Russia Plans to Ditch US Dollar for Bitcoin, Says University Professor

A Russian university lecturer with ties to the government says the Kremlin will soon begin investing massively in Bitcoin as a way of avoiding new U.S. sanctions, a move that could happen “in a matter of weeks.”


Russia to Buy Some ‘Digital Gold’?

Speaking exclusively to Micky, Vladislav Ginko of the Russian Presidential Academy of National Economy and Public Administration believes new U.S. sanctions will push the Kremlin into diversifying its cash reserves into Bitcoin.

Ginko who has ties with the government going back more than 20 years says the move will happen in a matter of weeks. Ginko has in recent times appeared on various Russian media platforms clamoring for the adoption of Bitcoin as a haven asset.

Commenting on the issue, Ginko said:

US sanctions may be mitigated only through Bitcoin use. Because of US sanctions, Russia’s elite is forced to dump US assets and US dollars and invest hugely into Bitcoins. The central bank of Russia sits on $466 billion of reserves and has to diversify in case there are limited opportunities to do it (in the future).

Cutting Dollar Dependence Amid New U.S. Sanctions

Along with China, Iran, and Venezuela, Russia is exploring ways to reduce its US Dollar dependence. Back in November 2018, Russian President; Vladimir Putin, declared that in the wake of new sanctions, the country had no choice but to cut down on its use of the Dollar in international trade.

At the time, President Putin said:

We have no goal of moving away from the Dollar. It’s the dollar that’s moving away from us. Those making such decisions are not shooting themselves in the foot, but somewhere more delicate, further up the body.

According to Ginko, the Kremlin will, beginning in February 2018, look for ways to diversify its reserves. Ginko has in recent times appeared on various Russian media platforms clamoring for the adoption of Bitcoin as a haven asset.

Russian Efforts

If the Russian government and the elite class invest massively in Bitcoin, the price of the asset could experience a sudden upward surge. Such a situation occurred in 2018 when wealthy Chinese citizens reportedly moved money into BTC in the wake of an accelerated currency devaluation by Beijing.

Meanwhile, the Kremlin has been stocking up on non-digital gold as a shield against economic sanctions. Reports indicate the government is selling U.S. government debt in exchange for the precious metal. By August 2018, Russia had already tripled its gold reserve as it gears up for renewed economic tussles with the U.S.

Such is the extent of Russia’s gold-gobbling that global gold purchasing figures reached a three-year high in November 2018. The Kremlin is also pursuing closer economic ties with China to create a new payment system independent of the Dollar.

Will massive Bitcoin investment by the Kremlin lead to any surge in the price of Bitcoin? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.


Image courtesy of Shutterstock

Osato Avan-Nomayo · @3rdPesinSingula

Russia Plans to Ditch US Dollar for Bitcoin, Says University Professor

Bull Reversal: Bitcoin Climbs Key Price Hurdle to Target $4K

Bitcoin’s (BTC) price crossed key resistance yesterday, boosting the prospects of a stronger rally above $4,000.

The leading cryptocurrency by market value broke out of a bearish descending pattern and closed above key resistance at $3,633 yesterday. That came after picking up a strong bid on the anniversary of its 2017 all-time price high on Monday.

Tuesday’s close has also pushed up the probability of a bullish three-day close above $3,590 being confirmed on Thursday.

So, with the short-term picture looking bullish, the focus shifts to the next major resistance levels lined up at $4,000 (psychological hurdle) and $4,410 (Nov. 29 high).

BTC is currently trading at $3,750 on Bitstamp, having clocked a two-week high of $3,776 earlier today. The cryptocurrency has recovered 20 percent from the recent low of $3,122 but is still down 73 percent on a year-to-date basis.

Daily chart

BTC’s close above $3,633 on the daily chart bolstered the increasingly bullish technical setup, as represented by the positive divergence of the 14-day relative strength index (RSI) and the high-volume falling wedge breakout.

Further evidence that the bears have weakened is a bullish crossover between the 5- and 10-day exponential moving averages (EMAs).

