerings (ICOs). The regulator has acknowledged the rising number of stablecoin projects since mid-2018.

Finma detailed that the requirements for stablecoins may differ based on which assets they are backed by — such as currencies, commodities, real estate or securities — and the legal rights of its holders. “Money laundering, securities trading, banking, fund management and financial infrastructure regulation can all be of relevance,” Finma elaborated.

ECB Clarifies Libra’s Regulatory Challenges

European Central Bank executive board member Yves Mersch outlined the ECB’s approach to regulating Libra earlier this month. He described some “extremely concerning” differences between Libra and other cryptocurrencies. Firstly, he explained that “Libra’s ecosystem is not only complex, it is actually cartel-like,” citing several key areas that the Libra Association will have control over the coin’s functionalities. Unlike the decentralized and disintermediary nature of cryptocurrencies, he said that “similarly to public money Libra will actually be highly centralized, with Facebook and its partners acting as quasi-sovereign issuers of currency.”

European Countries Step Up Their Responses to Facebook's Libra
Yves Mersch

Mersch raised several concerns regarding Libra such as its lack of a global lender of last resort and the limited liability of the Libra Association members. It is also devoid of the equivalent of a deposit guarantee scheme to protect its holders’ interests during a crisis, the executive detailed. He further pointed out that “the fact that Libra is backed by a basket of sovereign currency-denominated assets appears to defeat the very purpose of its issuance as a private currency.” Mersch then proceeded to outline some legal and regulatory challenges of Libra:

The first challenge concerns Libra’s fundamental legal nature. The choice is, essentially, whether to treat Libra as e-money, as a financial instrument or as a virtual currency.

In his view, Libra does not appear to qualify as e-money, as it does not embody a claim of its holders against the Libra Association. The second option is to treat it as a transferable security or a different type of financial instrument, which means that both the Libra Association and any entities providing investment services through Libra coins would fall within the remit of the Markets in Financial Instruments Directive. Lastly, if it were to qualify as a virtual currency then both Calibra and its authorized resellers would become subject to the obligations and registration requirements under the Anti-Money Laundering Directive.

European Countries Step Up Their Responses to Facebook's Libra

Another challenge is to ensure that the relevant EU and member state regulatory and supervisory authorities can assert jurisdiction over Libra and its network, Mersch conveyed, adding that there is also the need for cross-border cooperation and coordination. “Because Libra will be used across borders, it is a matter of international interest.” He elaborated:

Its global nature would also call for a global regulatory and supervisory response to avoid regulatory arbitrage, ensure consistency of outcomes and guarantee the efficiency of public policy responses to Libra.

Mersch pointed out the joint efforts by the global community to mitigate risks associated with Libra, including efforts by the G7 countries, the G20 countries, and the Financial Stability Board (FSB). In its recently published report on how Libra could disrupt the financial system, the European Parliament wrote that “an international agreement is needed on harmonizing existing rules for crypto tokens.” The legislative body of the European Union believes that “Co-regulatory oversight of the Libra operation scheme by both state-operators and stakeholders would be needed to prevent money laundering, illicit transactions and consumer fraud.”

What do you think of how the ECB and European countries are responding to Facebook’s Libra? Let us know 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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A student of Austrian Economics, Kevin found Bitcoin in 2011 and has been an evangelist ever since. His interests lie in Bitcoin security, open-source systems, network effects and the intersection between economics and cryptography.





PR: Bitcoin.com Announces Partnership With Telecommunications Manufacturer HTC

PR: Bitcoin.com Announces Partnership With Telecommunications Manufacturer HTC

PR: Bitcoin.com Announces Partnership With Telecommunications Manufacturer HTC

World’s leading telecom manufacturer strikes a partnership to support wallets and Bitcoin Cash on flagship products to be sold worldwide

Taipei, Taiwan — September 16 2019 – Bitcoin.com, one of the world’s oldest and most established cryptocurrency innovators with over 4.5 million wallet holders worldwide, and leading telecommunications manufacturer HTC have announced the beginning of a long-term, mutually beneficial partnership to drive innovation and adoption of crypto technologies.

HTC is known for pushing the boundaries of technology with cutting edge, futuristic smartphones, and they have done it again. HTC’s flagship EXODUS 1 smartphone is now the first phone that provides Bitcoin Cash (BCH) support without having to download a BCH wallet from an app store. For existing EXODUS 1 users, updating the software on their devices will provide users with a Bitcoin.com wallet app pre-loaded on their devices.

Phil Chen, Decentralized Chief Officer at HTC said, “The EXODUS vision has always aligned itself towards public blockchains and its fundamental transformative nature of the future of money and the Internet. The Zion Vault is happy to support BCH natively in hardware for security to go hand in hand with the BCH blockchain as an alternative to dominant payment rails and platforms.”

For Bitcoin.com and HTC, this is the first step in a long journey together. Future plans include rolling out to offer special discounts when paying for phones in BCH, to sell the EXODUS phones on store.bitcoin.com, and many more.

Bitcoin.com’s CEO Stefan Rust said, “There are so many synergies between Bitcoin.com and HTC. We are very excited to be on this incredible journey together.”

