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Analysis of payment methods on the Web: Google Pay in 1st place, Bitcoin in 7th place

Google Pay records the largest search query growth, Paypal is searched most frequently. The interest of Germans in mobile payment options is increasing rapidly. Google Pay showed growth of 3,074 percent in search queries, with Apple Pay posting an increase of 813 percent. In third place among the Germans landed Amazon Pay with an increase of 191 percent. But well-tried payment methods such as debit card (+167 percent), also known as the giro card, and direct debit (+136 percent) seem to continue to attract increasing interest among Germans. This results in a recent analysis of the online visibility management platform SEMrush.

The top 10 payment methods after growth of search queries (search queries from 2016 to 2019):

  1. Google Pay (+3,074%)
  2. Apple Pay (+813%)
  3. Amazon Pay (+191%)
  4. Debit Card (+167%)
  5. Direct Debit (+136%)
  6. Transferwise (+110%)
  7. Bitcoin (+105%)
  8. Samsung Pay (+54%)
  9. Paypal (+22%)
  10. American Express (+18%)

Google Pay and Apple Pay started in the US in 2015. In 2018 followed Germany. Before the German rollout at the beginning of the analysis period in November 2016, the searches with 1,600 and 14,800 searches were still manageable, but increased sharply in the following months and after the launch and with the growing number of participating partner banks, due to the users' information needs , Amazon Pay has been around since 2007. The third strongest growth is explained by the uninterrupted interest in the online mail order company and its payment method.

Looking at average monthly searches this year, regardless of growth, results in a different ranking. In 2019, Paypal ranks first (5,021,000), well ahead of Bitcoin (766,200) and American Express (110,550). The top 10 payment methods of Germans after search queries (average monthly searches of Germans between January and October 2019):

  1. Paypal (5,021,000)
  2. Bitcoin (766,200)
  3. American Express (110,550)
  4. Transferwise (83,900)
  5. Apple Pay (81,000)
  6. Credit Card (68,900)
  7. Mastercard (60,700)
  8. Google Pay (41,630)
  9. Ethereum (40,740)
  10. Sofortüberweisung (38,280)
    Sofortüberweisung is an online payment system of Sofort GmbH for cashless payment on the Internet. The procedure is a pseudo pre-cash system, as the trader does not receive the payment immediately, but a payment confirmation.

Established payment methods have less need for explanation and are less sought. Instead, customers are interested in alternatives to established payment methods. Although PayPal has been around since 2002, it enjoys uninterrupted popularity without strong growth in search queries, as it has long been a common, secure and easy payment method, whether mobile or desktop.


Which Bitcoin taxes could be planned in the US?

The US Internal Revenue Service (IRS) has announced that it will once again pay more attention to the crypto market. And three proposals have already surfaced online showing what it would look like in the future in the US, and worldwide, with taxes on Bitcoin and Co.

Bitcoin is declared by the IRS not as currency, but as property. Especially microtransactions create big headaches for the tax office. Therefore, the tax regime is facing reform. Reason enough for crypto experts to show us three possible scenarios of Bitcoin taxation:

  1. No taxes below a limit of $ 600. This option solves the problem of microtransactions, but could lead many to avoid general taxation through transactions below this limit.

  2. Taxes are currently legally levied on crypto-to-crypto trading pairs and capital gains - a clear double taxation. This could end in taxes being incurred only when cryptos are converted to non-crypto assets.

  3. Finally, simple by removing the classification to be a "property". This, however, would turn Bitcoin into a currency, putting it under the obligation to act - including on the Bitcoin ETF.

It is even possible that tougher policies may even trigger a capital flight towards anonymous old coins (e.g., Monero).


The wallets of Coinbase contain nearly one million Bitcoin

According to research, the US crypto-exchange Coinbase is said to hold around 966,000 BTC. This could be a risk.

Opinions differ widely about future price developments. At the moment the courses are in a sideways movement. And this, after it went down noticeably in recent weeks. And although the prospects are not the best, many investors still find their holdings on the wallets of crypto exchanges like Coinbase, Binance and Co.

