Payza Leads The Way With Bitcoin Integration

Today most people are familiar with Bitcoins or some other form of virtual currency. Bitcoins especially have been in the news in recent times due the unprecedented increase in their value. Bitcoins have been around for a long time but their popularity has grown in the past few years. Merchants across the world now support payments in digital currencies. Bitcoins are stored in a Bitcoin wallet and are traded on a Bitcoin exchange. As with all virtual currencies, bitcoins do not depend on any central regularization authority or banking system. Bitcoins are a form of cryptocurrency and they function on a decentralized peer to peer network using blockchain technology. As they use encryption techniques, they are not easy to counterfeit which makes them all the more attractive to users of digital currency.

Popular online payment processing platform Payza is one of the first online platforms to provide complete support for Bitcoins. Payza merchants can store Bitcoins in their accounts instead of having to convert them into a fiat currency. Members can buy and sell their Bitcoins using Payza. Payza wallets can hold regular currency as well as Bitcoins and members can easily convert funds into Bitcoins and vice versa.

Cryptocurrency Address Manager

Payza has announced its latest cryptocurrency feature called Cryptocurrency Address Manager. This new feature allows Payza members to generate and manage cryptocurrency addresses within their Payza accounts.

With the new feature Payza members will be able to generate their own bitcoin address and the QR code for their Payza Account. They can easily receive bitcoins from other bitcoin wallets. The service is free and users are not charged to receive bitcoins using this method.

How To Exchange Bitcoin To And From The Fiat Currency

Payza users can hold bitcoin balances and freely convert funds between bitcoins and other fiat currencies supported by the platform.

The Exchange currencies feature is Payza can be used to exchange Bitcoins. Similarly, users can transfer funds using Bitcoins. The Transfer feature can be used to convert bitcoins into fiat currency and vice versa. One of Payza’s key strengths is that it has a simple and easy to use interface. Most functionality is intuitive and can be performed with a few clicks.

Users can send bitcoins to other Payza members instantly from within their Payza accounts. Bitcoins is listed as one of the currency options in Payza. When sending funds, users can choose if they would like the recipient to pay the fees or they will pay the receiving fees. All these features make Payza a very flexible and adaptable platform for different user needs.

Bitcoin Wallet Transfers

Payza users can also transfer bitcoins between their Payza e-wallet and other bitcoin wallets. They can easily add and withdraw bitcoins from their Payza accounts using the Deposit and Withdraw features. These updates make Payza one of the best Bitcoin services payment platform in the market today. Payza also has a resolution center, where in Payza personnel are available to resolve any issues that might arise between buyers and sellers dealing in Bitcoins.

Steps To Take For Running a Successful Fintech Company

Today, you can find so many fintech companies sprouting up, primarily because of the need for funding by companies big and small. The Fintech industry has grown exponentially and there is no sign of stopping it. You can even see some financial intuitions partnering with Fintech companies, acquiring them else initiating their own Fintech startup as a means of expanding their services and providing more finding. Why?

It’s easier to take a loan from such a company because it does not pose many restrictions or regulations and the cost of loan is cheap. A Fintech company as such does not have to deal with the huge number of legal laws as seen by a normal banking service. Businesses that can never think of availing a loan through a regular bank find their way to a Fintech company for the same. The financial markets have not been the same since the rise of Fintech enterprises.

