BitPay Accepts Bitcoin Cash

Although we have used Bitpay I didn’t realize it was available for brick and mortar physical transactions since we’ve never done any.   On that end it puzzles me how on earth anyone would ever use them?

Bitcoin can take minutes and even hours to confirm!  Can you imagine waiting at the restaurant held hostage because “your transaction is unconfirmed?”.  This is the advantage fiat processing still has.

But, really I think Bitpay should rebrand to use currencies that are actually usable for instantaneous transactions at retail or restaurant.

They should be using a currency like Ripple or Lumens which is nearly instant.  There are a few currencies that have these properties but any Bitcoin or Ethereum derivative is simply not going to cut it in my opinion.

Personally I don’t know a single person who has or would use any of these coins for payments, we all reach for the cash, debit or credit.  These are people like me, who are crypto enthusiasts but we also value convenience and what works.  And I think a lot of the cryptoworld is stuck in a dream world that simply doesn’t exist.  Now, for us in IT we and the customer can often wait over night for the transaction to be confirmed, but at a grocery store or restaurant neither the seller or customer would be impressed.

 

Wikileaks Shutdown by Coinbase

Apparently Julian Assange’s Wikileaks merchant account on Coinbase was shutdown.  This is not at all surprising since PayPal, VISA, Mastercard and the banks did the same thing to him/them in the past.  In all fairness I don’t think Coinbase is to blame, aside from the fact they are a US based company and under the jurisdiction of the US of course.

PayPal came out and admitted they were forced to close down Wikileaks account, and I am certain the same thing has happened with Coinbase.

They have no say in the matter when the US government comes knocking.  Coinbase even recently had to give out information to the US tax department (IRS).

Of course users can still directly pay and donate to any wallets that Wikileaks controls.  As of now he lists addresses for Bitcoin, Litecoin, Ethereum, ZCash and Monero.  This is where things will heat up if he were to have a centralized currency like Ripple or Stellar Lumens.  The US government could possibly have those accounts in XRP/XLM frozen since they are a US based company.

This comes down to the wider issue of privacy, rights and freedom online and how cryptocurrency can prevent persecution for political reasons.  It also stands to reason that entities based in the US have very little say when the government comes knocking.  Coinbase and PayPal couldn’t have said no to the US government or by doing so they would be in seriously hot water.

I always advocate having some IT resources out of the reach of PRISM countries for reasons of privacy and freedom.  One of my current favorites are Singapore and Hong Kong in Asia.  Hong Kong I place particularly high value on because it has the British based system, yet it is under the protection of China.  Hong Kong is less likely to be influenced by a foreign entity than a smaller country like Singapore.  A good example of this is how Edward Snowden miraculously made it out of Hong Kong as a wanted fugitive.  Surely, Hong Kong was pressured and asked to hand him over, but somehow it never happened.

There are positives here, it looks like some brave entities in Europe have stood up for Wikileaks and at least for now, in France, Germany and Iceland there are some banks, foundations and even a University who are providing him access to the fiat system.

Ripple Wants Government Regulation of Cryptocurrency

I have always believed regulation was inevitable and this is actually one of the reasons I invested in Ripple.  It’s no surprise that they are calling for regulation as they benefit the most.  As worried about them as I am (saving for another article) this is an excellent hedge against this inevitability.  Ripple stands to profit from this as it already has very good relationships with big finance and governments.  Any regulation is very likely to benefit Ripple the most.

Ripple’s, Ryan Zagone, ironically titled, “head of regulatory relations” has called on the UK to adopt 3-regulatory moves and has suggested they take a cue from Japan.  This is both good and bad, regulation, if fair and easy to follow can remove uncertainty and strengthen the countries that do it right.  I think Japan is a good example of regulation that has gone right and helped cryptocurrency flourish.

