Recent events have caused me to remain inactive and unable to keep my blog posts coming. Pakistan has recently seen good interest in bitcoin and blockchain. So much so that urdubit Pakistans First and only bitcoin trading platform was awarded UBL Innovation Award in Fintech Category at P@sha Annual 2016 awards. Followed by this announcement the company Blockchain Tech(parent company of urdubit) sold 40% of shares to Planet N who plan to collaboratively lead the blockchain development in Pakistan.
As recently as 2 months ago. Blockchain Tech (pvt) Ltd signed a MOU with IBM to collaborate on POC over blockchain based products. The idea is to bring use cases to Pakistan which will improve security in current setups and at the same time bring transparency to the systems.
With people now realizing the potential that bitcoin brings, the demand has grown tremendously. This can be seen by the growing trading volumes of bitcoin in Pakistan on localbitcoins and urdubit . We seen the avg increase to about 60% over a period of just 2 months. This has also increased as new investors now want to take part in trading bitcoin as a commodity. The price increase of btc over recent months from $900 to $1136 (as of this writing), while touching $1295 has also sparked interest in the general populations.
At this stage I would like to re emphasize the fact that bitcoin is still a high volatile market, while the potential as a technology remains limitless it is still a risky investment with a high rate of return. We have recently seen forbes, Washington post, bbc all cover bitcoin as it had reached price parity with gold where 1 oz of gold was equal to 1 bitcoin. The upcoming Winklewoss twins ETF fund is also playing an important factor in price increase. This fund named COIN will be regulated under SEC. If the offering is accepted we should see a heavy injection from new users into crypto currency. The expected date is March 13th, if the fund is not rejected by then then it will most likely go through.
So often we are contacted regarding mining. The concept of mining is something that interests many. Bitcoin was envisioned as a decentralised peer to peer protocol that would allow transfer of value over the internet. A fair way to pay people was to devise a method to reward those that helped support and secure the network. The idea was to allow anyone with a pc to mine btc by simply providing hashing power to the bitcoin network.
Over time we have seen the race to mine the bitcoins get harder and harder. While the network continues to become strong, the idea of mining for a common man is long gone. The current pools and centralized mining centers have drifted the power of mining in favor of countries with cheap power. The fact that even the bitcoin blockchain now sits at 74GB with roughly 15gb of data transferred within 24 hour has made it very difficult for your everyday Joe to run a bitcoin node.
I would like to suggest people who do often call inquiring about mining to understand the concept first. Mining is not free money. You are basically securing the network mining. Hence it requires enormousness amount of electricity. The AISC miners specifically designed to mine bitcoin are now running at speeds of 14ths with 1.3 kwh electricity consumption and yet you will hardly make 0.5 btc at the time of this writing and it will decrease over time. Remember there are only 21 million bitcoins out of which about 12 million have already been mined. So basically you are entering into a race to mine the balance bitcoins while the blocks become harder to mine. The rewards on AISC’s have also decreased over time due this same reason. I would strongly suggest everyone who is still interested in this to first google bitcoin calculator and see if it will even be feasible for him over a period of 1 year before trying to get into mining.
Alternately people are now looking into GPU mining and mining altcoins such as ethereum and etherum classic. In either case the problem still persists of having cheaper power to run GPU’s. If you look back through this blog I have written a tutorial on how to mine with cpu, the same concept can be used to mine with GPU, however instead of using the cpu miner software you have to look for gpu miners such as cgminer etc.
Bitcoin has been rising from USA to China to Pakistan. People are now beginning to realize its potential. Bitcoin is predicted to become a reserve currency(7th) by 2030 if the current trends continue. However I view bitcoin as the one and only true reserve currency. We have to understand that bitcoin is the only one of its kind from the other list of fiat dominated currencies that can truly be accepted anywhere and by anyone for anything. These options are further developed with the advent of OpenBaazar type services also.
Realization of the potential of a free economy has seen price of bitcoin rise steadily. in addition to this we now see the companies like steam even starting to accept bitcoin. For 3rd world countries its an even better opportunity as capital controls and strict banking requirements make it difficult to have access to proper credit card or debit card services. It makes it easier for people to use bitcoin as a sort of a prepaid system of making payments.
Today Japan is debating on accepting bitcoin as a proper currency which can be a huge step and a leg up on the competition. Bitcoin has caused a rise in the fintech revolution and no country wants to really ban it. They realize that the potential is there and they see that is bound to happen. How long will it take for true realizing is only a matter of time.
Since the unleashing of the bitcoin code onto the world as an open source digital asset, many have tried to fork the code and do much more with the with the underlining technology known as blockchain. While many have simply forked and the SHA256 algorithm with competing products based on other algorithms such as scrypt nscrypt and now dagger.
