Swap Tracker
June Katz

June Katz

143 Articles

I am a crypto enthusiast. I spend most of my time writing or chasing the next cool topic to write about. Lucky for me, this aligns nicely with my interests, which include: looking for patterns in the world around me, digging deep into causes and effects of things and making sense of unlikely coincidences.

Categories

guides, academy, announcements, opinion

Popular Tags

cryptocurrencies, wallets, defi
The Drawbacks of Centralized Crypto Exchanges: Binance Russia Case

The Drawbacks of Centralized Crypto Exchanges: Binance Russia Case

June Katz 4 min read
On April 21, Binance released an official statement according to which it will restrict access to its services for users who live in Russia and have assets worth more than $10 thousand. Such clients will no longer be able to deposit additional funds to their accounts or trade on the exchange. They will only be able to withdraw funds. In March, Binance denied that it was preparing to freeze the accounts of Russians, as this contradicts the concept of the cryptocurrency industry. The company said it was not going to impose restrictions on Russian bidders with the words: "Cryptocurrencies are designed to provide greater financial freedom to people all over the world. A decision to unilaterally ban consumers from accessing their cryptocurrencies would be contrary to what this industry exists for". It is worth saying that in the current situation, cryptocurrency is the only financial instrument that allows Russians to try to protect their savings from inflation. A few weeks ago, the Central Bank of the Russian Federation persistently convinced Russians that the cryptocurrency market is extremely risky for private investors and that the only way to save and increase their savings is through the Russian stock market and the national currency. Such news reminds us that one of the biggest problems of cryptocurrencies at the moment is the centralization of services. Blockchain processing requires a lot of computing resources and time. Therefore, ordinary users who just want to transfer a few coins prefer to use centralized services for this. Most Bitcoin users trust blockchain.info, Ethereum users trust myetherwallet, etc. If these popular wallets are compromised, the funds of a huge number of users will be stolen.. Trust in centralized services leads to the appearance of a single point of failure in cryptocurrencies, allows censorship, and endangers user coins. As another example, we can cite the protests of truckers in Canada, when the court froze the protesters' funds in cryptocurrency for millions of dollars. These events have shown us that the state has leverage to carry out censorship in the sphere of cryptocurrencies, which seemed to many before, was beyond their control. Unfortunately, any centralized financial institution can block access of their clients and users to funds: payment systems, banks, classic or crypto exchanges. The problem with crypto exchanges is that they operate based on issued licenses, they have services that are responsive to the regulator and the competent authorities of the countries that issued the license, up to criminal liability. Therefore, at the request of the regulator, a centralized exchange must restrict access or seize its client's funds. Centralization as solution Centralization is increasingly seen as a solution to problems. A large network is slowly synchronized, so many cryptocurrencies offer to use a limited number of trusted "master nodes", "witnesses", etc. to "solve the problem" of too many nodes in the network. The number of these trusted nodes may be different, but by using this method to solve scalability problems, developers are also destroying the decentralized nature of the blockchain, since the result of this will be the formation of a cryptocurrency with one functioning node that processes transactions very efficiently, without delays, confirmations, and forks, but in this case, the blockchain becomes unnecessary. Today, most users do not understand the technical details, so such centralized blockchains will continue to attract them, because centralized services will always be easier to develop and more convenient for the user. Decentralized Exchanges : an Alternative Decentralized exchanges (English Decentralized Exchanges, or DEX) are an alternative to CEX. Here you don't have to trust your assets to someone else. Unlike traditional CEX, transactions and trades on such platforms are automated using smart contracts and decentralized applications, and DEX acts only as a platform that only connects the buyer with the seller who wants to sell their tokens. DEX cannot be closed by any government and regulators, since no organization is responsible for them. But such decentralization has its price. This is a low trading volume, low liquidity, lower transaction speed, and a poor UI, as a result of which it is more difficult to work with such exchanges. Also, the differences between decentralized and centralized exchanges include the fact that some DEX bet on experienced users. For example, they do not have support services, and they also do not use fiat gateways, unlike CEX. Decentralized exchanges are aimed at more experienced users who work only with their wallets and want to fully control their digital assets. At the same time, they sacrifice other benefits provided by centralized exchanges. This is an easier user experience, a large trading volume, and higher liquidity. Examples of DEX’es are Binance DEX, Uniswap , and SwapSpace . Summary We have already written that although governments can't ban blockchain use they can marginalize it and slow down its growth until the necessary tools for control will appear.  If a few years ago the marginalization of cryptocurrencies was facilitated by its widespread use on the black market and opacity , now users' fears of simply losing access to funds due to belonging to any social group or nationality have been added to this. Of course, the listed risks do not outweigh the convenience of CEX for everyone, but it is important to understand that the original essence of cryptocurrency was that an ordinary user could be outside countries, governments, and banks, so attempts to take it away are very alarming.
Read more ❯
Mining Cryptocurrency on a Phone: How Does It Work?

Mining Cryptocurrency on a Phone: How Does It Work?

