Bitcoin Weekly Recap 7-8-2016
Uber Partners with Xapo to Bypass Argentine Credit Card Access Denial
Rideshare giant Uber has recently been working with Bitcoin firm Xapo, as the company struggles to establish itself in Argentina. Uber’s attempted expansion into the Argentine market has faced a remarkable level of resistance for the last few months. Since it began operating in Buenos Aires in April, the company has been denied permits and other necessary documents, sued by the city’s taxi unions, and been confronted with a number of city injunctions calling for it to end its operations. Worse, credit card companies have been prevented from processing payments made to Uber from any cards that are locally registered.
The fact that Xapo’s debit card is designed to enable users to spend Bitcoin anywhere Visa is accepted is of only secondary concern to Uber. The main benefit for the company is that Xapo’s cards are all issued from Gibraltar – and that enables them to be used for Uber payments in Buenos Aires. For Xapo’s part, the company has asserted that it has seen an increase in Argentinian requests for its cards since the partnership began.
New Juniper Research Reports Suggests Trump Win Could Fuel Bitcoin Price Increase
Citing the very real possibility of global market turmoil in the aftermath of a hypothetical electoral win by presumptive Republican presidential nominee Donald J. Trump, a new report released by Juniper Research lists a potential Trump presidency as a possible boon to Bitcoin trading activity. That is in keeping with some experts’ predictions that Trump’s announced protectionist policies would, if implemented, negatively impact world demand for the Dollar. That would lead to a decline in the value of the U.S. currency, which would likely result in an increase in the value of Bitcoin and similar assets.
Still, even a possible Trump presidency pales in comparison to three other factors the researchers focused on as they attempted to explain why Bitcoin has risen so far so fast. Those factors include continuing problems in China’s economy, world uncertainty over Britain’s decision to leave the EU, and Bitcoin’s own imminent halving. The research also predicts that the total value of all Bitcoin transactions should surpass $92 billion around the end of 2016. That’s more than $65 billion more than last year’s transaction total.
Coinbase Unveils New Features to Make Bitcoin More Attractive to Merchants
For some time now, different Bitcoin firms have been focused on applications that can effectively harness the micro-transaction benefits digital currency offers. Coinbase has now unveiled a number of new features for merchants that should help to bring some of those imagined benefits into sharper focus for those who accept Bitcoin, while also potentially fostering greater acceptance in the broader marketplace. The new features also have the advantage of highlighting the key differences between digital currency usage and traditional fiat payment systems.
One of those features is called Partial Refunds, and enables merchants to do precisely that: issue refunds of just part of a larger purchase. Unlike fiat payments where the entire order sometimes has to be cancelled and a new order placed, this would allow a cancellation of one item in a larger order to result in a refund for just that part of the transaction. Other features include an overpayment function as well as a mispayment buffer feature.
Terrorists Used Prepaid Cards - So EU Targets ... Bitcoin?
As part of its well-publicized effort to appear as though it is cracking down on terrorism, the European Commission this week proposed new and tighter rules to govern the use of Bitcoin and other digital currencies, as well as prepaid cards. The new rules are reportedly an attempt to reduce “anonymous” payments to thwart terrorist financing, and are in response to requests from EU interior and justice ministers for tighter regulations.
After last year’s Paris attacks that killed 129 people, investigators discovered that the terrorists had used prepaid cards to fund their terrorism. That naturally led to calls for the EU to implement tighter controls on Bitcoin and other digital currencies which were not actually used in the attacks – which is somewhat akin to kicking your cat because your dog ate your shoes. Under the proposed rules, currency exchanges will have to implement more intense identity checks and report to authorities in much the same way banks would when suspicious activity is detected. Meanwhile, the Commission is also lowering the so-called threshold for anonymous transactions with prepaid cards from 250 Euros to 150 Euros.