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Bitcoin Adoption Is Ghost: Hardly Anyone Uses BTC for Payments, Bloomberg Says

An analytical company Chainalysis shows that hardly anyone utilizes Bitcoin as means of payment, preferring to see it as a store of value and ‘hodl’

In spite of the recent massive price surge, Bitcoin seems to have a problem that few are aware of. An analytical firm Chainalysis Inc. from New York has recently shown that merely 1.3% of economic transactions were made by merchants in the first quarter this year. Bloomberg says that this amount has remained the same over the last few years.

The current pace of adoption is too slow

Recently, some big market players, such as AT&T. Inc., have adopted crypto, allowing for customer payments. Still the number of platforms that allow clients to pay them with virtual coins, when Bitcoin rate may go much higher within just a few weeks, is tiny.

This is the major difficulty for cryptocurrencies: Bitcoin was meant and developed to be an alternative to fiat money currently in circulation. However, people prefer to ‘hodl’ BTC, whereas hedge funds are merely using it for financial speculations. Thus, it is currently a hard job to raise hype around Bitcoin to attract mass appeal.

Kim Grauer from Chainalysis has told
Bloomberg:

“Bitcoin economic activity continues to be dominated by exchange trading. This suggests Bitcoin’s top use case remains speculative, and the mainstream use of Bitcoin for everyday purchases is not yet a reality.”

Hardly any merchants actually use Bitcoin

As part of its research, Chainalysis tracks the work of companies, such as BitPay, that process payments for merchants. The aforementioned AT&T telecom giant has recently chosen BitPay to conduct crypto payments through it. In 2017 and 2018, BitPay processed payments of $1 bln, according to Bloomberg.

All crypto payments to AT&T are made through BitPay. Then the service provider chooses whether to take Bitcoin or fiat currency or a mixture of those. BitPay then charges 1 percent off the deal.

Even though, BitPay has processed an impressive amount over the past two years, when it comes to payment service providers dealing with fiat currencies, such as Visa, their volumes are much bigger. In 2018, Visa dealt with payments totalling $11.2 trln.

As said above, the majority of Bitcoin transactions take place in crypto exchanges, says Chainalysis, about 90 percent.

Despite this, attempts to introduce Bitcoin into everyday payments continue. Recently, a Flexa startup announced that Starbucks, Wholefoods and several other major chain stores will be accepting Bitcoin and other crypto through it.

This is still a tiny amount of the market
compared to traditional fiat payments.

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Big Business The Answer to Bitcoin Price Boom and Adoption: Bitpay CCO

Bitpay CCO Bullish on Bitcoin

The price of Bitcoin may be creeping up to the heights last seen in December of 2017, however, the belief of Bitpay’s chief commercial officer, Sonny Singh, is that the value of the major cryptocurrency will really start to soar when big businesses gets fully involved.

Unlike the speculative rally that was seen in 2017, this latest rebound from a bearish market has a much stronger institutionalized base with adoption from regulators, companies and governments in much more abundance.

Singh is of the opinion that business interest and endorsement of cryptocurrency is what is fuelling the current market-wide bull run.

Real use cases

Bitcoin’s last rally was certainly based on FOMO, speculation, and a lack of understanding. However, in the market retraction, there was time for the base technology, blockchain, as well as cryptocurrencies, to fit into the current system and show off actual use cases.

“You’re starting to see that these currencies have real use cases around the world, and it’s making people really excited now because they can see the light at the end of the tunnel for these use cases,” Singh told Bloomberg.

Some of the most reported on use cases and adoption of cryptocurrencies from major institutions include Facebook with its journey into a premissioned cryptocurrency, as well as Fidelity Investments and their foray into the space.

Moreover moves such as JPMorgan’s JPM Coin and telecoms provider AT&T now accepting Bitcoin for payments by using BitPay.

Profiting from mainstream exposure

With Bitcoin being the pioneer of a wide blockchain and cryptocurrency ecosystem, it is hard to separate the major decentralised coin from institutionalized growth, as much as the likes of Facebook and JP Morgan would like to.

“How’s the regulator going to show that JPMorgan we like, but bitcoin and Ethereum we don’t like?” Singh said.

“It’s going to be hard. They’re going to have to make a classification: ‘digital currencies — these are the rules around all digital currencies.’ And that’s what the industry’s waiting for — to have regulations that we can follow and adhere to to prove that everything is legal in an organized way.”

The year of enterprise use

While it is hard to separate Bitcoin from the entire blockchain and cryptocurrency space, more have tried to exclude blockchain from the cryptocurrency side of things – with varying levels of success.

China is one place that has gone full blockchain but has denied anything to Bitcoin and other decentralised cryptocurrencies, however, there is still evidence of things like Bitcoin benefiting from blockchain advancements.

There are a lot more major companies valued at billions which have started delving into the potential of blockchain and while this sector has had a chance to grow organically and impressively aside from cryptocurrencies, it would still appear that there is enough of a link between them to benefit each other.

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BitPay CCO Believes Big Business Will Push Bitcoin’s Price Even Higher

Products such as Facebook’s GlobalCoin will bring consumers and regulators alike in line, says Sonny Singh.