Hourly chart

On the hourly chart, the bull flag breakout confirmed yesterday created room for a rally to $3,840 (pole height added to breakout price).

Both the rising trendline and the stacking order of the simple moving averages (SMAs) also favor an extension of the ongoing rally.

Monthly chart

The outlook as per the monthly chart would turn bullish if and when prices beat the former support-turned-resistance of the 21-month EMA, currently at $5,728.

View

  • Tuesday’s close above $3,633 confirmed a short-term bearish-to-bullish trend change.
  • BTC will likely test the psychological level of $4,000 in the next 48 hours, with the next target being resistance at $4,410 (Nov. 29 high).
  • A daily close below $3,633 would weaken the bullish scenario, but is looking unlikely in the short-term

Disclosure: The author holds no cryptocurrency assets at the time of writing.

Bitcoin image via Shutterstock; charts by Trading View

 

Author – Omkar Godbole

https://www.coindesk.com/bull-reversal-bitcoin-climbs-key-price-hurdle-to-target-4k

Apple founder Steve Wozniak hopes bitcoin will become a single global currency

Tech legend Steve Wozniak says he is attracted to the “purity” of the idea that people around the world could one day share a single currency, despite being separated by national borders.

He echoed Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey, who recently said that he believes bitcoin will become the single currency worldwide.

“I buy into what Jack Dorsey says, not that I necessarily believe it's going to happen, but because I want it to be that way, that is so pure thinking,” Wozniak told CNBC on the sidelines of the Money 20/20 conference in Amsterdam.

The tech guru who bought bitcoin when the single coin cost around $700 said recently that he was not interested in turning a profit and was instead focused on the blockchain technology behind bitcoin. Wozniak explained that he used blockchain to make secure payments while travelling abroad.

“Bitcoin is mathematically defined, there is a certain quantity of bitcoin, there's a way it's distributed… and it's pure and there's no human running, there's no company running and it's just… growing and growing… and surviving, that to me says something that is natural and nature is more important than all our human conventions,” said Wozniak, who also owns two ether crypto coins.

He announced recently that he has sold all but one bitcoin. The world's top digital currency was trading at $7,454 on Tuesday.

Currently, there are over 1,000 cryptocurrencies in existence, but Wozniak says that bitcoin is the only one that remains “pure” because others have had to give up some of the aspects that makes bitcoin what it is.

“Only bitcoin is pure digital gold… and I totally buy into that. All the others tend to give up some of the aspects of bitcoin. For example, being totally decentralized and having no central control. That's the first one they have to give up to try to have a business model.”

For more stories on economy & finance visit RT's business section

https://www.rt.com/business/428760-wozniak-bitcoin-global-currency/

John McAfee vows to ‘serve the crypto community’ when he runs for president in 2020

Cybersecurity guru and cryptocurrency enthusiast John McAfee has announced plans to run for the US presidency in 2020 as part of a broader agenda to “best serve the crypto community.”

The founder of McAfee Antivirus Software said that he would set up his own political party if necessary, according to a tweet that was posted on Monday and has picked up over 750 comments and nearly 5,650 likes so far.

This would be McAfee’s second attempt to run for the White House. Two years ago, the crypto enthusiast lost out to former New Mexico governor Gary Johnson in his bid to be the candidate for the Libertarian Party.

 

The 72-year-old tech entrepreneur has recently emerged as a distinguished advocate for digital currencies, including bitcoin, which have experienced swift growth in recent years while demonstrating extreme volatility. Last week, McAfee announced plans to create his own crypto-backed ‘fiat’ currency. The brand new bills are expected to be released for June 25.

At the same time, the antivirus software pioneer seems to be realistic about his chances, according to his tweet.

Apart from his career as a tech entrepreneur, McAfee hit the headlines in 2012 after he was declared a person of interest in a murder case in Belize, Central America. However, the businessman, who was neither arrested nor charged with the crime, left the country and moved to the US.

