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Digital currencies such as Bitcoin, Ripple, and Ethereum have been soaring pretty high over the past few months. According to the latest estimates:

  • Bitcoin currently stands at $2588 per BTC
  • Ripple has hit the market cap of $10 billion
  • Ethereum has reached a total market cap of around $20 billion.

This incredible growth in value is the outcome of efforts put in by two countries – China and Japan.

CHINA:

China has been leading the Bitcoin market for the last couple of years. The Chinese mining pools are in charge of 60% of the Bitcoin network’s hash rate. Also, with a cheap electricity and access to proper hardware, China provides the ideal ground for digital mining.

However, in February 2017, three of China’s biggest Bitcoin exchanges suspended all withdrawals due to increased concerns over money laundering and capital flight. BTC China, Huobi, and OKCoin declared in separate statements that they will lift the suspension after the proper implementation of new guidelines set by the Central Bank.

Luckily, during June, there was an announcement that the self-imposed halt on withdrawals by Bitcoin exchanges was no more in place. The news took China by storm. The citizens responded with complete enthusiasm, assuring that they have complete confidence in digital currencies.

JAPAN:

While China was on a halt in the beginning of the year, Japan took Bitcoin to an entirely new level. Towards the start, Japan barely took up 1% of the total Bitcoin market in trading volume. However, that soon changed as Japan now holds at least 6% of trading volume at the moment.

Moreover, Japan has entirely eliminated the tax on Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies, a move which will ultimately increase the trading activities within the Japanese exchange market. The main aim behind this move was to ensure that all transactions take place without having to deal with any external factors such as taxes. Now, Bitcoin traders and businesses can run smoothly and easily access cryptocurrencies in the country.

Furthermore, Large institutions in Japan have now begun to accept Bitcoin as a payment option. Japan’s largest exchange, bitFlyer, now has the backing of all of Japan’s megabanks: MUFJ, Mizuho, and SMBC. In addition, Bic Camera, a very popular retailer, has paired with bitFlyer to accept Bitcoin at all of its locations. As the acceptance of digital currencies by influential retailers increases, the Japanese have begun to trust digital currencies for daily transactions.

Both the Chinese and Japanese, are responsible for boosting Bitcoin’s value to new heights.

Acceptance by The Government:

The Japanese Government is determined to provide their business community with a proper secure environment, where they are able to easily access cryptocurrencies and conduct trading activities. They’ve already assured that all their retail stores are well-equipped with the right security systems to prevent money laundering and fraudulent transactions from happening.

Ultimately, both governments are driving the cryptocurrency’s growth off the charts, with China in plans of designing and launching its own currency and Japan legally classifying Bitcoin a form of payment.

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What Are Some Bitcoin Scams and How to Avoid Them?

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Scams have been part of human history. Ever since the beginning of currency, people have been trying to defraud each other. And with the advancement of technology, the scamming tricks have also become more raveled.

When it comes to currency related scams, Bitcoin tops the list. The currency is relatively new but holds incredibly high value in the market. Moreover, generating personal bitcoins is extraordinarily hard. So, the scammers use different techniques to steal hard-earned coins of other users. (Want to earn some bitcoins, here is everything you need to know about how to earn Bitcoin fast and easy).

Here are the most common scams that the bitcoin users should be aware of.

Scenario #1 – Wallet Scams:

If you are a bitcoin user, you would know that a Bitcoin wallet address serves the same purpose as a traditional bank account. The difference is that it is used to store bitcoins – and not the fiat money.

Since Bitcoin is all about anonymous transactions and the anonymity is gained through bitcoin wallets, the scammers hit this feature particularly by developing fake wallets.

Then they try to sell these wallets to users with a promise of 100% anonymity. The program initially seems to be working fine. But to your surprise, the trickster behind the scenes has been transferring coins from your wallet to his own without giving away a single hint.

So, being a Bitcoin user, it essential to acquire a wallet from trustworthy sources.

Scenario #2 – Scam Through Ponzi Scheme:

One of the most common Bitcoin scams. In Ponzi scheme, the con artist promises high-interest rates on deposits you make.