A senior executive at cryptocurrency payments processor BitPay told Bloomberg on May 29 that bitcoin (BTC) will only expand higher from its current price.

Speaking in an interview with Bloomberg TV, the company’s chief commercial officer, Sonny Singh, said it was business interest and endorsement of cryptocurrency that was fuelling the current market-wide bull run.

“You’re starting to see that these currencies have real use cases around the world, and it’s making people really excited now because they can see the light at the end of the tunnel for these use cases,” he told the network.

Singh was referring to upcoming crypto-based projects from corporations including Facebook and Fidelity Investments, as well as extant moves such as JPMorgan’s JPM Coin and telecoms provider AT&T now accepting bitcoin for payments using BitPay.

As more plans become reality, bitcoin can only stand to profit from the increased exposure and mainstream dominance, he noted. For regulators, a double standard which favors private cryptocurrency but outlaws decentralized ones is now impossible, Singh also said.

“How’s the regulator going to show that JPMorgan we like, but bitcoin and ethereum we don’t like?” he continued.

Singh stated:

“It’s going to be hard. They’re going to have to make a classification: ‘digital currencies — these are the rules around all digital currencies.’ And that’s what the industry’s waiting for — to have regulations that we can follow and adhere to to prove that everything is legal in an organized way.”

While JPM Coin in fact gained a critical reception from the industry when it launched earlier this year, Facebook has remained coy about its plans, with unconfirmed media reports hinting only that it would target payments from 2020 and possibly bear the name “GlobalCoin.”

A report this week, nonetheless, cautioned that circulation of such an in-house cryptocurrency could face various hurdles among the social network’s multibillion-strong user base.

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US Telecoms Giant AT&T Now Accepting Crypto Payments via BitPay

Telecom and media giant AT&T will now accept cryptocurrencies as a payment option through BitPay.

United States telecom and media giant AT&T now accepting cryptocurrency for paying phone bills online, according to an official press release on May 23. AT&T will process bills paid in cryptocurrency using crypto payments platform BitPay.

BitPay is a platform that converts cryptocurrencies to fiat and is used by over 20,000 businesses. AT&T is reportedly the first United States-based business in the wireless network industry to offer bill payments with BitPay.

Kevin McDorman, vice president of AT&T Communications Finance Business Operations, said, “We have customers who use cryptocurrency, and we are happy we can offer them a way to pay their bills with the method they prefer.”

Near the end of 2018, AT&T announced that it was working on a suite of blockchain solutions compatible with Microsoft Azure and the IBM Blockchain Platform. The stated aim of the suite is to provide “additional transparency and accountability to even the most complex supply chains” for institutional customers in fields such as manufacturing, retail, and healthcare.

AT&T also filed a patent application — which was published by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) in December — for a blockchain-based “social media history map” that would allow a network such as AT&T to gather its subscribers’ social media “transaction” data. As per the application:

“The social media history map platforms described herein may take advantage of the immutable and permanent nature of blockchain records to store, and provide access to, data representing online transactions that occur on multiple social media applications.”

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Breaking: Bitcoin Now Accepted by Telecom Giant AT&T

AT&T Accepts Bitcoin

So, it seems that the global adoption of Bitcoin (BTC) is already well on its way. Announced on Thursday, telecom giant AT&T will be accepting Bitcoin through BitPay, meaning that the firm is now the first major U.S. mobile career to accept cryptocurrency.

“We’re always looking for ways to improve and expand our services,” said Kevin McDorman, vice president, AT&T Communications Finance Business Operations. “We have customers who use cryptocurrency, and we are happy we can offer them a way to pay their bills with the method they prefer.”

Booming Crypto Adoption

This isn’t the first bout of adoption.

Tor, the de-facto go-to privacy- and anonymity-centric browser provider, recently unveiled a donation jar that accepts cryptocurrencies. Tor’s website now accepts payments in nine leading cryptocurrencies: Bitcoin, Ethereum, Litecoin, Bitcoin Cash, Stellar Lumens, Monero, ZCash, and Augur. Interestingly though, users may contact Tor’s staffers if they intend to donate other digital assets that aren’t listed.

The page purportedly encourages crypto philanthropists, many of which frequent the open-source Tor Browser and what it gives access to, to stand up for “universal rights to privacy and freedom” by keeping Tor’s products up-to-date.

Weeks prior to this, Avnet, one of the world’s most prominent electronic components distributor, revealed it had integrated a payment portal from the Atlanta-based BitPay. Avnet’s team sees cryptocurrencies as a step above traditional rails, as a company release argued that such assets can reduce the “time, cost and complexities of bringing products to market.”

And most recently, Flexa, a little-known startup looking to make “cryptocurrency spendable everywhere”, will be making Bitcoin, Bitcoin Cash, Ethereum, and Gemini’s in-house stablecoin available to spend in 30,476 retail outlets. Chains accepted the aforementioned digital assets include Crate & Barrel, GameStop, Lowe’s, Nordstrom, and arguably most importantly, the Amazon-owned Whole Foods. It has been reported that the aforementioned chains have agreed to participate in the Flexa ecosystem, implying partnerships.

