Why is KakaoTalk Interested in Satoshi Citadel Industries?

Bitcoin is known to be ideal for inexpensive remittance and micro transactions. This indispensable feature of digital currency will soon be implemented into KakaoTalk.

KakaoTalk is a popular South Korean chat application. The platform has over 170 million registered users who may soon be able to make digital currency transactions. According to reports, the company invested heavily into Philippines based Satoshi Citadel Industries. As part of the investment, the Seoul-based company has picked up a 40 percent stake in Satoshi Citadel.

It is speculated that the chat application provider’s investment is driven by its interest in Bitcoin as a mode of value transfer.

So, What Can KakaoTalk Do with Bitcoin Technology?

For starters, KakaoTalk can include a feature that enables people to send and receive money over the chat application. This will be an attractive feature that will allow the brand to compete with Apple’s upcoming version of iMessages. Apple’s iOS 10 is expected to have Circle integrated into iMessages as a third-party app, allowing users to send and receive funds over a Bitcoin-powered platform.

READ MORE: Apple Warms up to Bitcoin with Its Latest iMessages Update

If KakaoTalk indeed includes Bitcoin payment option through Satoshi Citadel Industries, it can also leverage upon the huge volumes of remittance between South Korea and the Philippines. The total remittance between both the countries currently stands at over $231 million per year and KakaoTalk, along with Rebit.ph can capture a significant market share.

Integration of Bitcoin payments into KakaoTalk can also help the e-commerce industry. Marketing professionals are increasingly using chat applications for promoting products and services. By allowing Bitcoin payments, buyers will be able to make purchases directly over the chat application itself.

Further down the line, the chat application can also experiment with blockchain based encrypted chat to offer secure communication options for its users.

Even though it is not clear how KakaoTalk intends to use Bitcoin and blockchain technology expertise, it sure does have a lot of options in front of it. We just have to wait for it to choose one among them.

READ MORE: KakaoTalk Eyes Bitcoin As A Remittance Corridor Solution

Ref: QZ | NewsBTC | Image: KakaoTalkDownloads

 


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Fintech and Bitcoin startup Bitspark, based in Hong Kong, has partnered with Vitaxel Group. As part of this new agreement, the Bitcoin company will start offering its remittance services in Malaysia over the coming weeks. This news comes on the heels of the Malaysian government deciding to take a less strict stance on Fintechs and Bitcoin startups in the region.

Both companies previously had agreed on a Memorandum of Understanding in June of 2016. That milestone hinted at a future collaboration between both companies, and it was evident some Bitcoin-related service would be coming to Malaysia shortly. Targeting the remittance sector is a solid decision, as it is one of the most disruption-prone aspects of traditional finance today.

Bitspark and Vitaxel Group Target Remittances

Vitaxel Group will be a valuable partner for Bitspark, as they have over 5,000 distributors in over a dozen Asian countries. With a large focus on e-commerce, entertainment and lifestyle, it makes sense for Bitspark to partner with this established company. Collaboration is key in Fintech, and Bitcoin startups need to work together with other players to expand their presence.

What makes Bitspark different from more traditional remittance offerings is how they operate on a cash-in-cash-out model. By levering Bitcoin and its blockchain technology, they can offer much cheaper and faster remittance solutions to their customers. This has caught the attention of Vitaxel Group, as their business model revolves around multi-level marketing through ecommerce.

Bitspark CEO George Harrap stated:

“Today we signed our final master agreement on bringing the Bitspark Remittance platform to Malaysia, both teams at Bitspark and Vitaxel have been working hard to make this happen and today we have reached an exciting new milestone. I think this signals the start of a working relationship that can we can build on over time for new products and markets to meet the needs of our customers with our industry leading services in the financial space.”

Remittance is a global trend, but it makes an even bigger impact in Malaysia. The country is seen as a transfer hub connecting many different Asian countries, including Singapore, Thailand, and Indonesia. Global payments are critical for Vitaxel Group, yet the existing solutions are too expensive and cumbersome most of the time. Using Bitcoin and blockchain technology through Bitspark will alleviate a lot of those problems.

Source: Bitspark Blog

Header image courtesy of Shutterstock

There are dedicated plans on the table to boost cross-border ecommerce in the European region over the next few years. The European Commission has drafted some new rules which address some of the most common hurdles when dealing with online commerce in Europe. This news can also be beneficial for Bitcoin adoption in the long run.

When dealing with ecommerce in the European region, there are still some significant hurdles that need be tackled. Geoblocking remains a critical issue, as well as parcel delivery in other countries being too expensive. Additionally, consumer trust can always be improved. The European Commission has come up with new rules which should address these issues all at once.

