Reading Time: 4 minutes

Introducing BlockchainNZ

BlockchainNZ is an NZ Tech Alliance member with a mission to work with local businesses, overseas partners and the New Zealand Government to educate, advocate, and create opportunities concerning blockchain technology and its implications.

The organisation was initially established in 2016 as the Blockchain Association of New Zealand as a group working together to support the blockchain and cryptocurrency community here. In 2018, they joined the NZ Tech Alliance and worked hard to expand their membership base, influence and network.

The overarching vision for the new BlockchainNZ is to help make New Zealand a global blockchain innovation hub. They aim to support sustainable blockchain ecosystem growth and provide a positive voice for the emerging technology.

NZ Tech Alliance

The NZ Tech Alliance is a collective of non-profit NGOs from New Zealand’s technology sector. Tech Alliance’s purpose is threefold – to help connect, promote and advance our technology ecosystem to boost our country’s economy and to promote tech for good. They regularly hold events and webinars on a host of subjects and unite over 20 tech associations throughout the country.

Tech-Alliance-Logo

 

BlockchainNZ works together with its members and Executive Council to put together submissions to various government agencies providing recommendations and guidance on different aspects of the law relating to crypto and blockchain technology. This gives its members a chance to collectively voice their opinion and help steer the future of New Zealand’s regulation in this tech space.

In September 2021, they submitted to the Finance and Expenditure Committee’s inquiry into the current and future nature, impact, and risks of cryptocurrencies. BlockchainNZ submitted to the Reserve Bank of New Zealand in December 2021 on their Future of Money – Central Bank Digital Currency issues paper. Also, in December 2021, a submission was made to the Ministry of Justice for their AML/CFT Act review.

 

BlockchainNZ Executive Council

The executive council is the governing body overseeing the community’s business, with the primary aim of supporting sustainable blockchain growth in New Zealand.

The council members bring a wide range of skills and experience to the community, including university professors, IT professionals, fintech, cryptocurrency, and blockchain experts.

Members & Partners

Members of BlockchainNZ include companies and organisations working in all aspects of the blockchain ecosystem, from corporates like Air New Zealand, IBM and Microsoft to banks including ANZ, BNZ and Westpac, education providers across the country to various government departments.

Other members include yield farming networks, supply chain traceability systems, VASPs (virtual asset service providers) – including BitPrime, law firms, digital artists and more.

BlockchainNZ also partners with various fintech and blockchain associations.

 

How Does Blockchain Technology Work?

A blockchain is simply a distributed database that stores data across a network of computers rather than on one central server or machine. Each computer on the network has its own copy of the database, and every time an entry is made, it needs to be approved by all computers before being added to the database.

Once an entry is added, it cannot be changed or tampered with without everyone knowing about it. This makes blockchain technology incredibly useful for storing sensitive data such as personal records or financial information.

It would be tough for hackers to access or manipulate without raising alarm bells with other users on the network who would see what they were doing immediately via their copies of the database.

Use of Blockchain – Different Areas of Focus in New Zealand

With the advent of blockchain, we have the opportunity to ensure New Zealand is set up to lead the world in innovation. Blockchain technology is poised to spread far beyond Bitcoin and cryptocurrency into every sphere of the industry. Whether digital identity, logistics and supply chain management, DAOs, or the public or private sector, chances are high that blockchain technology will be beneficial. Here is a quick overview of some use cases for blockchain that the community is concerned with.

In the digital world, identity theft is a big problem. A single data breach can compromise the identities of millions of people. The growing prevalence of identity theft and fraud has led to a massive increase in the cost of doing business.

Blockchain technology revolutionises digital identity systems by providing secure, tamper-proof data storage and eliminating identity fraud.

The way digital identities are stored on the blockchain is much more secure than traditional databases because they are decentralised and encrypted. By keeping your digital identity on the blockchain, you can only access it with your private key. This means that no one else can access your information except you. If someone tries to access your information without permission, they won’t be able to do it because they don’t have your private key – only you do!

A Virtual Asset Service Provider (VASP) is another name for a cryptocurrency exchange, retailer, broker or similar. A VASP, for example, BitPrime, is a business that offers its customers access to trade in fiat currencies or cryptocurrencies.

Another central area of focus for BlockchainNZ is the regulatory implications of blockchain technology and helping steer the direction of future laws and regulations concerning crypto and blockchain.

How To Get Involved

Events

Throughout the year, both in-person and online events are held on a plethora of blockchain-based topics. They can be a great opportunity to learn more about what is happening in this tech sector across the country and further afield.

Become A Member

Memberships are available for everyone from individuals to start-ups, SMEs to corporates. Annual fees differ depending on your revenue.

Benefits of joining include discounts on training courses and events, promotional opportunities, collaboration with other members and more.

Check out BlockchainNZ’s membership page for full details on fees, how to join and benefits.

blockchainnz

 


Disclaimer:

The above references an opinion and is for informational purposes only. Do not take this as personalised financial advice or investment advice. The views expressed by the author do not necessarily represent the opinion of BitPrime.

 

Last updated: 25/01/2022

Reading Time: 19 minutes

Meet the BitPrime Team:

Ross Carter-Brown – CEO and Co-Founder

meet the BitPrime team: Ross Carter-Brown, CEO and co-founder
Meet the BitPrime team: Ross Carter-Brown, CEO and co-founder.

Who Are You? And What’s Your Background?

I grew up in Christchurch, in the South Island of New Zealand. When I was about 20, I went overseas and spent a couple of years travelling, then I came back and spent some time living in different parts of New Zealand before I started University.

I earned a Bachelor of Science, majoring in ecology and soil science. I then started a research-based master’s degree. But, by that stage, I was already heavily involved in cryptocurrencies and Bitcoin and that soon changed from being a hobby into something more serious quite quickly. I’ve been interested in crypto since about 2014/2015.

Eventually, I was earning more than I would be in my chosen career path in biological sciences.  So, I took a big risk and left my master’s partway through to launch BitPrime.

 

Who Personally, Has Been Your Biggest Influence? And Why Have They Had Such a Significant Effect on You?

I’ve always believed in Dean Karnazes’ saying, “listen to everyone but follow no one”.

I read widely and have done all my life. In terms of nonfiction, everything from psychology, economics, personal finance, history, classics, all sorts of things. There are certainly many different people throughout my life that I’ve drawn on their beliefs in my experience. It would be hard to pick any one particular person who has had a lot of influence; if I were to pick one, I would probably say The Buddha.

I’ve always followed and researched a lot of philosophy from a secular standpoint. Also, I’m a big believer in understanding the mind or understanding yourself because if you can’t master the self, you can’t really master anything else. So that would be a big underpinning of my worldview or understanding of reality.

Within that, I’ve certainly followed many different people in the business world, particularly around productivity. There are some good books out there, like, Deep Work by Cal Newport. I follow a wide range of different writers on business and entrepreneurial topics. A lot from the Harvard Business Review, for example.

One person from a business perspective is Derek Sivers, who you could almost describe as a bit of a digital nomad these days. He was the founder of CD Baby way back when, and he sold it for a decent chunk of money. I think he donated most of it to a charitable foundation to be used for supporting the arts, particularly music, when he dies. And he owns very little, and he travels a lot. I think he sees the world very clearly for what it is and that while money obviously gives you a lot of options and makes things better, it’s not the answer to the big questions in terms of “the secret to happiness”. Gratitude is a very big part of happiness. One of the key points I’ve learned from him is that business can be very simple in many respects, and it’s about identifying your key market and giving those people what they want.

I would tend to go through phases where I’ll spend a few months on topics like economics or psychology or something or other; more recently, society from a scientific perspective, particularly around climate change and how those effects are inevitable. Even if we did everything we could now, there would still be some huge issues to deal with from an environmental perspective, which underpins our entire economy.

One of the latest books I’ve read is called Dirt. I hate the name because it’s not “dirt”, it’s soil, but it follows the whole story of soil and how it underpins all of human civilisation and looks at various previous civilisations such as the Romans, where the collapse of their society was underpinned by the destruction of the natural capital, specifically soil and soil erosion. This is becoming a much bigger problem again now in both developed and underdeveloped economies.

In many respects, I take inspiration or ideas that feed into the business even from places like the world of fiction because, in novels and fiction, the writer can create worlds by their desire and their choosing. It’s kind of like a model for experimenting with different ideas and thinking about the world in different ways. And, I’ve certainly drawn some quite successful ideas from the world of fiction before! So, generally speaking, I get information and knowledge from a wide variety of sources. I pick and glean and adapt concepts and information that can be beneficial in the business world and BitPrime.

Others who inspire me include:

  • Jesse Powell, CEO of Kraken
  • Meltem “making benevolent mischief” Demirors, CSO of CoinShares
  • Pavel Durov, founder of Telegram
  • Brooke Roberts, CEO and co-founder of Sharesies

 

What Has Been More Valuable in Your Career, Your Education? Your Experience?

Definitely experience. Most people assume that I come from a finance or investment banking background. Of course, I don’t – my background is in biological sciences and chemistry. So definitely experience – everything I’ve learned about crypto, finance and banking has come from the school of hard knocks, in conjunction with reading and researching extensively and widely.

 

Cryptocurrencies are an essential part of any portfolio but should also be part of a wider diversified portfolio, including many traditional and non-traditional assets.

How Did You Become Interested in Crypto?

