Madelina Feliks

Facebook and Its Libra Cryptocurrency Project Suffer from Trust Issues

Facebook’s Libra project is about combining online shopping and making other online financial transactions right on the Facebook platform, whilst using only a single digital currency as acceptable mode of payment. Facebook would call its own kind of cryptocurrency as Libra.

The mechanics looks appealing as it will make Facebook a one-stop-shop environment where people can communicate, meet, shop and transact at the same time. However, there is just one important problem that Facebook will find difficult to hurdle: lack of trust among Facebook users.

The general perception is that the social media site lacks the capability and diligence to prevent the certain forces in the Internet from gaining access to FB-Libra user’s financial information and activities if ever.

Why Many Consider the Facebook Libra Project as Untrustworthy

When Facebook revealed its “Project Libra” sometime in June, it instantly projected a picture in which people living ordinary lives will finally have a chance to dip its hands into the growing world of cryptocurrency. The project looked appealing because it made the process of dealing with cryptocurrency so convenient and at the same time not so complicated.

Yet that is exactly the problem, Project Libra seems all too easy, which if handled by a social media site like Facebook is too risky. After all, not a few million users have had the experience of getting their FB accounts hacked, or the security of their personal information breached.

Technology websites like Tech Republic can present a decade-long list of privacy information breach that the Facebook platform allowed to transpire through the years.

The worst and the most recent was the one carried out by a political consulting and strategic communications company called Cambridge Analytica. The firm was able to gather personally identifiable information from 87 million users who were enticed to take a personality quiz called “This is Your Life.”

The U.S. Congress, through the Senate Committee on Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs held a hearing in which FB Messenger Exec David Marcus and supposed head of the Libra project launch, was grilled on all sides. The hearing ended with Committee Chairman, Senator Maxine Waters, requesting the social media company not to go ahead with the Libra launch until such time that proper legislation governing cryptocurrency operations are in place.

Recent Poll Shows Only 2% of People Surveyed Trust Facebook’s Project Libra

A recent survey conducted by US-based CivicScience involving 1,799 American adults showed that 77% do not trust Facebook with their personal information, while only 2% put a lot of trust on Facebook.

The survey also revealed that when it comes to trusting Facebook’s Libra Project, at least 40% of those who responded say they had less trust in Libra over whatever trust they have for cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin.

Posted by Madelina Feliks

Cryptocurrency : What are Altcoins?

Altcoins, which is short for Alternative Coins are the other types of cryptocurrency we can use in the world of decentralized financial transactions. Altcoins were introduced much later after bitcoin, around 2013. Albeit built and working on the same framework by which bitcoins are recorded and transacted, their introduction as alternative cryptocurrency was meant to address discerned limitations of bitcoins, as a medium of exchange outside of financial institutions and regulations.

Hundreds of altcoins arrived, but not all remained or stayed long enough in the cryptocurrency market like Ethereum, Litecoin, Ripple, Dash, Cardano and ZCash, just to name a few. To have an idea if a certain type of alternative coin has chances of achieving growth and stability as a digital currency, it would be best to understand the significance of their respective market capitalization.

What is Cryptocurrency Market Capitalization?

Similar to investing in shares of stocks, the cryptocurrency market capitalization depends on the value per coin and the number of coins circulating in the cryptocurrency market, if more will invest and use a type of altcoin, the greater the market capitalization and potential for growth.

Cryptocurrency Market Capitalization = Price per Coin x Total Supply of Coins in Circulation

Now if there is an increase in the supply of a cryptocurrency, chances are there will also be an increase in the price of the token. Some investors may venture into buying a low-priced, small cap altcoin, which therefore increases the supply in circulation. In exactly the same way, if the supply in circulation decreases, the price per token and the market capitalization also goes down.

The upward or downward trend in market capitalization of an altcoin therefore, indicates whether there is growth or the opposite.

Let us cite Litecoin as example, being one of the most popular altcoins currently in use. This digital currency had a market capitalization of $3.32 billion and price per token of $57.37 in August 2018; denoting that at that time, 58, 207, 830 Litecoins were in circulation.

