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Crypto Millionares Can Still Buy Bugatti Cars With Bitcoin, Even In A Bear Market

Post Oak Motors Introduces BitPay Integration, Can Accept Bitcoin

The words “Lambo” and its equivalents are some of the most commonly used terms in the vernacular of a cryptocurrency trader, as some, whether they are jokesters or high-achieving individuals, claim that the exquisite lifestyle can be achieved via crypto investing. And although these statements involving these terms are often seen as jokes or a near-unachievable aspiration at best, with a recent press release, it seems that the dream to obtain fancy cars via cryptocurrency investments could finally become a reality.

As reported by TheStreet, a New York-based financial news and information provider, Post Oak Motors, a popular luxury car shop in Houston, Texas, has just revealed that it will be implementing the popular BitPay Bitcoin-focused payment processing solution.

Post Oak Motors is now the first Rolls-Royce, Bentley, and Bugatti dealership in America to accept Bitcoin and Bitcoin Cash as a bona fide method to purchase products. With this integration, customers from all across the globe can purchase cars from the automobile retailer, with it being as simple as sending a payment through BitPay.

For now, it seems that this is more than a money grab, as the owner of the retailer overtly expressed his excitement for this move in the aforementioned press release, noting that Bitcoin’s 2017 bull run piqued his interest in the integration of BitPay, as he realized it would likely benefit his business. Owner Tilman Fertitta, who is also a multi-billionaire business magnate, elaborated, stating:

The rising of bitcoin sparked my interest. Being a premier luxury car dealer, I always want to offer my customers the very best buying experience and this partnership will allow anyone around the world to purchase our vehicles faster and easier

BitPay representatives also conveyed their excitement for this move, with Sonny Singh, the chief commercial officer of BitPay, adding that this integration is in line with the growing popularity of utilizing Bitcoin for larger purchases. Singh noted:

We’ve noticed people prefer to make larger purchases with bitcoin since it is a simple way to make payments. This partnership is timely with the increasing popularity of Rolls-Royce, Bentley and Bugatti vehicles. Post Oak Motors has a great reputation of selling the finest cars and we are thrilled to be partnering with Tilman.

Post Oak Motors Owner: Bitcoin Here To Stay 

Taking a look at Tilman Fertitta’s previous comments regarding cryptocurrencies, it makes sense why he would decide to integrate BitPay without much of a second thought. As BTC peaked in late 2017, Tilman Fertitta, who appeared on CNBC’s Power Lunch segment, openly divulged his personal opinion on this relatively new asset class. He noted that although this space is often over-hyped, blockchain and crypto assets are likely here to stay.

He then added that blockchain could be likened to the second coming of the internet, stating:

I think it’s going to happen… I mean, I remember somebody walking into my office and saying, ‘The world’s going to change. There’s this thing called the internet.’ And that wasn’t that long ago. So we have to remember this. It’s just something new and everything moves at a quicker pace today.

Photo by Alex Holyoake on Unsplash

The post Crypto Millionares Can Still Buy Bugatti Cars With Bitcoin, Even In A Bear Market appeared first on Ethereum World News.

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Bentley, Bugatti & Rolls-Royce Retailer Announces It’s Now Accepting Bitcoin

Luxury auto retailer Post Oak Motor Cars integrates BitPay to support payments for cars in Bitcoin and Bitcoin Cash.

Luxury automobile retailer Post Oak Motor Cars is reportedly the first Rolls-Royce, Bentley and Bugatti dealership in the U.S. to accept Bitcoin (BTC) and Bitcoin Cash (BCH) as payment, according to an official press release published September 5.

The luxury auto retailer, owned by American businessman Tilman Fertitta, has integrated crypto payment service provider BitPay to let clients purchase cars with crypto. According to the press release, the Texas-based firm will accept purchases in crypto from customers worldwide.

Fertitta commented that the company decided to provide the new payment option in order to offer their customers “the very best buying experience,” as well as enable “anyon around the world” to buy their vehicles “faster and easier.”

Late last year, billionaire mogul Fertitta had told reporters that most people are “never going to buy [Bitcoin],” since “it’s not insured by the FDIC [Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation].”

Earlier this year, major American car manufacturer Ford filed a patent for a system for vehicle-to-vehicle communication methods that involve the exchange of crypto tokens to facilitate traffic flow.

