PayPal’s Crypto Checkout Service Goes Live

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Last October, global payments service provider PayPal announced that it was working on rolling out a “Checkout with Crypto” feature on its platform. This, as expected, was met with a lot of enthusiasm and excitement especially because of what it meant for the crypto sector. Crypto was already well on its way to mainstream adoption and this would certainly be a huge leap forward.

On March 31, 2021, the company finally rolled out the feature. Now its customers in the United States can use the digital currencies they hold to pay at millions of PayPal’s online merchants across the globe. The ability to use crypto in their PayPal wallets is made possible by the company’s robust system which will be responsible for converting the crypto holdings to fiat currency – this is the only way that the transactions will be completed.

Still, it is a pretty impressive development. Not only does it make using crypto particularly easy even for newbies but it also builds on the crypto trading features that the company has been adding to its platform. According to PayPal President and CEO Dan Schulman, the timing is just right for this.

“We think it is a transitional point where cryptocurrencies move from being predominantly an asset class that you buy, hold and or sell to now becoming a legitimate funding source to make transactions in the real world at millions of merchants,” he commented.

Global Roll Out Coming Soon

The United States is just the beginning for PayPal’s new feature. In addition to giving the company a view of what to expect going forward, the move to begin the rollout in the United States will serve as a launchpad for further expansion in other parts of the world. A gradual rollout of the “Checkout with Crypto” feature is set to follow very soon with the company looking to bring it to over 200 countries where it is currently operating in.

PayPal is not the first company to double down on its efforts to tap into the crypto ecosystem – companies like Tesla and Square have already been making the headlines with similar ventures. However, the payments service provider is taking a unique approach. One of its main priorities will be dealing with the volatility that Bitcoin and other digital currencies are known for. This is why it converts the crypto to fiat before completing the transactions.

It is also worth noting that there will be no service fees for the feature which is quite good to see since it lives up to one of the promises of crypto. Also, only one type of cryptocurrency will be used for each transaction, at least for now.

Visa Doubles Down on Its Plans for Crypto

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The crypto market has certainly come a long way since the first digital currency was launched and it is now more mature than ever before. Lots of things have changed and perhaps the most exciting development is the widespread interest that major financial and payment institutions have shown.

Global financial and payment service provide Visa is one of the most notable companies that are making a huge play for the crypto market. Already the company has ties with some popular crypto platforms such as Fold, BlockFi, and Crypto.com. However, according to Visa CEO Alfred Kelly, there is so much more in the pipeline.

Crypto Could Be Coming to Visa’s Payment Network

Last Thursday during the company’s Q1 earnings call, the chairman ad CEO reaffirmed Visa’s commitment to crypto which is likely to culminate in digital currencies directly on the Visa network. Kelly firmly believes that the company is well-positioned to add “differentiated value to the ecosystem.” This will essentially involve making crypto safe, useful, and more applicable for global payments.

“..it goes without saying, to the extent a specific digital currency becomes a recognized means of exchange, there’s no reason why we cannot add it to our network, which already supports over 160 currencies today.”

Visa chairman and CEO Alfred Kelly

The strategy is firmly anchored on working with wallets and exchanges to allow users to purchase crypto using their Visa credentials. Similarly, it will also mean that users can cash out their crypto onto Visa credentials.

The Favorites

Well, even though Visa has previously claimed that it does not want to play favorites when it comes to the digital currencies that it will allow on its network, the recent announcement seems to be pointing at something quite different. The company seems to be handling the cryptocurrencies differently based on which category they fall on.

The two categories that the company is using to group blockchain assets are based on whether they are a store of value or are stable coins. Visa intends to angle crypto assets that serve as a store-of-value such as Bitcoin to serve as fiat on-ramp.

However, when it comes to stable coins, the company has been rather bullish. These sentiments may be quite disappointing since they seem to overlook all of the amazing milestones that Decentralized Finance (DeFi) made in 2020. Even JP Morgan Chase which has been showing interest in digital assets has shared the same sentiments.

Trustbet.io Becomes First Brand to Launch on DAOPlatform

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DAOPlatform which is one of the partners of renowned crypto-first company DAOGroup has recently welcomed Trustbet.io to its pioneering online gambling platform. The online gambling operator becomes the very first betting brand to go live on the DAOBet blockchain-based online gambling platform. Needless to say, this is a pretty huge move for both companies as they seek to expand their footprints further in the rapidly-growing crypto-powered iGaming sector.

