Cryptocurrency Profile: Litecoin

Payza Litecoin Profile

One of the oldest cryptocurrencies, Litecoin has been around for over 6 years, a veritable senior citizen in the world of cryptocurrencies. It seems like Litecoin has always been in Bitcoin’s shadow; even in the original announcement for the project, the concept of Litecoin was described as being the “silver to Bitcoin’s gold,” which seems to suit this unassuming altcoin just fine. While Litecoin may never become as valuable as Bitcoin, it shares a lot of the same practical uses. Throughout its history, Litecoin has been a reliable coin for transactions and a relatively stable store of value.

Litecoin was created in 2011 by Charlie Lee, launching on October 13 of that year. By the end of 2013, it already reached a $1 Billion USD market cap. Like Bitcoin, Litecoin has seen both rapid price rises and dramatic drops. Most recently, in December 2017, the price climbed from roughly $100 per coin to over $350 in less than 5 days. Much of those gains have already been wiped out however in the recent cryptocurrency crash, sinking the value of Litecoin to as low as $145.

While Litecoin is slightly different than Bitcoin – it features bigger blocks and a shorter block confirmation time to allow it to process more transactions for lower fees – Litecoin still uses much of the same underlying technology and principles as Bitcoin. One important difference from Bitcoin is Litecoin’s use of Scrypt (pronounced “ess crypt”) as part of its proof-of-work algorithm, as opposed to a more straightforward version of Hashcash which is used by Bitcoin. One result of using Scrypt for Litecoin’s proof-of-work is that in most cases ASIC machines designed for Bitcoin mining are incompatible with Litecoin mining.

Litecoin is not an exact copy of Bitcoin, but it is similar enough that people have asked if there is even a need for Litecoin to exist. Throughout its history, and especially in the past year, Litecoin has not only shown that there is room for Bitcoin alternatives, but also how important Bitcoin clones can be when trying to solve core cryptocurrency issues.

The Need for Bitcoin Alternatives

While many altcoins look to challenge Bitcoin’s dominance as the top cryptocurrency, Litecoin came about as more of a companion coin. Even in 2011, Charlie Lee realized that Bitcoin had limitations, especially for merchants who wanted to accept small value transactions relatively quickly.

In 2017, Bitcoin’s rise in popularity led to scaling problems that congested the network and led to high transaction fees, making it an inefficient cryptocurrency for low-value transactions. In December, when Bitcoin transaction fees spiked, many cryptocurrency enthusiasts turned to alternatives such as Litecoin for faster, less costly transactions.

With the Bitcoin network saturated, Litecoin transactions climbed from fewer than 40,000 per day throughout 2017 to over 50,000 per day in early December, topping 100,000 per day later in the month! Litecoin daily transactions peaked at more than 225,000 transactions on January 4, 2018, an impressive figure but still lower than Bitcoin’s daily transactions even during calm periods.

Segwit, Lightning Network, and Litecoin as Technological Testing Ground

When Bitcoin began growing faster than its network could scale and a change had to be made, the community turned to Segregated Witness (SegWit), a solution that Litecoin had already successfully implemented.

When Litecoin activated SegWit in May 2017, its price doubled almost immediately. With SegWit activated, developers could take advantage of the upgrade to test out even more ambitious technology, including the Lightning Network. Lightning Network creates ‘channels’ between users, allowing them to exchange cryptocurrency instantly without waiting for blockchain confirmation.

Both SegWit and Lightning Network were first introduced to Litecoin before eventually being adopted by Bitcoin, demonstrating the benefits of having stable Bitcoin alternatives within the cryptocurrency ecosystem.

Charlie Lee’s Controversial Sell

2017 saw incredible highs for many cryptocurrencies, with many coins peaking in late December. On December 20, Lee announced via Twitter and Reddit that he had sold almost all of his Litecoin. At the time, Litecoin was trading at an all-time high, briefly crossing over $350 per coin.

In a brief post, Lee stated that holding Litecoin while frequently discussing the price movement of Litecoin created a conflict of interest. He realized that he had considerable power over potential price moves with his statements, so to resolve this conflict he decided to sell his Litecoins.

Statement from Charlie Lee:

Charlie Lee Statement

Soon after Lee’s declaration, the price of Litecoin retreated about 33% and eventually fell as much as 60% from its all-time high, dropping below $150 in January.

Since his initial announcement, Lee clarified that he will continue to play an important role in Litecoin’s development and hopes to be a part of the project long enough to help it surpass its all-time high from late 2017. However, he also said that he believes for Litecoin to succeed in its ultimate goal and become truly decentralized, he will eventually need to take a step back.

Litecoin Timeline

Here’s a look at some of the important milestones in Litecoin’s history:

Payza Litecoin Timeline

While Litecoin may have a long way to go before returning to its all-time high, this coin’s long history and relative stability make it one of the backbones of the cryptocurrency market. Several exchanges use Litecoin as a base trading pair, meaning users can trade less popular altcoins into Litecoin and then use Litecoin to buy other emerging coins.

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Going Cashless – Countries Becoming Cashless Societies

Cashless Societies

Cashless payments are the future, at least according to many experts. More and more societies are moving towards becoming cashless, some embracing a cashless culture more than others. Since cash can be lost and because it’s annoying to carry large amounts, fewer people hold cash today or use it for day-to-day payments. Citizens of the world’s most cashless countries prefer other types of payment methods, such as cards or even mobile payments.

While some countries, such as Canada and Sweden, are already close to being fully cashless societies, others are still struggling with or are opposed to becoming cashless. This can be due to many factors, including low credit card usage, low internet penetration, low merchant adoption, or simply the convenience factor that cash provides. However, new financial technologies are becoming more ubiquitous, so the question is how long will cash survive?

