A Step-by-Step Walkthrough:Preparing for the Bitcoin Hard Forks:

At the moment there are two forks planned for the Bitcoin network, and cryptocurrency proponents are curious about taking the best preparations. One fork is called Bitcoin Gold which is scheduled for October 25, while the other hard fork Segwit2x (BTC1) will take place roughly around mid-November or block height 494784.

 

The Tale of Two More Forks

This past summer news.Bitcoin.com wrote a lot about preparing for a fork when the entire Bitcoin network and its participants experienced the August 1 blockchain split. Currently, there are two bitcoin forks scheduled to happen over the next few weeks. This means if splits happen to occur between all of them, there could be a total of four blockchains that share the same transaction history of the original Bitcoin blockchain created by Satoshi Nakamoto.

Preparing for the Bitcoin Hard Forks: A Step-by-Step Walkthrough
The Bitcoin Gold project is expected to fork the bitcoin network on October 25. However, the network will not go live until November 1.

The Bitcoin Gold (BTG) project aims to fork the network so they can create an Application Specific Integrated Circuit (ASIC) ‘resistant’ version of bitcoin. The reason they are forking the network is because the team thinks ASIC mining is too centralized. So BTG developers plan to make bitcoin mineable using Graphic Processing Units (GPU), by changing the original protocol’s consensus to an algorithm called Equihash. This hard fork is planned for October 25 the developers have stated, but the network itself won’t be live until November 1.

Preparing for the Bitcoin Hard Forks: A Step-by-Step Walkthrough
The Segwit2x project is expected to fork the bitcoin network at block height 494784

The Segwit2x hard fork is a technical compromise stemming from the New York Agreement (NYA) this past spring, between a vast majority of bitcoin miners and businesses. Some people believe the NYA compromise helped push miners to use their hashrate voting power to ultimately implement the Segregated Witness (Segwit) protocol. But the activation of Segwit came with the agreement that three months later a 2MB block size hard fork would take place. This hard fork will take place at approximately block height 494784 or roughly around November 18 depending on hashrate.

At the present time, both of these forks may or may not take place on the expected dates.

Before During and After the Forks

Preparing for the Bitcoin Hard Forks: A Step-by-Step WalkthroughThere are a few things bitcoin holders should know before, during and after the fork. Before the fork, users should make sure their funds are in the right place, at the right time. This means choosing to leave money on an exchange, which some folks like traders do, or hold the funds in a non-custodial wallet. Most people agree the best practice, to remain in full control of any amount of bitcoin holdings, is to maintain your own funds by possessing your own private keys. So before the fork, if users keep their BTC stash in a non-custodial wallet they should make sure they have their seed phrases or private keys available. If an individual possesses their private keys, they are in full control of their funds before and after the fork.

If a user chooses to keep funds on a custodial wallet or a centralized exchange then they should be fully aware the provider is in control. Trading platforms will cease deposits and withdrawals during a fork and may even stop trades temporarily. Users keeping money on an exchange must always know they will be ultimately subject to that business’s discretion.

During the fork, most people would also agree that sending bitcoin transactions while the consensus change is taking place is not the best idea. People should remain patient until 100 percent of the dust has settled before they transact with the bitcoin network. There could be confusion with the fork like blockchain re-organizations, replay attacks, and prolonged confirmation times.

After the fork, it is still a good idea to remain patient, and you can start investigating reliable infrastructure for both forks before using the split networks. From here you can research how to import your private keys so you can claim split tokens, as well as wait for splitting tools from wallet and exchange providers. For instance, many bitcoin wallet users had to wait for the app maintainers to create a tool or fully support the new network that was born this summer. Some people may have to wait a few days or even weeks before wallet providers and exchanges follow through with support and special chain-splitting tools.

Replay Protection and Attacks

Preparing for the Bitcoin Hard Forks: A Step-by-Step WalkthroughAt the moment both of the planned forks, Bitcoin Gold and Segwit2x, do not have replay protection added to the specific project’s code. Segwit2x initially had an opt-in type of replay protection, but developers have since removed the protocol. Bitcoin Gold promises replay protection, but the code also has not been added to the Github repository. Both forks could add an opt-in version or a stronger means of replay protection before the forks happen. During a replay attack, it’s possible Unspent Transaction Outputs (UTXO) can be verified by miners on both chains making it easy for an attacker to manipulate or unknowing investors could make mistakes. Some individuals believe replay protection is necessary, while there’s also an argument against the implementation as well.

Additionally, light clients, otherwise known as Simplified Payment Verification (SPV) wallets, follow the chain with the most cumulative proof of work. SPV wallets don’t check the rules and ultimately sync transactions with the longest chain headers. Those using SPV wallets will want to make sure they are on the preferred chain. While some wallet providers let users decide on which node they should tether to, other light clients will choose for you. If you don’t like the wallet startup choosing for you, then it is probably best to move your bitcoin to a client that allows choice or is tied to the chain you prefer. You can also choose to use other wallet options like paper, hardware, and full node clients.

