Fedwire vs Bitcoin

In the same spirit of analyzing Bitcoin as a high value settlements system I did the following analysis using Fedwire historical data from July 2017 and comparing it with a hypothetical Bitcoin network pre-SegWit, post-SegWit and a pro-forma projecting some key data.

Fedwire Compared With The Bitcoin Network’s Hypothetical Volumes

In February of 2017 I shared with the crypto-community the information Bundesbank sent me explaining that they completed the transfer of 300 metric tons of gold (~$12 billion at the time) from the New York Fed to Frankfurt, that it took 3 years and cost € 4.1 million:

In the same spirit of analyzing Bitcoin as a high value settlements system I did the following analysis using Fedwire historical data from July 2017 and comparing it with a hypothetical Bitcoin network pre-SegWit, post-SegWit and a pro-forma projecting some key data.

Results:

1. These are real July 2017 Fedwire wire transfers compared with the BTC network hypothetical TX volume capacity scenarios:

2. These are real July 2017 Fedwire wire transfer volumes and fees compared with BTC real July volume and average price, but hypothetical TXs, plus hypothetical post-SW & pro-forma volumes:

3. These are real July 2017 Fedwire wire transfers per second compared with BTC hypothetical pre-SegWit, post-SegWit and pro-forma TXs per second:

Assumptions:

Bitcoin pre-SegWit total TX capacity: 2000 TXs per block with 144 blocks mined per day. However, many blocks were above or below those levels during July 2017.

Bitcoin post-SegWit total TX capacity: 4000 TXs per block with 144 blocks mined per day. However, this is a number that has not been reached at the time of this writing because it will take a few months until all nodes in the system broadcast SegWit TXs.

Bitcoin pro-forma: I assume BTC/USD of $1,000,000 in the long term, average TX value of $3.25 million and an average TX fee of $25 in the long run.

Some of the above assumptions seem very wild, but think of Bitcoin being used as a store of value and settlements layer by central banks, national treasuries, sovereign funds, money center banks, institutional investors, high networth individuals, layer 2 systems such as Lightning Network settlements, and many other possible high value transfer use cases.

Sources and links:

* Fedwire doesn’t charge fees directly, but banks charge an average fee of $25 per wire transfer to their end users.

Why Own Bitcoin

People often ask me if they should invest in Bitcoin and later how to invest. I have watched a lot of friends make and lose money on Bitcoin, so I have a strong point of view. I want to share my perspective to help people understand Bitcoin as an investment. All of these numbers and concepts are my subjective opinion – with that caveat, here are my three recommendations:

And how to invest in Bitcoin

By  Xapo Founder and CEO

@wences

This post was originally published on Xapo’s blog: https://blog.xapo.com/why-own-bitcoin/

People often ask me if they should invest in Bitcoin and later how to invest. I have watched a lot of friends make and lose money on Bitcoin, so I have a strong point of view. I want to share my perspective to help people understand Bitcoin as an investment. All of these numbers and concepts are my  subjective opinion – with that caveat, here are my three recommendations:

First, own only what you can afford to lose. I believe there is at least a 20% chance that Bitcoin fails. And it may fail very quickly – even overnight – without much time to react. If you remember one thing from reading this post, remember not to own more bitcoin than you can afford to lose. For most people, this is 1% of your net worth.

Second, own bitcoin. I believe there is a 50% chance that one bitcoin is worth more than $1,000,000 in the next 10 years, or over 300x more than it is worth right now. The potential reward is so big that it makes sense to own some and to hold it for a long time. Even a small amount can change your life.

Third, invest with a patient and disciplined  mentality. I believe there is 100% chance that bitcoin will go up and down, at times with considerable volatility. Trading actively – or even watching its price too closely –  causes you to forget the long-term potential that made it a worthy investment in the first place.

I recommend these three simple steps:

  1. Take 1% of what you have, and buy bitcoin (all at once and at the market price)
  2. Carry it at cost
  3. Do not touch it for 10 years

This formula may sound easy, but in practice it is difficult to execute. It requires a great deal of discipline. I have given this advice to many people, but few have followed it. The ones who have followed my advice, however, had more success, even if they started later. The difference can be surprising; I have seen a number of friends buy at “expensive” prices (say, $300+ per bitcoin) and make considerably more money than others who bought at “cheap” prices (say $30 and below) but then traded along the way.

The reason I believe the steps work is because they help you manage the tricky psychology of investing in something like Bitcoin. To expand on the value of each step:

  1. Investing 1%, and only 1%, helps you keep a cool head. If you invest more, you put yourself in a position where the ups and downs become hard to bear. At times, especially in the beginning, you may be down by 50% or more. If you invest too much, these swings inevitably lead to panic, causing you to trade the position, selling or even buying more. You may be able to afford more than 1%, but I would stick with 1%: given how big bitcoin can be, it is enough.
  2. Carrying your bitcoin position at cost helps you hold your ground. If you adjust the value of your position as it goes up in price, you will feel tempted to take money off the table. Feeling that you have “too much in bitcoin” makes you worry about losing your gains, and works against the original premise of creating a multiple of your entire net worth.
  3. Not touching your bitcoin for 10 years helps you avoid being influenced by constantly changing sentiments about Bitcoin. It lets you remember the reason you originally invested, regardless of whether others laughing at you (which they will, when the price is down) or calling you a genius (which they will, when the price is up).

Many people will have reasons to sell along the way. After you see your position go up 10x or 20x, you may feel compelled to take your cost out, or buy a new car or house. There is nothing wrong with this, if it is important in your life. But, from an investment standpoint, I would encourage you to be careful, since trading typically leads to more trading, and eventually worse results. If you must break any of these three rules, I would highly recommend you setup a second, short term, account just for this purpose. This way, you can preserve the discipline of the 1%, carry-it-at-cost, 10-year strategy on your long term account.

If Bitcoin fails at some point and turns out to be worthless, then this strategy will disappoint. The people who sold some of their bitcoin along the way would be better off than the disciplined investor. But if you want the opportunity to turn 1% of your net worth into a multiple of what you have today, then the best thing I can advise is to buy that 1% right away and find the discipline to do nothing with it for a decade.

 

Thank you to Nick Shalek and Belle Casares for reading, editing and providing feedback.

What is Ethereum in layman’s terms?

Since the Ethereum database is stored in thousands of powerful computers and laptops around the world collectively they may be described as a single computer because they all have te same database and can communicate between each other.

[This is an answer to the above question I originally posted on Quora. It seems to be very popular so I am re-posting it here!]

When we use our computers and use Word docs or other files we normally save them in folders. A folder with docs, photos, spreadsheets, music files, other files, etc. could be called our database.

When we use Facebook, for example, we don’t keep that “database” of photos, status reports, messages, links, etc in our computer, Facebook keeps a database of all our activities on their servers in a data-center, which is a building full of servers (powerful computers).

In the case of Bitcoin instead of using Facebook, or any other service, to store our stuff in their databases, we download a software that is more or less like Skype, and instead of sending and receiving voice or video or text between us we send and receive units called bitcoins.

The Bitcoin software (Bitcoin Core) instead of centralizing “the database” in a service like Facebook or Google or Dropbox, it keeps a copy of the database on your laptop or PC.

Imagine 10 friends at a bar around a table and everybody with a laptop and a copy of Bitcoin. Each laptop has the complete database of the Bitcoin list of accounts and transactions.

When friend A sends 1 bitcoin to friend B it sends the message to all 10 laptops and they all check that the balance is correct, the accounts, etc. and after checking (and doing some other calculations) they all agree to post, on the databases that they all have in their disks, the new transaction.

The Bitcoin database is called a blockchain, because of how it operates, and the process by which all computers check transactions and reach an agreement is called “consensus” (there is another process called mining, but I think it’s not relevant in a layman’s explanation).

The world changing invention of Bitcoin is that all computers participating in the network can keep this “distributed” database updated and with all latest transactions without the need of a central player like Facebook (or a bank) to be the guarantor of security and clearance of bitcoin movements. This was not possible before, it was a computer science problem for decades, but now it’s possible!

The combination of the blockchain and the consensus process of all machines participating in the network keeps it secure and attackers (hackers) could falsify or corrupt the database only if they had more than 50% of the computing power of all the network. Because by now there are so many (and powerful) computers participating, to hack Bitcoin is so costly that it is nearly impossible. Smart, isn’t it?!

