US-based payment processor expands into crypto

A payment processor with a significant footprint in the U.S. has joined forces with tech company Vaultbank to bring crypto payments to retail customers. SpotOn, which provides a payment processing solution to more than 100,000 merchants in the country, will soon include crypto payment transactions to its platform, allowing retailers to accept a number of digital currencies, including Bitcoin Core, Ripple, Ether and Stellar.

According to a company press release, customers will now be able to pay in the currency of their choice and merchants can choose whether or not to almost instantaneously convert crypto payments to fiat, or to hold them in their original form. SpotOn also has additional developments in the pipeline, including the introduction of a crypto-based loyalty rewards program and the ability to buy and sell crypto directly on its platform.

SpotOn President RJ Horsely states, “Today’s ever-evolving digital market demands that merchants need a payment service capable of accepting a wider diversity of currencies including virtual currencies. Our new technology will allow thousands of SpotOn merchants to accept cryptocurrency without having to onboard to another payment processor or manually convert cryptocurrency funds into fiat.”

Vaultbank is a firm that creates, issues and trades financial instruments using the blockchain. SpotOn invested in a seed-funding round held by the company, which is developing a platform that will allow users to buy, sell and spend their crypto assets on a single solution. The Vaultbank website indicates, “The Vaultbank Platform plans to tokenize securities like Mutual Funds, and will be a securities compliant platform that performs KYC [Know Your Customer], AML [anti-money laundering], FATCA [Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act] and Accreditation. Users will be able to buy and sell security tokens and top utility tokens at industry competitive rates.”

Vaultbank Chief Operating Officer Aaron Travis added in the press release, “This partnership empowers the customer to pay in whatever digital currency they want, while the merchant gets paid in what they want, dollars.”

By giving merchants an easy-to-use crypto payments solution, coupled with the ability to convert the funds into fiat, can go a long way to helping crypto be accepted as an alternative payment solution. The market volatility has kept many retailers away, concerned about losing revenue. However, transferring funds to fiat – until the markets stabilize – helps to counter this issue.

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CoinGeek’s Petter Ikekhua: There is nothing like Bitcoin

At the Cryptartica-hosted London BCH Speakers Series II, Petter Ikekhua of CoinGeek shares the top reasons why Bitcoin is a win for merchants.

Why is merchant adoption important for Bitcoin to grow?

The answer, according to Petter Ikekhua of CoinGeek, is simple: because the currency needs to gain value.

“The actions of buyers, people with money, always have to equal the actions of sellers. So if you’re not selling anything, you can’t generate value. And therefore merchant adoption is the most important thing because they are selling things and they have to accept bitcoin cash in order for the currency to gain value,” Ikekhua tells the audience at the recently held London BCH Speakers Series II event.

Ikekhua also explained the top reasons why Bitcoin is a win for merchants, and how he helps merchants onboard Bitcoin as a method of payment. Simply put, the original Bitcoin, now reborn as Bitcoin SV (Satoshi Vision), is the only platform that has proven its ability to scale to enterprise levels—facilitating what is needed for global commerce.

“The reason why Bitcoin is the main currency for merchants is because it’s the only blockchain which has the roadmap to scale to beyond 1GB block size,” Ikekhua said.

Ikekhua also touched on some of the questions or concerns merchants commonly have, explaining that the main challenge isn’t actually about comparing Bitcoin to another payment method or currency.

“The main challenge is actually nothing,” he said. “The option they have is to accept it or do nothing. The reason why is because there is nothing like Bitcoin. Period. It’s very much comparable to new technologies which also faced a very low adoption curve in the beginning … When I speak with businesses, I never position myself in a way where I’m trying to explain that this is a better way than doing Visa payments Mastercard payments or anything similar. It’s about changing their perception of how people would do commerce in the future.”

