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A recent report published by the Bank of Spain states that Bitcoin is a solution for the creation of a system without censorship. This is in contrast to public comments made by most central bankers who are prone to attack cryptocurrency with little insight into why it is needed.
Explaining Peer-to-Peer Electronic Cash to Bankers
Banco de España, Spain’s central bank and supervisor of the Spanish banking system, recently published a report aiming to explain how Bitcoin works. The document details the functions of the cryptocurrency, as well as analyzing its strengths and weaknesses from the point of view of the established financial order. It also explains that the best way to understand the aims of the new system is by consulting the original Bitcoin whitepaper written by Satoshi Nakamoto.
The report mentions that according to Nakamoto the world needs “an electronic payment system based on cryptographic proof instead of trust, allowing any two willing parties to transact directly with each other without the need for a trusted third party.” Thus the goal is to create an electronic payment system similar to cash which allows remote payments without the need for the intermediation of institutions such as banks. This is meant to enable truly irreversible payments and reduce intermediation costs.
A System Without Censorship
The report concludes that cryptocurrency was envisioned as a payments system without the possibility of transaction censorship or a central authority with the power to authorize or reject transactions. It states that “bitcoin is an imaginative and elegant solution to this problem” of “the creation of a system without censorship.” However the central bank’s report also determines that traditional payment systems do not seek to resolve this problem and therefore cryptocurrency is not an alternative to them.
In line with the common position usually expressed by central bankers, the report ends by saying: “Taking into account that for most agents the existence of trusted intermediaries is not a problem, along with the costs and inefficiencies generated when an attempt is made to eliminate these intermediaries, it does not seem that bitcoin, as it currently stands, is going to have a significant impact for the financial sector as an alternative payment system to the traditional channels.”
What do you think about the conclusions of this report? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.
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The post Bank of Spain Report: Bitcoin Is a Solution for a System Without Censorship appeared first on Bitcoin News.
President Trump’s acting Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney made it clear Sunday that the administration plans to have a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border built, with or without funding from Congress.
Platforms providing traders with the opportunity to exchange cryptocurrencies have increasingly started to apply registration requirements. In many cases, these are justified on the basis of newly introduced KYC and AML regulations. Thankfully, there are still exchanges that allow users to swap digital coins without requiring a verified account.
Losing the Balance, Again
The question regarding the balance between privacy and transparency predates the birth of Bitcoin. Decentralized digital currencies came into existence partly as a response to the trend of economies and societies moving in a cashless direction, which threatened privacy. In a way, they reintroduced the concept of cash, with its relative anonymity, into the digital space, and not at the full expense of transparency per se.
This new balance has been challenged. Crypto exchanges nowadays find themselves caught in the crossfire between what many of their customers want in terms of privacy, and what regulators require them to do to limit it. Identity verification makes some sense in the case of crypto-to-fiat transactions, for tax purposes or to prevent illicit activities. But crypto-to-crypto transactions have also become a target and it’s not clear why – many countries, like Poland for example, exempt them from taxation.
Leading crypto exchanges operating in the U.S., Europe and globally are now collecting personal information from traders. This is sometimes done through loyalty programs that come with certain benefits and is often justified with the need to comply with new KYC and AML rules. These requests are usually accompanied with promises to protect the collected data. Critics have warned, however, that the risk of your sensitive info ending up with other vendors, being lost to hackers, or shared with some government, not necessarily your own, remains high.
Some crypto trading platforms have recognized the concerns of cryptocurrency users and offer services that are filling the gap left by established exchanges such as Shapeshift. We reported about some of the available alternatives last fall. New ones have since started to gain popularity among crypto enthusiasts including the following selection.
Platforms That Respect Your Privacy
One such exchange is Godex. It offers fast cryptocurrency swaps between over 200 digital coins with no exchange limits other than the minimum amounts required to cover the fees. After choosing a pair, a fixed rate is displayed which is what the trader receives if the exchange receives the amount within 30 minutes. According to a Bitcointalk thread, the platform does not have a central office, and its team is based in Ukraine, the U.S., Italy and Russia.
Users are not asked to share any personal data, set up an account or pass mandatory registration. Providing an email address is optional for confirmations and communication with support. “As we stand for absolute privacy, we erase all transaction data from our servers within a week,” the exchange states on its website. It keeps a minimum amount of information needed to process refunds, for example. That includes the email, transaction hash and the sender’s address.
Changer.com is another crypto-to-crypto exchange that does not require an account, although it offers discounts for those who create one. If you don’t wish to do so, you can still exchange around 15 coins by providing an email. The trading platform offers its main page in a number of languages and controls two other domains – exchanger.com and the Russian obmen.com. There are mixed comments on crypto forums about its services, with most complaints related to support not answering emails on time.
