Tag Archives: Cryptocurrency

Factors Pushing Bitcoin Prices Higher in 2017

Factors Pushing Bitcoin Prices
Higher in 2017

For newcomers to the market looking to make a quick win, the rollercoaster of a year has probably been a time of scratching heads and possibly a few tears shed. For the long-term investor, however, these periods are part of the journey and opportune times to snap up some more coins when the price takes a dip. Despite the precautionary cries of ‘bursting bubbles’, these market corrections are an anticipated occurrence.

    
Legislative Changes for Cryptos

Earlier this year, Japan announced that as of 1 April 2017, the country would recognise bitcoin as legal tender and make the provisions for administrative and accounting systems to be enhanced for cryptocurrency transactions to take place seamlessly. This was undoubtedly the major contributing factor to an initial surge in the price as Japanese individuals and corporations alike scrambled on exchanges to secure bitcoin for future purchases. Hundreds of thousands of retailers in the area are said to be equipping themselves to accept bitcoin payments, with a low cost airline, Peach, becoming the first commercial carrier to directly offer consumers tickets paid in bitcoin.

Australia quickly followed suit, announcing accelerated amendments to legislation that eliminated the incumbent double taxation on digital currency transactions. As it stands, Australians using bitcoin for transactions are liable for the 10% goods and services tax (GST) plus a further 10% tax for using ‘intangible property’ as a payment medium. Come 1 July 2017, these transactions will only attract GST, and be exempt from further taxation, no doubt fuelling a greater adoption of digital currency transactions. The proactive progression by these countries certainly paves the way for others to learn from their integration and regulatory practices, empowering mainstream bitcoin adoption, which naturally pushes the price higher as demand increases.

Scaling Debate Resolution

The scaling debate has been a long-standing hurdle for Bitcoin growth. The decentralised nature of bitcoin, which naturally is one of its most appealing qualities, presents some challenges when it comes to governance of remedial action. In an ecosystem where no single entity can dictate changes to the framework, a majority consensus must be reached. The fact remains that Bitcoin needs to scale from its current transactional capacity in order to meet the demands placed on the network in terms of the growing number of transactions, as the current block size is impeding quick and cost-effective transactions.

Whilst several proposals have been put forward, the Bitcoin community have yet to come to agreement on a viable solution that satisfies the majority, while at the same time doing what is best for the wider user base. In May 2017, at the annual Consensus conference, held in New York, an agreement has been signed by a ‘critical mass of the bitcoin ecosystem’ that set out a plan for the adoption of SegWit with a planned hard fork to a 2MB blocksize within six months. While further clarity is needed, it would appear that we may finally come to a point of breaking the stalemate, which will contributing factor in Bitcoin being able to advance and reach its full potential.

Economic and Political Uncertainty

One of Bitcoin’s undeniable drivers of growth are citizens who have lost confidence in their country’s ability to maintain sound economic and political policies, and desperately seek to establish their own sense of financial freedom outside the manipulation of governments.

Venezuela

Take Venezuela for example. An overly aggressive expansionary monetary policy has resulted in hyperinflation, which the International Monetary Fund (IMF) expects to reach an explosive 1,660% this year. This has led to an unparalleled economic and social crisis. The removal of the 100 Bolivar note (the largest denomination and still worth only a few US cents) from circulation in December 2016 alongside the lack of availability of the planned 500 to 20,000 Bolivar notes, led to widespread chaos and violent protests amongst Venezuelans, who for the most part were heavily reliant on cash but were effectively left without money for weeks on end.

It is reported that the minimum wage is around 200,000 Bolivars, yet a single basket of groceries costs in the region of 770,000 Bolivars, nearly 4 times the minimum monthly wage. Whilst the government provide some subsidised basic goods, the ‘outlets’ have become hotspots for vicious crime and citizens have to weigh up the risks of cheaper food against the dangers that face them in the queues. This is what happens when people reach such levels of despair to survive. The alarming surge in crimes such as kidnapping and murder leave most Venezuelans living in fear for their lives on a daily basis, with little in the way of respite.

India

India is another prime example, where the most recent, and possibly most extreme case of a modern-day war on cash occurred in December 2016. Under the pretence of curbing criminal action and tax evasion, Prime Minister Narendra Modi effectively wiped out 86% of notes in circulation overnight, when he announced the demonetisation of 500 and 1,000 Rupee notes with immediate effect. Exchange was possible, but within a limited time frame and only up to a certain amount, the rest having to be processed via a bank account. This, in a country where almost half its population has no access to formal banking, let alone a bank account. This is just one of the reasons bitcoin holds such appeal in tempestuous economic climates. With Bitcoin, you are assured a level of financial security your money is removed from the coercion of the centralised system, therefore protecting your wealth from political agendas, damaging inflation and capital controls.

