Future of Bitcoin or How to buy Bitcoins locally

Future of Bitcoin

The future of Bitcoin or crypto-currencies in general are now largely left to Governments and Central Banks to decide and steer. Otherwise technologically it has proven to be an effective medium of exchange that has certain advantages over the current fiat money and services built around them.

Bitcoin’s Advantage

Bitcoin has particularly major advantage over the current international money remittance services, such as Western Union, MoneyGram or traditional Bank Wire Transfers, which normally charge up to 15% service fee. As for Bitcoin, sending and receiving bitcoins is free and almost instant.

Another area where Bitcoin has clear advantage is, over online payment gateways. Usually eCommerce sites use 3rd party payment processing systems like PayPal, WorldPay, 2Checkout and other Credit Card processing systems. These services normally take a cut from each transaction that happen on eCommerce sites. With the implementation of Bitcoin as the payment option, eCommerce sites could reduce their reliance on 3rd party payment processing systems and increase their revenue margin. Since, using Bitcoin would mean “no more incurring transaction fees” for each transaction.

Bitcoin Regulation

On the other hand, since Bitcoin is not governed by any Government or Central Bank, Governments have been quite worried on the possible misuse of Bitcoins; particularly in the areas of money laundering, buying and selling of illegal things etc.

So far, governments are struggling to set a direction for Bitcoin. Singapore government has stated that it’s not going to interfere with Bitcoin usage for the time being. On the other hand, China has taken a stricter approach by restricting the definition of Bitcoin as “commodity” rather than “currency”, and banning the usage of Bitcoins as payment options online. As for Swiss parliament, they are going to vote on treating Bitcoin as a foreign currency sometime next year. Other governments have taken the “wait and see” approach for the time being.

So, yes, a lot of uncertainty out there for Bitcoin. And each of these news from Governments and Central Banks have been adding more volatility to the already volatile Bitcoin prices.

How to buy Bitcoins in your Country

Startups in some countries have been more active than others when it comes to building Bitcoin related businesses, particularly exchange platforms for buying and selling Bitcoins. Following is a list of such platforms that allow you to buy and sell Bitcoins with your local bank accounts. Continue reading

Rise of the Crypto-Coins

Bitcoin’s popularity has resulted in dozens of other similar crypto-coins (currencies). CoinMarketCap, a website that tracks these crypto-currencies lists some 43 of them at the moment, new ones are regularly added.

Bitcoin’s price has surged from just $17 earlier this year to over $1100 at the moment, all just within the span of 12 months. This confidence in bitcoin as the possible boundary-less currency for the future, has also affected the prices of other crypto-currencies. Most of them has seen a double digit growth in their prices for the past few months (if you don’t take into account the daily high volatility that they experience).

While it’s relatively easy to buy bitcoins now from sites like mtgox, btc-e and VirWox etc (here is a full list), it’s not very straightforward to buy the less established coins like litecoin, which has the 2nd largest market capitalization at the moment. Litecoin is being likened to “silver” by its supporters, while they consider bitcoin as “gold”. Continue reading

Buying Twitter Shares Today?

In few hours, Twitter will be going public on the New York Stock Exchange. Its IPO price is set at $26 per share, which will value twitter at about $14 bil. It will be a historic moment for this 7 year old company that revolutionized social media and how people communicate and disseminate information online.

How does it fare with other tech companies:

  • Google – $1021 per share
  • Apple – $520 per share
  • LinkedIn – $220 per share
  • Facebook – $49 per share
  • Twitter – $26 per share

Here is an interesting chart that shows how much money you would have made if you had invested $1,000 when they were going public.


Source: statista

There are few online platforms that allow you to buy CFDs on shares of Twitter, such as Plus500, eToro, fxprimus etc.

Will you be buying CFDs on shares of Twitter?

Update: 08-Nov-13: Twitter shares closed at $45 yesterday, which brought ROI of 73.15%. Not bad at all, huh?

Warning: Please note that your capital may be at risk.

How to Watch Netflix and Hulu Outside of US

Netflix and Hulu are popular VOD (Video On Demand) services in the United States. Unfortunately it takes ages for these services to come to countries like Malaysia. Spotify took more than a year after it launched its services in the US in July 2011.

Luckily, with little bit of tweaks here and there, you can watch these US restricted services anywhere in the world. In this post, I will cover how this can be done. You don’t have to be technical person to do this.

1. Get a VPN (Virtual Private Network)

What this means is that, you connect to a server that is based in the US, and all your connections to sites like Netflix and Hulu and the internet in general will be treated as if your computer is located in the US. That is because, you will be connecting to internet via the US server and not directly from your own computer which has a Malaysian IP address for example.

Free vs Paid VPNs

There are a lot of free VPNs out there. However you need to be cautious when you are using these free services. Because you wouldn’t know if they are really secure and private as they claim to be. Or some of the services could be setup with a malicious intent – that is to steal people’s data. For this reason, while you are connected to VPN, never ever do online banking or check your emails or login to Facebook etc. Especially, when you are using the free services.

Another disadvantage of the free VPN services, since they are free, many people will be using them. Therefore, the connection might not be very stable as the bandwidth gets clogged and connection might get disconnected often. This will definitely spoil your Netflix experience.

Below we will cover three types of VPNs; Continue reading

Guestblog at Digitals.me

My friend Ganee has a new project called Digital SME. It’s an online magazine targeting SMEs (Small and Medium Enterprises) in Malaysia. The project is in Bahasa Malaysia. The project’s aim is to become a leading resources site for helping SMEs in the field of online marketing and advertising.