Bitcoin.com’s Executive Chairman Roger Ver also added, “Bitcoin.com’s partnership with HTC will enable Bitcoin Cash to be used as peer- to- peer electronic cash for all the EXODUS users around the world.”
About Bitcoin.com

Bitcoin.com is supercharged to change the world with Bitcoin Cash (BCH). Our suite of developer tools has been downloaded 36,000+ times from over 100 countries. Our team is the heart and soul of the Bitcoin Cash industry. We’re committed to making BCH available to all people, whatever their age, gender, nationality or financial status.

For more information: visit https://www.bitcoin.com/

Contact Email Address
press@bitcoin.com

Supporting Link
https://www.bitcoin.com/

About HTC EXODUS & Zion Vault:

HTC’s Project EXODUS is a smartphone solution that will power the decentralized web. For more than 20 years, HTC has created foundational technology for worldwide mobile and virtual reality technology. Through EXODUS, HTC is investing in the development and implementation of blockchain technology that will usher in a new area of secure data storage and transactions and take blockchain technology mobile for the first time.

Zion, your private vault on the blockchain, allows you to conduct crypto transactions, view and manage your crypto collectibles, and manage your crypto life while maintaining ownership of your keys. With your Zion Vault, store, send, and request bitcoin, ether, litecoin, stellar, selected ERC-20 tokens, and ERC-721 collectibles.

https://www.htcexodus.com/
@HTCEXODUS
You can keep up to date with Phil’s Vlog

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Bitcoin.com is your premier source for everything Bitcoin-related. We can help you buy bitcoins and choose a bitcoin wallet. You can also read the latest news, or engage with the community on our Bitcoin Forum. Please keep in mind that this is a commercial website that lists wallets, exchanges and other Bitcoin-related companies.

HTC Adds Native Bitcoin Cash Support to Its Flagship Smartphone

HTC Adds Native Bitcoin Cash Support to Its Flagship Smartphone

HTC Adds Native Bitcoin Cash Support to Its Flagship Smartphone

The bitcoin cash community now has a new way to secure and transact its digital money, as HTC adds native BCH support to its Exodus 1 smartphone. A key reason the technology manufacturer has chosen to do so is that many consumers are using BCH as a payment method and HTC wants to see a future where merchants use the Exodus to receive BCH payments.

Also Read: David Chaum’s Elixxir Invites Smartphone Users to Test Private Messaging

HTC Exodus 1 Now Supports Bitcoin Cash

Taiwanese consumer electronics manufacturer High Tech Computer Corporation or HTC (TWSE: 2498) has added native bitcoin cash support to its flagship smartphone, Exodus 1. The device’s killer feature for cryptocurrency users is the Zion Vault, a digital asset wallet with an easy-to-use software interface integrated with onboard hardware security. This secure built-in wallet is now capable of conducting bitcoin cash transactions, so users can easily buy, receive, spend and store BCH on the phone without the risk of remote hacking.

HTC Adds Native Bitcoin Cash Support to Its Flagship Smartphone

HTC has announced the support for BCH as part of a new partnership with Bitcoin.com, which will include pre-loading the company’s popular wallet app on the Exodus 1. Moreover, Bitcoin.com will also offer the smartphone, as well as the upcoming lower priced device HTC Exodus 1s, for sale on its online store. The Exodus 1s will feature the same native BCH support available to Exodus 1 users right now when it launches later this year.

Bitcoin.com CEO Stefan Rust commented: “There are so many synergies between Bitcoin.com and HTC. We are very excited to be on this incredible journey together.” Bitcoin.com Executive Chairman Roger Ver added: “Bitcoin.com’s partnership with HTC will enable Bitcoin Cash to be used as peer to peer electronic cash for the millions of HTC smartphone users around the world.”

Bringing Users Full Control Over Their Data and Assets

To understand how HTC sees the promise of cryptocurrency and why it has added bitcoin cash support now, we talked with the company’s Decentralized Chief Officer Phil Chen. Explaining the importance of the new partnership, Chen said: “Smartphones are everywhere and have proliferated across the planet. It’s very important for the adoption of crypto that it is easy to store and use, no matter which cryptocurrency is preferred by people. So the fact that BCH, one of the biggest cryptocurrencies, is now easy to use on our smartphone is very important for us. Together, HTC and Bitcoin.com are helping to bring crypto to the masses.”

HTC Adds Native Bitcoin Cash Support to Its Flagship Smartphone

Regarding its support for the crypto community in general, HTC sees this as an important part of its vision to empower users in the face of Big Tech. “True power is ownership of, control of and ability to transact with your digital assets. Cryptocurrency is the best place to start on this journey to allowing users to own their own data. It is a scary prospect for many of the big players in both Silicon Valley and in the smartphone maker space. If users are allowed to own their own keys and data, this will have a significant impact on the business models and revenue of these powerful firms,” explained Chen.

