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New Freelancing Platform Supports 12 Different Cryptocurrencies

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There’s a new freelancing platform called Freelance for Coins that provides users with the ability to publish offers and bids for cryptocurrencies. In order to help facilitate deals between users, the service not only allows people to publish their bids and offers, but also provides them with a messenger for chatting. It also enables crypto invoices for coins like BTC, BCH, ETH, XMR, and a few stablecoins.
Also read: Crypto Exchange Circle Partners With Financial Surveillance Provider Nice Actimize
Freelance for Coins Offers a Free Service for Professionals Interested in Crypto Payments
Cryptocurrencies are a great way for freelancers to get paid online because people can get paid immediately, there are no chargebacks, and the funds can be sent in a permissionless manner. A new service called Freelance for Coins aims to promote the use of digital assets and freelance work by enabling users to place offers and bids for freelance services. The platform has been operating for about a week now.
Posting a project on Freelance for Coins.
“I am proud to introduce you to our new project,” explained the founder of Freelance for Coins during the launch. “All freelance work for cryptocurrencies — Currently there are no platform fees — Guaranteed payment for freelancers.”
The founder added:
Freelance for Coins aims to help solve problems skilled workers face in order to create a more efficient global job market, reducing the friction experienced in the present-day freelancing process.
Offer list has services like writing, website creation, social media marketing, web scraping services, and translations.
Invoices for 12 Cryptocurrencies
Signing up for the service is intuitive and only requires an email address and password. At the moment there are a bunch of offers from freelancers on the main feed offering services for things like Python development, writing, website creation, social media marketing, web scraping services, and translations. Offers show a description of the service offered and a starting price. Below the description, there is a “buy this offer” button which leads to a message area where users can conduct a deal in a peer-to-peer fashion. After the two parties reach an agreed price, an invoice can be created in the message center for cryptocurrencies BTC, TUSD, ETH, BCH, EOS, LTC, USDC, USDT, XLM, TRX, DASH, and XMR.
Freelance for Coins messaging.
Freelance for Coins also has a roadmap, and during its first week, the developer integrated the following features: the ability to publish and edit projects, bidding for projects, bidding for offers, chat services for offers and bids, and crypto invoices. The project’s founder also plans to add a rating and review system, anonymous feedback, social profile integration (Linkedin, Github, Reddit, etc.), and automatic detection of transactions.
Freelance for Coins provides invoicing for 12 cryptocurrencies.
Despite the Bear Market, Freelancers Are Offering Services for Crypto
“We believe that every freelancer in the future will have had at least one project done for crypto and every year cryptocurrency adoption grows with no stopping in sight,” explains a Freelance for Coins blog post. “We plan to take it slowly and attract users and earn their trust over time, adding new features and making this site more and more usable every day.”
For now, the service is free but the Freelance for Coins roadmap says that it may add an escrow service for 1-2% commission but the startup recommends using pre-payment and milestone payments for now. This week the platform’s developer also added categories for offers so people can filter for kinds of services they are looking for. The founder of the freelance application updated the community on Feb. 27 and the service has managed to capture a slew of freelancers.
“Despite the bear market in crypto, many people are very willing to offer their services for crypto,” the founder detailed.
What do you think about the Freelance for Coins platform? Let us know what you think about this subject in the comments section below.
Disclaimer: Readers should do their own due diligence before taking any actions related to the mentioned companies or any of its affiliates or services. Bitcoin.com and the author are not responsible, directly or indirectly, for any damage or loss caused or alleged to be caused by or in connection with the use of or reliance on any content, goods or services mentioned in this article. Neither Bitcoin.com nor the author is responsible for any losses, mistakes, skipped steps or security measures not taken, as the ultimate decision-making process to do any of these things is solely the reader’s responsibility. This editorial is for informational purposes only.
Image credits: Shutterstock, Freelance for Coins, and Jamie Redman.
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XRP Added to Coinbase Consumer Exchange, XRP Price Remains Flat

Click here to view original web page at www.newsbtc.comLess than a week after the announcement of full trading support for XRP on the Coinbase Pro division of the San Francisco-based brokerage and exchange platform, the same functionality is coming to the consumer-facing wing of the firm. In addition, full support will be made available on both the Android and iOS Coinbase applications.
