You've probably been hearing a lot about Bitcoin recently and are wondering what's the big deal? Most of your questions should be answered by the resources below but if you have additional questions feel free to ask them in the comments. It all started with the release of the release of Satoshi Nakamoto's whitepaper however that will probably go over the head of most readers so we recommend the following videos for a good starting point for understanding how bitcoin works and a little about its long term potential:
Limited Supply - There will only ever be 21,000,000 bitcoins created and they are issued in a predictable fashion, you can view the inflation schedule here. Once they are all issued Bitcoin will be truly deflationary. The halving countdown can be found here.
Open source - Bitcoin code is fully auditable. You can read the source code yourself here.
Accountable - The public ledger is transparent, all transactions are seen by everyone.
Decentralized - Bitcoin is globally distributed across thousands of nodes with no single point of failure and as such can't be shut down similar to how Bittorrent works. You can even run a node on a Raspberry Pi.
Censorship resistant - No one can prevent you from interacting with the bitcoin network and no one can censor, alter or block transactions that they disagree with, see Operation Chokepoint.
Push system - There are no chargebacks in bitcoin because only the person who owns the address where the bitcoins reside has the authority to move them.
Low fee scaling - On chain transaction fees depend on network demand and how much priority you wish to assign to the transaction. Most wallets calculate on chain fees automatically but you can view current fees here and mempool activity here. On chain fees may rise occasionally due to network demand, however instant micropayments that do not require confirmations are happening via the Lightning Network, a second layer scaling solution currently rolling out on the Bitcoin mainnet.
Borderless - No country can stop it from going in/out, even in areas currently unserved by traditional banking as the ledger is globally distributed.
Portable - Bitcoins are digital so they are easier to move than cash or gold. They can even be transported by simply memorizing a string of words for wallet recovery (while cool this method is generally not recommended due to potential for insecure key generation by inexperienced users. Hardware wallets are the preferred method for new users due to ease of use and additional security).
Bitcoin.org and BuyBitcoinWorldwide.com are helpful sites for beginners. You can buy or sell any amount of bitcoin (even just a few dollars worth) and there are several easy methods to purchase bitcoin with cash, credit card or bank transfer. Some of the more popular resources are below, also check out the bitcoinity exchange resources for a larger list of options for purchases.
Here is a listing of local ATMs. If you would like your paycheck automatically converted to bitcoin use Bitwage. Note: Bitcoins are valued at whatever market price people are willing to pay for them in balancing act of supply vs demand. Unlike traditional markets, bitcoin markets operate 24 hours per day, 365 days per year. Preev is a useful site that that shows how much various denominations of bitcoin are worth in different currencies. Alternatively you can just Google "1 bitcoin in (your local currency)".
Securing your bitcoins
With bitcoin you can "Be your own bank" and personally secure your bitcoins OR you can use third party companies aka "Bitcoin banks" which will hold the bitcoins for you.
If you prefer to "Be your own bank" and have direct control over your coins without having to use a trusted third party, then you will need to create your own wallet and keep it secure. If you want easy and secure storage without having to learn computer security best practices, then a hardware wallet such as the Trezor, Ledger or ColdCard is recommended. Alternatively there are many software wallet options to choose from here depending on your use case.
If you prefer to let third party "Bitcoin banks" manage your coins, try Gemini but be aware you may not be in control of your private keys in which case you would have to ask permission to access your funds and be exposed to third party risk.
Note: For increased security, use Two Factor Authentication (2FA) everywhere it is offered, including email! 2FA requires a second confirmation code to access your account making it much harder for thieves to gain access. Google Authenticator and Authy are the two most popular 2FA services, download links are below. Make sure you create backups of your 2FA codes.
As mentioned above, Bitcoin is decentralized, which by definition means there is no official website or Twitter handle or spokesperson or CEO. However, all money attracts thieves. This combination unfortunately results in scammers running official sounding names or pretending to be an authority on YouTube or social media. Many scammers throughout the years have claimed to be the inventor of Bitcoin. Websites like bitcoin(dot)com and the btc subreddit are active scams. Almost all altcoins (shitcoins) are marketed heavily with big promises but are really just designed to separate you from your bitcoin. So be careful: any resource, including all linked in this document, may in the future turn evil. Don't trust, verify. Also as they say in our community "Not your keys, not your coins".
Where can I spend bitcoins?
Check out spendabit or bitcoin directory for millions of merchant options. Also you can spend bitcoin anywhere visa is accepted with bitcoin debit cards such as the CashApp card. Some other useful site are listed below.
Mining bitcoins can be a fun learning experience, but be aware that you will most likely operate at a loss. Newcomers are often advised to stay away from mining unless they are only interested in it as a hobby similar to folding at home. If you want to learn more about mining you can read more here. Still have mining questions? The crew at /BitcoinMining would be happy to help you out. If you want to contribute to the bitcoin network by hosting the blockchain and propagating transactions you can run a full node using this setup guide. If you would prefer to keep it simple there are several good options. You can view the global node distribution here.
Just like any other form of money, you can also earn bitcoins by being paid to do a job.
You can also earn bitcoins by participating as a market maker on JoinMarket by allowing users to perform CoinJoin transactions with your bitcoins for a small fee (requires you to already have some bitcoins.
The following is a short list of ongoing projects that might be worth taking a look at if you are interested in current development in the bitcoin space.
One Bitcoin is quite large (hundreds of £/$/€) so people often deal in smaller units. The most common subunits are listed below:
one bitcoin is equal to 100 million satoshis
1,000 per bitcoin
used as default unit in recent Electrum wallet releases
1,000,000 per bitcoin
colloquial "slang" term for microbitcoin (μBTC)
100,000,000 per bitcoin
smallest unit in bitcoin, named after the inventor
For example, assuming an arbitrary exchange rate of $10000 for one Bitcoin, a $10 meal would equal:
For more information check out the Bitcoin units wiki. Still have questions? Feel free to ask in the comments below or stick around for our weekly Mentor Monday thread. If you decide to post a question in /Bitcoin, please use the search bar to see if it has been answered before, and remember to follow the community rules outlined on the sidebar to receive a better response. The mods are busy helping manage our community so please do not message them unless you notice problems with the functionality of the subreddit. Note: This is a community created FAQ. If you notice anything missing from the FAQ or that requires clarification you can edit it here and it will be included in the next revision pending approval. Welcome to the Bitcoin community and the new decentralized economy!
Fastest platform for a newbie to buy bitcoins in USA?
Hey guys, what's the fastest way for a newbie to buy $3k worth of bitcoins in USA? I'll like one with a fast verification (within hours at most). I've been digging around but I can't really find any straight answers. What would you recommend?
Kraken review. Got my bitcoin through korean local bank transfer.
