In this article, Ripple always refers to the company formerly known as Ripple Labs, Inc. The token native to the Ripple protocol is referred to as XRP or ripples.
Ah Ripple, the black sheep of crypto. Despite its success in funding rounds, adoption by major players in Fintech, and a breathtaking rise in the value of XRP, opinions about the currency still vary widely.
One of the main points of criticism comes from the centralized nature of the network due to validator selection, which means it does not rely on distributed actors to reach consensus. Despite this, XRP is one of the leading cryptocurrencies today. Ripple has seen success by concentrating on corporate adoption: the circulating supply of ripples surpasses $40B in market capitalization today.
Ripple, in an effort to create a global network of banks, payment providers and individuals, has released three products that form what is known as RippleNet: xCurrent, xRapid and xVia. Using these services, payments can be settled in multiple different forms (fiat, tokens and/or loyalty rewards, and cryptocurrencies) quickly and cheaply.
The main benefit of this technology is clear: it significantly lowers the cost to send and receive funds for both institutions and individuals compared to alternatives such as bank transfers. Due to the network’s efficiency and reliability, settling transactions is a consistent, pleasant experience
Thanks to RippleNet’s centralized nature and the 4 seconds required for confirmation, Ripple processes transactions much faster and on a larger scale than most other crypto alternatives. RippleNet is able to process 1,500 transactions per second on a regular basis with a maximum limit of 50,000 transactions per second, comparable to credit payment giant VISA. This capacity puts it far ahead of Ripple’s competitors: Ethereum can handle about 1% of this load and Bitcoin 0.5%.
Often referred to simply as “Ripple,” XRP is the token native to RippleNet and is required to use xRapid, Ripple’s ‘low cost liquidity’ service, but not xCurrent or xVia (still in development). On xRapid, it is used as a currency and a mechanism to prevent spam, as accounts needs to have at least 20 ripples to send transactions on RippleNet so that they can pay the required fee to transmit transactions. It is a deflationary currency: all 100 billion ripples were minted at its creation and no more ripples will ever be produced. xRapid operations consume a small portion of XRP, diminishing the supply over time and increasing its value.
Ripples are also great at providing liquidity for banks and market makers. The strongest case for this liquidity is the ability to capitalize on currency corridors with very low volume, as it makes opening low-value channels economical, and thus expands their coverage and creates new opportunities.
Currently, the high volatility associated with cryptocurrencies is a discouraging factor for banks who would want to hold XRP assets. With its quick confirmation time lowering the risk of slippage, it’s possible for financial institutions to acquire tokens just before initiating a transaction and liquidating them once the transaction has been completed. If volatility decreases, holding pools of ripples will likely be beneficial as it negates the need for nostro accounts.
XRP can also be used by individuals through the official wallet and can almost entirely eliminate fees for transmitting money. Also, as with many cryptocurrencies at the moment, many individuals simply hold XRP as an investment, speculating that the value will increase. Since XRP can be traded on multiple popular exchanges, and has extremely quick confirmation time and minimal fees, it is a popular currency to transfer between exchanges.
Since their first angel investment rounds in 2013 (back when it was OpenCoin), Ripple has experienced steady adoption from banking and fintech giants around the world, with many adopters choosing to go a step further and invest directly in the startup. The first institution using Ripple officially was German bank Fidor (now part of Groupe BCPE), but since then, many other institutions have joined up. Ripple’s flagship service, xCurrent, is especially popular with banks and fintech firms. Its messaging system and interledger protocol have been particularly useful.
As interest grew, Ripple developed the RippleNet Rulebook, along with the RippleNet Advisory Board. According to them: “The objective of the Rulebook is to create a legal framework that ensures optimal working relationships with all network participants and a seamless experience for the end user.”
RippleNet Advisory Board Members
At the moment, multiple pilot projects that include the use of xRapid are underway, including companies like Moneygram. Due to growing partnerships, Ripple has been described as a threat to companies like Western Union, which has since launched its own pilot program with Ripple. This level of corporate adoption is credited as one of the major reasons for the spectacular increase in the price of XRP token throughout 2017, especially during December.
Ripple’s development has been clearly focused on making payments and remittances more efficient from the get-go. Here is a look at Ripple’s journey:
Despite being criticized for going against the decentralized ideal that spawned Bitcoin and many other cryptocurrencies, Ripple and its token, XRP, have enjoyed success in terms of both corporate and individual investor adoption.
One of the oldest cryptocurrencies, Litecoin has been around for over 6 years, a veritable senior citizen in the world of cryptocurrencies. It seems like Litecoin has always been in Bitcoin’s shadow; even in the original announcement for the project, the concept of Litecoin was described as being the “silver to Bitcoin’s gold,” which seems to suit this unassuming altcoin just fine. While Litecoin may never become as valuable as Bitcoin, it shares a lot of the same practical uses. Throughout its history, Litecoin has been a reliable coin for transactions and a relatively stable store of value.
Litecoin was created in 2011 by Charlie Lee, launching on October 13 of that year. By the end of 2013, it already reached a $1 Billion USD market cap. Like Bitcoin, Litecoin has seen both rapid price rises and dramatic drops. Most recently, in December 2017, the price climbed from roughly $100 per coin to over $350 in less than 5 days. Much of those gains have already been wiped out however in the recent cryptocurrency crash, sinking the value of Litecoin to as low as $145.
