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How Bitcoin is Faring So Far

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Bitcoin

Bitcoin

The coronavirus crisis has seen Bitcoin price nosedive in one of the greatest Bitcoin price crashes since its inception. With a 52% drop in price in a single week, the coronavirus has left many Bitcoin enthusiasts scratching their heads. Even the legendary crypto trader, Peter Brandt, who predicted Bitcoin’s peak way back in 2017, tweeted that he wouldn’t be shocked if it crashed to $1,000 and below.

Will Bitcoin recover from such a huge crash? And can it still be trusted to store value over time? These are just some of the questions that people are seeking to answer, and the uncertainly over the answers is part of the reason behind the huge sell-off. But before judging Bitcoin too harshly, it is worth noting that even fiat markets have crashed thanks to the coronavirus mayhem. In fact, equity markets have seen their worst crash since 2008.

Here are some logical reasons why Bitcoin is crashing:

People Prefer Holding Cash When in Crisis

The huge sell-off in both equities and cryptocurrency can be explained by the notion that cash is king. When people panic, they quickly resort to hoarding cash due to fear that the prices of their investments will nosedive. Investors are taking back their money with the intention of buying back into the market at the bottom, while the rest of us are just responding to fear and uncertainty. Additionally, Bitcoin is yet to be fully accepted as a mode of payment, and people want to have enough paper money to buy food and medicine just in case the crisis worsens by the day.

Non-Hodlers

Late adopters of Bitcoin and cryptocurrencies may not appreciate the value of hodling their Bitcoin amidst the swings in the market. Analysts believe the huge sell-off is from investors that got into Bitcoin in the last 1-2 years. In their fear of losing more than they have already lost, they are cutting their losses and cashing out. Serious hodlers have been into Bitcoin for years and have already seen huge dives before, so the current crash shouldn’t make them quite as nervous. The early adopters understand from experience that every time Bitcoin goes down, it inevitably bounces back.

Speculation

Cryptocurrency is a highly speculative market. This, compounded with the fact that it is relatively new when compared to other markets, makes it very volatile. Additionally, there is no central body that regulates prices. When trading on the stock market, regulating authorities can suspend trading sessions when there is an unprecedented sell-off. In fact, trading was put to a stand-still quite a number of times on the NYSE this past week to safeguard investors from losing too much due to traders that are responding to fear. Since Bitcoin doesn’t have any such body regulating it, sellers can dump their shares of Bitcoin anytime. Bitcoin is also one of the easiest markets to enter. Traders and investors do not need to have a brokerage account in order to participate in the market. This also attracts investors of all kinds of experience levels, and that contributes to the huge speculative nature of Bitcoin.

>> Bitcoin (BTC) Soars 10% on Strong Momentum: A Change Coming?

Bitcoin price has dropped significantly as a result of the coronavirus outbreak. However, price surges are anything but new in cryptocurrency. Once this crisis is over, Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies will most likely recover as they have always done after a sharp decline. It is not clear how far Bitcoin price will drop, but, however far it drops, it will most likely bounce back. This could be a great time to buy Bitcoin and just wait for the bounce back.

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6 Types of Crypto Assets You Need to Know About

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crypto assets

crypto assets

The cryptocurrency world is full of jargon; acronyms and futuristic words that could be straight out of the latest sci-fi flick.

Along with cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin and Litecoin, there are many other different types of crypto assets that can be found on the blockchain:

Stablecoins

As the name suggests, stablecoins are designed for stability. These are cryptocurrencies that are directly pegged to real-world assets. These assets could be precious metals like gold, oil, or silver, or national currencies like the dollar and euro. Regardless of the asset, the value of each individual stablecoin aims to remain the same as the asset it represents: A dollar-backed stablecoin, for example, should be worth one dollar.

By tapping into the relative stability of real-world assets, stablecoins are designed to bring consistency to the cryptocurrency ecosystem. When volatility hits, traders can quickly swap cryptocurrencies back to a stable currency without the bother of converting to fiat.

Blockchain Platforms

Although most people refer to Ethereum as a cryptocurrency, the actual currency powering the Ethereum network is called Ether. As a currency, Ether lets users pay for processing power to run smart contracts on the network, or buy products and services within Ethereum like ICO tokens.

As a blockchain platform, Ethereum is designed to run smart contracts that form the infrastructure for a range of projects, like Microsoft’s Ethereum on Azure, and the Amazon Web Services blockchain framework.

Privacy Coins

Newcomers to Bitcoin often mistakenly think that transactions with the cryptocurrency are private. But, Bitcoin only offers pseudonymity rather than anonymity. All Bitcoin transactions are recorded on a public ledger under a code that can be traced back to a real-world identity with a little detective work.

>> Why Goldman Sachs is Wrong About Bitcoin

Anonymous cryptocurrencies—like ZCash and Monero—aim to provide all the benefits of Bitcoin in a completely private package. This means that, theoretically, no record is kept of the transaction.

Utility Tokens

Basic Attention Token (BAT) is an example of another category of cryptocurrencies: Utility Tokens. These cryptocurrencies aim to fulfill a specific need within a blockchain platform.