In this post, we look at the top cashless societies in the world right now, as well as a developed country that still loves physical cash:

Top 3 Cashless Countries

Canada

Studies suggest that Canada is becoming a cashless society faster than any other country. The vast majority of payments in Canada are made by cashless methods, with contactless payments being widely accepted by Canadian merchants.

Canadians love credit cards and Canada shows a usage of over 2 credit cards per person. Visa states that more than 70% of personal purchases in Canada are made by credit card, giving Canada one of the highest card-based payments ratio in the world.

A survey conducted by the Bank of Canada in 2013 found that 44% of all transactions were done using cash, and that number decreased by 10% from 2009 to 2013. Moneris predicts that by 2030, only 10% of Canadian transactions will be made in cash.

Sweden

Sweden is the most cashless country in Europe with a steadily decreasing rate of cash transactions. Cash payments in stores totaled 40% in 2010 and went down to just 15% in 2016! According to a study by the Riksbank, Sweden’s central bank, two-thirds of Swedes feel that they can live without physical cash entirely.

A report from Roubini Thoughtlab quantified the benefits of moving from cash to digital payment methods in 100 cities all over the world. The study showed Stockholm as a “digital leader” – a city leading adoption of digital payments. Stockholm boasts highly developed banking and digital payment systems, high usage and high readiness of mobile devices and networks, as well as a population that is nearly fully banked.

The mobile payments system Swish is now highly popular in Sweden and in Stockholm, cash is no longer accepted as a payment method for public transportation. Many other businesses in Stockholm have also stopped accepting cash, such as the ABBA museum. The Riksbank is also investigating the possibility of issuing e-kronas, a digital complement to cash. This could help solve problems that might arise in the future as the use of cash is declining fast.

Interestingly, in 1661, Sweden became the first European country to print banknotes, and now it may become the first European country to rid themselves of physical cash altogether.

UK

The UK is another country leading the way in becoming a cashless society. A survey conducted by MoneySupermarket shows that UK citizens now make 20% more payments by card than by cash and the usage of alternative payment methods such as e-wallets is also growing. The latest research shows that 55% of all transactions are now made by cashless methods and 75% of those surveyed say they withdraw cash less often today than they did a year ago. 53% claim they would be happy if the UK became increasingly cashless and 36% use contactless or traditional card payments whenever possible.

New research from global law firm Paul Hastings shows that the value of non-cash payments in the UK will reach £1.44 trillion by 2026, a 26% increase from 2016. The study also forecasts that by 2026, 82% of all transactions in the UK will be cashless, an increase from 55% in 2016.

Research by GalaCasino.com has predicted that 2043 is the year when the UK may become completely cashless. Cash usage in the UK dropped from 71% in 2004 to 53% in 2014, and the research claims that the number of cash transactions in the UK could be at 0% by 2043.

Honorable Mention: India

Official statistics indicate an 80% increase in the value of digital transactions in 2017-18 in India. This very much has to do with the demonetisation that took place in India at the end of 2016. In India, cash is disappearing but card usage is still low, which means that merchants must offer other payment methods. This is where alternative payment methods come in, especially digital transactions. Digital payment companies have seen an increase in business since the government decided to promote cashless transactions after the demonetisation.

However, the move towards becoming a cashless society is slow. Even though the Indian government has worked hard to push digital payment methods, cash is still very popular among Indian citizens. But things can change quickly in India, as they did in China previously: five years ago cash was king in China, but today mobile payments are dominating. It is believed that India will experience a similar trend in the not too distant future.

According to the Global Payments Report published in November 2017, India is the fastest growing m-commerce market in the world. At the end of 2017, a study from Kantar TNS also revealed that mobile payments are on the rise in India. 35% of connected Indian consumers are using mobile payments and 33% would prefer to use their mobile phones as their only method of payment in the future. 23% also state that they now use mobile payments at least once a week.

Least Cashless Country: Germany

In Germany, cash still remains king. Germans tend to keep an average of €103 in physical cash on their person and many businesses in Germany, especially restaurants, still only accept cash. The German population are rather “old fashioned” when it comes to their payment preferences, although no one can seem to pinpoint why this is the case. According to research done by PYMNTS, Germany has a cash share of 20% as of 2016, which is higher than that of its neighbors.

History might be one of the reasons for the popularity of cash in Germany. The country faced repeated economic meltdowns in the 20th century, making its citizens wary of carrying debt. This could explain the low credit card usage in Germany and why cash is still the preferred payment method. In 2015, the level of card payments was at just 12% and is actually expected to fall to 8% by 2019! Also, only 25% of German shoppers use credit cards when they make an online purchase.

However, the younger population is opening up to the usage of alternative payment methods. Cash usage is still high but declined slightly from 2007 to 2016. By 2019, alternative payments are expected to dominate with a 92% transaction share.


With cash disappearing all around the world, other types of payment methods are filling the void. One alternative to using cash is using an e-wallet such as Payza. With an e-wallet, you can store your funds safely for payments and money transfers.

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Cryptocurrency Profile: Ethereum

Ethereum Cryptocurrency

2017 saw many cryptocurrencies jumping into the spotlight, perhaps none more so than Bitcoin’s biggest competition: Ethereum. This currency is relatively new, it launched publicly in 2015, but has already climbed to the number 2 position in terms of cryptocurrency market capitalization, with a total value of over $60 Billion USD.