Unlike following the previous announcement, the XRP price has remained consistent. The news that the digital asset was being launched on Coinbase Pro was greeted with a short-term price dump, followed by a quick retrace back down.
XRP Buying and Selling Comes to the Average Coinbase User
As reported in a recent blog post, the XRP digital asset will be fully supported at the well-known brokerage and exchange platform from today. Many in the digital currency community have been calling for the trading venue giant to add XRP for some time now. They finally got their way with full support already going live at the popular trading venue earlier today.
The blog post states that users of Coinbase.com (the main consumer-facing department of the exchange), as well as its Android and iOS applications can now “buy sell convert, send, receive, or store XRP”. However, not all users will benefit from the expanded offerings immediately. Those customers accessing Coinbase from either the UK or the state of New York will have to wait until a currently undisclosed date to take advantage of the new listing.
XRP is now live at https://t.co/bCG11KveHS and in the Coinbase iOS and Android apps. Coinbase customers can log in now to buy, sell, convert, send, receive, or store XRP. https://t.co/x2rM5R3S3y— Coinbase (@coinbase) February 28, 2019
As part of the blog post detailing the launch of XRP support, Coinbase state that it expects greater numbers of new digital assets will be coming to the platform in the future. This has been made possible with the updated listing process it launched last September. The stated goal with regards listing new assets, according to Coinbase itself, is:
“Our goal is to rapidly list all assets that meet our standards and are compliant with local law, while providing our customers with the tools to discover, evaluate, trade, and use digital assets.”
Coinbase also state that it is providing information about all the assets it lists to help bring new users up-to-speed with the differences in the technologies. The Coinbase Learn platform covers a wide range of topics, from introductions to Bitcoin itself, to securing assets, and taking up position in various cryptos.
XRP Price Unmoved by Seemingly Positive News
Unlike the previous announcement of XRP support coming to Coinbase Pro, today’s news has been barely reflected in the market. The price of XRP had surged by over 10 percent following Tuesday’s news but sharply fell the next day.
By contrast, today’s announcement has not been greeted with either an increase in buying or selling pressure and XRP is currently trading almost exactly where it was 24 hours ago. This is likely due to the fact that support at Coinbase.com was strongly hinted in the earlier announcement. However, it has been launched much quicker than many were expecting.
Featured Image from Shutterstock.
Tags: coinbase, Coinbase listing, xrp

Best VPNs for streaming in 2019 to keep your browsing private and secure

Click here to view original web page at www.mirror.co.uk (Image: PA)
A virtual private network, commonly known as a VPN, is becoming more and more important for those who are concerned about their privacy online.
They create a private network somewhere on the public internet and allow users to browse securely with a different IP address. They can also be used to get around geo-restrictions, such as those placed on internet users in China.
However, with hundreds of different VPN services available, it can be extremely confusing to know which one to go for.
It goes without saying that the better VPNs will require you to pay – often as a monthly subscription and sometimes in US dollars.
We’ve taken out the legwork and listed some of the best options below for your to consider.
1. ExpressVPN
A firm favourite with the tech crowd, ExpressVPN offers a choice of 145 locations across 94 countries for your re-routing needs.
The service has native layouts for all the different operating systems on both desktop and mobile and a simple user interface to get to grips with. It can also be extended through to a number of smart TVs and streaming devices as well.
There’s a dedicated 24/7 helpline on the ExpressVPN website. However, it only supports up to three users browsing through it simultaneously. You’ll also need to pay for the package, although there is a 30-day money back guarantee trial period. Subscriptions come in a choice of one, six or twelve month bundles at prices of $12.95, $9.99 and $6.67 (normally $12.95) per month respectively.
2. PureVPN
PureVPN is a fairly standard offering with 95,000 IP addresses in 180 different locations around the world. Something to bear in mind is that it does log some information about how you use it – all of which is clearly laid out in its privacy policy.
However, it will run happily on Kodi and will support bitcoin payments if you want to keep things fully encrypted.
There’s a 30-day refund policy if you’re not sure about it, although pricing is pretty damn comfortable thanks to a special $3.33 a month option for one year. Not a bad price to pay for some piece of mind while browsing the web. Alternatively, there’s a monthly charge $10.95 if you don’t want to sign up long term.
3. TunnelBear
TunnelBear is aimed at those who want as little fuss as possible. This VPN client has a really simple interface and has user-friendly versions for all the relevant desktop and mobile operating systems.
