Cashila Bitcoin Exchange Adds SOFORT Payments For Instant Purchases

Bitcoin exchange platforms are looking at various ways to make the process of buying and selling Bitcoin more convenient for their users. Especially when it comes to buying Bitcoin, there is a growing need for faster payment solutions, as the price can act volatile at certain times. Novice users want to top up their exchange account balances in a heartbeat, and Cashila has integrated SOFORT banking to provide exactly that service.

Also read: CoinFest 2016 to Hit Over 30 Cities Worldwide

Making Digital Currency Purchases Faster With Cashila

One thing everyone in the world will know about Bitcoin is how the price can fluctuate at certain intervals. This can be of particular annoyance when buying Bitcoin from an exchange, but having to wait for one to five business days before a bank transfer clears. Once the funds have arrived, the customer will either get more or fewer bitcoins for their buck, rather than the specific amount they wanted.

Cashila wants to address this problem by introducing SOFORT payments for European customers. The main benefit of this new payment method is how users can top up their exchange account balances in a matter of minutes, rather than waiting several days. In the end, novice users will be able to reap the benefits from doing so, which will, in turn, help boost Bitcoin adoption around the world.

Several Bitcoin exchanges in Europe offer a similar type of instant payments, and the competition in this space is heating up. Consumers have been asking for faster deposit options when buying Bitcoin, and SOFORT provides them with exactly that. Keeping in mind how this payment option is available in 13 European countries so far, Cashila is taking a large step to becoming one of the top European Bitcoin exchanges.

Cashila CEO Tim Mitja Zagar stated:

“Making transactions effortless is an essential step for the growth of the bitcoin economy. With the help of SOFORT integration one can now buy bitcoins in real time. It gives our users the ability to easily and instantly top up their account. Once they do it, they can buy bitcoin right then and there.”

One could argue that Bitcoin ATMs provide a way for consumers to buy Bitcoin instantly, without having to rely on bank accounts. At its core, that statement is certainly true, but people have to take into account how Bitcoin ATMs will charge high fees for converting fiat to Bitcoin. Most of these machines will charge between 5% and 7% per transaction, which is quite expensive.

Frictionless Bitcoin Buying Without Hidden Fees

The service offered by Cashila is straightforward and simple, as it removes any friction associated with using a Bitcoin exchange. Waiting periods are not fun for anyone, especially not when finances are involved. Cashila removes that waiting period altogether, by letting consumers buy Bitcoin instantly, as long as their bank supports the SOFORT protocol.

Signing up for the service requires an email address and password. For those novice users who are not planning to buy more than 1,000 EUR worth of Bitcoin per year, no further verification will be needed. Exceeding this threshold leads to submitting an ID scan to verify one’s identity, and the process will take anywhere between one hour and twelve hours.

Last but not last, Cashila is all about transparency, as there are no hidden fees associated with using the platform to buy Bitcoin. There is only one fee associated with this platform, which is a 1% surcharge on incoming transactions.No monthly maintenance fees will be charged at any time.

Source: Press Release Via Email

Subscribe to our newsletter

As if the Bitcoin community was not sick and tired of the ongoing block size debate just yet, it looks like the Chinese miners have come to a consensus of their own. The plan is to reject any forking of Bitcoin that does not gain 90% consensus or more while still favoring a 2 MB block size increase. During a recent meeting between mining pool operators, various security concerns associated with Segregated Witness were raised. It looks like Bitcoin Classic is winning this “race”.

Also read: Coinify And Bitcoin Vietnam Partner To Launch Payment Processing Services

Chinese Mining Pool Operators Unite

The dabbling about the Bitcoin block size debate has gone on for far too long, and the Chinese mining pool operators seem to agree with that sentiment. As more time progresses without a clear decision and plan for the future of Bitcoin, the popular digital currency is looking some of its legitimacy that took years to build up.

January 23rd was the date on which representations from nearly all Chinese Bitcoin mining pools came together and exchanged their thoughts. In the end, it comes down to two simple requirements: the block size must be increased to 2 MB, and the solution – or fork – needs to gain support equal to at least 90% of Bitcoin’s mining capacity.

