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Bitcoin: Big in investing, but still lousy for buying a sandwich


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Lior Rachmany, 39, CEO of Dumbo Moving in Brooklyn, ltc electrum said he started taking bitcoin for payment a few months ago. Cryptocurrency transactions now take up about 5 percent of his business.

Sarah Tew/CNET

This is part of «,» a series looking at the impact of blockchain, bitcoin and cryptocurrency on our lives.

Ever the tech enthusiast, Bert Green decided to start accepting bitcoin at his Chicago storefront in 2013, becoming one of the first art galleries in the US to accept the digital currency as payment.

Things didn’t work out as planned.

«It’s hardly ever happened,» he said, recalling just two sales using the cryptocurrency over the past four years at his gallery, Bert Green Fine Art. «People do not transact in bitcoin.»


Green’s experience isn’t unique. Despite bitcoin and other digital currencies being billed as — you know — currencies, they’ve instead turned into investment vehicles or stores of wealth. That shift appears to have sped up last year, when bitcoin’s price skyrocketed from $1,000 last February to nearly $20,000 by December — causing cryptocurrency to become a topic at the family dinner table.

This lack of spending with cryptocurrencies could limit their future potential. Bitcoin, ethereum and other digital currencies may remain in the realm of investors and crypto enthusiasts, instead of becoming long-sought universal monies that people use every day and can be spent at any store or website around the world.

Even after bitcoin’s price , chances that it could reach that promise are anyone’s guess.

«That is the $64,000 question, that is, what’s the next narrative for bitcoin?» said Nick Colas, co-founder of the independent research firm DataTrek Research, who’s been following cryptocurrencies since 2012. «It’s really hard to pin down and that’s why the price is so volatile.»

The headaches of bitcoin lunch

Things weren’t always this way. Back in 2013, bitcoin was being trumpeted as the next, new currency, unfettered by governments, easily movable across borders and anonymous for users.

Looking to take part in this new concept, Kashmir Hill, now a senior reporter in San Francisco for Gizmodo Media Group, spent a week that year living solely on bitcoin, writing about her experience for Forbes. It was a giant pain just finding retailers that would accept the currency.

She did the same experiment a year later and found more retailers accepted the digital tokens, but she bumped up against plenty of other problems. One day, she tried to buy lunch at a local market that accepted bitcoin. Her payment didn’t go through so she left starving, she said. The transaction completed about two hours later and she had to go back the next day to get her meal.

«In my experience, bitcoin was so annoying that it was hard to imagine it becoming easier than going to the local ATM and getting money,» she said.

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In another situation, Hill said she bought a bunch of strangers dinner at a sushi restaurant in 2013 for 10 bitcoin, the equivalent at the time of $1,200. The price of those bitcoin today would be roughly $93,000.

«I just don’t know how I could again spend this currency that could be worth so much more,» she added. «I think I would be going crazy while doing it.»

Hill’s experiment revealed a bunch of annoyances with spending with bitcoin. It’s only accepted in a small fraction of retailers, and using it to buy stuff isn’t all that simple, often requiring sending funds from one digital wallet to another using an online address called a public key. Plus, cryptocurrency fans don’t want to part with their digital tokens for fear they’ll miss out on the next big run-up in prices.

One of the best-known examples of missed opportunities with bitcoin came from one of the earliest transactions using the currency. In 2010, when bitcoin was worth a fraction of a penny, Florida software programmer Laszlo Hanyecz agreed to pay someone 10,000 bitcoin for two Papa John’s pizzas.

«Those are the two most expensive pizzas in the history of the planet,» Colas said. (This week, they’d be worth approximately $93 million — or $46.5 million per pie.)

With so few people agreeing to part ways with their bitcoin, some retailers have stopped accepting it. The gaming company Valve in December said it would on its Steam service, citing its high fees and volatility. OKCupid, too, dropped bitcoin, saying a tiny percentage of people used it on the dating site.