He added that HTC built the Exodus 1 device to drive the movement to a fully decentralized web where users have full control over their data and assets. “The first step is to allow the crypto community to hold their own keys; this will be a learning curve for many. So the crypto community is so important as we look to the mass adoption of both decentralized devices and crypto/blockchain in general.”

As for why users need a crypto-focused smartphone such as the Exodus 1, the developer says it provides usability for cryptocurrency. “While cold storage wallets are the ultimate in security, it can be hard and slow to use and transact your crypto. Live centralized exchanges, although fast, do not provide the security or afford you true ownership. It was important for HTC to find the right balance between the deadlock security of cold storage and the ease of use of live centralized wallets. You no longer need to have hardware wallets that then need something like Metamask and then a browser for instance. All the transaction and security capabilities are available using just your Exodus device.”

HTC Adds Native Bitcoin Cash Support to Its Flagship Smartphone
HTC is the developer of the groundbreaking Vive virtual reality headset

The company’s Decentralized Chief Officer explained that HTC has developed the Zion Vault to achieve this. It’s an all-in-one secure vault that allows users to keep their own keys and operate through a highly-secure Trusted Executive Environment (TEE), but also the ability to easily transact with those keys.

“All keys and passcodes are stored in TEE directly in users’ Exodus 1 device. The user will always own their own keys. HTC or the Android OS will never have custody,” Chen said. “Operating independently of the Android OS, the vault will protect the entrusted crypto-keys with stringent security. When authorizing your BCH transactions, Zion Trusted UI will create a safe zone through Trusted Executive Environments (TEE) that block possible malware attacks. Zion does not record any user information at any stage.”

The Key Reason for Supporting Bitcoin Cash

HTC sees crypto as a new paradigm for consumer electronics, after smartphones have seen a plateau in terms of global device development and innovation. They expect that smartphones of the future will be the core of your digital identity and the way to keep your digital assets and data.

“It is part of a longer roadmap but the HTC Exodus 1 marks a new beginning for users and their data,” explained Chen. “Only when users have full ownership of their own keys can we enact true decentralization, which is a vital first step toward protecting users. We see this as a stepping stone to how people will carry their own digital assets and digital identities in their pockets, in the very way we carry phones today.” He added that the upcoming Exodus 1s will be able to operate as a full node on the BTC blockchain. “That’s another industry first and we also expect more of this innovation as it is the only truly trustless way to transact using your crypto assets.”

HTC Adds Native Bitcoin Cash Support to Its Flagship Smartphone

HTC’s Decentralized Chief Officer added that BCH users have a lot to look forward to from the company’s cooperation with Bitcoin.com going forward. “This is only the beginning of what the decentralized world can offer, so the possibilities and potential are endless. We can see a future where merchants are using their Exodus device to receive BCH payments at their point of sale (POS). That’s a key reason we’re supporting BCH; it’s great to see so many consumers using BCH as a payment method.”

Future plans for the partnership include offering special discounts when paying for goods in BCH, and the sale of future Exodus phones on store.Bitcoin.com, with further collaborations to be announced in due course.

What do you think about HTC adding native bitcoin cash support to its flagship smartphone? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.


Images courtesy of Shutterstock and HTC.


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.

Avi Mizrahi

Avi Mizrahi is an economist and entrepreneur who has been covering Bitcoin as a journalist since 2013. He has spoken about the promise of cryptocurrency and blockchain technology at numerous financial conferences around the world, from London to Hong-Kong.

At Least 19 Central Banks Give Way to Monetary Easing As Economy Slows

At Least 19 Central Banks Give Way to Monetary Easing As Economy Slows

At Least 19 Central Banks Give Way to Monetary Easing As Economy Slows

In a coordinated fashion, more than 18 central banks worldwide have or plan to cut interest rates, sparking a domino effect of monetary easing. It’s been 10 years since the world has seen central planners orchestrate such harmonization in an attempt to save the economy from a deep recession.

Also Read: Money and Democracy: Why You Never Get to Vote on the Most Important Part of Society

A Large Number of Central Banks Slash Interest Rates

Economists have been saying for a while now that the global economy is headed for a severe wakeup call that could be worse than 2008’s financial crisis. The news started heating up at the beginning of 2019 and more than half of U.S. economists from the National Association for Business Economics (NABE) said they believe an economic downturn is coming by 2020. Financial forecasters think in the midst of a macroeconomic storm from elections, trade wars between the U.S. and China, and a no-deal Brexit that it’s only a matter of time. Tumultuous geopolitical events have caused the world’s central banks to awaken from their slumber and start slashing interest rates. As the end of the year draws near, many central banks have started a rate cut frenzy.

Usually, when the economy is consistent and considered ‘strong,’ central banks keep interest rates higher. On the other hand, when the economy doesn’t look so hot, central banks cut rates so smaller financial institutions can borrow at a better rate. The concept is derived from Keynesian economics, the economic theory of total spending in order to stave off inflation. The goal of interest rate cuts is so the smaller hive of banks below the central banks can give the savings from better rates to consumers. However, instead of trickling down to the people, the excesses usually stay with the wealthy. While keeping the hard assets to themselves, the banking cartel also starts to lend at an alarming rate. They don’t care if individuals and organizations don’t pay up and they know they will have to deal with delinquencies and foreclosures. At the end of the day, all those issues just give the bankers another way to pillage hard assets like homes, land, boats, cars, and anything people can’t afford. Unfortunately, this cycle continues every few decades and generations who haven’t even been born yet are left with more debt.