It offers servers in over 20 countries and will five you up to five simultaneous connections. There aren’t too many options to tweak and play around with settings as the focus here is on trying to make it as beginner-friendly as possible.
It’ll set you back $9.99 a month if you pay monthly or $5 a month if you take out a year’s subscription.
4. Norton WiFi Privacy
Despite the somewhat confusing name, this is the VPN package from anti-virus company Symantic and works just as well on WiFi hotspots as other wired connections you may be using.
It’s got virtual IPs that can be used in 28 different locations and can be configured so it automatically sets up when you boot up your computer. It’s also got a separate app that you can use on Android or iOS devices and has a nice blend of optional tweaks and basic settings to appeal to varying levels of technical competency.
The starting plan currently gives you 12 months for £19.99 (normally £40) on one, £29.99 for 5 devices (normally ££60) and £69.99 per year for 10 devices (normally £80). The company also says that it doesn’t store or log your activity, which is pretty crucial considering you’re looking for privacy.
5. HMA VPN
For starters, we give this service props just for its name. But it also offers 830 servers across 280 locations around the world. What’s more, its service explicitly includes P2P and torrent sharing – something that several VPNs don’t cover.
The company also supports a wide variety of operating systems – including apps for Android and iOS – which also extends to game consoles.
Like many providers, it offers five simultaneous connections at once, but it does log your connection data. So although your ISP may not know what you visit, this company certainly does.
Pricing is a fairly standard affair at £4.99 per month if you sign up for a year, £7.99 per month if you pay monthly and the best deal is £2.99 a month if you commit to a 24-month plan.
6. Hotspot Shield
If you’re looking for a value-for-money option, then Hotspot shield is a good option to look in to. There’s a free version that will support itself with adverts, but also a paid-for option that increases the speeds and removes the adverts.
It’s got all the necessaries for a VPN, including around 2,000 servers in 20 different locations, with support for up to five devices. Theone-month susbscription costs £12.99 per month, then reduces to £8.99 per month over six months, £5.99 per month over 12-months and the cheapest option is a three-year subscriptionf or £3.49 a month.
It’s also available in app form for smartphones and it maintains that it doesn’t store or share your IP address.
7. StrongVPN
Like the other VPNs in this list, StrongVPN has thousands of IP addresses spread over 689 servers in 70 different locations. And it also doesn’t log any of your activity, which is always a bonus.
But what makes StrongVPN so…well, strong is that it owns and operates its entire network. Because it doesn’t have any external limits on its bandwidth or what type of traffic is allowed, you can be sure it’s going to be up to whatever you throw at it.
Paying for a monthly subscription will set you back $10 a month, but you can pick it up on a 12-month package for $70.
8. IPVanish
IPVanish takes a pretty strong stance on privacy. It doesn’t keep any logs of your digital movements and it even voices support for Kodi – the online media player loved of naughty copyright-dodging types. There’s an IPVanish Kodi plugin that can easily be used – as well as support for all the usual operating systems on desktop and mobile.
There are over 40,000 IP addresses available across 900 servers in 60 different locations all aimed at creating a safe space in which you can work.
The company will only grant you a 7-day trial rather than 30 days but prices are pretty standard for this kind of service. You’re looking at $6.49 per month if you opt to buy a year’s subscription while paying monthly will cost you $10 per month.
9. CyberGhost
CyberGhost is a stable and successful VPN outfit with millions of users. It offers native software for Mac, Windows, iOS and Android and has a few different options to tinker with. For example, you can configure it to kick in only when you launch specific apps. It also has support for torrents and peer-to-peer file sharing on most of its servers.
Another selling point is that there is a free version you can use – although it only supports one device, runs slower than the paid-for platform and will serve you up adverts.
If you want to pay, it’ll set you back £56 for a year’s subscription, which works out to £4.65 a month.
10. VyprVPN
VyprVPN has a huge bank of IP addresses to choose from – over 200,000 – in over 70 different locations. And there are a few extra features, such as auto-connect, that can take the hassle out of private browsing.
It’s also one of the fastest VPNs out there, so if you want to get up and running in a hurry it could be the best option. It also offers up to three simultaneous connections.
