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Today, we are excited to announce we have closed our latest funding round, raising €4 million from Earlybird and coparion. We are now backed by a portfolio of investors who helped nurtured and grow the likes of N26, ShapeShift, and EyeEm. They join our existing family of investors with High-Tech Gründerfonds (HTGF), Digital Currency Group (DCG), and ALSTIN.

This has been an incredible year so far. In the first week of January, we have grown our customer base to over 80,000 people and temporarily suspended our services within the same week. Fast forward a few months later, we partnered up with a German bank to offer blockchain banking, reached over 30,000 people on our waitlist for all-new Bitwala accounts, welcomed 12 new team members, and continued to work hard on our amazing new product that will be launched this November.

“The background and experience of the team convinced us that Bitwala will allow everyone to engage with cryptocurrencies with all the comfort and security of their bank account.” – Christian Nagel, partner at Earlybird venture capital.

This funding round reflects the investors’ trust in our unique product and team. This is an incredible endorsement of our hard work so far, and we are very excited about the opportunities this investment opens up. This funding round means we can further develop our product and build on our mission to bring crypto-friendly banking to the world, starting in Germany.

I’m very proud that with our new product we will close the gap between crypto and traditional banking and solve one of the biggest hurdles on the road to mainstream adoption,” – Jörg von Minckwitz, President of Bitwala GmbH.

This has been an amazing year for Bitwala so far and we can’t wait to get started on what’s next. We’d like to close this announcement with a huge thank you to everyone who has supported and helped us get this far. Thank you for being part of our journey. We couldn’t have done it without you!

The post Announcing our new €4 million funding round appeared first on Bitwala.

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After understanding how Bitcoin works, naturally, the next questions revolve around cryptocurrency ownership. So, what is a Bitcoin wallet and which one is the best for you? This article takes you on a journey to find the answers.

You definitely won’t have a leather wallet holding your bitcoin. You won’t have a signed contract declaring the purchase of your bitcoin. And, a Bitcoin wallet also won’t hold bitcoin in the typical sense of storage either.

So, how do Bitcoin wallets work and where should you store your bitcoin?

How do Bitcoin wallets work?

Bitcoin wallets enable the sending and receiving of the cryptocurrency by adhering to the Bitcoin protocol. These wallets are intricate software programmes that enable individuals with little to no technical knowledge to interact with the Bitcoin blockchain to transact value globally, without barriers.

Bitcoin is not stored in a wallet in the same sense that cash is held in your physical wallet. All bitcoin exists on the blockchain and to get rather technical, you don’t actually own the specific bitcoin that you hold. Instead, you own the combination of the keys that allow you to access the bitcoin and move it around. The bitcoin you buy is safe once you store your keys safely.

Wallets hold at least one associated private key and a single public key. In a nutshell, it is the combination of the private key(s) and the public key that create the concept of a Bitcoin wallet.


Example keys generated through bitaddress.org

A Bitcoin address is like a traditional bank account number. However, unlike a bank account, one wallet can have multiple receiving addresses generated by its public key.

You can provide those new addresses to whoever wishes to send you bitcoin in order to conceal your original public key. The creation of new receiving addresses is availed of for privacy reasons, however, the coins are still sent to the same wallet. Thus, only your combination of keys can access and move the newly received bitcoin.

Learn more about how Bitcoin works here…

Bitcoin addresses either begin with 1 or 3 and look something like this: 1snowqQP5VmZgU47i5AWwz9fsgHQg94Fa. The Bitcoin blockchain is essentially a very long list of addresses comprising transactions mapped from address to address.


Example of the Official Snowden Defense Fund wallet on blockchain.info

Backup keys

If you forget or lose your wallet password/private key, you can use your backup key/seed phrase to recover your bitcoin.

Some wallets generate an extra key, on top of the private and public key. It’s called a backup key and can sometimes come in the form of a mnemonic/seed phrase. A seed phrase can consist of a set of up to twenty-four words randomly generated from the private key. In some cases, your backup may contain two twelve word mnemonic phrases.

Seed phrases must be written down on paper and stored with the highest degree of security. The phrases are never visible to the wallet client operator and therefore, they cannot help you retrieve them.


Example of a seed phrase by Electrum

One way to perform a wallet recovery is to go to a GitHub.io hosted page (specified by your wallet client) and enter your backup key/seed phrase. You can choose to enter the values into the page specified by your wallet operator or you can download and run the recovery tool. Alternatively, wallet recoveries can be performed via any Bitcoin wallet client that offers the possibility to import wallets by entering your seed phrase.

Different types of wallets

What is a Bitcoin wallet may still be a question troubling your mind. So in this section, we explore distinct types of wallets to help clear up the confusion.

There are various factors to consider while deciding on which Bitcoin wallet to use. Key considerations include the amount of bitcoin you plan to hold, the frequency with which you plan to spend and last but not least, the trade-off between heightened security and convenience.

Cold storage

Cold storage wallets refer to a method of “cold storage” for your bitcoin and come in the form of paper wallets, hardware wallets or on a USB. They’re completely offline. Accordingly, many also refer to them as offline wallets.

In terms of security, offline wallets are more sophisticated than hot, or online, wallets. That’s because they’re created offline and only need to be connected to the Internet when sending bitcoin. They’re not hosted on servers and as a result, they’re not commonly the target of hacking attacks.

Paper wallets

A paper wallet is the combination of the private key(s) and a public key printed out (most often, including QR format), on whatever material you decide to print on. You can either use a paper wallet generator to print your wallet or simply copy/paste your private keys into a document and hit print. In the example, we’re not recommending either option or the use of a specific paper wallet generator, but we’re simply giving an overview.


Click here to watch a video tutorial on paper wallets

Whatever you decide to do, it’s crucial to remember to clear any information about the wallet from your computer and to store it safely. As an additional precaution, it could be worth it to laminate the paper to avoid issues with durability. Be innovative with ways to protect your paper wallet from natural disasters and find ways to conceal the private key.

Above all, paper wallets must stay on paper (or the material you printed on), so avoid any digital storage or digital photographs of the contents if you want to avail of the security offered by this method of bitcoin storage.

Cold storage is only secure if you take all the necessary precautions while generating your wallet. Moreover, single Bitcoin addresses should not be reused after sending or receiving bitcoin with them. If you’d like to use a paper wallet to store your bitcoin, we recommend that you dig even deeper to find the best setup for increased security and privacy.

Hardware wallets

Hardware wallets involve the physical storage of private keys on a hardware device. These devices never reveal your private key, even while connected to the Internet.


Via KeepKey website

Hardware wallets can be connected to the manufacturer’s website, allowing you to move your coins, but they still remain offline. You always need the device to confirm your transactions. The device itself and its pin act as layers of authentication before your bitcoin can be sent to another wallet.

Steer clear from third-parties to avoid potential hacking and only buy hardware devices from well-known manufacturers like Ledger, Trezor or Keepkey.

