Julian Assange Supports Bitcoin As Ways to Free Catalonia From Spain’s Dictate

Julian Assange
Supports Bitcoin As Ways to Free Catalonia From Spain’s Dictate

 

A recent report from BBC News

indicates that the Spanish government will seize control of the finances of the autonomous region of Catalonia within 48 hours, if they don’t stop the ‘illegal’ referendum vote regarding independence. Jullian Assange, the freedom-touting founder of Wikileaks, quickly tweeted his support of the referendum, as well as a comment on the importance of

Bitcoin in this regard.

Why all freedom loving people and states need Bitcoin part 29192:

— Julian Assange

Support from Wikileaks

The vote was proposed after years of the wealthy region paying into the central government far more than it received in public services. The Spanish government has threatened to take control of all financial transactions in order to stop the spending of state funds on illegal acts. Spain’s finance minister Cristobal Montoro is

categorical:

"These measures are to guarantee that not one euro will go toward financing illegal acts.”

Paying for independence

The reality that Bitcoin represents a non-government controlled currency that can function without centralized government systems, makes it immune to geopolitical upheaval. This value-stability principle is what has made many industry insiders call it ‘digital gold.’ Assange’s post would indicate that those who desire freedom of finance and removal of government strong-arming and restrictive practices, should be heavily in favor of Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies. As liquidity and use-cases for Bitcoin increase, its position as a supra-governmental currency will continue to stabilize.

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China’s Stricter Bitcoin Regulations Will Strengthen Hong Kong Market

China's Stricter Bitcoin Regulations Will Strengthen Hong Kong Market

 

On September 15, the Chinese government and local financial regulators

officially requested Chinese exchanges and trading platforms to shut down by the end of September. OKCoin and Huobi, the two largest exchanges in China, were granted leeway to operate until the end of October. Rather strangely, bitcoin price rebounded from $2,900 to $3,600 as the Chinese government and local exchanges confirmed the nationwide suspension of exchanges. Many analysts explained that traders were looking to purchase the dip, which justifies the abrupt $800 increase in bitcoin price within a 24-hour period. Many investors, traders and analysts still remain optimistic in regard to China’s ban on exchanges because throughout 2017, the Chinese bitcoin exchange market only accounted for approximately 10 to 13 percent of global bitcoin trades.

Regulatory friendly region

More to that, in an interview with the South China Morning Post, Bitcoin Association of Hong Kong Leonhard Weese noted that China’s restrictions on bitcoin trading and usage will drive businesses to Hong Kong and nearby countries like Japan and South Korea.

Weese told South China Morning Post:

“People in China will be more careful about marketing these events, and a lot of that marketing activity will come to Hong Kong in the form of conferences and communities,”.

Since early 2015, Hong Kong has been praised for being a regulatory friendly region for bitcoin and blockchain startups. Still, unlike China, South Korea and Japan, Hong Kong’s bitcoin and cryptocurrency exchange markets have struggled to demonstrate exponential growth. For the past three years, only 1 Hong Kong-based bitcoin exchange Bitfinex was able to evolve into a major global bitcoin trading platform. But, Weese emphasized that if China continues to crackdown on bitcoin and cryptocurrency-related businesses, it will further drive growth to Hong Kong.

Unfairly punished

It is important to acknowledge that leading bitcoin exchanges like OKCoin, Huobi and BTCC, the three largest exchanges in China, were unfairly punished for their cooperation with the government. Over the past 12 months, the entire Chinese bitcoin industry has closely collaborated with local authorities in order to establish transparent industry standards and to improve the Chinese bitcoin exchange market. Instead, they were ultimately shut down by the powers, despite having allocated massive amounts of capital and resources to comply with the demands of the

Chinese government.

Chinese #bitcoin exchanges worked with the government, allocating substantial resources to improve the market & they were punished instead.

— Joseph Young

It is difficult to imagine that startups with limited capital and even large-scale bitcoin companies will be willing to undergo the same path Chinese bitcoin exchanges have taken just to be shut down and terminated by the authorities. In the upcoming months, as BTCC, OKCoin, Huobi and other bitcoin exchanges continue to expand their international services, Hong Kong, South Korea and Japan will likely experience rapid growth in terms of bitcoin users, trading activity and conferences.