For more stories on economy & finance visit RT's business section

https://www.rt.com/business/428752-mcafee-presidential-bid-crypto-community/

4000 New Bitcoin ATMs to be Introduced in Argentina

Argentine is about to have 4000 new crypto enabled Automated Teller Machines (ATMs) installed all over the country. It is thanks to the regulations that have eased with regards to ATM’s allowed to be placed in nonbanking establishments in Argentina.

The Central Bank of the Argentine Republic (BCRA) has allowed ATM’s to be placed anywhere, and not just banks which were the previous regulations.

There have been only two players so far in Argentine’s ATM market. One is the local Banelco and the other the international Link network. Now independent and third-party ATMs can be integrated into the existing financial system.

The Central Bank expects to open 30,000 new ATMs across Argentine given the flexible rules being implemented.

The new freedom in ATMs being located anywhere has given rise to Odyssey Group planning to install 4000 crypto enabled ATMs across the country. There are already 200 Octagon models of Odyssey spread in Argentine that was introduced last year. It was used only for exchanging Bitcoin, Ethereum and Litecoin hence could not be used for withdrawals due to the controlled banking network access.

Odyssey describes the crypto ATM’s as “as “really just a vending machine that dispenses cash instead of snacks or soda.”

The total estimated cost of a machine is $8000 with an installation fee between $1000 and $1500 with the owner having to stock the machine up with money. According to estimates, Odyssey plans to retrieve initial costs within five or six months.

A mobile application will allow customers to locate nearby cryptocurrency ATM’s and let them see if it is operational with cash.

Argentine has hopped onto the cryptocurrency ATM bandwagon with many other countries already adapting to its use. As of now according to a report by Statista, there are 2662 Bitcoin ATMs installed worldwide.

The Southern African country, Zimbabwe has a single Bitcoin ATM dispensing cash thanks to Golix which is Zimbabwe’s first and largest cryptocurrency exchange. It dispenses US dollars due to the value of the local currency.

Even Australia hopes to install 500 machines with Bitcoin selling and purchasing power. British cryptocurrency exchange, Bitlish confirmed it would deploy 5000 BTC ATM’s soon around Europe.

The United States has the most Bitcoin ATMs in the world, with the number of Bitcoin machines increasing from 502 in January 2016 to 2050 in January 2018.

 

 

 

 

Image Source: “Flickr”  –   By 

4000 New Bitcoin ATMs to be Introduced in Argentina

CBOE Saw Its Highest-Ever Bitcoin Futures Volumes Yesterday

Two major markets for bitcoin futures contracts saw a major boost in volume on Wednesday.

Available market data shows that CBOE saw its highest-ever volume for bitcoin futures since it first debuted the contracts back in December. 18,210 contacts for the May futures were traded, along with 703 for the June contract and 87 for the July contract. No volume was reported for the exchange’s August-dated contract.

CBOE Options Institute senior instructor Kevin Davitt, in a social media video posted on Thursday, said that “[the] average daily volume (ADV) runs about 6,600 in XBT Bitcoin Futures. Yesterday’s volume was nearly three times ADV.”

He went on to explain:

“Yesterday was the highest daily volume for bitcoin futures since their introduction here at CBOE nearly five months ago. The lead month May futures traded 18,210 contracts, and across the term structure a total of 19,000 bitcoin futures traded here yesterday. The previous high-volume session was January 17 with just less than 15,500 contracts traded.”

Wednesday’s volume was an outlier among the past several days, as well as the results seen during Thursday’s session. On Monday, XBT Bitcoin Futures traded at 3,881, rising to 6,653 on Tuesday. On Thursday, volume was reported at 5,634 contracts as of press time.

CME, according to market data, also saw a big trading day on Wednesday.

The exchange saw the volume of its bitcoin futures contracts market double on Wednesday from the day before, shooting past 11,000 contracts. Unlike CBOE, it was CME’s April 2018 contracts which saw the bulk of the spike, according to its website.

