Regulations Have Ruined the Physical Bitcoin Industry

Regulations Have Ruined the Physical Bitcoin Industry

Regulations Have Ruined the Physical Bitcoin Industry

As bitcoiners celebrate the 10th anniversary of Satoshi’s invention, veteran enthusiasts will be aware that a lot has changed since the early days. One business that was once incredibly popular is the art of manufacturing loaded physical bitcoins. Government regulations have forced operations to cease, causing the physical bitcoin minting business to virtually grind to a halt.  

Also read: 8 Crypto Debit Cards You Can Use Around the World Right Now 

Manufacturing Loaded Physical Bitcoins Is a Lost Art

Not long after Bitcoin was launched, people managed to create paper wallets and soon the concept of physical bitcoins was born. After that, individuals took the idea to another level and minted metal bitcoins were created. Casascius coins quickly became a collector’s item with these shiny keepsakes loaded with digital currency. However, after Mike Caldwell, the creator of Casascius coins, started selling his physical bitcoins loaded with whole units or fractions of BTC, he was shut down by the U.S. Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN). The U.S. regulator considered minting Casascius coins illegal money transmission and Caldwell had to stop selling loaded coins. Since then a number of other manufacturers have attempted to sell loaded bitcoins to investors who may find numismatic value in these physical collections.

Regulations Have Ruined the Physical Bitcoin Industry
This Casascius coin funded with 1BTC sold for $28,700 on Ebay a year ago on Jan. 13, 2018. At the time of sale, 1BTC was worth $14,300.

From 2013-2016, physical bitcoins were extremely popular and demand for these coins has remained robust among collectors. Some rare Casascius coins have sold for more than 4-10X their loaded value. In the early days there were so many physical bitcoins that cryptocurrency proponent Elias Ahonen managed to author an entire encyclopedia of physical bitcoins. In recent years, however, the art of molding loaded physical bitcoins is all but lost. Companies like Ravenbit, Alitin Mint, Cryptmint and Titan Bitcoin have all gone out of business. Last April the Japanese manufacturer Satori Coin told customers it was forced to close operations due to the Financial Services Agency’s AML/KYC standards introduced in 2018. Similarly, the cryptocurrency firm BTCC launched its own physical bitcoin forge and ended its operations in October 2018.

Regulations Have Ruined the Physical Bitcoin Industry
Loaded Titan Bitcoins. The physical bitcoin manufacturer Titan is no longer in business.

Bobby Lee, the co-founder of the company, explained to his Twitter followers how BTCC Mint’s physical bitcoin sales in China touched record highs before it closed operations. The mint did manage to produce a 2018 series, which is still available to U.S. customers through a company called Rogue Bitcoin. In fact, there are plenty of physical bitcoins for sale on secondary markets as third parties have managed to hoard these coins and sell them for a profit. On Ebay, and many other auction and e-commerce websites, there are plenty of Casascius, Satori, Titan, and BTCC loaded coins. However, collectors will find that prices are way higher than what the coin was sold for originally and well above what it holds digitally.

Regulations Have Ruined the Physical Bitcoin Industry
Loaded Satori coins. The Japanese manufacturer announced this past April it had to close up shop due to the FSA’s strict regulations.

Governments Don’t Like Competing Bearer Bond Instruments 

The biggest reason for most of these firms going out of business is predominately overreaching regulation. The U.S. government, for instance, may be okay with people exchanging cryptocurrency in a regulated manner digitally. However, issuing physical bitcoins that are loaded or any other type of manufactured bearer bond instrument that competes with the U.S. dollar is not a good idea and you could wind up in prison.

Regulations Have Ruined the Physical Bitcoin Industry
Liberty Dollars created by Bernard von Nothaus. U.S. law enforcement said the Liberty Dollar coins were marked with the dollar sign ($); the words dollar, USA, Liberty, Trust in God (instead of “In God We Trust”); and other features associated with legal US coinage.

This can also happen to coin creators even if the products are minted without digitally loaded value inside them. On March 18, 2011, the U.S. government convicted 67-year old Bernard von Nothaus for being the monetary architect of a currency. Essentially von Nothaus’s “Liberty Dollar” operations ended immediately and U.S. Attorney Anne Tompkins did not take kindly to the creation. “Attempts to undermine the legitimate currency of this country are simply a unique form of domestic terrorism,” Tompkins explained at the time.

Regulations Have Ruined the Physical Bitcoin Industry
Denarium products can still be purchased from the Finland-based dealer with up to 2BTC loaded on certain coins.

There are plenty of coin makers that sell metal ‘bitcoins’ with no digital funds, but there is one company that still issues physical bitcoins that are loaded. Denarium sells a variety of pre-funded physical coins in bronze, silver, and even .999 gold. The pieces are made by a Finnish company called Prasos and private keys are covered by a tamper-resistant hologram. Some of Denarium’s products have units like 1 BTC tied to them, while with other types of coins, the customer can add a custom sum. The Denarium Custom Gold Plated 2018 piece can be loaded with fractions of BTC and up to a maximum of 2 BTC per coin. Besides Denarium and overpriced secondary markets, finding physical cryptocurrency manufacturers who are willing to sell coins loaded, unfortunately, is now all but impossible.