Increased Inflow of Institutional Money

Financial institutions, who are historically wary about Bitcoin are increasingly showing signs of interest in the digital asset. When compared to the performance of stock markets and fiat currencies, combined with more and more regulatory structure coming into place, it is unsurprising that institutional money has started flow into the crypto-economy. Regulation is arguably one of the largest barriers to cryptocurrency investment for institutions. Two nations, in particular, have been influential in this regard; Sweden and Japan. Sweden was one of the first movers in terms of a regulated Bitcoin investment. Back in May 2015, the KnC Group launched the world’s first ‘Bitcoin Tracker’ known as an exchange-traded note (ETN), which is publicly traded on a regulated exchange. This represented massive progress for Bitcoin at the time and essentially opened the market for institutions and private individuals to gain a regulated exposure to Bitcoin.

The ETN is designed to mirror the price movements of the underlying asset being USD/BTC. The company offering the ETN, XBT Provider, is required to hold the equivalent number of bitcoins as the number of ETN’s issued. In other words, when a financial institution or private investor purchases, XBT Provider has to purchase the same amount of bitcoins to back up the note. Earlier this month, Hargreaves Lansdown, the UK’s largest brokerage, announced that their clients would be able to access the ETN via their SIPP and brokerage accounts. This has opened the doors for retail and institutional investors to gain a regulated Bitcoin exposure in the UK.

As mentioned earlier, Japan has played a crucial role in moving bitcoin into the mainstream. This move has provided institutional players with the much-needed vote of confidence required before they got on board. Russia and India are looking likely to be the next countries to announce positive legislation after an increase in interest within the regions. This will further stimulate institutional investment into Bitcoin, leading to a stronger and more prosperous market for all.

Mainstream Momentum

Perhaps this can be linked back to the fact that with growing interest, and impressive growth, the media have been covering Bitcoin more and more frequently, exposing it to a wider audience. Personally, I have had more and more dinner table discussions about Bitcoin with friends, family, ex-colleagues and acquaintances, outside of the ‘cryptocurrency world’, all now showing interest in Bitcoin.

It was this month that the Wall Street Journal mentioned Bitcoin on its front page, highlighting that Bitcoin has had a strong 2017. This mainstream recognition for Bitcoin’s performance has been long awaited and will be a stimulus for continual momentum. It was only 2 years ago that most of the mainstream news stations were reporting Bitcoin’s demise. What a turn of events it has been. The factors I have outlined above are merely a few of the positive fundamentals Bitcoin has going for it. Driving demand, expanding its utility and subsequently, increasing its value and price. So yes, I am confident when I say that Bitcoin will continue to break through all time highs and find favour above the $3,000 mark before the bells ring in 2018.

Chuck Reynolds


Marketing Dept
Contributor
Please click either Link to Learn more about -Bitcoin.

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The Cannabis Industry, the Blockchain, and Dennis Rodman Gives PotCoin a New High

The Cannabis Industry, the Blockchain, and Dennis Rodman Gives PotCoin
a New High

Cannabis has been legalized in numerous states

across the United States. However, the cannabis industry is still plagued with limited access to banking services as traditional banks want to avoid dealing with businesses that engage in business activities that are still largely illegal under federal law. That is where cryptocurrencies could offer a solution.

Due to the loosening of anti-cannabis laws across America, the legal weed retail industry has grown quickly over the years and is expected to keep growing rapidly as more states debate and decide on its legality. Both the medicinal and recreational use of cannabis has been legalized in Alaska, California, Colorado, Oregon, Washington, Nevada, Massachusetts, Maine, and the District of Columbia, while the medical use of cannabis has also been legalized in an additional 20 states across the US. In late 2016, leading investment bank Cowen and Company published a report on the Cannabis industry titled, “The Cannabis Compendium: Cross-Sector Views on a Budding Industry” which postulates that the industry would grow to $50 billion by the year 2026.

However, because cannabis is still illegal under federal law, most legal dispensaries are having to conduct purely cash-based business, given most banks and other financial institutions will not allow them access to financial services as a result of regulatory constrictions. This leaves weed retailers vulnerable to theft, which criminals have exploited, as evidenced by statistics on dispensary robberies. The blockchain industry is looking to remedy this. Due to the decentralized nature and inherent security of the blockchain, it offers a unique selling proposition as a payments solution for the cannabis industry.

