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MasterCard Could Be Your Best Friend

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Since just after the financial crisis, I have been searching for a way to beat MasterCard and Visa at their own game. These two brands dominate the business of processing debit and credit card transactions.  I have always considered this duopoly as the enemy of mankind, but could turn out to be a hasty judgement.

MasterCard and Visa don’t actually process transactions as much as they offer an electronic network and charge fees for the use of their name.  They collect about 0.11% per card swipe which ain’t much until you consider they are running more than 150,000 transactions per minute through their network.  Pretty nice business to be in. All together, the two will generate about $30 billion this year.

The problem with both of these guys is that it is impossible to get around them.  If you buy something anywhere in the world with a debit or credit card, it is almost guaranteed to run on either the Visa or MasterCard network.  In which case, in addition to the 0.11% taken out for the network, the store that accepts your purchase pays anywhere from 3% to often as much as 5% in total for processing fees.  And if you travel abroad and charge something, well forget about it. Everywhere along the network are intermediaries taking their nick of your wallet.

When foreign currency transaction fees are taken into account, that is where more intermediaries are included.  That is where the costs add much higher and that is often where the consumer is hurt most.

Fighting Back

The whole idea behind blockchain technology is to make transactions of all types fast with little or no dependency on intermediaries.  All this makes MasterCard and Visa the enemy of cryptocurrency developers. But neither of these brands are sitting still applying for patents on blockchain based payments methods.

The natural reaction is to sell to sell your crypto and find some easier way to earn a decent return.  We disagree: we think there is crypto to be made from MasterCards strategy. Here is why you should be encouraged.

ome time back, MasterCard applied for a patent on blockchain technology that created a link between crypto and fiat currencies. MasterCard is not alone, as there are any number of crypto projects with the same idea.  Recently we looked at TenX and there are others.

Using TenX for comparison, MasterCard’s recently awarded patent offers to convert crypto to fiat using the existing MasterCard network.  TenX and many others plan either create their own high speed mainnet or use the Ethereum platform.

In head to head competition, this gives MasterCard a sizable advantage since MC is pretty much accepted by merchants everywhere.  As much as I hate the duopoly represented my MC and Visa, right now they could turn out to be the best thing to happen for one simple reason.  They will unquestionable accelerate mass acceptance of crypto.

Their existing network and transaction speed, immediately solves the lingering Bitcoin/Ethereum issue of scalability.  In addition as observers have pointed out, both MC and Visa have had systems in place to identify fraudulent transactions.

Having said all of this, is MasterCard going to kill all other crypto payment wanabys like TenX and others? Before concluding the answer is yes, consider this.  In their recently released quarterly review to shareholders, MasterCard reported net income of $2.33 billion on revenue of $5.24 billion. That is a whopping profit margin of 44.5%!  This towers over extraordinarily profitable companies like Apple at 20.3% or the average US corporation at less than 10%.

When MasterCard’s blockchain system goes into use, it will plump up those already MC margins. So, as a crypto investor, you have to ask yourself, do you actually think that MC will pass on those savings or wallow in the cost savings?  The answer is pretty obvious.

MasterCard Could Be The Best News

Crypto naysayers are the first to deny that Bitcoin and others are a legitimate medium of exchange.  This is based largely on the limited number of mainstream merchants that are in the crypto loop. MasterCard could help take crypto mainstream and that would be a good thing for major names like Bitcoin, Bitcoin Cash and Ether.  And with the payments processing business dealing in over $50 trillion in transactions annually, there will be room for startups offering high speed scalability at lower cost. It will not happen this year but it will happen.

Featured image courtesy of Shutterstock.

Important: Never invest (trade with) money you can't afford to comfortably lose. Always do your own research and due diligence before placing a trade. Read our Terms & Conditions here. Trade recommendations and analysis are written by our analysts which might have different opinions. Read my 6 Golden Steps to Financial Freedom here. Best regards, Jonas Borchgrevink.

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4.4 stars on average, based on 114 rated postsJames Waggoner is a veteran Wall Street analyst and hedge fund manager who has spent the past few years researching the fintech possibilities of cryptocurrencies. He has a special passion for writing about the future of crypto.




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  1. Dominik78

    August 5, 2018 at 5:28 am

    Interesting information, but there are a number of grammar (and 1 or 2 spelling) mistakes that make this not flow as well as it could.

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Cardano Price Analysis: ADA/USDT is Eyeing a Big Move Out of Current Technical Setup

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  • Positive update from IOHK audit of Icarus by Kudelski Security.
  • ADA/USDT is moving within a pennant pattern formation, subject to breakout.

Solid Icarus Audit reported by IOHK

IOHK recently announced in their forum that an audit was conducted by Kudelski Security, which is an independent and third-party security audit firm. The audit conducted demonstrated that the Icarus project implementation for Cardano looks all good and set to go, without any major problems. However, a few changes may need to be executed. IOHK developed the Icarus code as a reference implementation, for Cardano light portfolio.