While Litecoin is slightly different than Bitcoin – it features bigger blocks and a shorter block confirmation time to allow it to process more transactions for lower fees – Litecoin still uses much of the same underlying technology and principles as Bitcoin. One important difference from Bitcoin is Litecoin’s use of Scrypt (pronounced “ess crypt”) as part of its proof-of-work algorithm, as opposed to a more straightforward version of Hashcash which is used by Bitcoin. One result of using Scrypt for Litecoin’s proof-of-work is that in most cases ASIC machines designed for Bitcoin mining are incompatible with Litecoin mining.
Litecoin is not an exact copy of Bitcoin, but it is similar enough that people have asked if there is even a need for Litecoin to exist. Throughout its history, and especially in the past year, Litecoin has not only shown that there is room for Bitcoin alternatives, but also how important Bitcoin clones can be when trying to solve core cryptocurrency issues.
The Need for Bitcoin Alternatives
While many altcoins look to challenge Bitcoin’s dominance as the top cryptocurrency, Litecoin came about as more of a companion coin. Even in 2011, Charlie Lee realized that Bitcoin had limitations, especially for merchants who wanted to accept small value transactions relatively quickly.
In 2017, Bitcoin’s rise in popularity led to scaling problems that congested the network and led to high transaction fees, making it an inefficient cryptocurrency for low-value transactions. In December, when Bitcoin transaction fees spiked, many cryptocurrency enthusiasts turned to alternatives such as Litecoin for faster, less costly transactions.
With the Bitcoin network saturated, Litecoin transactions climbed from fewer than 40,000 per day throughout 2017 to over 50,000 per day in early December, topping 100,000 per day later in the month! Litecoin daily transactions peaked at more than 225,000 transactions on January 4, 2018, an impressive figure but still lower than Bitcoin’s daily transactions even during calm periods.
Segwit, Lightning Network, and Litecoin as Technological Testing Ground
When Bitcoin began growing faster than its network could scale and a change had to be made, the community turned to Segregated Witness (SegWit), a solution that Litecoin had already successfully implemented.
When Litecoin activated SegWit in May 2017, its price doubled almost immediately. With SegWit activated, developers could take advantage of the upgrade to test out even more ambitious technology, including the Lightning Network. Lightning Network creates ‘channels’ between users, allowing them to exchange cryptocurrency instantly without waiting for blockchain confirmation.
Both SegWit and Lightning Network were first introduced to Litecoin before eventually being adopted by Bitcoin, demonstrating the benefits of having stable Bitcoin alternatives within the cryptocurrency ecosystem.
Charlie Lee’s Controversial Sell
2017 saw incredible highs for many cryptocurrencies, with many coins peaking in late December. On December 20, Lee announced via Twitter and Reddit that he had sold almost all of his Litecoin. At the time, Litecoin was trading at an all-time high, briefly crossing over $350 per coin.
In a brief post, Lee stated that holding Litecoin while frequently discussing the price movement of Litecoin created a conflict of interest. He realized that he had considerable power over potential price moves with his statements, so to resolve this conflict he decided to sell his Litecoins.
Statement from Charlie Lee:
Soon after Lee’s declaration, the price of Litecoin retreated about 33% and eventually fell as much as 60% from its all-time high, dropping below $150 in January.
Since his initial announcement, Lee clarified that he will continue to play an important role in Litecoin’s development and hopes to be a part of the project long enough to help it surpass its all-time high from late 2017. However, he also said that he believes for Litecoin to succeed in its ultimate goal and become truly decentralized, he will eventually need to take a step back.
Seeing how people lost trust because I sold makes me more convinced that it was the right move. Litecoin was too centralized and dependent on me. Eventually, for Litecoin to succeed, I need to step away. But I promise I won’t do that until I’ve helped LTC climb back past the ATH.
— Charlie Lee [LTC] (@SatoshiLite) December 31, 2017
Here’s a look at some of the important milestones in Litecoin’s history:
While Litecoin may have a long way to go before returning to its all-time high, this coin’s long history and relative stability make it one of the backbones of the cryptocurrency market. Several exchanges use Litecoin as a base trading pair, meaning users can trade less popular altcoins into Litecoin and then use Litecoin to buy other emerging coins.
2017 has been a breakout year for cryptocurrency. Not only Bitcoin, but altcoins such as Ethereum, Dash and Litecoin have also seen amazing increases in value this year. However, this creation of wealth has left many people asking: How can I protect my cryptocurrency?
Cryptocurrencies are decentralized, giving people the opportunity to take away the middleman: you are your own bank. However, this also means that you are responsible for protecting your cryptocurrency.
It takes understanding and responsibility to protect your cryptocurrency and to keep it secure. You don’t want someone to hack your machine and steal your valuable cryptocurrencies.
If this is too much pressure, services like Payza and online cryptocurrency exchanges can be used to hold and protect coins on your behalf. These companies take the responsibility of holding your Bitcoin and altcoins, making it less likely that your coins will one day be lost.
Here are some things to consider when securing your cryptocurrency:
Hacking and phishing attacks are among the biggest security threats to your cryptocurrencies, so you must set strong passwords for your wallets and all accounts that deal with cryptocurrencies.
Keep these tips in mind when setting up or using your cryptocurrency accounts:
- Use different passwords for every account you use to limit any damage that can be done by hackers.