Ikekhua will join other industry leaders at the CoinGeek Week Conference in London, where they will share their stories about their journey to increase adoption. The conference, taking place at the Mermaid, Puddle Dock in London on November 28-30 (with a special, invitation-only Miners Day event on November 27), is a celebration of the rebirth of the original Bitcoin as Bitcoin SV, and it’s also the perfect opportunity to learn from experts the importance of scaling to enterprise levels on the original Bitcoin chain—now named Bitcoin SV (BSV)—the only platform that has proven its ability to achieve this.

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Tobacco retailers in France to begin selling crypto next year

Beginning New Year’s Day next year, tobacco retailers in France are reportedly going to begin selling cryptocurrency. This is per a radio station out of France, Europe 1, which has stated that the tobacconists will be selling Bitcoin Core (BTC) vouchers in denominations of €50 ($57), €100 ($114) and €250 (US285).

The deal comes about due to a partnership with Keplerk, a French crypto startup. It has signed an agreement with a point-of-sale software provider and will provide a platform that allows customers to purchase BTC and store the digital assets in wallets on the Keplerk platform.

When the system is rolled out, between 3,000 and 4,000 tobacco retailers will have the vouchers available. In speaking with Reuters, Keplerk Director for Strategy and Development Adil Zakhar stated, “Tobacco shop owners are the best channel as they are trusted by customers and they are used to sell vouchers such as credit for mobile phones.”

The transactions won’t be cheap, though. In order to fund the endeavor, Keplerk has stated that all transactions will be assessed a commission of 7%. However, the exposure is going to serve the cryptocurrency industry well. According to the website of Buralistes, the French tobacconist federation, there are around 25,000 tobacco retailers in the country. If the program is successful and is able to be expanded into other venues, it has the potential to boost cryptocurrency adoption.

There have been a few rumors that France’s central bank, Banque De France, had signed off on the Keplerk endeavor. However, it issued a statement this past Wednesday, refuting the rumors and reasserting its warning to investors that cryptocurrencies are “purely speculative and are not currencies,” and that investors looking to trade in crypto do so “entirely at their own risk.”

The bank’s statement is common among most central banks and is to be expected. However, in general, France has been more accepting to cryptocurrencies than other countries. This past April, lawmakers cut in half the capital gains taxes assessed on cryptocurrency assets and financial regulators have been working continuously to develop a framework that will allow the crypto and blockchain industries to flourish in the country.

Note: Tokens on the Bitcoin Core (segwit) Chain are Referred to as BTC coins. Bitcoin Cash (BCH) is today the only Bitcoin implementation that follows Satoshi Nakamoto’s original whitepaper for Peer to Peer Electronic Cash. Bitcoin BCH is the only major public blockchain that maintains the original vision for Bitcoin as fast, frictionless, electronic cash.

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My light-bulb moment: Bitcoin Cash works!

In three previous posts, I have recorded my newbie experiences in crypto:

 – Setting up a wallet
 – Converting pounds to crypto in an exchange
 – Moving the money from the exchange to my wallet

Now we find out whether the whole thing has been worth it: I’m going to try to buy something.

My Bitcoin Cash (BCH) is burning a hole in my virtual pocket. I want to buy something. I Google for suggestions and come across something called the Bitcoin Superstore.

My light-bulb moment: Bitcoin Cash works!

I’m really not sure about it. The business is registered in Florida and has only been going since January – but I decide to give it a go.

When you click on Purchase Now at the top of the page, you find that Bitcoin Superstore doesn’t actually have any products. It buys them for you from other retailers, including Amazon. You’re invited to browse on a retailer’s website and copy the web address of the item you want into a box on the Bitcoin Superstore page.

I have a look on Amazon and decide to try this:

My light-bulb moment: Bitcoin Cash works!

I paste the URL and the product name into the box on Bitcoin Superstore, as instructed:

My light-bulb moment: Bitcoin Cash works!

Now I’m asked to enter the price in US dollars. I find that the £5.99 converts into $7.92, so I put that under >Product Price. (I’m not sure what happens if you aren’t as honest as me about the dollar conversion figure.)

