dimanche 8 décembre 2019

Understanding the Chilean social crisis and Bitcoin’s potential impact on its people [INTERVIEW]

Chile is one of the most prosperous and politically stable countries in Latin America, according to its president, Sebastián Piñera.

In an interview with the Financial Times in October, Piñera affirmed:

“Chile looks like an oasis because we have a stable democracy, the economy is growing, we are creating jobs, we are improving salaries and we are keeping macroeconomic balance.”

A few days after his remarks, the country was rocked with a massive wave of demonstrations and looting. Although the unrest began over subway fares, it grew into a broader protest. The combination of low wages, rising living costs, high-priced drugs, and negligible pensions outraged Chileans who took to the streets to seek economic equality and political inclusion.

CryptoSlate recently had the opportunity to chat with Claudio Didier, a Chilean protestor and Bitcoin advocate, to understand the impact that cryptocurrencies have had in the nation as the demonstrations continue.

What is your personal story and what do you do professionally?

Claudio Didier (CD): My name is Claudio Didier from Chile. I’m 26 years old. I am a Sound Technician and Musical Producer and got into bitcoin during September 2017 when its price started breaking records. From that moment I decided to make a small investment meanwhile I also started to learn about altcoins and the interesting and diverse projects behind each one of them.

Tell us what is happening politically in Chile right now? What are the people protesting and fighting for?

CD: The social crisis began when the subway system decided to raise the cost of a ticket by ~0.042 USD for the second time this year.

Student groups started to do mass evasions in the subway in order to protest and more people joined the cause.

As the days followed, the movement started to take form and go deeper into the social injustices and inequalities of the Chilean system, the deficient pension system, the low salaries, the poor public healthcare and ultimately the desire to have a new constitution to make fairer laws.

But the violence soon arrived and a big number of subway stations and supermarkets were burned which made violence escalate quickly and General Iturriaga declared a curfew in Santiago.

People are now protesting for all these reasons but not getting real solutions and not even in a reasonable amount of time.

Also, one of the most tangible things happening is a growing hatred towards the Chilean Police and the price of the dollar spiking from 719 CLP to 813 CLP in less than a month.

How do the people of Chile view the current government leadership?

CD: People have lost trust in government and political parties. President Piñera is seen as inefficient and as someone not looking for real solutions for the people but to defend the status quo. Also, Chilean Police is seen as a corrupt and brutally violent institution.

What is the blockchain and/or crypto community like in Chile right now? How are people using this technology? What is the government’s view?

CD: There are some communities such as Asociación Bitcoin Chile, that are making a good job in educating people on bitcoin tech and the crypto ecosystem. They have a telegram group called Bitcoin Chile and periodically make night events to talk and teach about the subject.

Also, there are a few developers working in their own blockchain-related projects, and also I would like to mention what some Chileans and Venezuelans have been working on; something called Locha Mesh, that is a device to chat and send bitcoin using radio waves (offline, no internet!)

In Chile you can spend crypto using a service called “Cryptocompra” by flow.cl and cryptomkt.com, so you can shop in more than 5000 local services.

Crypto is not often talked about by the government, but like many governments, they don’t believe in its value

What impact do you think Bitcoin and crypto will have on the Chilean people over the next decade?

CD: I think it all depends on how well developers and entrepreneurs play their game in convincing people about the benefits of using crypto and their ability to make it easy to use for the public. But I have no doubt crypto will make it. Also, I had the chance to speak with the people in the protests about the imminent inflation and global economic collapse that is coming. I believe in Bitcoin as a safe haven and that fiat money is a time bomb.

What are the biggest obstacles for the mainstream adoption of crypto in Chile?

CD: The lack of knowledge and disinformation. Also, I would like to see more institutions promoting the tech and an easy-to-use platform to spend crypto through the phone.

What other projects and/or blockchain developments are you most excited about?

CD: I’m a big fan of IOTA and the internet of things tech in general. Also, I’m very excited about the development of the Lightning Network.

Do you have any blockchain and/or crypto predictions for 2020 and beyond?

CD: I believe the Lightning Network will take over, hopefully with a more friendly and easy-to-use platform and Bitcoin price will gradually increase.