Unlike security tokens, utility tokens are not intended as an investment. Instead, they are more similar to a coupon offered by a store to be used specifically for their products, or a pre-ordered token that promises access to a service that is still in development. BAT, for example, is used as payment within the Brave Browser.

Tokenized Assets

Similar to stablecoins, tokenized assets are digital representations of real-world assets on the blockchain.

These tokens represent ownership of the underlying asset. If the asset was an apartment, for example, each token might represent a room. Ownership rights to that specific room would be written into the token smart contract, and the tokens can then be traded on a crypto exchange.

This has the advantage of providing liquidity, making it easier to trade traditionally illiquid assets like real estate, and also immutability, with the blockchain guaranteeing that ownership information cannot be easily changed.

Security Tokens

Security tokens are traditional securities, transposed to the blockchain. Just like ordinary shares, these represent the purchase of a small percentage of a company and might pay holders a share of the company profits, and confer certain rights—like the ability to vote on the future direction of the company.

Unlike Initial Coin Offerings, which are unregistered, security tokens should be fully compliant with SEC regulations.

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Will Crypto Surpass Gold as a Reserve Currency?

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reserve currency

reserve currency

Gold has been the world’s standard reserve currency for hundreds of years. Even as the world has moved to fiat currency, governments and investors alike still look to gold as a reliable alternative. Given recent volatility, though, it may be crypto’s chance to step in as a different, perhaps more secure option.

On Tuesday, August 11, gold experienced its largest one-day drop in seven years. Prices per ounce fell by 4.7% between Monday and Tuesday, bringing them down from above $2,000 to $1,932.28. This recent drop isn’t the only problem that the precious metal has on its hands, either.

Today’s transactions happen so fast and so frequently that gold transfers can’t keep up. It’s easy enough to transfer tokens representing gold from nation to nation, but moving the actual gold reserves presents a challenge. In the face of these issues, cryptocurrency may provide a solution.

Is Cryptocurrency Less Volatile Than Gold?

Crypto and gold share many similarities, especially in how they compare to fiat currency. Both lack the volatility of fiat currency due to their limited supply, for instance. Gold may not be able to sustain modern markets, though, whereas crypto was born out of the internet age.

Since crypto payments utilize blockchain technology, transaction speed isn’t an issue. Some cryptocurrencies also have measures in place, like Bitcoin halving, that proactively defend against inflation, helping them remain more stable. Still, crypto does have some issues with volatility that gold doesn’t.

Crypto markets are substantially smaller than traditional ones, so small movements have a more significant effect. With such a minuscule market, changes in demand affect the value of crypto more heavily. An alternative may be gold-backed crypto, which might offer the best of both worlds.

With gold-based cryptocurrencies, like the recently-launched Tether Gold, tokens represent an amount of gold instead of representing themselves. The value of physical gold anchors these cryptocurrencies, making them less volatile, while they still offer the speed and security of the blockchain. At the same time, if the value of gold fluctuates, it would cause these cryptocurrencies to shift as well.

Crypto Technologies Gaining Legitimacy

The most substantial barrier to crypto becoming a publicly-accepted reserve currency is its perceived legitimacy. In the past, the public has been distrusting of crypto, but that’s starting to change. More noteworthy people, organizations, and countries are starting to dive into crypto and blockchain.

Several financial giants, like Goldman Sachs and Bank of America, have started using blockchain technology. They may not be using crypto, but accepting crypto’s underlying technology is a substantial step forward. If nothing else, it brings them one step closer to cryptocurrency.

In Venezuela, the public turned to cryptocurrency when the nation’s fiat currency caused a crisis. As inflation rose to around 2,616%, businesses started accepting Bitcoin as an alternative. This real-world example of how crypto can act as a reserve currency could inspire countries to make that switch on a national level.

Crypto Still Has a Ways to Go, But the Future is Promising

Cryptocurrency is still a long way from becoming globally accepted as a reserve currency. Too many people, especially governments, are too distrusting. Despite these obstacles, though, recent events paint a positive picture of crypto’s future, especially as traditional systems fail.

With faith in fiat currency falling and gold prices fluctuating, crypto stands as a promising alternative. The world won’t switch to crypto immediately, but changes are likely to start taking place soon.

This article was curated through CryptoCurrencyNews’ Contributor Program. If you would like to write for us, send us your submission!

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Why Goldman Sachs is Wrong About Bitcoin

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Goldman Sachs

Goldman Sachs

Bitcoin is one of the most popular cryptocurrencies out there, and it continues growing each year. The digital currency world has become popular for online transactions and enhanced security. However, some remain skeptical. Goldman Sachs recently held a briefing with investors where leaders discussed the crypto world with clients. The results, though, were not what crypto-enthusiasts were hoping for.

As new tech advances the crypto world, some believe Goldman Sachs is falling behind due to its rejection of Bitcoin. On the other hand, the bank remains firm in its decision. It’s unclear if things will change in the future, but the bank listed reasons for its apprehension—and criticism followed.

The Initial Discussion

Last week, news started circulating that leaders from Goldman Sachs were going to discuss cryptocurrency in a briefing with investors and clients. The initial news sparked interest among followers of both the bank and Bitcoin—the primary focus of cryptocurrency.

