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Where can you use Bitcoin, and what can you buy with it?




Momentum builds for central bank digital currencies

Nowadays, everyone is so interested in trading and forex that they easily forget that Bitcoin is also a currency, even though digital. Yes, it is a type of stock, something you can exchange, an investment. Let’s not forget that Bitcoin was made to be the type of currency to turn the ties when it came to the regular type of paying and became vital if you wanted to pay something without including your bank.

The influence of bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies on the global economy is tremendous, including blockchain technology, so don’t be surprised when you see how many things you can pay for using bitcoin only. The question is, where can you use Bitcoin, and what can you buy with it?

Where can you spend Bitcoin?

The dollar is still the primary type of paying (as you can already tell), and there is no specific prediction that will mean when or if bitcoin will take over the economy completely. Many places accept it as a form of payment, but it’s usually online. Depending on where you are in the world, some stores may accept Bitcoin, as well. People are still wary of spending this cryptocurrency because there is always a chance to go higher on the market, therefore having more worth.

How to Use Bitcoin Online and for purchases

Like we mentioned, Bitcoin is far more suitable for using it for online purchases and offers many options. Somewhere they will give you a chance to set up only bitcoin purchases, and in other places, you can buy simple things like a burger! If you find it fit, you can use your Bitcoin for a gift card since many “regular’ stores accept it, such as Target, Dunkin Donuts, Home Depot. You can also purchase things on Etsy, etc.

  • When you want to purchase something using bitcoin, the process is relatively easy. You should go to “pay with bitcoin” and then enter your crypto wallet information (it is usually your QR code, especially if you are paying on your phone). Then you confirm your data, and the final thing is placing your order. This is processed through companies that allow digital cryptocurrency trading.

Pay attention that some companies give you a 10- minute window for completing the purchase since bitcoin’s liquidity and volatility are high.

Where Online Can I Buy With Bitcoin?

It all depends on the retailer you choose. To give an example, Overstock uses any bitcoin transaction to build up and develop its blockchain, so they consider it an investment, as well. If you are looking for retail stuff such as furniture or anything for the home, use the option to pay with bitcoin. If you haven’t tried it, that would be the best time.

Newegg is an electronics retailer, and they want to get payments in bitcoin as much as they can. There are different methods of paying, depending on whether you are on your mobile or desktop device. At Newegg, you can buy games, consoles, computers, and other tech-savvy things.

Microsoft, or better said, Bill Gates, has changed his opinion on bitcoin many times, but Jim Cramer has been playing with the idea of putting bitcoin into Microsoft’s paying system. You can now transfer Bitcoin from your wallet to your Microsoft account, and it’s available to use for Xbox or in the Windows store.

Other companies are doing it on a smaller scale, by allowing only certain payments. You can book flights, hotels, anything regarding travel through Expedia because they have a partnership with Coinbase, which will enable them to exchange Bitcoin. Therefore, the transaction fee exists. If everything goes well with Expedia, we might expect to pay regular flights with bitcoin in the future. Who knows? In the end, it’s even possible to pay your satellite television in bitcoin thanks to Dish Network. They adopted the cryptocurrency way back in 2014. You can even make donations! Wikipedia is one example where they immediately connect with Coinbase if you request a bitcoin transfer.

Bitcoin at regular stores? Yes!

Even though Bitcoin is still a novelty, many retail owners are big believers of bitcoin becoming a regular part of paying in the future. Therefore, you could quickly come across a sign that says, “We take bitcoin!” in the most unexpected places. Of course, it’s far away from being as common as the dollar, but it is possible that you can go somewhere physically and pay with bitcoin.

  • How do you pay in stores? With your mobile device in hand and scanning your wallet key or QR code, the payment can go through even faster than with a credit card if the method is well integrated.