It costs £3.63 per month if you pay annually (it works out as a total charge of £43.50) and can be used across three devices. Or try out the premium option for £57.50 or £4.79 a month to get access for five devices, VyprVPN Cloud and Chameleon Protocol.
This article contains affiliate links, which means we may receive a commission on any sales of products or services we write about. This article was written completely independently, see more details here.
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Square’s Surging Bitcoin Business Will Restore Confidence in Crypto

Click here to view original web page at www.ccn.comJack Dorsey and Square are helping bring Bitcoin to the masses. | Source: REUTERS / Mike Segar
Square, the $31 billion payments giant, processed over $166 million in Bitcoin purchases throughout 2018.
Square Bitcoin Revenue Eclipses $50 Million in Q4
According to the firm’s Q4 shareholder letter, Square processed the sale of $52.4 million in Bitcoin in the fourth quarter of last year, up nearly two-fold from its previous quarter.
The relatively high Bitcoin sales figure from Square follows an annual report released by Grayscale, a subsidiary of Digital Currency Group, which revealed that $359.5 million was poured into Grayscale’s crypto investment products by accredited investors during 2018.
Two-thirds of the $359.5 million, around $237.5 million, came from institutional investors, suggesting that both retail and institutional investors have begun accumulating Bitcoin and other crypto assets since the latter half of 2018.
Increase in Retail Demand is Crucial For Bitcoin Recovery
Often, Bitcoin’s reported daily trading volume numbers in the billions. As of February 28, CoinMarketCap estimates the daily volume of the dominant cryptocurrency to be around $8 billion.
The core issue in evaluating the demand from retail investors for Bitcoin based on the reported volume of the asset is the inflated daily volumes of major cryptocurrency exchanges.
As shown in the data presented by analysts at Blockchain Transparency Institute, apart from several established exchanges in the likes of Binance and Bitfinex, there exists a massive discrepancy in the reported and actual volume of cryptocurrency exchanges to the tune of hundreds of millions of dollars.
“We have discovered 4 different bot strategies which are used to inflate exchange volume numbers. Some of these bots appear to be set to different trading pairs depending on the time of day,” the Blockchain Transparency Institute researchers wrote.
Researchers allege that many crypto exchanges fake trading volumes. | Source: Blockchain Transparency Institute
As such, accredited investors turn to market data provided by strictly regulated over-the-counter (OTC) markets or companies like Square and Grayscale.
From the two U.S.-based companies alone, in the entirety of 2018, more than $288 million was invested in the cryptocurrency market by retail investors, primarily in Bitcoin.
Su Zhu, the CEO of Three Arrows Capital, previously emphasized that an additional $6 billion is sitting on the sidelines to be reallocated to the asset class in vehicles like stablecoins and exchanges.
The high crypto volumes coming from U.S.-based companies as well as a large amount of capital still stored within the infrastructure of the cryptocurrency sector suggest that the demand for the asset class from retail investors remains relatively high.
In 2018, Grayscale revealed that it secured a record year in terms of the inflow of capital into its cryptocurrency investment vehicles.
Grayscale investors are still primarily pouring their capital into Bitcoin.
The Grayscale team said:
“Despite a deceleration of investment quarter-over-quarter, new inflows across Grayscale products reached $30.1 million in Q4, making 2018 a record year for our business.”“The full year inflows of $359.5 million were nearly 3X those recorded during the 2017 digital asset bull market and nearly 2X the inflows from the previous four years combined (2014-2017), a clear sign that long-term investors remain bullish independent of the recent price action.”
Square, Grayscale, and Other Companies Are in Crypto for the Long Run
Companies like Square are in Bitcoin for the long haul – not just a quick buck. | Source: REUTERS / Dado Ruvic
Jack Dorsey, the CEO of Square and Twitter, has been vocal in his support for Bitcoin.
He firmly emphasized that the company is not interested in integrating any other crypto asset and will solely focus on Bitcoin development and is currently considering the integration of the Lightning Network.
As a strategy to secure millennial users and a niche market, the integration of BTC by Square’s Cash App has been successful, and with that momentum, the platform has been able to evolve into one of the major digital payments applications in the U.S. market.
The long-term commitment of companies like Square to the cryptocurrency sector may strengthen the confidence of retail investors in the asset class, which dropped drastically after an 85 percent correction in crypto prices.