The coin was proposed and developed by Vitalik Buterin, one of the youngest developers in the cryptocurrency space. Buterin was a recipient of the Thiel Fellowship in 2014, created by former PayPal executive Peter Thiel, which gave him the opportunity to complete development of Ethereum.

Ethereum rose to popularity in 2017 in large part because of the important role this cryptocurrency plays in ICOs (Initial Coin Offerings). Because the Ethereum network is designed to support smart contracts as well as other unique cryptocurrencies (in the form of ERC20 tokens), it is an ideal platform to use when raising funds and issuing tokens for new projects.

Smart contracts can also be used in conjunction with DApps (Decentralized Applications). CryptoKitties was the first DApp to achieve viral success earlier this month, but its popularity also created severe congestion within Ethereum’s Blockchain in the process, raising concerns about scaling issues.

To help you better understand Ethereum and understand why the value of this cryptocurrency has increased over 6000% this year, here is a closer look at smart contracts, DApps, and ERC20 tokens:

Smart contracts

Smart contracts are an important part of the Ethereum platform and one of the reasons that this cryptocurrency saw such tremendous growth in 2017.

A smart contract allows two parties to agree on the terms of a contract which can then be executed by the Ethereum Virtual Machine (EMV), a special feature of the Ethereum network. In the same way that Bitcoin transactions can be considered trustless, Ethereum Smart Contracts are also trustless. That means that parties who enter into smart contracts don’t need to rely on each other or a third party to carry out the terms, they will be automatically fulfilled by the Ethereum network.

Smart contracts have many practical applications. A popular example is that a smart contract can be used to settle a bet about the weather. Two people can upload the terms of the bet (for example, whether or not it will rain on a specific day in a specific city) to the EMV as a smart contract code. The EMV will then execute the terms of the contract by checking for rain on the day indicated (using previously agreed upon verification methods, such as a weather app or website). Once a winner is determined, the EMV will automatically distribute the prize.

Smart contracts are also useful for ICOs involving ERC20 tokens because developers can send newly issued tokens in exchange for Ethereum in a single transaction. This is accomplished by setting an agreed upon exchange rate for the newly minted token and then returning the set amount whenever a specific Ethereum address receives funds.

ERC20 tokens

ERC20 tokens are a revolutionary way to issue new cryptocurrencies by taking advantage of the Ethereum Blockchain and platform. It should be noted that there are non-ERC20 tokens and partially compliant ERC20 tokens that also use Ethereum’s Blockchain, but with the introduction of ERC20 tokens, there is now a universal standard set, making it easier to launch and use new coins.

Each ERC20 token is its own smart contract and uses Ethereum’s Blockchain to validate transactions between users.

The popularity of this standard and the wave of ICOs that were launched using the technology helped catapult Ethereum up the ranks of cryptocurrencies to the point that it even challenged Bitcoin earlier this year, almost becoming the most valuable cryptocurrency in terms of market cap.

One criticism of the ERC20 token standard is that it makes it too easy to launch a new cryptocurrency, undermining the value of cryptocurrencies as a whole. At last count, there were over 19000 unique ERC20 tokens already created!

CryptoKitties (and other DApps)

One distinguishing feature of most cryptocurrencies that sets them apart from traditional currencies is that they are decentralized. That means there is no central authority controlling the flow of currency or verifying individual transactions.

Like decentralized cryptocurrencies, DApps are decentralized applications that also have no central authority controlling distribution. In fact, you can consider cryptocurrencies themselves to be some of the first DApps created. There are still developers and programmers who work on these apps, but once they are released, they can take on a life of their own.

The Ethereum White Paper discusses the three types of applications that can be built on top of the Ethereum network:

  • Financial applications – such as other cryptocurrencies and financial tools.
  • Semi-financial applications – apps that have a financial aspect such as a reward system, but also have an important non-financial aspect, such as a task that must be accomplished to obtain the reward.
  • Non-financial applications – such as decentralized voting systems.

In November, AxiomZen launched their DApp CryptoKitties, a clever throwback to digital pets that were popular in the late 90’s. Users can collect and breed these unique e-pets with the knowledge that just like cryptocurrencies CryptoKitties cannot be forged or duplicated and they belong entirely to their owners, although there’s some debate about just how decentralized the CryptoKitties App actually is.

Because of these features, CryptoKitties have been in serious demand and individual Kitties have sold for over 200 Ether. With Ether currently valued over $500 per coin, that means the rarest CryptoKitties are worth over $100,000!

While they share many features with cryptocurrencies, AxiomZen describes CryptoKitties as a “cryptocollectible.”

Because there are fees for different in-game activities (such as breeding new CryptoKitties), this DApp’s rise to popularity actually managed to congest the Ethereum Blockchain and slow down transaction confirmations. At times, as much as 15% of all Ethereum network traffic was caused by CryptoKitties transactions and activities.

The success of CryptoKitties marks an important milestone for Ethereum, expanding the possible uses of the Ethereum network and paving the way for other DApps. However, the network congestion caused by just one viral DApp also shows that Ethereum, like Bitcoin, still has to scale before it can be used to host multiple virally popular DApps along with all the transactions that will come with them.

Ethereum Timeline

Ethereum has achieved tremendous growth in a relatively short timespan. Here’s a quick look at how they’ve accomplished it:

Ethereum timeline


Whatever the future holds for cryptocurrencies, DApps, and smart contracts, it seems like Ethereum and its founder Vitalik Buterin will have an important role to play in their development. For this reason, Ethereum has solidified itself as a top cryptocurrency in 2017 with a bright outlook for the future.

For more cryptocurrency profiles and to get all the latest news and updates from Payza, be sure to subscribe to our blog and follow us on Twitter and Facebook.