If you’re planning to get more techy, some popular hardware wallet devices can also be linked to an Electrum wallet.

The beauty of hardware wallets lies in their advanced security, however, users must not become complacent because attacks are not impossible.

Hot wallets

In contrast to cold wallets, hot wallets are always connected to the Internet. Hence, people choose hot wallets for convenience rather than security. They’re useful for holding smaller sums of bitcoin to transact regularly. Different types include web, desktop and mobile wallets.

Web wallets

Web wallets are connected to exchanges, markets or other online service providers and enable instant Bitcoin transactions through a web browser. If you use a web wallet, you deposit your coins into the service providers’ online wallet. They are considered one of the least secure wallet options and should not be used to store large sums of bitcoin.

Nonetheless, they deliver easy-to-use, convenient solutions for sending, receiving and storing small sums of bitcoin and are accessible anywhere with an Internet connection.

Sometimes, web wallet clients hold the private key for you. As a result, it’s up to them to ensure your coins’ safety. In that instance, if the provider suffers an attack, it’s very probable that you will lose your bitcoin.

However, some web wallet clients implement multi-signature solutions allowing you to retain total control over your coins and bringing with them heightened security. With the extra security in place, you can let go of the fear of potentially deleting your desktop wallet and thus, losing your bitcoin.

Multi-signature wallets

Multi-signature (often referred to as multisig) wallets hold more than two keys. The keys are divided amongst the relevant parties to ensure the safety of one’s coins. Multi-signature solutions are often used by web wallet providers or amongst persons who share wallets.

For example, BitGo hosts multi-signature wallets that have three keys (the private key, the backup key and another encrypted key held by BitGo). When a wallet is created, a private key is generated on the client-side, another key is created on BitGo’s side and a final backup key is created for the user based on the private key.

Two out of three keys are required for Bitcoin transactions to be authorised and for a wallet recovery to be performed. Transactions are signed with a user’s private key and are verified with the key held by the wallet client. In the case of a wallet recovery, the backup key and the key held by the wallet client are sufficient to regain access to your coins.

Wallet clients such as BitGo, that offer multi-signature solutions, will never be able to access your coins because they only hold one out of the three keys. That means that if your wallet client is compromised, the hackers will not be able to steal your coins since you are the holder of the second and third (magic) keys. Finally, if your wallet client suffers insolvency, you will also be able to still access your coins, since only you hold the relevant keys to move the bitcoin.

Anyways, it’s harder for a hacker to crack two keys than one and that’s why multi-signature solutions are better to ensure enhanced security. It’s also harder to lose two keys than just one. That’s if you store them separately (of course, both in highly secure locations/multiple highly secure locations). That way, if you lose one, you still have access to your coins.

“Your keys, your bitcoin. Not your keys, not your bitcoin.”
Andreas Antonopoulos

Desktop wallets

Desktop wallets (also called software wallets) are a type of crypto wallets that you download and store on your computer. With a desktop wallet, you are in total control of your coins and their security since your private key is stored on your hardware.

You can either download a desktop wallet as a “full node” or a “light client”. A full node wallet such as the Bitcoin core protocol (the original desktop wallet) downloads the entire Bitcoin blockchain to your computer. So, you should only download that wallet if you have ample space on your computer (an excess of 145 GB to be precise).

You can opt to contribute to the network as a full node, however, you can also use the wallet without your computer acting as a full node.

The vast majority of desktop wallets come in the form of “light clients” – Simplified Payment Verification (SPV) wallets. Instead of downloading the whole Bitcoin blockchain, they simply synchronise themselves to it.


Via valuewalk.com

Desktop wallets are considered to be one of the more secure options since they are not dependent on third parties like web or mobile wallets. However, they are still connected to the Internet and there are some potential risks associated with their use.

For example, if your computer is hacked or infected with a virus, your coins could be stolen. Or, if you lose your computer, you may also lose your coins along with it. The latter case, alongside the possibility of accidentally deleting your desktop wallet, is a reason why it’s so important to properly backup your wallet and store the backup information with great care.

Mobile wallets

The name says it all. This type of wallet is active on your mobile and that’s where it stores the private key. These wallets are useful for quickly transacting small amounts of bitcoin on-the-go, especially with the comfort of scanning QR codes. Although, they’re not recommended for large-scale bitcoin storage for reasons of both mobile safety and their connection to the Internet.

You can employ various methods to protect your mobile wallet such as setting a strong password, multi-factor login, and backing up your private key securely. Nonetheless, these wallets don’t offer great security, nor privacy since we all know that it’s easy to break or lose your phone or worse, for it to be stolen.

Brain wallets

If you’re feeling risky, then you might consider using a brain wallet. Disclaimer: we wouldn’t if we were you.

The use of cryptocurrency wallets is set to become even more widespread as we move into the blockchain era. Bitcoin wallets are a gateway to the crypto economy, which is much more developed than some might expect. There are many ways to use bitcoin, including spending it with merchants.

If you’re interested in finding out more about bitcoin’s use-cases, check out our academy article on How to Use Bitcoin.

The post What is a Bitcoin wallet appeared first on Bitwala.

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Bitwala News by Bitwala - 5M ago

Was ist Bitcoin? Wie funktioniert das Internetgeld? Wo kommt es her und wie kann es genutzt werden? Diese und weitere im Zusammenhang stehende Fragen beantworten wir im Folgenden.

Die Bitcoin Entstehungsgeschichte

Geht es um Bitcoin, ist die vermutlich wichtigste Frage: Was ist Bitcoin? Eine kurze Frage, die einer umfangreichen Antwort bedarf. Wir werden uns an dieser Stelle mit dem Wesentlichen befassen.

Bitcoin ist eine digitale Währung, die durch Satoshi Nakamoto in einer acht seitigen Abhandlung erstmals vorgestellt wurde. Diese Abhandlung, auch Whitepaper genannt, trägt den Titel “Bitcoin: A Peer-to-Peer Electronic Cash System“ und beschreibt die wesentlichen Eigenschaften der neuen Währung (https://bitcoin.org/bitcoin.pdf). Der Autor – Satoshi Nakamoto – hat sich bis heute der Öffentlichkeit fern gehalten. Bereits Anfang 2011, nur zweieinhalb Jahre nach der Veröffentlichung des Whitepapers, zog sich Satoshi aus jeglichen Online-Foren zurück.

Bis heute ist ungewiss, ob es sich bei Satoshi um eine Einzelperson oder eine Gruppe von Gleichgesinnten handelt. Allerdings ist bekannt, dass die allerersten Bitcoin von Satoshi selbst erstellt worden sind und auch die erste Bitcoin-Überweisung von einem der Wallets transferiert wurde. Der Empfänger dieser Überweisung war Hal Finney. Selber einer der ersten Bitcoin-Nutzer, stand Hal Finney in regelmäßigem Austausch mit Satoshi und unterstützte Bitcoin in seiner Anfangszeit.

