What are crypto wallets?

The development of crypto wallets using Ducatus Wallet as an example

This article was originally published on rocknblock.medium.com

Crypto wallet is an ultimate tool for many users, who want to interact within the blockchain. It is commonly used for receiving and sending payments, or keeping the digital assets in a safe place.

There are several types of crypto wallet. The main difference is the security input and output. Some wallets are functioning only online, whereas others are completely offline and not connected to the internet.

Different types of crypto wallets serve different purposes. When one can be useful for fast transactions and daily usage, others are meant to securely store digital assets.

A crypto wallet is a piece of software that is meant to facilitate financial transactions. Much like traditional wallets that come in different designs, crypto wallets can also be built on different wireframes. But unlike a traditional wallet that stores Central Bank-issued fiat money, crypto wallets interact with different blockchains.

To understand the clear difference, we should understand how a crypto wallet works:

Each crypto wallet consists of a private key, a public key, and a wallet address. All these properties together resemble a sequence of randomized numeric and alphanumeric characters.

Private key should never be disclosed. It should be completely secure and protected. A private key of a crypto wallet gives one full access to its wallet funds. A private key usually contains approx. 50 alphanumeric characters.

Public key serves the functionality of a private key while “keeping” the public key hidden. A public key appears as a long and complex string of alphanumeric characters, so it’s harder to crack or forge.

Wallet address serves as a direction to which other users can send and receive funds. Wallet address by its nature is a compressed and hashed type of a public key. It is a unique sequence, so a wallet address can be completely dedicated to a particular user.

Sometimes, we can use a crypto wallet address that is encoded to a QR-code type.

Hot wallet

Hot wallets are functioning online and they are meant for fast transactions and managing digital assets with ease. Mostly, it is a digital application where we can send and receive cryptocurrencies.

The main point about a Hot Wallet is that it stores a private key online.

Hot wallets are broadly used due to their simplicity and convenience. However, they are not suitable for long term storing of crypto. Examples:

  • Web wallet
  • Desktop wallet
  • Mobile app wallet (IOS, Android)

Cold wallet

Cold wallets are different from hot ones in that they store a private key offline. Cold wallets are being considered to almost eliminate the chance of disclosing a private key because it is not online. Cold wallets may appear as digital applications as well as hardware tools. Hence, cold wallets are not suitable for fast and quick sending and receiving funds.

Paper and brain wallet

These are the types of crypto wallets that literally represent their meaning. They don’t have any digital framework or application. A paper wallet is the cold wallet type when all the properties are written down on paper. It mostly looks like a QR-code that represents the address of a wallet and a private key, or a recovery phrase instead. Brain wallet means that all private keys and wallet addresses are memorized by the owner of a particular crypto wallet.

Hardware wallets

This type of wallet stores private key information in a safe place. When people say cold storage, they mostly mean a hardware crypto wallet. Hardware wallets appear in the form of a ledger that resembles a flash memory card. When using a hardware wallet, a user exports existing wallets or creates a new one. Then the user’s digital assets can be stored on a hardware wallet in a cold storage. Examples:

  • Ledger Nano X
  • Ledger Nano S
  • Trezor T

The most important features of a crypto wallet

In the case of different crypto wallet types, the features of those may differ from one another. For the hot wallets, the leading features are:

  • Simple and responsive interface for conducting transactions
    The transaction interface is the key to a successful and convenient crypto wallet that is going to be downloaded thousands of times. In this case, the main focus is to make the transactions faster and easier. Besides the transactions, sometimes it is important to facilitate trading, swap, lending, or even derive payment services.
  • Balance tracking and transaction history
  • Export existing wallet and wallet creation
  • Managing the wallet address and private key information
  • Security features
    Unequivocally, the security features should be a must when developing a crypto wallet. Besides basic features like Password protection, PIN protection, Biometrical protection (FaceID, TouchID, etc.), 2FA Authentification, a crypto wallet can be protected with a wallet backup, wallet encryption, recovery phrase, or Google authenticator.

DUCATUS Wallet developed by Rock’n’Block

One of our most known projects is the Ducatus Wallet. Ducatus wallet was built for the Ducatus ecosystem as a tool that can help reach their aim to build a cashless economy.

The Ducatus crypto wallet is developed as a hot crypto wallet type (Web wallet and the Ducatus crypto wallet apps for devices on IOS and Android) and consists of many flexible features that are responsible for the user-oriented usability, transparency, and safety of the transactions that are going through.