What is your most controversial opinion relating to blockchain and/or cryptocurrency?

CD:  I think Bitcoin will outperform every other asset in the next couple of years and also gold and silver. While fiat money devalues, bitcoin will do the opposite, making no-coiners become slowly the poorer class.

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A List of Self-Proclaimed Bitcoin Inventors and Satoshi Clues Debunked in 2019

A List of Self-Proclaimed Bitcoin Inventors and Satoshi Clues Debunked in 2019

Since the inception of Bitcoin, a variety of unique individuals have come forward saying they invented blockchain technology. In 2019, a few more self-proclaimed Satoshis came out of the woodwork, alongside evidence pointing toward other individuals who could have used the moniker. So far, clues examined this year still haven’t revealed a smoking gun and the ‘Faketoshis’ who came forward in 2019 have all been debunked and ridiculed.

Also Read: Satoshi Nakamoto Could Be Criminal Mastermind Paul Le Roux

2019’s Faketoshi List

Nobody knows what makes an individual claim to be someone they are not, but in the world of cryptocurrency, this is a regular occurrence. For years now, the hunt for Satoshi Nakamoto, the inventor of Bitcoin, has made people scour the earth looking for clues to find the creator’s whereabouts. Because the passion is so strong, it has invoked a slew of live-action role players (larpers) to pretend they are Satoshi. News.Bitcoin.com reported on 2018’s list of Faketoshis who came forward last year. For instance, the community witnessed Bloomberg columnist Matthew Leising tell everyone that Satoshi Nakamoto was writing a book.

A List of Self-Proclaimed Bitcoin Inventors and Satoshi Clues Debunked in 2019

In June, armchair sleuths noticed a man from Hawaii who patented various Bitcoin Cash trademarks and owned a slew of BCH and BTC-related domains claim to be the inventor. The Hawaiin-native Ronald Keala Kua Maria’s websites say: “I am the real one and only Satoshi Nakamoto.” The community also met Phil Wilson, otherwise known as ‘Scronty,’ claimed to be part of the Satoshi Nakamoto group theory with David Kleiman and Craig Wright. In 2019, the self-styled Satoshi Nakamoto reveals continued.

Hair Guy

The most recent larper who has come out of the woodwork claiming to be Satoshi Nakamoto is Jörg Molt. Despite the fact that Molt has luxurious hair like Fabio, claims to be the “Co-founder of BitCoin,” and even designed a “Satoshi School, no one in the cryptosphere believes he’s Nakamoto. Molt also alleges that he owns 250,000 bitcoins and reportedly told participants who attended the recent WCC Vegas Blockchain Week that he was Satoshi. Andreas Antonopoulos also took to Twitter after he found out that Molt was sharing a picture of the two at a conference. “Apparently, a German person called ‘Jörg Molt’ has been showing a selfie taken with me and telling people that we are friends — This is a LIE,” Antonopoulos tweeted. “I don’t know him at all — I have heard from others that he claims to be the founder of Bitcoin and has thousands of BTC — A LIE.”

A List of Self-Proclaimed Bitcoin Inventors and Satoshi Clues Debunked in 2019
Jörg Molt calls himself the “Co-founder of BitCoin,” and shared this picture of him and Andreas Antonopoulos saying that they are friends. Antonopoulos denies being friends with Molt and called him a “liar.”

PR Team Satoshi

In mid-August, another self-proclaimed Satoshi failed to sway the community when the Pakastani Bilal Khalid and his PR firm Ivy McLemore told the world Khalid was Bitcoin’s inventor. Now Ivy McLemore and Khalid wrote a few long essays about Chaldean numerology and Khalid losing billions worth of bitcoins (980,000 BTC) with his broken laptop. Khalid claims when his laptop crashed he lost his wallet.dat file so he sent the laptop in for repair and it returned with a brand new hard drive.

A List of Self-Proclaimed Bitcoin Inventors and Satoshi Clues Debunked in 2019
Bilal Khalid and his PR firm Ivy McLemore created a far-fetched story about Khalid being Satoshi and losing 980,000 BTC.