The Bitcoin network and its database, the blockchain, only handles and posts accounts and new transactions so it is used as money where the balances are passed from account to account as everybody enters transactions.

In the case of Ethereum it is the same invention, BUT instead of only handling accounts and transaction it can also store computer programs like:

– If xx account has $yy balance
– and if today is December 31st, 2017
– then transfer 5 to zz account
– if not don’t do anything

And as the above program can be set up on Ethereum and would live in the Ethereum database for ever (because it is stored in thousands of computers around the world) people may store any kind of program that can execute orders of any kind and responding to any kind of parameters like dates, quantities, sports results, or anything else that happens in the real world.

Since the Ethereum database is stored in thousands of powerful computers and laptops around the world collectively they may be described as a single computer because they all have te same database and can communicate between each other. Collectively they have so much computing power that by sharing it (and the database with the money and programs) they may be an incredibly powerful multi-service data-center for the world and for many purposes.

Sorry for my verbosity, I hope this helps!

Coinbase Review

With more than 5,500,000 users as of this writing (and growing fast) Coinbase is one of the most widely used Bitcoin wallet services world wide.

Coinbase Wallet Cheatsheet
Coinbase Wallet Cheatsheet

With more than 5,500,000 users as of this writing (and growing fast) Coinbase is one of the most widely used Bitcoin wallet services world wide. Its main advantage is it’s simple to understand and therefore easy to use. It has all the necessary services to start your Bitcoin experience: wallet + bitcoin buy and sell services + easy send and receive.

Highlights:

Send and Receive: This is part of the basic Bitcoin network functionality all wallets provide.

Web: Coinbase is also known as the “PayPal of Bitcoin” because their user experience and services are similar, but applied to the digital currency. They strive to provide comprehensive web wallet, buy and sell, and merchant services.

Mobile App: They provide both Android and iPhone apps. All wallet services are included and they are synchronized with the web application meaning whatever you do in the app is immediately reflected on the website.

Key Backup: Since Coinbase hosts your wallet to provide all their services there is no backup functionality.

You Control Keys: As mentioned above, to provide their comprehensive services Coinbase needs to host your Bitcoins, this means your wallet’s public and private keys are kept in their servers and you access the Bitcoin network through them.

Market Information: They provide live price and transaction charts for basic investment and merchant services, but this is limited compared to other specialized websites.

Buy and Sell Bitcoins: They provide exchange services directly from the wallet, but users buy and sell from them since they are not an exchange. Their prices are very competitive and in line with market prices.

Blockchain Explorer: This is the ability to monitor everything that’s happening in the Bitcoin network directly from the source: the block chain. Coinbase does not provide this service although it’s not really necessary for basic wallet, market, and merchant services.

Link Bank Account: This is one of Coinbase’s key services that makes it so convenient especially to start exploring the Bitcoin market. Within the US users can link their bank accounts to their wallets so it’s easy to move money between their bitcoin wallets and their bank accounts. This service will be available in other countries soon.

Pay by Email/SMS: Just like PayPal invented this functionality to move money, Coinbase implemented this service to move Bitcoins around the world by using your email or cellphone. It is also possible to send Bitcoins this way to people who don’t have Coinbase accounts.

Merchant Services: Another of the key services Coinbase provides is the ability for merchants to sell and get paid in bitcoins. Sellers can use their “Pay”, “Subscribe”, and “Donate” buttons as well as implement their gateway with custom design.

Get your Bitcoin Coinbase Wallet here >>>

Updated: 1/25/2017

Etherplan – How Do Smart Investment Plans On Ethereum Invest?

 

Like I wrote in my previous article, a Smart Investment Plan (SIP) on Ethereum is an account that a customer opens on the Ethereum network to save and deposit money, that is subsequently invested, and when a specific event happens, the funds are paid out to the customer or his/her designated beneficiaries.

SIPs may be used for personal finance goals like retirement, emergency funds, college funds, targeted savings, funding big purchases, deferred gifts, and estate planning. Also, since SIPs may be initiated by individuals or groups, they can be used for retirement and pension plans.

As a type of decentralized autonomous organization (DAO) SIP smart contracts are programmed to follow a logical investment process to manage customer’s funds.

The SIP Investment Process

As shown in the graph below a SIP follows 4 steps:

Smart Investment Plan (SIP) Investing Process

1. Profile: In this step customers answer some questions that are defined based on behavioral economics research to uncover important information about the investor’s risk tolerance, time horizon, and other parameters that help define the planning stage in the next step.

2. Plan: The planning step uses algorithms developed based on modern portfolio theory (MPT) and efficient market hypothesis (EMH) to build portfolios that will match or slightly beat performance in financial markets. The three levels defined in this step are: portfolio asset allocation, investment manager selection (if the customer indicates), and investment securities selection. Oracle services like Augur are used by smart contracts in this step to “see” the markets, analyze statistics, and decide the final values and allocations.

3. Execute: After the investment plan is defined and approved by the customer in the previous step, the next step in the process is to execute the trades. Because Ethereum provides an account system, many of the assets may be hosted in the network and thus under SIP custody. For the securities that are traded off-blockchain, the algorithms use APIs with financial institutions to enter their orders. Oracle services are used by smart contracts in this step also to track and verify market trading information and financial provider custody.

4. Monitor: Since investment goals and investor preferences may change overtime, and for evaluation purposes, portfolio reports are sent to customers in this step for their review. Customers may change their personal profiles and investment parameters on step 1 so the SIPs may adjust the portfolios accordingly.

The Etherplan Financial Marketplace

To facilitate the interaction between SIPs, financial providers, and individual securities, a financial marketplace is provided.

Etherplan financial marketplace

As shown in the graph above, SIPs constitute the “buy side” in the marketplace and financial institutions, investment professionals, and other “sell side” participants may offer their services and be hired by SIPs.

In the marketplace, SIPs may also find and invest in specific securities that trade within the Ethereum network like asset backed securities representing specific stocks, bonds, ETFs, and metals like gold as well as cryptocurrencies like Ether and Bitcoin among others.

If customers decide to hire an investment advisor to represent them and invest their portfolios they may also be participants in the Etherplan Financial Marketplace.

Etherplan Customer Account View

SIPs are created by customers for their specific financial goals and customers may have several SIPs in their Etherplan accounts.

The graph below is an example of an Etherplan account:

Etherplan customer account view

As may be seen above, a theoretical customer, Jane Doe, has several financial goals and they all constitute different SIPs in the Ethereum network.

Through the marketplace, each SIP has invested its corresponding customer funds at different providers, securities, or blockchains.

The free balance that is not invested in any SIP is 30,000 ETH that is deposited in the customer’s regular Ethereum account.

The customer may instruct their SIPs to change providers or securities from their accounts.

As an example, the “My Retirement” SIP allocated its funds at Fidelity and invested in target date funds, has a total value of $80,765, and its corresponding SIP number on the Ethereum blockchain is sip1xHDVpANxuQUtY9oploKKijguQUtY9opl.

Other SIPs are invested in different ways, for example the “Emergency fund” SIP only bought a Treasury Bill directly on an exchange in Ethereum because it’s objective is extremely conservative. The SIP at the bottom, the “General family fund” SIP hired, as per customer instructions, Financial Advisor Vitalik Buterin, CFP to manage its portfolio!

Specific SIP Customer View

The graph below shows Jane Doe’s “Retirement” SIP:

Etherplan customer SIP view

As it may be seen above, the portfolio @Fidelity has four target dated funds and the customer may also change or sell them.

The SIP Trust Instructions

The interesting part of the SIP customer view above is that, at the bottom, it shows the “trust instructions” by the customer when she created the SIP for her retirement goal. These instructions mean that the SIP is going to autonomously execute them, like a real life trustee, when the events described occur.

For example, if the date of retirement comes, the funds will be automatically transferred to Jane Doe’s family account or any other account she may specify.

If Jane Doe is deceased before or at the time of the retirement date, the SIP will transfer the funds to her husband’s account.

If the husband, John Doe, is deceased then the SIP will distribute evenly the amount of the funds to Jane’s three children, Mary, Nick, and Donny.

The customer may change her trust instructions whenever she wants, but if she dies, the funds and the instructions will be managed and executed for the benefit of her designated beneficiaries.

