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As investors look for a safe place to store their assets, Ethereum – the second largest cryptocurrency after Bitcoin – is getting a boost, thanks to Putin’s endorsement of the currency.

The Main Story:

Ethereum continues to skyrocket after the Singapore government and the Russian president Vladimir Putin publicly showed their support to the currency. The latest Monday morning saw the currency trading at $407.10, a record rise of more than 5000% since the start of 2017, where Ethereum was trading at just $7.98.

The Russian president and Vitalik Buterin ­– founder of Ethereum – recently had a meeting during St. Petersburg International Economic Forum. According to some experts, the occurrence of this meeting suggests that Russia is willing to open its doors to using cryptocurrency in an attempt to make their economy less dependent on oil and gas.

“The digital economy isn’t a separate industry, it’s essentially the foundation for creating brand new business models,” said Putin at the forum.

The recent shift in Putin’s stance has had an immediate impact as the Russian entities such as the State Development Bank VEB, have agreed to use Ethereum.

Meanwhile, the government of Singapore has also released a report about their recent attempts of using Ethereum blockchain and creating their own digital currency.

Japan is also issuing new rules about making Ethereum a valid form of payment. Some major companies such as Microsoft and Toyota have shown their support for Ethereum too.

In conclusion, Ethereum is getting support from all across the globe and is likely to experience even more boost in the coming days. So, if you are looking for a safe digital investment option, Ethereum is the way to go.

Story Credits: vanityfair.com

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Buying Bitcoins Through Xcoins – Is the Service Legitimate?

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Buying Bitcoins Through Xcoins

Xcoins is a Bitcoin lending service. It allows you to buy bitcoin with a credit card or PayPal. Lately, there has been too much talk about Xcoins and whether is it legit to buy bitcoins with this service.

In this article, we have discussed all the aspects of Xcoins to help you understand the concept of the service, and whether it is legit to buy bitcoins through Xcoins.

Buying Bitcoin with PayPal Through Xcoins:

Due to the possibility of chargeback fraud – and the lack of support for Bitcoin from PayPal itself, it’s extremely hard to buy bitcoins with PayPal. Xcoins, on the other hand, have exploited this problem and claim to have found a solution in which the coins are loaned instead of getting sold to the clients.

In order to buy bitcoins through Xcoins, the users go to the site where they do an ID verification. After the verification process, they’ll be required to deposit:

  • USD equivalent to how much they want to borrow
  • PayPal/credit card processing fees
  • A fixed amount that acts as the interest on the loan

The site claims to have competitive fees due to their lenders competing against each other for the best possible rate. However, in most cases, the interest rate is fixed at 15% – which could possibly be the lowest interest rate offered by Xcoins. Interestingly, it’s still way higher than what most Bitcoin exchanges offer.

Trading Bitcoins on Xcoins:

Xcoins is not just a buying service – you can also sell/lend coins on the site. To do so, you must decide how much you are willing to loan, and then deposit the amount into your Xcoins account. The amount must be in USD.

Once the deposit is made, the system will automatically direct you to the buyers and they will deposit the money directly into your PayPal account.

Pros and Cons of Xcoins:

The major pros and cons of Xcoins include:

Pros:

  • The quick purchase of Bitcoin either through Credit Card or PayPal.
  • Easy sign-up.

Cons:

  • Slow refunds – can take up to a week or longer.
  • Support staff is not active – even on working days. If you send them an email, expect the response to come in at least two days.
  • Constant complaining to their Support can result in a permanent ban.
  • If you do not dispute your charges, they will disable your ability to buy bitcoins.
  • If you purchased some coins but the lender is not willing to release them, you will still be charged.

Conclusion:

From buyer’s perspective – Xcoins isn’t stable enough for large purchases. Also, the fees are extremely high in comparison to other exchanges. However, if your only option to buy Bitcoin is PayPal, then Xcoins is the way to go.

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What Are Some Amazing Facts About Bitcoin?

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Amazing Facts About Bitcoin

The majority of people nowadays already have an idea as to what is Bitcoin and how does it work. But no matter how much you know about this cryptocurrency, there is always something to leave you amazed. Here are the bitcoin facts.