After all the essays and even a video, Khalid was quickly dismissed by the crypto community and ridiculed for his attempt. Throughout Khalid’s tall tales he said he and Hal Finney were “close allies.” These claims upset the cryptosphere and people complained about Khalid using Finney’s good name to promote a marketing ploy.

PGP Key 0x18C09E865EC948A1

A Belgium native called Debo Jurgen Etienne Guido told the community he was Satoshi Nakamoto on numerous occasions in 2019. For instance, in February Debo appeared in the comment section of one of Craig Wright’s blog posts called “Careful what you wish for…” In the comments, Debo writes: “Liar — You, Dr. Craig Wright never had any digital key to sign, and no single proof of his claims — He could not even transact one bitcoin from my whale wallet.” Debo has been around for since 2015 and still posts regularly from his Twitter account.

A List of Self-Proclaimed Bitcoin Inventors and Satoshi Clues Debunked in 2019
Debo Jurgen Etienne Guido has claimed to be Satoshi since 2015 but made a few appearances this year.

Then in July, Debo wrote to the court dealing with the Klieman v. Wright case and testified by written letter that he was the “genuine and only originator/creator of the genesis block of the Bitcoin blockchain.” Like the rest of the self-styled Bitcoin inventors mentioned about, Debo has yet to provide any hard evidence that he is Satoshi. He claims to own the Satoshin@GMX.com email account and associated digital signature (PGP Key 0x18C09E865EC948A1).

Two More Suspects

In 2019, there were two new people who the community said might possibly be Bitcoin’s creator. In the early days, there’s been a slew of suspects that members of the cryptosphere called Satoshi for a variety of reasons. People like Hal Finney, Shinichi Mochizuki, Gavin Andresen, and Wei Dai were just a few of these characters. In May, during the Kleiman v. Wright lawsuit Document 187 called “Dr. Craig Wright’s Motion For Protective Order,” was filed in the court docket. The document contained a ton of redactions but one specific unredacted footnote revealed the name: Paul Le Roux. The 46-year-old cartel boss is in jail for building a criminal empire and lots of speculators believe he had what it takes to create Bitcoin. Even investigative journalist Evan Ratliff called Le Roux “the most credible Satoshi yet.”

A List of Self-Proclaimed Bitcoin Inventors and Satoshi Clues Debunked in 2019
The 46-year-old cartel boss Paul Le Roux.

In June, the crypto community started talking about comparisons between the founder of the cryptocurrency Grin and Satoshi Nakamoto. After the pseudonymous founder Ignotus Peverell left the Grin project, the community compared his ‘going away’ letter with Satoshi farewell post and they were both strikingly similar. Not much came out of the comparison because Peverell is now gone and cannot speak on his behalf. However, in November the Grin Foundation received a 50 BTC donation from a person stemming from the early days. The reason people said the donor was a ‘Bitcoin OG,’ is because the 50 BTC was mined in 2010 and was transferred to a wallet that sat idle for close to nine years.

A List of Self-Proclaimed Bitcoin Inventors and Satoshi Clues Debunked in 2019
A few people this year compared Ignotus Peverell to Satoshi Nakamoto after Peverell left the Grin community.

As news.Bitcoin.com mentioned last year, Satoshi sightings and individuals claiming to be Bitcoin’s creator will probably never stop. This year, there’s been only a few Faketoshis stepping out of the closet and it’s possible these crazy kooks are realizing it’s not so easy to play Nakamoto’s part. Despite making it in a few headlines and people talking about them on social media, Faketoshis are ridiculed and laughed at regularly for their attempts. This is because some of the attempts are simply ridiculous as Satoshi likely doesn’t have hair like Fabio, Bitcoin’s creator doesn’t need a PR firm to come out, and if Debo, the Belgium native, really does have Satoshi keys, then he should probably use them.

What do you think about all the Satoshi sightings and self-proclaimed Bitcoin creators who appeared this year? Let us know what you think about this subject in the comments section below.

Image credits: Shutterstock, Bitcoin.com, Wiki Commons, Fair Use, and Pixabay.

Did you know you can verify any unconfirmed Bitcoin transaction with our Bitcoin Block Explorer tool? Simply complete a Bitcoin address search to view it on the blockchain. Plus, visit our Bitcoin Charts to see what’s happening in the industry.

