Pademobile Brings Mobile BitCoin Access To 3 Million in Mexico

Bitso, Mexico’s first Bitcoin exchange, has revealed to CCN a partnership with Pademobile that will allow all 3 million of the payment company’s customers to purchase bitcoins from their mobile phones. The Mexican Bitcoin exchange has claimed they want to “strengthen the purchase and use of Bitcoin in Mexico” with this move.

Pademobile is the company that was able to bring Bitcoin acceptance to every 7-11 in the country earlier in the year. Bitso has also announced that credit cards will now be accepted on their exchange platform, which makes them one of the first companies in the world to accept that particular deposit method.

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Pademobile is Building a Foundation for Bitcoin in Mexico

With this combined effort from Bitso and Pademobile, the groundwork is being laid for Bitcoin adoption in Mexico. Although the Mexican peso does not have the same kinds of problems currently seen with the currencies of Argentina and Venezuela, this move makes it much easier for anyone interested in Bitcoin in Mexico to start using the currency instantly. Bitso’s CEO and co-founder Pablo Gonzalez has stated, “We have big plans together.”, so it’s possible that this won’t be the last move from these two innovative finance companies in Mexico.

A New Option for International Remittances

The Mexican peso is not exactly the most troubled currency in the world, so it’s likely that Bitcoin adoption will happen at the international remittances level before anywhere else. Mexican citizens received over $20 billion in remittances in 2013, and the low cost of sending money between countries via Bitcoin could offer a reason for people in Mexico to start using bitcoin as a currency. The costs associated with sending money from the United States to Mexico are not as high as other international remittance markets, but the cheapest options for these kinds of money transfers do require bank accounts on both ends of the transaction.

It’s no secret that a large number of the people who want to send money from the United States to Mexico are in the country illegally, and it’s difficult to get access to a bank account when you don’t have any form of ID. For what it’s worth, Bitcoin also offers an extra layer of security and privacy for illegal immigrants who do not want to leave a paper trail back to Mexico.

Buying Groceries with Bitcoin?

An interesting takeaway from this story is the fact that Bitcoin remittances could be coming into the country at the same time that 7-11 accepts Bitcoin as a payment method. This may lead to adoption of bitcoin as a currency due to the fact that it could make sense to pay for groceries at 7-11 with bitcoins received from another country rather than paying a fee to convert those bitcoins to Mexican pesos. The moves that Pademobile is making right now should definitely give reason for people to be bullish on Bitcoin adoption in Mexico. Whether bitcoin will be adopted as a currency or just a payment system remains to be seen.

Alternet Creates a B2B Global BitCoin Payment Solution

Alternet Systems has announced that its subsidiary Alternet Payment Solutions (APS) launched its worldwide Bitcoin payment processing business. They accomplished this through a strategic channel partner agreement with BitPay.

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APS has entered into a non-exclusive agreement to sell and support the BitPay platform into Alternet’s customer base. With Alternet’s experience in the mobile and disruptive payments technology industry, they will focus on providing Bitcoin payment methods for business to business purposes. This includes converting local currency to Bitcoin and/or Bitcoin to USD in the Americas, Caribbean and Asia-Pacific. Alternet Systems CEO Henryk Dabrowski commented as follows:

Alternet is providing the next generation digital currency and payment ecosystem focused on three distinct segments of the marketplace which includes comprehensive currency processing, identification and transmission. Our strategic agreement with BitPay will allow us to initiate our sales process with several potential clients in Latin America and the Asia-Pacific region. We believe that our backlog of opportunities will continue to grow globally, and we will generate our first revenues from this business in the fourth quarter of 2014.

Facial and Voice Recognition

Alternet’s involvement and belief in digital currencies is demonstrated by their subsidiary OneMarket, a company created specifically to offer a broad range of digital currency services, from issuing, authentication, validation and security, to multi-currency exchange. In June 2014, Alternet announced the signing of a joint venture with BIOMETRY. By doing so, they can incorporate a facial and voice recognition ID system in their payment platforms. The latest edition of Bitcoin2014 showed that multiple companies are interested in such developments. Safety is still a tricky part of the Bitcoin experience and facilitating this is one of the top priorities. It seems we are well on our way to take this hurdle and bring Bitcoin even closer to what we like to call “mainstream.”

Dabrowski continued,

With Alternet’s experience in disruptive payment technologies and a network that spans many countries that contain leading mobile operators, financial service providers and banks; we believe APS will rapidly deploy BitPay’s solutions in these markets. This will also broaden our global service offering related to facilitating transactions beyond utilizing Ven. We now have a reliable and secure partner to fulfill transactions with Bitcoin. Together, we will enable customers the ability to fulfill digital currency transactions online and through mobile devices.