With the idea of a cashless economy, Ducatus launched Ducatus Coin (DUC) and DucatusX (DUCX) in 2017 and 2020. Ducatus wallet is inherently one of the important steps into bringing the DUC and DUCX into its widespread usage.

DUC and DUCX

Both DUC and DUCX are designed to deliver the idea of transparent payments that are aligned with the convenience of online payments as we know them — achievable and comprehensive for anyone.

DUC and DUCX each exist on their own separate blockchains. The original Ducatus blockchain and the DucatusX blockchain, which was also developed with the help of Rock’N’Block. These blockchains have the fork properties combination of the Litecoin and Ethereum blockchains.

The Ducatus blockchain was designed to offer low transaction fees, fast throughput of transactions, and the ability to stake the Ducatus Coin. On the other hand, DucatusX supports smart contracts within its blockchain. It uses a Proof of Authority consensus algorithm which significantly reduces its maintenance cost. In the future, it is envisioned to switch to Proof of Stake, giving users even more confidence in choosing the DucatusX blockchain for their projects.

With the broader emergence of both Ducatus cryptocurrencies, the next step was to develop their own crypto wallet.

The prominent features of the Ducatus wallet

One of the fundamental features that we added to highlight the functionality of the Ducatus Wallet was a simple interface.

In addition, we were also engaged in developing multiple non-trivial functions: essential features as key settings (private key management), crypto wallet settings (wallet addresses management, wallet exporting, wallet service URL, executed transaction history, and recovery phrase setting up).

Transactions functionality

In the development of Ducatus wallet’s transaction features, we were required to establish the following:

Secure storage of the digital assets within Ducatus Wallet

The ability to send and receive the following digital assets:

  • Bitcoin (BTC)
  • Bitcoin Cash (BCH)
  • Ethereum (ETH)
  • Ethereum Classic (ETC)
  • Litecoin (LTC)
  • XRP (Ripple)
  • Stellar Lumens (XLM)
  • ERC20 tokens, ERC721 & ERC1155 collectibles

And of course the Ducatus coins:

  • Ducatus (DUC),
  • DucatusX (DUCX),
  • Wrapped DucatusX (WDUCX)

Support of the transactions with the following cryptocurrencies:

  • Bitcoin (BTC),
  • Bitcoin Cash (BCH),
  • Ripple (XRP),
  • Ethereum (ETH),

Including the transactions with the following tokens:

  • JAMASY (JAMASY),
  • NUYASA (NUYASA),
  • SUNOBA (SUNOBA),
  • DSCMED (DSCMED),
  • POG1 (POG1),
  • WupDE (WDE),
  • MarsaDXB (MDXB)
  • USD Coin (USDC),
  • Paxos stablecoin (PAX),
  • Gemini dollar (GUSD).

Now, we are at the moment of developing the embention of a higher amount of supported coins and digital assets to expand the Ducatus Wallet functionality.

Deposit functionality

The other indispensable feature that is related to the crypto wallet functionality is the ability to deposit fiat currency into the Ducatus crypto wallet.

Many other wallets have been abbreviating this feature due to the different inherency of their wallet. For many other competitive wallets next to the Ducatus wallet, it is possible to create deposits only by topping up cryptocurrencies.

We were required to develop the secure interface of the fiat deposit to the Ducatus crypto wallet, that would allow a user to buy digital assets by using FIAT currencies through credit and debit cards (via Moonpay service), and also including bank transfers that were implemented via SEPA Bank transfer.

Simple wallet & Shared wallet

Simple wallet features stand for the main functionality for an exclusive wallet owner. Those features were described above all available for every user of a simple wallet.

On the other hand, the team of Ducatus Global was also aiming to create a shared wallet to allow mutual funds management for users. Mutual funds management in Ducatus wallet implemented as a shared wallet with a minimum number of signatures and devices (i.e. participants).

We expanded the maximum number of the possible mutual signatures up to 6. So in other words, 6 users can manage the mutual funds simultaneously. Every user can join a shared wallet via a developed interface for the wallet invitations.

It is important to understand that each co-payer has its own recovery phrase, that can not be changed or forged by other users.