Cryptocurrency Profile: Dash

Dash Cryptocurrency

2017 has been the year of cryptocurrencies. Bitcoin started the year at roughly the 1,000-dollar mark and surpassed $10,000 earlier this week. But while Bitcoin has increased more than tenfold, other cryptocurrencies have also had impressive years.

Dash was valued under $12 per coin to start 2017, with a total market capitalization under $80 million. It is poised to finish the year with a $5 billion market cap and a price over $700, more than 50 times higher than where it started the year.

So what is Dash, and why did it have such an impressive year?

Differences between Dash and Bitcoin

As the first cryptocurrency, Bitcoin solved a lot of issues that would have made digital currencies unreliable. Most importantly, Bitcoin cannot be forged, altered, or duplicated. All transactions are tracked and recorded in a publicly accessible ledger, the Blockchain, which is transcribed and broadcast by an unaffiliated network of nodes.

It is this combination of features that has made Bitcoin valuable. However, Bitcoin’s popularity has given rise to a new set of problems or exposed special cases where a specific need is not being met by Bitcoin. This is where altcoins come in.

Dash possesses many of these same qualities, but seeks to overcome some issues that are perceived as Bitcoin shortcomings. At times, Bitcoin’s network can become plagued by congestion and high fees, making it difficult to use for transactions. Furthermore, even though Bitcoin transactions are pseudo-anonymous, some cryptocurrency experts think that that isn’t enough privacy from a coin.

The abstract from Dash’s whitepaper explains how it attempts to solve these problems:

Dash: A Privacy-Centric Crypto-Currency

Abstract. A crypto-currency based on Bitcoin, the work of Satoshi Nakamoto, with various improvements such as a two-tier incentivized network, known as the Masternode network. Included are other improvements such as PrivateSend, for increasing fungibility and InstantSend which allows instant transaction confirmation without a centralized authority.

As the title states, Dash places a primary focus on privacy. Now, you may be thinking “Isn’t Bitcoin already anonymous?” And in a way it is. However, because of the public availability of the blockchain, there are ways to follow the movement of bitcoins over time.

Dash attempts to solve this issue with PrivateSend. This feature does not actually send Dash privately to other Dash wallets, like you might think from the name. PrivateSend lets you anonymize your own Dash by mixing it through a series of transactions designed to disguise where the funds originated from. There’s a detailed look at how PrivateSend works on the Dash YouTube Channel.

This process gives Dash fungibility, that is, each unit of Dash is interchangeable. This differs slightly from Bitcoin because in theory, you can track units of Bitcoin and flag them, while Dash funds that have been privatized can’t be traced.

On top of privacy and fungibility, Dash transactions are much faster and much less expensive to process than Bitcoin transactions. Both high fees and slow transactions have plagued the Bitcoin network in 2017. Dash has been remarkably free of these issues, for now at least.

Dash is valuable because like Bitcoin its network and technology have a history of reliability. On top of that, Dash has shown itself to have advanced privacy as well as faster and cheaper transactions compared to Bitcoin. This combination of features has sparked its impressive climb this year.

Dash timeline

Here’s a look at how Dash has progressed as a coin and community, and some of the hurdles they’ve overcome to establish themselves as a dominant cryptocurrency:

Dash Timeline


Dash has seen a dramatic price rise at the end of 2017 because of its usefulness and reliability. More and more it looks like cryptocurrencies will hold an important place in our increasingly connected and increasingly global world. This is thanks to the technology provided by Bitcoin, as well as advancements by altcoins like Ethereum, Ripple, and Dash.

Did you know that Payza now lets you buy and sell these altcoins and dozens more? You can learn about Payza’s cryptocurrency features and services on our blog:

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The Crypt’ o’ Currencies – Dead and (Potentially) Dying Altcoins

Dead Cryptocurrencies

The cryptocurrency universe (often dubbed the “cryptosphere”) is a fascinating new ecosystem that holds many promises for investors, tech enthusiasts, entrepreneurs and many others. Since the inception of Bitcoin, it has slowly gained attention from the media, gathered early adopters, and attracted significant capital from all over the world.

Today, new projects are gathering the attention of banks, governments, and venture capitalists. While this extraordinary growth has some communities very excited for the development of decentralized currencies, smart contracts and even an upgraded web experience, others see the cryptosphere as bloated and they think that the bubble will burst eventually.

Looking back, since the beginning of Bitcoin alternatives (or altcoins) many have already failed or are at risk of failure in the near future. Vitalik Buterin, Ethereum’s founder and chief scientist, predicts that 90% of token startups will fail, a number that isn’t very far from the rate at which firms tend to fail in other industries. This grim message comes after a string of negative remarks on Bitcoin by people all over the world, including Jamie Dimon, Warren Buffett and Jordan Belfort. Bitcoin’s price has kept increasing steadily, but these dire warnings have prompted the creation of satirical Bitcoin Obituaries.

Even with a growing cryptocurrency market cap, list of projects, and number communities forming around digital currencies, the cryptosphere have already seen its fair share of victims. For Halloween, we’re taking a look at prominent coins that have either already been discontinued or are expected to by experts and members of the crypto community. Each coin is assigned a score from 1 to 5 (in spooky pumpkins), based on their potential to separate you from your funds. These are our picks for 2017’s dead coins:

Feathercoin (FTC)

A currency based on NeoScrypt, Feathercoin soared over $1 in late 2013, but is now hovering around the $0.05 mark. Without any news hinting at adoption, significant use cases or clear value proposition, the coin has been stagnating. With a few bumps in price since its surge and subsequent price, a very small community and little coverage, FTC is rated 3/5 spooky pumpkins.