June Katz 4 min read
Cryptocurrency is distinguished from fiat money by the absence of a single digital bank and control over transactions and payments. It is stored and maintained in a decentralized manner, that is, on the wallets of millions of users around the world. If the bank is responsible for accounting for ordinary money, then in the case of, for example, Bitcoin , the blockchain is responsible for this, which contains records of all transactions ever made. Miners are rewarded for supporting the network, that is, combining transactions into blocks and calculating the key (hash) for the block. That is, people generate keys and try them until one fits. If earlier it could be done using a regular home PC, now it requires much more power. Mining Bitcoins using the SHA-256 algorithm requires so much performance from the equipment that even the most powerful processors are far from the past. And with the advent of ASIC chips, video cards are slowly starting to lose ground. Nowadays people practically do not let mobile gadgets out of their hands, so despite the growing difficulty of obtaining cryptocurrencies, developers have come up with how to mine crypto on phones. In this regard, the question arises, is it really possible to mine cryptocurrency on a smartphone? In principle, this is possible, although we can only talk about coins that differ significantly from "digital gold" in terms of the characteristics of their production. First of all, we are talking about mining on Android-based CryptoNight algorithm ( derived from CryptoNote). These include Monero (XMR), Bytecoin (BCN), and Digital Note (XDN). You can also try mining currencies such as Dash (DASH), Aeon (AEON), QuazarCoin (QCN), Fantom (FTM), MonetaVerde (MCN), or new little-known coins on your Android phone after they are added to applications. Popular apps for mobile crypto mining MinerGate This miner is a specialized pool that gives a chance to earn some crypto on a PC, tablet or mobile phone. The pool program distributes tasks between participants to combine their computing capabilities into a single network. Mining can be done via Wi-Fi or a mobile network. In the settings, you should set that mining can only be done via Wi-Fi or only when the phone is recharging. It is also possible to set the number of cores used for mining and prohibit operation if the battery charge is low. The device does not heat much during the extraction process. The calculation speed is low. It depends on the power of the smartphone and can vary quite widely, for example, on one (budget) gadget you can get 9 H/s, and on another (more expensive) – 17 H/s. But in any case, this is 10-20 times less than the average hand of a personal computer. You can earn about 10-12 BCN per day — 0.0015 USD. ARM Mineral This is one of the best mining apps for Android/IOS in 2022. Not bolted to a specific pool, very simple interface. In the free version, the user is shown a video advertisement of a binary options resource in full-screen format, it is impossible to disable it. The ad-free version is paid. The mining speed is 2.8 kH/s on 4 cores, 3.2 kH/s on 8 cores. The SHA256 and Scrypt algorithms do not run, the earnings for the rest are too small. At the same time, there is noticeable heating and unstable operation of the device under load. Is it worth it? Before mining on an iPhone or Android, you should ask yourself how appropriate it is to do this. Calculating the hashes of cryptocurrency blocks requires a serious and long-term load on the device, for which smartphones are not designed at all. The fact is that the phones do not have an active cooling system, and passive cooling does not provide a normal heat sink. This leads to rapid wear of the device. It should be noted that all the tests did not take into account the cost of used electrical energy and the wear and tear of equipment. If we take into account these factors, the income from mobile mining will not be comparable with the costs.
Read more ❯
How to Avoid Losing Your Crypto in Cross-Chain Swaps: a Detailed Guide