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Steps To Take For the Success of Your Fintech Startup

With the demand for such funding rising, many entrepreneurs are seeking to initiate a Fintech company. The key financial services offered by such companies are online lending, wealth management, payment and remittance services and insurance. However, along with the rise of many Fintech startups comes competition within its sector. How can your company be the leader in the Fintech world? Here is a look at what you need to know before venturing into the Fintech industry:

  • Get expert legal advice on all the rules and regulations that apply in your industry. You should be aware of the don’t in this industry to avoid legal pitfalls.
  • Check out the competition and do not limit your search to similar Fintech companies but also banks and other legal lending institutions.
  • Offer new and innovative finance lending services, which offer low interest rates and attractive monthly installment plans. Being different induces interest in your brand.
  • Look into new and innovative software that you customers can use to check services offered by you, open an account through your site and monitor their loans etc. Opt for the use smart internet and mobile technology when offering your services because it will make people feel inclined towards your business as it shows you are technology savvy and make use of it to make your services more easily accessible to people.
  • Opt for an appropriate financial niche by understanding various services offered by Fintech companies. Choose what you are comfortable with and what will make your brand shine in the market.
  • Show how you are trustworthy because this is the key factor to gaining customers. For example, telling customers that your site is secure with modern encryption which ensures their data security is a way of showing that your brand is reliable.
  • Get an optimal social media plan, one that promotes your Fintech Company in the best possible way in front of competitors and gains the kind of customers desired to your site. Include engaging content in your social media posts and respond to comments to show that your brand is always accessible to the public and is ready to address concerns at any time.

Corporate Culture Is A Key Ingredient In Supporting Innovation

In today’s fast-paced times where companies are struggling to stay afloat, what sets top companies apart is their futuristic vision and an ability to innovate and adapt to changing consumer needs, expectations and demands. So how does an organization prepare itself for the disruptive forces that have become the norm in current digital times? What is the secret ingredient that allows some companies to better adapt to changing circumstances? It has been found that corporate culture plays a big role in the ability of an organization to innovate and adapt.

Corporate Culture

So what exactly is corporate culture? Corporate culture usually refers to the value system and beliefs that drive the behaviors and decisions of a company’s management and employees both within the company and with outside business partners. Culture usually builds over a period of time and is not explicitly defined. Culture affects the day to day functioning of the company and its employees. A healthy business organizational culture can go a long way in motivating employees and in turn increasing customer satisfaction. There is a theory that if you keep your employees happy, they will keep your customers happy.

Importance Of Corporate Culture

According to research, corporate culture is one of the most important factors that drive innovation. A company that welcomes diversity encourages learning and allows people to fail will automatically be a more innovative company as people will be more willing to experiment and try out new ways of doing things.
It has been found that all innovative companies show similar traits in terms of corporate culture. The extent to which a company supports and fosters innovation within its structure and provides incentives for innovation allows it to quickly adapt to changing industry trends and stay ahead of its competitors.

Role Of Leadership

Leadership plays a very important role in building a positive corporate culture in the following ways:

  • Leadership needs to foster diversity in thinking and building of knowledge within the organization
  • There should always be an emphasis on team-work and collaboration
  • The corporate goals and values must be articulated very clearly and in such a way that it is understood by employees at all levels and imbibed in their day to day work
  • Leadership should have a pulse on the organization – this implies a good understanding on the thinking of their employees and how it impacts their behavior.

It is very important to continuously reinforce the company’s values and beliefs so that employees are aligned. New employees must be trained and made aware of how they are expected to function within the company or while carrying out business transactions with the company’s partners. A good training program can go a long way in achieving these objectives.

Thus, companies need to invest in understanding and developing their corporate culture that is conducive to growth as well as helps them to attain their long-term objects. Culture cannot be enforced and has to be built over a period of time. It also needs to be regularly monitored and corrective actions are taken where necessary.

Country Spotlight: Invest in Spain


Compared to other Western European countries, e-commerce in Spain has developed slowly. Held back by the challenges of recovering from the recession, digital investment has lagged within Spain and international merchants have overlooked the country. But today, Spain’s e-commerce market has grown to become the largest in Southern Europe and businesses expanding into Spain will find plenty of opportunities for further growth.

Spain is the fifth largest country in the EU by population and this country provides a key business market with an e-commerce sector recording the largest growth of any European country. The opportunities available for cross-border merchants to do business in Spain are due, in part, to the country’s underdeveloped domestic solutions. Three out of every five Spaniards regularly shop online and, most importantly, more than half of all online purchases made in Spain are made on e-commerce websites based outside of the country.

