Backed by Major VC Firms the Bitcoin Remittance App Abra is set to Launch Next Month

Bill Barhydt, the founder and CEO of Abra, the highly anticipated Bitcoin-based remittance application, announced at the North American Bitcoin Conference on January 17 that the firm will launch its global digital cash network next month.

Upon the launch of Abra, users will be able to send and receive money in over 50 currencies. Abra also includes direct Bitcoin support allowing users to send Bitcoin payments to family members or friends abroad with low fees.

Essentially, Abra is a peer-to-peer version of today’s remittance service providers. Instead of having to visit physical locations or outlets to receive or send money, that can be inefficient for individuals based on the countryside or rural areas, users can simply send remittances using their mobile phones to any recipients who will then receive the payment from Abra tellers all across the world.

Vision of Abra targeting the global remittance market

Abra has already launched its application in the Philippines and the United States. The Philippines, in particular, has a large remittance market of over $500 bln, mostly due to large numbers of Filipino workers going abroad to support their families back in the Philippines. To send money back to the Philippines, Filipino expat workers rely on inefficient and expensive remittance outlets, which have caused discomfort for both senders and receivers over the past decade.

Barhydt and his team are trying to improve this impractical ecosystem that exists in the global remittance market. Using Bitcoin as the basis, the company aims to make remittance cheaper and faster through the usage of a peer-to-peer currency and network.

“Bitcoin is key to these efforts. While Bitcoin has always been a large part of what we do, it’s been hidden in the background up until now. Last year we launched Abra in the Philippines and the United States validating that we could release a digital currency product using Bitcoin that didn’t confuse the average consumer,” said Barhydt.

The global launch of Abra will include various native Bitcoin features, including a Bitcoin wallet, Bitcoin to fiat exchange, fiat to Bitcoin exchange and the ability to become an Abra teller using Bitcoin.

Barhydt is especially optimistic about the impact Abra will most likely have on the global Bitcoin market. The network makes it easier for traders to hold onto their Bitcoins and trade digital currency for fiat in any country which Abra supports.

He stated:

“We estimate that $30-$40 mln per week are now traded in person in “fiat vs Bitcoin” in over 75 countries. With our support for Bitcoin Traders as Abra Tellers, Bitcoin Traders can now hold Bitcoin in their Abra App but process deposits and withdrawals in any world currency that the Abra App supports.”

Supported by major VC firms and financial institutions

The startup and the Abra network is supported by some of the largest venture capital firms in the world, including Arbor Ventures, RRE Ventures and First Round Capital. Abra raised a $14 mln Series A funding round from these firms.

Other major financial institutions including American Express and Tata Sons also participated in the multi-million dollar investment, providing necessary capital, resources and infrastructure for Abra to grow.

American Express Ventures managing partner Harshul Sanghi expressed his positivity on Abra’s vision to lead the global remittance market back in 2015 stating that more convenient and affordable methods of remittance settlement are in desperate demand.

“As people and businesses transact globally, there is a need for more convenient and affordable ways to move money. We think Abra could play an important role in the evolution of money transfer and commerce especially in emerging markets,” said Sanghi.

New Spanish Exchange Converts Bitcoin and Fiat Currencies at 7,000 ATMs

HolyTransaction Trade is a new universal cryptocurrency wallet in Spain that enables bitcoin and Euro instant conversions. Within Spain’s 7,000 ATMs, a person can convert their bitcoin into fiat currencies and vice versa, helping to push the country into the digital world.

HolyTransaction has teamed up with HalCash, a global electronic platform that allows users, both banked and unbanked, to send and receive money, nationally and internationally, instantly and securely. This means that any banks linked to the HalCash network can convert bitcoin into Euros and withdraw cash from the banks ATMs.

Speaking to CCN, Francesco Simonetti, CEO of HolyTransaction, said:

We started working with HalCash and a local payment processor to enable the withdrawal of cash for HolyTransaction’s Spanish customers. [We] then decided to help expand HalCash’s network to more countries.

On top of Spain the HalCash network also includes Poland, bringing the total number of ATMs that can convert bitcoin and Euros up to more than 10,000.

With the use of Teleingreso, a fast and secure payment processor, an individual can purchase bitcoin through its network of over 3,000 ATMs, 2,000 post offices, and 300 retail stores.

By selecting Teleingreso as the preferred online payment method, a person will receive a unique nine-digit code, which enables a payment to be made after visiting any of the networked ATMs to make a payment.

Bitcoin on the Rise After 2008

Since the 2008 financial crisis, which saw many European economies including Spain’s fall into decline, many people started seeking alternative measures that didn’t require traditional banking methods.

Simonetti states that the rise of bitcoin in Spain has increased since then with bitcoin continuing to advance in the Spanish nation.

Since a lot of people lost their houses during the financial crisis, more people started to look into bitcoin in order to live without using a bank.