I became interested in crypto primarily on the back of the global financial crisis in the mid-2000s. And my mentality at the time was definitely that the system is broken and inefficient and serves those that have control of the capital more than it serves the people as it should or as it’s supposed to. So that’s where I kind of got the inspiration. And I encountered Bitcoin through online forums, news and things like that.

I was quite curious about it as an alternative, and of course, in those days, Bitcoin was very niche – there were very small numbers of users relative to today. And it was very much viewed, I guess, in two camps, or two lines of thinking – either the Bitcoin evangelists who think Bitcoin was going to be the future of all money and then the other group, which I probably fell into, was more that this is like a lab experiment. We’ve got this fantastic piece of software that can potentially completely revolutionise the way that the world works, particularly in a financial, monetary sense. An experiment with huge potential. And I definitely viewed it from the experiment standpoint instead of a belief standpoint.

So I kind of view Bitcoin and cryptocurrencies as a huge opportunity, but still an experiment – we still don’t know, once the dust settles in 5, 10 or 20 years, what that will look like. But I think that’s partly because the industry and technology move quickly. It’s almost impossible to predict with accuracy what it might look like because the opportunities are so numerous – there are so many different directions it could go.

I think that cryptocurrencies are obviously fantastic, and that’s why I got interested in them early on, but I also say that, like people, cryptocurrencies are imperfect, and markets are imperfect. So, you know, I’m also realistic about things as well, which feeds into my philosophy with BitPrime: that cryptocurrencies are an essential part of any portfolio but should also be part of a wider diversified portfolio, including many traditional and non-traditional assets.

So, yeah, I think it’s still an experiment that’s been growing exponentially and delivering all sorts of new technologies and new business models. And I think there’s a really huge opportunity for economic growth for the countries that embrace it.

Bitcoin Money What Gives Cryptocurrencies Value?

 

What Problem Is Your Business Solving? What’s the Inspiration Behind BitPrime?

The inspiration behind BitPrime is that cryptocurrency markets have been traditionally, and I believe currently, difficult to access and navigate for the average everyday person. Most platforms where you can buy or trade cryptocurrencies are based on the exchange model.

And traditionally, that exchange model, with “bid and ask” order books, has been restricted in use to professional investors and institutions that trade things like equities on the international market, foreign exchange, commodities and things like that. Those exchange interfaces have never been designed for, or widely used by, the general population until the occurrence of cryptocurrencies.

So I believe the exchange method, especially regarding the interface, is not well suited to the general population. Obviously, the goal is mass adoption – for everyone to be using cryptocurrency in their everyday lives in some shape or form. Whether that’s as a form of money or the Web3 technology it supports.

We realised early on that those exchange interfaces were not going to best serve the general population. So we came up with a model that was more familiar, which is the e-commerce type interface where you can go through and add assets to a cart, and then pay for those assets, or if you’re selling them, through a traditional checkout process that you would have with a website where you might buy some shoes or order some groceries. So we’ve modelled our retail business on that standardised e-commerce approach, which has been hugely successful and made cryptocurrencies far more accessible to New Zealanders, and soon to be many people overseas as well.

 

What Else Makes BitPrime Stand Out From Its Competitors?

What makes us stand out is primarily the level of service and support we provide. We have 24/7 live chat with response times that are less than a minute.

Everyone hates ticket-based communications; if you’re a customer, you know, you send an email or open a ticket, and you might get a response in 24 hours, and for the next reply, you get another response in another 24 hours. It’s horrendously cumbersome and slow and irritating.

So that’s why we’re focused on live chat with low response time, so we can respond to requests and resolve issues on the spot in real-time, which I think is really important if you’re dealing with some complex questions or some technical problems somebody might have with their wallet. So we really excel in support in that area.

And increasingly, we’re moving to an account management business model with our premium customers, people that are heavily invested in crypto or trading larger volumes. We’re now connecting them one on one with an account manager that they can contact through channels of their choice – you can message your account manager while you’re sitting on the couch watching Netflix. You can fire them a message through WhatsApp telling them that you want to source X coin or any other sort of requests that you have.

Phone calls, SMS, email, whatever channel the customer prefers, we will be there. We’ve found that the account management model and very high levels of personalised and customised service to be exactly what many people need and what a lot of people expect.

People who have large portfolios or have large disposable income and are investing in cryptocurrencies demand that higher level of service and very few exchanges well, no one in New Zealand, but certainly it’s very rare in the world and the cryptocurrency industry globally, that higher level of service with that account management model.

So effectively, those premium customers have one person at BitPrime with whom they build a very close business relationship and get to know each other in terms of needs and expectations.

So we’re far better placed to meet their needs than the same person going to an international exchange where they have to fire off tickets in that very cumbersome process.

Crytocurrency consultation education NZ

 

Is Your Role What You Thought It Would Be When You First Started BitPrime? And if It Differs, How?

I guess the short answer is no. I didn’t start BitPrime in the way that some big tech companies have been launched; we didn’t have a roadmap or a five-year plan or anything like that. It started off with me as a sole trader. Effectively selling cryptocurrencies in a peer to peer fashion to individuals.

And then, as things snowballed in 2017, BitPrime was launched as an information website, predominantly with blogs and things like that, and designed to sort of drive traffic to my individual p2p listings and then things exploded.

I had to hire staff to keep up. We started adding trading functionality to what was a blog site initially, piece by piece. So BitPrime is definitely an evolution from me as a sole trader sitting on the couch with my laptop to this big company with millions of dollars of trading volume and staff worldwide. So it has changed hugely.

If we took the starting point with me as a sole trader to these days as the CEO of BitPrime, I have far less to do with the trading side of things. My role is much more similar to a CEO in any other tech company.

I deal with a large range of different topics and issues. Obviously, my focus is on understanding where the business is at, at any given point in time, making sure that we’re on the right track to meet our strategic goals and that that strategy is effective.

And obviously, we have a focus on our competitors, where we are positioned in the market, making sure that we’re offering the right services to the right people.

I also deal with IT security, regulators and law enforcement a lot. I do a lot of negotiations with different liquidity providers and different service providers.

So my current role is very different from what it used to be on day one!

 

What Do You Enjoy Most About Your Role As the CEO?

What I enjoy most is the people. Whether that be our staff and all the people I talked to on a day to day basis or talking directly to some of our customers. Unfortunately, sometimes that might be when I’m dealing with a complaint; I like to keep a close eye on any complaints that we might receive. So there are those negative interactions, but from those, we will learn a lot, and we can improve what we’re doing.

Dealing with all suppliers and cryptocurrency enthusiasts. I like talking to the people that run some of these ground roots crypto meetups and events that we sponsor. I like dealing with charities and things like that – we deal with some NGOs that want to increase the revenue or donations coming from crypto.

Yeah, it’s really those interpersonal interactions that I enjoy. Because I’m not so much on the frontline as I used to be, I enjoy the opportunities to talk directly to our customers, which obviously I am not able to do as much as I used to. But we are planning on improving that  – we’ve got some AMAs planned, we’ve got some chat groups planned for our premium customers through a platform called Marco Polo, which is kind of like a closed version of Tik Tok, so that myself and our premium customers can all talk on a more personal and direct level.

So yeah, definitely the people, and I’m trying to get back more of that one-on-one interaction that I used to have a lot more.

 

What Are the Main Challenges That You Face as CEO of BitPrime? What Sort of Issues Do You Run Into? Have You Had to Change Course?

There are a number of challenges that we have faced and do face. In the early days, it was access to banking services; obviously, we exchange crypto for fiat and vice versa. It was very hard to get into banking services in the early days, so that issue has been resolved. And now we just have different issues to face.

For example, at the moment, the New Zealand government is reviewing the cryptocurrencies sector in New Zealand and looking at a range of different regulatory options and things like that. So I’m involved with providing feedback on that and trying to steer regulation to facilitate growth in the industry in New Zealand. So that’s one challenge at an industry level that I’m involved with. I’m also on the Executive Council of Blockchain NZ, which is involved in steering that conversation as well.

And related to potential regulatory changes, I’m also on the Ministry of Justice industry advisory group, reviewing the anti-money laundering legislation, which has been in place for 10 years, so I’m involved in providing feedback on that.

So one of the challenges right now is that push to improve regulation in the area, so that that’s a big challenge, or I see it is an opportunity to steer things in the right direction where we can protect investors and reduce money laundering, but also foster economic growth for the New Zealand economy that has traditionally been limited by distance to market and primary industries and exporting things.

Whereas with crypto, there is zero distance to market – it’s borderless – and as a largely cloud-based company, we’re a model of other ways the New Zealand economy can grow without increasing our carbon footprint.

Other challenges we’re facing are scale. The cryptocurrency market has exploded. During the crypto winter of 2018 to 2020, about half of the exchanges in the world went out of operation. So there’s this kind of consolidation move. We’re ending up with a smaller number of much larger companies.

So our challenge is to try and scale because our business only really works at scale in a very competitive environment. And we’re doing it by focusing on doubling down on highly successful areas, which is in those higher levels of personalised service, particularly in the boutique market.

We’re going through some business transformation now; we’re moving to the account management business model. And we’re doubling down on the premium end of the market, whereas in the past, we’ve tended to try and be everything to everyone. And now we’re definitely going more niche, focusing on the premium in the market, both domestically in New Zealand and soon internationally.

Other challenges we face are probably similar to what other businesses face when they grow quickly. In the latest cycle of the market, we’ve gone from six or seven staff to approaching 30 staff. So there are those normal challenges you have within an organisation where it grows quickly: having suitable structures in place, helping staff deal with change and things like that.

