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Bitcoin News Summary – June 15, 2020

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Lichtenstein’s Bank Frick is using Circle exchange’s USDC stablecoin instead of SWIFT for transferring money internationally. Bank Frick is a leader in integrating crypto services, and claims USDC is significantly faster than SWIFT. If this trend continues as expected, SWIFT technology, first implemented in the 1970’s, could soon be replaced.

Soft drink vending machines across Australia and New Zealand will now accept Bitcoin, as part of a collaboration between Coca Cola Amatil and crypto services company, Centrapay. To use the new payment methods, the Sylo Smart Wallet app is required. The new move is cited as a way to make real-world payments in a more hygienic, hands-off way.

The bestselling book about the Winkelvoss twins and their investment into Bitcoin, “Bitcoin Billionaires”, will be made into a feature film. The book is a follow up to “The Social Network” and it picks up after the twins’ exit from Facebook. The movie will likely lead to a lot of positive exposure for Bitcoin.

A new type of Exchange-Traded Product, called the Bitcoin Exchange Traded Crypto, will be launching on the Deutsche Borse trading market. Clients will be able to gain exposure to Bitcoin’s price via a regulated security with the added ability to convert their holdings into real Bitcoin.

Bakkt, the ICE-owned Bitcoin futures trading platform, has teamed up with Mike Novogratz’s Galaxy Digital. The joint project will aim to provide both Bitcoin trading and custody services for institutional-grade investors.

Before we conclude, this week’s “Bitcoin quick question” is can I make money with an airdrop?

An airdrop is a free distribution of cryptocurrencies, and it is mainly used as a marketing maneuver by projects who wish to grow their community and coin holders. 

Usually, in order to participate in an airdrop, users need to register by providing personal details, or are requested to hold a different type of cryptocurrency such as Ethereum in their wallet at a specific time – thereby using the coin’s reputation to promote the airdrop project.

While it seems to be “free money”, nobody can guarantee that the freely distributed coins will have value, or will even be listed for trading on a cryptocurrency exchange. Most importantly however, airdrops have hidden risks such as privacy leaks, and volatility exposure to the cryptocurrency users must hold in order to participate in the airdrop itself.

Therefore it is important to assess and manage the risks properly: if you are seeking short-term gains, consider what happens if the value of the base cryptocurrency drops further than the value of the airdropped token. And if you are seeking long-term gains make sure you have properly researched the project.

Have a question you want us to answer? Just leave it in the comment section below. And if you want to support our videos, consider using the Brave browser for faster, ad free browsing that can also earn you rewards. Just visit the link in the description below.

That’s what’s happened this week in Bitcoin. See you next week.

Source: https://99bitcoins.com/bitcoin-news-summary-june-15-2020/

Aviation

Air Canada Adding Doha To Its Route Network With A Boeing 787-9

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While we’ve seen many Middle Eastern carriers offering direct non-stop services to North America, it’s much more rare to see it happen the other way around. But it looks like from December 2020, Air Canada will be operating service to Doha, Qatar using its flagship Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner.

B787-9
Air Canada already offers direct service between Toronto and Dubai. Photo: Air Canada

What we know about this route so far

According to Routesonline, Canada’s largest airline will launch service from Toronto Pearson International (YYZ) to Doha’s Hamad International Airport (DOH). This service will begin in mid-December – just over a month and a half away from now.

The flight details are as follows:

  • AC058: The outbound flight will depart Toronto at 20:10 local time and arrive in Doha at 16:40 (local) the next day.
  • AC059: The return journey will depart Doha at 08:40 local and arrive in Toronto at 15:05 (local) the same day.

Flying this route will be the airline’s 787-9, which offers 30 business class seats, 21 seats for premium economy service, and 247 in economy class.

Stay informed: Sign up for our daily aviation news digest.

Why haven’t we heard anything from the airline yet?

Interestingly, we haven’t seen a press release from Air Canada yet, as new services like this would normally be accompanied by. However, Routesonline suggests that this service is pending government approval – which may indeed be the reason.