How to Avoid Losing Your Crypto in Cross-Chain Swaps: a Detailed Guide

June Katz 13 min read
As you must know, there are many types of cryptocurrency operating on different networks and using different protocols. Although bitcoin still dominates the cryptocurrency market, this dominance has been declining in the past few years amid growing interest in DeFi cryptocurrencies and as this happens, the demand for Bitcoin's interaction with DeFi is also growing. The growth of numerous independent blockchain ecosystems with different specifics and geographical niches has led to the fact that the world is becoming more and more multi-blockchain. The ability to freely use the advantages of each of these blockchains and their unique assets within a single application would cause a powerful wave of development of new cross-chain smart contracts - as with the spread of DeFi, NFT , and on-chain gaming economies, when decentralized oracle services for obtaining real data and secure computing outside the blockchain appeared. We could compare the exchange of DeFi and Bitcoin with the exchange of one fiat currency for another, but an analogy would be more accurate, in which one group of people uses Coca-Cola caps for calculations, and the other uses shells, - that's how much the principles of their work differ. What Do Different Blockchain Networks Mean? To understand this difference, we need to touch on the question of how does blockchain work. Blockchain is a continuous chain of blocks that contains all records of transactions.  The chain of blocks is unbreakable since each block contains a link to the previous one. As a result, it is impossible to forge a registry with data on the owners of assets in the blockchain. The addition of new blocks is artificially restricted. If this is not done, the blocks will be added randomly and a reliable sequential chain will not work. For the appearance of a new block to become possible, it must be checked - this is what the miners are doing. First, there was the bitcoin network, with which the cryptocurrency revolution began. ERC-20 ( Ethereum ) network was the next truly big development in this sphere, from which DeFi technology and the use of smart contracts originate. Then other networks using different algorithms appeared. Ethereum uses one blockchain, and Bitcoin uses another, and they are not interconnected. You can't just send tokens between networks. Therefore, to exchange within this exchange pair, you will need other tools and methods Today, there are already dozens or even hundreds of first- and second-level blockchains. Each blockchain is unique in its way and has its advantages and disadvantages. If the world of cryptocurrencies, in which there was only Bitcoin, can be compared with the city where the railway was built, then today there are many types of transport in this city: from bicycles and helicopters to personal cars, trams, and boats.  Each of them has its advantages for the user. At the same time, the user is not obliged to use only a bicycle or a car during the day and has the opportunity to "transfer" between them when he wants. But how? ERC-20 Standard Tokens Before the advent of Ethereum, each token had a separate intelligent contract and, as a result, there were many compliance problems. As a solution for it, a standard protocol ERC-20 (or Ethereum Request For Comments) was created.  The peculiarity of the ERC-20 standard is in several requirements that need to be met to accept a token and its network interaction with other tokens. Assets in the blockchain can be valuable, they can be received and sent, like all cryptocurrencies. The ERC-20 standard is technically easy to apply. This allows specialists to easily develop new tokens. There are a large number of ERC-20 compatible tokens. For example, Maker (MKR), Tether (USB), Fantom (FTM), Dai (DAI), and others. Since any ERC-20 token can be stored in any ETH-compatible wallet, we can switch from one ERC-20 token to another without much risk and difficulties. When transferring Ethereum's assets to an EVM-incompatible chain such as Solana , the bridge connecting the two networks uses two different wallet addresses and token standards. This means that users need to connect a wallet compatible with Ethereum and Solana, such as Meta Mask and Phantom. Other Token Standards There are other technical standards of tokens that serve different purposes: the best-known ones among them are BEP-20, OMNI, and TRC-20, which you will find in the I/O section on a variety of cryptocurrency exchanges. If you transfer an ERC-20 token to the wallet of one of these networks, you will lose it, because when you send it, you will specify a similar address, existing on another network, - as if you came to visit your friend on a street with the same name, but in a different city. Luckily, there are crypto sites that support multiple blockchains, such as Binance or Coinbase. When you deposit or withdraw any of the different blockchain coins, you will be asked to choose the type of network. After entering the wallet address or the recipient's address for withdrawal, Binance will automatically select the network based on the entered address. How to Cross-Chain There are 2 ways to cross-chain exchange: On a Centralized Exchange, like Binance which we've already mentioned , where you can simply exchange bitcoin for ether, Solana for Near, etc. Here large internal pools and algorithms of centralized exchanges are responsible for exchanges. The exchange's developers control these processes, and all this happens nominally on the exchange's wallets, and not in the blockchain itself.  Platforms that provide cross-chain services do not work for free. It is necessary to pay the cost of the operation for the deposit and withdrawal of funds, which is sometimes quite high. In addition, most centralized exchanges (CEX) require KYC procedures (providing copies of documents, photos/videos of the user), which does not always satisfy users.  Decentralized Trading Platforms, such as UniSwap , do not collect personal data about their users, nor do they require complex registration/login procedures. On decentralized platforms, special smart contracts are used to achieve a high level of trust. They allow interaction between different networks and, in case of compliance with the terms of the contract specified by users, to perform automatic exchange (conversion) of assets. However, you need to be prepared for the fact that the exchange pair you need may not be on DEX. When choosing an exchange, it is important to take into account the number of trading pairs. The more of them, the higher the opportunities for trading and investing. To begin with, you need to decide on the choice of an exchange. Then carefully approach the study of trading pairs. It is necessary to work on large platforms with liquid pairs in order to reduce risks. There are also aggregators like SwapSpace , which is designed to make choosing a bit easier by gathering offers from different exchanges in one place. There’s also using blockchain bridges. If we go beyond centralized exchanges into the world of decentralized finance , then, in fact, we go into the blockchain itself. And only bridges will allow you to make a cross whose new exchange is in the blockchain itself. Cross-Chain Bridges Cross-chain solutions, cross-chain bridges, compatibility, or interoperability solutions are a technology that allows you to transfer tokens from one blockchain to another. Blockchains, like islands or individual states, exist in their ecosystems according to their own rules, and initially, the developers did not bother with the standardization and compatibility of networks. With the growing number of projects in the decentralized space, this issue has become acute. The bridge most often refers to the use of managing smart contracts and an oracle service that monitors transactions and listens for events in the managing smart contract. The bridge can be one-way, receiving information via other communication channels . The most important thing is that the bridge is a cryptographic verification of the authenticity of the information. Cross-chain solutions can transfer assets within the same network — from L1 to L2, for example. But bridges do not transfer tokens in the classical sense, - bridges have certain pools of liquidity for pairs of assets. Tokens are blocked in one network and minted again in another For example, to transfer tokens from blockchain A to blockchain B, the bridge temporarily freezes assets in blockchain A (the sender's funds). Then the required tokens are unblocked (minting) in blockchain B (the recipient has access to funds in the addressee blockchain). If the user decides to get his funds back, the reverse process is performed: blockchain B tokens are burned and access to blockchain A tokens is unlocked. You can use various cross-chain bridges. they are built based on burning algorithms (mint-and-burn) or using the process of freezing and reissuing synthetic tokens. It is implied that when a token leaves its blockchain, it is frozen, and at the same time, a synthetic version of this token is released on another platform. Often (but not always) the process is based on the presence of intermediaries (oracles) in the systems to transfer information from one blockchain to another. The burning protocol, as the name suggests, does not freeze, but burns tokens. Cross-chain solutions can be centralized (requiring full trust), federated (federated), and trustless. These characteristics can vary to varying degrees - it all depends on the level of decentralization. Centralized bridges imply full control by any institution/team/company/project. Users transfer their information/funds to the management of the central authority that controls the operation of the blockchain. There is no decentralization, but such solutions are easily and quickly implemented. At the same time, no one guarantees the safety of funds, therefore, this technology does not differ in security. The federated bridge works by analogy with a private blockchain. Nodes must comply with a number of strict rules to become part of the management network and gain control over the movement of tokens. Specialized nodes are called keepers. There are such, for example, in a cross-chain solution between Ethereum and Wanchain . Custodians block tokens in Ethereum and issue tokens in Wanchain. If the user needs to transfer tokens back, he submits a request to the keepers, who send part of the secret key. When a full key is generated, it removes the lock from the tokens. There may be various options for voting mechanisms with partial control. Trustless-bridge is a full-fledged decentralized system that any network participant can join to perform the functions of an agent or validator. He verifies the validity of transactions and receives a commission for it. The Syscoin bridge works according to this algorithm. Nodes here can challenge the work of other agents and report a violation. If the check is successful, then 3 ETH is withdrawn from the violator, but in the opposite case, 3 ETH is lost by the person who reported the violation. Another vivid example of such a bridge is Wormhole, connecting the Solana network and Ethereum. It allows you to convert ERC-20 tokens into native SPL tokens of the Solana blockchain. Examples of cross-chain bridges can be projects such as the AnySwap , BTC Relay, POLKADOT , BLOCKNET, AION , WANCHAIN, etc Advantages of Cross-Chain Bridges Bridges can accelerate the transfer of digital assets in a trustless environment. Interoperability can also contribute to high confidentiality, for example, data is recorded in sidechains accessible only to the parties involved in each specific transaction. Bridges can also provide greater speed and scalability using sharding (segmentation). Individual operations can be recorded in a network segment, while the result of processing a group of operations is recorded in the main registry. Bridges reduce network traffic by distributing between less loaded blockchains, which also contributes to greater scalability. Disadvantages of Cross-Chain Bridges This is still an experimental technology that needs to be honed for mass use. Cross-chain solutions have not yet become sufficiently universal and so far act as a kind of crutches, another add-on, or a level above blockchains, which makes the entire system more cumbersome. Errors and obstacles between the work of various networks are not excluded, because these are complex distributed registries, and not every computer can process such an amount of information. That is, cross-chain bridges are quite resource-intensive, in the sense that they require a lot of human resources and time. There are also questions about security. The more bridges an asset passes, the riskier it becomes, moving further away from the original asset. Since new tokens with new tickers are minted every time they pass through the bridge, this creates inconvenience for users. Now it is necessary to look for a unique approach to each case and each pair of blockchains, and this requires time, money, and serious efforts of developers.
Read more ❯
What Are Stablecoins - And How You Could Use Them