Dennis Rodman Gives PotCoin a New High

PotCoin was created in 2014 to cater to the needs of the unbanked cannabis industry. The coin works on a proof of stake system with an Annual Percentage Interest (APR) of five percent. The coin also boasts fast processing time with relatively low fees. Though the coin has exhibited steady growth in its three years of existence, there has been a substantial spike in its price this week due to its sponsorship of retired Basketball star and Hall-of-Famer Dennis Rodman’s trip to North Korea.

According to PotCoin spokesperson Shawn Perez, the main reason for the sponsorship of Rodman’s trip was to support “Dennis Rodman's mission to bring peace to the world." Though the visit does not seem to have any visible ties to the cannabis industry, PotCoin has benefitted from the media attention that has surrounded Rodman’s journey to North Korea. According to Coin Market Cap, the coin has shown over 70 percent growth, from just below $0.10 to $0.17 since the sponsorship was announced.

POSaBIT

Washington-based bitcoin startup POSaBIT has created a financial platform that allows customers at weed retailers to make purchases using their regular credit cards. The platform uses bitcoin as an intermediate payment system. Jon Baugher, co-founder of POSaBIT explained: “There’s no industry – whether it’s the production and sale of cannabis or the production and sale of a cup of coffee – that can operate safely, transparently or effectively without access to banks or other financial institutions and traditional services. That’s where we thought we could leverage the use of digital currency.” The technology facilitates customers’ quick and easy access to bitcoin at the point of sale who can then use the digital currency anywhere that it is accepted. The platform is already in use by 30 dispensaries in the state of Washington.

The platform is attractive to cash-only merchants who want to accept another form of payment, retailers that want to be seen as more technologically savvy so as to differentiate themselves from the competition, and for small businesses that want to maximize profits by capitalizing on digital currencies’ low transaction fees. The technology is compliant with Know Your Customer (KYC), Anti-Money Laundering (AML), and Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) regulations while complying with laws regulating the cannabis trade. Since the platform reduces the reliance on cash as a medium of exchange, it is making dispensaries safer working environments for employees as there is less of an incentive for theft.

SinglePoint and First Bitcoin Capital

Holding company SinglePoint and blockchain technology provider First Bitcoin Capital announced a partnership on June 6. The joint venture agreement aims to create an efficient and workable payments solution for cannabis retailers using blockchain technology. Greg Lambrecht, SinglePoint CEO, explained: "In January 2014 SinglePoint announced and started working on a bitcoin payment solution, shortly after we recognized the issue of minimal user adoption of digital currency. The payments industry has rapidly changed since that time. There is now tremendous momentum and demand for bitcoin acceptance as an alternative form of payment.

This Joint Venture with First Bitcoin Capital is perfect timing. Bitcoin payments are catching on, and cannabis dispensaries need a solution fast." SinglePoint has previously worked with leading companies such as AT&T, T-Mobile, Sprint and Verizon on technology integration systems that have allowed for a more robust use of communication technology as a payment solution. The company now hopes to use this experience to create a workable solution for weed retailers.

Greg Rubin of First Bitcoin Capital stated: "We are optimistic that our partnership with SinglePoint will produce positive cash flow to our bottom line. Between the two of our companies, we will have the ability to develop a best in class solution, and SinglePoint will be able to help in distribution. We look forward to providing cutting-edge products and services to all states through the establishment of this new venture." “As with the massive and widespread adoption of Bitcoin worldwide, the two companies will pursue opportunities to leverage their payment technology background and develop a proprietary solution specifically for high-risk payment verticals including the cannabis industry.” the press release adds.

The two companies believe they have found a way for a smooth customer experience at the point of sale at weed dispensaries. Using SinglePoints’ technology integration experience and First Bitcoin Capital’s tech background, the company will create an “all-encompassing payment solution” for the retail cannabis industry. The platform will be easy to integrate into the existing point of sale machinery through a simple download. With the retail cannabis industry set to grow quickly in the coming years and the continuing lack of regulatory support at the federal level, it seems like the industry will have to rely on blockchain technology and digital currencies to facilitate easy trade and to securely store its profits.

Chuck Reynolds


Marketing Dept
Contributor

Please click either Link to Learn more about -Bitcoin.

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Blockchain is the best bet for secure, efficient electronic health records

Blockchain is the best bet
for secure, efficient electronic health records

Why it matters to you

When secure electronic health records are universal, your personal medical information will be protected from medical identity theft.Which makes you cringe more, the threat of ransomware or the current mess of health records? Blockchain, the same technology that enables hackers to collect ransoms with anonymity, is increasingly seen as the best platform to advance universal electronic health records (EHRs), according to Wired.