In October last year, a report from Europa Press found that AMETIC, an information technology foundation in Spain, had announced that there was a need for the Spanish government to form a Ministry of Economy and Digital Society. It was reported that this was to help define the digital strategy for Spain.

Simonetti believes, however, that it is down to the regulated environment and the readiness of local banks to help with bitcoin services that is helping to drive the digital currency in the country.

What Next?

To use HolyTransaction a person doesn’t require a wallet on the platform and doesn’t require registering either. However, if they already have a wallet from a different wallet provider this can be used on HolyTransaction.

Customers of the exchange also have the opportunity of creating a prepaid virtual Visa card with bitcoin that enables them to buy anything they want online with most e-commerce shops accepting Visa payments.

According to Simonetti the recently launched platform has attracted thousands of customers from around the world, but he points out that they have plans to grow the company.

We plan to expand to India soon. The list of available countries will grow with Mexico, U.S., and Columbia within the year as well, making it possible to sell bitcoin within those countries.

人民幣貶,比特幣成中國資本外流通路!11月交易量飆新高

日經新聞 18 日報導,根據調查機構 Bitcoinity.org 的數據顯示,2016 年 11 月份虛擬貨幣比特幣全球交易量達 1 億 7,471 萬枚,較前月份大增 5 成,超越 2016 年 3 月的 1 億 4,856 萬枚,創下史上新高紀錄,而中國是帶動比特幣交易創新高的主要堆手,佔整體比重達 9 成。

報導指出,11 月份比特幣交易急增的主要原因是美國總統大選和人民幣走貶。美國總統大選結束後,人民幣相對於美元持續走貶,也讓中國投資人為了迴避匯兌規範,紛紛用人民幣購買比特幣、藉此再轉換成美元等外國貨幣,藉此將資產移往海外。中國限制民眾一年只能兌換相當於 5 萬美元的外幣,但對於比特幣則無此限制。

中國有三大比特幣交易平台,合計交易市佔率佔全球 9 成比重,而自 2015 年 8 月中國促貶人民幣之後、比特幣交易量就急速攀高。三大交易平台之一的火幣網指出,「11 月份為了將資產移往海外的交易急增」。

火幣網單日匯款上限設定為 200 比特幣、以美元換算約 15 萬美元。當前每枚比特幣價格約 780 美元左右,較美國總統大選前上揚約 1 成。

轉載自 MoneyDJ新聞

比特幣今年大漲近81% 股匯商品靠邊站

彭博彙編的報價顯示,虛擬貨幣比特幣(Bitcoin)價位今年來累計飆升80.66%至1比特幣兌780.6801美元(約2.5萬元台幣),漲勢比任何外匯主要交易、股價指數或大宗商品合約都更驚人。相較下,今年升最猛的硬貨幣俄羅斯盧布和巴西里耳,同期升幅各約19%及17%,還不到比特幣升幅的4分之1。熱衷於交易比特幣的矽谷風險投資人Tim Draper說:「比特幣正逐漸受到認可。已經有消費者開始使用比特幣交易,而且當人們對自己國家的法定貨幣出現任何疑慮時─例如(印度)盧比─就會湧向比特幣,將比特幣視為替代貨幣。」香港比特幣採礦業者Genesis Mining財務長Marco Krohn認為,今年支持比特幣價位高漲的許多因素,明年將繼續存在。他說:「我們預期,比特幣至少將再漲1倍。」彭博指出,比特幣一向波動劇烈,難以斷言價位大起大落的根本原由,但仍認為有5點原因可協助解釋今年這波比特幣熱潮:◎資本管制:各國對主權貨幣的流通限制,在刺激比特幣需求上扮演重大角色。例如,中國政府為遏阻資本外流,今年來加強了對本國人轉移資金或進行海外投資的控管,使不受任何政府或央行挾制的比特幣更有吸引力。◎跨境匯款(remittance)預期將減少:部分國家推動孤立主義政策以阻擋跨境匯款,也迫使消費者轉而青睞比特幣。美國候任總統川普在競選期間,曾高喊將限制或中止美國境內款項匯回墨西哥,直到墨西哥同意在美墨邊界築牆。◎供應增長減緩:比特幣供應量爆炸式的成長正逐漸放緩。在市場機制下,如今開採比特幣的「礦工」從系統網絡所獲得的獎勵持續減少。為鼓勵「礦工」將電腦運算能力貢獻給比特幣公共記帳系統─區塊鏈(blockchain)─所支付的比特幣獎勵,到今年年中已比一開始腰斬至一半。◎接受度提高:愈來愈多消費者和企業,開始接受比特幣作為支付方式。根據比特幣新聞網站CoinDesk,比特幣在投資與線上消費方面的使用呈穩定增長,今年第3季比特幣錢包服務新增約110萬個帳戶,與去年2月相比則增加了700多萬個,且到上月比特幣錢包帳戶總數已超過1000萬個。◎官方打擊貪腐及恐怖活動:今年稍早委內瑞拉和印度宣布禁用法定大額面鈔,以防堵賄賂、走私等使用大量現金交易的非法行為。此外,世界各國政府都開始加強查緝非法資金流動,藉此防範資金流向恐怖組織,或在爆發貪瀆醜聞後嚴加查明資金流向。

2017: The Second Era of Bitcoin Begins

Akin Fernandez, also known as Beautyon, is the owner of London-based bitcoin voucher service Azteco. He is also a writer who has extensively covered bitcoin and related services, and a software developer with 15 years of experience.