Unless otherwise noted, figures in this article are sourced from:

Spanish Consumers
Total population: 47 million
Internet users: 32 million
Online shoppers: 17 million
E-commerce sales: EUR 18.2 billion
E-commerce annual growth rate: 11.6%

Post-SEPA, it’s simpler than ever to do business in Spain. The nation’s economic recovery in recent years has been impressive, with the GDP growth rate at 1.6 at its highest and the consumer confidence index reaching 90.6, so it’s a valuable market for online retailers to expand into no matter where they’re from. With an annual e-commerce turnover of more than €18 billion and double digit year-over-year growth, tens of millions of Spanish consumers are spending more online, averaging over €1,000 per year and growing.

Though the internet penetration is relatively low for a country in Western Europe, the proportion of internet users that shop online is quickly approaching 100% and at least half of those people shop using their phones. The Spaniards who spend the most online belongs to the 35-54 age group. Debit cards are the most popular online payment method, with 61% penetration, and the most popular e-commerce product category is Apparel and Footware. Holiday shopping contributes to roughly one quarter of each year’s e-commerce turnover and (like in Italy, the UK, the US and Canada) the biggest online shopping day is Cyber Monday.

Drivers and Barriers

Driver: Mobile
Spain is the leader in Europe in m-commerce, with half of all e-commerce shoppers in Spain having already made at least one purchase using their phone in 2017 (an increase of 15% compared to 2016). However, only 53% of online retailers in Spain are offering support for mobile payments, which gives a big opportunity for cross-border merchants to meet an unfulfilled demand in the Spanish market.
The popularity of direct carrier billing also contributes to so many Spanish consumers making purchases with their mobile devices. Direct carrier billing, which allows consumers to make a purchase using their mobile device and have the cost added to their phone bill, is seen as easier and more secure, which helps Spanish consumers feel more confident in m-commerce.

Barrier: Logistics
Though Spain is now a major e-commerce market, it was late to the game. One artifact of this delay is the country’s underdeveloped logistics industry. While this has a definite negative effect on local retailers, it can actually be seen as an advantage for cross-border merchants. Because of poor logistics, Spanish consumers are accustomed to longer delivery times, allowing international merchants to compete with domestic providers on convenience. On the other hand, consumers in Spain desire a strong, customer-centric returns policy, which can be costly for out-of-country retailers.

Driver: Language
After Mandarin, Spanish is the second most spoken language in the world. Savvy retailers can see the value of localizing their e-commerce website for the Spanish market because it also allows them to market to large Spanish-speaking populations in Latin America: a very populous and rapidly-emerging e-commerce market, and it can also increase the brand’s footprint with significant language minorities in USA, France and Portugal.

Barrier: Trust
Just because Spanish consumers want more options when they’re shopping online doesn’t mean that they’ll take anything they can get. Like in most European countries, recommendations from friends and colleagues significantly influence purchase decisions. Shopping cart abandonment is common in Spain – if retailers don’t provide enough detailed product information, a clear and flexible returns policy, and most importantly multiple payment options, they risk losing the sale. Offering Spanish-language customer service can also go a long way toward gaining trust and confidence from customers.

Spanish E-Commerce Facts
Largest e-commerce market in Southern Europe
Spanish consumers spend an average of €1,089 online per year.
55% of the e-commerce turnover is cross-border.
At least half of the online population shop with their smartphones.
The demographic that spends the most online is 35-54-year-olds.
Longer delivery times (3-5 days) are widely accepted.
Cyber Monday (the Monday after U.S. Thanksgiving) is the busiest online shopping day of the year.
The most popular payment method is debit cards, although credit cards, e-wallets and direct carrier billing are also popular.
The most popular product categories for online shoppers are Apparel & Footwear, followed by Food & Drink.