Es vergingen einige Monate bis Bitcoin (BTC) tatsächlich das erste Mal als Zahlungsmittel verwendet wurde. Es war der 21. Mai 2010 als Laszlo Hanyecz 10,000 BTC für zwei Pizzen an den Lieferanten zahlte. Zuvor hatte er eine entsprechende Anfrage in einem Online Forum gepostet. Verglichen mit heutigen Preisen, wären dies wohl die teuersten Pizzen der Geschichte. Der erste Schritt auf dem Weg zur weltweit genutzten digitalen Währung war getan.

Kurz darauf eröffnet mit MtGox die bis dato erste Börse für den Onlinehandel mit Bitcoin. Worauf in den folgenden Monaten die gesamte Marktkapitalisierung der existierenden Bitcoins über die eine Millionen US-Dollar klettert. Den damaligen Höhepunkt fand Bitcoin Ende 2013 als der Preis die 1,000-USD-Marke durchbrach. In den kommenden Jahren wurde Bitcoin als Zahlungsmittel von einer steigenden Zahl von Einzelhändlern mit Online-Auftritten akzeptiert. Selbst größere Firmen wie Microsoft und Dell akzeptierten ab Ende 2014 Bitcoin für verschiedene Dienste.

Bitcoin hatte sich als sichere und funktionierende digital Währung bewiesen. Eine Währung wie Bitcoin, ist was, was nicht greifbar ist, sondern nur virtuell existiert. Es ist eine Währung, die geschaffen wurde, um weltweit Werte direkt austauschen zu können. Es gibt kein Unternehmen, das Bitcoin kontrolliert oder vermarktet.

Blockchain – die Technologie, die Bitcoin möglich macht

Um die Frage “Was ist Bitcoin?” vollständig zu beantworten, muss sich die Antwort immer auch der Blockchain widmen. Die Blockchain ist das technische System, welches Bitcoin zugrunde liegt und dessen Funktion überhaupt erst ermöglicht. Diese besondere Blockchain ist die Technologie, die Bitcoin von früheren Internetwährungen unterscheidet. Die besondere Funktionsweise dieser Technologie hat das Potenzial das Internet und alle darauf basierenden Daten- und Kommunikationswege zu revolutionieren.

Anders als die Bezeichnung Blockchain vermuten lässt, besteht eine Blockchain nicht nur aus einer Kette (chain) aus Blöcken (block), vielmehr ist die Blockchain ein System, das Datensätze an einen Zeitpunkt koppelt und diese einer öffentlich einsehbaren Historie zufügt. Diese Historie ist auf tausenden Computern weltweit gespeichert und eine Änderung bzw. eine aktualisierte Historie wird zeitgleich von allen Teilnehmern gespeichert.

Die Bitcoin Blockchain speichert für eine Transaktion den Sender, den Empfänger, den versandten BTC Betrag und den Zeitpunkt. Diese Daten werden auf ihre Gültigkeit überprüft. Da alle Computer gleichzeitig prüfen, kann ein Betrug fast gänzlich ausgeschlossen werden. Ist eine Transaktion geprüft und bestätigt, wird sie der Historie angefügt. Einmal an diese angehängt, ist die Transaktion Teil der Blockchain und somit unveränderbar.

Neben der Unveränderbarkeit von bereits getätigten Transaktionen kennzeichnet sich die Blockchain durch zwei weitere wesentliche Eigenschaften. Die Bitcoin Blockchain ist “dezentral” und Überweisungen werden “peer-to-peer” also direkt von Nutzer zu Nutzer durchgeführt. Anders als bei traditionellen Währungssystemen gibt es bei der Blockchain keine zentrale Instanz, die das System kontrolliert. Es gibt nicht ein einzelnes Zentrum, sondern alle teilnehmende Computer ergeben ein weltweites Netzwerk aus Datenspeichern. Aufgrund der Dezentralität gilt die Blockchain sicherer als zentrale Systeme. Im Vergleich zu herkömmlichen Banküberweisungen werden Transaktion “peer-to-peer” übertragen. Das bedeutet, dass Transaktionen deutlich günstiger und vor allem schneller durchgeführt werden können. Eine Bitcoin Transaktion gilt als durchgeführt, sobald diese zur Blockchain hinzugefügt wurde. Ist die Überweisung getätigt, wird ein einzigartiger Hash erstellt. Ein Hash ist eine lange Folge aus unterschiedlichen Zeichen, welcher sich aus dem gespeicherten Datensatz ergibt. Durch einen Hash kann ähnlich wie durch eine Überweisungsreferenz, auf die Transaktion verwiesen werden.

Wallets – die Konten der Blockchain Welt

Um Bitcoin nutzen zu können, wird eine sogenannte Bitcoin Wallet benötigt. Mit einer Bitcoin Wallet kann Bitcoin gehalten, empfangen und transferiert werden. Das wichtigste Element einer Wallet ist der sogenannte “Private Key” bzw. der private Schlüssel. Der private Schlüssel ähnelt einem Passwort. Dieses Passwort wird verwendet, um eine Bitcoin Wallet Adresse, den sogenannten “public key” oder öffentlichen Schlüssel, zu erstellen. Über die Wallet Adresse können Bitcoins empfangen werden und um empfangen Bitcoins zu versenden, muss eine Transaktion mit dem Private Key bestätigt werden.

Eine Bitcoin Wallet ist sozusagen der Ort, an dem Passwort und Wallet Adresse zusammen kommen. Wer Zugriff auf beide Schlüssel hat, kann auf die Wallet und somit die gehaltenen Bitcoins zugreifen. Je sicherer die Schlüssel aufbewahrt werden, desto sicherer ist auch der gehaltene BTC Betrag. Eine Methode, eine Wallet zu sichern, ist die Adresse und das Passwort auf Papier zu schreiben und dieses gut zu verstecken. Für den alltäglichen Gebrauch von Bitcoin eignet sich eine Wallet App. Mit einer Wallet App bleibt man mobil und kann je nach Bedarf mit den eigenen Bitcoins bezahlen oder diese transferieren.

Was ist Bitcoin heute und wie wird er angewendet?

Bitcoin wird oft anhand des aktuellen Preis in Euro oder US-Dollar gemessen. Finanzstarke Investoren und Spekulanten haben besonderen Einfluss auf die Bewertung von Bitcoin. Auf speziell für digitale Währungen zugeschnittenen Börsen, kann Bitcoin gegen andere Kryptowährungen gehandelt werden. Viele der Kryptowährungen, die nach Bitcoin erstellt worden sind, können nur mit Bitcoin gekauft oder gegen Bitcoin verkauft werden.

Auf unterschiedlichen Online Plattformen wird neben den bekannten Zahlungsmethoden immer häufiger auch Bitcoin akzeptiert. Neben großen Unternehmen wie Microsoft, Zynga, Overstock oder Shopify, die bestimmte Produkte und Dienstleistungen gegen Bitcoin anbieten, gibt es eine vielzahl kleinerer Händler, die Bitcoin akzeptieren. Der in Berlin ansässige Lieferdienst “Lieferando” ermöglicht seit Sommer 2017 das bezahlen mit Bitcoin.

