NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden has said that he believes Bitcoin will be overcome by another cryptocurrency that is more privacy focused without the need for a public ledger.
Snowden made these statements earlier this month at Blockstack Event in Berlin. He believes the main drawback of BTC is not its ability to scale – as many critics propose – but more importantly is its lack of privacy.
“Everybody is focused on the transaction rate limitations of bitcoin being its central flaw, and that is a major one, but I would argue that the much larger structural flaw, the long-lasting flaw, is its public ledger,” he said via webcam. “That is simply incompatible with having an enduring mechanism for trade, because you cannot have a lifelong history of everyone’s purchases, all of their interactions be available to everyone and have that work out well at scale.”
Snowden added “I don’t think Bitcoin will last forever”, he also hinted that he had used BTC in 2013 to conceal his identity while he was preparing to release classified NSA documents relating to privacy abuses – some of those stating that the NSA was actively spying on Bitcoin users.
“Bitcoin does important work and I do think it will have enduring value for a long time, but particularly when we look at the core development team and their rate of improvement to the protocol, they simply need to better or they will not be able to compete,” he continued.
Snowden has showed that he is most interested in privacy focused cryptocurrencies like Zcash. Currencies like Zcash anonymize the blockchain data to allow the users to verify transactions while keeping that data private from snoopers like the NSA and other governmental agencies.
“When we talk about which cryptocurrencies are interesting to me, I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, Zcash for me is the most interesting right now, because the privacy properties of it are truly unique, but we see more and more projects that are trying to emulate this and I think this is a positive thing.”
Watch the full talk with Edward Snowden below
Is privacy a concern when you invest into cryptocurrencies? Let us know in the comments!
How To Buy Bitcoin (BTC) With Your Paypal Account Step By Step Guide 2020
There are 26 million merchants that offer PayPal around the world. For those merchants, customers paying in crypto won’t have any impact. Everything will be converted to fiat currency when a transaction is settled.
As part of today’s (October 21st, 2020) move, PayPal has been granted a conditional BitLicense by the New York State Department of Financial Service. It should be able to launch its crypto service in partnership with Paxos in New York.
PayPal’s crypto service is rolling out progressively. You can head over to PayPal’s website and join the waitlist. Everybody should be able to access crypto-related features within the next month or so. The company has already updated its fees with more details about cryptocurrency exchange fees.
PayPal Allows Bitcoin And Crypto Spending
PayPal has entered the cryptocurrency market, announcing that its customers will be able to buy and sell Bitcoin and other virtual currencies using their PayPal accounts.
Those virtual coins could then be used to buy things from the 26 million sellers which accept PayPal, it said.
PayPal plans to roll out buying options in the US over the next few weeks, with the full rollout due early next year.
Bitcoin prices rose alongside the news, breaking the $12,000 (£9,170) mark.
The other cryptocurrencies to be added first will be Ethereum, Litecoin, and Bitcoin Cash (a spin-off from Bitcoin).
All could be stored “directly within the PayPal digital wallet”, the company said.
Cryptocurrencies have remained a niche payment method, partly down to the rapid change in prices they can experience compared with traditional state-backed currencies. That has made them popular among some types of investors.
PayPal said it was aiming “to increase consumer understanding and adoption of cryptocurrency”.
“As part of this offering, PayPal will provide account holders with educational content to help them understand the cryptocurrency ecosystem,” it said.
But David Gerard, author of Attack of the 50 Foot Blockchain and the forthcoming Libra Shrugged: How Facebook Tried to Take Over the Money, said PayPal was describing “a crypto day-trading market”.
“I’m at a loss as to who the market is for PayPal as a crypto-exchange,” he said.
He likened it to playing the stock market, but with Bitcoin – whose volatile and less well-regulated nature was like “gambling on penny stocks”.
“Have a flutter, drop $10 on it, you’ll learn things you wouldn’t learn any other way – but you are gambling,” he warned.
He said there were “a lot of big players who manipulate the price”, and ordinary people risked losing their money.
