China Cracks Down On Crypto Business, Saying ‘Speculative’ Trading ‘Seriously Infringing’ On Financial Order

Bitcoin, cryptocurrency image

Chinese financial officials announced Tuesday that the country would crack down on financial institutions conducting cryptocurrency business or offering related services in light of the market’s recent volatility, marking another blow to the nascent market reeling from one of its biggest sell-offs ever after booming institutional adoption helped lift it to meteoric highs during the pandemic.

In a joint statement Tuesday, three Chinese industry groups overseeing the financial sector announced that bank and payment institutions can not conduct business related to cryptocurrencies, specifically banning a slew of activities including cryptocurrency registration, trading, clearing and settlement.

The guidelines, which reiterate a previous ban from 2017, also bar financial institutions from accepting or using cryptocurrencies in payments or settlements, developing digital currency exchange services and offering any such services to clients.

The group specifically laid into the cryptocurrency’s market massive volatility, saying digital tokens have “no real support value” and prices that are “extremely easy” to manipulate.

The move prohibits Chinese financial institutions, many of which had already shied away from offering crypto services amid the nation’s past crackdown, from issuing cryptocurrency products or services, but it doesn’t ban consumers from owning cryptocurrencies.

The value of the world’s cryptocurrencies dropped about $50 billion, or 2.5% immediately after the announcement, pushing the week’s staggering losses to roughly $500 billion from a Wednesday high above $2.5 trillion.

Crucial Quote

“Recently, crypto currency prices have skyrocketed and plummeted, and speculative trading of cryptocurrency has rebounded, seriously infringing on the safety of people’s property and disrupting the normal economic and financial order,” the Tuesday statement read. “Judging from the current judicial practice in my country, virtual currency transaction contracts are not protected by law.”

Key Background

A wave of early regulatory crackdowns beginning in 2017 sparked a nearly 80% correction in cryptocurrency prices and a yearslong bull market that lasted until inflationary concerns and institutional adoption lifted the market to new highs during the pandemic. In March, Morgan Stanley became the first big bank in the U.S. to give wealthy clients access to cryptocurrency investments, and Goldman Sachs quickly followed suit with its own crypto offerings in April. JPMorgan and a slew of other smaller financial institutions have also reportedly indicated they may be next.

Surprising Fact

Cryptocurrencies soared nearly 500% over the past year as companies like Square, MicroStrategy and Tesla, in particular, started making big cryptocurrency investments, but in a testament to the market’s extreme volatility, prices have plunged by about 30% since Elon Musk said Tesla would stop investing in bitcoin last month.

What To Watch For

Regulation in the U.S. Gensler and Yellen. Earlier this month, new Securities and Exchange Commission Chair Gary Gensler suggested that the agency may be gearing up for a long-awaited crypto crackdown in light of the market’s recent boom, telling CNBC: “To the extent that something is a security, the SEC has a lot of authority, and a lot of crypto tokens—I won’t call them ‘cryptocurrencies’ for this moment—are indeed securities.”

I’m a reporter at Forbes focusing on markets and finance. I graduated from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, where I double-majored in business journalism and economics while working for UNC’s Kenan-Flagler Business School as a marketing and communications assistant. Before Forbes, I spent a summer reporting on the L.A. private sector for Los Angeles Business Journal and wrote about publicly traded North Carolina companies for NC Business News Wire. Reach out at jponciano@forbes.com.

Source: China Cracks Down On Crypto Business, Saying ‘Speculative’ Trading ‘Seriously Infringing’ On Financial Order

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Critics:

Bitcoin does not share the traits listed above: it does not maintain a stable value and its fixed number of coins means that it can’t keep up with an insatiable global demand for safe assets like the U.S. debt market can. Indeed, investor willingness to fund more than $21 trillion in U.S. public debt, often at negative real interest rates, shows that the U.S. dollar continues to have massive appeal even as cryptocurrencies go mainstream.

Furthermore, China’s actions over the past decade show that it is deeply skeptical of bitcoin and likely sees it as a threat to the power of the Chinese Communist Party. In 2017, the People’s Bank of China and five other ministries banned financings using cryptocurrency, like initial coin offerings, and banned the exchange of fiat money for cryptocurrency, according to Rain Xie of the Washington University School of Law.

