Crypto Payments in the Real World

Crypto Payments in the Real World: Can You Pay for Coffee With Bitcoin

For many years, Bitcoin and, by extension, the rest of the cryptocurrency market has been viewed as a form of investment rather than a viable alternative to conventional forms of money. In 2020, however, it appears as if the tide is finally turning, with major brands such as JPMorgan Chase and Starbucks now pledging support for the asset class.

While the former intends to launch a stable coin pegged to the US Dollar, the coffee giant announced a partnership with crypto derivatives provider Bakkt. As of March 16, 2020, Starbucks has already started beta testing a new feature that will allow customers to use Bakkt Cash as a payment method.

The Benefits of Crypto Payments

Cryptocurrencies offer a myriad of advantages to consumers as well as merchants. Unlike fiat currencies like the U.S. Dollar and Euro, digital tokens retain value and usability across borders.

While companies like Visa and Mastercard offer retailers the option to convert incoming payments to their local currencies, this service requires both transacting parties to pay high fees ranging from one to five percent. Furthermore, popular payment processors such as PayPal and Stripe often add their commissions on top of these fees. At 6.82 percent, the average remittance fee rate is also prohibitively expensive for personal money transfers.

Digital currencies, on the other hand, are completely decentralized and can be exchanged even in the absence of a third party or trusted institution. As a result, merchants, retailers, and consumers all retain a greater percentage of their wealth and income when using cryptocurrency.

Transaction time is another major factor in favor of digital currencies. While traditional banking channels such as wire transfers and online remittance platforms like PayPal transfer funds internationally in a matter of weeks, cryptocurrencies can successfully settle transactions in a matter of minutes. In the case of digital currencies such as Nano, settlement times can be brought down to a single second or even lower. With

Finally, there is the aspect of convenience. According to the World Bank, a staggering 1.7 billion adults worldwide do not hold an account with a bank or financial institution. While most banks require infrastructure and local presence to set up accounts in impoverished regions, digital assets can be owned and exchanged with relatively little hassle. Creating a new crypto wallet requires only a smartphone or similar computing device along with an internet connection. Because of this, many believe that blockchain technology will drive financial inclusion globally and ‘bank the unbanked’.

Crypto Payments on the Rise?

According to a report published by Kaspersky in 2018, approximately 13 percent of surveyed individuals from 22 countries reported having used cryptocurrency as a payment method at some point. With the crypto market’s surging popularity, that figure is only expected to rise in the future. Furthermore, blockchain and non-blockchain enterprises are now offering unique ways to earn, spend, and exchange digital tokens, either online or offline.

Let us take a look at two strong examples that aim to bring cryptocurrency to mainstream relevance.

Aloha

Aloha is a revolutionary new service that allows anyone to earn rewards in the form of tokens by simply sharing their unused or excess mobile data with other users in the Aloha ecosystem. With over 2.5 billion phone users and a significant percentage of them having difficulty getting online, Aloha aims to not only offer an innovative use-case of blockchain technology, but also boost internet penetration in several regions.

Hosts that share their data with other users are rewarded in the form of Aloha tokens. These tokens can later be exchanged on third-party cryptocurrency exchanges or redeemed for real-world products and services on partner brands and retailers.

Wirex

After physical cash, debit and credit cards are some of the most popular means of payment globally. According to The Nilson Report, there were approximately 20.48 billion credit, debit, and prepaid cards in circulation globally as of December 31, 2017. Wirex, a UK-based startup, hopes to make cryptocurrency payments extremely accessible by offering crypto wallets linked to physical debit cards. These cards are virtually identical to the ones provided by a bank and can, similarly, be used to purchase day to day items at any ordinary retailer or e-commerce platform.

Wirex made headlines when it announced a partnership with financial services company Visa to launch a travel debit card that would automatically inter-convert 12 digital and fiat currencies at the time of transaction settlement. Such an offering would allow Wirex users to hold Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies in their wallet right upto the moment they initiate a purchase using the card. While mobile-based, QR code payments are likely the future of cryptocurrency payments, Wirex’s Visa card may very well be the stopgap solution needed for mass adoption of crypto.

