Credit card better than BTC? Who’s breaking the faith?
Date: 9 October 2018
The tweet from Bitcoin Core developer Jimmy Song about why it might be better to use a credit card rather than BTC caused quite some controversy this week.
What he is saying may make sense. Why undertake multiple small on-chain transactions for day-to-day purchases, when these may be more conveniently done via credit card? If you have no debt on your credit card and you settle the account each month, in effect you pay no fees. Drawing just enough cash from your BTC account for a once-a-month payment incurs only one transaction fee.
However, ardent supporters of cryptocurrencies were confused. The Bitcoin Core whitepaper, written by Satoshi Nakomoto is titled “a peer-to-peer electronic cash system” and envisages a system for electronic transactions that don’t rely on trust. Much of the talk around cryptocurrencies has also been about the possibility of tiny transactions. Discouraging use and insinuating that small transactions somehow are not worth doing, seems to be somewhat strange, coming from someone who should be a proponent.
It is ironic that in the same week, Bitcoin.com was reporting how Visa and Mastercard had eventually conceded defeat in a long-running lawsuit instigated by merchants who were protesting about exorbitant fees. The credit card companies are now faced with a $6.2 billion settlement requirement.
So, for Jimmy Song to be advocating the use of “corrupt credit card cartels” seemed to some to be breaking the faith!
Australia supports blockchain — making money smart
Date: 9 October 2018
Australian institutions seem to have a very progressive view of how they should deliver services to their people.
In 2017, Data61, a research unit of the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) of Australia, provided research reports on the potential for adoption of blockchain technology across government and commercial sectors in Australia.
Earlier in 2018, the CSIRO launched the Australian National Blockchain project together with IBM and law firm Herbert Smith Freehills. The purpose is to build a large-scale, cross-industry smart contract platform that will be used for collaboration and business interaction for all Australian businesses. Businesses will be able to make use of legally-enforceable smart contracts, exchange data and confirm the status and authenticity of legal contracts. Australian regulators, banks, law firms and businesses are all becoming involved in this project.
According to Dr. Mark Staples of Data61, “Our reports identified distributed ledger technology as a significant opportunity for Australia to create productivity benefits and drive local innovation.”
In yet another trial, this time with the University of Sydney, the CSIRO’s “Red Belly Blockchain” was tested on Amazon Web Services (AWS). This was a global trial, involving 1,000 computers in North America, South America, Europe and Asia Pacific. It achieved 30,000 transactions per second with an average latency of 3 seconds.
In the latest October announcement, the CSIRO and the Commonwealth Bank of Australia are testing the use of blockchain technology for the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS). This use case has been deliberately chosen as it is fairly complicated. It is highly individualized, with multiple budget categories and a variety of spending rules.
The trial is dubbed “Making Money Smart” and involves an app and a token that will integrate with Australia’s New Payments Platform. Participants will be able to use the app to find, book and pay for services from service providers without paperwork or receipts. The smart contract will know which benefits are covered for the individual and what funding is available.
Sophie Gilder, the head of Experimentation and Blockchain at the Commonwealth Bank, says they hope to achieve “greater empowerment for participants, reduced administration costs for businesses and greater visibility for Government”.
The progress of this trial is being carefully monitored to discover the potential for further ways to improve the way payments function across the economy.
It seems that all eyes should be on Australia and the CSIRO!
EurekaPro — the first fiat-to-cryptocurrency exchange in South East Asia
Date: 9 October 2018
So many exchanges are being launched that yet another one may not make the news. However, EurekaPro is meeting a very particular need and is, therefore, more newsworthy.
EurekaPro has launched an open public beta that has attracted 8,000 users already. The goal of this exchange is to make cryptocurrencies more easily available to consumers and businesses by allowing for exchange with local fiat currencies, and not just the usual USD, BCT or ETH. This is expected to lower barriers to entry to cryptocurrencies.
Currencies can be purchased for Asian fiat currencies, including the Singapore dollar, the Malaysian ringgit, the Indonesian rupiah, and others.
Countries in South East Asia are setting themselves up to be crypto-friendly. Part of this “friendliness” is through clear regulations.
For example, Thailand has clear classifications for cryptocurrencies, depending on their purpose. Cryptocurrency exchanges must be registered and licensed with the Ministry of Finance. It has set clear rules for ICOs, including a requirement that founders have a base capital of 5 million baht (approximately $157,000). Surprisingly, more than 50 companies have applied for licenses for ICOs.
Singapore has had a relatively soft approach to cryptocurrencies and has encouraged fintech innovation through a regulatory sandbox. It has statedthat it sees no threat from cryptocurrencies and therefore sees no reason to ban trading. The Monetary Authority, working together with Deloitte, NASDAQ and Anquan, is setting up systems to fit exchanges for digital assets into its regulatory framework for all exchanges. In particular, there is a move to accommodate smaller operators in the blockchain space.
Singapore, with this open stance, is likely to grow and benefit from China’s increased pressure on all things crypto.
The introduction of the new fiat-to-cryptocurrency exchange in Singapore is another step in this growth.