People who join the scheme early are paid out using the money of those coming in later. This goes on until the point where there are no more new entries.

Once the entries stop, the payments also stop and users start realizing the losses.

Scenario #3 – Bitcoin Exchange Scams:

Bitcoin scam exchanges sell the cryptocurrency at current market rates. Most of the exchanges working out there are genuine and possess now security threats to users. However, a small portion of exchanges does not work that way. Their sole purpose is to steal the digital currency and fill their own pockets.

Such exchanges charge extremely low fees when a customer is looking for credit card processing. However, after the card is processed, all the money is gone and the user is left with no bitcoins.

So, don’t always go with the cheaper options.

Read our guide on what are the biggest Bitcoin exchanges in the world to trade safely.

Scenario #4 – Phishing Scams:

The scam involves users receiving fake emails – stating that they have been awarded or have won bitcoins. But to receive the reward, they are asked to reach their wallets through the link given in the email.

DO NOT CLICK THAT LINK – or you will end up losing all your coins.

Conclusion:

These are some common scams that go around in Bitcoin world. All it takes is a bit of common sense to realize true intentions of someone you are dealing with. And if you are just starting your bitcoin venture, it’s necessary that you are aware of these bitcoin scams and know how to tackle with the tricky situations that may arise during a transaction.

Tags: Bitcoin wallet scam

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Bitcoin Advantages – How Bitcoin Can Benefit New Users?

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The majority of people is not familiar with the concept of Bitcoin. They think of it as an online scam tool that criminals use to steal money; which is not true. It is a peer to peer, a digital currency which is independent of any sort of third-party influence.

There are several advantages of using Bitcoin and those with the experience of Bitcoin transactions are fully aware of how to capitalize on this cryptocurrency. However, if you are new to the concept, you will need to go in depth and know how it can benefit you.

Benefits of Bitcoin:

Bitcoin Advantages for New Users – Easy to Open a Bitcoin Wallet Address:

Opening a Bitcoin Wallet Address, also known as “wallet”, is pretty straight forward. No credit check ID, citizenship papers, age requirements or passport are needed to open the account. Since there are no age restrictions, anyone can open a Bitcoin account, even if it means a 10-year old kid.

Want to learn more about Bitcoin wallet? Read our post on how to make a Bitcoin wallet.

No Need for Bank Approval to Launch Your Business Idea:

Starting new business is a difficult financial task as you will be required to have a bank loan or credit check. But with Bitcoin, launching a new business is not a problem anymore.

All you need is a QR code. Once you have it, post it on a social media platform and get support for your next business idea.

The idea may include offering services, a product or something valuable in exchange for Bitcoin.

Quick Access to The Rest of Digital Currencies/Altcoins:

Digital currency is a vast world and Bitcoin is just a small part of it. The other part is altcoins in which hundreds of millions are invested each year. To access the Altcoin market, you will need to have Bitcoin as it is to digital currency what US dollar is to traditional currency worldwide.

Before you move ahead, don’t forget to read what are some alternative currencies to Bitcoin.

Bitcoin IPOs:

Bitcoin IPOs are becoming a new financing option in the world of Bitcoin. The users can offer bonds, stock, and IPOs and buy/sell shares of their companies without the need of any established stock exchange.

The Cryptocurrency Has Numerous Advantages as Compared to Traditional Currency:

Bitcoin can do many things that dollar can’t. For example, it offers family wallets with pre-set spending limit which allows your kids to shop only at certain stores and at certain times. Moreover, it gives the owners the option to program digital currency for different parameters which are not possible in fiat currency.

Bitcoins Are Independent:

If you don’t like being watched or controlled by your government or third party, then trading in Bitcoin is the best option for you.

Bitcoin is more like a technology.  A technology with code and encryption keys. The technology is not controlled by any government or central bank. The only person who controls Bitcoin is the one who owns it.

Conclusion:

These are some advantages of Bitcoin for new users. The currency is relatively new and still, needs plenty of improvement. However, with the kind of structure it has and the rapidly growing usage, the currency is going to make a great impact on future markets.

