A Crying Foul Coinbase Withdrawal Delays Leave Users Frustrated

The US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) received yet another request to approve Wall Street bitcoin exchange-traded funds (ETFs). This time, the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) wishes to list five new ETFs, so-called leveraged and inverse funds which increase risk and reward.

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Wall Street Wants Bitcoin ETFs with Twice the Risk/Reward

Wall Street Goes Short, Gets Bear, with Proposed Risky Bitcoin ETFs

The trope for years has been bitcoin’s volatility, risk, is too great for the sober adults of professional finance to be bothered. That myth was thoroughly smashed on 4 January 2018 when the NYSE Arca filed a fifty page request with the SEC. Wall Street wants Direxion Asset Management’s five ETFs, known as leveraged or inverse funds. The proposed funds up the risk level by twice, in either direction, and are short term investments. They’re easily some of the riskiest funds put forward.

ETFs are prized because they’re traded like stocks with the muscle of mutual funds. The SEC has yet to approve bitcoin ETFs, and applications for rule-changes are stacking up. Some estimates have requests for the cryptocurrency to be formally listed at nearly a dozen. This year enthusiasts will learn the financial product’s fate, most experts believe.

Direxion is presently asking five funds be listed: Direxion Daily Bitcoin Bear 1X Shares, Direxion Daily Bitcoin 1.25X Bull Shares, Direxion Daily Bitcoin 1.5X Bull Shares, Direxion Daily Bitcoin 2X Bull Shares, and Direxion Daily Bitcoin 2X Bear Shares. If approved they’d trade on the NYSE’s Arca market. Investors could see their returns as much as double; they could also see losses compound in the other direction just as fast.

Wall Street Wants Bitcoin ETFs with Twice the Risk

Twice as Fast in Either Direction

The funds aren’t necessarily tethered to bitcoin’s spot price, but are instead a way to track bitcoin futures on markets such as those created by NYSE rivals Cboe and CME, with “investment results (before fees and expenses) that correlate positively to either 125%, 150%, or 200% the daily return of the target benchmark,” according to the filing.Wall Street Wants Bitcoin ETFs with Twice the Risk

That assumes a bull market, but, again, losses are multiplied as well which logically means these are for short term investing (longer options are available). ETFs would bring even more mainstreaming to bitcoin with regard to the broader investment community.

It’s a curious move, but the risks are sure to attract investment. One would assume the natural bitcoin price spikes would be enough for adrenaline junkies. But there is still widespread skepticism and worry about actually owning and holding bitcoin among Wall Street types. Nevertheless, such short-term volatility is something many traders value. Indeed the filing insists the Direxion ETFs “enhance competition among market participants, to the benefit of investors and the marketplace.”

What do you think of bitcoin ETFs? Let us know in the comments section below

After Coinbase Rejects Rumors of Adding New Assets Ripple Dips

Ripple has taken a hit by a move to end rumors that Bitcoin’s centralized competitor might be introduced to the leading trading platforms in the US. No decision to add new assets to either GDAX or Coinbase has been made, the exchange said in a blog post dismissing any statements to the contrary. Ripple lost some $30 billion of market capitalization on the day of the announcement.

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God Giveth, God Taketh

The clarification on the matter came in response to unverified rumors and unfounded reports that Coinbase might add Ripple to its cryptocurrency markets. They have most certainly helped fuel Ripple’s surge that doubled its price in a week. After Coinbase stated it had no intentions to change its Digital Asset Framework in the short run, Ripple wobbled in charts and lost 20 percent of its value before it rebounded a little. Its capitalization is now below $125 billion, down from Thursday’s peak at almost $149 billion. One XRP coin is currently trading for less than $3.25 USD at the time of publishing according to Coinmarketcap.

Ripple Dips after Coinbase Rejects Rumors of a New Asset

Coinbase is the biggest cryptocurrency marketplace in the US and operates the Global Digital Asset Exchange (GDAX), a platform for trading a variety of digital assets, and a broker processing crypto-fiat transactions. It trades Bitcoin, Litecoin, Etherium and has added Bitcoin Cash support last month. BCH jumped 70% after the latest update of its Digital Asset Framework. The December 17 announcement had been proceeded by a leak that attracted a lot of criticism and led to an internal investigation.

Yesterday Coinbase made it clear that it had no immediate plans to start trading Ripple, although XRP was not explicitly mentioned in its blog post:

We have made no decision to add additional assets to either GDAX or Coinbase. Any statement to the contrary is untrue and not authorized by the company.

Coinbase also reminded that its Digital Asset Framework, released a few months ago, highlights the criteria for supporting new assets. It added that a committee of internal experts was responsible for determining whether and when new assets would be added and insisted that these employees were subject to confidentiality and trading restrictions.

Ripple Dips after Coinbase Rejects Rumors of a New Asset

Ups and Downs, and Peace of Mind

Ripple’s rise made it the second most valued cryptocurrency after Bitcoin during a spell when BTC saw its market share falling below 40%. XRP was trading for as little as $0.006 in January and ended 2017 at a price of $2.30 USD. A few days ago the current and former CEOs of the company, Chris Larsen and Brad Garlinghouse, were ranking among the wealthiest Americans according to Forbes. Larsen, cofounder and Executive Chairman, who reportedly has the largest stash of ripples, would have placed somewhere between Steve Ballmer and Mark Zuckerberg in the 400 richest people list on Monday. But there have been some ups and downs since then – Ether passed the $1,000 barrier and Bitcoin is touching $16,000 again.

