Expedia Drops Bitcoin Payments, Official Confirms

Expedia Drops Bitcoin Payments, Official Confirms

Travel booking platform Expedia has stopped accepting bitcoin (BTC). A company representative confirmed the policy change, while stating that various payment options are being continuously evaluated without elaborating on the details. Expedia has been supporting bitcoin payments since 2014.

 Also read: Russian Railways Eyes Crypto for Tickets, Blockchain for Cargo

Expedia Confirms Suspension of BTC Payment Option

Expedia Drops Bitcoin Payments, Official ConfirmsExpedia.com, one of the world’s largest travel sites offering booking services for flights, hotels, and car rentals, is currently not accepting bitcoin (BTC). This week, the news was shared on Reddit by traveling bitcoiners who expressed their disappointment with the absence of the cryptocurrency among the payment options. Bitcoin payments have been available on Expedia for years.

Responding to a request for more details from Nathalie Stucky of news.Bitcoin.com, a company representative confirmed the reports via email. Acknowledging the grievances of cryptocurrency users, Christie Hudson, Sr. Communications Manager at Expedia – North America, explained:

I can confirm that as of May 10, 2018, Expedia no longer supports Bitcoin as a payment method. Currently, we do not feel that we are able to offer the best experience for those using Bitcoin, but will continue to evaluate various options in order to offer travelers flexible payment solutions.

According to the information provided by Reddit user bowiestar, the bitcoin payments have been suspended since June 10. Bowiestar is quoting the travel agency’s customer support service.

Expedia Drops Bitcoin Payments, Official ConfirmsNo official announcement has been published on Expedia’s website, at least not in the Newsroom section. At the same time, the Terms & Conditions page for the bitcoin payment option is still accessible.

Attempts to book a flight from the EU return credit card thumbnails beneath the “How would you like to pay?” question at checkout.

Buying a Ticket, Booking a Hotel with Bitcoin

Expedia started accepting bitcoin exactly four years ago. “Offering travelers another way to book online, customers can now shop from the world-class inventory of a vast array of hotels available on Expedia.com, and for the first time ever beginning today, easily pay for their hotel accommodations using bitcoin,” stated the official announcement published on June 11, 2014.

Expedia Drops Bitcoin Payments, Official ConfirmsThe crypto payment option was offered through a partnership with the US-based crypto exchange and wallet provider Coinbase. In order to complete the booking process, customers were redirected to Coinbase’s website where they were able to see the total at an exchange rate set by the trading platform. Some comments in the forums suggest that Expedia might have stopped the bitcoin payments due to Coinbase’s decision to discontinue custodial services for merchants.

There are a number of alternatives that crypto enthusiasts can turn to for their bitcoin-paid travel and accommodation. Cheapair.com has been considering working with Bitpay to process bitcoin payments, as news.Bitcoin.com recently reported. It has been accepting bitcoin since 2013, again previously using Coinbase as a payment processor.

The checkout on Cheapair’s website now offers bitcoin (BTC), bitcoin cash (BCH), litecoin (LTC), and dash (DASH) as active payment methods. Payments with three of these cryptocurrencies, BCH, LTC and DASH, were introduced in May and are currently processed by Gocoin.

“In different ways, Litecoin, Bitcoin Cash, and Dash all promise improved transactability than their predecessor, with faster transaction times and/or lower fees,” Cheapair noted in a press release. “Over the last six months, we’ve seen a huge uptick in the number of customers requesting alternative currencies, so we’ve worked hard to integrate the three that were most requested,” said CEO Jeff Klee.

Expedia Drops Bitcoin Payments, Official Confirms

Another travel agency that accepts bitcoin for plane and train tickets, cars and hotel rooms, is Destinia. It currently supports both bitcoin core (BTC) and bitcoin cash (BCH) payments. Two more platforms accepting bitcoin for their services are abitsky.com and BTCtrip.

Do you think Expedia will reintroduce bitcoin payments in the future? Share your expectations in the comments section below.


Images courtesy of Shutterstock.


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Bitcoin Cash Sees More Infrastructure, Applications, and Protocol Innovation

Bitcoin Cash Sees More Infrastructure, Applications, and Protocol Innovation

Over the past few weeks, the cryptocurrency Bitcoin Cash (BCH) has seen a lot of new infrastructure support, applications, and protocol innovation. While everyone has been watching the bearish markets across the digital currency economy, in general, there’s a lot of action happening within the BCH ecosystem that supersedes its current price speculation.

Also read: Crypto Business Is Now Legal in Belarus

The BCH Train Continues to Truck Along

BCH proponents have been able to continue the focus towards spreading adoption and lately there’s been a lot of infrastructure support to back up the passion. At the moment the Bitcoin Cash blockchain is over 7,000 blocks ahead of the Bitcoin Core (BTC) chain operating at 11.5 percent of BTC’s current network difficulty. During the last days of June, it is 9.98X more expensive to transact on the BTC chain than using BCH according to Coin Dance statistics. BTC is the most traded cryptocurrency swapped for BCH while ETH, HT, Waves, and LTC follow behind.

Unwriter Unleashes Bitdb: Build Decentralized Apps With a NoSQL database powered by Bitcoin

On June 29 the developer Unwriter released the Bitdb.network which is a global database of Bitcoin OP_Returns and anyone can build decentralized apps using the protocol with zero servers and zero infrastructure. The creator of the project hosted an Ask-Me-Anything (AMA) on Friday, and discussed the project in more detail. News.Bitcoin.com also recently featured the developer Unwriter’s three other projects that are powered by the BCH chain.