Conclusion

All in all, it appears as if the world is finally warming up to the idea of using cryptocurrencies in the real-world. While Bakkt, Wirex, and Aloha are promising new ventures in this landscape, other factors like the growing number of Bitcoin ATMs and an increasing offline acceptance of digital currencies are also trends worth looking out for in the coming months.

Israeli Startup Orion Brings a Finance Exchange

Israeli Startup Orion Brings a Finance Exchange, Ensuring Safety and Speed of Work

To meet the needs of today’s digital world, Orion, the Israeli blockchain startup brings a finance platform that guarantees quality and speed in a secure environment to exchange cryptocurrency.

The recent surge in the popularity of cryptocurrencies and the federal government’s keen interest in digital currency indicates that there’s a future for it, and people from all around the world are moving towards investing in cryptocurrencies. They require a safe and secure platform to transact, but sadly, most of the beginners are entirely unfamiliar with the actual technology. Orion intends to support and help such folks by building a finance platform that guarantees high speed and fast processing of applications to exchange digital money.

“There are many similar platforms, but at Orion finance, our goal is to develop one of the safest blockchain exchanges, ensuring the security of information and speed of work,” explains the team. For now, Orion supports only major cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin, Ethereum, etc., but soon the company will add others assets.

Currently, this fastest-growing company is working on spot trading (method of trading assets with immediate delivery). Orion finance comes with the aim of buyers’ trust and hassle-free working in this digital world of uncertainty. It is easy to open an account and learn the use of cryptocurrency with this platform. All the necessary details are available on the website.

The interface of Orion finance is simple, user-friendly, and secure. Having a team of experienced and skilled professionals as the foundation of the platform paved the way for its rapid growth within a short period of time. It is an excellent place for newbies who are want to learn more about how to use and the benefits of investing in cryptocurrency. The platform also provides a starter’s guide for people who are interested and want to trade cryptocurrency. Clients and customers can also get free consolations and complete assistance from a professional team.

The use of leading technologies in project development, management, and marketing of Orion is remarkable. The platform guarantees one of the lowest exchange commission fees on trading, and the team is planning to launch its own token, which will give users additional opportunities to work in the cryptocurrency market.

“Online scams and hacks are not new in this digital world. Criminal activity and scamming surrounding cryptocurrencies have also increased a lot. Sometimes Basic security measures are often overlooked by new users of cryptocurrencies, which has led to many thefts or scams. That’s why the main aim of Orion is the safety and security of digital assets. Our platform is fully transparent and does not imply any ambiguous terms or conditions.” ensures the team. The company operates in accordance with the international law of digital assets, and their most important tasks are to guarantee the reliability and safety of the user.

More details about the platform can be found at: https://orion.finance

Worldwide Asset eXchange (WAX)

Worldwide Asset eXchange (WAX) Partners With Topps to Bring Collectible Cards to Life on the Blockchain

WAX, the all-in-one blockchain platform that enables developers to create, sell and trade digital goods partners with the most prestigious producer of trading cards and collectibles in the world Topps, in a mission to empower businesses to profit from the next era of digital commerce.

WAX and The Topps Company, the most prestigious global producer of trading cards for MLB, Star Wars, WWE and Garbage Pail Kids, unveiled a historic partnership to bring their vast licensing portfolio to the WAX Blockchain.

Utilizing WAX’s blockchain technology, fans around the world can soon discover, collect and trade officially-licensed digital Topps collectibles. Collectibles can be seamlessly sold, or traded instantly and securely, with anyone across the world. With blockchain collectibles, collectors can enjoy the fun of trading and sharing digital cards with others around the world through a secure and efficient medium. The digital cards are authenticated and tracked using WAX Blockchain technology to ensure providence and security.

The first Topps blockchain trading cards will launch in Spring 2020 and will be available for purchase online using a credit card and the WAX Cloud Wallet, the most user-friendly blockchain wallet today. To get on the waitlist (and enter to win cards!), visit topps.wax.io.