Conclusion

SIPs created by customers on Etherplan have two major roles, investing funds and executing trust instructions according to customers needs and profiles.

To invest the funds, SIPs perform a series of sophisticated algorithms to plan, invest, and interact with providers and investment vehicles on the Etherplan Financial Marketplace.

Customers receive reports to monitor their SIPs and adjust their preferences. While they are alive they can also change their investment and trust instructions, but if they pass away they are executed for the benefit of the designated beneficiaries.

 

Disclaimer: The public companies and brands mentioned in this article are used as examples and are not related to Etherplan. The investment ideas in this article are only for descriptive purposes. The information in this article does not constitute an investment recommendation or financial advice in any way.

 

Etherplan – What Is A Smart Investment Plan On Ethereum?

 

A Smart Investment Plan (SIP) on Ethereum is an account that a customer opens on the Ethereum network to save and deposit money, that is subsequently invested, and when a specific event happens, the funds are paid out to the customer or his/her designated beneficiaries.

Powered by Artificial Intelligence

A SIP is a type of decentralized autonomous organization (DAO) where a network of AI autonomous agents, called smart contracts, collectively perform the tasks of the smart investment fund to accomplish the customer’s financial goals.

Unique Features and Benefits of SIPs on Ethereum

Since Ethereum is an open source, decentralized peer-to-peer network with a blockchain protected by a cryptographically secure consensus mechanism, SIPs have a series of properties that are not possible in traditional centralized financial markets:

Autonomous: They are governed by algorithmic rules, no need for institutions, lawyers, trustees or administrators.

Transparent: They are visible and auditable at all times.

Trustworthy: Interaction with them does not require trust because their algorithms are hard coded and stored on the blockchain.

Incorruptible: It is impossible to convince them to do anything other than what was instructed by the customer.

Resilient: There are no central points of control or failure, they may span long periods of time irrespective of financial crises, and will soon be recognized legally.

Fiduciary: They have no self interest, therefore they act solely for the benefit of the customer and his/her designated beneficiaries.

Confidential: Customer information is securely (and incorruptibly) protected.

Low cost: They pay for the low Ethereum network computational costs and may pay small fees for services like Etherplan.

How Does A SIP Work?

As described in the graph below, the generic process of a SIP consists of 6 steps and each one has a set of components and tasks that are performed by smart contracts on Ethereum.

Also, each process may require interaction with several outside entities including the customer and his/her beneficiaries.

Smart Investment Plan (SIP) Components And Tasks

 

Customer $: Is the first step and it consists of receiving and understanding the cutomer’s profile, instructions, and investment needs. Customers may send new instructions at any time to make changes. Since SIPs may be established by groups, a voting system may be set up to facilitate decision making.

Money in: Is the step where the SIP receives the funds in recurring payments or lump sums from the customer. There are inbound logistics to accommodate multiple account types and currencies. APIs with outside banks, brokers and exchanges are implemented.

Storage: Is where the money is invested. There are active or passive investment policies. The smart contracts monitor the financial markets, evaluate investments and managers, and make decisions based on customer parameters. To enter trades and receive information SIPs interact with banks, brokers, and exchanges as well as specialized information services and prediction markets.

Event: To trigger the payout schedules to customers or their designated beneficiaries, SIPs interact with smart oracles to “see” the real world, identify relevant events, and set the next step in motion.

Money out: In this step SIPs execute the payout schedules to customers or their beneficiaries. It is similar to the “money in” process, but implemented to send money out to multiple account types and currencies.

Beneficiary $: Finally, if the money is paid out to beneficiaries, they need to be tracked, contacted and identified. Once verified and made aware, if they weren’t before, of their benefits, they receive the money. The SIP, in this final stage, prospects the new potential customers and promotes the services of Etherplan.

Etherplan as a “SIP Factory”

Etherplan is a service that enables customers to build SIPs on Ethereum. Individual SIPs are build for each customer and customers may have several SIPs in their Etherplan accounts as needed.

For example a customer may want a savings plan to buy a house, a retirement plan, a college fund for his kid, and if he passes away he might want everything to be transferred to his wife and heirs. Everything can be implemented as SIPs and managed through Etherplan.

In this function Etherplan operates partly outside of Ethereum as an interface on the web and a dapp on Mist, the Ethereum browser.

Etherplan is a “SIP factory” because it generates the corresponding smart contracts and stores them on the Ethereum network.

Even if Etherplan disappears, all customer SIPs will prevail on Ethereum and continue to serve their customer and beneficiary needs.

 

Presenting Etherplan – Smart Investment Plans On Ethereum!

 

Vision

Etherplan will enable individuals, families, corporations, partnerships, governments, and nonprofits to build smart savings, investment, estate, retirement, and pension plans on the Ethereum network.

Summary

Product

A smart investment plan (SIP) is one that is planned and executed by smart contracts on Ethereum according to customers profiles, needs and set parameters.

Customers may change instructions and parameters when they want to, but if they pass away SIPs will execute their plans on behalf of beneficiaries until funds are depleted.

Plans may be initiated by individuals or groups which facilitates the use of SIPs by organizations for retirement and pension plans.

Etherplan’s front end will be an easy to use web and mobile application. It’s back end will be the Ethereum network open source cryptocurrency, blockchain, consensus mechanism, mining, virtual machine, smart contract, and account system.

Benefits

Since Ethereum is an open source, decentralized peer-to-peer network with a blockchain protected by a cryptographically secure consensus mechanism, SIPs have a series of properties that are not possible in traditional centralized financial markets:

Autonomous: They are governed by algorithmic rules, no need for institutions, lawyers, trustees or administrators.

Transparent: They are visible and auditable at all times.

Trustworthy: Interaction with them does not require trust because their algorithms are hard coded and stored on the blockchain.

Incorruptible: It is impossible to convince them to do anything other than what was instructed by the customer.

Resilient: There are no central points of control or failure, they may span long periods of time irrespective of financial crises, and will soon be recognized legally.

Fiduciary: They have no self interest, therefore they act solely for the benefit of the customer and his/her designated beneficiaries.

Confidential: Customer information is securely (and incorruptibly) protected.

Low cost: They pay for the low Ethereum network computational costs and may pay small fees for services like Etherplan.

Conversation

The purpose of this post is to explain the vision of Etherplan and to present the opportunity to the Ethereum, crypto, and fintech community in general.

The Problem

Millennials are saving more than ever, according to Bloomberg the percentage of 18-to 34-year-olds who saved at least 5% of their income increased to 56% from 50% in 2014. This is great news, but for this generation the majority of solutions are expensive, cumbersome to use, vulnerable to black swan crises, and lack transparency:

Financial Costs: In the current financial system there are a series of cost layers including marketing and sales, investment managers, investment vehicles, trustees, and account administrators that cost, between hidden and transparent fees, from 3% to 4% annually.

Frictional Costs: When they decide to start a savings, investment, or retirement plan, individuals, families, and organizations need to go through a long and cumbersome learning, trust building, comparison, and implementation process. These pain points prevent millennials, small business owners, entrepreneurs, and young professionals from adequately laying out and implementing their savings and investment plans to most efficiently reach their financial goals.

Systemic risks: The 2007-2009 financial crisis showed millennials in their younger years that financial markets are vulnerable to oligopolistic practices, unpredictable systemic risks, and specific institutional vulnerabilities.

Transparency: Honesty is valued more than ever before in this information age, but traditional financial institutions including banks, brokers, and trust companies don’t offer full transparency in their fee structures or even in their full revenue models. Historically, information asymmetry has been key in their business models.

The Solution

Etherplan will be incredibly easy to use, nearly free, and since the logic of the investment plans will reside on the open Ethereum blockchain, it will be fully transparent.

Additionally, through Etherplan, customers will be able to create enforceable financial plans on Ethereum that may span decades and will eliminate lock-in to specific banks, brokers, or trust companies.

The generic investment plan structure and a comparison of the traditional and the Ethereum based models are shown in the graph below.

 

Etherplan vs Traditional

Market

Not only are millennials saving more than ever, are tech savvy, and conscious about honesty and transparency, but in the next few decades they will inherit $30 trillion dollars from their parents and grandparents.

