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ChronoPay Looks to Kickstart Bitcoin Adoption in Russia

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ChronoPay, one of Russia’s oldest online payments providers, is including bitcoin to its payment gateway, enabling all of its clients to accept the world’s most popular cryptocurrency.

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“I have publicly criticized bitcoin in the past,” stated ChronoPay founder and chief executive Pavel Vrublevsky, in a phone call with CCN & Hacked today. The former bitcoin skeptic, a controversial figure, has since changed his opinion on bitcoin and cryptocurrencies. “I apologize to everyone – I’ve changed my point of view radically,” he wrote in a public post today, after having “thoroughly studied the subject.”

Established in 2003, ChronoPay is among Russia’s earliest online payment companies. The Moscow-based company is plugged into international payment platforms like VISA, MasterCard, American Express, Maestro and other regional payment systems. Bitcoin will now be among them.

“It’s already enabled,” Vrublevsky tells CCN & Hacked when asked when the company plans begin supporting bitcoin payments on its gateway.

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It is like any other payment method. There will be a bitcoin button next to other payment options during a transaction.

To facilitate payments with the cryptocurrency, Vrublevsky reveals that his company will also provide bitcoin wallets for merchants. A representative for the company revealed that tens of thousands of merchants, “from tiny t-shirt online shops to national industry leaders” are among its clientele.

In particular, two of Russia’s four largest mobile operators are ChronoPay clients, including MTS and Tele2 – the former which is the country’s biggest mobile operator with some 70 million users (2012 figures).

“We are working with 2 of Russia’s largest telecom companies,” confirmed Vrublevsky, who revealed that the billion dollar corporations were interested in bitcoin.

Vrublevsky said of the two telecom giants:

It’s not just about blockchain, they’re interested in the possibility of bitcoin payments.

ChronoPay’s vast clientele includes major retail stores including the likes of Holodilnik.ru; Kupivip.ru, Sony.ru and even BMW.ru. Major news organizations like Kommersant, TheMoscowTimes and Interfax are also clients, as are charity organizations like Greenpeace and WWF among others.

The U-Turn

Such a move by the telecom giants would be significant to be sure, if only because Russian authorities have long harbored an aggressive stance toward bitcoin adopters in the country. This time last year, the Russian Finance Ministry was pushing its bill through the Russian parliament to criminalize and ban bitcoin usage in the country. Indeed, the FinMin proposed a 2-year prison term in February 2016, only to amend it to a 7-year prison term a month later in March. The bill never went through.

Russia’s deputy finance minister Alexei Moiseev has since talked about acknowledging bitcoin in a legal capacity in 2018. Vrublevsky says legalization could be even sooner.

He stated:

The central bank last week announced draft legislation for bitcoin as a commodity. Bitcoin could be legalized this autumn.

“It is a complete U-turn”, added Vrublevsky, referring to the shift in bitcoin’s perception from the central bank, much like his own roundabout.

The reversal in bitcoin’s previously fickle future in Russia has seen the likes of Russia’s largest online retailer, Ulmart, planning to begin accepting bitcoin come September this year. It is all the more remarkable that the retailer was told off by Russia’s central bank from accepting bitcoin payments merely three months ago in February.

Workaround

Still, it’s too early for big companies to show their hand in accepting bitcoin. While ChronoPay will enable bitcoin payments to all its clients, only those with their own bitcoin wallets – also provided by ChronoPay – will be able to accept the cryptocurrency. Big industry giants, like MTS, aren’t among them.

Vrublevsky says he is in the process of circumventing the hurdle, by establishing a workaround in the bitcoin-friendly jurisdiction of Netherlands. “I’m looking at options, possibly establishing a company in Netherlands where it will be safe for companies to have their own bitcoin wallets.”

‘ICOs Changed Everything’

The executive is adamant that the possibilty of raising money from new fundraising mechanisms like ICOs where future coins are exchanged with cryptocurrecies for immediate value. This has awoken companies to the possibility of efficient, easier funding and are in-turn, looking at cryptocurrencies in a new light, according to Vrublevsky, who made a pointed example of HumanIQ ICO. “I’m pushing ChronoPay toward bitcoin and blockchain technologies,” he said, revealing his own plans for an ICO in the future.

The executive is also planning to establish a bitcoin exchange in Russia in the future, presumably when the legislation allows for it.

For now, the bitcoin skeptic-turned-enabler is excited about bringing bitcoin payments to the mainstream in Russia.

“It’s funny,” he tells CCN & Hacked after calling us back following an earlier conversation today.

We are a big storm today in Russia, a storm unlike any in years. I’d like to think it’s because of our bitcoin annnouncement.