Wired the money through local bank and got my bitcoins in just a day. This is fast. Read some review in this subreddit, just wanna give a shout out to Kraken for providing a good and fast service. I can finally spend my bitcoin for bread. incase you don't know : bitcoin for bread
Криптовалютный Клиринговый Центр - лохотрон от анонимных жуликов
Криптовалютный Клиринговый Центр - лохотрон от анонимных жуликов - развод или правда. Честный отзыв от Baxov.Net Крипто Трейдинг – очередной лохотрон, созданный анонимными мошенниками. Жулики предлагают инвестировать деньги в криптовалюту на их сервисе и зарабатывать на разнице в курсах. Безусловно, такой вид заработка существует, но с этими прохиндеями у вас нет ни единого шанса получить хоть какую-то прибыль. Почему? Давайте разберёмся. E-mail адреса проекта [[email protected]](mailto:[email protected]) Внимание! мошенники очень часто меняют адреса своих лохотронов. Поэтому название, адрес сайта или email может быть другим! Если Вы не нашли в списке нужный адрес, но лохотрон очень похож на описанный, пожалуйста свяжитесь с нами или напишите об этом в комментариях! Информация о проекте Начнём с легенды. Вот что написано в шапке сайта: Криптовалютный Клиринговый Центр Мультивалютный кошелёк Криптовалютные сигналы от ведущих бирж мира Моментальные криптовалютные обмены Обналичивание криптовалюты Арбитражный трейдинг Ниже можно прочитать: Сигналы от ведущих бирж мира Наш сервис работает с большинством ведущих криптовалютных бирж мира, в числе которых: Coinbase, Bitfinex, Bittrex, HitBTC, Poloniex, Bitstamp, Kraken и многие другие Сервис поддерживает взаимообратную связь с биржами посредством API протокола. Благодаря этому наш сервис может использоваться пользователями как мониторинговый центр сводки криптовалютных курсов, что значительно облегчает деятельность во многих сферах - от информационных ресурсов до стратегий торговли Перечисленные биржи весьма авторитетны, но сервис Крипто Трейдинг с ними не сотрудничает. Работают мошенники с такими видами криптовалют и такими кошельками: Bitcoin – 15VcDALnBykvbtcAR8Bvh11kxKUBGgrxEU Bitcoin Cash – qze4sx0fsyf6k87fq8lm6lkdw70r8q2w9cmrstgmwt Litecoin – LKipGxd35c9BGjSrs7CTJGR8vEJBzCGqUX Dash – XrgBUbVLZgi2PpcuMXytXrZ35puDMM2dBD USDT – 15VcDALnBykvbtcAR8Bvh11kxKUBGgrxEU В будущем кошельки могут быть другими. Аферисты не поленились и опубликовали фотографии «основателей». Я поискала снимки людей в интернете. В этот раз жулики сделали «домашнее задание» троечку с плюсом, ибо подобрали фотки некоторых настоящих трейдеров, которые к тому же торгуют курсами по заработку на Форексе. К сервису Крипто Трейдинг эти люди всё равно отношения не имеют. Как работает платформа? Мошенники записали видеоинструкцию. Посмотреть её можно по скрытой ссылке: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FD52fbSdVEg&feature=emb_logo Комментарии к ролику отключены. Само видео опубликовано на канале you tubeviewer, на котором нет видео в открытом доступе. В чём же якобы суть работы? Со слов шарлатанов, они собирают данные на популярных биржах, специальный алгоритм анализирует курс цен и выводит в топ лучшие сделки. Информация якобы обновляется каждые 30 секунд. Пользователь должен будет купить и продать криптовалютную пару по рекомендации сервиса, заработав на этом. Но ему нужно будет действовать быстро, ибо цена может в любой момент измениться. В личном кабинете шарлатаны создали специальную таблицу, на которой можно отслеживать цены. Информация в этой таблице далека от реальности, ибо это имитация. Контакты проекта https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC4ongYkf7QIYgXpcnEwSF3w https://www.facebook.com/CryptoEverything/ - чужая группа https://www.instagram.com/cryptoexplore - чужой микроблог SkyLight, Ленинградский пр-т, 39 – фейк. Домен Traders-Box.com был зарегистрирован 26 декабря 2018 года. Имя собственника скрыто. Разоблачение проекта Крипто Трейдинг – лохотрон на 100%. Во-первых, аферисты пишут, что их офис расположен по соседству с офисом Меил.ру. Смешно. Ибо если бы это было так, у них была бы российская регистрация. На сайте мошенников нет документов, подтверждающих легальность их работы в РФ. У них вообще нет никаких документов. Во-вторых, сама схема работы этого лохотрона не выдерживает критики. Безусловно, существуют сервисы, которые помогают отслеживать курс криптовалют на разных биржах и совершать сделки в заранее указанных рамках. Так работает любой торговый робот. Но Крипто Трейдинг в реальности не осуществляет покупку-прадажу цифровых монет на тех биржах, о которых упоминает. Ибо не является участником этих бирж. Я искала-искала, но так и не нашла подтверждения. Если бы эти обманщики реально торговали на Kraken или Bitstamp, они бы дали ссылку на свой профиль. Но даже если предположить, что программное обеспечение сервиса Крипто Трейдинг создано для огромного количества людей, поэтому ссылки нет, никто не проводил мониторинг кода! Кто разработал алгоритм? Есть ли статистика на независимых площадках? Нет! А значит, как я уже писала, торги на Крипто Трейдинге – это имитация. Вы потеряете те деньги, которые вложите в проект. Вернуть их не получится, ибо чарджбек в операциях с криптовалютой не предусмотрен. Возможные потери на проекте Итого: калькуляция возможных потерь на проекте – любая сумма. Вывод о проекте Крипто Трейдинг – фейковый сервис. Мошенники лгут, что торгуют криптовалютными парами. В реальности они крадут деньги вкладчиков, которые поверили их лживым обещаниям. Оберегайте себя и активы вместе с Baxov.Net https://www.baxov.net/reviews/kriptovalyutnyy-kliringovyy-centr-lokhotron-ot-anonimnykh-zhulikov
Looking to dip my toes into some crypto-coins from Canadian Exchanges and am having difficulty finding current reviews of the exchanges I'm considering the following and looking to make smallish trades with a few exchanges to see what I can do in 6-12 months while I learn the ropes. Seems tho that any reviews I can find on most of these are a year or more and hard to see what is legit vs bluffery. The "predatory exchange checklist" sub has been helpful, for some in narrowing things down for me - hoping the hive-mind can give me some last-minute pointers. https://www.reddit.com/BitcoinCA/comments/getkpf/psa_predatory_exchange_checklist/ I'm thinking of starting off with Ethereum, Stellar, Ripple or even Bitcoin Cash to start exploring. I have my own off-line wallet and am hoping to diversify a bit in the process. For exchanges, I'm leaning towards Coinsmart or Newton but would appreciate any advice (good or bad) to help steer me in the right direction if at all possible. I'm ok with a bit of a leap of faith in my first foray as I'll be limiting my exposure, and try to make sure my risks are educated wherever possible. Candidates exchanges:
coinsmart (based in Toronto, seems to support most of the markets I'm interested in, fees seem reasonable at a glance)
Hi, as the title says, I'd like to know what you consider the best option today. I tried bitcoin.de before, but since the linked fidor bank account costs a monthy fee, its very pricey (SEPA sellers having higher prices). I've heard good things about eToro about a year ago, and ofc you have the giants like Kraken or Binance...I just need an honest recommendation because google is full of fake review advertisement pages. Thanks!
Everyone please, I would seriously advise you to stay away from exchanges that have predatory practices that take advantage of new users and first time depositors, because they have no other way to make money. An exchange that is functioning properly makes money on either their trading fees or their spread. I am writing this to all the new people that are looking for bitcoin exchange/broker options in Canada. There are certain things you should look at and if the exchange in question has any or a combination of the following I would suggest you stay away, as the practices of these exchanges are the reason they are running on fumes and I would not like to see anyone on here get caught in another exit scam.
Deposit or Withdrawal fees on fiat or crypto (unrealistic amounts). There are plenty of other exchanges with no deposit or withdrawal fees and if the exchange is successful, this is not needed at all and is a failed business model in Canada.
Minimum withdrawal or deposit amounts on fiat or crypto (within reason). You should be able to deposit and withdraw as much as you'd like without restriction. This is a tactic that will most likely cause you to have to bring your balance up to a certain amount before you can withdraw. I would not consider this to be the case if the amount is $5 or less, as it does cost money to send bank wire and e-transfer.
Holds on funds and bank like activity (not including fraud concerns). No exchange should have to have a hold on any funds for any reason. It is your money and they are not a bank.
Right now in Canada, there are two highly rated exchanges that have the best history with almost no complaints on reddit (or any that seem to be of valid concern). They are Shakepay and Newton, which function much the same but their own unique properties and services. I am bi-partisan on what exchange you choose because they both have solid foundation, very good history and customer reviews and highest volume, but stay away from anything but them at this point is my advice to any newcomers reading this. Edit: Although Kraken is technically based in the US, they are a very reputable exchange and service Canadian clientele, I'm just referencing exchanges based I'm Canada right now. Edit 2: If an exchange has deposit or withdrawal fees, they should have a good justification for it, such as VERY low trading fees or margin account, cover mining fees or anything that you can logically see that would absorb this cost.
How To End The Cryptocurrency Exchange "Wild West" Without Crippling Innovation
In case you haven't noticed the consultation paper, staff notice, and report on Quadriga, regulators are now clamping down on Canadian cryptocurrency exchanges. The OSC and other regulatory bodies are still interested in industry feedback. They have not put forward any official regulation yet. Below are some ideas/insights and a proposed framework.
Typical securities frameworks will cost Canadians millions of dollars (ie Sarbanes-Oxley estimated at $5m USD/yr per firm). Implementation costs of this proposal are significantly cheaper.
Canadians can maintain a diverse set of exchanges, multiple viable business models are still fully supported, and innovation is encouraged while keeping Canadians safe.
Many of you have limited time to read the full proposal, so here are the highlights:
Effective standards to prevent both internal and external theft. Exchange operators are trained and certified, and have a legal responsibility to users.