What do you think about the lack of physical bitcoin manufacturers in 2019? Let us know what you think about this subject in the comments section below.


Images via Denarium, Satori coins, Titan Bitcoins, BTCC Mint, Casascius, and Pixabay. 


Have you seen our widget service? It allows anyone to embed informative Bitcoin.com widgets on their website. They’re pretty cool, and you can customize by size and color. The widgets include price-only, price and graph, price and news, and forum threads. There’s also a widget dedicated to our mining pool, displaying our hash power.

The post Regulations Have Ruined the Physical Bitcoin Industry appeared first on Bitcoin News.

Source: Bitcoin.com

Cryptocurrency GIFs: Animations That Capture the Mood of the Markets

Cryptocurrency GIFs: Animations That Capture the Mood of the Markets

The cryptocurrency ecosystem is filled with unique individuals with a penchant for sharing dank memes. Besides an arsenal of killer graphics that depict the current mood of the markets, they’re also equipped with a wide variety of animated GIFs to virally share across social media and messaging platforms like Telegram.

Also read: Cryptocurrency Memes: The Only Assets That Can Survive a Bear Market

Over the Last Two Years, There’s Been No Shortage of Crypto GIFs

During 2018, a steady influx of memes and GIFs provided some relief from the market turmoil. Graphics Interchange Format (GIF) animations are a popular medium across the internet, but cryptocurrency fans have a particular fondness for them. Various animations portray bitcoin markets, hodlers, traders, and rekt individuals in a humorous manner. What follows is a look at some of the top crypto-related GIFs that have provided light relief amidst all the market fakeouts.

Feels Guy Working at McDonald’s Watching Crypto Candles

Cryptocurrency GIFs: Animations That Capture the Mood of the Markets

Cryptocurrency GIFs: Animations That Capture the Mood of the Markets

Vitalik Impress

Cryptocurrency GIFs: Animations That Capture the Mood of the Markets

Cryptocurrency GIFs: Animations That Capture the Mood of the Markets

Christopher Walken Hodler

Cryptocurrency GIFs: Animations That Capture the Mood of the Markets

Cryptocurrency GIFs: Animations That Capture the Mood of the Markets

FOMO Kitten

Cryptocurrency GIFs: Animations That Capture the Mood of the Markets

Cryptocurrency GIFs: Animations That Capture the Mood of the Markets

Kramer Changes the Crypto-Market Trends

Cryptocurrency GIFs: Animations That Capture the Mood of the Markets

Cryptocurrency GIFs: Animations That Capture the Mood of the Markets

Bought the Dip

Cryptocurrency GIFs: Animations That Capture the Mood of the Markets

Cryptocurrency GIFs: Animations That Capture the Mood of the Markets

Hold This Altcoin Bag, Pleb

Cryptocurrency GIFs: Animations That Capture the Mood of the Markets

Cryptocurrency GIFs: Animations That Capture the Mood of the Markets

HODL

Cryptocurrency GIFs: Animations That Capture the Mood of the Markets

Cryptocurrency GIFs: Animations That Capture the Mood of the Markets

We Dump Them Every Day

Cryptocurrency GIFs: Animations That Capture the Mood of the Markets

Cryptocurrency GIFs: Animations That Capture the Mood of the Markets

Limp Chart

Cryptocurrency GIFs: Animations That Capture the Mood of the Markets

Cryptocurrency GIFs: Animations That Capture the Mood of the Markets

Feels Enters the Capitulation and Despondency Stage

Cryptocurrency GIFs: Animations That Capture the Mood of the Markets

Our portfolios may be worth less in fiat terms, but at least we’re rich in GIFs. 2019 will likely conjure up more market turmoil, cushioned by an array of fresh memes and GIFs to be savored, shared and passed down to the next generation along with our magical internet money.

What do you think about the popular GIFs shared on social media and Telegram this year? Let us know what you think in the comments section below. 


Images via Shutterstock, Telegram, Twitter, and Imgur. 


Need to calculate your bitcoin holdings? Check our tools section.

The post Cryptocurrency GIFs: Animations That Capture the Mood of the Markets appeared first on Bitcoin News.

Source: Bitcoin.com

Indonesian Unicorn Go-Jek Acquires Majority Stake in Filipino Crypto Wallet

Indonesian Unicorn Go-Jek Acquires Majority Stake in Filipino Crypto Wallet

Indonesian unicorn Go-Jek has announced a partnership between the company’s payments platform, Go-Pay, and Filipino cryptocurrency wallet Coins.ph. Local media has reported that the deal will see Coins.ph continue to run as usual, despite Go-Jek now owning a majority stake in the company.

Also Read: Executives of Korean Exchange Sentenced to Jail for Faking Volumes

Go-Jek Announces Partnership With Coins.ph

Go-Pay, the payments platform of Indonesia’s largest on-demand service platform, Go-Jek, has announced that it has entered into a partnership with Filipino wallet provider Coins.ph.