Spanish consumers are rapidly shedding their financial concerns, embracing impulse spending, and turning to their mobile devices for their online shopping. Building trust and organic brand awareness is key; while the market is far from crowded, for retailers to get the most out of Spain they must focus on customer experience and reputation. This becomes increasingly challenging the more saturated the market is, so if you’re looking to expand your e-commerce business, now is the time to enter one of the most attractive growing markets out there. Spain, with one of the most populous markets in Europe and who speaks the world’s second most common language, is hungry for cross-border e-commerce.

Expanding into a new cross-border market is always a challenge but can be very rewarding if done right. For the latest news and information about how to scale up your e-commerce enterprise into an international success, subscribe to the Payza Blog and follow us on Facebook and Twitter.

Bitcoin Then and Now – Has Bitcoin Lived Up to Its Promise?

The early months of 2017 have been a very interesting time for Bitcoin. On January 2nd, Bitcoin maintained a value of $1,000 USD for the first time and only 5 months later it set its current record value of over $3,000. For a cryptocurrency that was worth only 25 cents per coin in 2010, this radical rate of growth has kept investors on the edge of their seats.

Soaring values can have their downsides though. Bitcoin is embroiled in a civil war caused by its scaling problem. Both sides know that a “fork” (an update to the code which runs the Bitcoin blockchain) is required for the currency to survive in the long-term, but the debate centers on whether a “hard” or “soft” fork is the optimal solution. A hard fork would split the code to effectively create a new blockchain with an increased block size, which would solve the scaling problem but make the “new” Bitcoin incompatible with the old. The alternative, a “soft fork”, known as Segregated Witness or SegWit, has been proposed as a way to increase the block capacity without splitting the code.

Opponents of SegWit have two concerns. The practical opposition is that the soft fork would not increase transaction speeds significantly enough to maintain Bitcoin’s lead in the cryptocurrency landscape. The philosophical opposition is that SegWit would undermine Bitcoin’s purpose: to be a decentralized alternative to fiat currencies, immune to political influence.

SegWit developer Peter Wuille addressed Bitcoin’s scaling problem by devising a method to “segregate” the transaction signature from the input data: the signatures used to validate transactions can be stored separately from the blockchain, increasing the chain’s capacity to store more data and process transactions more rapidly. The trouble is that this requires the signatures to be overseen by the Bitcoin Foundation, which some see as effectively “centralizing” control of the currency. To many, this stands in diametric opposition to the ideals Bitcoin was founded on – but is that really true?

The Whitepaper

In 2008, a mysterious figure known as Satoshi Nakamoto released a paper titled “Bitcoin: A Peer-to-Peer Electronic Cash System”. In the 9-page whitepaper, the pseudonymous author (or authors) defines the technologies which make the blockchain possible, using an innovative proof-of-work scheme which solved the double spending problem by timestamping transactions into a public ledger on a peer-to-peer network. This allowed, for the first time, a fully automated and decentralized currency and laid the technological foundation for all cryptocurrencies today.

In the introduction to the whitepaper, Nakamoto writes:

“Commerce on the Internet has come to rely almost exclusively on financial institutions serving as trusted third parties to process electronic payments. While the system works well enough for most transactions, it still suffers from the inherent weaknesses of the trust based model. (…) What is needed is an electronic payment system based on cryptographic proof instead of trust, allowing any two willing parties to transact directly with each other without the need for a trusted third party. Transactions that are computationally impractical to reverse would protect sellers from fraud, and routine escrow mechanisms could easily be implemented to protect buyers.”

That is about as political as the paper gets. Nakamoto describes Bitcoin as a technological innovation which simplifies e-commerce transactions and security, without contextualizing it within an anarchic political frame. While in 2008 a lack of faith in fiat currencies was definitely part of the conversation among the early adopters of Bitcoin, the developer(s) of the blockchain chose not to define it in those terms.

