Czech Utility Company Introduces Crypto Payments

Czech Utility Company Introduces Crypto Payments

One of the largest energy suppliers in the Czech Republic has recently announced plans to start accepting cryptocurrency from its customers. The bitcoin payment option should be available as early as next month, its management said. The company is about to join a growing number of Czech businesses processing crypto payments by introducing them to the energy sector.  

Also read: Poll: Bitcoin More Popular With Czechs than the Euro

Reaching Out to the Young People

The firm in question, Pražská Plynárenská, is not new to the concept of diversification. It is one of the major suppliers of natural gas in the Czech Republic, serving 420,000 homes and businesses. The company is also an electric and heating utility which installs photovoltaics and gas-operated boilers, its website shows. According to its Bloomberg overview, Pražská Plynárenská is engaged in assembling and maintaining telecommunications equipment, servicing motor vehicles, and many more business endeavors, including IT services. The latest project – bitcoin payments.

Czech Utility Company Introduces Crypto Payments

“In June, we are opening a payment gateway, which will automatically transfer our bitcoin payments into regular currency, so that we don’t have to speculate with cryptocurrency. But if anyone wants to pay in an alternative way, we want to allow them to do that,” said Pavel Janeček, chief executive officer of the Prague-based company. According to Hospodářské Noviny, Pražská Plynárenská will pioneer cryptocurrency payments in the country’s energy sector.

Janeček also said that the introduction of bitcoin (BTC) as a payment option will make his company more attractive for the younger generation. This is obviously a priority as the management has also organized rentals of cars running on eco-friendly CNG especially for Youtube vloggers. “We are trying to reach out to the young customers,” he reiterated, those who buy everything with their mobile phones.

Crypto Payments on the Rise in the Czech Republic

A growing number of Czech businesses are turning to cryptocurrencies as an alternative and modern payment option. Although for some companies this might be merely a marketing move, with few of their customers paying in crypto and the merchants immediately converting the coins to fiat, others are more serious about cryptocurrency.

Last year, the largest online retailer in the country, Alza.cz, started accepting bitcoin (BTC) on its platform, as news.Bitcoin.com reported. According to Jan Sadílek, head of internet marketing at Alza.cz, the number of orders and the crypto turnover have increased significantly over the past months. Customers are paying with cryptocurrency for a variety of products, including the popular hard wallet Trezor offered by the Czech-based Satoshilabs. Since February this year, Alza also accepts litecoin, praised for faster transactions and lower fees.

Other examples include several Subway stores and the Paralelní Polis café in Prague, which is popular among members of the Czech crypto community. According to the local press, it is actually accepting only cryptocurrency for your coffee.

Czech Utility Company Introduces Crypto Payments

On the other hand, several banks have been trying to block crypto-related transactions of Czech businesses. One of them, Mbank, has explained its restrictive policies with an argument often used by traditional financial institutions around the world – money laundering concerns. Others, like Komerční bank, have imposed strict controls on operations associated with cryptocurrency. Raiffeisenbank has alerted its clients that transactions with cryptocurrencies like bitcoin are unsafe.

However, a survey conducted earlier this year indicated that the popularity of digital coins is growing in the Czech Republic now, when the fiat koruna is free-floating again. Czechs are more inclined to store value in cryptocurrency than in euros, according to the February Ipsos poll among 525 people. When asked about their intentions to acquire foreign cash, twice as many respondents said they were interested in buying bitcoin rather than acquiring US dollars.

Do you expect more utility companies to introduce crypto payments in the near future? Share your thoughts on the subject in the comments section below.


Images courtesy of Shutterstock.


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Crypto Scams Comprise 0.6% of Fraud – Australian Consumer Watchdog

Crypto Scams Comprise 0.6% of Fraud - Australian Consumer Watchdog

The Australian Competition & Consumer Commission (ACCC) has released a report on trends within the scam economy during 2017. The report identifies cryptocurrency related fraud to comprise less than 1% of the scam activity recorded in Australia last year.

Also Read: Ross Ulbricht Continues to Fight for Freedom With Supreme Court Petition

Cryptocurrency Scams Responsible for 0.6% of Australian Losses to Fraud in 2017

Crypto Scams Comprise 0.6% of Fraud - Australian Consumer WatchdogThe ACCC has published its annual report on the Australian scam economy. The report provides insight into “emerging trends and techniques employed by scammers.”