Thai Securities and Exchange Commission Supports Creation of ICO Laws

The Securities and Exchange Commission in Thailand (SEC Thailand)

has announced that it is supporting the drafting and implementation of regulations covering initial coin offerings (ICO). The commission claimed that this is necessary as some coin sales may be considered as a securities offering under the country’s laws.

Tokens only facilitate fraud against unwitting investors

According to SEC Thailand, some ICOs may be considered as financial returns, rights and obligations, thus, should be subjected to existing regulations that cover them. The agency also warned that some token sales are only meant to facilitate fraud against unwitting investors. However, the SEC showed that it is willing to support ICOs, as well as the creation of laws to regulate them.

Part of the agency’s statement reads:

"The SEC Thailand encourages access to funding for businesses, including high potential tech startups, and realizes the potential of ICO in answering startups' funding needs. In cases where an ICO constitutes offering of securities, the issuer will need to comply with applicable regulatory requirements under the SEC Thailand's purview."

The statement further adds:

"…to strike a balance between supporting digital innovation and protecting investors from potential ICO scams, the SEC Thailand is considering appropriate approaches on ICO and welcomes comments and suggestions from the private sector.”

Positions of other countries on ICOs

Several securities regulators worldwide have also issued their positions on ICOs in the previous weeks. In Canada, the Canadian Securities Administrators (CSA) claimed that many of the virtual currencies probed by regulators fall under the definition of a security and should be subject to a range of legal requirements.

In Singapore, the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) has issued an advisory, advising prospective investors to investigate and determine the risks when participating in token sales. In the US, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has claimed that the sale and issuance of digital tokens should be subjected to the country’s federal securities law. Such moves should not be confused with governments having the ability to ban Bitcoin since they are mainly targeting companies looking to raise money from their self-created tokens.

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Chase Bank Buys Bitcoin Even as Jamie Dimon Rejects It

Chase Bank Buys Bitcoin Even as Jamie Dimon Rejects It

  Chase Bank Buys Bitcoin Even as Jamie Dimon Rejects It

Chase Bank CEO Jamie Dimon recently rejected Bitcoin

as a ‘fraud,” likely causing additional sell offs after the news of the Chinese exchange ban was released. The financial guru commented that Bitcoin was in a bubble not unlike the famous Tulip bubble during the 17th century. However, in a somewhat surprising move, JP Morgan purchased a large block of Bitcoins just after the CEO’s harsh criticisms, according to a careful observer

on Twitter.

We see you

— I am Nomad

The user 'I am Nomad’ posted the tweet including a screen shot of the BTC chart with the JP Morgan Chase purchase circled. There has been some commentary by industry insiders that banks have a vested interest in seeing Bitcoin fail, even while they are seeking to join the upswing in potential profits. Chase bank is no different, apparently, based on the information which has recently come to light.

Growing mainstream financial acceptance of the cryptocurrency, including widespread increase in hedge funds and institutional investors would indicate that the predictions of Jamie Dimon and other bears may not be sound.

Fundstrat Founder Tommy Lee Unfazed By Bitcoin Drop

 

Tommy Lee, the notoriously bearish financial analyst

and founder of Fundstrat, affirmed his position that Bitcoin is the best investment through the end of the year. Lee continued to espouse his strongly bullish position on an interview with CNBC, in spite of the recent double-digit drop. Other analysts have expressed strong disdain for the digital currency, including Chase’s Jamie Dimon, who recently called the cryptocurrency a ‘fraud,’ and opined that governments would soon step in and regulate the currency.

No bubble

Lee, who predicts a Bitcoin price of $25,000 in the next five years, says that Bitcoin cannot be in a bubble, in spite of the substantial price run up in the past year. Lee answered Bitcoin critics

by saying:

"We have some data. There's only about 300,000 holders of at least $5,000 of Bitcoin. That’s like saying the iPhone was a bubble in 2007, four days into the sale because there were 500,000 iPhones sold.”

Whether Lee is right or not, the market has certainly rebounded from the sub-$3,000 levels after the announcement of Chinese exchange closures.