In Städten wie Moskau und Berlin kann bei verschieden Einzelhändlern und Restaurants mit Bitcoin bezahlt werden. Über die letzten Jahre ist ein steter Anstieg an Akzeptanzstellen zu erkennen. Auch die Möglichkeiten Bitcoin per Banküberweisung oder per Kreditkarte zu kaufen, haben sich vermehrt. Die Zeichen für weitere Ausbreitung des Bitcoin als alternatives Zahlungsmittel sehen vielversprechend aus.

The post Was ist Bitcoin? appeared first on Bitwala.

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Over the last few months, we have been working hard with regulators and our partner bank to bring you the world’s first full crypto-friendly bank account. We are also the very first in Germany to have undergone this process. Merging banking and crypto has been a regulatory challenge which took some time, but we have managed to achieve it.

We are now in the final stages of development and have started testing our infrastructure, trading systems, and product as well as squaring away the last tasks on the regulatory and legal side.

What happened

We are pioneering crypto-first banking in Germany, and globally. As we are the first in the world, it was difficult for us to put an exact estimation behind it.

Launching a full banking experience, with deposit protection guarantee and built-in cryptocurrency trading, under a German license is a robust process. Nevertheless, we’ve already signed the contract with our partner bank.

Now our legal, compliance, and finance teams are currently finishing off the last topics needed before launch. We are proud to play an active role in shaping how crypto-banking is established.

What this means for you

You would have to wait a bit longer, but we are quite confident that you would enjoy our secure banking experience which will feel like second nature to you.

We have started the internal testing and refinement stage to ensure that we meet and exceed stringent quality and security standards before we publicly launch the all-new Bitwala accounts. Moreover, our beta phase will begin soon and those who have signed up will be contacted via email.

Next steps

We will launch in November of this year and you will remain part of our journey every step of the way. Over the coming weeks, we’ll update you on the exact date.

To follow our progress join us on Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube or if you pop over to our usual hangout spot, Room 77, we can have a chat in person.

Sincerely yours,
Ben, Jan & Joerg
The Bitwala Founders

The post An update on our launch appeared first on Bitwala.

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When moving to a new city or simply traveling solo, meeting like-minded people with similar interests can be hard. A common solution for this issue is to join meetup groups. However, with so many meetups out there, how do you know which one would be perfect for you? Whether you’re in Germany for a few days or for an indefinite period of time, we have made a list of top crypto meetups in Germany!

Berlin

Germany’s historic capital city is a mecca of artists, bohemians, and entrepreneurs. The city, famous for its cheap beers and liberal-creative districts, is also considered by many (including familiar faces in the Berlin crypto scene) as the crypto capital of Europe. Check out the meetups below and see for yourself if the city really is a focal point for cryptocurrencies.

Blockchain Meetup Berlin, 4159+ members, held monthly
Berlin Ethereum Meetup, 2655+ members, held monthly
Bitcoin Lab Berlin, 1942+ members, held monthly

Pro-tip: If you are living or simply visiting Berlin, you might find our list of top 10 places to spend bitcoin in Berlin quite handy!

Munich

When people hear of Munich, what usually comes to mind are lederhosen, bretzel, and well, beer. But did you know that aside from the world-famous Oktoberfest, the Bavarian capital has some of the largest crypto meetups in the country?

Bitcoin Munich, 3079+ members, held monthly
Blockchain Munich, 1941+ members, held monthly
Blockchain Mastermind, 1048+ members, held monthly

Hamburg

Hamburg is arguably Germany’s most famous harbour city (Did you know that it’s also the third largest port in the world?). Aside from the legendary Hamburg Fischmarkt (an institution since 1703, attracting over 70,000 people every Sunday!) and The Reeperbahn, home to Hamburg’s red light district, the city also has a strong crypto community.

Bitcoin, Blockchain & Emerging Tech That Changes the World, 1513+ members, held monthly
Innovationsforum Hamburg, 1085+ members, held monthly
Blockchain & Beer Hamburg, 782+ members, held bimonthly

Frankfurt

Ripe with culture, amazing restaurants and offers a wealth of history, Frankfurt is a great city for both living and visiting. It’s the centre of business and banking in Europe and at times cleverly referred to as Mainhatten, in allusion to the New York district of Manhattan. Make sure to check out interesting crypto meetups in Frankfurt’s growing crypto scene.

Blockchain Meetup Frankfurt, 1900+ members
Ethereum Meetup Central Germany, 1053+ members

Dusseldorf

The capital of North Rhine Westphalia and Germany’s seventh largest city is home to a myriad of cultures, funky futuristic architecture, and pockets of history. Join fellow crypto enthusiasts in the city’s growing crypto scene by checking out the interesting meetups below!

CryptoMonday | Blockchain Düsseldorf, 988+ members, held monthly
CryptoDorf – Blockchain, Ethereum, SmartContracts and Co., 722+ members

The post Top Crypto Meetups in Germany appeared first on Bitwala.

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The last few months have been exhilarating for us here at Bitwala and now we are getting closer to the final stages of development. We are excited to share a few updates about Bitwala and give you a sneak peek into your future bank account! Here’s what’s coming your way soon…

Crypto trading made simple

Buy and sell bitcoin directly within your bank account in less than a minute. Finally, a bitcoin trading platform built for your convenience.

Direct debits and recurring payments

Set up standing orders, recurring payments, and manage everyday expenses from your cryptocurrency first bank account. Bitwala and its partner bank are fully regulated by the BaFin – the German Financial Supervisory Authority – and all fund deposits up to €100,000 are protected by the European Deposit Protection Scheme (EDPS).

Seamless onboarding experience

We have put a lot of thought in to bring you a swift and intuitive onboarding experience. With unnecessary friction and confusing steps gone, you will be able to open an account in a matter of minutes.

Say hello to our Chief Financial Officer

Last but not least, meet Christoph Iwaniez, our first CFO. He joined Bitwala last month, bringing with him over 10 years of experience in traditional banking and mergers and acquisitions. He is responsible for all aspects of Bitwala’s finances. He is also a blockchain technology evangelist and has a few good stories to share.

Get to know Christoph

The post Updates from Bitwala: sneak peek into the new Bitwala Accounts and meet our CFO appeared first on Bitwala.

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Earlier this month we welcomed a new executive to the Bitwala team. Christoph Iwaniez joins us as our first CFO. Bringing with him over 10 years of experience in traditional banking, mergers and acquisition, we are excited to have Christoph join our growing team and write financial history with us!

Can you introduce yourself and tell us what you do at Bitwala?

Hi, I´m Christoph. I just recently joined Bitwala as the Chief Financial Officer and my responsibilities revolve around our financial and risk management topics. This means that I cover all aspects of business planning, financial reporting, accounting and ensuring that the funding for our operations is running smoothly and sufficiently.