At Least 19 Central Banks Give Way to Monetary Easing As Economy Slows

Traditionally when central banks cut rates en masse it is a warning sign that the economy is likely headed for troubling times. In the past, people have always hedged their savings by using safe haven assets like gold to escape the wrath of rapid inflation and fiat currency devaluation. Nowadays, precious metals and cryptocurrencies are both benefiting from the doom and gloom financial forecasts. The following is a look at central banks that are currently planning for monetary easing and stimulus packages or have already approved financial inducement and slashed interest rates.

Japan

The Bank of Japan (BOJ) has an accommodative stance toward monetary easing these days. In July, BOJ Governor Haruhiko Kuroda explained to the press that he was positive about keeping long-term interest rates at 0% and short-term rates to -0.1%. When negative rates were first introduced in Japan in 2016, the move was considered shocking. The following month, after the Federal Reserve cut rates this year, Deputy Governor Masayoshi Amamiya said the BOJ was also fully prepared to offer more easing. One of the central bank’s board members also mentioned that Japan’s banks might start charging fees for savings accounts as well. This September, the BOJ is considering deep negative interest rate cuts to respond to global risks facing the economy.

At Least 19 Central Banks Give Way to Monetary Easing As Economy Slows
BOJ Governor Haruhiko Kuroda.

The U.S.

The Federal Reserve has already cut the U.S. interest rate by a quarter-point in July hoping to spur more lending and spending. When the Federal Open Market Committee and Fed Chair Jerome Powell sliced the rate for the first time since the 2008 financial crisis, the group noted economic “uncertainties” remain. Now reports detail that Fed officials will lower rates by another quarter-point by the end of September. U.S. President Donald Trump has encouraged the Fed to cut rates even lower. “The Federal Reserve should get our interest rates down to zero, or less, and we should then start to refinance our debt,” Trump declared on September 11 on Twitter. “Interest cost could be brought way down, while at the same time substantially lengthening the term — We have the great currency, power, and balance sheet.”

At Least 19 Central Banks Give Way to Monetary Easing As Economy Slows
During a conversation with Thomas Jordan, Chairman of the Swiss National Bank, on September 6, the Fed’s Jerome Powell said: “We are not forecasting or expecting a recession.”

Europe

On Thursday, September 12, the European Central Bank (ECB) approved a new stimulus package and cut interest rates. Just like the BOJ and the Fed, members of the ECB are afraid of “worrisome inflation.” According to the ECB, the deposit rate dropped from -0.4% to -0.5% and this November the bank plans to begin €20 billion a month worth of bond purchases. “The Governing Council expects (bond purchases) to run for as long as necessary to reinforce the accommodative impact of its policy rates, and to end shortly before it starts raising the key ECB interest rates,” the ECB said.

At Least 19 Central Banks Give Way to Monetary Easing As Economy Slows
ECB President Mario Draghi’s growth and inflation projections have been dreary.

China

The economy in China has been floundering according to economists and the country has also been dealing with a trade war with the U.S. China’s People’s Bank of China (PBOC) revealed on September 6 that the bank would cut its reserve requirement ratio by 50 basis points. The PBOC also announced that a few specific banks might be entitled to a ratio reduction of 100 basis points if they qualify. China’s new bank cuts will start on Monday, September 16 and the PBOC claims the cuts will provide roughly 900 billion yuan ($126.35 billion) into the Chinese economy. Like Japan, China has an accommodative stance toward monetary easing and this is the third time this year the PBOC has made changes and the seventh time since the financial crisis in 2008.

At Least 19 Central Banks Give Way to Monetary Easing As Economy Slows
The head of the PBOC just got his job last year as China named Yi Gang its first central bank chief in 15 years. Yi Gang is very comfortable with monetary easing tactics.

South Korea

In a surprise move in mid-July, the Bank of Korea (BOK) announced reducing the country’s benchmark interest rates. The BOK also told the press that economists predicted rapid inflation forecasts and slashed the seven-day repurchase rate from 1.75% to 1.5%. “Economic circumstances have deteriorated since April … With the rate cut, we took into account the effects of Japan’s trade restrictions,” BOK governor Lee Ju-Yeol explained during a press conference. Seoul has had conflicts with Japan and just like China and the U.S., the two countries are locked in a trade row.

At Least 19 Central Banks Give Way to Monetary Easing As Economy Slows
“As low growth may continue for a considerable period of time, the Bank of Korea will support economic recovery by maintaining an accommodative monetary policy,” Governor Lee Ju-Yeol has stated in the past.