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Beijing cryptocurrency exchanges told to announce trading halt

Beijing cryptocurrency exchanges told to announce trading halt: source

SHANGHAI (Reuters) – Chinese authorities have ordered Beijing-based cryptocurrency exchanges to stop trading and immediately notify users of their closure, signaling a widening crackdown by authorities on the industry to contain financial risks. Exchanges were also told to stop allowing new user registrations as of Friday, according to a government notice. The notice was signed by the Beijing city group in charge of overseeing internet finance risks and circulated online. A government source verified it to Reuters.

Platforms should also tell the government by Wednesday Sept. 20 how they will allow users to make withdrawals in a risk-free manner and handle funds to make sure investor interests are protected, according to the notice, which was also reported by state newspaper Securities Times.

“All trading exchanges must by midnight of Sept. 15 publish a notice to make clear when they will stop all cryptocurrency trading and announce a stop to new user registrations,” the government notice said. China is cracking down on the cryptocurrency business to try to limit risks as consumers pile into a highly speculative market that has grown rapidly this year. Reuters and other media reported earlier this week that it planned to shut down the exchanges.

Shanghai-based BTCChina, a major Chinese bitcoin exchange, said on Thursday it would stop all trading from Sept. 30, citing tightening regulation. Smaller Chinese bitcoin exchanges ViaBTC, YoBTC and Yunbi on Friday announced similar closures. Beijing-based platforms OkCoin and Huobi, which are among China’s biggest exchanges, said late on Friday that they planned to stop yuan-based trading by Oct. 31. By (10.06 a.m. ET) 1406 GMT, BTC’s price was down 7.63 percent at 19,797.00 yuan ($3,024.71). The bitcoin price was down 5 percent at $3,071 at 1036 GMT on U.S. exchange Bitstamp. The bitcoin price index on trade website Coindesk slid below $3,000 for the first time in six weeks.

Bitcoin fell by more than 10 percent on Wednesday after a warning by JPMorgan Chief Executive Jamie Dimon that it “is a fraud” and will eventually “blow up”. Li Lihui, a senior official at the National Internet Finance Association of China and a former president of the Bank of China, told a conference in Shanghai that global regulators should work together to supervise cryptocurrencies. “Digital tokens like bitcoin, ethereum that are stateless, do not have sovereign endorsement, a qualified issuing body or a country’s trust, are not legal currencies and should not be spoken of as digital currencies,” he said.

“They can become a tool for illegal fund flows and investment deals.”

He said there should be a distinction between digital currencies, which were being studied and developed by authorities such as the Chinese central bank, and digital tokens such as bitcoin. Digital currencies developed by authorities could be used for good, with the right regulation, he said. The state-backed internet finance body was set up by the central bank, and its members include banks, brokerages, funds and consumer finance companies. On Wednesday, it urged members to abide by Chinese laws and not deal in cryptocurrencies.

Since January, Chinese bitcoin exchanges have rolled out a series of changes to comply with increased scrutiny by Beijing. But they were thrown into chaos on Sept. 4 when China issued a directive banning initial coin offerings (ICOs). China’s crackdown “is all about protecting market stability and protecting the interest of investors, so halting these kinds of initial coin offerings is a very necessary action,” Li said. Vlad Zamfir, a researcher at the Switzerland-based Ethereum Foundation, told Reuters that it was no surprise China is moving against such currencies. Beijing has capital controls, he said, that are “in direct tension with the free ability to send any amount of money anywhere without any kind of delay”.

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2 of China’s biggest cryptocurrency exchanges are shutting down trading — but bitcoin is soaring

2 of China's biggest cryptocurrency exchanges are shutting down trading — but bitcoin is soaring

 

Two of the largest cryptocurrency exchanges in China

NEW YORK – Two of the largest cryptocurrency exchanges in China, OKCoin and Huobi, have released statements saying they will shutdown all trading between bitcoin and yuan on their exchanges by October 31. They released seperate announcements on their websites Friday morning. Trading between digital coins will still be permitted for the time being, however. Bitcoin, which was reeling amid reports Thursday of a crackdown on Chinese cryptocurrency exchanges by regulators, is actually rallying now. The cryptocurrency was up 14.1% at $3,706 a coin at 10:59 a.m. ET Friday.