Bitconnect (BCC)

Widely suspected within the cryptocurrency community to be a pyramid scheme, Bitconnect’s model relies on users ‘lending’ Bitcoin on the Bitconnect platform, which are then used by a trading bot. The proceeds from these trades are then redistributed to the community. On top of too-good-to-be-true guaranteed returns, the site offers a generous referral program that encourages a growing user-base and relies on influencers heavily promoting the business through platforms like YouTube. Bitconnect is a top-10 cryptocoin in terms of market capitalization, but because of the project’s lack of transparency, the unknown identity of founders, shady business model and inflated trading volume (95% of all Bitconnect trades are completed on Bitconnect’s own exchange), BCC is rated a full 5/5 spooky pumpkins!

Nyancoin

One of the first coins, along with Dogecoin and other meme-based altcoins, Nyancoin was not meant to solve any current problems or even be considered a serious token. This coin was based on the Nyan Cat meme, the animated cat stuck in a pop-tart riding through space that seduced the internet in 2011. It has since then been discontinued and, while some users may still hold the coin on their own machine, it is a relic. Because of its harmless nature, we rate Nyancoin 1/5 spooky pumpkins.

Monaco (MCO)

A coin that gained some fame based on rumors of a deal with Visa that never happened, and it has been on the decline ever since. With competitors like TenX, Metal and Bitpay, Monaco’s time has already passed as far as many crypto enthusiasts are concerned. In addition to this resistance, users who backed the project by ordering a Monaco card are still wondering when it will be sent. Monaco is rated at 4/5 spooky pumpkins.

Blockshares

Not to be confused with Bitshares, Blockshares was a first attempt by the developers of the B&C exchange to create a coin. It has since been discontinued and spawned NuBits, a cryptocurrency with a market cap under 1 million USD. While the team of developers and community is still active, the original coin, Blockshares, is very much dead. This is a different approach than the more popular practice of re-branding current technology to better reflect its value. We rate Blockshares, as it has already been discontinued, at 1/5 spooky pumpkins.

1/5 Spooky Pumpkins


As with any investment, it is important to be critical and conduct extensive research before investing in any project, cryptocurrency or not. This article is not intended as investment advice, but we believe that they may be of interest to you if you are passionate (just like we are) about the ‘Cryptosphere.’

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Fear and Mining in Venezuela: Citizens Turn to Bitcoin to Survive

Fear and Mining in Venezuela: Citizens Turn to Bitcoin to Survive

The current situation in Venezuela is far from ideal. Economic uncertainty and political turmoil have led to protests. Many citizens can no longer afford food, medicine, and other basic goods.

Unemployment in Venezuela is expected to hit 25% by the end of the year. The Bolivar’s value is gradually becoming null as yearly inflation rate soars over 1600%. Carts full of notes are hauled into stores as the largest bill denomination gradually increases. Thankfully, an orange sun has risen over the country and was promptly adopted by many citizens: Bitcoin.

Venezuelan inflation

What makes Venezuela different?

Venezuela is a unique case. Despite its many economic troubles, electricity is nearly free, thanks to government subsidies. With the country’s instability coinciding with a spectacular boom in the cryptocurrency market, it’s no surprise that many Venezuelans have become Bitcoin miners in an effort to support their families. Bitcoin mining can generate up to $500 US a month, a sum large enough to feed a family of four and purchase vital goods like diapers.

Sadly, despite the absence of laws and regulations banning digital currencies, individuals are still getting arrested by law enforcement on spurious consumption charges. To circumvent these charges, some miners have opted to switch from Bitcoin to Ethereum and Zcash, two currencies that are easier to mine, but also easier to disguise. Regular desktop computers fitted with high-performance graphic cards can be used instead of dedicated mining machines for these cryptocurrencies.

By the people, for the people

Some investors, regulators and bankers still fail to see the value of Bitcoin and a blockchain – that is, a constantly updated and audited public ledger that contains the proof of cryptocurrency transactions. Nevertheless, the Venezuelan phenomenon comes as a strong confirmation of the original goal of Bitcoin: the ability to hold and transact currency without having to rely on trust in third parties.

Bitcoin’s use in Venezuela doesn’t stop at mining. Because of its anonymity, Bitcoin can be sent by anyone who wants to help Venezuelans in need. The digital currency can then be used to pay online retailers such as Amazon or other companies that deliver badly needed items to Venezuela.

Cryptocurrencies are seen as the superior choice by many tech-savvy citizens, not only because of the ability to mine some of them, but also because of decentralization: no single entity can control its value. This aspect makes them tools that are, in theory, perfectly reactive to the forces of the market, without any possibility of intervention from the government to manipulate price and availability.


Payza is closely following the development of Bitcoin and altcoins, and is committed to supporting all of the currencies and cryptocurrencies you are using. By using the Payza platform, you can buy, store, and sell Bitcoin and over 50 different altcoins right inside your Payza account. Are you interested in buying or selling Bitcoin? Check out our guide here: Buying and Selling Bitcoin.

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Working the Gig Economy: Part 3 – The Best Freelancing Jobs Online

Gig Economy Part 3: The Best Freelancing Jobs Online

The way that people work is changing.

Exclusive relationships between employee and employer are a thing of the past – it has become the norm for workers to take on side jobs, supplement their income and explore new professional interests. Even working full-time jobs is becoming less common, as those who take on side gigs may find these more fulfilling (and even more profitable) than their salaried positions. Therefore, they may eventually leave their primary employment in favor of taking on more gigs.