In this article, here are some interesting Bitcoin facts for you.

Bitcoin amazing Facts:

Independent of Third Party Influence:

Bitcoin is an open-source software. Anyone – whether it’s the owner or just a random internet user – can access it. Also, there is no regulatory authority such as a central bank, government or private organizations to control the flow of Bitcoin which makes it inexpensive to use.

Nobody Knows Who Invented Bitcoin:

It has been nearly a decade since the Bitcoin first came into circulation. However, the identity of creator still remains a mystery. Several investigations and search works have been conducted but to no avail.

Some say a programmer named Satoshi Nakamoto invented it but there is no proof to support that claim.

Bitcoin Transactions Are Untraceable:

One of the unique features of Bitcoin is that the transactions are untraceable. Whether a user is trading coins across the street or sending them to the far edge of the globe, all he has to put forward is a wallet ID. The personal information is not required. As a result of this, the transactions become anonymous and downright untraceable.

If You Lose Your Coins, Consider Them Gone for Good:

Bitcoins are stored in a digital wallet and protected by a private key. So, if a user loses the drive on which the wallet was stored, consider your coins gone for good.

Bitcoins Are Accepted as A Method of Payment All Across the World:

Numerous banks, corporations, and retail stores accept Bitcoin as a payment and the number is increasing each day. Using this currency, you can buy comics, fancy clothes, yachts, property, travel around the world and order a delicious pizza.

Amazing, isn’t it?

The First Ever Purchase Made Via Bitcoin Was for A Pizza:

One of the most interesting facts about bitcoins is that the first ever purchase made through this currency was a pizza.

In May 2010, the currency was relatively new and was still pretty far from gaining worldwide recognition. Due to this fact, the value of bitcoin was extremely low – let’s say, two Papa Johns Pizzas for two Papa Johns Pizzas.

Yes, this was exactly the case when Laszlo Hanyecz offered two Papa Johns Pizzas for 10,000 bitcoins, which was then equivalent to $41 or $0.0041 per coin.

However, the circumstances have changed and those 10,000 bitcoins are worth $7.6 million in today’s market.

These are some interesting facts about the ever-incredible currency that is Bitcoin. In conclusion, the characteristics of cryptocurrency are nothing short of incredible! The future belongs to Bitcoin! So make your move and take a dive into the world of Bitcoin; right now!

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Bitcoin Miners Making Millions in Transaction Fees

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 We all know that our beloved miners are the ones that keep the Bitcoin network spinning. Using complex computers to mine a block on which the transactions are made. According to data collected from blockchain.info, the value of transaction fees paid to miners has gone as high as $2.3 million. Woah!

Miners solve complicated mathematical equations to mine a block. As a reward, they get 12.5 bitcoins for unlocking the block. Along with that, they are let to keep the transaction fees users pay when the payment is made with the cryptocurrency.

Back in the days, miners only got a couple of dollars in Bitcoin transaction fees, however, on Wednesday, miners received an enormous $2.3 million.

“That’s on top of the millions of dollars they received in their bitcoin rewards,” said Aaron Lasher, the chief marketing officer at Breadwallet. He made an estimation that miners were rewarded a total of 1,800 bitcoins or $7 million.

Transaction fees dropped from $1.7 million on June 6 to $205,000 on July 31st. Aaron explained that the reason behind the dip was likely dude to a decline in bitcoin transactions nearing the fork date.

Related: Bitcoin Hard Fork Explained

“Once the fork completed on August 1, people began using bitcoin again,” Lasher said. “But now that Segwit has activated, we should see some easing over the coming weeks and months.”

News Credit: businessinsider.com

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Shopping with Bitcoins 101

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Bitcoin’s volatility is said to be a nightmare for most merchants because the slightest rise or drop in price is critical.