The price of bitcoin collapsed 16% against the dollar on Thursday and continued its slide until early Friday morning amid uncertainty about the future of the cryptocurrency and other digital coins in China, one of the biggest markets for cryptocurrencies. On Thursday,  BTCChina, the second largest Chinese exchange, said it would stop trading at the end of the month. Yunbi, another cryptocurrency exchange, also announced it would shut its trading operations on Friday, according to CoinDesk, the cryptocurrency news site.  

Thursday night, however, there were some signs that Chinese regulators could have a change of heart. Charlie Lee, the creator litecoin, one of the largest cryptocurrencies by market cap, tweeted that OKCoin and Huobi, another leading cryptocurrency exchange, were set to meet with regulators on Friday. Many people in the cryptocurrency community viewed this as a possible turning point, hoping the exchanges would be able to convince regulators to "change their tune." Li Lihui, a senior official at the National Internet Finance Association of China and a former president of the Bank of China, said on Friday that regulators from different countries should collaborate on cryptocurrencies, according to reporting by Reuters. 

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Bitcoin, Ether in bear market territory after declines

Bitcoin, Ether
in bear market territory
after declines

  Bitcoin is down about 30% over the past two weeks

Precipitous declines in prices for bitcoin and Ether in the wake of a potential crackdown on exchanges by Chinese authorities have shaved nearly $40 billion off the combined market capitalization of the cryptocurrencies over the past two weeks. The price of a single bitcoin BTCUSD, -11.25%  tumbled nearly 8% on Thursday to $3,565, and has fallen nine of the last 13 days. Unlike stocks and bonds, bitcoin trades every day without a set closing time.

Bitcoin is now down nearly 30% from its peak at above $5,000 on September 1. This is a second drop of this magnitude in less than three months. Between June and mid-July, bitcoin prices fell 33%, largely due to fears surrounding the eventual upgrade of bitcoin’s software code and branching out of the Bitcoin Cash. Still, bitcoin is up about 250% since the start of the year with a market cap of $59.3 billion.

The most recent bout of selling of bitcoin began when China’s regulators declared so-called initial coin offerings illegal, dealing a blow to all digital currencies. The selloff accelerated on Tuesday, after J.P. Morgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon called the cryptocurrency a fraud that was “worse than the tulip bulbs” and that “won’t end well”. Meanwhile, BTCC, a bitcoin exchange, said its China-based exchange will end all operations on Sept. 30 following unverified reports that Chinese authorities are preparing to ban cryptocurrency exchanges.

Prices of Ether, a blockchain currency that trades on the Etherium platform, plunged 13% to $240 and is down nearly 40% from its peak at $393 on Sept. 1. Ether’s market cap is at $23.5 billion. Ehter prices appreciated at a much faster rate this year, with the digital currency still up 3,000% since the end of last year. Acceptance of digital currencies varies from country to country. While many developed countries in the West and Asia allow digital currencies to be accepted as payments and have rules about taxation of gains, some emerging countries view them as an illegal form of payment.

Namibia’s central bank recently issued a paper outlining its unfavorable view of cryptocurrencies. The bank said under national laws merchants in the country cannot accept digital currencies as payment for goods and services, while cryptocurrency exchanges were also not allowed. Some experts think the wider acceptance and government approval is not as certain as bitcoin investors expect. “The current pricing assumes massive adoption, and I don’t think governments will allow the amount of adoption that’s currently priced in,” said Mohamed El-Erian, chief economic adviser at Allianz Global Investors, on CNBC Wednesday morning.

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Bitcoin Price Drops Below $3,500, But Is Relief Rally In Sight?

 

 

The bitcoin-US dollar exchange (BTC/USD) rate fell

to a fresh four-week low of $3,413 this morning following reports that Shanghai-based bitcoin exchange BTCC will shut down its domestic trading operations effective September 30. As such, the announcement is the latest that supports the rumor regulators are preparing a formal ban on domestic bitcoin exchanges. Long liquidations in BTC markets have gathered pace amid fears that a confirmation from the People's Bank of China will follow over the next few days. According to data from CoinMarketCap, bitcoin's price has shed 11 percent over the last 24 hours. The drop seen today has taken the week-on-week losses to 24 percent. Month-on-month, the cryptocurrency is down 19 percent. Though driven lower by the bearish news flow, the sell-off should not come as a surprise as price action analysis favors the downside toward $3,000.