- Use a unique email when opening accounts on each exchange and only use that email address for that specific exchange.
- Enable two-factor authentication for your exchange accounts. This adds a software to your smartphone which adds extra security to your account. Without two-factor authentication, a hacker only needs your username and password to empty your balance.
- Don’t store your wallets and passwords in the same place or an attacker can gain access to both your passwords and your wallet at the same time.
- Never mention what exchange or wallet you use on social media or online forums. Any information you post online can be turned against you.
- Maintain backups of your cryptocurrency wallets and recovery phrases to ensure your coins aren’t lost for good if something happens to your main device. External hard drives, USB sticks, and encrypted backup files can be used to secure your recovery options and programs like VeraCrypt can encrypt these sensitive files.
Difference Between Wallets & Exchanges
When dealing with cryptocurrencies you usually have to deal with private keys. Private keys are used to access your wallet and to authenticate transactions. If you lose access to your wallets, private keys can also help you recover them. A private key is unlikely to be hacked but it can be discovered in other ways, so the most important thing you can do is protect your private key by not sharing it.
When you control your private keys, you have full control over your cryptocurrency. This is the key feature of most wallets. However, securely handling a private key is a big responsibility and when your coins are kept in an exchange, these exchanges will hold your cryptocurrency for you.
Exchanges are made for, well, exchanging. You can use them to convert your cryptocurrency into other cryptocurrencies or into fiat. Because you don’t have as much control over coins held in an exchange, you may face withdrawal limits and processing delays when you are ready to move your coins. When using multiple exchanges, it’s a good idea to divide your cryptocurrency among them. Don’t keep all your cryptocurrency in one place. This will spread out your risk and makes it harder for someone to compromise all of your accounts.
While an exchange is better suited to help you convert cryptocurrencies, a wallet is better for storing and sending coins. With a wallet, you have full control over your coins, and you get to decide exactly when you want to move your coins and where you want to send them.
Understanding the Different Types of Wallets
A cryptocurrency wallet is a secure digital wallet where you store, send and receive your cryptocurrencies. Most coins have an official “core” wallet, usually issued by the same team that worked on the software of the coin itself. As secure as they are, these wallets can be very heavy. In computing terms, this means they contain a lot of data, which uses a lot of space on your hard drive and a lot of your computer’s resources. This is especially true for the Bitcoin core wallet, which contains a record of every single transaction ever confirmed by the Bitcoin blockchain!
If you just need to store your cryptocurrency, that is you’re not planning on trading them anytime soon, you should keep them in a cold wallet. A cold wallet stores cryptocurrency offline, completely disconnected from the internet. This reduces the hacking risk online, as it takes your coins off the exchanges and out of the cloud. With a cold wallet, you can keep receiving cryptocurrency, but you can’t send coins until it’s connected.
A hot wallet is connected to the internet for regular transactions. When comparing wallets, you can think of the hot wallet as the wallet that you carry around in your pocket or your checking account for daily transactions, while the cold wallet works as your long-term savings account or retirement plan.
The different types of cryptocurrency wallets include:
- Desktop Wallet: this is installed on your desktop computer and gives you access to and control over your wallet. This wallet is only accessible from the computer on which it is installed and offers a high level of security. However, it’s at risk if something happens to your computer. Examples of desktop wallets are Exodus, mSigna, and Copay.
- Mobile Wallet: this is run from an app on your smartphone for the most convenient but most vulnerable option. These wallets need to be backed up securely; if you lose your phone, or it is compromised, you could lose your cryptos with it.
- Online Wallet: this is a web-based wallet, which means that your data is stored on an online server, making it easier to access it from anywhere. However, since your private keys are stored online with this wallet, they are more at risk of hacking and theft. Examples of online wallets are Coinbase and Blockchain.
- Hardware Wallet: wallets such as the Ledger Nano S and Trezor are built to specifically hold cryptocurrency and keep it secure. You can turn them into hot wallets by connecting them to your computer, then take it offline once you’re done. You don’t need a specialized device for a hardware wallet, even USB sticks will do.
- Paper Wallet: the most basic form of a wallet involves a pen and paper. Simply write out your private key and you will be able to recover your wallet if you ever lose access to it. You can also print out a QR code for both your public and private key, which avoids storing data digitally, providing a high level of security.
Because of the irreversible nature of cryptocurrency transactions, it is very important to ensure that you have entered the correct wallet address. If you send coins to the wrong address, it may not be possible to recover it.
When using different cryptocurrencies, it is important to understand how they work before making transactions. Certain cryptocurrencies can have special requirements or safety precautions that should be taken. For example, with IOTA you should always use a new address when you send your cryptos, otherwise your security is reduced. With Ripple, there can sometimes be two parts to the address: a wallet address and a destination tag. If the proper destination tag is not included, the coins you send can be lost or end up in the wrong account.
Another risk to watch out for are trojans that have been detected lurking on people’s computers. When the victim copies a cryptocurrency address to send tokens, the trojan will swap the wallet ID that was copied for its own malicious wallet address in payment fields. Therefore, pay careful attention to the cryptocurrency address you are sending your cryptos to.
Phishing attacks, Ponzi schemes, and ransomware are all common types of cyber fraud and theft of cryptocurrencies. There have been reports of cybercriminals sending phishing emails with infected attachments that give the attacker access to the victim’s computer and their wallets. Always be vigilant when dealing with suspicious emails and attachments, especially when you are unsure of their source.