The spike in January’s volume coincided with the expiration of the first set of contracts, Davitt said. However, Wednesday’s volume did not, nor did it have a 15-20 percent range in futures Davitt would otherwise have expected, he added.

“We will certainly be watching to see if this is a volume aberration or if more and more institutional types are moving into crypto,” he said. However, he noted that “the overall bullish sentiment continues in XBT Bitcoin Futures.”

 

 

 

Markets image via Shutterstock  –  Nikhilesh De

https://www.coindesk.com/bitcoin-futures-volume-spikes-wednesday/

The leader in blockchain news, CoinDesk is a media outlet that strives for the highest journalistic standards and abides by a strict set of editorial policies. CoinDesk is an independent operating subsidiary of Digital Currency Group, which invests in cryptocurrencies and blockchain startups.

Bitcoin is rallying — and can no longer be dismissed. Here are 3 reasons why

  • Bitcoin prices continue to climb, reaching nearly $10,000 on Friday.
  • Goldman Sachs’ move into the cryptocurrency market, regulatory clarity and the upcoming Blockchain Week NYC have all increased demand for bitcoin.
Three reasons why bitcoin is heading higher, according to Fast Money’s BK  

Bitcoin is rallying and can no longer be ignored, said Brian Kelly, founder and CEO of BKCM LLC, an investment firm focused on digital currencies.

“It’s a serious market,” Kelly said from Hoover Institution’s annual Monetary Policy Conference at Stanford University on Friday.

“When I would go to events like this in years past, you would kind of dismiss bitcoin,” Kelly said on “Fast Money.” “But it’s been brought up several times at this conference and taken quite seriously. And I think you have to with a market cap at half a trillion dollars.”

The cryptocurrency reached $9,700 around 5:15 p.m. ET Friday. While significantly lower than its mid-December highs around $19,700, the coin continues to regain losses from lows of around $6,000 earlier this year.

Kelly credits Goldman Sachs and its plans to open the first bitcoin trading firm of any Wall Street bank for pushing the demand higher.

“Goldman made a big move into the cryptocurrency space,” Kelly said. “They are definitely the leaders among the institutions in the space.”

Regulatory clarity is also pushing the coin’s value higher.

“One thing that is interesting is that bitcoin is clearly a currency,” Kelly said. “Almost everyone I’ve talked to, and people here at this event, are talking about bitcoin as a currency, not a security.”

Finally, Kelly said Blockchain Week New York City, bitcoin’s biggest event, is coming up next week, helping to generate more buzz around the coin.

“Essentially, everyone from the world will be descending upon New York to talk about cryptocurrency,” he said.

 

https://www.cnbc.com/2018/05/04/bitcoin-is-rallying–and-can-no-longer-be-dismissed-brian-kelly.html

Kellie Ell  –  News Associate for CNBC

Bitcoin and Diamonds

Blockchain used to track gold and diamonds from mine to finger

IBM, gold and diamond companies (including De Beers), and an independent laboratory are using TrustChain to track the provenance of finished pieces of jewellery

 

Portland — IBM, a group of four gold and diamond industry companies, and an independent laboratory are developing a blockchain network for tracing the provenance of finished pieces of jewellery from mine to store.

The TrustChain Initiative, which will run on IBM’s technology, includes precious-metals refiner Asahi Refining, US jewellery retailer Helzberg Diamonds, precious-metals supplier LeachGarner, jewellery-maker the Richline Group and a global safety consulting and verification company UL.

Other industry players may join the effort as well, said Jason Kelley, GM for blockchain services at IBM. Products being tracked through the program should be available to consumers shopping for jewellery by year-end, according to a joint statement on Thursday.

TrustChain is the latest effort by the jewellery industry to use blockchain — a real-time digital ledger that is immutable — to prove to consumers that their purchases don’t include blood diamonds or conflict metals and are ethically sourced. IBM has also been actively helping form a slew of blockchain-focused companies and industry initiatives around various supply chains.