Shortly after the briefing, however, documents leaked online that showed the coverage of Bitcoin. Crypto-proponents were disappointed to see the bank had no interest in the token or plans to invest or encourage clients to invest.

Goldman Sachs listed several reasons for its hesitation and disinterest. First, the bank stated that Bitcoin doesn’t generate enough cash flow in the same way that bonds do. The other primary claim is that the cryptocurrency does not foster enough global economic growth to be an asset. Goldman Sachs also listed the volatility, lack of hedging against inflation, and potential insecurity as detriments.

Illicit activity is a major concern from the bank. The general public has heard cases of cryptocurrency fostering ransomware breaches, money laundering, and illegal darknet use. With these reasons in the leaked documents, the bank didn’t comment further.

The lack of investments and interest from Goldman Sachs stirred controversy, especially on Twitter. Users and followers were unhappy with this decision—the consensus being that the bank is moving in the wrong direction of progress.

>> Bitcoin Price Hits Two-Week Low, Garnering Interest from Small Investors

The Mistake of Disinterest

Since cryptocurrency, and especially Bitcoin, is taking off, the criticism towards Goldman Sachs isn’t surprising. The banking group typically guides clients towards any investments that will fare well in the market. Since Bitcoin is a high-performing investment, criticism of its decision has poured in.

As one of the biggest banking establishments in history, Goldman Sachs needs to stay current with new opportunities. Since technology is driving societies across the world within the digital realm, the bank should follow that movement.

Cryptocurrency has emerged as one of the most innovative outcomes of the technological transition. Many now feel that Goldman Sachs’ blind eye will end negatively for its clients. As the market for Bitcoin expands and adapts, Goldman Sachs’ clients could be missing out on an important asset that drives profits upward.

In response to the comments and documents from the briefing, many individuals and critics are calling the views outdated. Others are going so far as to call the statements hypocritical—in particular, in terms of the cybersecurity and cybercrime comments. Recently, Goldman Sachs found itself in hot water with a money-laundering scandal involving $6 billion. Critics pointed out the double standard of the bank’s distrust of Bitcoin with this example.

Ultimately, though, some followers saw this rejection coming. Others are still making sense of it. Modernization involves the digital realm—dismissing it is a mistake.

Bitcoin’s Performance

Like most cryptocurrency, Bitcoin has an extremely volatile market. It fluctuates daily and can drop or skyrocket based on investments and interest. However, despite these changes, it continues growing as a platform. More businesses and individuals are using Bitcoin as a means of transactions—it’s essentially its own currency.

Those who invest in or follow Bitcoin will want to keep an eye on its patterns. Its resilience can influence its price increases—meaning it can bounce back faster than it drops. When it does, the price can reach new heights. Goldman Sachs will miss out on this opportunity, as will its clients.

Room for Change

Though Goldman Sachs’ decision doesn’t appear to be in line with more modern approaches, the bank won’t likely be making changes anytime soon. However, if Bitcoin’s performance continues showing resilience with more investments and uses, the bank could eventually change its mind. With the interest of Goldman Sachs, Bitcoin—and the thousands of other cryptocurrencies—could have more room for growth than ever before.

This article was curated through CryptoCurrencyNews’ Contributor Program. If you would like to write for us, send us your submission!

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The Role of Blockchain Technology in High-End and Luxury Retail

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blockchain technology

blockchain technology

For every luxury brand, class and sophistication remain key attributes that make them different from other run-of-the-mill brands. The customers of luxury products generally remain very sensitive to the delicate aspects of products. In recent years, blockchain technology has emerged as a solution for serving this clientele.

With an estimated market value of $3 trillion, luxury items offer a big opportunity for retailers. But being successful in this niche requires a solid command over the technologies and tools in order to ensure more transparency, product value, and a great shopping experience.

In this post, we are going to explain the key attributes of blockchain-based luxury retail and the key advantages of using blockchain technology for the retail market.

Blockchain in Retail Fashion & Luxury: Key Value Propositions

Blockchain is becoming increasingly popular as a technology solution for the retail industry. There are many benefits of using this technology, but here we will first have a brief look at the key value propositions of blockchain for luxury retail.

  • Transparency: Thanks to blockchain technology, customers can have access to company claims that can be verified instantly before trusting any information.
  • Easy way to track: Thanks to easy traceability, companies can keep track of the entire process and provenance of various products from their sources to the sales counter.
  • Easier trading with the value: Blockchain technology will also integrate digital currencies like Bitcoin or Ethereum for tokenizing the value of various assets and make transactions through them.

Apart from these key attributes, blockchain can help modern retail in many ways and literally bring about a revolution in the retail of luxury products. Let us explain these advantages one by one.

>> Bitcoin Soars Above $9K Mark with Strong Momentum

Blockchain for Retail of Organic and Sustainable Luxury Items

There are many products that simply bear the “luxury” tag because of their organic roots and sustainable ingredients. Blockchain technology can actually help the practices and traditions of these organic products, in addition to helping their marketability.

Blockchain is capable of tracking any product throughout its entire life cycle, including its constituent ingredients and their sources.