While in the past, finding bitcoin-accepting merchants was similar to “looking for a pin in a haystack” there are now various options for people to choose from. Bitcoin payment processors like BitPay and Coinbase have assisted merchants by taking on the volatility risk in accepting bitcoins. Merchants can incorporate with a bitcoin payment processor and accept payments through these third-party services. The processor receives the bitcoins and sends the merchant their local currency at the end of the day or week. It is up to the merchants if they’d want a certain amount of they pay to be in bitcoins.

Shopping with Bitcoins

This post will show how and what you can buy using bitcoins, along with a list of stores that cover almost all categories and provide those goods and services.

Keep on reading to know what would be your next purchase!

Shopping with Bitcoin

General:

  • Overstock:

Back in 2014, Overstock was the first billion-dollar company to accept Bitcoin. It’s got everything from furniture to clothing, jewelry, and electronics. Overstock can provide bitcoiners with almost all sorts of items.    

  • Gyft:

Gyft is an electronic gift card retailer that started accepting bitcoins in 2013. Bitcoiners can buy gift cards for Amazon, Best Buy, Delta, Home Depot, Whole Foods, and Walmart. Also, Gyft returns 3% back on Bitcoin purchases, making it competitive with credit card reward programs.

  • Rakuten:

This multibillion-dollar company based in Japan added Bitcoin as a payment method for its US costumers in May 2015. Basically, it’s similar to Overstock, providing almost all of the everyday products.

Travel:

  • Cheap Air:

CheapAir is an online travel agency that helps find costumers reasonably priced flights and hotels. They began accepting bitcoins in November 2013 and by July 2014, had processed over $1.5 million worth of Bitcoin transactions.

  • Virgin Galactic:

Virgin Galactic is a space travel company that accepted its first bitcoin payment in 2013. Richard Benson, the company’s CEO, believes that Bitcoin exchange and space will go a long way in the future if they remain to work together.

  • Expedia:

Expedia is one of the world’s largest online travel companies which started accepting bitcoins for hotel bookings back in 2014.

Computers and Electronics:

  • NewEgg:

NewEgg is one of the world’s most popular computer hardware and software store. It accepted its first Bitcoin payment in 2014 and has offered discounts to costumers paying with bitcoins.

  • TigerDirect:

TigerDirect became everyone’s destination to buy computer hardware, printers and TV sets, when it began accepting bitcoins as payment in July 2013.

  • Dell:

Dell began accepting bitcoins, 2 years after the above-mentioned companies.

Decentralized Market Places:

Where to shop with Bitcoin?

  • OpenBazaar:

OpenBazaar is an open source project to create a decentralized network for peer to peer commerce online—using Bitcoin—that has no fees and no restrictions. Instead of buyers and sellers going through a centralized service, OpenBazaar connects them directly. There is no one in the middle, you only reveal personal information that you choose.

Food & Groceries:

  • Fold:

Fold, teaming up with its sister company Card for Coin, helps to pass on discounts from unused gift cards to bitcoin users, since many are willing to sell gift cards for cash. Card for Coin purchases gift cards at a discount and then spends them for users through Fold. Bitcoin is sent to the wallet address displayed in Fold and within seconds a scannable gift card is ready for use. Right now Fold offers a 20% discount at Starbucks and 3% discount at Target with its AirBitz integration.

 Hire Freelancers:

  • Fiverr:

Fiverr is an online marketplace that is used to buy and sell services. Freelancers offer jobs for as little as $5 and contractors are able to pay for services with bitcoins.

Luxury Items:

  • Bitpremier:

Yachts, mansions, premium domain names, sports cars, and antiques are just a few of the expensive items listed on this bitcoin marketplace.

With the increase of Bitcoin price, the hype makes more businesses view Bitcoin as legitimate and something that can help improve profits. More and more e-commerce sites are trying to become a part of the Bitcoin Community and it won’t be long when you’ll be able to purchase all your groceries and other items from any of these sites, without having to go outside.

Enjoy your shopping spree!

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Crypto Regulations – South Korea’s Impact on the Crypto-world

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One of the largest markets for cryptocurrencies after Japan and U.S. is South Korea, as it’s believed by many. South Korea’s population is equivalent to Arizona and California if they’re put together. The cryptocurrency speculation looks like it has been overhyped unreasonably and South Korea’s government wants to take some fundamental steps now, to control this cryptocurrency trend in the crypto world.