Trustbet.io’s Expansion Plans

For Trustbet.io, this represents a unique opportunity that will see it benefit from the pioneering online gambling platform while getting to leverage all of the various synergies available on the DAOBet blockchain. The online gambling operator is pretty young and this partnership will certainly act as a catalyst of sorts to its growth.

Thankfully, the Trustbet team was treated to exceptionally rapid deployment with the main points of focus being natively agile design as well as the easy-to-configure deposit and max bet limit feature which comes into play during game selection.

Trustbet.io initially went live via a community-focused launch in mid-August – this turned out to be very successful thus prompting the company to extend its footprint further across a number of jurisdictions including markets in Africa, the CIS, Europe as well as Latin America.

At launch, the online gambling platform online had five casino games to offers its customers. These were Blackjack, Dice, Baccarat, Three Card Brag, and High Card. All of them featured tamper-proof on-chain Random Number Generators (RNGs) that have been certified and approved by GLI. Moreover, the online gambling platform also lets customers enjoy several other perks including instant payouts, no deposit requirements, ultra-fast game finality as well as low-cost transactions.

Another Huge Leap for DAOGroup

Needles to say, the launch of the online gambling site om DAOPlatform is definitely a huge deal for the company. DAO has been working very hard to push its blockchain-based ecosystem and robust range of products and this will assist with that significantly.

“We’re very excited to showcase the DAOPlatform and its cutting-edge performance with such a quality brand as TrustBet.io; and, with their initial success proving the product, we look forward to rolling it out to further brands and help shape the future of iGaming,” DAOGroup’s CCO Glen Bullen commented.

One of the other things that DAOGroup will be pushing as part of its new deal with Trustbet.io is its crypto-fiat gateway DAOWallet. This is a very exciting development for the crypto industry as a whole especially because it implies that even more people or gamblers, in this case, are going to have access to digital currencies.

Crypto Developments to Watch Out for in September

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The crypto market is quite dynamic and this has been the case for quite some time as the market players strive to push it further. The sector is yet to reach certain heights especially with regards to mainstream adoption. Even so, the evolution and relative maturity of the sector cannot go unnoticed.

2020 has been a tough year in many ways but, as always, nearly all sectors are finding ways of maintaining some level of normalcy. The crypto is one of these sectors – there have been a few notable developments and even more to come.

This month, there are lots of developments that you might need to pay attention to if you have an interest in the sector. Here is a round-up of a few the most notable ones.

The Ethereum 2.0 Upgrade

Ethereum planned to launch its long-awaited Ethereum 2.0 upgrade in the fall, something that could come to pass as early as before the end of September. This upgrade is a pretty big deal not just because Ethereum is one of the most popular digital currencies but also because of all the improvements it will be bringing. There is a major emphasis on security and scalability which are some of the most vital things when it comes to further adoption of the digital currency as well as the related technology.

For Ethereum miners, the upgrade, according to Ethereum 2.0, will mean the reduction of power consumption by up to 99 percent. Needless to say, this is pretty big especially considering the fact that crypto mining uses as much energy as small nations.

Tighter Regulation in South Africa

Crypto enthusiasts and holders in South Africa also need to get ready for stricter taxations if a recent proposal is passed. Just like in many other countries across the globe, South African authorities have had some concerns regarding the use of crypto for tax evasion.

The proposed law simply intends to solve this problem but its effectiveness cannot be determined at this point in time. Still, it is a monumental change that will have far-reaching effects on the crypto sector.

Next-Generation DeFi

Decentralized finance, otherwise referred to as DeFi, has been all the buzz for a better part of 2020. The concept presents crypto users with new opportunities especially with regards to the fact they could earn interest from the digital currencies they may be holding.

Perhaps the most notable name when it comes to the DeFi conversation is Beam. This digital currency has combined DeFi with privacy. An update titles Eager Electron is coming in September and it is set to bring even more improvements.

Cloudbet Adds USDT as It Ventures into Stablecoin Betting

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Renowned crypto-powered sports betting and casino site, Cloudbet has recently announced that it has added a USD Tether to its portfolio of digital currencies. This marks the company’s very first venture into the world of stablecoin betting. Needless to say, this a welcome development that is certainly set to turn heads in the betting and crypto communities.