To accomplish this, Flexa has launched an app it calls “SPEDN” (a play on Bitcoin community not so inside joke “HODL”). This app, currently only available for Apple devices, allows users to deposit cryptocurrency into Gemini-run wallets, then use their phones in physical stores as a way to purchase goods as normal.

Photo by William Moreland on Unsplash

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Former Worldpay US Executive Joins Crypto Payments Firm BitPay as Its New CFO

Major cryptocurrency payment services provider BitPay has onboarded former Worldpay U.S. executive Glen Braganza as its CFO.

Major cryptocurrency payment services provider BitPay has onboarded former Worldpay U.S. executive Glen Braganza as its Chief Financial Officer (CFO), according to a press release published on May 7.

Having more than 15 years experience in private equity and public markets, Braganza joined BitPay to “help support the business through its next phase as the company grows into a global financial organization.”

While the release does not reveal what exactly Braganza will be engaged in, Stephen Pair, CEO and co-founder of BitPay, said that “Glen’s experience is a key advantage to BitPay as the team moves the company into the mainstream to help businesses leverage blockchain for fast consumer transactions and easy global payments.”

At Worldpay US, Braganza held the role of CFO, reportedly being responsible for over $400 million in annual revenue and over $150 billion in annual payment processing volume, as well as being engaged in the establishment of the Group’s business in the Netherlands in 2014. Prior to Worldpay US, Braganza work at Lloyds Banking Group in the United Kingdom and then joining Jefferies & Co in London.

As Cointelegraph previously reported, a former executive of British investment bank Barclays, Chris Tyrer, joined Fidelity Digital Assets, the crypto platform of American financial services corporation Fidelity Investments, to work on digital assets for the company.

Blockchain-powered precious metals platform Tradewind appointed an ex-JPMorgan Chase executive, Michael Albanese, as its new CEO. Albanese will take responsibility of the management of the company’s flagship metals market, which employs blockchain to streamline custody, trade and security of precious metals.

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US Citizens Can Now Accept Federal or State Tax Refunds in Bitcoin (BTC)

Bitcoin

Tax season is here, and it’s time once more, to sharpen
those pencils and go through the IRS’s mountains of forms. While Amazon pulled
in $11.2 billion as profit in profit in 2018 is going to pay zero in federal
taxes, every Bitcoin investor is expected to pay the taxman or face the law.

Procrastinators with extensions, however, are in for a tasty
treat because they can choose to be part of the inaugural crypto user group,
going to receive Bitcoin for their state income and federal tax refunds.

Occasioned by a joint endeavor between BitPay and Refundo
taxpayers can now earn their BTC through Payout’s from BitPay, the world’s
largest crypto payment provider. Refundo is a market leader in tax-based
financial products and has put measures in place that enable taxpayers on its
platform to receive in full or part of their refunds in Bitcoin through its
CoinRT tool. Rolf Haag, BitPay’s Head of Business Solutions said this
of their joint venture with Refundo:

 “We are thrilled to power Refundo’s CoinRT product. Refundo can now offer their customers a Bitcoin Payout for their tax refunds, meeting their customers’ demand for a more digital choice.

Refundo’s platform is much focused on speed of low-cost
transactions for the unbanked and has created its users a smooth and seamless
experience for the otherwise convoluted tax process. Refundo’s CEO Roger
Chinchilla had this to say:

 “Adding Bitcoin was a natural fit for our customers who often do not have traditional checking accounts, pay high check cashing fees and regularly send money internationally. CoinRT enables them to get Bitcoin quickly and easily for one flat fee.

As the global rise in demand for
cryptocurrencies rises, the venture between BitPay and Refundo will enable
faster, quicker and transparent large payment systems. The platform is a much
better alternative to high-cost bank wires or debit cards.

The Cryptocurrency Tax Debacle

The current tax code has more than 10 million words to it,
and pouring through the jargon-filled rule book to comply with the IRS ‘s tax
demands is a challenging venture. Throw in crypto tax and the entire process
becomes a minefield. Pat Larsen,
ZenLedger’s CEO describes cryptocurrency taxing as “one of the most complicated areas of tax law.” Every digital
coin holder has to track their crypto activities to document a token portfolio
for tax purposes correctly.

The tax man views crypto assets more as intangible property or stock rather than currency. Digital money is also subjected to wash-sale rules to prevent taxpayers from gaming the system. A crypto holder, therefore, has to keep in mind the dates and costs of tokens purchased, the gains or losses to help report their tax numbers correctly as mandated by Form 8949.

The government, therefore, expects investors to trade their crypto to help pay taxes. The IRS expects all gains reported and paid in dollar form even when trades are crypto-to-crypto. This, therefore, could force crypto owners to actually sell off some of their tokens, to pay the IRS with acceptable fiat money. The whole process can be complicated and ridiculous, especially since Bitcoin stands for decentralization of money. Some of the IRS’s expectations are very difficult to comply with because, for instance, it is hard to account for all airdrops or forks.

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