Blockchain, or distributed ledger technology, is widely associated with cryptocurrency such as bitcoin. The blockchain is also used on the “dark web” for the anonymous sale of weapons, drugs, and other illegal exchanges. The same attributes of blockchain technology that make it appealing for criminal use, however, can also help solve the complex data record-keeping needs of systems used for legitimate purposes like EHRs.

The lack of coordinated and complete electronic health records affects patients, healthcare professionals, and the administrative systems and services that support people on both ends of the stethoscope. From the patient’s perspective, when you have to go over your entire medical history every time you see a new medical provider it’s a pain. The greater issue is bad information. If an incorrect allergy or blood type information is entered into your record, the consequences could be dire when you next go for treatment or a procedure.

On the provider and support service side, the amount of time spent creating and working with health records is astronomical and growing. A Mayo Clinic study found the No. 1 reason for physician burnout, which increased from 45 percent in 2011 to 54 percent in 2014, was paperwork. According to John Halamka, Chief Intelligence Officer at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston, “Now is probably the right time in our history to take a fresh approach to data sharing in healthcare. “The EHRs may be very different and come from lots of different places,” Halamka says, “but the ledger itself is standardized.”

With a blockchain EHR system, anyone with an access key could see the same patient ledger, which would be the ‘chain’ of all transactions or entries for that person, each entry encrypted and time-stamped. The actual data for each transaction would be stored in widely distributed locations. The data isn’t actually sent around, which helps with confidentiality, but it all points to the same ledger or specific patient record.

Before ledger entries are approved for inclusion in the chain, algorithms make sure they match all other data. If, for example, a new entry says your blood type is A-positive but it’s actually O-negative in the other ‘blocks’ of data, the entry would not be accepted and the person or system at the point of entry would be alerted to the mismatch. Your medical identity would be protected and you wouldn’t have to remember every little piece of data about your medical history every time you see a new doctor. The full adoption of EHRs isn’t here yet and will have hurdles to jump before finally implemented, but it appears that whatever the final system looks like, it will use blockchain technology.

Chuck Reynolds
Contributor

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Why the Netflix Model is the Future for Enterprise Blockchain

Why the Netflix Model
is the Future for Enterprise Blockchain

What's a blockchain?

Why not use a distributed database? What's a smart contract? What the hell is chaincode? Among blockchain industry participants, you'll get different answers and different views to all of these questions (and many more). Almost weekly, we read new blockchain white papers proposing new unique functionalities to solve a problem in a slightly better or different way. Of course, this amount of experimentation and research can only be good for the long-term growth and maturity of our industry, but it’s also made it extremely complicated for potential buyers to make determinations about what fits their needs best.

Although the term "blockchain" has generally been used as the umbrella name for a very broad collection of new technologies, it seems to me that our industry has not yet gone through the necessary objective scrutiny to separate the good, from the bad (and the ugly). Right or wrong, there seem to be some common themes among enterprise companies that became apparent over the course of 2016.

This is not a comprehensive list, but a few worth highlighting:

  1. Companies are looking to build using permissioned blockchain networks (whether as an interim solution or a long-term outcome)
  2. In many contexts, it will be important to maintain transaction privacy
  3. Current transaction performance on the public bitcoin and ethereum networks is insufficient
  4. Smart contracts provide an elegant framework to automate shared business processes.

Ethereum examined

In considering these challenges and how to solve them, a large number of companies have migrated their efforts to ethereum.It's by no means a perfect solution, but arguably because of its flexibility and because of the organic community of developers surrounding it, it remains unparalleled in the industry.

Rather than look at ethereum as one network, however, many consider it as a template to model, improve, customize and implement in difference contexts. Ethereum technology, therefore, has found its way into multiple networks serving multiple purposes, although imperfectly. To better achieve this outcome, I would argue that ethereum needs some rearchitecting to allow for multiple network implementations. In its current form, it was designed (and continues to be improved upon) as a protocol to power a single global network.

Incompatibility

Having come to the same realization, a number of companies have created versions of ethereum that fit their needs – in many cases with band-aid fixes that can only be described as temporary and imperfect. Among those companies, there are both startups and large organizations, most of which are primarily interested in one vertical problem set that impacts their industry and their business.

This has led to unnecessary fragmentation and incompatible modifications being made to the ethereum protocol in all these various versions. Contrary to the initial vision of ethereum (of being a general purpose protocol), many of these implementations are being built as single-purpose solutions to power specific industry applications.