If Bitcoin was not intended to stand in explicit opposite to fiat currencies, but was simply envisioned as a more modern and robust payment technology, is SegWit incompatible with its original intention? Technically, SegWit would change the fundamental design of the blockchain by separating the transaction data from the proof-of-work, which means the possessors of the proof-of-work would take on the role of a “trusted third party” – which is exactly what Nakamoto set out to eliminate in the development of Bitcoin.

On the other hand, if SegWit could be implemented in such a way that the proof-of-work is also a fully automated chain, operating in parallel to the blockchain and communicating with it, this would theoretically achieve the same results as the whitepaper envision, but with an updated design.

A Hard Fork

The alternative, the “hard fork”, would retain the fundamental design as laid out in the 2008 paper, with the only difference being to increase the capacity of the individual blocks in the chain. Currently, these 10-minute blocks are limited to a maximum size of 1MB, but Bitcoin has become so popular that it can no longer process all the transactions made within any given 10-minute period, creating a backlog.

The existence of this problem suggests that Nakamoto never dreamed Bitcoin would become so popular, but many investors believe this is still only the beginning. So far this year, the price of 1 BTC has already tripled and some analysts have gone so far as to make value estimates as high as $55,000 USD per coin by 2022. On paper, Bitcoin’s technology is ingenious, but can a truly decentralized currency really handle this level of popularity?

The debate over the hard or soft fork has made Bitcoin highly volatile in recent months, with optimistic investors doubling down on their stock and the more wary exchanging their Bitcoin for other altcoins such as Ether. And it’s no secret that when the inevitable fork happens the coin’s value will drop significantly in the short term as the new chain is tested and the old is abandoned, which raises a different perspective on whether Bitcoin has lived up to its promise. Bitcoin’s popularity is often credited to its position as an alternative to fiat currencies, which have lost trust due to the high level of geopolitical turmoil during the last decade. But if Bitcoin after almost 10 years still shows no sign of stability comparable to fiat currencies, can it really be considered more secure?

Payza is closely following the development of Bitcoin and altcoins and is committed to providing practical and innovative cryptocurrency services. Using our platform, you can buy, store, and sell Bitcoin and sell over 50 different altcoins right inside your account. For the latest updates and industry insights about Bitcoin and cryptocurrencies, be sure to subscribe to our blog and follow us on Twitter and Facebook.

A Challenger Appears: Ethereum Approaches Bitcoin Market Capitalization

At the start of 2017, the global cryptocurrency market cap, that is, the total value of all cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin and Litecoin, was just under $18 billion USD. This was already a very promising increase from just $7.1 billion the year before. Compared to what was about to come however, even that increase seems minuscule. As of mid-June 2017, cryptocurrencies have reached a global market cap of just over $115 billion. That’s a 533% increase in less than half a year!

Payza has been keeping a close eye on the exciting new cryptocurrency trends, and in 2014, became one of the first e-wallets to allow its members to load and withdraw from their accounts using Bitcoin.

Until a few months ago, Bitcoin’s dominance, or the percentage of Bitcoin’s total value compared to the total combined cryptocurrency value, held steadily between 80% and 90%. Since March, however, there has been a tremendous rise in both awareness and value of Bitcoin alternatives, dubbed Altcoins. As a result, Bitcoin’s dominance has dropped significantly, making up just under 40% of total cryptocurrency value as of mid-June.

Trailing closely at 31% of the total cryptocurrency market cap, a challenger seems eager to take Bitcoin’s throne: Ether.


Built on the Ethereum computing platform, Ether (ETH) was released in May 2015 and has since gathered strong support from developers and investors alike, despite a hard fork in 2016 that prompted the creation of the Ethereum Classic (ETC). Following the success of the network and a growing market capitalization, multiple ventures are aiming to use Ethereum for projects related to finance, energy sourcing and pricing, sports betting, the internet-of-things, etc.