What Are Stablecoins - And How You Could Use Them

June Katz 5 min read
The cryptocurrency market is growing rapidly. The turnover on the exchanges is trillions of dollars. The value of individual digital assets exceeds the value of large companies. Investor interest is increasing. However, the risks remain. One tool for reducing risks is the so-called stablecoins. Their main strength is the same as that of recognized fiat currencies, - relative stability. It is possible to make predictable calculations using them. The most popular stablecoins are: USD Tether (USDT) Binance BUSD (BUSD) True USD (TUSD) Paxos Standard (PAX) USD Coin (USDC) Now there are several types of stablecoins, the most common of which group them by the type of the underlying asset, i.e. the asset to which the cryptocurrency is linked: to fiat money, for example, USDT (Tether, pegged to the dollar) and bitCNY (to the yuan); to goods traded on the stock exchange, for example, precious metals and gas or it could be even crypto-backed stablecoins. What are stablecoins used for? Stablecoins are most often used to fix profits, and to preserve the balance from drawdowns during jumps in the value of the main trading cryptocurrency. Large investors sometimes transfer their profits "overnight" to a stablecoin to continue trading without losses in the morning. In addition to the protective function, this type of digital currency is used for: Everyday transactions Optimized recurrent payments and transfers from card to card Cheap international transfers, for example, for foreign workers Guarding against hyperinflation of the local currency Increasing the speed and quality of cryptocurrency exchanges to reduce dependence on bitcoin . On some exchanges, it is already faster and cheaper to trade through a stablecoin. And it takes time and additional checks to enter fiat money into the system. Also, this type of digital asset allows you to diversify risks: while the price of bitcoin is changing a lot, you can store funds practically in euros or dollars. The presence of stablecoins ensures the trust and acceptance of cryptocurrencies in general. Institutional investors use stablecoins, increasing the turnover of the industry as a whole, and increasing profitability for smaller investors. Plus, the more trust in cryptocurrencies, the easier it is to use them in the real world when buying goods /services. So, which stablecoin will suit you the most depends primarily on your goals. Often people who need to transfer money from one state to another in a quick transit (in a day or two), use Tether (USDT) because it has the best liquidity. The main thing here is not to keep large amounts of money in it for a longer time. For the longer-term storage of a backup crypto cushion for a rainy day, it might be a good choice to collect a diversified portfolio from USDC, BUSD, and DAI . Terra USD (UST) is not a reliable stablecoin for storage. It makes sense to go to it only if you are going to make money on staking. Challenges and risks of stablecoins Despite all the advantages, stablecoins have several risks to be reckoned with. Firstly, not all of them are stable enough, despite the name – new projects appear, but do not always survive. It is reasonable to use well-established stablecoins and gradually diversify into others. Secondly, by linking to other assets, they receive the following risks - the collapse of guaranteeing currency (if linked to it) and legal restrictions: linking to fiat currencies increases not only trust but also the number of requirements for mandatory execution. For example, Facebook decided to launch its cryptocurrency, which is based on different fiat currencies – and got mired in bureaucratic problems. Thirdly, the owner of the stablecoin in most cases is one company with centralized management. In such cases maintaining trust and stability requires constant monitoring, audits, and inspections , as concentrating power in the hands of just a few people makes it easy to abuse . Even the popular Tether at some point (according to rumors) began to offer a larger volume of cryptocurrency than there were real assets. An investigation by the US Department of Justice has begun. To sum up , stablecoins allow payments to be made quickly and at a low cost, which requires effective financial, organizational, and technical conditions. However, in the absence of a proper regulatory system, various risks may appear, which may cause undesirable consequences.
Read more ❯
Crypto ATMs: Withdrawing Your Crypto Gains as Cold Hard Cash

