Purse is the Earth’s largest marketplace, with the lowest listed price on virtually everything online. Purse’s endless pursuit of frictionless marketplaces is making global commerce flatter with the one currency that can truly be accepted, anywhere, bitcoin.
A Friendly Intro to ⚡ Lightning NetworkThe current state of Bitcoin’s exciting layer-2 project
With all of the attention fixed on the price of Bitcoin lately, many people forget that there is still lots of behind the scenes work being done.
One of the most exciting developments in Bitcoin, and cryptocurrency in general, is payment channels, often referred to as the “Lightning Network”.
Many of us probably remember the infamous hard fork last fall that resulted in Bitcoin forking into Bitcoin and Bitcoin Cash. That fork was a result of a disagreement about how we should scale the bitcoin network to handle a worldwide volume of payments. The Bitcoin folks wanted to keep the number of transactions per block low, to enable anyone to run a “full node”. This results in more decentralization at the expense of higher transaction costs. The Bitcoin Cash folks, instead, advocated for larger blocks with lower transaction fees at the expense of some centralization.
Developers contributing to Bitcoin then put forward a proposal for a second layer network to sit on top of the bitcoin network, which would enable the exchange of cryptocurrency between two parties without having to write the transaction into a block. This network is called the ⚡ Lightning Network.
How does it work?
Two parties create a payment channel by sending a transaction to the network where a certain amount of money is reserved on both sides for payments between the parties. As soon as the channel is created, these two parties can exchange transactions without sending a transaction to the network.
Instead, the two parties simply pass a temporary transaction back and forth, updating the transaction every time the balance in the channel changes. When one of the parties closes the channel, only one transaction gets written to the blockchain. At every point in time, both parties are guaranteed to at least get the last value of the channel that they both agreed on.
And since these channel transactions don’t hit the blockchain, they aren’t subject to transaction fees from the miners- just tiny fees for any intermediate parties they use to route transactions.
In effect, we have instant, practically free, unlimited transactions.
For a deeper dive into this technology and how it is also used to swap coins across chains check out bcoin’s Cross-Chain Atomic Swaps guide.
What’s happening with Lightning Network now?
Several teams of developers have been working on implementations of the standard Lightning Network design, among them are the C-lightning project and the LND project. They are at various stages of progress, but the important thing to know is that all Lightning Network implementations are still in beta. And because things are still in beta, there is a hard limit to how much money you can put into a payment channel because they don’t want people to lose money.
LND released a major version 0.5 in early November, and C-lightning released a 0.6 version in June.
Though, despite these limitations, the proliferation of Lightning Network nodes has skyrocketed recently, to over 15,000 open channels holding more than $2 million worth of bitcoin. Companies like Casa have made it super easy to join the network by selling Lightning nodes that come pre-loaded with a recent copy of the blockchain for an ideal user experience.
The number of Lightning Network channels is steeply increasingWhen will the Lightning Network reach wide adoption?
While the concept is fairly simple, the implementation of the Lightning Network is complex. All of the infrastructure has to be built from scratch. Not only do we have to make the peer to peer transactions to work, but all of the components — wallets and nodes — have to be integrated. And there are big challenges.
One of the biggest challenges is figuring out how to route payments across a network where connections, balances and channel capacity are constantly changing. If Bob wants to send money to Alice, the network has to calculate a pathway through intermediate nodes, managing capacity and any transaction fees charged along the way.
Right now, Lightning nodes have to run “full nodes”, or wallets that download the full blockchain, often hundreds of gigabytes. They also have to stay online 24 hours a day to prevent theft of funds that are in a channel. This is all very inconvenient.
Just being rolled out are solutions to these inconveniences. For example, LND has just integrated a “light client” called Neutrino which allows someone to use the Lightning Network without dedicating a whole hard drive to store the blockchain.
Watchtowers add security to the Lightning Network
Also being introduced soon is the concept of “watchtowers”. Watchtowers are services that sit and observe the blockchain for someone attempting to cheat a payment channel. In return for a tiny fee, watchtowers stay online so you don’t have to.
And these are only a couple of the many improvements coming up!