Bitcoin Cash Sees More Infrastructure, Applications, and Protocol Innovation
“Because Bitdb is backed by Bitcoin as canonical storage, it comes with all the benefits of Bitcoin’s decentralization. It’s powered by MongoDB as an index, it comes with all the benefits of NoSQL databases, including unlimited insertion of unstructured data, as well as highly flexible and portable query interface.”  Unwriter.

“Bitdb is a NoSQL database powered by Bitcoin — It’s an autonomous public MongoDB instance which self-updates by crawling and indexing Bitcoin OP_RETURN transactions, a special type of transaction that can include up to 220 bytes of arbitrary data,” explains the website. “Using this 220 bytes as a database insertion command, we can construct an entire database system from Bitcoin.”

Because it’s backed by Bitcoin as canonical storage, it comes with all the benefits of Bitcoin’s decentralization, and because it’s powered by MongoDB as index, it comes with all the benefits of NoSQL databases, including unlimited insertion of unstructured data, as well as highly flexible and portable query interface.

Bitcoin Cash Sees More Infrastructure, Applications, and Protocol Innovation
“Bitdb takes a different approach. Instead of trying to implement decentralization on top of a legacy database, Bitdb utilizes Bitcoin as the single source of truth. In this approach, the ‘database’ is merely an index built from the canonical Bitcoin blockchain. Because Bitcoin has already solved the decentralized consensus problem through Proof of Work, Bitdb works right out of the box.”  Unwriter. 

Cointext Raises $600K in Bitcoin Cash

In other news, the firm Cointext.io has raised $600,000 in BCH from a seed funding round led by Yeoman’s Capital. Cointext allows users to transact with bitcoin cash with any type of mobile phone using SMS technology (text). David Johnston, Managing Director of Yeoman’s Capital, explained that his firm wants a project that will change the lives billions worldwide. “We have a high bar for projects that we invest in — the technology must have the potential to impact over a billion people,” explains Johnston.

Bitcoin Cash Sees More Infrastructure, Applications, and Protocol Innovation
Cointext allows any mobile phone to accept bitcoin cash payments.

Cointext President and CTO, Vin Armani, details that Yeoman’s team will bring valuable experience to the table. “We are dedicated to making cryptocurrency easy to use for the maximum number of people,” Armani emphasizes.

Keys4coins Announces 0-Confirm Transaction Says Its “Faster Than Lightning!”

Bitcoin Cash Sees More Infrastructure, Applications, and Protocol InnovationThis week Bitcoin Cash fans were also pleased to hear about the game store Keys4coins announcing the acceptance of zero-confirmation transactions. Keys4coins is an online store that sells keys to games and Steam gift cards, and the company does not accept fiat. This means as soon as the network broadcasts the transaction users are allowed to claim their items (game keys and gift card codes) right away rather than waiting for one confirmation.  

“We are happy to announce Bitcoin Cash 0 confirm payments is now enabled,” explains Keys4coins.  

That means your transactions will now be faster than lightning — Make your order today and see the wonder of Bitcoin Cash. Experience order completion and delivery within seconds of making payment.

Bitcoin Cash Sees More Infrastructure, Applications, and Protocol Innovation
Keys4coins products.

Further Support and Innovation With Purse.io, and Trustless Bets

Overall there’s been a lot more support and infrastructure additions to the Bitcoin Cash ecosystem during the last few weeks. Just yesterday Purse.io officially announced BCH integration, and now users can save 20 percent or more at Amazon using BCH with the Purse system.

Bitcoin Cash Sees More Infrastructure, Applications, and Protocol Innovation
Trustless betting is coming to the BCH network as the Chainbet developers have built a fully working prototype.

Another great achievement this week was when the Electron Cash developer, Jonald Fyookball, revealed a working prototype for — Chainbet — A protocol that brings trustless betting to the BCH network. So far even though crypto-markets have been in a slump you couldn’t tell with all the building and innovation taking place these days.

What do you think about all the apps, support, and new innovations coming to the Bitcoin Cash network lately? Let us know what you think about this subject in the comment section below.


Images via Shutterstock, Nokia, Cointext, Keys4coins, and Bitdb.network.


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Volume Rankings Report for June 2018: Trading Activity Drops Across Crypto Markets

Volume Rankings Report for June 2018: Trading Activity Drops Across Crypto Markets

Market action during June has seen a significant slump in trade volume, with the majority of the ten most traded cryptocurrencies experiencing a drop in volume of between roughly 17% and 57% when compared with May.

Also Read: ICO Round-Up: Social Media Influencers Bypass Ad Ban, Centra Tokens Deemed Securities

Month-Over-Month 30-Day Trade Volume Declines Across Crypto Markets

BTC has maintained its significant lead as the most traded cryptocurrency, with BTC pairings producing roughly $125.6 billion USD worth of trade over the course of the last 30 days. Compared with May’s 30-day volume of approximately $185 billion, the BTC markets have seen a 32% loss in trade volume.

Unlike last month, the combined volume of the second and third most traded cryptocurrencies combined surpassed that of BTC – with Tether and Ethereum producing roughly $130 billion in trade combined.