“Over the years, collectors of Topps trading cards have enjoyed the thrill of ripping open a pack of cards. This partnership allows us to bring that memorable collectible experience to an even wider audience. Our Garbage Pail Kids blockchain product will highlight recent advancements in technology and continues Topps’ history of developing innovative products,” said Tobin Lent, Vice President, General Manager of Topps Digital.

Topps trading cards have regularly sold in secondary markets for hundreds of thousands of dollars, so it’s critical that WAX Blockchain technology guarantee Topps cards are authentic and that trades are secured.

By interacting with Garbage Pail Kids cards on the WAX Blockchain, anyone can see the details of the cards’ information and trading history. This enables everyone involved to make informed purchases, sales, and trades, with anyone else in the world – instantly.

The blockchain records every aspect of every card’s transaction and stores it forever. These blockchain records can’t be changed by anyone, and can be seen by everyone. Therefore, since the blockchain removes all uncertainty, there’s no need to take a chance with a buyer or seller or blindly trust another trader.

Data for Garbage Pail Kids cards on the blockchain includes:

  • Detailed product specifications for each card including the date it was created, its rarity, images of the card, proof of its authenticity, and more. With this information, collectors know exactly which cards they are trading – no guesswork, no need to trust or verify other traders.
  • Comprehensive ownership records that show who traded the card and when. Since everyone can see its full ownership history, no one can ever fake ownership of a card.
  • Complete trade and sale history including how much money was paid for the cards and when. No one can ever fake previous sale prices or dates.

“Topps is bringing their collectibles to the forefront of digital innovation and is determined to leverage the opportunities that the blockchain can provide. I believe the WAX Blockchain will have an important and positive impact on Topps future business models and the way they engage their fanbase. We are very pleased to welcome Topps in the WAX family of dApps,” said Evan Vandenberg, Director at WAX.

Resources

About WAX (Worldwide Asset eXchange)

WAX is an all-in-one blockchain platform enabling developers to easily create, sell and trade digital goods to empower businesses to profit from the next era of digital commerce. For more information, please visit wax.io and follow along on Twitter, YouTube, and Telegram.

Worldwide Asset eXchange™, WAX is a trademark and the sole property of Worldwide Asset eXchange.

About The Topps Company, Inc.

Founded in 1938, Topps is the leading creator and marketer of sports and related cards, entertainment products, and distinctive confectionery. Topps entertainment products include the NFL, MLB, UFC, MLS, WWE and other trading cards, sticker album collections, and collectible games. The Company’s confectionery brands include Bazooka® bubble gum, Ring Pop®, Push Pop®, Baby Bottle Pop® and Juicy Drop ® Pop lollipops. For additional information, visit Sports Cards and Entertainment Cards at Topps.com and follow us on facebook at facebook.com/Topps, on twitter @Toppscards, and now on Instagram @ToppsSports.

3 Ways Blockchain Can Disrupt the Traditional Finance System

The internet of money is here and its arrival has created a fear of potentially the inevitable; a global society that can go about normal business without the involvement of traditional finance systems. The rise of blockchain technology enables the termination of the middleman and automation of manual processes, but it is yet to be seen if it can scale.

The use of distributed ledger technology such as blockchain could dramatically change the banking sector, even becoming a new model of banking. Here are a few reasons why.

Superior Transaction Speeds

According to the World Economic Forum, it is estimated that by 2027,10% of the worldwide GDP will be stored through blockchain. This will be done mainly through the use of cryptocurrencies. Cryptocurrencies, unlike traditional money, facilitate speedy and secure transactions.

The traditional financial system is associated with long wait times when it comes to validating transactions plus high fees are charged since banks act as middlemen. The blockchain territory handles this issue permanently. Transactions are validated round the clock, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. This means that processes or transactions are completed in seconds or a few hours. The fees charged are lower compared to dealing with banking middlemen.

Ease of Cross-border Payments

It still takes about three days for a bank transfer to be completed. This is because banks have to communicate with each other about where the money should go. Both banks will charge you for every step they take. There are many players, many processes and definitely, this is a costly affair. At most, you will have to pay 7% to cover the cost of these cross border payments.