Regular Transparent Audits
Provides visibility to Canadians that their funds are fully backed on the exchange, while protecting privacy and sensitive platform information.
Establishment of basic insurance standards/strategy, to expand over time. Removing risk to exchange users of any hot wallet theft.
Background and Justifications
Cold Storage Custody/Management After reviewing close to 100 cases, all thefts tend to break down into more or less the same set of problems: • Funds stored online or in a smart contract, • Access controlled by one person or one system, • 51% attacks (rare), • Funds sent to the wrong address (also rare), or • Some combination of the above. For the first two cases, practical solutions exist and are widely implemented on exchanges already. Offline multi-signature solutions are already industry standard. No cases studied found an external theft or exit scam involving an offline multi-signature wallet implementation. Security can be further improved through minimum numbers of signatories, background checks, providing autonomy and legal protections to each signatory, establishing best practices, and a training/certification program. The last two transaction risks occur more rarely, and have never resulted in a loss affecting the actual users of the exchange. In all cases to date where operators made the mistake, they've been fully covered by the exchange platforms. • 51% attacks generally only occur on blockchains with less security. The most prominent cases have been Bitcoin Gold and Ethereum Classic. The simple solution is to enforce deposit limits and block delays such that a 51% attack is not cost-effective. • The risk of transactions to incorrect addresses can be eliminated by a simple test transaction policy on large transactions. By sending a small amount of funds prior to any large withdrawals/transfers as a standard practice, the accuracy of the wallet address can be validated. The proposal covers all loss cases and goes beyond, while avoiding significant additional costs, risks, and limitations which may be associated with other frameworks like SOC II. On The Subject of Third Party Custodians Many Canadian platforms are currently experimenting with third party custody. From the standpoint of the exchange operator, they can liberate themselves from some responsibility of custody, passing that off to someone else. For regulators, it puts crypto in similar categorization to oil, gold, and other commodities, with some common standards. Platform users would likely feel greater confidence if the custodian was a brand they recognized. If the custodian was knowledgeable and had a decent team that employed multi-sig, they could keep assets safe from internal theft. With the right protections in place, this could be a great solution for many exchanges, particularly those that lack the relevant experience or human resources for their own custody systems. However, this system is vulnerable to anyone able to impersonate the exchange operators. You may have a situation where different employees who don't know each other that well are interacting between different companies (both the custodian and all their customers which presumably isn't just one exchange). A case study of what can go wrong in this type of environment might be Bitpay, where the CEO was tricked out of 5000 bitcoins over 3 separate payments by a series of emails sent legitimately from a breached computer of another company CEO. It's also still vulnerable to the platform being compromised, as in the really large $70M Bitfinex hack, where the third party Bitgo held one key in a multi-sig wallet. The hacker simply authorized the withdrawal using the same credentials as Bitfinex (requesting Bitgo to sign multiple withdrawal transactions). This succeeded even with the use of multi-sig and two heavily security-focused companies, due to the lack of human oversight (basically, hot wallet). Of course, you can learn from these cases and improve the security, but so can hackers improve their deception and at the end of the day, both of these would have been stopped by the much simpler solution of a qualified team who knew each other and employed multi-sig with properly protected keys. It's pretty hard to beat a human being who knows the business and the typical customer behaviour (or even knows their customers personally) at spotting fraud, and the proposed multi-sig means any hacker has to get through the scrutiny of 3 (or more) separate people, all of whom would have proper training including historical case studies. There are strong arguments both for and against using use of third party custodians. The proposal sets mandatory minimum custody standards would apply regardless if the cold wallet signatories are exchange operators, independent custodians, or a mix of both. On The Subject Of Insurance ShakePay has taken the first steps into this new realm (congratulations). There is no question that crypto users could be better protected by the right insurance policies, and it certainly feels better to transact with insured platforms. The steps required to obtain insurance generally place attention in valuable security areas, and in this case included a review from CipherTrace. One of the key solutions in traditional finance comes from insurance from entities such as the CDIC. However, historically, there wasn't found any actual insurance payout to any cryptocurrency exchange, and there are notable cases where insurance has not paid. With Bitpay, for example, the insurance agent refused because the issue happened to the third party CEO's computer instead of anything to do with Bitpay itself. With the Youbit exchange in South Korea, their insurance claim was denied, and the exchange ultimately ended up instead going bankrupt with all user's funds lost. To quote Matt Johnson in the original Lloyd's article: “You can create an insurance policy that protects no one – you know there are so many caveats to the policy that it’s not super protective.” ShakePay's insurance was only reported to cover their cold storage, and “physical theft of the media where the private keys are held”. Physical theft has never, in the history of cryptocurrency exchange cases reviewed, been reported as the cause of loss. From the limited information of the article, ShakePay made it clear their funds are in the hands of a single US custodian, and at least part of their security strategy is to "decline to confirm the custodian’s name on the record". While this prevents scrutiny of the custodian, it's pretty silly to speculate that a reasonably competent hacking group couldn't determine who the custodian is. A far more common infiltration strategy historically would be social engineering, which has succeeded repeatedly. A hacker could trick their way into ShakePay's systems and request a fraudulent withdrawal, impersonate ShakePay and request the custodian to move funds, or socially engineer their way into the custodian to initiate the withdrawal of multiple accounts (a payout much larger than ShakePay) exploiting the standard procedures (for example, fraudulently initiating or override the wallet addresses of a real transfer). In each case, nothing was physically stolen and the loss is therefore not covered by insurance. In order for any insurance to be effective, clear policies have to be established about what needs to be covered. Anything short of that gives Canadians false confidence that they are protected when they aren't in any meaningful way. At this time, the third party insurance market does not appear to provide adequate options or coverage, and effort is necessary to standardize custody standards, which is a likely first step in ultimately setting up an insurance framework. A better solution compared to third party insurance providers might be for Canadian exchange operators to create their own collective insurance fund, or a specific federal organization similar to the CDIC. Such an organization would have a greater interest or obligation in paying out actual cases, and that would be it's purpose rather than maximizing it's own profit. This would be similar to the SAFU which Binance has launched, except it would cover multiple exchanges. There is little question whether the SAFU would pay out given a breach of Binance, and a similar argument could be made for a insurance fund managed by a collective of exchange operators or a government organization. While a third party insurance provider has the strong market incentive to provide the absolute minimum coverage and no market incentive to payout, an entity managed by exchange operators would have incentive to protect the reputation of exchange operators/the industry, and the government should have the interest of protecting Canadians. On The Subject of Fractional Reserve There is a long history of fractional reserve failures, from the first banks in ancient times, through the great depression (where hundreds of fractional reserve banks failed), right through to the 2008 banking collapse referenced in the first bitcoin block. The fractional reserve system allows banks to multiply the money supply far beyond the actual cash (or other assets) in existence, backed only by a system of debt obligations of others. Safely supporting a fractional reserve system is a topic of far greater complexity than can be addressed by a simple policy, and when it comes to cryptocurrency, there is presently no entity reasonably able to bail anyone out in the event of failure. Therefore, this framework is addressed around entities that aim to maintain 100% backing of funds. There may be some firms that desire but have failed to maintain 100% backing. In this case, there are multiple solutions, including outside investment, merging with other exchanges, or enforcing a gradual restoration plan. All of these solutions are typically far better than shutting down the exchange, and there are multiple cases where they've been used successfully in the past. Proof of Reserves/Transparency/Accountability Canadians need to have visibility into the backing on an ongoing basis. The best solution for crypto-assets is a Proof of Reserve. Such ideas go back all the way to 2013, before even Mt. Gox. However, no Canadian exchange has yet implemented such a system, and only a few international exchanges (CoinFloor in the UK being an example) have. Many firms like Kraken, BitBuy, and now ShakePay use the Proof of Reserve term to refer to lesser proofs which do not actually cryptographically prove the full backing of all user assets on the blockchain. In order for a Proof of Reserve to be effective, it must actually be a complete proof, and it needs to be understood by the public that is expected to use it. Many firms have expressed reservations about the level of transparency required in a complete Proof of Reserve (for example Kraken here). While a complete Proof of Reserves should be encouraged, and there are some solutions in the works (ie TxQuick), this is unlikely to be suitable universally for all exchange operators and users. Given the limitations, and that firms also manage fiat assets, a more traditional audit process makes more sense. Some Canadian exchanges (CoinSquare, CoinBerry) have already subjected themselves to annual audits. However, these results are not presently shared publicly, and there is no guarantee over the process including all user assets or the integrity and independence of the auditor. The auditor has been typically not known, and in some cases, the identity of the auditor is protected by a NDA. Only in one case (BitBuy) was an actual report generated and publicly shared. There has been no attempt made to validate that user accounts provided during these audits have been complete or accurate. A fraudulent fractional exchange, or one which had suffered a breach they were unwilling to publicly accept (see CoinBene), could easily maintain a second set of books for auditors or simply exclude key accounts to pass an individual audit. The proposed solution would see a reporting standard which includes at a minimum - percentage of backing for each asset relative to account balances and the nature of how those assets are stored, with ownership proven by the auditor. The auditor would also publicly provide a "hash list", which they independently generate from the accounts provided by the exchange. Every exchange user can then check their information against this public "hash list". A hash is a one-way form of encryption, which fully protects the private information, yet allows anyone who knows that information already to validate that it was included. Less experienced users can take advantage of public tools to calculate the hash from their information (provided by the exchange), and thus have certainty that the auditor received their full balance information. Easy instructions can be provided. Auditors should be impartial, their identities and process public, and they should be rotated so that the same auditor is never used twice in a row. Balancing the cost of auditing against the needs for regular updates, a 6 month cycle likely makes the most sense. Hot Wallet Management The best solution for hot wallets is not to use them. CoinBerry reportedly uses multi-sig on all withdrawals, and Bitmex is an international example known for their structure devoid of hot wallets. However, many platforms and customers desire fast withdrawal processes, and human validation has a cost of time and delay in this process. A model of self-insurance or separate funds for hot wallets may be used in these cases. Under this model, a platform still has 100% of their client balance in cold storage and holds additional funds in hot wallets for quick withdrawal. Thus, the risk of those hot wallets is 100% on exchange operators and not affecting the exchange users. Since most platforms typically only have 1%-5% in hot wallets at any given time, it shouldn't be unreasonable to build/maintain these additional reserves over time using exchange fees or additional investment. Larger withdrawals would still be handled at regular intervals from the cold storage. Hot wallet risks have historically posed a large risk and there is no established standard to guarantee secure hot wallets. When the government of South Korea dispatched security inspections to multiple exchanges, the results were still that 3 of them got hacked after the inspections. If standards develop such that an organization in the market is willing to insure the hot wallets, this could provide an acceptable alternative. Another option may be for multiple exchange operators to pool funds aside for a hot wallet insurance fund. Comprehensive coverage standards must be established and maintained for all hot wallet balances to make sure Canadians are adequately protected.