Indonesian Unicorn Go-Jek Acquires Majority Stake in Filipino Crypto Wallet

While specific details regarding the deal have not been officially disclosed, Manila Standard reported that the deal will include a “substantial acquisition” of shares by Go-Jek, giving the country a majority stake in Coins.ph. Citing two undisclosed industry sources, Techcrunch has reported that the deal saw Go-Jek pay $72 million for the shares.

Launched in Jakarta in 2011, Go-Jek now comprises Indonesia’s largest on-demand multi-service platform, with Krasia estimating the company’s most recent funding round to have boosted Go-Jek’s valuation to between $8 billion and $10 billion. More than half of all transactions processed by Go-Jek are conducted through Go-Pay.

Coins.ph has grown to support a customer base of over 5 million in less than five years of operating, with the company claiming to have processed 6 million cryptocurrency transactions during the month of December 2018.

Many Filipinos Lack Access to Basic Financial Services

The two companies have their eyes set on the Filipino market, where 77 percent of adult citizens do not have bank accounts. While few citizens have access to financial services, nearly 70 percent of Filipino citizens use mobile phones – a confluence of demographics that many analysts believe makes the Filipino market ripe for widespread cryptocurrency adoption.

Indonesian Unicorn Go-Jek Acquires Majority Stake in Filipino Crypto Wallet

Ron Hose, the founder and chief executive officer of Coins.ph, stated: “In just a few years, our team has been able to build a scalable service extending financial services to millions of Filipinos … Together we have a tremendous opportunity and by leveraging Go-Jek’s resources and expertize, we can give Filipinos even more convenience, choice, and access to the services they want.”

Aldi Haryopratomo, the chief executive officer of Go-Pay, stated: “We are excited to work with Coins.ph, a company that shares our ethos of empowering communities by bringing more people into the digital economy. Consumer transaction behavior in Indonesia and Philippine share many similarities, and together with Coins.ph, we hope to have similar success in accelerating cashless payments in the Philippines.”

What is your response to Go-Jek’s acquisition of a majority stake in Coins.ph? Share your thoughts in the comments section below!


Images courtesy of Shutterstock


At Bitcoin.com there’s a bunch of free helpful services. For instance, have you seen our Tools page? You can even lookup the exchange rate for a transaction in the past. Or calculate the value of your current holdings. Or create a paper wallet. And much more.

The post Indonesian Unicorn Go-Jek Acquires Majority Stake in Filipino Crypto Wallet appeared first on Bitcoin News.

Source: Bitcoin.com

Blame Banks for Damaging the Environment – Not Bitcoin

Blame Banks for Damaging the Environment – Not Bitcoin

Bitcoin Again Targeted by Mainstream Media for Not Being Environmentally Friendly – but What About the Banks?

Another mainstream media outlet has published a piece warning of the dangers Bitcoin poses to the environment. We’ve heard these overly simplistic arguments countless times before. But even if one was to accept that Bitcoin’s energy consumption is substantial, the figure still pales in significance to traditional financial institutions, whose carbon footprint is colossal.

Also read: South Africa Wants to Mandate Registration of Crypto Service Providers

‘Bitcoin Is Oil’

Journalist, former bitcoin miner, and current partner at crypto firm Ocuis, Ethan Lou, penned a Guardian article this week, “Another thing you may not know about bitcoin: it’s killing the planet.” In the article, he argues that “all who dabble in it [bitcoin] will be reborn as enemies of the environmental movement” just like those involved in the oil industry. He goes on to compare bitcoin to the black gold as both have suffered crashes and experienced manipulation by major players, adding:

It is not this day, but a day may come when big oil shrinks or changes, becoming less of a target for environmentalists. Bitcoin is the natural next enemy.

The article adds that the closure of mining sites due to electricity concerns is further cause for alarm, and that firms will continue to fight for their right to mine, as cryptocurrency adoption inevitably grows. These companies will also continue to be confronted for their behavior, the author asserts. “While academics and the media have long noted mining’s electricity usage, 2018 marked the year environmental and progressive publications started sounding the alarm,” Lou writes.

Blame Banks for Damaging the Environment – Not Bitcoin

Why Not Blame the Banks Then?

Like most Bitcoin hit pieces, the Guardian’s effort was one-sided. It is true that cryptocurrency mining uses a lot of electricity. And it’s certainly true that environmentalists have targeted Bitcoin repeatedly of late. But if we are to have an intelligent debate, we must look at all the facts. Attacking cryptocurrencies for their supposed environmental impact is misleading – especially when banks are the prime culprits in the energy-guzzling stakes.

Blame Banks for Damaging the Environment – Not Bitcoin

Dr. Katrina M. Kelly-Pitou PhD, Research Associate in Electrical and Computer Engineering, University of Pittsburgh, made this clear in her article “Stop worrying about how much energy bitcoin uses” where she argued that the “conversation around bitcoin and energy has been oversimplified,” adding:

Banking consumes an estimated 100 terrawatts of power annually. If bitcoin technology were to mature by more than 100 times its current market size, it would still equal only 2 percent of all energy consumption.