SWAP

The swap function represents the quick exchange of digital assets within the Ducatus Wallet interface. Swap is processing the conversation within the Ducatus blockchain. Any user can convert the following coin pairs:

SWAP-pairs in Ducatus coin (DUC):

  • DUCX → DUC
  • ETH → DUC
  • BTC → DUC

SWAP-pairs in Ducatus X (DUCX):

  • DUC → DUCX

SWAP-pairs in Wrapped DucatusX (WDUCX):

  • DUCX → WDUCX

Deposit dividends

Users of Ducatus wallet can earn a reward that is represented by the fixed interest calculated based on their deposit. That is a very promising feature for all the users and also, a feature that can provide a lot of liquidity to the Ducatus coin.

Dividends are being spread between 5, 13, and 34 months deposit time frame. The annual interest rates are fixed between 8%, 13%, and 21%.

Therefore, every user can choose the optional dividend deposit with the following reward scheme:

  • 5 months as expected reward in 8% annually
  • 13 months as expected reward in 13% annually
  • 34 months as expected reward in 21% annually

The problems that were solved by Rock’n’Block

  1. The Ducatus blockchain development.
    Including the development and implementation of the customized Bitcoin hard fork for the Ducatus blockchain with the existing Ducatus coin. And in addition, implementation of the Ethereum hard fork for the DucatusX.
  2. Mobile wallet application development.
    Including building and developing the prototype, wireframe, and design of the Ducatus wallet web client, IOS, and Android apps. Establishing the connections to the blockchain networks including Ethereum, Binance Smart Chain, DUC Mainnet Testnet, and DUCX Mainnet Testnet.
  3. Crowdfunding platform development.
  4. Establishing the connection with the online stores that support crypto payments.
  5. Implementation of the security and safety essential features.
    Essential security solutions for a mobile wallet interface like 4-digits PIN protection against unauthorized access, Biometrics (as TouchID, FaceID) for the devices supporting the technology of biometrical data protection. On the side of the crypto wallet security: Keys Management, Crypto Wallet Encryption, Crypto Wallet Backup by setting a Recovery Phrase, and the ability to Export Key.
  6. Testing of the functionality.
    With our team of QA Engineers and software testers, we put a lot of effort into eliminating bugs, errors, and all possible code inconsistencies.

Ducatus wallet is built on the following stacks:

  • Web3js,
  • Solidity,
  • JavaScript,
  • Openzeppelin,
  • Truffle.

Outcome

At the moment, Ducatus Wallet counts around 100,000 users. It is valued for its comprehensive usability, working with multiple blockchain networks, fast swaps and transactions, and simple management. In addition, the key advantage that Ducatus Wallet brings to the market is the ability to be broadly used by people around the world by making daily common payments at HORECA, shops, fuel stations, and other businesses that already facilitate crypto payments.

The Ducatus Wallet’s decentralized nature and in combination with the concept of a cash-free society attracts more users and investors daily.

Rock’n’Block as the software developer, is imposing the idea of adopting blockchain technology in many industries. We did our best in developing the best products for Ducatus Global. And Ducatus wallet is a promising tool in our era of DeFi.

Furthermore, we are continuously working on implementing more and more exclusive features for newer versions of Ducatus Wallet. In the upcoming upgrade of the Ducatus Wallet, we are going to implement more of the demanding features, and of course, support the reliability of all the future versions.

Why develop a crypto wallet with Rock’n’Block?

Crypto wallets are one of the leading products in the fintech market right now. We are explicitly engaged in implementing all the Ducatus Wallet features in the right way, correlating with the exact requirements of the product prototype.

Ducatus Wallet is achieving success among its users partly due to our contribution on its software development. From roadmap to production. No matter the complexity and the number of features that you would intend to implement, we can develop a competitive and strong product that supports the must-have features.

Furthermore, we are not limited to developing the features only for a crypto wallet. Developing blockchain, embedding the deposit functionally, integrations between multiple blockchains, and even crowdfunding platforms. All – and even more – is possible with the help of the Rock’n’Block’s team!

Ducatus partners with leading developers for its blockchain projects

The growing popularity of cryptocurrencies has paved the way to more innovations, such as smart contracts, decentralized exchange platforms, digital wallets, among others. With this rapid evolution of blockchain technology comes an increased demand for fintech companies to constantly strive for advancement. 

To be ahead of the curve in this fast-evolving and competitive digital space, it is important to build customer trust and confidence. And technology plays an essential role in building your credibility specially for blockchain startups.