Crypto ATMs: Withdrawing Your Crypto Gains as Cold Hard Cash

June Katz 1 min read
For years, the crypto world has been developing mainly in the digital dimension. But the more widely the cryptocurrency is used, the more urgent the need for tools for cashing out becomes. The crypto ATMs allow people to exchange cash for cryptocurrency or withdraw crypto for cash. Operations are carried out quickly, in addition, they are usually not asked to provide documents — that is, transfers and deposits are anonymous. But there are also disadvantages: usually, the commissions for such operations are quite high. In addition to bitcoin ATMs, there are many machines for buying and selling Litecoin and Ethereum . The largest manufacturers of devices are Genesis Coin and General Bytes. According to the CoinATMRadar service, which also shows the location of devices in different cities, there are more than 36,000 crypto ATMs in the world at the moment. At the same time, almost 90% of the total number falls in the United States. Another 10% is almost entirely distributed between Canada and European countries. Whatever it was, the growth in the number of crypto ATMs is considered one of the indicators of mass adoption of digital assets. After all, the more opportunities there are to buy cryptocurrencies, the more people will eventually find out about them.
Read more ❯
Not a Cryptocurrency Exchange Aggregator Anymore: What’s the Next Step for SwapSpace?

Not a Cryptocurrency Exchange Aggregator Anymore: What’s the Next Step for SwapSpace?

June Katz 2 min read
Hey guys! We’ve been thinking about our future as a company for a while. As you know, crypto is a risky business, often demonized both by the governments and the wider public, with tightening regulations, slow adoption, and an uncertain future. Needless to say, this brings a lot of anxiety to those who choose to stay in this business. This made us think: if working with crypto became such a hassle — or if it’s even on its way out — what is always “in”? What — or who — keeps making us happy in any circumstances? And then it came to us! So, we’ve decided to make a 180 degree turn with our business.  Meet SwapZoo: the animal shelter aggregator ! 700+ species, 17 shelters, no cages: our spirit lives on. Stay with us — and join the worldwide community of animal supporters. Stay tuned and learn how to take proper care of animals, participate in the rescue movement, and more. In the meantime, you can help by using this referral link — we will donate a percentage of our profits from all the transactions made through this link to the Restoring Australia’s Habitats charity foundation. With love (for all the creatures AND you!), SwapZoo team
Read more ❯
Where Is the Crypto World Going: Crypto Censorship Resistance

Where Is the Crypto World Going: Crypto Censorship Resistance

June Katz 2 min read
Financial censorship or cutting off access to the global banking system is one of the most powerful tools that government has to punish their enemies. Whether financial censorship is used for the good cause or not the question is - does a global decentralized monetary system takes this weapon away from authorities? Tendencies For now, a government crackdown on crypto might look quite real: the Biden administration introduces a crypto bill and the Canadian court freezes millions in Convoy protestor funds — including Bitcoin . The situation in Canada also shows us methods of crypto tracing the government already has. Bitcoin may be uncensorable but it's also radically transparent and law enforcement has been remarkably successful at connecting bitcoin addresses to their users. Practice Bitcoin only solves the problem of financial censorship when individuals hold the keys to their own coins. When kept on an exchange the companies in charge maintain custody - just like any other bank.  That means that the government can put pressure on exchanges to freeze the bitcoin accounts which is exactly what happened in Canada where protesters' crypto assets were seized. Without an easy off-ramp into cash, spending the funds became a challenge for protesters. Concerns It should be noted that the anonymity of cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin, Litecoin , Namecoin and others is understood as pseudonymity, in which a single violation of security measures (for example, the purchase of cryptocurrencies through a regular bank transfer) might lead to the disclosure of the owner's identity. Therefore, cryptocurrencies such as Dash and Zerocoin have been developed to enhance anonymity. Although governments can't ban blockchain use they can marginalize it and slow down its growth until the necessary tools for control will appear. The epicenters of the development of cryptocurrencies in the coming years may be some countries where the state and its financial institutions enjoy an extremely low credit of trust among the population.
Read more ❯
How the Crypto Cards Make Lives Easier (With a List of Them)

How the Crypto Cards Make Lives Easier (With a List of Them)

June Katz 1 min read
Spending crypto can be hard in the real life. Thankfully, we're starting to see new products pop up solving that - crypto cards. Today, cryptocurrency users can order and use debit or credit cards to quickly convert crypto assets into fiat currency and buy goods and services online, at points of sale, or to withdraw money from ATMs. Why Use the Crypto Cards But why complicate everything so much and why not just use your regular bank card? The fact is that crypto cards give their users some new features and bonuses. The use of crypto cards can protect you from nasty exchange rates when you're traveling; Some products also offer a virtual card instead of a physical one, making them ideal for online purchases; There's no credit check, so your credit score is not a factor when qualifying for a prepaid debit card; The fewer number of intermediaries, which simplifies and reduces the cost of transactions. Market Offers from Some of the Crypto Market Players  The number of crypto cards presented on the market is constantly increasing. The most popular crypto cards today include: Crypto.com Visa card - 100+ crypto and 20+ fiat currencies. Free to CRO holders. KYC verification is required. Binance Visa card - best card for cashback Coinbase card - no maintenance fees, 4% reward for use in the crypto Gemini credit card - 1-3% crypto rewards which deposit immediately Coinbase credit card - very high safety standards and no maintenance fees Given the fact that PayPal is entering the field of cryptocurrencies, and people’s interest in cryptocurrencies is constantly growing, these products can become much more widespread very soon. Hopefully, this short introduction to the topic will help some of you use your funds more wisely - including those you got through SwapSpace.
Read more ❯
How to Buy Crypto with Fiat Easily at SwapSpace