This article was brought to you by Hacked.com and CCN.

Featured image from Shutterstock.

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Bitcoin

Bitcoin Hits $100 Billion as Record Rally Continues

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Bitcoin’s epic rally intensified Friday, as the token reached $6,000 for the first time in its history, bringing the total market value above $100 billion.

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Bitcoin’s Fresh Intraday High

BTC/USD touched an intraday high of $6,064.14, bringing its total market cap to $100.8 billion. That’s roughly $85 billion higher than where the market started in January.

At press time, bitcoin was trading around $5,993, up more than 5% on the day. From a technical perspective, the digital currency is considered overbought. However, the technicals are typically less reliable during extreme price movements like we’ve seen in recent weeks. The world’s leading cryptocurrency has added a staggering 520% this year.

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Bitcoin’s rally didn’t really extend to other cryptocurrencies Friday. Ethereum continued to trade just north of $300, while Ripple (XRP) consolidated a hair below 21 U.S. cents.

The cryptocurrency market’s combined market cap is roughly $173.4 billion, which is roughly $3 billion less than the Monday’s peak.

$10,000 Bitcoin?

Bitcoin could be heading north of $10,000 a unit in the not-too-distant future, according to a survey conducted by CNBC. About 49% of the 23,118 people who voted in the CNBC poll said the digital currency will reach the five-figure threshold.

Roughly 16% of respondents said bitcoin prices are heading to between $6,000 and $8,000. About a third selected the Jamie Dimon option by calling bitcoin a fraud.

Though unscientific, the survey clearly shows that the mainstream is paying attention to the rapid acceleration of cryptocurrency. At least a portion of them will investigate the matter further, and likely conclude that digital assets are a welcome addition to their portfolio.

It’s impossible to associate bitcoin’s success with just one catalyst, but it’s clear that institutional support, the allure of the blockchain and favorable regulation in markets like Japan are feeding the rally. An anticipated November hard fork is also helping to shore up price.s

A Day of Milestones

Bullish sentiment also rubbed off on U.S. stocks Friday, with the Dow Jones Industrial Average extending its rally above 23,000. The blue-chip index climbed tacked on 165 points to close at 23,328.63 after the U.S. Senate passed the 2018 budget by the narrowest of margins.

The S&P 500 and Nasdaq Composite also set fresh all-time highs, with financials and industrials leading the rally.

Featured image courtesy of Shutterstock. 

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Analysis

Cryptocurrency Analysis: Bitcoin Tests $6000 as Market Settles Down

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Bitcoin is in the center of attention yet again, as the most valuable coin is knocking on the door of the $100 billion level in market capitalization. The coin touched our long-term target at $6000 on several exchanges, but it’s now trading slightly below the historic level.

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While the rest of the market is quiet, BTC is very active, and it could be in for a volatile weekend, as despite the long-term overbought readings, the short-term uptrend is clearly intact. That said, investors should avoid opening new positions here, and consider lowering their exposure further, while traders should only trade with smaller than usual sizes. Support levels are found at $5400, $5000, and near the $4650 level.

BTC/USD, 4-Hour Chart Analysis

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As the rest of the majors are still recovering from the recent correction, the total value of the segment is below its all-time high, with BTC’s dominance now standing at 57%. Most of the largest coins are little changed, with Monero and Liteocin showing considerable strength and IOTA still being the weakest of the majors. With all attention on BTC let’s see how the most traded altcoins look before the weekend.

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Technical Analysis: Coins Recover from Sell-Off as Bulls Remain in Control

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Following yesterday’s brief but deep correction, the major cryptocurrencies seem to be back on the bullish track, as Bitcoin is leading the segment yet again. With the most valuable coin’s dominant currently near 56%, trading in BTC dwarfs the other crypto markets. That said, most of the majors recovered well after yesterday’s rout, while Bitcoin itself reached as high as $5730 today in early trading, only a few percents off its all-time high.

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The short-term setup is encouraging for bulls, as the coin cleared the overbought short-term momentum readings while remaining inside the rising trend. A rally towards the long-term target at $6000 is still likely, despite the stretched long-term picture. Support levels are found near $5400, around the $5000 level and at $4650.

BTC/USD, 4-Hour Chart Analysis

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Ripple settled down somewhat in early trading but it turned volatile again later on, and the coin is still underperforming the broader market, while Ethereum bounced back well above the $300 level, remaining well below its recent highs. The rest of the market is modestly higher today, although NEO and IOTA are slightly lower still showing a negative correlation with the other majors. Let’s see the short-term charts after the short volatile period.

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