In this CoinDesk 2016 in Review special feature, Fernandez gives a passionate and personal overview of the cryptocurrency industry’s year – 12 months that he says prove “there can be only one bitcoin”.

2016 has been a fascinating year, where cellular mitosis has been bitcoin’s guiding model.

The different camps previously in one group or cell have split. There are those who understand bitcoin and remain in its cell, and those that do not, and who are now in their own offshoot cells, “experimenting” on branches that are essentially non-viable.

The market participants who know how everything works, those in bitcoin, understand that there can only be one bitcoin.

There has been some excellent analysis making this crystal clear, and the fundamentally transformative work being done to extend bitcoin is categorical proof that this is true.

Bitcoin is the market winner because it is the first mover and definitive transaction layer. It is immutable not only in terms of the software rules, but the single minded, rational ethos of its protectors, who will not allow any corruption, hysteria or short-term thinking to spoil or endanger the project.

Radical change

Segregated Witness solves the transaction malleability problem, but more important than that, it makes all arguments about bitcoin’s transaction capacity limits a thing of the past. When SegWit activates, transactions using it will show up as spendable instantly – and there will be vastly more of them per second – killing another frequent and frankly, silly objection to bitcoin’s utility.

You can get a glimpse of what this will look and feel like with this beautiful colored coins demonstration of Lighting.

How bitcoin is used is about to change radically, and for the better. The final perceived limitations to it have been destroyed with SegWit. Now all that is left is building the software and businesses that will take advantage of this new, high-capacity bitcoin.

Spectators learned again this year that bitcoin is the only solution, and the roll out of SegWit is further proof of this, and it will cement bitcoin’s premier position. A small group of malcontents will always be attached to any software project, and if the history of software is anything to go by, these miscreants will eventually fade away because they have no software or solutions to offer.

If they don’t fade away and manage to scupper progress, then bitcoin was always doomed, and they deserve to win.

The resolution of the R3 experiment

All of the companies working from versions of the bitcoin software that is now two years old have forked off onto a path that doesn’t have the incredible genius of Bitcoin Core underpinning their software. This year, they’ve struggled to find a use case for their software forks, have failed to attract developers to their GitHub repos and are still trumpeting secret “trials” with corporate sponsors which are nothing more than PR fluff.

These sponsors will eventually tire of funding insurgents who don’t have the skill to add fundamental game changing features to the bitcoin software they downloaded, and the first market participant working with SegWit-enabled bitcoin, clearly demonstrating what it does, will cause the hapless sponsor firms to pivot away from these worthless trials and the Snake Oil companies in them.

After claiming that bitcoin was “dead”, R3 has managed to produce literally nothing. Incredibly, they asked their members what they want to see in a new platform, rather than innovating to provide one.

Part of their plan (which is now under way with their Corda repo) is to tap the mystical “Open Source Energy” where software magically comes from. None of these people, the bitcoin forkers or R3CEV, understand what they are dealing with both in terms of what bitcoin is and what it is for; why regulation can’t be built in to any software project whose aim is to replace bitcoin; or software development in general and how that process works. They have all been “Trumped”.

During the writing of this round up, there have been several interesting announcements. Goldman Sachs has left the R3 Blockchain Consortium, indicating once again that they have literally nothing of value to offer. I have no doubt that they are the first of many to abandon that ship without an engine, and you can be sure that this Emperor’s New Clothes affair is doomed to end up in Davy Jones’ repository.

Circle has dropped support for bitcoin payments. The grown ups are tired of bitcoin. But wait, the ex-CEO of Barclays has joined the board of Blockchain! One wallet maker drops bitcoin, and the ex-head of one of the world’s biggest banks joins the biggest bitcoin wallet.

Is bitcoin dying, or is it the next big thing? These people can’t decide!

Men without conviction

Coinbase, the company desperately trying to find out what it wants to be, adopted ethereum just before it was mortally wounded by the DAO disaster.

More on that below, but more importantly, they have just been served by the US government with a “John Doe” request for their users’ information. This is an absolute disaster for them. Defending this attack will cost them millions of dollars in legal fees and may take years to resolve.

During this time of uncertainty, no one in bitcoin will trust them, drying up their already slow user adoption. The one good thing to come out of this is that the case against giving your details over to companies like Coinbase and Circle is now set in stone. Handing over your identity to a bitcoin company is not only worthless to you as a consumer, but it’s very dangerous, and should always be avoided without exception.