In early March 2018, Germany-based car manufacturing giant Daimler AG,  known for its Mercedes-Benz and Smart brands, introduced its own digital currency MobiCoin in order to reward drivers for eco-friendly driving practices, such as low speed driving.

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California Police Arrest Teenage ‘SIM Swapper’ Who Allegedly Stole Crypto From Cell Phones

Police in California have arrested an alleged hacker who stole Bitcoin (BTC) totalling more than $1 million by hijacking cellphones, investigative cybercrime blog Krebs on Security reported Wednesday, August 22.

Citing a police report, the publication reveals Xzavyer Narvaez, 19, used “SIM swapping,” a technique also known as a “port out scam,” to reportedly steal cryptocurrency from victims’ devices. Over a period of several years, Narvaez and another suspect already under arrest used the funds to buy items such as luxury sports cars.

From March to June 2018 alone, Narvaez’s account on cryptocurrency exchange Bittrex processed 157 BTC (around $1,009,000). The police report also confirms that crypto payment processor BitPay was used in Narvaez’s purchase of a 2018 McLaren from a car dealership in Southern California.

According to the report reproduced by Krebs On Security, Narvaez had used the same device to commit the crimes multiple times, which the publication summarizes “ultimately gave him away,” as “approximately 28 SIM swaps were conducted using the same employee ID number over an approximately two-week time period in November 2017.”

Further investigations by Vice revealed that the SIM swapping underworld regarded the 19-year-old as “one of the best SIM swappers out there.”

Nonetheless, Narvaez was unsubtle about his reportedly illegitimate cryptocurrency gains, posting photographs of cars he purchased on Instagram, Vice reports.

Earlier in August, a U.S. investor filed a $224 million lawsuit against telecoms giant AT&T over alleged negligence, claiming that $24 million in cryptocurrency was stolen via a “digital identity theft” of his cell phone account.

The episodes come as attitudes among U.S. law enforcement have become more nuanced regarding the use of cryptocurrency by malicious parties.

In an interview with Bloomberg earlier this month, Lilia Infante, an agent working on the Cyber Investigative Task Force at the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), said she hoped cryptocurrencies remained in favor in criminal circles, noting:

“The blockchain actually gives us a lot of tools to be able to identify people. I actually want them to keep using [cryptocurrencies].’’

The police report notes that the investigators had used the Bitcoin blockchain in order to “trace the flow of the bitcoins used to purchase the McLaren back to an address attributed to the cryptocurrency exchanger Bittrex,” also noting that “BitPay provided records that identified the Bitcoin transactions in which the vehicles were purchased.”

At the same time, the DEA reported the percentage of crimes involving Bitcoin had dropped dramatically since 2013.

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US: Satellite Service DISH Adds BCH Payment Option, Moves to BitPay Payments Provider

U.S. satellite service provider DISH has announced it has added Bitcoin Cash (BCH) as a payment option and migrated to the BitPay payments provider, according to an official press release August 9.

The DISH Network Corporation was among the first satellite service providers in the world to accept Bitcoin (BTC) payments back in 2014.

John Swieringa, the executive vice president and chief operating officer at DISH, said in the press release that the company has “a steady volume of customers paying with cryptocurrency each month”, adding:

“We’ve added Bitcoin Cash just as we chose to accept Bitcoin to serve customers who have adopted a new way of doing business.”

According to the press release, DISH customers will be able to pay with both BTC and BCH for monthly subscriptions and pay-per-view movies by sending the exact amount of cryptocurrency in a push transaction to the company.

Sonny Singh, the chief commercial officer with BitPay, noted in the press release that they aim to have a “seamless transition” from DISH’s old payment service to the new one. Singh added that cryptocurrency purchases are becoming more popular both because they reduce the chances for credit card fraud, as well as provide a cheaper payment service option for merchants.

Previously, crypto payments processor BitPay had acquired a virtual currency license from New York’s Department of Financial Services (NYDFS), as Cointelegraph reported July 16.

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Early Crypto Adopter Dish Network Now Accepts Bitcoin Cash

Dish Network, one of the first major firms to accept bitcoin as method of payment, has announced it now also accepts bitcoin cash.