Additionally, according to the Federal Reserve, the total amount of US household financial assets in 2011 was $53.7 trillion. Out of this amount $20 trillion were retirement accounts:

 

Household Assets 2011 by Class
Financial Assets: $ Billions
Bank Accounts/ Money Market 10,000
Treasury Bonds 700
Municipal Bonds 1,500
Corporate Bonds 900
Stocks 13,000
Mutual Funds 7,600
Retirement Accounts 20,000
Source: Federal Reserve 53,700

 

Business Model

Even though Ethereum is a new platform and many business models are experimental, there are 5 revenue lines that could emerge as a result of Etherplan’s value proposition:

1. Setup fees on money in: As customers setup and fund their investment plans a commission may be charged as a percentage of deposits.

2. Investment fees: As the customer investment funds grow and some customers select actively managed investments, low management fees may be charged.

3. Smart Oracle fees: As technology to track reality becomes more sophisticated, an information fee may be charged on external inputs from smart oracles to activate the payout schedule to beneficiaries of investment plans.

4. Payout fees on money out: When payout schedules are activated, fees may be deducted from payments.

5. Balance sheet business: As the aggregate investment funds from all customers grow, Etherplan may decide to go below the full reserve model to invest customer assets for a profit.

Competition

Etherplan will replace the investment planning ecosystem including banks, brokers, trust companies, RIAs, and “robo-advisors“. Only on an Ethereum back-end providers will be able to stay competitive.

Nevertheless, some competitive threats may be:

Traditional players: Even with their high costs and risks, banks, brokers, and trust companies may keep a “human touch” value that may let them retain some customers especially Gen X and Baby Boomers.

Fintech startups: Although they operate on top of the traditional financial services platform, robo-advisors are showing how millennials are willing to use modern solutions to manage their money and they could promote a “race to zero” competitive environment.

Other cryto-startups: Companies like Coinbase, Xapo, or Circle could make their accounts programmable, but, if they keep their current models, those programs would be stored in their private servers which makes them less transparent and risky.

Risk vs Cost Competitor Map – How Will Etherplan Win:

 

Etherplan competitor graph

Founder

Donald McIntyre is an internet entrepreneur and financial advisor. He has implemented numerous individual, family, and corporate investment and pension plans. At Naation he blogs about the advantages of financial technology, Ethereum, Bitcoin, the blockchain, AI, the IoT, and Rationality in general. Previously Donald started McIntyresa, Dineronet, and was a Senior Vice President at Morgan Stanley and Vice President at UBS Securities.

Among his achievements, Donald directed the design, implementation and management of the pension fund for over 80 Ernst & Young partners in Argentina, Uruguay, Paraguay, Bolivia, and Colombia. He was exclusive advisor to Marco Antonio Slim, President, Grupo Financiero Inbursa. At Dineronet, in 2000, he closed a series A round with Softbank and Carlos Slim for $11 million. Donald was the #1 producer at Morgan Stanley International Private Client Group.

Next Steps

It is important to note that part of the prototype will reside directly on the Ethereum blockchain, which serves as a non-traditional hosting platform for executing code that is unique to the Ethereum technology.

If you have any questions or would like to be involved in this project please email Donald McIntyre at donald@etherplan.com or leave a comment in the comments section below.

Thank you!

 

 

Coinbase vs Bitcoin Core vs Bitcoin Wallet Review – What Is The Difference?

This review was updated on June 8, 2015.

Millions of people around the world have heard and are curious about Bitcoin. Many are already using the digital currency and many more are planning to start using it in the near future. But the question everybody asks is:

What Bitcoin software or service should I use?

Hello Bitcoin >>>
Hello Bitcoin >>>

There are several solutions in the market, but the three of the most popular are Bitcoin Core, Bitcoin Wallet and Coinbase.

Bitcoin Core (formerly known as Bitcoin-Qt) is the original Bitcoin peer-to-peer open source software created by the network’s founder Satoshi Nakamoto. It is the core of the Bitcoin system and anybody can download it for free to their desktops. It contains the public ledger that lists every Bitcoin transaction in the system. When installed it turns your computer into a node in the Bitcoin Network.

Bitcoin Wallet is what is called a “thin client”. Created by Andreas Schildbach, a Bitcoin community engineer, it is also open source. It’s called “thin” because it doesn’t contain the Bitcoin public ledger and it needs to connect to the network through another Bitcoin server. This software is like any app on your smartphone and works on Android and Blackberry devices.

Coinbase is a private company based in San Francisco, California, that provides web and mobile Bitcoin services. The mission of the founders is to provide Bitcoin value added products for consumers and merchants. Their users deal with the company rather than directly with the network. Coinbase is recognized as “the PayPal” of the Bitcoin Network.

How do they compare?

The three services fulfill the basic functions of storing and keeping track of your Bitcoin account balance, but they differ in features and security format. Take a look at this comparison chart to see the differences:

Coinbase vs Bitcoin-Qt vs Bitcoin Wallet Chart
Coinbase vs Bitcoin Core vs Bitcoin Wallet Chart

And what does this mean for me?

As shown above there are several things to take into account when deciding what solution to use. It all boils down to your personal needs and your security preferences. These are the descriptions for each feature:

Send and Receive: The first thing you do when you get a Bitcoin wallet is to acquire your first bitcoins by selling products and services or by buying them. After that you need to be able to transfer them to pay for things or sell them. For this the features of Send and Receive are needed and the three solutions mentioned above provide this. They all also have the Address Book functionality that let’s you store names and Bitcoin addresses so it’s easier to manage your transfers.

Buy and Sell: If you need to buy and sell bitcoins as an investment or for payment purposes you can use Bitcoin exchanges. For this you need to transfer back and forth bitcoins to and from your exchange accounts. In the case of Coinbase it is the only one that has this service integrated into its wallet and merchant products. On Coinbase you can easily buy and sell bitcoins directly from your account without having to move them elsewhere.

Link Bank Account: When you link your Us dollar bank account with your Bitcoin account you can easily move money between them. Coinbase is the only one that provides this feature. In the case of Bitcoin Core and Bitcoin Wallet you need to handle the dollar transfers and payments separately from your bitcoin movements.

Pay by Email: PayPal pioneered the ability to send and receive money using your email account. Coinbase is emulating this by providing the same functionality but with your Bitcoin account. By entering their email addresses you can send bitcoins to anyone and anyone can send Bitcoins to you using your email address too. On Bitcoin Core and Bitcoin Wallet your need to use the 30 character Bitcoin address instead.

Merchant Services: If you use Bitcoin Core and Bitcoin Wallet you can get paid when you sell products and services by providing your Bitcoin address. This is a 30 character code that anyone can use to transfer the digital currency to your account. In the case of Coinbase they have taken this further by providing “Buy”, “Subscribe”, and “Donate” buttons that are linked to your account. These buttons can be installed in your website so your clients can pay just like they would by clicking your PayPal or other payment buttons.

Web: Coinbase is the only one that has web based services. This means you can open your Bitcoin wallet and fully manage it and use all their services on their website.

Desktop: Bitcoin Core is only desktop based and it is the only one of the three with a desktop app. You can use it on any Windows, Mac, Ubuntu, or Linux computer. It takes 1 day or more to download because it includes all the historic Bitcoin transactions ledger.

Smartphone: Bitcoin Wallet is only a mobile app and works on Android and Blackberry. Coinbase has a full service mobile app that works on Apple and Android and synchronizes with their web services.

You Control Private Key: To be able to transfer bitcoins in the network you need your public Bitcoin address and your private key which is secret. In the case of Bitcoin Core and Bitcoin Wallet your private keys are stored in the software and app which are only installed on your devices. This means they are not held anywhere else and you have exclusive control of your Bitcoin accounts.

They Control Private Key: In the case of Coinbase they control your private keys. This is because it is the only way they can serve as a gateway to the Bitcoin ecosystem and provide their value added services. It is more or less like a bank account: when you have dollar bills in your wallet you have full control of your money, but when you deposit them in the bank they have control of your money.

Security formats:

Bitcoin Core is considered the most secure and stable solution because users control their private keys and it is a node in the network. It’s downside is that it occupies significant space in your computer and it has less features than the other alternatives.

In the case of Bitcoin Wallet it is considered secure, users also control their private keys, and it is convenient because it is mobile and you can pay and get paid using QR codes.

Coinbase is as secure as the company and its technology are. Because users interact with Coinbase and thus indirectly with the network, they need to entrust their private keys to the company just like they would their money with PayPal or with a bank. Because Coinbase is compliant with federal and state regulations and counts with the support of important investors it is considered to be a safe Bitcoin service provider.