Zagone has called on the three issues to be regulated “namely consumer protection, financial stability and anti-money laundering “.  Consumer protection is a given and I wonder why no one has also said “insurance coverage” as this would take most of the risk out of holding cryptocurrency and the risk of theft and hacks.  When it comes to “financial stability” it depends on what he means and what the UK government would take it to mean?  I would take it that this would be the part that would help out Ripple and possibly stunt the growth of competitors to Ripple.  When it comes to anti-money laundering this is a given but again, how do you do it without harming or offending law abiding citizens?  Or will these laws and regulations be a pretext for both Ripple and Big Banking to squash the abilities of everyone else?

The UK Central Bank’s, Mark Carney has said the following about cryptocurrency.

  • “The time has come to hold the crypto-asset ecosystem to the same standards as the rest of the financial system. Being part of the financial system brings enormous privileges, but with them great responsibilities,” Carney said in a speech on Friday.
  • “A better path would be to regulate elements of the crypto-asset ecosystem to combat illicit activities, promote market integrity, and protect the safety and soundness of the financial system,” Carney said.
  • Carney also slammed the ability for cryptocurrencies to fulfil the role of money, saying they are “failing” as a medium of exchange and are “proving poor short-term stores of value.”
  • “This extreme volatility reflects in part that cryptocurrencies have neither intrinsic value nor any external backing. Their worth rests on beliefs regarding their future supply and demand —ultimately, whether they will be successful as money.”
  • “At present, in my view, crypto-assets do not appear to pose material risks to financial stability,” Carney said.

Well, Mr. Carney was as honest as he could be, from the banking sphere and without losing his job.  I agree that there is almost nothing backing most cryptocurrencies, aside from mining investment.  However, this is about the same, if not better than fiat which is printed without any backing of assets since the gold standard has long been abandoned.  But let’s read between the lines, he wants regulation and he wants cryptocurrency held to the same standards as traditional finance, but at the same time slams it as being a poor store of value (like Soros who now says he’s investing).  Regulation will be tricky, because you are then giving all cryptcurrency legitimacy as currency by regulating it as such or even to traditional financial standards.

Everyone has their own interest in all of this but it will be interesting to see how this plays out.  The game is different now and governments cannot easily seize crypto assets, nor can they shutdown major players who can move away from their jurisdiction with the click of a button.  If smart people are in charge of regulation they will do it right, but if bankers alone are involved, and continued to feel threatened, I predict carnage, and that it will ultimately harm or even topple our current financial system.

Let’s hope things go smooth and that regulators are not influenced too much more when it comes down to it.

 

Just Keep Hodling Your Cryptocurrency Coins!

As of the time of this writing on 2018-04-15 coins have started a rally just before the weekend and they’re all up.  Could it be that there is some pumping going on from Soros, Rothschild and Rockefeller?  Or could it be an emotional reaction to their announcements that they will invest in crypto?

Coins are up between 3-16% at the time of this writing with the big news being that it looks like Bitcoin has strongly cleared the $8000 mark and is hanging there fairly well.  We are back to where we were later last year.  Could this be the next leg up of a bull run? No one can be sure since only the whales and FUD and FOMO can control the market but I’ve been hodling.

Ethereum, Ripple, Litecoin to me are key indicators of something big possibly heading our way.

 

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Ripple Performance Beats Bitcoin and Ethereum!

Despite so much turbulence in the markets Ripple has returned 4.8% vs Bitcoin’s 2.64% in the last 24 hours or Ethereum’s -.75%.  Ripple is proving itself to be able to withstand strong headwinds after nearly hitting the $5 mark last year.  Of course $.70 is a far cry from its all time high but considering the market as of lately this is impressive.  I think despite the concerns over XRP’s future in terms of it being associated with large and central banking clients, there is value in it being a hedge.  This is one of the reasons I invested in Ripple as I feel with increasing government scrutiny, regulation, threats, bad news etc.. that this would all cause Ripple to return much better in the long-term.  However as I’ve said in past posts, there appears to be the very real fear and possibility that Ripple may just dump XRP if the banks tell or pay them to.  In fact I even e-mailed them with detailed concerns from another blog and they had no comment other than asking me to check their news, blog and website so at this point I feel it is very plausible.  Ripple’s affiliation with banks and government will either help it right to the top or it could weight down Ripple.  Besides that I feel Ripple is a fairly good currency but does suffer from a few other flaws that I won’t get into here.