As well as looking at how much energy is being used by banks, it’s important to consider what kind of energy is being used. Bitcoin mining typically uses energy which is surplus to demand and which would have otherwise gone to waste. By and large it doesn’t use dirty base power such as coal. Banks, on the other hand, have funneled billions of dollars into the fossil fuel industry – with JP Morgan Chase criticized for funding tar sands oil and coal mining. Kelly-Pitou further uses Iceland, where bitcoin mining is becoming popular, as an example. The country relies on nearly 100 percent renewable energy for its production, and therefore its energy consumption is relatively benign from an environmental perspective. Rather than targeting cryptocurrency, the media should be focusing on major industries – including banking – whose reliance on fossil fuels should be substituted for something greener.

Blame Banks for Damaging the Environment – Not Bitcoin

It is ironic that bitcoin, a genuinely useful and transformative financial system, is being targeted for not being green enough when the corrupt institutions that exert hegemony over the global financial system are complicit in exacerbating climate change. Bitcoin, in comparison, leaves only the faintest of footprints on planet earth.

What is your opinion about how bitcoin is portrayed in the mainstream media? Do you think its impact on the environment is overstated? Share your thoughts on the subject in the comments section below.  


Images courtesy of Shutterstock.


OP-ed disclaimer: This is an Op-ed article. The opinions expressed in this article are the author’s own. Bitcoin.com does not endorse nor support views, opinions or conclusions drawn in this post. Bitcoin.com is not responsible for or liable for any content, accuracy or quality within the Op-ed article. Readers should do their own due diligence before taking any actions related to the content. Bitcoin.com is not responsible, directly or indirectly, for any damage or loss caused or alleged to be caused by or in connection with the use of or reliance on any information in this Op-ed article.

The post Blame Banks for Damaging the Environment – Not Bitcoin appeared first on Bitcoin News.

Source: Bitcoin.com

US Crypto Investors Incurred $5.7 Billion in Unrealized Losses Last Year

US Crypto Investors Incurred $5.7 Billion in Unrealized Losses Last Year

US Crypto Investors Incurred $5.7 Billion in Unrealized Losses Last Year

The results of a survey published by Credit Karma estimate that crypto investors in the U.S. realized losses of approximately $1.7 billion during the previous tax season. Additionally, the report finds that U.S. investors incurred a further $5.7 billion in unrealized losses.

Also Read: Plaintiff in AT&T SIM-Swapping Case Sues ‘Bitcoin Bandit’ for $81M

US Cryptocurrency Investors Realized $1.7B in Losses During 2018

According to a survey conducted by Credit Karma, investors based in the United States realized a combined loss of roughly $1.7 billion during 2018, equating to an average of $718 per person. The participants comprised 1,009 U.S. cryptocurrency investors aged 18 or older who were questioned during November 2018.

US Crypto Investors Incurred $5.7 Billion in Unrealized Losses Last Year

The survey found that only 53 percent of investors had decided that they would report their cryptocurrency gains and losses on their tax returns. A further 19 percent of participants stated that they had not yet decided whether they would report the performance of their cryptocurrency investments.

According to the report, 59 percent of profitable traders intended to report their returns, whereas only 38 percent of investors who lost money during the previous financial year planned to do so.

More Than Half of US Investors Unaware of Tax Deductions on Crypto Losses

The survey found that 58 percent of respondents were not aware they can claim tax deductions on cryptocurrency losses, including 61 percent of investors who had realized losses during the preceding tax season.

US Crypto Investors Incurred $5.7 Billion in Unrealized Losses Last Year

The report also estimated that U.S. investors had incurred $5.7 billion in unrealized losses, suggesting that many opportunities to claim tax deductions have been missed by American cryptocurrency traders.

Of the respondents that stated they would not report the performance of their cryptocurrency portfolio, 35 percent were not aware that they are required to do so, and 55 percent believed that they were not required to due to how small their gains or losses were.

Are you surprised by how few U.S. cryptocurrency investors were aware of their reporting requirements? Share your thoughts in the comments section below!


Images courtesy of Shutterstock


At Bitcoin.com there’s a bunch of free helpful services. For instance, have you seen our Tools page? You can even lookup the exchange rate for a transaction in the past. Or calculate the value of your current holdings. Or create a paper wallet. And much more.

The post US Crypto Investors Incurred $5.7 Billion in Unrealized Losses Last Year appeared first on Bitcoin News.

Source: Bitcoin.com

Executives of Korean Exchange Sentenced to Jail for Faking Volumes

Executives of Korean Exchange Sentenced to Jail for Faking Volumes

Two executives of a South Korean cryptocurrency exchange have reportedly been sentenced to jail for inflating trading volumes on their exchange. The pair allegedly used a bot to fake large orders in both cryptocurrencies and Korean won.

Also read: Indian Supreme Court Moves Crypto Hearing, Community Calls for Positive Regulations

Prison Sentences

Two executives of South Korean cryptocurrency exchange Komid were sentenced to jail on Thursday “for their roles in orchestrating fraudulent trading volume reports on their platform,” The News Asia reported.