The tremendous boost to transparency in supply chain tracking gives the manufacturer brands and retailers a detailed bird’s-eye view of the entire value chain. From the sourcing of the ingredients to the entire processing of various parts to the assembly line to the labeling of the goods, blockchain can keep track of every detail of the entire product life cycle. This will maintain better quality and authenticity of the organic and sustainable production practices.

Redefining Customer Experience

Since luxury items are expensive, customers expect great shopping experiences and great post-sales support from the brands. Good customer service is a prerequisite for any luxury brand to survive and flourish with popularity among its target audience. Blockchain technology can help retailers and manufacturers play a more responsible role for delivering great customer experience.

It is a known fact that buyers of luxury items have zero tolerance for mediocrity in customer service or business processes. Naturally, regular customer service provided by common brands just cannot fit the customer expectations of luxury brands.

Blockchain-based payment solutions like smart contracts can help customers to enjoy a more transparent payment process. With smart contracts, the payments are initiated only when both the sellers and the customers reach an agreement on the conditions of the transaction. This means the technology allows customers to pay for a product only when they are fully satisfied. 

Superb after-sales service remains a key part of great customer service. The support team always works hard to help customers get the most out of their high-value items. Many manufacturing companies, particularly in the automobile and high-value gadget sectors, make a substantial income through the post-sales support. This is where a blockchain-based transparent supply chain and post-sales tracking of customer issues can play a great role.

Blockchain for Building Consumer Trust

For most fashion and luxury brands, transparency scores tremendously low, and most of them suffer from credibility crises among the users who have purchased their products once or a number of times. For fashion brands and luxury retailers, boosting this transparency score and improving consumer trust is extremely important. By using blockchain, luxury brands can now help customers authenticate and verify the processes and get a complete overview of the production very easily. Blockchain is increasingly being relied upon by luxury retailers all over the globe, principally to boost their credibility with a more traceable and transparent process open to their audience.

Trust of business brands is at the topmost priority for influencing buying decisions of consumers worldwide. From making the supply chain processes transparent and traceable to building consumer trust scores, blockchain technology and smart contracts can play a great role in assuring this. A better trust score and transparency will also improve the branding and connection with the target audience for business brands.

>> Ethereum Soars Over 125% Since March: What to Expect Now?

Improving Data Management Through Blockchain

Many brands experience that data management in silos actually leads to less optimized processes and other critical issues related to reconciliation between several parties. This is where blockchain can play a great role, as the technology allows appending information continuously and securely while allowing access to this pool of information for different stakeholders and participants in a business process. When sharing information is crucial for maintaining optimum data security and trust, blockchain is the technology to opt for.

Blockchain for Reducing Costs

Finally, blockchain technology also plays a significant role in reducing the operational costs in the high-end retail fashion and luxury industry simply by helping with the quality of data management tools, boosting supply chain management, and minimizing the risk of counterfeit products and infiltration of grey market items.

Easier and smooth data management also helps reduce cost in other ways. In-time access to operational and business data helps to manage inventory and build trust in the outsourcing process. Blockchain offers a low footprint and easier way to append data layers to keep various processes in sync and informed.

Conclusion

The role of blockchain technology in high-end and luxury retail has already proved to be effective. In the years to come, more business brands entering into the luxury niche are likely to opt for blockchain technology.

This article was curated through CryptoCurrencyNews’ Contributor Program. If you would like to write for us, send us your submission!

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Persisting Problems | Will Blockchain Be Used in the Next US Election?

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blockchain election

blockchain election

Have you ever stepped inside a voting booth, submitted your choice electronically, and wondered, “Did the vote actually go through? What if a malicious party changes my vote?” Those kinds of doubts dominate discussions about election security. As voting increasingly happens via computerized equipment, cybersecurity experts often warn how it’s easier than someone may think to hack into a system and wreak havoc. 

Some people wonder then, might blockchain technology bring about a more secure way for people to vote? Let’s look at that possibility.

Politicians Bringing More Visibility to the Issue

Presidential hopeful Andrew Yang increased awareness of the idea that blockchain technology could solve some voting security and convenience issues. One of the central points of his campaign centered on modernizing voting by letting people cast ballots through mobile apps, then the blockchain verifying them. The idea on its face sounds great, especially since many individuals don’t like the prospect of waiting in long lines and taking time out of their already-busy schedules.

Also, the Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations, which is associated with the US Senate Committee on Homeland Security & Governmental Affairs, recently held a virtual roundtable to assess the feasibility of allowing Senate members to vote via online means due to the crises caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Among the topics brought up were end-to-end encryption, along with a blockchain-based voting tool. The memorandum about the meeting mentioned how the blockchain could reduce instances of incorrect vote tallies by providing a tamper-free record. It also brought up how Estonia is one of the countries already using the blockchain to run entirely-online elections. 

The information acknowledged, as well, that the blockchain is not a foolproof system. It discussed cryptographic errors, software bugs, and majority control of the blockchain falling into the wrong hands as possible risks. Everyone consulted during the discussion agreed with the necessity of a senator verifying their vote after casting it. The attendees discussed a variety of ways to make that happen.

We are not at the point where senators or anyone else in power is ready to approve any method of voting with help from blockchain. The fact that it’s in discussions as a viable option is a positive development, though.