During 2017, the ACCC, and other pertinent Australian government institutions received “over 200,000 scam reports” corresponding to “losses exceeding $340 million [AUD]” (approximately $258 million USD) – an increase of 13.3% compared with 2016’s total losses.

During 2017, the ACCC attributes $2.1 million AUD ($1.59 million USD approximately) in losses to cryptocurrency scams – a megre 0.617 percent of Australia’s combined losses to scams.

Cryptocurrency Scams Peak During December 2017

Crypto Scams Comprise 0.6% of Fraud - Australian Consumer WatchdogThe report states that the prevalence of reported cryptocurrency scams was closely correlated to the speculative frenzy surrounding virtual currencies last year.

The states that “In the fourth quarter of 2017, the value and popularity of cryptocurrencies increased worldwide [….] Between January and September 2017, about $100,000 was reported lost per month to scams which had a cryptocurrency angle. However, in the month of December 2017, reported losses to Scamwatch exceeded $700,000 and the average reported loss had jumped from $1885 in January to $13,205.”

The report also states that “With the increased popularity of cryptocurrency speculation in the last quarter of 2017, fake initial coin offerings and other cryptocurrency-related scams were reported […] to the ACCC.”

Many Victims Recommended Scams by Friends

Crypto Scams Comprise 0.6% of Fraud - Australian Consumer WatchdogThe ACCC describes a variety of different scams involving cryptocurrency that were reported during 2017. In addition to “fake initial coin offerings,” the report states that other scammers “capitalized on the general confusion about how cryptocurrency works and instead of people discovering how to directly buy cryptocurrencies, many found themselves caught up in what were essentially pyramid schemes.” The report adds that “A number of reports showed that victims entered into cryptocurrency-based scams through friends and family who convinced them they were onto a good thing, a classic element of pyramid schemes.”

The report also states that “Not all cryptocurrency-related scams involve victims attempting to invest in stocks or initial coin offerings. Many scammers also ask for payment through cryptocurrencies for a variety of scams because it is easier to remain anonymous while receiving payment. Ransomware scammers for example, commonly ask for payment through Bitcoin.”

Crypto Fraud Dwarfed by Losses Incurred by Other Scams

Crypto Scams Comprise 0.6% of Fraud - Australian Consumer WatchdogThe ACCC report states that losses to investment scams exceeded $64 million AUD (approximately $48.6 million USD) in 2017 – a 33% increase from 2016. The report also estimates that dating and romance scams accounted for over $42 million AUD (roughly $31.9 USD).

The ACCC also states that “Australian businesses were targeted by business email compromise scams” – resulting in over $22.1 million ($16.8 million USD approximately) being transferred to scammers.

Do you think that the mainstream narrative surrounding cryptocurrency and scams is balanced or embellished? Share your thoughts in the comments section below!


Images courtesy of Shutterstock, accc.gov.au


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Dutch High School Exam Features Bitcoin-Themed Questions

Dutch High School Exam Features Bitcoin-Themed Questions

Mathematics questions pertaining to bitcoin have been included in recent high school matriculation examinations in the Netherlands. Approximately 200,000 Dutch students are estimated to have taken the OVW exam, a mandatory test for students seeking tertiary education in the Netherlands, which included five bitcoin-themed questions.

Also Read: Cryptocurrencies to be Called “Digital Money” in Russia, Tokens – “Digital Rights”

Dutch High School Examinations Feature Bitcoin-Themed Maths Questions

Dutch High School Exam Features Bitcoin-Themed QuestionsAccording to a rough translation of the examination paper circulating on Reddit, students were given the following question introduction:

“Bitcoin is a digital currency that only exists online. It has existed since January 1st, 2009, and can be used as payment method in webstores and for other online services. Bitcoin is not, like standard money, made by a central bank. Instead, all bitcoin that exist are created by having computers participate in solving specific mathematical problems. This works as follows: everyone can run special software on his or her computer that participates in solving such a mathematical problem. The owner of the computer that solves the problem receives 25 (newly created) bitcoin as a reward. Because it was the case that in 2014 such a problem is solved every 10 minutes, 25 new bitcoins were created every 10 minutes. On January 1st, there were (approximately) 12.2 million bitcoin.”