Final Opinion

Bitcoin is slowly but surely becoming more attractive to regular people, and it will find its way to retail stores. It’s just a question when and will the small companies be willing to incorporate the appropriate technology. They should be, since it’s the future, and they should keep up with the trend for the sake of their job. It is still a fact that volatility is high, so you should pay attention anytime you want to pay something, especially if you are a trader. But, as you can see, bitcoin has a chance!


Artificial Intelligence

The future growth of AI and ML




The Future Growth of AI and ML

By Rachel Roumeliotis

We’ve all come to terms with the fact that artificial intelligence (AI) is transforming how businesses operate and how much it can help a business in the long term. Over the past few years, this understanding has driven a spike in companies experimenting and evaluating AI technologies and who are now using it specifically in production deployments.

Of course, when organisations adopt new technologies such as AI and machine learning (ML), they gradually start to consider how new areas could be affected by technology. This can range across multiple sectors, including production and logistics, manufacturing, IT and customer service. Once the use of AI and ML techniques becomes ingrained in how businesses function and in the different ways in which they can be used, organisations will be able to gain new knowledge which will help them to adapt to evolving needs.

By delving into O’Reilly’s learning platform, a variety of information about the different trends and topics tech and business leaders need to know can be discovered. This will allow them to better understand their jobs and will ensure that their businesses continue to thrive.

Over the last few months, we have analysed the platform’s user usage and have discovered the most popular and most-searched topics in AI and ML. We’ll be exploring some of the most important finding below which gives us a wider picture of where the state of AI and ML is, and ultimately, where it is headed.

AI outpacing growth in ML

First and foremost, our analysis shone a light on how interest in AI is continuing to grow. When comparing 2018 to 2019, engagement in AI increased by 58% – far outpacing growth in the much larger machine learning topic, which increased only 5% in 2019. When aggregating all AI and ML topics, this accounts for nearly 5% of all usage activity on the platform.

While this is just slightly less than high-level, well-established topics like data engineering (8% of usage activity) and data science (5% of usage activity), interest in these topics grew 50% faster than data science. Data engineering actually decreased about 8% over the same time due to declines in engagement with data management topics.

We also discovered early signs that organisations are experimenting with advanced tools and methods. Of our findings, engagement in unsupervised learning content is probably one of the most interesting. In unsupervised learning, an AI algorithm is trained to look for previously undetected patterns in a data set with no pre-existing labels or classification with minimum human supervision or guidance. In 2018, the usage for unsupervised learning topics grew by 53% and by 172% in 2019.

But what’s driving this growth? While the names of its methods (clustering and association) and its applications (neural networks) are familiar, unsupervised learning isn’t as well understood as its supervised learning counterpart, which serves as the default strategy for ML for most people and most use cases.

This surge in unsupervised learning activity is likely driven by a lack of familiarity with the term itself, as well as with its uses, benefits, and requirements by more sophisticated users who are faced with use cases not easily addressed with supervised methods.

It is also likely that that the visible success of unsupervised learning in neural networks and deep learning has helped our interest, as has the diversity of open source tools, libraries and tutorials, that support unsupervised learning.

A Deep Learning Resurrection

While deep learning cooled slightly in 2019, it still accounted for 22% of all AI and ML usage. We also suspect that its success has helped spur the resurrection of a number of other disused or neglected ideas. The biggest example of this is reinforcement learning. This topic experienced exponential growth, growing over 1,500% since 2017.

Even with engagement rates dropping by 10% in 2019, deep learning itself is one of the most popular ML methods among companies that are evaluating AI, with many companies choosing the technique to support production use cases. It might be that engagement with deep learning topics has plateaued because most people are already actively engaging with the technology, meaning growth could slow down.

Natural language processing is another topic that has showed consistent growth. While its growth rate isn’t huge – it grew by 15% in 2018 and 9% in 2019 – natural language processing accounts for about 12% of all AI and ML usage on our platform. This is around 6x the share of unsupervised learning and 5x the share of reinforcement learning usage, despite the significant growth these two topics have experienced over the last two years.

