Oásis Supermercados, a supermarket chain store in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil has made it known that it now accepts payment in the form of bitcoin cash (BCH), Litecoin(LTC), and bitcoin core (BTC). By doing this, it has joined the growing list of businesses in Brazil which now receives payments in the form of digital currency.

Oasis Supermercados Start to Accept Cryptos

Oasis Supermercados has announced that, since 18th of December 2018, its customers can now make payment for products using Bitcoin Cash, Litecoin, and Bitcoin. Once a customer selects which crypto to pay through, the system receives the digital coins and converts them to its equivalent in FIAT using a crypto payments processor called Coinwise. After three days, the payment processor will send Brazilian reals to the supermarket.

In Brazil, the acceptance of cryptocurrencies as payment for services rendered is now becoming a norm. However, this move by the supermarket a very important one.

A co-manager of the store, Douglas Andrade disclosed that Thiago, who is also his brother and co-manager developed the notion of accepting virtual currency at the supermarket after seeing a video on the subject and taking a further step of consulting a cryptocurrency brokage firm for more enlightenment.

He explained further that cryptocurrency purchase is similar to paying using credit cards, in a statement which reads:

“The client says which cryptocurrency he wants to pay, the operator types in reals and the system immediately converts to that crypto. Then just get the QR code and you’re done,”.

Training of Employees

The supermarket chain which consists of 2 stores with 90 employees out of which 20 are cash operators has a yearly turnover of up to $6.45 million (25 million reals). All the workers have received lessons on how to manage cryptocurrency purchases.

So far, no virtual currency payment have been completed since the payment method got launched, the public has however shown significant interest.

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Republicans in Congress are working on a new bill that will introduce new sanctions against the nation of Iran. The bill is designed to put “maximum financial pressure” on Iran and put an end to its plans for a national crypto asset.

Known as the “Blocking Iranian Illicit Finance Act,” the document was introduced by Senator Ted Cruz of Texas and Congressman Mike Gallagher of Wisconsin. According to Cruz, Obama’s “disastrous” nuclear deal with Iran gave the Iranian government billion dollars which he alleges they used for illicit purposes.

Will Iran Lose Its Access to Crypto?

In a statement, he says:

“The Obama Iran nuclear deal gifted the Ayatollahs with hundreds of billions of dollars and reconnected them to the global financial system, which they used to launder even more money and fund even more terrorism. Undoing that damage requires imposing maximum pressure against the Iranian regime. Effectively disconnecting Iran from the global financial system, which this bill does, is a necessary next step.”

Congressman Gallagher offered similar sentiment when describing the bill’s abilities and purpose, stating:

“Withdrawing from the JCPOA was only the first step in ratcheting up pressure on the Iranian regime. We now have an important window to impose maximum economic pressure and degrade the Iranian regime’s ability to export violence across the region. [The bill’s] message is clear: Iran must pay a steep price for its aggressive and destabilizing behavior, and the United States will never tolerate its pursuit of nuclear weapons.”

The United States exited its nuclear deal with Iran last May, approximately three years since it first came to fruition under President Obama. The U.S. has since worked to impose further economic sanctions on Iran to potentially prevent the government from abusing international monetary systems. To avoid these sanctions, Iran has mentioned that it was looking into producing its own national cryptocurrency.

Two Countries Hit with Financial Restrictions

Last November, Russia – also facing sanctions from the U.S. – signed a deal with Iran’s blockchain lab to potentially build a counter-actor to the international payment system SWIFT, used by banks worldwide. Earlier in the month, SWIFT announced that it was cutting off the service to varying banks throughout Iran. An official statement read:

“In keeping with our mission of supporting the resilience and integrity of the global financial system as a global and neutral service provider, SWIFT is suspending certain Iranian banks’ access to the messaging system. This step, while regrettable, has been taken in the interest of the stability and integrity of the wider global financial system.”

Are you for or against the bill? Post your comments below.

