Centbee to deliver a game changing eco-system replacement

Centbee to deliver a game changing eco-system replacement

You may have read some press releases concerning nChain Group taking equity stake in Centbee, a Bitcoin wallet provider that aims to make global payments straight forward and easy.

Centbee, headed by co-CEOs Lorien Gamaroff and Angus Brown, come with a wealth of experience from within the financial sector itself, covering online banking development, merchant systems, retail banking, and extensive work with regulators, and much of which has been done in the digital space. All things that are abundantly important in taking Bitcoin Cash to the next level.

What hasn’t been reported in any extensive detail so far is just what the fruition of the Centbee and nChain deal is going to be.

In my discussion with Mr Brown, I specifically asked questions concerning the functional outcomes of this project. We know nChain’s investment is a large undisclosed sum. There’s more to this than just a wallet. I went digging.

Astonishingly, I’ve found the very work Centbee are doing, is precisely what the Bitcoin (BCH) eco-system needs – and desperately.

When Dr Craig Wright tweeted “Expect some BIG things this January with BCH. The crypto world is about to change and grow up.” He was onto something… because he had seen what Centbee had been working on.

Mr Brown says his time in banking has been building digital offerings and digital banks. “Centbee is the next generation of where banking is going to be. A lot of we do replaces what banks do, but with next generation models. I have good insight of how [banks] do it all. And I understand merchants, point of sale systems… we implemented all this for Mercantile. We know what banks do and don’t do.”

Brown was actually the Chief Information Officer over at Mercantile bank. His knowledge on the subject comes from profound experience. He states “I have a good relationship with the regulator… I know how the reserve bank works, I know the payment industry really well… it’s given us really good context to build Centbee.”

So how do you get banks, and regulators involved? Sure enough one of the most challenging things concerning Bitcoin has been getting trust from the institutional banking sector. “Regulators get scared of Bitcoin, and it’s because of the risk that they see… we know how to help the regulator get over the risk, we’ve been working on addressing those very things they are concerned with.”

It dawned on me that what Centbee are building – is far beyond being just a wallet. In fact, it is an entire eco-system being built using Bitcoin Cash, from the top down.

“The wallet is the easy part, most of that’s already done and we’ve been working on the user interface now trying to make it ‘slick’” said Brown. Lorien Gamaroff who leads much of the coding specialties has also done a lot of work from a user interface and experience point of view. Brown says of Lorien that “he has design flair… he even once worked at an ad agency as a director… He has a good sense of user interface… I’ve also built 6 digital banks, I understand what to do and what not to do”. Certainly however, one of the most frustrating things about Bitcoin is that it can be difficult to get money into it – with all the commotion of verifications, exchanges and the like… but Brown says “We are going to change all that and make that really easy…”

In South Africa, one interesting piece of technology that is used is called “Authenticated Mobile Transaction” or AMT. It is a standard payment method there that Brown says they can leverage to allow customers to enter debit number and do authenticated debit that is non-disputable. Using authenticated debit card transactions takes the risk away from the business. “Debit cards are popular in South Africa, so that’s the first step” he said.

So, what makes this wallet so special and so easy to use? “Contact integration is the killer use case”. Centbee have devised a method where it is super easy to send anyone an amount of money. They don’t even have to have the app installed, and in fact, they don’t even need a Bitcoin wallet at all. The app cleverly notifies a user and advises them to get the wallet to claim their money if they have any sent to them. This is a sorely needed function for wallets, and Centbee addresses this.

Brown kept going back to “WhatsApp”. The idea is that Centbee should have its ease of use, modelled after something like WhatsApp. “Sending money should be as easy as sending a message on WhatsApp” he said.

The other interesting area that Centbee are looking at concerns sending every day money. That sounds glaringly obvious, and Brown even laughed when he said it, but allow us to elaborate. Right now, there is a legitimate inaccessibility to send money across the country, or to neighbouring countries. The existing methods are either far too expensive, or just unreliable. Centbee tackles this problem by enabling citizens to be able to send a sum of money instantly, that is, fiat to fiat.

Picture that, a solution that makes money transfer so easy, that you don’t even know that you’re using Bitcoin Cash. Brown explains that Bitcoin Cash in this case works as the medium of transfer. Ofcourse that’s not the way it’s going to remain, as adoption grows, more and more people may choose to receive BCH instead of fiat.