So yeah, there are lots of challenges specific to our industry, but there are also many challenges that apply to all businesses.

 

Knowing What You Know Now, What Would You Have Told Yourself When You Were First Starting Out With BitPrime?

That’s difficult to answer in the sense that I sort of learned everything by navigating. I had businesses before BitPrime, but they’re all on a small scale, and they weren’t in the financial services industry. So I guess there would be many things that I would tell myself on day one when we launched in 2017.

I would have perhaps been more conservative. We grew very quickly at the end of 2017, from one person to over 20, with a big office in Christchurch. And then there was the market crash followed by two years of contraction with the crypto winter. So I probably would have been more conservative in the early days.

And I probably would have started mapping out the platform at a much earlier stage. Because we sort of went through this evolution of adding features as quickly as we could, as they were required just to try and keep up with the demand from one day to the next, because the market was just insane, it was going crazy, we really struggled to keep up with demand. So, I would think I would have mapped out the platform, the framework it runs on and things much sooner.

Now we’re dealing with the after-effects of it being a much more costly effort to improve the site and some legacy system issues. So yeah, I definitely would have placed a much bigger focus on the development roadmap early on.

I think those would be the two key things, perhaps growing too quickly in the early days and not having a really effective development roadmap in the early days that we have now.

I think there are other things I think we’ve done really well. Other New Zealand providers have failed for various reasons; sometimes, they didn’t have access to banking services. And in other cases, it’s because they expanded into international markets too early. Or those markets they expanded to were already saturated, and they got spread too thin and ended up failing.

So in some respects, keeping to the New Zealand market earlier on was probably a very good decision.

 

What Has the Experience of Building and Growing a Business Like BitPrime Taught You?

The biggest thing it’s taught me is that often, the impossible is possible. I think it’s the key difference between businesses that stay small and local and those that achieve success on the international stage.

I think it’s realising that things that seem challenging or insurmountable are often overcome.

I think having that can-do attitude, but it’s not a blind sort of, you know, happiness charging headlong in. It has to be supported by having a really deep understanding of your product and your market.

And also predicting potential future events and changes in technology, changes in consumer demand and things like that. You definitely have to try and predict the future somewhat and place some bets on where you think the market is heading.

 

The biggest risk to a crypto investor isn’t having their coins stolen; it’s losing access to them.

Okay, With This Next Question, the Timeframe Is Almost Half a Lifetime As Far as Cryptocurrency Is Concerned, but Where Do You See Things Headed in the Next Five Years? As Far as Bitprime, Other Future Projects, etc.

Well, I guess I should frame that within where I think the industry is going. I think the industry is getting more embedded or more connected to traditional financial markets. So I think we’re going to see a time in the near future where you can use your phone to pay for items like you can now, buy things through Google Pay and Apple Pay, etc. But rather than just being able to pay with the New Zealand dollars in your bank account, you’d be able to pay with any digital asset of your choosing. And the retailer will receive payment in whatever form of value of their choosing, and it will be frictionless and happen in fractions of a second.

So a big shift away from where we are with traditional banking, where you can’t move funds on the weekend and public holidays and all that sort of rubbish. It’ll force changes in the banking industry to potentially leverage more blockchain technology to move towards the direction of real-time settlements.

I think we’ll see more tokenisation of traditional assets. So that’s taking an asset and then turning it into a token – it could be something like a house. You know, you can’t afford to buy a house in this crazy housing market we have in New Zealand right now. So it might be a case of where you have a group of friends or work colleagues who could buy a property or properties that are divisible by or takes the form of readily tradable tokens, so it means that people could say get on the property ladder, by purchasing properties a group for example.

I see big changes in the insurance industry and digital identity, intellectual property, you know, all these areas are moving towards leveraging blockchain technology.

So where BitPrime fits into that – we operate as a financial service provider, providing trading services. In five years, I see we will be heavily embedded in the premium end of the market. So we’ll be providing personalised trading services through our OTC desk but also probably a move into managed funds and other investment products that include baskets of different cryptocurrencies so you can effectively make it easier for investors to access the cryptocurrency market through a grain of diversity and financial products, but also a move towards custody.

You know, the biggest risk to a crypto investor isn’t having their coins stolen; it’s losing access to them. So, you know, in five years, we would expect to have sort of a world-class insured, cold custody, product available for our customers, as well as general portfolio management services, whether that will be through their personal account manager or through offering those asset bundles and managed fund offerings as well. We’re also planning a significant capital raise, so anyone interested in that is free to reach out to me!

That being said, a lot can happen in five years. So there may be other opportunities or changes in the market that mean that there may be other products or services that we may offer as part of that.

I also see that we’ll be a leader on the global stage in terms of services to customers in the boutique end of the market. And with that custody offering, we see that having cold storage with full insurance based in New Zealand is very attractive for international business people and family offices and so forth because of New Zealand’s low corruption, strong personal property protections, and relatively stable economy.

We see that New Zealand is already seen as a safe haven for many people, especially people living in countries with a higher level of corruption or are struggling with autocratic governments and things like that. We see these sorts of Western democracies highly regarded as very popular places to do business and store assets.

 

 

What Is the Best Advice You Have for Someone Looking to Get Into the Area Career-Wise With Cryptocurrency or Blockchain?

That’s a question that I get a lot!

The most important thing is to build up a really good understanding of the industry by reading reference technology, following news, and things like that.

I would caution people from getting too involved in some of the more fanatical pro-crypto groups or ideologies; obviously, I’m very pro-crypto, but I see cryptocurrency as part of a wider global financial system.

So it’s definitely worthwhile for those people to perhaps study or read up a lot on general investing, personal finance, and investor markets in general and understand how cryptocurrency is placed within those markets.

There are many different entry points; you could work as a trader at a place like BitPrime. Obviously, there is also the customer service and account management side. You know, we hire many people who don’t have previous experience in crypto – we look for the right personality and the right background. But it’s certainly an advantage to have a lot of knowledge about crypto.

So you know, it’s not necessarily a bad thing if you can’t get into a role at a cryptocurrency trading platform; you can still start out working in different positions in traditional finance or investment banking, but try not to get stuck there.

That’s the service or trading side of things, but there are huge opportunities in the development side of things with Blockchain development and stuff like that.

Experienced developers or blockchain developers say, with five years experience, can get a job with a visa in the United States making 150,000 USD a year, for example. So there’s big money to be made on the development side. I would say that that’s probably where the biggest opportunities lie in terms of financial sort of reward is the development side of things.

There are also opportunities working for crypto funds, or crypto banks, digital banks, with things like algorithmic trading. So that’s another side branch of the development or where trading and an IT approach cross over.

But in general, we’re still very early in the adoption curve. I think we kind of where the internet was in 1996-1997 in terms of the proportion of the population using Blockchain or cryptocurrency in some way. Obviously, that will continue to increase and probably at the current or at a faster rate.

So I think anyone starting out working in some type of blockchain or cryptocurrency centric business is still getting in on the ground floor regardless, so most of the people working in the industry now will be the CEOs in 10, 20 years. They’ll be the managers, innovators, the entrepreneurs, so if you can get into any role in the cryptocurrency industry now, even if that’s not your desired long term role, it will give you experience and inside knowledge of the industry and help to guide you on which of those career paths might be best.

There are courses increasingly available. I think one New Zealand university is doing some blockchain or crypto papers. A wide range of international education providers, including online courses from Stanford, Harvard Business School, and others. Where you can do well recognised, intensive courses on various aspects of cryptocurrency. Whether that be the trading side of things, technology, or even trying to understand how blockchain might be used in your current business, that might be a tech company that’s not actually using Blockchain or trading cryptocurrencies, but is looking to see how then how you might leverage that technology. So there is a whole range of courses out there. Obviously, most of those are very expensive, but you can still do a lot of free or low-cost courses that may not give you much extra clout on your CV but will undoubtedly increase your knowledge.

So if you’re a bit tight on money and want to learn more, then definitely make use of some of those lower-cost courses. And working towards being a certified Bitcoin professional or a certified Ethereum professional can be a good thing too.

And if you want to get into the industry, showing how eager you are and how committed you are is really important. Highlighting all the different things or actions you’ve taken to understand the industry and get involved in the industry.

If you’re passionate about a particular blockchain, in an interview, really convey that passion to the interviewer. It is really important because somebody determined and passionate will be a good employee. So try to translate your interest and passion for distributed ledger technologies and cryptocurrencies into your applications, cover letters, and CV.

And obviously, if you’re applying for jobs at BitPrime or other platforms, make sure you’ve written your application and resume specifically for that company and for that role. We certainly see lots of applications in this industry where they’ve just fired a CV at you without much thought, and many of them are not even worth reading.

We only really look at applications where the person has specifically written them for our company and that role and demonstrates how hungry they are for the job. So if I was to sum it up, being hungry is my advice.

edX

How Can People, in Terms of Affiliates or Businesses, That Want to Collaborate With Us, Reach Out to BitPrime?

We always like to collaborate with a whole range of different content creators – whether you run a crypto news site or a Personal Finance Blog, you’re a successful YouTuber or Tik Toker – we’re always keen to work with you to put in front of your viewers some options of accessing the cryptocurrency markets that are best suited to their needs. We believe personalised service is the best approach. So we’d love to work with you to put some of those options in front of your readers and viewers that will hopefully save them some money and improve their lives.