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Alternately, rather than the news coming out over the weekend, it will be announced first thing Monday morning in a Canadian time zone.

Regardless of the ‘why,’ we can confirm that reservations are now available, as is witnessed by the screen capture below:

Air Canada booking doha
The outbound journey is a 12.5-hour flight. The return flight is 14.5 hours. Photo: Air Canada

Competing with Qatar Airways

The service indirectly competes with Qatar Airways in terms of a direct flight to Qatar. Currently, the Middle Eastern carrier flies direct to Montreal from its Doha hub using the A350-1000. However, when it comes to offering direct flights to Doha, it’s just these two.

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Qatar-Airways-A350-1000-launch-operator-2
Qatar Airways offers one service to Canada – a direct flight to Montreal, currently using the Airbus A350-1000. Photo: Airbus

You wouldn’t expect this route to do well given how small of a country Qatar is. It’s not a huge destination, even in the best of times. However, when using Toronto as a gateway to North America and Doha as a gateway to other Middle East destinations, this route could be successful.

While the two airlines are part of different alliances, we’ve already seen them offer flights with one another as part of various itineraries.

Using Doha to Vancouver as an example, Qatar Airways has flown passengers to Montreal while Air Canada carries them on the Montreal-Vancouver sector. If we look at Toronto to Kuwait, Air Canada takes passengers to Doha, and Qatar Airways will take them from Doha to Kuwait.

Do you have any interest in this new Air Canada route? Let us know in the comments.

Simple Flying contacted Air Canada regarding this new service but did not receive a response at the time of publication. Flight information was obtained from RoutesOnline.com

Source: https://simpleflying.com/air-canada-doha/

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Aviation

Singapore Airlines’ Fleet In 2020

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For a small country, Singapore has quite a large and expansive national carrier. Not only is Singapore Airlines’ fleet large in terms of the number of aircraft, but its aircraft are large, modern, and fitted with some of the nicest cabins in the industry. The carrier, however, doesn’t have the same fleet now compared to when it started 2020. Let’s look at Singapore Airlines and its current fleet.

Singapore Airlines A380
The most action the Singapore Airlines Airbus A380 has seen in recent times is use as a restaurant on the ground. Photo: Getty Images

Without a doubt, the events of 2020 have drastically changed Singapore Airlines’ fleet. Compared to physically large countries with domestic operations, Singapore as a city-state has no such industry. Thus, with the country’s total travel ban in the Spring, its national carrier ceased to exist in a functional sense – at least for a little while. Some aircraft were retired early, while others were sent into long-term storage. Even now, while limited operations have resumed, more than half of its 130+ aircraft are listed as parked.

Stay informed: Sign up for our daily aviation news digest.

The Airbus A380

With the events of 2020, some airlines have moved to retire their large Airbus A380s. Singapore Airlines has parked all 19 of these superjumbos – some of them remaining at home at Singapore Changi Airport, others in the dry climate of Alice Springs in the middle of the Australian Outback.

For now, the aircraft officially remain part of the Singapore Airlines fleet with no confirmed news of retirement. The average age for the A380s is 8.6 years old.

The most recent and innovative use for the large aircraft was as an on-the-ground restaurant. The idea was met with huge success, with the first experience selling out in half an hour. Six more seatings spread across two days were subsequently added.

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The Boeing 787

Singapore Airlines took delivery of the world’s first Boeing 787-10 Dreamliner back in March of 2018. In total, Planespotters.net data shows that the airline has 15 of the aircraft type, with 12 in service and three listed as parked.

The average age of these aircraft is 2.1 years old, with the newest accepted in November 2019. All 787s are configured to have 36 seats in business class and 301 in economy class.

Singapore Airlines 787-10
Singapore Airlines welcomed the world’s first Boeing 787-10 aircraft with a water cannon salute on March 28, 2018. Photo: Getty Images

The Airbus A350

Singapore Airlines’ Airbus A350 fleet is the largest portion of the airline’s total fleet. Of the 52 aircraft listed with the airline, 38 A350s are listed as active, while 14 are listed as parked.