The e-retailer started accepting bitcoin in 2013 and now takes dozens of cryptocurrencies as payment, including Dash, Monero and litecoin. Despite that, the company said roughly 0.25 percent of its revenue comes from purchases using cryptocurrencies.

Julian Plyter, co-founder and CEO of the Manhattan ice-cream sandwich shop Melt, said his business has made just 75 transactions with bitcoin between 2014 and 2017. But, he added, many of those transactions were with journalists curious how bitcoin buying works.

Better on the dark web

Slow bitcoin sales aren’t a drag for everyone, though. Lior Rachmany, CEO of Dumbo Moving in Brooklyn, started accepting bitcoin, ethereum and litecoin a few months ago.

While these crypto-sales make up just 5 percent of his business, he likes using digital money because transactions are irreversible, ensuring he’ll get paid for a move without fear a customer will charge back the transaction. Plus, past moves have the potential of accruing in value as bitcoin prices rise and some international customers found it easier to use, he said.

He’s now planning on selling some of his company’s crypto reserves for cash to stock up on equipment ahead of the summer moving season.

«I think that’s the way of the future, less politics behind the money,» Rachmany said. «And I think everybody should get on it.»

These benefits for retailers, of course, can also be seen as disincentives for consumers.

«It’s a final transaction. It’s like handing someone cash on the sidewalk,» Green said.

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One area that bitcoin is still regularly used for transactions is . Thanks to the currency’s anonymity, it’s found a following for money laundering, murder for hire, drugs and ransomware.

On a daily basis, an estimated 20 percent of overall bitcoin transfers — roughly $50 million to $60 million — are for illicit activity,  according to Lance Morginn, CEO of Blockchain Intelligence Group, a Vancouver-based company that tracks suspicious bitcoin activity.

That reputation of being tied to illegal activities is another hurdle for bitcoin in reaching the mainstream. Morginn, whose clients include the US Department of Justice, said his company is working to cut down on that problem. In the future, he suggested, the currency may need to become less anonymous to thrive.

Green, the art gallery owner, stocked up on some bitcoin in the early days and now tends to use his reserves the same way as most other crypto fans. At times, he’s traded it a bit between different cryptocurrencies and when business is slow he’ll sell some to make ends meet. But for the most part he just holds onto it.»

«I’m not spending it,» he said. «I’m not using it for stuff, because I see a long-term value in holding it.»

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Old hands in South Korea Bitcoin market unfazed by threats of ban


By Dahee Kim and Marius Zaharia

SEOUL/HONG KONG, Jan 18 (Reuters) – Threats of a potential cryptocurrency trading ban in South Korea have scared many investors away, but some veterans of the young market are defiant, saying restrictions would be relatively easy to circumvent.

Although the cryptocurrency market lost about $200 billion this week, or a third of its value, these investors – known within the community as «hodlers» after a misspelled meme that went viral during Bitcoin’s early days – are used to rollercoaster rides.

China’s shutdown of local exchanges in September, for instance, caused a 50 percent drop in Bitcoin, but prices rebounded eight-fold to almost $20,000.

Currently valued around $10,000, Bitcoin could be poised for a similar whirlwind this time around, some say.

«In case the government shuts down all local exchanges, investors can always go abroad and open an account there,» said a South Korean student who declined to be named because of legal risks.

«I can ask my friends who study abroad or travel there myself. It’s not that big of a problem.»

Cryptocurrency experts say the student probably has good reason to be relaxed. A ban could discourage new market entrants, but the anonymity of buyers and sellers and the ability to move digital assets anywhere in the world with a click makes it hard to impose restrictions on existing participants without a global consensus.

Places like Singapore and Hong Kong maintain light regulations, while neighbouring Japan has encouraged a vast ecosystem of companies and investors around digital assets by pioneering a set of rules for the industry.

Germany has said national restrictions may be useless.


According to industry experts, the first step to circumventing a ban is hiding IP addresses from authorities via virtual private networks (VPNs).

