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July 2015

Coinbase Card | Now You Can Spend Your Crypto Instantly

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Coinbase card

Coinbase card

The Coinbase card is looking to make cryptocurrencies easier to pay with.

Over a long time, Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies such as Litecoin, Ethereum, and Ripple’s XRP have been criticized that they are hard to use and spend in the real world compared to fiat currency.

Last week, the price of Bitcoin surged to $5,000, but due to its volatility and instability, BTC is still not considered the best means of payment. Bitcoin is thus considered to be a store of value just like gold instead of being an exchange currency.

However, these perceptions are about to change following the teaming up of Bitcoin and Coinbase with Visa. The aim of the collaboration is to try and change the criticism surrounding cryptocurrency with the launch of the Coinbase Card that will allow users to spend cryptocurrency effortlessly like traditional fiat currency in the bank.

Coinbase Card Could Be Used to Spend Bitcoin

Coinbase’s Visa debit card can be used with Bitcoin, Litecoin, Ethereum, and Ripple’s XRP in various locations across the globe. When the card is used, it converts Bitcoin to fiat currency, and the store or merchant receives the pay in fiat currency.

Using the new app, users will be able to choose their preferred cryptocurrency on the card. The card has the capability of backing all crypto assess available on the Coinbase platform. Users will be able to monitor their spending as the new app is able to produce receipts, spending and transaction details.

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“This is the first debit card to link directly with a major cryptocurrency exchange, allowing people to spend their crypto balances direct from their Coinbase account,” Coinbase said in a statement, announcing the launch of the card. “Previously available crypto cards required users to pre-load a specified amount of crypto onto their card, adding a point of friction to the process.”

The card is available in the UK, and Coinbase plans to launch it in other countries across Europe. The service will not be available for users outside of Europe. However, US Coinbase users will get to spend Bitcoin from their accounts through Apto payments, which is providing Coinbase with the technology.

The poaching of Christine Sandler by Fidelity Digital Assets from Coinbase is great news for Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies eyeing institutional support.

Featured image: DepositPhotos © Piter2121

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Bitcoin Recovers as Coronavirus Pandemic Continues to Hurt Markets

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Bitcoin

Bitcoin

On March 3, Bitcoin (BTC) price gained the most on speculation that the US Federal Reserve, as well as other central banks, will be supporting markets even as concerns of the coronavirus outbreak continue to grow.

Bitcoin Jumps Over 4% After Last Week’s Plunge

Bitcoin gained 4% to take its price to $8,895, having suffered a double-price decline last week. This is welcome news for Bitcoin bulls, following last week’s 14% drop, which was BTC’s largest weekly loss since November.  In the third week of November, Bitcoin dropped around 19%. Similarly, last week’s equity markets also dropped last week as investors appeared to shun risk on concerns that the COVID-19 outbreak will result in a slowdown in the global economy.

For instance, the S&P 500 stock index dropped for the seventh consecutive day on Friday last week. This massive sell-off wiped out its rally of five months from 2,855 to 3,393. However, the index still managed to outperform BTC weekly with an 11% drop. Despite the decline, BTC is still outperforming the S&P 500 and gold by 20% on a year to date basis.

BTC Far from Being a Safe-Haven Asset

In the past, some investors have touted Bitcoin as a safe-haven asset similar to US Treasury bonds or gold. However, that safe-haven status was put into question when BTC tumbled in the same manner as many stocks on the market. The sell-off did halt somewhat after authorities across the globe, including the Fed, IMF, World Bank, and Bank of Japan, indicated that they could assist in offsetting any economic damage resulting from the coronavirus outbreak.

>> Ripple Criticized for Unlocking XRP Worth $230 Million from Escrow

Cryptocurrency Company TradeBlock’s director of currency research, John Todaro, indicated that investors are recovering after last week’s massive sell-off. He said that the easy monetary policy from central banks will support markets, especially riskier equity markets, and thus could extend to cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin.