Ven is a global digital currency traded in international financial markets and originally used by members of a social network service, Hub Culture, to buy, share, and trade knowledge, goods, and services. With the BitPay partnership, Alternet is now able to offer a Bitcoin payment option to its customers as well. This shows that companies are demanding to use Bitcoin, which is a great sign. Getting Bitcoin into the B2B world is another major step.

Rapid Growth

At the BitPay side, Executive Chairman Tony Gallippi said the following about this deal:

Digital currency adoption and user demand for alternative payment methods continue to grow rapidly. We believe in the vision and successful past experience of introducing disruptive payment technologies that Alternet Systems possess, and look forward to working together to expand our global reach.

This partnership is exciting, to say the least. But what should interest the Bitcoin community is the future developments regarding Alternet’s digital currency payment options. How will this develop over time? The joint venture with BIOMETRY brings forth a lot of opportunities that could revolutionize Bitcoin. Several companies are already working hard to make Bitcoin as easy to use as any other currency. Everyone is waiting for a new development that puts Bitcoin into orbit again. It’s impossible to predict when this will happen, but we’re getting closer every day.

Featured image from Shutterstock.

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Young Talent Leaving Wall Street for BitCoin

Wall Street is a lot more than a place in New York, it is an American institution, and the fortunes of the entire World seem to be inexorably bound to it. For generations the brightest, and most driven, students were recruited into the firms, with household names, that make up the Street. Nowadays, increasing numbers of qualified individuals are choosing the world of cryptocurrency and high technology over Wall Street.

Top banks and brokerages could boast that they had found the best and brightest and at various times these bright young things would annex the best restaurants and bars, with boasts of their salaries and latest achievements. Supporting the stories of long hours and bonuses were the stories of their employers, and what was going to happen next, always told in relation to expected future opportunities. College graduates wore tailored suits and paid with limitless “gold” and “platinum” credit cards, supported by expense accounts, and all was seen to be well on Wall Street.

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Why Bitcoin’s Gambling Boom is Only Just Getting Started

Gambling is big business, and online gambling represents a significant and growing proportion of that business – about 8% currently.

Research company H2 Gambling Capital, which values the online gambling market in terms of gross winnings, put the global market value at €21.73bn ($28.54bn) in 2012. Furthermore, the firm expects a 9.13% compound annual growth rate through 2015.

Right now bitcoin gambling only accounts for a tiny percentage of the total of online gambling revenues. However, it is clear that the opportunity exists to make significant income within the industry and, with bitcoin’s advantages in terms of low-cost, speedy payments, cryptocurrency-based gambling firms are doing their best to do just that.

CoinDesk spoke to some of the bitcoin gambling community’s experts to see what challenges they’re encountering along the way.

Wide-open market

The bitcoin world loves to gamble, in one form or another. In his book, The Anatomy of a Money-like Informational Commodity, Tim Swanson points out that half the transactions on the bitcoin network were being used to transmit bets to SatoshiDice, one of the earliest bitcoin betting sites, created by Eric Voorhees.

Further, an analysis in August 2013 showed that roughly 5% of the value of all bitcoin transactions in June that year were flowing through SatoshiDice. That means lots of very small transactions, which is, after all, one thing that cryptocurrencies are very good at.

Ivan Montik, CEO at SoftSwiss, provides online casino software for entrepreneurs, and its solutions support fiat and bitcoin gambling. “We’ve got about 400 requests for the launch of a bitcoin casino in the last six months,” he said. “We constantly have three to five casinos in the set-up phase, and could have had more if we had more resources.”

Not all bitcoin bets are low in value. Montik said that there are some high rollers in crypto-land:

“On one client website, launched just about a year ago, there are single wagers reaching 200–400 BTC. The total amount of bitcoins wagered on all of the sites operating with the SoftSwiss platform is equal to $10m per month.”

The regulation challenge

Cryptocurrency’s success in this market depends on several factors. One of the most important is regulation and, notably, SatoshiDice doesn’t operate in the US market, because of the strict gambling laws encountered there.

In 2006, the US Justice Department introduced the Unlawful Internet Gaming Enforcement Act (UIGEA), designed to quell the rising tide of Internet gambling sites. It made it illegal for US players to process payments using US banks.

In April 2011, the US government raided the three most popular online poker sites operating there, in an event known as ‘Black Friday’. This had a chilling effect on online poker sites in the country.

Bitcoin, however, has emboldened some entrepreneurs, who are openly allowing US players to gamble using the cryptocurrency. One of these is Seals with Clubs, managed by seasoned poker player Bryan Micon.

“It would be trivial to circumvent some ban. Seals is open to the world. There’s no banking at all done on the site. It’s a pure bitcoin poker site, so this is a totally brand new thing,” said Micon. ”It’s only been a few years for the legal world and there’s nothing at all that says anything about this protocol.”