Why Could the Blockchain Work Well?

Blockchain-supported voting could be a smart move because it may increase voter turnout. People often think of cryptocurrencies and the blockchain together. Younger and tech-savvier individuals often find cryptocurrency appealing due to how it keeps identities private. Plus, the idea of voting through an app attracts anyone who may experience difficulty getting to a polling station.

Plus, as the discussion above mentioned, the blockchain offers a transparent system that allows verifying a person’s votes and preventing tampering. The blockchain is not perfect, but it could give a voter more visibility to help them ensure they have their voice heard. 

Many people worry about the US voting system’s vulnerability. They assert something must happen soon, or we risk compromising our democracy. Moving ahead with the blockchain for voting would give the impression of progress made. 

Obstacles Associated With Voting Via the Blockchain

The blockchain is like most other technologies in that it has flaws. Some experts warn that it’s not ready for the kind of widespread usage a national election requires. Those are not unfounded concerns, either. 

Earlier in 2020, MIT researchers published a report about Voatz. It’s an app claiming to record votes on a permissioned blockchain. However, the group found no evidence that the app uses the blockchain to confirm genuine votes. Even more worrisome was that the investigation revealed how a party with remote access to the app could view a person’s vote and change it. 

Voatz is not the only app for voting with blockchain, but the MIT researchers showed hesitations that apply to them all. They mentioned how the people working on the apps might have good intentions but lack knowledge of election security. Also, another issue affecting the tech industry at large is that many new offerings reach the market before getting thoroughly reviewed. Companies race to be first, and security may get overlooked in that rush.

Another recent development concerns an open letter penned by experts in cybersecurity, science, and computing to address officials at all levels of government. They insist that no internet voting system has the required security, and relatedly, that blockchain cannot “mitigate the profound dangers inherent in internet voting.” The authors backed up their claims with two decades worth of science-based research. 

An initiative from the Kaspersky Innovation Hub uses blockchain differently. It resulted in a blockchain-secured voting machine that lets people submit ballots in person if desired. That setup still has an online component, so it does not eliminate the concerns expressed in the open letter. Kaspersky’s invention could ease the minds of people who balk at voting through a smartphone or computer, though.

Likely a Too-Short Timeframe

Voting with blockchain is undoubtedly on the table as an option for future consideration. Anyone excited about possibly sending their votes to the blockchain in the upcoming US presidential election likely has their hopes up far too high, however. That event is less than six months away, after all.

Something that seems more likely is that voting in many places around the country may happen differently than usual. The COVID-19 pandemic and the need for social distancing already means candidates cannot hold in-person rallies, and it’s difficult to imagine the circumstances changing enough before election day happens. People already encounter extremely long lines at polling stations, and they especially would if required to stay six feet apart. 

Voting by mail seems a much more viable option to use around the nation in November, mainly since some states already use it, as do American citizens living abroad. Rolling that system out to everyone is still far-fetched due to the timing, but it’s arguably more feasible than blockchain voting as things stand now.

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How Accepting Cryptocurrency Could Save Businesses Money

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accepting cryptocurrency

accepting cryptocurrency

If you’re like many, you’ve probably heard a lot about cryptocurrency in the past few years. It grows in popularity every day, and for businesses, it could save them money. When deciding if cryptocurrency will work for your business, you should also consider the pros and cons. For some companies, the integration will work well. For others, though, it may not yet be a wise investment.

What is Cryptocurrency?

Cryptocurrency is an internet-based form of money that uses blockchain technology and cryptographic properties to facilitate a transaction. It is a decentralized platform, meaning it has no authoritative figures, banks, or institutions that control the information and money transfers. You’re essentially in charge of your own funds.

The two most common types of cryptocurrency are Bitcoin and Ethereum, though there are many more lesser-known ones out there. Each uses blockchain technology for conducting transactions and maintaining security. Each block represents a transaction that cryptography connects in the digital realm. The blocks hold information like timestamps and authentication processes.

The transaction process is important because the blockchain ensures a certain amount of security. Though this technology makes it difficult for cybercriminals to steal or harm your funds, these incidents can still occur. If you’re considering cryptocurrency for your business, you’ll want to consider how much money you can make, retain, and use for purchases through crypto funds. You’ll also want to research the security level of your chosen platform.

Benefits of Accepting Cryptocurrency

A business will see many benefits when accepting cryptocurrency. It’s a newer form of payment that can add dimension to the services and products a seller provides.

Cryptocurrency’s decentralized platform appeals to many. Banks and institutions can often be difficult to work with. If you’d like to transfer your money or start an investment account, sometimes a bank will advise against it or encourage loans. With crypto funds, you can control everything yourself. This dynamic gives you more agency to invest and sell the way you want to.

Cryptocurrency also makes it easier for groups of people to pay together in one payment. Crowd-sourced payments are necessary at times, especially for joint business deals. At some other times, customers will simply want to split purchases. Cryptocurrency makes that easy through its various platforms. Plus, you’ll see all this activity in a public ledger, which ensures more security.

While these benefits can be financially helpful, several other advantages can directly save money for businesses.