Ducatus, since its inception in 2016, has always believed that shaping the people’s financial future requires an unwavering commitment to advancement. Through evolution and innovation, not only can the company provide the necessary tools to build generational wealth, but more importantly stay relevant in an increasingly changing world. 

As one that prides itself in championing a cashless economy, Ducatus is resolute in its belief that choosing the right tech partners is as important as having a bold vision. A proven track record, years of experience, successful case studies and a skilled pool of talents are just some of the factors that Ducatus considered in choosing its developers. 

This is why Rock’n’Block has proven to be the most significant choice for the company.  

Recognized by industry experts, Rock’n’Block boasts 15 years of development experience with capitalization of more than $1 billion for its built projects.  It has also established partnerships with major fintech companies such as Binance, Neo Foundation and Polygon. With a team of more than 100+ highly skilled tech experts, it has deployed more than 30,000 smart contracts and created 250+ projects on a turn-key basis. 

Rock’n’Block currently maintains the Ducatus Wallet and is the developer of the recently launched DucX –  a user-oriented blockchain that advances digital payments, enables borderless transactions and offers users access to valuable assets. 

As an advocate of the new digital economy, Ducatus aims to offer its users the opportunity to benefit from the use of digital money in their everyday lives. Through its affiliate businesses it has started the creation of smart contracts, connecting people to high-value projects that are traditionally just open to a select few. 

Indeed blockchain technology is poised to revolutionize just about every industry in one way or another. Innovations are radically changing the way people do business. Thanks to its trusted partners, Ducatus always has the confidence to offer tools and solutions that are both open and inclusive, allowing people to design their ideal financial future.

Visit rocknblock.io to discover why it has become one of the most preferred blockchain developers and partners of many fintech companies. 

Mortgage payments using crypto: coming soon?

Experts think using cryptocurrencies for practical purposes such as paying down mortgages
is one piece of the overall “crypto economy” that will one day become a reality. 

This summer, cryptocurrencies moved into new territory in Spain when a bill was introduced that would allow borrowers to pay their mortgages using the digital assets. The proposed legislation, aimed at deepening the acceptance, use and regulation of digital currencies, would also allow the real estate industry to invest in mortgage pools using crypto and encourage banks to use blockchain technology to keep track of mortgages and insurance.

Spain is further along than Canada in contemplating the incorporation of crypto into daily financial affairs, but it is hard not to wonder whether it is just a matter of when — not if — crypto mortgages become a reality here.

Rob McLister, mortgage editor at RATESDOTCA, told the Financial Post that a future in which lenders accept cryptocurrencies not only for mortgages, but for all kinds of payments, is easy to envision. But he doesn’t expect to see the option offered anytime soon, given the lack of broader acceptance and use of crypto here.

“I don’t think that there’s enough demand,” McLister said. “There’s just not enough Canadians with enough money in their crypto account to make mortgage payments. So, I don’t see lenders rushing to offer this option.”

Crypto’s underlying blockchain technology, however, may be another story. McLister said it could be more of a game-changer in real estate if it gets used for registering land ownership and mortgages, revamping the existing outdated system.

One real estate company flirting with crypto mortgages is broker Matrix Mortgage Global, which announced in early April that it would begin accepting bitcoin, bitcoin cash, Ripple’s XRP, Ethereum and a few dollar-pegged stablecoins as payments for deposits or down payment portions. Matrix’s plan is to convert the crypto into fiat currency on the day it is received.

Shawn Allen, Matrix Mortgage’s founder, told the Financial Post that he’s received many inquiries on this announcement — but no takers yet.

Allen added that while he believes that the crypto mortgage concept is a ways away, when it does materialize it will likely involve payments through dollar-pegged stablecoins, a form of digital currency that attempts to mirror the value of cash.

“I think this is where the stablecoins are going to come in,” Allen said. “Because what people would generally do is convert their (ethereum), or their Doge, or their Bitcoin … to a stablecoin so that it’s more palatable to transact without the varying price fluctuations.”

Ronny Tome, chief executive officer at Ducatus Coin, thinks using cryptocurrencies for practical purposes such as paying down mortgages is one piece of the overall “crypto economy” that will one day become a reality.

I think when we really make it to mortgages being payable in crypto space… that will be a huge step forward.”

Ronny Tome, Ducatus CEO

Like Allen, he said stablecoins are a more likely candidate for widespread use in the mortgage space because of the risk of volatility and transaction fee with other currencies.