 

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Ripple’s First Central Bank Contract with Saudi Arabia!

This is huge news for Ripple but apparently at the time of writing Ripple has tumbled more than 5% to .957 USD (under a dollar now).  To be honest I do hold Ripple but I believe my analysis to be unbiased.

The news is huge that Ripple will help Saudi Arabia settle foreign currency transactions and shows Ripple has proven itself in the large scale banking and even central banking industry.  It looks like other gulf countries including the UAE (United Arab Emirates) are going to be involved as well which could be really huge for Ripple.  One thing that many have said though is that none of these banking organizations involved are really interested in XRP.  They are using Ripple’s network but these transactions are not being funded or traded in XRP itself.

Some industry analysts have speculated that Ripple’s relationship with big banks is so strong that it may have strong incentive in the future to literally kill/dissolve XRP.

Despite this my outlook on Ripple is strong with the reservations about it mainly being a tool for large banks.  Don’t get me wrong, the technology works well for transactions in terms of being low-fee, fast not having to sync the blockchain, very secure (aside from no first party wallets….) but can we trust this company to protect our interests and those of its large banking clients?

I think this is why Ripple has been volatile itself, from an investment standpoint it sounds great but also bad because Ripple is kind of a crypto-rebel by essentially being the tool that cryptocurrency was meant to fight or free us from (the tool of big banks and now Saudi Arabia’s central bank.).

To look at it from the other perspective though this could mean a huge rise for Ripple in valuation but it could also mean the opposite.  Ripple has carved out an incredible niche but at the same time risks alienating its main users and investors.  The question is what will Ripple as a private and centralized blockchain do?

I do agree the author of the quoted article above could very well have it right for the end game.   It’s a shame because Ripple solves a number of key issues while also introducing security and trust issues at the same time.  Ripple works well but will it literally sell us users and investors out to central banks in the future?

I’ve attempted to play the lotto and will seek Ripple’s comment on these concerns but regardless of assurances only time will tell where things head.

Bitcoin, Ethereum, and Altcoin Crash – What You Need To Know

So essentially overnight Bitcoin lost 40% but at this point is still at this point at nearly $15000 and I believe will recover the $20K mark before the New Year (probably).  Some people have asked me what “FUD” is and blame it for the drop which stands for Fear, Uncertainty and Doubt.  I’m not buying that.  I also want to give a shoutout to Max Kessler who called a lot of things right about Bitcoin and predicted a sharp correction around the $20K mark but insists Bitcoin will keep running much higher.

If you look at the charts for the top 100 cryptocurrencies you will see an almost simultaneous drop in all of them.  Now if this just happened in the top 10 or a handful I would believe it is people taking profits randomly (nothing organized or not VERY large sellers).

Could Charlie Lee (creator or Litecoin/LTC) have triggered this? Yes I believe so and I don’t understand his reasoning for selling all of his position.  It’s no conflict to own your own coin and try to make it succeed.  To many acute investors they would have viewed this like a company about to bankrupt and the executives dump all of their stocks.  I certainly don’t think this was Charlie’s intention or concern at all though.

Look at the chart of the top 10 or even top 100 and they look eerily similar.  Massive selloffs with similar percentage losses of up to 30%.  The only good news or winner here is that Ripple (XRP) hardly lost anything and recovered faster than the others.

So am I worried about crypto or that there is a bubble? Yes and no, I think it has a number of years to run before the risk of a formed bubble bursting happens (and it will be massive bleeding when it does…).  But what triggered this current drop of all currencies simultaneously?

My theory is that billions of dollars of hedgefund money has come in, and in the last few weeks the currencies had significant appreciation and like some stock traders, these managers took massive profits which will look very great to the portfolio and their clients.