Both Bitcoin Core and Bitcoin Classic have different proposals on the table to achieve the 2MB block size increase, and both options have their own merits. Getting to a consensus of 90% or more could be a struggle for either solution, though, as the mining camp seems to be divided on that front. However, it seems like the decision has already been made – albeit not officially – but more on that in a bit.

Regardless of how people want to look at the current Bitcoin block size debate, it has become clear this is more of a political issue, rather than a technical concern. The community cannot come to a consensus, as the camps are quite divided around the world. By enforcing a 90% of mining capacity consensus – or better – the Chinese mining pool operators have taken a step that will prevent the creation of a fractured Bitcoin ecosystem in the future.

As one would come to expect, reaching that 90% consensus will be a different hurdle to overcome in due time. Despite a general agreement on increasing the block size to 2MB, there are still a fair few people who feel the current 1MB blocks are more than sufficient to handle the transaction volume. Sometimes, it is better to take preventive action than fixing an issue when it arises.

Segregated Witness Security Concerns

Setting these goals was not the only objective of this Chinese mining pool operators meeting. The topic of Bitcoin Core was discussed at length, and more particularly, the Segregated Witness solution. Even though this solution would allow developers to soft fork Bitcoin -which holds less risk than hard forking – some security concerns need to be addressed.

First of all, there is the issue of how Segregated Witness would result in an effective “usable” block size of 1.6MB, rather than 2MB. The remainder of this data will be used to store the “all-in-one signature transaction”, which can amount to 0.4MB. But that is not all, as the effective block size could be reduced to 1.3MB if 50% or more of transactions use Segregated Witness over the next 12 months. Needless to say, this is not the solution people are looking for, and will only keep the block size as close to the current 1MB size as possible.

Secondly, there is a lot of risk associated with implementing Segregated Witness, although it is of a different nature than worrying about people upgrading their clients in time. At its core – no pun intended – Segregated Witness requires various changes to be made to essential Bitcoin Core components. With the developers already catching up on a massive development backlog, there is too much risk involved in delivering a rushed solution.

Despite Bitcoin being around for over seven years now, the popular digital currency has a bit of a colored past when it comes to development. Back in 2010, a massive ValueOverflow bug lead to the generation of billions of bitcoins in one block. As a result, the price went down by quite a margin, and a repeat of that scenario needs to be avoided at all costs.

For now, the Chinese mining pools seem to be rejecting the Segregated Witness proposal in its current immature form. If Bitcoin Core developers can come up with a more streamlined and refined version of this concept, things might change. If that is not the case, it appears as if all of these Chinese mining pools will support Bitcoin Classic.

Source: Bitmex Blog

Putting Bitcoin into the hands of as many as possible is the right way forward, but there are a lot of challenges ahead. In the Western world, Bitcoin users have been somewhat spoiled thanks to overwhelming support from merchants and businesses. But over in Asia, and more particularly Vietnam, the Bitcoin landscape is vastly different. A recent partnership between Coinify and Bitcoin Vietnam brings the country’s first digital currency payment processing platform to Vietnamese users.

Coinify and Bitcoin Vietnam Join Forces

Bringing digital currency payments to the masses is one thing, but finding a business willing to accept and process Bitcoin transactions, is a completely different matter. Up until this point, there was no way for any company to process Bitcoin payments through a local platform. That situation has come to change, thanks to a collaboration between Bitcoin Vietnam and Coinify.

With the country’s first Bitcoin exchange and the leader in blockchain merchant processing teaming up, good things are bound to happen sooner or later. Maturing the Bitcoin ecosystem in developing markets is of great value to the digital currency community, and there seems to be a growing demand for these services in Vietnam.

Coinify ApS CEO Mark Hojgaard stated:

“Bitcoin Vietnam has, as the first mover in Vietnam, paved the path for bitcoin adoption via the brokerage, exchange and remittance solutions they offer to Vietnamese people living within and outside the country. We are happy to join this dynamic company in strengthening the existing infrastructure and provide the Vietnamese market with professional blockchain payment processing.”

The newly formed partnership between both entities will see the rollout of blockchain payment processing solutions for merchants in the form of a multi-stage approach.  Coinify allows Vietnamese merchants to receive payments in either Bitcoin or any of the other 16 support digital currencies, which will then be converted to Vietnamese Dong. Coinify also guarantees all of the collected payments will be paid out on a regular basis, once the minimum threshold has been reached.