Hardware Wallets, Exchanges, and Full Nodes

Some people believe that hardware wallets and paper wallets are better places to keep funds during a hard fork. With paper wallets, an individual can obtain or spend their funds whenever they want after the fork on both chains. With a hardware wallet, you may have to wait for a tool to be released as hardware companies like Ledger, and Trezor had to launch firmware updates for their users regarding bitcoin cash.

Preparing for the Bitcoin Hard Forks: A Step-by-Step Walkthrough

Users can also choose to side with a chain of their choice by downloading a full node client. Full nodes will enforce the rules on the specific chain they are tethered to, and these types of wallets have keys that can also be imported to retrieve split tokens at a later date.

As explained above, leaving funds with an exchange during and after a fork exposes users to the will of a company’s decisions. The business may not let you deposit or withdraw between a specified period. So if you need access to funds that are on an exchange, you may not get them right away. Additionally, some exchanges may not release support for split tokens right away, and again you will have to wait. For instance, the exchange Coinbase has not yet released bitcoin cash (BCH) holdings to their customers who kept funds on the trading platform prior to August 1 and the firm aims to release the BCH in January 2018.

Keep Calm and Bitcoin On

Over the past few weeks, wallet providers and exchanges have been releasing their contingency plans, and more will likely follow shortly. News.Bitcoin.com has been covering nearly every popular bitcoin service’s contingency plan, and we will continue keeping our readers informed every step of the way. Further, our team will provide information regarding these forks before, during and after each event so users can be sure they know what’s happening throughout each period.

Lastly, we need to reiterate further that keeping private keys yourself is truly the best way to proceed during a fork, and also being patient during a blockchain split event by not sending or receiving transactions will ensure losses won’t happen.

How are you preparing for the upcoming hard forks scheduled to take place on the Bitcoin network? Let us know your game plan and thoughts in the comments below.hjgyttrreeww-1068x1068

Putin Confirms Russia Will Regulate Cryptocurrencies

Following the meeting with Vladimir Putin, Russian regulators announced that cryptocurrencies will officially be regulated in Russia. The central bank and the finance ministry will now work together to come up with one draft law to provide a basic regulatory framework for cryptocurrencies including bitcoin, which is expected by the year’s end.

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Putin Has Spoken

At the meeting on cryptocurrencies between Putin and top Russian regulators on Tuesday, the decision to regulate cryptocurrencies in Russia was reached. “The Russian government has decided to officially regulate the mining and circulation of cryptocurrencies,” RT described and quoted Finance Minister Anton Siluanov announcing on Wednesday that:

We have agreed on the following: the state should regulate the process of issuing cryptocurrencies, the process of mining, the process of circulation…The state should head this situation and regulate it legally.

Putin Confirms Russia Will Regulate Cryptocurrencies
Putin’s meeting on cryptocurrencies.

The meeting was attended by Siluanov, Central Bank Governor Elvira Nabiullina, Central Bank Deputy Governor Olga Skorobogatova, Presidential Aide Andrei Belousov, and Qiwi CEO Sergei Solonin.

In the meeting, Putin acknowledged the risks associated with cryptocurrencies. However, he also stressed that “it is important not to create unnecessary barriers, of course, but rather to provide essential conditions for advancing and upgrading the national financial system.”

Finance Ministry to Work With Central Bank

Currently, cryptocurrencies including bitcoin are not regulated in Russia despite many attempts by various government departments to put forward proposals to regulate them. Both the central bank and the finance ministry have been working separately on a draft law to regulate cryptocurrencies. A draft bill was supposed to be introduced in October but was postponed due to a lack of consensus among the regulators.

Putin Confirms Russia Will Regulate Cryptocurrencies
Finance Minister Anton Siluanov.

The finance ministry proposed to legalize cryptocurrencies but was opposed by the central bank due to “a loss of control over the money flows from abroad.” This week, the ministry proposed to register cryptocurrency miners and to license crypto exchanges.

After the meeting with Putin, however, Siluanov told journalists that the finance ministry and the central bank will now work together to prepare one basic draft law to regulate cryptocurrencies, Tass reported on Wednesday and quoted him saying:

We will prepare the draft law together with the Central Bank…I think we will be able to determine the basic regulatory positions before the end of the year.

“According to him, with regard to regulation, the functions of the Ministry of Finance, the Central Bank and Rosfinmonitoring will be delineated,” the publication elaborated.

Possible Restrictions

In addition, Deputy Finance Minister Alexei Moiseev indicated on Wednesday that there may be some restrictions. “Russia’s Finance Ministry supports the idea to limit the amount cryptocurrency that can be purchased by individuals,” Tass detailed and quoted him saying:

We said that restrictions are needed on purchases and sales, accounts, miners’ taxation and so on…Yes, there is such an idea, we support it. We should discuss the amounts. We should look at international practice.