How to Buy Crypto with Fiat Easily at SwapSpace

June Katz 3 min read
In case you haven’t noticed, SwapSpace does not only collect exchange offers from some of the best crypto-to-crypto exchanges but also allows you to buy crypto with fiat! In this short tutorial, we’ll take you through this process (of course, you can go here yourself and see how easy this is). 1. Choose the Currencies and Amounts Make sure you pick “Buy crypto” in the widget on SwapSpace’s main page. Enter the amount of money you want to spend and choose the currency: Pick the cryptocurrency you want to buy: And click the “View offers” button. 2. Pick an Offer As of now, buying crypto for fiat is available at SwapSpace through our partner Mercuryo*, so you should see their offer on the right-hand side of the screen. Click the “Exchange” button next to the offer. *In the future, we aim to expand the list of our partners, so you will be able to choose the partner that suits you best. 4. Enter the Recipient Wallet and Agree on the Exchange Terms Type in the recipient wallet - the wallet address where you would like to receive your crypto funds after the purchase. Or, alternatively, you can connect your wallet (we support Trezor and Simplehold). After clicking “Next”, you will have to agree with special terms and conditions; please read them carefully and click “Next” again. You've successfully created an exchange! 5. Sign in to Use the Service Sign in with your e-mail address or a phone number. You will get the security code and will be asked to enter it before you can proceed. 6. Complete the KYC If this is your first time using Mercuryo, at this point you may be asked to undergo the KYC procedure. In this case, you will have to complete a couple of additional steps by following the instructions on the screen. Luckily, Mercuryo's team is quite thorough with the instructions, so this process is quick and painless! First, you will be asked to upload a photo of your ID. Then you’re going to provide a picture of yourself. That’s it! While you’re waiting for your data to be checked (which usually takes 5-15 minutes), you can proceed with the transaction. Your money will be safe: the transaction will be complete only when you successfully pass the KYC, otherwise you will get a refund. 7. Transfer Your Funds Select your preferred method of payment. The supported payment methods are Visa, Mastercard, Apple Pay, Google Pay. Choose the one that you prefer, fill in the necessary details and click the button with the fiat sum on it. This will transfer your funds to Mercuryo.  8. Await the Exchange Finalization Wait for the purchase to be processed. You will see the message that your payment has been successfully processed at the end of the exchange. As you see, the process is pretty straightforward - and if you still have any questions after this tutorial, we’re here to help!
Read more ❯
SwapSpace Is Happy to Announce New Design!

SwapSpace Is Happy to Announce New Design!

June Katz 2 min read
Hello, dear SwapSpace users! Some of you might have already noticed some changes to our website, but in case you haven't: we are proud to introduce our new design, which went live last week. Take a look at the most important changes: The new main page became a lot more minimalistic. You don’t have to scroll through so much information anymore — everything you need is right there! The exchange flow is now improved — as you create an exchange and go through the steps, you will notice that the process became smoother and simpler, while presenting information in a well-structured way to help you make a choice. The tutorial on the “ How It Works ” page looks, reads, and feels more up-to-date now. Our “ About ” page is sporting an updated look too — both the content and the visuals have been rehauled to make your browsing experience more enjoyable. We are continually working to improve your experience on SwapSpace — so, while those are the latest changes, they are certainly not the last. We hope you'll keep having a great time with us! Best wishes, SwapSpace team
Read more ❯
Bitcoin Futures Trading And ETFs: What's All the Fuss?

Bitcoin Futures Trading And ETFs: What's All the Fuss?