Ethereum creator Vitalik Buterin envisioned a sort of a programmable blockchain. Based on smart contracts its a very powerful tool. In this Article I will try to cover the basics of ethereum so that you get clear picture of what it is and why its important. I think the best words of what ethereum is are on its website “Ethereum is a decentralized platform that runs smart contracts: applications that run exactly as programmed without any possibility of downtime, censorship, fraud or third party interference.” Similar to bitcoin blockchain the ethereum blockchain requires ether to make or setup contracts and build decentralized apps based on those contracts. It is important to note that ether or ehterium being used directly will be very costly, but using it as contract based setup makes it cheap, fast, secure and unstoppable.
Mining ether is one topic being googled alot recently since it has risen in price while bitcoin price has fallen of a bit. This is even more visible when the rates of bitcoins start to rise we see the fall of price in eth or ether the fuel of ethereum blockchain. Mining is done through a program called geth which is a communicator between ether network and your system. Block generation time is very small so mining is not that difficult since there are no ASICs available for this algorithm you can look into mining it with cpu or gpu. A full tutorial on how to mine eth the fuel of ethereum can be found here.
Is ethereum the new bitcoin, most certainly not. Its a reprogrammable blockchain which can be used with contracts based programming to improve and build decentralized apps with incentives.
When I got into bitcoin and started getting deeper into why its so important. I met by Partner and we would and still do have heated discussions on the importance of crypto currencies or altcoins as we would like to call them. I am more of a one currency for the world type of fan, where as my partner is more into blockchain its developments and derivatives. It brings into aspect how much we love what we do and it keeps us both on our toes to understand the eco system that is building around us. Its fun to be able to just sit daily and talk about the possibilities that come forth because we both are crypto enthusiasts in general.
We often discuses how one coin maybe better then the other or not. The pros and cons while I am looking to it from general business stand point, he looks at it more towards possible potential of the design that the coin follows. We both might be wrong but it does bring out interesting arguments. One such argument when we met early was on altcoins such as dashcoin, doge and litecoin where I pointed out (this was back in 2014) that xrp or ripple will eventually become the second largest currency and give bitcoin a run for its money. While I still believe that btc is here to stay as xrp is now becoming the poster child for closed source coins with stellar also created by the co-founder of ripple is in close for second. From finance stand point of view it was obvious back then that when the banks start realizing bitcoin and its truly remarkable concept they will opt to fight it and at the heart of that xrp or ripple will emerge, as not only will it the closed source the banks will be able to control the infrastructure while still keeping tap on whats happening.
Today we see 10 of the largest 50 banks of the world in support of xrp and recently published news that Standard Chartered is testing it, right after western union news that they were also testing ripple to bring credibility to it.
I am still of the view that bitcoin will lead the way since it was presented as a decentralized distributed ledger to the world which could only be controlled on consensus rather then an entity, xrp will be used more as a poster child to replace the old technology that is running at the hearts of the banks called “swift” and outdated systems.
I will be covering details on how to use urdubit in video tutorials here in this blog post. Hopefully all your questions will be answered here. If you do however have any questions please register and ask in the comments section. Also share this article so that people can learn about bitcoin in Pakistan.
User Created Video (Updated)
My Video 1
Verification on urdubit is an important setup and we wont allow you to deposit or withdraw pkr unless you are verified. Like all international trading platforms we want our countrymen to be safe and secure hence we follow standard KYC/AML procedures to ensure that you are really you. So lets get this part out of the way so you can start buying or selling bitcoins.
Video Part 2
Video Part 3:
This is a detailed video of how to buy and sell bitcoin bitcoin in Pakistan. Most people have this problem as there was no trading platform before this. Rest assure this was very secure and you will have fun if you use it once or twice.
In 2015 we saw numerous banks turning to blockchain the underlining technology of bitcoin to drive customer base away from btc and improve their own system in the process. An example was laid out where it was stated that Bank Of America alone uses more electricity then the entire bitcoin network combined. It was popular believe that the “beauty of bitcoin lies in blockchain”, I for one was sold on this. But the more you understand bitcoin the more you realize thats not the case, and the more you fall in love with the whole concept of bitcoin.
Many might disagree with me on this statement. While I am not saying that blockchain and bitcoin are revolutionary, all I am saying is that its not just the tech that makes bitcoin or btc special, its the underlining principle of the bitcoin that makes it the most disruptive tech in the fintech space.
The idea as purposed by satoshi nakamoto was loosely based on on torrent software where you would share your bitcoin via peer to peer system where you would not require central auditing or confirming authority. Now lets think about this for a minute. Decentralization and the open source nature of bitcoin is what make it so special. An example is the recent development disagreement by the core developers where 2 developers purposed a fork of bitcoin XT. That saw the prices of bitcoin plunge to lows of around $150. While many thought that proposal was destroying bitcoin, I believed it was making btc stronger by displaying that no one has control over bitcoin. In the end it will be the people who will decide what is good for the network and not any one entity.