In fact, Lightning Network engineers recently met for a conference to decide what the feature set for the next release might be (Lightning 1.1). Here are some things they came up with, summarized by the Bitcoin Optech newsletter:
Multi-path payments — Being able to break up one channel payment into several and route them different ways
Dual funded channels — Enabling channels to work in both directions instead of just one
Splicing — Adding new channels in parallel to increase the capacity of a channel.
Wumbo — Removing the capacity limit on channels
Hidden destinations — Being able to publicly route a payment to a private channel.
As we work our way through the end of the Bitcoin price cycle, the groundwork is being laid for massive improvements in utility. As the implementations reach version 1.0, there are parallel efforts to partner with standards organizations to make Lightning a ubiquitous feature on the web. For example, the W3C is working on a browser payment standard for the Lightning Network.
Much hard work is yet to be done, but the future is bright. ⚡
If you’re a merchant in crypto and interested in outlining a specification toward LN adoption, please reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org.
We’re now 6 days out from Black Friday. We know many of you take advantage of Purse savings to magnify deal prices. Now, we’ve made it even easier to do just that.
This Chrome Extension connects with your Purse.io account so you can add items directly from Amazon. While you’re browsing on Amazon.com, the extension will drop a “Buy With Bitcoin” button onto the product page. Simply click the button to add the item to your Purse cart. No more copying amazon URLs or product ASINs over to the Purse search box!
No Stress, Just Savings: How To Get The Best Deals on Black Friday
We know you’re tired of getting yet another post about Black Friday.
The good news is we don’t need to push some shiny marketing scheme; Purse shoppers always get the best deals on their Amazon purchases every day.
So, we’re here to help you leverage those deals along with Amazon’s Black Friday & Cyber Monday promotions so you can get that new mining rig, laptop, VR headset, or smartphone you’ve been dreaming of.
Last year, Black Friday shoppers were able to save tens of thousands of dollars on their Amazon purchases using Purse, with NYD discounts averaging 13%. By analyzing the data, we were able to identify the best discounts for shoppers to choose in order to get their Amazon items at the best possible prices.
1. If you are buying a lightning deal, you’ll want to choose Buy Now at checkout.
The reason for this is that lightning deals only last a few hours. If you choose NYD, you’ll risk your order being on the books too long for the deal to apply. So, in order to guarantee the sale price, choose Buy Now and get your order filled right away.
2. For non-lightning deals, we recommend NYD discounts between 5–15%
If you’re ordering an item that’s not a lightning deal, we recommend discounts no higher than15% to ensure that your order is picked up by an earner, and processed quickly.
3. Don’t put lightning deal items in the same cart with other items
This will keep your buying process more streamlined, as well as allow you to choose the best discount on the different items based on when you need the order placed by an earner.
That’s all for now! Make sure you keep an eye on our instagram, twitter & reddit for more tips, deals, and updates.
Our motto at Purse is to “make crypto useful.” And we mean it! Our goal here is to create an exchange for people who love cryptocurrency, want to use it, and want to see the movement grow. We are passionate about providing that exchange possibility and giving cryptocurrency a functional role in society rather than just an asset to buy and sell.
Who benefits from using Purse?
Maybe you want to use their coins to purchase technology for a discount. Or, maybe you’d rather earn cryptocurrency by liquidating Amazon gift cards for Bitcoin/Bitcoin Cash. Whichever the scenario is, Purse wants to be there to help.
And, without further ‘ado, here are the top 10 reasons you should shop on Purse:
1. Use Your Digital Currency For EssentialsPsst… HODLing doesn’t make necessities show up.
We all know that you’ve been holding that spare Bitcoin from a few months back. Put your Bitcoin to good use and buy the items you’ve got to purchase anyway (like food, clothing, electronics). Purse and Amazon are here to help you use your crypto for necessities in everyday life.
2. Earn Cryptocurrencies
As an Earner, you can sell your unused Amazon gift cards for Bitcoin or Bitcoin Cash.
If you think about it, this is a great alternative to mining.
3. Get an Amazon Discount
5% to 33% in savings on Amazon purchases. Want that new laptop and you’re willing to wait for a killer discount?
Our average discount is 18% right now.
4. Use Bitcoin CashSupport your favorite Bitcoin Fork
Purse is an online marketplace that enables anyone to get up to 33% off anything on Amazon by naming their own discount and paying with cryptocurrency.
However, it goes a little deeper than that.