Here’s why: even if their users have done nothing wrong, Coinbase is now set to be compelled to reveal their names, addresses, bank details and their bitcoin addresses and transaction records, and you can be sure these users will be brutally audited by the IRS.

So, regardless of whether they have done anything wrong and have paid all “their taxes”, they will now – at their own cost – have to prove their innocence (guilty before proven innocent; a complete violation of the US Constitution and Anglo-Saxon legal principles).

This attack on Coinbase demonstrates why ethical bitcoin companies have railed against KYC/AML.

It also shows by inference that bitcoin is anonymous enough to thwart the State, and they can only go after users if those users voluntarily attach their identities to bitcoin addresses controlled by companies in toxic jurisdictions. They can’t be easily identified in absentia of that voluntary self incrimination.

If this were not the case, the IRS would go directly to the users without referring to Coinbase at all. The fact that they can’t shows bitcoin is anonymous enough.

I expect more consumers and businesses will realize this in 2017. Perhaps President-elect Trump can stop all of this with his new America-centric administration. It’s abundantly clear to any capitalist that this John Doe action is 100% pure anti-American, and exponentially increases the risk of pushing bitcoin businesses to foreign jurisdictions.

I wrote about this before, in a consultation response to the British Government on how bitcoin should be handled.

Out of the ether

One of the most interesting events in 2016 was the “Ethereum Event”, where everything Bitcoin Core and others have been saying about the inherent difficulty and risk involved in writing complex cryptographic software came true, thanks to a single bearded man on a laptop running FreeBSD.

Since it was launched in Switzerland, cryptocurrency and bitcoin competitor ethereum has sought to radically extend bitcoin’s capabilities to a new separate database, one that was seen for a short time as the inevitable market winner over bitcoin. This is why Coinbase recklessly took the risk of offering ethereum’s native token, “Ethers”, to their customers.

One of the capabilities ethereum enables is the ability to create smart contracts, or agreements based entirely in software that execute rules – loosely speaking it’s clauses – entirely in code. Smart contracts are an extra-legal way of parties agreeing on how business is conducted and matters settled.

It’s radical, extremely exiting, and the biggest smart contract ever, The DAO, the first “Decentralized Autonomous Organization”, attracted over $140m in investment from people around the globe – and then it was hacked.

But it wasn’t really hacked. An attacker found a fundamental flaw in The DAO’s software contract clauses, and contractually drained $59m worth of ether from it, into another contract beneath it. “Ethers” are the equivalent of bitcoin in the ethereum public database and software ecosystem.

In response to this attack, ethereum, which is the skeleton that the DAO was built on, had its permanent record reversed by the developers who control it, to reimburse investors who lost ether in the DAO.

This is anathema to people in the cryptocurrency space, and caused a group to “fork” ethereum at the point in the transaction record at which the DAO contract hack took place. Forking means the new developers made a complete copy of the ethereum transaction record, and started recording their own, separate record of transactions on to the end of it.

There are now two diverging ethereae – one called “ethereum” and the other, “ethereum classic”.

Both of the database records of these systems are identical up to the DAO event, their native tokens float freely on exchanges, and as of this writing, the prices of both have essentially collapsed.

By any metric, it is a fiasco, and it is an object lesson of why there can only be one bitcoin, and why bitcoin should not fork lightly.

The big lesson for 2017

Rather than seeing the DAO event as a perfect example of why what are now called cryptocurrencies require regulation, the DAO is in fact a vivid illustration of why bitcoin and software should not be regulated.

This DAO event cost a statistically insignificant amount of money to teach a powerful lesson to all market participants, including companies like Coinbase. Without an expensive lesson like this, markets would be less efficient in finding the best models and, as a result, more vulnerable due to the speed of iteration being slower.

Those advocating for regulation should bear in mind that these experiments would be taking place in free jurisdictions, and some of them are guaranteed to succeed, like the SegWit extension to bitcoin. If the additions like Segregated Witness were subject to regulation, the pace of bitcoin improvement would slow to a crawl.

An example of this innovation stifling in the medical industry are the over 4,000 medicines awaiting FDA approval in the US. This backlog is directly analogous to new bitcoin business models – software – being blocked from release to the public.

This is exactly why no bitcoin regulation or legislation must be passed, or even considered openly, as it will signal to entrepreneurs that they are better off in another jurisdiction, just as people travel to free countries to try experimental drug treatments when all FDA approved medicines have failed to cure their disease.

The risk of bitcoin is spread evenly to the people who voluntarily choose to work with it. Trying to control bitcoin pushes a far greater risk of a generational national loss on all citizens, one that can never be recovered from once the centre of bitcoin is captured and rooted in another place.

In order to foster innovation and to allay any fears of a possible explosion of legislation that will make turning a profit in bitcoin impossible, the jurisdiction that wants to win the battle for bitcoin businesses should enact a single law – a 150-year moratorium on any legislation that touches bitcoin.