June Katz 5 min read
Despite the governments around the globe’s growing efforts to bring crypto markets under control, many aspects of them still somewhat resemble the Wild West — what with the play-to-earn games boom, NFT speculation, and other features that are often poorly understood by the officials. However, at the same time, there are some tendencies bringing “traditional” legitimacy to some aspects of the vast cryptocurrency market. One of the signs that Bitcoin , specifically, is getting more and more mature as a currency and as a market is the recent appearance of the Bitcoin futures ETFs. Going Legit: What Are Bitcoin Futures First, let’s take a quick look at what the futures themselves are. In short, they are contracts that obligate the parties to sell and buy the specified asset at some fixed time in the future (at the contract expiration date) for a fixed price. The underlying assets for the futures contracts may be stocks, commodities, etc; in 2017, Bitcoin joined the ranks of such assets. Bitcoin futures have been trading on several exchanges since then, some of them institutionally regulated, like Chicago Mercantile Exchange (CME), and some unregulated, like Binance. In general, the purpose of a futures contract may be to hedge against volatility, to speculate on the prices, or to reduce uncertainly while planning future investments (as the price paid at the expiration is known in advance). Some futures markets allow cash delivery instead of physical one, meaning that the parties don’t have to exchange an underlying asset at the end of the contract, operating with its cash equivalents instead (and in the case of the Bitcoin futures, this means fiat currency). Just like another popular cryptocurrency derivative product, perpetual swaps, futures trading is usually leveraged. This means that the buyer doesn’t pay the whole price of the contract upfront but just a part of it (the rest is put up by the broker, hence “leverage”). This allows the trader to get more profits, compared to the initial payment, if the trade goes well, although the risks are higher too (bad trade may put him or her into debt towards the broker by the contract’s close). Bitcoin Futures Trading: Pros And Cons Bitcoin futures, specifically, have several features that fit this particular asset very well. First of all, as futures don’t require access to the underlying asset itself, the investor can gain exposure to it without getting into Bitcoin trading which sometimes deters institutional investors (and even retail investors are sometimes hesitant to create wallets and learn the nuances of trading crypto itself). Secondly, the futures market is regulated — which, again, is more attractive to institutional investors. Also, there are mechanisms akin to stop-loss in place, which allow the investor to cut their losses. There are also some negatives to watch for. Leverage makes the trading riskier: as the wins are amplified, so are the losses Futures are “not the real thing”: the traders don’t own Bitcoin, just the contracts to buy and sell Futures contract’s value is fixed (you can’t buy a partial contract), and it can be pretty steep. For example, the CME Bitcoin futures price is 5 bitcoin for one futures contract (although it’s in the process of launching micro Bitcoin futures, with the price of 1/10 bitcoin). We Must Go Deeper: Why ETFs There has been a big push towards the crypto ETFs, and in October 2021 the news came: SEC has approved Bitcoin ETF, which is the first for this market. ETF is an exchange-traded fund tracking the price of an underlying asset. In the case of the futures-based Bitcoin ETFs, the price getting tracked is not the current, or spot, Bitcoin price, but, as the name implies, the price of the Bitcoin futures available at the moment. The purpose of Bitcoin ETF is ostensibly to offer exposure to this asset to the traditional investors with more trust in the stock market than the crypto one, who nonetheless are looking for the best crypto to invest in now (as seemingly everybody does). Bitcoin ETF Trading: Pros And Cons ETFs issue shares, and as such allow for more granular trades than the futures contracts. Bitcoin (or, for that matter, any crypto) ETFs are traded on a stock exchange, eliminating the need to either learn specifics of the futures trading or, in the case of Bitcoin, learn the ins and outs of the cryptocurrency trading . On the other hand, there are issues with ETFs. Just a few examples are: Futures-based ETF can underperform the underlying asset, both because of the management and other fees taken from the investments and because of the imperfections in the tracking mechanism. ETFs are traded during market hours, not 24/7. ETFs gains are also subject to more taxes than futures. Considerations And Consequences: Bitcoin Futures Trading And Bitcoin ETF News Trading Bitcoin futures themselves, while may be profitable for the experienced investor familiar with this instrument, is not easy to get right (and expensive!) for a novice. Moreover, it can prove either too risky (if it’s happening on an unregulated platform) or hard to get into (on the regulated futures exchanges requiring setting up an account). On the other hand, it’s easier to start trading Bitcoin futures ETFs, which can be as simple as buying some shares through a Fidelity account. While not necessarily offering as much to gain as futures (and still risky), they can mitigate some investors’ concerns. Combined with the above-board structure of the ETFs, this facilitated strong investor interest: just a month after its launch, the pioneering ProShares Bitcoin ETF (ticker BITO) has more than $1.3bn in exposure, with others — Valkyrie and VanEck Bitcoin ETFs — trailing not far behind. Still, this is not all that the brokers and investors wanted. In 2021, the battle with SEC for the spot, not futures-based Bitcoin ETF approval seems all but lost — but there’s no way this is the end. By the looks of it, though, for this kind of SEC Bitcoin ETF approval, BTC undoubtedly will have to come under the regulator’s gaze even more. Conclusion: What Does It All Tell Us About the Bitcoin Future While the Holy Grail for the traditional trader interested in crypto exposure — a spot-based Bitcoin ETF — is not yet here, the current situation is a big step toward Bitcoin’s wider adoption and legitimization. It’s undeniable now that both institutional and retail investors are taking note of Bitcoin’s market power, despite the general public’s history of distrust toward the cryptocurrency crowd. This also might be opening the doors to other cryptocurrency ETFs and futures to follow. While this is exciting for many, there’s also the opposite opinion: bringing Bitcoin into the big leagues defeats its purpose as a decentralized currency. It does seem ironic that the asset whose whole history started with the words “Chancellor on brink of second bailout for banks” is moving full steam into Wall Street markets. But of course, it might be that Bitcoin trading will bring changes there — and not the other way around.
Read more ❯
El Salvador Adoption of Bitcoin as Legal Tender: Why Is This Exciting and How to Understand It Better

El Salvador Adoption of Bitcoin as Legal Tender: Why Is This Exciting and How to Understand It Better

