Despite all the measures taken by different countries to slow down the rising popularity of cryptocurrencies it does not stop people from using Bitcoin and the like. There are several ways to popularize cryptocurrencies.
Bitcoin ATMs are already being set up in many countries of the world: Vancouver (Canada), Boston, Austin (U.S.), Hong Kong, Helsinki, Zurich and Singapore. This is certainly not a complete list and it is constantly getting new entries.
Bitcoin ATM looks almost exactly like a regular ATM. Some ATMs can sell Bitcoins as well as buy them.
- Purchasing: in order to buy a certain number of Bitcoins through such ATM the correct sum of money has to be inserted in it and a printed QR-code is handed out in return. Just generated text and numeric address of your Bitcoins also appears on the screen.
- Selling: In order to sell Bitcoins, i.e. to get cash from the ATM, you have to enter the address from which Bitcoins will be taken or scan a QR-code with your phone (if the phone has Bitcoin wallet installed on it) and send your Bitcoins to said address. In return the ATM will give you cash.
Mechanisms of work of some ATMs are such that privacy can potentially still suffer: to proceed to operations the machine requires palm scanning. This function is introduced to prevent money laundering (so the same person would not be able to withdraw large sums within a certain period of time). Some Bitcoin ATM's manufacturers build scanners for state documents such as passports or drivers' licenses into their machines.
Various smartphone apps are created to conduct operations with Bitcoin.
Blockchain is not just a browser of all blocks and transactions in Bitcoin network, but also an online wallet meant for storing and exchanging Bitcoins, without the installation of a large Bitcoin-qt distribution on your computer.
This wallet app was created for iPhone. It allowed to transfer Bitcoins, utilize phone's camera for QR-codes scanning, receive Bitcoins and conduct exchange directly between smartphones.
But Apple's policy has not supported the idea of cryptocurrencies and the application was soon removed from the AppStore.
There are much more Bitcoin apps for Android platform because Google is more favorable to cryptocurrencies. There are Bitcoin and Litecoin wallets and apps for monitoring rates on different exchanges for smartphones operating under Android. They all can be downloaded from google play.
The idea of national cryptocurrencies
Payu Harris, a native american programmer from Lakota tribe created a Bitcoin fork - MazaCoin. The coin was launched on February 24. This fork is remarkable for its creator being able to persuade tribal chiefs to adopt it as the official currency for exchange within the Lakota reservations and even issued a "fiat" analog purse on a printer. At that, the creator is not entirely selfless and sells coins for 10 cents each. Ideologically coin is being hailed as a means of "financial war" and the next stage of the struggle for native americans' independence. However, to buy something at the supermarket outside the reservations, the Injuns will have to exchange their MazaCoin for dollars or bitcoins.
The idea of creating a national cryptocurrency of Iceland came to Icelander Baldur Friggjar Óðinsson. Auroracoin according to the creator was to bring the country out of the difficult economic situation created by the banks of Europe. Technically Auroracoin represented an almost complete copy of Litecoin except for some minor changes (emission rate, the number of coins). During Auroracoin creation 10,500,000 coins were premined in advance, representing 50% of the total amount of all coins. Next on the Odinsson's plan was distribution of these 50% among 320 thousand citizens for free. The remaining 50% could be extracted through Mining and subsequently bought on the exchange. On March 25th 2014 Odinsson started distributing cryptocurrency among population. As a result, each resident of Iceland shall get 32 AUR. Active advertising campaign around the cryptocurrency has increased its capitalization so that Auroracoin has even bypassed Litecoin cost and capitalization for a while. The government has yet to respond in any way.
Financial support during conflicts
Recent events in Ukraine have shown that people understand the advantages of Bitcoin over fiat money and are ready to provide/receive financial support in this form.
There are several major advantages cryptocurrencies have over fiat money revolution-wise:
- The authorities can not affect this channel of fundraising. Perhaps in the future there will be found ways to exert pressure, but now it is very difficult to do so.
- Significantly lower transaction costs, especially when transfers come from abroad. Also for many people bitcoin transfers have been easier and faster than using traditional wire transfers. This may be important in light of the fact that the conventional bank account operations can be deliberately delayed and even blocked entirely.
- Exchangers may become a potential bottleneck - a place where cryptocurrency is turned into fiat money and will be withdrawn through plastic cards or any other form, is where the identity of the recipient can be established. At the moment, the problems have not arised here, but with the growing popularity of the subject the internal affairs bodies will inevitably pay attention to these organizations and will start to work on them.
Cryptocurrency has significantly simplified the work of organisators and sponsors of the conflict on financing Ukrainian revolution. The goals weren't arguably correct but it affected cryptocurrencies' popularity in a positive way.
Securing bitcoin in people's minds as a convenient means of payment comes through the creation of a clear and simple tool of exchange. Spreading of ATMs worldwide will lead to increased popularity and recognition of bitcoin by people, and applications for smartphones as the more familiar scene are already generating the necessary notion about bitcoin.