South Korean’s Crypto-Market – Current Situation

At this time, you can clearly see a lot of chaos in South Korea. It all started when the government of South Korean officially legalized Bitcoin service back in July 2017, which caused a momentous progress in the demand for cryptocurrency trading all around the country.

North Korean hackers targeted South Korean Bitcoin exchanges in August 2017, and by the end of September, there were many rumours that South Korea was planning to execute stricter regulations on cryptocurrencies. These rumours turned out to be more serious by December and based on speculations, it changed into an absolute ban on cryptocurrency exchanges and had a bad impact on the crypto world.

crypto world

South Korea Influence on the Cryptocurrency Prices

According to an estimation by The Blockchain Industry Association, South Korea has many cryptocurrency exchanges, including;

  • Coinone
  • Bithumb
  • Korbit

This tells us that even with 50 million people in a country, the demand for cryptocurrencies is so high that it has traded at more than a 30 % higher price than other countries.

80% of the investors in South Korea have earned from investments in cryptocurrency and almost one-third of salaried Koreans have an average of $5,000 in cryptocurrency, which is a huge acceptance of an unapproved investment based only on speculation.

How are cryptocurrency traders operating in South Korea?

Many banks including the second largest one in the country, Shinhan Bank, offer local cryptocurrency exchanges with computer-generated bank accounts. Each investor/user can use these virtual bank accounts for depositing or withdrawing huge amounts of Korean Won without using their real bank accounts, which takes a lot of time and is costly at the same time.

The industry is currently under the government’s radar, amid other fears, that illegal funds will be entering the market and management of price of cryptocurrencies will be based on speculative investments.

How’s 2018 been so far for Cryptocurrencies in South Korea?

More regulatory plans have been announced by the government to ban this anonymous cryptocurrency, in order to control cryptocurrency speculation. Meanwhile, after this announcement, several South Korean exchanges were removed by the CoinMarketCap from its website, stating that extreme price divergence is the main reason for this. Around $20 billion was wiped off Ripple’s market cap as a result. After a statement by the Ministry of Justice, news of a whole cryptocurrency ban arose once again.

Is there going to be any ban on the cryptocurrencies?

The government started to notice huge speculation that drove instabilities in the cryptocurrency market since September 2017 and in order to evade money laundering and other crimes related to it, strategies to prohibit anonymous trading on local exchanges were testified in December 2017.

The Prime minister of South Korea, Lee Nak-Yeon, warned about the hazard of cryptocurrencies being an easy way for the younger generation especially students, to get involved with such illegal activities.

Regardless of the media misrepresentation of more stricter rules for cryptocurrencies, at the beginning of 2018, Kim Dong-yeon (the Finance Minister) ensured that there’d be no ban of cryptocurrencies in South Korea. The government also proclaimed that there’ll be tax on cryptocurrency exchanges around 24%. Apart from banning anonymous trading, they’ll be banning foreigners and minors from opening any other new cryptocurrency accounts as well.

How South Korean government will enforce bans?

The south Korean government has restricted the opening of new virtual accounts and cryptocurrency traders won’t be permitted to make any deposits into their virtual currency exchange wallets. They’ll be only able to deposit it only if they’ve the name of their cryptocurrency exchange and it matches that of their bank accounts.

It’s been demanded by financial authorities to the cryptocurrency exchanges to revamp their AML (Anti-Money Laundering) and KYC (Know-Your-Customer).

Are These planned regulations of South Korean affecting the crypto-industry?

Because South Korea has such a huge cryptocurrency market, this means that these regulatory decisions of government will have a huge impact on the crypto market worldwide.

During all these rumoured reports of the government banning cryptocurrency, the total market cap of all coins was declined by 40% in just one day. But shortly afterwards, the market cap started to rise once again.

All the rumours have played a big role in the cryptocurrencies’ price, and any change in the economic decisions or law made in the hubs of major crypto, will always result in such instabilities.

However, there’s always a possibility that it will climb back to the pre-crash levels.

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