Russia

The Bank of Russia has been a friend of monetary easing and rate cuts making its third interest rate reduction on September 6. Bank of Russia Governor Elvira Nabiullina and members of the board told the public that “If the situation develops in line with the baseline forecast, the Bank of Russia will consider the necessity of a further key rate reduction at one of the upcoming board of directors’ meetings.” Russia’s benchmark rate was trimmed down to 7% from 7.25%. Russian forecasters believe the inflation rate of 4% could drop to 3% and the Minister of Economic Affairs Maxim Oreshkin believes the bank should continue easing even further.

At Least 19 Central Banks Give Way to Monetary Easing As Economy Slows
Russian President Vladimir Putin with finance minister Maxim Oreshkin. Oreshkin wants deeper interest rate cuts.

India

In August, the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) decreased rates for the fourth time in 2019. The rate cut this summer was the largest since 2010, shaving 35 basis points, and the RBI will now lend to banks at 5.4%. Finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman stood by the rate cut and insisted that a “significant rate cut would do a lot of good for the country.” Members of the RBI and government officials plan to meet this October and the country could see further rate cuts in the near future.

At Least 19 Central Banks Give Way to Monetary Easing As Economy Slows
Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman doesn’t have issues with monetary easing and announced yesterday the RBI and the government would fund the real estate and export sector while also offering a ₹10,000 crore special window for unfinished development projects.

Thailand

Central bankers in Thailand are scared inflation is growing out of control and surprised the world on August 8 by cutting repurchase rates from 1.75% to 1.5%. The Bank of Thailand cited slow economic growth, trade wars, and economic uncertainty. The trade war between the U.S. and China was highlighted during the announcement. According to reports, five panel members voted for the cut and two wanted the interest rates to remain unchanged. Two weeks prior to the quarter-point cut, the seven members of the central bank committee unanimously voted to keep the rates untouched.

At Least 19 Central Banks Give Way to Monetary Easing As Economy Slows
(Left to right) Supant Mongkolsuthree, chairman of the Federation of Thai Industries, Predee Daochai, chairman of the Thai Bankers’ Association, and Thai Chamber of Commerce chairman Kalin Sarasin. “Additional measures may be needed to cope with the stronger baht,” Supant Mongkolsuthree said on September 5. “Those measures include imposing a withholding tax, outbound investment promotion and tapering the bond supply. These are ultimately the regulators’ decisions.”

10 More Central Banks Participate in Monetary Easing

All of these banks are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the large number of other central banks participating in monetary easing. Other financial institutions include central banks from England, Australia, New Zealand, Brazil, Mexico Hong Kong, Indonesia, South Africa, Turkey, and the Philippines. Despite decades of poor central planning, these financial institutions retain full power over the monetary system. The people have absolutely no say in how the system is adjusted, tightened and eased.

However, as the years pass, more individuals and organizations are growing tired of the banking cartel’s practices. A great number of people have sought alternatives like cryptocurrencies so they can protect their wealth from the financial system that’s clearly rigged. Individuals who are sick of bailing the banks out and paying for their mistakes believe that at some point the scales will tip. It merely takes enough people to opt out of the monopolized monetary system. At the rate at which people are learning about a new wave of monetary innovation, at some point there will be a mass exodus whether banks and governments like it or not.

If you are interested in joining the counter-economy and purchasing digital assets like bitcoin cash, you can check out buy.Bitcoin.com, local.Bitcoin.com, and exchange.Bitcoin.com.

What do you think about the cascade of central banks unveiling rate cuts and monetary easing methods? Do you think the central banks know what they are doing when it comes to monetary policy? Let us know what you think about this subject in the comments section below.


Image credits: Shutterstock, Pixabay, Kim Hong-Ji, Wiki Commons, Fair Use, and Qilai Shen.


Do you need a reliable bitcoin mobile wallet to send, receive, and store your coins? Download one for free from us and then head to our Purchase Bitcoin page where you can quickly buy bitcoin with a credit card.

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A Short History of the World’s Largest Bitcoin Mining Pools

A Short History of the World’s Largest Bitcoin Mining Pools

A Short History of the World’s Largest Bitcoin Mining Pools

Mining pools grow and shrink, and rise and fall altogether. Today there are more extinct mining pools than there are active ones. The hashpower of the survivors secures hundreds of PoW crypto networks, from major coins such as BTC and BCH to obscure altcoins such as monero classic and “zelcash.” The following guide provides an insight into the origins of the world’s largest mining pools including their founders, geography, and ideology.

Also read: Big Banks Won’t Touch Crypto Clients – But These Smaller Banks Will

Mining Pools Near Their Nine-Year Anniversary

Mining pools have been in operation since late 2010, when they emerged as a means for solo miners to share their computing resources and increase their chances of discovering blocks. While a lot has changed in bitcoin mining since then, including the introduction of dedicated ASIC mining rigs and the rise of huge mining farms, the basic premise of pools remains the same. Save for a handful of privately operated exceptions, pools are open to anyone to join.

A Short History of the World’s Largest Bitcoin Mining Pools
BTC mining pool hashrate distribution for the last four days

In addition to the dominant SHA-256 mined coins such as BTC and BCH, there are dozens of altcoins that can be mined using algorithms such as the popular equihash. Mining pool 2miners.com, by way of example, records the hashrate and profitability for scores of equihash coins, its layout showing the sort of metrics that cryptocurrency miners have become accustomed to crunching in their quest to determine the most profitable coins. As mining pools near their nine-year anniversary, an examination of the nine largest BTC pools – most of which also mine coins such as BCH and ETH – captures the state of pooled mining today.