Not only will this allow Vietnamese merchants to offer more versatile payment options to their [potential] customers, but they will also be able to reduce fraud risks. Unlike its credit card counterpart, Bitcoin transactions can not be charged back, eliminating any payment risk for the merchant in question.

Integrating this new blockchain payment processing solution can be done through a custom API, and there will also be dedicated plugins for internet shops. Retailers who prefer to use a point of sale device will be able to accept digital currency payments as well, thanks to a custom tailored application that will suit the needs of individual brick-and-mortar businesses.

A Big Step Forward For Legitimizing Digital Currency

It goes without saying the efforts made by Coinify and Bitcoin Vietnam will help put Bitcoin on the map. There are still a lot of consumers who are wary of digital currency in general, and efforts like these will hopefully change that situation. Furthermore, Bitcoin offers a viable alternative to a legacy system that can not satisfy the needs of consumer sin Vietnam these days.

Bitcoin Vietnam CEO Nguyen Tran Bao Phuong  explained it as follows:

“The spillover effects of international cooperation and mutual exchange of knowledge will allow the domestic industry to grow and prosper along this way; paving the path for further international integration of the Vietnamese economy. We believe, that this is a great – and necessary step forward for the development of the domestic market to provide Vietnamese merchants direct access to such technological topnotch solutions which will help them to accept payments in a much safer way while opening up their services to a truly global audience.”

Bringing trust to the Bitcoin startup scene in Vietnam is a key element of gaining more momentum for digital currency startups. As more countries create their solutions to process this type of payment – both online and in-store – it seems to be only a matter of time until Bitcoin becomes a mainstream payment method.

Source: Finextra

To many people, the concept of Bitcoin as a whole is incredibly difficult to grasp. It all comes down to how one looks at Bitcoin, as there are various angles to this technological marvel. A lot of people see Bitcoin as just another form of money, which begs the question as to how they can use this innovative payment over IP tool to their benefit. Consumers can benefit from digital currency in multiple ways, and will gladly tell them how to do so.

Also read: Popular Chinese VPN Providers Can Learn From Bitcoin’s Encryption Methods

Bitcoin is A Protocol Of Value

Unlike what most people tend to believe, Bitcoin is a protocol in its own right. Not only because this system allows for financial transactions around the world without interference from banks or requiring access to financial systems, but also because it lets users send funds using an Internet connection. Online payment methods are nothing new under the sun these days, but Bitcoin is a completely different creature altogether.

Bitcoin effectively created a way for consumers to send money over IP, similar to how tools such as WhatsApp allow for text messaging over IP, and Skype allows for voice over IP. In saying that things are “over IP”, it means they can be done completely free of charge as long as there is an internet connection available to the user.

Translating the concept of money – cold hard cash, in nearly every country in the world – to something that does not exist in a tangible form, has proven to be quite a challenge. That may seem odd, considering how people in the Western world have been able to use online banking and plastic card payments for quite some time now.

To some people, digital currency is the next logical evolutionary step in the world of payments and internet connectivity. Technology allows us to achieve many great things, and with the payment sector seeing little to no innovation in several years,  it was only a matter of time until both worlds collided. Bitcoin provides a trustless decentralized network that is not controlled by banks or governments and removes the need for third-party service providers.

Despite all of the positive aspects provided by Bitcoin – such as secure financial transactions, a global currency, and an ecosystem with no entry barriers – the digital currency has still not been fully embraced. While the number of merchants accepting Bitcoin transactions keeps growing, very few consumers seem to be joining the ranks.

But What Can it Do For Me As A Consumer?

This is one of the age-old questions by novice users: What can Bitcoin do for me? First of all, the popular digital currency lets anyone in the world transfer funds cheaply and in real-time to anyone else in the world. This is especially of value for users who enjoy splitting bills with friends or send money back to family members when working abroad.

Secondly, Bitcoin provides a way for anyone in the world to store wealth on a distributed ledger, regardless of whether or not they have access to a bank account. Anyone with an Internet connection can become their own bank, by storing Bitcoin in a wallet they fully control at all times. Being able to access one’s funds at any given time is unlike anything traditional finance has to offer right now.