“I don’t think it’s an issue of the price when it comes to bitcoin in the retail space, or bitcoin as a currency. The problem is the transaction fee,” Tome said. “If you want to go and pay for coffee in Starbucks and the coffee is $5, but your transaction fee is $5, or $10, or $20 then you’re not going to use your bitcoin.”

Crypto holders will likely prefer to hold their positions in the market rather than cash out. If they do decide to spend their coins, it will more likely be on big-ticket luxury items where the transaction fee would make more sense, he said.

Tome said it’s difficult to determine what crypto mortgages would look like, but he foresees a global adoption where digital currencies will be used for commonplace purposes. Switzerland, for example, is already a leader in crypto adoption, allowing citizens to pay taxes and some of their bills with digital coins.

“For me, any kind of adoption in any field is a step forward,” Tome said. “I think when we really make it to mortgages being payable in the crypto space or with cryptocurrency being accepted officially by banks, by credit institutions, then that will be a huge step forward.”

Read full story here: financialpost.com

Top countries where crypto is taking off

Global crypto adoption has taken off in the last year, up 881%, with Vietnam, India and Pakistan firmly in the lead,

Chainalysis, a blockchain data firm, has released its Global Crypto Adoption Index, which ranks 154 countries according to metrics such as peer-to-peer exchange trading volume, rather than gross transaction volume, which typically favors developed nations with high levels of professional and institutional crypto buy-in.

According to Chainalysis, the purpose of the index is to capture crypto adoption by “ordinary people” and to “focus on use cases related to transactions and individual saving, rather than trading and speculation.” The metrics are weighted to incorporate the wealth of the average person and the value of money generally within particular countries.

Most of the top 20 countries are emerging economies, including Togo, Colombia and Afghanistan.

Meanwhile, the United States slipped from sixth to eighth place, and China, which cracked down on crypto this spring, dropped from fourth to 13th.

Chainalysis ascribes the rising adoption levels in emerging markets to a few key factors.

For one, countries such as Kenya, Nigeria, Vietnam and Venezuela have huge transaction volumes on peer-to-peer, or P2P, platforms when adjusted for purchasing power parity per capita and the internet-using population.

Chainalysis reports that many residents use P2P cryptocurrency exchanges as their primary on-ramp into cryptocurrency, often because they don’t have access to centralized exchanges.

The report also says many residents of these countries turn to cryptocurrency to preserve their savings in the face of currency devaluation, as well as to send and receive remittances and carry out business transactions.

Read full story here: cnbc.com

Coronavirus: a catalyst for the mainstream adoption of contactless payments

QR code payments will be the most used digital commerce method throughout the next five years

The pandemic brought about a massive shift to digital payments — one that is unlikely to wane even when an increasing number of people feel comfortable doing more of their shopping in person. 

The move to more robust digital payment methods was certainly happening well before the pandemic. But as stores shut down and consumers were forced to buy nearly everything online, contactless ways to pay increased dramatically.

In the U.S., Visa said in March its tap-to-pay transactions grew over 30% year-over-year. In fact, according to its survey of small business owners and consumers in eight countries, nearly half of consumers suggested that offering contactless payment methods is one of the most important safety measures stores can offer. Another 47% of consumers say they will not shop at a store that doesn’t offer a contactless way to pay.

The trend speaks to the health and safety concerns of both businesses and consumers, of course. But experts say the convenience, speed and security of digital payments will continue to be a must-have for consumers long after Covid recedes from the headlines.

“As countries around the world continue to increase tap-to-pay transaction limits, contactless payments are here to stay and their adoption will accelerate,” said Rajat Taneja, president of technology at Visa. He says that in Europe, less than a year since contactless limits increased across the region, Visa has seen 1 billion additional touch-free transactions.

Guido Sacchi, chief information officer at payment technology and software solutions firm Global Payments, says the pandemic changed what consumers want at check-out. They are increasingly looking for a “less personal, more digital” interaction.

“Covid was a big catalyst for the adoption of digital payments and digital forms of commerce,” he said.

When the pandemic shut down businesses early last year, the need for digital, touchless payments took off. Already retailers like Target and Starbucks were enabling customers to make payments through mobile apps. When consumers couldn’t enter stores for health and safety reasons, they could still pay and have their purchases brought outside to their car or have them delivered.