The Ecommerce Rules Are Changing

Geoblocking is critical within the European Union, as there are some regions where items are far cheaper or more expensive than others. Especially in the ecommerce industry, these prices should be on the same level everywhere. However, that is much easier said than done, and for the time being, a lot of consumers do not have access to the best deals available.

Cross-border parcel delivery is another top priority for the European Commission. Consumers and enterprises should always have the most efficient and affordable solution at their disposal, yet this is not the case right now. High charges hinder the growth of ecommerce within the EU and beyond.

The final point is to increase consumer trust within the ecommerce sector. Enforcing better consumer rights on a local level is one possible way to tackle this. But at the same time, consumers have to be sure they are not sending funds to an entity who will run off with the money. Unfortunately, that is rather hard to enforce, and new payment solution may be needed in the future.

While this new proposal by the European Commission wants to address these three issues, there is some backlash as well. Ecommerce Europe feels this initiative does not address the real problems in the online commerce industry. There is legal fragmentation and a lack of growth in the European ecommerce industry, and this proposal will not change that overnight.

Cross-border Payments Beyond SEPA?

Cutting down on item and delivery prices will be a daunting task as there is no incentive to do so. The price point is partially determined by the supply chain process, and the fees charged by traditional payment methods are not making life any easier.

It would be wise to explore alternative payment options as well, and Bitcoin can play a prominent role in this regard. With its transparent nature, there is an immediate trust factor. Transactions fees are paid by the sender, leaving more breathing room for the merchant. Plus, Bitcoin payments are globally accepted, which make them a perfect solution for ecommerce in Europe and beyond.

The role of Bitcoin in the ecommerce industry should not be underestimated, as there are many benefits to using this cryptocurrency. Adoption remains relatively small, but some of the biggest companies in the world accept Bitcoin already. If Europe wants to bring change to online commerce, cryptocurrency should not be ignored.

Source: Ecommerce News

Header image courtesy of NewsBTC

Bitcoin and other digital currencies may be well recognized across the world for its potential to change not only the monetary system but also the whole tech industry, but they do not command the same respect when it comes to regulatory aspects. The blockchain technology, on which most cryptocurrencies are created is being embraced by mainstream industries including banking and financial sector.

Even though the Banking and Financial sectors know exactly what bitcoin can do, they are apprehensive about the currency part. It is either due to lack of understanding of the digital currency or just the inferiority complex where they are threatened by the astronomical rise of bitcoin and bitcoin-based financial services.

Bitcoin regulations is still a grey area in most countries. The governments have not come up with specific regulations as the cryptocurrency industry is full of potential and is still in nascent stages. Unless the industry reaches a certain stage in terms of innovation, the government and regulatory bodies may unknowingly hamper its growth by introducing detrimental regulations.

In 2014, Central banks across the world simultaneously issued warning against the use of Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies. The warning stated that these cryptocurrencies are not backed by any central bank and the volatile nature of these digital currencies poses a risk for investments. In many places, even the banks and financial institutions were issued warning against dealing with digital assets like bitcoin.

Since then many countries have relaxed their stance towards bitcoin, except for few like Russia, China, Thailand and Vietnam. Bitcoin doesn’t enjoy any legal status and these governments’ ambiguous stance towards bitcoin makes it borderline illegal.

Vietnam Warns Against Using Bitcoin Online

Vietnam again reiterated its warning against the use of digital currencies like bitcoin and other altcoins. The recent warning was issued by the Department of E-Commerce and Information Technology. The warning cautions users from falling prey to investment opportunities involving digital currencies.

The warning comes amid growing cases of Ponzi schemes and frauds involving cryptocurrencies where the perpetrators lure people to invest in their schemes by promising attractive returns which are too good to be true. The Department of E-commerce and Information Technology in Vietnam has also advised people and organizations against making transactions with virtual currency.

A Vietnamese news portal, NDH in one of its news articles reports that the number of complaints received by the police in Vietnam regarding digital currency fraud is increasing. Most of these complaints are from investors and customers who claim to have been cheated by online shopping portals. In some cases, people have transferred money in exchange for digital currency which they never received.

Vietnam is not the only country where Bitcoin fraud is prevalent. MMM is another suspected fraud involving Bitcoin which has been active in many places in the world. The alleged Ponzi scheme was run by a Russian ex-convict – Sergei Mavrodi. While fraudsters and criminals always look for ways to fleece money from people, it is advisable for people to be careful and stay away from schemes and offers that sound too good to be true.