With the all-new Bitwala launching soon, I will also be in charge of the trading and treasury operations. I am super excited to ensure that our customers will have the safest and most convenient way to trade between crypto and traditional currencies.

You made the switch from the world of conventional banking to working in a startup environment – dealing in crypto, nonetheless. What did you find challenging?

As many can imagine, there are huge differences between the two worlds. Many things in startups move at top speed, which affects the speed at which decisions are made. As CFO, I like (and am expected) to be thorough in the different processes that take place in the company. My role enables me to provide a different perspective, a second view, on the different structures and consequences before finalizing decisions.

What does your typical day look like?

The cliché of “every day is different” is used all too often – but in all honesty, I’m not sure how else to describe it. I personally don’t think I’ve had a typical day and I love the fact that each day is never the same. I can tell you one thing though – how a perfect working day ends: with either my colleagues, friends or family. Oh, and wine. A good glass of wine, for sure.

What is keeping you busy at the moment?

Aside from my responsibilities in our daily financials, I spend most of my time in building and providing all the necessary financial processes for our crypto banking experience, that’s launching soon. Since we are the first in the world to build a full crypto banking experience, I have to make sure that everything that revolves around our banking product is built with the highest degree of stability and reliability.

What do you think are some of the biggest challenges for the banking industry currently?

Like many other industries, the banking industry is poised to experience major changes as it moves towards a digital industry and customers will be at the forefront of that change. On one hand, the industry suffers from stiff competition resulting in very low margins. On the other hand, costs for traditional banking are high. With a crypto-based banking product, there are no competitors in the market offering the same product as we do. So in terms of challenges, Bitwala has a huge opportunity to completely revamp how banks are built in a new and efficient way without all the legacy costs.

What kinds of qualities do you think make an awesome CFO?

The first thing that immediately springs to mind – always having one eye open for long-term strategic consequences of financial decisions. Any awesome CFO should not only focus on today´s cost savings and accuracy that the numbers “are right”. Startups, particularly companies dwelling in financial technology, have always been associated with being a fast-paced environment. Change is constant, so scanning the environment to anticipate what changes are coming, ranging from requirements to regulations, and how to position the company are also vitally important.

Where do you see banking going in the next 5 years?

Just as I mentioned earlier about how the change in the banking industry is constant, I see that the industry will have more facets. As the banking industry digitizes, the gap between traditional banks and how they offer their products to their more elderly customers will widen. On the other side, more modern digital banks, with sleek user interfaces and convenient frontends, will continue to offer more diverse products to keep ahead of the competition. Like Bitwala.

How do you keep a healthy work-life balance?

One of the things I really like about the Bitwala team is that it’s such a fun and enthusiastic environment. From company yoga to TGIF drinks, the “Work hard, play hard” lifestyle is real here at Bitwala, and is done responsibly.

Outside of work, I really enjoy spending as much time in nature and wilderness as possible. I always look after my psychological well-being and there’s nothing quite like being deep in the forest, embodying harmony and balance. Mountain hiking in the Alps or trekking through Norway’s rough valleys clears my thoughts and enables me to focus on coming challenges.

Tell us a fun fact about yourself…

I could very well be Germany’s most hardcore CFO. Looking at my picture, you probably wouldn’t guess that I am a metalhead! My favorite listens range from System of a Down to Heaven Shall Burn from good ol’ Thüringen, Germany!

If you weren’t at Bitwala, what would you be doing?

Interesting question. For me personally, Bitwala stands out from the competition. Thus, since I personally haven’t seen another fintech company that is at par in terms of awesomeness, the only alternative I can imagine is either to invest and run a successful winery in Burgundy or to simply be a lone guardian on a mountain.

The post Interview with Christoph Iwaniez, Chief Financial Officer at Bitwala GmbH appeared first on Bitwala.

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Bitwala News by Bitwala - 6M ago

Cryptocurrencies, particularly bitcoin, is such a popular topic of conversation right now. Most people have heard of bitcoin but have no idea what it is or how to use it in their everyday lives. If you happen to fall into this category and often find yourself questioning how to use bitcoin, this article demonstrates the currency’s variety of use cases by exploring real-world examples.

Many consider bitcoin’s primary use to be a store of value rather than a method of transferring value. Bitcoin is a good long-term asset for those who wish to store it, however, bitcoin has plenty of use cases thanks to the blockchain, the technology underlying bitcoin. For those who are new to the entire cryptocurrency concept, the blockchain is like a real-time public registry or database where all bitcoin transactions are recorded and are immutable. In short, it’s impossible to change or corrupt the blockchain.

Bitcoin is empowering but also very different to the currencies you know and regularly use every day. Before you start using bitcoin, it’s important to cover the basics such as where to get bitcoin and where to store your bitcoin.

You would need to set up or create a bitcoin wallet to store your bitcoin. A bitcoin wallet holds multiple wallet addresses, which functions the same as an IBAN for you to send or receive a bank transfer. You can find a more in-depth explanation on bitcoin wallets and addresses in our previous article. Once your wallet is set up, you can get your hands on bitcoin by purchasing through an exchange, like Kraken or Coinbase.

Now back to uses for bitcoin, before purchasing and integrating bitcoin into your everyday life, it’s important to educate yourself on its ups and downs as it settles down into global finance and on how to secure your coins.

Learn more about how bitcoin works here…

It’s also crucial to remember that bitcoin is taxed. It’s best to jump into your concerns alongside a tax consultant or lawyer after doing some basic preparation.

Read more on the situation surrounding bitcoin and taxation here…

Please keep in mind that we are by no means providing financial advice. Trading in cryptocurrencies such as bitcoin carries a high risk of loss for the capital invested, even to the point of total loss. Now, let’s explore the possibilities for how you can use bitcoin!

Remittances and global transfers

Ravi Menon, Chief of Singapore’s Monetary Authority (MAS), has asserted with confidence that blockchain technology can improve the infrastructure for global transfers.

“One of the potentially strongest use cases of crypto tokens is to facilitate cross-border payments in traditional currencies.”

Accordingly, the MAS and the Bank of Canada are running trials with cryptocurrency to test its value in the sphere of international payments. International payments also include remittances, which are payments usually sent from people working in foreign countries back to their families in their home countries.

The remittance market is huge and constitutes one way how people have put bitcoin to use. The World Bank estimated that in 2017, officially recorded global remittances would reach $596 billion. In 2016, over €23 billion was sent abroad as remittances from Germany. Western Union, the global leader in the remittance market has begun exploring the realm of crypto.

Bitcoin will exist with or without its integration into mainstream banking. In fact, it was created as an act of resistance to the traditional global financial system and the practice of fractional reserve banking.

Bitcoin has inspired a truly borderless payment system. It promotes financial inclusion by allowing anyone with Internet access anywhere in the world to transact value. It has created a pathway for the two million people around the world who do not have access to bank accounts to become part of the global financial system.