A Short History of the World’s Largest Bitcoin Mining Pools
2miners.com stats

Founded: 2015

Owner: Bitmain

BTC hashrate (four-day average): 17.7%

Coins mined: BTC, BCH, ETH

History: Originally created by Bitrail to serve as a web wallet, BTC.com still provides mobile and desktop wallets as well as a block explorer and Bitcoin API. It’s best known for its mining pool though, which has been in the hands of Bitmain since being acquired by the mining manufacturer in July 2016.

A Short History of the World’s Largest Bitcoin Mining Pools

Trivia: In June 2017, BTC.com appealed for the sender of a transaction with an 80 BTC fee attached to come forward, with the pool offering to return the accidental fee.

F2pool

Founded: April 2013

Founders: Discusfish and Wang Chun

BTC hashrate: 13.8%

Coins mined: BTC, LTC, ETH, ZEC, SCC, SC, DASH, XMR, DCR, XZC, AION

History: F2pool is China’s oldest bitcoin mining pool, and the second largest BTC pool in the world today after BTC.com. It also operates the third largest ethereum mining operation. As the Bitcoin Wiki explains, the F2pool was once known as Discus Fish on account of its coinbase signature of 七彩神仙鱼 (Discus Fish), the nickname of one of the operators. Today, F2pool captures 12.38 EH/s on the BTC network, 50.36 TH/s on LTC and 21.42 TH/s on ETH. The pool also provides Android and iOS apps and a range of tools including mining revenue comparisons.

A Short History of the World’s Largest Bitcoin Mining Pools
Decoded coinbase field for a block mined by F2pool

Trivia: In 2014, F2pool controlled 25% of the BTC network and 31% of the LTC, leading to fears that it could launch a 51% attack.

A Short History of the World’s Largest Bitcoin Mining Pools

Poolin

Founded: 2017

BTC hashrate: 13.3%

Coins mined: BTC, BCH, BSV, ZEC, LTC, DCR, DASH, XMR

History: Started by the founders of BTC.com, Poolin.com is another Chinese pool that’s overseen by a company called Blockin. One of the more innovative mining pools, Poolin has developed tools such as an auto-switch feature that alternates between BCH and BTC depending on which network is more profitable. It also operates a rather basic Lightning Network shop, mining profit calculator, and scores of other mining apps and tools.

Trivia: In June 2019, it was revealed that Bitmain was suing three former employees for violating a non-compete agreement by launching Poolin.

Antpool

Founded: 2014

Founders: Jihan Wu and Micree Zhan

BTC hashrate: 10.2%

Coins mined: BTC, BCH, LTC, ETH, ETC, ZEC, DASH, SCC, XMC, BTM

History: Another Bitmain-owned operation, Antpool is Jihan Wu’s original mining pool. It provides an array of advanced tools for experienced miners, particularly those who are mining at scale. Sub-account mining to a depth of three levels and anonymous mining are all supported, along with same-day payouts.

A Short History of the World’s Largest Bitcoin Mining Pools

Trivia: Despite being accused of contributing to mining centralization, Bitmain launched Antpool in 2014 with a “commitment to help decentralize the bitcoin network … and put the majority of hashing power into the hands of consumers.”

Viabtc

Founded: 2016

Founder: Yang Haipo

BTC hashrate: 7.8%

Coins mined: BTC, BCH, BSV, LTC, ETH, ZEC, DASH, XMR, DCR

History: Like most mining pools, Viabtc provides a block explorer and wallet. Yet another Chinese pool, Viabtc has since expanded to offer staking services, enabling holders to earn a passive return on their PoS coins.

A Short History of the World’s Largest Bitcoin Mining Pools

Trivia: Viabtc is famed as a major supporter of bigger blocks and in 2016 mined the first Bitcoin Unlimited block. It also proposed the name for Bitcoin Cash.

Slush Pool

Founded: 2010

BTC hashrate: 6.7%

Coins mined: BTC, ZEC

History: As the world’s first mining pool, Slush can trace its history all the way back to November 2010, when it was first proposed under the name Bitcoin Pooled Mining Server. Slush, which began as a one-man operation, has gone on to mine over 1 million BTC.

A Short History of the World’s Largest Bitcoin Mining Pools

Trivia: In March 2018, Slush Pool mined the first BTC block using Asicboost technology.

Founded: 2017

Founder: Jiang Zhuoer

BTC hashrate: 5.6%

Coins mined: BTC, BCH

History: One of the more inscrutable Chinese pools, BTC.top operates as a private mining pool, and as such is off-limits to ordinary miners. While other Chinese pools attempt to translate their services into English, BTC.top doesn’t see the need, making the pool something of an enigma to westerners.