>> 6 Types of Crypto Assets You Need to Know About

How It Can Save Money

For starters, transferring money with cryptocurrency is cheaper. Many payment services or banks may have fees that come with moving around your funds. Often, the more money you want to move, the higher the fee. When using cryptocurrency platforms, though, these fees are minuscule, which ultimately adds up so you can save.

Similarly, banks allow for chargebacks after business transactions occur. A chargeback lets a bank reverse a transaction, taking the money from a business and giving it back to the consumer. While these actions are sometimes necessary, it can be a significant loss of revenue for certain companies. Cryptocurrency doesn’t have chargebacks—all transactions are final. This dynamic lets the money stay with the business.

If you do choose to work with cryptocurrency, you can then expand your customer base. Among the demographics, millennials invest in cryptocurrency more than any other generation. As a business incorporates crypto payments, it will draw in more of this demographic. You can expect to see tech-savvy individuals supporting the company, too.

Cryptocurrency also makes international sales easier. There’s no intermediary, and you don’t need to adhere to conversions. Cryptocurrency is universal and can facilitate investments across borders.

Due to these money-saving benefits, the businesses that stand to gain the most from integrating cryptocurrency are bigger companies. Any business in the tech industry should start thinking about incorporating cryptocurrency, too, if they haven’t already. Progress remains frequent and fast in both of these areas—using cryptocurrency makes for a wise investment.

Cons of Accepting Cryptocurrency

Though there are many helpful ways to save money and grow business with cryptocurrency, there are some cons, too.

The most common drawback that people point to is the crypto market’s volatility. Cryptocurrency values can skyrocket in one instant but drop in the next. For example, Bitcoin was worth over $15,000 at the end of 2017 but decreased by over half about a month later. This kind of fluctuation can hurt businesses and the value of their products and services.

Regarding transactions, cryptocurrency doesn’t have the range that regular money does. It can’t collect interest, and only select locations will accept it. With fewer transaction options, businesses might not see growth when investing.

Security is also a touchy subject. You may occasionally hear about security issues within the crypto world, which can deter many people. Though the lack of centralization can be a plus, here it’s a drawback. If you lose your funds or a cybercriminal steals them, you likely won’t get that money back. If you lose a lot of money, this loss can devastate your business.

The businesses that should not accept cryptocurrency are newer, smaller enterprises. Any company that can’t afford to lose any funds should wait until it has developed enough to have a strong foundation. Business owners can also wait until cryptocurrencies become less volatile, but that could be a while.

Should You Invest?

Ultimately, investing will be up to the business owner. If the risks outweigh the benefits, then it might not be the time to invest. However, if the pros are greater than the cons, it could be a money-saving option that will grow your enterprise.

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How to Protect Your Bitcoin Wallet

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Bitcoin wallet

Bitcoin wallet

Bitcoin is a hot commodity lately. This cryptocurrency is usually at the top of experts’ and users’ lists of recommendations for investments in the digital world. If you’re thinking about using Bitcoin or have already started your crypto journey, there are steps you can take to secure your currency. Here’s how to protect your Bitcoin wallet.

1. Use a Hardware Wallet

There are a few types of cryptocurrency wallets. Hard wallets connect to the internet for you to access at any time. This constant internet connectivity comes with certain cyber risks, though. If you want more protection, use a hardware wallet.

Hardware wallets are “cold,” meaning they do not connect to the internet, but you can still receive funds at any time. The disconnect makes it harder for cybercriminals to hack or breach your Bitcoin. Trezor and Ledger offer various hardware wallets that store your currency in an external, USB-like device.

2. Keep Your Private Key Offline

When you use a hardware wallet, it doesn’t actually store all your cryptocurrency. Instead, it stores a private key. This private key corresponds to a public key that includes certain amounts of Bitcoins, giving you the correct balance.

You must keep this private key secure. You can keep it offline by writing it down on a piece of paper and storing it in an emergency disaster kit that only you have access to. The more secure and offline it is, the less you have to worry about it.

3. Encrypt Your Wallet

Encrypting your wallet is a helpful step to take. You can start simple with two-factor authentication and go from there. Any form of encryption will help. Two-factor authentication helps with verifying your identity in two ways so that cybercriminals have a harder time breaching your wallet. You can also include encryption software if you want extra protection for your Bitcoin.

4. Keep Your Currency in Multiple Places

Don’t put all your eggs in one basket. The phrase rings true for cryptocurrency. If you have all your digital currency in one wallet, you have a higher chance of losing more. If you place your funds in different wallets, though, you have a better chance of protecting your assets. When saving, especially, you’ll want to keep your Bitcoin safe however you can.

5. Enact Smaller Transactions

If you’re a big Bitcoin spender, you might want to step back. High-value transactions and trades can draw attention from cybercriminals. If they see that you have assets to spend, they may be more likely to target your funds. Of course, you should spend your cryptocurrency however you’d like. Just keep in mind that you’ll need more protection.

>> Bitcoin Halving: How the Miners are Faring So Far

6. Use a Secure Internet Connection

Using the right internet connection is an easy way to protect your Bitcoin wallet. Of course, your home internet connection is likely a safe option since it’s secure and isolated. However, you should keep in mind that public internet connections can be risky.