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While all the A350s in the SQ fleet are -900s, not all of these are configured the same. In fact, the carrier has three configurations for its A350s- medium-haul, long-haul, and ultra-long-haul.

Singapore Airlines Airbus A350-941 9V-SGG
The A350-900ULR flies to New York JFK these days. Photo: Vincenzo Pace | JFKJets.com

Of these, one offers a three-class layout with business, premium economy, and economy. Another is a more typical two-class setup featuring business and economy, while the ultra-long-haul variant is fitted with just business and premium economy seating. The A350-900ULR flies from Singapore to New York (most recently changing to JFK airport instead of Newark Liberty).

The average age of the A350 fleet is just 2.3 years old.

The Airbus A330 and Boeing 777

Finally, the A330 and 777 are part of the Singapore Airlines fleet. Planespotters.net notes that all six A330-300s are parked – their average age is 5.6 years old.

Of the Boeing 777 fleet, just six -300s are listed as in service with the airline. There are another 25 777-300s listed as parked. Earlier this year, the carrier retired its 777-200ER fleet, although three are listed as being parked in Alice Springs, Australia.

Which Singapore Airlines aircraft have you flown on? Share your experiences with us in the comments!

Source: https://simpleflying.com/singapore-2020-fleet/

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Payments

ālea iacta est… PayPal crosses over to Bitcoin

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When Julius Caesar crossed the Rubicon, he uttered the famous phrase ālea iacta est (“the die has been cast”). On the October 21st, we had one of those moments and passed the point of no return. PayPal, one of the biggest payment companies in the world, with a market cap of $240 billion, 346 million users and 26 million merchants will soon allow its customers in the  US to buy, sell and HODL Bitcoin, Bitcoin Cash, Ethereum and Litecoin. In a press release the company announced that its new cryptocurrency service will be available in the US. in the coming weeks and by early 2021 customers will be able to use crypto to shop with its network of 26 million retailers. PayPal is offering this service to its US customers, then plans to add more geographies and features over time. PayPal also plans to expand the service to Venmo, its peer-to-peer payment app popular with younger consumers, by the first half of next year. While the announcement is cause for excitement, there is one big problem with the new service. PayPal users won’t be able transfer their cryptocurrency into or out of PayPal, nor will users have control of the private keys. PayPal is not alone here, Robinhood, Revolut and eToro are all in the same boat when it comes to crypto ownership. While there are many places to buy crypto which and keep ownership of the coins, there is no question that the announcement of PayPal’s crypto service is huge piece of news and has the potential to bring millions and millions of new users to crypto world and propel Bitcoin’s usage beyond speculation.

Ilias Louis Hatzis is the founder and CEO at Kryptonio, a bitcoin and cryptocurrency “keyless” wallet, that lets users manage bitcoin and crypto, without private keys or passwords.

PayPal’s foray into crypto, is a strong bullish sign for Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies. For the last 20 years, PayPal has built an enormous user base and has helped millions of individuals and businesses send and receive money. The 350 million people that already use PayPal, trust it with their money. With its recent move, PayPal adds adds a level of credibility and trust to Bitcoin and crypto.

Bitcoin’s price
As you can imagine, Bitcoin’s price went up more than $1,000 on Wednesday after PayPal’s announcement, shooting up to $12,800, far above the previous high in July 2019. Since the announcement, CoinMarketCap.com shows that Bitcoin went all the way past $13k.

Other services
Other fintech companies, such as mobile payments provider Square, stock trading app Robinhood, neobank Revolut, and social trading brokerage eToro already allow users to buy and sell cryptocurrencies. All have had a huge boost in user growth and revenue because of their crypto offerings.

PayPal’s and crypto offering is similar to what its rivals are providing. For now Square is the only one that allows Bitcoin withdrawals, while RobinHood and Revolut are still not there. All of them have made millions in revenue though their cryptocurrency services, which is probably one of the motivations behind PayPal’s decision.