Executives of Korean Exchange Sentenced to Jail for Faking Volumes

One of the executives is the CEO of the exchange, Choi Hyunsuk. He received a three-year prison sentence while the other executive received a two-year jail sentence, Maekyung publication detailed, asserting:

This is the first time a representative of a virtual currency exchange has been sentenced to prison for allegedly inflating trading volumes.

Executives of Korean Exchange Sentenced to Jail for Faking VolumesKomid began operations on Jan. 5 last year after beta test runs. According to the court, Choi created more than five fake accounts in January last year and inflated trading volumes in both cryptocurrencies and Korean won on his exchange. The two were sentenced to prison “for fraud, embezzlement, and misconduct,” The News Asia noted, elaborating:

The charges from prosecutors outlined a scheme wherein the two defendants fabricated 5 million transactions on their platform to deceive investors into thinking that the volume was natural. This led to the two earning about $45mil. There is also a suspicion that they utilized a ‘bot’ to automatically create large orders, which attracted new users.

Damaged Confidence

The judge explained that “Choi has committed fraud for a countless number of victims for a long period of time,” the news outlet conveyed. “There is a need for punishment because the damage caused by the creation of false electronic records is large,” Maekyung quoted him as saying.

However, Edaily reported that the judge took into account the fact that the damage was minimized as some funds were returned. In addition, he found that “The defendants did not appear to have committed a crime with strong fraudulent intentions.” Nonetheless, he concluded:

The crime has damaged customers’ confidence in the virtual currency exchange and has had a negative effect on the domestic virtual currency trading market.

Executives of Korean Exchange Sentenced to Jail for Faking Volumes

Cryptocurrency exchanges have been caught using trading bots to falsify orders since the early days of Mtgox. In December last year, officials of one of the country’s largest crypto exchanges, Upbit, were indicted for fraud. They allegedly faked orders worth approximately $226 billion and sold 11,500 BTC to about 26,000 investors. Upbit has denied the allegations.

Other domestic crypto exchanges in a similar bind include Coinnest, whose executives were indicted in September last year for accepting a bribe. Moreover, employees of crypto exchange HTS Coin were arrested in September last year on suspicion of fraud and embezzlement.

What do you think of Komid’s executives being sentenced to prison for faking volumes? Let us know in the comments section below.


Images courtesy of Shutterstock and Komid.


Need to calculate your bitcoin holdings? Check our tools section.

The post Executives of Korean Exchange Sentenced to Jail for Faking Volumes appeared first on Bitcoin News.

Source: Bitcoin.com

8 Crypto Debit Cards You Can Use Around the World Right Now

Crypto Cards You Can Use to Spend Your Digital Coins

Cryptocurrencies are gradually becoming a viable payment option across a range of markets and jurisdictions. If there is a tool that significantly expands the usability of digital coins in a world still dominated by traditional payment systems, it’s the crypto debit card. A growing number of reliable platforms offer the fintech product to bitcoin enthusiasts.

Also read: Crypto Cards Are Legal in Russia, According to the Finance Ministry

Established Crypto Card Providers in the U.S.

Bitpay, which processed over $1 billion in payments during a bearish 2018, offers users in all U.S. states a convenient way to spend their cryptocurrencies online and in store. Its prepaid Visa card is tied to a cryptocurrency wallet that supports instant conversion from bitcoin core (BTC) and bitcoin cash (BCH) to U.S. dollars and local fiat currencies outside the country.

8 Crypto Debit Cards You Can Use Around the World Right Now

Bitpay’s crypto card is available to U.S. residents only. To apply, it is necessary to provide a home address, a valid government-issued ID and social security number. There’s a fee of $9.95 that covers the cost of issuing and a dormancy fee of $5 a month following a 90-day period of inactivity. A currency conversion fee of 3 percent is applied each time the card is used outside the U.S. Withdrawing cash at an ATM costs $2 in the United States and $3 abroad.

Shift, another card available in the U.S., allows users to connect to their Coinbase accounts. The Visa card has no maintenance fee but a 3 percent commission is charged on international transactions. ATM withdrawals cost $2.50 in the United States and $3.50 in other jurisdictions. The card itself is $20. Shift supports BTC only and offers fee-free conversion from bitcoin core to U.S. dollars.

Major Crypto Debit Cards Available in Europe

Wirex is the first choice for many Europeans. The U.K.-based startup offers both virtual and physical Visa debit cards, and the plastic version comes with chip and PIN. They are currently available to residents of the European Economic Area (EEA), where Iban support was introduced for all EUR accounts. However, the company plans to offer its services in North American and Asian markets as well.

Users can load the card with bitcoin core (BTC), ethereum (ETH), ripple (XRP), litecoin (LTC), and waves, the latter having been added recently. Card holders can spend three leading fiat currencies – euros, U.S. dollars and British pounds. Wirex users pay a $1.50 card management fee each month. ATM withdrawals within Europe cost $2.50, and $3.50 elsewhere. In-store purchases are rewarded with 0.5 percent crypto cashback in BTC.