The support for a second cryptocurrency comes a full four years after the U.S.-based subscription TV provider first decided to accept bitcoin in 2014. At the time it was the world’s largest firm to accept bitcoin for its services, boasting 14 million subscribers.

Dish customers can now use both cryptocurrencies to pay for monthly subscriptions and pay-per-view movies.

According to the release, customers must send the precise amount of bitcoin or bitcoin cash needed to make a one-time payment on either its website or set-top box.

“We’ve added bitcoin cash just as we chose to accept bitcoin to serve customers who have adopted a new way of doing business,” said Dish executive vice president and COO John Swieringa in a press release.

Alongside the announcement, DISH indicated it has switched its crypto payment processor and will use services provided by BitPay, saying the move will bring a greater degree of “choice and convenience” to users.

BitPay is one of the largest cryptocurrency payment providers. It notably raised $40 million in a Series B funding round in April.

Discussing the integration with Dish, BitPay CCO Sonny Singh said:

“Cryptocurrency is an increasingly popular way for consumers to make purchases online as it reduces credit card fraud and is cheaper for the merchants.”

Online payments image via Shutterstock

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PwC’s Pierre-Edouard Wahl: Blockchain Can Bring Positive Competition to Swiss Banking Space

Cointelegraph recently had the chance to speak with Pierre-Edouard Wahl, the head of blockchain digital services at PwC Switzerland, about the future potential of blockchain in the country.

Wahl, who noted that PwC Switzerland worked closely with main Swiss stock exchange SIX on their announcement of a future distributed ledger-based digital asset exchange, elaborated on his beliefs that crypto must be used in order to go mainstream enough to give people back control of their digital footprints.

This interview has been edited and condensed.

Molly Jane: Could you tell us how you got interested in the blockchain and cryptocurrency space?

Pierre-Edouard Wahl: I’m an engineer by schooling. I’ve been in the blockchain space for several years now, and I discovered a Bitcoin community that was very ideologically driven. The community drove me to the technology, not the other way around.

And so I decided to start a B2B Bitcoin exchange and got into some trouble, because at that time, it was very difficult. There was no clear regulation around exchange operations, and I looked for a big banking partner. Unfortunately, at the time, every time you mentioned Bitcoin, there were closed doors — so that did not work out.

But Credit Suisse asked me if I was willing to jumpstart their blockchain department, so I happily did. I spent three years at Credit Suisse and after that left, thought I was going to get back to the startup world, but really thought I had an opportunity at PwC to make an even bigger difference than in the startup world. Because we have a reach that is pretty amazing — a very high level of established business, executive suite. So, yeah, that was the exciting part.

MJ: When did you first hear about cryptocurrencies?

PW: The first time I heard about Bitcoin was in 2010. I dabbled with Bitcoin really for the first time in 2011, and got into the space full-time in 2012.

I feel like it is an industry that has such a huge potential, and I wish I could have spent more time there. But yes, relative to the existence of this industry, I have been there for a while.

MJ: Do you actually invest in the industry, do you own Bitcoin?

PW:  I am fully invested. I’ve asked my employers to pay me in crypto, but it hasn’t really worked yet.

I don’t only talk the walk, I try to walk the talk.

MJ: Since you say you have been investing in the market for a while, have you ever bought anything with Bitcoin? Like a pizza?

PW: I try to spend Bitcoin wherever I can. I see it as a way to spread the cost. So, yes, I have spent Bitcoin.

In the meetup in San Francisco — the SF Bitcoin-dev meetup — we used to organize what we call “Bitcoin bombs.” All of the participants go to a bar and ask if we can pay in crypto, in Bitcoin — and if we couldn’t, we could go to the next bar, until we found the first one that would accept it.

MJ: So how long did it take you to find a bar that would accept Bitcoin?

PW: San Francisco is pretty open, so generally it went pretty quickly. And we were a crowd, so they had a good incentive. And at that time, there was already BitPay, so if they wanted to receive dollars, they could easily get their dollars rather than Bitcoin.  

MJ: Do you have any fear that in the next 10 years Bitcoin will go to a million, and you’ll be that guy that spent his Bitcoin on a cocktail?

PW: Well, it will only go to a million if it gets used. So, it’s cool if the price goes up to a million, but it is not my priority. My priority, really, is to try to support a world where people have more sovereignty over their digital footprints, have more sovereignty in terms of freedom of speech, freedom of movement.