Public Wi-Fi isn’t always secure, and since many people use it, cybercriminals may have an easier time accessing your wallet. When on public Wi-Fi, it’s best to not have an active wallet. If you do make transactions, strongly consider using a reputable, logless, paid VPN service.

7. Keep Your Finances a Secret

Be cautious about who you share your Bitcoin status and private key with. You’ll likely only want to keep those numbers to yourself unless you have a partner you’re willing to share them with. Otherwise, the fewer people who know, the better. Think of cryptocurrency as a real bank account. You don’t want people knowing your PIN number or account status—and your private key is the same.

8. Use Antivirus Software

Viruses are a digital plague in their own way. Cybercriminals use them to steal information and finances from vulnerable accounts. Antivirus software can help, though. Since cyberattacks are frequent and often come in the form of viruses and malware, you’ll want protection. With the most up-to-date features, antivirus software can do just that.

9. Watch Out for Phishing

Like viruses and malware, phishing is another form of cyber scamming. Certain criminals use emails and links to scam users into giving up private information about their wallets. Sometimes, phishing scams can link to viruses and malware, too. Watch out for suspicious content—it’s better to be safe than sorry.

10. Double-Check the Recipient

As you carry out your transactions, make sure you’re sending your Bitcoin to the right person. Scammers may try to skew transactions or trick you into giving your money elsewhere. You can get software or programs to help detect errors, as well. Be sure to vet your transactions and partners thoroughly before any money changes “hands.” Sometimes, it can be hard to recover your Bitcoin currency.

11. Back Up Your Wallet

Last but certainly not least, you’ll want to back up your wallet. A backup never hurts and always comes in handy if you need it. There are different ways to back up your wallet, so choose the one that works best for you. Then, you have what you need to fully protect your Bitcoin wallet if something goes wrong.

A Safe Crypto World

As cryptocurrency grows in popularity, you can expect some changes to come about. Keep an eye on the security trends and follow the best practices as they emerge. Staying ahead of the curve will bring you the best Bitcoin protection to stay safe in the cyber world.

This article was curated through CryptoCurrencyNews’ Contributor Program. If you would like to write for us, send us your submission!

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Understanding the Cybersecurity Risk of Bitcoin

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cybersecurity

cybersecurity

Are you interested in purchasing Bitcoin? If so, it’s essential to understand the potential security risks surrounding it. With cybercriminals ramping up their attacks, cryptocurrency will likely be a target.  Here’s what you need to know.

Wallets Carry Risks

Cryptocurrency enthusiasts use both hot and cold wallets to store their Bitcoin. A hot wallet has an internet connection, which makes it potentially hackable. You might wake up one morning to find your funds depleted by an infiltrator overnight.  A May 2019 cyberattack on a Binance hot wallet led to a theft of $41 million—more than 7,000 Bitcoin.

Storing your Bitcoin in a cold wallet—one without an internet connection—does not make you free and clear, however. Take the example of Gerald Cotten, a cryptocurrency exchange CEO who passed away while being the sole holder of passwords to his accounts. That situation restricted access to approximately $137 million in cryptocurrencies held in cold wallets and owned by about 115,000 customers.

When experts eventually took Cotten’s laptops, they found that someone emptied the wallets about eight months before the CEO died. That revelation caused some people to wonder if he faked his death and ran off with the funds.

Stolen Data May End Up Sold

Most tech-savvy people know that one of the consequences of being an internet breach victim is that their data may end up on the dark web, sold to any party willing to pay the price. That outcome can happen with cryptocurrency details, too.

Reporters said that the hacker allegedly behind the infiltration of Ethereum.org took information from customers associated with several leading cryptocurrency wallet brands. The cybercriminal has three databases collectively containing information from 80,000 people, including emails, home addresses, and phone numbers.

Although the hacker did not put cryptocurrency-related data up for sale, this example shows you must always be aware of your information’s value and work hard to protect it. Many people appreciate dealing with Bitcoin because of its decentralized nature, believing it’s safer than doing business with a bank. Regardless of whether that’s your mindset, any data you use to sign up for a cryptocurrency site or service could end up in the wrong hands.

Investment Advisers Must Take Cybersecurity Precautions

A recent report about investment advising and cryptocurrency revealed that clients who want to expand their portfolios are increasingly likely to inquire about the digital currency. For example, 76% of all advisers polled received crypto questions from their customers in 2019. Bitwise also expects 13% of advisers to allocate funds to cryptocurrencies this year—up from 6% in 2019.

>> Prevent Bitcoin Fraud by Securing Your Identity

Maintaining robust cybersecurity is a crucial part of operating as a responsible investment adviser. Statistics say 91% of businesses follow a risk-based cybersecurity framework. That approach only works well for investment advisers if they know which threats exist. Scheduling evaluations such as penetration tests can help them understand the existing weaknesses, but these professionals should also stay abreast of crypto-related cyber threats as they arise.

Customers trust investment experts to manage and grow their wealth. Relationship building is a crucial part of the job, but unaddressed cyber risks could erode any trust accumulated through interactions over months or years.

Social Media Scams Could Fool Bitcoin Owners

Bitcoin is a hot topic these days, and it’s natural to follow social media profiles of thought leaders in the crypto and tech industries. Doing so could give you a head start on knowing about significant developments before others.