Also, pay attention to the exchanges you’re using. Make sure they’re reputable and secure. Follow the news and avoid those that experience many technical issues or have strange policies.
Lastly, spread the word and tell others about these security measures. If all participants in the crypto community pay attention and take their security seriously, the threat of cybercriminals will be reduced.
As the popularity of cryptocurrencies grows, Payza’s cryptocurrency features and services have grown as well. We are committed to giving our members a complete online payments solution, which is why we’re proud to offer a unique range of Bitcoin and altcoin services.
2017 saw many cryptocurrencies jumping into the spotlight, perhaps none more so than Bitcoin’s biggest competition: Ethereum. This currency is relatively new, it launched publicly in 2015, but has already climbed to the number 2 position in terms of cryptocurrency market capitalization, with a total value of over $60 Billion USD.
The coin was proposed and developed by Vitalik Buterin, one of the youngest developers in the cryptocurrency space. Buterin was a recipient of the Thiel Fellowship in 2014, created by former PayPal executive Peter Thiel, which gave him the opportunity to complete development of Ethereum.
Ethereum rose to popularity in 2017 in large part because of the important role this cryptocurrency plays in ICOs (Initial Coin Offerings). Because the Ethereum network is designed to support smart contracts as well as other unique cryptocurrencies (in the form of ERC20 tokens), it is an ideal platform to use when raising funds and issuing tokens for new projects.
Smart contracts can also be used in conjunction with DApps (Decentralized Applications). CryptoKitties was the first DApp to achieve viral success earlier this month, but its popularity also created severe congestion within Ethereum’s Blockchain in the process, raising concerns about scaling issues.
To help you better understand Ethereum and understand why the value of this cryptocurrency has increased over 6000% this year, here is a closer look at smart contracts, DApps, and ERC20 tokens:
Smart contracts are an important part of the Ethereum platform and one of the reasons that this cryptocurrency saw such tremendous growth in 2017.
A smart contract allows two parties to agree on the terms of a contract which can then be executed by the Ethereum Virtual Machine (EMV), a special feature of the Ethereum network. In the same way that Bitcoin transactions can be considered trustless, Ethereum Smart Contracts are also trustless. That means that parties who enter into smart contracts don’t need to rely on each other or a third party to carry out the terms, they will be automatically fulfilled by the Ethereum network.
Smart contracts have many practical applications. A popular example is that a smart contract can be used to settle a bet about the weather. Two people can upload the terms of the bet (for example, whether or not it will rain on a specific day in a specific city) to the EMV as a smart contract code. The EMV will then execute the terms of the contract by checking for rain on the day indicated (using previously agreed upon verification methods, such as a weather app or website). Once a winner is determined, the EMV will automatically distribute the prize.
Smart contracts are also useful for ICOs involving ERC20 tokens because developers can send newly issued tokens in exchange for Ethereum in a single transaction. This is accomplished by setting an agreed upon exchange rate for the newly minted token and then returning the set amount whenever a specific Ethereum address receives funds.
ERC20 tokens are a revolutionary way to issue new cryptocurrencies by taking advantage of the Ethereum Blockchain and platform. It should be noted that there are non-ERC20 tokens and partially compliant ERC20 tokens that also use Ethereum’s Blockchain, but with the introduction of ERC20 tokens, there is now a universal standard set, making it easier to launch and use new coins.
Each ERC20 token is its own smart contract and uses Ethereum’s Blockchain to validate transactions between users.
The popularity of this standard and the wave of ICOs that were launched using the technology helped catapult Ethereum up the ranks of cryptocurrencies to the point that it even challenged Bitcoin earlier this year, almost becoming the most valuable cryptocurrency in terms of market cap.
One criticism of the ERC20 token standard is that it makes it too easy to launch a new cryptocurrency, undermining the value of cryptocurrencies as a whole. At last count, there were over 19000 unique ERC20 tokens already created!
CryptoKitties (and other DApps)
One distinguishing feature of most cryptocurrencies that sets them apart from traditional currencies is that they are decentralized. That means there is no central authority controlling the flow of currency or verifying individual transactions.
Like decentralized cryptocurrencies, DApps are decentralized applications that also have no central authority controlling distribution. In fact, you can consider cryptocurrencies themselves to be some of the first DApps created. There are still developers and programmers who work on these apps, but once they are released, they can take on a life of their own.
The Ethereum White Paper discusses the three types of applications that can be built on top of the Ethereum network:
- Financial applications – such as other cryptocurrencies and financial tools.
- Semi-financial applications – apps that have a financial aspect such as a reward system, but also have an important non-financial aspect, such as a task that must be accomplished to obtain the reward.
- Non-financial applications – such as decentralized voting systems.
In November, AxiomZen launched their DApp CryptoKitties, a clever throwback to digital pets that were popular in the late 90’s. Users can collect and breed these unique e-pets with the knowledge that just like cryptocurrencies CryptoKitties cannot be forged or duplicated and they belong entirely to their owners, although there’s some debate about just how decentralized the CryptoKitties App actually is.
Because of these features, CryptoKitties have been in serious demand and individual Kitties have sold for over 200 Ether. With Ether currently valued over $500 per coin, that means the rarest CryptoKitties are worth over $100,000!