Usability is key with all of this. Accessibility has been thought through to the n’th degree that even grandma can use it. Brown said “this is a real important human problem to be solved, especially here in South Africa, where there is a real need”.

But Centbee’s clever approach is multi-faceted, as Brown explains: “Next we want to allow people to buy Bitcoin from merchants. And we can do this using Gift cards that you see in malls, so we can have Centbee cards that can be purchased with cash.”

“Merchants are actually the key to this… When we were talking to the guys at nChain, we said that you have to have consumers, and we have got some great ideas.”

At this point I ventured into confidential territory and I wasn’t preview to too much further than this. But Brown did highlight an interesting strategy their business is taking to embark on this mission. “rather than approaching every merchant one by one, we are doing it by going straight to the ‘integrators’” – that is to get them to onboard BCH integration at the top level and have it filter down. “I can’t disclose too much, its strategic” said Brown.

There was a lot to this conversation, but I’ve touched on many points that I think are pivotal. This is one giant project that addresses a plethora of weaknesses within the current framework for working with Bitcoin (BCH). If they can pull this off – and I totally believe they are going to, then this will be a catalyst in the mission to revolutionise Bitcoin Cash and really thrust it into the mainstream.

Interestingly, this is the first time I have come across a major Bitcoin related project that is spearheaded by tremendous institutional knowledge and prowess. The team at Centbee understand the entire business model from customer to merchant and to bank. Most crypto related projects are generally controlled by developers who have very little to no understanding and exposure to the established institutions. If you want Bitcoin in the mainstream, you need two thing… first its ease of use, and second it is integration into existing systems and processes in the most efficient way possible. Centbee are doing just that. And for once, it’s not the tail wagging the dog. When you let developers dictate the functions of a system, then you end up the way ‘Bitcoin Core’ did in 2017, where Bitcoin actually lost merchant count for the first time in its history.

Eli Afram

Note: Tokens in the SegWit chain are referred to as SegWit1X (BTC) and SegWit Gold (SWG) and are no longer Bitcoin. Bitcoin Cash (BCH) is the only true  Bitcoin as intended by the original Satoshi white paper.  Bitcoin BCH is the only public block chain that offers safe and cheap microtransactions.

Russia’s Sberbank eyes taking cryptocurrency trading overseas

For years, the Russian government has been very vocal in opposing the use and exchange of virtual currency in the country. But state-owned banking and financial services company Sberbank is looking to change all that—by taking its cryptocurrency trading products overseas.

To avoid violating domestic rules, the Moscow-based bank is reportedly planning to offer cryptocurrency trading to international customers, according to Reuters. Sberbank Head of Global Markets Andrey Shemetov said despite state laws that bar Sberbank from trading cryptocurrencies, the bank is keen on giving what its clients have been asking for.

“Swiss laws allow cryptocurrency trading, and we are working on infrastructure to start offering these services through our Swiss subsidiary,” Shemetov said at a briefing on Tuesday, according to the news outlet.

State-controlled Sberbank is the largest bank in Russia and third largest in Europe. It has a branch in Switzerland, the Sberbank (Switzerland) AG, with headquarters in Zurich.

“In Russia, we cannot trade [cryptocurrency], but we want to satisfy the interests of clients, and we believe that we must have access to a wide range of products,” Shemetov said, according to TASS.

The plan, according to the bank official, is to offer the Sberbank trading products “only to legal entities” and small number of customers. The bank is “looking at all of the cryptocurrency pairs that are the most liquid, [and] their names are known.”

“We will see what’s interesting to the clients, where is some liquidity… Obviously, we will not go into a low-liquidity crypto,” Shemetov said.

The announcement comes amid repeated warnings from the Russian central bank over cryptocurrency investments. In December, central bank officials flagged the current conditions in cryptocurrency markets as a “bubble,” and warned investors risked heavy losses from their exposure to digital assets. Russian authorities have been adamant against legalizing digital currencies such as Bitcoin as a means of payment in the country, although there are pending bills that could pave the way for regulating cryptocurrency transactions without fully banning them.

Note: Tokens in the SegWit chain are referred to as SegWit1X (BTC) and SegWit Gold (SWG) and are no longer Bitcoin. Bitcoin Cash (BCH) is the only true  Bitcoin as intended by the original Satoshi white paper.  Bitcoin BCH is the only public block chain that offers safe and cheap microtransactions.