For example, it’s working with companies such as retailer Walmart to trace food products, and earlier this year helped start an effort to track international cargo. Providing technologies to such projects is a huge growth opportunity for Big Blue, as IBM is sometimes nicknamed, which has already grabbed the biggest portion of the world’s blockchain-related spending.

Jewellery tracing is becoming increasingly important for business, as the younger customer is “far more sceptical, does more research”, said Mark Hanna, chief marketing officer at Richline. “We feel this is an absolute must right now.”

TrustChain has just completed its first proof-of-concept test, in which gold went from a mine in South Dakota to a refinery in Utah, to a fabricator in Massachusetts that converted the gold into casting nuggets and grains. Those then went to a manufacturer in India that made engagement rings and set diamonds in them. The rings went to a distribution facility and then to Helzberg in the US. UL, which helps companies ensure responsible purchases, monitored the transactions throughout the process.

Earlier this year, top diamond miner De Beers Group said it’s working to harness blockchain technology to track the gems. Start-up Everledger has been tracking diamonds since 2015, and has already traced provenance of more than 2-million stones. The London Bullion Market Association, which oversees the world’s biggest spot gold market, is looking at using the digital ledger to trace the origin of metal, to prevent money-laundering and to detect conflict minerals.

Bloomberg

30 APRIL 2018 – 07:02 OLGA KHARIF

https://www.businesslive.co.za/bd/business-and-economy/2018-04-30-blockchain-used-to-track-gold-and-diamonds-from-mine-to-finger/

Walmart Wants to Store Payment Data On a Blockchain

Newly published patent filings from retail giant Walmart hint at a plan to store payments data using blockchain tech.

The two applications – published on Thursday by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) – both reference using a blockchain-powered platform to secure the payment data, ensuring that private information can’t be access by unauthorized parties. The same Walmart team drafted both applications, which were initially submitted on October 13 of last year.

While neither filing explicitly references using a permissioned blockchain (which allows only certain parties to operate nodes), the system as described would effectively operate as such. Both applications specify that customers must be able to see their payment histories – but that third-parties need to be restricted from this degree of access.

The first patent filing, which describes a vendor payment system, proposes creating a network that’s able to automatically conduct transactions on a customer’s behalf. The payments would be received by one or more vendors – depending on what services are provided and who provided these services – according to the document.

The application continues:

“In one aspect, provided is a vendor payment sharing system, [which would] automatically process payment for a total amount due for the products and services related to obtaining and delivering the products; automatically dividing the payment between parties that provided services related to obtaining and delivering the products; and encrypt the payment and the division of the payment with a blockchain.”

The second application focuses on digital shopping systems and describes using a blockchain to encrypt payment information in a similar fashion.

As the filing notes, one part of “the vendor payment sharing system also includes an authentication system for valuable digitized items … In an exemplary embodiment, the authentication system utilizes one or more aspects of conventional [blockchain systems].”

The twin applications are the latest intellectual property play from Walmart. As CoinDesk previously reported, the company is seeking a patent for a “smart package” that would use blockchain as a way to encode information.

Beyond that, Walmart is also pursuing applications of blockchain for supply chain purposes, particularly for tracking shipments of food.

Image Credit: Jonathan Weiss / Shutterstock.com

The leader in blockchain news, CoinDesk is a media outlet that strives for the highest journalistic standards and abides by a strict set of editorial policies. CoinDesk is an independent operating subsidiary of Digital Currency Group, which invests in cryptocurrencies and blockchain startups.

 

Article By  –  Nikhilesh De

https://www.coindesk.com/walmart-wants-store-payment-data-blockchain/

Bitcoin Merchant Adoption Might Just Be Accelerating In Asia

Bitcoin isn’t for payments?

While that may be the popular narrative of late, don’t tell that to Bellatorra Skin Care, a luxury brand that has found the opposite as it’s expanded internationally into markets such as China and India.

Not only is bitcoin (which has seen years of declining interest from merchants as the networkbumped up against its limits) a sought-after choice for business-to-business (B2B) payments, but for retail payments, other cryptocurrencies are finding a foothold as well.