The 30-day volume of USDT has seen among the smallest percentage loss incurred by a top ten cryptocurrency – declining 17.2% from $93 billion last month to $77 billion during June. The monthly trade volume for ETH fell almost 30% from May’s $76.6 to approximately $53.8 billion this month.

EOS has held its position as the fourth most traded cryptocurrency during June, however, shed nearly 33% of its trading volume – dropping from $47.5 billion last month to roughly $32 billion during the last 30 days.

Volume Rankings Remain Mostly Stable During June

The 30-day trade volume for BCH pairings dropped significantly this month, with June’s $14.7 billion in trade comprising a 47.5% drop from May’s $28 billion.

Despite the monthly volume for LTC falling by 21% when compared with May, Litecoin has climbed from the 8th most traded cryptocurrency last month, with $11.9 billion in trade, to rank 6th for June with $9.3 billion.

XRP has maintained its position as the seventh most traded cryptocurrency this month, producing $8.3 billion in trade during the last 30-days. Compared with May, XRP has lost 39% of its trade volume, which fell from $13.7 billion to $8.3 billion.

Ethereum Classic was the only top ten cryptocurrency market by volume to see an increase in trading activity during June. The ETC markets produced $6.6 billion in volume this month – a roughly 1.5% increase over May’s $6.5 billion.

Of the ten most traded cryptocurrencies, TRON saw the greatest loss in volume. Trading activity for TRON pairings fell 57% from 6th position with $14 billion last month, to 9th in June with $6 billion.

QTUM was the tenth most traded cryptocurrency over the last 30 days with nearly $3.5 billion in trade.

Do you think the markets will continue to experience a decline in monthly trade volume? Share your thoughts in the comments section below!


Images courtesy of Shutterstock


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Wendy McElroy: Crypto and the Structure of Class Warfare

Crypto and the Structure of Class Warfare

The Satoshi Revolution: A Revolution of Rising Expectations
Section 4: State Versus Society
Chapter 9, Part 2
Crypto, and the Structure of Class Warfare

The wall separating state and society is crumbling. Or, rather, the state is taking a jackhammer to it in an aggressive attempt to control every aspect of productive and cooperative life…The people you deal with on a daily basis are ceasing to be good neighbors, honest merchants, and disinterested strangers. They are becoming state informants who monitor your expression, your money, your behavior and attitude in order to report you to the authorities. They are ceasing to be “society” and becoming instead “the state.”

Murray Rothbard

Cryptocurrency has an advantage that almost every other alternative money in the past has lacked. It does not mimic state-issued currency or state-controlled transfer systems, such as banks. Its revolutionary structure and function are as uniquely compatible with society as they are antagonistic to the state.

State versus society: Libertarian class analysis is based on the interaction of the two categories, which are in irresolvable conflict with each other. The structure of each class–the arrangement of their parts according to a unifying theme—are also antagonistic. Into this analysis, crypto enters with a framework that rebukes the state and provides society with what it has sadly lacked: a free-market money for the average person. The compatibility of crypto and the free market and crypto is born out by their remarkably similar structures. (“Society” and “the free market are used as synonyms here because, in its broadest definition, the free market” is more than an economic dynamic; for example, there can be a free market of ideas. Broadly defined, the term refers to any free exchange.)


The Structure of State, Society, and Crypto

“Form follows function” means that the basic shape of a thing is determined by its purpose. For Frank Lloyd Wright, the two were inseparable. “Form follows function-that has been misunderstood,” Wright observed. “Form and function should be one, joined in a spiritual union.”
This is true of government or the state; it is also true of society.

The function of a state is to regulate society in a manner that maintains its own existence and privileges. The state uses force or the threat of force to impose its policies; behind every law is a gun and its intimidation value. The purpose of the state defines its form; coercive agencies, such as law enforcement and the military, abound. Intrusive practices, such as the widespread collection of personal data, are the norm. In turn, the agencies and practices require intense centralization and bureaucracy.

The function of society is as a venue where individuals interact peacefully for mutual benefit, whether that benefit is defined in economic, spiritual, or other terms. Society is voluntary, with legal obligations arising only from contract and consent. Because individuals are diverse and unpredictable, the form of society is fluid, quick to respond, and highly decentralized.

The two classes are at war because the state produces no wealth of its own; it takes what is needed from society through taxation in its various manifestations, including inflation. To do so, the state asserts its authority over the peaceful behavior of others, which the others resent.

The state does more than loot society, however. It usurps the functions of society—the interactions that should occur on the free market–such as road construction and financial institutions. Over time, segments of society are reshaped to resemble arms of the state. Banks are a prime example. Free-market banks would serve the needs of customers, including privacy. Current banks are information gathering centers for the state, with customer requirements being secondary.

In the past, the state’s encroachment upon society enjoyed a huge advantage; the state controls the legal definition of money, its issuance and much of its flow. Society had to accept fiat, to tolerate monetary policies, and to live with banking rules. At least, society had no real choice until the explosion of cryptocurrency. Suddenly, individuals became their own banks, and they made their own exchanges…all without the state.

Crypto is the money of society, the money of people. This status is not negated by the fact that some people become ridiculously wealthy through crypto; the free market has always rewarded successful innovators and early adopters. The status is not damaged by crypto experiments that fail; the free market is a brutal laboratory, with many dead ends. Imprudent people, who lose money through foolish acts, discover that the free market is also a corrective mechanism, without compassion. Even fraud does not cast a shadow on crypto as the money of society. Fraud haunts all human activities, especially lucrative ones. And those who appeal to the state for a remedy should remember that the state is institutionalized fraud and theft. Over time, the free market tends toward self-regulation.