Zac Cheah: Blockchain should be accessible for everyone

What if you can pay for items and load up to purchase cryptocurrencies with the swipe of a card? A bold but nonetheless simple premise, this is exactly what Pundi X Labs has been doing. CoinGeek.com spoke with Pundi X Labs’ CEO Zac Cheah about his company’s mission.

With the onslaught of cryptocurrency and blockchain companies bootstrapping the crypto development scene, it’s hard to keep track of what’s what. Pundi X Labs is attempting to wedge into the increasingly complex crypto space with a simple solution: make buying crypto as easy as buying bottled water.

CEO Zac Cheah said his company’s efforts are “[…] trying to unlock the potential of blockchain,” with a campaign to reduce friction for mass adoption to ordinary users.

Since its launch in October 2017, Pundi X Labs has helped empower blockchain developers and token holders to sell cryptocurrencies at any physical stores in the world. Sharing his company’s vision, Cheah said they “believe that the blockchain can actually liberalize people owning bitcoin because it’s actually a way for people to go anywhere, to any store, to 7-11, to actually use our Pundi X POS device to buy cryptocurrency easily, it’s just like buying a bottle of water.”

Based in Jakarta, Indonesia, Pundi X Labs operates with a business registration from the Isle of Man. While there are a lot of other cryptocurrency and blockchain companies putting up some of the exact same things that Pundi X Labs offers, Cheah said their company is unique because “we have, we believe, is that we have a working product.”

The company is pushing with an on-ground strategy aimed at providing universal access to cryptocurrencies, anytime, anywhere. Pundi X Labs launched its Pundi X POS device globally last year, with several improvements to its synergized infrastructure lined up in its roadmap.

Asked by CoinGeek.com about his observations on the growing cryptocurrency scene and what it might look like in two to five years, Cheah had this to say: “I think it’s very important that you know, the blockchain technology is accessible for everyone,” adding that cryptocurrencies should not just be for “the privileged people, but also the normal people.”

“I think moving ahead, whether it’s coins or blockchain or developer ,we should try to focus more on the normal people, because now in reality, bitcoin is only being held by 0.1% of the population, and that is also our objective: to use a device and a card so that many people can own bitcoin,” Cheah said.

Note: Tokens in the SegWit chain are referred to as SegWit1X (BTC) and SegWit Gold (SWG) and are no longer Bitcoin. Bitcoin Cash (BCH) is the only true  Bitcoin as intended by the original Satoshi white paper.  Bitcoin BCH is the only public block chain that offers safe and cheap microtransactions.

Decentralized marketplace OpenBazaar integrates with Bitcoin Cash

With the release of its new version 2.1.0, OpenBazaar now has Bitcoin Cash payment integration. An open-source software, the online marketplace allows users to create new nodes to process with their preferred payment options from their host devices.

OpenBazaar is primarily a protocol for e-commerce transactions in a fully decentralized marketplace. The name of the project takes inspiration from a seminal work in computer programming literature authored by Eric S. Raymond, an American software developer and writer. Since its initial release in April 2016, the platform has attracted a significant number of cryptocurrency users because of its inspiration from the hackathon project called DarkMarket.

Written by Amir Taaki, the creator of the bitcoin standardization procedure (BIPs), the DarkMarket project is a proof-of-concept built in response to state seizure of the darknet market Silk Road in October 2013, during cryptocurrency’s initial phases. After its success as a proof-of-concept, developer Brian Hoffman forked the project and created OpenBazaar.

Recently, Taaki has received harsh criticism from legacy Bitcoin, otherwise known as SegWit1x (BTC), users for his pronouncements against the cryptocurrency. Tweeting at the peak of BTC’s bullish drive in December 2017, Taaki spoke on the social media platform: “Bitcoin (Segwit1x BTC) is turning into a failed project. The seeds of its destruction among the debris of a community blinded by numerical price increases, and imminent divine reclamation. One day you will all understand my words but it will be too late, the ship would have sailed.”

Despite being involved in the initial phases of development for the cryptocurrency, Taaki has been discredited by BTC advocates because of his vocal opposition to Blockstream’s corporate takeover of the Segwit chain. Taaki was responsible for creating the first full reimplementation of the bitcoin protocol named libbitcoin. He was also part of the team behind Electrum, the then-popular crypto wallet which has now been superseded by Electron Cash, an SPV wallet designed specifically for Bitcoin Cash.