Traders can then continue business as usual.

Decentralised exchanges, such as Shapeshift or Stellar Dex, do not require identification and can be accessed from anywhere.

Cryptocurrency wallets such as Exodus and Jaxx are linked to such exchanges, so trading and storing the assets can still be anonymous.

Authorities in countries with strong legal protections may need a warrant to check computers or smartphones for proof of such activity.

Even then, unless caught in the act, the holder can claim no trading has taken place since the legislation was approved and Electrum Litecoin wallet has forgotten the password for the electrum ltc wallet.

Some decentralised exchanges offer derivative products that allow betting on the price of a cryptocurrency against a fiat currency, including the Korean won and Chinese yuan. But cashing out in fiat is not possible on such exchanges.

An option in that case is to trade all cryptocurrencies for a top one such as Bitcoin, Ethereum or Litecoin, and sell it at one the 2,064 crypto ATMs in 61 countries, although the transaction fees can exceed 10 percent.

If need be, coins can be stored on offline «wallets» the size of a USB stick.

Alternatively, holders can open bank accounts in countries that have not banned Bitcoin, then join a local centralised exchange where they can trade cryptocurrencies for fiat.

«I hold everything in a hard ltc electrum wallet the size of my thumb. I have copies of my private keys in a safe. I have accounts on four exchanges on three continents. If any government wants my money, good luck to them,» said a Hong Kong-based investor who claims to hold «about $1 million» in various cryptocurrencies.


A 30-year-old nurse in Seoul said she had already switched to Hong Kong-based exchange Binance before the government’s warnings hit the market.

Company officers at Seoul-based exchanges say, anecdotally, such moves have accelerated.

«All this could lead to serious money outflow and only the government is not aware of it,» one officer said, requesting anonymity.

South Korea accounts for between 5 and 15 percent of daily Bitcoin trading.

The value of all Bitcoins is around $200 billion.

If opening accounts overseas proves difficult, friends, family or the local Bitcoin community can help. Another option is to find someone with access to an exchange – preferably using encrypted social media apps such as Whatsapp or Telegram – and sell to them at a discount.

But fraud is a risk.

«There could be a black market where people who can cash out offshore can pay you in won for your Bitcoins,» said Aurelian Menant, chief executive of Hong-Kong based exchange Gatecoin.

But that leaves the door open to «dodgy stuff,» Menant said, adding that the fear of scams in the aftermath of a ban may deter new investors, potentially shrinking Korean trading volumes «from billions to millions.» (Reporting by Dahee Kim in SEOUL and Marius Zaharia in HONG KONG; Writing by Marius Zaharia)

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Electrum LTC Wallet vs. other wallets – how does it compare?


Electrum Litecoin Wallet Review 2021

The Electrum LTC wallet is an open source, desktop-based wallet that was designed specifically for Litecoin (LTC).

Electrum Litecoin wallet is a lightweight Litecoin client with lots of similarities to its mother wallet, Electrum Bitcoin. It has the advantage of being early on the crypto scene. But does this make a difference in its features and functions?

What is Electrum LTC Wallet?

What is Electrum LTC wallet? It is an open source, desktop-based wallet that was designed specifically for Litecoin (LTC). The code for Electrum was released in 2011 and though it was initially a Bitcoin-only wallet, developers have created other versions.

Electrum LTC wallet is a lightweight Litecoin client and does not require a download of the entire chain.

According to its website, it is a community-maintained port of the Bitcoin wallet, Electrum, to Litecoin. Its design is simple yet feature-filed, making it appropriate for all levels of users, beginners and more advanced.

Wallet Compatibility

Electrum Litecoin wallet is a desktop software wallet compatible with:



Mac OS

What wallet type is Electrum Litecoin?

Lightweight client

Open source

Desktop wallet

What cryptocurrencies does the Electrum Litecoin wallet support?

Litecoin (LTC)

What fees does Electrum Litecoin wallet have?