 

SEC Charges Ripple With Selling $1.3 Billion In Unregistered Securities, XRP Loses $2 Billion In Market Value

The Securities and Exchange Commission has charged cryptocurrency pioneer Ripple Labs, the firm that owns a majority of the world’s third-largest cryptocurrency, for allegedly raising $1.3 billion in an offering of unregistered “digital asset securities”–a huge sign U.S. regulators could ramp up oversight of the cryptocurrency space as the market surges to new highs.

According to the SEC’s complaint, Ripple, its cofounder Christian Larsen and CEO Bradley Garlinghouse raised capital to finance the firm’s business through an unregistered public offering of XRP tokens beginning in 2013.

The complaint, filed in Manhattan’s federal district court, also alleges that Larsen and Garlinghouse carried out personal unregistered sales of XRP totaling roughly $600 million.

As of 3 p.m. EST, the value of the XRP token had plunged roughly 12% over the last 24 hours, according to crypto data firm CoinMarketCap, wiping out more than $2 billion from the cryptocurrency’s market cap.

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“It’s not just Grinch-worthy, it’s shocking,” Garlinghouse told Fortune when he warned of the impending lawsuit on Monday evening, later tweeting that Ripple, a San Francisco-based firm last valued at $10 billion in 2019, “is ready to fight” the suit. “It’s an attack on the entire crypto industry and American innovation.”

The SEC has largely cracked down on crowdfunded token sales, commonly referred to as initial coin offerings, but XRP is easily the largest cryptocurrency targeted by the SEC as a security; officials in 2018 declared ether and bitcoin were currencies and not securities because of their decentralized nature.

Crucial Quote

“We allege that Ripple, Larsen and Garlinghouse failed to register their ongoing offer and sale of billions of XRP to retail investors, which deprived potential purchasers of adequate disclosures about XRP and Ripple’s business and other important long-standing protections that are fundamental to our robust public market system,” said Stephanie Avakian, director of the SEC’s enforcement division on Tuesday.

Big Number

$653 billion. That’s the current market value of all the cryptocurrencies across the world, more than tripling this year alone, according to CoinMarketCap. At its peak in January 2018, the market was valued at more than $800 billion. XRP’s current market cap of $21.6 billion is bested only by ether ($71 billion) and bitcoin ($435 billion).

Key Background

Heightened regulatory scrutiny from nations such as South Korea triggered a near-85% crash in cryptocurrency prices in 2018, but the United States has been slow to issue broad-based regulation. Among the most vocal U.S. regulatory agencies when it comes to cryptocurrency, the SEC spent months drafting guidance it released in April 2019 about when and how cryptocurrencies may be classified as securities, but it’s been relatively quiet on the front ever since.

The suit against Ripple, however, could mean that’s set to change as the cryptocurrency market soars toward new highs during the pandemic. “There is more and more interest from a wide spectrum of people, both inside the crypto space as well as inside the traditional financial institutions who are asking us for guidance,” an SEC Commissioner told CoinDesk in October. “I think we’re going to be forced to confront that more and more in the coming years.”

What To Watch For

Competition–from the government. Though it has not committed to the idea, the Federal Reserve is exploring the possibility of debuting its own central bank digital currency, Goldman Sachs said in a Sunday note. Officials have warmed up to the idea of a central bank token “largely out of concern that wide adoption of alternative digital currencies could endanger financial stability, U.S. financial intermediaries and the Fed’s ability to influence financial conditions,” Goldman analysts led by Jan Hatzius said.

Tangent

During the pandemic many investors have flocked to cryptocurrency–and namely bitcoin–as a hedge against longer-term inflation concerns, which have escalated in the face of increased government spending for coronavirus relief measures. In a report released Monday, digital asset management firm CoinShares said cumulative investments into cryptocurrency funds have totaled about $5 billion so far this year, eclipsing the approximately $1.4 billion plowed into the space through the end of last year.

Chief Critic

“Other major branches of the U.S. government, including the Justice Department and the Treasury Department’s FinCen, have already determined that XRP is a currency,” Ripple Counsel Michael Kellogg said in a statement to Forbes, arguing that the currency designation means XRP transactions fall outside the scope of federal securities laws. “This is not the first time the SEC has tried to go beyond its statutory authority. The courts have corrected it before and will do so again,” he added.