The Vitamin Shoppe adopted touchless payments in the early days of the pandemic. Andrew Laudato, chief operating officer of the health and wellness retailer, said the company rushed to launch contactless payment options like Apple Pay and others. It also deployed technologies that enabled stores to provide digital receipts, and allowed customers to scan products themselves when they came into Vitamin Shoppe stores.

Accepting mobile payments such as Apple Pay and Google Pay required making them part of The Vitamin Shoppe’s transaction flow on the backend, Laudato says. But from a customer perspective the offering was pretty simple. “Customers were already used to using their phone to pay for coffee or in New York City, to get on the subway, so they were pretty well trained when they started using it with us,” he adds.

To complete the touchless experience, Vitamin Shoppe customers can now scan purchases themselves at the register, bag them and then tap their phone to pay and be out the door. “It can be a completely touchless experience and customers like it,” he said.

Looking ahead, experts say omnichannel options that began in the pandemic — such as curbside pickup and QR code contactless ordering — are likely to remain strong along with touchless payments. According to Juniper Research, QR code payments will be the most used digital commerce method in terms of volume throughout the next five years, accounting for 27% of all digital commerce transactions in 2024.

Read full story here: cnbc.com

UK moves closer to becoming a cashless society

UK Finance study records a 35% drop in cash transactions in 2020

The number of payments made using notes and coins fell by 35% in 2020, according to a recent study by UK Finance.

Changes in spending habits have been dramatically accelerated by the coronavirus pandemic, with 13.7 million people leading a “cashless life” last year – almost double the 7.4 million figure in 2019. Five in six payments now involve no notes or coins, compared with half of all transactions a decade ago.

A growing number of businesses both big and small now refuse cash, with many having opted to go card-only over the past year.

The retailer Ikea says on its website that “for now” it is not accepting cash payments in its UK stores. Similarly, the restaurant chain Nando’s says customers cannot pay with cash, the Japanese food chain Itsu talks about being card-only in-store and the craft beer firm BrewDog is among the hospitality businesses that are now cashless.

Others such as Birds Bakery are discouraging the use of physical money. The Midlands chain, which was at the centre of a recent row about only accepting card payments in-store, says it “would prefer to take card payments where possible”.

“There has been a significant fall in cash use by consumers in a relatively short period of time,” said the banking trade body UK Finance, which issued the figures. “Since 2017, cash use had been declining by around 15% each year, so 2020 represented an acceleration of this decline.

The trend reflects the fact that many places where people commonly use cash, such as pubs and cafes, were shut for chunks of last year, while the lockdowns prompted a surge in the numbers shopping online. While a string of businesses have temporarily or permanently gone card-only, some consumers have been avoiding touching banknotes and coins because of Covid transmission worries.

Contactless and mobile payments exploded in popularity last year.

The number of contactless payments rose by 12% during 2020, and overall they accounted for more than a quarter (27%) of all payments. As recently as 2016, the figure stood at 7%.

This has been driven by a number of factors, including the decision to increase the upper limit for tap and pay from £30 to £45 in April 2020 – a further rise to £100 is planned – and a belief that contactless is more hygienic than handling cash.

About 83% of people in the UK now use contactless, with no age group or region falling below 75%.

Cash was used for 17% of all payments in 2020 – down from 45% in 2015 and 56% in 2010.

During 2020 there were 13.7 million consumers who either did not use notes and coins at all, or only once a month. This number has grown rapidly: in 2018 it was 5.4 million people, in 2017 it was 3.4 million and in 2016 it was 2.9 million.

Read full story here: theguardian.com

The future of finance: Why Gen Z is drawn to crypto

Many Gen Z and young millennial investors initially turned to cryptocurrency as a way to avoid traditional financial institutions

The next generation of investors are super online ⁠— instead of traditional investments, many Gen Z and young millennial investors, from teens to those in their early 20s, are bullish on cryptocurrency and the technology that surrounds it.

This includes digital coins and blockchains, like bitcoin and ethereum; meme coins, like dogecoin; NFTs, or nonfungible tokens; and DeFi, or decentralized finance.

Some have spent the bulk of their savings on these type of investments: Nearly half of millennial millionaires have at least 25% of their wealth in cryptocurrencies, according to a new CNBC Millionaire Survey. More than a third of millennial millionaires have at least half their wealth in crypto and about half own NFTs.

Young investors have also taken part in recent meme stock rallies, which occur when retail investors buy up shares of stocks shorted by Wall Street hedge funds, like GameStop and AMC Entertainment. In part, the investors hope to force hedge funds to pay, overcoming what they see to be an inefficient system.