There are no Electrum Litecoin wallet fees for setting up or using the software. However, users pay the usual network fees that go to miners for transaction confirmation.

How to open your Electrum Litecoin Wallet account

To get started, let us find out how to open Electrum Litecoin wallet:

Step 1: Go to and click «Downloads»

Step 2: Click the «OS X executable» button to initiate download

Step 3: Once the download of the .dmg file completes, run the software and follow the prompts to complete installation

Step 4: You will get the question «How do you want to connect to a server?» Select «Auto-connect» and click «Next»

Step 5: Give your wallet a name and choose where to save it then click «Next

Step 6: On the next screen which asks the type of wallet you want to create, select «Standard wallet» and then click «Next»

Step 7: On the keystore page, select «Create New Seed» and click «Next»

Step 8: You will get a 12-word mnemonic phrase which you can use to regenerate your wallet if ever it fails

Step 9: Retype your seed to confirm it and then click «Next»

Step 10: Set a password for your wallet and make sure to tick the «Encrypt wallet file» box

Step 11: Your wallet will now generate addresses and when it’s done, click «Next»

Congratulations! That is how to open a wallet on Electrum Litecoin!

How do I add cryptocurrencies to Electrum Litecoin Wallet?

Next, let’s learn how to add currency to Electrum Litecoin wallet:

Step 1: Click the «Receive» button on the top right side

Step 2: Copy the receiving address, which is your Electrum Litecoin wallet address and paste it on an exchange or in another wallet to transfer funds.

Use this process to transfer Litecoin to your wallet from any other source.

Since it is a Litecoin-only wallet, we will not go into how to transfer Bitcoin to Electrum Litecoin wallet, how to transfer Ethereum to Electrum Litecoin wallet or how to transfer Ripple to Electrum Litecoin wallet.

How to send payments on Electrum Litecoin wallet?

Now that we have some funds, here is how to send payments on Electrum Litecoin wallet:

Step 1: Click the «Send» button in the middle of your screen

Step 2: Enter your recipient’s address in the «Pay to» tab, an optional description, the amount to pay and the fee, and then click «Send»

How do I receive payments on Electrum Litecoin wallet?

To receive payments on Electrum Litecoin wallet:

Step 1: Click on the «Receive» button in your wallet

You’ll see here your crypto wallet address.

Step 2: Copy the receiving wallet address and send it to your counterparty then wait for the funds to reflect.

How safe is Electrum Litecoin Wallet?

Related image

There are a number of great Electrum LItecoin safety features that seek t protect user funds. Consider the topmost:

Optional Cold Storage

You can use Electrum Litecoin to generate as well as maintain offline wallets for cold storage of your funds. Using this option, it is now possible to sign transactions from a system that remains offline. After that, you can broadcast the transaction from a PC that does not hold your private keys.

Private Key Storage

Your private key Electrum Litecoin wallet is stored not on the operators’ servers but on the user’s hard drive. Even if the servers were to be compromised therefore, users’ private keys would not be affected. It also means that every user has the responsibility to keep their own keys and wallets secure.

Open Source Code

Electrum Litecoin wallet is based on open source code. Users can therefore view and audit the code. They can even identify bugs and bring them to developers’ attention to enhance safety. This also goes to show that the team behind it has nothing to hide and is open to public scrutiny.

Being open source also means that anyone can run the client and the resulting decentralized structure has no single point of failure.

Two-Factor Authentication and Multi-Signature Options

During setup, you have the option of incorporating these features for further security. 2FA requires a double layer of authentication before transaction processing. And if you have multiple users for an account, multi-sig measures will help make everyone accountable.

From the above safety features, Electrum Litecoin wallet has placed significant efforts to ensure security for its users. However, they have omitted one important consideration, regulatory compliance.

Very few crypto wallets and service providers are regulated. eToro is one such provider, mentioned earlier, who takes regulations seriously. In every jurisdiction where the platform operates, it is licensed by the relevant authorities.

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