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Beam, BCH and Zcash Will Join BTC in Halving Their Mining Rewards

Beam, BCH and Zcash Will Join BTC in Halving Their Mining Rewards

There’s been a lot of noise about Bitcoin’s halving, set to occur in May, and the effect this will have on price as BTC’s mining reward is slashed. It’s not the only PoW coin gearing up for a major reduction in its emission rate next year, with Bitcoin Cash, Beam, and Zcash all set to undergo similar events in 2020.

Also read: As Halving Interest Grows, Spectators Discuss Miner Hoards and Capitulation

Halvenings Are Happening

Cryptocurrency miners will see their rewards halved next year, as the issuance rate for several leading Proof of Work networks is slashed. BTC’s is likely to occur in mid-May, and BCH’s will occur about a month prior. When both chains undergo their scheduled four-yearly halving, the mining reward will drop from 12.5 to 6.25 bitcoins per block. As a result, 1,500 less coins from each network will be released every day.

As the leading Proof of Work cryptocurrencies, BTC and BCH have been the focus of the halvening talk that’s permeated the cryptosphere for months. With the reduction of mining rewards historically associated with an increase in price, as sell pressure from miners diminishes, it’s understandable why the topic should be of such keen interest to crypto investors. BTC’s halving alone will see $12 million less coins released into the wild each day, based on current prices. Before that event occurs, however, one newer PoW coin will undergo a halving of its own.

Beam, BCH and Zcash Will Join BTC in Halving Their Mining Rewards

Beam’s Output Is Set to Diminish

The Beam team has been busy of late, integrating atomic swaps into the Beam Wallet via a decentralized marketplace, marking the first time a privacy coin has been tradable for assets such as BTC in this manner. It’s also launched the Beam Foundation, as it transitions towards becoming a decentralized organization, and its core developer has proposed Lelantus MW, a solution designed to enhance Mimblewimble’s anonymity. From an investor perspective, though, Beam’s biggest event is yet to come.

On January 4, Beam will experience a halving that will slash the block reward from 100 to 50 coins. Beam and Grin were both designed with aggressive release schedules for their first year, in a bid to accelerate the big bang that characterized Bitcoin’s release. After Beam’s first halving has occurred on Jan 4, the next event won’t be due for another four years. The total supply for beam is set to ultimately reach 262,800,000.

Beam, BCH and Zcash Will Join BTC in Halving Their Mining Rewards
Beam’s release schedule

Grin’s supply is fixed at a new coin every 60 seconds, but its inflation rate is diminishing over time as the total circulating supply increases. Grin launched in March with an inflation rate of 400%, but that’s now dropped to 50%, despite maintaining the emission rate of one coin per second forever.

Zcash to Slash Mining Rewards

Also in 2020, Zcash will undergo its first halving. The event is scheduled to occur towards the end of the year, four years after the first block was mined. Like most PoW coins, ZEC’s release schedule is closely based on Bitcoin’s. When Zcash completes its first halving, around a year from now, the release rate will drop from 50 to 25 ZEC per block. However, this particular halving is an event that zcash miners can look forward to, since 100% of the coinbase rewards thereafter will be theirs. At present, 10% goes to the project’s founders.

Bitmain Releases Equihash Miner Three Times More Powerful Than Its Predecessor

No Halvenings for Dogecoin or Monero

Litecoin completed its own halving event this year, while Dogecoin – the meme coin that gave the cryptosphere the term “halvening” – won’t experience one of its own again: ever since block 600,000, Doge’s block reward has been permanently set at 10,0000 coins.

More than 90% of all monero has now been mined, with the remainder set to have been issued by May 2022. Thereafter, tail emission will kick in, whereupon all new blocks will have a reward of just 0.6 XMR, versus the current 2.1 XMR. This reward is anticipated to be high enough to incentivize miners to secure the network, but low enough to avoid diluting the total supply. In fact, by the time Monero’s tail emission commences, it’s anticipated that newly issued coins will be offset by coins that are lost over time.

With halvening events aplenty in 2020, there’ll be no shortage of talking points, amidst all the other drama and intrigue that the cryptosphere churns out on a daily basis. Whether these halvings correspond with an increase in coin prices, however, is anyone’s guess. Pre-halving speculation is a given. Post-halving appreciation is not guaranteed.