On Monday, the IMF and World Bank indicated that they would offer emergency funding, technical assistance, and policy advice to poor nations with weak health systems to tackle the virus.

Featured image: DepositPhotos © timbrk

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IBM Shipping Blockchain Grows with Two More Carriers on Board

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IBM Shipping Blockchain

IBM Shipping Blockchain

Announced today, IBM’s shipping blockchain, TradeLens, has signed up two more major shipping carriers. The tech giant owns the platform with container giant Maersk.

IBM Shipping Blockchain

Now, the company has added Hapag-Lloyd and Singapore-based Ocean Network Express (ONE) to the network. Both are leading shipping carriers–ranked fifth and sixth in terms of size, respectively.

Last month, TradeLens signed up global carriers CMA CGM and MSC.

IBM’s shipping blockchain was first launched in 2018 and, at the time, had only one other shipping carrier: Asia’s Pacific International Lines (PIL), along with Maersk and its subsidiary Hamburg Süd listed. The blockchain is built on the Hyperledger Fabric blockchain foundation.

Gaining Traction

In its first year, it struggled to list other carriers. According to sources, the competition was put off by the fact that TradeLens was owned by IBM and Maersk. However, now TradeLens has 15 container giants on board including ZIM, KMTC, Safmarine, Sealand, Seaboard Marine, Namsung, Boluda, and APL.

It seems that the latest to join, Hapag-Lloyd, believes IBM’s shipping blockchain offers “a much-needed transformation in the industry, including its partnership model.”

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TradeLens

There is competition out there to IBM and Maersk’s blockchain that may have initially swayed its fleet away from TradeLens. One example is a shipping blockchain pilot run by Accenture. This project initially included Singapore-based shipping carrier APL and giant Kuehne + Nagel. However, the former along with its parent company, CMA CGM, has since chosen to join TradeLens.

Todd Scott of IBM detailed this further in an interview with CoinDesk:

“There were some other projects that I think that some of the carriers had engaged in that may not have produced the same kind of results [as TradeLens]. So I think that may have played a role as well.”

IBM has another major supply chain distributed ledger, the Walmart-backed Food Trust, which is also live.

Featured Image: DepositPhotos © ilfede

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Assembly Bill 953 | New Legislation Combines Weed and Stablecoins

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Assembly Bill 953

Assembly Bill 953

Lawmakers in California have introduced a new bill geared towards cannabis companies. Assembly Bill 953 was introduced on February 21st. This new piece of legislation would allow cannabis-related businesses to pay taxes and fees in digital currency—more specifically, in stablecoins.

Assembly Bill 953

If passed, Assembly Bill 953 would allow all California-based tax offices (state, city, and county) to accept stablecoins as a form of payment. Cannabis companies would be able to pay their cultivation taxes with stablecoins. At this time, a specific stablecoin has not been identified, and it remains unknown if all forms of stablecoins will be accepted.

Assembly Bill 953 wouldn’t go into effect until January 1st, 2020, if it is approved at all.

Currently, the state of California imposes a 15% state excise tax on cannabis and cannabis products. Because of this, cannabis companies tend to owe quite high taxes.

Another issue many cannabis businesses have run into is securing simple financing services from banks. There are a few states that have legalized the use of recreational cannabis, but it is deemed illegal under federal law. Most banks are secured by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) and won’t finance ‘illegal’ activity.

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Due to this, cannabis companies hold hundreds of thousands of dollars in cash at any given time. Assembly Bill 953 is not geared towards boosting cryptocurrency or the legitimacy of stablecoins, but more to reduce the vast majority of cash that gets flooded into the tax offices across the state.

California’s State Treasurer, Fina Ma, recently testified in front of the US House Committee regarding the amounts of cash collected. Ma said:

“Duffel bags and sometimes suitcases of cash would arrive quarterly at some of our designated offices and some business owners had to drive 350 miles to pay their taxes.”

It remains unknown at this time when Assembly Bill 953 could be approved.

Featured Image: Pixabay

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