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Bitcoin Criminals Are Using Bitcoin & Other Cryptocurrencies for Ransomware Payments

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As we already know that Bitcoin is the most popular cryptocurrency, complaints about Bitcoin are also growing rapidly. It’s been reported by many people that bitcoin’s transaction takes too long to get processed and it’s also very much expensive. Bitcoin Criminal use new hacking resources.

There are many indications that the currency is not going so well in favour of the underworld and the stories about culprits looking for bitcoin alternatives are not so new. The latest report by the forensic firm Chainalysis shows that the amount of bitcoin transactions that are related to the dark websites, where people frequently participate in criminal activities, has reduced by 30%.

The reason behind this huge drop is that many people are using bitcoin, and they’re only choosing to keep it, rather than spending it. However, Chainalysis counts multiple law enforcement agencies among its clients and also mentions the growing use of other cryptocurrencies like Zcash, Monero, and Dash.

Fast and cheap transactions are not the only things that are offered by the new currencies, but they also include additional layers of anonymity that make them hard to track than bitcoin. Rob Wainwright (Executive Director of Europol), has also warned that this trend is already in progress. He also added that we’ll definitely see a progressive change in 2018 towards the criminal use of cryptocurrencies other than bitcoin, making it even more challenging for the law enforcement to counter.

A report by tech site ZDNet also shows that many researchers have claimed that slow transactions and high fees are causing culprits to move to Monero. ZDNet writes that it’s expected that soon, culprits will be also providing instructions to their ransomware victims on how to buy and exchange Monero. It’s been also reported that many companies have started to buy amounts of bitcoins so they’d be ready to pay up if they’re hit with ransomware.

While criminals are trying to turn away from the bitcoin for regular transactions, there’d be still very less chance of finding out if they’ve actually lost their interest in it or not. According to a report by Chainalysis, culprits might not want to use bitcoin, but they’d definitely want to steal it.

According to Chainalysis, theft of bitcoin has increased from at least $3 million to $95 million from 2013 to 2016, adding almost $172 million worth of bitcoin between the 2013-2017.

Image Credit: thehackteam

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Bithumb Partners with BitPay – What Does Sonny Singh have to say about it?

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Bithumb, which is the largest cryptocurrency exchange of South Korea has joined with BitPay. On 13th March, it was announced by an executive, that the main purpose of this partnership is to compete in the global remittance market. As the major South Korea Exchange Bithumb merges with BitPay, there’s no doubt that it’s going to impact the crypto-market.

Chief commercial officer of BitPay, Sonny Singh noted while talking to CNBC, that now the businesses will have the ability to change invoices to Bitcoin and utilize BitPay for settling them more economically and faster than the ordinary bank-based remittance networks.

What does Sonny Singh have to say about this partnership?

Sonny Singh told the network;

“Cross-border payments between Korea and the West will be a $200 bln industry this year”

Singh continued by saying;

“Right now, people are doing cross-border payments […] and paying bank wires, FX fees around 4% and it takes about four days. Using Bithumb and BitPay, we’re able to make this a 1% fee in one business day”

A chain of regulations on crypto-markets has been introduced by South Korea, since December 2017, for banning unidentified trading, foreign use of local exchanges, local ICOs, and in addition to that, banning all the government officials from trading and holding cryptocurrencies. Even with such massive trading volumes, South Korea is still an ambiguous market for cryptocurrency users and businesses.

Singh also confirmed that BitPay is on its way to process $4 billion worth of payments this year and is disconcerted by the potential for regulatory disruption.

Singh said;

“We welcome regulation.”

Later, he continued by saying;

“So, I think all the Korean exchanges like Bithumb — they welcome regulations too. We make sure they do proper AML/KYC checks.”

At the beginning of this month, it was announced by the South Korean bank, named “Woori Bank,” that its aim is to start commercialized cross-border payments by using Ripple. According to a report, Bithumb still continues to grow consumer-awareness of cryptocurrency within the country, South Korea, by familiarizing payment terminals to restaurants as well.

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Wise Words from Fred Wilson

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Image Credits: picoloresearch.com

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