With OpenBazaar version 2.1.0, the platform has now paved the way for more support and adoption for Bitcoin Cash, particularly in the e-commerce industry. A decentralized marketplace like OpenBazaar directly benefits from the features of Bitcoin Cash: fast, reliable, and low-cost transactions over a secure and stable network that’s supported by a passionate community of users and developers.

Note: Tokens in the SegWit chain are referred to as SegWit1X (BTC) and SegWit Gold (SWG) and are no longer Bitcoin. Bitcoin Cash (BCH) is the only true  Bitcoin as intended by the original Satoshi white paper.  Bitcoin BCH is the only public block chain that offers safe and cheap microtransactions.

Facebook bans cryptocurrency adverts to curb scams—and possibly wipe out future competition

The ban comes shortly after Zuckerberg said he’s exploring how Facebook can use cryptocurrencies in its services.

In an effort to curb scams and ill-informed investments which have become severely rampant as the cryptocurrency boom progressed, Facebook has announced that it is banning all cryptocurrency-related advertisements on the social media platform—regardless of whether the organizations behind them are dubious or legitimate.

“We want people to continue to discover and learn about new products and services through Facebook ads without fear of scams or deception. That said, there are many companies who are advertising binary options, ICOs and cryptocurrencies that are not currently operating in good faith,” product management director Rob Leathern wrote.

The ban covers anything promoting cryptocurrencies, ICO’s (initial coin offerings), and binary options. This means a full cryptocurrency ad blackout not just on your Facebook newsfeed but also on Instagram, as well as all third party apps and websites that are monetized by ad revenue using Facebook’s Audience Network (FAN).

It can be noted that at the beginning of the year, Mark Zuckerberg wrote that he is looking into cryptocurrencies and encryption, and pondering how these can be used for their services.

While joining the fight against scams and hyped up pump and dump schemes is a noble and exceedingly necessary move these days, the ban actually hits two birds with one stone. It also helps Facebook phase out competition in the future, and position their cryptocurrency ahead—if it ever comes into culmination.

With two billion active monthly users on Facebook alone, this would give them a substantial advantage. Add their other platforms to the pile, and they can effectively dominate. In an interview with Futurism, Investing.com senior analyst Clement Thibault says this isn’t surprising.

“They have seen the enormous mainstream attention and amounts of money pouring into cryptocurrencies in 2017,” Thibault said. “Positioning yourself to take advantage of a new tool, new technology, and a potential new business opportunity just makes sense.”

Thibault points out that Facebook already rolled out their own peer-to-peer payments in India through messaging app Whatsapp, which they acquired for $19 billion in 2014. “We know they are interested in facilitating transactions between people, which is what cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin are aiming to do.”

Note: Tokens in the SegWit chain are referred to as SegWit1X (BTC) and SegWit Gold (SWG) and are no longer Bitcoin. Bitcoin Cash (BCH) is the only true  Bitcoin as intended by the original Satoshi white paper.  Bitcoin BCH is the only public block chain that offers safe and cheap microtransactions.

CoinGeek.com funds Electron Cash team to develop Bitcoin Cash open source projects with nChain

CoinGeek.com announces funding of up to USD $300,000 per year for Bitcoin Cash (BCH) open source projects to be developed by the Electron Cash team. Electron Cash is an electronic wallet tailored for the BCH chain. nChain, the blockchain research & development specialist, will support the new Electron Cash development projects with technical expertise and intellectual property licenses. This new Electron Cash initiative comes hot on the heels of CoinGeek.com’s funding of another open source project, Terab, which aims to facilitate terabyte size blocks* on the BCH blockchain.

Led by Jonald Fyookball, the Electron Cash team believes that Bitcoin Cash is the true Bitcoin, and fulfils the Satoshi Nakamoto white paper’s vision for a peer-to-peer electronic cash system. The Electron Cash team will use CoinGeek.com’s funding to professionalize its development groups, so they can devote more time to creating software projects for the Bitcoin Cash ecosystem. All software created in this initiative will be made available to the public for usage under an open source license, but only for usage on the BCH chain.

CoinGeek.com, the Electron Cash team and nChain will mutually agree on what software projects will be done under this initiative. Initial projects are expected to include development of:

  1. Development of a new ‘native’ Android Electron Cash wallet
  2. Development of an iOS version of the Electron Cash wallet
  3. Development of a feature phone (Nokia) version of the Electron Cash wallet

The Electron Cash team will manage all development. Enhancing CoinGeek.com’s financial investment, nChain will provide technical advice, support from its research and development team members, and intellectual property licenses when relevant for selected projects. nChain’s Chief Scientist Craig Wright will work with the Electron Cash team to advise on projects.