This post is credited to livebitcoinnews

United States lawmakers have introduced a bill to levy further sanctions on Iranian financial institutions and the development and use of the national digital currency. HR 7321 was introduced in the House of Representatives by Rep. Mike Gallagher on Dec. 17.

In a bid to combat money laundering and terrorism-related activities, the “Blocking Iran Illicit Finance Act” calls for sanctions on the Iranian financial sector and on the development and use of the national cryptocurrency.

The act specifically prohibits transactions, financing or other dealings related to an Iranian digital currency, and would also introduce sanctions on foreign individuals engaged in the sale, supply, holding or transfer of the digital currency.

The act also calls for a report to Congress on the government of Iran’s progress in developing a sovereign digital currency. A corresponding bill was introduced in the Senate by former presidential hopeful Sen. Ted Cruz on Dec. 13.

The U.S. government introduced sanctions against Iran over its nuclear program in 2005, while the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives passed the Comprehensive Iran Sanctions, Accountability, and Divestment Act in 2010. The sanctions affected the financial sector of the country, barring financial institutions of Iran from directly accessing the U.S. financial system.

The sanctions were lifted in 2015 after the country agreed to dial down its nuclear program to meet standards set out by International Atomic Energy Agency in the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA).

However, in May 2018, U.S. President Donald Trump announced that America would withdraw from the JCPOA that was brokered under his predecessor President Barack Obama. Sanctions were subsequently reintroduced.

Many Iranians have turn to cryptocurrency as a way to skirt sanctions. In May, Mohammad Reza Pourebrahimi, the head of the Iranian Parliamentary Commission for Economic Affairs, referred to cryptocurrencies as a promising way for Iran to avoid U.S. dollar transactions, as well as a possibly replace the SWIFT interbank payment system.

As Cointelegraph reported earlier in December, Iranians are turning to Bitcoin (BTC) mining due to economic difficulties. Despite the recent crash in crypto markets and fluctuations in the national rial currency caused by sanctions, Iranian people are still reportedly managing to gain profits from mining Bitcoin.

This post is credited to cointelegraph

A major business school in South Korea is now offering a master’s degree in cryptocurrency. Crypto MBA is a one-and-a-half-year program that covers topics such as Bitcoin, Ethereum, smart contracts, crypto funds, Dapp planning, game theory, and how to write persuasive whitepapers. Meanwhile, the government is working on follow-up crypto regulations.

Also read: Indian Supreme Court Moves Crypto Hearing, Community Calls for Positive Regulations

Crypto MBA

South Korean Business School Launches Crypto MBA ProgramSeoul School of Integrated Sciences and Technologies, often known as Assist, announced on Friday that it is now offering a Master of Business Administration (MBA) degree program dedicated to cryptocurrency and blockchain technology. The new course is “a master’s degree program in blockchain, cryptoeconomics and token economy courses from technological, cryptoeconomic and business strategic perspectives,” the school described.

Claiming that it has “launched the world’s first crypto MBA course for a business graduate school,” Assist wrote:

The mission of Assist business school’s Crypto MBA program is to remedy the lack of academic research and systematic education currently available in the industry, despite a high level of social interest in the blockchain and cryptocurrency.

South Korean Business School Launches Crypto MBA ProgramThe professional graduate school has been offering master’s degrees and doctorate degrees in business administration since 2004. Its website claims that the school “has been evaluated as the no. 1 graduate school for business administration,” noting that large corporations such as LG Electronics, KT, Doosan Infracore, and Korea Electric Power Corporation continuously use its courses.

Crypto Curriculum and Regulation

South Korean Business School Launches Crypto MBA ProgramAccording to Friday’s announcement, “The curriculum includes Bitcoin, Ethereum, smart contract, cryptology, EOS, deep learning and system dynamics mechanisms. The cryptoeconomics curriculum consists of digital currency studies, microeconomics, macroeconomics, behavioral economics and theory on currency finance, game theory and mechanism design.” In addition, students will learn about “management mechanisms, strategic statistics, digital financial accounting, digital marketing strategies, crypto funds, Dapp planning and writing strategy for the persuasive whitepaper.”