The announcement of the new venture comes after a month of testing where Cloudbet sought the help of a select number of customers. This testing phase has since come to an end after the company was satisfied with the way everything was working. Now Cloudbet customers have the ability to deposit, withdraw, and place bets using the USDT coin, a popular digital currency whose value is tied to the US Dollar. USDT can be bought on the site using a number of popular payment methods including Apple Pay and several credit cards.

With the site now getting even more attention, Cloudbet has gone a step further by giving more players an incentive to join the fun. This comes in the form of a massive 1,000 USDT welcome bonus for new customers.

The fun does not stop there. Naturally, the company will have to work hard in order to keep improving the platform and. They even have more offerings in the pipeline.

“We’ve accelerated our feature rollouts tremendously, thanks to the systems and processes we put in place to build the new website. The market can look forward to many more new features and new coins in the coming months.”

A Cloudbet Spokesperson.

The spokesperson went on to point out the fact that the launch was part of the company’s wider strategy to empower their customers with the best technology.

Capitalizing on Esports

Earlier in May, Cloudbet launched an esports vertical that was designed to completely enhance the player experience in more ways than any other platform did. This move has since paid off quite decently owing to the fact that it delivered on the promise of a truly exceptional esports experience.

Thanks to the new esports betting vertical, bettors and esports enthusiasts have been able to fully immerse themselves in the action by placing bets on live-stream of esports using crypto. There are tons of betting options including odds for FIFA20, League of Legends, Call of Duty, Dota 2, Overwatch, NBA 2K, Rainbow Six Siege, and CS:GO among others.

The addition of USDT implies that an even larger number of people will now be able to use the platform. USDT may be a great option for those who are skeptical about crypto especially considering the volatility of some of the digital tokens.

Germany To Become a Crypto Haven Thanks to New Law

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On November 29, the German parliament passed a bill that will allow banks in the country to sell and store digital currencies and crypto-assets. This will be effective from January 1, 2020, and only custody providers and cryptocurrency exchanges with licenses will be allowed to operate.

As such, these companies have the whole of December to apply for the necessary licenses in order to be able to legally operate in the country’s new crypto regime. To be eligible for the licenses, the companies will have to be registered as legal German entities with no less than two directors operating in the country by the end of the year.

Now, all that remains is for the bill which implements the “fourth EU Money Laundering Directive” amendment to be signed off by the 16 German states. It is expected that most, if not all, of the states will sign in favor of the bill.

The bill is a pretty huge step forward for crypto especially with regards to the quest for mainstream adoption of crypto. Before the German parliament passed the bill, banks in the country were prohibited from offering any sort of direct access to cryptocurrencies and related assets. Instead, the banks could only rely on external custodians or dedicated subsidiaries.

The Feedback

According to a number of experts in the financial sector, the move is definitely going to have a huge impact on the European crypto market. In fact, many of them have pointed out that it effectively paves the way for Germany’s ascension to crypto haven in the continent and possibly the rest of the world.

Since financial institutions already enjoy a tremendous amount of trust, they are probably the best options for the safekeeping of digital currencies and assets. Moreover, they will play a huge role in the prevention of money laundering and terrorist financing which are by far some of the biggest concerns when it comes to digital currencies.

Is A Crypto Migration Possible?

Well, considering how unconducive certain jurisdictions have become for crypto investors, a shift to friendlier places such as Germany is possible. For instance, China has been cracking down on a number of crypto-related currencies. This is perhaps in preparation for the state-sanctioned cryptocurrency that the country has been pursuing. Still, domestic users are definitely going to find workarounds.

Similarly, Russia also seems to be leaning towards a possible crypto ban – the country’s central bank has recently backed a potential ban on crypto payments. The reason this is a consideration is the large number of concerns that are associated with the sector. For now, nothing has been decided yet but given the recent history of crypto regulation, anything could happen.

Facebook’s Libra and How Its Redefines Enterprise Blockchain

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In mid-June 2018, globally renowned tech company Facebook finally revealed Facebook Libra following several long months of preparation and development. As expected, the launch represents a plethora of possibilities for the crypto and blockchain space which is definitely not going to be the same again.