Current Draft Proposal
(1) Proper multi-signature cold wallet storage. (a) Each private key is the personal and legal responsibility of one person - the “signatory”. Signatories have special rights and responsibilities to protect user assets. Signatories are trained and certified through a course covering (1) past hacking and fraud cases, (2) proper and secure key generation, and (3) proper safekeeping of private keys. All private keys must be generated and stored 100% offline by the signatory. If even one private keys is ever breached or suspected to be breached, the wallet must be regenerated and all funds relocated to a new wallet. (b) All signatories must be separate background-checked individuals free of past criminal conviction. Canadians should have a right to know who holds their funds. All signing of transactions must take place with all signatories on Canadian soil or on the soil of a country with a solid legal system which agrees to uphold and support these rules (from an established white-list of countries which expands over time). (c) 3-5 independent signatures are required for any withdrawal. There must be 1-3 spare signatories, and a maximum of 7 total signatories. The following are all valid combinations: 3of4, 3of5, 3of6, 4of5, 4of6, 4of7, 5of6, or 5of7. (d) A security audit should be conducted to validate the cold wallet is set up correctly and provide any additional pertinent information. The primary purpose is to ensure that all signatories are acting independently and using best practices for private key storage. A report summarizing all steps taken and who did the audit will be made public. Canadians must be able to validate the right measures are in place to protect their funds. (e) There is a simple approval process if signatories wish to visit any country outside Canada, with a potential whitelist of exempt countries. At most 2 signatories can be outside of aligned jurisdiction at any given time. All exchanges would be required to keep a compliant cold wallet for Canadian funds and have a Canadian office if they wish to serve Canadian customers. (2) Regular and transparent solvency audits. (a) An audit must be conducted at founding, after 3 months of operation, and at least once every 6 months to compare customer balances against all stored cryptocurrency and fiat balances. The auditor must be known, independent, and never the same twice in a row. (b) An audit report will be published featuring the steps conducted in a readable format. This should be made available to all Canadians on the exchange website and on a government website. The report must include what percentage of each customer asset is backed on the exchange, and how those funds are stored. (c) The auditor will independently produce a hash of each customer's identifying information and balance as they perform the audit. This will be made publicly available on the exchange and government website, along with simplified instructions that each customer can use to verify that their balance was included in the audit process. (d) The audit needs to include a proof of ownership for any cryptocurrency wallets included. A satoshi test (spending a small amount) or partially signed transaction both qualify. (e) Any platform without 100% reserves should be assessed on a regular basis by a government or industry watchdog. This entity should work to prevent any further drop, support any private investor to come in, or facilitate a merger so that 100% backing can be obtained as soon as possible. (3) Protections for hot wallets and transactions. (a) A standardized list of approved coins and procedures will be established to constitute valid cold storage wallets. Where a multi-sig process is not natively available, efforts will be undertaken to establish a suitable and stable smart contract standard. This list will be expanded and improved over time. Coins and procedures not on the list are considered hot wallets. (b) Hot wallets can be backed by additional funds in cold storage or an acceptable third-party insurance provider with a comprehensive coverage policy. (c) Exchanges are required to cover the full balance of all user funds as denominated in the same currency, or double the balance as denominated in bitcoin or CAD using an established trading rate. If the balance is ever insufficient due to market movements, the firm must rectify this within 24 hours by moving assets to cold storage or increasing insurance coverage. (d) Any large transactions (above a set threshold) from cold storage to any new wallet addresses (not previously transacted with) must be tested with a smaller transaction first. Deposits of cryptocurrency must be limited to prevent economic 51% attacks. Any issues are to be covered by the exchange. (e) Exchange platforms must provide suitable authentication for users, including making available approved forms of two-factor authentication. SMS-based authentication is not to be supported. Withdrawals must be blocked for 48 hours in the event of any account password change. Disputes on the negligence of exchanges should be governed by case law.
Continued review of existing OSC feedback is still underway. More feedback and opinions on the framework and ideas as presented here are extremely valuable. The above is a draft and not finalized. The process of further developing and bringing a suitable framework to protect Canadians will require the support of exchange operators, legal experts, and many others in the community. The costs of not doing such are tremendous. A large and convoluted framework, one based on flawed ideas or implementation, or one which fails to properly safeguard Canadians is not just extremely expensive and risky for all Canadians, severely limiting to the credibility and reputation of the industry, but an existential risk to many exchanges. The responsibility falls to all of us to provide our insight and make our opinions heard on this critical matter. Please take the time to give your thoughts.
The power players of consumer finance in the 21st century will be crypto-native companies who build with blockchain technology at their core.
The crypto landscape is still nascent. We’re still very much in the fragmented, unbundled phase of the industry lifecycle. Beyond what Genesis Block is doing, there are signs of other companies slowly starting to bundle financial services into what could be an all-in-one bank replacement. So the key question that this series hopes to answer:
Which crypto-native company will successfully become the bank of the future?
We obviously think Genesis Block is well-positioned to win. But we certainly aren’t the only game in town. In this series, we’ll be doing an analysis of who is most capable of thwarting our efforts. We’ll look at categories like crypto exchanges, crypto wallets, centralized lending & borrowing services, and crypto debit card companies. Each category will have its own dedicated post. Today we’re analyzing big crypto exchanges. The two companies we’ll focus on today are Coinbase (biggest American exchange) and Binance (biggest global exchange). They are the top two exchanges in terms of Bitcoin trading volume. They are in pole position to winning this market — they have a huge existing userbase and strong financial resources. Will Coinbase or Binance become the bank of the future? Can their early success propel them to winning the broader consumer finance market? Is their growth too far ahead for anyone else to catch up? Let’s dive in. https://preview.redd.it/lau4hevpm7f51.png?width=800&format=png&auto=webp&s=2c5de1ba497199f36aa194e5809bd86e5ab533d8
The most formidable exchange on the global stage is Binance (Crunchbase). All signs suggest they have significantly more users and a stronger balance sheet than Coinbase. No other exchange is executing as aggressively and relentlessly as Binance is. The cadence at which they are shipping and launching new products is nothing short of impressive. As Tushar Jain from Multicoin argues, Binance is Blitzscaling. Here are some of the products that they’ve launched in the last 18 months. Only a few are announced but still pre-launch.