We’re also keen to work with the likes of charities. And also, entrepreneurs; we’re looking at a BitPrime residency where we will have some early-stage startups based in the BitPrime HQ for six months at a time where they can leverage our networks and knowledge etc., and we can help them grow their business. We can, in return, learn from their startup and leverage a lot of new thinking and ideas that they are growing.

 


Disclaimer:

The above references an opinion and is for informational purposes only. Do not take this as personalised financial advice or investment advice. The views expressed by the author do not necessarily represent the opinion of BitPrime.

 

Last updated: 26/04/2022

Reading Time: < 1 minute

OTC minimum withdrawal fees, amounts and deposits

Cryptocurrency

BTC

  • Min withdrawal: BTC0.02
  • Withdrawal fees: BTC0.001
  • Min deposit: BTC0.02

 

LTC

  • Min withdrawal: LTC0.02
  • Withdrawal fees: LTC0.002
  • Min deposit: LTC0.02

 

ETH

  • Min withdrawal: ETH0.01
  • Withdrawal fees: ETH0.01
  • Min deposit: ETH0.01

 

BCH

  • Min withdrawal: BCH0.01
  • Withdrawal fees: BCH0.00015
  • Min deposit: BCH0.01

 

Fiat

NZD

  • Min withdrawal: $0.01
  • Min deposit: $50,000

 

USD

  • Min withdrawal: $50,000
  • Min deposit: $50,000
Reading Time: 4 minutes

Meet the BitPrime Team:

Ben – Data Analyst

BitPrime Team: Ben
Meet the BitPrime Team: Ben – Data Analyst

Tell Us About Yourself?

I’m Ben, and I’m a data analyst at BitPrime. I’m originally from Stratford, Taranaki but now live in Christchurch with five flatmates. I study a Bachelor of Science, and in my spare time, I like to read and also watch rugby and cricket.

 

What Is Your Background? Which Has Been More Valuable in Your Career, Your Education or Your Experience?

I started this job with absolutely no experience in data analytics, bar from a few papers in statistics at university. I’m most of the way through a degree in economics, finance and statistics now. While I think that gave me a good grounding in how customers and markets tend to behave, what I’ve learnt on the job has been far more valuable so far.

 

If You Could Go Back in Time a Year or Two, What Piece of Advice Would You Give Yourself?

Two years ago, I would have said learn more Python (programming language), learn more about statistics, and buy as much Bitcoin as possible. One year ago, I started at BitPrime, so I would have told myself to learn SQL (Structured Query Language) and Git (file change tracking software).

python logo
Python is a fast, easy to learn and open source programming language.

 

Is There a Quote That Motivates You?

I like the quote “simplify, then add lightness” from Lotus founder Colin Chapman. I think it’s as applicable to car manufacturing as it is to building software.

simplify then add lightness

 

Who Inspires You?

We have a ton of clever and hardworking people at BitPrime who inspire me a lot.

 

About Your Data Analysis Role With BitPrime

What Made You Get Into This Line of Work? How Did You Become Interested in This Field?

I got into this job by pure chance. My flatmate sent me a job listing on Student Job Search, I applied, and here we are today. It was an incredible stroke of luck because I thoroughly enjoy it (thanks, Louis!).

 

What Do You Enjoy the Most About Your Role?

I really like the intellectual challenge, but what I enjoy most is the variety of areas that I get to work in. For example, I could be working on something for compliance in the morning, figuring out how to minimise trading costs after lunch, and then pulling some customer data for the marketing team in the evening. You learn lots about how a business is run like that, and that learning has been really fun.

 

What Are the Main Challenges You Face in Your Role? What Issues Have You Run Into? Have You Had to Change Course?

Often, the data I need will be incomplete, stored in a strange format, only accessible via an API (application programming interface), or any number of other problems. I spend a huge amount of time on data preprocessing and while it’s definitely not the most glamourous part of my job, it’s probably the most important.

There’s also plenty I haven’t learnt yet, so I’m lucky to have knowledgeable (and patient) staff to steer me in the right direction when I have a question. StackOverflow also deserves a special mention in that regard!

 

What Is the Best Advice You Have for Someone Looking to Move Into This Area (Crypto/Blockchain/Data Analytics)?

Read some news articles about crypto, or do some coding projects. If you sit there afterwards and think, “that was pretty interesting”, then this could well be the area for you.

 

Where Do You See the Industry Going in the Future?

It’s hard to say exactly, but I’m optimistic about the industry as a whole. We’re seeing customers diversify their cryptocurrency holdings more and more each year, and I think diversification of preferences and applications will be an industry trend going forward. For example, I wouldn’t have predicted such strong interest in NFTs or DeFi, and so today I wonder what investors and developers will start dipping their toes into next.

I’m personally excited about the application of blockchain technology to supply-chain management. New Zealand has lots of high-quality exports like manuka honey and merino wool that are susceptible to counterfeiting, and blockchain technology can reassure overseas consumers that what they’re getting is the real deal. IBM is already making plays in this area, and having a company with IBM’s stature behind a blockchain project sends a strong positive message to those who are still on the fence about the industry.

The Special Interest Group on Blockchain and Cryptocurrencies led by Dr Stephen Wingreen at the University of Canterbury does lots of interesting research in this area, and I’m cautiously confident that the regulatory environment for cryptocurrencies in New Zealand will relax. I also think that traditional financial institutions will (slowly) begin to see crypto as a viable product or service, rather than as an existential threat. These are all promising signs for the industry, hence my optimism.

As for data analytics, the industry is going to go from strength to strength with the sheer scale and complexity of data being generated. It’s going to be interesting to see what happens at the intersection between data science and cryptocurrency. Chainalysis is one company already doing that, and their innovations in blockchain analytics ultimately help keep our customers and the general public safer by detecting suspicious activity on the blockchain. It’s an exciting time in an exciting industry for sure.

 

How Can People Connect With You?

Connect with me on Linkedin and GitHub.

 


Disclaimer:

The above references an opinion and is for informational purposes only. Do not take this as personalised financial advice or investment advice. The views expressed by the author do not necessarily represent the opinion of BitPrime.

 

Last updated: 22/04/2022

Reading Time: 4 minutes

Cryptocurrencies as Efficiency, not as a Marketplace

Cryptocurrencies have become an established reality that solves problems beyond pure speculation.

Much has changed in people’s mentality about cryptocurrencies from their early stages to the present day. The most sceptical, who saw them as a passing fad, are some of those who now find them an interesting alternative that can go beyond their preconceived ideas.

What seemed brief and ephemeral has become an established reality that is moving faster and faster towards legislation that goes hand in hand with existing products. In the meantime, consumers around the world continue to expect the novelties that the market offers on a daily basis.

Often, one of the prejudices associated with the crypto ecosystem is to understand it solely from a speculative and short-term point of view, fostering the idea of easy money overnight.

The belief that they are simply currencies in their strictest definition of transactional exchange causes a false notion that can often be affected by our praxis.

In fact, this new ecosystem bases its revolution on a much more subtle perspective, where the great difference proposed is centred on the separation between monetary value creation and the state. Monetary policies that have always been executed by central banks are now dictated by the market itself.

 

cryptocurrencies as efficiency, not as a marketplace.

Cryptocurrencies Solve Problems

Since their conception, most of the products created on blockchain have sought to solve different problems: privacy, independence from third parties for the exchange of value, automatic trading with a Binance trading bot, or immutability of data. However, among these problems, the creation of new financial markets is not one of them.

The reason is that the cryptocurrency market adapts to the traditional market as we know it, but with a 2.0 version where what stands out is not what asset is invested in, but the technical efficiency behind it.

In this way, the value of a cryptocurrency is not limited to the trust of a government agency, but to the trust of a cryptographic system.

Governments themselves are studying the implementation of CBDCs, which is the digital version of the official currency created by central banks, and which would be built under the technological advantages associated with Blockchain.

 

A New Paradigm

Cryptocurrencies are helping to initiate an infrastructural change over the existing economic model, which will reduce operational costs, improve transparency and, in the long run, overall efficiency.

Just as we moved from calling from a landline to a cell phone, the monetary infrastructure also needs a paradigm shift that will make it more efficient.

This new paradigm is not intended to replace the bank’s normal operations, but to be integrated in a phased manner at any point in its value chain.

Taking the above as a basis, we can conclude that the speculative markets that make up the crypto-driven economy are not a cause in themselves, but an effect derived from multiple factors.

The value of the associated technological solution itself, the marketing value of offering alternative investments in a traditional market, the generation of more liquid secondary markets, and a long etcetera.

These markets are the result of having created new solutions to existing problems. We observe how banking is evolving every day to a more technological stage, with the creation of virtual-only entities or with the provision of money in digital format.

This leads one to wonder to what extent banks will be willing to accept new currencies that allow faster and more secure transaction rates, digital identity solutions, or any new type of technology-based value concentration.

 

bitcoin bots

Identifying Value Propositions in a Growth Environment

On the other hand, the trust placed in these digital assets is moving to new emerging markets due to, among other factors, inflation, which closed in 2021 with a figure of over 6.5% in multiple countries – including New Zealand.

This also brings to mind the idea that when a security is created in any way, shape or form, there is also a speculator waiting to see how he can take advantage of it.

As there is a lot of information that may be illicit and for the retail investor who has just arrived, it is difficult to differentiate between which are the value propositions and which are not, it is always advisable to seek information and make sure that the platform with which you are going to operate has a legal backing behind it.