What It Does

Facebook Libra will deliver on one of the most notable features of other digital currencies, that is, it will allow its users to make purchases and send money to other people with close to zero fees. Users will also be able to pseudonymously cash out the digital currency online or at local exchanges points such as grocery stores. They will then be able to spend the Libra using interoperable third-party wallets apps or the company’s Calibra wallet which will not only have a standalone app but will also be built into Messenger and even WhatsApp.

During the announcement, Facebook released its whitepaper explaining the digital currency and its testnet in order to get everyone up to speed with everything before its public launch early next year. From what we have been able to gather so far, so many things about the digital currency already look very promising.

How It Will Work

Facebook will not have full control over Libra and instead, it will only have a single vote on the governance of the cryptocurrency and so will other founding members of the Libra Association who include Uber, Visa as well as Andreessen Horowitz. Each of these companies has reportedly invested no less than $10 million on various aspects of the Libra project.

Going forward, the Libra Association will be promoting the open-source Libra Blockchain and developer platform with its Move programming language. In addition to that, it will also be signing up various businesses to the platform.

Furthermore, Facebook is also set to launch a subsidiary company that will be responsible for handling crypto dealings and protecting the privacy of the users – this will be achieved by ensuring that Facebook user data never mingles with the Libra payments. In essence, your real identity will not be tied to your Libra payments with the goal being to ensure that the information is used for targeted advertising.

Why Is It Such A Big Deal?

Well, why wouldn’t it be? Facebook is one of the leading tech companies on the planet and the fact that it is embracing crypto and blockchain technology was definitely bound to generate some buzz. That aside, the company did not just announce another blockchain protocol – these have become commonplace these days. The company has instead chosen to focus on banking its unbanked users (close to 1.7 billion people). This is certainly not an easy task but if there is anyone that can do it, it’s Facebook thanks largely to the resources it has. Besides, it is going to be a very rewarding venture for the company down the line.

Australian Tax Office Hunts for Crypto Tax Evaders

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If you are a holder of crypto and a citizen of Australia or are currently residing in the country you had better be on the good books of the national tax agency. The Australian Tax Office through an April 30 press release announced that it has started collecting bulk record from Australian-designated service providers such as digital currency exchanges and other firms that are dealing in crypto.

As it stands the tax office is working with a wide estimate of 500,000 to one million Australians who have been trading in crypto-related activities and ignoring their tax obligations. The number of crypto users on Australia has been growing at a rather rapid rate and this has caught the attention of the authorities who are hopeful that the industry might help in filling some of the existing tax gaps.

Unsurprisingly, the authority’s aim is to carry on a data matching program that will help them to determine whether the taxpayer’s declarations are correct or if the crypto holders are deliberately dodging their fiscal responsibilities.

“The ATO uses third-party data to improve the integrity of the tax system by identifying taxpayers who fail to disclose their income details correctly. We also use third-party data to assist taxpayers in meeting their tax obligations through pre-filling of tax returns. This data will be collected under notice from the DSPs on an ongoing basis,” Will Day, deputy commissioner of the ATO said about the strategy.

Some of the information that the tax authority will be obtaining from the crypto-related business in the country will include purchase and sale records. Fortunately for them, Australian required businesses to keep certain critical records that include digital wallet records and keys, receipts of transfer or purchase of crypto assets as well as exchange records.

All of the taxpayers who will be found to have violated the law will first be contacted by the tax agency once the exercise is complete after which the necessary compliance action will be taken.

Crypto Tax Laws in Australia

Under Australian law, all capital gains that may be obtained from crypto trading are supposed to be taxed. The only exception is where the capital gains or the losses made are in a situation where the digital currency is a “personal use asset”. As such, in cases where digital currencies are disposed as a normal business operation, the profits that are yielded from it are considered to be ordinary income instead of capital gains. Moreover, in such a case the cost of purchasing the cryptocurrencies is considered to be trading stock and is therefore deductible – this kind of businesses are mostly trading firms and exchanges.

Worldpay, Paysafe Unite for US Gambling Partnership

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Global payment providers Worldpay, Inc., and Paysafe Group have recently announced a new strategic partnership that is aimed at establishing a standard for the sports betting and online gaming digital payments acceptance and security in the United States. This move is perhaps a well-timed response to the rapid growth of the online and sport betting industry following the May Supreme Court ruling that event that lifted the federal ban on sports betting thus individual states the go-ahead to liberate on their own sports betting regulations.