The important of “independent audits, like this one was stressed by IOHK. Stating “they are critical for identifying security issues in the Icarus wallet, that may not have been identified by internal audits”.

Furthermore, IOHK has elucidated Icarus as an open source code base serving as a reference for the creation of safer and easier mobile wallets for Cardano. They said, “this guarantees our customers and clients the safest portfolio we can offer.”  Given the benefit of an external audit, the developers can resolve any problems identified during its product launch audit.

Positive Updates from Cardano Founder

Cardano’s founder, Charles Hoskinson, was recently commenting on Cardano’s future. He said “We have so many amazing things coming out.”

Mr Hoskinson further added that one of their scientists has flown in from Switzerland. They will be doing a video, which will be the first time they have ever talked about their sharding design that we have for Cardano. Further commenting on other updates, including videos about Shelley and the Rust project.

Technical Review – Daily Chart

ADA/USDT daily chart

ADA/USDT is moving within a triangular pattern or a pennant formation, as seen via the daily time frame. It is narrowing, moving closer to a breakout. Ranging ahead of another drop to the deep south. Although, fundamental developments coming out from the Cardano foundation, remain very much upbeat currently.

Over the past 8 days, the price has been grinding higher, after receiving support at the lower trend line of the above-mentioned pattern. In terms of resistance to the upside, this can be seen at 0.08310000. The upper tracking trend line. Further north, a supply zone is running from 0.09000000-0.09500000. ADA/USDT  last traded here on 23rd September. Finally, support is tracking at 0.071800000, lower part of the pennant, also within a demand area. Another strong buying territory is observed from 0.06500000-0.06000000.

Disclaimer: The author owns bitcoin, Ethereum and other cryptocurrencies. He holds investment positions in the coins, but does not engage in short-term or day-trading.

Featured image courtesy of Shutterstock.

Important: Never invest (trade with) money you can't afford to comfortably lose. Always do your own research and due diligence before placing a trade. Read our Terms & Conditions here. Trade recommendations and analysis are written by our analysts which might have different opinions. Read my 6 Golden Steps to Financial Freedom here. Best regards, Jonas Borchgrevink.

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4.5 stars on average, based on 33 rated postsKen has over 8 years exposure to the financial markets. During a large part of his career, he worked as an analyst, covering a variety of asset classes; forex, fixed income, commodities, equities and cryptocurrencies. Ken has gone on to become a regular contributor across several large news and analysis outlets.




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Zcash (ZEC) Up 16% For Week as Sapling Hardfork Approaches

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Privacy coin Zcash (ZEC) gained 16% on its value from Monday through to Saturday as anticipation builds regarding the upcoming Sapling update.

The update, which will require a hardfork, aims to make improvements to shielded addresses, including reducing the time it takes to create them and the amount of memory used when doing so.

October proved to be a productive month for Zcash, with the coin recently being added to the Bitnovo platform, which will see ZEC become available for purchase in over 20,000 physical stores throughout Spain and Italy.

ZEC/USD

In the calendar week leading up to Saturday, Oct 20th, ZEC climbed just over 16% against the dollar, on its way from a valuation of $107.54 up to Saturday afternoon’s peak of $1124.96.

Trade volumes grew steadily in that time, without much violent fluctuation. Instead, overall trade movement rose quietly from $57 million to $83 million, suggesting a more ‘natural’ progression than many spikes of late.

Saturday’s peak marked a weekly high for ZEC, and stands higher than the valuation with which the coin opened the month. With that said, the monthly high of $145 which landed towards the end of September is still some way off.

Sapling Hardfork

The Zcash twitter team have been building up the anticipation all week in the lead up to the Sapling update, and have earmarked October 28th for the initiation date – as per the Saturday’s tweet:

“Activation block 419200 will be mined October 28, 2018 18:21 UTC-05:00 assuming 150 seconds/block.”

The update is expected to improve the ZEC blockchain’s handling of shielded addresses. According to a recent blog post:

“Sapling is a network upgrade that introduces significant efficiency improvements for shielded transactions that will pave the way for broad mobile, exchange and vendor adoption of Zcash shielded addresses.”

More details on the update can be read here.

Zcash Gets Bitnovo Integration

The other big piece of news to come out of the Zcash camp this week is the Bitnovo integration. Bitnovo facilitates in the buying and selling of prepaid cryptocurrency vouchers, which can be filled with a choice of various currencies. According to this week’s tweet:

“You can now purchase $ZEC #Zcash at over 20.000 stores in Spain and Italy with @bitnovo with full privacy and straight to your favorite wallet!”

The firm also deal in refillable cryptocurrency credit cards which users can use in physical stores, while offering up crypto ATM’s to store owners and businesses.