In the volatile world of digital money, following experts’ advice and staring at charts doesn’t always help to find a way to sustainable growth and lasting wealth. Reading the Holy Scripture, however, may bring some peace of mind and a sense of intrinsic value: “Naked came I…, naked shall I depart! The Lord gave, and the Lord hath taken away!”

Do you think Ripple has a chance to compete with Bitcoin, despite its centralized design? Tell us in the comments section below.

Ethereum Over $1000 and $100B Market Cap, BTC Dominance at 32% Record Low

This day might be remembered in the history books as a major milestone for cryptocurrency diversification or as another colossal indicator of the altcoin bubble. There are now three cryptocurrencies with over a $100 billion market cap each. Bitcoin, ethereum (ETH) and ripple (XRP) are worth today a combined total of about half a trillion USD.

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$100 Billion Club

Ethereum long term investors and short term speculators are celebrating alike today as the smart contracts altcoin has broken through the $1,000 per coin psychological barrier. Standing at about $1,040 at the time of writing, the overall value of all ETH in circulation is now over $100 billion. It is the third cryptocurrency in this exclusive club, behind only bitcoin and ripple.

And despite all the warnings about ripple being centralized and freezable speculators keep pouring in to XRP. After rising about 160% from just a week ago and 28% in the last 24 hours alone, its market cap is now well over $140 billion. With a price of just under $4 per coin, part of this movement has to be due to penny stock mentality of new traders seeking a “cheap bitcoin” to bet on.

Ethereum Over $1000 and $100B Market Cap, BTC Dominance at 32% Record Low Altogether, with bitcoin over $250 billion market cap, the three top cryptocurrencies are now worth just shy of $500 billion. Putting this mind boggling number into perspective, its just about 10% below the combined stock value of Visa (NYSE:V $265 billion), Mastercard (NYSE: MA $166 billion), American (NYSE: AXP $87 billion), and Discover (NYSE: DFS $28 billion).

Entering a Multi-Polar World?

Bitcoin has been able to maintain an impressive price level at $15,000 and a quarter trillion USD market cap in the face of this altcoin onslaught, but its market share has suffered. The BTC Dominance Index is now just above 32%, a new all time low, which means that bitcoin is for first time worth less than a third of the crypto market.

While some of ripple’s staunch supporters, as well as fans that heard about it a week ago, are cheering on for “The Rippening” maybe its time to forget about the term and any other Flippening. It is possible that we are simply seeing a paradigm shift in the market, from one leading cryptocurrency and a thousand copy cats to a top heavy, multi-polar landscape. This can probably only be validated in the next big correction, when all the short term speculators will scatter away and either bitcoin will remain alone at the top or not.

Ethereum Over $1000 and $100B Market Cap, BTC Dominance at 32% Record Low

Do you think that bitcoin will continue to lose its market dominance to altcoins in 2018? Share your predictions in the comments section below!

Bitcoin Cash Markets Remain Resilient As the Network’s Upgrade Approaches

It’s been a crazy week for cryptocurrency enthusiasts as the digital asset ecosystem is still reeling over the canceled Segwit2x fork that was expected to take place on the Bitcoin network next week. Over the course of the past few weeks leading up to the planned 2MB Segwit2x hard fork, Bitcoin Cash (BCH) markets have doubled in value after hovering around $300 per BCH for weeks. Now the market has stabilized around the $625 region as the BCH network participants prepare for their own fork that’s just four days away.

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Bitcoin Cash Network and Markets Remain Vigilant After the Canceled BTC Fork Event

Bitcoin Cash Markets Remain Resilient As the Network's Upgrade ApproachesThe Bitcoin Cash network is thriving as the decentralized currency’s value has spiked quite a bit over the past few weeks. At the moment the price per BCH is hovering around $625 as markets currently command roughly $830M worth of daily trade volume. The price of BCH has allowed it to hold the third highest market capitalization at $10.4B just below the ethereum market cap. BCH markets are still seeing lots of trade volume from the South Korean won, as the currency typically captures around 49 percent or more of the daily volumes. The exchange rate stemming from BCH currently makes it the third highest digital asset trade volume within the cryptocurrency landscape. The exchanges trading the most BCH include Bithumb, Hitbtc, Bitfinex, Bittrex, and Korbit.

Bitcoin Cash Markets Remain Resilient As the Network's Upgrade Approaches
Bitcoin Cash (BCH) markets are holding above $600 per token at the time of writing.

Miners Have Started to Signal Intent to Fork the BCH Network

As the currency’s network hard fork approaches, the BCH chain is 8100 blocks ahead of the BTC chain. BCH this week is operating at 8 percent of the current BTC difficulty, and it’s 3.4 percent more profitable to mine BTC. Mining profitability and its fluctuations may change after the BCH network reconfigures the Difficulty-Adjustment-Algorithm (DAA). BCH miners are now signaling their intent to activate the fork and the change is estimated to occur around 2 pm EDT depending on hashrate speed.