Up for grabs

2017 is going to be very interesting, and the most welcome change on many fronts is the coming Trump administration, that will hopefully eschew computer illiteracy and embrace The American Constitution and bitcoin, which is synonymous with the frontier mentality of risk taking and American entrepreneurialism.

America can still win the bitcoin prize, just as it won with Silicon Valley. The title of “World Center of Bitcoin” is still up for grabs in 2017.

And in this piece, I haven’t mentioned the looming prospect of the inevitable Venezuelan hyperinflation event, or the appalling fallout of the first shots in the war on cash in India, which triggered a 30% premium on bitcoin in that extraordinary country.

If there ever was a time for a service like Azteco, 2017 is it – a frictionless means of buying bitcoin, that reduces complexity to almost nothing and is perfect for the consumer. Combined with the welcome international expansion of Purse.io, the sublime and revolutionary OpenDime and the other products and services that are sure to follow, 2017 is going to exhilarate, entertain, enrich and enrage like never before!

Original: http://www.coindesk.com/coindesks-influential-people-blockchain-2016/

瑞士一夜間出現千台比特幣ATM機是一種怎樣的體驗?

10月底時,瑞士國家鐵路公司SBB宣布了一則令人意外的消息:其計劃從11月11日開始,瑞士所有火車站的售票機將可出售比特幣。這一試點項目將至少持續兩年的時間,其由瑞士金融服務公司sweepay負責運營。而想要購買比特幣的客戶,他們需要準備一個瑞士手機號以及一個比特幣錢包。

據悉,這一服務的每筆交易固定上限為500法郎(約460歐元,500美元)。現在的SBB售票機儼然已成為了比特幣ATM機,這由1000多台機器組成的瑞士比特幣ATM網絡,正夜以繼日地工作著。

瑞士一夜之間出現了1000多台比特幣ATM機,Bitcoin.com的記者在第一時間便測試了這種服務。

在SBB售票機上購買比特幣其實非常地簡單,你只需要做以下這幾步:

  1. 選擇 “其他服務” (Other offers),然後點擊“預付”(Prepaid);
  2. 點擊“充值比特幣” (Top up Bitcoin),機器會提醒你掃描你的比特幣錢包二維碼。 (如果你無法完成掃描,可能你需要換一個錢包,並嘗試增加你手機的屏幕亮度。)
  3. 掃描完畢後,我們需要輸入所需購買的金額(20 -500法郎之間的任意數字),並進行確認。 (注意,每筆交易會收取約6%的交易費,以及因匯率造成的費用。相比瑞士常規的比特幣ATM機,SBB售票機提供的服務會更貴)
  4. 檢查完無誤後,我們需要通過輸入安全交易碼(手機短信)來確認這筆交易。
  5. 最後,我們支付相應數量的法郎:現金或借記卡都可,但無法使用信用卡。 (幾分鐘後,我們就能在比特幣區塊鏈上查閱到這筆交易。)

使用者的反饋

記者在火車站也採訪了一些旅客,詢問他們對這一獨特功能的看法。其中有一名叫Fred的遊客回答稱:“我不確定自己是否會去使用它,我曾在一家交易所上購買了一個比特幣(投資用),但我並不是定期買的,所以這種服務對我來說並沒有用,但我可以想像它對其他人可能會有用處。”

此外,記者在網上也找到了一名使用過該服務的人士(受訪者要求匿名):

BC:你認為Sweepay/SBB的比特幣購買功能有哪些積極的方面?

答:它們無處不在。對於生活在蘇黎世、日內瓦城或巴塞爾的任何人而言,這種服務並不會帶來什麼好處,在那裡,你會有交易費更低的比特幣ATM機,但我生活的地方是在弗里堡(Fribourg,瑞士弗里堡州的首府),這裡原先並沒有這種服務。沒有比特幣ATM機,沒有當地的Mycelium交易者。我不想把任何這類服務連接到我的銀行賬戶,所以對我而言,最近的選擇就是在伯爾尼的比特幣ATM機,但其開放時間對我來說是不方便的(它放在了一家台球室內,開放時間是在11:30)。因此,對我而言,相比跑去伯爾尼,在SBB售票機上購買比特幣會是一個更好的選擇,儘管它有著溢價(購買少量比特幣的情況下)。

BC:那Sweepay/SBB的比特幣購買功能又有哪些是消極的呢?

答:它需要你的手機號碼,然後還需要你進行預付費。據我所見,他們需要你的手機號,以確保你每年購買的比特幣低於限額,這可能會簡化他們遇到的監管問題。我同情這個理由,但到最後,隱私問題會讓我擔憂。
第二個主要的缺點當然是價格。他們要拿走6%的交易費,但也算不上太糟,距離伯爾尼最近的比特幣ATM機也需要5%的費用。並且其使用的匯率也非常不利。例如,昨晚7點30分鐘左右,其使用的匯率大約是1 BTC :795.37法郎,如果我記得沒錯的話,當時的市場交易匯率應該是1 BTC :774法郎 。我忘了確切的時間點,但在那個時候,比特幣的價格從769法郎漲到了774法郎。所以,我在6%的交易費基礎上又多花了將近2.7%的費用。

BC:你相信這個功能會被主流人群使用嗎?