And here’s the summary of my order in dollars – with just $0.16 added in Taxes & Fees:

My light-bulb moment: Bitcoin Cash works!

Now Bitcoin Superstore converts the dollars to BCH and asks me to transfer them to it:

My light-bulb moment: Bitcoin Cash works!

When I confirm the order, Bitcoin Superstore comes up with a QR code that only lasts a few minutes, to show me its address, to send the money to:

My light-bulb moment: Bitcoin Cash works!

I’m now using the Centbee wallet, so I open it on my phone:

My light-bulb moment: Bitcoin Cash works!

The opening screen is a choice between Receive, on the left, and Send, on the right. I press Send. Next, you have to decide how you want tell Centbee who to send the money to:

My light-bulb moment: Bitcoin Cash works!

I choose the top option because I can just scan the QR code that Bitcoin Superstore has created. Now all I have to do is enter the amount in BCH and send the money to Bitcoin Superstore. Done.

Being a little cynical, I thought that would probably be the last I heard of the matter, and that someone in Florida, or someone with a hard-to-trace online connection to Florida would be the happy recipient of my hard-won BCH.

How wrong I was.

Less than 24 hours later, an Amazon package arrives on my doorstep. In it, the light bulb. Thank you Bitcoin Superstore – that’s great service!

My light-bulb moment: Bitcoin Cash works!

So was it a good deal? Well, as I write, the BCH I spent is worth £5.97, so the whole thing saved me two pence compared to what I would have paid on Amazon. It could have been up or down a bit depending on currency movements but the point is that it wasn’t substantially more expensive than the cost in pounds, even with the small Bitcoin Superstore fee included.

And as you get used to it, the basic process of payment is simple – not much more than the photographing of the QR code, and the pressing of Send.

As an idea, crypto isvery different. But anyone who’s grown up in the past few decades will have experienced a series of new technologies – email, websites, social media, smartphones – that were a little clunky when they started but which users have grown to appreciate while they improved, and which they now feel they couldn’t live without. Given its potential usefulness, it’ll be surprising if the same doesn’t happen to crypto.

And funnily enough, some other light bulbs that I ordered from Amazon in the normal way didn’t turn up and I have had to spend time trying to get a refund. Crypto works!

Note: Tokens on the Bitcoin Core (segwit) Chain are Referred to as BTC coins. Bitcoin Cash (BCH) is today the only Bitcoin implementation that follows Satoshi Nakamoto’s original whitepaper for Peer to Peer Electronic Cash. Bitcoin BCH is the only major public blockchain that maintains the original vision for Bitcoin as fast, frictionless, electronic cash.

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Coinseed offers crypto “cash back” program

A relatively new startup that has been flying under the radar is preparing to give cryptocurrencies an economic boost. Coinseed is going to include a new feature in its app that will offer a cash back loyalty program that will reward consumers by giving them crypto based on purchase volumes with retailers such as Walmart, eBay, Panasonic and more.

The Delaware, U.S.-based company indicates that users of its app will be able to make purchases at a variety of online merchants and pay with a debit or credit card. A percentage of the amount spent will be returned to the shopper in the form of cryptocurrency and the amounts can range from 1-8%. Users can choose between the different currencies supported by Coinseed, which currently number 13 and include Bitcoin BCH, Bitcoin Core, Ethereum and more.

Coinseed now offers an app that allows users to purchase crypto with their spare change when making online purchases. Purchase amounts can be rounded up, with the difference sent to a user’s wallet. It also allows for recurring crypto purchases and one-time investments.

According to a statement by the company, “Coinseed is an application that allows users to effortlessly invest small sums into their customized cryptocurrency portfolio. The app’s most innovative feature allows users to connect their credit card to a portfolio, round every purchase made with the card up to the nearest dollar, and automatically invest these cents into the portfolio.”

Coinseed is a trading and investment app that is available for both Android and iOS devices. It allows users to trade a number of cryptocurrencies with a single click. It also includes a simulated trading platform where users can experiment with their own market analysis without risking their assets, as well as weekly trading tournaments.