“We expanded our business internationally this past year, and have had strong demand [for cryptocurrency] from customers in markets such as China and India, where fiat cross-border transactions have inefficiencies,” said Nathan Halsey, the CEO of Bellatorra, based in Beverly Hills, California.

Halsey told CoinDesk:

“We have found cryptocurrency to be a viable solution for resolving these challenges, and we see other companies with international business adopting the same practices.”

Indeed, one of the early use cases highlighting bitcoin’s innovation was cross-border paymentswhere there were bottlenecks and high fees for transacting.

Bellatorra ran into these hurdles in Asian markets and says its wholesale customers began asking for the option of paying in bitcoin. So in July 2017, the company began a relationship with bitcoin merchant services provider BitPay.

“We have completed multiple six-figure transactions, without an issue, and have settled funds from the time of customer payment to settling in U.S. dollars in our U.S. bank accounts in less than one business day,” Halsey continued.

And according to BitPay CEO Stephen Pair, Bellatorra’s experience in circumventing cumbersome traditional payments rails with crypto isn’t uncommon. Cosmetic companies such as Nuciya Beauty in Canada have found that people tend to spend more per purchase when they use cryptocurrency.

As such, Bellatorra is looking into adopting other cryptocurrencies, and making them a bigger segment of their business, in the future.

“We are definitely pro-cryptocurrency as a payment option,” Halsey said, adding that the company has started holding onto small amounts of the cryptocurrencies it accepts instead of immediately cashing out.

Diversifying retail payments

For its retail customers, Bellatorra has already begun accepting litecoin and ether, ethereum’s native cryptocurrency.

Since BitPay doesn’t facilitate merchant payments in anything other than bitcoin and bitcoin cash, Bellatorra had to establish relationships with other processors to enable these cryptocurrency payments.

According to Halsey, using PayWithEther.com and GoUrl.io, Bellatorra garnered dozens of litecoin and ether payments from predominantly Asian customers spending roughly $300 to $1,000 per order.

While bitcoin’s transaction fees have come down significantly over the past several months, the thought of high fees has caused some merchants to hedge, according to Jimmy Song, a well-respected developer and partner at Blockchain Capital.

Yet it’s not only a hedge but also a way to solicit more sales, Song said.

Cryptocurrency trading has seen huge amounts of adoption in Asian markets recently, with many industry observers asserting that if cryptocurrency businesses aren’t targeting these markets, they’ll be left behind.

And according to Bellatorra’s Halsey, there’s no reason for a merchant business to not turn on the option since it’s so easy.

“I can tell other companies looking at the space that if you are used to taking a credit card for payment, this is every bit as simple if not simpler,” he said.

An Asian persuasion

Yet, the rapid growth of B2B bitcoin payments still dwarfs altcoin use cases for retail payments.

To get an idea of the size of the market, international B2B payments now account for roughly 15 percent of BitPay’s business. And that’s after a 328 percent increase in the payments dollar volume BitPay took in between 2016 and 2017.

Sonny Singh, chief commercial officer at BitPay, told CoinDesk he expects those payments to increase another fourfold in 2018.

These numbers are likely one of the reasons BitPay secured $40 million in a Series B round recently. And the main focus for that money will be expanding its services into Asia, said Pair.

For one thing, a BitPay investor based in China would like to see the company open an office in the country, Pair said.

To make that happen, the company would like to start building relationships with banking partners in China, to offer the ability for merchant clients to cash out into their preferred currency and account, he continued.

Speaking to that focus, Pair said:

“The staff there will be focused on customer service, sales, engineering services, compliance, things you really need a local presence for.”

Beauty products image via Shutterstock

The leader in blockchain news, CoinDesk is a media outlet that strives for the highest journalistic standards and abides by a strict set of editorial policies. CoinDesk is an independent operating subsidiary of Digital Currency Group, which invests in cryptocurrencies and blockchain startups.

Article by – Leigh Cuen

https://www.coindesk.com/crypto-payments-are-booming-in-asia/