Trivia: In July, BTC.top CEO Jiang Zhuoer debated Craig Wright, calling BSV’s path “extreme” and the concept of locking the protocol back to the original 0.1 version “ridiculous.”

Bitfury

Founded: 2011

Founder: Valery Vavilov

Coins mined: BTC

History: Bitfury is an industrial mining company that created some of the earliest ASICs, and by 2014 was mining in a pool simply known as pool.io. By early June 2014, this pool, about half of whose hashpower came from Bitfury ASICs, controlled more than 51% of the BTC network, prompting the company to remove some of its power from the pool.

Trivia: Bitfury is a widely mistrusted company that has willingly collaborated with law enforcement to deanonymize bitcoin transactions and erode privacy.

Bitcoin.com

Founded: 2016

BTC hashrate: 0.6%

Coins mined: BTC, BCH

History: Bitcoin.com’s mining pool has been operational for three years, having launched on Sept. 21, 2016, with a mandate to push for bigger blocks. From day one, the Bitcoin.com pool could process blocks of up to 16MB, but would only mine 1MB at the time as that was all BTC’s consensus rules would accept. Today. Bitcoin.com offers hardware and cloud mining, with the latter manifesting as contracts ranging from six months to two years. Bitcoin.com provides its own mobile monitoring software, while the Bitcoin.com Wallet is a major product in its own right with over 4.7 million installs.

Trivia: Bitcoin.com mined the first BCH ABC block on Nov. 15, 2018 following the split with SV.

A Short History of the World’s Largest Bitcoin Mining Pools

What are your thoughts on the various mining pools highlighted here? Let us know in the comments section below.


Images courtesy of Shutterstock and Blockchain.com


Do you want to maximize your Bitcoin Mining potential? Plug your own hardware into the world’s most profitable Bitcoin mining pool or get started without having to own hardware through one of our competitive Bitcoin cloud mining contracts.

Kai Sedgwick

Kai’s been manipulating words for a living since 2009 and bought his first bitcoin at $12. It’s long gone. He’s previously written whitepapers for blockchain startups and is especially interested in P2P exchanges and DNMs.

Distrust of the Bolivar Prompts Venezuelans to Seek Sound Money

Distrust of the Bolivar Prompts Venezuelans to Seek Sound Money

Distrust of the Bolivar Prompts Venezuelans to Seek Sound Money

There’s a small team of committed researchers and activists called the Ryver Bitcoin Cash group surveying Venezuelans, and giving them educational resources about the benefits of bitcoin cash. The Venezuelan country has been suffering from rapid inflation and many people distrust the sovereign bolivar. Unfortunately, most Venezuelans are not getting any exposure to digital currency use cases, and according to Ryver’s community manager, Sofia Corona, some people spreading the crypto message are doing it all wrong.

Also Read: Developer Reveals Token Reward Platform Fueled by Bitcoin Cash

88% of Venezuelan Respondents Don’t Trust Their Currency

This week news.Bitcoin.com spoke with Sofia Corona, the community manager of a Ryver Bitcoin Cash group. Sofia lives in Bogata, Colombia and was attracted to the project because “South American countries have a lot of problems.” The Venezuelan people have been dealing with extreme hyperinflation and central planners have destroyed the economy. Sofia joined the group because of the “bad decisions made by governments” and the team’s work is a form of independence for her.

Distrust of the Bolivar Prompts Venezuelans to Seek Sound Money
Sofia and her team members. “Listen to people’s needs, and try to do things with simple terms — [Venezuelans] do not want to know how big BCH blocks are, they want something else besides bad government decisions and bank interest,” Sofia said.

The group has been surveying 100 or more Venezuelan citizens on a weekly basis and asking them all sorts of questions. “I studied in Venezuela and emigrated from there,” Sofia told our newsdesk. “We started the survey because it is the best research strategy and you can share information shoulder to shoulder with the people and face to face.” So far, news.Bitcoin.com has seen two weeks’ worth of survey responses from 100-150 people living in Venezuela and dealing with hyperinflation.

Distrust of the Bolivar Prompts Venezuelans to Seek Sound Money
Survey week one – 100 people. (Right chart) 68% said they do not know of any cryptocurrencies, while 32% felt that they did. (Left chart) 88% of the Venezuelan respondents do not trust the bolivar as a method of savings and investment.

The first week’s survey was comprised of 100 Venezuelan citizens, surveyed by Sofia and the other team leaders Mr. Tank, Jena, and Jorge. The group visited malls and stores with a lot of foot traffic, specifically in Puerto la Cruz, Maturin, Guayana and Venezuela’s gold mining zones. Survey one shows the “participants do not currently rely on the national circulation currency (bolivar) as a method of savings and investment.”

“This situation is caused by high levels of exposure inflation, which causes rapid loss of consumer purchasing power — In the face of this reality Bitcoin Cash emerges as a necessary alternative, at a time when the country opens the doors to the legalization of cryptocurrencies, an option that would allow supporting the wages and economic assets of the citizens of this country,” the report details. Additionally, out of the first 100 people surveyed, 68% did not know of the existence of cryptocurrencies, while 32% felt they did. A staggering 88% of respondents replied that they do not trust the bolivar.