The Two Problems
In order to fully describe what Purse does, let’s begin with two different problems on two different sides of the (Bit)coin:
Amazon does not currently support Bitcoin/Bitcoin Cash transactions.
Cryptocurrency enthusiasts want to find quick, non-mining alternatives to obtaining cryptocurrencies.
Purse is an online P2P marketplace that enables crypto enthusiasts to either:
Shop and use Bitcoin/Bitcoin Cash to save money on Amazon
2. Earn Bitcoin/Bitcoin Cash by selling Amazon gift cards to Shoppers on Purse
Purse provides the platform for this exchange and benefits by getting a small fee from the purchase.
There are two different discount options for shoppers to take advantage of
At 5% off, Purse instantly buys your items. This is the quickest delivery option.
“Name Your Discount”
Choose a discount of 6–33%, then you will be matched with an Earner who fulfills your order.
The Shopper/Earner RelationshipShopper side:
Shoppers give Earners a usable, growing currency in exchange for savings on Amazon using digital currency.
Shoppers could be:
Crypto-users that see value in creating utility for digital currencies
Money-savers that want to make large purchases in bulk with discounts
Earners give Shoppers a great discount because they want to liquidate Amazon gift cards and earn cryptocurrency. They are betting that the market will work in their favor to leverage their earnings.
Earners could be:
Contractors that get paid for small jobs in Amazon gift cards
Amazon gift card holders that received their cards as gifts and want to turn them into profit
Earners that gained Amazon Gift Cards by buying them directly from trusted sources
Cryptocurrency enthusiasts that want to earn Bitcoin or Bitcoin Cash without mining it
Delivery Time and and Tracking Procedure
How do you get your tracking information and how long can you expect to wait for your orders?
“Buy Now” orders from Amazon are purchased and processed by Purse. The delivery time you can expect is equivalent to ordering directly on Amazon Prime.
“Name Your Discount” delivery time consists of the time it takes for the Earner to pick up your order (fulfillment time) and the time it takes to deliver it. Fulfillment time can depend on the discount rate, order value, and crypto marketplace.
Pro tip: If you want the biggest discount and you’re willing to wait several weeks for your order, choose a discount of 20–25% off.
What do you prefer? Fast delivery or a cheap price?Tracking
If the order is shipped via UPS, USPS, DHL, or FedEx, Earners provide the tracking number to Purse who sends the tracking number to you. If the order is shipped by Amazon, Purse receives the tracking number directly.
Shopping on Purse: The Complete Process of How to Make Transactions
Now that you know the background of the Shopper/Earner relationship and discount tradeoffs, let’s walk through all the steps it takes to make a successful transaction on Purse, and get you that much closer to buying tech on Amazon using Purse.
If you select the “Buy Now” 5% discount option, your order will automatically be fulfilled by Purse with the fastest delivery times and no additional Purse fee attached.
If you select the “Name Your Discount” option, you are able to receive up to 33% in savings. However, a caution: the higher you set your discount, the higher estimated delivery time, and the higher the Purse fee.
Step 3: Select Your Shipping Options
Provide the address where you’d like your item to be shipped.
Step 4: Review Your Order, Shipping Information, and Payment InformationStep 5: Select Your Payment Options
Don’t have cryptocurrency yet? Click here to learn how to buy it!
If you already have enough cryptocurrency in your Purse wallet to cover the order this step will be skipped and your order will be placed. You can set your preferred coin to spend first on your account page.
Otherwise, press “Continue” to the next page where we request that you send your BTC or BCH to your hosted Purse Wallet.
Warning: If you send funds here, the writer of this article will receive it. ;)
After arriving, the funds for your order will be held in escrow and your order will be listed on the Purse order book for an earner to pick up.
Additionally, you can make purchases with other digital assets besides BTC and BCH using the Purse ShapeShift integration as shown below. More on that later.
Step 6: An Earner Accepts Your Order
Once an Earner accepts your order, they will place the order with Amazon and inform Purse of the order id.
Step 7: Order Tracking
Your order will be updated with relevant shipping information as soon as Purse gets confirmation from an earner. Purse will let you know once your order has a tracking number, is sent, and delivered to the address you selected in the checkout process.
Step 8: Receive Your Amazon Item in the Mail
You just used crypto to save money on Amazon. Say Whaaat?!