How much the Bitnovo deal will boost Zcash’s numbers remains to be seen, but having the ZEC ticker plastered across products in mainstream stores is sure to increase its recognition.

Besides that, Zcash remains one of the as of yet unlisted coins among the five which Coinbase singled out earlier this year. Basic Attention Token recently pumped on the Coinbase anticipation, and ZEC’s turn may also be coming before long.

Disclaimer: The author owns bitcoin, Ethereum and other cryptocurrencies. He holds investment positions in the coins, but does not engage in short-term or day-trading.

Featured image courtesy of Shutterstock.

Important: Never invest (trade with) money you can't afford to comfortably lose. Always do your own research and due diligence before placing a trade. Read our Terms & Conditions here. Trade recommendations and analysis are written by our analysts which might have different opinions. Read my 6 Golden Steps to Financial Freedom here. Best regards, Jonas Borchgrevink.

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4.4 stars on average, based on 81 rated postsGreg Thomson is a full-time crypto writer and digital nomad. He eats ICOs for breakfast and bleeds altcoins. Wherever he lays his public key is his home.




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Is BTC Still the Real Bitcoin? Not According to Roger Ver

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Anyone familiar with Roger Ver may have already heard him proclaim the benefits of Bitcoin Cash (BCH), while deriding the development path taken by Bitcoin (BTC).

That development path has been largely guided by the overseeing hand of Blockstream – a privately funded company which has itself provided much of the funding for Bitcoin’s development.

A Departure from the BTC Vision

While Roger Ver’s constant assault on Blockstream and BTC on Twitter may prove irksome to some – it does appear to be founded on genuine reasons. Ver believes that features like the Lightning Network and Liquid Network detract from the original ideals set forth by Satoshi Nakamoto in the original Bitcoin whitepaper.

Furthermore, Ver and many others maintain that Blockstream purposely derailed the development of Bitcoin, purely so that they could then step in and get rich selling a product that was never needed in the first place.

As Ver recently told his Twitter followers:

“Supporters of lightning network intentionally crippled the world’s best working and most popular cryptocurrency (Bitcoin) in an attempt to push people onto something that doesn’t work, isn’t ready yet, and may never be able to work!”

The crippling of Bitcoin Ver refers to is the refusal by Blockstream to increase block sizes in order to increase scalability. What many believe should have been a straightforward issue – and one that was even touted by Satoshi Nakamoto himself – eventually became a farce.

Rather than increase block sizes on the Bitcoin blockchain to hold more transactions, Blockstream instead decided to create and sell their own products, such as sidechains and the Liquid Network, in order to solve the (self-sustained) scalability problem.

Earlier this week, Ver tweeted:

“BTC is the only coin in existence with intentionally limited on-chain capacity.”

Conflict of Interest?

As for Blockstream, they have made no secret of their intentions to make money from their Bitcoin activities. The company plans to provide sidechain services for investors using the newly created Liquid Network – a system which sees Bitcoin swapped out for a pegged sidechain token.

Some people may see a conflict of interest here. But even if we put conspiracies and speculation aside, this tweet by Blockstream CEO Adam Back suggests they aren’t too interested in maintaining the Bitcoin mainchain:

“I bet they’d pay $100/tx for digital gold, and mid-sized international remittance, I would. Still be really good if fees were much lower.”

The tweet refers to speculation on what the future price of a Bitcoin transaction would be, and seems to confirm that Blockstream see Bitcoin as a remittance tool for large-scale investors, rather than cheap, efficient P2P digital cash.

When Bitcoin started it was supposed to be a decentralized, permission-less, trust-less, immutable and therefore uncensorable alternative to the existing financial hierarchies and centralized infrastructures.

Even if you like the idea of Lightning Network hubs, block producers, and state channels, one thing you can’t say about them is that they’re decentralized, permission-less or trust-less.

Bitcoin Cash (BCH) was forked from Bitcoin in 2017 after many in the BTC community became dissatisfied with the blockchain’s direction. Bitcoin Cash essentially acts as the pre-Blockstream version of Bitcoin.

Disclaimer: The author owns bitcoin, Ethereum and other cryptocurrencies. He holds investment positions in the coins, but does not engage in short-term or day-trading.

Featured image courtesy of Shutterstock.

Important: Never invest (trade with) money you can't afford to comfortably lose. Always do your own research and due diligence before placing a trade. Read our Terms & Conditions here. Trade recommendations and analysis are written by our analysts which might have different opinions. Read my 6 Golden Steps to Financial Freedom here. Best regards, Jonas Borchgrevink.

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4.4 stars on average, based on 81 rated postsGreg Thomson is a full-time crypto writer and digital nomad. He eats ICOs for breakfast and bleeds altcoins. Wherever he lays his public key is his home.




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