To support him in his initiative, I have guest blogged on the platform “Important tips to consider before setting up your company website“. Thanks for Ganee for his translation to BM.

If you are a startup or traditional SME in Malaysia that would like to learn more about online marketing, do check out Digital SME. And good luck to Ganee with his project!

Website: http://www.digitals.me

How to Backup All Your Instagram Photos

In light of the latest brouhaha over the Instagram Terms of Service, this might be a good time for you to back up all your Instagram photos. Just to be safe, you know!

Below I will address two ways to backup your Instagram pictures; 1 – your existing Instagram pictures and
2 – a way to auto-backup all your future Instagram pictures as well.

Backing up all your existing Instagram photos

Instaport is a great way to backup all your existing Instagram photos. It’s very simple to use, all you need to do is to connect using your instagram login and all your Instagram pictures will be zipped and ready for you to download.

Website: http://web2.instaport.me

How to auto backup all your future Instagram Pictures

Using two great tools, IFTTT and Dropbox, you can auto backup all your future Instagram photos to your Dropbox as they are posted by you in your Instagram account. I have previously blogged about ifttt here. Continue reading

Efficient Way to Consume Content on the Web

For the past few months this is how I consume the content on the web and mobile, I primarily use this method to read longer blog posts and articles. I also use it to save articles so that I can read them later.

What’s the current problem?

You would ask “what’s the current problem that it requires this kind of solution?”. Well, the current problem is that there are many great blogs and websites on the web that are simply difficult to read. This could be due to many reasons. Here are some of them:

  • using small font sizes for the content
  • using dark backgrounds behind the content
  • using difficult to read font-styles
  • blog layout is not user-friendly
  • too many ads on the blog
  • etc etc.

The Solution

Solution is a product called Readability that works with your web browsers, smartphones and tablets. Here is how it works.

1. You sign up for an account with Readability and drag the browser bookmarklets to your browser’s toolbar. Bookmarklet works with all the major web browsers. (You can also install Google Chrome extensions)

2. And when you are browsing the web and come across a good blog post or an article that you would like to read..

3. You just press the bookmarklet and it will send that particular page to your Readability account. Google Chrome extension gives you few options when you press the button; Read Now, Read Later, and Send to Kindle. Continue reading

Tweet links to your Delicious.com account

Problem

Often times I come across a great resource on the web and I want to bookmark it. I usually use Delicious.com to save and manage all my bookmarks. However, sometimes when I’m browsing the web via mobile, I can’t really save the links to my Delicious account, especially when I’m using a specific app, so normally I will do one of the following:

  1. Send the link to myself via email, so that I can bookmark it later when I check my mail on my notebook.
  2. Send to Readability app, if it’s something I want to read later.
  3. Tweet the link (if it is something that will benefit my twitter followers) so that I can favorite it and it will be thus bookmarked on my Favorites list. Yes, I use Twitter’s Favorites list as my bookmark page :) That’s why I suggested to @twitter to do something about it.

The Solution

Luckily there is a solution from Delicious’ side that they have introduced few months back. Basically what it does is that, it connects to your Twitter account via oAuth, and pulls all the tweets with hashtags #d. You can also select few other options, such as pulling all favorited tweets etc.

To set this up, login to your Delicious account and go to Settings > Continue reading

Education 3.0 – New Way of Learning [updated]

I really like the latest developments in the online education/learning field. Some of the startups are really creative and changing the traditional boring means to learn with more fun, gamified, self-learning online resources. On these sites, you will not only be able to learn, but also contribute to the community if you are good in certain subject fields. This is a great way to harness the benefits of crowdsourcing.

Below, you will find some of these websites:

Code Academy

Codecademy is an interactive and fun way to learn coding. By asking you to type set of words and answers to questions, it will involve you in a two-way communication. By the time you realize, you will be coding and understanding the concepts of object oriented programming. It also employs social elements to the site, so that you can learn together with your friends.

Website: http://www.codecademy.com

code academy

Khan Academy

Khan Academy has a huge collection of 2700+ free videos. And it’s a work of one man, Salman Khan. What started of as a casual online tutoring sessions for his relative’s kids, turned out to be one of the largest non-profit educational organizations in the world.

He has MBA from Harvard, he has three degrees from MIT: a BS in math and a BS and a master’s in electrical engineering and computer science. His website is mainly popular for his maths videos, which are easy to understand and appealing to school kids. You can read more on Khan’s story at the following sites; Money.CNN, Wired, and SiliconPrairieNews.

Website: http://www.khanacademy.org

khan academy

TreeHouse

Treehouse is a fairly new website that concentrates on providing instructional videos on Web Design, Web Development and iOS Development. As a part of its teaching method, it uses ‘badges’ similar to what FourSquare does, you will get a badge for answering questions correctly. Continue reading

IFTTT – Automate the obvious

Ifttt (if this then that) is one of my favorite online tools. It’s a free automation tool for popular online tools and services. It can do a lot of stuff, below screenshot should give you some ideas on what it can do. These are some of the ready ‘recipes’ that you can use right away.

ifttt if this then that

But you can also do a lot of custom recipes of your own. If you like Google Alerts you will love Ifttt, because it can do a lot more than Google Alerts.

Website: Ifttt.com