As companies get closer to production, this problem is becoming more evident to those involved. Drawing parallels from the web services ('cloud') industry, I’m convinced that we’ll see a new trend this year. Rather than end users building their own customized infrastructure, and essentially managing their "full stack", a small number of providers will focus on offering modular infrastructure that can be leveraged with little effort by the companies solving challenges at the application layer.

Action ahead

This reorganization of the industry (infrastructure vs app) will allow for specialization and better long-term improvements to the underlying software while maintaining standards of compatibility. In the same way that Netflix is built using Amazon Web Services, mature companies emerging in this space will partner with infrastructure providers to scale their businesses more efficiently.

Ideally, as we work towards this model, the resulting infrastructure frameworks will allow for deployments that are fully compatible with 'public ethereum', while also enabling deployments that include custom functionalities required by the user.One of the great benefits I foresee from this model is that new proposed ideas, which today end up as competing protocols, could become alternative modules compatible with a standardized framework. This will make it easier for companies to adopt improvements without having to rebuild from scratch. Luckily, this isn't wishful thinking. Some of us are already on our way to making this real.

Chuck Reynolds
Contributor

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The peso has done something shocking since Trump took office

    

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The peso has done something shocking
since Trump took office

   

Wax figures of U.S. President Donald Trump (L) and Mexico's President Enrique Pena Nieto are seen at the wax museum in Mexico City, Mexico. Reuters/Henry Romero

The Mexican peso has done something shocking since President Donald Trump took on office January 20th. It's actually stronger versus the US dollar. The Mexican peso hit a one-month high of 20.6601 per dollar on Wednesday morning before trimming some of its gains. The currency trades up 0.4% at 20.7520 per dollar as of 8:22 a.m ET.

Mexico's currency has had a wild start to 2017. 

It fell about 6% over the first three weeks of the year as traders priced in what a Trump presidency could mean for the currency as he railed against Mexico throughout his campaign. But then the fireworks began as Trump took office and the peso's fortunes began to turn around:

  • Last Thursday Trump tweeted, "The U.S. has a 60 billion dollar trade deficit with Mexico. It has been a one-sided deal from the beginning of NAFTA with massive numbers of jobs and companies lost. If Mexico is unwilling to pay for the badly needed wall, then it would be better to cancel the upcoming meeting."
  • Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto pushed back, stating that Mexico would not pay for the border wall that Trump has promised to build and responded with his own tweet, "This morning we have informed the White House that I will not attend the meeting scheduled for next Tuesday with the @POTUS."
  • The Trump team responded by suggesting a 20% border tax could be placed on all US imports coming from Mexico, and later said that tax could be placed on all imports. 
  • On Friday, Trump continued his assault on the US' neighbor to the south, tweeting, "Mexico has taken advantage of the U.S. for long enough. Massive trade deficits & little help on the very weak border must change, NOW!" 
  • But cooler heads prevailed and Peña Nieto and Trump held an hour-long phone call to try and work out their differences. While the outcome of the call was not made public, it's a sign that the two sides are trying to work things out. 

Interestingly, the peso has actually strengthened by about 6% since Trump was inaugurated on January 20th, and has wiped away all of its losses for the year. However, the currency is still down about 13% since Trump won the election. 

Chuck Reynolds
Contributor

 

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Bitcoin’s Price is Flirting With $1,000

Bitcoin's Price is Flirting With $1,000

The price of bitcoin is inching closer to $1,000 once again.

Prices hit a high of $994.79 during morning trading, according to the CoinDesk Bitcoin Price Index (BPI), after opening at an average of $977.52. Prices haven’t exceeded $1,000 since 6th January, having crossed that benchmark on the first day of 2017.

The price of bitcoin is currently at an average of $993.04.

CNY-denominated markets are up more than 9%, reaching a high of ¥6,890.56. Those markets are averaging ¥6,865.50, BPI data shows, representing an increase of roughly 9.3%. Prices have been rising since earlier this week, a move that came amidst a shift in the exchange ecosystem amongst toward markets that don’t charge trading fees. Observers are split, however, on the long-term trajectory of these trends.

Bitcoin is back above $1,000

Bitcoin is is back above $1,000 for the first time since January 5. The cryptocurrency was higher by 1.5% at $1,000.10 a coin as of 11:39 a.m. ET.

It's been a wild year for bitcoin. It began 2017 with a 20% rally during the first five days of the year before crashing 35% on concerns of a crackdown on trading in China.

Thursday's gains have extended bitcoin's winning streak to a sixth straight session as trade appears to be benefitting from uncertainty surrounding Donald Trump's presidency. The cryptocurrency has gained nearly 10% since Trump was inaugurated on January 20.