This phenomenon has had such an impact on the modern labor landscape, for both workers and employers, that a new term has been coined to describe it: The Gig Economy. Defined by TechTarget as “An environment in which temporary positions are common and organizations contract with independent workers for short-term engagements”, the gig economy signifies that the modern workforce is increasingly made up of self-employed freelancers and that businesses are changing their relationship with human resources to reflect that fact.

So what are you waiting for? If you’re one of the few that hasn’t yet engaged with the gig economy to increase your income, improve your job satisfaction, and raise your quality of life, there is no better time than now.

This is the third and final article of our Gig Economy series, and it gives an overview of the best types of freelancing jobs available. Be sure to check out our other articles in this series as well:

Customer Service

The days of the call centre are coming to an end. In the age of the digital economy, the customer service field has become decentralized. Businesses are saving money on the costs of maintaining a call centre facility and customers are getting better service as round-the-clock live chat and email support becomes the norm. If you enjoy helping others solve their problems, CS may be the route for you.

Find current Customer Service openings at Upwork here: Customer Service Jobs.

Data Entry

There is never any shortage of data entry work – quite the opposite (they don’t call this the age of “Big Data” for nothing). For detail-oriented individuals who are comfortable listening to music or a podcast while performing a repetitive task, data entry is a reliable source of work that can be very profitable for those who work quickly. Also, as an entry level position in the tech industry, there can be real room for growth.

For a primer on Data Entry jobs available to you, click here: Online Data Entry Jobs from Home without Investment.

Language Services and Translation

Another recession-proof avenue open to freelancers is language services. In an English-dominated business world where most people are unilingual, anybody who is bilingual is an extremely valuable investment. This can help you stand out in the customer service world, but also allows you to specialize in the profitable and growing fields of Language Services and Translation.

Check out these links for jobs within the language industry: Indeed for Interpreter jobs and Upwork for Translator jobs.

Copywriting and Transcription

You don’t need to be a professional to get a writing job online. There are plenty of entry-level copywriting and transcription jobs online – they may not pay very well at first but they allow you to develop your writing and marketing skills and build a content portfolio.

Sign up here to start honing your skills: FreelanceWritingGigs.com.

The Sharing Economy

App-based technologies have made the Sharing Economy possible. Many of the biggest success stories of the gig economy fall under this category, such as Uber and AirBnB, two platforms which allow you to provide on-demand service to clients via a mobile app. These services don’t typically require any special skills beyond mobility and the ownership of something “shareable”, and are therefore an excellent way to supplement your income.

For an in-depth look at making a living in the Sharing Economy, visit Monster.com here: Making a Career in the Sharing Economy.

Affiliate Marketing

An industry almost as old as the internet itself, Affiliate Marketing offers the promise of “passive income”. Simply put, the affiliate works with a business to help drive more traffic to their website in order to generate more sales. This can be done by hosting advertisements, publishing links, or creating content which promotes the business’ products. The affiliate is in turn rewarded based on their performance: for every sale facilitated by the affiliate, the business pays them a share of the profit.

Read our short primer on getting started in Affiliate Marketing here: Introduction to Affiliate Marketing.

The gig economy has allowed skilled workers all around the world to do what they love, increase their income, and free themselves from the traditional nine to five jobs. If you’re ready to take on that passion project and make money doing it, now is the time!


Do you know that Payza has its own Referral Program? Get your start in the gig economy by helping people sign up for their free Payza Account. Once they reach a certain amount of transactions, you’ll earn $5 USD for your first 10 referrals and $10 USD for every referral after that! Learn how to get started by reading this handy guide: Learn How to Profit from the Payza Referral Program.

Join the millions of businesses and individuals around the world that use the Payza payment platform to supplement their income and to get paid for their gigs. Do you have experience with the gig economy? Let other readers know by leaving a comment below.

For more information and to stay up to date with the latest Payza news, be sure to subscribe to the Payza Blog and follow us on Facebook and Twitter.

Learn How to Profit from the Payza Referral Program

Learn How to Profit from the Payza Referral Program

In an earlier blog post, we explained what affiliate marketing is and how you can earn extra money from this type of activity. Simply put, there are two parties involved in affiliate marketing: the business and the affiliate. The affiliate’s job is to help the business reach their target audiences and attract customers to the products that the business is offering. The affiliate helps by providing marketing that boosts the sales of the business and is rewarded based on their performance: every time they help to generate a sale, the business pays them a share.

Payza offers our members the Payza Referral Program: our very own affiliate program that lets you make money by helping Payza recruit new members. Refer your friends, family, or people in your network by inviting them to join Payza. Make extra cash and develop your affiliate marketing skills at the same time! You can earn $5.00 USD for the first 10 qualified people you refer and $10.00 USD for each qualified referral after that!

How does it work? It’s easy! Simply use the unique referral code that is generated within your Payza account. Once your referral code has been created, send it to people who would be interested in opening and using a Payza account. You can also place your referral code on your website or blog for greater exposure. Generate the referral code as a link or as a script for a banner.

Follow these steps to find your Payza Referral link code:

  1. In your Payza account, click “Account” in the left-hand column.
  2. Select “Referral Program”.
  3. Your referral code will appear on this page.
  4. To use your referral code as a hyperlink, click “Get Your Link Code Now”.

On this page, you will see several HTML codes with suggested slogans to use for your hyperlink. Choose the one that you prefer, then copy and paste that code wherever you will be using it. You can also customize the slogan by editing the text portion of the script. Simply replace the text already listed with the slogan you wish to use.