Bitcoin Cash Markets Remain Resilient As the Network's Upgrade Approaches

Bitpay Prepares Users for the Bitcoin Cash Consensus Change

Because the fork is drawing closer the Atlanta-based company, Bitpay, has announced to its wallet users its plans for the BCH hard fork. The firm explains that with any blockchain protocol change it must always ensure that customer funds will be safe.

“For the November Bitcoin Cash protocol change, Bitpay and Copay wallets will follow the bitcoin cash chain with the most accumulated difficulty — With current miner signaling, this means that our wallets will be compatible with the new rules activated by the bitcoin cash mining majority,” explains Bitpay.

We don’t currently have any reason to think that this hard fork will be contentious or will result in a blockchain split for bitcoin cash. Users can continue to receive and send bitcoin cash transactions from their wallets up to, during, and after the hard fork protocol change.

Kim Dotcom Asks His Fans Which Cryptocurrency Will Dominate — BTC or BCH?

Also this week the notorious Kim Dotcom started talking about bitcoin cash with his 671,000 followers. Dotcom asks his fans, “By 2021 which of these two is going to carry the larger volume of Internet payments?” With just 11 hours left remaining for the poll bitcoin (BTC) is leading by 64 percent and bitcoin cash (BCH) has 36 percent.

Overall the BCH community seems pleased with the currency’s growing ecosystem and many supporters believe next week’s fork will be smooth. With Segwit2x gone and the rest of the cryptocurrency competition constantly nipping at BTC’s heels many spectators will be focused on bitcoin cash.

What’s your thoughts on bitcoin cash at the moment? Do you think the hard fork approaching will be smooth? Let us know what you think in the comments below.

This Developer is Bringing Atomic Swaps to the Bitcoin Cash Network

Atomic swaps between blockchains have become a hot topic that has sparked a lot of interest due to the decentralized nature of the exchange process. This week a developer that goes by the name of “Deswurstes” or “MCCCS” has accomplished a successful bitcoin cash atomic swap test.

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Introducing Bitcoin Cash to the Atomic Swap Protocol

This Developer is Bringing Atomic Swaps to the Bitcoin Cash NetworkOn November 4, bitcoin cash (BCC) was tested using the Decred/atomic swap protocol by a developer named Deswurstes. The atomic swap Github pull request #37 states, “the first Bitcoin Cash atomic swap has been made! — Proof at the end of this pull request.” Deswurstes says he’s been interested in the scaling debate since mid-2016 and has been a bitcoin fanatic (as a small scale miner/holder, not a developer) since then. The test is one of the developer’s first contributions using the bitcoin cash code, and he plans to design friendlier-looking software to allow users to use it more efficiently.

“Atomic swaps are interesting topics, and there are many alt-to-alt exchanges, but none of them are safe; there’s nothing that prevents the exchange from stealing your money,” Deswurstes explains to news.Bitcoin.com.

When I found atomic swaps, it looked like magic to me. I thought it’d be cool if bitcoin cash had this feature. First I asked its developers if they were going to implement bitcoin cash support, but they were busy. One or two weeks later, I tried and succeeded in coding my atomic swap dream.

‘In the Future, All Altcoin-to-Altcoin Atomic Swaps Will be Instant’

The developer’s first test was a bitcoin cash-to-bitcoin cash atomic swap contract. He tested it like this because it enabled him to debug both initiate and participate commands at the same time, and each time he got closer to the working software. “Currently the software works awesome, however, it doesn’t have dynamic fee support,” Deswurstes explains to news.Bitcoin.com. “The command that makes the node software choose inputs for the transaction (fundrawtransaction) has different syntaxes in different node software.”

Deswurstes says now, people can make trustless bitcoin cash payments, but the process of compiling the software and typing commands in the command prompt is complicated for average users. “When trustless, decentralized exchanges that have order matching come with good UIs, the atomic swap will replace the current exchanges — Especially BCC-BTC will have high volume,” the programmer explains.

In the future, all alt-to-alt atomic swaps will be instant — People will be trading BTC and BCC, which’ll be the highest volume trade, in a few seconds.

This Developer Aims to Bring Atomic Swaps to the Bitcoin Cash Network

Cryptocurrency Exchanges Will Have to Utilize Atomic Swaps, or No One Will Use Them

Deswurstes believes atomic swaps just need a good user interface (UI), and after a nice looking and easy to use UI is implemented there’s nothing that can prevent everyone from using atomic swaps, the developer explains. At the moment Deswurstes notes there are two startups working on friendlier atomic swap UI’s including Barterdex, and Altcoin.io.

“One day, all of the alt-to-alt exchanges will use atomic swaps, because of its safeness and it will be as convenient as the old style trades. There’s no reason for them not to use atomic swaps If they won’t, their users will no longer use them,” Deswurstes concludes.

What do you think about implementing atomic swap processes with bitcoin cash? Let us know what you think in the comments below.


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.

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.