While they share many features with cryptocurrencies, AxiomZen describes CryptoKitties as a “cryptocollectible.”
Because there are fees for different in-game activities (such as breeding new CryptoKitties), this DApp’s rise to popularity actually managed to congest the Ethereum Blockchain and slow down transaction confirmations. At times, as much as 15% of all Ethereum network traffic was caused by CryptoKitties transactions and activities.
The success of CryptoKitties marks an important milestone for Ethereum, expanding the possible uses of the Ethereum network and paving the way for other DApps. However, the network congestion caused by just one viral DApp also shows that Ethereum, like Bitcoin, still has to scale before it can be used to host multiple virally popular DApps along with all the transactions that will come with them.
Ethereum has achieved tremendous growth in a relatively short timespan. Here’s a quick look at how they’ve accomplished it:
Whatever the future holds for cryptocurrencies, DApps, and smart contracts, it seems like Ethereum and its founder Vitalik Buterin will have an important role to play in their development. For this reason, Ethereum has solidified itself as a top cryptocurrency in 2017 with a bright outlook for the future.
2017 has been the year of cryptocurrencies. Bitcoin started the year at roughly the 1,000-dollar mark and surpassed $10,000 earlier this week. But while Bitcoin has increased more than tenfold, other cryptocurrencies have also had impressive years.
Dash was valued under $12 per coin to start 2017, with a total market capitalization under $80 million. It is poised to finish the year with a $5 billion market cap and a price over $700, more than 50 times higher than where it started the year.
So what is Dash, and why did it have such an impressive year?
Differences between Dash and Bitcoin
As the first cryptocurrency, Bitcoin solved a lot of issues that would have made digital currencies unreliable. Most importantly, Bitcoin cannot be forged, altered, or duplicated. All transactions are tracked and recorded in a publicly accessible ledger, the Blockchain, which is transcribed and broadcast by an unaffiliated network of nodes.
It is this combination of features that has made Bitcoin valuable. However, Bitcoin’s popularity has given rise to a new set of problems or exposed special cases where a specific need is not being met by Bitcoin. This is where altcoins come in.
Dash possesses many of these same qualities, but seeks to overcome some issues that are perceived as Bitcoin shortcomings. At times, Bitcoin’s network can become plagued by congestion and high fees, making it difficult to use for transactions. Furthermore, even though Bitcoin transactions are pseudo-anonymous, some cryptocurrency experts think that that isn’t enough privacy from a coin.
The abstract from Dash’s whitepaper explains how it attempts to solve these problems:
Dash: A Privacy-Centric Crypto-Currency
Abstract. A crypto-currency based on Bitcoin, the work of Satoshi Nakamoto, with various improvements such as a two-tier incentivized network, known as the Masternode network. Included are other improvements such as PrivateSend, for increasing fungibility and InstantSend which allows instant transaction confirmation without a centralized authority.
As the title states, Dash places a primary focus on privacy. Now, you may be thinking “Isn’t Bitcoin already anonymous?” And in a way it is. However, because of the public availability of the blockchain, there are ways to follow the movement of bitcoins over time.
Dash attempts to solve this issue with PrivateSend. This feature does not actually send Dash privately to other Dash wallets, like you might think from the name. PrivateSend lets you anonymize your own Dash by mixing it through a series of transactions designed to disguise where the funds originated from. There’s a detailed look at how PrivateSend works on the Dash YouTube Channel.
This process gives Dash fungibility, that is, each unit of Dash is interchangeable. This differs slightly from Bitcoin because in theory, you can track units of Bitcoin and flag them, while Dash funds that have been privatized can’t be traced.
On top of privacy and fungibility, Dash transactions are much faster and much less expensive to process than Bitcoin transactions. Both high fees and slow transactions have plagued the Bitcoin network in 2017. Dash has been remarkably free of these issues, for now at least.
Dash is valuable because like Bitcoin its network and technology have a history of reliability. On top of that, Dash has shown itself to have advanced privacy as well as faster and cheaper transactions compared to Bitcoin. This combination of features has sparked its impressive climb this year.
Here’s a look at how Dash has progressed as a coin and community, and some of the hurdles they’ve overcome to establish themselves as a dominant cryptocurrency:
Dash has seen a dramatic price rise at the end of 2017 because of its usefulness and reliability. More and more it looks like cryptocurrencies will hold an important place in our increasingly connected and increasingly global world. This is thanks to the technology provided by Bitcoin, as well as advancements by altcoins like Ethereum, Ripple, and Dash.
Did you know that Payza now lets you buy and sell these altcoins and dozens more? You can learn about Payza’s cryptocurrency features and services on our blog:
- Buy, sell, and hold Bitcoin: How to Use Payza’s New Bitcoin Features: Exchange, Add, Withdraw, and Send Bitcoin with Payza
- Altcoin withdrawals: Buy Altcoins with Payza: Introducing Altcoin Withdrawals
- Altcoin deposits: Exchange Ethereum, Ripple, Litecoin and More: Sell Altcoins to Payza
- Bitcoin payment option, that lets merchants accept Bitcoin as payment for their products or services: Payza Now Lets You Pay And Get Paid Using Bitcoin!
- The Cryptocurrency Address Manager, that lets you generate multi-use Bitcoin addresses: Payza Introduces Cryptocurrency Address Manager for Easy Bitcoin Transfers.