Now this is where it gets scary because if a small amount of people precipitated this event then it becomes easy for a small group of people to control, manipulate and play the market.

I’m not shaken from what happened, nor do I believe it was the “FUD”, I’m still long on crypto including Bitcoin but as always proceed with caution as we are heading into completely uncharted territories with massive volatility being the norm for now.  I will believe more in the FUD as Bitcoin gets higher though because those who have bought in at such high levels have a lot more to risk and worry about.

Bitcoin – I Don’t “Get It”

This may sound strange coming from a CEO who owns and uses Bitcoin and other cryptocurrency through multiple businesses that accept Bitcoin each day.   But I still really don’t understand Bitcoin on a practical level, the technical part is understandable but for how long will the current model of currencies like Bitcoin and Litecoin work?  Do not get me wrong, I am long on crypto still but what that means in the coming years and decades is probably going to be vastly different than the current model of today.

What Is A Confirmation And Why Does It Take So Long?

What I’m referring to is when you send or receive currency there are varying opinions of what it means to actually “confirm” you have it.  But even before that people who have sent and received cryptocurrency know it is actually quite slow.  It can easily take a number of minutes and even after that point it is recommended you wait for a certain amount of confirmations.

It’s quite simple, these crypto networks with multiple nodes have to talk to each other, this takes time for them to all be in sync or agreeance with the blockchain.  Once that happens you get your first confirmation, however this can be a number of minutes and still doesn’t absolutely guarantee you have the money in your wallet.

The current system is nearly impossible to use as a daily transaction/banking experience.

I’m used to using cash, debit, credit or even services like PayPal.  It is all fairly instant (although sometimes it can take several seconds for debit or credit) but once the payment is approved and the merchant is notified instantly, they knew they have their money.  Imagine waiting for even a single confirmation for cryptocurrency while in line at a supermarket?

Why does the problem exist?

It’s quite simple, ironically it’s the one huge negative side effect of distributed, decentralized cryptocurrencies.   There are other drawbacks too such as what happens to banks if they are DOS’d but this hasn’t been a huge factor so far in crypto’s history.

What other risks exist?

My biggest fear is that in the future a powerful organization or entity may eventually be able to reverse engineer or find another way to attack the blockchain and algorithm of some cryptocurrencies.  This would essentially spell disaster, chaos and the end of that currency.  It would be the equivalent of the destruction or infiltration of a fiat currency’s central banking and distribution system.

One other issue with the blockchain

Everyone knows the safest way to hold crypto is with your own wallet because exchanges are routinely hacked and coins are stolen, it is more risky to keep your coins with a third party wallet (essentially the equivalent of an online crypto bank).  The problem lays with the issue at this moment that those deposits are not insured (although I believe Coinbase and a few others may have some insurance).  This may change in the future and exchanges and currencies that are insured will definitely rise above the rest.

What is the solution?

This may draw the ire of a lot of hardcore crypto users but there has got to be some sort of central authority, body or “top-tier” network similar to root DNS servers on the internet that can serve and validate transactions on the blockchain.  There must be some sort of physical organization between the nodes on the blockchain.

Is there a current solution to this problem?

Ripple/XRP solves this problem by essentially verifying transactions instantly and keeping all the currency in essentially an online global wallet (there is no such thing as paper wallet or traditional on your computer/device wallet).  The advantage is that you don’t have to store hundreds of gigabytes of blockchain data (and growing) like Bitcoin and other currencies.  Ripple has the benefit of also being endorsed by major financial institutions which is a first for digital crypto that I’m aware of.

I haven’t done further research but currencies like XRP I believe are the future, things can be done anyway technically and Bitcoin, Litecoin and similar blockchained coins can do this if they change some of their decentralized model.  I expect there will be more infighting and similar splits as the Bitcoin Cash that emerged from the Segwit update as the industry matures and expands.

Disclaimer

I hold positions in multiple cryptocurrencies including Bitcoin and Ripple and have given my true opinion of both in this article.