Coinseed launched at the end of last and held an initial coin offering (ICO) for its own CSD token this past March. The platform had initially been made available internationally, but had to pull back in order to receive financial approval in the countries where it wanted to operate. According to the company’s website, it is now only available in the U.S., but plans on adding support for additional countries as soon as it receives regulatory approval.

Note: Tokens on the Bitcoin Core (segwit) Chain are Referred to as BTC coins. Bitcoin Cash (BCH) is today the only Bitcoin implementation that follows Satoshi Nakamoto’s original whitepaper for Peer to Peer Electronic Cash. Bitcoin BCH is the only major public blockchain that maintains the original vision for Bitcoin as fast, frictionless, electronic cash.

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Buy gift cards at Bitcoin.com Store with Bitcoin BCH

The Bitcoin.com Store went through a major facelift last week that saw the inclusion of additional products, such as new merchandise, art, hardware devices and paraphernalia. Since then, it has continued to add new products in an effort to expand its large line of offerings, and has now gone one step further. The store has partnered with Egifter, a gift card service, and customers can now purchase gift cards for any of more than 300 retailers.

The Egifter Marketplace has been integrated, in a way, into the Bitcoin.com Store. The store will provide an interface to the marketplace to browse and purchase any of the available cards. Among the retail options are Best Buy, AutoZone, Dunkin Donuts, Banana Republic, Applebees, the California Pizza Kitchen and many more.

After making the card selections, users proceed to the checkout page on the store’s site and can make payments with Bitcoin BCH. The store uses Bitpay to process payments and, as such, payments must be made through a crypto wallet that is compatible with the Bitpay Payment Protocol. Once the purchase is complete, the customers will receive a virtual gift card corresponding to their store, or stores, of choice.

According to Bitcoin.com’s eCommerce Manager, Blake Moore, Bitcoin BCH enthusiasts now have hundreds of more reasons to appreciate the digital currency. He said, “Well over 300 cards from the world’s top brands are now available to our valued users which adds a great deal of accessibility.”

Bitcoin.com isn’t just the name behind a store. It offers a range of products, including a mining operation, a news service and a wallet. The wallet has been downloaded more than a million times from the Google Play Store and reportedly has more than 3 million users worldwide. The company is owned by Roger Ver, who recently announced that the company could be considering the launch of a cryptocurrency exchange.

The continued dedication of Bitcoin BCH enthusiasts is showing why the cryptocurrency is the world’s number one digital currency alternative to fiat. It is the only crypto that still adheres to the original design of digital currency as set forth by Satoshi Nakamoto. It continues to receive global merchant adoption and is now used by millions of retailers around the world.

Note: Tokens on the Bitcoin Core (segwit) Chain are Referred to as BTC coins. Bitcoin Cash (BCH) is today the only Bitcoin implementation that follows Satoshi Nakamoto’s original whitepaper for Peer to Peer Electronic Cash. Bitcoin BCH is the only major public blockchain that maintains the original vision for Bitcoin as fast, frictionless, electronic cash.

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Marks Jewelers now accepts Bitcoin BCH, other cryptocurrencies

One of the most enduring jewelry retailers and designers in the US has decided to embrace cryptocurrencies. Pennsylvania-based Marks Jewelers announced in a press release yesterday that it has partnered with Shopping Cart Elite, an eCommerce payment platform, to give customers the ability to pay for their fine jewelry purchases with a variety of digital currencies.

Marks now accepts Bitcoin BCH, Bitcoin Core (BTC), Bitcoin Diamond (BCD), Bitcoin Gold (BTG), Ether (ETH), Litecoin (LTC), ZCoin (XZC) and Dash (DASH). It is the first time a major US-based retailer with a large physical presence has embraced cryptocurrency and shows how crypto is continuing to expand to fulfill its intended purpose – to be used as currency.