Make sure to confirm your package as soon as it arrives so the earner who fulfilled your order can be paid promptly.
When Purse.io was created, it immediately synced with Amazon.com’s policies and shipping capabilities. Within these policies, Amazon.com is able to ship to many places inside the U.S. and outside the U.S. for an additional shipping fee. For a helpful snapshot of available locations, view the full list of destinations & rates here.
Don’t have BTC or BCH? Use any of your favorite tokens with ShapeShift
ShapeShift.io is an instant digital asset exchange service. It allows the shopper to take one digital asset and instantly convert it to another one. The way this works is that ShapeShift will take the shopper’s currency, convert it to Bitcoin, then send the converted coin back to Purse.
With the ShapeShift integration, Purse can accept more than 30 different digital assets including:
Purse charges a fee for “Name Your Discount” orders based on the set discount. Purse will always display the fee that applies for your order. See below for the fee schedule.
Long Shipping Times
If the Shopper selects an item with a long shipping time, it may prompt Earners to cancel the order. If the order is cancelled, it will be sent back to the Purse order book for the next Earner to pick up.
To ensure the fastest shipping, only order items that are currently in stock and be sure to note the estimated delivery time that’s listed for that item. It is most ideal to select items with a 5–7 day shipping time or less.
High Discount Rates
If the Shopper places an order with a request for a high discount amount (more than 18–22%), the Shopper will need an Earner to accept that discount. There is a high likelihood that most Earners will be hesitant to fulfill a high discount order because they will be accepting payment at a lower rate.
For example, an item with a desired discount rate of 25-33% may take up to a month to be picked up by an Earner. (But… imagine the savings!)
Popular Products and Discounts
Buying Tech with Amazon
Here are the top Purse shopping categories. Our records show that many of our users enjoy getting discounts of 18% on items such as laptops and phones. A close second are those interested in PC parts, such as video cards, motherboards or monitors.
“Balance” and “Buzzed” are categories in which shoppers can buy products that help facilitate their busy life schedule (premium coffee, mmmm), or help them rewind from their day (aromatherapy essential oil diffuser, anyone?)
The hierarchy in terms of popularity looks like this (1 being the top visited)
The value of Bitcoin and Bitcoin Cash is volatile. We know this. Here are two ways that the market fluctuation can go in your favor, even if the value of your crypto changes.
Shop and Save, Even When the Price of BTC is Down:
In this case, we can see that the shopper put in an order with a “Name Your Discount” price of 25%. Although the price of BTC changed before an Earner picked up the order, the Shopper still walked away with 23.5% savings on a photography lens.
Gain Extra Earnings When BTC’s Value Rises:
The fun part about using Purse are the potential savings when the value of Bitcoin rises. The final discount that this shopper gained was comparable to 37%, an unexpected 16% total discount increase!
Top 10 Reasons to Shop on Purse:1. Use Your Digital Currency For Essentials
We all know that you’ve been holding that spare amount of Bitcoin from a few months back. Put your Bitcoin to good use and buy the items you’ve got to purchase anyway. HODLing doesn’t make food and clothes show up!
2. Earn Cryptocurrencies
As an Earner, you can sell your unused Amazon gift cards for Bitcoin or Bitcoin Cash. if you think about it, this is a great way to get access to your crypto faster than almost all other methods.
3. Get Discounts on Amazon
5% to 33% in savings on Amazon purchases. No sales windows, no limitations.
You have probably heard about Bitcoin — but you may not know what it is.
A brief definition:
Bitcoin is a decentralized, peer-to-peer electronic currency that does not require intermediary banking institutions. All transactions are reported on a public ledger called the blockchain. Bitcoin is known by the ticker symbol “BTC.”
Since Bitcoin’s inception in 2009, several other cryptocurrencies have entered the market.
One example is Bitcoin Cash, known by the ticker symbol “BCH.”
You might be wondering:
Aren’t Bitcoin and Bitcoin Cash the same?
Nope. Bitcoin and Bitcoin Cash are not the same. Bitcoin and Bitcoin Cash are two entirely separate cryptocurrencies, despite both being based on the same open-source Bitcoin code.
The Bitcoin Cash community strongly believes that the fork allows Bitcoin Cash to reflect Satoshi’s original vision of Bitcoin — its users view it as an updated form of Bitcoin.