Moreover, this is one of the very few payment methods that is available on any device, ranging from smartphones to computers and even a Raspberry Pi. This powerful payment protocol transcends the artificial borders of traditional finance and uses the power of the Internet to do so. With the smartphone business exploding all over the world, mobile payment solutions are direly needed, and Bitcoin is in a prime position to offer millennials the services they crave.

But there is even more, as Bitcoin removes payment fraud from the equation completely. Even though mainstream media has been largely focusing on the negative sides of Bitcoin throughout the years, they are starting to run out of ammunition quickly. The possibilities are endless where the popular digital currency’s protocol is concerned while traditional finance is confined to its very tight quarters.

Source: Medium

Using the Internet in China has always been a bit of a struggle, simply because the government is very restrictive regarding which content can be accessed by residents. To counter this problem, many Chinese Internet users have signed up for VPN services to bypass the Great Firewall. But as it turns out, even those services are not free from government surveillance, as their lackluster encryption tools are relatively weak.

Also read: Bitcoin Price Technical Analysis for 25/01/2016 – Symmetrical Triangle Alert!

Chinese VPN Providers Use Weak Encryption

One of the main reasons people use VPN providers is because these services will encrypt all Internet traffic. Doing so will keep all of the information gathered during a browsing session safe from prying eyes. Furthermore, governments, such as the Chinese officials, are unable to block Internet pages from being accessed when using such a VPN service.

However, as it turns out, several Chinese VPN providers are not using proper encryption, resulting in government officials being able to access user data in the end. What makes things even worse is how the popular commercial VPN providers are using this weaker form of encryption. Needless to say, this is a great cause for concern, especially in China.

ExpressVPN and Astrill – both of whom are quite popular VPN providers in China – are using 1024-bit RSA key to encrypt all connections. While this may sound like a proper security measure to people who are not as tech-savvy, this form of encryption can be bypassed without much trouble. That is, as far as the Chinese government goes at least.

[Update April 2017: It appears that Astrill and some others usually recommended VPN are not functionning anymore in China due to continuous service disruption. The chinese governement has been cracking down on VPN in the last couple of months. Before making a choice you should read Anonymster Best VPN for China Guide in order to avoid getting a VPN which is blacklisted.]

By using less-than-optimal encryption, both VPN providers are wide open to having government officials snoop around whenever data is collected. While there is no real evidence documenting this to be the case, hardly anyone would be surprised if the Chinese government was, in fact, accessing data collected by both ExpressVPN and Astrill.

It goes without saying using weak encryption to protect customer data from snooping is irresponsible, to say the least. But there is another worry about both of these VPN services as the Chinese government could block access to both platforms if they wanted to. Even though both ExpressVPN and Astrill are offering a way for consumers to bypass the Great Firewall, there serves can still be accessed by residents without a problem. Whether or not this is a ploy to give VPN users a false sense of privacy, remains to be seen, though.

Bitcoin Employs Proper Security Measures

Explaining how VPN encryption works is quite similar to how Bitcoin works at its core. The RSA key associated with the VPN connection encryption operates similarly to a lock. But instead of using just one key, there is a hidden layer that requires a signature. It is this signature that provides the actual encryption of data.
In the Bitcoin world, this signature is called a “private key”, which ensures only the owner of the Bitcoin address can send funds. RSA keys work in the same way, but by employing very weak 1024-bit encryption, anyone with enough dedicated computational power will be able to crack the code. Bitcoin, on the other hand, uses far stronger encryption, making it impossible for anybody to snoop on people’s transactions and balances.

Other than a private key, there is also a public key. Combining both keys will grant access to the data – or Bitcoin wallet – and take complete control. By deriving the factors of that public key, hackers – or government officials – would be able to “guess” the private key. Strong encryption is needed to prevent this from happening, and 2048 bits RSA should be the minimum requirement. To put this into perspective, Bitcoin has moved away from RSA encryption, and switched to ECDSA several years ago.

In the end, various companies around the world can learn plenty from the Bitcoin ecosystem, especially where encryption is concerned. Switching from RSA to ECDSA would be a good move for these VPN providers as it would prevent government officials from accessing user logs. Bitcoin is on top of its game when it comes to security and encryption, whereas more traditional technology services and companies are not as secure as they should be.