As interest in Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies grows, scaling issues have begun to take the spotlight. These issues have led to two Hard Forks already this year, with a third fork being narrowly avoided.
Because of the excitement generated by the forks and the new currencies they create, such as Bitcoin Cash, Bitcoin’s price has risen dramatically, despite a number of rapid falls. Through much of October and the beginning of November, Bitcoin consistently broke new all-time highs, peaking around the $8000 mark. But with the announcement that Segwit2X would not take effect as planned, a flurry of activity surrounded Bitcoin and Bitcoin Cash, ultimately leading to a rapid price drop and network congestion for Bitcoin.
Blockchain congestion is not a new phenomenon. Even in February 2016, lengthy Bitcoin transaction times were an annoyance to Bitcoin users. While there are plans to fix this issue through various upgrades, including Segwit and Segwit2x, it seems that Bitcoin’s Blockchain is still susceptible to major slowdowns and delays.
What does this mean for everyday users? For one, it can mean a lot of frustration. If you were looking for the right time to buy Bitcoin, the recent price drop may have seemed like the perfect opportunity. But prospective Bitcoin buyers may have found that acquiring Bitcoin was easier said than done.
At one point, over $700 million worth of Bitcoin was stuck in the Blockchain, awaiting confirmation. Luckily, in most cases, if you purchased Bitcoin from a source but your transaction was not confirmed quickly, those bitcoins are still coming.
Why is my Bitcoin transaction taking so long to process?
If you tried to send or receive Bitcoin this weekend, there’s a good chance your transaction was either delayed, had a hefty fee, or more likely, both.
To understand why this happened, you first need to understand how the Bitcoin Blockchain works. When a Bitcoin transaction is created, it needs to be included in the ledger. Each block that is mined includes several transactions that are added, and then confirmed, as more blocks are mined.
Space on these blocks are limited, so when tens of thousands of transactions are being sent each hour, there isn’t enough place for each transaction to be included in a single block, which causes a backlog.
In return for mining blocks, which in turn confirms Bitcoin transactions, miners get two separate rewards: the Bitcoin reward and the mining fees of all the transactions they include in the block. While the Bitcoin reward is static, mining fees can vary by transaction. This means that it is in a miner’s best interest to include transactions that offer the highest fees.
The graph in this Tweet shows the average Bitcoin fee since the hard fork that created Bitcoin Cash at the start of August. Over the weekend, the median fee was over $5, a new all-time high.
— Blockchair (@Blockchair) November 11, 2017
This creates a type of bidding war for Bitcoin transactions as it becomes more and more expensive to have your transaction included in a block. In most cases, even transactions with low fees will be confirmed within three days, but some transactions may never be confirmed.
What caused the heavy traffic?
As excitement around Bitcoin Cash grew, so did its value, gaining over 400% in less than a week to hit $2500. This caused the price of Bitcoin to drop as investors sold Bitcoin to buy Bitcoin Cash.
The flurry of activity meant a record amount of Bitcoin transactions were being sent, clogging up the network and adding to the price volatility. Eventually the price of both Bitcoin and Bitcoin Cash stabilized after a scheduled change to the Bitcoin Cash software was implemented.
Before the upgrade, Bitcoin Cash was more profitable at times to mine than Bitcoin, but the mining process was less stable in terms of how long it would take to mine a Bitcoin Cash block. After the upgrade, the hope is that Bitcoin Cash blocks will be mined at a more predictable pace, even though they are again less profitable to mine than Bitcoin.
How can I avoid delays when the Blockchain is congested?
Blockchain congestion only affects Bitcoin transactions that go through the Blockchain itself. Many cryptocurrency exchanges let you hold Bitcoin in a trading account, so when you exchange from Bitcoin to or from other currencies, it still happens instantly.
This is possible with Payza as well: you can convert and hold Bitcoin in your account, so when you’re ready to exchange, you can switch from Bitcoin to USD instantly. With Payza’s vast network, you can also instantly send Bitcoin to other Payza members, bypassing the Blockchain and limiting your transaction fees. Payza’s low 1.2% fee to send Bitcoin to other members can be much lower than the mining fees for small transactions, which sets fees on the size in bytes of a transaction as opposed to its value. You can send $400 USD equivalent of Bitcoin using Payza and pay under $5.00 in fees.
Keep in mind as well that Blockchain congestion is a temporary issue, so if you don’t need to make your transaction immediately, it’s usually best to simply wait for a less turbulent period before sending the transaction. This will lower your fees as well as your stress level, since the transaction will likely confirm much quicker as well.
If you use Payza to purchase Bitcoin using the Withdraw Funds option, that is, exchanging your Payza Balance into Bitcoin and sending it to an external wallet, we suggest making that exchange in your Payza account first and then sending the Bitcoin to your wallet when there’s less congestion.
Bitcoin transaction delays can be a frustrating issue, but understanding what’s behind these delays gives you a better understanding of how Bitcoin works. For helpful articles about Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies, be sure to subscribe to the Payza Blog and follow us on Twitter and Facebook as well.
Using Payza’s Bitcoin features has always been easy and now it’s getting even easier to exchange Bitcoin thanks to our new fee structure. Payza has lowered the Bitcoin to External Bitcoin Wallet withdrawal fee from 0.001 BTC to 0.0005 BTC and removed the 2% withdrawal fee for fiat currency to External Bitcoin Wallet withdrawals.