8 Crypto Debit Cards You Can Use Around the World Right Now

Revolut, another British company, offers up to 1 percent cashback in cryptocurrency for payments made with its Revolut Metal card. For less than $16 a month, the digital bank’s premium service provides clients with access to five major coins – BTC, BCH, ETH, XRP, and LTC – and the ability to pay in over 150 fiat currencies. The contactless card, which can be used anywhere Mastercard is accepted, comes with fee-free ATM withdrawals up to €600 per month (~$680).

Cryptopay issues another card in both virtual and physical form. The latter has a chip and costs $15. The contactless card is currently issued only in Russia, where it has a 1 percent loading fee and a monthly service fee of 65 Russian rubles, less than a dollar. Cryptopay is planning to bring its cards to Singapore. The payment provider supports BTC, ETH, LTC, and XRP. A fee of $2.50 is applied to withdrawals from teller machines and each exchange transaction is charged a 3 percent commission.

Some Newcomers in the Market

A number of payment providers and fintech startups have launched new cryptocurrency debits cards in the past few months. These platforms are trying to attract the attention of crypto users around the world and prove themselves as alternatives to the well-established products on the market.

Fuzex is cryptocurrency payment card project that last summer chose bitcoin cash (BCH) as its base cryptocurrency. It also supports ETH and the platform’s own token, FXT. Fuzex cards are currently issued to residents of Europe and the APAC region. The physical card is NFC payment enabled. It comes with an EMV chip and a barcode display.

Crypto.com, a Hong Kong-headquartered company formerly known as Monaco, announced in October it’s starting to ship its MCO Visa cards to customers in Singapore. The prepaid cards are linked to a mobile wallet that allows holders to buy, sell, store, send, and track digital coins such as BTC, ETH, Binance’s BNB token, the platform’s own MCO tokens as well as major fiat currencies.

Aximetria offers a debit card linked to a cryptocurrency wallet which became available to Russian citizens since last year. In November, the Switzerland-based startup told news.Bitcoin.com its platform supports BTC and ETH which can be used for online and offline payments via instant conversion to fiat. The company is partnering with the cryptocurrency exchange Cex.io. The card can be ordered from its iOS app.

Are you using a crypto debit card? Tell us what you like about it in the comments section below.


Images courtesy of Shutterstock.


Disclaimer: Bitcoin.com does not endorse nor support these products/services. Readers should do their own due diligence before taking any actions related to the mentioned companies or any of their affiliates or services. Bitcoin.com is not responsible, directly or indirectly, for any damage or loss caused or alleged to be caused by or in connection with the use of or reliance on any content, goods or services mentioned in this article.

The post 8 Crypto Debit Cards You Can Use Around the World Right Now appeared first on Bitcoin News.

Source: Bitcoin.com

Lightning Network Co-Creator Is Designing a Scaling Solution Called Utreexo

Lightning Network Co-Creator Is Designing a Scaling Solution Called Utreexo

A blockchain researcher has been working on a scaling effort for the unspent transaction output set found in the Bitcoin protocol. According to Tadge Dryja’s recently published description of research, the software engineer is working on a dynamic accumulator called Utreexo. The project could theoretically allow network participants to verify the state of the chain’s consensus rules with smaller sets of cryptographic proof.

Also read: Venezuelan BCH Proponents Bolster Cryptocurrency Use Cases and Adoption

Utreexo Could Allow Bitcoin Full Nodes on a Mobile Phone

Lightning Network Co-Creator Is Designing a Scaling Solution Called Utreexo
Tadge Dryja from MIT and the Digital Currency Initiative.

A few years after Bitcoin was born, developers and network participants discovered the protocol needed to scale in order to facilitate transactions for a growing number of users. The software stores a record of every transaction and all the newly minted coins within a distributed ledger. This makes full node maintenance cumbersome over time and a big reason for this is because of a collection of Unspent Transaction Outputs or UTXOs. In order to help solve the scaling issue, Tadge Dryja from MIT has written a description of the current research project he’s been working on called Utreexo. The protocol is a hash-based dynamic accumulator, which essentially brings the millions of UTXOs recorded onchain down to under a kilobyte. “There is no trusted setup or loss of security; instead the burden of keeping track of funds is shifted to the owner of those funds,” Dryja’s description explains.

“With Utreexo, though, rather than having to store the entirety of the bitcoin state, bitcoin holders could simply verify if it is correct using a cryptographic proof,” Dryja’s paper adds. “This approach could minimize storage requirements to the extent that it might even be possible to run bitcoin on a mobile phone.”

Millions of Unspent Outputs Represented in Under a Kilobyte

Dryja’s Utreexo and accumulators have been getting some attention in recent months. In the podcast episode Grey Mirror #1, host Rhys Lindmark interviewed Tadge Dryja about the project, which has slowly become a prototype. Dryja explained to Lindmark how blockchains could bootstrap upgrades in a “non-fork” fashion by using a bridge node to Utreexo. Furthermore, Stanford University cryptographers Ben Fisch, Dan Boneh, and Benedikt Bünz have also written a paper that involves accumulators. The study discusses batching techniques for accumulators with applications to IOPs and stateless blockchains. In addition to the group’s 46-page paper, the research studies vector commitments in groups of unknown order.