Although BCH is still relatively new, companies like Bitpay.com see the market value in Bitcoin Cash because of how easy it is to use in transactions. Today, Bitpay is one of the largest Bitcoin Cash payment processors in the world.
The ability to use Bitcoin or Bitcoin Cash to make purchases opens doors for both merchants and customers into markets that were not available before. For example, a business can accept payments from customers anywhere in the world without the risk of fraud,” said Sean Rolland, Director of Product at BitPay. “ Adding support for Bitcoin Cash payments gives our customers more ways in which they can transact. This is a good thing.” -Bitpay.com
Obtaining Bitcoin CashBuying Bitcoin Cash
Now that you know a little bit more about Bitcoin Cash, it’s time to look into ways to buy it.
Step 1: Choose a Wallet that Supports Bitcoin Cash
Since BCH is relatively new, there are currently fewer wallets supporting BCH than BTC.
However, since the new cryptocurrency is growing fast, more and more wallets have been adding support for BCH.
Here is a list of 21 compatible wallets that we found. Choose and download one of these wallets:
Step 3: Move the BCH to your BCH-compatible wallet
Don’t just leave your Bitcoin Cash on your exchange account. Move it to the secure wallet that you downloaded.
It’s not a good idea to keep digital currency sitting idly in an exchange account. The reason being that, exchanges and borrowers have the potential to be hacked when left unattended. The best solution to security breaches is to keep your currency in a certified Bitcoin/Bitcoin Cash wallet.
Downloading a compatible wallet and purchasing from an exchange is the easiest way to currently buy BCH.
NOTE: Do not send/receive Bitcoin Cash to a Bitcoin address or vice versa. Always make sure when you send Bitcoin Cash, that you are sending to a Bitcoin Cash address. The same goes for Bitcoin. Otherwise, your money could be lost.
Move your Bitcoin Cash to your wallet after purchasing.Using Bitcoin Cash and the Available ServicesWays to use Bitcoin Cash
Now that you have your BTC or BCH in your wallet, it’s time to make your crypto useful. There are so many different ways to spend your coins: ranging from ordering takeout to purchasing flights.
eGifter — eGifter allows buyers to purchase premium branded gift cards however they’d like: in bulk, shipped and delivered to their doorstep, or bought with Bitcoin.
Ghostbed — Ghostbed uses quality materials to create soft, yet durable mattresses. Recently, they opened up buying opportunities using Bitpay.
Lanieri — Lanieri says that “Italians Do Fit Better,” and they could be right, especially since they are offering their fashionable menswear options in exchange for Bitcoin.
Schmidt’s Naturals are plant-derived deodorants and soaps free from added chemicals such as aluminum and SLS. In late May 2018, Schmidt’s Naturals opened up their payment options to cryptocurrency: “Whether it be a scent or a payment method, we are very highly engaged with our consumer.”- Schmidt’s Naturals
Takeaway — Takeaway has been accepting bitcoins as payment since 2013. Takeaway is a Dutch company specializing in online food ordering and delivery. Over the years they have expanded to countries such as Italy and Portugal. Today, hundreds of thousands of businesses have the option to be paid in Bitcoin through their service.
Newegg — Newegg is an online computer and electronics shop devoted to providing Bitcoin as a payment option.
Microsoft Store — Since January 2018, Microsoft welcomed Bitcoin back to its Windows and Xbox online stores. In order to utilize their currency, customers simply select the “Redeem bitcoin” function which transports the user to their digital wallet to complete the transaction.
Namecheap — Namecheap is a leading domain registrar that “registers or transfers your domain name in a snap.” Namecheap offers payment options in Bitcoin and Bitcoin Cash.
NETELLER — Neteller is an e-wallet that allows the ability to transfer money to and from merchants and withraw funds easily between accounts. You can exchange Bitcoin and Bitcoin Cash.
… And everything else you can think of!:
Destinia — Destinia offers great deals on hotels, flights, and apartments. Now, travelers can purchase their flights with Bitcoin, opening up a world of opportunities for digital currency holders.
Magnum Realty — The way real estate conducts business is changing! Magnum Realty is a New York-based real estate service that speacializes in rentals and condo sales in the Manhattan area. Magnum Realty accepts Bitcoin as a viable way to purchase properties.