In conclusion, the key is to see and differentiate blockchain as a complete ecosystem in which the technology behind it is a logical evolution of traditional banking in line with the times, we live in.

It is not a matter of doing things radically different, but of applying improvements as has been done in other areas.

Being a young market, which still has a long way to grow, we will be watching to see how this evolution continues, which will depend to some extent on where the regulations go, whether or not they will allow innovation to bring more to the end-user or, on the contrary, they will opt for something more conservative.

 

Conclusion – The Solution to Make Efficient Trading

To say that cryptocurrencies are efficient is no lie. Over the years we have seen that it is a technological and financial revolution, which does not seem to have a final destination. It is, for this reason, we view cryptocurrencies as efficiency, not as a marketplace.

Many investors have realised this potential, which has also made the market for trading bots grow considerably.

These serve to automate trading, using reliable software that employs the strategy of the investors themselves. This is the pinnacle of efficiency in cryptocurrencies, and thanks to names like Binance, security is rarely compromised.

However, you should be careful before using a trading bot, as there are also many scams in the market. That is why we recommend only bots from respected companies like Binance, which can completely change the outcome of success and efficiency with cryptocurrencies.

 

Disclaimer:

The above references an opinion and is for informational purposes only. Do not take this as personalised financial advice or investment advice. The views expressed by the author do not necessarily represent the opinion of BitPrime.

 

Last updated: 21/04/2022

Reading Time: 6 minutes

Should I Use Password Managers?

Yes, You Should Use a Password Manager!

If you’re asking, should I use password managers? Yes, you should! In this digital age, you have a lot of passwords to remember, which is why password managers are so helpful: one single “master password” gives you immediate access to (ideally) all your other passwords. These stored passwords are either encrypted on the cloud or stored locally on a device (e.g. your computer or phone), usually with bank-level encryption, keeping them safe from hackers.

In addition to convenience, using a password manager significantly improves the security of your accounts. Many people recycle the same user name and password over multiple sites to make logging into their accounts simpler. While this might make things convenient for you, it puts your account information at great risk.

If someone obtains your username and password, they’ll be able to use it to hack into any account where you used the same login details. Having multiple passwords across different sites will mitigate this danger. Password managers can help you by storing the unique user name and password combinations separately and automatically filling them in when you log into an account. This eliminates the hassle of remembering several different passwords while still ensuring each one is unique and secure.

Finally, suppose you have trouble making up good passwords or remembering logins created by others (some websites don’t let users choose their usernames but instead autogenerate them). In that case, a password manager can help there as well. These programs allow users to generate strong random strings of characters for their passwords within seconds. Then, as soon as they’re created, they’ll be saved in the program without needing further input from you — meaning no more writing them down or taking screenshots on your phone!

 

A Password Manager Is an Excellent Way to Keep Your Online Accounts Secure

If you were to ask security experts whether or not you should use a password manager, they would most likely say yes. In fact, the National Institute of Standards and Technology discuss the benefits of using a password manager as one of the strategies to maximize your online account’s password strength.

“Password managers offer greater security and convenience for the use of passwords to access online services. Greater security is achieved principally through the capability of most password manager applications to generate unique, long, complex, easily changed passwords for all online accounts and the secure encrypted storage of those passwords either through a local or cloud-based vault. Greater convenience is provided by using a single master password to access the password vault rather than attempting to memorise different passwords for all accounts. Most password manager applications offer additional capabilities that enhance both convenience and security such as storage of credit card and frequent flyer information and autofill functionality” – NIST SP 800-63B.

As mentioned earlier, if someone were able to access one of your accounts through a data breach of a website or service provider, it wouldn’t be difficult for this person to try logging into some of your other accounts with data stolen from the first site (assuming that you’ve reused passwords across accounts). However, if those other accounts use unique credentials generated by a password manager, no others will be accessible since no two logins will be the same.

Password managers also make it easy for you change all of your passwords at once by providing a quick method in which they’re automatically replaced with new ones that are equally strong but different enough from each other that they can’t be guessed using common techniques (e.g. incremental counting or dictionary words). This ensures maximum security for users since even if one account is compromised through malicious activity or an error made by an employee at its hosting company, there won’t be any others with identical credentials allowing hackers access through back doors.

should i use password managers

 

Top Tips For Secure Passwords

  • You should use a variety of different passwords for every service you use. Don’t be tempted to reuse passwords or use simple passwords someone else could easily guess.
  • Ideally, your password should contain a mix of upper and lower case letters, numbers and symbols. These are called ‘strong’ passwords.
  • And make sure you don’t include any word or name that someone could guess easily by looking at your email address, social media profiles, website, etc.

 

Are Password Managers Easy to Use?

Using a password manager isn’t complicated. In fact, it’s the opposite.

A password manager is just what it sounds like — a tool that helps you manage your passwords. Like a vault for all your passwords and other sensitive information, it makes life easier by securely storing this data so that you don’t have to remember it all. That way, when a website requests your login information, all you have to do is input your master password, select the site you want to access from the stored list, and then copy and paste the details. Since accessing websites usually requires multiple steps to determine a user’s identity, being able to input passwords without having to memorise them for each site makes things much more efficient for you.

 

How Do I Set Up a Password Manager?

Each programme will come with specific instructions but most generally follow the below steps:

  1. Install the app or program onto your device, whether that’s your smartphone, tablet, laptop, or desktop computer.
  2. Create an account and master password. This will be the only password you have to remember, so make it a good one! For example, use a mix of capital letters, lowercase letters, numbers, and symbols in lieu of keyboard characters (e.g., * instead of “a”, % instead of “n”). Also consider using passphrases (as opposed to single words) that are easy for you to remember but difficult for someone else to guess.
  3. Fill in any additional information about yourself as directed by the app or program. This step isn’t always necessary up front; however, if you’re planning on using this information manager for other purposes later down the road (such as storing ID numbers and credit card numbers etc.), this is when you would enter that data into the system.
  4. Now that your information is securely stored behind a single locked door, you can stop worrying about losing all your data due to one compromised password and begin focusing on securing your online accounts!

Advantages and Disadvantages of Password Managers

There are several advantages of using a password manager. It allows you to store all of your passwords in one place with easy and secure access. You don’t have to memorise hundreds of different passwords, and you can change them as often as needed. Password managers will generate strong and unique passwords for each site or service.

If someone manages to hack into one of your accounts, it’s much less likely that they could access all of the rest. But if someone gets their hands on your password manager’s master password, then they can see everything — so it’s important to choose a strong one that no one else could guess or get hold of through social engineering tricks like phishing emails. That’s why some people use passphrases such as “ireallyLovemydogasheismyBESTfri3nd” rather than simple words like “BullTerrier”.

On the other hand, if you forget your master password, you need your password manager to have a secure recovery option – likely involving 2FA. It would be wise to write down your master password somewhere safe. You should also make sure that any company whose services are vital to your online security is stable and trustworthy before signing up with them! So, while I’ll list some recommended options to choose from below, always DYOR (do your own research) and read independent reviews to ensure you use the programme that’s best for you.

 

Free Versus Paid Password Managers

Did you know that some password managers are available for free? It’s true, and there’s no reason to think a paid service is worth the extra money. Free password managers can be just as good as paid ones. When it comes to features, the most important one — securing your passwords — is one that free services provide at least as well as paid ones.

The free options may not have all of the bells and whistles of their paid counterparts; however, most people don’t need those extras anyway.

Free password managers store your passwords securely, just like their paid counterparts do. The only real differences between them tend to be extra features: unlimited passwords, dark-web monitoring, encrypted storage for additional files or notes, etc. But because these aren’t things everyone needs or will use, it doesn’t make sense to pay for them if you don’t want them. That’s a decision for you to make.

 

But, What if I Still Don’t Want to Use a Password Manager?

  • If you decide to stick with passwords you can remember yourself, you should still ensure you follow the tips mentioned in the Top Tips above.
  • Consider writing them down in a notebook and storing them in a safe place offline — not on your computer or written on a sticky note attached to your screen! Just as we’d recommend for your crypto wallet’s private keys or backup phrases.
  • Don’t label your storage place with something obvious like “passwords” where they are kept. Perhaps write something more innocuous like “addresses.”
  • Do not share your passwords with anyone except, perhaps, one spouse or partner.

 

Recommended Password Managers

Here are five options listed in no particular order. Remember to DYOR and compare their features to choose the programme best suited for your needs. Look at independent review sites before making your final decision.

Bitwarden – https://bitwarden.com/
Dashlane – https://www.dashlane.com/
1password – https://1password.com/
LastPass – https://www.lastpass.com/
NordPass – https://nordpass.com/

Reading Time: 5 minutes

DeFi versus Traditional Finance: Can DeFi become a Viable Alternative?

Can DeFi (decentralized finance) become a viable alternative to the traditional way we’ve always handled money?  It’s an interesting question, and with the popularity of DeFi quickly growing, it needs an answer.  In this article, I’ll be going through the primary reasons I think DeFi can be a viable alternative to traditional finance.  To do that, we first have to ask, “what exactly is decentralized finance?”

 

Decentralized Finance

Like EFTPOS or payWave, many people see DeFi as a literal game-changer regarding financial technology and how we’ll handle our finances moving forward.  Much of that has to do with the fact that DeFi is largely unregulated, meaning that it’s not controlled by large banks, governments, or other financial institutions.  It eliminates or minimises financial barriers that we usually associate with dealing with money, such as late charges, lengthy transaction times and expensive fees.