And public blockchains need a token for incentivizing various parties, and if one of those tokens goes to a million of dollars, it’s great for the investors and those tokens. But the million dollars is not the end goal — the million dollars is just the means to an end.

You can watch the interview here:

[embedded content]

MJ: Switzerland’s main stock exchange, SIX, recently announced that they would be launching a “fully regulated” cryptocurrency exchange next year. Could you talk about PwC Switzerland’s role in the announcement?

PW: We’ve been involved in that project and are very proud to be a partner in this new adventure for SIX. We hope that it is going to have impact not only on the Swiss financial place, but really on the global level.

I hope other jurisdictions will follow, if they do not precede us — it is possible that a few jurisdictions will launch on their own, I’d say, major exchanges, before we actually launch ours. But we are really excited about it. We think that it will definitely provide much easier access to the institutional investors. And we can’t — I can’t — wait to see it happen.

MJ: Are you expecting a lot of enthusiasm and energy from the Swiss community for SIX’s digital asset exchange?

PW: This project grew from demand from the industry. There was a lack of infrastructure in our financial service industry — like big banks, small banks — and a lot of demand from their clients. So it really came from the clients themselves who wanted to get into the space.

SIX basically belongs to the banks here in Switzerland, so it wouldn’t have happened without their approval — or the announcement wouldn’t have happened — without the approval of the major stakeholders and the major banks in Switzerland.

MJ: Do you think that SIX opening a digital asset exchange in Switzerland will help the country embrace more blockchain companies?

PW: Oh, we definitely hope so. Whether it will or not, I do not know. But hopefully banks will be more enabled with more infrastructure to actually start handling those new asset types. I do expect so, but I do not know for sure.

Right now, I think there is still more clarity needed from the regulators in order for banks to start jumping into it. Banks don’t necessarily have the right incentives to jump into space. Some obviously will find the right incentives, but I think banks have to start — rather than thinking in terms of efficiency gains — thinking in terms of new business models with this technology.

MJ: A Moody’s report from this spring found that Switzerland’s banking industry could be hurt by blockchain, due to the technology’s ability to make cross-border transactions faster and cheaper. Do you see a dichotomy in Switzerland embracing this new technology that has the potential to hurt its banking industry?

PW: I think that, on the contrary, it can boost up business. Then, the fees can be whatever the fees they decide to apply, as long as they are fair. And there is going to be competition amongst various parties who want to provide those kinds of services.

I actually think it will be an enabler. Yes, it might hurt their existing business, but that is often the case with the new technologies: It’s either you adopt them and you think differently about how those technologies are going to actually offer new solutions — as well as improve the existing solutions — or then you just look at the improvements, and we are all racing to the bottom, because there are less and less margins for everyone.

MJ: Could you tell me about what PwC Switzerland does with blockchain?

PW: We have a pretty broad service offering. We work with startups, we work with established companies. We offer — I wouldn’t say full loaded, yet, because there’s still, once again, a lack of clarity — but we do offer first inspections to ensure that things have been done correctly. And hopefully that will enable us to do audits, if the regulators allow us to do that by the end of the year.

We also work on the infrastructure level, we work with a lot of ICOs globally that want to come to Switzerland, from clients that are all around the world. I think we have a pretty broad offering: We offer legal tax services, insuring services, engineering services, some kind of review for code — I do not like the word audit there, because audit it makes that sound like it is bulletproof, which it isn’t. It’s just reviewed by another pair of eyes. And we are trying to grow our services.

MJ: I’ve heard that Switzerland has been increasing regulation for ICOs to make it harder to hold one in Switzerland. What do you think are the benefits that ICOs bring to the blockchain space?

PW: So, you are definitely right. Increasing, yes.

When it starts from nothing, it will increase.

I think there is very little regulation here in Switzerland, but there are guidelines that are good — I think they are not great yet, personally. I think there is a lot of confusion between utility tokens and payment tokens.

For me, the difference is that utility tokens with enough liquidity can became payment tokens. But there is clarity between asset-backed tokens and the other type of tokens, and I think there is going to be more and more ICOs that use the asset-backed classification.

I think that is excellent for industry — the blockchain industry — but also for the existing industry. It’s much more efficient to do an ICO with a security token instead of an IPO — or as a way to raise funding in a VC round or seed round. 