Not all AI/ML methods are treated equally, however. For example, interest in chatbots seems to be waning, with engagement decreasing by 17% in 2018 and by 34% in 2019. This is likely because chatbots were one of the first application of AI and is probably a reflection of the relative maturity of its application.

The growing engagement in unsupervised learning and reinforcement learning demonstrates that organisations are experimenting with advanced analytics tools and methods. These tools and techniques open up new use cases for businesses to experiment and benefit from, including decision support, interactive games, and real-time retail recommendation engines. We can only imagine that organisations will continue to use AI and ML to solve problems, increase productivity, accelerate processes, and deliver new products and services.

As organisations adopt analytic technologies, they’re discovering more about themselves and their worlds. Adoption of ML, in particular, prompts people at all levels of an organisation to start asking questions that challenge what an organisation thinks it knows about itself.

With ML and AI, we’re training machines to surface new objects of knowledge that help us as we learn to ask new, different, and sometimes difficult questions about ourselves. By all indications, we seem to be having some success with this. Who knows what the future holds, but as technologies become smarter, there is no doubt that we will we become more dependent.


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MAS Revises Tech Risk Guidelines Amidst Heightened Cyber Attack Threats




The Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) has issued a revised Technology Risk Management guidelines in light of the recent spate of cyber attacks dominating the headlines.

The revised guidelines focuses on addressing technology and cyber risks in financial institutions (FIs) deploying cloud technologies, application programming interfaces, and rapid software development.


The guidelines reinforce the importance of incorporating security controls as part of FIs’ technology development and delivery lifecycle, as well as in the deployment of emerging technologies.

The revised guidelines set out enhanced risk mitigation strategies for FIs which includes establishing a robust process for the timely analysis and sharing of cyber threat intelligence within the financial ecosystem.

It also outlines the importance of conducting cyber exercises to allow FIs to stress test their cyber defenses by simulating the attack tactics, techniques, and procedures used by real-world attackers.

In light of FIs’ growing reliance on third party service providers, the revised guidelines set out the expectation for FIs to exercise strong oversight of arrangements with third party service providers, to ensure system resilience as well as maintain data confidentiality and integrity.

The guidelines also provides additional guidance on the roles and responsibilities of the board of directors and senior management to ensure that a Chief Information Officer and a Chief Information Security Officer, with the requisite experience and expertise, are appointed and accountable for managing technology and cyber risks;

The board should also include members with the relevant knowledge to provide effective oversight of technology and cyber risks.

The revised guidelines have incorporated feedback received from the public consultation conducted in 2019, MAS’ engagement with the industry, and MAS’ Cyber Security Advisory Panel (CSAP).

Mr Tan Yeow Seng, Chief Cyber Security Officer, MAS, said,

Tan Yeow Seng

“Technology now underpins most aspects of financial services. Not only are financial institutions adopting new technologies, they are also increasingly reliant on third party service providers.

The revised guidelines set out MAS’ higher expectations in the areas of technology risk governance and security controls in financial institutions.”

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Singaporeans Encouraged to Hand Out E-Hong Baos for Lunar New Year




The Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) is encouraging Singaporeans to use e-hong baos, monetary gifts given in envelopes, during the coming Lunar New Year. This is in line with the safety measures currently in place due to COVID-19.

E-hong baos will enable remote gifting across a variety of visitation practices, including virtual gatherings, during the upcoming Lunar New Year. Giving e-hong baos instead of physical notes is also environmentally more sustainable as it reduces the printing and subsequent wastage of new notes that are returned by the public to banks after each Lunar New Year.


E-hong baos are part of a larger shift towards e-gifting that MAS and ABS are promoting. MAS also encourages fintech firms to develop e-gifting solutions for different purposes, including gifting during festive periods.