Further Reading

Ripple says it will be sued by the SEC, in what the company calls a parting shot at the crypto industry (Fortune)

Ripple’s Trillion-Dollar Man (Forbes)

As Bitcoin Surges 15%, Here’s What Wall Street’s Saying About The Cryptocurrency’s Meteoric Resurgence (Forbes)

U.S. Government Voids Public Comments On Newly Proposed Crypto Wallet Rule (Forbes) Follow me on Twitter. Send me a secure tip.

Jonathan Ponciano

 Jonathan Ponciano

I’m a reporter at Forbes focusing on markets and finance. I graduated from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, where I double-majored in business journalism and economics while working for UNC’s Kenan-Flagler Business School as a marketing and communications assistant. Before Forbes, I spent a summer reporting on the L.A. private sector for Los Angeles Business Journal and wrote about publicly traded North Carolina companies for NC Business News Wire. Reach out at jponciano@forbes.com.

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CNBC Television

Ripple CEO Brad Garlinghouse addresses the Securities and Exchange Commission’s lawsuit over the XRP cryptocurrency.

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IRS & Global Tax Enforcers Expand War on Cryptocurrency Fraud

Tax authorities, both domestic and abroad, have been continuously building an arsenal of tools and experts to monitor and audit crypto transactions. This increased weaponry has led to a growing number of international arrests by the Joint Chiefs of Global Tax Enforcement (J5) and the US Department of Justice (DOJ), with each member organization arresting individuals allegedly involved in crypto fraud, and/or seizing funds from their activities.

Not surprisingly, the US Internal Revenue Service (IRS) is keeping pace with these efforts and closing in on those who may have attempted to take advantage of the perceived anonymity of these transactions to evade taxes. As these tax authorities continue their collective efforts, the question becomes: who will be the next target of this expanding arsenal?

Crypto tracing for hire

Public records reveal that the IRS and other federal agencies have recently entered into agreements with a number of private cryptocurrency analytics companies to gain access to certain blockchain tracing software. This is unsurprising, given the US government’s recent outreach to members of the cryptocurrency community. For example, the IRS recently sought assistance from several cryptocurrency tax software companies for the audits of tax returns involving on-chain and off-chain cryptocurrency transactions.1

The statements of work for these arrangements provide that the IRS “is engaging outside contractors to assist our revenue agents in calculating taxpayers’ gains or losses as a result of their transactions involving virtual currency.” The DOJ is also advertising positions for crypto experts to assist law enforcement with “undercover operations on the Dark Web and undercover cryptocurrency transactions, technical skills and technology to perform block-chain analysis to trace transactions.”2

The IRS Criminal Investigation Division (IRS CI), the largest federal law enforcement agency in the US Department of Treasury, is also expanding its crypto capabilities. As part of its Cryptocurrency Initiative, IRS CI recently issued a public request for tools related to cryptocurrency, including applications “to more easily trace privacy coins and other protocols that provide anonymity to illicit actors.” This coordinated effort by the IRS and other federal agencies to acquire crypto talent forecasts a looming crackdown on the use of virtual currency for illicit purposes, and those that facilitate its use for those purposes.

International enforcement: Pooling of resources

The global tax community has also pooled its resources to target crypto fraudsters. The J5, which consists of the leaders of the tax enforcement agencies in Australia, Canada, the Netherlands, England, and the United States, was formed to investigate and combat cross-border tax and money laundering threats, including cybercrime, cryptocurrency, and enablers of global tax crimes. This has led to the J5 making several recent arrests involving certain cryptocurrency transactions. One of the J5’s stated missions is to “collaborate internationally to reduce the growing threat to tax administrations posed by cryptocurrencies and cybercrime and to make the most of data and technology.”

The J5 has held annual events known as “Challenges,” where investigators, cryptocurrency experts, and data scientists from the member nations exchange data and techniques. These combined efforts have led to an uptick in enforcement activity by member nations, including:

Two men were arrested in February 2020 in the Netherlands on suspicion of money laundering using cryptocurrencies via the subject crypto service provider. This arrest was the apparent culmination of the Dutch Fiscal Information and Investigation Service’s investigation of a crypto service provider discussed during the 2019 Challenge. The amount laundered was approximately US$118,800, indicating that the J5’s targets are not limited to the million-dollar players.

A Romanian programmer in Germany was arrested and pleaded guilty in July 2020, for conspiring to commit wire fraud and offering and selling unregistered securities. The activity is connected with the programmer’s role in a cryptocurrency mining scheme that defrauded investors of at least US$722 million worth of bitcoin.