With an adoption rate that rivals that of Bitcoin, both experts and enthusiasts are becoming reluctant to use the term ‘altcoin’ when referring to Ether. There’s even speculation within the community that Ether will soon overtake the current leader, an event humorously named “The Flippening.”

The Enterprise Ethereum Alliance

With partners from multiple Fortune 500 companies (Microsoft, J.P. Morgan, Intel, etc.), research groups and blockchain startups, the nonprofit organization Enterprise Ethereum Alliance was established in March 2017 with a vision: to augment the Ethereum blockchain by creating a private version (currently known as EnEth 1.0), based on a reference architecture focusing on confidentiality, privacy, scalability and security. It will facilitate collaboration, as everything created will be open-source, making the EEA evolve alongside the public Ethereum community in harmony.

A Surge of ICOs

Part of the extraordinary increase in cryptocurrency value during the second quarter of 2017 is attributed to growing cryptocurrency awareness, the creation of the Enterprise Ethereum Alliance, but also to a multiplication of successful Initial Coin Offerings (ICOs), crowdfunding campaigns dedicated to projects that build upon the Blockchain to provide solutions to existing problems or to future-proof the technology. Among the top ten crowdfunding projects, six are cryptocurrency-related, all based on the Ethereum blockchain: Bancor, the DAO, AEternity, MobileGo, Basic Attention Token and Aragon.

These projects, which have raised just over $477m, show tremendous support for the Ethereum blockchain, which was itself crowdfunded in September 2014 for $18m, a figure that pales in comparison of recent investments.

Altcoins and Payza

Payza has kept a watchful eye over all cryptocurrency developments, not just developments related to Bitcoin. As such, we’ve already started exploring and developing new ways to incorporate Ether and other Altcoins into our global online payment platform.

As cryptocurrency and blockchain technology advances, it is becoming increasingly clear that these currencies will make up a meaningful part of the global e-commerce ecosystem. The only questions that remain are which coins will emerge as the market leaders, and how much of global e-commerce volume will cryptocurrency payments make up?

Need To Raise Funds For Your Business? Check Out Crowdfunding

The traditional approach to raise funds for starting a new business has been to draw up a business plan and run it through interested parties who have the funds and are looking for good investment opportunities. These interested parties could be venture capitalists, angel investors or banks. This has been the most common approach followed in the past for new business ventures. In contrast, crowdfunding is a relatively new idea that is rapidly gaining ground.

What Is Crowdfunding?
Crowdfunding is a method of fundraising through the collective contribution of individuals. These individuals could be your family, friends, customers or anyone who finds your idea interesting and is willing to invest. Thus, rather than focusing on a few wealthy individual investors, crowdfunding leverages the funds from a large pool of people. Individual contributions may be smaller but because of several contributors, this can raise big amounts. Funds are typically raised online via social media or crowdfunding platforms.

Benefits Of Online Crowdfunding
There are several benefits of using crowdfunding. Online crowdfunding platforms give you access to a huge number of accredited investors. Accredited investors are individuals whose net worth exceeds a certain amount and are able to legally invest in your venture. A good crowdfunding campaign is bound to include social media, email based newsletters, and other online marketing activities. You can track the status of your fundraising on crowdfunding platforms and see how far you have met your targets for business finance. Online platforms eliminate the need to follow up with each individual investor and you can also very quickly get feedback on your promotions and campaigns.

Types Of Crowdfunding
There are different types of crowdfunding and the one you choose depends on your business venture.

  • Rewards-Based Crowdfunding
    In this type of fundraising, people invest in your business venture with the promise of a reward in return. This could possibly be the use of your products or services. This is a popular method as there is no financial benefit or ownership to be provided to the investors.
  • Equity-Based Crowdfunding
    In this type of funding, investors receive your equity shares in return of investment thus becoming part owners of your business venture. Thus investors not only get some ownership but also are entitled to a share of your profits.
  • Donation-Based Crowdfunding
    In this type of funding, there are no returns provided to the investors. This is usually used for non-profit activities and charity based work.