In the second quarter of this year, Square reported a huge increase in bitcoin revenue, generating $875 million, a 600% increase from the year before. For Revolut, cryptocurrencies was the most viral product it has launched to-date. The impact of cryptocurrencies was enormous, resulting in a huge growth in user acquisition and paving the way for a $500 million round in February, valuing the company at $5.5 billion.

Merchant angle
In the second quarter of this year, PayPal processed $222 billion in payments and the big question for PayPal’s crypto service will be if users will use it to pay merchants for goods and services.

Cryptocurrencies’ volatility poses risks for merchants and shoppers. Also, transactions are slower and more costly than other mainstream payment systems.

With its new service, PayPal will try to address these issues. PayPal will manage the risk of price fluctuations and merchants will receive payments in fiat. When customers choose to pay via one of the four cryptocurrencies, the PayPal merchant will still receive the respective fiat amount, just like always. The merchant won’t even know in which cryptocurrency the customer used to pay. There will be no additional fees charged to the merchant for accepting and receiving cryptocurrency.

In effect, cryptocurrency simply becomes another funding source inside the PayPal digital wallet, adding enhanced utility to cryptocurrency holders, while addressing volatility, cost and the speed of cryptocurrency transactions. PayPal becomes a “second layer” that uses Bitcoin, but does not use blockchain. Most likely PayPal will hold a supply of digital assets and when user pay an online merchant, the transaction will not take place on the blockchain, but only in PayPal’s database.

Importance of PayPal’s decision

In the past, PayPal was not supportive of cryptocurrencies, actually it was anti-crypto. In 2018, Bill Harris, its previous CEO, called Bitcoin “the greatest scam ever”.

A lot has happened since. Bitcoin started a bull market cycle again, even exceeding $13,000 in June 2019. The launch of the Facebook Libra in that same month also changed a lot of things. PayPal was one of the founding members of the Libra association, before leaving the project under pressure from US. authorities. Now it has found itself changing its narrative and going in the other direction.

This is undoubtedly a turning point for Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies. PayPal decision to enter the crypto market is noteworthy, because of its size. For the first time, a company of this size allows its users to hold and use cryptocurrencies through its application. There’s no comparison in the potential exposure for bitcoin and cryptocurrencies, between PayPal’s offering and that of any other company in the past. This is probably the biggest step in the spread of digital assets, since the birth of Bitcoin. Not only will PayPal bring 346 million users, but also 26 million merchants who will now have the ability to offer Bitcoin as a payment method. Even if 1% of its users decided to purchase cryptocurrencies, that would mean another 3 million new users. PayPal has the potential to scale cryptocurrencies to hundreds of millions in transactions everyday.

Overall this news is important, verifies that Bitcoin is here to stay, will help build more awareness and trust with the general public, but there is also some risks here.

When I first heard of bitcoin, my first thought was “I already have a PayPal account to buy things online, why do I need bitcoin”? At the time, I failed to understand that bitcoin was a currency, not just a transfer protocol. I failed to understand you can store bitcoin long term.

Now, the same will happen with all the new Bitcoin users that PayPal brings to the market. Yes, they will buy and sell cryptocurrencies and we’ll see more transactions, but they will lack the knowledge of that they can really do with cryptocurrencies. Keeping them locked in to their platform, PayPal will give them a false perception of how Bitcoin works.

Some, will research and realize that there are other alternatives, and that you actually can own your bitcoin. But, the majority will remain content with PayPal’s offering, due to their inherent trust in the platform and that PayPal must know what’s best for them.

The race for Bitcoin has started, corporations are investing huge sums in Bitcoin we are seeing major companies changing their stance, from sworn enemies to frenemies. PayPal’s announcement will drive millions of people to the world of cryptocurrencies, will help make cryptocurrencies mainstream, publicly accepted and widely adopted.

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Source: https://dailyfintech.com/2020/10/26/alea-iacta-est-paypal-crosses-over-to-bitcoin/

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