Regarding how people buy, sell and deal with currency, I think it would be a complete understatement to say that its introduction will change the financial landscape as we know it.  DeFi eliminates the unnecessary paperwork that comes with dealing with intermediaries and replaces them with smart contracts.  A smart contract is a tiny programme embedded into blockchains that are automatically triggered when transactions or specific criteria are completed.

One example is the field of insurance.  At the moment, an argument could be made that using insurance is an overly cumbersome process.  Smart contracts eliminate the paperwork and automatically handle the little details, making it a more seamless process.

 

Blockchain – What Is it?

A distributed database that can store information in a digital format (in this case, cryptocurrency).  Data are stored in what’s known as a block; when the block’s filled with data, a new one’s automatically created, forming a chain.  Once a block’s created, it can’t be altered, thereby creating a permanent record of the transaction, complete with a timestamp telling everyone when it was made and when the transaction took place and by whom.

All of this leads to perhaps one of DeFi’s most significant advantages: it can’t be tampered with or altered and is seen as a more reliable alternative to an increasingly growing number of people worried about being defrauded.

 

What wallet options are there to store the coin/token?

 Benefits of Keeping Your Money in a Digital Wallet Instead of the Bank

The Digital wallet or E-wallet is a software that replaces the need for debit cards and bank accounts and stores payment information and numerous passwords allowing users an easy way to handle their finances.  In 2020 it was estimated that in the United States alone, 55% of smartphone users now shopped via digital wallets due to the security and convenience they offer.

  • Whether online or at a retail store, digital wallets allow prompt payment, with some even offering you the option to top up with a linked banking app via your phone.  The convenience and the growing popularity of contactless payments make keeping your money in a digital wallet a much more attractive option than keeping it stored in a bank.
  • Digital wallet use jumped seven percent in 2020 with the trend expected to keep growing, with some predictions indicating that by 2024 they’ll account for half of all e-commerce payments worldwide.  Approximately 7.1 million households are unable or unwilling to get a bank account for various reasons.  Digital wallets help by paying their household bills and day-to-day expenses without relying on a traditional bank or a loan sharking service.
  • Although digital wallets have a reputation for being safe (all data is encrypted, sometimes involving a two-step password), that doesn’t make them entirely safe from theft or fraud. If lost or stolen, owners risk having their wallets hacked and their funds or identities stolen.

 

What Are the Security Risks of Decentralized Finance?

As stated at the beginning of this article, there are some compelling reasons why you should get into DeFi. Still, there are also some legitimate security concerns that you should consider before taking the plunge.  The truth is that nothing is truly 100% secure, and in the last ten years, the global market has experienced 226 different security breaches, with 10% of them happening in 2021.  In total, 12.1 billion was lost as a result. Significant security risks include:

  • Coding mistakes made with the blockchain can lead to more significant errors further down the line, leading to a loss of profits.
  • Errors made when creating smart contracts.  Smart contracts are simple programs embedded into the blockchain.  If a contract’s poorly programmed, it can lead to severe consequences for everyone.
  • Leaked or stolen private keys.  Private keys are passcodes that allow you to access funds stored on blockchains.  Stolen or compromised keys are the most common security risk involving DeFi.  One of the best ways to avoid this is to ensure you only store them off of digital devices (e.g. on paper) abd use a secure random generator when first creating your passwords.

 

How Does the Lack of Regulation in DeFi Pose Risks?

One of the things that makes DeFi so attractive is that it’s largely unregulated (for now), cutting out financial ‘middle men’ like banks and other third parties, but its very nature can carry risks of its own.  Because it’s unregulated, there are no governing bodies overseeing transactions using blockchain, apart from the parties involved with the transaction.  When things go wrong, the blame and responsibility fall onto those said parties.  For many people, that can be a daunting prospect and one that may pose a risk to anyone unfamiliar with the ins and outs of dealing with financial liability.

According to blockchain analytics firm, Elliptic, over 10 billion has been lost due to DeFi frauds in 2021 alone.  The group highlighted several areas where they felt that DeFi was vulnerable, including highly leveraged trades, liquidity issues, and the lack of shock absorbers, and banks usually took this role.  In light of these statistics, a case could be argued that regulated decentralized finance is needed in light of the risk that fraudsters pose to consumers.

 

What Factors Are Driving Trends in Decentralized Finance?

The traditional financial system as we know it today has always been viewed as relatively slow. By comparison, DeFi is seen as lightning quick, which cuts out the big banks and the red tape.  The idea that a third party isn’t involved and the perception that blockchain represents a firewall against scammers makes it a tempting prospect, especially in light of the increasing amounts of fraud that we see rising year after year.

One trend that is helping to drive the idea of decentralized finance is what a lot of experts are dubbing the meta or the metaverse: a digitally interconnected, virtual space where everything can be done online.  Companies like Facebook and Microsoft are already in the process of setting up their own versions of the meta, and it could only be a matter of time before DeFi overtakes traditional finance to become our new normal.

The environment and greenness have become a growing trend in recent years, especially in the corporate world.  While mining for crypto used to be a drain when it came to fossil fuels, in the early years, there are now many that use more environmentally friendly processes.

 

What Do Projections Show About the DeFi Industry in the Near Future?

According to an article published in Forbes, at the beginning of 2021, the cryptocurrency known as Ethereum was valued at under 800 million; last year, that value jumped up to three trillion dollars.

With inflation rates rising every year, cryptocurrencies like bitcoin are seen as the safer and less volatile option.  Some see the possibility of bitcoin rising to as much as 100 million this year alone.  Other cryptos will also increase, with the most significant rising well into the triple digits since 2021.

It’s clear from these projections that DeFi has captured the public imagination, and a comparison can be made with the property market in New Zealand.  However, it’s important to remember that, like every other currency, the rise may not last forever, and we have to remember that when dealing with it.

So, can DeFi become a viable alternative to traditional finance? It seems as the technology advances that it is indeed very possible.


About the author:

Kerry Lee

Disclaimer:

The above references an opinion and is for informational purposes only. Do not take this as personalised financial advice or investment advice. The views expressed by the author do not necessarily represent the opinion of BitPrime.

 

Last updated: 13/04/2022

Reading Time: 4 minutes

Bitcoin Bots: How They Work & Tips

Since Bitcoin’s price skyrocketed in 2017, the best-known cryptocurrency has been the talk of the town. For some time now, word has spread among investors that you can get even faster profits with so-called Bitcoin bots.

But is everything really that promising? Where there is money to be made, there are, of course, also scammers lurking. Bitcoin or crypto bots do not enjoy the best reputation in the media. But you can’t demonize them all by any means.

So, what do these crypto trading bots actually do, and how do they work exactly? What are the risks and which trading bot stands out as the best? We explore these questions in the following paragraphs.

 

What Does a Bitcoin Trading Bot or a Crypto Trading Bot Do?

In simple terms, crypto bots are robots, i.e. software programs that make fully automated trading decisions for the investor via an algorithm and are designed to provide the user with the highest possible profits on their cryptocurrency trading.

A cryptocurrency trading bot independently makes purchases and sales with cryptocurrencies Based on technical price analyses. This should enable higher profits than with manual day trading, even if you’re an experienced trader

The crypto trading bots thus take the trading off the investor’s hands. The advantages of a bot just like the Coinbase Pro trading bot are apparent:

  • The crypto bot works around the clock, seven days a week.
  • It is much faster at trading cryptocurrency than it would ever be possible for a human.

Moreover, basic knowledge about the crypto market is enough to make profits with automated trading.

Many crypto bots work on the same principle. The reputable provider makes its money through the fees it charges.

For example, depending on the provider, trading with a crypto bot may incur deposit and trading fees and sometimes account maintenance fees. As a trader, you should take these fees into account before choosing a provider.

Furthermore, it should be noted that Bitcoin bots are mainly suitable for day trading and are hardly ever useful as a medium- or long-term investment tool or trading strategy.

 

bitcoin bots

How Do Bitcoin and Crypto Bots Work?

In the world of trading, when we talk about a bot, we mean a program that independently makes purchases and sales of a crypto asset for the crypto trader. In other words, automated crypto trading.

Unlike traditional trading bots, which offer trading in stocks, currencies, and commodities in addition to cryptocurrencies, crypto bots specialise in trading cryptocurrencies, such as Bitcoin or Ethereum.

A Bitcoin bot is capable of analysing market data to detect market trends early and draw conclusions from previous trades, regardless of whether they were positive or negative. It is programmed to automatically identify signals that are relevant for trading because it knows very well what the specifics of cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin, Ethereum, or IOTA are.

Indeed, it is not always spot on with its assumptions, but experience has shown that you can achieve better results with a bot compared to manual trading. Thus, at least 70% of all trades should turn out positive.

To stay on the safe side as much as possible, traders should only invest as much money as they are willing to lose, especially at the beginning. This rule of thumb is true regardless of what type of investment you’re interested in.

In addition, it is recommended, especially for newcomers, to get to know a crypto bot and its functions via a free demo account.

 

white-computer-keyboard-with-red-keys-that-says-scam-alert

What Are the Dangers Lurking with Bitcoin Bots?

Not all websites can or want to provide a bot with a working algorithm:

  • Developers of fraudulent sites specifically target deposits from careless or inexperienced traders.
  • Then there are the less serious but still unfair practices with opaque fees. Transparency should therefore be a priority.