Reasons for More Banks to Team Up with Fintech Industry

Fintech being the latest buzzword in the finance industry, more or less many people have already come to know about it. For those who are still in the dark and are finding this term totally unfamiliar, Fintech is a whole new industry offering financial benefits to various organizations.

The fintech industry is made of different companies that offer innovative and latest financial technologies for the betterment of financial services. With the growing competition in the market, more and more banks are opting for a partnership with this latest industry.

Here are the main reasons for why most banks are thinking about teaming up with it:

Allowing Latest Payment Methods
Providing innovative technological ideas for easy online transactions, the fintech is providing the banks with excellent financial services. Banks have suffered a serious loss in popularity, over the past few years due to their not-so-updated financial methods of proceeding with transactions online. The financial crisis is acting as an eye-opener, so the banks are now relying on Fintech.

Presenting the Refreshed Version of Brands
Around 83% of respondents are referring to fintech as the main factor in enabling them to refresh their brandings. Fintech is helping the banks to improve their relationship with the customers in the best possible way.

It’s also allowing banks to introduce the latest offers and services to the customers in the fastest way possible. It is simply providing opportunities for various financial organizations of repositioning themselves in the market through its cutting edge technologies.

Banks Are Able to Cut On Costs Significantly
It has been seen in the records that 87%of the total participants have been able to cut the costs successfully. The fintech sector’s total amount of transaction value is expected to grow up to $ 1.57 trillion by the year 2020.

So, there’s no doubt about the effectiveness of it in cutting up the costs. The reasons for these huge amounts of savings are the agile and flexible structure of Fintech, as well as the lesser requirement for developing the services offered to the customers at the end of the incumbents.

Increased and Boosted Revenues
In the recently conducted survey, it has been seen that almost 54% of the incumbents have experienced a certain increase in their revenues. With the passage of time, it is expected that the number of profits will be boosted more than now or ever. For enjoying the benefits of the partnership with Fintech, specific areas and strategies must be formed and decided by the banks.

Letting the banks in on the latest trends of financial service technologies, it is helping banks to transform and embrace digitalization. It is by joining forces with Fintech, that banks would be able to stay updated in the dramatically and drastically changed online payment landscape.

Beyond Bitcoin – Cryptocurrencies and Altcoins to Watch in 2017

It’s telling that one of the most popular colloquial terms for a cryptocurrency is “altcoin”, a portmanteau of “alternative” and “bitcoin”. Bitcoin, the original cryptocurrency, has become so ubiquitous that it is the definition of its own category. But the future of Bitcoin is currently in question and, because of this uncertainty, many traders are switching to other cryptocurrencies.

On March 10, Bitcoin hit an all-time high trading value of $1,325 as investors banked on a US proposal for a bitcoin-backed exchange-traded fund (ETF). However, the proposal was rejected by US authorities, which happened to coincide with a crackdown on bitcoin exchanges by Chinese regulators. Together, these two events caused Bitcoin’s value to drop by over $300.

The root of the problem putting the future of Bitcoin in question is scaling: Bitcoin is becoming too popular for its own infrastructure. The number of Bitcoin transactions that can take place at any given time is limited, which is causing a backlog of transactions in queue for processing, slowing down the whole system. This is because of the limited computing power of the blockchain, a distributed database that records all transactions and serves as a public ledger. In some cases, the backlog becomes so great that some Bitcoin transactions are not confirmed for hours or even days, and in some cases, the bitcoins being sent never reach their intended destination.

The Rise of Cryptocurrencies

Blockchains, invented in 2009 by the anonymous developer of Bitcoin, would prove to be a core technology of all cryptocurrencies. Blockchains are the key software that allows digital currencies to break the double spending problem by timestamping transactions into a public ledger on a peer-to-peer network. Without this solution, double spending represented a flaw in which the same digital token can be spent twice, rendering it useless as a currency. This technology allowed bitcoin and other digital currencies to be decentralized.