Companies that want a permanent solution are opting for blockchain processes. This is cheaper, secure, fast and transparent. The platform allows the sender and receiver to transact directly. All the data is stored in the network and payments cannot be reversed. According to Deloitte, blockchain technology allows businesses and individuals to transact within seconds and this reduces the cost up to 40-80%, (source)

Benefits of Blockchain Payments

Currently, about 30% of global organizations are experimenting with blockchain and here is why:

  • Blockchain offers direct payments from person to person, business to business
  • Blockchain reduces the cost of cross border payments
  • Data of every transaction is maintained
  • Data is encrypted and secure
  • Transactions take a short time to be completed

Blockchain payments are cost-effective. Users don’t pay transfer fees to third parties. At times you only pay a single nominal fee or zero rates. All blockchain payments are completed in a matter of seconds close to real-time. This ability makes businesses agile, allowing them to run operations in a timely manner without failure of funding.  Records kept by one central authority are vulnerable to misuse or hacking. Cryptography makes it quite difficult for hackers to penetrate the chain and tamper with data.

Enhanced Privacy

Blockchain’s ability to be used as a privacy tool is present in its nature. It is a decentralized technology that is also a digital ledger that tracks, records and verifies all transactions. Since there is no central location where data is stored there is also no single point that can be used for attacks. Users are able to digitize their assets such that they cannot be duplicated without permission. You are still able to trace the source if you want to. All immutable records are stored and disseminated to every user and every user has their own private cryptographic key.

According to Darryn Jones, the Vice President of Business Development for the Greater Phoenix Economic Council (GPEC) there are three blockchain privacy features that are truly beneficial:

  • The transaction ledgers are distributed across a wide network that does away with the hacking from a single point. In case of a discrepancy, the time stamp mechanism provides a stronger context for correction.
  • Individuals have full autonomy over their personal information, therefore, no one can tamper with such information
  • Users operate directly with one another

One of the platforms that companies can use to ensure that they enjoy the benefits of blockchain technology is QURAS.io. QURAS is a ‘Privacy 2.0’ protocol that enables private transactions through the use of public smart contracts. Users are given the option of choosing their privacy level for all types of transactions. Only the involved parties can view transactions. The smart contract stays on the public QURAS blockchain.

It is yet to be seen, but QURAS may very well be a catalyst for the adoption of blockchain technology given the protocol’s transaction ability to remain mindful of regulatory compliance. Through this protocol, businesses have an opportunity to maintain transaction privacy while creating value and improving efficiency. When asked about the future of money, Shigeki Kakutani, CEO of QURAS, responded by saying “I believe that the time will come when people will become ATMs and they will have the ability to freely make instantaneous transactions privately and securely.”

There are other blockchain platforms that are also pushing the efficiency agenda forward. One such company is Hyperledger Fabric which hails from the Linux Foundation and has received contributions from IBM and Intel. It is a modular blockchain framework that is seen as a standard when it comes to enterprise blockchain platforms.  All the transactions are confidential and performance is at scale thus ushering in the era of trust, transparency, and accountability.

Another unique platform is Corda, which is an open-source blockchain platform built for businesses to transact directly and enforcing strict privacy thanks to smart contracts.

Conclusion

Blockchain technology is here to stay and a potential disruptor to the traditional financial system that has thrived during the age of globalization over the last century. A recent Bloomberg article cited a report last month published by JP Morgan that stated “2019 will be remembered for the rise of digital money” and “the groundwork is now in place for more mainstream adoption of blockchain technology.” This showcases the embrace that some major financial institutions already have, while others are taking a wait and see approach.

The real question is how and when will broader blockchain adoption take place in the financial sector and how will it change with the lives of banking customers? Only time will tell.

Also published on: https://www.yahoo.com/news/3-ways-blockchain-disrupt-traditional-151646485.html

Centric Announces Launch with a New Dual Economic Model to Help Drive Blockchain Mass Adoption

Centric, a dual cryptocurrency payment network, has officially announced its launch in hopes of limiting industry volatility.

The company has developed a dual token ecosystem, the first being Centric Rise, which steadily increases in price hourly. This will help offer a reliable store of value and an incentive to join the network for users globally. The second token, Centric Cash, is pegged to the first token and will freely trade on major cryptocurrency exchanges.