South Korean Business School Launches Crypto MBA ProgramThe South Korean government is currently working on additional crypto regulatory measures following the implementation of the real-name system in January. Initial coin offerings (ICOs) have been banned domestically since September last year. However, a number of lawmakers have introduced several bills to regulate them.

Recently, a fintech startup filed a complaint with the country’s constitutional court alleging that the government’s ICO ban is unconstitutional.

Crypto Classes on the Rise

While Assist offers an actual MBA degree in crypto, a growing number of business schools worldwide have added crypto classes including Stanford Graduate School of Business, Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania and Georgetown University Mcdonough School of Business. Cnbc previously reported that these top schools “are expanding classes in digital currency and blockchain to keep up with demand from students and their future employers.”

South Korean Business School Launches Crypto MBA ProgramStanford’s business school, ranked number one globally by the Financial Times this year, added a course called “Cryptocurrencies and Blockchain Technologies.” The school’s website describes, “The course covers all aspects of cryptocurrencies, including distributed consensus, blockchains, smart contracts and applications. We will focus in detail on Bitcoin and Ethereum as case studies.”

Wharton, ranked number one by Forbes, added a class in the fall called “Blockchain, Cryptocurrency, and Distributed Ledger Technology,” while Georgetown offers an elective that teaches topics such as the history and evolution of fintech, blockchain technology, and their applications.

What do you think of the Crypto MBA program? Let us know in the comments section below.

This post is credited to news.bitcoin

Despite market capitalisation dropping to a low point since Q4 2018, the number of crypto ATMs globally has been on a steady rise. Coin ATM Radar released a statement which further confirmed that there has been a massive increase in interest of cryptos.

209 New Crypto ATMs Worldwide

According to the statement, 209 new ATMs were installed across the world in November alone. This is despite the fall in the value of Bitcoin. It further revealed information on the close down of 68 previously opened kiosks which brings the total number of tellers to 141. This indicates a positive sign for the industry and investors looking for reasons to stay invested in various virtual currency in the next year.

It is important to note that, although teller kiosks do not have the same storage status as institutional investments, neither are they approved by the Exchange Traded Fund or by major advertisement channels like Facebook, they still serve as an indication of which direction crypto adoption is heading towards.

For some crypto enthusiast, the fall in value and price of virtual currency indicates a not so bright future for the industry and innovation of the technology created while for others, it is just “an indistinct background of broader adoption of a transaction using virtual currency and Bitcoin.”

2,243 Crypto ATMs Operational Within the U.S

With 2,243 crypto ATMs operational within the U.S alone, and many more being available globally, it is quite obvious that more people are now getting involved with cryptos.
Data compiled by Coin ATM Radar showed that there was a 59 percent increase in the number of accepted altcoins by crypto ATMs’ by November.

Also, with over 13 million users, the popular U.S. based cryptocurrency exchange, Coinbase has been able to make a major impact in increasing crypto exposure for casual investors by adding more altcoins to its meagre selection over the last month.

This post is credited to coindoo

Scrypt-based crypto asset Flash is releasing a new “human ATM” functionality in regions of Africa and South America that have seen their national fiat currencies fall victim to inflation. The function will provide peer-to-peer trading in countries like Venezuela that have little to no access to traditional banking services and must instead rely on cryptocurrencies to provide for their people.

Human ATM is available through Flash’s mobile wallet. In addition, Flash offers applications that allow customers to house multiple cryptocurrencies from bitcoin and Litecoin to Dash and Ethereum. At press time, as many as 800 different merchants throughout Africa will adopt Flash in the coming months, according to the company’s marketing director James Hinton.

Providing Crypto to Everyone Who Needs It

The human ATM feature allows customers to load maps of individuals offering in-person trades via their mobile phones. People can purchase or sell their cryptocurrencies in person, then have the units transferred to phone-specific wallets. The service will allegedly give all users in countries like Venezuela 24-7 access to cryptocurrencies like bitcoin and ether.

At the time of writing, Flash is supported by several small cryptocurrency exchanges, though it has garnered the attention of larger ventures like the Einstein Exchange in Canada. The currency also boasts over 600,000 active addresses around the world.