Conclusion:

If you want to be part of the Bitcoin Network and maybe even are planning to provide Bitcoin services in the future, the best alternative for you is to use Bitcoin Core .

For those who want a high level of security, but at the same time convenience and mobility then Bitcoin Wallet is the most suitable solution.

For a simple and full service experience Coinbase offers the best alternative. If you want to easily open a Bitcoin account, use it on the web and on your mobile device, and maybe even sell your products and get paid in bitcoins then the Coinbase Wallet is the best way to start.

Ethereum For Businesses And Entrepreneurs With William Mougayar

William Mougayar wrote a seminal article about Ethereum and what it means for developers, businesses and entrepreneurs.

In this interview I talk with William and the topics we covered where:

– Bitcoin vs Ethereum comparison: There is room for both protocols in the Crypto Application Stack!

– Ethereum explained: The 3 main components.

– Developers, Businesses and Entrepreneurs: How can it be used for innovative applications, products, and services?

Please Watch the video above.

This is the article on the Ethereum Blog:

The Business Imperative Behind the Ethereum Vision

I Asked Vitalik Buterin Which Networks Will Prevail After The “Blockchain Wars”, This Is What He Answered

I appreciate that Vitalik is always so kind to answer my non-technical, newbie questions, and what I value the most is that he takes the time to translate what he is going to tell me to layman’s terms, this was his short answer:

I really don’t like this “final networks that will prevail” concept.

Well, I like his sincerity too!  :)

Here is what he said about different types of networks covering different types of needs and niches:

I think there are going to be plenty of networks with plenty of trade-off profiles. Particularly:

  •  Subjectivity / security trade-offs – Ripple is more secure theoretically, because even if it breaks the nodes can coordinate to revert it, but also much more heavily depends on trust.
  •  Scalability / security trade-offs – low transaction costs will for many dapps be mandatory, but in other cases you want absolute security with the full chain processing your transaction.
  • Privacy / cost trade-offs – zerocash, ripple and everything in between.
  • Safety / liveness trade-offs – do you want the network to be more likely to keep on going no matter what, or to be resistant and unexploitable by attackers no matter what?

Regarding Ripple (and I guess Stellar too because they are very similar) he says it occupies a specific space in the market, but it would be much more defensible if it had a Turing-complete programming language like Ethereum.

About Ethereum 1.0 and Bitcoin + Sidechains, they don’t satisfy the low cost, high scalability niche because of “every-node-processes-every-transaction” property, but his hope is Ethereum 2.0 will satisfy that need.

This is what he had to say about the nature of blockchain/network competition:

What will happen though is that I think networks will stop competing on features; the concept of “x is the network for decentralized exchange”, “y is the network for domain names”, etc will disappear, as turing-complete languages are just a much better way of handling those needs. But there will exist distinctions between different classes of needs.

As an analogy, he compared the different blockchain/network styles and their trade-offs with the hundreds of programming languages out there:

Think python / c++ / go / bash / ruby / haskell / browser javascript / nodejs. Programming languages are everywhere. But they are mostly not application-specific…

But this was the phrase that helped me picture the industry better:

[The different blockchain/networks] occupy different regions of the trade-off space.

This is, if you think of a chart with different quadrants, each with different qualities such as “subjectivity”, “scalability”, “security”, “privacy”, or other profiles, you could plot and map on the chart the different networks according to what they prioritized.

My conclusion:

At the bottom of the Crypto Application Stack (please see chart below), the consensus layer, there will be several blockchain/networks serving different niches according to their trade-off profile needs. As there are plenty of trade-off profiles there will be plenty of networks in the future.

 

The Crypto Application Stack:

Crypto Application Stack - Vitalik
Source: Chart courtesy of Vitalik Buterin

 

Ethereum Explained With Vitalik Buterin Inventor And Leader Of The Ethereum Project

 

Since the Bitcoin network started, Satoshi Nakamoto, its inventor, had the vision that it would not only serve as a system to store and transfer money, but it would also be a platform for smart contracts and smart property.

Six years later there have been many attempts to implement these ideas, but Bitcoin is still a blockchain with its first application, the currency, and little has been accomplished with respect to “smartness”.

Among several projects competing to solve this is Vitalik Buterin’s Ethereum, a new blockchain that is fully programmable and has several features that promise not only an effective implementation of smart contracts and property, but also decentralized applications (dapp’s) and decentralized autonomous organizations (dao’s).

In the above video I interview Vitalik Buterin and I ask him about Ethereum, how it works, and its different components.

Ripple Explained with David Schwartz, Chief Cryptographer of Ripple Labs

In the context of many protocols being developed to complement or upgrade Bitcoin, there are a few that seem to be the ones with better chances of perpetuating themselves either in a specific function or as a broad platform in finance, the Internet of Things (IoT), etc.

The main contenders, in my humble opinion, are Bitcoin as the one with the most network effects, Ripple as a global inter-bank value exchange system, Ethereum and its quasi-Turing-complete programming language, and Sidechains which will leverage the existing installed capacity of the Bitcoin network.

In the above interview I talk to David Schwartz, Chief Cryptographer at Ripple Labs, to explain how it works and how entrepreneurs can use it as a business opportunity.

This is The Ripple Protocol Consensus whitepaper >>> https://naation.com/ripple-consensus-whitepaper.pdf

Blockchain Bitcoin Wallet iPhone App Review in 12 Images – A Big Step For Bitcoin!

Blockchain.info has been one of the pioneer startups in the Bitcoin space and an advanced blockchain information, market, trading, and wallet service. Its reputation and professional service has earned it millions of users in all of its services.

Like it was reported by Naation.com a few months ago, in an interview with CEO Nicolas Cary, the company’s wallet app was banned from the Apple app store for reasons not explained by the iPhone manufacturer.

Fortunately for Bitcoin and its growing community of users and advocates Apple has changed its policies and today the Blockchain Bitcoin Wallet app is back up in the iOS system.

Here is how it works:

1. When you download the app and open it you need to setup your Bitcoin account:

Blockchain Bitcoin Wallet welcome page

2. You can create a new wallet account from scratch:

Blockchain create new wallet

3. Or you can pair (connect) you existing Blockchain Bitcoin wallet automatically:

Blockchain Bitcoin Wallet automatic pairing

4. Or you can pair it manually:

Blockchain Bitcoin Wallet manual pairing

5. Then you need to select a 4 digit security passcode:

Blockchain Bitcoin Wallet activate a passcode

6. And voila! You are on the app’s home page which is your transaction history page:

Blockchain Bitcoin Wallet home is transaction history

7. By clicking on a transaction you can see its details:

Blockchain Bitcoin Wallet transactions details

8. When you need to receive Bitcoin you go to the “receive” page where you can select what Bitcoin address to use, scan a private key, or create a new address:

Blockchain Bitcoin Wallet receive page

9. To send or pay with Bitcoin you go to the “send” page where you enter the amount and the destination address, you can choose from which of your addresses to send from, and hit send:

Blocchain Bitcoin Wallet send page

10. To make your life easier you can choose a destination address from your “address book”:

Blocchain Bitcoin Wallet send choose from address book

11. Or you can scan a QR code:

Blockchain Bitcoin Wallet send using QR code

12. Finally, you can manage your wallet and settings on the admin page:

Blockchain Bitcoin Wallet admin page

Get the app here >>>

Thank you and please rate this brand in the rating box above and leave your comments below!

Dan Held And Kevin Johnson Talk About ZeroBlock, The Acquisition By Blockchain, And MtGox Data Distortions

There are many Bitcoin apps and information services available on the web, iOS App Store, and the Play Store, but one that stands out and is used by many industry players is ZeroBlock.

Not only does it have a very clever interface, making the user experience very easy and effective, but the blend of market information, Bitcoin block chain data, and news content is perfect to keep abreast of what is happening in the crypto-currency’s space.

In this interview Dan Held and Kevin Johnson, co-founders of ZeroBlock, talk about the service, the Blockchain acquisition, how they are handling the MtGox data distortion, and their plans for the near future.