What can threaten crypto’s role as the money of society? The greatest danger is the drive to change the function and form crypto from being an expression of society into an expression of the state. The drive for so-called “respectability” involves regulation, state-issuance, and other measures that would reduce crypto to another form of fiat, another form of central banking.


Crypto and Society Share the Same Basic Form

One indication of crypto being the money of society is that the two have the same basic function and form. The function is to empower the individual; form follows. It is no wonder that crypto’s structure parallels that of society itself. The parallels include,

  • A hard structure underlies them both. For crypto, it is the immutable blockchain that is remarkably immune to manipulation or exploitation; for society, it is the inviolable principle of non-aggression.
  • The frameworks do not inhibit diversity. Their security and freedom encourage almost infinite innovations. A major reason: Adopting the underlying structure is not a matter of law but of choice, which is unrestricted thereafter.
  • Third parties are not necessary for many of the transactions. For a complicated exchange, such as one that demands escrow, a third party is useful. Even then, however, the amount of trust required can be limited by strategies like getting in and out quickly.
  • There is no barrier to entry. No state license, no permission, no legal forms.
  • Both crypto and society are decentralized. Among the many advantages of this is that neither has a single point of failure where the entire system is vulnerable to bad actors.
  • The individual is the locus of power. As long as a person retains his or her keys, that person controls their use. The parallel in society is the individual’s right to say “no.”
  • Transactions can be pseudonymous or announced to the world, depending on individual preferences. Crypto purchased with a faux identity, which uses a different wallet for each transaction, can be almost as anonymous as cash.
  • Exchanges are not ideological or political. Crypto and the free market are great levelers of traditional social distinctions, such as the race or religion of a buyer or seller.
  • Crypto and society are both worlds in which wealth is based on merit, including the profits that properly come from taking risks that succeed.

By contrast, the structure of the state is antithetical to that of crypto and the free market. It is based on coercion rather than consent; it is centralized rather decentralized; its wealth comes from confiscation rather than merit. Form follows function.


Conclusion

There is a popular myth about crypto. Namely, that free and state-controlled crypto can co-exist. In theory, it is possible. In practice, it will not happen because state-issued or state-controlled crypto does not merely differ in terms of its origin but also in terms of its form. Crypto cannot serve both state and society; it cannot express both centralized control and decentralized choice. The two may exist in parallel for a time but, inevitably, the state will reach for a monopoly.

Crypto is becoming a new frontier in class warfare between the state and society. The state will try to reshape crypto in order to serve its own purposes. Instead of privacy and individual choice, state crypto will involve total disclosure and regulation. Instead of accessibility for all and the absence of trusted third parties, there will be licenses or bank-like exchanges becoming an unavoidable third party. The incredible benefit of crypto to society will be turned upside down, and it will become a benefit to the state.

State-issued or controlled crypto will be a bitter mockery of the original vision, but it is coming. And one of the major impacts of the Brave New money will be almost invisible; the basic form of crypto will become the opposite of what it was created to express. This goes with the function of crypto changing.

The best hope for free-market crypto is that concepts, such as decentralization, are so deeply embedded into its structure that a state-issue is doomed to fail. As a next resort, of course, the state will regulate what it cannot create. Society’s money will become a bit riskier and more difficult to use.

[To be continued next week.]

Reprints of this article should credit bitcoin.com and include a link back to the original links to all previous chapters


Wendy McElroy has agreed to ”live-publish” her new book The Satoshi Revolution exclusively with Bitcoin.com. Every Saturday you’ll find another installment in a series of posts planned to conclude after about 18 months. Altogether they’ll make up her new book ”The Satoshi Revolution”. Read it here first.

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The Daily: Swiss Crypto Vault, Huobi Opens in London, Malta Approves Crypto Bills

The Daily: Swiss Crypto Vault, Huobi Opens in London, Malta Approves Crypto Bills

In Saturday’s Bitcoin in Brief, we cover some of the new expansion plans of leading cryptocurrency trading platforms. Singapore-based Huobi has confirmed its intentions to open an office in London, and US exchange Coinbase is about to do the same in Portland, Oregon. Also, a new crypto vault in Switzerland offers safe storage for cryptocurrencies, while the parliament in Valletta has approved three bills designed to increase the attractiveness of Malta for businesses in the crypto space.   

Also read: Exchanges Expanding, Brave Adds Tor, Tether “Double Spent”

Huobi Confirms Plans for Office in London

The Daily: Huobi Confirms London Office, Coinbase Opens One in PortlandCrypto exchange Huobi will be opening an office in London as part of its plans for global expansion that include America as well. The Singapore-based trading platform, currently the third largest by trading volume, has confirmed earlier reports in an official statement this week and is obviously moving closer to the City. Operations in the UK will be managed by Lester Li who will take the post of European Exchange Director and Josh Goodbody who will assume responsibilities as Chief Compliance Officer.

Despite the generally lukewarm attitude of British financial authorities and regulators towards cryptocurrencies, the industry has been gaining ground on the Albion, with UK trading volume ranking fifth in the world, according to Huobi. In other words, the Kingdom has become the largest crypto market in Europe. Britain has also registered a growing number of successful ICO projects that have raised about $500 million in 2018, as claimed in a recently released report.

