Only 3% of Americans Bought Something With Bitcoin Last Month, A 5-Year Bet Reveals

A recent podcast by Planet Money, reflected on a bet made 5 years ago between Bitcoin bull and venture capitalist Ben Horowitz whose firm has made investments worth over USD 50 million into crypto and financial journalist Felix Salmon, paints a peculiar angle on Bitcoin adoption.

The bet which hinged on the adoption state of Bitcoin in 5 years as currency, had Horowitz predicting that it would have revolutionized the face of e-commerce such that 10% of people living in the US would use the currency for frequent online purchases. This happened back in 2014 when Bitcoin’s price wavered around USD 360 to USD 760.

Meanwhile, Salmon was confident about his bet, stating how Bitcoin’s value will indeed increase but not because of its use but rather based on a speculative rise in value. He cited how those who bought Alpaca socks using Bitcoin would regret, noting the price increase, and would have preferred sitting on it rather than spend it.

A sample pool survey was recently conducted to know who had won the bet – gauging how many Americans currently use Bitcoin for everyday online purchases. The bet was concluded recently, having to declare Salmon the winner, as only 3% of 900 Americans had actually bought something with Bitcoin in the past month.

Real Adoption

The mainstream real adoption of Bitcoin can be approached from three angles: One, where people who actually buy the coin become long term holders (store of value), hoping the price will reach astronomical highs and cash in on the ‘patience-profit.’ The second, where cryptocurrency adoption has been heavily facilitated by payment infrastructures such as merchant adoption, and the increased installation of Bitcoin ATM kiosks. The third has to do with the introduction of sophisticated markets such as futures contracts and exchange-traded funds (ETFs) for institutional investors.

Regardless of the adoption route, most of the early sentiments were founded upon hysterical predictions based on the assumptions that Bitcoin and its underlying technology had come to replace legacy financial systems and hence prices would go as high as USD 50,000. However, these sentiments have been counterbalanced by a rather economically bearish one that renders the initial logic as heavily flawed.

The outcome is a juxtapose of a computer science-based backing of the blockchain, Bitcoin, and cryptography, as against economic assessment of currency functions and financial asset manipulation. More so, many now rely on the economic aspects for further adoption at this point. This is the case with the constant lookout for institutional grade investment opportunities like those of the Bakkt; in the hopes of repeating what CME Group and CBOE’s Bitcoin futures contract did in late 2017.

It is clear though, that back in the early days of the industry’s development, very important structures such as scalability, and regulations were of little concern, and may have consequently cost the industry years ahead of a full-blown mainstream adoption of Bitcoin.

Over time, many influencers have taken turns on the prediction wheel; John McAfee had his predictions set to USD 1 million per Bitcoin; Thomas Lee thought at best case scenario, it would reach USD 25,000 in the past year but later on blamed regulatory uncertainty for falling short. So far, none of the near-term predictions have materialized. If anything, Bitcoin as a currency has struggled to maintain upward price projections, and as a store of value, it’s really still too soon to tell – 10 years into its development.

One thing is certain, treating Bitcoin like some gambling chip is a lot riskier than the real deal. While the tech does hold promise and has ushered in prospects of a great financial revolution, the subject of adoption will apparently continue to be an important one many years from now moving forward.

On the tech side, industry adoption has been growing consistently with legacy systems fine-tuning system processes using the distributed ledger.


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Author: Manuel
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Crypto Giant Coinbase Made Strides In Q4 2018, Even As Bitcoin (BTC) Plunged 40%

Although Coinbase has recently become a controversial company, especially as it began to add crypto assets left and right, the company has long had an unrelenting drive for innovation. Since setting up shop in 2012, the San Francisco-headquartered startup, headed by a former Airbnb employee with visions of grandeur, has quickly set the industry standard in a number of subsectors.

The firm may have started as a consumer-centric exchange, which sported a simple (near-)one-click interface, but Coinbase has evolved far beyond its original premise now. And interestingly, even as digital assets like Bitcoin (BTC), Ethereum (ETH), and Litecoin (LTC) — Coinbase’s lifeblood — continue to lose value, the firm has only doubled-down on its expansion and development efforts.

Coinbase Outperformed The Bitcoin Sell-Off

Recent Giving Pledge signee Brian Armstrong, the fervent, sometimes controversial chief of Coinbase, recently issued a note to his underlings — a swelling group of talent — accentuating the fact that the company has not only survived but thrived in the recent bearish downturn.

The American firm, which now has offices around the globe, started Q4 of 2018 with a bang, securing $300 million in funding from Tiger Global, Y Combinator, A16Z, Polychain Cap, and a number of other crypto-friendly venture groups. This round valued Coinbase at a jaw-dropping $8 billion, making the firm arguably the most valuable company in the entirety of Bitcoin ecosystem.

