Thursday, October 27, 2016

For My Friends - A Bitcoin Update

Update 12 February 2017

Bitcoin price today is USD2007. It's price have grown steadily from 700 to 1100 and dropped back to around 800 and 900 only to recover with a couple of days. Price escalation is driven by demand with more and more people worldwide knowing and finding a use for bitcoin. The dips have mainly been caused by knee jerk reactions from events initiated by the People's Bank Of China (PBOC) in it's attempt to regulate and control the bitcoin industry in China.

It is a fact that 80-90% of bitcoin mining occurs in China. With the manipulation of trading volume by the Chinese exchanges in order to seem bigger than they are it was even thought that China dominated 90% of bitcoin trading worldwide. This was found to be absolutely not the case when after the PBOC stopped margin trading and forced the exchanges to charge fees.

It now emerges that Japan is the country with the highest bitcoin trading volume. The regulators have been very much bitcoin friendly. There is even a TV game show call Bit Girls which uses cryptocurrency based on bitcoin. Japan is even expected to make bitcoin legal within 2 months.

Published 27 October 2016

It's been over a year since I last met most of you and spoke to some about Bitcoin. Much have happened and I know I must have sounded like a cranky idiot pushing some kind of scam. I assure you all that my intentions were genuine.

I saw in Bitcoin, a way to bypass the bad governance structure we have back home, because control of debt and the issue of money is what feeds corruption and bring down standards of governance. Before you say that money must be backed by government, I say no. It is what we as individuals choose as a means to transact. Because it is a contract between 2 people only no one else need to be involved. Ie no need for trusted third party. With bitcoin this is now possible. It is a currency that is used the world over and has liquidity anywhere in the world be it Venezuela, Malaysia or the USA.

Since the last time we met bitcoin was price at $238USD Today 13 months later it is $685USD That is nearly a threefold increase. To just think of bitcoin as money is to miss the woods for the trees. Bitcoin with a capital "B" stands for the platform or protocol like the internet, and. the small "b" stands for bitcoin the currency.

I write this today because much have changed over the year and the protocol and ecosystem is very much more developed and expanding.

1) For the investment minded this article may interest you. It is too much of a read so read at your leisure. In essence a financial management company is predicting the price to go to $848USD They predicted $650 previously but that has been surpass.

2) Banks are now hoarding bitcoin to protect against ddos attacks. This is where hackers control billions of computers now used in the Internet Of  Things to attack servers, swamping it with so much request that the real messages cannot get through. This could also be a reason on why there is a spike in the bitcoin price.

3) Countries are now openly warming up to the technology. In the past they stopped short of banning it because of the fear that they could lose the technology innovation. That attitude has changed

Japan where Mt Gox trading exchange went down taking over 600 million in customers funds is actually leading the way with recognising bitcoin as money and dropping the 8% sales tax.

South Korea always the antagonist after surpassing them in shipbuilding and even consumer electronics cannot let that go. They are planning to put their currency on the blockchain

India a country with 1.2 billion people is hard on the tracks of pushing this technology on the population with one company they have the fastest growing bitcoin user community in the world. Unocoin and Zebpay. India has the largest remittance market in the world and it is estimated that bitcoin will save the country 1 billion in fees that is an extra 1 billion that will go to the Indian people instead of Western Union, Zebpay says that they are onboarding 20,000 users a month.

Consumer adoption is also growing with the first token voting system being introduced to a Japanese TV game show. You purchase these digital tokens issuerd on the Counterparty bitcoin protocol and send it to the girl you like. This is a game show with 14 million viewers.
This is just a short jump to actual political voting systems which will probably be used in municipal elections first. It cost very much less as you don't have to print the ballot papers.

Of course the gambling and porn industry will be the first to adopt. Netbet is the first legal betting company to accept bitcoin.

The Swiss are always quick off the mark because they have to be. From 11 November Swiss Federal Railway ticketing will accept and dispense bitcoin. That is 14,000 machines acting like bitcoin ATM's.

Of course the online gaming industry is fast adopting blockchain technology with Spells Of Genesis about to be launched and many to follow. This is actually interesting because it introduces the concept of digital assets. The most valuable is the Satoshicard which is being sold for up to $6000USD.

There have been many digital currencies and tokens released since Bitcoin and most are useless scams. But there are genuine innovations one of which is Ethereum which seek to introduce a worldwide internet computer processing smart contracts. This of course may take another 10 to 20 years to perfect. Another company Blockfreight seeks to replace the existing shipping documentation system with one based on the blockchain. In short everything that we do that involve finance and assets will be influenced by blockchain technology and companies are rushing fast to be the first.