This is not the first time Moiseev talked about restricting the purchase and sale of cryptocurrencies in Russia. In August, he proposed listing them on regulated exchanges but banning non-qualified investors from buying and selling them. However, his proposal did not receive a lot of support from other regulators. First Deputy Prime Minister Igor Shuvalov promptly commented on Moiseev’s suggestion, stating that no legislation had been decided. The finance minister followed up with a suggestion that cryptocurrencies could be made available to anyone in the same way federal loan bonds (OFZ) are.

How do you think Russia will regulate cryptocurrencies? Let us know in the comments section below.

Research Shows Half a Billion People Are Mining Cryptocurrencies Without Knowing It

The company behind the ad blocking program Adguard has analyzed the most popular 100,000 websites for cryptocurrency mining scripts. They found that over 500 million people have been mining cryptocurrencies and “they have no idea it is happening.” Each website running the script earns an estimated $43,000 within the three-week period studied.

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Over Half a Billion People Affected

Adguard, which produces an ad blocking program with the same name, recently analyzed websites for cryptocurrency mining scripts following the news that some of them have been using their users’ browsers to mine cryptocurrencies. The top 100,000 websites as ranked by Alexa were inspected. Co-founder and CTO Andrey Meshkov shared his company’s findings on Thursday.

“We looked for the codes for Coinhive and JSEcoin, the most popular solutions for browser mining in use now,” Meshkov wrote. The analysis revealed that 220 of these websites have been using crypto-mining scripts. The four most targeted countries are the U.S., India, Russia, and Brazil.

Research Shows Over Half a Billion People Are Mining Cryptocurrencies Without Knowing It

Meshkov detailed:

We found 220 sites that launch mining when a user opens their main page, with an aggregated audience of 500 million people. These people live all over the world; there are sites with users from the USA, China, South American and European countries, Russia, India, Iran… and the list goes on.

Replacing Ads with Mining Revenues

Adguard estimated that each website running a crypto-mining script earned about $43,000 within the examined three-week period. While they have not made millions, Meshkov said, “this money has been made in three weeks at almost zero cost.”

Research Shows Over Half a Billion People Are Mining Cryptocurrencies Without Knowing It

Most of the sites using cryptocurrency mining scripts are “pirate TV and video sites, Torrent trackers and porn websites,” he described. Video streaming platforms are ideal for mining, he explained, citing “they boast a huge audience that keeps their site open in their browsers for a long time.” The largest torrent search engine, The Pirate Bay, was recently caught using Coinhive, which was also found to be used on CBS’ Showtime websites. Meshkov suggested:

The ethical way for a website to earn money by mining through its audience’s computers is to ask the audience for permission first, and to allow them the possibility to opt out. Actually, such a practice could make mining even more ethical than ads. After all, nobody asks us if we would like to see ads on a website.

While the Coinhive team has issued a statement asking website operators to ask user permission before using their CPUs to mine cryptocurrencies, Meshkov explained that it is difficult to enforce this recommendation. “For example, they cannot forbid stealth mining,” he said, adding that there are other ways to prevent websites running crypto-mining scripts without users consent. “A popular CDN service called Cloudflare recently started to suspend accounts and deny service to sites that mine without user permission,” he detailed, noting that “a number of ad blockers and antivirus programs also added features that block browser mining.”

Do you think that more popular websites will use browser mining to replace advertising? Let us know in the comments section below.

The Satoshi Revolution: A Revolution of Rising Expectations

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The Satoshi Revolution: A Revolution of Rising Expectations.
Chapter 1: A Revolution of Rising Expectations (part 3).
by Wendy McElroy

A lot of people automatically dismiss e-currency as a lost cause because of all the companies that failed since the 1990’s. I hope it’s obvious it was only the centrally controlled nature of those systems that doomed them. I think this is the first time we’re trying a decentralized, non-trust-based system.
Satoshi Nakamoto

Bitcoin Avoids the Lethal Problems of Earlier Private Currencies

(Caveat: I do not mean to credit Satoshi Nakamoto for all good things within cryptocurrency, as I may seem to be doing. Visionaries came before him and forged new paths. For example, Timothy C. May’s“Crypto Anarchist Manifesto” was published in 1988 and opened with the remarkable sentence, “A specter is haunting the modern world, the specter of crypto anarchy.” The genius of Nakamoto was twofold. He produced an elegant, original technology that rivals the Gutenburg printing press and allows the implementation of economic crypto anarchy; and he saw clearly its broad political, revolutionary significance. As much as anything, Nakamoto is a symbol and an aegis for others who have done or are doing fine work.)

Part of the Satoshi Revolution’s brilliance lies in the fact that it is profoundly political without being ideological. Most people see little difference between the political and the ideological or, if they do make a distinction, they believe ideology is the set of beliefs that determine the specific political positions a person takes. In many cases, they are correct. But not in all cases. Sometimes politics and ideology are distinct.