As a study by Binance Research shows, most (92%) Bitcoin holders still hold their crypto assets in the wallets of crypto exchanges. A viral blog post on Reddit showed yesterday a picture of crypto exchanges that hold the most bitcoins. According to the illustration, the largest exchange is Coinbase, which manages just under one million bitcoins. According to Coinbase, more than 30 million users are registered on the platform. More than 8 million newly registered users joined in last year alone.

Managed Bitcoin on crypto exchanges (Source: reddit r/Bitcoin)

But, according to Coinbase CEO, this company is not just a provider of cryptographic services, but also an organization that contributes to the global adoption of cryptocurrencies. As the software company DataLight reported earlier this year, the United States is the most active country in crypto trading with over 22 million monthly visitors to crypto exchanges

With these powerful numbers, the question of risk is relatively close. In fact, Coinbase and Co. are becoming banks more and more. And when they make wrong decisions, they can quickly get into trouble and become systemic. During the financial crisis, the "too big to fail" made the rounds. And indeed, Coinbase could become a risk to the entire industry if things are going wrong.


Asset Manager WisdomTree launches Bitcoin-based exchange-traded product

One of the world's largest asset managers, WisdomTree, headquartered in New York, has listed its first Bitcoin Exchange Traded Product (ETP) on the SIX Swiss Stock Exchange. The company announced this in a press release published on December 3, 2019.

New York-based WisdomTree, one of the largest providers of Exchange Traded Funds (ETFs) in the United States, yesterday launched a new Bitcoin Exchange Traded Product (ETP) on the SIX Swiss Stock Exchange. This is the first product of the company that tracks Bitcoin and gives investors the ability to invest in cryptocurrency without having to manage their own wallet.

Such products theoretically open up bitcoin investment to mainstream traders, bypassing the need for individual private keys and reducing the likelihood of theft and cyber-attacks. According to the WisdomTree announcement, all Bitcoin funds that support the ETP are kept offline in the Cold Wallet.

Alexis Marinof, Head of Europe, WisdomTree:

We have been monitoring cryptocurrencies for some time and are excited to bring investors secure access to this developing asset class. We have seen enough to believe that digital assets, like Bitcoin, are not a passing trend and can play a role in portfolios. WisdomTree has a history of bringing innovative investment themes to a broad market through institutional-class products, allowing investors to take exposures in difficult-to-access asset classes - we see many parallels between the cryptocurrency space and commodities in this regard. The introduction of cryptocurrencies in an ETP structure will enable investors to find new ways to introduce digital assets into portfolios while still relying on the safety and security that they have come to expect from WisdomTree.

ETPs are slightly different from ETFs, which Bitcoin and other crypto lovers have undoubtedly become familiar with in recent years, as such proposed products have attracted attention. Put simply, ETFs are a kind of ETP, although ETFs are subject to different legal requirements and thus to greater regulatory control. However, both products offer the promise of a generous, institutional investment in the world of Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies for which WisdomTree expects strong demand.

Rafi Aviav, Head of Product Development, Capital Markets and Technology at WisdomTree, adds:

Cryptocurrencies are potentially the next asset class to benefit from increased interest when they become accessible in an ETP structure. We have developed a solution which addresses the difficulties investors face in accessing digital assets and are bridging the gap between the underlying decentralised online blockchain technology and traditional investment structures. The ETP wrapper will add new dimensions to the cryptocurrency universe including institutional class custody solutions for investors, easier trading incorporated into standard brokerage and account maintenance procedures, more liquid and transparent trading and a broader array of more sophisticated market participants entering the arena for these products.

WisdomTree is the market leader in physical gold ETPs in Europe. In 2003, the company launched the world's first physically backed gold ETP2. Today's launch of the WisdomTree Bitcoin ETP continues this tradition of innovation, expressing the company's deep expertise in the field of physically secured ETPs.