Follow these steps to get your Payza Referral banner code:

  1. In your Payza account, click “Account” in the left-hand column.
  2. Select “Referral Program”.
  3. Click “Get Your Banner Code Now”.
  4. On this page, you will see several scripts with different sized banners. Choose the one you prefer, then copy and paste that code wherever you will be using it.

Now that you know how to generate your Payza Referral link and banner code, here are a few ways to use them:

  • Send your Payza referral code to friends and family by email.
  • Share your Payza referral code on social media.
  • Include your Payza referral code in your message board signatures.
  • Place your Payza referral banner on your blog or website.

When someone clicks on your referral link, they will be directed to sign up for a free Payza account. You will receive your reward if your referrals fulfill the following qualifications:

  • They sign up for a Personal or Business account by using your referral link, website’s link code, or Payza banner. (If they sign up through our website, and not by using your link, they will not be added to your referral list.)
  • They transact, that is send or receive, at least $250.00 USD or the equivalent of another currency.

Start earning money in an easy way today by participating in the Payza Referral Program – encourage people to sign up for their free Payza account and earn $5.00 USD for your first 10 referrals and $10 USD for each one after that! When your referrals meet the qualifying rules, you will receive your bonus directly to your Payza account.

If you have taken part in the Payza Referral Program but have not yet received your referral reward, it may be because your referral does not meet the requirements. Please also note that self-referrals and referrals from the same IP address or device ID will not be paid out, which means that your referrals must use a separate device and internet connection than you use. Furthermore, you are not allowed to use your Payza referral code to post spam comments on message boards or in mass unsolicited emails. Abuse of the Payza Referral Program can result in account penalties or account suspension.

For more information about the Payza Referral Program, check out this article in our Reference Center: Payza Referral Program. To learn more about Payza, make sure you subscribe to our blog and follow us on Facebook and Twitter.

Working the Gig Economy: Part 2 – The Benefits for Business

Gig Economy part 2: The Benefits for Business

The gig economy is often advertised as revolutionary for workers – it’s a major opportunity to supplement their income or even become their own boss. What’s harder to define are the many unexpected benefits of the gig economy for employers.

This article is the second of our 3-part series. If you’re a freelancer who works “gigs”, check out: Working the Gig Economy: Part 1 – Modern Work.

What is the Gig Economy?

Defined by TechTarget as “An environment in which temporary positions are common and organizations contract with independent workers for short-term engagements”, the gig economy turns the traditional employer/employee relationship on its head. In some cases, this replaces a reliable permanent workforce with inconsistent temporary labor, but it also allows businesses to engage with high quality talent from all around the world, employ experienced specialists for specific tasks, and cut down on overheads and wasteful busywork.

The movement toward the modern gig economy has, with some exceptions, been a bottom-up development. After the great recession, the workforce had little faith in traditional job security and less loyalty to their primary employers, instead opting for multiple diverse income streams. For numerous reasons (some of which we will go into below), convincing employers that this is a good idea has been a bigger challenge. In this article, we argue that businesses do stand to benefit a great deal from the gig economy and should be open to engaging with non-traditional workers.

Today, non-traditional workers, including independent contractors, on-demand workers and remote workers, already make up to 30 percent of the workforce. In the UK, more than 74% of independent workers have stated a preference for independent work over traditional job security and according to the Freelancing in America 2016 report, 25% of U.S. workers employed in full-time, permanent positions are also moonlighting as independent contractors. In light of the gig economy’s prevalence in today’s digital marketplace, let’s address (and dispel) some of employers’ biggest concerns:

Keeping Track of Remote Workers

At its most pessimistic interpretation, the modern employee’s desire to work from home is thought of as laziness by some old-fashioned employers. Your staff just wants to sleep in, slack off, and have no oversight. But Dell and IBM, early adopters of remote labor, discovered that when they switched from the office building to a distributed team, productivity actually went up. This was made possible by a number of factors:

  • Remote workers have more workplace satisfaction, because their workplace is whatever they want it to be.
  • They are more willing to work outside of the traditional 9 to 5, Monday to Friday schedule.
  • Office management costs and man-hours go down sharply the more of the workforce is distributed.
  • Modern communication platforms designed specifically for distributed teams (such as Slack) allow for a structured workday with open dialogue and scheduled meetings even when teams are spread around the world.
  • When looking for the best candidate for the job, businesses are no longer limited to a hiring pool within commuting distance of the office.

Don’t Fear the Side Gig

When we talk about the gig economy, we tend to focus on freelancers, distributed teams and self-employed people. In reality, the vast majority of gigs are actually performed by people who have traditional, full-time salaried positions and just want to earn a little extra cash on the side. These kinds of side-jobs have historically had a bad rap; many employers see side-gigs as a sign of employee disengagement or lack of loyalty and are concerned that their staff are at risk of being recruited by a competitor.

Employers typically want to protect and retain top talent and, in their minds, the gig economy threatens to lure good workers away in favor of entrepreneurial aspirations and more autonomous work schedules. The risk of that is actually quite slim: a survey from Career Builder found that 71% of workers with side-gigs had no intentions of leaving their full-time job. Encouraging your employees to take on side-gigs can have a great number of benefits:

  • Workers are creatively engaged by side-gigs, increasing their confidence and career satisfaction.
  • New jobs require workers to hone new skills, which will then increase their value to their primary employer.
  • Supplementary income increases the quality of life of the employee at no cost to their primary employer.