DBS had previously debuted its loadable QR red packets in 2019

Members of the public, except those aged 60 and above and persons with disabilities, who prefer physical notes for the Lunar New Year will need to make an appointment through their respective bank’s online reservation system before visiting the branches to collect the new notes. The five banks offering the service are five banks DBS, OCBC, UOB, Standard Chartered and Maybank Singapore.

The pre-order period for new and good-as-new notes will start from 18 January 2021. The collection for online orders, walk-in option for elderly aged 60 and above and persons with disabilities, and withdrawal at DBS’ pop-up ATMs will start from 25 January 2021.

New notes can also be withdrawn without a prior booking at pop-up ATMs offered by DBS.

Customers should refer to the respective bank’s website for details on how to pre-book and collect their orders.

Bernard Wee, Assistant Managing Director, Finance, Risk & Currency at MAS said,

Bernard Wee

“The adoption of e-payments grew significantly this past year as it is more convenient than cash. The coming Lunar New Year offers an opportunity for us to build on this momentum, to spread the benefits of e-gifting, and to forge new traditions with our families and friends.

E-gifting helps to reduce the queues at banks, and also helps to reduce the carbon emissions generated by the production of new notes for each Lunar New Year, estimated to be about 330 tonnes currently. This is equivalent to emissions from charging 5.7 million smart phones or one smart phone for every Singaporean resident for five days.”

Featured image credit: DBS eGift

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M1 rockets to $3 billion in client assets, four months after hitting $2 billion




M1 Rockets to $3 billion in client assets, four months after hitting $2 billion
CHICAGO, Jan. 14, 2021 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — Today, M1 Finance, The Finance Super App™, announced $3 billion in client assets on its platform. M1 previously announced $2 billion in client assets just four months ago, and $1 billion in client assets less than one year ago. This is a huge milestone in M1’s mission of empowering people to improve their financial well-being.

“The financial services industry has seen disruption for some time, but our incredible growth is far beyond the trend,” says Brian Barnes, M1 Finance founder and CEO. “It’s about our team’s relentless pursuit to create the best personal finance platform for building long-term wealth, meeting medium-term financial needs, and managing short-term spending. The speed at which we’ve tripled client assets is a clear example of the trust and belief people have in our vision.”

The $3 billion milestone comes during a time when more people are seeking to make smarter financial decisions. M1 is experiencing daily record numbers of new account sign-ups, signing up approximately three times more users now versus this time last year. The company is also experiencing record brokerage account transfer numbers, recently hitting over $700 million in total account transfers from competing brokerages.

According to Barnes, it’s not just new clients driving this growth. M1 is increasing wallet share with existing clients as they move even more money to M1 and grow their contributions.

“Our clients are engaged investors, but they’re not active traders. They rely on M1 to automate their positive financial habits, and our long-term philosophy makes us stand out. We’re building the tools that make smart financial decisions effortless, integrated, and consistent,” says Barnes. “There are a lot of trends in the personal finance space, but we innovate according to our values.”

This milestone follows closely on the heels of Smart Transfers, a recently launched automation feature for M1 Plus members and a key part of M1’s vision of empowering people to improve their financial well-being. Integrated with M1’s existing suite of products, M1 InvestM1 Borrow, and M1 Spend, M1 Plus members use Smart Transfers to save time and make every dollar work harder according to their goals. 

While innovating new features like Smart Transfers and experiencing record growth in client assets and sign-ups, M1 has continued to stay focused on the client experience. Since the beginning of 2020, M1 has grown its client success team by 5x and outgrown its new headquarters, among other milestones.

“We’ve grown our team to ensure we’re not just there when our clients ask for help, but to anticipate their needs and empower them to be fully self-directed in their financial wellness journey,” says Christine LaFrance, Head of Client Success at M1.

The next big area of focus for M1 will be continuing its work in building an integrated, holistic personal finance platform. The team expects to double headcount in the next year and is planning for even more in automation, seamless integration, control, and the client experience. To learn more about M1 Finance, visit


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