It is estimated that every month, more than 50,000 new retailers across the globe accept bitcoins as a form of payment for goods bought or services rendered.
In 2018, we are going to witness an increased uptake of bitcoins by both consumers and retailers. The growth of bitcoins has seen investors pump more than $1 billion into improving the blockchain technology that supports transactions using cryptocurrencies.
The upward growth in the value of bitcoins as witnessed in 2017 only gives freelancers, merchants, retailers and buyers plenty of reasons to adopt bitcoin payments. As the adoption bandwagon continues to grow, the following are the top 7 reasons why making payments in bitcoins is growing and gaining popularity.
1. Almost Instant Settlements
The greatest advantage of using bitcoins to make payments is that the process is swift and near- instant. It takes a very short duration to transfer bitcoins from one wallet to another. When making a purchase, you just need to log into your wallet and order the transfer to the merchandiser’s wallet. A normal transaction usually takes about 10 minutes. All cryptocurrency transactions are irreversible, and this makes them more transparent and secure. Once you send your bitcoins to a different person, it just takes three confirmations before the other party receives the bitcoins. This ability to make cash transfers successful in seconds makes bitcoins a better alternative to normal currencies.
2. Anonymity & Privacy
Payments made in bitcoins remain completely anonymous. This is in contrast with normal bank payments where payments can be analyzed and tracked. On the bitcoin blockchain, what is displayed after every transaction is your wallet address. Your wallet address hides all your details as no one can guess the correct owner of a wallet address. The most that can be known are the addresses of the trading parties, but their personal details such as real names, bank accounts or countries of origin cannot be uncovered. This helps people remain anonymous as they are able to make or receive payments without being known.
Cryptocurrency payments are cheaper as compared to payments using normal currencies.
For instance, to broadcast a transaction on the bitcoin network, it will cost you about $0.05. As more people continue to adopt cryptocurrencies, the costs will further go down. Sending money across borders using banks can be costly and slow. You need to visit the bank physically and request for a transfer of funds from your account. The bank will charge heavy commissions, and factoring in costs of currency exchange at the country of reception, the process ends up being very costly.
4. Efficient International Payments
Assume that you are working for an overseas company and they need to pay you. The company will have to incur a lot of costs during the process of transferring funds, and you, the recipient, will bear the burden of the extra costs. The situation gets worse when you have to convert the currency to your home country’s currency. The currency exchanges will charge their commissions, and at the end of the day, you will have lost a substantial amount of money. Freemit, Align Commerce and Abra are startups that intend to make the international transfer of funds using bitcoins cheaper and faster.
5. Quicker Money Access
Following a sale, you can easily access your money through the bitcoin network. For instance, merchants that use BitPay can receive fiat currencies in their bank accounts only a day after receiving bitcoin payments. There are also plans to launch bitcoin debit cards that will be used together with bitcoins. This will give bitcoin users a lot of freedom on how to access and use their finances. With a mobile phone or a computer and internet connection, you are able to make payments from the comfort of your seat. You do not need to visit a bank or an ATM machine to make payments. You can always make payments at any time of the day that you want unlike using banks that are mostly closed at night and over weekends.
6. No Loss of Customer’s Data
Two transacting parties remain anonymous. Two people who do not know each other can receive or send payments to each other using this digital currency. Provided that you know the wallet address of the other party, you can still trade with him without anyone bothering you with their personal details. For instance, paying using credit cards often requires the merchant to collect private customer’s information so as to verify the details on the credit card. This information, if not stored well, can be stolen and used to make unauthorized payments. This makes bitcoin very safe to transact with. There is no way your private keys or wallet address can be hacked in the bitcoin network.
Transacting using the bitcoin network has played a great role in fraud prevention. This is because every transaction is recorded in a publicly verifiable ledger. Once an entry has been registered on the ledger, it cannot be edited. This means that there can never be double payments or reversal of payments.
With normal currencies, a buyer can receive a product from a merchandiser then claim his or her money back. There are thousands of cases of fraud involving stolen or hacked credit cards every year. Since bitcoins are not physical in nature, it is very easy to hack or steal them. When making bulky payments, for instance, you might need to walk around with lots of cash, which can be very inconveniencing. But with digital currencies, you just need to have a computer and internet access.