And since that $300 million cash boost, which was explained to be allocated towards global expansion efforts, institutional services, and applications for crypto, Coinbase has arguably been on the up-and-up. As explained in Armstrong’s letter, released to the public in an evident attempt at transparency, Coinbase launched a number of pertinent products, including support for Circle-backed USD Coin, a revamped version of Earn, PayPal withdrawals, and crypto-to-crypto trading, to only name a few products.

The firm also added a dozen crypto assets to its platform, an evident sign of changing times, with notable additions including ZCash (ZEC), Basic Attention Token (BAT), Maker (MKR), and 0x (ZRX). In a podcast, vice-president Dan Romero explained that firm’s clientele has begun to clamor for crypto asset support, presumably catalyzing the recent listings.

Along with adding the aforementioned tokens and products, Coinbase forayed into six new regions, opening the ground-breaking potential of crypto to millions more. The Coinbase chief also explained that his firm made a number of investments, into organizations such as Alchemy, Securitize, Starkware, Nomics, and Abacus.

Closing the retrospective post, Armstrong made his excitement and gratitude more than apparent when he wrote:

“I continue to be so impressed by the ability of this team to execute on aggressive timelines, all while solving problems that have never been solved before. This was a year of scaling Coinbase up to meet the demand of the market and efficiently executing to serve our customers.”

Great Year Ahead For The Crypto Juggernaut

Interestingly, the firm already seems to have prospects for a great 2019. As reported by NewsBTC earlier today, an apparent survey from Coinbase has polled users on the appeal of a subscription model, which would reduce “maker” and “taker” fees for Pro traders, while offering perks for premium members. If implemented, this program would be the first of its kind in the cryptosphere, and would likely propel the company’s trading platforms to new heights.

Asiff Hirji, president of the fledgling company, recently hinted that 2019 will be a great year for institutional participation in cryptocurrencies. In an interview with CNBC, Hirji explained that Coinbase’s custodial service “has blown by internal goals,” as “hundred of institutions” have boarded onto the platform in recent memory. Seeing that Coinbase has been playing a role in that facet of this industry, it can be assumed that this influx of Wall Street hotshots will trickle down to the company’s growing roster of institutional products.

Zeeshan Feroz, the chief at Coinbase’s U.K. branch, also expressed a similar positive outlook, but from a broader perspective. He said:

“I think you can expect a more aggressive approach to us adding more countries in the coming months. Much of what we’re doing here is driven by customer needs and what we’re seeing in the market… I think if you look at last year, a lot of the focus was on people who bought crypto from an investment point of view and a lot of projects raised a ludicrous amount of money as a result of that.”


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Author: Nick Chong
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Crypto Startup Puts Tesla, Apple, Facebook Shares On Ethereum Blockchain

According to a report from Bloomberg, DX.Exchange, an up-and-coming crypto startup headquartered in Estonia and Israel, will be putting a number of popular American equities onto a blockchain next week. As the firm’s name implies, DX.Exchange is an online trading platform that will allow investors to trade and transact shares of Apple, Facebook, Tesla, along with seven other household names listed on Nasdaq, even when markets are shuttered for the day.

If its inaugural trading sessions perform well, the startup intends to expand its crypto offerings to encompass shares listed on the New York Stock Exchange, coupled with those situated on Tokyo’s Nikkei and Hong Kong’s Hang Seng.

Each digital security token will be collateralized by one common share, and interestingly, stockholders will be purportedly be “entitled to the same cash dividends,” arguably making this offering just as good as buying stocks through TD Ameritrade, E*Trade, and the like. MPS MarketPlace Securities, a partner of DX, will be taking custody of the shares, allowing Ethereum tokens to be created that represent the securities.

But what are the benefits of the platform?

Well, as explained by Bloomberg, digital securities will allow traders to transact their holdings when markets are closed. This simple feature could catalyze the creation of secondary markets, drawing die-hard traders, even those without crypto knowledge and experience, to blockchain-based platforms, subsequently catapulting adoption.  Ethereum-based shares could also interact with other facets of the blockchain’s ecosystem.

These crypto tokens can also be divvied up, while trading fees can be minimized, lowering the bar for entry. The aforementioned factors, coupled with the fact that foreign investors will be able to gain access to U.S. shares, is undoubtedly a move towards financial inclusion — crypto’s underlying raison d’etre. 

And interestingly, this is all legal too. Speaking to the aforementioned outlet in a recent interview, DX chief Daniel Skowronski explained that his platform is licensed by the Estonian Financial Intelligence Unit, which has the backing of the European Union. So, DX has the legal capacity to make such an offering. Skowronski also expressed his excitement for his firm’s innovative platform, noting:

We saw a huge market opportunity in tokenizing existing securities… We believe that this is the beginning of the traditional market’s merge with blockchain technology. This is going to open a whole new world of trading securities old and new alike.

The Tokenization Of Everything

While DX.Exchange’s foray into blockchain-based securities is a step in the right direction and is something to be commended, the tokens aren’t fully decentralized, as there are still centralized counterparties. This lack of fully-fledged decentralization may introduce risk over time. But, a number of pundits believe that eventually, shares and other pertinent assets will become fully decentralized.