答:我不這麼認為,那些有接受比特幣的商店的城市,一般都會設有費用更低的比特幣ATM機。當然,現在整個瑞士都提供了這種服務,對此我還是很感激的,其高昂的費用對於Localbitcoins或Mycelium等場外交易方式來說也是一種激勵。
BC:你認為SBB集團接下來會針對比特幣採取什麼行動?

答:我不認為他們會很快接受比特幣。在售票機上,比特幣銷售選項是在“預付”類別裡的。 SBB是Sweepay的一個服務提供商,因為他們的機器知道如何賺錢,這些機器分佈在整個瑞士,並且都設有二維碼掃描器。 SBB集團其實並沒有參與這個遊戲,如果這是他們的試水實驗,看看會有多少客戶對比特幣感興趣的話,我想這可能是失敗的。我當然歡迎Sweepay能夠參與進來,但由於其溢價過高,並且在很多情況下,只有那些沒有比特幣ATM機的小城市,這些服務才會有市場。另一方面,因為接受比特幣的企業依然很缺乏,我猜,願意使用這種服務的人是很少的。

sweepay 首席執行官:未來會擴展到其他國家

在Sweepay運營該項目一個月後,記者還聯繫了該公司的首席執行官Rodolphe Texier。

Bitcoin.com(BC):您能否詳細說明這個項目的來龍去脈呢(起源和歷史,涉及的人、問題、使命等等)?

Rodolphe Texier (RT): Sweepay是一家瑞士的“預付價值”承銷商,因當前比特幣在瑞士的狀況,從稅收和合規性的角度來看,我們認為比特幣是一種合適的預付產品。由於比特幣的分佈更適合於販賣機,而非POS機,我們確定了SBB售票機是一種拓展比特幣的優秀分佈渠道。促進比特幣的獲取是SBB服務的主要目標。我們的願景是通過現有的數字或物理渠道,來促進加密貨幣在瑞士的採用。
BC:SBB/Sweepay的比特幣服務有哪些優點?

RT:網絡的規模。幾乎每一個瑞士居民都靠近火車站。此外,還有網絡的可用性,它是7*24小時開放的,當然還有服務的質量,即SBB售票機的可靠性。
BC:那你認為哪些可以看作是SBB/Sweepay比特幣服務的缺點呢?

RT:這項服務需要有一個瑞士手機號,並且您必須要將Sweepay作為一個金融中介,我們需要對這種服務的合規性負責。
BC:您能否為我們擴展一些數字方面的信息呢?比如一個月內,SBB售票機處理了多少筆比特幣交易?

RT:至今,這項服務在交易金額及數量上達到了我們的預期。
BC:銷售量最高的機器設在了哪?是在大城市,還是在沒有常規比特幣ATM機的地方?

RT:“比特幣交易”很好地分佈在整個瑞士(SBB售票機可用的地區)。這也涉及到那些已放置常規比特幣ATM機的大城市。
BC:你相信在未來,sweepay / SBB的比特幣服務會被大眾所接受嗎?

RT:該服務的目的是為方便群眾獲取比特幣。而其被大的生態系統和相關服務所使用也是需要的。
BC:Sweepay接下來會針對比特幣採取什麼行動?

RT:SweePay會特別關注這些服務,其可能會促進比特幣的使用。
BC: 你是否打算在其他國家也擴展這種服務?

RT:當前,我們的主要焦點是在瑞士,但我們也在尋求戰略夥伴將這種服務擴展到其他國家。

從此告別二維碼,比特幣NFC錢包來了

比特幣硬件和軟件生產商General Bytes開發出了一種比特幣NFC錢包卡,希望以此替代有22年曆史的二維碼,這種錢包卡可以讓任何人通過兼容銷售終端使用比特幣支付。

General Bytes的新比特幣NFC錢包卡

General Bytes公司創建於2013年,是銷售比特幣自動櫃員機和其它區塊鏈產品的公司,公司總部位於捷克布拉格,它是首家將近場通信技術(NFC)應用於比特幣產品的公司。最近,該公司又進一步開發出了一種機器,可以分發NFC錢包卡並為它裝載比特幣。
General Bytes的市場經理Martijn Wismeijer說,二維碼將逐漸被藍牙和NFC技術所取代,新開發的NFC錢包卡系統簡化了用戶的比特幣交易體驗。

該公司的BATMThree XXL+產品可以分發錢包卡,這也是該產業第一台具有這種功能的ATM。這個想法源於biohacking社區已經實現的比特幣錢包植入物,然而,該公司認為,並不是所有人都需要這種植入物,而NFC卡片是植入物最好的替代。