Coinbase Opens New Office on the West Coast

While Huobi is eyeing London, Toronto, San Francisco, and São Paulo, the US-based exchange Coinbase has been planning an expansion on America’s West Coast. The trading platform announced in a post on the company’s blog that it will be setting up an office in Portland, Oregon. Taking advantage of the local “innovative community,” Coinbase plans to offer up to 100 new jobs, supporting Portland’s economy. The vacancies may increase in the future, as the company expands its business activities.

The news comes after an earlier announcement about Coinbase’s intentions to conquer foreign markets, too. This month, the exchange shared its decision to apply for a license with Japan’s Financial Services Agency (FSA). It has been reported that the platform is also set to introduce GBP deposits and withdrawals within the coming weeks, following an agreement to partner with UK’s Barclays bank.

The Daily: Huobi Confirms London Office, Coinbase Opens One in Portland

In another blog post, the leading US exchange announced that we are waving goodbye to GDAX and saying hello to Coinbase Pro. The exchange explained that Coinbase Pro is a “new interface built on top of the existing GDAX trading engine that has been designed with the needs of the active trader in mind.”

After the launch date, Coinbase detailed, any balances and trading history in GDAX wallets will automatically be shown on Coinbase Pro. It also said that accessing GDAX.com after June 29 will result in being redirected to Coinbase Pro. The team encouraged all users to update their bookmarks and try the upgraded trading experience.

Keeping Cryptos Safe, in a Safe

And if being able to swiftly exchange your cryptocurrencies is a priority in times when markets are dominated by a downward trend, keeping them safe is the number one on the list for those who can afford the long positions. Two Swiss bitcoin entrepreneurs are now trying to attract more hodlers to a secure Alpine bunker, much like the Hong-Kong based Xapo.

The Swiss Crypto Vault is a venture set up by Niklas Nikolajsen, a well-known bitcoin speculator, and former UBS Group AG investment banker, Philipp Vonmoos. According to its founders, the project aims to lure ultra-high net worth individuals and institutional investors with its “deep underground storage, state-of-the-art encryption, multi-signing authorization processes and many more security features,” Bloomberg reported.

The Daily: Huobi Confirms London Office, Coinbase Opens One in Portland

The storage space is available to clients that need to protect their holdings in cryptocurrencies like bitcoin, litecoin and ether, as detailed in a statement by Nikolajsen’s cryptocurrency broker, Bitcoin Suisse, which has already transferred the digital currency it controls to the bunker. The company is now working with 10 lenders and 10,000 clients.

“Many banks already have important clients where they simply cannot say no when they ask about crypto investments and crypto financial services – that’s when banks get in touch with us,” Niklas Nikolajsen said in an interview in Zug, home of the Swiss Crypto Valley. “It’s not millions anymore we’ve been moving to the bunker – it’s the next level,” he added.

Malta Approves Three Crypto Bills

The Daily: Huobi Confirms London Office, Coinbase Opens One in PortlandMalta, one of the jurisdictions competing with Switzerland for the attention of crypto companies and investors, has recently adopted three cryptocurrency and blockchain oriented draft laws. On Tuesday, the Maltese parliament voted unanimously to approve on second reading the bills designed to turn the island nation into one of the most attractive destinations for businesses in the crypto space.

Quoting the government in Valletta, the local press also reported that Stephen McCarthy is to become the first chief executive of the Malta Digital Innovation Authority. According to The Times of Malta, McCarthy has previously worked in accountancy and iGaming before serving as CEO of the Maltese Housing Authority in the past few years.

“Malta will be at the forefront in the regulation of this section,” Parliamentary Secretary Silvio Schembri commented. Indeed, recognizing the positive developments in the Mediterranean country, crypto companies like Bitbay and Okex, have already announced their intentions to relocate to the Island.

What are your thoughts on today’s Bitcoin in Brief news tidbits? Let us know in the comments section below.


Images courtesy of Shutterstock.


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27% of England’s Male Millennials Say Bitcoin Better Investment Than Property

England’s Male Millennials Turning To Crypto, According to Study

Millennial Living in 2018: Insights for the UK ‘Build-to-Rent’ Sector, a study in conjunction with FTI Consulting, commemorates real estate group Get Living’s 5th anniversary. Focusing on millennials, it found significant portions turning away from traditional stores of value, such as property and home ownership, in favor of crypto assets.  

Also read: Bitlicense Should be Smashed, Candidate for New York Governor Urges

Millennials Turning from Traditional Investments and Toward Crypto

“For Millennials the soaring performance of Bitcoin – followed by an almost equally profound correction – holds more intrigue than the prospect of steady growth in house prices,” Get Living concludes. “This translated to 27% of male Millennials polled believing Bitcoin represents a better investment than property.”

Is this age group “in the vanguard of the new Sharing Society, where people are less interested in following in the footsteps of their home-owning parents and would rather make a fortune from Bitcoin?” asked build-to-rent advocates Get Living. The group “sought to answer these questions and a host of others about Millennials’ lifestyles in ground-breaking research carried out in cities across the UK in March and April 2018.”

England’s Male Millennials Turning To Crypto, According to Study

That over a quarter of UK males polled, in the 3,065 universe of 21 to 35-year-olds, see crypto as favorable comports nicely with previous studies. In late March of this year, for example, “The Student Loan Report teamed with Pollfish to survey 1,000 current university students with related loan debt, asking one question: Have you ever used student loan money to invest in cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin?” these pages explained. The survey “found that 21.2 percent of current college students with student loan debt have used financial aid money to fund a cryptocurrency investment.” That study itself confirmed a late 2017 Harris Poll, finding that 27% of all millennials preferred bitcoin core (BTC) to traditional stock and bonds.  