Cryptocurrencies are a subset of digital currencies, distinct in that they are decentralized: they are not tied to any real-world assets, not backed by any government or central bank, and no one is required to accept them as valid forms of payment or exchange them for any real-world currencies. Nonetheless, Bitcoin became so successful that it is now accepted by major companies such as Microsoft and Dell. You can even use Bitcoin at some brick-and-mortar stores and coffee shops around the world. In fact, there’s a coffee shop in Prague that only accepts payment by Bitcoin!

Naturally, Bitcoin’s success inspired imitation. Many copycat coins failed, but those that refined and built upon Bitcoin’s model attracted investors looking to capitalize on the technological innovation promised by these new altcoins. While some digital currencies like Litecoin and Dogecoin may have already hit their high water mark, there are still lots of intriguing cryptocurrencies that have something new to offer.

Here are the up-and-coming Bitcoin alternatives to keep an eye on in 2017.

Today’s Top Altcoins
Ether (founded 2015)

Shortly after Bitcoin’s crash in mid-March, Ether, the cryptocurrency that powers the Ethereum network, reached an all-time high trading value, surpassing $55 on March 16. Ethereum is an interesting case, as 2016 saw its value rise and fall erratically due to the same scaling problem Bitcoin is currently facing. To solve it, Ethereum split their blockchain into two parallel streams, a solution bitcoin has sought to avoid.

Known as Ethereum and Etherium Classic, these two cryptocurrencies both trade in Ethers, but they can have two different values depending on which stream they belong to, which can rise and fall independently of each other. Microsoft, the Royal Bank of Scotland, and J.P. Morgan Chase are all investing in proprietary software built on top of the Ethereum blockchain, lending credence to Ether’s reputation as a preferred network for digital software applications.

Zcash (founded 2016)
Zcash is one of the highest-valued cryprocurrencies today, currently trading around the $65 mark. The success of Zcash in what is now a very competitive landscape is due to its revolutionary, totally anonymous blockchain. The public ledger reveals no information about the parties involved or the amounts transacted; no other cryptocurrency provides complete privacy and anonymity.

Dash (founded 2014)
The third most valuable cryptocurrency by market capitalization behind Bitcoin and Ethereum, Dash hit an all-time high of $108.32 on March 20. This is a huge leap in value from its 2016 peak of $14.42.
After two different name changes, it appears Dash has finally taken off, driven by its proprietary InstantSend technology that allows transactions to be verified without the longer confirmation times of Bitcoin and other altcoins.

Monero (founded 2014)
From the beginning, Monero set itself apart from other cryptocurrencies in a way that is proving very important: scalability. Unlike Bitcoin and most altcoins, Monero has no hard-coded limit on its block size, meaning that it will never face the slowdowns that provoked Ether to split its blockchain and that are causing Bitcoin’s current existential crisis.

This scalability is key because the popularity of cryptocurrencies has now reached epic proportions. Bitcoin’s inability to handle its own popularity has led one of its key developers, Mike Hearn, to state that bitcoin is a failure as more altcoins rush in to take its place.

Nothing is certain in this crowded, complex market, and cryptocurrencies should still be seen as experimental and high risk in terms of an investment, but their potential power within the digital economy cannot be understated. More and more people are investing their real-world money in Bitcoin and altcoins, while businesses of all sizes have begun to accept cryptocurrencies in exchange for goods and services both online and in-store. If you’re curious about digital currency, now might be the time to start trading, and it’s still possible to find coins that have not reached their full potential yet and still have room to rise in value.

We’ve only skimmed the surface of the history, complexity, and capability of cryprocurrencies, but this is a subject we at Payza will be following closely in 2017. Subscribe to the Payza Blog to get email notifications about more in-depth articles about this and other FinTech disruptors, and follow us on Twitter and Facebook for even more e-commerce news from around the web.

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