Distrust of the Bolivar Prompts Venezuelans to Seek Sound Money
Sofia and members of the Ryver Bitcoin Cash group surveying Venezuelan residents from Puerto la Cruz, Maturin, and Guayana.

Inflation and Gold Dealers

Sofia remarked that when people explained they did not trust the bolivar, they smiled when asked about it. “Last year the government printed new cash money — This year nobody can use it or accept it because of inflation and low salaries,” she explained. Sofia also spoke about some pictures she shared of Venezuelans waiting as long as six hours to withdraw 20,000 bolivares cash ($0.94). “The banks have limited the people with restricted amounts by day and they do not have enough printed money to deliver to people, so the lines are huge and people waste a lot of time there,” Sofia, said, adding:

They want this money to pay for bus tickets or sell to miners or the mafia — The mafia will pay you 100% value of cash money — Cash money is scarce.

In Venezuela, gold dealers from the mines run rampant in congested areas like shopping centers. Sofia said there are a lot of gold dealers and they are “everywhere and they have the control of the authorities and cash money.” After hearing about the gold dealers, news.Bitcoin.com asked the Ryver group community manager why her team thinks most Venezuelans are not getting exposure to digital currencies.

Distrust of the Bolivar Prompts Venezuelans to Seek Sound Money
Venezuelans in line for hours to use an ATM to withdraw 20,000 bolivares cash ($0.94) on Sep. 12, 2019.

The Wrong Strategy

“The Ryver team thinks that the South American strategies to spread cryptocurrency have been wrong so far,” Sofia insisted. “Some spreaders here act like supreme people or want to share this technology like it’s the first world. We have contacted people and specialists to do some live talk forums or activities with people and they have very high costs to share the message. So we took it upon ourselves to go to the streets and talk with the people.” Sofia further stated:

Many of these specialists want to copy strategies used in first world events in this region and have another heritage. We need to resolve simple problems, not have amazing events or restrict some people because they think different, we need it so people can feel the power in their hands. Do not make people feel like you are the owner of the brand or the message.

Sofia continued by explaining that people should educate before giving Venezuelans something they don’t know how to use. “Listen to people’s needs, and try to do things with simple terms — They do not want to know how big BCH blocks are, they want something else besides bad government decisions and bank interest.”

“Share the economic freedom and take the lead by providing them with the knowledge to make their own decisions about the money,” the community manager added. “You can share rocket science with people but it no makes sense if you do not teach them how to turn the power on.”

Distrust of the Bolivar Prompts Venezuelans to Seek Sound Money
Survey week two – 150 people. 69% of respondents have had canceled purchases with points of sale, followed by bank transfers canceled representing 16% of respondents. Points of sale are the most efficient option for the population, but the researchers say it is common for platforms to be faulty “due to electrical problems, or inconveniences with the chip.”

Petro Propaganda

Sofia also told our newsdesk about the usage of the Venezuelan government’s Petro network as we’ve heard reports from Sunacrip (the Petro’s regulator) that the state-issued crypto is popular. She says that the positive Petro headlines and stories are only for “promotional” purposes. “Nobody uses the petro and only people close with government use it to skip out on U.S. sanctions — Sunacrip is really only for miners — they have installed crypto point-of-sale (POS) systems around some stores, but the POS only accepts bitcoin, litecoin, and BNB, so if you have petros, you need to exchange that,” Sofia asserted.

Distrust of the Bolivar Prompts Venezuelans to Seek Sound Money
The cryptocurrency known as the petro is “promotional” and not used by the common Venezuelan Sofia opined. “Only people close with government use it to skip out on U.S. sanctions,” she said.

Genuine Ideas and Helping People Take Control of Their Destiny

Sofia has talked to a lot of people and living in Bogata she’s seen refugees from Venezuela crossing the Simon Bolivar International Bridge daily for goods and services. The community manager said the team is also aware of other projects in Venezuela like nonprofit food drive @eatbch_VE. “They [@eatbch] are a genuine idea and supporters of BCH and we like that we can share their actions, the people need food to think, and to be educated to make their own decisions,” Sofia said.

Following a long discussion with Sofia, she explained what drives her to do what she does. “I believe that we can do something to help the people that have their families far away,” Sofia concluded. “I believe that we can try to build a new way to do things, I believe that the people can take the lead of their destiny, and I will try to help them.”

What do you think about what the Ryver Bitcoin Cash group is doing and Sofia’s efforts? Let us know what you think about this subject in the comments section below.


Image credits: Sofia Corona, the Ryver Bitcoin Cash group, Twitter, and Pixabay.


Venezuela.bitcoin.com is also making strides in Caracas, Maracaibo, and throughout the rest of the Latin American country by bolstering Bitcoin Cash merchant adoption in Venezuela.

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Jamie Redman

Jamie Redman is a financial tech journalist living in Florida. Redman has been an active member of the cryptocurrency community since 2011. He has a passion for Bitcoin, open source code, and decentralized applications. Redman has written thousands of articles for news.Bitcoin.com about the disruptive protocols emerging today.