The exchange between the two tokens is governed by a decentralized smart contract with immutable price blocks, set one year into the future. In this way, the protocol self-regulates token supply to meet ongoing changes in demand. From a user perspective, Centric is simply a payment network and a reliable store of value.

Centric CEO Gabriella Davis explains, “We are very excited for the launch of what we believe is game-changing technology in the blockchain industry. With high volatility and low usability, the industry still suffers from adoption challenges. Centric will fix this by using a dual token ecosystem that is both user-friendly and economical from a monetary standpoint.”

Centric will make its official public launch Q1 2020 and will look to enhance the value of the network through the addition of new products and partners that contribute directly to the transactional volume of the network’s currencies.

To learn more about the Centric project, visit www.joincentric.com

About Centric: Centric is a blockchain-based payment network composed of two distinct tokens which promote stability, an incentive structure for early adopters, and store of value. The exchange between the two tokens is governed by a decentralized smart contract and a self-regulating protocol.

Media Contact: Email: media@centricfoundation.com

Siam Commercial Bank Of Thailand To Use Ripple For Cross-border Payments With Easy Pay App

Siam Commercial Bank of Thailand uses Ripple for cross-border payments with the Easy Pay application. That has been confirmed in an update on its website. There has been speculation about this news for several months. Now there is finally clarity. They also provide a complete description of how the technology is used and implemented.

The application allows SBC Thailand customers to easily send money to countries such as the United States, United Kingdom, Germany, France, Italy, Spain and Singapore. Payments to the United Kingdom and Singapore are even made in real time. The SBC has been around for over 100 years and is the third largest bank in Thailand.

A few months ago, the SBC announced that they would use Ripple. At that time, xRapid was named as the company’s technology. This is a payment system in which the XRP token plays an important role. However, today it was officially announced that it is xCurrent. There are no benefits for XRP holders.

This is a point of hate for many people who own XRP coins. xCurrent is just the system that banks can use to commit. Payments where XRP can be used are not included in this piece of technology. Therefore, this collaboration does not immediately lead to an additional demand for the currency. You can see it as a disappointment for fans who had high expectations of this collaboration.

The cooperation between the bank and Ripple goes back to 2016. The chief technology officer, Colin Dinn, says he believes that banks that are not going to use the blockchain technique will have a very difficult time.

We saw that it offers a solution in which the client is central. Offer something our customers want. It was not something that we as a bank wanted to promote. With Ripple we have found a way and a partner in which we can work very differently from what we are used to. We have ambition and we want to do things differently and change. We see that a bank will be less relevant for customers in the coming years.

US Retail Giant Walmart Wants Patent For Blockchain Driven Drone

Walmart has filed a patent application for a drone communication system based on blockchain technology. With this, the retail giant, one of the largest companies in the business, wants to patent a drone communication system.

With the system, the operating parameters of a drone can be encoded and stored. This allows drones to pass through each other’s locations. This is because the receiving drone can decrypt, read and decrypt the parameters.

Since 2017, the retail giant has patented blockchain solutions for drones. In May 2017, for example, Walmart filed a patent application for a ‘Unmanned Air Delivery to a Safe Place’ system. Walmart has been flirting with cryptocurrencies for some time. Earlier this month, a patent was filed for a digital currency based on blockchain. According to the documents, Walmart ‘wants to launch a digital currency based on a regular currency such as the US dollar. So, this is really a stable currency.

On May 17, 2018, a patent application was filed for a blockchain solution for a market or a second-hand items platform. The application describes a service that records a customer’s purchases in the blockchain. This allows the customer to resell items on a sales platform using proof of purchase.

Users Can Now Add Bitcoin To The Keystore With Latest Samsung Smartphones

Samsung has quietly added Bitcoin (BTC) to its blockchain app store. Their latest smartphones will now support bitcoin in its Keystore Blockchain. Previously, Keystore only supported the Ethereum blockchain (and ERC20 tokens).

The Klaytn blockchain of Internet giant Kakao, written earlier this week, is also supported. With this, Samsung attracts the user base of Kakao applications in South Korea.
Until now, the keystore has a number of limitations in terms of scope. Support is limited to the latest smartphones: Galaxy S10e; S10; S10 +; S10 5G; Note10 and Note10 +.