Facebook Secretly Talking with Bitcoin Exchanges about Listing its WhatsApp Cryptocurrency

Click here to view original web page at www.ccn.comFacebook is said to have already contacted bitcoin exchanges about helping it issue its WhatsApp cryptocurrency. | Source: REUTERS / Dado Ruvic
Facebook’s blockchain team has made a significant amount of progress on its secretive cryptocurrency project since Bloomberg first reported that the company was building a dollar-pegged stablecoin. So much progress, in fact, that you may soon find the WhatsApp-focused cryptocurrency listed on a bitcoin exchange near you.
Facebook Has Already Met with Bitcoin Exchanges to Discuss its WhatsApp Token
According to The New York Times, Facebook has already quietly met with multiple bitcoin exchanges to discuss using their platforms to issue the token to consumers.
From the report, which was authored by Nathaniel Popper and Mike Isaac:
“The Facebook project is far enough along that the social networking giant has held conversations with cryptocurrency exchanges about selling the Facebook coin to consumers, said four people briefed on the negotiations.”
Confirming previous reports, Popper and Isaac cite five anonymous sources who say that the cryptocurrency will be integrated directly into WhatsApp, which had more than 1.5 billion monthly active users as of December 2017.
WhatsApp’s 1.5 billion active users could soon have access to Facebook’s cryptocurrency. | Source: Statista
Given that Facebook already announced plans to unite the back-end system that runs WhatsApp, Instagram, and Messenger, the cryptocurrency could soon be available to as many as 2.7 billion consumers – roughly 35 percent of the world’s population.
The cryptocurrency would be pegged to the value of the US dollar, providing users with an easy – and cheap – way to send money across international borders.
Alongside its cryptocurrency – which has not been confirmed publicly – CEO Mark Zuckerberg has said that the company might use blockchain technology to overhaul its identity and data-sharing systems.
Facebook Goes to Great Lengths to Keep Crypto Efforts Secret
Facebook’s crypto division has already made at least one acquisition, smart contract development firm Chainspace. The Information reports that the company also met with Algorand, Keybase, and the now-shuttered stablecoin project Basis.
Including the former Chainspace employees, Facebook’s cryptocurrency division now has more than 50 dedicated engineers. The project is led by David Marcus, a former president of PayPal who more recently led the company’s Messenger team. Notably, he also sat on the board of US crypto exchange giant Coinbase before resigning around the same time he took control of the social media giant’s blockchain efforts.
Marcus and Facebook are keeping a tight lid on the operation. Per The New York Times, the crypto engineers are sequestered in an office inaccessible to other company employees.
CCN reached out to Facebook for comment and will update this article upon receiving a reply.

Bitcoin Scammers Take Advantage of Already-Dismal Square Earnings

Click here to view original web page at www.ccn.comJack Dorsey already has to battle with crypto giveaway scams at Twitter. Now the scammers are going after Square’s bitcoin users, too. | Source: AP Photo / Richard Drew
Just when Jack Dorsey’s week was starting to look up, he must contend with yet another cryptocurrency giveaway scam. But while Twitter has long been rife with these fraudulent schemes, this particular bitcoin scam targets his other company – digital payments firm Square.
Square Earnings Attract Bitcoin Giveaway Scammers
In tandem with Square’s earnings results on Wednesday, scammers began sending emails – purportedly from the company – announcing that they had added support for the stellar (XLM) cryptocurrency.
That is false.
This bitcoin giveaway scam sought to trick recipients into believing that Square now supports stellar (XLM). | Source: CCN
The email further asks users to send $10 worth of bitcoin to a certain address in exchange for 350 XLM, currently worth around $30. Thankfully, the address had not received any payments since the email’s distribution – at least as of the time of writing on Thursday.
The company has warned in the past about fraudulent emails similar to this. The scammers haven’t limited their schemes to individuals, either. They’ve have also targeted small businesses where Square is used to process payments.
Such schemes became so prolific that they garnered the attention of the U.S. Better Business Bureau (BBB). It found that scammers are taking advantage of the popularity of Square’s services by sending phishing emails that appear to be official correspondence.
Bitcoin Scam Worsens Sour Square Earnings
Square shares plunged on weak earnings but surged again on Thursday.
The latest crypto giveaway scam in Jack Dorsey’s side added to an already-disappointing earnings season for Square.