Anthony Pompliano, the founder of Morgan Creek Digital Assets and an anti-establishment figure, recently told BlockTV that he expects for all securities, whether it be stocks, bonds, real estate certificates, or otherwise, to be tokenized. The decentralist, well-known for his anti-bank, pro-Bitcoin rhetoric, claimed that this won’t be an easy task, however, quipping that this journey will take more than five years.

Jeremy Allaire, the CEO of Boston-based, Goldman-backed Circle, also echoed this sentiment in a recent CNBC interview. Speaking to the outlet, Allaire, who manages the aforementioned crypto startup, exclaimed that the “tokenization of everything” will eventually occur.

Allaire, who doesn’t seem to embody the hallmarks of a Bitcoin maximalist, noted he envisions a future filled with millions of crypto assets, whether they take the form of security, commodity, or utility tokens. In short, the long-time crypto advocate noted that he doesn’t believe cryptocurrencies are a “winner takes all” scenario, instead, he made it clear that a multitude of projects can live in relative harmony, due to this innovation’s ground-breaking potential.


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Author: Nick Chong
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The Flip Side to Cryptocurrency

Cryptocurrency is a term you’ve probably heard about, but what does it mean?

Financial experts describe cryptocurrency as a digital form of money not issued by the federal government.

People who use cryptocurrencies are able to securely transfer funds at a fraction of the cost most banks charge for wire transfers and processing fees.

Depending the type of account you have, some financial institutions offer domestic and international wire transfers at no charge.

The average cost of domestic and international wire transfers range between $10 to $30.

Cryptocurrency users will pay anywhere from $0.11 to $4.

Cryptocurrency Population

As of 2017, there are about 5 million active cryptocurrency wallets, according to the Cambridge Centre for Alternative Finance.

Today, there are more than 1,000 cryptocurrencies on the market. Some of the major digital currencies are Ethereum, Ripple, Litecoin and Bitcoin, which sits high at the top of the list.

Although Bitcoin is front and center, only 5 percent of Americans have invested in the digital currency.

Some of those investors are right here in Southwest Florida. Clifford Mitchem is one of the instructors of the MeetUp group, BitCoiners of Southwest Florida.

“We have the largest MeetUp group in Southwest Florida,” said Clifford. Attendees range from recent high school graduates to Baby Boomers.

“For as little as $20 to $100 they have potential in the world of cryptocurrency,” Clifford explained.

But on the flip side, former investment banker Eric Bretan views digital currency as a risk no one should invest in. “To me its more gambling and speculative than a true investment. Most corporations and investors shouldn’t even consider owning [cryptocurrency].”

Bitcoin Highs and Lows

Bitcoin has been spinning since its creation in 2009. It is now considered one of the most popular cryptocurrency to date. People started paying more attention to Bitcoin in August 2016 when its price grew from $572 to $4,764 in one year.

Bitcoin’s highest moment was Dec. 16, 2017 where its value hit $20,000. But the celebration was short lived. Its value dipped sharply to $13,800 on Dec. 22, 2017.

Since then, Bitcoin’s value has been experiencing mini spurts of highs and lows ranging between $5,000 to $8,000.

On Sept. 8, 2018, Bitcoin opened at $6,183.38.

“You hear news that Bitcoin is never coming back,” said Clifford. But he’s confident Bitcoin, and other digital currencies, isn’t going anywhere anytime soon. “People all around the international community is already using it,” Clifford explained.

Where can you spend digital dollars?

“Currently, you can’t really buy anything with it,” Eric said. “You can’t go to your local Walmart, Winn-Dixie or Publix and buy anything with it.”

While you may not be able to use digital currency at big box retailers, Clifford said people can make purchases online. “There are over 100,000 retailers that have the option to pay with Bitcoin.”

In August 2017, Overstock.com announced it would start accepting cryptocurrencies as payment. The online retailer said it would take Bitcoin, Dash, Ethereum and Litecoin.

And since then several companies followed, including; Expedia, Microsoft, PayPal, PizzaForCoins, Shopify and the fast food restaurant franchise Subway.

Pros & Cons to Cryptocurrency

Although Eric Bretan is skeptical of investing in cryptocurrency, he suggested to “get in on the ground floor” and to “avoid the collapse of the U.S. Dollar.”

Once invested, Eric said to be aware of scammers because cryptocurrency is easy to steal. And since it is not protected by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, FDIC, you won’t be able to recoup your losses if your digital currency was ever stolen.

Another disadvantage of investing in cryptocurrency is that it doesn’t produce any interest.

Clifford said the biggest misconception of investing in Bitcoin is that you can get rich quick. “You can make money, but like with any investment, you have to have patience,” he advised. “But if it sounds too good to be true then it most likely is.”


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Author: Tamika Cody
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