APMEX — Apmex is a precious metals dealer in the U.S. that accepts purchases in Bitcoin as long as they are under $250,000.
American Red Cross — The American Red Cross offers shelter, food, and resources to communities experiencing disaster. Traditionally donors support the relief services by donating money in cash. Now, even those who invest in cryptocurrency are able to use their coins to help out.
Electronic Frontier Foundation — San Francisco’s Electronic Fronteir Foundation is a leading nonprofit defending digital privacy, free speech, and innovation. If interested in donating in Bitcoin or Bitcoin Cash, there is an option to do so at the bottom of their donation page.
Payment Service Providers
If you are a business owner, you can start accepting BCH as a form of payment!
Payment servicers can help facilitate BCH payments by depositing dollars into your bank account when customers pay you in BCH.
You can start accepting Bitcoin Cash at your business!
A business owner can use the following payment servicers to accept BCH payments:
In December 2017, Coinbase integrated support for Bitcoin Cash.
Immediately following Coinbase’s integration, the price of Bitcoin Cash spiked dramatically.
Here is a chart showing the price of Bitcoin Cash from its launch on August 1, 2017 to December 31, 2017:
The dramatic price increase in December 2017 is the day that Coinbase integrated Bitcoin Cash.
On December 20th, the price of BCH soared from about $2,000 to almost $10,000 on the Coinbase’s exchange, GDAX. Now called Coinbase Pro.
On other exchanges, the price went up to almost $4,000.
Coinbase had only opened BCH trading for less than 3 minutes before closing it because the requests exceeded their supply.
Most of the requests for BCH were denied because Coinbase did not have enough supply.
You are probably wondering:
How did this happen?
Coinbase claims that the dramatic increase in price was due to the fact that the excessive demand for BCH exceeded the exchange’s supply.
However, many users believe that there could have been insider trading on Coinbase before its official integration — which depleted the exchange’s supply.
Some think this could have occurred because the price of BCH began to rise on the exchange before trading officially opened to the public.
But Coinbase has denied that insider-trading occurred on the exchange.
Bitcoin and Bitcoin Cash: a Deeper Dive
Here’s some additional information about the Bitcoin and Bitcoin Cash debate.
There are a few key differences between the Bitcoin Cash and Bitcoin block sizes
August 2017 upgrade:
This upgrade increased the maximum block-size from 1 MB (of data) per block to 8 MB per block on the blockchain.
May 15th 2018 (the most recent software update):
The block-size for Bitcoin Cash increased from 8 MB to 32 MB.
Why does block-size matter?
A larger block-size means that more transactions can be processed (per second) because each block holds more data. On average, blocks come on every 10 minutes. Here’s more about block-size and transactions per second.
Here is a chart showing the price of Bitcoin Cash since its inception (August 1, 2017 — May 24, 2018):Source: Coin TelegraphThe price of Bitcoin for the same time period (August 1, 2017 — May 24, 2018)Source: Coin TelegraphA Closer Look: The price of Bitcoin Cash over the last 3 months: March 2018-May 2018Source: Coin TelegraphThe price of Bitcoin over the last 3 months: March 2018 — May 2018Source: Coin Telegraph
There are times where BTC and BCH follow similar price trends.
Both Bitcoin Cash and Bitcoin saw a decline in price in the middle of March 2018.
Over May 4–5, 2018, both BTC and BCH jumped in price. Then, both cryptocurrencies began slowly declining in price over the following weeks.
The price of Bitcoin Cash and Bitcoin sometimes follow similar trends — but not always.
Their prices can be affected by very different events.
At the beginning of Bitcoin Cash’s inception, on August 1, 2017, its price was $552.
Then, its price declined by more than 50% over the next few days. BCH hit its record-low price on August 4, 2017 — $240. BCH struggled to gain value in its first week on the marketplace.
Meanwhile, BTC was steadily increasing in price during August 2017.
In December 2017, both BTC and BCH increased in price dramatically.
However, these price increases were for different reasons.
Bitcoin hit its record high of $19,783 on Sunday, December 17, 2017. Then, it fell by approximately 30% — to $13,857 on Friday, December 22, 2017.
Bitcoin Cash increased in price on December 20th 2017 — this was the day that Coinbase opened trading for..