Ahead of Wednesday’s earnings report, Square released a letter to its shareholders. In it, officials boasted about the company’s gains.
“We accelerated top-line growth at significant scale in the fourth quarter of 2017. Total net revenue was $616 million, up 36% year over year, and Adjusted Revenue was $283 million, up 47% year over year. This is an increase from the third quarter of 2017, when total net revenue and Adjusted Revenue grew 33% and 45%, respectively, year over year.”
That’s all fine and good, but it wasn’t enough for investors to do away their concerns about the company’s future. The company’s guidance for the first quarter of 2019 didn’t sit well with investors, who initiated a minor sell-off only to drive the stock higher on Thursday.
BTIG analyst Mark Palmer said that Square had reported higher-than-expected spending and weaker-than-expected Q1 and FY2019 outlook, which led him to reiterate his sell rating on the stock.
“While Square’s guidance for 1Q19 and FY19 revenue was in line with Street expectations – the midpoint of its FY19 revenue guidance would represent year-over-year growth of 41%, consistent with the soft guidance that management had provided in November – its lower than-expected bottom-line forecast was due to an increase in spending on newer services outside of its core payment-processing business.”
Square’s Bitcoin Revenue is Climbing
Square CEO Jack Dorsey is one of Silicon Valley’s biggest bitcoin bulls. | Source: Joe Rogan Experience/YouTube
There were few comments from Square executives about cryptocurrencies during the earnings call. Nevertheless, the firm did see revenues from Cash App-based bitcoin trading rise in Q4.
With prodding from bitcoin bull Jack Dorsey, the company has managed to grow its nascent bitcoin service to $166 million in annual revenue.
While that figure represents a small drop in the bucket for the $33 billion company, it also positions the processor to be a market leader in the event of broader bitcoin and cryptocurrency adoption.
Dorsey, who has been outspoken in his support for bitcoin, has been one of the most high-profile tech industry figures to overlap into the world of cryptocurrency.
He’s even said that bitcoin could become the world’s leading currency within 10 years.

How to double your Bitcoin passively-Bexplus show you the Profit way

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2 Easy way to earn Bitcoin passively.
From the past 2 weeks, the Bitcoin price has swung from $3600-$4200. Many traders […]
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Facebook and Telegram Are Hoping to Succeed Where Bitcoin Failed

Click here to view original web page at www.nytimes.com
Eden Weingart
SAN FRANCISCO — Some of the world’s biggest internet messaging companies are hoping to succeed where cryptocurrency start-ups have failed by introducing mainstream consumers to the alternative world of digital coins.
The internet outfits, including Facebook, Telegram and Signal, are planning to roll out new cryptocurrencies over the next year that are meant to allow users to send money to contacts on their messaging systems, like a Venmo or PayPal that can move across international borders.
The most anticipated but secretive project is underway at Facebook. The company is working on a coin that users of WhatsApp, which Facebook owns, could send to friends and family instantly, said five people briefed on the effort who spoke on the condition of anonymity because of confidentiality agreements.
The Facebook project is far enough along that the social networking giant has held conversations with cryptocurrency exchanges about selling the Facebook coin to consumers, said four people briefed on the negotiations.
Telegram, which has an estimated 300 million users worldwide, is also working on a digital coin. Signal, an encrypted messaging service that is popular among technologists and privacy advocates, has its own coin in the works. And so do the biggest messaging applications in Korea and Japan, Kakao and Line.
The messaging companies have a reach that dwarfs the backers of earlier cryptocurrencies. Facebook and Telegram can make the digital wallets used for cryptocurrencies available, in an instant, to hundreds of millions of users.
All of the new projects are going after a market that has already proved popular with consumers. Venmo has taken off in the United States by making it easier to send payments by phone. And in China, many consumers use the payment system that operates inside the hugely popular WeChat messaging system.
“It’s pretty much the most fascinating thing happening in crypto right now,” said Eric Meltzer, the co-founder of a cryptocurrency-focused venture capital firm, Primitive Ventures. “They each have their own advantage in this battle and it will be insane to watch it go down.”
The companies all declined to comment on their coin projects. Most of them appear to be working on digital coins that could exist on a decentralized network of computers, independent to some degree of the companies that created them.