Fairshift is an exchange that does not collect additional user data, except the information needed to process transactions related to a coin swap. No account is required to use the platform and “no personal info that can be stolen in the event of a hack or other compromise” is collected. Basic data about completed transactions, including refunds, can be seen in the “Past Transactions” section of Fairshift’s website.
Other sites offer limited privacy and conditional anonymity. Simpleswap, for example, says in its FAQ section “Yes, our service is anonymous.” Yet the online exchanger notes that there are exceptions. “Simpleswap collaborates with many partners. Our partners, according to their risk assessment and European AML directives, can apply for a photo of your ID valid in your country and information about the origin of your coins,” the platform explains without specifying the names of its partners.
Then there’s Coinswitch, an exchange aggregator that supports trades between more than 300 cryptocurrencies through integration with many leading exchanges such as Bittrex, Kucoin, Idex, Hitbtc, Shapeshift and others. Before placing a trade, however, users are required to register an account and provide name, date of birth, and country of residence, phone number and a valid email address. Only the last two entries have to be verified however.
Which privacy-oriented crypto exchange do you recommend? Tell us in the comments section below. Share your thoughts on the subject.
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The post These Exchanges Allow You to Purchase Cryptocurrency Without Knowing You appeared first on Bitcoin News.
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Acknowledging Venezuela’s efforts to deal with inflation and sanctions by creating a state-issued cryptocurrency, Russian officials have nevertheless declined a proposal to use the oil-backed coin in bilateral trade. According to Russian media, Moscow has recently offered Caracas a set of measures aimed at mending the country’s economy but the petro is not among the recommendations.
Russia Recommends Traditional Economic Reforms
The Russian Federation has taken steps to help its strategic South American ally to overcome the deep economic and financial crisis. A high-level delegation visited Caracas in November and delivered a plan to improve Venezuela’s economy. Moscow’s ideas were recently made public by Russian media. It turns out the petro is not part of the Russian strategy.
The group of Russian government experts, headed by deputy finance minister Sergei Storchak, gave Venezuelan authorities a list of economic measures. It’s now up to Nicolas Maduro’s administration to implement them. He recently won the presidential election and officially took office last Thursday, starting a new six-year term as head of state of the impoverished country. Maduro was reelected despite the 1.3 million percent inflation last year which forced 3 million Venezuelans to emigrate from their homeland to neighboring countries.
The economic recovery plan contains five key recommendations. The first measure proposed by Russian economists is to introduce unconditional basic income for the suffering Venezuelan households, Russian news outlet The Bell reported. The money can be provided by revoking the fuel subsidies currently paid by the Venezuelan government.
The second advice is to “shut down the money printing press,” – in other words stop financing the budget deficit with newly printed money. In August last year, Maduro’s government deleted five zeros to redenominate the national fiat currency. However, with no efforts to cut the deficit, the “sovereign bolivar” lost 95 percent of its value against the U.S. dollar.
Russians Advise Caracas to Focus on Indirect Taxes
The Russian delegation urged Caracas to conduct a tax reform. The Moscow emissaries told Venezuelan authorities they should follow Russia’s example and focus on indirect taxation instead of relying on direct taxes. They also advised Venezuelan officials to increase oil production and diversify the country’s exports.
Probably out of diplomatic courtesy, the Russian representatives gave a positive assessment of Venezuelan attempts to solve the problems with hyperinflation and foreign sanctions using the oil-backed national crypto, the petro. But according to the Russian press, they also told their Venezuelan colleagues that Russia is not ready to accept the digital coin as a unit of account in bilateral trade.
Following the meetings with the Russian delegation, President Maduro, who also recently visited Moscow, stated that his country relies on Russia to ensure its economic independence. Venezuelan officials have not yet commented on their readiness to implement the Russian recommendations but Caracas has already managed to secure economic aid from Russia. Moscow will invest $ 5 million in its oil industry and provide 600,000 tons of grain. That’s on top of the $ 17 billion in loans that, according to Reuters, the Russian government and the state-run oil company Rosneft have given to Venezuela since 2016.
What is your opinion about the economic measures proposed by Russia? Do you think Venezuela will implement the reforms? Tell us in the comments section below.
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The post Russia Not Ready for the Petro, Proposes Plan to Aid Venezuela Without It appeared first on Bitcoin News.
Despite vigorous efforts to court customers who would otherwise have shopped at the shuttered retailer, the toy industry appears to have largely missed out on the holiday spending spree during that critical time of year.
WSJ.com: US Business