Unfortunately, there has been a lot of hype. The space is definitely not mature yet, and it needs a lot more cooperation between the various developers to establish standards in order to have new experimentations in the ICO space.

I think a lot of the fund distribution should not happen immediately after the ICO, but there should be some kind of the smart-contract thing or possibility to enable some kind of cliff for the delivery of the funds, based on accomplishments. Vitalik [Buterin] proposed the DAICO — I think that goes in the right direction — it’s definitely not perfect, but I think it’s in the right direction, for sure. I think there’s a lot more to do in the ICO space for it to be right.  

MJ: Could you expand more on how the DAICO works?

PW: The DAICO concept is — on a very, very basic level — enabling the token holders to vote on the release of funds in order to get back some control to the investors. And if they are not happy, they can vote against the release of funds and recover whatever Ether has been locked into the smart contract.

MJ: Zug recently held a trial municipal vote on the blockchain. Do you think that blockchain voting will become more widespread in the future?

PW: I think, conceptually, it is an interesting experiment. I am still not convinced that blockchains are the right platforms for voting. I think there is something really interesting about voting on blockchains, but I think the exciting parts are really the cryptography, the kind of pseudo-anonymity that you have.

But I think you need to be able to analyze your constituents’ votes. So I see voting on the blockchain more as a small-scale, board meeting kind of vote, rather than a national way of voting. I would expect more temper-proof, black boxes that record the votes, leveraging some kind of cryptography from all the participants and, at least, you can do a lot of querying on the data — because you want to know who’s happy, who’s unhappy and categorize your voters in order to better categorize how to respond.

MJ: As someone who has been in the space for almost 10 years, you mentioned that going from no regulation to some guidelines is already a step. How else have you seen regulation change in general?

PW: I may have a very biased version of things, because I was in San Francisco in the earlier days, but I feel like a lot of people have been waiting for New York to come out with some guidelines because they are such a big weight on the international markets. And I think it was Ben Lawsky who came out with BitLicense and things just trickled after that. There were jurisdictions that were more open about blockchain-based tokens, but they were kind of shy — I would say, not really very clear in public about their stance. So, I would say the BitLicense was probably the beginning of the dominos falling, or the beginning of the chain effect.

MJ: Do you think other countries are going to take the cue from the BitLicense?

PW: Well, I think countries that are afraid can always use BitLicense as a reference, and countries that are more embracing can do better. But I definitely think it can serve as a benchmark, unfortunately. New York has such a big weight in the financial industry globally that people have to take that into account what is the U.S. says.

MJ: What would be your example of the right kind of regulations for cryptocurrencies?

PW: The right kind of regulation? I think that it is early to say what’s right and what’s wrong. I think the right approach, rather than the right regulation, would be to embrace the community.

I really admire the Swiss regulators, which went on a road show — I had never seen that before. And I’d encourage many other regulators around the world to really go on a road show, talk to the community members, try to understand as much as possible, what is happening with not only tokens, but with the smart contracts — because most of the regulation right now is around tokens.

The real novelty, I think, is more the smart contracts, the immutability — tokens have existed forever: The gold-backed dollar was not gold, it was backed by gold. Shares are backed by the companies. So these are all some form of tokens, so tokens are not new. The novelty is that with blockchains: They’re easy to issue and they’re very divisible, very transparent and they have a lot of new properties.

So I would urge regulators to look a little bit more closely at the actual code, because we are building a jurisdiction where code is law, and these jurisdictions in cyberspace will live and will survive in any physical jurisdiction. And the regulators will have to regulate the interactions of those cyber-incorporated entities within their jurisdiction. And I think we are still very far from that mindset, when it comes to regulators — where we are just looking at what is in front of us —  i.e., the tokens.

MJ: A lot of people think that cryptocurrency mining has a negative environmental impact because of how much energy it uses. Does PwC Switzerland need to think about the energy aspect of promoting blockchain?

PW: At PwC, we are blockchain agnostic. A consensus mechanism is a consensus mechanism — and we don’t really care, we just care for it to be secure. And so I would agree that there is an impact on the environment, and that is an undeniable fact.