Do you think halvening events are priced in, or will BTC, BCH and other coins rise in price post-halvening? Let us know in the comments section below.

Images courtesy of Shutterstock.

Did you know you can verify any unconfirmed Bitcoin transaction with our Bitcoin Block Explorer tool? Simply complete a Bitcoin address search to view it on the blockchain. Plus, visit our Bitcoin Charts to see what’s happening in the industry.

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Analyst that called Bitcoin’s drop to $3,000 in 2018 says the “bottom could be in”

On Nov 25., the price of Bitcoin fell off a proverbial cliff, tanking from $7,000 to $6,500 in a move that shocked traders the industry over. Since then, the cryptocurrency market has stabilized, with BTC, for instance, now finding itself nearly 15 percent higher than it was at the lows of that one fateful day.

While this recovery is not 100 percent indicative of a bottom, a number of analysts are coming to the conclusion that there’s a good likelihood that Bitcoin’s pain stopped when it plunged to $6,500 late last month.

One such analyst touting this sentiment is FilbFilb, a pseudonymous cryptocurrency trader that called the mean reversion move to the low-$3,000s in September of 2018, which was when BTC was flatlining in the low-$6,000s, a trend that analysts argued was bullish at the time.

Has Bitcoin bottomed? 

On Dec. 7, FilbFilb released the latest installment of his “Decentrader” newsletter. In it, he laid out a confluence of signs on Bitcoin’s chart, procured through the use of technical analysis, that implies that the cryptocurrency’s price outlook is starting to lean in the favor of bulls, or at least that BTC bottomed at $6,500.

Firstly, the analyst looked to the fact that Bitcoin bounced off the “miner’s bottom,” the price at which the average cryptocurrency breaks even when mining BTC. This is notable as the crypto market bottomed when Bitcoin interacted with the miner’s bottom in December 2018. That’s not to mention that the price chart printed an area of so-called bullish divergences at the $6,500 level.

Bitcoin bullish divergences
Bitcoin bullish divergences

That’s not to mention that a positive “bullish (golden) cross” is about to be formed by the 50-week and 100-week simple moving averages, while volume and price have declined in tandem, “hinting at bullish reversal.”

Sentiment corroborated

It isn’t only FilbFilb that has observed signs that Bitcoin is in the midst of bottoming on a macro scale.

Adaptive Capital’s Willy Woo, a popular on-chain metrics analyst, noted on Dec. 7 that a proprietary indicator his fund uses is implying that the usage of the Bitcoin network is implying that bulls will soon gain the upper hand again:

“On-chain momentum is crossing into bullish [territory]… The bottom is most likely in, any [move] lower will be just a wick in the macro view.”

Bitcoin bullish momentum
Bitcoin bullish momentum (Source: Willy Woo)

Another market analyst has corroborated this, recently posting the chart that can be seen below. In it, he depicts that Bitcoin’s long-term $6,300 Point of Control (POC) — a price at which an asset saw the most trading activity—was front-run by investors during the drop to $6,500.

Bitcoin bottom
Bitcoin bottom (Source: CL)

While there is no guarantee that cryptocurrency bears will push the cryptocurrency to actually test the POC in and around $6,300, which is now 15 percent lower than Bitcoin’s current price, a similar pattern of “front running” the POC was seen during the $3,100 bottom of December 2018.

Thus, if historical price action is of any current relevance, Bitcoin is likely to continue rebounding from here.

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Deutsche Bank Strategist Predicts Crypto Could Replace Fiat Money

Deutsche Bank Strategist Says Crypto Could Replace Fiat Money in the Next Decade

Deutsche Bank analysts have made some predictions regarding the future of cryptocurrency. Strategist Jim Reid explained why cryptocurrencies are inevitable and how the existing fiat money system could crumble over the next decade, leading to soaring demand for cryptocurrencies.

Also read: Swiss Licensed Crypto Bank Expanding Into 9 Markets

‘The End of Fiat Money?’ – Cryptocurrencies Are Inevitable

Deutsche Bank Research released a special edition of Konzept entitled “Imagine 2030” on Thursday. Konzept is a regularly published research report that addresses the fundamental issues driving the world of economics and finance. In the 84-page special edition, Deutsche Bank analysts discussed contrarian ideas of how the 2020s may evolve.