“The rollercoaster ride in value for Bitcoin has excited many Millennials, with one in five seeing it as an appealing investment proposition compared with relatively slow-moving property values,” Get Living noted. And whatever the actual macroeconomic truth of the matter, a bare majority still hold to legacy investments such as real estate. As to whether still more males, and of course their female counterparts, will continue to move into crypto (and whether this will be for the long term) is anyone’s guess and well beyond the present study’s scope.

Will more millennials move into crypto? Let us know in the comments. 


Images via the Pixabay.


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ICO Round-Up: Social Media Influencers Bypass Ad Ban, Centra Tokens Deemed Securities

Three stories dominate this week’s initial coin offering (ICO) round up: It appears many ICO projects are reaching out to social media influencers in an effort to thwart advertising bans across leading platforms. A study published by the China Banking Regulatory Commission (CBRC) suggested that the country develop a licenced-based regulatory apparatus that permits cryptocurrency activities including ICOs. A U.S. judge has found that CTR, tokens distributed through Centra Tech’s ICO that sought the promotional services of boxer Floyd Mayweather, demonstrate numerous attributes of a security under existing legislation.

Also Read: South Korea Thinks Real-Name System is Working – Stepping Up Crypto Monitoring

ICOs Turn to Social Media Influencers Amid Advertising Ban

ICO Round-Up: Social Media Influencers Bypass Ad Ban, Centra Tokens Deemed SecuritiesA report by the LA Times has looked into the increasing prevalence of ICO promoters employing the services of social media influencers in the midst of the prohibition on cryptocurrency advertisements on a number of leading social platforms.

The report cites research conducted by Solume, which found that approximately 18% of cryptocurrency-related posts on Reddit, Twitter, and Bitcointalk.org now typically originate from bounty campaigns set-up by ICO promoters. In January, by contrast, the figure was 6%.

“It’s really a very cost-effective mechanism for developing a brand,” stated Saransh Sharma, the president of 4new – who are currently conducting an ICO. “Before you know it, there’s a snowball effect,” he added.

Whilst ICO promoters appear to have found a means through which they can advertise on social media platforms despite the ban, some are not convinced that the practice of paying social media influencers to promote ICOs will last for long.

Lex Sokolin, the global director of fintech strategy at Autonomous Research, stated: “Once it becomes clear that financial outcomes can be manipulated not just by trading but [also by] creating perceptions through social media, regulators will take a very hard stance.”

Chinese Banking Commission Suggests Inclusive ICO Regulations

ICO Round-Up: Social Media Influencers Bypass Ad Ban, Centra Tokens Deemed SecuritiesThe China Banking Regulatory Commission (CBRC) recently made public a working paper titled, “The Study of Development and Regulations on Distributed Ledger Accounts, Blockchain and Digital Currency.”

The report argues for the development of an inclusive, license-based regulatory apparatus designed to allow cryptocurrency related activities, including ICOs, to operate legitimately in the country.

“Currently, any capital transaction that relates to distributed ledger accounts, blockchain, cryptocurrency and its derivatives, ICOs and exchange operations should all be regarded as financial services. Therefore they must be put under relevant financial regulatory frameworks so that they can operate legally with a license,” the document states.

Centra Found to be Distributing Securities

ICO Round-Up: Social Media Influencers Bypass Ad Ban, Centra Tokens Deemed SecuritiesIn the latest news regarding the Floyd Mayweather-promoted Centra ICO, a Florida district court has found CTR tokens issued through the company’s initial coin offering comprise securities. The court, citing the Howey test, argued that CTR tokens satisfy the criteria for all three prongs of an “investment contract,” rendering such a security.

The court found that “Because the success of Centra Tech and the Centra Debit Card, CTR Tokens, and cBay that it purported to develop was entirely dependent on the efforts and actions of the Defendants […] the offering of Centra Tokens was an investment contract under the Securities Act, such that the Defendants sold or offered to sell securities by virtue of the Centra Tech ICO.”

The court recommended that “the Defendant’s Renewed Motion for a Temporary Restraining Order, Asset Freeze, Document Preservation Order, and Order to Make Accounting and Other Ancillary Relief […] be granted to the limited extent consented by the Defendants.”

Do you think social media influencers will continue to be used as a means to bypass advertising bans? Join the discussion in the comments section below!


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Report: 2018 Token Sales Almost Double Last Year’s Results

Report: 2018 Token Sales Almost Double Last Year’s Results

Initial Coin Offerings in the first half of 2018 have attracted nearly double the amount of funds raised last year, a new report reveals. Researchers point out, however, that the majority of ICOs have largely failed, with only a third of the projects closed successfully. According to the study, the US remains the major destination for coin offerings while Switzerland has established itself as a European ‘standard bearer’ in regulation.  

Also read: Why 70% of ICO Tokens Are Not Exchange Listed and Probably Never Will Be

$13.7 Billion Raised in Coin Offerings This Year

Report: 2018 Token Sales Almost Double Last Year’s ResultsThe capital raised through Initial Coin Offerings (ICOs) has reached $13.7 billion USD in the first five months of this year, twice the total for the whole of 2017. The data comes from a newly released report authored by the Swiss Crypto Valley Association (CVA) and Strategy&, the consulting division of one of its members, PwC. The study aims to provide a comprehensive overview of the global ICO activity and explore key changes in the space since last year.