Bitcoin is political in the same sense as the Gutenberg printing press (1448).
Although his press was not the first one, Johannes Gutenberg (c.1400-1468) pioneered innovations that were almost as creative as those of Nakamoto. For example, he used a durable oil-based ink rather than water-based ones that did not last well. He used a strong alloy to create close to 300 separate type bits that could be quickly assembled into uniform templates; prior printers used fragile wooden bits or carved the letters of each page into a wooden block to be inked. Then Gutenberg. He opened a world of information and ideas to the average person who no longer needed to rely on authorities for ‘truth’. The printing press decentralized knowledge from the hands of authorities to those of the common man, and knowledge is power. This made it not only a technical marvel, but also an agent of social change and revolution.

Those who ruled would have prevented the shift in power by plugging the flood of opinions and ideas, if they could have, because an illiterate, uninformed public is easier to control. A literate, informed public served the goals of populists and reformers who threaten the status quo which is the main reason state censorship existed then and now. Unfortunately for the ruling class, literacy increased and more people judged for themselves which religious and political beliefs resonated inside of them as real.

One example of social upheaval: without Gutenberg’s printing press, the Protestant Reformation is difficult to imagine. When Martin Luther launched the Reformation in 1517 by nailing his Ninety-Five Theses to the door of a German church, the document was rapidly translated from Latin into German, copied and reprinted. Luther, the man, could reach only those within the range of his voice. Luther, the mass-produced author, spread ideas across Europe in months. Within three years, hundreds of thousands of copies of his Theses had been cranked off hundreds of printing presses. The Catholic Church responded by excommunicating Luther and prompting him to flee into hiding. But ideas do not respond to hellfire, nor do they flee.

The Gutenberg printing press was a powerful, political tool which sparked movements and revolutions. But the printing press itself was not ideological because any idea could be assembled in templates and printed en masse for people to read: Catholicism or Protestantism, individualism or socialism, Karl Marx or Ayn Rand. The machine itself was neutral. The printing press had strong ideological implications, it could be argued, because it did empower the individual and the masses. In other words, it was a populist force. But authorities also used the new technology to their own statist advantage. As magnificent as the printing press was, it was a tool to produce good or ill, depending on purpose of the user.

Bitcoin is similar. It empowers the individual which is a profoundly political act. But that empowerment makes everyone freer to choose whatever ideology they wish. Bitcoin itself has no settled ideological slant. That’s why individualist, anarchists and socialists alike can use it as a way to pursue their own goals, whatever those goals may be. Amir Taaki, a developer of the DarkMarket/OpenBazaar and Dark Wallet, is an aggressive left-anarchist. He spent time in Rojava [Syrian Kurdistan] helping to found a People’s Republic through the introduction of Bitcoin. Rojava was “under embargo, so there’s no way to move money in or out,” he explained. “So we have to actually create our own Bitcoin economies. Now we have a technological tool for people to freely organise outside [the] state system. Because it is a currency not controlled by central banks.”

Bitcoin is a mechanism that can achieve a galloping diversity of goals. This is a great strength.

Why?

The answer lies in history and requires a bit of background.

A key difference between the radical, individualist movements of the 19th and 20th centuries is that the earlier one focused intensely on the importance of private money and private banking to achieve personal freedom. The radicals placed a primal emphasis on the right of every individual to create their own currency and to function as their own bank. It was a natural right every bit as important as freedom of speech or freedom of religion.

Some 20th century advocates of private money, such as Rothbard or Hayek, take a similar approach. Rothbard wrote, “Let us first ask ourselves the question: Can money be organized under the freedom principle? Can we have a free market in money as well as in other goods and services? What would be the shape of such a market? And what are the effects of various governmental controls? If we favor the free market in other directions, if we wish to eliminate government invasion of person and property, we have no more important task than to explore the ways and means of a free market in money.” Most modern advocates, however, argue in utilitarian or public policy terms instead of civil liberties.

Their 19th century counterparts were more consistently accurate in placing monetary theory at the core of all freedoms. The pivotal individualist-anarchist Benjamin Tucker believed the right to issue private currency was so important that it could destroy the State all by itself. The money monopoly was the means by which the State sustained itself and robbed the average person not merely of money but also of economic opportunity by controlling credit. Nothing was more important than to destroy the money monopoly.

Two specific events sculpted the approach of individualist anarchists to the banking monopoly and private currency. James J. Martin commented on one of them:

Few instances in American history have created as much curiosity concerning economic and financial matters among amateurs and members of the general citizenry as the panic of 1837.… Banking abuses came under concentrated scrutiny and gave rise to many proposed radical remedies.
The other event was the Civil War in which the North used the Legal Tender Acts and the National Banking Act of 1863 to finance its side of the conflict. Through these measures, Congress guaranteed the notes of authorized bankers and legally protected them from liability for debt. The act also established a national tax of 10 percent for all money not authorized by Congress.

Fresh with a knowledge that private currency not only could work but had been working well for well over a century, the 19th-century radicals responded. They did not merely theorize; they vigorously issued private currency and experimented with new economic models. Their efforts are fascinating to review but they are also cautionary tales as to some pitfalls that private money should avoid.