Payza’s Bitcoin services have been even more popular than we expected. Our longtime members and new sign-ups alike have been trying out the services and leaving us rave reviews. To return the favor, we’re taking advantage of the increased volume by lowering our Bitcoin-related fees!
The fee to send Bitcoin from your Payza e-Wallet to an external Bitcoin wallet has been cut in half! It’s down from .001 BTC to .0005 BTC. This fee includes the miner transaction fee, which is deducted directly from Payza’s fees and is always set high enough to ensure that your transaction is confirmed as quickly as possible.
Payza has also completely removed the 2% fee for exchanging and withdrawing fiat currency to an external Bitcoin wallet. We have adjusted our Bitcoin exchange rate as well to ensure that whether our members are buying or selling Bitcoin, they will always receive Payza’s best rate.
The new fees are made possible thanks to the popularity of Payza’s Bitcoin features. Since Payza’s first Bitcoin features were launched in 2014, the response from our members has been incredible. As both Payza and Bitcoin have grown, these services became more and more popular.
Payza is proud to be among the first online payment platforms to offer Bitcoin services and one of the first e-wallet providers to allow members to hold Bitcoin in their accounts alongside the fiat currencies we support. You can learn all about Payza’s Bitcoin services and get step-by-step instructions for exchanging currencies or sending and receiving Bitcoin on the Payza Blog: How to Use Payza’s New Bitcoin Features: Exchange, Add, Withdraw, and Send Bitcoin with Payza.
Bitcoin and cryptocurrencies play a big role in Payza’s future plans and we hope you’ll be there with us as we continue on this exciting journey!
The current situation in Venezuela is far from ideal. Economic uncertainty and political turmoil have led to protests. Many citizens can no longer afford food, medicine, and other basic goods.
Unemployment in Venezuela is expected to hit 25% by the end of the year. The Bolivar’s value is gradually becoming null as yearly inflation rate soars over 1600%. Carts full of notes are hauled into stores as the largest bill denomination gradually increases. Thankfully, an orange sun has risen over the country and was promptly adopted by many citizens: Bitcoin.
What makes Venezuela different?
Venezuela is a unique case. Despite its many economic troubles, electricity is nearly free, thanks to government subsidies. With the country’s instability coinciding with a spectacular boom in the cryptocurrency market, it’s no surprise that many Venezuelans have become Bitcoin miners in an effort to support their families. Bitcoin mining can generate up to $500 US a month, a sum large enough to feed a family of four and purchase vital goods like diapers.
Sadly, despite the absence of laws and regulations banning digital currencies, individuals are still getting arrested by law enforcement on spurious consumption charges. To circumvent these charges, some miners have opted to switch from Bitcoin to Ethereum and Zcash, two currencies that are easier to mine, but also easier to disguise. Regular desktop computers fitted with high-performance graphic cards can be used instead of dedicated mining machines for these cryptocurrencies.
By the people, for the people
Some investors, regulators and bankers still fail to see the value of Bitcoin and a blockchain – that is, a constantly updated and audited public ledger that contains the proof of cryptocurrency transactions. Nevertheless, the Venezuelan phenomenon comes as a strong confirmation of the original goal of Bitcoin: the ability to hold and transact currency without having to rely on trust in third parties.
Bitcoin’s use in Venezuela doesn’t stop at mining. Because of its anonymity, Bitcoin can be sent by anyone who wants to help Venezuelans in need. The digital currency can then be used to pay online retailers such as Amazon or other companies that deliver badly needed items to Venezuela.
Cryptocurrencies are seen as the superior choice by many tech-savvy citizens, not only because of the ability to mine some of them, but also because of decentralization: no single entity can control its value. This aspect makes them tools that are, in theory, perfectly reactive to the forces of the market, without any possibility of intervention from the government to manipulate price and availability.
Payza is closely following the development of Bitcoin and altcoins, and is committed to supporting all of the currencies and cryptocurrencies you are using. By using the Payza platform, you can buy, store, and sell Bitcoin and over 50 different altcoins right inside your Payza account. Are you interested in buying or selling Bitcoin? Check out our guide here: Buying and Selling Bitcoin.
On September 5, Payza introduced the Cryptocurrency Address Manager, a feature that allows Payza members to generate and manage Bitcoin addresses within their Payza accounts. Here’s a look at what the media has to say about Payza and our new Cryptocurrency Address Manager:
Bitcoin.com covers Payza’s latest news
Bitcoin.com is one of the premier sources for Bitcoin and cryptocurrency news. Here is how they covered Payza’s announcement:
Payza has announced the introduction of a new Bitcoin address manager feature that “allows Payza users to generate their own public bitcoin addresses and QR codes.” Generate up to a maximum of 50 addresses, use them several times and always receive funds to your Bitcoin address. For the moment, only Bitcoin is supported but other cryptocurrencies will be added in upcoming releases.
It is important to note that merchants should not rely on this new method as it provides no information about the customers and their transactions. Instead merchants should “rely on their prior payment methods”.
The full article from Bitcoin.com can be found on their website: Payza Unveils Bitcoin Address Manager
CryptoNinjas discuss Payza’s latest cryptocurrency announcement
Payza has launched a new cryptocurrency feature: Cryptocurrency Address Manager. With this feature, all Payza members can generate and manage Bitcoin addresses as well as QR codes from within their Payza accounts.