Binance is well-positioned to become the crypto-powered, all-in-one, bundled solution for financial services. They already have so many of the pieces. But the key question is:
Can they create a cohesive & united product experience?
Binance is strong, but they do have a few major weaknesses that could slow them down.
Traders & Speculators Binance is currently very geared for speculators, traders, and financial professionals. Their bread-and-butter is trading (spot, margin, options, futures). Their UI is littered with depth charts, order books, candlesticks, and other financial concepts that are beyond the reach of most normal consumers. Their product today is not at all tailored for the broader consumer market. Given Binance’s popularity and strength among the pro audience, it’s unlikely that they will dumb down or simplify their product any time soon. That would jeopardize their core business. Binance will likely need an entirely new product/brand to go beyond the pro user crowd. That will take time (or an acquisition). So the question remains, is Binance even interested in the broader consumer market? Or will they continue to focus on their core product, the one-stop-shop for pro crypto traders?
Controversies & Hot Water Binance has had a number of controversies. No one seems to know where they are based — so what regulatory agencies can hold them accountable? Last year, some sensitive, private user data got leaked. When they announced their debit card program, they had to remove mentions of Visa quickly after. And though the “police raid” story proved to be untrue, there are still a lot of questions about what happened with their Shanghai office shut down (where there is smoke, there is fire). If any company has had a “move fast and break things” attitude, it is Binance. That attitude has served them well so far but as they try to do business in more regulated countries like America, this will make their road much more difficult — especially in the consumer market where trust takes a long time to earn, but can be destroyed in an instant. This is perhaps why the Binance US product is an empty shell when compared to their main global product.
Disjointed Product Experience Because Binance has so many different teams launching so many different services, their core product is increasingly feeling disjointed and disconnected. Many of the new features are sloppily integrated with each other. There’s no cohesive product experience. This is one of the downsides of executing and shipping at their relentless pace. For example, users don’t have a single wallet that shows their balances. Depending on if the user wants to do spot trading, margin, futures, or savings… the user needs to constantly be transferring their assets from one wallet to another. It’s not a unified, frictionless, simple user experience. This is one major downside of the “move fast and break things” approach.
BNB token Binance raised $15M in a 2017 ICO by selling their $BNB token. The current market cap of $BNB is worth more than $2.6B. Financially this token has served them well. However, given how BNB works (for example, their token burn), there are a lot of open questions as to how BNB will be treated with US security laws. Their Binance US product so far is treading very lightly with its use of BNB. Their token could become a liability for Binance as it enters more regulated markets. Whether the crypto community likes it or not, until regulators get caught up and understand the power of decentralized technology, tokens will still be a regulatory burden — especially for anything that touches consumers.
Binance Chain & Smart Contract Platform Binance is launching its own smart contract platform soon. Based on compatibility choices, they have their sights aimed at the Ethereum developer community. It’s unclear how easy it’ll be to convince developers to move to Binance chain. Most of the current developer energy and momentum around smart contracts is with Ethereum. Because Binance now has their own horse in the race, it’s unlikely they will ever decide to leverage Ethereum’s DeFi protocols. This could likely be a major strategic mistake — and hubris that goes a step too far. Binance will be pushing and promoting protocols on their own platform. The major risk of being all-in on their own platform is that they miss having a seat on the Ethereum rocket ship — specifically the growth of DeFi use-cases and the enormous value that can be unlocked. Integrating with Ethereum’s protocols would be either admitting defeat of their own platform or competing directly against themselves.
The crypto-native company that I believe is more likely to become the bank of the future is Coinbase (crunchbase). Their dominance in America could serve as a springboard to winning the West (Binance has a stronger foothold in Asia). Coinbase has more than 30M users. Their exchange business is a money-printing machine. They have a solid reputation as it relates to compliance and working with regulators. Their CEO is a longtime member of the crypto community. They are rumored to be going public soon.
Let’s look at what makes them strong and a likely contender for winning the broader consumer finance market.
Different Audience, Different Experience Coinbase has been smart to create a unique product experience for each audience — the pro speculator crowd and the common retail user. Their simple consumer version is at Coinbase.com. That’s the default. Their product for the more sophisticated traders and speculators is at Coinbase Pro (formerly GDAX). Unlike Binance, Coinbase can slowly build out the bank of the future for the broad consumer market while still having a home for their hardcore crypto traders. They aren’t afraid to have different experiences for different audiences.
Brand & Design Coinbase has a strong product design team. Their brand is capable of going beyond the male-dominated crypto audience. Their product is clean and simple — much more consumer-friendly than Binance. It’s clear they spend a lot of time thinking about their user experience. Interacting directly with crypto can sometimes be rough and raw (especially for n00bs). When I was at Mainframe we hosted a panel about Crypto UX challenges at the DevCon4 Dapp Awards. Connie Yang (Head of Design at Coinbase) was on the panel. She was impressive. Some of their design philosophies will bode well as they push to reach the broader consumer finance market.
Early Signs of Bundling Though Coinbase has nowhere near as many products & services as Binance, they are slowly starting to add more financial services that may appeal to the broader market. They are now letting depositors earn interest on USDC (also DAI & Tezos). In the UK they are piloting a debit card. Users can now invest in crypto with dollar-cost-averaging. It’s not much, but it’s a start. You can start to see hints of a more bundled solution around financial services.
Let’s now look at some things that could hold them back.
Slow Cadence In the fast-paced world of crypto, and especially when compared to Binance, Coinbase does not ship very many new products very often. This is perhaps their greatest weakness. Smaller, more nimble startups may run circles around them. They were smart to launch Coinbase Ventures where tey invest in early-stage startups. They can now keep an ear to the ground on innovation. Perhaps their cadence is normal for a company of their size — but the Binance pace creates quite the contrast.
Institutional Focus As a company, we are a Coinbase client. We love their institutional offering. It’s clear they’ve been investing a lot in this area. A recent Coinbase blog post made it clear that this has been a focus: “Over the past 12 months, Coinbase has been laser-focused on building out the types of features and services that our institutional customers need.” Their Tagomi acquisition only re-enforced this focus. Perhaps this is why their consumer product has felt so neglected. They’ve been heavily investing in their institutional services since May 2018. For a company that’s getting very close to an IPO, it makes sense that they’d focus on areas that present strong revenue opportunities — as they do with institutional clients. Even for big companies like Coinbase, it’s hard to have a split focus. If they are “laser-focused” on the institutional audience, it’s unlikely they’ll be launching any major consumer products anytime soon.
Coinbase Wrap Up
At Genesis Block, we‘re proud to be working with Coinbase. They are a fantastic company. However, I don’t believe that they’ll succeed in building their own product for the broader consumer finance market. While they have incredible design, there are no signs that they are focused on or capable of internally building this type of product. Similar to Binance, I think it’s far more likely that Coinbase acquires a promising young startup with strong growth.
Other US-based exchanges worth mentioning are Kraken, Gemini, and Bittrex. So far we’ve seen very few signs that any of them will aggressively attack broader consumer finance. Most are going in the way of Binance — listing more assets and adding more pro tools like margin and futures trading. And many, like Coinbase, are trying to attract more institutional customers. For example, Gemini with their custody product.
Coinbase and Binance have huge war chests and massive reach. For that alone, they should always be considered threats to Genesis Block. However, their products are very, very different than the product we’re building. And their approach is very different as well. They are trying to educate and onboard people into crypto. At Genesis Block, we believe the masses shouldn’t need to know or care about it. We did an entire series about this, Spreading Crypto. Most everyone needs banking — whether it be to borrow, spend, invest, earn interest, etc. Not everyone needs a crypto exchange. For non-crypto consumers (the mass market), the differences between a bank and a crypto exchange are immense. Companies like Binance and Coinbase make a lot of money on their crypto exchange business. It would be really difficult, gutsy, and risky for any of them to completely change their narrative, messaging, and product to focus on the broader consumer market. I don’t believe they would ever risk biting the hand that feeds them. In summary, as it relates to a digital bank aimed at the mass market, I believe both Coinbase and Binance are much more likely to acquire a startup in this space than they are to build it themselves. And I think they would want to keep the brand/product distinct and separate from their core crypto exchange business. So back to the original question, is Coinbase and Binance a threat to Genesis Block? Not really. Not today. But they could be, and for that, we want to stay close to them. ------ Other Ways to Consume Today's Episode:
You are likely to be mandated to spend some amount of time indoors over the next few weeks. Postal services will still operate but in-person dealers may not.