A major problem for 19th century individualist anarchism in America was the movement’s determination to link private money to the labor theory of value. The theory states that the economic value of a good or service is based upon the amount of labor required to produce it rather than upon what a capitalist wants to charge or what a purchaser is willing to pay. Radical individualists back then generally rejected profit from capital because it constituted value in excess of the labor invested in a good or service. They rejected excess profit in three forms: interest on money, rent, and profit in exchange, all of which were called “usury.” If the main political goal of 19th century radical individuals was the abolition of the State, then their main economic goal was the abolition of the “money monopoly.” By the term “money monopoly,” they referred to three different but interacting forms of monopoly: banking, the charging of interest, and the privileged issuance of currency. In short, unlike Gutenberg’s printing press and Bitcoin, their private monies were grounded in ideology and a badly flawed ideology, to boot. This greatly reduced the social value of their currencies as a tool. For one thing, when the labor theory of value became less popular, the currencies seemed to be discredited.

Josiah Warren provides a real world example of the problem of attaching ideology to money. Warren, who is credited with being the first American anarchist, based his political thought on two concepts, both which were common within the 19th century radical individualist movement. The first was “Sovereignty of the Individual,” which meant every human being was a self-owner with jurisdiction over his or her peaceful actions. The second was “Cost is the Limit of Price” or the labor theory of value.

Warren tested his specific solution to the money monopoly and to the ‘inequity’ of interest through a Time Store from which he issued Labor Notes. In 1827, the business opened with $300 worth of groceries and dry goods that were offered at a 7% mark-up from Warren’s own cost in order to cover expenses such as overhead. This was before groceries were pre-packaged, pre-weighed and it was common for buyers to bargain with the shopkeeper rather than pay a posted price. One of Warren’s innovations was to post prices for goods which drove prices even lower because transactions consumed less of his time. The customer paid in traditional money for the good and, then, compensated Warren for his time through a Labor Note which obliged the customer to provide Warren with an equivalent amount of the buyer’s time. If the buyer were a plumber, for example, the Labor Note committed him to render his services to Warren for “X” units of time in plumbing work. The Labor Notes were circulated and traded. Warren’s goal was to establish an economy in which profit was based solely on the exchange of time and labor.

To some degree, he succeeded. People travelled from a hundred miles away to avail themselves of Warren’s low prices. After a few years, Warren declared the experiment to be a success and closed the store’s doors. Whether the store was a success is questionable, however. And, if it was a success, it was probably due to low prices than to the Notes that came close to being a barter system. Whichever is true, it is difficult to see how this novel currency could have functioned in dense populations where people were not acquainted with each other, or for commerce on a grander scale. And exchangers still had to trust other people.

Some might state the lesson of attaching an ideology to an instrument for political liberation as “get the damned ideology correct this time.” I believe this is the wrong lesson. The point of empowering people is to give them the tools to decide on ideas and life for themselves, not to deliver a predigested message. That’s the lesson of Gutenburg and Bitcoin.

It also a reason to stand hard behind the original vision of Bitcoin, because the power Nakamoto produced can be used well or badly depending on the intentions of the user.

And, now, Satoshi?

To paraphrase George Bernard Shaw, I hear the future knocking on my door. And as I throw it open, I see Satoshi Nakamoto standing at my threshold with a grin on his face, asking to come in. Just as I begin to wave him through, however, Murray Rothbard appears and shoves him aside with the words “Not so fast there, Saschik, I have something to say to her first!” And, if for nothing more than the fact that he infused the modern freedom movement with Austrian economics, my old friend and mentor deserves to take the next step.

[To be continued next week.]

Zenapay Latest PoS Bitcoin Solution to Enter Projected $50 Billion Cannabis Market

US cash-intensive cannabis businesses (420s) are looking for ways to meet customer demand while struggling under federal prohibition. Cryptocurrencies are increasing in popularity with 420s, and now Zenapay is entering the market with its own bitcoin solution.

 

Cannabis Cash

The US states comprising its contiguous west, if outliers include Alaska and Nevada, is home to fifty-two million people. That is an enormous market. They also happen to be the bulk of states that have legalized cannabis for personal use, medicinal use, and sale.

Tension arises between all such states and the federal government because the federal government does not agree with voters’ will.

Zenapay Latest POS Bitcoin Solution to Enter Projected $50 Billion Cannabis Market

Beyond criminality, issues of banking and finance come into play. The federal government is given wide jurisdiction over banking and money, and financial institutions are wary of  running afoul of federal laws.

In practical terms this means bank accounts, access to lines of credit, and myriads of financial products are in practice forbidden to 420 companies.

Much as it was on the black market, 420s are reliant almost exclusively upon cash.

Mounds of cash on hand is not only a logistical nightmare in a modern economy, it’s also a real security issue. And with twenty more states coming online, passing slimmed-down versions of legalization/decriminalization, the cannabis market is looking for relief.