You should also be aware that there are crypto bot trading scams out there – so you should always DYOR (do your own research) and check independent reviews and only use a reputable provider and a reputable trading platform. If you’re ever unsure, you can always ask us for our opinion.

It is essential to get the full picture of a trading platform before depositing money. However, the lack of regulations makes it challenging to determine the seriousness of a provider.

Unrealistic advertising does not show seriousness, certainly not professionalism, and yet you can find it even with legitimate providers. However, if the website does not even state the company’s registered office, alarm bells should ring.

The degree of popularity does not necessarily indicate seriousness. There are also lesser-known providers that provide a reliable automated trading bot. A customer service team that also answers your questions is undoubtedly a good sign.

 

What Chances of Success do Bitcoin Bots Offer?

On the one hand, algorithms offer the advantage of recognising market trends via charts and reacting to them faster than a human. On the other hand, external news that can influence the price trend pass through the bot’s fingers.

Therefore, it would be disastrous to assume that only profits are generated. In general, you can compare a professionally programmed Bitcoin bot to a professional trader.

Because the crypto market is very volatile, experience shows that you can make higher profits than on the currency market. Weekly profits of over 200% are possible, but definitely not guaranteed.

Learning how to trade with Bitcoin bots also proves to be easy and is therefore particularly suitable for beginner crypto investors who want to quickly achieve a sense of achievement with cryptocurrencies.

 

Why Trading with Bitcoin is Worthwhile Even for Beginners

One thing is clear: If you recognise trends in time, you can possibly make a lot of money. A good example is the remarkable rise of the cryptocurrency Bitcoin.

Anyone who bet even a modest $20 on Bitcoin ten years ago and invested could increase their investment to almost 40 million dollars today. Let that sentence sink in for a moment but don’t let it cause FOMO (fear of missing out) that leads to irrational decisions.

Today, Bitcoin is on everyone’s minds; how to trade it successfully and whether you should even jump on this bandwagon anymore is what we want to shed some light on here.

Investors believe that the opportunities to invest in Bitcoin are not yet at an end, and therefore, it may well be worthwhile to still get into trading. Bitcoin, according to experts, is far from exhausted and can still increase in value considerably.

The only problem is that most people who want to invest have no idea about stock market trading and therefore do not even try it. Alternatives to trading on your own are professional traders who do the job for a fee and whom you have to trust or innovative tools that do the job for you.

 


Disclaimer:

The above references an opinion and is for informational purposes only. Do not take this as personalised financial advice or investment advice. The views expressed by the author do not necessarily represent the opinion of BitPrime.

 

Last updated: 23/03/2022

Reading Time: 4 minutes

What Is Ether (ETH) and What Can I Do With It?

With the whole world being digitised these days, it would come as no surprise that we’ll have a well-constructed digital identity securely storing our personal data in a few years or so, and including a digital personality (metaverse) and digital assets (NFTs – non-fungible tokens and cryptocurrencies). It’s about time that we started making the shift to adapt to the changes of the future. However, to journey on that path, we’ll need to understand how the digital world works. Although we may not explain the nitty-gritty of other technologies, we can tell you all about cryptocurrencies, cryptocurrency trading and blockchain technology. More specifically, today we’ll learn about Ether (ETH) – one of the most commonly known and well-established forms of a digital asset. So let’s dive into this article to learn more about Ether and what we can do with it.

 

A Glance At Ether

Ether is a part of the Ethereum blockchain, created by Vitalik Buterin, Gavin Wood and others.

“On Ethereum, you can write code that controls money and build applications accessible anywhere in the world”.

On this decentralised blockchain, you can create NFTs, software, ledgers, and whatnot at a fee – that fee being ETH, the currency the network functions on. However, aside from being a means of fee payment, Ether is also a standalone currency, and quite frankly, due to its popularity, it’s the elixir that keeps Ethereum going. The Ethereum algorithm is constantly under development to improve, and at present, upgrades known as Ethereum 2.0 are bound to show sometime soon.

 

What Is Ether (ETH)?

Simply put, Ether is a currency operating digitally. Ether tokens – much like any other cryptocurrency – are secured by cryptography. However, that’s just its crux; Ether is so much more than that. It operates on a decentralised system with an open-source, smart contract functionality (learn more about smart contracts here). Perhaps the way the Ethereum network is constructed is why the native token is the second most popular cryptocurrency globally. In terms of market capitalisation, it comes second only to Bitcoin. And, much of its success can be attributed to the Ether community, filled with people of diverse expertise, such as developers, ethical hackers, researchers, bounty hunters, etc. and the Ethereum Foundation.

What Is Ether (ETH) and What Can I Do With It
IMAGE SOURCE: Coinbase

 

How is Ether Different From Other Cryptocurrencies?

Understanding cryptocurrencies is an art and a science. Since, at their core, most are developed and function in similar ways, it’s often hard to understand and navigate the differences between the many cryptocurrencies. However, each cryptocurrency has specific attributes that make it unique in its particular way. Here are a few of Ether’s:

 

Ether is Infinite

Think of using a mobile game: if you want particular gadgets, you buy in-app money to obtain them. You can also purchase the app money irrespective of using it on a gadget. Ether is similar to that; it is available in abundant quantities, which means that you can purchase ETH anytime you want.

 

Decentralised System

A decentralised system means no one at the top governs the application. It is for the users to use as they please. No third party or authority could take it back if you purchased ETH.

 

Part of a Bigger Ecosystem

As mentioned earlier, Ether is a part of the Ethereum network used for creating, developing, and sharing decentralised applications (dApps) and crypto assets. Since the names are so similar, it can get confusing to remember which is what, so here’s the gist: Ether is a cryptocurrency, and Ethereum is the blockchain network.

 

What Can You Do With Ether?

The following is just a highlight of some of the most common ways people use ETH and is far from an exhaustive list.

1. Send And Receive Money In Real-Time

Sending and receiving ETH is one of the first things you could do with Ethereum. You can also use this digital currency to pay for goods and services – many cryptocurrency wallets allow this function. The transfer happens quickly and usually takes around five minutes for the coin to show in your crypto wallet.

The downside here is that the Ethereum network has been a victim of its own success and suffers from scalability issues which resulted in high transaction fees for many tokens deployed on the network. But, never fear, this is where developers have been working hard and Ethereum 2.0 comes to the rescue to should solve this problem as well as improve other aspects of the Ethereum platform. We’ll cover Ethereum 2.0 in another article!

2. Swap Ether With Any Other Cryptocurrency

Yes, it’s possible to swap one digital asset for another. For example, If you have ETH and wish to exchange it for BTC, you can do so without hurdles. At BitPrime, you can swap your digital currencies anytime. A transaction fee does apply for exchanging tokens, as per any other crypto transaction.

3. Collect Interest On Your ETH

It’s possible to earn interest on ETH if you stake it. The market for this is so huge that many people are making a passive income by staking their ETH. The interest/reward rates vary depending on the option used – but regardless, the APYs tend to be considerably higher than what traditional banks are offering via savings accounts or term deposits! Learn more in our quick guide to staking crypto.

4. Access Stablecoins In The Ethereum Ecosystem

As Ethereum.org puts it, “Stablecoins are Ethereum tokens designed to stay at a fixed value, even when the price of ETH changes”. Stablecoins are pegged to things such as fiat currencies (e.g. USDC to USD). And given their price stability, they’re rising to be a crypto superstar on their own.

stablecoin types
IMAGE SOURCE: Bitdeal

 

How to Obtain ETH?

You can easily purchase ETH through a cryptocurrency exchange or trading platform. BitPrime is one of New Zealand’s most trusted service providers for crypto. So, if you’re interested in buying ETH, then head here.

 

How does Ether maintain its value?

It’s true that the cryptocurrency market is volatile, but Ether does its very best to maintain its intrinsic value. Here are some things that Ether offers to always rise on the ranks of currency valuation:

  1. It acts as collateral for DeFi (decentralized finance).
  2. ETH is accepted as payment by retailers.
  3. It’s the most common crypto for purchasing NFTs, collectables, and in-game items.

 

To Sum It Up…

You can do many things with this token aside from buying and selling. And since the crypto market is continuously rising and technology is constantly advancing, there’s no saying what can be done using the Ethereum network in the coming future. We know that cryptocurrency has its future cut out for itself, and the sooner we adapt to this, the better for us!

 


About the author:

Juwaria Merchant

Disclaimer:

The above references an opinion and is for informational purposes only. Do not take this as personalised financial advice or investment advice. The views expressed by the author do not necessarily represent the opinion of BitPrime.

 

Last updated: 22/03/2022

Reading Time: 8 minutes

China vs Cryptocurrency: A Review of Chainalysis’ Report on China’s Cryptocurrency Activity Amidst Government Crackdowns

Here’s the one we were all waiting for; the Chinese Government Vs Crypto. One of the world’s largest cryptocurrency markets has fallen off the face of the earth. Is it a warning to all? The Crypto Crackdown of 2021 certainly will go down in history as the first authoritarian intervention against the market. It’s important to understand the political factors involved in this situation; so many internal and external factors affect the crypto environment, and these are amplified extensively in China. So why did one of the world’s most dominant crypto superpowers declare it illegal? How did this affect the world around us, and will any other governments follow suit?

Click the above image for a PDF copy of the full report by Chainalysis, or read our summary below.

