Sweden Use Crypto Tech To Become Cashless Pioneers

Sweden Use Crypto Tech To Become Cashless Pioneers

 

Sweden, the Scandinavian nation famous for ABBA, Björn Borg, and Volvo,

is leading the way when it comes to becoming the world's first cashless country – and the technology behind Bitcoin, and the cryptocurrencies it has spawned, is catalysing the process. Two years ago, in October 2015, Niklas Arvidsson, a researcher in industrial economics and management at the KTH Royal Institute of Technology in Stockholm, helped to produce a study that predicted his country would be the first to introduce a cashless society. "Cash is still an important means of payment in many countries' markets, but that no longer applies here in Sweden," he said.

The progressive Swedes are on course to achieving their lofty aim, and other Scandinavian nations are following suit. Consider that reports indicate that 56.3 per cent of the country's 1,600 bank branches – 900 of 1,600 – neither hold cash nor accept cash deposits any longer. Further, circulation of the country's traditional currency, the Swedish krona, has been falling for some time; in 2009 the figure was SEK106 billion whereas last year it was just SEK60bn.

Why is this happening?

According to data obtained from Visa, Swedes use bank cards three times more often than the average European. And a Riksbank report, published in December 2016, showed that 97 per cent of the country has access to cards, compared with 85 per cent cash.

There are many additional benefits to living in a society that does not need to use cash – not least when it comes to personal safety. People are less likely to be robbed, and also thieves will not as easily be able to sell on their stolen items. Another key factor is the rise in popularity of Swish, an app owned by six Swedish banks (Danske Bank, Handelsbanken, Länsförsäkringar, Nordea, SEB and Swedbank). It allows anyone with a smartphone to transfer money from one bank account to another, in real time. All that is required is the sender and receiver's phone numbers.

Swish was launched in 2012 and by the end of 2015 it had attracted 3.6 million users, which is more than a third of Sweden's 9.9 million population. Also that year some $515 million was transferred using the app. Those eye-opening numbers have increased significantly since, and now even churches have started to reveal their telephone numbers at the end of each service to make it easier for parishioners to boost their coffers.

This trend has forced Sweden's central banks to consider introducing a digital form of government-backed money, and the technology behind Bitcoin, the pioneering cryptocurrency launched eight years ago, is being promoted as a leading option. A major concern about going cashless in Sweden is that it could exclude the 'unbankables' – that is people without a bank account – and those who do not own a smartphone. Bitcoin, however, has the ability to solve those problems through technology. Users do not require a bank account, and they can, in effect, spend their money anonymously.

Bitcoins and other top cryptocurrencies – Ethereum, Ripple, Dash, Litecoin, and Ethereum Classic – can be purchased outright, and in a straightforward manner, from investment platform eToro, for instance. It has six million members across 140 countries and the company's motto is "crypto needn't be cryptic". Trading on eToro is attractive because it has a fast online verification process, global offices (including in the United Kingdom), and members can use the CopyTrader tool to match the strategies of top-performing traders. Many in the FinTech space believe the Blockchain, a decentralised ledger which is the backbone of cryptocurrencies, is the real game-changing innovation. In Sweden, and elsewhere, they have already toyed with ways in which it can be used in their public services. And sooner rather than later it could well underpin the world's first cashless society.

Chuck Reynolds


Marketing Dept
Contributor
Please click either Link to Learn more about -Bitcoin.
Interested or have Questions. Call me 559-474-4614

Bitcoin Mining Software in Popular Websites Like Pirate Bay Hijacks Computers

Bitcoin Mining Software in Popular Websites Like Pirate Bay Hijacks Computers

 

 

Bitcoin mining software is exploiting the computers and smartphones

of visitors to popular websites, according to a report. Researchers discovered that websites including Showtime and the torrenting site The Pirate Bay were among those containing a tool that hijacks the computing power of visitors to generate bitcoin and other cryptocurrency. The bitcoin mining software, which is invisible on a surface level to the sites’ visitors, has led cybersecurity firm Cloudflare to block sites that use it, TorrentFreak reports. Visitors to websites running the mining software may experience slower computer speeds, though the software can often be blocked by using an adblocker or by disabling Javascript.

Bitcoin mining website hijack cloudflare

The software can be loaded to a website by hackers, as appears to be the case with Showtime, or it can be loaded intentionally by the site’s owner to generate revenue. One site that used mining software intentionally was ProxyBunker.online, a site that links to streaming and torrenting websites. The owner of the site told TorrentFreak that its website was blocked from using Cloudflare services as a result of running a cryptocurrency miner.

“Multiple domains in your account were injecting Coinhive mining code without notifying users and without any option to disabling the mining,” wrote Justin Paine, head of trust and safety at Cloudflare. “We consider this to be malware, and as such the account was suspended, and all domains removed from Cloudflare.”

Bitcoin miner monero cryptocurrency software

One of the most popular tools being used to secretly mine cryptocurrency is Coinhive, which mines for the bitcoin-like virtual currency Monero. Coinhive was the chosen tool of The Pirate Bay, who was criticized for not warning visitors to its site that it was using the software. The file-sharing site posted a statement last week saying that the Monero miner was only a test. The technique of hijacking users’ web browsers to mine cryptocurrency, referred to as “cryptojacking” by some experts, appears to be more popular for newer cryptocurrencies that contain features that are untraceable to law enforcement.