Following from the preceding introduction, students were asked to solve five different mathematical problems. The questions asked that students “calculate in what year the amount of bitcoin exceeded 18 million,” “calculate from which year on the reward will be less than one bitcoin,” “determine the maximal amount of bitcoin that can be in circulation,” in addition to posing addition problems based on the formula used to employed to solve the aforementioned questions.

Netherlands Warming to Cryptocurrency

Dutch High School Exam Features Bitcoin-Themed QuestionsThe test has been offered to students following increasing recognition of cryptocurrency on the part of Holland’s institutions.

During March, the Court of Amsterdam determined that bitcoin possesses “properties of wealth” whilst adjudicating a civil rights case between an individual seeking repayment from an unfulfilled contract pertaining to bitcoin mining. The court concluded that “bitcoin represents a value and is transferable” and “thus shows characteristics of a property right. A claim for payment in Bitcoin is, therefore, to be regarded as a claim that qualifies for verification.”

Earlier this month, the ambassador of the Dutch Blockchain Coalition, Rob van Gijzel, presented a national blockchain research agenda, which had been commissioned by the Dutch Ministry of Economic Affairs and Climate Policy. The ministry had created a designated committee, TopTeam ICT, tasked with analyzing the potential legal, economic, and ethical implications of distributed ledger technology in the Netherlands.

Do you think that more schools across the world will seek to integrate themes pertinent to bitcoin into examinations as cryptocurrency adoption grows? Share your thoughts in the comments section below!


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Tipping Point Gala Accepts Crypto Donations, Raises $14 Million

Tipping Point Gala Accepts Crypto Donations, Raises $14 Million

A gala held by Tipping Point, a non-profit organization that seeks to invest in efforts aimed at breaking the poverty cycle in the San Francisco Bay Area, has raised more than $14 million USD. The gala comprises the time that Tipping Point has accepted cryptocurrency donations, with the event being attended by the respective chief executive officers of Coinbase, Ripple Labs, and Pantera Capital Management.

Also Read:  A Brief History of Hidden Messages in the Bitcoin Blockchain

CEOs of Cryptocurrency Companies Attend Tipping Point Gala

Tipping Point Accepts Crypto Donations at Gala, Raises $14 MillionTipping Point has raised over $14 million during a gala in San Francisco that saw the non-profit accept cryptocurrencies for the first time. As such, the event saw attendance from many leading figures from the cryptocurrency sector.

“It’s great to see in the Bay Area because this is all about making sure that wealth is getting to people who need it most, and this helps lubricate that goal,” said Chris Larsen, the chief executive officer of Ripple.

“It’s a productive and worthwhile application from a nonprofit that’s driven by some of the most innovative minds in San Francisco,” said Dan Morehead, the CEO and founder of Pantera Capital Management.

“I think a lot more charities will be accepting crypto in the future,” said Brian Armstrong, the CEO and co-founder of Coinbase.

Donors Give ‘Crypto Gifts’ at Gala

Tipping Point Accepts Crypto Donations at Gala, Raises $14 MillionTipping Point spokeswoman, Marisa Giller, has indicated that all “crypto gifts” received will be converted into fiat currency and spent within the next financial year. Cryptocurrency donations were encouraged through a page in the event’s programme hosting QR codes facilitating donations in the form of BTC, ETH, and XRP.

“Trust me, no one is doing this in New York yet,” auctioneer Lydia Fenet stated of the cryptocurrency donations accepted by Tipping Point.

Cryptocurrency Drives Innovation Among Charities

The cryptocurrency revolution has inspired numerous innovative fundraising efforts on the part of charities and non-profit organizations.

Tipping Point Accepts Crypto Donations at Gala, Raises $14 MillionIn recent weeks, Unicef Australia launched The Hopepage – a website that the company states will “allow Australians to provide help and hope to vulnerable children by simply opening the page while they are online.” The Hopepage uses Authedmine, an opt-in version of Coinhive’s API to divert donors’ computing power to mining XMR on behalf of the organization.

News.Bitcoin.com also recently covered ‘eat BCH’, a charity using Bitcoin Cash donations to relieve hunger among Venezuelan children and citizens.

Have you ever donated cryptocurrency to a charity, organization, or random stranger on the internet? Share your experiences in the comments section below!


Images courtesy of Shutterstock, Tipping Point Community, Bloomberg


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