For decades, Switzerland has been the go-to spot to store large amounts of money, thanks to its favorable banking system. Not satisfied with just being the banking capital of the world, the country has its sights set on being the…
Setting The Stage Imagine a courtroom and Bitcoin making its way to the podium. Seated on the left side of the room are the bullish advocates; opposite to them are the bearish advocates. As Bitcoin passes the barrier and…
Its Thursday evening and you are back at it again staring at the charts. You are sitting there pondering to yourself, why is the price dropping again and why did I go all in at $15,000. At the time of…
ETROIT — Walk into the Shell gas station on the corner of Nine Mile and Greenfield roads in Oak Park, Michigan, head toward the back of store, and there, next to the Better Made potato chips selling for $1, sits an ATM selling bitcoin.“The fastest and most secure way to turn your bitcoin to cash and your cash into bitcoin,” reads the screen for the Slon BTM. Nothing is all that secure about bitcoin, a cryptocurrency that had one incredible boom in 2017 and what’s looking like one lingering bust in 2018. Bitcoin’s price traded as high as nearly $20,000 in late 2017 — up from just $1,000 in early that year. But it’s down nearly 70 percent in the past six months. Bitcoin’s price was around $7,700 in trading June 5. And it was down to around $6,154 by June 22.
You may have seen the actor and part-time tech investor Ashton Kutcher present $4 million worth of digital coins called XRP to Ellen DeGeneres’ favorite charity on her talk show. Or maybe you saw Stephen Colbert announce a $29 million donation of XRP to schoolteachers on his late-night show.Ripple, a San Francisco company that is rolling in money thanks to last year’s runup in the value of cryptocurrencies, was behind the giveaways. And it has quietly become one of the most valuable startups of the last decade thanks to the value of XRP, the digital token its founders created six years ago.Now comes the hard part: persuading people to use XRP for something other than speculative trading. It is an issue facing most of the still-young cryptocurrency industry. Digital tokens like bitcoin and its many imitators (like XRP) were designed to make electronic transactions of all sorts easier. But today almost no transactions are happening, other than on virtual currency exchanges where people bet on their price.
After four years at the helm of Messenger, David Marcus will be leaving the team to lead a small group of Facebook employees to explore what blockchain technologies can do for the social media giant.
In a post on Facebook, Marcus noted that he would be “starting from scratch” in these efforts surrounding blockchain tech. His departure from Messenger comes alongside a major organizational restructuring up top at Facebook that saw the roles shift of many key executives at Facebook.
Marcus is notably on the board of directors at the cryptocurrency exchange Coinbase, so this won’t be his first foray into blockchain. Marcus will be joined by Instagram’s Kevin Weil in this new endeavor, Recode reports.
The South African Reserve Bank (SARS) recently announced its position on Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies, confirming that they will be subject to tax in South Africa.
While this may feel like the taxman has just found another way to target your wealth, general regulation may not ultimately be bad thing, according to Christine Rodrigues, partner at Hogan Lovells.
Rodrigues notes that some jurisdictions that have taken active steps to regulate cryptocurrency.
Bitcoin has received an unexpected boost from Christine Lagarde, after the head of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) detailed the global benefits of cryptocurrency.
Ms Lagarde wrote in a blogpost that cryptocurrencies like bitcoin could enable fast and inexpensive transactions, while the underlying blockchain technology could make financial markets safer.
The price of the world’s most valuable cryptocurrency returned above $8,000 following the publication of Ms Lagarde’s comments, though it is unclear if the gains are directly attributable to the news.
Danny Govberg, CEO of WatchBox, which claims to be the world’s leading e-commerce platform for pre-owned luxury watches, says that when it comes to cryptocurrency, “I just have a hunch that it’s not going away.” WatchBox has accepted Bitcoin payments since 2014.
“If I’m wrong, okay, so I got educated in an entire structure of cryptocurrency and blockchain,” says Govberg. “If I’m right, then I got educated early on, and was able to adopt it early on.”
For luxury-good companies, Bitcoin transactions are a tool in the toolbox for easing expensive international sales. “When they [international customers] wire us the money and our bank has to convert the money into different currencies, it’s not easy,” Govberg says. “If somebody in the future is in Germany and they want to pay in Bitcoin, they’ll be able to transact that business within a matter of seconds. It’ll come with the blockchain warranty and our bill of sale, everything that customer’s looking for.”
Even if you possess little knowledge about cryptocurrency, chances are, you’ve heard of bitcoin’s meteoric march.
The digital payment method is operated by a decentralized network of computers from all parts of the world; unlike electronic payment networks like Mastercard and Visa, bitcoin uses heavy-duty encryption technologies that allow the global system to keep track of its transactions. Albeit the de facto standard, bitcoin is only one of more than 1,000 cryptocurrencies on the internet, from Ethereum and Litecoin to Monero and Zcash.
In fact, according to bitcoin payment service provider BitPay, more than 100,000 merchants worldwide accept the currency. While it may pose a challenge to find major shopping destinations that accept it as a direct payment for everyday purchases, retailers and industry analysts are keeping a close eye on these cryptocurrencies — and for good reason.