The numbers in the second edition of the quarterly Global ICO Report are in sharp contrast with this year’s bearish trend that has taken over crypto markets. According to Daniel Diemers, Head of Blockchain EMEA at PwC Strategy&, the report “highlights the continued growth and popularity of ICOs globally in 2018, with over 537 ICOs conducted in the first five months of this year, raising a combined total of $13.7 billion USD – more than all ICOs which took place before 2018 combined.” According to data quoted by Reuters, around $7.0 billion have been raised by token sales last year. Daniel Diemers also said:

After all the hype of 2017, this year has seen the ICO sector becoming more mature and established, with an improved focus on best business and legal practice, investor relations and fundraising. Hybrid models of combined Venture Capital and ICO financing are increasingly bringing together the best of what both have to offer, so that the soundness of a business is validated while it realizes its market potential by receiving crowd support.

However, the paper also notes that the majority of crowdfunding projects have failed to achieve their goals. Only about 30 percent of the 3,470 ICOs announced since 2013, the report details, have closed successfully, while many have been delayed or lost momentum during the token sale process.

America a Major ICO Destination, Switzerland a Leader in Regulation

Report: 2018 Token Sales Almost Double Last Year’s ResultsAccording to the research, the US remains a major destination for Initial Coin Offerings. In the first five months of the year, 56 US-registered token sales have raised a total of $1.1 billion USD. The authors believe this is due to the clear and firm regulatory requirements put in place there and the growing number of crowdfunding projects that choose to register with the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). They also point to an increase in the number of coin offerings conducted in the United Kingdom as well as the volume of capital raised there. According to the provided statistics, 48 UK-registered ICO projects have attracted more than $500 million in 2018.

Another conclusion is that Switzerland has affirmed itself as a leading hub for ICO and blockchain business in Europe and remains attractive to crypto entrepreneurs, while smaller jurisdictions like Liechtenstein, Gibraltar and Malta are following in its footsteps. “Switzerland is the standard bearer in terms of establishing a regulatory environment for the digital economy. The Crypto Valley in Switzerland offers a unique environment that embraces blockchain technologies and the potential of ICOs while always embodying Swiss values, such as privacy protection and confidentiality,” said Oliver Bussmann, President of the Crypto Valley Association.

ICO Destinations and Trends

The findings confirm some previous observations and detect new trends regarding Initial Coin Offerings. According to an earlier report, covering 370 ICOs, US-based crowdfunding projects have raised $1.03 billion – so no surprise there. The study placed China (including Hong Kong) second with $452 million, followed by Russia with $310 million USD. What’s surprising is the development of the ICO market in the UK, where financial authorities and regulators have generally demonstrated lukewarm attitude towards cryptocurrencies and the crypto space.

Report: 2018 Token Sales Almost Double Last Year’s ResultsSwitzerland, whose crypto-friendly jurisdiction has attracted a number of crypto and blockchain businesses, is trying hard to catch up with the leading ICO destinations. Representatives of the country’s crypto community have joined a multinational effort to challenge the ban on crypto-related advertisements imposed by the largest IT corporations. The restrictions introduced by companies like Facebook, Google and Twitter, hit hard crowdfunding projects and are likely to be targeted soon in a class action lawsuit.

At the same time, the achievements of far less conspicuous European countries have made the headlines of ICO-related articles and publications. Lithuania is a good example – the tiny Baltic state has reportedly attracted around 10 percent of all coin offerings last year. An estimated €500 million has been raised through ICOs and blockchain projects over the last 12 months. Authorities in Vilnius have recently issued comprehensive regulatory guidelines for initial coin offerings. According to a recent report by Politico, the country’s economy is expected to grow by more than 3 percent this year and the digital cash flow is part of the reasons.

Do you expect the ICO sector to grow, despite the continuing downward trend on crypto markets? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.


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Supreme Court Will Not Reconsider Ross Ulbricht’s Life Sentence

Supreme Court Will Not Reconsider Ross Ulbricht's Life Sentence

On June 28, 2018, the US Supreme Court revealed it would not re-evaluate Ross Ulbricht’s court case and double life sentence tied to his charges of operating the Silk Road marketplace. Ulbricht’s legal team and family were hoping the recent Carpenter Vs. US Supreme Court case would spur court officials to reconsider the Ulbricht’s conviction. However, Supreme Court officials didn’t see eye to eye with this reasoning and denied Ulbricht’s cert petition.

Also read: Troll Slayer: Derek Magill Defends Peer-to-Peer Electronic Cash Against Defamation

SCOTUS Denies Ross Ulbricht’s Cert Petition

Just recently, news.Bitcoin.com reported on the Ross Ulbricht case and the convicted Silk Road operator’s cert petition filed with the Supreme Court this past May. According to Ulbricht’s lawyers, out of 200 cases that day, the court justices denied all of them except for the case Carpenter Vs. the US, and Ross Ulbricht’s petition. Lawyers had thought the implications of the Carpenter case, which applies to warrantless cellphone searches, would help Ross’s appeal. Six days ago, the American public learned that the Supreme Court sided with Carpenter’s arguments and ruled law enforcement cannot access cell phone information without a warrant.

