December 29, 2015- In This Issue:

 

 

 

  

It's Been A Challenging Year But Bitcoin is Still Booming
Though headlines about bitcoin this year have focused on the challenges facing the cryptocurrency, it's still booming with some of the highest mining and transaction rates in its history, according to recent statistics.

The digital currency has yet to find the "killer app" that would make it an essential part of the average consumer's Internet toolkit. Several bitcoin-related services shut down in recent months, some amid allegations of fraud, which only highlighted the continued risks that deals tied to the currency can pose for casual investors. As a result, some companies are building alternative networks based on the technology behind bitcoin.

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Bitcoin Hit 100 Million Transactions and 15 Million Coins on Christmas
It was an eventful long weekend for Bitcoin. On ChristmaIs Day, it reached a symbolic milestone when the 100 millionth transaction was recorded on its network.

The number of transactions per day has been steadily growing over time. The phenomenon is interpreted by some as evidence of the increasing adoption of Bitcoin, though most of the transactions are not commercial in nature.

During the past year, the growth profile is slightly steeper than linear; the count nearly doubled. Over a 5.5-year period, the total increased 100-fold.

Bitcoin Is Destined To Replace Insecure Payment Protocols
Whenever financial data theft occurs, most people only think about what would happen to the affected consumers. But at the same time, merchants are exposed as well, as their financial details have been exposed during these attacks as well. In the end, the trust factor between retailers and consumers is diminishing, even though neither party is at fault for the theft.

The real culprit comes in the form of outdated payment protocols powering the financial infrastructure we know today. Keeping in mind how nearly every payment terminal in the world is connected to a computer at some point along the line, financial details can be obtained by hackers in a different number of ways.

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BitPesa Continues to Expand Bitcoin in Africa Against All Odds
BitPesa has been working on bringing Bitcoin to the people of Africa since 2013, as the creation of Elizabeth Rossiello and Duncan Goldie -Scot. It is a Bitcoin-based follow-up to the famous M-Pesa text-based phone payment network that revolutionized Kenya and Tanzania in the Spring of 2007, M-Pesa went from a tech concept in a cash-based society to the leading form of payment, generating almost 50% of the countries GDP by 2014.

BitPesa has not been the breakaway success so far that M-Pesa has been. They have tried to forge some alliance with M-Pesa, owned by Vodafone/Safaricom/ Vodacom, but this has not worked out. The two sides are in court and BitPesa has been removed from the M-Pesa network, which is in appeals by BitPesa. M-Pesa has expanded to South Africa and Afghanistan. M-Pesa has connected with 60 African banks, and operates in Uganda and Nigeria, as well.

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Bitcoin Won 2015. Apple ... Did Not
This year has been awash with financial and business intrigue and excitement. Here, then, are my awards for the most fascinating stories of 2015, with the added bonus that the qualifying events have implications that will reverberate into 2016 and beyond.

Environmental groups had long suspected that emissions tests were underestimating the nitrogen oxide output of diesel engines. Volkswagen's malfeasance is likely to accelerate the disappearance of diesel powertrains in the auto industry. It may also hasten the disappearance of the internal combustion engine itself, as Toyota expands its efforts to build the infrastructure for its hydrogen cars while Elon Musk's sexy Teslas lead the charge on electric vehicles.

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Why The Blockchain Is The New Website
Every day I see more analogies between the early years of the Internet and the evolution of the blockchain. In 1994, when the web came along, websites were the novelty, and up until about 1998, we kept lists of Global 2000 companies with or without websites. It took about three years before most companies were on-board. Then, many of these early sites were criticized for being just glorified brochures or information sheets, and we looked to Amazon as one of the few companies that actually conducted business on the Internet.

Fast forward to 2015. The blockchain is the new website. Yes, blockchains are geeky, (and the challenge is to take out that geekiness), but fairly soon, every company will have a blockchain, or be on a blockchain, or several ones, just as organizations are involved in many websites today. Why is the blockchain like a website, and what's the novelty that blockchains bring to companies, individuals, society and governance?

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Australian Bitcoin Payments Startup Hits $1 Million Milestone
An Australian Blockchain payments company called Living Room of Satoshi has crossed a million-dollar (AUD) milestone in bills and bank transfer payments through its blockchain-based bitcoin payment service.

Living Room of Satoshi, named after Bitcoin's pseudonymous creator Satoshi Nakamoto has now surpassed $1 million in bills and bank transfer payments pipelined through its service.

The Brisbane-based startup launched in May 2014 and has customers paying for utilities, home and property rent, credit card payments, insurance and even fines. Customers can make payments toward thousands of billers across the country-continent, with bitcoin.

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Why the Blockchain Will Soon Become a Household Name
Most people by now are familiar with Bitcoin. What they are less familiar with is the underlying technology that powers Bitcoin - the Blockchain. The blockchain, simply defined, is a digital, distributed ledger in which records can only be updated by a majority consensus, which once entered, cannot be deleted. A seemingly uninteresting concept to the everyday eye is quietly taking society by storm.

Having gained a negative reputation in the early days through its association with Bitcoin, the blockchain's untapped potential is real. Due to its security advantages, the blockchain is gaining attention from some notable parties such as NYSE, UBS, IBM and most recently Overstock.com, to name a few. While the reasons for the recent attention vary, the common denominator is clear: they all see the potential.

Let's look at several potential uses of the blockchain and how it can benefit various existing industries.

BTMs Bring Bitcoin to General Public
BTMS, or Bitcoin ATMs, allow for an alternative to using either online exchanges or in-person transactions when buying or selling Bitcoin, replicating the process of using ATMs used in traditional banking. This makes them suitable for bringing BitcoinCT r: 5 to new users.

Luca Dordolo, the operator of the first BTM in Italy, sees them as an opportunity to get overlooked demographics to start using Bitcoin.

"BTM is a perfect instrument to spread Bitcoins in new areas, especially where Bitcoin is almost unknown. BTM can be the perfect testimonial for this new global currency."

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Why Asia's Bitcoin Blockchain Industry Will Skyrocket In 2016
The following data compilation gives us an overview on why the bitcoin, blockchain and financial tech industry might have found its innovation sweetest spot in Asia.

Most developing countries in Asia count with a great percentage of young population, seeing their spending waves peaking around the 2060/70s decades.

Increasing investments in the bitcoin, blockchain & financial technology sectors will accelerate developments in the APAC region. Only in 2015, the fintech sector received $3.5 billion during the first three trimesters. Some of those companies are actively incorporating bitcoin and/or blockchain technology into their operations.

Singapore prime minister and Chinese authorities have publicly recognized bitcoin and blockchain technology as a new reality and innovation landscape that represents a big opportunity to their country's future development.