Dan Held And Kevin Johnson, co-founders of ZeroBlock
Dan Held And Kevin Johnson, co-founders of ZeroBlock

Ripple Labs Chief Cryptographer David Schwartz Talks About Malleability In Bitcoin

David Schwartz, Chief Cryptographer of Ripple Labs
David Schwartz, Chief Cryptographer at Ripple Labs

In February of 2014 Bitcoin was hit by a well known, but nevertheless problematic flaw of the protocol called “malleability”.

Even if it doesn’t pose a threat to the global distributed ledger where all transactions are posted, it does represent a source of confusion for exchanges and other operators since it may interfere with their proper accounting systems.

But the question is what is malleability and is this a problem for all digital currencies?

David Schwartz was kind enough to talk with Newfination about this issue and in this interview he also talks about the differences with the Ripple network:

Elizabeth Ploshay And Juan Llanos Of The Bitcoin Foundation Talk About The NY Hearings, Charlie Shrem, And Freedom vs Regulation

Juan Llanos And Elizabeth Ploshay Analyze The NY Bitcoin Hearings
Juan Llanos And Elizabeth Ploshay Analyze The NY Bitcoin Hearings

This past week the New York Department of Financial Services conducted very important hearings about Bitcoin and digital currencies in general to decide the future of regulation in their district.

But also this week Charlie Shrem, who was at the time Vice Chairman of the Bitcoin Foundation, was arrested on charges of money laundering.

In this video Elizabeth and Juan, both members of the Bitcoin Foundation, share their views about these events and also talk about the balance between freedom and regulation:

Bitcoin Review – What Is Bitcoin?

Just like email was created to send messages from person to person around the world, Bitcoin was created to send money from person to person around the world. Just like the email system works with email addresses and emails, the Bitcoin system works with Bitcoin addresses and bitcoins.

Hello Bitcoin!
Hello Bitcoin!

While on the email system the format of an address is name@example.com and you have to type this on the “To:” space to be able to send an email, on the Bitcoin system the format of an address is a 34 character code like 1JqjAHgjCmNCRUHWKHrtUcvCofhWt9FTSW and you have to copy this on the “To:” space to be able to send a bitcoin.

To start using email you need to go to an email service like Gmail, open an email account, and start sending and receiving emails. On the bitcoin system you need to go to a bitcoin service like Coinbase, open a Bitcoin wallet, and start buying, selling, sending, and receiving bitcoins.

Email is something you can create and store in your “Sent emails” box infinitely, and the receiver can also store, copy, and resend endlessly. Bitcoins are something there is a limited amount of and when you send one it goes away from your wallet just like a dollar bill would from your physical wallet. The receiver can store it in his wallet or send it away, but when he does send it away it will be deleted from his computer. Thus, unlike emails, bitcoins are finite and unique. In this way they are more like gold than email; there is a limited amount and they cannot be copied or replicated.

These last two characteristics, finite and unique, are what make bitcoin ideal to be used as a currency. The fact that it is electronic and used only on the internet is what makes it a digital currency.

It is time to start using bitcoins:

As adoption of Bitcoin accelerates, its use case and functionality are more compelling for a growing number of merchants, consumers, traders, and investors. The following are some features that make Bitcoin so attractive:

It is a valid currency: While many are still analyzing if Bitcoin will be a valid currency or not, I say it is a store of value, an exchange mechanism, and a unit of account, therefore it is already a currency.

A store of value: Although the price of Bitcoin has been volatile, since inception it has been gaining value and already has a market capitalization of several billion dollars. As Bitcoin users continue grow globally its function as a store of value will be reinforced.

A unit of account: Since bitcoins can be used to store value, this value can be compared with the value of any other currency or merchandise. This makes it a valid unit of account to price products and services and to measure cash flows, among other things.

An exchange mechanism: Since it is easy to transfer, Bitcoin can be exchanged for products and services or used to payoff debts if the parties agree. Therefore, it can be used as an exchange mechanism.

It is a global online network: Just like email, anybody in the world with a computer or a mobile device with internet access can have a Bitcoin address. With a Bitcoin address and a Bitcoin wallet it is possible to send and receive bitcoins to and from anybody and anywhere in the world.

It is decentralized: The Bitcoin network is the sum of people transacting in bitcoins with one another directly on the internet. There is no central server or entity, like a government, central bank, corporation, or foundation that controls the network.  Therefore it cannot be manipulated like normal currencies issued by decree and controlled by governments.

It is free: Because it is an open source protocol and it is decentralized its use is free. To store, send, and receive bitcoins has no cost. This must not be confused with the purchase and sale of bitcoins. Bitcoins have value so to buy bitcoins you need to pay for them!

Wallet services: To be able to use Bitcoin there are wallet services that are easy to subscribe to and provide the functionality to transact with bitcoins.

Send and receive: The basic functionality of a Bitcoin wallet is to manage a Bitcoin address so you can send and receive bitcoins. You can see your Bitcoin balance and the transaction history so you can track your Bitcoin activity.

Buy and sell: Since bitcoins can be stored and transferred they can also be bought and sold. You can do this by transacting with someone directly and then sending or receiving the bitcoins or you can use a Bitcoin exchange.

Connected to the dollar system: Some Bitcoin wallet services may be linked with your regular dollar based bank account. This makes it easier to convert bitcoins to dollars and vice versa and to move money between your wallet and your account.

Global exchanges: To facilitate the exchange of bitcoins with other currencies there are many global exchanges like Mt. Gox or Bitstamp where Bitcoin users can trade them for different currencies like dollars, pounds, yens, or euros.

Sell and get paid: Once you have a Bitcoin address it is easy to post it on your website or send by email so other Bitcoin users can send you bitcoins in exchange for your products and services. You can also use a Bitcoin wallet provider that offers merchant services so you can install a “buy” or “pay” button on your site so you can get paid to your wallet directly.

What are the risks of using Bitcoin?

Because it is a relatively new technology Bitcoin has certain risks associated with it:

Volatility: Since inception Bitcoin prices have been very volatile. Recently the Bitcoin price went up from $100 to $1250 and is now trading in a wide range between those levels. This happened in a matter of weeks so it is still very volatile to use it as a stable savings or investment mechanism.

Theft: Although the majority of Bitcoin services like wallets and exchanges have established bank level security in their systems, some are still not very sophisticated and may be subject to hacker attacks and theft. This is a serious risk in the Bitcoin network because once bitcoins are transferred they cannot be recovered.

Trust: Related to the above and because Bitcoin has been around for only a few years, all Bitcoin services are mainly start-ups or companies with no significant capitalization. This poses an additional institutional risk as the majority of these services wouldn’t be able to respond to customer claims like theft, fraud, or errors.

Accessibility: Many Bitcoin exchanges and wallet services have been affected by hackers with denial-of-service attacks (also known as distributed-denial-of-service attacks – DDoS). These are not internal thefts of bitcoins or information, but massive attacks that overload their servers. These attacks make these services unavailable for long periods of time so there can be little or no access to your wallet and thus the ability to withdraw money or transfer bitcoins out of your account.

Conclusion:

Bitcoin is a new concept, but it’s in the process of being understood and adopted by a growing number of consumers, merchants, and investors around the world. As this process continues the reasons to start using bitcoins are becoming more compelling.

There is also increased investment in the sector and many new finance companies are offering more professional and consumer friendly solutions for everyday use.

Bitcoin poses some technological and financial risks, namely the permanent loss of capital. However as these risks are mitigated, more consumers, merchants, and investors should start learning about and using Bitcoin.

Open your first Bitcoin Wallet! >>>

Juan Llanos Talks About Unidos Financial, Bitcoin, And Money Transmitting

Juan Llanos, co-founder and EVP of Unidos Financial.
Juan Llanos, co-founder and EVP of Unidos Financial.

According to some studies there are more than 60 million people who are unbanked or underbanked in the US. Most of them located in states with the biggest immigration flows like Florida, Texas and California.

Unidos Financial is a company based in New York that is tackling this problem in this segment with their line of financial products:

– International money transmitting.
– Personal debit cards.
– Domestic and international bill payments.
– Check cashing.
– Domestic and international Top-Up (payments of pre-paid cellphone services).

As Juan Llanos, co-founder and Executive Vice President of Unidos Financial, says in this interview the company’s strategy is to deliver their services using their state of the art tech platform through retailers and agents, then they will launch an online and mobile platform, and eventually, if and when regulatory and bank concerns have subsided, integrate digital currencies like Bitcoin.