Source: Tech In Asia

With so many countries around the world keeping a close eye on the evolution of consumer payments, drastic changes are bound to happen sooner or later. Norway is looking to get rid of cash payments altogether while the United Kingdom is being urged to embrace the blockchain and digital currency. But what would to happen if various countries around the world suddenly decided to create their own digital currency?

Also read: Death of Bitcoin Network? Not so Soon!

Issuing Digitized Fiat Currency On A Blockchain

A few days ago, BBC mentioned how a report by the UK’s chief scientific advisor urges the government to get involved in the future development of blockchain technology. Not to aid Bitcoin directly, mind you, but rather to run the country’s public services in a more convenient, transparent, and accountable manner.

It is no secret that the blockchain powering the Bitcoin network can be used for just about anything that comes to mind, even if that idea has nothing to do with finance. Data management is becoming a hot topic, as governments are collecting more information on consumers, yet fail to properly use or secure this vast wealth of information.

As the name suggests, a blockchain moves blocks of data around on a network powered by computational power. Every computer dedicating its power to the blockchain network will run a perfect copy of that information, creating a completely decentralized system. By removing the central point of failure in the data storage system, there is no chance to tamper with the information recorded.

Embracing the blockchain for various governmental purposes seems to be the right way forward. Not only would it be possible to store and manage data, but it would help with nearly every aspect of day-to-day actions that make a country tick. In fact, countries could even decide to digitize their local currency and issue the new form as tokens on a blockchain. This would allow for keeping tabs on local currency at any given time, and removing the threat of counterfeit money completely.

While it remains unclear as to whether or not any country in the world would issue fiat currency in a digitized form on any blockchain, the concept is definitely worth considering. Such a system would run completely autonomous and removes the human element almost completely. As a result, risks of fraud and corruption are reduced to near zero, which would, in turn, be very beneficial for any economy in the world today.

Norway Wants To Remove Cash Completely

One of the first countries that could be looking at digitizing cash completely is Norway. Based on a recent statement by the country’s largest bank, there is no further need for cash transactions in Norway. Furthermore, cash is a dangerous and inconvenient form of payment, making it less preferable compared to electronic options.

Statistics seem to indicate less Norwegians are using cash these days. Most of the payments take place with plastic cards or even mobile solutions, but there is still plenty of room for improvement, especially where card payments are concerned. The blockchain could result in faster clearing and settlement for transactions. Doing so would remove liquidity issues retailers might experience during busy sale periods or weekends, where incoming fund transfers can get delayed by several days in some cases.

It would make sense for any government to embrace blockchain technology and distributed ledgers in the very near future. How this solution would be implemented, and in what capacity it would be used, is a different question, though. Digitizing existing fiat currencies is just one option, as the blockchain can be adapted to virtually suit any need that comes to mind.

However, issuing independent digital currencies on a blockchain could create a whole new set of problems. Banks and governments could track all funds at any given time – including who owns it and how it is spent – which can be seen as privacy invasion. Furthermore, this would result in tons of different blockchains, which is not what the technology is about. The goal of this ecosystem is to create one platform anyone in the world can access, regardless of existing financial services or relationships with institutions.

Bitcoin has shown the world how easy it is to use one blockchain connecting everybody in the world. The popular digital currency works anywhere in the world and gives the end user complete control over their finances. It remains doubtful that private blockchains – such as the ones created by banks and governments – will offer the same privileges.

Source: IB Times

The ongoing Bitcoin block size debate is causing a fair bit of controversy and concern within and outside of the Bitcoin community. Even though everybody wants to see an overwhelming consensus support for either Bitcoin Core or Bitcoin Classic, a lot of the “voting power” lies with the Chinese mining pools. Whereas a few people misinterpreted support for Bitcoin Classic by F2Pool and HaoBTC, it turns out the final verdict still far away.

Also read: Exclusive Interview with the Emercoin Lead Developer – Oleg Khovayko

Overeager People Misinterpret F2Pool Statement

Similar to just about any Bitcoin community member, all of the mining pools powering the digital currency ecosystem would love nothing more than to see a clear path of development. The Bitcoin block size debate has been going on for several months now, and it has taken far too long to come to a proper consensus regarding this matter.