Chuck Reynolds
Contributor

 

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‘People prefer cash’ and that’s good news for bitcoin

‘People prefer cash’
and that’s good news for bitcoin

bitcoins

“Sorry, Bitcoin: Cash Is Still King Around the World.”

So says an article that Time published in its money section last month. The article is based on research published by the International Journal of Central Banking (IJCB), which showed consumers around the world still prefer cash to electronic payment methods. According to the IJCB report:

“Cash is still used extensively — particularly for low-value transactions. In some European countries such as Austria and Germany, cash even dominates consumer payment choices for all transaction values.”

 

While the IJCB report doesn’t mention bitcoin, the author of the Time article interpreted the data as bad news for bitcoin. However, a careful read of the report discloses the opposite: The fact that people prefer cash to electronic payment methods is actually good news for bitcoin.

High demand

Bitcoin is a young form of payment. It isn’t realistic to expect it to beat cash in less than only a decade. Bitcoin adoption is doing very well, though; especially when we take into account that it isn’t a company and thus doesn’t have a marketing department, let alone an aggressive one like major credit card companies can afford.

Adoption is actually overtaking the network’s technical capacity, leading to the bitcoin scaling debate. The community is experiencing pressure to scale the network due to an overflow of transactions, which means the number of people using bitcoin is growing. Bitcoin or something similar is actually a perfect currency for the future, according to the IJCB report. We can arrive at this conclusion through a keen reading of the reasons the report gives for consumers choosing cash over electronic payment methods.

Privacy and security

One reason the report gives for a consumer preference for cash is a desire for anonymity and security. It states:

Anonymity and security concerns are sometimes cited as influencing people’s payment behavior. However, the level of anonymity and security people require when making payments is difficult to measure empirically.”

Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies afford users the ability to spend money online without disclosing their identity. Indeed, bitcoin brings the properties of cash into the online setting. Electronic payments demand you identify yourself before sending or receiving money. That is not the case with either cash or bitcoin.

Refuge from financial crisis

The report also says consumers prefer cash over electronic payment methods because they don’t trust financial institutions, especially when they are the cause of economic crisis: “A more relevant explanation for cash preference arises if a country has a history of banking crisis, which often coincides with high inflation and may affect trust in banks.

Bitcoin offers its users an opportunity to hold and spend their money apart from financial and banking institutions. While the report states this is a problem of the developing world, the US housing crisis of 2008 and the Greek government debt crisis of 2014 say otherwise. With each new banking crisis, consumers become more wary of commercial bank payment methods.

Already there are signs that consumers consider bitcoin an option when there is a financial crisis. During the Greek financial crisis, the price of bitcoin shot up when there was a huge demand for it by consumers who wanted to safeguard their financial value.

Cash online

The report also showed that in all the countries surveyed, older generations use cash the most. It states that preference for cash grows with age. From the report:

Regarding age, we find that persons older than thirty-six use significantly more cash than persons younger than thirty-five. Also, the results provide support for a certain habit persistence in some countries, where cash use increases homogeneously with age: people aged sixty and older are more likely to use cash than people between the ages of thirty-six and fifty-nine.”

As time progresses, an electronic payment method that mimics cash will become more attractive. With increasing Internet access and more people and businesses going online, an electronic payment method that mimics cash may be the only option for those who prefer the properties of cash. And this is where bitcoin comes in.

Rupert Hackett is general manager of Bitcoin.com.au and BuyaBitcoin.com.au. He specializes in the digital currency and digital payment space, writes for multiple bitcoin and tech websites, and is an acting Board Director for the Australian Digital Currency Commerce Association (ADCCA).

Bitcoin is busting out

Attendants pose with a bitcoin sign during the opening of Hong Kong's first bitcoin retail store. Reuters/Bobby Yip

Bitcoin is busting out of its range that had been in place for the middle part of January. The cryptocurrency spent the past two weeks trapped at the $880 to $920 resistance level but has finally broken through. 

Bitcoin rallied 3.7% on Tuesday as the Trump team exchanged barbs with German Chancellor Angela Merkel over the weakness of the euro, closing the day near $955 a coin. Tuesday's gains have carried over into Wednesday's session with the cryptocurrency up close to 1% near $972. 

Bitcoin has had a wild start to 2017 after rallying more than 120% in 2016 to become the top performing currency for a second straight year. It rallied more than 20% in the opening says of the year, crossing the $1,000 level for the first time since November 2013 before tumbling more than 35% amid worries that China was going to crack down on trading. Recently, the cryptocurrency has shrugged off the news that China's three largest bitcoin exchanges will begin charging a flat fee of 0.2% for each transaction. 