Please watch the video below:

The Newfination Bitcoin Show 2: Henry Blodget And Bitcoin At $1250!

The Newfination Bitcoin Show 2: Henry Blodget And Bitcoin At $1250!

The Newfination Bitcoin Show 2: Henry Blodget And Bitcoin At $1250!

Donald McIntyre:
Founder, Newfination
http://www.naation.com/
@Newfination

Elizabeth Ploshay:
Manager of Communications, Bitcoin Magazine
http://bitcoinmagazine.com/
@BitcoinMagazine

Vitalik Buterin:
Main writer, Bitcoin Magazine
http://bitcoinmagazine.com/
@BitcoinMagazine

Turn Cash Into Bitcoins In 15 Minutes With Cashintocoins.com – Interview with Founder Will Wheeler

Will Wheeler, founder of Cash Into Coins (cashintocoins.com)
Will Wheeler, founder of Cash Into Coins (cashintocoins.com)

Millions of people in the US and around the world are learning about and exploring Bictoin and Bitcoin services.

The basic functionality needed to start your experience is to open a Bitcoin wallet to store, send, and receive the digital currency, but one of the problems is to actually acquire the first Bitcoins.

Advanced services like Coinbase, Bitstamp, and Mt.Gox are great for more sophisticated customers who open an account and manage their investments, but what about a fast and practical way to buy in a matter of minutes without the “verification” and “know your customer” waiting periods?

The solution is Cash Into Coins. The service is organized for and capable of executing a buy transaction in as little as 15 minutes. This is because it is registered with federal and state authorities to act as a dealer where they don’t intermediate between clients or hold your funds.

It is a practical solution that is having huge success as Will Wheeler, founder of the company, explains in this interview.

We spoke about:

– Will’s background.
– What is Cash Into Coins?
– How does it work?
– Who are their target customers?
– What region do they cover?
– What is their licensing status in the US?

Please watch the video below:

Coin4ce Bitcoin Wallet, Trading, And Investment Advice With Adam Stradling

Adam Stradling, founder and CEO of Coin4ce.
Adam Stradling, founder and CEO of Coin4ce.

Based in Chile, one of the most dynamic Bitcoin communities in the southern hemisphere, Adam Straddling’s Coin4ce will help middle income and high net worth individuals in Latin America to adopt and invest in crypto-currencies.

It is not an easy task though. The region is a mosaic of nations that may share the same language (except for Brazil that speaks Portuguese), but they also present different banking systems, currencies, and regulations.

In this interview Adam Stradling, ex-TradeHill and now founder and CEO of Coin4ce, talks about the service and it’s regional roll-out.

We spoke about:

– Adam’s background.
– What is Coin4ce and when is it launching?
– What will the features of the service be?
– Wallet + Exchange + Investment Advice?
– What is the company’s target market?
– What countries will it cover?
– Spanish, English, And Portuguese?

Please watch the interview below:

Bitstamp vs Mt.Gox Review – Bitcoin Exchanges – What Is The Difference?

With the rising popularity (and market price) of Bitcoin millions of people around the world are exploring which are the best services to start using the digital currency.

The basic functionality needed is a place to store, send, and receive bitcoins, but after that the question everybody asks is : Where do I buy and sell them?

Bitstamp vs Mt.Gox comparison chart
Bitstamp vs Mt.Gox comparison chart

The two most popular digital currency exchanges in the world for trading bitcoins against US dollars are Mt.Gox and Bitstamp.

Japan based Mt.Gox is the historic leader in Bitcoin exchanges although recently it lost market share due to regulatory and compliance issues in the United States.

Mt.Gox - Bitcoin Exchange
Mt.Gox – Bitcoin Exchange

However, Mt.Gox’s losses have been Slovenia based Bitstamp’s gains in trading volume. Also accounting for its success Bitstamp has a high focus on customer service and efficient back office operations.

Bitstamp - Bitcoin Exchange - Review
Bitstamp – Bitcoin Exchange

How do they compare?

The basic currency exchange functionality is adequately delivered by both companies, but the areas where they differ might be the keys to deciding which one to use.

Buy and Sell: Both services provide a fast execution service when users enter their orders. In both cases adequate speed and liquidity are provided. This is key especially in recent fast moving markets.

Deposit/Withdrawal Efficiency: As mentioned above Mt.Gox has had difficulties with regulators in the US and they even seized funds from their US bank accounts. Due to these issues they haven’t been able to process US dollar deposits and withdrawals within normal time frames in the last few months. Although they have been working diligently to solve these significant delays they are still having some trouble according to customer complaints in different public internet forums. In the case of Bitstamp they have maintained an adequate deposit and withdrawal system with US dollar transfer processing usually taking between 2 to 5 business days.

Price Efficiency: Due to the issues mentioned above Bitcoin pricing against the US dollar has been inefficient on Mt.Gox. This has not affected the normal bid/offer spread, but the absolute price level within the exchange as compared to other markets, including Bitstamp, has been at times significantly higher. This is due to the preference of traders to be able to deposit and withdraw their funds within reasonable time frames in the other markets.

Quotes Charts: Both companies offer their own markets’ current quotes and historical price charts. These tools are important for investors to have a good perspective on Bitcoin price evolution before they trade.

Order Book Table:

Bitstamp - Order Book
Bitstamp – Order Book

This is another important tool for decision making that is provided only by Bitstamp. The first part of the order book table page is a chart that represents all the orders organized by type (bid or offer), price, and volume. It is a very effective way of looking at the market depth and also analyzing the open interest so you can decide how to set and manage your orders. Also, below the chart is their list of all the open orders organized in two columns (bids and offers) with the same data of the chart with respect to volume and price for each order. Mt.Gox doesn’t offer this feature, but like for other relevant exchanges their order book can be seen on independent services like BitcoinWisdom.

Instant Orders: If you want to buy or sell bitcoins at the current market price you can enter what they call instant orders. They will execute your order at the best price on the exchange immediately and both services provide this.

Limit Orders: Also provided by both exchanges, if you want to buy or sell bitcoins at a specific price then you can enter the order at that level and they will publish it on their market and execute it when someone else wants to buy or sell at that price.

Multicurrency: Bitstamp trading is limited to bitcoins against US dollars only. In the case of Mt.Gox it has adequate liquidity for trading between Bitcoin and other currencies including Japanese yens, euros, British pounds, and Australian dollars. They also support other currencies, but with less depth so in general these are better traded on other exchanges.

Account Summary: As with every type of financial institution an account summary page is always useful to be able to check balances, transaction activity, open orders, profile settings, and other details. Bitstamp has a well designed and easy to use “Account” section with all these features and more. In the case of Mt.Gox there is no centralized section within their website that offers this information in a simple and orderly fashion. They provide all the information, but it is separated in different sections and users need to find their data in a rather cumbersome way.

Link Bank Account: This is the functionality of linking your bank account so that money transfers can be made automatically between your bank and your Bitcoin exchange accounts. Both Bitstamp and Mt.Gox operate with wire transfers so this service is not offered by either company. To their credit though, this is a difficult task considering they operate globally with customers in diverse money systems. Within the US the only service that provides this convenient functionality is San Francisco based Coinbase.

(Please read Newfination’s Coinbase Review here)

Wallet Services: A proper wallet service is one that supports storage and simple “send and receive” functionality with Bitcoin addresses and QR codes so users can pay and get paid easily. Bitstamp and Mt.Gox are both set up to provide trading services, but their accounts cannot be considered Bitcoin wallets and it is not advisable to use them as such.

Fees:

Like all exchanges both companies charge trading commissions. In the case of Bitstamp they have a fee schedule that goes from 0.50% to 0.20% depending on the user’s monthly trading volume.

In the case of Mt.Gox their scale is also based on volume, but on a moving 30 day basis that goes from 0.60% to 0.25%.

Which one should I use?

Based on the negative publicity they suffered when US regulators seized their bank accounts and its effect on actual delays in deposits and withdrawals and the subsequent price premium of Bitcoin against the US dollar it seems natural to discard this option for traders and investors who want to base their transactions in this currency. However for traders who need market depth and efficiency in other currencies Mt.Gox may be the better alternative.

For Bitcoin/US dollar trading, good customer service, and normal lead times in US dollar deposits and withdrawals Bitstamp is the place to go.