June Katz 8 min read
For the past few weeks, the crypto world has been abuzz with the news of El Salvador’s official adoption of Bitcoin as legal tender. But why is it such a big deal? Let’s review the regulatory situations concerning digital money, look at why cryptocurrencies are special among them, and in the process find out what makes El Salvador’s case so unique. Types of Digital Money There are many kinds of digital money, many of which differ only in detail. So, for the purposes of this article, they can be roughly divided into three groups: centralized virtual currency, central bank digital currency, and cryptocurrency. Centralized Virtual Currency This is a type of currency that is accepted in some environments, like online game communities. Such currencies have a central authority that has the right to mint them and impose policies — for example, the publisher of the game. Those are not usable in the world outside the community, and there’s no real chance of any government to adopt any of them. Central Bank Digital Currency Central bank digital currency (CBDC) has been widely discussed in several countries for a long time. It’s a fiat currency that’s supposed to be minted digitally, not corresponding with the physical bank reserves but “in parallel” with them. On its face, a digital currency that is accepted as legal tender sounds innocent enough and incredibly convenient, as it’s basically an official endorsement of the touchless payment systems liked by many people already.  However, depending on the country, CBDC can be used as a part of a larger effort to regulate the payments market within its territory. One of the most obvious examples of this is China, whose digital renminbi has been in the works since 2014 and is slated for the country-wide rollout in 2022. At the same time, China has been slowly tightening regulations on cryptocurrencies, banning crypto exchanges, prohibiting financial institutions from dealing with crypto, clamping down on crypto mining. There’s no reason to assume that those regulations will loosen any time soon; if anything, it seems like China is looking to offer its citizens the user experience associated with crypto, but replaced with the CBDC, and drive the crypto community out of the country.  Cryptocurrency Obviously, this is the most interesting (and intriguing) one. After starting out as just a small subgroup of virtual currencies, crypto can be said to have won its unique position among digital money.  As opposed to most virtual money, its use is not limited to one community (even if some opponents claim that the only people using cryptocurrency are criminals and drug lords — we all know it isn’t true). On the other hand, most governments are wary of crypto, and probably rightfully at that, as it’s unregulated (more than that, even if you wanted to regulate it somehow, nobody understands yet how to do it in practice) and can be used to avoid capital control. The cryptocurrency case is a curious one, as it’s been invented with the exact purpose of being a decentralized, non-governmental form of money, but at the same time, crypto developers and users are clamoring for the widespread crypto adoption (and there’s nothing wrong with that, obviously). But the adoption trend contradicts the initial idea of crypto, which is evidenced by the high-profile clashes between the regulators and crypto communities. We will probably see many more of those in the future, although there can always be exceptions.  Regulatory Practices: A Short Overview We have looked at three types of electronic money. Now let’s quickly lay out what people and institutions may or may not be allowed to do with it in general, before talking about what’s being done in reality. Without diving deep into the regulatory waters, we can say that there’s basically a spectrum: the asset (or currency in this case) can be banned outright within a certain country, under the fear of criminal proceedings; it can be fully legal (for currencies — with the status of legal tender); or it can be somewhere in between. A government can ban a class of asset, citing lack of regulation, caring about the citizens, or some traditions prohibiting the use of this asset.  The governments that are open to more nuanced interpretation of the laws may put some partial restrictions, for example, on banking or use as a payment tool, or just discourage the use of an asset without passing formal regulations. Others can allow any use of an asset in the private sphere, while not wanting anything to do with it in public and governmental affairs. And on the extreme end of this spectrum is full adoption of an asset class with the full backing of the government. We mentioned the status of legal tender several times here, so to give a quick definition — to be legal tender means for a currency to be accepted in the settlement, or tender, for all debts within the country. This means that the government fully supports the currency, and because of it it’s usually widely accepted by various institutions and merchants. This is why being legal tender is a big deal. The State of Digital Money Regulation in 2021 In practice, the discussion about the digital money regulatory status can be reduced to the question concerning only cryptocurrencies. As any centralized virtual money existing now is essentially private, it’s obvious that it’s not going to enjoy full legal status anytime soon. Virtual money is not banned in most countries (with some exceptions like Algeria and Morocco, where any form of it is illegal), but at the same time, it’s not accepted outside of its community of origin. Central bank digital currency, as opposed to virtual money, is basically obligated to have a full legal tender status, because anything less defeats its purpose. Cryptocurrency regulation, until very recently, could fall on any point of the spectrum described in the previous section — except being backed by the government. Crypto has been banned fully (like, for example, in Egypt, Bolivia, or Nepal), legal (like in the US, Australia, and most of the EU), or partially regulated, taxed, etc. all around the globe. But only in 2021 it became adopted as legal tender for the first time, in El Salvador. So, What’s the Deal with the El Salvador Bitcoin Law? El Salvador is a small Central American country without its own fiat currency, choosing to use the US dollars instead. This has some consequences for the economy: for example, simply put, the El Salvador government has too much debt and too few reserves — not a good situation for the government to be in. To fix the economy somewhat, El Salvador needs to attract new investors. Many El Salvadorians live and work abroad and send remittances to their families, which is good for the economy, but this process is usually slow and difficult; besides, much of the population is unbanked.  These considerations, among others, led El Salvador’s government to propose officially adopting Bitcoin. This, they argued, would revitalize the economy, bringing the new investments and allowing unbanked citizens to manage, send and spend their money more efficiently. In June 2021, El Salvador President Nayib Bukele put the cryptocurrency adoption law through Congress, and on Tuesday, September 7, it went into effect.  The Bitcoin adoption in this country is surrounded by controversy. For example, El Salvador Bitcoin wallet Chivo, officially endorsed by Bukele, has some corrupt officials on its management team, not to mention the accusations of the El Salvador President of being corrupt himself — or, at the very least, a populist. Many people felt the crypto volatility as well — new Chivo owners in El Salvador received $30 in Bitcoin on signup, only to see it lose more than 15% of its value in one day. These and many other “hiccups” led to El Salvadorans protesting Bitcoin adoption and Bukele personally. One of the biggest protests happened on September 15, when El Salvador is celebrating its independence from Spain. Despite the somewhat botched execution in this case, it doesn’t seem to be fair to summarily reject the idea of the governmental adoption of crypto. Other countries have been carefully expressing their interest in following El Salvador’s suit — although, hopefully, if they do, they will learn from each other’s mistakes. Besides, the El Salvadoran story itself is far from over right now, and the potential good effects of Bitcoin adoption, noted at the beginning of the discussion, may still be realized. So, it seems like we need to watch the situation some more to decide whether it’s going to be a net positive. Final Thoughts El Salvador Bitcoin adoption move, while controversial, is also inspiring. The issues we touched upon in this article show that currently, among all digital currencies, crypto is the biggest headache for regulators all over — but for many people, it’s exciting to see what happens next in this new world. The crypto adoption does seem like the final frontier for now, doesn’t it? We will write more about this topic, as the stories unfold — so stay tuned. 
Read more ❯