MetaMask: Ethereum ERC20 Token Wallet Browser Extension Beginner’s Guide
The Beginner’s Guide to MetaMask
For those new to Ethereum or perhaps even cryptocurrencies in general, the name MetaMask has probably already popped up in conversations. MetaMask is essentially a browser extension, and acts both as a wallet and access point to the Ethereum network. Explained even simpler, MetaMask is a hot wallet.
On the blockchain cryptocurrency networks, users can opt for a hot wallet (“live” or actively connected to the network) or a cold wallet (disconnected from the network). A wallet is necessary to store personal altcoins off exchanges or anywhere else after trading or transacting.
Although many early exchanges act as a bank for digital traders, current wisdom dictates that users maintain their funds offsite. In addition, a user will very often need to fund a trading account from a wallet, as many don’t allow for fiat or legacy payment protocols.
There are pros and cons to both, and current trends see most users employing the duo as their needs dictate. A hot wallet can be accessed and pilfered through phishing or user error, whereas a cold wallet is dead to the network, allowing no access at all. A cold wallet is also sometimes called a vault, as it’s silent, secure and access-restricted.
Many users will encounter the name when looking at ICOs, because ICOs are dominated by the ERC-20 token protocol. ERC-20 is a “type” of token, developed and employed on the Ethereum network, that has proven the most malleable and compatible token structure for crowdfunding purposes. The vast majority of ICOs, while employing their “own” tokens, are actually building those tokens out of the ERC-20 protocol.
Looking at a few nuances of the wallet, since it is an organic build from the Ethereum network, the MetaMask wallet will only hold ETH coins and other ERC-20 tokens of whatever origin. Bitcoin, for example, cannot be held in a MetaMask wallet.
The other major component of MetaMask is that it is a gateway to the Ethereum network. What this means is that all of the network’s dapps are available to use for MetaMask wallet holders. Dapps are “decentralized apps” and so named because their backend code is running on a decentralized network, in this case the Ethereum network.
If dapps seem obscure, examples would be the game Cryptokitties or casinos like Etheroll, a marketplace like OpenSea and of course digital exchanges like ForkDelta and IDEX.
Without a middleman like MetaMask, a PC’s browser can’t access the Ethereum network. Not unless a user runs a “full node” and installs the whole 400GB Ethereum blockchain on their PC.
Installation and Setup Of MetaMask
MetaMask is “open source,” which means anyone can view the code on GitHub. Currently, MetaMask functions on the FireFox, Chrome, Brave and Opera browsers. Links to MetaMask extensions for all relevant browsers are readily available on the MetaMask homepage. Once installed, the MetaMask logo will appear in the top right of the screen. Chrome, for one, will typically ask you to enable an extension, but these steps are all linked and users are done with a MetaMask installation in a minute or two.
Users don’t require a username when registering a MetaMask wallet, only a password. With MetaMask, a user’s password is called a “DEN.” although a clever play on words, since the logo is a fox’s face, although this appears to be more coincidence than any deliberate naming.
After creating a password, users are issued with a unique 12-word “seed phrase.” This is a bunch of words employed to safeguard a user’s account. It’s recommended that users stash their seed words in a competent password keeper like LastPass, or similar apps. Users can also generate multiple MetaMask accounts. Every account created by a user with MetaMask will share seed words and the password, but will have a different address.
Transacting With MetaMask
Paying someone or otherwise dispatching tokens from the MetaMask wallet is a simple matter. A single click on “Send” allows users to populate the subsequent screen with a user address. Send the funds and the transaction is done, and users receive a confirmation once the transaction is completed.
When interacting with dapps using MetaMask, provided a user is logged into their MetaMask account, they can access Ethereum network dapps automatically through their browser. Logging into a dapp like OpenSea, for example, the decentralized outlet for crypto collectibles, the dapp notes a user’s MetaMask address. There is no need to log into dapps separately, as the network has user intel integrated, recognizing an account holder wherever they go on the Ethereum blockchain.
MetaMask is free to use, users paying only the “gas” cost – the base cost of transacting on the Ethereum network. Gas is the fee required to effect any transaction on the Ethereum network. It is denominated in “Gwei,” one billionth of an ETH. Looking at overall UX, MetaMask is a reputable offering, with good support and a welcome absence of any dark press.