Coinsetter Bitcoin Exchange With Co-founder Jaron Lukasiewicz

Jaron Lukasiewicz Talks About Coinsetter
Jaron Lukasiewicz Talks About Coinsetter

As Bitcoin gains popularity among mainstream investors institutions and family offices are also exploring the possibility of allocating parts of their portfolios in crypto-currencies.

The problem is that the exchange services in the space were crafted to serve small traders and speculators so more sophisticated players don’t have adecuate tools to enter the market.

Coinsetter is working to solve this situation with Bitcoin derivative trading, more market depth, and a professional user interface that satisfies the needs of this segment of the market.

In this interview Jaron Lukasiewicz, co-founder and CEO of Coinsetter, talks about his company’s platform.

We spoke about:

– Jaron’s background.
– What is Coinsetter?
– When was the company started?
– What is the current status of the platform?
– What are the new features planned for the near future?

Please watch the video below:

What Is Mastercoin? A Talk With Executive Director Ron Gross

Mastercoin: Multiple assets negotiated on the Bitcoin platform.
Mastercoin: Multiple assets negotiated on the Bitcoin platform.

The basic functionality of Bitcoin is to store, send and receive the digital currency, but on top of this other functionality can be added to support what are called smart contracts and smart property.

The idea is to eventually provide services like lending, property registries, distributed exchanges, share IPO’s and more all on top of the Bitcoin network that not only includes the block chain, but also an ever increasing information processing capacity through the Bitcoin miners.

In this interview Ron Gross talks about one of the projects seeking to create these new protocols to expand the functionality of Bitcoin: Mastercoin.

We spoke about:

– Ron’s background and role in Mastercoin.
– What is Mastercoin?
– Is it formally organized as a non-profit?
– Is the protocol open source?
– What is the Mastercoin currency?
– What functionality is being built on top of Bitcoin?
– How does it use the Bitcoin block chain?

Please watch the video below:

“Bitcoin Is Legal” – A Recap Of The Digital Currency US Senate Hearing With Juan Llanos Of The Bitcoin Foundation

Juan Llanos of the Regulatory Affaits Committee of the Bitcoin Foundation
Juan Llanos of the Regulatory Affairs Committee of the Bitcoin Foundation

Juan Llanos, member of the Regulatory Affairs Committee of the Bitcoin Foundation, and I agree that yesterday was a turning point for Bitcoin and digital currencies in general.

In a hearing at the US Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs with Senator Thomas Carper a panel of high ranking government officials expressed the same concept: “digital currencies are legal and we must support innovation”.

Senator Thomas Carper - Homeland Security And Governmental Affairs Committee
Senator Thomas Carper – Homeland Security And Governmental Affairs Committee

However this idea was communicated with a reasonable condition: “but all new services and new digital currency providers must comply with the law, get registered and get proper authorizations, licenses, and establish the required internal compliance processes.”

Juan was present at the hearings in Washington and in this interview he talks about the key concepts and the highlights of the testimonies and Q&As.

We spoke about:

– What is the importance of this particular Senate Committee?
– The positive attitude of Senator Thomas Carper.
– Who were the government officials testifying?
– What were the key concepts expressed?
– Is Bitcoin declared legal?
– What is the tone now going forward?

Please watch the video below:

Coinbase vs Bitstamp Review – Bitcoin Exchanges – What Is The Difference?

With Bitcoin’s popularity on the rise more and more people around the world are asking how to start using it and what are the best tools available.

The basic features with many services are the abilities to store, send, and receive bitcoins, but once this is solved the next natural step is to find a place to buy and sell the digital currency.

Coinbase and Bitstamp are two of the most popular exchange services especially among American users.

Coinbase vs Bitstamp comparison chart
Coinbase vs Bitstamp comparison chart

San Francisco based Coinbase is known as “the PayPal” of Bitcoin and its main focus is to provide easy access through simple and intuitive services for individuals, merchants, and investors.

Bitstamp is located in Slovenia and its mission is to be an efficient Bitcoin exchange solution with robust trading services and easy deposit and withdrawal of traditional currencies.

How do they compare?

Buy and Sell: Both services provide bitcoin/US dollar exchange services, but they differ in their style. Coinbase users buy and sell bitcoins directly from the company. They publish their bid and ask prices on their service and users can go to the “buy/sell” page to enter their orders. In the case of Bitstamp the company acts as an exchange where users buy and sell between themselves at the best prices offered on the system.

Link Bank Account: On Coinbase US customers can link their bank accounts to move dollars between their financial institutions and Coinbase. Once this is done the deposits and withdrawals are automatic each time they buy and sell Bitcoins. On Bitstamp this service is available for EU customers, US users can deposit and withdraw dollars by wire transfer.

Instant Orders: Once the accounts are setup and funds deposited users of both services can buy and sell bitcoins and both companies offer Instant Orders. This means that when users enter their buy and sell orders they are executed immediately at the best price available at that time.

Limit Orders: These orders consist of buying and selling at specific prices indicated by the users. Coinbase doesn’t support this type of order. On Bitstamp users can enter limit orders that stay open until they are either cancelled by the client or executed in the market.

Order Book:

Bitstamp - Order Book
Bitstamp – Order Book

An order book is a screen where all the bid and ask orders are published with the price and volume information so all buyers and sellers can see the depth and breath of the market. Bitstamp offers this feature in a chart and in list format. Because Coinbase doesn’t handle customer orders they only publish their own bid and ask prices with no volume information.

Holds Bitcoins: This is the ability to store and hold users’ bitcoins in their service. On both Coinbase and Bitstamp they hold and store Bitcoins for their customers. Users can also check their balances and account activities on both services.

Holds Dollars: This is the ability to store and hold customers’ dollars in their accounts. In the case of Bitstamp customers can deposit, store, and withdraw US dollars whenever they want. Because of compliance reasons Coinbase doesn’t yet hold dollars on their customer accounts. Each time users buy and sell bitcoins the dollars are deposited and withdrawn from their clients’ accounts in their financial institutions using the ACH automatic transfer system.

Other Currencies: For deposits and withdrawals Bitstamp supports US dollars, British pounds, and Swiss francs. In the case of Coinbase for now they only support US dollars within the United States.

Wallet Services:

Coinbase Wallet
Coinbase Wallet

Coinbase offers full wallet services that include the ability to send and receive bitcoins by email and SMS. In the case of Bitstamp users need to get wallet services from 3rd parties, but they can link them to their Bitstamp investing accounts.

Which one should I use?

If you live in the US and prefer an easy to use service with the ability to buy and sell bitcoins then Coinbase is your best option.

If you are seeking more advanced trading services with the ability to deposit and withdraw in other currencies as well then Bitstamp is your best alternative.

Bitcoin Startups And Licensing In the US With Juan Llanos Of The Bitcoin Foundation

Juan Llanos, anti-money laundering expert
Juan Llanos, anti-money laundering expert

If you are a Bitcoin entrepreneur anywhere in the world you need to watch this interview with Juan Llanos, member of the regulatory affairs committee of the Bitcoin Foundation.

In many cases it doesn’t matter where your company is located, what matters is where your customers reside!

Also, if you are a Bitcoin enthusiast and customer of new Bitcoin services, this concerns you too. The rules are strict and if your wallet or exchange providers are not properly licensed you could lose your money.

We spoke with Juan about these topics:

– What is FinCen?
– How do startups go about registering on a federal level?
– What is the cost?
– What are the requirements to register on a state by state level?
– What are the different “styles” of regulation between states?
– What are the implications for international startups?

Please watch the video below:

The Latin Bitcoin Conference 2013 With Diego Gutierrez Zaldivar

labitconf

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Bitcoin is not only a new form of money, but also a great solution for societies with unstable economies and populist tendencies where governments restrict access to foreign currencies to make up for their fiscal undoings. It is no wonder then that in Latin America the crypto-currency is developing fast as well.

Diego Gutierrez Zaldivar, President of the Argentine Bitcoin Foundation, is one of the big promoters of Bitcoin in the region and in this interview he talks about the first Latin American Bitcoin Conference (laBitconf) to be held in Buenos Aires.

We spoke about:

– When is it going to be held?
– Who can attend?
– Who are the panelists?
– What topics are they going to talk about?
– Will there be Latin startups presenting?
– How are the levels of adoption in Latin countries?

Please watch the video below:

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