Disables New User Registrations:Binance Exchange

Untitled-design-3-1068x1068Anyone still sitting on the fence and considering whether to jump on the runaway cryptocurrency train way wish to make a move, because another door just slammed shut, reducing the number of on-ramps. The popular Binance exchange is no longer accepting new traders.

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No Binance For You

Binance Exchange Disables New User RegistrationsBinance exchange has announced today the immediate suspension of client registration. The company informed all prospective clients about an hour ago that: “Due to the overwhelming surge in popularity, Binance will have to temporarily disable new user registrations to allow for an infrastructure upgrade.”

The popular trading venue thus joins the growing list of major bitcoin exchanges no longer open for servicing new clients. As previously reported, CEX.IO, Bitfinex, and Bittrex have all announced similar difficulties with handling the massive influx of new business resulting in a halt of registrations. Other exchanges such as Kraken have also reported this situation is causing severe operational difficulties.

Binance Who?

Binance Exchange Disables New User RegistrationsFor anyone living under a rock for the past five months, Binance is the hottest cryptocurrency exchange at the moment. It recently proclaimed to have become the largest crypto trading venue in the world by volume with $2.8 billion traded daily, according to data from Coinmarketcap. The company also recently stated it reached 2.9 million users on the platform since its launch in July of 2017.

The Hong Kong based exchange has a global offering and supports multiple languages including English, Japanese, Chinese, Korean, Russian, Spanish, French and German. It also offers instant exchanging between 96 different cryptocurrencies and bitcoin, ethereum, tether (USDT) and its own native BNB token.

While the team behind Binance attribute its rapid growth to its service, technology, and affiliates (members of the ‘Binance Angel Program’), the word on the street is that its relatively lax client verification procedures don’t hurt either. Whatever the case, this pace is obviously no longer sustainable for the company without an upgrade to its infrastructure.

Have recent exchange issues affected your trading? 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.

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.

The Hidden Reason Behind Bitcoin’s Increasing Fees: Darknet Mixers

Just recently a darknet marketplace (DNM) vendor who details he’s been involved with the bitcoin industry for five years, says the rising fee market is caused by marketplace mixers that process multiple transactions at a time. The vendor details that DNM sales using these mixers are forcing him and many others to pay for 50 transactions at a time at ten times the cost, to cover their tracks.

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As Global Bitcoin Exchanges Suffer From Increased Use — Darknet Marketplaces Are Also Busier Than Ever

The Hidden Reason Behind Bitcoin's Increasing Fees: Darknet MixersAs much as people don’t like to talk about it, bitcoin has been used widely across DNMs across the deep web for years. Many people believe the lion’s share of bitcoin transactions come from DNM sales. Since the inception of the first DNM — the Silk Road — illicit narcotic sales have increased exponentially. Furthermore, two years after the sentencing of the Silk Road operator there are more online marketplaces located on the deep web than ever before. Over the past year, these markets have been extremely busy as bitcoin’s value has skyrocketed and many of the top underground market users have reported on experiencing big issues with withdrawals.

According to many forum posts, a lot of people have been having problems withdrawing from the leading DNM Alpha Bay. Additionally, there have been congestion issues over the past month on other popular markets such as Dream, Valhalla, and Hansa.

“Add me to the long list of people who can’t get their funds out of Alpha Bay,” explains a DNM consumer on Reddit. “I have been trying to withdraw a couple of hundred dollars worth of BTC for several weeks now. I go the transfer page, fill in all of the information, but after I submit the transaction, the page refreshes like the transaction has gone through, but when the page is done refreshing, it’s like I never submitted a transaction.”

Fee Pressure Stemming From Darknet Markets

According to one particular DNM vendor, he believes the super high fees lately are attributed to black market sales. Nobody seems to understand the rising fee market is coming from that “invisible” web.

Drugs, drugs, and more drugs — None of you are recognizing that most of the fee pressure comes from darknet markets; most especially from DNMs like Alpha Bay that has a built in mixer and causes 20-50 + transactions

The vendor who deals with cannabis sales details that in his opinion DNMs are “responsible for the lion’s share of bitcoin transactions daily.” According to him, there are hundreds of thousands of transactions coming from DNMs daily, rated around 550-600 satoshis. The obvious reason for this he explains is so “drug addicts can get their shit as fast as possible.” Many of the top DNMs found on the deep web have their own mixing services for customers who want to cover their tracks. The tumblers used on Alpha Bay and other DNMs continuously split transfers into multiple transactions at a time, which could quite possibly be adding more strain to the bitcoin network’s throughput.