Now as of this writing (June 13, 2019) Litecoin has a market capitalization of 8.38 billion. The increase of $5.06 billion between August 2018 and June 2019), denotes that there were corresponding increases in the Litecoin supply in circulation during the period. The supply of Litecoin in circulation rose to 62,198,601. As the related demand for Litecoin increased, the price of this altcoin soared to $134.6123 per token.

Litecoin’s popularity and resulting growth is mainly due to its quicker-settlement attribute. As alternative cryptocurrency, a Litecoin transaction can be settled in 2 and ½ minutes, which in contrast to bitcoin takes 10 minutes.

Posted by Madelina Feliks in Cryptocurrency

Make Entreprenueral Headway by Venturing into Bitcoin ATM Operations

Bitcoin ATMs are fast becoming in demand in almost all major cities in the world. The U.S. is currently at the forefront, with approximately 60% of all global Bitcoin ATMs, operating in nearly all American regions. At present, New York City is in the lead for having the highest number of Bitcoin ATMs in operation.

Apparently, the world is becoming cryptocurrency friendly, with bitcoin as the most popular virtual currency in use. In fact, cryptocurrency is fast making its way into becoming a mainstream mode of payment, where acceptance of bitcoin in exchange for goods and/or services is now common among enterprises trading in or out of the Internet.

Potential Growth of Bitcoin ATM Operations in Other American States

The rising popularity of cryptocurrencies is actually attributable to its viability as a lucrative form of tradable investment, in view of its fluctuating value.

Although some U.S. cities are seeing only a handful of Bitcoin ATMs in their midst, increase in numbers is possible. The virtual currency machines will prove to be good for the business, particularly in states that have high concentrations of small to medium enterprises (SMEs) accepting bitcoins as payment for products and services. Arizona for one, has great potential for a Bitcoin ATM venture, seeing that the City of Tucson has been experiencing tremendous growth in almost all business sectors.

The only perceivable reason why cryptocurrency investors are taking cautious steps in bringing their Bitcoin ATM to Tucson, is the lack of specific state regulations governing the use and trade of bitcoins. Regulations tend to vary per state, where most statutes include requiring MSBs involved with operating Bitcoin Machines, to have a surety bond in addition to other legal business requirements.

Legal Document Preparation in Tucson – is likely to be complicated and it would be best therefore to employ providers of legal and accounting services. Doing so will eliminate guesswork, and will ensure the processes involved will run smoothly and in order. After all, lack of virtual currency statutes in Arizona, does not necessarily mean prohibition or deregulation, because there are U.S federal laws and regulators governing virtual currency matters.

Federal laws and state laws prevail, unless there is language specifying the prevalence of one over the other.

Overview of Federal Laws Governing Bitcoin

Installing and operating a Bitcoin ATM requires registering the business with the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network, more popularly known as FinCEN. It is a bureau of the U.S. Treasury Department, tasked with collecting and analyzing information related to the financial transactions of a business. That is because, FinCEN’s main directive is to combat threats posed by domestic and foreign money laundering activities, terrorist financing, and other modes of financial crimes.

Section 314(b) USA PATRIOT Act: Financial institutions with the ability to share information with one another, under a safe harbor that offers protections from liability, to best identify and communicate indicators of potential money laundering or terrorist activities.

On a federal level, Bitcoin ATM operators have to register with FinCEN as a Money Services Business or MSB. An MSB for virtual currencies is further sub-classified as an “exchanger.”

FinCEN registration must be completed within 180 days prior to start of operation, to which registration must be renewed every 2 years.

As MSBs, operators of virtual currency ATMs are required to maintain and monitor records of transactions, as well as report particular information related to FinCEN’s task of detecting and preventing money laundering and terrorist financing activities.

Moreover, MSBs must collect and conduct verification of information supplied as identity and background of their respective customers. That being the case, operators are required to develop and implement a ‘know-your-customer” (KYC) method and policies for verification.

Additionally, an MSB has to institute its own anti-money laundering (AML) program comprising 1) Internal Controls and Procedures, 2) a dedicated Compliance Officer, 3) a sound Hiring and Employee Training System and 4) initiative for periodic and on-demand Independent Audits.

Posted by Madelina Feliks in Cryptocurrency, Finance