The decentralized, peer-to-peer nature of bitcoin, which allows for cheaper and faster transfers is what makes bitcoin more attractive than traditional money transfer systems.

Yet, the Bitcoin network must still undergo further scaling to retain its attractive features as popularity and demand grow. The speed and cost of bitcoin transactions are expected to become lower in the future as more improvements to the protocol are developed and implemented, such as the Lightning Network.

Investment

Bitcoin’s similarity to gold in terms of its finite supply is often why people find it an attractive investment. Its ability to reach high price levels is clear. Bitcoin reached prices in the thousands quite fast, which is impressive for a technological innovation that challenged the basic tenets of the old global financial order. It’s especially impressive considering the fact that bitcoin was previously not as easy to acquire, coupled with government skepticism, negative press, and a technological knowledge gap.

Bitcoin’s more long-term value cannot yet be known, but many still decide to invest and see where it takes them, even if that means lots of HODLing. HODLing is the common term used amongst the crypto community to describe the process of holding your coins regardless of their price fluctuations.

As time passes, it’s becoming increasingly easy to invest in bitcoin. We aim to provide user-friendly services to instantly trade euro to bitcoin and vice-versa. However, before investing in bitcoin, it’s important to truly familiarise yourself with the cryptocurrency and be aware of its potential risks.

Payments and purchases

Not only can individuals invest and exchange value amongst each other (for example, in the case of remittances), individuals can also pay service suppliers or make payments to merchants in bitcoin.

The first well-known purchase with bitcoin was by developer Laszlo Hanyecz. The purchase proved bitcoin’s ability to be used for everyday payments. Hanyecz paid 10,000 bitcoin for two pizzas at Papa John’s. At that point, nobody knew that bitcoin’s price would skyrocket to reach an unbelievable height of near $20,000 in late 2017. But even so, bitcoin has retained a price around $10,000 for prolonged periods of time and at that price, those two pizzas would have a value of $100 million!

Source CoinMarketCap

Bitcoin has come a long way since those pizza days. Online merchants regularly accept bitcoin payments and more stores on the ground are beginning to adapt to the new payment system.

With bitcoin, you can book a whole holiday (including flights and hotels) through a single search engine. You can also buy hundreds of different gift cards, enjoy food and drinks at Room77 in Berlin, pay for your Microsoft software, order food online at Lieferando and much more! You can use CoinMap, a tool to locate bitcoin-accepting merchants, to find stores, restaurants, bars, and cafes which accepts bitcoin as a form of payment.

Source: CoinMap.org

Spending bitcoin for everyday items is becoming more popular. According to Chainalysis, consumers used bitcoin on merchant services for a monthly average of $190.2 million in 2017.

In July 2018, it was revealed that one hundred merchants would trial the Lightning Network for customer’s bitcoin payments. The implementation of Lightning will make bitcoin payments both cheaper, and faster. It’s exciting to see more innovation and development on top of the Bitcoin protocol. Such developments will allow for the mainstream adoption of bitcoin.

So far, we have written articles on where you can spend bitcoin in Berlin, Hanover, Moscow, and Munich. Stay tuned for our exploration of bitcoin opportunities in more cities!

Some may use bitcoin to make donations since charities like Save the Children and Greenpeace accept the cryptocurrency. Bitcoin worked well for WikiLeaks, which came out on top with its help, despite the U.S. government’s attempts to block traditional funding from reaching the organization.

Income

After all the talk about how to use bitcoin, we’re finally touching upon how you can accumulate bitcoin. Believe it or not, it’s possible to earn bitcoin beyond investing and HODLing.

Some employers allow you to receive your salary or part of your salary in bitcoin. Many crypto companies have been paying their employees in bitcoin for years. You can use Bitwage to receive your payslip in bitcoin. How easy can it get!

Additionally, just as shown on CoinMap, if you own an online or a brick-and-mortar store, you can add bitcoin as a payment method for your customers. If you expect that the percentage of customers paying with bitcoin is small, you can easily start with the world-renowned “Bitcoin Accepted Here” sign.

Even if hardly anybody uses bitcoin to pay at your store, you will be helping the crypto industry by increasing awareness and by making customers more willing to accept bitcoin as a form of payment as they see more and more places where they can spend it. Finally, if you dedicate time to learning about the technicalities of bitcoin mining and acquire the relevant tools, you can slowly and steadily maintain some income through the process.

Final thoughts

We hope that you can now see how to use bitcoin in your everyday life. There’s lots of fun to be had with it and it’s exciting to contribute to building the crypto-fiat bridge and see bitcoin’s use cases broaden.

A final use case worth mentioning is Bitcoin’s educational value for how things are set to change. Bitcoin’s introduction of blockchain technology has shaken the world from finance to governance, to logistics, and much more. Bitcoin will always be used to demonstrate the power of blockchain technology and the transformation of the global financial order.

The post How to use bitcoin? appeared first on Bitwala.

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Bitwala News by Bitwala - 7M ago

The concept of cryptocurrency can be tough to grasp. How does bitcoin work is often the first question people ask themselves. In this article, we offer our explanation.

The historical context of bitcoin

The first attempts at securing communication through methods of cryptography can be traced back thousands of years. From an Egyptian scribe in 1900 BC obscuring their hieroglyphs to Phil Zimmerman’s 1991 release of the PGP (Pretty Good Privacy), the maintenance of privacy has always been an important consideration for humankind.

In the 1990s, a network of coders who referred to themselves as “cypherpunks” banded themselves together. They circulated their work on a mailing list through which they provided each others’ code with feedback and built upon each other’s ideas.

In their manifesto, cypherpunks explore the notion of privacy:

Privacy is necessary for an open society in the electronic age. Privacy is not secrecy. A private matter is something one doesn’t want the whole world to know, but a secret matter is something one doesn’t want anybody to know. Privacy is the power to selectively reveal oneself to the world.

The release of encryption tools like PGP came at a time when governments were introducing mass surveillance. The retrieval of information was becoming easier due to the widespread adoption of electronic communication systems and the onset of the information era.

Cypherpunks aimed to safeguard communication and transactional exchanges. As part of that dream, they dedicated themselves to creating ways to perform anonymous monetary transactions. They wanted their innovation to lead to the invention of an anonymous electronic form of money.

Through that dream to create an independent, safe and accessible system to transact electronic money, bitcoin was founded.

The proposal for “A Peer-to-Peer Electronic Cash System”, also known as the Bitcoin whitepaper, was released on the cypherpunk mailing list in October 2008 by an unknown person or group named Satoshi Nakamoto.

The Bitcoin whitepaper culminated the various efforts undertaken by cypherpunks to create privacy-oriented digital payment solutions. The identity of the mysterious Satoshi remains unknown but we’ve covered theories about who created bitcoin elsewhere.

Principles and Characteristics of bitcoin

Bitcoin emerged at a particularly crucial time when people around the world had lost faith in their governments’ central financial authorities. People needed to know that there was an alternative out there, an alternative in which transparency was secured and prioritized.