Now, I really don’t think it is a waste of energy. I think this energy is put to guarantee immutability. I’m eager to see better consensus mechanisms. The one thing I like with proof-of-work is it that it uses energy as a part of the consensus mechanism and, therefore, you can participate in the consensus mechanism wherever you are. It is independent of your stake, you can go to the North Pole and you have access to energy, and you can go to the Sahara Desert and you still have access to energy. I think that it is an interesting approach to keep it as decentralized as it can be.

MJ: Thank you!

PW: Thank you.

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Report: Use of Bitcoin in Commerce Hit Low in May After Peaking at $411 Mln Last Year

The volume of Bitcoin (BTC) used in commerce has declined significantly over the course of the last year, Bloomberg reports Aug. 1.

Citing market research firm Chainalysis, Bloomberg reported that the volume of Bitcoin received by the largest 17 crypto merchant-processing services hit a low of $60 million in May 2018, after reaching a peak of $411 million in September 2017.

The use of Bitcoin for payments has declined in tandem with its price, which peaked at almost $20,000 in December 2017 before its subsequent drop of over 50 percent.

While the amount received by services such as BitPay, Coinify, and GoCoin saw a slight rebound to $69 million in June, it bears a stark contrast to the $270 million received exactly a year before.

Nicholas Weaver, a senior researcher at the International Computer Science Institute, told Bloomberg that cryptocurrency is “not actually usable” as a form of payment. Weaver argued that the net cost of Bitcoin transaction fees is “far more than a credit card transaction.” Bitcoin transactions also cannot be reversed in instances of fraud.

Regarding price volatility in cryptocurrency markets, senior economist at Chainalysis Kim Grauer said, “When the price [was] going up so rapidly last year, in one day you could lose $1,000 if you spent it.” The economist called small purchases with crypto “impractical” due to high transaction fees.

Last year, Bitcoin transaction fees surged to all-time highs, peaking at $37, according to Bitcoinfees. Fees have seen a steady decline this year, fluctuating around $1 while seeing several short-term spikes up to $5. The average bank client spends up to $150 per year, or nearly $13 per month on service fees, according to the New York Post.

Bitcoin daily average transaction fees. Source: Bitcoinfees

Bitcoin daily average transaction fees. Source: Bitcoinfees

On July 31, market strategy and research firm Fundstrat Global Advisors announced that the company will start accepting Bitcoin for content using Bitpay. Introducing Bitcoin payments will reportedly enable a global client base to access Fundstrat’s services, which was “nearly impossible before.”

In July, Bank of Canada found that 58 percent of Canadians use Bitcoin for investment purposes, while only 6 percent use it for payment. 12 percent of respondents said they own Bitcoin because “my friends own Bitcoin.”

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Tom Lee’s Market Research Firm Fundstrat Adds Bitcoin as Payment Method

Fundstrat Global Advisors, market strategy and research provider, announced the firm will start accepting Bitcoin (BTC) for content via Bitpay, according to a press release shared with Cointelegraph July 31.

In what the company claims is a first for research firms, Fundstrat has added Bitcoin payments to its platform via payment operator BitPay, which processed more than $1 bln in Bitcoin payments in 2017.

According to the press release, the new feature will allow institutional investors, as well as financial advisors, high net worth individuals and other entities to use Bitcoin to purchase access to Fundstrat’s reports on different financial sectors.

According to BitPay’s Chief Commercial Officer Sonny Singh, the addition of Bitcoin as a payment method for Fundstrat will enable a global client base from Asia, Africa, and Latin America that “has been nearly impossible before” to access the firm’s content.  

In July, BitPay was granted a BitLicense by New York State’s financial regulator, which allowed the global crypto payments operator to do business with customers in the state, enabling them to use Bitcoin and Bitcoin Cash (BCH) for purchases worldwide.

Fundstrat’s co-founder and head of research Tom Lee commented that accepting payments in BTC via BitPay would make the process “considerably simpler, faster and less expensive.”

In early July, Lee reiterated his stance that Bitcoin could reach to anywhere between $22,000 to $25,000 by the end of 2018, clarifying that his recent prediction is not a bearish setback from his previous forecast of $25,000. Earlier this summer, June 27, the Fundstrat’s Head of Technical Research predicted that the BTC downtrend that took place in June, would be reversed if Bitcoin could push through a resistance point of $6,300-6400.