Ref: Sau đa cấp, Bộ Công Thương khuyến cáo người dân về mua, bán “tiền ảo” Image: Wikimedia

BitHappy, a new bitcoin browser brings both digital currency and ecommerce together on the same page. The platform calls itself the first bitcoin browser in the world which enables people and businesses to sell things online for bitcoin. Unlike other ecommerce platforms, BitHappy allows anyone to list the things that they want to sell online and accept money in the form of bitcoin from their customers.

The simple, easy to use BitHappy allows individuals and retailers to sell their goods and services online to anyone across anywhere in the world. Selling on BitHappy is no rocket science. Sellers on the platform can easily list their products by adding a picture, few lines of description, any social links, website url related to the product and its price in local currency. BitHappy automatically converts the price in fiat currency to its equivalent in bitcoin.

Apart from being an open ecommerce platform, BitHappy also doubles as a point of sale application that can be used for scanning barcodes on the products and accepting payments for the same in a brick and mortar setting. When it comes to buying products on BitHappy, it is as simple as listing products for sale. One can search for sellers/businesses in their neighborhood by using BitHappy application. They can choose what they want to buy and add it to the cart. In the end they can proceed to check out and pay for all the items with bitcoin. The application generates a unique ID and corresponding QR code to scan and pay the bill with bitcoin. BitHappy comes integrated with Mycelium bitcoin wallet and it can be readily used to store bitcoin and pay using them.

BitHappy goes beyond ecommerce. It can be readily used to collect microdonations and raise funds for charitable and social causes. It is also ideal for individual craftsmen, artisans and entrepreneurs who are interested in selling their products without having to go through the hassles of setting up a shop, creating a bank account and more. According to the website, BitHappy does not charge any transaction fee for purchases made over the platform, making it even more attractive to sellers.

Online retail is a global phenomenon. Leading ecommerce platforms like Amazon, eBay, Rakuten etc. have a strong global presence. Apart from these global ecommerce companies there are thousands of ecommerce platforms catering to different geographies, not to mention small online businesses including individual owned online shop fronts that augment brick and mortar businesses. No matter how big or small they are as long as they are online they can cater to the whole world irrespective of any geographical boundaries.

While reaching out to global audience is easy for online retailers, converting their reach to sales is a challenge. A sale is not complete unless the user makes a successful transaction and cross border transactions can be a mess at times. Each country has its own preferred payment method that people use extensively and the same may not work for other countries. In order to ensure flawless transactions over these ecommerce sites, a global standard has to be implemented. Existence of such standards will drive conversion rates on these ecommerce portals through the roof. 

According to reports, the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C), responsible for standardising the internet – html codes, online databases etc. now plans to standardize ecommerce platforms. W3C will be setting up a Web Payments Working Group with professionals from the payments industry heading it. The report mentions Nick Telford-Reed, the head of technology at WorldPay to co-chair the working group along with Adrian Hope-Bailie from Ripple Labs.

The W3C working group’s main aim will be to explore various payments methods which can be used by anyone, anywhere. Emerging payment methods in both developing and developed nations alike will be evaluated and the best of them will be shortlisted. Bitcoin and digital wallets are two such payment methods which have a high probability of making it to the shortlist.

At the end of the whole process, W3C Web Payments Working Group intends to come up with a standard payment method with standardized steps for payments and communication which can be implemented on any platform, anywhere in the world.

Ripple Labs had announced its intention to join W3C to develop web payment standards earlier in February. However, many details weren’t available then.

READ MORE: Ripple Labs Associates with W3C Web Payment Interest Group to Boost Web Payment Sector

This news was originally covered by The Telegraph

Japanese startup Orb has launched a digital currency named ‘Smartcoin’ and is touting it as the ‘own private currency for Ecommerce.’

Quiet similar to Bitcoin, the currency is specifically aiming at ecommerce and to help these companies Orby has also announced several features that promise to win loyal base in a few days. Some of the salient features of this currency are:

  1. The digital currency comes with flexible reward option that allows a firm to increase customer loyalty with bonus coins. The coins are given to the users to welcome them to a particular program of the company and engage in the financial ecosystem.
  1. Smartcoin is a digital currency that enables one to continuously improve the customer KPIs by setting the coin’s expiration and natural depreciation schedules according to the firm’s unique business needs.
  1. Orb also claims that as this digital currency is a full-featured API and Mobile SDK enable reliable hence, secure integration with existing eCommerce platforms, mobile applications, and point-of-sale systems will be excellent. Those interested in the Smartcoin will be able to view and manage the SmartCoin program with an interactive dashboard.
  1. As the SmartCoin transactions are secured by robust ECDSA digital signatures and the SHA-256 cryptographic hash function hence, it is safe enough to use for Ecommerce companies. And not just that, since the SmartCoin transactions are authorized immediately and validated by the Orb network in just seconds for ultra-fast transaction settlement hence, those in an emergency will be able to fulfill their transaction needs faster.