Satoshi’s Bitcoin whitepaper filled the vacuum of hope by presenting a new type of financial system that did not rely on a third party. It laid out foundations for a transparent, anonymous, decentralized peer-to-peer network in which consensus-driven algorithms validate irreversible bitcoin transactions.

There is no physical representation of bitcoin. The exchange of value using the cryptocurrency takes place online and there is no central authority involved in its issuance.

Bitcoin has a limited supply of 21 million coins and that supply is influenced by the network’s participants. As of early 2018, over 17 million bitcoin had been generated. There are mathematical mechanisms in the Bitcoin protocol that help to maintain its supply and manage its value over time.

Check out the interactive chart on the supply of bitcoin here. 

The finite supply of bitcoin likens it to gold. Their value is derived purely through the laws of supply and demand, meaning how much people engage with it determines its price. Bitcoin’s scarcity was incorporated into the protocol to retain its value in the long run.

Alongside its decentralized, transparent and privacy-oriented nature, bitcoin’s scarcity is another key feature that distinguishes it from fiat currency. For example, the supply of Euro has increased by 5% every year since 2015 and such increases do not have an end in sight. While bitcoin’s price certainly demonstrates high volatility as it eases into the global financial system, its controlled supply directly contrasts to fiat currencies’ ever-increasing supply, which has contributed to the prevalence of economic crises.

Check out this site for more information about the supply of Euro. 

Bitcoin has inspired a truly borderless payment system. It promotes financial inclusion by allowing anyone with Internet access anywhere in the world to transact value. It has created a pathway for the two billion people around the world who do not have access to bank accounts to enter the global market.

What is blockchain technology?

The technology underlying bitcoin is called blockchain. The Bitcoin blockchain is an open source, decentralized distributed ledger. In simple terms, it’s like a real-time public registry/database. Any can download the blockchain on their computer and become part of the network of nodes. Once downloaded, the entire transaction history since the Genesis Block (the first block in the Bitcoin blockchain, mined in January 2009) is visible.

Hex version of the genesis block with the headline of The Times, included by Satoshi both as a political statement and a timestamp.  

All processed bitcoin transactions are recorded on the blockchain and those records are immutable. The system runs through a peer-to-peer network of nodes. The nodes act simultaneously to validate transactions and ensure the security of the network. There is no central node and thus, no central point of failure. That makes the public Bitcoin blockchain more secure than private blockchains. The network manages itself with the collective computing power of miners who make the network of nodes with its proof-of-work driven, consensus algorithms a reality.

Bitcoin challenges the inherent weakness associated with trust-based transaction models. Rather than relying on trusting a specific institution, bitcoin and its underlying blockchain technology employ cryptographic proof-of-work solutions to ensure the chronological verification of valid transactions.

The blockchain acts as a timestamp server by always validating the first transaction of any bitcoin broadcasted to the network in order to avoid double spending of the same coins. The data (string of numbers) that represent bitcoin cannot be duplicated after it’s initially spent because transactions are stored simultaneously on the blockchain.

Participants who maintain the network are called miners. Each miner stores the entire Bitcoin blockchain on their computer. Since all, by now thousands, miners retain a copy of the same history, it’s impossible to change or corrupt the blockchain.

The chronological chain of blocks records not only the new transactions verified to or form the new block but also the entire transaction history of bitcoin. That ensures a very low chance of data corruption. Additionally, an attempt to attack the network would require an almost unattainable amount of computing power. The computational improbability of overriding the Bitcoin blockchain is what makes it immutable.

Bitcoin’s introduction of blockchain technology has sparked a wave of innovation in many sectors and has found unanticipated use cases. Blockchain technology can be employed beyond the finance sector to improve transparency, security and remove intermediary bodies across the board. For example, its slow introduction is already seen through the concept of smart contracts, within governance, the sharing economy, the management of supply chains and files, data storage and more. Furthermore, blockchain technology can play a crucial role in the global fight against corruption.

What is bitcoin mining?

In one easy-to-remember phrase, mining can be described as the process of adding new blocks to the Bitcoin blockchain. Mining induces a lottery-type situation, which ensures that no one person or group of people can control what block is next included in the blockchain.

Bitcoin miners form a crucial element of the Bitcoin network. Active miners attempt to mine the next block in the chain by using their computing power to run mathematical, algorithmic calculations relating to bitcoin transactions.

When a solution is found, a new block is added to the existing chain and a hash is generated, which undergoes verification by the other nodes. A hash signifies the encrypted proof-of-work solution and confirms the validity of transactions. Approximately every ten minutes a new block of transactions is validated by the miners.

Mining is a difficult process that purposefully involves the use of large amounts of electricity resources as a mechanism to cap the number of blocks mined per day.

See coin.dance for more statistics on the Bitcoin blockchain. The statistics above were recorded on July 23rd 2018.  

Miners are rewarded with a certain amount of bitcoin for the blocks that they mine, as well as the network fees that users pay to broadcast their transaction. The amount of bitcoin received by miners decreases over time as more bitcoin is mined.

The first mined blocks of the Bitcoin blockchain created block rewards of 50 bitcoin each. However, Bitcoin’s protocol includes a mechanism that reduces the block reward to steadily limit the amount of bitcoin mined. Every 210,000 blocks (approximately, every four years) the reward per block is halved. This process is called “halving”. Halving is also important because the price of bitcoin has increased significantly over time and it’s expected that it will continue to maintain a high price as scarcity increases.

What is a bitcoin address?

A bitcoin address is like a traditional bank account number. Bitcoin addresses either begin with a 1 or 3 and look like this 1snowqQP5VmZgU47i5AWwz9fsgHQg94Fa.

The difference between bank account number and a bitcoin address is that a single wallet can have multiple addresses and they do not have names attached to them.

Bitcoin addresses can be used multiple times to transact bitcoin. However, it’s recommended to use new bitcoin addresses since your spending behavior can be tracked if you re-use old addresses multiple times. This could happen if someone browsed the blockchain for an address that you used frequently. Thus, for your own privacy, it’s recommended to generate new bitcoin addresses for new transactions.

Bitcoin wallets

Bitcoin wallets can hold multiple (often, countless) bitcoin addresses, which when shared with another bitcoin user fulfill the same role as sharing an IBAN with someone to receive a bank transfer.

Bitcoin as a digital currency requires mechanisms of control to ensure the safety of an individual’s coins. This is found through the use of digital signatures. The digital signatures required to perform bitcoin transactions include both private and public keys.

A bitcoin wallet is where a bitcoin owner stores their coins, however, coins themselves are not actually stored in the wallet. A bitcoin wallet is the combination of keys. The private key acts as a password and the public key creates addresses to which the user can receive funds.

Bitcoin transactions from a wallet will only be executed if they are signed with the owner’s private key. Private keys must be kept secure and secret since they are akin to passwords and help owners to access the bitcoin associated with their public keys. Miners can only verify transactions when they’re signed with the correct private key linked to the coins in question.