CoinGeek.com owner, Calvin Ayre, is hoping his investment can support powerful new applications for the BCH chain. Ayre comments: “Anybody with a knowledge of BCH understands that it is the all-in-one cryptocurrency for the future. But BCH is in its early stages, and needs more technical advancements to make it easily used in daily life – especially at the enterprise level. That’s why we support open source projects that make sure the best ideas in cryptocurrency are built into the BCH ecosystem.”

Jonald Fyookball, from the Electron Cash team, remarks: “To have this level of financial muscle from CoinGeek.com and technical expertise from nChain means we have the resources to develop numerous software projects that will help the BCH community. We are excited to contribute our part to help achieve the original Satoshi Nakamoto white paper’s vision that got us all so excited in the first place.”

nChain Group CEO, Jimmy Nguyen, added: “This three-party initiative with Electron Cash, CoinGeek.com and nChain exemplifies the teamwork that is needed, with groups around the world, for Bitcoin Cash to succeed.  We’re especially excited to work with the Electron Cash team to help realize implementations of some of our patent-pending inventions – such as blinded threshold signatures.”

Open source initiatives are only part of CoinGeek.com’s efforts to support Bitcoin Cash growth.  Ayre adds:  “Creating better BCH applications is important but just the beginning.  We are also launching campaigns to educate merchants about the benefits of adopting Bitcoin Cash as a lower fee, fast payment system.  These educational efforts will really hit a peak at our CoinGeek Conference in Hong Kong this May.”

In addition to this partnership with Electron Cash, CoinGeek.com intends to support more initiatives that will enable global growth and adoption of Bitcoin Cash. If you are a developer or technology venture that needs funding to develop projects or applications for the Bitcoin Cash chain, send your pitch via http://coingeek.com/contact.

*A single terabyte block (added every 10 minutes) can contain about 4 billion Bitcoin transactions, and provide capacity of 7 million transactions per second.

Note: Tokens in the SegWit chain are referred to as SegWit1X (BTC) and SegWit Gold (SWG) and are no longer Bitcoin. Bitcoin Cash (BCH) is the only true  Bitcoin as intended by the original Satoshi white paper.  Bitcoin BCH is the only public block chain that offers safe and cheap microtransactions.

Samsung begins manufacturing cryptocurrency mining hardware

South Korea’s electronics and tech behemoth is now officially a player in the cryptocurrency space.

In a report published by Korean capital market news site The Bell, Samsung Electronics Co., Ltd. has begun the production phase for ASIC (application-specific integrated circuit) miners and other cryptocurrency mining peripherals.

Confirming the news in a tweet, cryptocurrency analyst Joseph Young opined that Samsung’s move to create and sustain their own foundry dedicated to cryptocurrency mining is “unprecedented,” adding that it would most likely “provide Bitmain its first real competitor.”

In the report by The Bell, however, a long-term plan was revealed in which Samsung has partnered up with a Chinese bitcoin mining equipment manufacturer, a partnership that began in 2017. It was only this year that the design and development of Samsung’s own ASIC chips were finished. This is related to news of Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (TSMC) taking mass orders for ASIC miners from Bitmain.

With suppliers like TSMC and now Samsung both providing for major mining companies like Bitmain, the revenues for the foundry business is expected to rise. Samsung Securities analyst Hwang Min-seong, however, said that “[While] Samsung Electronics could increase its revenues through ASIC chip manufacturing but because the foundry only accounts for a small portion of the company’s semi-conductor manufacturing plant, it is difficult to predict that the firm’s mining venture will have a significant impact on the company’s revenues.”

The new foundry is expected to expand its operation in coming years, with Samsung planning ventures from China to other Asian regions like South Korea and Japan which both have strong demand for cryptocurrencies despite government regulation. The foundry’s operation is aligned with the demand from the Chinese bitcoin mining firm that Samsung has partnered with.

As a new player in the foundry business, Samsung’s position isn’t one poised at targeting revenues, rather, it is merely opening and laying out foundations for future ventures. After its brief showcase of upcycled old smartphones repurposed as crypto mining rigs last year, Samsung also has GPU-based mining development in its roadmap for the newly-opened foundry. With its well-established portfolio for large-scale and sophisticated semi-conductor manufacturing, Samsung is stable enough to provide for and match the demand by major mining companies like Bitmain.