The banking sector was of the belief that its the blockchain tech that drives bitcoin, and without understanding the true nature of why decentralization is important they jumped on the blockchain wagon releasing their own chains and coins in the process. I think bitcoin and banks can live in harmony, how you may ask is very hard to answer. For one I think banks can use bitcoin as a settlement product within their networks. Think of bitcoin as Mastercard or Visacard. When the concept was brought forward banks went a head started incorporating these into their systems rather then coming up with their own individual cards. There is alot to cover of how btc and bank can live in peace then this one article, but the idea can be be implemented in ways that banks haven’t imagined yet. I think time will only improve our understanding of what bitcoin is and how it will shape the future of fintech.
Idea of online earning is not an old one. We have seen many websites launched that are now selling “adpacks” or “advertisement upgrades” promising you to earn by working online. While there are many of these that make you invest upfront there are few that are completely free. The reason I wanted to write about this is because many people call us and ask how do we make money online.
Earning online, or earning bitcoin or btc is not a simple task. I tell people you have to work hard and the best way to earn especially bitcoins in Pakistan is to go to sites like fiver or my personal favorite xbtfreelancer (well they pay in bitcoin ;)) is the way to go. These are freelancing websites that offer you payments for your skills. Pakistan is now the 3rd largest freelancing producer in the world. And with recent news coming out about how freelancers are working to earn online in Pakistan the standings will only improve while providing job opportunities.
To add to this I have seen many people who do not have the skill set to work on these sites or find it very hard to compete against the set players in the field. For the later (while I dont promote these often I am telling people about this so they can give them a try) I suggest looking to something called ads viewing or clicking. These websites are pretty straight forward all you have to do is signup click on view ads or my advertisements and just click on ads and watch the ad for a few seconds. The ad window should be active for getting credited for the ad. These sites pay in multitude of payment methods with bitcoin being one of them. I would strongly suggest against buying any sort of upgrades etc from these websites and I dont run any of them. I have just been testing out a few sites such as ads4btc (video)and adfiver. You can also go on something like ifaucet and earn through faucets.
Please take note that I dont own or know about these websites. But I am testing these out just to let people know if they actually payout. I also recommend that dont buy and upgrades from these sites instead there are many sites offering this free and you can simply signup on multiple sites rather then buying adpacks or upgrades etc.
Most people get into bitcoin due to making a quick buck by mining. Once they do however get in they realize that the beauty of bitcoin lies in its theory of what Satoshi Nakamoto presented. The idea was decentralization of digital assets or money or currency. While recently everyone is talking about the technology that is blockchain they fail to realize that its not the blockchain or bitcoin itself that made it famous, it was the underlining principle that your funds should really mean that they belong to you.
Fast forward today and we see most people trying to setup mining farms or make it big by trading bitcoin and crypto currencies. While I believe that bitcoin exchanges have made a big impact and are helping it move forward and making it available for the masses, we still tend to lag in actually utilizing bitcoin the way it was intended. Bitcoin was suppose to bridge the gap between third party holding your funds and charging you for utilizing them to a complete peer to peer system. I believe if we are to move forward it is very important to utilize bitcoins for buying and selling and creating opportunity to use bitcoins everywhere.
Now the question comes to mind is what I can do other then store it for value or use them as a safe guard against what recently happened in Greece? Well you can do alot now. Big name companies have begun to accept bitcoins as a payments. The reason behind this is simple its cheaper to accept bitcoins then credit cards, with no chargeback issues plus a low fee of 0.0001 btc it makes sense for people to accept and pay in bitcoins. Services such as Dell, Microsoft, Vultr(a VPS service), namescheap(domain and hosting services), expedia(hotel, ariline and local transport), cheapair(airline tickets) and topup24 (buy mobile prepaid credit) makes it easy for anyone around the world to utilize bitcoins.
Sitting in Pakistan where credit card acceptance may be one of the lowest in the world we see bitcoins as gateway. The general population of Pakistan is below poverty level and hence doesnt really have access to the international gateways like most countries do. Bitcoin can be a bright light at the end of the tunnel, donations, payments, remittance can be utilized to the micro level bitcoins. And now you also have a place to utilize your bitcoins not just trade them at trading exchanges. But if you are just old fashioned and still want to trade bitcoins for profit you can always join us at Urdubit.
On ending note, Start using bitcoins like they were meant to 😉
I will continue to blog here and post articles. I will try to move along this website teaching people how to utilize bitcoin. As such the news tidbits will now be updated at our new initiative http://pk.newsbtc.com where we will cover all bitcoin related happenings in Pakistan. Including but not limited to price analysis of major crypto currencies. We will be moving forward that direction and would like everyone to share the articles on that site so that we can move forward. I will also cover how to buy and sell bitcoin in Pakistan.