Wismeijer說:“這個想法是和比特幣社區合作完成的,我們最先是從biohacking社區受到啟發,而使用了NFC技術,”Wismeijer說。

NFC錢包卡經過反複測試

為了創建NFC錢包產品,該公司還實現了一些功能架構,如WIF(錢包導入格式)。這個功能架構可以讓NFC錢包卡存儲比特幣密鑰。該公司還是用CortexPay 的POS終端測試了這中錢包卡片,CortexPay的POS終端在2015年上市,它是布拉格遊客經常使用的終端,Feneral Bytes說這個系統非常的可靠。

通過BATThree XXL+這種機器,用戶可以在它的界面上購買錢包卡。當這個設備生成一個錢包卡時,比特幣的密鑰就會寫入這個NFC錢包卡中。這種NFC錢包卡在出售前是未編程的,只有在銷售時才被編程。這種卡片都是黑色的,但是可以被設計成打印全彩色,而且這種ATM機的運營者可以預裝有商標的卡片。

淘汰二維碼:擺脫過時的東西

General Bytes認為這種NFC錢包卡對加密貨幣的未來來說是重要的,這種卡片不必依附於你的手機,它是一種理想的日常支付手段、小額現金存儲方式。如果這個卡不用於POS設備,它還可以成為一種物理存儲賬戶。

當前,這種BATMThree XXL+型號的機器對於那些經營比特幣ATM的人來說是可用的。另外,該公司的硬件和軟件都是開源的。 General Bytes很高興推出這樣的新產品,希望讓二維碼成為過時的東西。市場經理Martijn Wismeijer這樣說:

“在加密貨幣世界淘汰二維碼,不僅可以擺脫過時的技術,還能消除大部分加密貨幣應用對手機的依賴,同時,簡化終端用戶的使用體驗。這是一種雙贏,所以讓我們齊心協力,讓2017年成為比特幣之年,任何人都可以刷卡支付加密貨幣。General Bytes硬件以為此做好了準備。

OpenBazaar再獲300萬美元融資,立志打造自由公開的交易市場

基於比特幣的開源市場協議OpenBazaar在新一輪融資中收獲300萬美元。

本輪融資由柏林的風投企業BlueYard領投。BlueYard比較關注初創公司的早期發展,並曾明確表示自己對去中心化市場的強烈支持。硅谷頂級風投公司Andreessen Horowitz和Union Square Ventures也參與了本輪融資。

OpenBazaar相當於去中心化的易趣(eBay),通過app創建市場,建立買賣雙方之間的直接聯系。與傳統市場不同,OpenBazaar並不支持貝寶(PayPal)或信用卡支付,而是選擇了比特幣作為唯一的價值交換媒介。

該項目的起源於DarkMarket,在2014年多倫多的比特幣博覽會中贏得了黑客馬拉松的冠軍。

OpenBazaar 2.0

OpenBazaar(OB1)在去年從Andreessen Horowitz、Union Square Ventures和天使投資人威廉•莫加耶爾(William Mougayar)處募得100萬美元種子輪融資。目前Mougayar是OpenBazaar的董事會成員。

自從收獲種子輪融資之後,OB1度過了忙碌的一年。在經歷了數月的測試之後,於4月正式發起服務。OB1早期的產品包括焦糖松餅、台灣住宿和大麻種子。

OB1首席執行官布萊恩•霍夫曼(Brian Hoffman)表示,明年只會更加忙碌。

對於本輪融資,他說道:

OpenBazaar上線之後,用戶量持續上升,對此我們感到十分激動。這一輪融資完成之後,我們更加堅定了自己的信心,將為世界帶來真正自由、公開的貿易市場。
Hoffman認為新一輪融資有助於開拓OpenBazaar的業務,稱其為“種子輪融資2.0版”。

OpenBazaar 2.0有幾大看點:提供增值服務(代幣的出現);整合匿名溝通網絡Tor。

央行直屬機構招數字貨幣人才,區塊鏈是否新趨勢?

央行網站刊登的2017年度人員招聘信息顯示,其直屬單位中國人民銀行印制科學研究所開始招聘數字貨幣相關研發人員。

職位簡介顯示,該崗位要求計算機專業,主要從事數字貨幣及相關底層平台的軟硬件系統的架構設計和開發工作。具有系統架構設計經驗、區塊鏈技術開發或應用經驗、大數據平台開發經驗者優先。另外,招聘信息安全、密碼學相關專業,主要研究數字貨幣中所使用的關鍵密碼技術,對稱、非對稱密碼算法、認證和加密等。