Protecting Your MetaMask Account
How Safe is MetaMask? In the world of cryptocurrencies, security is top of the list. Constant hacks and successful phishing attempts keep making the papers, while legislators are still battling to bring regulation up to the same level as legacy fintech. Since cryptocurrency thefts cannot be undone by identifying the thief and reclaiming funds, users should always have security uppermost in their minds when employing their MetaMask wallet.
It is advised to log out of a MetaMask account when it’s not being used. When a user is logged in, the account is considered “unlocked” and more vulnerable than when shut down. Open MetaMask accounts enable crooks to glean a user’s wallet address, token types, the wallet balance and especially transaction history.
Don’t be fooled into thinking that phishing can only happen via mail, however. Users should be aware of suspicious pop-ups or other notifications while signed into their wallet, as this can also be indicative of a phishing attempt.
Things like irregular pop-ups that ask a user to sign for a pending transactions are high risk. So too are messages telling users that their last transaction failed, then rerouting the repeat transaction to a different address. Much like cyber criminals emulate bank UIs and present with all the right logos and all the right colors in place, so too have there been instances of phony interfaces emerging.
For the best secure arrangement, users would employ a cold wallet like Ledger or Trezor Model T. For human reassurance, keeping the bulk of one’s altcoin holdings in a cold wallet can’t be beaten. That said, MetaMask has never suffered a hack nor had other instances of bad, sad press around lost funds and theft. To date, the wallet is impervious, and user losses stem from phishing attacks for which MetaMask can’t be blamed.
MetaMask is elegantly simple and easy to use. The wallet-stroke-network enabler has become the most popular and convenient route to navigating, paying and trading on the Ethereum network. Standing back and looking at the offer as a non-technical or, rather, non-crypto person might, as an offer it’s very simple and easy to install.
Even newcomers can quickly grasp the essence of it and get on with interacting on the Ethereum blockchain. MetaMask is intuitive and has been elegantly simplified because of its homegrown Ethereum nature. Any hot wallet, however, carries a higher risk than any cold wallet, and users should always have caution in mind when transacting via the wallet.
You can read more about MetaMask here: metamask.io
Top 6 Cryptocurrency Exchanges Using Own Coins For Reduced Fees
Best Cryptocurrency Coins Which Grant Dividend Or Reduced Fees In 2018
The cryptocurrency space has gained incredible momentum in the last few months. This is fueled especially by the existence of coins that not only earn dividends for the owners but also earn passive income while at the same time offering very low transaction fees.
Table Of Contents
6 cryptocurrency exchange coins and tokens that make money in the Crypto sphere are discussed below in detail.
KCS is a native token owned by KuCoin Cryptocurrency Exchange which is based out of Hong Kong. A total of 100 Million tokens of KCS were distributed during the KuCoin Initial Coin Offering (ICO) in 2017. KCS tokens are fundamentally ERC 20 tokens. The current value per token of KCS is US$ 4.78 and the market capitalization is approximately US$ 435 Million.
Holding KCS tokens is extremely advantageous for both Holders and traders. KuCoin Shares have a reward ratio for the holders. 10% goes to KuCoin, 50% goes to the KCS holder and 40% belongs to the referred individual. 10% of the Exchange`s profits are used in buying back the KCS and then burning the tokens. This means that KCS holders are further rewarded due to the appreciating prices.
Furthermore, Owners of KCS receive 50% reduction of the platform`s trading fees on all the volumes in the Exchange. Due to the referral system at the KuCoin Cryptocurrency Exchange, owners of KCS receive higher passive income.
Binance (BNB) Token
BNB is a native coin that is owned by Binance, which is one of the best cryptocurrency exchanges in the current Crypto market. Binance exchange was developed in China but relocated to Japan in September 2017. BNB has a current market value of US$ 11.82 and a market capitalization of US$ 1.3 Billion.
BNB is also an ERC 20 token with a fixed supply of 200 Million. During the Initial Coin Offering (ICO) in 2017, the BNB token was generated to fund the development of Binance Exchange. Owners of BNB token use it to pay for fees on the Exchange`s platform. These fees include withdrawal fees, Listing fees, Exchange fees and any other applicable fees.