Lightning Network Co-Creator Is Designing a Scaling Solution Called Utreexo
Batching Techniques for Accumulators with Applications to IOPs and Stateless Blockchains written by Ben Fisch, Dan Boneh, and Benedikt Bünz looks at accumulators in a different manner. 

With Utreexo, the protocol places the cost of maintaining the network “to the right place,” explains Dryja’s documentation. The millions of onchain transactions that have been the cause of many arguments could be maintained by shrinking the UTXO set down to a few kilobytes of proof. While some blockchain developers have discussed the Utreexo concept, engineers from other projects have been experimenting with different ideas as well. For instance, there’s been a number of conversations about Bloxroute, a company that claims it can provide blockchain networks far better efficiency by propagating blocks in a neutral manner. Additionally, there’s Jonathan Toomim’s Xthinner, which leverages the benefits of lexicographic transaction ordering (LTOR) on the Bitcoin Cash (BCH) network. Purportedly Xthinner can compress the information in blocks by 99.6 percent and Toomim’s other project Blocktorrent could be even more efficient. The torrenting protocol Blocktorrent breaks a block down into fractions and each chunk can be independently verified.

Accumulators May See Action on Another Chain Due to Stubborn Bitcoin Core Developers

Even though accumulators may be a long-term scalability solution, the idea has been discussed for over nine years with little advancement. Some believe accumulators will likely see the light of day with developers who are not so stubborn when it comes to scaling the protocol such as Ethereum and Bitcoin Cash programmers. BTC developers have been criticized by many for their refusal to raise the block size via a hard fork upgrade, while the developers’ soft fork to introduce segregated witness still has less than 40 percent adoption after more than a year. Accumulators were talked about during a Bitcoin Core Dev discussion on Dec. 18, however, and Pieter Wuille reviewed UTXO accumulators on Dec. 7.

There’s still a lot of work to be done with Utreexo, but Dryja has compiled some rough code. The Stanford programmers are working on their idea which is different to the MIT engineer’s work. There have been many scaling concepts announced over the last few months and 2019 might just be the year of scalability for several public blockchains.

What do you think about Tadge Dryja’s Utreexo project and the general concept of dynamic accumulators? Let us know what you think about this project in the comments section below.


Images via Shutterstock, Twitter, and Pixabay.


Have you seen our widget service? It allows anyone to embed informative Bitcoin.com widgets on their website. They’re pretty cool, and you can customize by size and color. The widgets include price-only, price and graph, price and news, and forum threads. There’s also a widget dedicated to our mining pool, displaying our hash power. 

The post Lightning Network Co-Creator Is Designing a Scaling Solution Called Utreexo appeared first on Bitcoin News.

Source: Bitcoin.com

Chile to Start Taxing Cryptocurrency Earnings in Second Quarter of 2019

Chile to Start Taxing Cryptocurrency Earnings in Second Quarter of 2019

Chile is to start taxing cryptocurrencies in April, when taxpayers pay their yearly income taxes, but it’s unclear at what rate. According to local media reports, the country’s revenue authority has included crypto assets in the Annual Income Tax Returns form, which will be declared as “other own income and/or third-party income from companies that declare their effective income.”

Also read: Report From Within Shut Down Zimbabwe: A Government That’s Crippled Its Own Economy

Investors to Pay Tax on Crypto Earnings

Chile exempted cryptocurrencies from Value Added Tax laws in 2018, labeling them “intangible assets” but investors will now be required to pay tax on earnings generated from crypto-related investments, Diario Bitcoin reported, quoting the country’s tax collector, Internal Revenue Service.

It is not clear at what rate the crypto tax will be levied, but individual income tax thresholds in the country averaged 39.38 percent during the 15 years to 2018, according to research website Tradingeconomics. Today, the rate stands at 35 percent.

Chile to Start Taxing Cryptocurrency Earnings in Second Quarter of 2019

Fernando Barraza, director of the revenue authority, said citizens who buy, sell or trade virtual currencies will have to register their enterprises by completing what are known as “tax-exempt invoices.” These invoices allow the Internal Revenue Service to monitor their operations. The article stated that the Chilean government had become interested in tracking cryptocurrency activities following a sharp rise in their use as “valid currencies to trade products and services.”

Legitimizing Cryptocurrencies

The move by the revenue collector to tax crypto assets is widely regarded by observers as a major step towards legitimizing the trade and use of virtual currencies in the south American country. Until now, the legal status of cryptocurrency in Chile has remained a matter of conjecture. The country does not recognize virtual currencies such as bitcoin as legal tender, but they are not banned either.

However, Chilean crypto exchanges have in the last year had running battles with commercial banks, who closed their accounts without explanation. A landmark ruling by the Supreme Court of Chile in December means banks can now close such accounts legally. In a case pitting state-owned Bancoestado against digital asset trading platform Orionx, the court ruled the bank was justified in closing the exchange’s accounts.