Chuck Reynolds
Contributor

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Russia Considers Allowing Use of Cryptocurrency in the Unbanked Region of Crimea

Russia Considers Allowing Use of Cryptocurrency
in the Unbanked Region of Crimea

 

Russian Internet ombudsman Dmitry Marinichev suggested allowing the use of cryptocurrencies to residents of Crimea. In his opinion, legal entities and individuals registered in Crimea should be allowed to use cryptocurrency wallets and make transactions with digital currencies. Elaborating on his proposal, Marinichev suggested the opening of cryptocurrency exchanges, as he believes it will help attracting new investments to the region. He referred to the example of Hong Kong that has managed to create one of the biggest Bitcoin exchanges.

An important precondition for this initiative is the creation of a free economic zone within the peninsula.

Marinichev said at last week’s Conference on Regulation of Cryptocurrencies in Russia:

“Today Crimea is an exclusive economic zone, which makes it possible to start with the opening of cryptocurrency exchanges operating there absolutely legally. As a result, we will see the actual legalization of cryptocurrencies.”

Russia’s changing attitudes towards cryptocurrency

Elina Sidorenko, the Head of the Working Group for the Assessment of Risks of the Use of Cryptocurrencies at the State Duma of the Russian Federation, explained that recent legislation has addressed some of the most pressing issues in banking in Crimea. Bringing to the table cryptocurrency-based payment instruments and using it for international transactions was discussed among other initiatives to improve the banking climate on the peninsula. Eventually, however, this idea had died.

At the moment the status of digital currencies is not defined in Russian legislation, although in the last few years we have seen several attempts to put cryptocurrency into a legally defined framework. In December 2016, Alexey Moiseev, Deputy Finance Minister of the Russian Federation, announced that the Ministry of Finance is expecting to pass a law introducing a ban on exchange operations with Bitcoins and national currency not earlier than in Autumn 2017.

Meanwhile, some of the most influential banking industry players believe that Blockchain technology laying in the core of digital currencies is extremely valuable for the reshaping of a global financial system. For instance, experts in Sberbank, which has been actively testing technology during the last year, believe that by 2018 we will see a wider scope of application of Blockchain in the financial industry.

Banking the Unbanked with Bitcoin

It is often suggested that cryptocurrencies have significant potential to connect areas and people who have been neglected by traditional forms of banking to the global financial ecosystem. There is a number of huge developing markets, which still remain relatively untouched by modern banking services, however, they demonstrate the rapidly growing Internet infrastructures.

Alex Fork, CEO at Humaniq, the new-generation platform that makes basic financial instruments accessible to unbanked communities, shared his opinion:

“Unbanked regions usually consist of a financially poor population. The most important thing is to provide them with a new technology available absolutely free of charge. It is essential to deliver the service to the customer in such a way that they don't experience any difficulties.”

Everyone wins with Bitcoin

At the same time, we see that governments are extremely careful when it comes to regulating cryptocurrencies. Perhaps piloting projects in unbanked regions can create an extraordinary win-win situation. Individuals and companies who have been failed by traditional banking will be empowered with a new financial instrument, while regulators will get a perfect opportunity to experiment and innovate and finally make up their minds about how to treat this bizarre creation called Bitcoin.

What else can create a greater chance for the adoption of cryptocurrencies?

Alex Fork concludes:

“Of course, apprehension of governments regarding cryptocurrency is not only the innovation’s fear. The idea of testing the project within a small region of Russia is good. At least there will be an opportunity to practice and to gain some experience.”

Chuck Reynolds
Contributor

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SEO – Optimized Anchor

SEO –
Optimized Anchor

             

Use descriptive anchor text for all your text links. Most search engines consider anchor text of incoming links when ranking pages. Here is an example of anchor:

<a href="otherpage.htm" title="Anchor Title">Anchor Text</a>

Listed below are some of the important points to note about anchors:

  • The Anchor Title plays a very important role and is seen by most of the search engines. The anchor title should have appropriate keywords. Anchor title helps the site visitors using a balloon and displaying written text.

  • The Anchor Text is another important part, which should be selected very carefully because this text is used not only for search engines but also for navigation purpose. You should try to use the best keywords in your anchor text.

  • The otherpage.htm is the link to another web page. This link could be to an external site. Here, you need to ensure that the linked page does exist; otherwise, it is called a broken link, which gives a bad impression to search engines as well as to site visitors.