Things only become even more worrying when certain individuals paraphrase certain statements by a Chinese mining pool operator. F2Pool, which controls roughly 25% of the entire Bitcoin network hashpower, welcomed the options proposed by Bitcoin Classic developers. But at the same time, a few people saw this as a vote of confidence for that particular Bitcoin proposal, and how F2Pool would support Bitcoin Classic when push came to shove.

Nothing could be further from the truth, however, as F2Pool never openly indicated their support for Bitcoin Classic. Trouble start on Reddit when a post by F2Pool operators was looked upon as a way to enforce Bitcoin Classic upon the people mining there.Furthermore, that message clearly stated how the mining pool “welcomed” the Bitcoin Classic solution, but never mentioned how they will be actively supporting it.

The list of Bitcoin Classic supporters has grown quite long and includes Antpool, HaoBTC, Genesis Mining, Bitfury, and various other mining companies. However, most of the big mining pools are either in favor of Bitcoin Core or remain on the fence until we get closer to reaching a decision.

It is in the best interest of every Bitcoin mining pool out there to keep an open mind towards both Bitcoin Core and Bitcoin Classic. Even though history is not favorable towards solutions that are not Bitcoin Core, it is ultimately up to the entire community to determine which solution has their preference. No one is knocking down the efforts by either project, as they both have their merits. If only all of that development work were put into one solution everybody could agree upon; things would look far better by now.

Hard Fork, Soft Fork, Forking For All

There’s no denying the Bitcoin block size will need to be increased, as even the Chinese mining pools are in agreement with that statement. Whether this will happen through a hard fork or soft fork, remains to be seen, though. F2Pool feels hard forking would be the best option,  as Segregated Witness is – technically speaking – a dirty hack of the Bitcoin code. This would not do proper justice to the technological change segwit brings.

Soft forking is the safest option as it would not necessarily require every Bitcoin node on the network to upgrade in time, whereas a hard fork would. But at the same time, the Bitcoin community is well aware of which choices lie ahead, and hard forking the code should not lead to catastrophic events by any means. Bitcoin is over seven years old now, and there should be no more handholding when a major update occurs.

In the end, it all comes down to getting things done in the Bitcoin ecosystem. Not just to show the entire community developers are capable of pulling off these large changes, but also to put the mainstream media blasphemy to bed once and for all. Even though Bitcoin is getting a lot of media attention, not all the news is positive so far. Hard forking Bitcoin in a successful manner would show the world this digital currency is here to say, regardless of what others might want you to believe.

Various Bitcoin companies around the world are looking for investors to get their project moving along and deliver services to a broader audience. Digital Asset Holdings, a blockchain startup run by Blythe Masters, recently closed a new funding round, raising over US$50m from various global financial leaders. With this money, the company will eventually be able to bring blockchain technology use cases to people all over the world.

Also read: BTL Announces Launch of Its Blockchain Remittance Platform (Interbit) at BC Tech Summit

Digital Asset Holdings Secures Funding

Based on various mainstream media headlines over the past few weeks, the future of Digital Asset holdings was in peril. The blockchain startup was struggling to raise additional funding, as potential investors were not entirely convinced of the service offered. But it looks like those reports were premature, as over US$50m has been secured by the company, and the future’s looking bright.

Developing Distributed Ledger Technology for the financial services industry is a challenging task. It goes without saying that any company active in this industry will need a lot of time, manpower, and financial aid to bring this technology to the traditional financial world. But Blythe Masters and Digital Asset Holdings can count on a select group of investors who want to see this project succeed.

Among the recent investors are firms such as ABN Amro, BNP Paribas, Citi, J.P. Morgan and Santander InnoVentures. So many established financial players who are looking for alternative infrastructure solutions are of great value to Digital Asset holdings and the general blockchain community.  In the end, all parties want to achieve the same goal: reducing costs and making the financial system more efficient and secure.

Digital Asset Holdings CEO Blythe Masters stated:

“These investments represent a tremendous endorsement of Digital Asset from banks, exchanges, settlement and clearing firms, central securities depositories, and market infrastructure and professional services providers. Our strategic investors have come together from across the financial services industry to help drive global adoption of transformative solutions which enhance the vital services that they provide.”