With the rising demand for prominent cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin Cash, ASIC mining rigs have also experienced increased orders. Mining ventures have attracted strong investments from global players and continue to expand as more people are enlightened about the benefits of cryptocurrencies for a future filled with unrestricted growth, global adoption, permissionless innovation, and decentralized development.

Note: Tokens in the SegWit chain are referred to as SegWit1X (BTC) and SegWit Gold (SWG) and are no longer Bitcoin. Bitcoin Cash (BCH) is the only true  Bitcoin as intended by the original Satoshi white paper.  Bitcoin BCH is the only public block chain that offers safe and cheap microtransactions.

Dr. Craig Wright shuts down skeptics with wheelbarrow of credentials

Dr. Craig Wright has set the record straight once and for all.

The chief scientist of blockchain technology and research firm nChain Group was again questioned on his credentials during the Bitcoin Meetup Switzerland in Zurich, where he was scheduled to speak.

This time, Wright came prepared—with a wheelbarrow full of his academic achievements.

“I said I didn’t want to validate everything. I can use doctor in validating one degree, I don’t need to [use] two… there’s several bits of proof on the internet already. There’s my thesis on the internet already. There’s other ones, there’s several master’s degrees, there’s the university page that has god knows how much about me back there,” Wright said before bringing out the handcart.

Among the certificates that were pulled out from the pile were Doctor of Philosophy, Masters of Science in Information Security Management, Master of Statistics, Master of Networking and System Administration, Master of Management- Information Technology, and a Master of Law with commendation.

Watch the video here.


Wright will be at the Phoenix in London on Thursday, February 1, for “Talk: A Bitcoin Cash World with Dr. Craig Wright.

In this talk, moderated by the nChain group CEO Jimmy Nguyen, Wright will share his vision for “Bitcoin Cash World” where Bitcoin is used on a daily basis by merchants, consumers, banks, and other participants across the world’s economy. Doors open at 6:30 p.m. for a 7:30 p.m. start.

Note: Tokens in the SegWit chain are referred to as SegWit1X (BTC) and SegWit Gold (SWG) and are no longer Bitcoin. Bitcoin Cash (BCH) is the only true  Bitcoin as intended by the original Satoshi white paper.  Bitcoin BCH is the only public block chain that offers safe and cheap microtransactions.

Financial regulator shuts down German crypto brokerage

Germany’s financial regulator, the German Financial Supervisory Authority, has issued an order shutting down the financial brokerage arm of a Berlin-based cryptocurrency exchange in a move that could indicate the regulator adopting a tougher stance on cryptocurrency businesses in the country.

BaFin, which is tasked with overseeing markets and the broader financial system in Germany, decreed that Crypto.exchange GmbH must immediately cease acting as a financial broker, following announcements made on one of the company’s websites.

On its btc-now.de site, Crypto.exchange offered to sell bitcoins for euros, with the firm then selling the cryptocurrency on exchanges. The company was claiming to forward money to its customers within 30 minutes, as part of this alleged brokerage process, according to the regulator.

BaFin said Crypto.exchange is not licensed to operate this type of service, and concerns were raised initially when several customers reported that they had failed to receive payment as part of their transactions.

According to a translated statement from the regulator, Crypto.exchange has gone outside of the terms of their licensing in operating a financial commission business, a regulated activity in its own right.

“The company advertised on the Internet – including on the site www.btc-now.de – to exchange Bitcoin in euros. It claimed to have been audited by the BaFin. Investors should transfer their bitcoins to the company, which in turn wanted to sell them on a stock exchange. The purchase price achieved there should be transferred to the investors within 30 minutes,” the regulator said. “As a result, Crypto.exchange GmbH operates a financial commission business. The BaFin expressly understood that the company operates against its own advertising, and without the required authorization by the BaFin.”

The move comes as only the latest steps taken by the German regulator to tighten up the cryptocurrency sector there.

Back in April 2017, the regulator took action against payment processors involved in the notorious OneCoin cryptocurrency, a project that has come in from strong criticism from analysts and regulators alike.

In the weeks following a decision by Italian authorities to fine OneCoin in the order of €2.6 million ($3.2 million), the BaFin ordered connected companies in Germany to ‘dismantle’ the parts of their business that dealt with OneCoin at the time.