The company has kept Smartcoin free for up to 500 users and has also provided the Orb Mobile SDK, a mobile app that provides easy access to common SmartCoin functions. The company has also provided a provision by which a consumer if he increases this mobile app usage, he will be able to also get loyalty marketing bonuses based on Orb’s flexible incentive design.

As the rise of bitcoin and other digital currencies continue unchecked, most of the governments across the world are holding back on bitcoin regulations. Bitcoin is a relatively new concept that has the potential to replace fiat currency. The governments are probably taking time to understand and observe the evolution of cryptocurrencies by not hindering its progress with unreasonable regulations.

The advancements in computers and internet, along with growth in ecommerce is the driving force behind the emergence of digital economy. Governments are exploring ways to make a transition from conventional governance and economy to e-governance and digital economy. Evolution of these cryptocurrencies, which are independent of any state or person, are proving to be case studies for the countries that are looking forward to make a transition from traditional banknotes to digital tenders.

Going digital will help a nation in multiple ways. From reducing the cost and labor required to constantly print and maintain the circulation of currency notes in the market to combating money laundering and counterfeiting.

Counterfeit currency is one of the huge challenges faced by global economies. Circulation of counterfeit currency can end up damaging a country’s economy so badly that it may take years to repair. Along with the nation’s economy, its citizens will be forced to undergo financial hardship during the process.

Counterfeit currency is one of the ideal weapons used by hostile nations to undermine the economy of its rivals. It is not a new thing; this kind of proxy war on the economy has been in practice since ages. In recent years, the proxy war raged by Pakistan on its neighboring country India is one of the examples. Pakistan is allegedly printing and smuggling hundreds of million dollars in counterfeit Indian rupees into India each year.

As it is hard to counterfeit cryptocurrencies, countries can effectively eliminate the problem of counterfeit currency by adopting digital currencies similar to cryptocurrencies.

There is yet another e-commerce platform that’s embracing bitcoin, we’re learning this morning.

Plentymarkets, based in Germany, has teamed up with BitPay in order to allow their merchant base of 3,500 online stores to accept bitcoin easily.

Most of the merchants using Plentymarkets are themselves based in Germany, though it is said the company’s vision is to expand their reach internationally. As part of that vision, Plentymarkets recently expanded into the United Kingdom.

Some examples of companies making use of Plentymarkets include: Stabilo, Edeka, and Delife.

“We are very pleased to welcome BitPay as one of our new partners. Since more and more of our customers are selling their products in other countries and are looking for a reliable and quick payment method, we think bitcoin is a very attractive alternative to other established payment methods,” remarked Plentymarkets GmbH CEO Jan Griesel. “It is also increasingly accepted and used by end customers. The sophisticated business model and the quick payments in the target currency make BitPay our ideal partner for processing payments with bitcoin.”

Director of Business Development BitPay Europe, Moe Levin, adds, “Our goal is to make it as easy as possible for merchants around the world to add bitcoin into their payment systems. Having a direct integration with Plentymarkets does just that.”

It’s far too early to tell how many of these merchants will hop aboard the bitcoin train, but now it’s easier than ever.

Freshly announced this morning is news that Atlanta, Georgia-based BitPay has become a Demandware LINK Technology Partner, which will allow Demandware’s clients the ability to add bitcoin as a form of payment.

Demandware is an NYSE-listed e-commerce services provider that works with major brands like Converse, Godiva Chocolatier, Barneys New York, and the Brooks Brothers.

That means that clients with Demandware will quickly and efficiently be able to integrate bitcoin payments, which could mean a very good thing for bitcoin adoption among merchants.

“The BitPay integration gives Demandware customers access to another innovative solution to effectively meet evolving consumer demands,” said Tom Griffin, Senior Vice President of Corporate Development at Demandware. “With BitPay, our joint customers can offer another payment option to their customers, further enhancing the consumer shopping experience.”

Of course, whether or not Demandware clients will take advantage of the new integration will remain to be seen.

“Our goal is to make it as easy as possible for merchants around the world to add bitcoin into their payment systems,” said Tony Gallippi, co-founder and CEO of BitPay. “Our LINK cartridge offers retailers a quick and easy way to accept bitcoin as part of their payment options.”

BitPay offers free processing, which allows businesses to accept bitcoin without limitations and receive settlements in nine fiat currencies.