Another example of an anchor could be as follows:

<a href="otherpage.htm" title="Anchor Title">
   <img src="image.gif" alt="keywords" />
</a>

In this case, Anchor Text has been replaced by an image. So, while using an image in place of an anchor text, it should be checked that you have put alt tag properly. An image alt tag should have appropriate keywords.

Content is the King

Content basically includes what you see on the site: the text, graphics, and even links to other websites. You should not use excessive graphics because they are not Search Engine Friendly plus heavy graphics normally put the users out when they get downloaded, especially over a slow network. Thousands of articles, books, and forum entries are available on how to make your website search engine friendly, but ultimately, one rule stands above the rest: Unique, high-quality, unduplicated content is the king.

Superior the quality of your content, the higher the ranking you achieve, larger the traffic you gain and greater the popularity of your website. Search engines prefer good quality sites in their index and search results. Relevant, fresh, and timely content is crucial in attracting visitors to your website. It helps you both draw traffic from search engines and create audience loyalty.

Unique, High-Quality Content

When people visit a website for information, they want your unique spin on a topic. How is your material or content unique? Is that uniqueness obvious, and easy to find and to understand? Visitors want unique, high-quality site content. It is not only your home page content but also all the linked pages should have useful and easy-to-understand content.

Now-a-days, search engines have become very smart and they are able to understand complete grammar and complete phrase. Hence while ranking a page against other, the content available on a page matters. Sites that are duplicated, syndicated, or free content, are get given red flags by the search engines.

SEO Content Writing (Copy Writing)

SEO Content Writing (also referred as SEO Copy writing), involves the process of integrating keywords and informative phrases which make up the actual content of your website.

While writing your web page content, the following tips may help you in keeping it better than others.

  • The content should be directed in the specified target audience.

  • Keyword density is strictly adhered as per search engine guidelines.

  • Titles should always be eye-catching, compelling your visitors to read on and want to know what you offer in your website.

  • Do not use confusing, ambiguous, and complex language. Use small statements to make your content more understandable.

  • Keep your web pages short.

  • Organize and distribute the content on the web pages.

  • Divide your web page content also into short paragraphs.

Other Advantages of Having Great Content

It is not only SEO you need to think about. Many factors contribute to make your site popular.

  • If your site is having something really unique, then people like to suggest it to their friends.

  • Other webmasters like to create a link in your site on their sites.

  • Your site visitors start trusting on your site and they look forward to the next content update and keep coming again and again.

  • Although you are listed out by a search engine, a but net surfer will click only that page whose content snippet looks unique and interesting.

Conclusion

Creating, editing, and promoting unique high-quality content is difficult and time-consuming. But in the end, the golden rule of SEO is that Content is the King. It is not because of a search engine, but it is for your site visitors. A page that is read by people is better than a page that is read by bots.

So, write your content after a serious thought. Keep your title, keywords, link text, meta tags up-to-date, unique, and interesting.

Chuck Reynolds
Contributor

Markethive

SEO What do know about Title Optimization

SEO
What do know about "Title Optimization"

                            

An HTML TITLE tag is put inside the head tag. The page title (not to be confused with the heading for a page) is what is displayed in the title bar of your browser window, and is also what is displayed when you bookmark a page or add it to your browser Favorites. This is the one place on a web page where your keywords MUST be present. Correct use of keywords in the title of every page of your website is extremely important to Google, particularly for the homepage. If you do nothing else to optimize your site, remember to do this!

Here are some considerations while designing the title of a web page:

  • The title shouldn't consist of more than about 9 words or 60 characters.

  • Use keywords at the very beginning of the title.

  • Do not include your company name in the title unless your company name is very well known.

Improper or nonexistent use of titles in web pages keeps more websites out of top rankings on Google than any other factor except perhaps for a lack of relevant content on a page or a lack of quality links from other websites that point to your site.

Best Practices for Creating Titles

Here are some best practices you should follow for creating titles on pages:

  • Each page should have a unique title.

  • If practical, try to include your Primary Keyword Phrase in every title of every page.

  • Begin the title of your home page with your Primary Keyword Phrase, followed by your best Secondary Keyword Phrases.

  • Use more specific variations to your Primary Keyword Phrase on your specific product, service, or content pages.

  • If you must include your company name, put it at the end of the title.

  • Use the best form, plural or singular, for your keywords based on what WordTracker says is searched on more often.

  • Do not overdo it – do not repeat your keywords more than 2 to 3 times in the title.

  • Make sure the <title> tag is the first element in the <head> section of your page – this makes it easier for Google to find the page.

Chuck Reynolds
Contributor

Markethive