Note: Tokens in the SegWit chain are referred to as SegWit1X (BTC) and SegWit Gold (SWG) and are no longer Bitcoin. Bitcoin Cash (BCH) is the only true  Bitcoin as intended by the original Satoshi white paper.  Bitcoin BCH is the only public block chain that offers safe and cheap microtransactions.

Investors call ‘Crypto-Wonderland’ BitConnect a Ponzi scheme

Cryptocurrency exchange BitConnect is embroiled in a legal battle with a group of investors who accused the company of operating a “wide-reaching Ponzi scheme.”

According the class action lawsuit filed at the federal court in West Palm Beach, Florida, BitConnect and its associated marketers promoted an idea which has “illogically promised” monthly returns of 40%, with a 1% compounding daily interest, disregarding market performance. The plaintiffs also claimed that “things at BitConnect weren’t what they seemed to be.”

However, the cease-and-desist letters that BitConnect received from the states of Texas and North Carolina only discontinued its lending platform, shutting down the alleged Ponzi scheme, leaving investors with unusable tokens as the coin crashed 90% of its average value, depreciating further as its own executives hastened its demise.

Claiming to have lost a total of $771,000 to BitConnect, the plaintiffs accused the company, its directors, as well as all its associates of violations of state and federal securities laws and deceptive trade practices, among other claims.

The investors compared BitConnect’s narrative to “Wonderland” a story based on Lewis Carroll’s Alice stories. Convinced that its fictive elements present a danger to the investing public, the plaintiffs said their goal was “to prevent the wrongdoers from simply turning off the lights and dancing away singing: ‘Ciao, baby, gotta run!’”

Signing for the litigation was David Silver, a Florida-based lawyer who specializes in cryptocurrency-related cases. The case dossier does not list any lawyer for BitConnect or any other defendants.

With the two states prohibiting BitConnect’s sale of securities, falsely led investors in the crypto scene quickly reacted with major sell orders, effectively abandoning the coin. As of writing, BitConnect’s market cap has dwindled from $2.6 billion to a mere $57 million, according to CoinMarketCap.com

Without a whitepaper describing its business structure in detail, the people involved with BitConnect’s shady business are reportedly on the run. Despite all these, the infringements done by BitConnect and its associates are not enough to make it stop, according to reports. After its announced shutdown, BitConnect is still operation, with an offshoot called BitConnectX holding an ICO reserved for U.S.-based buyers.

Other coins that appeared to improve as a result of the shutdown surfaced almost instantly in the crypto market. Scheming new ways to obscurely advertise a Ponzi scheme, Davorcoin (DAV) and other altcoins continued the same strategy employed by BitConnect: pose as lending platforms in which users may lock their funds for a certain time, and thereafter receive daily returns for doing so. Such opportunist overtones are often seen in recent forking frenzies over crypto, and the continuation of what is exactly the same Ponzi schemes is alarming.

With all the heat brewing in the crypto world, it’s best for new users, particularly, to place their trust on major networks like Bitcoin Cash whose stability and scalability has been proven by its passionate community backed by decentralized development. As the true remaining version of Satoshi Nakamoto’s vision for peer-to-peer digital cash, Bitcoin Cash is poised to take on the future.

Note: Tokens in the SegWit chain are referred to as SegWit1X (BTC) and SegWit Gold (SWG) and are no longer Bitcoin. Bitcoin Cash (BCH) is the only true  Bitcoin as intended by the original Satoshi white paper.  Bitcoin BCH is the only public block chain that offers safe and cheap microtransactions.

Buying coffee with crypto? Not with BTC, says Starbucks exec

Optimism often comes with vague ideas. In a company conference call whose transcript is published online, Starbucks’ executive chairman Howard Schultz reportedly said he does not “believe that Bitcoin is going to be a currency today or in the future,” clarifying that he was, instead, “talking about the new technology of blockchain and the possibility of what could happen not in the near term.”

While Schultz expressed confidence in what blockchain technology could offer to commercial establishments such as Starbucks, he is also wary because of the legacy Bitcoin or SegWit1x’s (BTC) volatility in terms of its current position as a digital asset. Despite this, Schultz said he “personally believe(s) that there is going to be one or a few legitimate, trusted digital currencies off of the blockchain technology.”