One reason young people have turned to alternative investments like crypto is simple: Many just don’t trust traditional investment institutions. They prefer to rely on their own research rather than use insights from traditional institutions, like financial advisors from legacy firms.

But this distrust isn’t the only thing driving young people to invest in cryptocurrencies and meme stocks. First, many have a genuinely positive outlook on blockchain technology. And second, at the same time that they feel disconnected from traditional investments, many are finding community, and sometimes fun, in the crypto space. They want to invest in what they connect with, whether it be stocks, coins or digital assets.

Read full story here : CNBC

UK to be nearly cashless by 2024 as digital payments accelerate

Use of cash in the UK has significantly reduced during the COVID-19 pandemic

The coronavirus pandemic has fueled the switch to digital payments in the United Kingdom. A recent report forecast only 7% of in-store purchases in the UK could be made in cash by 2024.

While cash accounted for 27% of in-store transactions in 2019, the latest global payments report from processing company Worldpay found that had fallen to 13% last year. The report predicts usage will continue to drop over the next three years.

International figures showed that in several other countries, including Sweden, Canada and Australia, already less than one in 10 shop payments are made in cash.

It predicted Sweden would be “almost cashless” by 2024, with 0.4% of transactions paid for with money, down from 15.2% in 2019 and 8.8% last year.

Consumers and businesses were already moving away from cash payments before the pandemic hit, but early concerns that Covid-19 could spread via surfaces led some companies to switch to contactless methods.

The increase in the contactless limit on cards, and mobile payment services with no cap on spending have accelerated the switch away from cash. Worldpay said that by 2024 it expected mobile to make up a third of payments.

Read full story here : theguardian.com

Apple ad for ‘alternative payments’ job signals interest in crypto

The iPhone maker is recruiting a business development manager for “alternative payments”

Apple is looking for a lead negotiator to strike partnerships with “alternative payment” partners, according to a job listing posted on Tuesday.

The role, according to the listing, would include screening potential partners, negotiating and signing deals, and launching new programs and features for Apple’s Wallets, Payments, and Commerce team. It will also work with Apple Pay teams.

“Lead the partnership program with key players in the Alternative Payments ecosystem, covering the complete process of partner identification, business case development and socialization, partnership negotiation, contract signing and execution, go to market launch and continued partnership value growth,” the job listing says.

Like most Apple job listings, it doesn’t mention specific products or partnerships that the role would work on. But it does mention some examples of alternative payments experience that Apple is looking for, including digital wallets, BNPL (buy now pay later, like Affirm), fast payments and cryptocurrency.

Apple has a digital wallet app built into the iPhone, called Wallet. When it started in 2012, it could hold digital boarding passes. Over the years, it has grown to include a number of financial services, such as contactless Apple Pay, peer-to-peer payments, the Goldman Sachs-powered Apple Card and loyalty rewards programs.

Apple CEO Tim Cook has publicly discussed his vision of a future without physical cash, only digital payments.

Apple has not yet announced a feature to allow iPhone users to widely accept payments, except through its peer-to-peer service. But the company has considered the idea. Last year, Apple bought Mobeewave, a startup that built software that allowed devices with NFC chips, like Apple’s iPhones and iPads, to become payment terminals.

Read full story here (cnbc.com)

EBay is looking at accepting crypto

The e-commerce giant is also looking at ways to get non-fungible tokens (NFTs) on its platform

EBay could soon be accepting cryptocurrency as a form of payment, the company said on Monday.

Several big companies have begun to accept virtual currencies as a form of payment, a step closer to becoming mainstream.

Early this year, Tesla started accepting bitcoin as payment for its electric cars, while payments giant PayPal last year initially allowed customers to buy, sell and hold cryptocurrencies using its online wallets.

“We are always looking at the most relevant forms of payment and will continue to assess that going forward. We have no immediate plans, but it (cryptocurrency) is something we are keeping an eye on,” eBay said in a statement.

In a recent interview Chief Executive Officer Jamie Iannone also said it was looking at a “number of ways” to get into the NFT space. 

NFTs, a type of digital asset that exists on a blockchain, have exploded in popularity this year, with NFT artworks selling for millions of dollars and musicians such as the Kings of Leon rock group embracing them for their latest album. 

“Everything that’s collectible has been on eBay for decades and will continue to be for the next few decades.”

Read full story here (Reuters)