By securing over US$50m in additional funding, Digital Asset Holdings can continue the road to bringing Distributed Ledger Technology to various partners all over the world. By creating tailored business logic applications on top of privately permissioned blockchain, financial players will be able to communicate with one another by using a cryptographically secured infrastructure.

Expanding The Board of Directors

As a result of this successful round of funding, Digital Asset Holdings also announced how they will be expanding their Board of Directors.  Several of the investors will see one of their staff join the Digital Asset Holdings Board, although not all of the names had been confirmed at the time of publication.

DTCC Ceo and President Mike Bodson said the following:

“Distributed Ledger Technology offers a once-in-a-generation opportunity to re-imagine and modernize the industry’s infrastructure to address long-standing operational challenges. This investment positions DTCC to play a leading role in fostering industry-wide adoption and helping to introduce the standards, governance and technology to support distributed ledger implementations. We look forward to working with our partners at Digital Asset to explore opportunities to improve upon the existing infrastructure in certain defined areas where automation is limited or non-existent and where the technology provides a clear benefit over existing processes.”

Mike Bodson is one of the four new Board of Directors members for Digital Asset Holdings, along with BNP’s Catherine Flax,  Deutsche Börse Group’s Ashwin Kumar, and J.P. Morgan’s Sanoke Viswanathan. Together with the existing board members, Digital Asset Holdings can continue its mission to build distributed and encrypted processing tools.

Source: Digital Asset Holdings

It is no secret the financial world is prone to future innovation and disruption on a global scale. Even though established payment providers are looking for new ways to make payments more secure and convenient, there is a lot of pressure from the FinTech and digital currency sector. A recent report by the Dutch central bank touches upon these developments, and what their priorities will be moving forward.

Also read: Bitcoin Price Up; More Gains Today?

Interesting Payment Trends In The Netherlands

All over the world, consumers are changing their behavior when it comes to making payments. With so many different options at our disposal, there is a real war going on for payment supremacy, so to speak. While some countries are looking to get rid of cash transactions, The Netherlands is seeing a decline in this number as well. Compared to 2010, there were 600 million fewer cash transactions in 2013. This trend has most likely continued throughout 2014 and 2015, even though the report does not state official numbers.

The way consumers use this cash is also changing over time. Based on the report released by the Dutch central bank, there are fewer ATMs in existence since 2014, and consumers are making far fewer cash withdrawals. Even the number of over-the-counter cash withdrawals has dropped by over 60% since 2010, indicating how people are moving away from cash in favor of electronic and other payment methods.

Part of this mind shift can be attributed to a lack of efficiency when dealing with a cash transaction. Cash is not convenient, and it feels clumsy at times to deal with both bills and coins. Electronic payments let users pay the exact amount they need, by just carrying a plastic card or mobile device. Physical wallets are becoming a thing of the past.

But the ecosystem is not all rosy for established payment methods in electronic form. Retailers in the Netherlands have expressed their preference to see funds from credit or debit card transactions credited to their bank account faster. Especially the only retailers – dealing with iDEAL payments – stand to gain from faster clearing and settlement.

Surprisingly enough, the report makes mention of how the fraud rates in electronic payments are declining. While there is still a long way to go before banks can call this threat a non-issue, the numbers have declined sharply between 2010 and 2014. Better detection systems help spot internet banking fraud, and skimming plastic cards has become much harder since the EMV chips have been introduced. Counterfeit notes, on the other hand, has seen a sharp uptick throughout 2014, nearly doubling from the numbers registered during 2011.

A report by any central bank would not be complete without making mention of digital currency and Bitcoin. The bank issued a warning about Bitcoin in 2014, as they still feel Bitcoin users can not be identified properly – which is far from the truth. Plus, the Dutch central bank keeps stating how Bitcoin is perfect for criminal activity. However, because the share taken by digital currency in the payment system is minimal – in 2014 – no further actions were taken.

Dutch Central Bank Keeps Tabs on Bitcoin and Digital Currency

Hardly anyone will be surprised by the news of the Dutch Central Bank keeping a close eye on the evolution of Bitcoin and digital currencies throughout 2015 and beyond. There is only so much traditional finance can do to make payments more appealing, as all transactions have to go through the outdated legacy system.