Darknet Mixers May Be Putting Pressure on Bitcoin's Fee Market
An example of 16.1 BTC being mixed into multiple outputs.

The cannabis dealer states the bitcoin network fee estimation is “way off the radar” these days, mainly because DNMs are catering to addicts who want their products shipped as soon as possible.

DNM Sales Still Account for a Great Majority of Bitcoin Transfers

There is no doubt that DNMs are getting used far more than they were back in 2013, and back then the underground sales attributed to a vast majority of bitcoin transfers. The vendor’s theory may be more truthful than a lot of people would like to admit, as much of the focus these days has been on mainstream adoption. The likelihood of the fee market and network congestion rising due to more DNM usage is quite probable even though the discussion is not so favorable to everyone.

What do you think about DNM use boosting the fee market and adding to the network congestion? Let us know what you think in the comments below.

Why Michigan’s Oldest Lawn & Power Sports Stores Goes Bitcoin

As bitcoin grows in value, more merchants every day are accepting the digital currency to stay ahead of the times. This week one of Michigan’s largest and oldest lawn equipment and power sports stores — Ball Equipment is now accepting bitcoin.

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73 Year Old Business Thinks Outside the Box

Michigan's Oldest Lawn & Power Sports Store Goes BitcoinThe fourth generation family owned superstore, Ball Equipment, is one of Eastern Michigan’s largest and oldest outdoor power equipment dealerships operating for over 73 years. The store has two locations that sell heavy duty lawn equipment and power sports gear from brands like Polaris, Honda, Can-Am, Cub Cadet, and Husqvarna. This week the business decided to accept bitcoin allowing any of their customers to purchase rideable lawnmowers, ATVs, snowmobiles, dirt bikes and more.

Bitcoin.com talked to Chris Ball, one of the owners of the Michigan state superstores to see why the business decided to start accepting bitcoin. Mr. Ball says that even though they are an old and well-established company the team has always had the corporate philosophy of “getting ourselves outside the ‘we have always done it this way’ box.”

“The quickly evolving world of cryptocurrencies and the media attention it has received is something that attracted our interest. Even before fully understanding it, we knew it was something we should work towards adopting immediately,” explains Mr. Ball.

Bitcoin: ‘Very Appealing from a Profitability Standpoint’

Mr. Ball tells us there are other reasons why the company decided to accept the digital currency.

“For instance, many of the larger ticket items Ball Equipment sells like the ATV’s, and Motorcycles, are typically very low margin products to retail to consumers,” the Ball Equipment executive details.

The transaction fees and potential fraud that exists with traditional payment methods when compared to the ease of secure low-cost payments on high-value transactions made bitcoin very appealing from a profitability standpoint.

“In addition, becoming an early adopter in our very ’old school’ industry gives us the potential to do business on a local and even national level that we would otherwise not have the opportunity. Considering we have found very few of our competitors anywhere accepting bitcoin currently, we do not see much if any downside other than accepting the risk of short term bitcoin value fluctuations.”

A New Customer Base, and Being Prepared for the Future

Michigan's Oldest Lawn & Power Sports Store Goes BitcoinAs of today, Mr. Ball says customers can stop in one of the Ball Equipment showrooms or visit the website, browse the selection of vehicles and products, and then fill out a request quote form to let the company know you are interested in a purchase with bitcoin as a payment method.

“A member of our sales team will follow up to provide a quote and once a final decision is made an invoice will be provided with a QR code from our wallet to send coins for payment,” Mr. Ball explains.

As Bitcoin.com explained last week, as the digital currency continues to see more popularity the trend also follows with people purchasing luxury goods, real estate, and high ticket items. Merchants like Ball Equipment are starting to see the value in opening up sales to a new customer base, a currency that appeals to profitability and allowing their business model to stay on course with the future of payments.

Do you think merchant acceptance is growing as bitcoin becomes more valuable? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.