Jim Reid, Global Head of Fundamental Credit, Strategy and Thematic Research at Deutsche Bank, wrote in the report: “While critics bemoan cryptocurrencies as constrained by regulatory hurdles, we believe the incentives of governments and card providers are such that digital currencies are inevitable.” He authored the section of the report entitled “The end of fiat money?” Reid detailed:

The forces that have held the current fiat system together now look fragile and they could unravel in the 2020s. If so, that will start to lead to a backlash against fiat money and demand for alternative currencies, such as gold or crypto could soar.

Cryptocurrencies Could Replace Cash

One of the sections of the report discusses cryptocurrencies as “the 21st century cash.” Marion Laboure authored this section, with contribution from Anthony Chaimowitz, Market Research Lead for the EMEA and APAC regions at the bank. “Until now, cryptocurrencies have been additions, rather than substitutes, to the global inventory of money,” Laboure explained, asserting that “Over the next decade, this may change.” She elaborated:

Overcoming regulatory hurdles will broaden their appeal and raise the potential to eventually replace cash.

Laboure provided a comparison between the adoption rates of cryptocurrencies and the internet by examining the number of Blockchain wallet users and the number of internet users over multiple years. “It is early days but the curves are similar after adjusting for scale,” she claims. “Indeed, if current trends continue, there could be 200m blockchain wallet users in 2030.”

To achieve widespread adoption, Laboure believes that cryptocurrencies must become legitimate in the eyes of governments and regulators. They must also “allow for global reach in the payment market.” Furthermore, “To do this, alliances must be forged with key stakeholders – mobile apps such as Apple Pay, Google Pay, card providers such as Visa and Mastercard, and retailers, such as Amazon and Walmart,” she opined. “If these challenges can be overcome, the eventual future of cash is at risk.” Laboure continued:

As we look to the decade ahead, it would not be surprising if a new and mainstream cryptocurrency were to unexpectedly emerge.

“Cryptocurrencies may constitute the best tool for a digital war,” she added, pointing out that some countries with historically-strong banking industries are already trialing them. “The question is which country will take advantage of being the first to obtain licenses and build alliances. As that occurs, the line between cryptocurrencies, financial institutions, and public and private sectors may become blurred,” she concluded.

What do you think of this Deutsche Bank report and the analysts’ view on cryptocurrency? Do you think crypto will soon replace fiat money? Let us know in the comments section below.

Disclaimer: This article is for informational purposes only. It is not an offer or solicitation of an offer to buy or sell, or as a recommendation, endorsement, or sponsorship of any products, services, or companies. Bitcoin.com does not provide investment, tax, legal, or accounting advice. Neither the company nor the author is responsible, directly or indirectly, for any damage or loss caused or alleged to be caused by or in connection with the use of or reliance on any content, goods or services mentioned in this article.

Images credits: Shutterstock and Deutsche Bank.

Did you know you can buy and sell BCH privately using our noncustodial, peer-to-peer Local Bitcoin Cash trading platform? The local.Bitcoin.com marketplace has thousands of participants from all around the world trading BCH right now. And if you need a bitcoin wallet to securely store your coins, you can download one from us here.

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Buy Presents or a Christmas Trip Using Gift Cards Purchased With Crypto

Buy Presents or a Christmas Trip Using Gift Cards Purchased With Crypto

Gift cards have become a popular payment tool for cryptocurrency users. Plenty of platforms now offer a wide variety of cards which can be purchased with your digital coins. You can use them to buy just about any product or service from major and small retailers, order food and drinks, or book a flight. And with the Christmas holidays approaching, don’t forget their main purpose is to make someone else happy.

Also read: These Debit Cards Will Help You Spend Your BCH Anywhere

Why It Works

For various reasons, crypto enthusiasts in many countries find it hard to obtain a crypto debit card these days. They used to be a sought after payment instrument that expanded the use of decentralized digital currencies in a fiat-dominated world. However, many early offerings have disappeared and while there are new products in the niche, these now often come with more and more strings attached. Although limited to a specific retailer, crypto gift cards are much easier to acquire in comparison to debit cards.