Bitcoin Solution

“Statistics from financial services firm Cowen & Co showed legal cannabis was a $6 billion industry last year, and is expected to grow to $50 billion by 2026,” RT online reports.

Population numbers and these projections are enticing payment service providers into the cannabis market.

The latest such example is a company out of Chicago, Epazz. It’s an over-the-counter publicly traded business software concern, betting rollouts early winter of this year in Apple’s App Store, and later for Android, will go a long way in making 420s more efficient and safer.

Zenapay Latest POS Bitcoin Solution to Enter Projected $50 Billion Cannabis Market

Zenapay is a one percent transaction fee, point-of-service (POS) solution. It boasts online and in-store bitcoin purchases capability using proprietary software, allowing for customer anonymity and for 420s to lessen cash burdens.

“We are filling a large need in the cannabis community,” the company’s press release quoted its CEO Shaun Passley. Merchants, he said, “due to the stringent limitations by the standard banking systems” simply cannot be banked.

A PoS with bitcoin functionality eliminates these issues.

Entrepreneurial bitcoiners, regardless of niche, are constantly looking for POS services to keep accounting straight as they look to drop cash dependency for bitcoin.

If it proves successful, Zenapay says it will offer payroll services, e-commerce stores, inventory tracking, and compliance features going forward.

What do you think? Are 420s a welcome addition to the bitcoin ecosystem? Are solutions preserving anonymity finally ‘getting it?’ Tell us in the comments below! critical-fast-bud-auto-cannabis-seeds-by-oss-bank-1068x1068


Pakistan Set to Become a Major Bitcoin Hub

Pakistan is currently the seventh most populous country in the world with approximately 202 million residents. Today, the country exhibits many traits ripe for accelerated bitcoin adoption. Bitcoin.com discussed bitcoin trends in Pakistan with Danyal Manzar, the co-founder of Pakistan’s first and largest bitcoin trading platform, Urdubit.

 

Huge Freelance Market, but Payment Solutions Lacking

Despite having no access to Paypal, Pakistan still ranks among the top countries for freelance outsource workers. In fact, “Pakistan is ranked 3rd on freelance websites,”paypal According to the New York Times10,000 IT graduates in Pakistan are estimated to enter the Pakistan job market every year.

Remittances are also a “very big market” in Pakistan, . “We see about 20 billion USD coming in annually,” . “Since there are not enough jobs, the major remittance is seen from the UAE and Saudi Arabia followed by western countries.”

Despite the lack of jobs, however, life in Pakistan has been modernizing in recent years. Rapid lifestyle change, technological innovations, and increasing broadband access in Pakistan have all accelerated the number of Pakistani freelancers. However, “the payments are always a problem,” adding that:

Since the job market is also limited we see many freelancers turning to bitcoin, there is no Paypal in the country and no proper payment processor which could aid payments.

High Broadband Subscription Growth

Mobile broadband use is growing very fast in the country. The World Bank describes Pakistan as “leading the way in South Asia in digital finance” with 6% of adults having mobile accounts, compared to South Asia’s average of less than 2.6%.world bank

Last June, the number of 3G/4G subscribers in the country had reached 29.53 million, up from 14.6 million in July 2015. Total broadband subscribers grew 92% to 32.41 million from 16.88 million, according to the Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA).

The World Bank also notes that about 100 million adults in Pakistan are unbanked, without access to formal and regulated financial services. Only 13 percent of adults there have a formal account and 27.5 million adults said the distance to a financial institution is a barrier to opening a financial account.

With so many unbanked, no access to Paypal, a huge freelancing industry, a major remittance destination, and so many subscribed to a high-speed mobile account, Bitcoin could find a huge home market in Pakistan.

Pakistan’s Bitcoin Market

Admittedly, the bitcoin market in Pakistan “is still very new,” but it is fast growing. Citing low banking penetration and “very limited POS terminals in the country,”Pakistan-flag-1068x712

Bitcoin provides a cross-board payments system, as well as local payment solution at a much cheaper cost.

www.easypaypakistan.com is a real-time bitcoin exchange using the blinktrade engine. According to Coinhills, www.easypaypakistan.com trading volume has been growing steadily in the last few weeks, and the exchange has the largest bitcoin trading volume in the country, twice  in a 24-hour period. “I would say our market share is 1/3 of the total market,” he explained. If he’s correct, that indicates Pakistan trades around 40 bitcoins each day, putting it somewhere around 27th place among all currencies in volume rankings.

However, he also admitted that there are still not many shops accepting bitcoin. Online, the situation is a bit better, since many websites in the country have started accepting bitcoin as a payment “due to quicker payment times and no charge backs.”

We believe it’s only a matter of time before we see Pakistan follow India and become a major user of bitcoin.

Meanwhile, the Pakistan government “hasn’t taken any stance on bitcoin as of yet,” blog.Easypaypakistan.com added. This company will soon be approved by the State Bank Of Pakistan. “They believe that bitcoin is a commodity and not a currency,”

Do you think Pakistan is ripe for bitcoin adoption? Let us know in the comments section below.