Like Bitcoin, the new cryptocurrencies would make it easier to move money between countries, particularly in the developing world where it is hard for ordinary people to open bank accounts and buy things online. The current designs being discussed generally do away with the energy-guzzling mining process that Bitcoin relies on.
But the messaging companies are likely to face many of the same regulatory and technological hurdles that have kept Bitcoin from going mainstream. The lack of a central authority over cryptocurrencies — a government or bank — has made them useful to criminals and scammers, and the designs of the computer networks that manage them make it hard to handle significant numbers of transactions.
“They are all going to run up against these same types of technological limits,” said Richard Ma, the chief executive of Quantstamp, a firm that provides security audits for new cryptocurrencies.
The companies are throwing significant resources into their projects, even as the prices of cryptocurrencies have plunged over the last year.
Facebook has more than 50 engineers working on its project, three people familiar with the effort said. An industry website, The Block, has been keeping track of the steady flow of new job listings for the Facebook project.
The Facebook effort, which is being run by the former president of PayPal, David Marcus, started last year after Telegram raised an eye-popping $1.7 billion to fund its cryptocurrency project.
Facebook has been coy about what it is building. The team is in an office with separate key-card access so other Facebook employees cannot get in, according to two Facebook employees.
Facebook is looking at several ways to use the blockchain, the technology introduced by Bitcoin that makes it possible to keep shared records of financial transactions on several computers, rather than relying on one big central player like PayPal or Visa.
The five people who have been briefed on the Facebook team’s work said the company’s most immediate product is likely to be a coin that would be pegged to the value of traditional currencies, as Bloomberg first reported.
A digital token with a stable value would not be attractive to speculators — the main audience for cryptocurrencies so far — but it would allow consumers to hold it and pay for things without worrying about the value of the coin rising and falling.
Several other companies have recently introduced so-called stablecoins, linked to the value of the dollar. JPMorgan Chase even said it was experimenting with the concept last month.
Facebook is looking at pegging the value of its coin to a basket of different foreign currencies, rather than just the dollar, three people briefed on the plans said. Facebook could guarantee the value of the coin by backing every coin with a set number of dollars, euros and other national currencies held in Facebook bank accounts.
The company is overhauling its messaging infrastructure, which would connect three of its properties — Messenger, WhatsApp and Instagram. That integration, which could take more than a year, would extend the reach of Facebook’s digital currency across the 2.7 billion people who use one of the three apps each month.
The big question facing Facebook is how much control it would retain over the digital coin. If Facebook is responsible for approving every transaction and keeping track of every user, it is not clear why it would need a blockchain system, rather than a traditional, centralized system like PayPal.
Working with cryptocurrency exchanges would take at least some of the regulatory burden off Facebook, since the exchanges would be responsible for holding the digital coins and vetting customers.
But if Facebook goes with a coin it does not entirely control, it would be harder for the company to make money from transaction fees and it would be easier for criminals to use the coin for illegal purposes.
Facebook employees have told the exchanges that they are hoping to get a product out in the first half of the year.
The coins from the other messaging companies are likely to look more like traditional cryptocurrencies, with fluctuating values and a decentralized design that would give users more control.
Telegram, which was started by a team of Russian exiles, has prided itself on thumbing its nose at governments. This could help Telegram in places like Iran and Russia, where people — especially dissidents — have difficulty using the traditional financial system.
Telegram sent a letter to its investors last month saying that it was 90 percent done with the key components of the network that would house the Gram, the name for its digital token.
The company has told investors it hopes to have some version of the system out in the next few months, according to two investors who spoke on the condition of anonymity because of confidentiality agreements.
The privacy-focused messaging application Signal, which is run by a foundation, has the smallest project, called Mobilecoin. It raised $30 million last year and is now trying to raise another $30 million, according to three people briefed on the effort.
While the founder of Signal, Moxie Marlinspike, is advising the effort, it is being run independent of Signal. The project is a favorite of many longtime cryptocurrency advocates because of strong privacy controls.
But Mobilecoin, like the other projects underway, will still have to figure out the problems that have stopped all the other cryptocurrencies from living up to expectations.
“The jury is still out” on their effectiveness, said Mr. Ma, of Quantstamp.
SAN FRANCISCO — Some of the world’s biggest internet messaging companies are hoping to succeed where cryptocurrency start-ups have failed by introducing mainstream consumers to the alternative world […]
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