“I don’t expect much of a market for this beyond existing crypto holders… I’m baffled that PayPal would offer this, and it’s not clear what they’re trying to do here,” he said.
“There must be someone at PayPal who is very interested in cryptocurrencies,” he added.
Paying with crypto
Other payment firms, such as Square’s Cash app and Revolut, have already offered cryptocurrencies for sale. But PayPal has one of the largest merchant networks in the world.
When it comes to using the virtual coins, PayPal will convert the cryptocurrency into the relevant national currency, so the company being paid will never receive the virtual coins – just the correct amount of pounds or dollars.
PayPal said the system meant there would be “certainty of value and no incremental fees”.
But using Bitcoin to pay at ordinary merchants is not due to launch until “early 2021”.
Cryptocurrencies’ volatile prices – along with their historical use as a less traceable payment method for illegal purposes – have led to numerous calls for them to be regulated.
PayPal has been granted permission for its operation from the New York State Department of Financial Services, in the form of a conditional “Bitlicence” – the first such licence granted.
To begin with, the service will work with an existing cryptocurrency provider in the US, the Paxos Trust Company.
But it is not PayPal’s first venture into the area.
The firm was once a partner in Facebook’s digital currency Libra, but became the first to pull out of the alliance, just a few months after it was announced.
The scheme was controversial, attracting attention from financial regulators in several countries.
Earlier this year, Facebook was reported to be “rethinking” the idea amid the resistance.
187,000 BTC Drained: Over $2 Billion in Bitcoin Leave the Top Exchanges Since June
Cryptocurrency reserves held on digital asset exchanges have been dropping to new lows, as some of the top exchanges have seen significant bitcoin reserve balance drops. A few months ago trading platforms had a lot more bitcoin reserves on hand and onchain data shows a few exchanges have seen customers steadily drain 187,000 bitcoins ($2.1B) from exchange-owned cold wallets.
In February, Coinbase had 1 million bitcoin under management and today reserves are down over 9% as 92,000 bitcoin ($1B) has left the exchange. Today, according to Bituniverse’s online exchange balance rank tracker, the San Francisco trading platform has 908,560 BTC under management.
36,000 BTC ($408M) left Coinbase since news.Bitcoin.com’s reserves report published on June 30, 2020. A number of top exchanges below Coinbase have also seen cold wallets drained during the last three months.
The second-largest exchange in terms of bitcoin reserves held is Huobi and the trading platform is down over 53,000 BTC ($601M) since June 30. Binance’s balances remained the same as the exchange holds 266,000 BTC today and three months ago, Binance held 269k BTC. Similarly, the fourth-largest reserve holder, Bitfinex, didn’t see much movement in the last three months.
Statistics show out of the top five crypto trading platforms over 187,000 BTC ($2.1B) has left these exchanges since the June report.
Just recently, Bitmex had some legal troubles with the U.S. government and since the incident, a lot of bitcoin has left the derivatives exchange. Three months ago Bitmex had 224 BTC in reserves and today the exchange only has 113,000 in cold storage. Onchain data indicates Bitmex lost a whopping 49.55% in BTC reserves since June 30.
At the time of publication, Glassnode’s “Exchange Balance vs. Bitcoin” stats show that there’s 2.7 million BTC held on exchanges today. Glassnode’s stats indicate that out of the 21 million BTC cap, exchanges hold 12.85% of all that will exist, and 14.59% of the 18.5 million BTC in circulation.
1.8 million BTC out of the aggregate 2.7 million BTC held on exchanges sits in the world’s top five crypto trading platforms. The top five custodial platforms by BTC reserve status include Coinbase, Huobi, Binance, Bitfinex, and Okex.
Exchange balances have been riding lower consecutively for the last 15 months and the last time balances were this low was around May 2019.
To many crypto enthusiasts and traders, the low balances on exchanges suggest users are storing assets in a noncustodial fashion as opposed to leaving funds with a third party. The data from Bituniverse and Glassnode also suggests that liquidity and selling pressure may lower.
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