Flash was built with the unbanked in mind, though other applications offer similar features. As Flash allows one to keep multiple forms of crypto, Coindex allows users to keep track of their full crypto portfolios. The platform provides mobile users with a dashboard that combines all their wallets into one space, so they can see the progress of their crypto investments and better understand their financial gains. Users can also pre-select specific coins they’re potentially interested in to see how their prices are performing.

Lastly, the application also informs users of any forthcoming or ongoing initial coin offerings (ICOs).

Connecting Crypto to the World

In a related story, Flash has also announced a recent partnership with Crowdforce, based in the African nation of Seychelles.

Crowdforce provides cryptocurrency-based payment options to over 8,000 separate vendors, meaning all registered companies have the option of providing Flashcoin payments to their employees.

Is the human ATM a feature you would use? Why or why not? Post your comments below.

This post is credited to livebitcoinnews

A team that includes representatives from the Bank of Israel has issued a formal request for information about Distributed Ledger Technology (DLT), published on its website Dec. 18.

The request — the goal of which is, as per the title, the “Regulatory Coordination of Virtual Assets”— states that “the regulators of the Israeli financial system believe that there is room to renew and strengthen cooperation and coordination among all regulators and the public” regarding DLT.

Besides the country’s central bank, the team reportedly includes representatives from the country’s Securities Authority, the Ministries of Finance and Justice, the Tax Authority, the Israel Money Laundering and Terror Financing Prohibition Authority and various other local regulatory bodies.

The document asks for information pertaining to barriers to the development of the local DLT industry. The text inquires explicitly about problems encountered by local DLT companies, fundraisers, investors and consumers dealing with virtual assets as examples.

Moreover, the request inquires about the risks inherent in the use of virtual assets and the opportunities of DLT in the finance industry. Lastly, the statement also asks how DLT can help address issues regarding Anti-Money Laundering (AML) and terrorism financing.

As per the statement, interested parties are invited to submit relevant information until Dec. 31, 2018.

As Cointelegraph reported at the beginning of November, an Israeli study group exploring digital currency options has recommended that the country’s central bank not issue its own cryptocurrency.

At the beginning of December, Ehud Barak, a former Israeli Prime Minister, compared digital currencies to Ponzi schemes. He reportedly stated that “he would never invest” in crypto as “Bitcoin and cryptocurrencies [are] a Ponzi scheme.”

This post is credited to cointelegraph

The crypto space is a bit of a jungle, and many outfits are fighting hard to make sure they’re fully insured against hacks and thefts after the Coinrail, Bithumb and Coincheck attacks all occurred within months of each other in 2018. Many of these exchanges say that the lack of insurance in the crypto space is preventing institutional investors from getting involved.

Furthermore, regulators have shown skepticism towards the industry given its lack of protective policies. Bringing this kind of security to an otherwise “wild west” market could harness it with the legitimacy so many people wish it to have.

Why Crypto Insurance Is So Important

Unfortunately, getting such coverage sounds easier than it really is. Henri Arslanian – a PwC fintech and crypto leader in Asia – commented:

“Most institutionally-minded crypto firms want to buy proper insurance, and in most cases, getting adequate insurance coverage is a regulatory or legal requirement. However, getting such coverage is almost impossible despite their best efforts.”

At the time of writing, several issues continue to plague the cryptocurrency space, predominantly volatility amongst major coins. Bitcoin, for example, has lost 82 percent of its value since early January, falling from roughly $19,000+ to about $3,900 at press time. Other currencies – such as Ethereum and EOS – have taken even stronger nosedives, falling by roughly 90 percent or more in the past 12 months.

Insuring losses against extremely volatile assets would likely cause insurance companies to be shelling out payments daily. Eventually, the insurance firms would run out of money and things would be no different.

In addition, cyberattacks remain a serious problem. Interestingly, most institutional players wish to invest in cryptocurrencies according to a Greenwich Associates survey. The study says approximately 72 percent of examined institutional investors believe that crypto will be a solid part of our financial future.