Paysafe Group is one of the world’s most popular providers of end-to-end payment solutions and its core business is enabling businesses and consumers to connect and perform seamless transactions. The company has well over two decades worth of experience, close to 3,000 employees and up to 12 global locations. Worldpay, Inc, on the other hand, is highly regarded for its capability to power global omni-commerce.

The duo’s partnership will leverage Worldpay’s optimized credit card processing, fast-fund payouts as well the included treasury and payment solutions. Paysafe, on the other hand, will be providing its online gambling and gaming digital payment options which include Paysafecard online cash solution and NETELLER wallet. With this partnership in place, the duo will be able to facilitate seamless transactions while reducing operating costs and allowing universal payment acceptance.

This is exactly what the American sports betting and online gaming industry need as they continue to grow – the American Gaming Association estimates that the sports betting market in the country is worth over $150 billion in gross online and offline gaming revenue. From the looks of it, it could become the largest sports betting market in the world and therefore reliable and convenient payment systems are necessary.

More Choices for the Players

Joel Leonoff, the President and CEO of Paysafe Group believes that the partnership will be able to effectively champion the needs of both the players and the operators by giving them access to a secure, high-configurable and cost-effective payments systems that will deliver an unmatched player experience. The innovative approach the duo will be going with means that the partners will be able to support all transactions. In essence, this means that there will be a ton of payment choices for players to choose from.

In a statement released shortly after the announcement of the partnership, Shane Happach, Worldpay’s executive vice president and head of global enterprise eCommerce pointed out that the combined strengths and capabilities of the two companies would simplify payment options for the gaming operators while “continuing to show our attentiveness to responsible gaming and our mission to protect the integrity of every transaction.”

NASCAR Plans to Implement Sports Betting Regulations in 2019

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According to Steve Phelps, the NASCAR president, the series plans to implement guidelines in the rulebook on sports wagering next year. This announcement came in the past weekend when Dover International Speedway opened its on-site sports betting kiosk during the past weekend thus becoming the only track that allowed sports gambling on its property.

As it stands, NASCAR even allows it drivers and team members to bet on the race, something that certainly represents an interesting dynamic but is likely to change in one way or the other when the sports betting regulations are implemented in 2019.

“I think for 2019, we’ll have some rules that we’ll put in place,” Phelps commented on Sunday at Dover. “For right now, there’ll be betting here. They have a kiosk here, you can bet inside. We’ll study and see how that goes, but I think we’ll have some rules in place for sponsorship, for what betting looks like, and continue to see what happens in the landscape overall.”

The on-site sports betting kiosk at Dover International Speedway opened at 9 a.m. with a modest line NASCAR and gambling fans forming to find out more about the new offering and to hopefully cash in – most of the questions that were raised were about the NASCAR prop bets. More specifically, many of the bettors wanted to know it the stage cautions count toward the total number of cautions. As it turns, they do not – only the crash and debris cautions will count.

So far, everything seems to have picked up quite well for NASCAR, the state of Delaware as well as sports betting and horse racing at Dover. In fact, according to the general manager and senior director horse racing and sports betting at Dover Downs, John Hensley, more prop bets were offered in the last weekend when compared to what had been recorded for the average race.

New Hope for NASCAR?

NASCAR is hoping to rejuvenate the sport in the wake of the May U.S. Supreme Court ruling that abolished PASPA and lifted the federal ban on sports betting. Promoters at a number of NASCAR tracks across the country are hopeful that with legal sports wagering, NASCAR will be able to keep its declining fan base by giving them more reason to stick around. The idea is also to attract new fans who will then be given a reason to invest both emotionally and financially (through such things as bets) in the budding careers of future NASCAR stars such as Bubba Wallace, Ryan Blaney, and Austin Dillon.

Chris Powell, the president of Las Vegas Motor Speedway, considers legal betting on NASCAR activities as “manna from heaven,”:

“It very well could be a shot in the arm to NASCAR, and other forms of motorsports, because it could add a new element of excitement – whether it’s wagering on who’s going to win, or who’ll win the first segment, or a one-on-one bet, just like in golf, where it might be Bubba Watson against Tiger Woods.”

As of now, a number of betting options, auto racing included, are being offered at Dover Downs and Dover International Speedway with the betting lines being supplied by renowned bookmaker William Hill.