However, another cybersecurity threat associated with Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies concerns scams spreading through social media. Criminals trick followers by impersonating famous people, then posting messages about “giveaways.” The premise is that if you send a small amount of cryptocurrency to a provided address, you’ll get double, triple, or more in return.

The parties offering such free money never take action to part with their funds. They merely sit back and watch the crypto transfers arrive. People familiar with this kind of wrongdoing also raise concerns because they assert that social media sites don’t do enough to police this fraudulent activity and ban those responsible for it.

This approach is similar to emails that many people receive claiming they won the lottery or received an inheritance from a long-lost relative, and need to provide their bank account details to get the money. No funds show up, of course. Always exercise critical thinking and ponder the details carefully before taking action you may regret.

Potentially Worthwhile, but Not Without Risks

After reading this coverage and doing your own research, you may conclude that investing in Bitcoin still interests you. An ideal way to protect yourself as a cryptocurrency owner is to thoroughly understand the pros and cons of any move before making it. Then, you’re more likely to be well-educated before making your decision. Bitcoin is not a risk-free investment. Educating yourself about cybersecurity risks is an ideal way to avoid them.

This article was curated through CryptoCurrencyNews’ Contributor Program. If you would like to write for us, send us your submission!

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How to Prevent Bitcoin Fraud by Securing Your Identity

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bitcoin fraud

bitcoin fraud

Theft has been a problem in all of history, but the digital age brings new challenges. While digital currency has several advantages over cash, it comes with some unique risks, like hacking and online fraud. Cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin solve some of these issues, but you should still take care.

The fact of the matter is no form of money is ever 100% safe without proper protection. Just because Bitcoin is more secure doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be careful with it. Like with any other kind of currency, you must take steps to keep it safe.

Safety Advantages of Bitcoin

Bitcoin already boasts several security benefits over traditional currency. When you buy something with a credit card, a third party pulls the funds from your account (known as a pull transaction). Bitcoin, on the other hand, uses push transactions, where you hand the payment over yourself.

With pull transactions, hackers can pretend to be you and get your bank or credit card company to move money for them. With a push transaction, though, they need access to the money itself, not just your personal information. That’s not where Bitcoin’s safety features end, either.

Bitcoin leverages the blockchain, so it’s decentralized and immutable. Some scholars suggest using Bitcoin to prevent identity theft because the system is so secure. There are still some precautions you should take, though.

Recent Bitcoin Fraud Cases 

It may be more challenging to commit fraud with Bitcoin, but it’s not impossible. If a criminal steals your identity, they may be able to access your Bitcoin wallet. Since there are 15 million cases of identity theft each year, it’s no small risk. 

In 2018, a fraudster stole $5 million worth of cryptocurrency through a scheme called SIM swapping. This process involves tricking phone companies into transferring numbers to a SIM card that you control. By stealing phone numbers, you can access a wealth of accounts, sometimes including Bitcoin wallets.

>> How Accepting Cryptocurrency Could Save Businesses Money

With Bitcoin, your transactions are secure, but your wallet may still be vulnerable. To get the most out of Bitcoin’s security advantages, you need to make sure your wallet’s safe. 

Guarding Private Security Keys

The easiest way into your wallet is with your private security keys. If you want to keep your Bitcoin secure, you’ll have to adopt safe security key management. The first step is to keep offline backups of all your keys.

You should take steps to make sure these offline backups are safe, too. The most straightforward way to do this is to store them off your computer, like on a flash drive or physical document. Be careful to protect these storage solutions, too, not letting them slip into the wrong hands.

You can also turn to security software to keep hackers from accessing your backups. If you choose to go this route, make sure you update your software and operating system frequently.

Crypto Account Management

If you use a service to store or protect your Bitcoin, you’ll have to secure that account. If a fraudster can convince the service that they’re you, they can gain access to your cryptocurrency. Since email compromise is the leading type of online fraud, you can start by securing your email.

Use two-factor authentication for all of your email addresses. You may consider using email security software as a second layer of defense as well. While you’re at it, it’s a good idea to set up two-factor authentication on any service you can.

Make sure you never use the same password for more than one account. If you have trouble creating or remembering strong passwords, you can use a password manager.

Other Standard Security Practices

As with traditional currency, be careful where you send your Bitcoins. While hackers may not be able to access your wallet through a transaction, they can fool you into paying them. Always double-check to make sure a company or product is legitimate before paying them.

Using more than one Bitcoin wallet is always a safe practice. That way, if hackers get into one, they won’t be able to access all your money. You may also want to use a VPN while accessing your wallet and update your operating system regularly.

Plan to Use Bitcoin? If So, Keep Your Data Secure

Bitcoin allows you to secure your finances more than you’d be able to with a credit card. It’s possibly the next step in digital currency, offering more financial freedom and safety. Just be sure that you don’t get too comfortable with its security.

You should be just as careful with Bitcoin as you are with traditional money. If you take the right steps to secure it, though, then you can use cryptocurrency without fear.

This article was curated through CryptoCurrencyNews’ Contributor Program. If you would like to write for us, send us your submission!

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