Do not fall for the many bait and scam posts that will be posted on reddit. To remind people
Someone you meet through reddit offering to sell drugs is a scammer. Good vendors do not need to find customers through reddit.
Someone who offers to introduce you to their plug through reddit is a scammer. Good vendors do not need to find customers through reddit.
Anyone accepting non cryptocurrency payment methods is a scammer. They are looking for low hanging fruit who will not spend the couple of hours required to figure out crypto for the first time. This includes venmo, paypal, gift cards, vbucks, you name it.
Anyone you meet through reddit is a scammer. Just repeating this one to hammer it home.
DarkNet Markets are widespread and the reviews there meant that vendors are accountable for the products they sell. Escrow makes it impossible for vendors to take money without sending product and frankly it's so lucrative that big vendors don't need or want to. Look for the best review history, not the cheapest price. Bitcoin used to be anonymous for a long time but it has always been possible to publicly trace transactions between accounts. Now that Anti Money Laundering rules require exchanges to keep photo ID for purchases this makes it possible for bitcoin purchases to be linked to your ID. All markets accept Monero, a different currency which works in the same way but makes it impossible to link transactions between accounts without the login details for the sender account. Bisq, kraken, poloniex and other exchanges allow trading of Bitcoin for Monero and this makes it easy to break the surveillance chain. Learning to use DNMs takes a couple of hours and will decrease the risk you are exposed to by allowing you to more effectively vet who you are purchasing from. Use DuckDuckGo to search for guides online (DO NOT ASK IN THIS SUBREDDIT) and have a read. Do not ask individuals to help you through the process, they may be scammers. Look for publicly available guides that have had the chance to be scrutinised. Use https://dark.fail to avoid phishing links to markets. Never follow links to markets that you find on Reddit.
Bitcoin at $ 288,000? BTC price shows bullish signal like 2016
Bitcoin's price development has been relatively stable in recent weeks. The cryptocurrency has been trading in the $ 9,200 range since early June, which is the price at the time of publication. However, Bitcoin is currently showing signals that could indicate an upcoming bull market. According to a report by the Kraken Stock Exchange, Bitcoin is only a 10% jump away from entering a massive upward trend. As Kraken describes, to enter a bull market, Bitcoin must break the key resistance at $ 10,500, as shown below. https://preview.redd.it/0d4bm64zsla51.png?width=1276&format=png&auto=webp&s=b3a670c135792f34af6714fc8ab9d48cef7dc77e With that in mind, the report says Bitcoin could soon break resistance or take the risk of testing support at $ 6,000 to $ 7,000. This would end a period that some analysts have described as very stable. In fact, this is similar to the price development in 2016 and 2017, when Bitcoin initially tended to move sideways for a very long time and finally reached its all-time high of USD 20,000 in late 2017. According to analyst Moon Capital, the Bitcoin hash ribbons have crossed, revealing a massive buy signal that has historically pushed Bitcoin's price up. The signal was also there before the 2017 Bull Run. Therefore, the analyst predicts that BTC will rise to $ 288,000. The "hash ribbons" indicator is based on the hash rate of the Bitcoin network. It is calculated by comparing the short-term moving average and the long-term moving average of the Bitcoin hash rate. As soon as these two cross, a bullish indicator is generated. A breakdown is considered bearish. Capriole's digital asset manager, Charles Edwards, also noted the formation of this indicator. However, Edwards recommended waiting until midnight today (July 12th UTC) for the crossing of the hash ribbons to be confirmed. He also said the BTC price for confirmation should close above $ 9,230.
Bitcoin fundamentals support upcoming uptrend
On the other hand, Bitcoin's fundamentals seem to support a bull market. Bitcoin's hash rate has increased significantly since the difficulty adjustment in June. According to blockchain.com, the hash rate of Bitcoin reached a new high of 125.99 terra hashes per second (TH / s) on July 7. In this context, analyst and inventor of Bitcoin's stock-to-flow model, Plan B, said Bitcoin has weathered the worst of the past few months. In addition, he stressed that the cryptocurrency will soon peak at its hash rate, confirming the good health of the Bitcoin network.
Cryptomarketing in 2020: successful application of strategies from MLM and the beauty industry
Cryptomarketing in 2020: successful application of strategies from MLM and the beauty industry Over the past decade, the crypto-industry has proven to be a unique industry with a specific audience, which requires a no less specific approach. In this regard, in 2020, the advertising activity of crypto companies is significantly different from that to which banks and various financial companies resort. Industry leaders prefer not to rely on traditional online advertising on Facebook, Instagram and YouTube. They follow a different path: they work with bloggers (opinion leaders and influencers), rely on MLM marketing referral programs and actively organize various contests and sweepstakes with generous prize pools. The CoinDesk portal claims that crypto marketing this year is strikingly reminiscent of marketing in the beauty industry, and here it is no less effective.
Michelle Fan, a blogger with a million YouTube subscribers, is using the same techniques to spread skin care life hacks and the idea of financial freedom through bitcoins. Moreover, she assures that the leaders of the crypto industry, like her, use marketing schemes from the beauty industry, even if they themselves do not know about it. Both areas prefer to use the DTC (Direct to Customer) business scheme, independently creating and then promoting and selling goods / services, working as closely as possible with the community. Sales are built through aggregated retail platforms like Amazon, Etsy and Shopify, or even through accounts in popular social networks. Industry leaders in developing countries often resort to the latter option, where large sites like Amazon simply don’t work or aren’t popular. For example, Michelle Haber, a bitcoin maximalist from Libya, made it clear in CoinDesk’s comment that social networks and chats are today the most effective way to distribute goods / services in crypto topics. He said that local traders in order to “educate” the audience help buy hardware wallets, selling them through groups on social networks. Buying yourself Trezor or Ledger in another way is often simply impossible.
Work with opinion leaders
Michelle Fan is not the only person from the crypto-community who notices the similarities with the beauty industry. So, Maria Paula Fernandez, who actively uses the services of the DeFi sector and is seriously interested in the topic of skin care, gave the CoinDesk portal a similar comment. She notes that in both cases, society has become accustomed to relying on the opinion of society itself, rather than trusting the views of the world’s leading media. Therefore, in both sectors, the so-called influencers are very popular — opinion leaders and bloggers who disseminate information among their audience on YouTube, Instagram, TikTok and other social networks, receiving a reward for this. Crypto-companies very often, like firms from the beauty industry, provide their products to opinion leaders for review and further “instruction” of their subscribers. Maria Paula Fernandez does not see anything shameful in this. Observing the experience of bloggers, subscribers begin to acquire a kind of crypto-education and disseminate the information through the word of mouth. Thus, the crypto-community grows. The most successful bloggers over time can count on sponsorship from one or another crypto company. For example, the podcaster Marty Bent, whose show is now funded by Unchained Capital and Square, the developer of Cash App, witnessed this scenario. The latter, by the way, in addition to Bent sponsor also podcast Joe Rogan and rapper Lil B. Many other large companies, including the Kraken exchange, have resorted to this strategy. They are just as interested in sponsoring reputable content creators who promote products among loyal subscribers. The U.S. exchange sponsors the Reckless VR crypto start-up, founded by Udi Wertheimer for crypto-conferences in virtual reality, and the famous podcast Peter McCormack, who launched his own media brand Defiance last year. Having started his career as a hobby, McCormack turned it into a business of his life, thanks to which he earned about $1 million for 2019. With all this, working with bloggers is a great opportunity to enter foreign markets. This is understood at Crypto.com, where they use opinion leaders to attract the Russian-speaking and Turkish-speaking community. Does this approach give a result? Judge for yourself: over the past six months, the number of startup users has doubled and currently stands at more than 2 million people.