New and innovative payment methods – such as Bitcoin and other digital currencies – completely bypass the financial infrastructure and provide global payment solutions. Regarding robustness and faster payment processing, there is no match for Bitcoin in the financial world today. Especially not when taking into account how the sender pays minimal transaction fees with Bitcoin, whereas the recipient pays no fees at all [unless they convert the funds to fiat currency].

Furthermore, there is no such thing as fraud in the Bitcoin ecosystem. Not only will the blockchain technology be valuable to the Dutch Central bank, but the entire concept of issuing digital money deserves a second and third look. Bitcoin should not be discounted as a contender to eventually put banks out of business, though, as the popular digital currency keeps gaining momentum all over the world.

Source: DNB

Image Credits: Wikipedia

There is a lot of excitement in the world of payments these days, especially now that so many companies are focusing their attention on the mobile space. With so many consumers owning a mobile device that has Internet connection capabilities, contactless payments are evolving to this new medium. Android Pay is Google’s answer to mobile payments, and users can now get a free Chromecast when using the option. Bitcoin, on the other hand, offers proper incentives and rewards that are not tangible.

Get A Chromecast For Paying With Android Pay

In the mobile payment sector, a war is going on between manufacturers and operating system creators. Everyone wants to be the top payment method for mobile users around the world, and Google has entered the arena by releasing Android Pay to US customers. Keeping in mind how Android is the largest mobile operating system in the world, there is a large potential customer base for this feature.

But Google wouldn’t be Google without a proper marketing strategy for their new mobile payment solution. Under the Tap 10 rules and guidelines, anyone who uses Android Pay in the US and other eligible territories will be rewarded for doing so. As a reward, they can either choose the one-time free Google Music code for a track of their choice, of obtaining a Chromecast. Participants must be aged 13 or older and reside in the US to be eligible for either reward.

For those Android Pay users who want to obtain a free Chromecast, they will need to create or own a Google Payments account. This step is required to redeem the gift code Google will send out, which can then be redeemed with the purchase of a Chromecast at participating Google Stores. Keeping in mind how this device costs US$35, the offer by Google is a nice gesture, and will help them tie users into their ecosystem even further.

Giving customers a physical reward for trying out a new payment option is a smart move by Google. Unlike Apple Pay – where customers got no reward for testing out the payment method other than a potential double-charge – Android Pay could be getting a lot of attention in the US in the next months. With the offers ending on February 29th, the question then becomes how many people will keep using Android Pay once they received their rewards.

This brings us to the major problem of mobile payments: they are initially greeted with excitement, yet usage of the payment options drops off after a few months. Most consumers simply forget the option is even there in the first place, or it turns out to be more of a hassle than they bargained for. Making a good first impression is critical, but in this day and age, it is all about making a lasting impression.

Bitcoin Offers Users Lasting Rewards

Rewards can come in many different forms, and receiving a code for a free item or song is a good way to incentivize users to give Android Pay a try in the US. At the same time, Bitcoin has been providing its users with non-tangible rewards over the past seven years, which have done more good in the long run.

For the consumer and merchant, convenience and low transaction costs are of the utmost importance. Whether or not Android Pay will be able to provide this service, remains to be seen, as users will need to link a credit card to make purchases. Unfortunately for them, credit card transactions are subject to hefty fees, ranging from 1% to 3.5% per transaction.

Bitcoin transactions, on the other hand, cost far less for the retailer. In fact, all of the transaction fees are paid for by the sender, not the recipient. Plus, merchants can then convert the Bitcoin transfer to fiat currency if they desire to do so, or just keep the funds in Bitcoin and convert it a later date. Plus, Bitcoin is the only global currency in existence today, whereas mobile payments have to tread carefully regarding jurisdiction and regulation.

In the end, Android Pay will not be a major competitor for Bitcoin in its current, despite offering tangible rewards to its users. With such a limited availability right now, there is very little reason to sue Android Pay other than for US residents to get a free Chromecast. Whether or not this offer will be available to international customers in the future, remains unknown. Bitcoin’s benefits are available to everyone on this planet and make a lasting impression.

Source: Android