Buy Presents or a Christmas Trip Using Gift Cards Purchased With Crypto

Bridging the gap between the crypto space and the traditional payments universe is undoubtedly an attractive business opportunity for many companies in the digital asset industry. At the same time, retailers that are still uneasy about adding cryptocurrencies to their payment options get additional revenue that would otherwise go somewhere else. Many people who run businesses or are employed in the crypto sector would prefer to spend the cryptocurrency they earned rather than convert it to fiat first.

Buy Gift Cards With Bitcoin

Sending some satoshis to someone you like or love is of course a great gift for any occasion. But money is such a common present that it betrays you might not have a clear idea of what the person you’d like to surprise really likes or wants. If you do know that, however, sending a gift card is a better option. Being able to buy it with cryptocurrency is great too.

The Bitcoin.com store offers you a wide choice of gift cards for major retailers and service providers, from the Home Depot and Macy’s, to Domino’s and Dunkin Donuts, even Uber. These and dozens of other options are sorted in multiple categories, from Electronics, Clothing and Restaurants, to Holiday Gift Ideas. You can buy a card for yourself or send it to a friend. At checkout you’ll be prompted to pay with either bitcoin cash (BCH) or bitcoin core (BTC).

Buy Presents or a Christmas Trip Using Gift Cards Purchased With Crypto

Another platform that lets you buy gift cards with bitcoin is Egifter. You can order cards from over 250 retailers. Both BCH and BTC are supported, along with several other cryptocurrencies like ethereum (ETH), litecoin (LTC) and dash, as well as numerous fiat options like major bank cards and popular payment processors such as Paypal, Skrill, Apple Pay, and Amazon Pay. Those who have an account with Egifter can earn points on most purchases and later claim them for free gift cards.

A website called Ipayyou.io not only sells but also buys gift cards with cryptocurrency. It accepts and pays in BCH, BTC and BSV. The cards you can order are issued by Amazon, Ebay, Best Buy, Starbucks, Uber, and iTunes. They are fully returnable until the recipient logs in to claim them. If you receive a gift card that you don’t really need, you can sell it back to the platform for crypto but a restocking fee may apply.

Swych, a mobile gifting platform in the U.S., entered the crypto market earlier this year. In February, Swych announced it’s starting to accept cryptocurrencies for the virtual gift cards it issues for more than 600 retailers, including Amazon, Best Buy, Target, and many more. In the app, which is available for Android and iOS devices, you can pay with BCH, BTC, LTC, ETH, and ETC, as news.Bitcoin.com reported. If you receive one of Swych’s virtual cards but you don’t want to spend the money in that particular store, a nice feature allows you to swap it for a card you can use with a different retailer.

Buy Presents or a Christmas Trip Using Gift Cards Purchased With Crypto

If you need another mobile service accepting cryptocurrencies for a variety gift cards, you can check out Gyft. The app can be downloaded from Google Play and Apple’s App Store. “Use Bitcoin to shop for hundreds of gift cards. Instant delivery. No fees,” the platform promises. You can use it to buy, send and redeem gift cards from any mobile device. Gyft also lets you keep track of your gift card balances and currently accepts bitcoin core. Walmart, Lowe’s, Cabelas, and CVS are among the supported retailers.

You can also purchase gift cards using dozens of decentralized cryptocurrencies and stablecoins from the payments provider Bidali which is based in Canada. According to the dedicated page on its website, bitcoin cash and bitcoin core are among the supported cryptos. It also lists many well-known places where you can spend your digital money via gift card. The platform accepts coins for mobile top-ups as well.

Bitrefill sells gift cards from around the world for crypto. Its website detects your location and tailors its suggestions to your region. You can, for instance, list the most popular gift cards in the Eurozone countries. If users in the U.S. often buy cards for Google Play and the App Store, those in Europe’s single currency area would purchase cards for Skype, Viber, and Amazon.de. Bitrefill offers prepaid mobile phone refills too, for which it accepts bitcoin core, ethereum, litecoin, dash, and dogecoin.