Supreme Court Will Not Reconsider Ross Ulbricht's Life Sentence
Ross Ulbricht before he was arrested.

One week later, the Supreme Court came to its decision concerning Ulbricht’s case and decided not to re-evaluate the hearing and sentencing. Of course, the Ulbricht family is not pleased with the decision and in a heartbreaking tweet the organization Freeross.org stated:  

SCOTUS denied Ross Ulbricht cert petition this morning after holding it pending Carpenter. This is a NO on internet privacy and Ross’s case. Devastating. #freeross.    

Furthermore, Lyn Ulbricht, the mother of Ross Ulbricht who has been championing for his freedom since the day he was arrested, made this statement:   

This is devastating news for Ross and our family.

Supreme Court Will Not Reconsider Ross Ulbricht's Life Sentence
Lyn Ulbricht tells the press the family is “devastated” by the decision.

The Surveillance State and Illusionary Freedoms

To many supporters, the denial was an injustice, especially after the Carpenter Vs. the US ruling. Many people believe, alongside Ulbricht’s family and attorneys, that Ulbricht’s fourth amendment and other amendment rights were taken from him. Moreover, a double life sentence for operating a website is considered extremely harsh as many other criminals have received less severe punishments for more heinous crimes.

“It is hard to imagine a better example of the consequences of runaway judicial fact-finding than this case,” explains Ulbricht’s cert petition.  

Petitioner, a young man with no criminal history, was sentenced to life imprisonment without the possibility of parole for drug crimes that do not ordinarily carry that sentence, based substantially on numerous factual findings made by the sentencing judge by a preponderance of the evidence.

Even though activists have lauded the SCOTUS decision towards Carpenter, with Ulbricht’s case there has been an extreme injustice in the eyes of many. It means that there may be laws against law enforcement committing illegal acts like warrantless searches. But unfortunately, when it comes to reality and cases like Ulbricht’s, it further solidifies the feeling that American freedoms are illusionary.

What do you think about the Supreme Court denying Ross Ulbricht’s petition after the Carpenter Vs. US decision? Let us know what you think about this subject in the comment section below.


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Indian Exchange Zebpay Boosts Trading Support for 19 Cryptos Ahead of RBI Ban

Indian Exchange Zebpay Boosts Trading Support for 19 Cryptos Ahead of RBI Ban

Leading Indian cryptocurrency exchange Zebpay has added new cryptocurrencies to its crypto-to-crypto trading platform. The exchange now supports 19 cryptocurrencies and over 35 trading pairs, as it prepares for the banking ban by the country’s central bank to go into effect next week.

Also read: Yahoo! Japan Confirms Entrance Into the Crypto Space

19 Cryptocurrencies, 35+ Trading Pairs

Indian Exchange Zebpay Boosts Trading Support for 19 Cryptos Ahead of RBI BanOne of the largest cryptocurrency exchanges in India, Zebpay, announced Friday that it has added a number of cryptocurrencies to its crypto-to-crypto trading service. Zebpay claims to have over 3 million users.

The exchange launched its crypto-to-crypto trading service in late April with just one trading pair – ETH/BTC. In early May, it added six more markets, trading BTC against BCH, LTC, XRP, EOS, OMG, and TRX.

Then on Friday, June 29, Zebpay added 10 new crypto-to-crypto markets: NCASH, REP, BAT, ZRX, ZIL, GNT, VEN, KNC, CMT, and AE. The exchange wrote, “Zebpay announces the launch of 10 new crypto-to-crypto trading pairs. You can now trade 10 new tokens, supported by Zebpay, with BTC,” adding:

Now, trade 19 cryptocurrencies and 35+ trading pairs on Zebpay cryptocurrency exchange.

Indian Exchange Zebpay Boosts Trading Support for 19 Cryptos Ahead of RBI Ban
Zebpay’s list of supported cryptocurrencies in addition to BTC.

Ramping Up Crypto Trading Ahead of RBI Ban

India’s central bank, the Reserve Bank of India (RBI), issued a circular that mandates all financial institutions under its control to stop servicing companies dealing in cryptocurrencies by July 5.

Indian Exchange Zebpay Boosts Trading Support for 19 Cryptos Ahead of RBI BanFollowing the circular, industry participants petitioned the Supreme Court, challenging the RBI ban. The Court originally scheduled the hearing date to July 20, two weeks after the ban is set to take effect, but reportedly decided to move that date to July 3. In the meantime, crypto exchanges in India are actively preparing to lose access to banking services.

Zebpay recently informed its customers that fiat deposits and withdrawals are likely to cease following the ban, advising them to make any necessary withdrawals beforehand. Following this announcement, all cryptocurrencies listed on the exchange experienced spikes in their trading volume as sell orders piled up.

Indian Exchange Zebpay Boosts Trading Support for 19 Cryptos Ahead of RBI Ban
Zebpay’s BTC/INR trading chart for the period between June 21 and June 29.

Zebpay is not the only Indian exchange ramping up crypto-to-crypto trading ahead of RBI’s ban. Unocoin recently launched Unodax, a multi-crypto trading platform, offering the trading of 15 cryptocurrencies. The exchange has also launched an asset allocation tool called Crypto Basket. Another exchange in the country, Koinex, also offers crypto-to-crypto trading.

What do you think of Zebpay adding support for 19 cryptocurrencies ahead of the RBI ban? Let us know in the comments section below.


Images courtesy of Shutterstock, RBI, and Zebpay.


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