Chile to Start Taxing Cryptocurrency Earnings in Second Quarter of 2019

Judges said the bank acted in compliance with laws on money laundering and terrorist financing, a threat allegedly posed by censorship-resistant decentralized cryptocurrencies. The Supreme Court claimed that digital assets lack “physical manifestation” and “have no intrinsic value.” It also took issue with the fact that they are not controlled or issued by governments or companies.

Tax lawyer Patrício Bravo, representing the non-profit Bitcoin Chile, commented that the new crypto tax was an attempt by the Internal Revenue Service “to expand the tax structure as much as possible to cover all types of crypto assets.”  Bravo, who was speaking to local news outlet Crypto Notidies, also noted that the tax may have been “due to the current lack in Chilean legislation of figures specifically designed for this type of instruments, which makes it difficult to generate more specific items.”

What do you think about Chile’s cryptocurrency tax? Let us know in the comments section below.


Images courtesy of Shutterstock.


Express yourself freely at Bitcoin.com’s user forums. We don’t censor on political grounds. Check forum.Bitcoin.com

The post Chile to Start Taxing Cryptocurrency Earnings in Second Quarter of 2019 appeared first on Bitcoin News.

Source: Bitcoin.com

Plaintiff in AT&T SIM-Swapping Case Sues ‘Bitcoin Bandit’ for $81M

Plaintiff in AT&T SIM-Swapping Case Sues ‘Bitcoin Bandit’ for $81M

The plaintiff in a $224M lawsuit against wireless carrier AT&T has turned his attention to a new target. Michael Terpin’s legal team have filed a second suit, this time against 21-year-old Nicholas Truglia, dubbed the “bitcoin bandit” by the New York press. The Manhattan resident, who was arrested on unrelated SIM-swapping charges in November, now finds himself the target of an $81 million suit that seeks to invoke the RICO Act and land the fresh-faced defendant with a racketeering charge into the bargain.

Also read: Report: Bitcoin Use on Darknet Markets Doubled in 2018

Bitcoin Bandit Faces Fresh Legal Woe

Plaintiff in AT&T SIM-Swapping Case Sues ‘Bitcoin Bandit’ for $81M
Nicholas Truglia

Michael Terpin’s recent lawsuit, filed in the Superior Court of California on Dec. 28, 2018, names the defendant he believes responsible for stealing his cryptocurrency through a social engineering attack. Terpin has been fighting an ongoing battle against network operator AT&T for its complicity in facilitating the unauthorized transfer of his cell number to the thief’s handset. The incident enabled the attacker, who Terpin believes to be Nicholas Truglia, to steal $24 million worth of cryptocurrency.

In December, news.Bitcoin.com reported on Truglia’s extradition to California to face charges of stealing $1 million of cryptocurrency through SIM swapping, noting that “high profile figures Truglia is accused of targeting in this manner include Saswata Basu, CEO of 0Chain, and Gabrielle Katsnelson, co-founder of SMBX.” This week, Michael Terpin shared his reasons for filing the latest suit with news.Bitcoin.com.

When asked whether the $81 million RICO Act conversion and racketeering charge against Truglia would affect the ongoing suit against AT&T in any way, Terpin noted that the two cases are independent actions, but “we expect to obtain evidence in this suit that will bolster our claims against AT&T. Naturally, any funds we would recover from this suit may adjust the amount of primary damages we can be rewarded against AT&T, but much of our claim against them is for punitive damages.”

Plaintiff in AT&T SIM-Swapping Case Sues ‘Bitcoin Bandit’ for $81M

$60 Million in Crypto on Two Trezors

A trove of documents filed by Terpin’s lawyers, Greenberg Glusker, outlines a compelling prima facie case against the so-called bitcoin bandit. This includes a former friend of the 21-year-old, providing a statement in which he recalls that “Nick [Truglia] showed me two thumb drives (Trezors). One had over $40 million in cash value of various cryptos, and the other one had over $20 million cash value of various cryptos.”

Plaintiff in AT&T SIM-Swapping Case Sues ‘Bitcoin Bandit’ for $81MMichael Terpin is seeking for the devices to be confiscated via a court order to recover cryptocurrency worth close to $24 million – the amount stolen from the plaintiff last year. Terpin reiterated to news.Bitcoin.com his belief that Truglia still has the hardware wallets he was allegedly showing off, noting that his lawyers “are diligently using subpoenas to locate these funds.”

When asked whether he would reach a settlement with Nicholas Truglia, lifting the RICO Act charges and the $81 million being sought in damages in return for recouping his stolen cryptocurrency, Terpin confirmed that he would “consider this a good outcome.” Truglia remains in custody on a $1.4 million bond, pending another court appearance on April 10 on unrelated SIM-swapping charges.

Do you think Michael Terpin will be successful in his lawsuit against Nicholas Truglia? Let us know in the comments section below.


Images courtesy of Shutterstock.


Need to calculate your bitcoin holdings? Check our tools section.

The post Plaintiff in AT&T SIM-Swapping Case Sues ‘Bitcoin Bandit’ for $81M appeared first on Bitcoin News.

Source: Bitcoin.com