Bitcoin 3 months price chart

Bitcoin 3 months price chart. Source: Cointelegraph Bitcoin Price Index

Bitcoin, which broke $8,000 level last week and reached $8,483 July 25, is trading at $7,555 at press time, having lost around 7.5 percent over the week, according to Cointelegraph’s Bitcoin price index.

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BitPay Receives BitLicense from New York Department of Financial Services

Global crypto payments processor BitPay has been granted a BitLicense by New York сtate’s financial regulator, according to a press release shared with Cointelegraph July 16.

The recently acquired virtual currency license from New York’s Department of Financial Services (NYDFS) will allow BitPay to do business with customers and companies based in the state. Additionally, New York-based business will be able to use BitPay to accept Bitcoin (BTC) and Bitcoin Cash (BCH) for purchases from users worldwide.

NYDFS, which governs rules for virtual currency business activity, examined BitPay’s level of compliance with anti-money laundering (AML), know your customer (KYC), anti-fraud, capitalization, and cybersecurity policies before granting the license. BitPay CEO Stephen Pair said:

“New York state has one of the strictest policies around businesses involved in cryptocurrency and working through the approval processes to obtain a License was important to BitPay. We believe this hard work will pay off as New York presents significant business opportunities for BitPay.”

BitPay is the eighth company to receive a BitLicense from the NYDFS, joining other crypto-related firms such as Square, Genesis Global Trading, bitFlyer USA, Coinbase, XRP II and Circle Internet Financial.

In April, after crypto exchange and wallet Coinbase announced they suspended  “custodial” solutions for merchants, the CEO of flight aggregator CheapAir suggested BitPay’s crypto wallet as a replacement option.

In March, BitPay partnered with South Korea’s largest cryptocurrency exchange Bithumb in order to compete in the global remittance market. CCO of  BitPay Sonny Singh said that businesses will be able to convert invoices to Bitcoin and settle them more quickly and cheaply than via bank-based remittance channels.

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More Regulatory Progress as Malta’s PM Confirms Parliament Will Pass 3 Crypto Bills Today

The wonderful country of Malta has earned its place in crypto and blockchain history as being the first country to be progressive in regulating the industry in a positive way. In a press conference just today, June 4th, the country’s Prime Minister, Joseph Muscat confirmed that the country’s parliament will favor and approve 3 cryptocurrency bills that are crypto and blockchain friendly. The P.M added that the bills will pass the third and final reading during today’s evening session to become law.

The Parliamentary Secretary for Digital innovation and Finance, Silvio Schembri, is quoted as saying the following with regards to the bills:

This is the last stage of the legislation that will put Malta on the international map for blockchain and crypto regulation. There is political consensus on this roadmap and we are foreseeing that this area will be the mainstay of our economic growth for the next 4-5 years.

He would later express his excitement via twitter of the new move by his home country.

From a crypto enthusiast point of view, the country of Malta and its legislators deserve a round of applause for their progressive actions. The country has also attracted two prominent crypto exchanges into opening shop in the country. The first one is Binance which plans on seeking banking partners in the Mediterranean country. Binance CEO Changpeng Zhao was enthusiastic about the move when he stated that:

We are very confident we can announce a banking partnership there soon. Malta is very progressive when it comes to crypto and fintech.

The second crypto exchange to be attracted by the friendly regulations in Malta is BitPay. The exchange is the largest in Poland but now seeks friendlier jurisdictions in Malta. This is after banks in its home country refused to offer services to the exchange. The exchange expressed its regrets with regards to local banks not wanting to do business with them in the following statement:

The activity of the BitBay exchange in Poland requires cooperation with Polish bank. Unfortunately, the last Polish bank ready to provide bank services undertook unilateral decision to finish the cooperation with BitBay with the effect at the end of May. In those circumstances, the continuation of providing high-quality services by BitBay exchange in Poland is no longer possible.

In conclusion, Malta has set precedence for all global countries considering cryptocurrency and blockchain regulation. The upside of the country being friendly to crypto and blockchain – besides the added revenue from the new businesses – is the good P.R that will in turn bring crypto tourists into the country. Picture yourself next summer on a beach in Malta during a vacation paid for in BTC or XRP.

[Photo, Malta PM, Joseph Muscat. Source, ccn.com]

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