There are also signs that individual states are softening their approaches to online gambling, in any case. Delaware has allowed online gambling, as have New Jersey and Nevada. The latter state has also passed a law enabling it to form partnerships with other states to let their residents gamble in its online casinos.

Slowly, then, things seem to be opening up in the US, which is creating a more positive environment for cryptocurrency gambling sites that are already operating there, anyway.

The importance of innovation

Another thing working in cryptocurrency’s favour is the innovative nature of its community. The cryptocurrency concept is itself entirely new, built on the cryptography–based decentralised autonomous networking principles introduced by Satoshi. In such an innovative environment, is not surprising that new technologies and gaming models have sprung up.

Adrian Scholz, founder of SatoshiBet.com, argued that the ‘dice’ gaming model on which sites like SatoshiDice were built is an example of such an innovation.

He said

“This game did not exist in online casinos before bitcoin, yet it turns out to be more popular then games like roulette and blackjack.”

There are other breakthroughs that came from the crypto gambling community. “Take Provably Fair, which created a trustless shuffling system,” he said. “Take HTML5. Most of the classic online casinos run games still require Flash or Java plugins.”

“Take investing! Just-dice introduced the concept of allowing players to be part of the bank, which turned out to be pretty much the ultimate marketing vehicle,” he concluded.

There are other areas of innovation, too. In particular, mobile gaming is becoming increasingly important.

Cloudbet, formed in 2013, is a sportsbook and casino environment where players can deposit instantly, bet, and withdraw again as soon as bets are graded. The firm recently launched a mobile casino, and is preparing a mobile sportsbook.

“We’re now seeing that a lot of gaming industry experts are coming in with a wealth of gaming industry knowledge and experience,” said Cloudbet spokesperson Leandro Rossi, in an indication that the industry is maturing.

Challenges to overcome

There are still challenges for those wishing to start bitcoin casinos, however, and different experts see different threats.

Scholz singled out legislation as the biggest issue. “We saw major operators that were willing to introduce bitcoin (for example Vera&John held out because of the unclear state bitcoin is in,” he said. Although now, that casino has taken the taken the plunge.

Mitonik pointed to marketing as another significant problem. Effectively, as the space begins to fill out, it could become difficult for new entrants to make themselves heard above the noise.

He said:

“If you’ve never dealt with marketing before, you’d better prepare the budget and let professionals work on it.”

Mike Hadjuk, founder of Infiniti Poker, argued that security is the biggest problem. “Nobody is impermeable. Even the Pentagon can get hacked. To me that’s our number one concern,” he said.

Hadjuk is another example of an innovator in the cryptocurrency gambling space, having created a service that would allow players to view each other using live web cams.

The soft launch of his service was compromised by players creating multiple accounts and using them in combination to steal no-deposit credits. He is now preparing for a Q4 full launch.

Micon also highlighted security as an issue:

“It’s about keeping the bitcoin safe. That’s not just about securing cold storage – it goes beyond that. It’s about looking after issues such as automated cash-outs, to help sites scale without allowing criminals to take advantage of poorly configured scripts.

Seals with Clubs was hacked last December, and lost 42,000 passwords in the process. Micon explained that the team behind the site learned a lot from a security perspective. “No one lost their coins. We were able to drastically improve up to and beyond industry standards for our password table,” he said.

Educating users

Perhaps the biggest challenge for cryptocurrency gambling sites, though, is the uptake of bitcoin itself.

Cloudbet’s Rossi said:

“There is still a high educational barrier to entry. People can transact with Visa and MasterCard without understanding how the payment network works, but to transact with bitcoin there is still a requirement of technical knowledge.”

The company has launched mainstream campaigns to educate potential players about bitcoin, but this is something that the bitcoin community has to broach collectively, he indicated.

The good news for bitcoin gambling sites is that they are still early in the process, meaning that there is lots of room for disruption, said Micon:

“Some kid is going to come up with some bitcoin gambling game. They will be 12 years old and they’ll make $480,000. That’s just what’s possible.”

Possible, for sure. But with a few challenges along the way.

Gambling image via Shutterstock.

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Indonesians can now use BitCoin

Indonesians Can Now Buy Bitcoin at Over 10,000 Indomaret Stores

It is now a lot easier for Indonesians to buy Bitcoin. Bitcoin-co-id, Indonesia’s rising Bitcoin website, has landed a groundbreaking deal with Indomaret to help Indonesia’s over 238 million residents to fund their Bitcoin-co-id accounts. Indonesians now have access to Bitcoin at more than 10,000 Indomaret convenience stores across Indonesia where they can “top up” Indonesian Rupiah on their Bitcoin-co-id account and then trade for Bitcoin.

Join the discussion and read more here.

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