Similar to physical gold ETPs, WisdomTree Bitcoin ETP investors are entitled to a certain amount of bitcoins. Investors can view their pro rata bitcoin entitlement as well as the total amount of covert bitcoins held on the WisdomTree website. To ensure the highest level of security, WisdomTree employs digital asset managers that manage high-security cold storages. These specialists use sophisticated physical and digital security procedures, as well as state-of-the-art technologies to securely generate keys, encrypt data, and create and verify digital signatures required to handle and preserve cryptocurrencies. WisdomTree uses this approach to address one of the key barriers currently hindering the introduction of cryptocurrency by investors.

At the moment, WisdomTree uses the cryptocurrency ETP only for professional investors. However, the company is confident that regulatory approval for this product will be available to broader audiences in the near future, thereby addressing the important regulatory barrier.

Jonathan Steinberg, CEO of WisdomTree, sums up:

WisdomTree has always been at the forefront of innovation and we see blockchain technology and digital currencies as being transformative for the asset management industry. Much like how the ETP structure has out-shined the antiquated mutual fund structure in significant ways, blockchain and cryptocurrencies have the potential to change how investors participate in financial markets, globally.

As the Swiss online bank Swissquote communicates in parallel, it will take over the custody of cryptocurrencies in Switzerland. The product is tradable in USD on the SIX (Symbol: BTCW) and is intended for professional investors. The cover is provided 1:1 by provisions and the product is fully covered by Bitcoin, which is held by Swissquote in Switzerland. Swissquote secures the underlying Bitcoin assets offline using secure cold storage technology. This opens up the opportunity for investors to invest in Bitcoin through a traditional financial product that ensures high security

WisdomTree currently manages more than $ 60 billion in assets globally, Reuters said. Financial instruments based on Bitcoin are becoming increasingly popular as demand among institutional investors continues to increase. However, there are still some obstacles that keep investors from investing in the market. This includes a secure storage option in the context of a certified custody solution or a corresponding hedging of the capital with warrants or a deposit insurance by the provider itself or external service providers.

Furthermore, the legal framework conditions are not sufficiently clarified in all, so that investors in some countries continue to face difficulties in the mere possession or subsequent taxation. It remains to be seen whether there will soon be a single regulatory framework in the EU and the United States.

German Postbank cooperates with Coindex and plans crypto trade

German banks are still holding back on Bitcoin trading. The coming year could finally bring the big change.

Given the usual skepticism of many banks in Germany, the rather rare messages about getting into the crypto sector are probably all the more interesting. With Postbank, one of the largest and most well-known companies in the German banking industry now dares to team up with a crypto service provider. Postbank and the company Coindex have decided to cooperate. Postbank customers who have long been thinking of trading Bitcoin and Altcoins can easily do so soon. For this purpose, Postbank customers will have access to the special Coindex trading platform.

This is how the current joint reports from the cooperation partners state. Who is Coindex? This is a young, new company with headquarters in Bielefeld. The startup will finally open its own platform doors in the first month of the new year. With the slogan "platform for intelligent crypto portfolios", the service provider definitely gets some attention from potential investors. Digital assets are expected to be tradable on an index basis from next year. At present, a revision phase is underway, and Postbank investors should be able to invest in crypto-values starting in March. Which currencies should be available at the end in detail, the Coindex website does not answer yet. However, not only Bitcoin and Ethereum are to be listed as the basis for the in-house "Cdx".

Behind the term "Cdx", the platform hides a "fully automatic dynamic index". This index should be able to map the entire crypto market. It is known that lenders do not have to create their own wallet. The normal Coindex account including legitimacy is sufficient for investments. The management is supervised by the government. The aim is to make trade as easy as it is transparent. Investor needs should be the linchpin for trading. The Postbank ask interested parties on their website also for wishes and suggestions for the upcoming trading platform. The likelihood that bank customers in Germany are able to trade next year Ethereum, Litecoin and, of course, Bitcoin is high. Politics is currently laying the foundation for a market opening. Not all crypto followers show up positive mood by reading such messages.