Pakistan Government to Put the Searchlight on Bitcoin Traders Says Local Media

Powerful Pakistan government and media officials appear to be contradicting the domestic population’s embrace of bitcoin.   

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Pakistan Government on the Defensive, Maybe

Karachi, Pakistan’s Dawn, a widely circulated and read periodical and website in English, is rather cosmopolitan. Covering bitcoin, however, its website curation seems to have a decidedly negative slant.

Pakistan Herald Publications Limited is Dawn‘s owner, and its CEO is Hameed Haroon, noted regional journalist and member of a highly influential family in the country.

In one dispatch from Mr. Haroon’s flagship, reprinted all over the world, the headline announced, “FBR goes after bitcoin traders.”

Pakistan Government to Put the Searchlight on Bitcoin Traders Says Local Media
Faisal Khan’s only evidence Pakistan’s government is paying any attention to bitcoin.

FBR is Pakistan’s Federal Bureau of Revenue, its principal collector of tax.

“The top intelligence department,” the piece insisted, “is investigating cases where investors trade digital currencies probably to evade taxes or launder money.”

The sentence-inserted link refers to the site’s own coverage of bitcoin reaching 1000 USD early this year. Not a single reference to FBR nor an investigation.

“A senior tax official said people evade tax and launder money using cryptocurrencies,” the article asserts without a single quote or reference. “They buy bitcoin to launder their tax-evaded money […], adding that they park their black money out of Pakistan in many cases.”

Paraphrases are allowed, of course, but this drove news.Bitcoin.com to search relevant Pakistani government pronouncements on bitcoin specifically, cryptocurrencies generally.

Nothing.

The Dawn piece goes on in this manner, listing a veritable alphabet soup of agencies and investigators and laws employed to hunt bitcoin traders without citing a documented source.

Pakistan Government's and Street's Tensions with Bitcoin
Screen Shot of SBP by Faisal Khan, showing no reference to the bank’s position on bitcoin.

What Blogs and Independent Sites Know

Faisal Khan, financial technology scout for venture capitalists and payments consultant, based in Turkey, blogged his similar bafflement.

After he too read the Dawn piece, he “wanted to explore the basis under which these raids are being conducted and wanted to comment on this further.”

He searched and searched.

Mr. Khan writes, “I’ve searched […], trying to find any circular &/or notification, gazette, SRO, press release, etc. related to Bitcoin &/or Cryptocurrency – but I could not find it.”

His knowledge of Pakistan’s legal history is impressive, and he cites all the documents he examined.Pakistan Government's and Street's Tensions with Bitcoin

“For bitcoin to be considered for money-laundering,” Mr. Khan notes, “it has to be defined into an asset class whereby [bitcoin] has been declared [money] or some form of an asset as per ‘some’ legal definition in some law in Pakistan.”

He concludes, “Right now, the Government of Pakistan in no way recognizes [bitcoin] as legal tender or legal ‘anything.’ It has no legal standing under any law in Pakistan.”

Since the series of articles in Dawn, bitcoin seems to be capturing the attention of Pakistani rupee holders anyway.

Localbitcoins exchange activity in the region as of this writing has risen exponentially, matching a global pattern.

Citing Japan’s approach, long-time Pakistani commodity trader Shahan Rehman urged acceptance “by a country compels people to jump on the bandwagon, increasing its price massively.”

As of now, official government pronouncements are not available to the public.

Are Pakistan’s laws on bitcoin just not available digitally? Is the government on purpose holding back? Tell us in the comments below.

Bitcoin ATMs On the Rise in Russia

The number of bitcoin ATMs is on the rise in Russia. Ten of them were recently installed in five districts of Novosibirsk by a local startup. Last week, a different company announced their plans to install a hundred cryptocurrency ATMs in Moscow hotels and airport terminals starting this month. Meanwhile, the regulators have said that they will not legalize cryptocurrencies anytime soon.

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Novosibirsk’s Ten Bitcoin ATMs

Bitcoin ATMs On the Rise in Russia
A BBFpro Bitcoin ATM.

In Russia’s third most populous city, Novosibirsk, ten one-way bitcoin ATMs were recently installed by a local startup BBFpro, according to RBC. The machines were placed in five districts of the city; Kalininsky, Zheleznodorozhny, Oktyabrsky, Leninsky and Kirovsky districts, detailed the company’s director, Anton Friedel.

Most of the terminals are located in stores selling bottled beverages, he told the publication. “All ten devices are located in such a way that each resident of the city has the opportunity to quickly and easily reach the point of sale of bitcoins,” he was quoted. His team originally wanted to place them in the city’s large shopping centers, but the rent is too high, he elaborated, noting that:

Large shopping centers requested a rent which is almost impossible for us as a startup. The amount for one place reached 15-20,000 rubles, while in beer shops we pay 2,000 rubles for each place.

Bitcoin ATMs On the Rise in Russia
Another BBFpro Bitcoin ATM.