Chuck Reynolds


Marketing Dept
Contributor
Please click either Link to Learn more about -Bitcoin.
Interested or have Questions. Call me 559-474-4614

The race to create the Amazon or Instagram of cryptocurrency

The race to create the Amazon or Instagram of cryptocurrency

  • Although the extreme hype around blockchain and cryptocurrency today attracts hucksters and scammers, investor Chris Dixon and Coinbase founder Fred Ehrsam argue that the significance of the rise of cryptocurrencies is undeniable.
  • Just as Amazon created the first web-native e-commerce site, and Instagram the first mobile-native photo site, somebody's going to create the first blockchain-native business.
  • What could it be? Dixon and Ehrsam had no predictions, but contributor Eric Jackson has some ideas.

 

What will be the first native app that taps into the power

of the blockchain, cryptocurrencies and tokens? That's the provocative question posed last week by venture capital investor Chris Dixon and Coinbase co-founder Fred Ehrsam in Andreessen Horowitz's tech podcast "Why Crypto Tokens Matter."

Although the extreme hype around blockchain and cryptocurrency today attracts hucksters and scammers, Dixon and Ehrsam argue that the significance of the rise of cryptocurrencies is undeniable. The analogy they use to explain the significance is this: in the way that the web allowed for the programmability of information for the first time, cryptocurrencies and tokens allow for the programmability of money or value for the first time. The development of the web allowed for new businesses operating at a global scale which the world had never seen before. They believe cryptocurrencies will offer the same potential.

However, Amazon didn't become a $500 billion business overnight. It's taken over 20 years to get to its current size. Dixon and Ehrsam argue that it required the development of a whole ecosystem around Amazon and other web companies – including web servers, databases, logistics, and payment systems – for them to maximize their potential. There will be the same need for a massive build out in infrastructure for cryptocurrencies and tokens to reach the same potential.

But the most intriguing idea in the podcast is how both Dixon and Ehrsam agree that the companies which have the greatest chance to capture the most value with every big wave of technology – such as web, mobile, and now crypto – are the ones who "burn the boats" to yesterday's technology and go all-in on being the first native app for the new wave. For instance, Amazon set the example when it came to native web apps for e-commerce. Unlike Barnes & Noble, they didn't try to keep one foot in traditional retail with their brick-and-mortar stores and one in the web world. They showed the world what a total focus on e-commerce looked like.

The mobile-only world arrived 10 years ago with the unveiling of the Apple iPhone. However, the initial mobile apps were modeled after websites – cramming a large amount of data fit for a web page on to a tinier mobile screen. Flickr was the dominant photo site in 2007. It created a mobile app for itself but still was geared to you going to your computer and uploading photos. It wasn't until Instagram came along when the world saw what a mobile-only photo app looked like. For a long time, there wasn't even a webpage for Instagram. Users flocked to it, and Facebook bought it for what seems like a bargain price of $1 billion in 2012. It's still the dominant photo-sharing app today

What this business might look like

So what will be the first "blockchain-only" native business? Dixon and Ehrsam don't have any predictions of what that business will be or when it will arrive. But it's helpful to think about what such a business could look like, if you're an investor like me and interested in keeping your eyes open to find out what to look for.

To me, what's most interesting about the whole advent of cryptocurrencies in the past year is Etheruem and how it allows for "smart contracts" to program the relationship of money between parties. The basic idea is that, if something happens, then someone should get paid automatically. You can imagine intricate conditional patterns that allow for people to be generate value for themselves automatically while stripping out a bunch of intermediaries which have existed up until now taking out a toll at every step along the way. The businesses that can pop up, go after big markets, and put these old intermediaries out of business should have a big leg up on future competition.

Here are some ideas of possible businesses to look for in the years ahead (and invest in if you're lucky):

  • The first all-blockchain insurance company that only issues policies in smart contract form.
  • Human futures. On my recent podcast with Balaji Srinivasan, he spoke about the company Upstart. It was founded a few years ago with the idea of actually allowing you to invest in an individual's potential future income stream. You could decide to lend to them based on their background and ask for a share in their upside career (almost like an agent). Smart contracts would make that business model feasible. Upstart pivoted away from that model a few years ago but it will be possible in the future.
  • We already have have online law firms like LegalZoom which allow you to more easily incorporate your business for example. What about a law service only focused on creating smart contracts without a lot of expensive overhead of top laywers running around billing by the hour?
  • Why not a LinkedIn career service focused on matching short-term gigs that tap in to your specific expertise and pay you in some cryptocurrency?
  • The first institutional investment bank allowing only blockchain-based trading of securities with immediate settlement. They could also finally crack the IPO code for the perfect "dutch auction" of new issues with a perfect matching of buyers and sellers to the optimal amount of money raised goes to the issuer, instead of the investment banking clients.
  • The first blockchain-based rewards system that rewards participants with special offers if they allow advertisers see when they perform certain tasks or reach certain levels.
  • The first blockchain-based mortgage lender or credit card issuer.
  • With the whole Equifax scandal of the past few weeks, why not a blockchain-based (hyper secure) credit bureau to replace the status quo credit bureaus of today with a promise of better confidentiality and better credit information?

We need to get beyond the Jamie Dimon type of discussion about bitcoin being a fraud or the speculative bubble around cryptocurrencies. Instead, we need to look at the underlying technology around these currencies, especially smart contracts that are programmable and enforceable. These contracts will allow for many new disruptive businesses to be formed on top of them. If you find the first new "native app" to be built on top of the blockchain in a big product category, it's likely that you'll find an attractive long-term investment.

Chuck Reynolds


Marketing Dept
Contributor
Please click either Link to Learn more about -Bitcoin.
Interested or have Questions. Call me 559-474-4614