截至目前,已有多家金融機構表態將在區塊鏈上開展應用試驗研究,並組建區塊鏈應用聯盟或加入國外區塊鏈聯盟。但是,央行目前對包括區塊鏈在內的數字貨幣的表態仍較謹慎。

今年1月20日,央行在中國人民銀行數字貨幣研討會上表示,將研究數字貨幣的多場景應用,爭取早日推出央行發行的數字貨幣。該次會議透露,央行已於2014年成立了數字貨幣研究團隊,並於2015年初進一步充實力量,對數字貨幣發行和業務運行框架、數字貨幣的關鍵技術、數字貨幣發行流通環境、數字貨幣面臨的法律問題、數字貨幣對經濟金融體系的影響、法定數字貨幣與私人發行數字貨幣的關系、國際上數字貨幣的發行經驗等進行了深入研究,已取得階段性成果。

今年2月13日,中國人民銀行行長周小川在接受媒體采訪時表示,數字貨幣的技術路線可分為基於賬戶和不基於賬戶兩種,也可分層並用而設法共存。區塊鏈技術是一項可選的技術,其特點是分布式簿記、不基於賬戶,而且無法篡改。如果數字貨幣重點強調保護個人隱私,可選用區塊鏈技術,人民銀行部署了重要力量研究探討區塊鏈應用技術,但是到目前為止區塊鏈占用資源還是太多,不管是計算資源還是存儲資源,應對不了現在的交易規模,未來能不能解決,還要看。

除了區塊鏈技術,人民銀行數字貨幣研究團隊還深入研究了數字貨幣涉及的其他相關技術,比如移動支付、可信可控雲計算、密碼算法、安全芯片等等。我們會與金融界、科技界合作,進一步加大對各種新型創新技術的研究和合理利用,優化完善數字貨幣發行流通的技術框架,並充分預見、及時反應、有效解決在應用推廣中可能出現的風險。為此,人民銀行殷切希望有關各界大力支持、參與,取得成果,作出貢獻。

比特幣的未來不是電子貨幣

在2014年的一個比特幣會議上,CIRCLE發誓要令數碼貨幣成為主流。但是像許多其他接受這個偉大的想法的創業公司一樣,它已經改變了它的使命。

在1月份,我在舊金山會見了Circle CEO Jeremy Allaire。即使在那時,他也很小心地把自己的公司畫成比特幣,而不是作為一個裝備,通過一個新的智能手機應用程序,幫助人們輕鬆地與朋友和家人交易老式美元。現在,正如它昨天宣布,Circle將不再允許客戶購買和銷售比特幣。

Allaire說,Circle,一個由高盛(Goldman Sachs)支持的大膽創業公司,從來沒有真正把比特幣視為消費者技術。 “當我們三年前創立這家公司時,這個願景從來沒有建立一個比特幣公司,”他說,比較比特幣和互聯網協議,如http或smtp。換句話說,公司將比特幣視為幕後技術,而不是普通人用來在線或在實體店中支付商品的主流數碼貨幣。

好吧,所有這些年後,比特幣肯定不是主流的數碼貨幣。Circle決定停止作為比特幣交易所只是最新的跡象,至少它不會很快成為主流。

儘管從早期採納者的巨大承諾,比特幣仍然困擾稅務和監管問題。比特幣社區仍在爭奪其核心技術 – 一個可以阻礙比特幣在不久的將來擴展的能力的問題。

由於它退出了讓人們購買和銷售比特幣的服務,Circle將這些客戶指向另一個交易所,在舊金山的Coinbase。但Coinbase也在為消費者服務。它現在的重點是運行一個新的交易所,讓大型機構,而不是個人,可以移動比特幣。而早在2月份,Coinbase表示,它真的不希望作為一個比特幣錢包運行,這意味著它不真的想為個人提供一種方式來持有數碼貨幣,並實際購買的東西。

換句話說,像Circle一樣,Coinbase正在遠離比特幣,作為一種數碼貨幣,走向一個世界,它作為其他金融服務的基礎。 (該公司也面臨著自己的法律頭痛:上週,聯邦法院裁定IRS可以向Coinbase提供傳票,要求其用戶帳戶信息。)

然而,隨著比特幣作為主流數碼貨幣褪色的前景,Circle和許多其他公司相信區塊鏈,支持比特幣的分佈式在線分類帳可以作為其他應用程序和服務的基礎。比特幣區塊鏈有助於推動Circle Pay,這個應用程序讓你與朋友和家人交易美元。該公司剛剛推出了一個名為Spark的新開源項目,它試圖使用區塊鍊和類似的分佈式分類帳作為移動各種貨幣的手段,而許多其他人正在開發。同時,像R3財團一樣的服裝正在為大銀行和其他金融業務建立新的區塊鏈技術,以監控股票和潛在的任何帶有價值的東西的流動。

也就是說,許多這些努力也距離真正的事情還有很長的路要走。高盛和其他三個機構剛剛退出了R3,儘管R3董事總經理查理·庫珀(Charley Cooper)這麼說,但事實是,許多大公司仍然不確定這些技術將如何發揮。比特幣和區塊鏈的未來仍不清楚。很明顯的是,2016年不是他們成為主流的一年。