Referral Bonuses and MLM Marketing
The development of products within the community often turns into MLM marketing strategies, which require the presence of referral bonuses and bonuses “in depth” — favorite schemes of cosmetic brands. They use a multi-level reward system for attracting partners, where you can usually get a bonus not only for personally invited, but also for “friends of friends and their friends”. Thus, opinion leaders who distribute crypto products often receive a portion of the funds that people invited by them will pay for the product / service. The relevance and effectiveness of the trend is confirmed by the fact that these methods are not shy to use not only crypto start-ups, but also top cryptocurrency companies, widely known throughout the industry. A prime example is SatoshiLabs, a company that manufactures and distributes Trezor wallets. The head of communications, Iva Fizerova, confirmed that she is actively resorting to “affiliate marketing” with bloggers as an alternative to paying them for direct advertising. No less vivid examples are the largest crypto exchanges Binance and Gemini, which managed to succeed not without the help of referral systems copied from the multi-level marketing campaigns Avon and Mary Kay, which they have been using for decades. Instagram blogger Chjango Unchained has been earning good bonuses for several months running after posting a referral link to Gemini on her profile. When her subscribers register on the exchange and buy cryptocurrencies worth more than $100, she receives $10 in BTC. According to her, she is doing a good deed. The blogger wants people who are interested in her opinion on digital money to start their crypto path on Gemini, and not, for example, on Coinbase, because the latter charges “crazy commissions”. Referral system bonuses are a typical phenomenon for many crypto companies, and successful bloggers are happy to use this. A prime example is Michael Gu, known by the pseudonym Boxmining. It has been distributing information about digital money since 2012, having gathered an audience of more than 200,000 subscribers on YouTube and more than 3,500 participants in Telegram chat during this time. Despite the fact that the manufacturer of hardware wallets Ledger does not sponsor its activities, it places referral links in the video descriptions and collects voluntary donations from subscribers. As you might guess, he feels rather well. At the same time, he emphasized that user activity during the coronavirus pandemic is only growing, especially after YouTube began to put sticks in the wheels of the creators of crypto-content.
Gifts, contests and sweepstakes
Making a small gift is a great way to introduce an audience to a new product. In the cryptocurrency market, this has long been relevant. Coin creators eagerly carry out airdrops and bounty campaigns, allowing the crypto community to test the new coin. A similar approach is popular in the beauty industry. Samplers of perfumes and branded magazines with smells have led many girls to buy full-fledged versions of the fragrance. In addition to the cryptocurrency developers themselves, a similar approach is also used by cryptocompanies of a different direction, which cannot conduct airdrops due to their technical features (for example, this is true for manufacturers of hardware wallets). Therefore, they organize more classic contests and sweepstakes. For example, they play a wallet for reposting on social networks or videos published on YouTube. It is noteworthy that cryptobrands in this area are even more active than cosmetics manufacturers. They work not only with trusted bloggers with many subscribers, but also help to become less “untwisted” users. Therefore, they periodically assist them in organizing draws in order to attract subscribers who could potentially become new customers. Iva Fizerova from SatoshiLabs confirmed that Trezor manufacturers periodically help users attract new followers through the distribution of gifts. Moreover, this approach brings excellent results. By working with the community this way, they have managed to sell hundreds of thousands of wallets. But most importantly, a reputation of the brand has formed around the product, warmly received by the audience. And this effect is so strong that the company simply does not see the point in spending money on traditional expensive advertising. Most importantly, despite all the problems of 2020, including the coronavirus pandemic, which seriously hit the global economy and, accordingly, people’s wallets, demand for products did not fall. This approach remains effective, while the percentage of successful conversions in traditional advertising has probably decreased. Fizerova noted that over the past three months they have recorded a steady increase in demand for goods. Moreover, they even had to solve delivery problems, if only the buyers got the desired devices in a timely manner. A similar approach and results are observed with other manufacturers of hardware wallets. Thus, Rodolfo Novak, co-founder of Coinkite, confirmed the growth in demand for products, despite the pandemic. Working with the community is their main marketing strategy, because it really gives results. Over the past three years, they donated about 50 wallets to YouTube reviewers. Novak is proud that their “users help other users.” According to him, this approach allows you to sell products at a lower price, since the cost of goods does not include high costs for familiar marketing campaigns.
Are marketing strategies effective? More than
The cryptocurrency market relies on marketing strategies that have established themselves in the beauty industry, which in the new field are no less effective. Maximum performance is achieved with a killer combination of all three of the above methods. It’s about when the founders of cryptocompanies themselves become opinion leaders. Just look at Changpen Zhao, the head of Binance, or Justin Sun, the project manager of TRON. Both entrepreneurs are bloggers with a huge army of subscribers and are personally engaged in the promotion of their brands, regularly rewarding their audience with pleasant gifts. It’s easy to guess why industry leaders rely mainly on this type of marketing. Advertising products in the traditional way is expensive, especially for startups, behind which there are still no attractive products with a good reputation. But more importantly, crypto products are quite complex in themselves, so they often need detailed explanations, which are difficult to implement in the framework of traditional advertising. Agree that selling a bottle of Fanta with a new taste is much easier than a hardware cryptocurrency wallet, especially since most people don’t understand what it is. On top of that, regular advertising is complicated by the fact that media giants regularly block crypto content. In such a situation, marketing borrowed from the beauty industry seems to be the most acceptable and most effective option. By focusing their marketing budgets on opinion leaders and working with the community, cryptocompanies achieve the desired result, even taking into account the coronavirus pandemic. The crypto community is getting bigger and stronger every day. But the best part is that this growth cannot be stopped. Subscribe to our Telegram channel
I want to thank everyone who replied to our survey! Your feedback is extremely valuable! Here are the results and how they're helping shape our direction.
What goals would you like to see us accomplish? What's most important to you in how this Quadriga situation ends?
This was an open-ended question and the answers varied widely (and there was definitely a lot of responses which mentioned multiple goals). Here's a summary:
65% mentioned recovering losses for affected users.
45% described a desire to get better standards on Canadian exchanges.
30% included justice for victims.
25% desired education on crypto-asset protection.
20% had the creation of the new exchange.
The justice theme has been entirely overlooked by what we're doing. Discussing the idea on the Quadriga Uncovered Telegram group, it was determined that there was definite interest in a potential letter-writing initiative. One possibility would be sending letters to the RCMP to request the exhumation.
Is there any part of our initiative which confuses you?
Almost universally, there was no mention of any confusion. The feedback we did receive:
"The website landing page could provide an executive summary of the key aspects of the initiative".
The front page was last updated March 30th. We are constantly experimenting and improving the front of the website and our presentation of ideas and welcome any insight.
"I was worried with the proposal to have a token for affected users. The intention may be ok, but tokens and ICOs have a bad reputation for being scams. I confess that I didn't read the website of the Initiative, but from communications, I didn't see the association between the Initiative and the official committee."
We should make clear we are fully separate from the bankruptcy process. There is no tie to the official committee, although we have gotten their feedback throughout. This is an opportunity for the business community to provide additional help for victims.
We are contemplating the need for having blockchain-backing, however it does provide the ability to have greater transparency in the distribution/supply, more control in the form of a multi-sig smart contract, and easier liquidity options.
What we are doing is fundamentally different from any ICO. Tokens are distributed 100% free against verified losses. Redemption happens over time for utility (products/services) or goodwill (best-effort redemption) and it's always a fixed value of $1.
"Generally i understand. Confused about progress and value offer to crypto enthusiasts."
The initial (very first) value proposition for the tokens will be the ability to offset trading fees on the partner exchange, where we expect that traders may adopt having a small stash to cover their trading expenses as they trade. From there, we have other businesses interested in accepting partial payment in tokens. Basically, tokens are spent in place of dollars to get a discount at participating businesses which wish to support affected users.
In terms of progress, we are still waiting for three things:
Partner exchange full launch.
First bankruptcy payout to complete.
Reaching 1,000 signups (as necessary for our deal).
Please feel free to reach out on Telegram and Reddit if there are any further questions!
Is it more important to you that we focus on (a) helping victims of Quadriga recover, (b) educating more people about Quadriga and other exchange fraud, or (c) preventing future exchange fraud events like Quadriga?
Of the first or only choice picked, 70% chose (a) helping victims of Quadriga recover, while 30% chose (c) preventing future exchange fraud events like Quadriga. (a) was mentioned in 80% of cases, and top choice in 70%. (b) was a second choice in 30% of cases and mentioned in 35%. (c) was mentioned in 65% of responses and top choice in 30%. The educational portion of our initiative was seen as the lowest value. We are floating the idea of replacing the Education goal with a separate Justice goal, which is composed of letter-writing and other advocacy to help speed up any potential criminal investigations.
What bothers you most about Canadian cryptocurrency exchanges?
The responses varied widely. Here's a selection:
"The lack of unbiased information on how trustworthy exchanges are."
"The lack of transparency."
"that they are unregulated"
"I only use a non-custodial exchange now (Bull Bitcoin). The inertia and apathy of the government bothers me a lot. After Quadriga there should have been an inquiry. Even my emails to MPs Marie-France Lalonde and Bill Blair got no response. It's not realistic to wait for exchanges to 'self-regulate'."