The DOJ has also continued its enforcement efforts in earnest. Just last month, the DOJ:

  • Announced the seizure of millions of dollars in bitcoin associated with financing of terrorist organizations, including al-Qassam Brigades, al-Qaeda, and Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIS). The operation involved, among other things, an investigation into certain alleged Syrian charities and also led to the unsealing of criminal charges for two Turkish individuals. Acting United States Attorney Michael R. Sherwin commented that this seizure, the largest of its kind, “reflect[s] the resolve . . . to target and dismantle these sophisticated cyber-terrorism and money laundering actors across the globe. While these individuals believe they operate anonymously in the digital space, we have the skill and resolve to find, fix and prosecute these actors under the full extent of the law.”
  • Filed a civil forfeiture complaint related to two hacks of virtual currency exchanges by North Korean actors. The complaint alleges that these North Korean players stole millions of dollars’ worth of cryptocurrency and then laundered the same through Chinese over-the-counter crypto traders. Acting Assistant Attorney General Brian C. Rabbitt of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division proclaimed, “Today’s action publicly exposes the ongoing connections between North Korea’s cyber-hacking program and a Chinese cryptocurrency money laundering network.”
  • The first hack dates back to July 2019 when an agent tied to North Korea allegedly stole over US$272,000 worth of crypto. This agent then engaged in “chain hopping,” a process whereby the user converts cryptocurrency into other forms of crypto in order to make the illegal transactions more difficult to trace. Then, in September 2019, another agent with ties to North Korea hacked a US-based company, stealing nearly US$2.5 million in crypto.

Avoiding the land mines and risks: The time to act is now

The message is ominous. The recent J5 activity and the US government’s stockpiling of crypto experts and tracing software leaves little doubt that tax enforcement efforts in the crypto space is ramping up. Indeed, in its February 18, 2020, newsletter, the J5 warned that “it cannot be ruled out that more international investigations by the J5 countries will follow” from the data sharing at the Challenges.

At home, the DOJ, IRS, and IRS CI remain laser focused on abusive crypto schemes, as evidenced by their call to arms for crypto experts and tracing software. While the above DOJ actions focus on anti-money laundering activity, they demonstrate a growing familiarity with these systems which will lead to future cases in other areas, including tax evasion.

Thus, any company operating in this high-risk industry should consider whether its compliance measures are adequate to protect its systems from being used, purposefully or not, to further activity that may become the focus of the government’s increasing scrutiny in this space. This is especially so in light of the DOJ’s updated guidance for corporate compliance programs places greater emphasis on continuous data driven compliance programs that are responsive to industry risks.


Footnotes

1 Hamza Ali and Allyson Versprille, IRS Seeking Private Companies to Aid With Cryptocurrency Audits, Bloomberg Law: Tax 2 Dark Web and Cryptocurrency International Computer Hacking and Intellectual Property Attorney Advisor

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PR: Digital Contract Trading Platform Bityard Launches with Hedge Fund Backing and USDT Registration Bonus

Bitcoin Press Release: Leading Singapore-based digital contract trading platform Bityard has announced its official launch with a 258 USD registration bonus for all users. 

8 March 2020, SingaporeLeading digital contract trading platform Bityard has officially launched. According to industry authoritative sources, Bityard has received a strategic investment from a US hedge fund worth 10 million USD, creating a precedent in the industry for complex contracts and simple transactions. To offer its customers a real head start on the competition, Bityard has announced that it will be giving a bonus to the value of 258 USDT, in the form of any of its listed digital currencies, to all registered users.

Founded in November 2019, and headquartered in Singapore, Bityard is one of the world’s leading digital currency contract trading platforms. The company is regulated by the American Money Services Businesses, Singaporean Accounting and Corporate Regulatory Authority (ACRA), and the MTR of Estonia for the European Union. In Southeast Asia, Bityard aims to keep up with local digital asset market demand, especially with regards to government-driven blockchain trends.

Bityard Ambassador

Not only does Bityard offer secure, simple, and fast digital contract transactions, but it has also acquired Thai boxing champion, and action film actor Buakaw Banchamek, as a brand ambassador. Bityard stated that Buakaw will continue to set off waves of attention globally, with his continued success as a professional boxer and film star.