Schultz’ opinion that Bitcoin isn’t in a position to establish itself as a legitimate currency is correct, except that it’s a generalized statement. Bitcoin, or what’s left of the SegWit chain, does not represent all cryptocurrencies.

For micro-payments there are cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin Cash designed to make quick, low-cost transactions over a securely connected network. Buying a $3 cup of coffee shouldn’t rake in ten times the same amount in processing fees for a transaction that would take about half an hour (two blocks mined after the transaction order). This is the case with BTC, a highly-congested cryptocurrency network which relies on a single corporate-controlled development team.

In a recent interview, CEO Kevin Johnson talked about Starbuck’s first cashless store located in downtown Seattle, noting that both payment platforms and payments are constantly evolving. The giant coffee chain just might be ahead of its competitors in the race to adopt major cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin Cash for in-store payments.

Schultz offered a criteria for what would constitute a cryptocurrency’s success in the mainstream, saying that it will have to “be legitimatized by a brand in a brick-and-mortar environment, where the consumer has trust and confidence in the company that is providing the transaction.”

As a global brand, Starbucks’ statements and attitude towards cryptocurrencies in general will shape consumer behavior for years to come. Starbucks’ unique market position and commodity infrastructure is critical because if it adopts a certain cryptocurrency in the near future, it would mean legitimacy for that cryptocurrency. And if they follow the footsteps of Kodak and make their own cryptocurrency, it would influence their consumers towards trusting cryptocurrencies and/or blockchain technology.

At the moment, Bitcoin Cash is the best and cheapest way of buying a cup of coffee through a cryptocurrency. Here’s a meme from Reddit that illustrates its features:

Buying coffee with crypto? Not with BTC, says Starbucks exec

Note: Tokens in the SegWit chain are referred to as SegWit1X (BTC) and SegWit Gold (SWG) and are no longer Bitcoin. Bitcoin Cash (BCH) is the only true  Bitcoin as intended by the original Satoshi white paper.  Bitcoin BCH is the only public block chain that offers safe and cheap microtransactions.

Robinhood’s commission-free trading campaign was a blast, but the fine prints are a dud

What’s the catch?

More than one million users have signed up for early access to fledgling cryptocurrency exchange Robinhood after they announced last Thursday that they will be offering zero-commission trading when they launch their platform in February. And with a long line of cryptocurrencies on their list, enthusiasts both new and experienced are intrigued.

Throwing shade at other brokers, such as E*trade who spent more than any other brokerage firm for their talking baby campaign on the Super Bowl, Robinhood’s video explains how they are able to offer the free service.

“Other brokers have brick and mortar stores. They spend millions on Super Bowl ads—Robinhood doesn’t. And the savings are passed on to you.”

However, some are not impressed. Like any logical person, this begs the question: what’s in it for them? If you’re not paying, what are they getting out of this? Surely, they have overhead expenses even when they choose to opt out of Superbowl sponsorships.

The fine print—those tiny texts at the bottom of that page

Apparently, Robinhood does have a fees table at the bottom of that page—the ones in tiny fonts in paragraph form. Their Commission and Fee schedule shows that although individuals trading for themselves and buying US listed stocks and over-the-counter securities do not get charged commissions, the brokerage derives income from those trading foreign stocks and charges fees for other activities such as withdrawals. They also earn interests on cash and securities in accounts, “much like a bank collects interest on cash deposits.” They also charge for margin trading accounts—their “Gold” memberships starting at $6 for 30 days with a “buying power” of $1,000.

And $1,000 is not a lot in the cryptotrading industry. This means that it’s highly likely that heavy traders will have to upgrade their accounts at some point. They may still be cheaper or at least competitive against existing alternatives. At the moment, most brokers also limit their supported tokens to a few well-known ones. Although it’s an absolute certainty that if they actually manage to bite off a huge chunk of the market, these industry players will not take the competition lying down.

Finally, while Robinhood had a very effective sales pitch, the even finer print echoes what critics above suspect. There are fees; they’re just not as upfront about it in their campaign, or on their website.

The annoying thing is that the fine prints can’t get any smaller. And really, what the hell is with the almost-paper white fonts?

Note: Tokens in the SegWit chain are referred to as SegWit1X (BTC) and SegWit Gold (SWG) and are no longer Bitcoin. Bitcoin Cash (BCH) is the only true  Bitcoin as intended by the original Satoshi white paper.  Bitcoin BCH is the only public block chain that offers safe and cheap microtransactions.