How Was China Interacting With The Market, Pre-Crackdown?

In terms of scale, to see how important this really is – have a look at the graph below:

graph showing the total crypto value received by country in usd from jan to jun 2021

I’m going to explain to you why this ‘Crackdown’ is monumental – and it’s certainly not because they were lacking or saw little national activity. Since 2021, China, second only to the United States, has been estimated to have about $150 Billion worth of cryptocurrency controlled by Chinese users. If we are to compare that amount to other cases of 150 Billion, it equates to or near enough; the EU’s investment in Africa ($170B), How much America spends on illicit substances per year ($150B) and an estimate on how to build a more digitally sound Europe ($150B). Looking at those points, you can see how immense the amount of crypto value they held is. I mean, an entire investment into a continent like Africa! It seems crazy, but the Chinese Government clearly had their reasons for restrictions.

One estimate says that China-based mining operations have historically been estimated to control 65% of the global hash rate of Bitcoin! If we were to extrapolate that further, that would mean Chinese users would control nearly two-thirds of newly minted Bitcoin; a mean feat indeed. But that dream all came crashing down in May 2021 when government officials announced a crackdown on crypto mining and trading. This has seen an estimated 50% of the Global Hash rate fall since May. One constant debate is why so many closed their trading accounts despite the government making it illegal. You’d expect them to find loopholes or even keep doing it until they get caught and hopefully make enough to pay the bail. One overlying component is fear, the fear of the government catching you. In other countries where you’d get a slap on the wrist, China ensures you’re punished and in fear of reoffending. Despite this, estimates (which understandably aren’t verified due to the situation) say 20% of the worldwide bitcoin network remains in China – now referred to as the Black Market of Crypto.

 

Cryptocurrency Crimes

You can easily tell that China has played a rather large hand at crypto, contributing to its success; with that territory also comes the crypto crime rate. For obvious reasons, crime has been steadily declining in China since the crackdown was announced. Using the graph I’ve edited below, I’ll take you on a step by step analysis of two historical crypto events related to China, as well as a general overview of their crypto crime tactics!

graph showing crypto value sent to illicit addresses by country

PlusToken Ponzi Scheme

If you’re an avid trader or newsreader, you’ll remember the story of PlusToken. It started in 2018 and offered monthly payments to users of its crypto wallet, which on face value sounds fantastic – the perfect money maker for investors. However, all was not what it seemed, and it was revealed as a Ponzi scheme in which the total amount of cryptocurrency taken was estimated to be between USD2-2.9 Billion! The idea was that you would invest in the platform, transform your money into cryptocurrency, recruit family and friends (word of mouth is the most reliable source of advertising!). It was so mainstream in mainland China it was hard to resist. You can see on the graph where all of their ill-gotten gains had caught up with them, crippling their scheme and the market. Long story short, many people were hurt, and cryptocurrency’s reputation was damaged, at least for a while. All the ringleaders were jailed for up to 11 years, and I sincerely hope we never see such a travesty again.

 

Chinese Crackdown Announcement

This Crackdown may define a generation or perhaps inspire a new one. At the start of this article, “is it a warning to all?” And from my research, I certainly think so. Governments have become increasingly aggressive towards crypto (excluding El Salvador – The Crypto Genies), with lawmakers finding new ways to regulate, tax and limit the crypto transactions state-wide and nationwide. You can see here that there’s about a 20 million dollar spike in Cryptocurrency value sent to China around the time the Crackdown was announced. Why has this happened? It’s going to be illegal? Wherever there’s a suppressed group in society, there’s always a small group that refutes and holds on to their ideologies. This is the group, but for crypto, the opening of the Chinese black market for crypto has been booming recently, and there’s no sign it’ll stop until the government has caught them. During this time, the value sent to China is to set up illegal operations, mine crypto ‘off the grid’ and hopefully not get caught – talk about living on a prayer!

 

Scams and Other Devious Deeds

Scams play a massive part in their Crypto crime rate and movement of funds; let me go through some key ones. Email Scams – using your information against you to gain your trust, and appeal to your best qualities. Social Media – you always see them in Twitter comments or your DM’s on Instagram; they try to appeal to your emotions to gather support. There are so many more mundane links and fake URLs. We’ve moved on a bit from the 2000s “The Son of a Deposed Nigerian King needs your help!” scams; they’re now more refined and scarier. Chinese hackers and scammers have refined the art of fake profiles and better AI to try and fool you into thinking you’re talking to a real person. Approximately 2.2 Billion has been tied to Chinese addresses linked to illegal crypto activity, so you can see that China is making some sort of stand against the unlawful activity, but it may be more convoluted than we think.

There are certain bits of cryptocurrency-based crime, such as fentanyl trafficking, of which China is a central hub. Linking drugs to crypto may seem a stretch, but they carry out their transactions using cryptocurrency. A famous example is when Fujing Zheng, the head of a fentanyl trafficking organisation, had sanctions against him. He then used Bitcoin to launder the proceeds. People use cryptocurrencies to hide their activities the same way people used to “diversify” their portfolios by investing in a charity to avoid tax or using a tax haven like the Isle of Man. It’s natural for people to avoid accountability by searching for loopholes, but we shouldn’t use crypto for these illegal activities.

 

How Has the Crackdown Worked?

Their status of being one of the top mining countries globally has changed a fair amount since the first round of announcements around the topic started. According to the CCP, the reason is around the financial stability and the environmental impacts as well. Which considers the amount of power and energy consumed by mining rigs, often with people setting up so many to mine faster that they forget how much power they are consuming. One report stated that an average of 143,000 kWh of energy is required to produce one bitcoin – now imagine if you had hundreds set up, and that’s just you. Not counting any other miners in your area, it all adds up. Let’s see how mining has gone pre-crackdown and post-crackdown:

You can see exactly where the crypto ban came into effect, seeing the destination of Bitcoin mined by week just drop in all criteria shown. Many people adhered to the government’s new laws, but some kept on going, seeing a slight resurgence in June. It seems all mining pools in China were hit the hardest, with all of them dropping in relation to the new rules.

 

Why Is the CCP Cracking Down on Cryptocurrency?

This is the meaty part of the article; why is this happening? There are a few practical reasons that have been presented. These prevent capital flight, as the CCP sees crypto as a threat they can’t regulate or directly control; they want rid of it as it provides no value to them. But it is clear to most that it is a purely ideological choice; it’s just fronted by the concerns for the welfare and the environment. One crypto official interviewed said, “They take a top-down approach, and the goal is to maintain stability and unity. So when government officials see people like early Bitcoiners getting ultra-rich and advocating for liberty and self-sovereignty, the natural inclination is to see them as dissidents”. When I say ideological, it’s because they’re communist, an ideology built on equality; where’s the equality in some being richer than others? Despite them themselves being filthy rich but, that’s for another day. Ignorance is bliss, and hypocrisy is free! They’re leaning heavily on crypto companies to close, creating state-sponsored ads to further warn and suppress the community. The message in China is clear, “cryptocurrency, you are no longer welcome here.”

 

The Yuan

Here’s where things get interesting: in April 2020, the CCP started working on the digital yuan – a year before the crackdowns. The Digital Yuan, like most cryptocurrencies, would provide more transparency into how people spend, and because it’s government-owned and controlled, they’re in on it too. This idea has been met with many criticisms from countries and leaders alike. Dovey Wan, a founder of a crypto investment firm, says that she sees two main goals the CCP is trying to achieve. The first is more control over the economy, if all central banks existed entirely on the CBCD form, everything would be under one umbrella, meaning the banks could exert much more power and control over the financial flows of the country like interest rates. Do they control their whole economy within one line of code, a dangerous weapon or an innovative spectacle? Many criticised the fact that the CCP will continue to use it for financial surveillance, not as if that exists in China anyway… If the digital yuan went into full effect, it means the CCP could hand what’s been labelled a “financial death sentence” to anyone or any business for any infraction.

China vs Cryptocurrency Conclusion

The CCP’s clouded attempt to improve the environment is overshadowed by their current actions in making the digital yuan. China’s long affiliation with cryptocurrency is damaged, and the global hash rate and subsequent mining have significantly fallen. There are still more pockets of people in China continuing to illegally mine crypto, which has led to increased government raids and punishments dished out to the offenders. If the main idea of the crackdown was to decrease crime, it has certainly worked. Even though their crime rates don’t directly impact us, fewer scams are coming out of China is a good thing. It is clear that the Chinese government has recognised the power and innovation of blockchain technologies and wants to capitalise on them to create a stronger sense of power and control in their homeland. The reason for this is to have heightened surveillance on their citizens and to be able to twist monetary policy to fit their ends. While the CCP may have questionable motives, it has been a global example to other governments that government-led blockchains are doable and, obviously in their case, extremely fitting for their goal. They have been a pioneer in government intervention with cryptocurrency and could pave the way for more countries to limit mining in the future. Time will tell if their efforts are in vain or an example of what cryptocurrency is to expect in the near future.

 


About the author:

Austin Watene is a writer who has collaborated with a multitude of different partners in Business, Social Media and News Companies. He produces quality content in which he aims to resonate with viewers, or at least raise their eyebrows to the new opportunities of tomorrow.

Disclaimer:

The above references an opinion and is for informational purposes only. Do not take this as personalised financial advice or investment advice. The views expressed by the author do not necessarily represent the opinion of BitPrime.

 

Last updated: 16/03/2022

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