There is no fee to generate these Bitcoin addresses and it is also free to receive Bitcoin to these addresses. For now, only Bitcoin is currently supported, but more cryptocurrencies will be added in the near future.
The full article from CryptoNinjas can be found on their website: Payza introduces bitcoin address manager for all account holders
Crowdfund Insider presents Payza’s new Cryptocurrency Address Manager
On September 5, Payza introduced a new cryptocurrency feature available for both Payza Personal and Payza Business accounts; the Cryptocurrency Address Manager is a feature that enables Payza members to generate and manage their own cryptocurrency addresses from within their accounts.
Use this feature to generate your own Bitcoin addresses and QR codes to “more easily receive Bitcoin from other Bitcoin wallets”, without the need to “set up an Add Funds by Bitcoin transaction prior to receiving Bitcoin”. This feature is easy and convenient to use, and more cryptocurrencies will be “added in upcoming iterations.”
The full article from Crowdfund Insider can be found on their website: Payza’s Cryptocurrency Address Manager Now Live: Bitcoin Management Made Easy
The Paypers observes Payza’s new Bitcoin wallet functionality
Payza has presented yet another new feature, this time one that lets Payza users generate and manage cryptocurrency addresses right within their Payza account: Cryptocurrency Address Manager. Payza members can now generate their own Bitcoin addresses and QR codes to “receive Bitcoin from other wallets directly into their accounts.”
There are no fees to either generate Bitcoin addresses nor to receive Bitcoin by using this method. At this moment, only Bitcoin addresses are supported, but other cryptocurrencies will be added in the future.
The full article from The Paypers can be found on their website: Payza enables Bitcoin wallet functionality for account holders
Fintechist highlights Payza’s “positive development for cryptocurrency enthusiasts”
Payza today fully supports Bitcoin and has now added another new feature: Cryptocurrency Address Manager. With this feature “there is no further need to rely on third-party services for this specific service” as you use Payza’s Cryptocurrency Address Manager to generate and manage cryptocurrency addresses directly within your Payza account.
This is considered “a great move by the company” and it’s said that this “will hopefully make Bitcoin more appealing and popular.” You can access the new feature through the Payza desktop site, and mobile support will be enabled in a future update of the Payza App.
The full article from Fintechist can be found on their website: Payza Users can now Generate Bitcoin Addresses in Their Account Directly
Blockchain Technews mentions Payza’s introduction of the Cryptocurrency Address Manager
The launch of the new Payza desktop feature, Cryptocurrency Address Manager, provides Payza members with an easier way to receive Bitcoin from other Bitcoin wallets. Simply generate a Bitcoin address and QR code for your Payza account, and use this to receive Bitcoin without first having to set up an Add Funds by Bitcoin transaction.
There are no fees to generate Bitcoin addresses or to receive Bitcoin when you use Payza’s Cryptocurrency Address Manager, and Payza CEO Firoz Patel states that “We’re proud to offer one of the most complete sets of bitcoin services on the market.”
The full article from Blockchain Technews can be found on their website: Payza intros Cryptocurrency Address Manager for full bitcoin wallet functionality
New ‘Cryptocurrency Address Manager’ feature allows Payza members to generate Bitcoin addresses within their e-wallets
LONDON, Sept. 5, 2017 – Payza, an award-winning payments technology company, is proud to announce the launch of its latest cryptocurrency feature: Cryptocurrency Address Manager. This new feature enables all Payza members to generate and manage cryptocurrency addresses from within their Payza accounts.
With this launch, Payza members will be able to generate their own Bitcoin address and QR code for their Payza account to easily receive Bitcoin from other Bitcoin wallets. This means that Payza members no longer need to set up an Add Funds by Bitcoin transaction prior to receiving Bitcoin.
There is no fee to generate Bitcoin addresses and it is also free for members to receive Bitcoin using this method.
“We’re proud to offer one of the most complete sets of Bitcoin services on the market,” says Payza CEO Firoz Patel. “Whatever your Bitcoin needs, Payza now has the service to match. Our users now have all the same functionality that a Bitcoin wallet provides, right in their accounts.”
The new feature is available for Payza Personal and Payza Business account holders. Payza merchants can also continue using Payza payment buttons to process Bitcoin payments on their websites and Payza APIs for automating Bitcoin payouts.
Payza’s Cryptocurrency Address Manager feature allows all members to generate and manage Bitcoin wallet addresses. Although only Bitcoin addresses are currently supported within the new Cryptocurrency Address Manager, other cryptocurrencies will be added in upcoming iterations. This new feature is currently available on the Payza desktop site and is scheduled to be added to the Payza App in a future update.
To learn more about how to generate Payza Bitcoin addresses, visit the Payza Reference Center: How Do I Generate a Bitcoin Address with Payza?
Payza is an award-winning payments technology company. The highly secure platform provides businesses and consumers around the world with practical solutions for processing online payments. Payza supports 26 currencies and serves over 14 million members in more than 190 countries.
Payza serves traditional and emerging markets, providing a wide range of built-in tools including: Online payment processing, online global money transfers, fraud screening, subscription billing, transaction dispute resolution, cryptocurrency exchange services, and global payouts.