Let's have a look at new developments on the technical charts that corroborate the bearish view presented 24 hours ago.

  • Yesterday's price drop was accompanied by the highest volume since July 20. This indicates that the sell-off has substance and corroborates the bearish bias.
  • Bitcoin closed below the 50-day moving average for the first time since July 20.
  • The 38.2 percent Fibonacci retracement level has been breached to the downside. The 50 percent Fibonacci retracement level stands at $3,398.
  • The chart above shows the 10-week simple moving average (SMA) is still sloping upwards, which indicates that the sell-off from the record high of $5,000 is a healthy technical correction. Moreover, at $5,000, the rally looked overstretched with the 10-week MA lagging significantly.
  • Confluence of key Fib levels is noted at the $3,400 levels [38.2 percent Fib retracement of the March low – September high and 50 percent Fib retracement of the July low – September high].
  • Bitcoin has already retracted close to 50 percent of the July–September rally. With the 1-hour and 4-hour RSI hovering in the oversold territory, the dips below the upward sloping 10-week SMA could be short lived.
  • A move higher to $3,750-3,800 cannot be ruled out before another round of sell-off unfolds.
  • In the long-term, BTC looks set to test $3,000 levels.   

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  •  

Bitcoin Drops Below $4,000 as Market Turns Uncertain

 

After mounting a modest recovery in the wake of rumored regulatory scrutiny,

the price of bitcoin is back below $4,000. The average price of bitcoin across global exchanges fell below $4,000 at roughly 3:15 UTC today, hitting a low not observed since September 10. The movement followed a period in which the bitcoin price repeatedly tested $4,000, but succeeded in staying above the barrier.

All in all, the move comes during an uncertain time for the cryptocurrency market, which has seen a period of sideways trading following a torrid first half in 2017. With the recent decline, the price of bitcoin is up just 1.7 percent over the last month, though it has still appreciated nearly 300% this year. Likewise, the broader cryptocurrency markets have seen similar activity, rising 3.4% over the last 30 days, but declining more than 17 percent from its highest point during the period, according to CoinMarketCap.

As for the current sentiment, continued rumors that China could move to close domestic order-book exchanges have no doubt concerned more casual investors (while providing opportunities for profit-taking from long-term bulls). Fanning the flames have been statements from notable community figures that appear to attest to the accuracy of the claims, though details on the primary sources for that information have not been forthcoming. China-based exchanges continue to operate normally at press time, indicating they have yet to be notified of any operational changes.

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Correction Not a Crash: Bitcoin Price Eyes $3,000 as Traders Take Profits

 

The bitcoin-US dollar exchange rate fell below $4,000 on Tuesday,

extending losses in the overnight trade to hit a three-week low of $3,781. At press time, the cryptocurrency is trading at $3,844 levels, which amounts to a 25% drop from the record high of $5,000 hit on September 2. Perhaps more notably, month-on-month, the BTC is now trading dead flat for the first time in since June. Rumor has it bitcoin is feeling the pinch of speculation that the Chinese government is launching a crackdown on exchanges. A few others are blaming JP Morgan CEO Jamie Dimon's scathing attack on bitcoin for the meltdown in the prices seen today. But, while these events could factors, neither explain the current market activity.

News that China is planning to ban exchange trading has been in the air since Friday. Following a drop to $4,000 over the weekend, BTC regained poise as Chinese government kept mum on the issue. Experts dismissed the idea that an exchange ban would be long run negative for bitcoin as over-the-counter market will continue to flourish. Thus, bitcoin regained bid and moved to $4,350-4,380 levels in the first two days of the week. Meanwhile, JP Morgan CEO Jamie Dimon's negative comments on bitcoin are hardly surprising. Investment banks have always been critical of the cyrptocurrencies. Moreover, JP Morgan is not a crypto bigwig, thus Dimon's comments are a big hit across the wires, but would hardly matter to bitcoin traders.