However, the lack of clear regulation and sturdy infrastructure is causing many to think twice before they enter the fray. Cryptocurrency lawyer Hoi Tak Leung comments:

“Institutional investors who are interested in investing in crypto will have various requirements, including reliable custody and risk management arrangements. Insufficient insurance coverage, particularly in a volatile industry such as crypto, will be a significant impediment to greater ‘institutionalization’ of crypto investments.”

A Slow but Steady Debut

So far, the introduction of reliable insurance policies to the crypto space has been slow. That doesn’t mean, however, that it’s not happening. This year alone, firms like Fidelity and Nomura in Japan have launched platforms that offer custody services for digital currencies.

These are larger ventures fully capable of storing and holding onto their customers’ crypto stashes, though smaller companies are still experiencing difficulties.

Will insurance soon be a regular thing in the cryptocurrency arena? Post your comments below.

This post is credited to livebitcoinnews

The Government of Canada has advising warnings that citizens should purchase marijuana with cash to protect their personal information on December 19, 2018, highlighting a perfect real-world scenario for Bitcoin.

While Canada made waves back in October by legalizing recreational marijuana, Canada is back in the news due to other countries (notably the USA) turning away Canadian citizens that have purchased marijuana, despite it being legally acquired.

Note this isn’t a problem if a Canadian is traveling to another marijuana friendly country but with the political landscape still heavily against marijuana this is a rather moot point.

How Do Other Countries Know If You’ve Bought Marijuana?  

While the Privacy Commissioner released this guidance document warning Canadians attempting to travel after purchasing marijuana, no one is talking about how the border patrol or another regulatory body would even know if you’ve bought cannabis or not.

Even though the document does its best to assure citizens that privacy measures are implemented, the fact this document exists, and it encourages people to purchase using cash suggests information is still being leaked, sold, transferred, and otherwise being compromised.

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And with recent privacy horrors like an article covered by Business Insider talking about Mastercard selling transaction data to Google back in September, the idea of sensitive consumer information being sold becomes a lot more plausible.

So what can Canadian citizens do to prevent their chances of being turned away at the border?

Citizens Advised To Minimize Information

Since every payment method besides cash leaves not only a unique transaction identifier (credit card numbers, debit card credentials, etc). but the name of the user, these methods can be used to discriminate against citizens that have purchased cannabis, even from licensed dispensaries.

But with many people going cashless, having to stop by the ATM or carrying cash to purchase marijuana can make the entire experience a hassle. This is where bitcoin comes in.

Users could download a wallet to their phone, transact with a similar POS experience (merchants would have to download a wallet of their own or a POS app that accepts bitcoin), all without having to go out of their way to carry cash.

While neither cash nor Bitcoin is truly untraceable (banks could recognize regular ATM withdrawals as marijuana purchases and those motivated enough could track transactions through the blockchain), they provide enough privacy that should prevent them from being discriminated at the border.

This post is credited to btcmanager

Major cryptocurrency exchange and wallet Coinbase recently made what it claims is the largest transfer of crypto on record, a company blog post reports Dec. 19.

According to the post, 5 percent of all Bitcoin (BTC), 8 percent of all Ethereum (ETH), and 25 percent of all Litecoin (LTC), along with “many other assets” were moved to new cold storage infrastructure in what the firm “believe[s] is the largest crypto migration on record.”

Coinbase reports that last week, the firm “completed an on-blockchain migration of approximately $5 Billion (as valued the week ending Dec. 7, 2018) of cryptocurrency from Generation Three to Generation Four of our cold storage infrastructure.”

The latest storage system — which the company reportedly uses for all its cold storage — begins with a “highly controlled and audited key generation process and continue[s] with a globally distributed key storage and transaction approval system.”

According to Coinbase, this system was originally in place for its custody service, which launched in July, as Cointelegraph reported.

Today, Cointelegraph reported that Coinbase has launched an educational project that lets users earn cryptocurrency as they learn about it.

This post is credited to cointelegraph