Every wallet also consists of a public key, which is used to create receiving addresses.
A Bitcoin address is the mathematically hashed version of a public key. It’s what you share with people when you would like them to send bitcoin to you.

All in all, while there are quite some technicalities behind the formation of these keys and their verification when transacting bitcoin, the difference between a private key and a public key is easy to digest. Share your public key with the public to receive new bitcoin and keep your private key to yourself to retain your bitcoin!

There are various different types of wallets that differ in terms of both functionality and security. Bitcoin wallets include desktop, mobile, web, paper and hardware wallets. For now, we recommend that you take a look at this comprehensive guide on cryptocurrency wallets to learn more about what would work best for you.

What is a fork?

A fork is a split in the Bitcoin network that signifies a software/code update. Such an update creates a new protocol that some developers follow, refine and promote rather than sticking to the original Bitcoin protocol.

The Bitcoin network consists of a number of miners that secure the network by providing their computing power to solve mathematical calculations. These calculations enable the consistent addition of new blocks to the blockchain to confirm transactions.

A split of the network occurs if a number of miners decide to solve problems based on a new protocol. That results in two blocks being added to the blockchain instead of only one block. Subsequently, the chain of blocks is split and two different chains result, e.g. the Bitcoin blockchain and the Bitcoin Cash blockchain. Other examples of forks include Litecoin, Monero and Ethereum Classic and more.

Bitcoin Cash is a cryptocurrency that emerged as a result of a fork of the Bitcoin blockchain on August 1st, 2017. The fork was created following a debate on how to enable more bitcoin transactions to take place in a faster way and resulted in significant changes to the code in the Bitcoin protocol.

Anyone who held bitcoin during the fork received the equivalent amount of Bitcoin Cash if they managed their private key or if an exchange they used supported the fork.

Bitcoin has a maximum block size of 1 MB, whereas Bitcoin Cash first had a maximum block size of 8 MB, which has further increased to 32 MB. The increased block size enables more transactions to be processed faster and ensures lower fees compared while the Bitcoin network enjoys greater decentralization due to its higher number of miners.

See coin.dance for more statistics on cryptocurrencies. The statistics above were recorded on July 23rd 2018.

How to improve the way bitcoin works?

Bitcoin has encountered some problems over time concerning the speed and cost at which transactions are processed. Some improvements must be implemented in order to scale the coin in a more user-friendly way.

To make changes to the way bitcoin works consensus must be reached. The practice of consensus within the Bitcoin network makes it a true exercise of decentralised operations.

SegWit

SegWit, short for Segregated Witness, was introduced as an upgrade to the Bitcoin protocol on August 23, 2017. SegWit offers one of many solutions to help with the issue of scaling Bitcoin.

Read our stance on SegWit and the New York Agreement here.

The upgrade allowed for the data of a transaction to be split, and for only some of the data to be recorded on the blockchain. As a consequence, up to double the number of transactions could be included in each block and network fees were reduced. However, micropayments still take up quite some space on the Bitcoin blockchain.

SegWit eased some problems, but it was not the final innovation in store for the protocol. Solutions were still needed to enhance the speed and cost of bitcoin transactions.

The Lightning Network

The Lightning Network aims to implement a new layer on top of the Bitcoin blockchain. The additional protocol will allow for direct transactions between two parties to occur off the blockchain. As a result, microtransactions will not be recorded on the blockchain until the payment wave between the two parties is finalized. Thus, the Bitcoin network will enjoy more space to process larger transactions faster and will be able to reduce the network fees.

The main improvement enabled by the Lightning Network is instant payments. Accordingly, it’s considered to be the “savior of bitcoin transactions”. Microtransactions will be performed in seconds or even milliseconds with very low or potentially no transactions fees (since miners do not need to confirm these transactions). The security is enforced by smart-contracts without creating an on-chain transaction for individual payments.

The introduction of the Lightning Network will empower the Bitcoin network to process thousands of transactions per second.

What is bitcoin’s value?

It’s important to consider the difference between the price and value.

The price of bitcoin is set by the market under the laws of supply and demand. The price is expected to be sustained in the long run due to its limited supply. The..

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We have rounded up a list of places for you to easily spend bitcoin in Munich the culturally rich Bavarian capital.

Munich is world famous for its huge festival, the mother of all keggers: Oktoberfest. But there is much more to this city than Oktoberfest and the typical Bavarian diet of Schweinsbraten, Weisswurst, and Knödel. Munich, Germany’s third largest city, is also home to some of the largest crypto meetups in Germany.

Tasty eats and cold drinks

Widely regarded as the best place to live in Germany (not by us, we’ll forever be in love with Berlin), Munich’s food scene goes beyond traditional. The cutting edge has brought everything from Asian spices to ethnic cuisine. Whichever one pleases your palate, use bitcoin to pay for your meals below.

Osteria Blu Notte, Schleißheimer Str. 77, 80797
Tian Restaurant, Frauenstraße 4, 80469
Vegelangelo, Thomas-Wimmer-Ring 16, 80538

For caffeine fixes

Munich’s kaffeekultur may not be as well-known as Berlin’s hip and bustling scene is, but Munich’s coffee scene is starting to shine with locally roasted beans and passionate baristas. Use your precious bitcoin to pay for robust espressos at these spots below.

Patolli, Sendlinger Straße 62, 80331
Standl20, Market on Elisabethplatz, 80796

Your summer essentials

a&o Hostel München Laim, Landsberger Straße 338, 80687
Planning a trip to Munich this summer? Why not cut down costs and stay in hostels? They’re inexpensive, usually centrally located, and is a great way to meet tons of like-minded travelers from all over the world. As Europe’s largest hostel chain, a&o hosted 4.1 million overnight stays in 2017 alone. Best part: That beautiful bitcoin icon under Payment Options on their site.

Arabella Optic, Rosenkavalierplatz 12, 81925
To guarantee that you will look sharp from the airport or train station to the bar, make sure to pack your sunnies in advance. However, it’s easy to miss an essential item when packing light for summer travels. If this were to happen to you or you simply want to go for something a little different, make sure to drop Arabella Optic a visit and get a pair of sunnies that will make you stand out from the crowd.

Waxing Paradies, Franziska-Bilek-Weg 9, 80339
Even if you’re not donning a bikini, summer clothes do bare more skin. For many people, showing off your smooth skin includes a visit to Waxing Paradies. Not only will they help you look your best this summer, they also accept other cryptos such as Litecoin, Dash, Ether and more. Wax on, wax off!

Corvus Absinth, Heßstraße 77 80797
Meet Corvus, a modern absinthe distilled and bottled in Deutschland. Corvus contains seven herbs and is distilled in a traditional copper kettle. Corvus, meaning raven in Latin, is reminiscent of the magical bird in ancient times. There is no doubt that you will dabble with magic when you enjoy Corvus.

The post Top places to spend bitcoin in Munich appeared first on Bitwala.

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