He also revealed that it took his team about three months to develop software and install the terminals, adding that the project cost about two million rubles. The machines charge a commission of 6%. “We made such a small percentage because we are counting on a large flow of customers,” RBC quoted him saying. According to him, BBFpro currently has no competitors in Novosibirsk.

In the near future, Friedel said he plans to expand his network of cryptocurrency ATMs in Novosibirsk as well as to neighboring areas. He specifically named Kemerovo, Krasnoyarsk, Barnaul, and Irkutsk. In addition, “we are developing a terminal that will not only sell but also buy cryptocurrency,” he explained, adding that they also plan to start selling other cryptocurrencies.

100 Crypto ATMs Coming to Moscow

Last week, Rambler News reported that approximately 100 one-way cryptocurrency ATMs will be coming to Moscow between this month and the year’s end. They will be installed by Investcoin24 throughout the city center such as in hotels, according to the company’s co-owner, Pavel Panova. In addition, he added that negotiations are currently underway with airport owners for some units to be installed in their departure and arrival areas.

Bitcoin ATMs On the Rise in Russia
Investcoin24’s Bitcoin ATM at Vintage77.

The machines can be programmed to sell four cryptocurrencies, Panova explained, adding that they can also sell Initial Coin Offering (ICO) tokens. Initially, the commission will be 4%, he told Innov publication.

Last month, Investcoin24 installed a one-way bitcoin ATM at the Moscow restaurant “Vintage77,” according to an Instagram post by the founder of Iventurer Foundation, Alexey Olin.

Another restaurant in Moscow, Valenok, which started accepting bitcoin payments in June also said that they have plans to install a bitcoin ATM if there is demand from customers, according to RIA Novosti.

Regulatory Uncertainties

The number of cryptocurrency ATMs is growing in Russia despite the government saying that they will not legalize cryptocurrencies anytime soon. The Deputy Finance Minister Alexei Moiseev said last month that “bitcoin settlements in Russia will not be legalized.” His statement followed a meeting where the regulators could not agree on how to regulate cryptocurrencies and decided to postpone their plans to draft a regulatory framework for them to next year. The central bank, however, is adamant that these instruments cannot be treated as money substitutes.

Friedel told RBC that he hopes to advertise his bitcoin ATMs to attract more customers. However, since cryptocurrencies are currently unregulated, many large platforms refuse to advertise them, he explained. In addition, he is uncertain how his cryptocurrency business will be taxed. “We will provide the tax authorities with documents, but we do not know whether they will accept them,” he elaborated.

Do you think Russia will allow bitcoin ATMs to flourish across the country? Let us know in the comments section below

 

Coinbase Reveals its 2x Fork Plans

Another large bitcoin exchange in the industry, Coinbase, has announced an update concerning the upcoming Segwit2x hard fork. The San Francisco-based trading platform and wallet provider follows the recent Bitfinex announcement detailing plans for a possible bitcoin splitCBAAs-1068x1068

 

Coinbase Reveals Customers Will Have Access to Bitcoin on Both Blockchains

Coinbase Reveals 2x Fork PlansThis week the exchange Coinbase which provides over 36M wallets to bitcoin users revealed some parts of its plan for the upcoming Segwit2x fork. Coinbase states that they want to let customers know the company’s business mission is to ensure trust and safety within the cryptocurrency environment. Further, Coinbase emphasizes that there is no action required from users and “bitcoin can be securely stored on Coinbase before, during, and after the fork.”

“Customers with bitcoin balances stored on Coinbase at the time of the fork will have access to bitcoin on both blockchains,” explains the exchange.

After the fork, we will enable access when we have determined each blockchain is secure and stable. We expect this to happen within a few days after the fork, but it may take longer if additional risks emerge.

The San Francisco Exchange Will Reveal Distinct Names of the Two Bitcoin Blockchains Soon

The company executive, Dan Romero, explains they are still in the process of working on bitcoin cash withdrawals. The firm is also presently researching “engineering and security requirements for each bitcoin blockchain.”

Of course, the announcement did not give away what everyone wanted to hear — Which is an answer to the question on how Coinbase will name each fork (due to the online debates around which fork has “the right to be called Bitcoin”). The announcement is also different than when the exchange revealed its initial plans to not support the previous hard fork, bitcoin cash. This time around, the company is saying they will allow access to the new chain, and customers do not have to withdraw their coins by a certain date.

Community members are curious about the decisions made by companies like Coinbase and Blockchain.info as these firms have a lot of users within the bitcoin ecosystem. Coinbase does intend to tell the public how it will deal with the naming the two forks, as the company reveals it will be releasing this information in the near future.

In the coming weeks — nearer to the date of the fork — we will provide a more detailed plan for how Coinbase will approach naming the two Bitcoin blockchains.

What do you think about the announcement from Coinbase concerning the Segwit2x fork? Which protocol do you think they will call ‘Bitcoin?’ Let us know what you think in the comments below.