Buy Presents or a Christmas Trip Using Gift Cards Purchased With Crypto

If you are planning to travel for the upcoming Christmas holidays, several gift card platforms like Gyft, Egifter and Giftoff will offer you the opportunity to pay for services provided by airlines like Delta, Southwest, American Airlines, and Virgin. Using gift cards purchased with bitcoin to cover accommodations is not a problem either. Websites such as Flightgiftcard, Jet2Holidays, and Lastminute sell cards you can use to book flights and make hotel reservations.

Have you bought a gift card with cryptocurrency? Let us know and share your experience in the comments section below.

Images courtesy of Shutterstock, EZ Blockchain.

Do you need a reliable bitcoin mobile wallet to send, receive, and store your coins? Download one for free from us and then head to our Purchase Bitcoin page where you can quickly buy bitcoin with a credit card.

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Bitcoin ETF chances jump after SEC green lights futures-based fund; here’s why

For years, crypto financial services firms across the U.S. have been trying their hand at issuing publicly-traded Bitcoin funds (ETFs).

Unfortunately for these hopefuls, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has long not agreed with these firms’ assertions that the Bitcoin market is ready for its own regulated, tradable fund.

In fact, in the past five years, the SEC has rejected or delayed its verdict on upwards of five proposals from an array of firms, often citing its concerns about the underlying nature of the cryptocurrency spot market.

Though, in a surprise turn of events, the financial regulator quietly approved a fund tied to the Bitcoin futures market just last week—a move that analysts say dramatically increases the chances for the approval of other funds in the near future.

SEC approves Bitcoin futures-tied fund

According to a filing published on and dated Dec. 2, the New York Digital Investment Group (NYDIG) has procured a green light from the SEC to launch the NYDIG Bitcoin Strategy Fund, a portfolio fund in the Stone Ridge Trust Vl.

This fund will invest in cash-settled Bitcoin futures contracts traded on Commodity Futures Trading Commission-approved exchanges, like the CME Group, which has its own BTC futures contract. This means that the fund will never have any direct exposure to the coins on a blockchain when it launches. The filing reads:

“The Fund will seek to purchase a number of Bitcoin futures so that the total value of the Bitcoin underlying the Bitcoin futures held by the Fund is as close to 100% of the net assets of the Fund.”

The SEC’s approval of this fund comes shortly after a note published to the Federal Directory revealing that the agency would be revisiting Bitwise Asset Management’s physically-settled Bitcoin ETF proposal, which it denied earlier this year citing manipulation concerns.

There is a case for an ETF

According to a research note from Mike McGlone, a commodities strategist at Bloomberg Intelligence, shared by cryptocurrency commentator LightCrypto, the approval of the so-called interval fund from NYDIG improves the “odds of a Bitcoin ETF in 2020 to 50-50.” McGlone elaborated, writing:

“Approval shows that lobbying by issuers such as VanEck and Bitwise is starting to pay off.”


Not everyone is convinced

While the SEC itself has suddenly warmed up to Bitcoin, not everyone is convinced that the underlying spot market could support a fund.

Thomas Lee, the co-founder of Fundstrat Global Advisors and a noted Bitcoin permabull, said at an event in Singapore last month that BTC will need to trade 2,000% higher than it is today, meaning at least $150,000 per coin, to allow for “the market to cope with the daily demand of an ETF.”

There’s also been the opinion floated that the cryptocurrency market doesn’t even need a fully-fledged BTC ETF to succeed, in spite of the benefits it could theoretically bring.

CNBC contributor Brian Kelly said in an interview in October that with the entree of companies like Fidelity and TD Ameritrade into the cryptocurrency space, there is no need for an ETF:

“Ultimately, you’re going to be able to buy Bitcoin in a regular brokerage account, or it’s going to look like a regular brokerage account. So I’m less concerned that you need a bitcoin ETF at this point in time.”

Indeed, there are already signs that investors are seeking Bitcoin exposure through other means than an ETF. CryptoSlate reported on Dec. 6 that Charles Schwab, one of the largest retail brokerage firms in the United States, has noted that Grayscale’s Bitcoin Trust (GBTC) is the fifth most popular investment amongst its millennials clients, those born after 1981 and before 1996.

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