Businesses have a great deal to gain from the gig economy. Autonomous, self-driven workers tend to be more creative and take more initiative. Distributed teams empower businesses to engage with the world’s top talent. Temporary labor allows businesses to scale rapidly according to their needs. Remote workers with diversified income save businesses huge amounts in overhead costs, and there are many hidden benefits beyond just these. So if you were concerned about how the gig economy is going to affect your business, we hope we’ve put your worries to rest. Just embrace it!


A Payza Business account makes it easy to complete your payouts with just one click. Send money to employees, freelancers, contractors, affiliates and suppliers, and keep track of your payments with Payza’s detailed Transaction History. Just upload your payroll spreadsheet and send money to anywhere, from a few people to a few hundred, instantly!

Join the millions of businesses and individuals around the world that use the Payza payment platform to supplement their income and to manage their business. Do you have experience with the gig economy? Let other readers know by leaving a comment below.

For more information and to stay up to date with the latest Payza news, be sure to subscribe to the Payza Blog and follow us on Facebook and Twitter.

Working the Gig Economy: Part 1 – Modern Work

Gig Economy Part 1: Modern Work

In today’s digital economy, the traditional employer/employee relationship is disappearing. The overwhelming trend is toward a new gig economydefined by TechTarget as “An environment in which temporary positions are common and organizations contract with independent workers for short-term engagements.” For some, the gig economy has replaced reliable permanent employment with inconsistent temporary labor. For others, it poses a major opportunity to supplement your income or even become your own boss.

Some professions have always included “gigs” as part of the economy. Full-time graphic designers, for example, have been taking jobs on the side for as long as the profession has existed and many people in artistic trades, such as carpentry or interior decorating, begin their careers with gigs while maintaining a full-time job elsewhere.

Today, contract labor has pervaded just about every industry there is. There are many causes for this, including:

  • Mobile workforce: Thanks to the internet, a lot more jobs can be performed remotely, which has caused the link between “job” and “location” to diminish. Employers gain the benefit of hiring the best person for a given job out of a potentially global pool of candidates, and employees gain the flexibility to work from home, travel without missing work, and have more control over their own schedules.
  • Automation: As software and roboticization grow more sophisticated, the total labor required to keep a business running decreases. Many businesses have responded by shifting away from salaried employees in favor of part-time workers and contractors hired to complete specific, temporary tasks.
  • Career satisfaction: The gig economy is also driven by choice. Coming out of the great recession, many people no longer believe in the “job security” promise of salaried employment, instead opting to diversify their income streams. Self-driven work also allows people to pursue career paths that align more closely with their interests and values.

Presently, the average worker does not (yet) participate in the gig economy, however LinkedIn predicts that by the year 2020, 40 percent of American workers will be employed as independent contractors. Gig-based work is now more accessible and navigable than ever, so even those comfortable in their day job can take advantage of the gig economy to supplement their income, build new skills, and explore new career directions.

Jobs in the gig economy can take almost any form. As contract work becomes more common, more and more industries will increasingly be hiring freelancers. There are innumerable ways to categorize and subcategorize the gig economy, but here’s a primer to help you figure out which kind of “gig” is right for you:

Sharing Economy

The age of the app has ushered in what is known as the sharing economy: a subset of the gig economy which refers specifically to offering the use of something you own to others. As the most often publicized form of the gig economy, the sharing economy is exemplified by platforms such as Uber, which allows you to share your vehicle by driving customers to their destinations, and AirBnB, which allows you to share your home or apartment with travelers who need a place to sleep. These services don’t typically require any special skills and are therefore a very popular introduction to the gig economy for people who need some extra cash.

Freelancing

For labor that requires more specialized skills, gigs have always been a big part of the job. Artists, designers, editors, and tradespeople are no strangers to the gig economy, but contemporary platforms such as Upwork, Elance, and TaskRabbit have allowed people with specialized skills, and those searching for workers with those skills, to connect more easily than ever.

Content Producers

The digital age has also made it easier than ever for content producers to monetize their creative passions. Musicians, bloggers, podcasters, and YouTubers now have many tools allowing them to get paid for their content. YouTube, for example, pays popular producers per view, and musicians can sell through Bandcamp and earn royalties through Spotify. Podcasters can sell airtime to advertisers, and bloggers can earn money through affiliate marketing. However, the latest boon to content producers is the success of Patreon: a platform which allows producers to connect with “patrons”. This platform allows fans to commit to a long-term payment plan in exchange for exclusive perks, either by paying on a regular schedule or paying a small amount every time the producer releases a new podcast/video/song/etc. So the content producer gets a more predictable stream of income while the fans get access to unique bonus content and other incentives, a win-win!

Affiliate Marketing

Affiliate marketing is a well-established revenue stream in the digital age. This gig involves an affiliate who promotes the products sold by a business, for example by blogging about them, writing product reviews, or releasing a shopping guide for niche interests, and the affiliate also provides a link for readers to purchase that product. The business then pays the affiliate a commission for every sale they helped to generate, in a commission-based system.

The gig economy has allowed skilled workers around the world to do what they love, increase their income, and free themselves from the nine to five job. If you’re ready to take on that passion project and make money doing it, now is the time!

Do you know that Payza has its own Referral Program? Get your start in the gig economy by helping people sign up for their free Payza Account. Once they reach a certain amount of transactions, you’ll earn $5 USD for your first 10 referrals and $10 USD for every referral after that! Learn how to get started by reading this handy guide: Learn How to Profit from the Payza Referral Program.

Join the millions of businesses and individuals around the world that use the Payza payment platform to supplement their income and to get paid for their gigs. Do you have experience with the gig economy? Let other readers know by leaving a comment below.

For more information and to stay up to date with the latest Payza news, be sure to subscribe to the Payza Blog and follow us on Facebook and Twitter.