And not unimportant: users in the Netherlands still cannot activate the functionality on their smartphone. Blockchain Keystore is only accessible to users in countries; Canada, Germany, Spain, UK, WE, South Korea and Switzerland.

There are currently 17 blockchain applications available in Keystore, which was launched earlier this year. Samsung is gradually expanding the store. For example, several dApps have recently been added. Unlike mobile applications, the use of (decentralized) applications is still in diapers. This is partly because there is still much to gain when it comes to interfaces and the ease of use of dApps, among others. Researchers at the marketing agency Zage recently concluded this in a report.

Samsung also competes with this functionality with other mobile wallets to store cryptocurrencies. Because your smartphone acts as a storage for your currencies and, therefore, your private keys, the secret keys of your crypto currency. Like an encryption grant, as a Samsung user, you assume the responsibility of managing your private keys. It depends on the security of Keystore, for example.

As soon as someone knows their private keys, the person will have control over their crypto currency. This means that the person can send them to a different address.

Data Is The New Oil, Blockchain Company Sets Up AI To Analyze Data

Blockchain startup Bitfury, the company which has recently hit a valuation of more than 1 billion dollars, launched an artificial intelligence unit (AI) to dig deeper and investigate data.

Blockchain, the decentralised digital ledger, became so important as the application it put up, the virtual currency Bitcoin rose to fame with massive adoption. The technology, that further developed in to the public and private sectors, has attracted worldwide attention for its ability to permanently register and track assets or transactions in all industries. Artificial intelligence is one of the technology sectors that attracted large funds to the technology this year.

The European blockchain company, The Bitfury Group, is setting up its artificial intelligence division (IS), the company’s chief executive officer told Reuters in a recent interview. Data is becoming the next oil, says Valery Vavilov, co-founder and CEO of the firm. He added that the company collected so much information that only 2% of this data could be analyzed so far; 98% is still awaiting analysis.

According to reports, the unit of artificial intelligence is still exploring the range of products it offers, and more details are expected by the end of this year or early next year.

Bitfury is supported by significant investors, who collected $ 80 million from risk firms such as Digital Galaxy, Macquarie Capital and Dentsu. The blockchain company was also exploring the making of an initial public offer or IPO last year, possibly in Amsterdam, London or Hong Kong.

New Zealand Makes It Legal For Employees To Get Paid In Bitcoin

In an official ruling, the tax authorities in New Zealand declare that paying in bitcoin for wages or salaries is legally binding. The tax department clarifies the legality of paying employees in Bitcoin (or any other cryptocurrencies) and how it should be handled on an accounting level. However, as an independent entrepreneur, you cannot use this. The notice also contains more information about taxes and refund.

New Zealand Makes Bitcoin Legal

The official document of the ruling can be found here: https://www.classic.ird.govt.nz/resources/1/c/1c6029d0-611c-4a15-9cbf-b712129ab76c/tib-vol31-no7.pdf

The change is effective as of August 29. It includes a special treatment for the income tax of cryptocurrencies. From that moment, cryptocurrencies are accepted in the larger image of the income tax. Another term for this is the tax Paye what you earn. The argument given by the tax authorities is that it is increasingly normal for employees to be paid in cryptocurrencies. Of course, this is the case in the industry related to cryptocurrencies, but also abroad it seems to be increasingly conventional.

The ruling states that you can make a payment in crypto currency in two ways. The first way is to deduct the gross salary or the employee’s salary and the second way is to reduce the gross profit.

All of that may sound a bit vague. To illustrate, the tax authorities have added an example to the resolution: If a person earns NZ $ 10,000 in salary per month. Half of this goes to his or her bank account in NZD and the other half is sent to a bitcoin wallet. The tax is calculated on these NZ $ 10,000 gross and subsequently withheld and paid.

If the person is in a situation to claim a child benefit or a student loan deduction, then this is a tool that can be used to calculate exactly how much and how the payment should be made. The manual for this can be found on the website of the tax authorities.