Today marks the release of Zcash which I think is Bitcoin 2. It is a big improvement on Bitcoin with privacy and governance features addressed. Already it is expected to be priced more than bitcoin when it hits the market. What is important is that there is no premine or pre-allocation to the developers. They start mining coins into existence from coin no 1. Will it take over bitcoin? Maybe not but will run very close beside it because people with assets and companies moving large sums of money will use it.

One of the weakness of bitcoin is that it is not anonymous. If you are a supplier and you know the bitcoin account of that supplier you can effectively trace the customers and the amount of transfer. You can get the complete history. This problem is solved with Zcash and the governence structure is what will attract the rich and wealthy.

So what can you do about it. Read up more to learn more about the technology. Purchase some from friends, a bitcoin exchange or use Local Bitcoins to purchase peer to peer.

If you want to invest in bitcoin startups then go to this site and see their offerings from time to time. This is investing in seed rounds. Like investing in Google when they were asking for $1 million. Deals we will never get unless you are a large venture capitalist.

Till we meet again.

Feel Free To Donate. Thank You

Thursday, June 9, 2016

Issuing National Currencies On The Bitcoin Blockchain

The cashless society is upon us and like it or not governments will want a secure digital currency for which they control value, quantity and rate of issuance. The good news is that they do not have to hire teams of developers and consultants to put in place this digital currency. They can issue these tokens on the Bitcoin Blockchain at a cost 0.05 XCP ( less than 10 cents ) using the Counterparty platform.

Why issue their digital token on the Bitcoin Blockchain ?
The answer - SECURITY, SECURITY, SECURITY. No other system can achieve the level of security of the Bitcoin blockchain proof of work consensus system, currently secured by greater than 200 Peta hashes of mining power.

Anybody can issue tokens but giving the tokens value is another matter. Governments can confer value to their digital tokens by making them legal tender and mandating that only such tokens be accepted for paying taxes and government services.

Digital currency issued on the Counterparty platform will be smart money. Ethereum style smart contract will soon be a feature of Bitcoin. It is only waiting on discussions to be finalised and a vote by XCP token holders by the end of June or early July.

Bitcoin blockchain imposes a 10 minute block confirmation time frame, however developers at Storj another token using the Counterparty platform, have implemented micro payments using offchain solutions similar to the proposed Thunder and Lightning network. All that is needed for implementation is CSV which is very near activation at 90% adoption and Segwit which should follow shortly. Off chain transactions will be instant and at scale. 

Mainstream adoption will require an easy to use wallet on smart phones and SMS phones. There is already a mobile wallet Indiesquare, operational for Counterparty tokens, which can be easily adapted to function with a single token. Extending bitcoin wallets to SMS phones should not be too far away either.

In conclusion, governments can already issue secure digital currency on the Bitcoin platform at very low cost and retain full issuance and value control. For those who claim that they do not trust governments to issue currencies, Get Real, That will never change. The only difference is that this process can be more transparent. Bitcoin will always remains as an alternative backup currency, should the natives lose confidence in the government issued variety.

Update 3/1/2017: The cost of a bitcoin transaction still holds this system back but micro transactions and payment channels are coming.

Bitcoin will be many things including being a currency, a settlement layer and a reserve asset. 

Sunday, January 17, 2016

Thursday, January 14, 2016

What To Make Of Wences Joining Paypal?

There is a mammoth struggle to be the Goldman Sacs of the new Fintech sector. Coinbase looks like it would have won the race after Bitpay floundered. Today it operates bitcoin on/off ramps in 32 countries.

With Paypal's announcement, the fog around paypal's intentions with bitcoin has solidified. Not only is Wences a driving ambassador in the bitcoin space, he also brings with him Xapo which when combined with Paypal's banking and remittances operations in 160 countries, will allow it to claim top spot.

You can now link Xapo's debit card to your Paypal account, meaning that you can already spend your bitcoins with Paypal to make payments. Accepting bitcoin as a currency on it's platform is not far off.

The legacy banks are staff with people with legacy banking mindsets and will always be feuding internally with the new incumbents coming in with R3. There will be lots of fear and very little co-operation. These people will fight to go down with the ship. None will be players in the new Fintech in any recognisable form.

Coinbase or Paypal. There is more to come in the battle for market share, looks like Bitpay will be specialising in B to B.

The space is still open for a main player to bank the unbanked. Could it be Bitpesa? It certainly needs a company with SMS banking technology.