Binance buys back 20% of BNB tokens in every quarter which the Exchange then burns until the total circulation reaches 100 Million. For holders of BNB, the total cost of trading at the platform is reduced by 50%. The owners of BNB also receive regular dividends when the BNB tokens are regularly burnt every quarter till the total supply goes back to 100 Million. The increased daily volumes at the Exchange further increase the benefits by providing an increased passive income.
CryptoBridge (BCO) Coin
BCO is a native crypt-compatible coin created in July 2017. It is owned by the Decentralized Cryptocurrency Exchange (DEX) called CryptoBridge Dex which allows trading of most of the popular Altcoins. This Exchange utilizes the multi-signature federated gateway.
BCO coin is mineble and unlike KCS and BNB, it is not an ERC20 coin. BCO Coin has a current market value of US$ 1.64 and a market capitalization of US$ 45Million. Holders of BCO get 50% of the share bonus earnings of CryptoBridge Exchange when they stake their BCO coins.
For 3 months they receive 20% bonus, for 6 months they receive 50% bonus and for 12 months they receive 100% bonus. However, staking their coins for 1 month yields 0% bonus.
COSS is an ERC20 token that is owned by COSS Cryptocurrency Exchange located in Singapore. COSS exchange has matching features like Binance and KuCoin Exchanges. The Exchange is unique since it embraces plans of being a USD Exchange as well as payment processor.
The current market value of the COSS token is US$ 0.29 with a market capitalization of US$ 23 Million. The COSS Exchange retains and validates all the transactions that are initiated at the platform on the Ethereum Blockchain.
COSS has a great dividend program. The holders of the coin are paid 50% of the total earnings from the Exchange trading fees on a weekly basis. Additionally, holders can store their coins at the COSS Exchange platform or at an ERC20 enabled wallet such as MyEtherWallet.
CEFS token is another dividend earning token that is owned by the Cryptopia Exchange which is one of the most popular digital Exchanges trading numerous Altcoins. Cryptopia is headquartered in New Zealand.
CryptopiaFeesShares are very expensive and rare. The current market value is US$ 1,816 per token with a total supply of 6300 CEFS. The Cryptopia mining platform for cryptocurrencies is well streamlined and easy to use.
The holders of CEFS Token receive 4.5% of the monthly earnings from Cryptopia platform which is then distributed proportionately as per the CEFS holdings. Holding the token for longer periods leads to more returns.
Bibox (BIX) Token
BIX is a native token that is owned by the Bibox Exchange, an all enhanced-encrypted Exchange which was founded in China. It also has similar features like Binance. This exchange enables traders to trade numerous Altcoins. The exchange supports different languages like English, Chinese, Korean, Mandarin, Vietnamese and Russian. The Exchange is also unique since it has the capacity to trade cryptocurrencies while utilizing Fiat currency within the same medium.
The current market value of BIX is US$ 0.6 with a market capitalization of US$ 63M and a circulating supply of 105,918,066 BIX. The tokens are bought back and burnt regularly until the total supply reaches 271 Million.
Holders of BIX receive rewards in the form of fee reduction. BIX tokens have various uses especially in paying for the Exchange`s fees like Exchange fees, Listing fees and Withdrawal fees. The discount rates for using BIX are as follows: 50% in year one, 25% in year two, 12.5% in year three, 6.25% in year four and 0% in year five.
Our Final Thoughts
Conclusively, the best coin or token depends on the goal of an individual. For instance, an individual who is actively involved in trading is better suited to possess the BNB token while an individual whose purpose is passive income, then KCS is ideal. High volumes of the trading Exchanges will mean more dividends while the costs in trading and the referral systems will mean more passive income.
Top 5 Most Common Bitcoin & Cryptocurrency Scams in 2018
Cryptocurrencies have become a bit of hot cake. On one hand, lots of people are getting in and making a lot of money. Others are getting burned and losing their life savings in a bid to play in the markets and make a killing.
Most of those who do often invest in cryptos known as scam coins. These cryptocurrencies are designed to rip off people, and solely benefit their creators.