A Brand Ambassador for Bityard stated:

“At Bityard, our ambition is to foster research and development of relevant forward-looking technology, overseas market expansion, and ecological construction of our brand name.“

A New Market  

2020 has seen a very turbulent start for financial markets, which has only exacerbated the volatility of the cryptocurrency market. With Bitcoin halving in the forefront of everyone’s minds, a “grey swan” event in the form of COVID-19 ruthlessly swooped in, cutting the price of all cryptocurrencies in half. However the crypto market has since displayed its usual resilience, with a quick rebound from the lowest point by more than 60%.

Bityard believes that recent events have now made contract purchases one of this year’s most competitive main battlefield on exchanges. As a new entrant, the founder of Bityard clearly understands that in order to gain a solid placement in the highly competitive contract market, innovation is critical.

The Hidden Potential of Simplified Transactions

Bityard conducted extensive research into the digital currency market, revealing that there is a large consumer group very interested in the considerable potential contract trading can offer. Despite keen interest from this group, studies also showed an unwillingness to participate in contract transactions independently, for fear of losses due to inexperience in this new market. This burgeoning consumer market interest was enough motivation for Bityard to develop a platform that could provide users with simple contract transactions, and other derivatives, in a simple, seamless experience.

Complex Contracts, Simple Transactions 

Bityard adheres to the product concept of “complex contracts, simple transactions”, and aims to bring customers the ultimate simple operation experience. Opening an account is simple, interested parties only need to register with an email or mobile phone number, making the process super fast.

Bityard currently supports the use of 6 mainstream digital currencies for user accounts.

Additionally, the Renminbi and Vietnamese Dong are both supported, with plans to add more FIAT on-ramps in the future. There is also a system in place to allow transferring of funds between companies and individuals using a simple, intuitive trading interface. The platform aims to attract all levels of traders, allowing users to trade with a little as 5 USDT.

Registration Bonus

After registering users can get free Bitcoin, Ethereum, EOS, TRON, and other mainstream digital currencies to the value of up to 258 USDT. In addition, users can also get Bityard’s first platform currency BYD. Interested parties should check out Bityard.com today, and register for a free bonus!

Media Contact
Contact Name: Rafael
Contact Email: bd@bityard.com

Learn more about Bityard – http://www.Bityard.com
Follow Bityard on Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/Bityardofficial/
Read about Bityard on Mediumhttps://medium.com/@bityardsns
Join the official Bityard Telegram channelhttps://t.me/BityardExchange
Follow Bityard on Twitter – https://twitter.com/Bityardofficial
Connect with Bityard on LinkedIn – https://www.linkedin.com/in/bityard/

Bityard is the sole source of this information.Virtual currency is not legal tender, is not backed by the government, and accounts and value balances are not subject to consumer protections. This press release is for informational purposes only. The information does not constitute investment advice or an offer to invest.

Follow BitcoinNews.com on Twitter: @bitcoinnewscom
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Source: PR: Digital Contract Trading Platform Bityard Launches with Hedge Fund Backing and USDT Registration Bonus – BitcoinNews.com

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Bityard is a cryptocurrency contracts exchange based in Singapore that’s primary mission is to make contracts trading a super simple process. They are licensed in multiple jurisdictions all around the world and have built a safe, fast, and easy platform. They also have multiple easy bonuses and a daily mining feature that’s super neat. In this video I show you how to place a simple contract order in on Bityard which is much much simpler to use than some of its competitors like BitMex. To check them out: https://www.bityard.com/?ru=fAJPnV?F=… Bityard Community Links: Telegram: https://t.me/BityardExchange Twitter: https://twitter.com/Bityardofficial Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Bityardoffic… Linkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/in/bityard/ Medium: https://medium.com/@bityardsns Steemit: https://steemit.com/@bityard Disclosure: As mentioned in the video, this is a sponsored intro to the Bityard exchange. This is not a recommendation to buy/sell anything. Please do your own due diligence when it comes to using any new product/service in the crypto world. #Bityard #Simple #Protrader #Clickandprofit #FiatDeposit #Leverage100x #Freetoclaim

How Paxful Places The Best Bitcoin Buying & Selling System Platform In the Crypto World

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Paxful is primarily an online bitcoin marketplace, but it offers businesses the option of adding a “Pay with Paxful” button to their e-shops. With this option, customers from all around the world can make purchases using the bitcoin in their e-wallets, rather than exchanging currency through a more traditional option.

You can become a Paxful Partner by adding a Virtual Bitcoin Kiosk to your blog, website, app or social media page. As a Paxful Partner, you can earn 2% of your sale through your Virtual Bitcoin Kiosk.

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