"Terrible for trading and unreliable"
"Where is the regulation and oversight?"
"It's difficult to know which one is safe and w[h]ich one is not. It's easier to go to a bigger exchange (eg. Binance, Kraken, ... ) who has a solid reputation than Canadian one (at least for now)"
"Slow volume, difficulty to access for some, security"
"Security, trust, support, education"
There is clearly a lack of satisfaction.
Should preventing events like Quadriga focus more on regulatory reform (working with regulators) or trying to create change through setting the example on one exchange and go from there (similar to how "Tesla" has electrified vehicles)?
40% of respondents desired an approach which included both aspects.
40% of respondents desired an approach of setting an example in one exchange.
20% preferred a regulatory approach.
"(c), creating an independent classification/review system that would allow users to know which exchanges are most trustworthy, and to force less trustworthy ones to shape up."
There are a few such services out there. Key issues are that these opinions can be influenced by referral bonuses, the exchange reputations change over time (as was the case in Quadriga), and there is limited information on which to base the evaluation. Many reputable third parties have recommended shady services that subsequently failed.
Pressing forward on both fronts appears to make the most sense.
Would you rather have the recovery run inside of a for-profit exchange (sort of a marketing/promotion idea to push people onto a safer exchange) or as an independent group of affected users pushing for our own interests (working with the safer exchange and other businesses potentially similar to a labour union or political advocacy)?
The end result:
The majority (55%) prefer to have the independent group advocating for affected users.
A minority (35%) prefer to have it run in a for-profit/promotional way inside the exchange.
There were 10% of responses indicating both would be acceptable, or no clear preference.
We will be working to run this independently, however working closely with our partner exchange as a joint project (and it is definitely a promotional tool for them).
If given the choice, would you prefer (a) $20 cash each year for 10 years (slower recovery with full choice), or (b) your choice of $200 worth of discounts on products/services that are donated by small businesses which you could use this year (faster recovery with less choices)?
60% indicated a preference for (b), and 40% had the preference for (a). There is clear interest in focusing on both, which will push the fastest and most flexible recovery.
Affected users have a liquidation option which allows non-victims to purchase their tokens on the exchange. How do you feel about charging non-victims a small fee (5 cents per token) that is split between funding the project and a pool for affected user payout?
50% expressed outright support for the idea. Below are more detailed responses and comments:
"indifferent, although I think any fee will end up factoring in to the exchange rate on the value of the token. If people are willing to pay $10 for a $15 coupon, then a 5% fee might mean they'll only pay $9.50"
This is undoubtedly true. In your example, 25 cents would go to the project, 25 cents to affected users, and $9.50 to the seller. As opposed to $10 going to the seller.
"I am not yet clear on the cost structure of the proposed solution. Has the cost of managing the recovery effort been accounted for?"
It hasn't been properly accounted for, and this is one possible solution.
"I think that it is more important to have broad communication, reaching out to public at large and crypto communities in other countries. Then there should be multiple ways for different communities to contribute financially to affected users. I don't like the idea of fees and tokens because it seems to distract from the larger tasks of communication, rallying, documenting and advocating."
You bring up great points. Outreach is important, as is flexibility in approach. If you have more concrete ideas we would love to consider them!
"Good idea, but it restricts the on boarding of new users"
This is a fair point. The hope is that those participating want to help.
"I would prefer to avoid this option, Unless we can show that there are many added benefits from using this platform over others, thus justifying the fees and making it more acceptable to users."
Absolutely. Hopefully there will be many added benefits.
"I think it a good idea, fees will go anyway to affected users, I totally agree"
Awesome. That's definitely the intent.
"better not tax when tokens are transferred to the blockchain - tax the transaction (something small, in order not to affect the volume/liquidity too much) like what they are doing with the flight tickets in Quebec"
Absolutely! This would be a transaction cost only.
At the moment this has not yet been agreed upon by the partner exchange.
Have you discussed the project with anyone else who lost funds in Quadriga? What kind of feedback are you hearing?
40% said they've discussed it. 40% have not. 20% didn't answer (or it was hard to understand). Some of the responses:
"only online, and there there seems to be some confusion about the projects goals, some concerns about the connection to a for-profit exchange, and a general 'one bitten twice shy' mentality."
"Yes, Matt and my spouse. The problem was foreseeable. We just all ignored the risk because we were sold on the simplicity. The first red flag I saw was that accounts could be reloaded through an entity in China, which did not make sense, but I ignored it because of my perceived impression of protection given that the operator was in Canada."
"Yes - most have given up hope of recovering funds"
" I can't follow the chats on Telegram. I gained no knowledge the times I tried to read the discussions there. In fact the discussions there seemed to be not very polite. I wasn't able to connect with any other affected user. I wish there were some more structured gathering. Maybe a webinar would be nice."
Note: This sounds like it may be talking about the separate and more popular Quadriga Uncovered Telegram group. We would be very interested for any examples of impolite discussions on our Telegram group.
"This recovery process started out fine, but has turned into a circus show as is usual with lawyers who naturally want to stretch cases out to steal more money from victims."
"Not for now, I don't know any other victim (except members of Quadriga initiative)"
"Its your fault for keeping it on an exchange, what did you think was going to happen. There will be no money left after the 'bankruptcy'.. Lightning will solve all these problems other than recovery of funds."
Many affected users have strong privacy concerns and shame regarding what happened to them, such that they are even hesitant to share basic details. What do you feel is the best way to build trust and openness among the affected user community?
Here are some of the replies:
"I really don't know. Keeping things as anonymous as possible might help, but then the project would also need accountability to show that most of the tokens weren't sent to your own account. It's a tricky problem."
Absolutely. We also need to consider the various ways the project could be defrauded.
"What you are doing now. I am just not clear on the sustainab[i]lility of this effort without appropriate financial support."
"We all lost. We got burned. No shame in getting burned. It happens."
"There must be a way for affected users to connect to each other. Communication is the foundation, and it can be done preserving privacy. Some ideas include a webinar, chat tools that preserve privacy, etc. I heard of the documentary but I don't know what will be there. I think it is important also for the public at large to know how Quadriga affected users. That is, it's important for some personal stories to be published, ideally in the mainstream press."
We have Telegram, Reddit, and Twitter. A webinar would be great! There have been a number of mainstream news articles on Quadriga, although it's not well known outside of the crypto community. We welcome any further ideas for platforms.
"I would use the angle that crypto will continue to gain traction as time goes on, and that although the affected users were victims of a terrible fraud, we have an opportunity to prevent this from happening to others. I would also use the fact that this initiative has gained a considerable following and that affected users are all in this together, whether we want it or not."
"Maybe a guarantee that nobody will be further persecuted would help."
Hopefully no affected users are persecuted. Who's being persecuted?
"I don't know what else could be done for now."
"Just let us go forward."
"Once you demonstrate positive effects (and communicating about them), and set up ways to contact you securely, the users who have privacy concerns will contact you. You should have anonymous way to communicate with you (maybe using memo.cash?)"
Feel free to use an anonymous handle for any communication with us via Reddit, Twitter, Telegram, or email.
"Simple questions, good job :). Wonder about the stages of loss/gr[ie]f. Maybe the stinging pain needs to subside before people will trust."
Notes: Percentages rounded to the nearest 5%. Thank you very much for everyone who took the time to respond! We will continue to study your answers as we move forward!
Buying $10,000 USD Crypto, Looking for Lowest Fees
I am going to continue researching and learning what I can. I know a lot of this is also personal preference. It seems many do NOT like Coinbase but it is excellent for an on/off ramp due to low fees for depositing and withdrawing cash. However, it seems most prefer to go elsewhere for buying/selling/trading crypto. It seems Binance, Gemini, and Kraken are well-respected exchanges for common coins and tokens. KuCoin seems fairly popular for those looking for deeper finds, hidden gems, or shitcoins. I know there are a few ways this can play out and I am still reviewing different fees charts. Will I save the most in fees if I deposit $10,000 directly into Coinbase, then buy Bitcoin/Ether there or should I transfer the USD to a different exchange first? It seems if I buy $10,000 in Bitcoin on Coinbase, the fees are $146.81. That is only a 1.4681% fee, which is better than I expected. People usually say Coinbase has high fees. I am confused. Or maybe the fees are when trading for different crypto, or when selling? I appreciate any insight you may have. EDIT: corrected my math error on what percent is charged.
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