But because most newbies have no idea of how to identify the real moneymakers from the scams, many get burned, losing a lot of money in the process. This article is contains information on the more common cryptocurrency scams, show you how to identify them, and more importantly, teach you how to protect yourself, so you don’t get ripped off.
Types Of Cryptocurrency Scams
1. Cloud Mining Pools
Please understand that there are some legitimate cloud mining services out there. So, not all of them are bad. That said, this is one of the more common ways people lose their money.
These companies attract people who want to go into cryptocurrency mining, but have neither the time nor the money to buy and maintain their own cryptocurrency miners. So, these companies offer to help them mine, in exchange for a fee and a promise of the profits.
To identify the legit operations from the fraudulent ones, look for their registrants, company team lead and location. A major red flag is if you cannot find direct details when you do a whois lookup of their domain name.
But that alone isn’t enough. Look for transparency in terms of who runs what. Legitimate cloud mining services will have either their whois details available and/or information on the team managing the service.
Also be wary of companies registered in the US or UK, but with all team members resident abroad. If you cannot find a local address that’s verifiable, you might want to keep your money as that’s another red flag.
2. MLM Cryptocurrency Organizations
These are popping up all over the place and promising to make people instant millionaires. All participants have to do is get more people on board to invest in a specific cryptocurrency or a proxy project and they’ll profit from it.
The reality is that while there are legit multilevel marketing schemes, many of these crypto based MLM programs have no tangible product or service to sell. If the only thing they’re selling is a pyramid scheme, run and don’t look back.
3. Bogus Initial Coin Offerings (ICOs)
More and more people are realizing that they can make a lot of money from initial coin offerings. These people are taking advantage of the unregulated nature of the crypto space and the ease of creating tokens to launch ICOs.
In fact, it is estimated that over $1 billion has been invested in ICOs in the last 6-12 months, with many being unrealistic or downright fraudulent.
Unfortunately, many of these scammers are becoming more savvy and cleaning up their act by presenting a legitimate front –often with roadmaps, white papers, detailed information about their “projects” and other trappings that make their campaigns look legit. So, while it’s getting more difficult to spot the fake ICOs, it’s not impossible.
For starters, research thee company itself. If it’s been in business and has a good reputation, then you have a winner. If it’s new, has no reputation, and isn’t transparent about its processes, team or location, close that tab and keep looking.
Also, look at their management team and research them. Always go for those with well known and reputable team members. And if their promise or project sounds too good to be true, chances are it is.
4. Crypto Investment Packages
These are primarily bitcoin based and more formally known as bitcoin investment packages (BIPs). These are similar to cloud mining in the sense that they promise daily returns which are usually smaller percentages of your investment.
They often start out well to gain your trust, and then one day, disappear. This is another pyramid scheme designed to fleece you of your hard earned money. Users tend to fall for it by reinvesting their funds only to have their returns and payments gradually slow down and stop coming in altogether.
For these packages, we’ll say just walk away completely. And if you want to do this, just understand that it’s a short term Ponzi scheme and go in with your eyes open. For best results, get in at the very early stage, make your money, and cash out.
5. Pump and Dumps
These are projects created by individuals or consortium's for the sole purpose of driving the price wall up, and then cashing out once it reaches a predetermined price.
When you see cryptocurrency prices going up for no reason whatsoever, know that it’s a pump and dump in the making. If you want to partake, just make sure to get in early, enjoy the ride and cash out quickly. However, we don’t recommend investing in schemes like this at all.
There are communities that are solely dedicated to this. The go in and buy huge quantities of a certain cryptocurrency, watch the price artificially inflated and others get on board, then dump the coins after making a lot of money.
How To Protect Yourself From These Cryptocurrency Scams
There’s one simple thing to look for, and that is the use of cryptocurrency. Always lookout for the following when looking to invest in a cryptocurrency:
- An active community
- A development team dedicated to the project
- Transparency from the company
- Valid viable use case that solves actual problems
Always research a cryptocurrency before investing in it. A simple search string like “[intended cryptocurrency] daily reddit” will be enough to show if they are legit or not. Also look for mentions in major news outlets, visible team leads with a track record of results in and/or outside the industry and backers.