Euphoria not reached

As we analyze the current markets, it’s important to remember bull markets are built  on fear and skepticism, while major market tops are the product of extreme euphoria. Most investment banks have been and still call bitcoin a “scam.” Every week, we see some stock market expert drawing parallels between the bitcoin rally and stock market bubbles seen over the last 100 years. Thus, despite the 416% year-to-date gains in bitcoin, it is safe to say that there are no signs of Euphoria. In fact, the first sign of bitcoin nearing a major top would be investment banks boarding the cryptocurrency freight train. More likely then is that what we’re seeing now is a technical pull back. Following a stupendous rally, investors are looking for reasons to take profit.

The chart above shows a bearish price RSI divergence on September 2 has been followed by:

  • Symmetrical triangle breakdown
  • Head and shoulders breakdown

The symmetrical triangle, which can also be referred to as a coil, usually forms during a trend as a continuation pattern. The pattern contains at least two lower highs and two higher lows. The “head and shoulders” is a reversal pattern that, when formed, signals a security (in this case bitcoin) is likely to move against the previous trend. The H&S neckline [line drawn from the left shoulder bottom and right shoulder bottom] support has been breached. A break below the neckline level has confirmed bullish-to-bearish trend reversal.

Scope for a drop to $3,000:
The H&S breakdown has opened doors for a sell-off to $3,000, which is the target as per the measured height method [difference between head and shoulder peak ($5,000) and neckline support ($4,000) is subtracted from the neckline support].

Corrective rally to be capped around $4,150 levels

The stochastic and the RSI are oversold, which is a condition in which the price of an underlying asset has fallen sharply due to market overreaction or panic selling. It is usually followed by a corrective rally. Thus, a brief correction to $4,150 [former neckline support will now act as a resistance] could be seen. Only a break above $4,400 [resistance offered by the trend line drawn from September 2 high and September 8 high] would revive the bullish view.

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Blockchain Providing Bridge for Unbanked, Lifting Global Economy

Blockchain Providing Bridge for Unbanked, Lifting Global Economy

 

With the increasing price of Bitcoin and Ethereum
bringing attention to Blockchain technology, corporations are researching ways the technology could be used to optimize their existing business processes.

More than $16 bln lost in identity thefts and frauds

Considering the billions of dollars lost in fraud and online identity thefts, one of the increasingly impactful areas for Blockchain technology is in securing payment transactions. With this goal in mind, a new Blockchain company called UTRUST is taking on the challenge of becoming the first online cryptocurrency payment platform to offer consumer protections.

Nuno Correia, CEO of UTRUST, says:

"We aim to create an infrastructure that provides the benefits of fast, secure, convenient, and inexpensive cryptocurrency transactions alongside the world’s first cryptocurrency payment protections. Our goal is to democratize the world of altcoins and Blockchain technology to ensure that anyone can benefit from instantaneous, transparent and cost-effective transactions, irrespective of where they live and [their] level of education."

Using digital currencies, UTRUST aims to provide access to the mainstream financial system for the growing unbanked population worldwide, which according to the World Economic Forum is around 2 bln. The company recently raised $1.5 mln in their pre-ICO.

Cryptocurrencies will be used as daily payment method

Currently, most users are treating cryptocurrencies as speculative assets rather than using them in daily life. Given the sector’s exponential growth and the way Blockchain technology is becoming increasingly mainstream, many are optimistic that digital currencies will be used more as a currency and less as a speculative asset. With the aid of platforms that help rebuild trust in online transactions, cryptocurrencies will likely gain more traction as a mainstream payment method.

Providing a bridge for the unbanked through cryptocurrencies

With 2.5 billion unbanked people worldwide to benefit from transacting with the mainstream financial system, it is estimated that Blockchain technology could result in 95 mln new jobs in emerging economies and provide a boost to these economies of up to $3.7 trln. Forbes contributor Nikolai Kuznetsov suggests that Blockchain has the ability to overcome current banking limitations, making it an ideal solution for the growing unbanked population in

developing countries.

“Unlike banks, no physical branch presence is needed for Blockchain to work. Since Blockchain operates on a distributed network, there’s no need for a complex and expensive private infrastructure to run. This saves on the costs that banks and telecom companies pass on to users through fees and other charges when using bank accounts or performing mobile transactions.”

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