According to Marks Jewelers Director of Marketing Joshua Rubin, “We’re very excited to begin accepting cryptocurrency payments from our customers around the world. This will allow us to make our fine jewelry available to the global market while paying lower fees and avoiding chargebacks. Marks has long been known for our meticulous craftsmanship and curated selection, and we are thrilled to open our store to the world.”

Opening up its payment capabilities to crypto gives Marks’ customers access to its large portfolio of fine jewelry “with lightning-fast transactions that take just minutes to process.” Since cryptocurrency transaction fees are substantially lower than those associated with bank transfers and credit cards, “Marks Jewelers is able to pass on even more savings to customers buying their next dazzling piece of jewelry,” according to the announcement.

Marks has been around for over 35 years. The company doesn’t just provide resale options for jewelry; it designs jewelry, as well. The company has five gemologists that graduated from the Gemological Institute of America on its payroll to ensure that the quality of diamonds and gemstones is a cut above the rest. It is partnered with Forevermark, a company under the DeBeers umbrella of jewelers.

Shopping Cart Elite is an eCommerce platform that gives companies the ability to automate their businesses. It is gaining traction as a crypto payment facilitator and is capable of being integrated into any eCommerce platform, including those that are listed on large retail sites such as Amazon, NewEgg, Etsy and Walmart, among others.

Note: Tokens on the Bitcoin Core (segwit) Chain are Referred to as BTC coins. Bitcoin Cash (BCH) is today the only Bitcoin implementation that follows Satoshi Nakamoto’s original whitepaper for Peer to Peer Electronic Cash. Bitcoin BCH is the only major public blockchain that maintains the original vision for Bitcoin as fast, frictionless, electronic cash.

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BitPay continues to innovate and enhance the cryptocurrency ecosystem

Only a couple of weeks ago, the blockchain-based payment services company BitPay announced that it had incorporated into its platform the ability for merchants to receive payouts in Bitcoin BCH. It was just the latest example of how the company is striving to stay at the forefront of innovation in order to drive cryptocurrency adoption around the world. BitPay is working tirelessly to help create a worldwide payment system that is efficient, user-friendly and adaptable, and is constantly exploring new ideas and options to help shape the digital currency market of tomorrow.

Since the end of last year, BitPay has implemented the Bitcoin Payment Protocol, BIP70, as the standard for paying BitPay invoices. BIP70 is an enhanced protocol that allows for better communication between a merchant and their customer and provides better security against man-in-the-middle attacks during the payment process. That change took the error rate down to 0.27%.

BIP70 also works to ensure that transactions are conducted only for the proper amount, helping to avoid payment mistakes. Payments that are too large or too small, or that take too long to arrive can be rejected and refunded thanks to BIP70.

Things weren’t always so great at the company. Last year, it fell behind in customer service due to the explosive growth of cryptocurrencies, but quickly righted the ship and got back on course. Now, user requests receive a response within two hours and a complete answer within 24 hours. The customer support team, which now is 500% larger, is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week and is dedicated to providing the best customer experience possible. As of its most recent evaluation, BitPay reports that only 1.4% of all BitPay invoices need any assistance from the company’s Customer Success team.

In an effort to stay ahead and ensure that the Customer Success team is able to handle the amount of traffic adequately and provide top-level responses, BitPay is now launching four new initiatives. It is going to have a staff component of subject matter experts, another of customer success engineers and a third component of customer success managers. The fourth component centers on a support form that is updated more frequently to provide real-time answers to common questions.

The cryptocurrency industry is losing its “Wild West” image. It may take a while, but evidence is seen of this every day, especially through advances such as those offered by BitPay.

Note: Tokens on the Bitcoin Core (segwit) Chain are Referred to as BTC coins. Bitcoin Cash (BCH) is today the only Bitcoin implementation that follows Satoshi Nakamoto’s original whitepaper for Peer to Peer Electronic Cash. Bitcoin BCH is the only major public blockchain that maintains the original vision for Bitcoin as fast, frictionless, electronic cash.

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