If you think the world of cryptocurrency is limited only to Bitcoin, you are mistaken. There are a number of other digital currency systems currently in operation. One of these is called Ethereum, which is self-described as:
Ethereum is a decentralized platform that runs smart contracts: applications that run exactly as programmed without any possibility of downtime, censorship, fraud or third party interference.
These apps run on a custom built blockchain, an enormously powerful shared global infrastructure that can move value around and represent the ownership of property. This enables developers to create markets, store registries of debts or promises, move funds in accordance with instructions given long in the past (like a will or a futures contract) and many other things that have not been invented yet, all without a middle man or counterparty risk.
Ether is the appropriately named currency of the Ethereum network. Cryptocurrency trading company Coinbase recently added support for Ether. Coinbase users can buy, sell, and trade Ether directly from their Coinbase accounts:
In May, we added Ethereum trading on GDAX, our professional digital asset exchange. With the addition of Ethereum on Coinbase, consumers in 32 countries can acquire Ether and take part in an open financial system facilitated by Ethereum and Bitcoin.
Honestly, I don’t really understand any of this. But if you want to learn more about Ethereum, Coinbase has posted a helpful information page that may (?) provide some clarity.
Bitcoin, the cryptocurrency that started out as a technological curiosity, has grown rapidly in the last couple years. Bitcoin adoption has been on the rise, and this has prompted the development of tools and services that help Bitcoin users convert their digital money into real-world cash. Coinbase, one of the larger Bitcoin players in the market, described itself from the beginning as a “PayPal-like” service, where users could log in and convert Bitcoin to cash, or vice versa.
Expanding its efforts to make Bitcoin exchanges even easier, Coinbase recently announced it will be adding support for PayPal and credit cards. From a Coinbase e-mail sent earlier this week:
One of our objectives at Coinbase is to add as many funding mechanisms as possible to make exchanging digital currency easy. As a step in that direction, Coinbase now accepts PayPal (for bitcoin sells) and credit cards (for bitcoin buys).
It’s worth noting that Coinbase isn’t using both of these new services for everything. As the e-mail states. Coinbase users will be able to use PayPal when selling Bitcoin, and they’ll be able to use credit cards for Bitcoin purchases. Previously, Coinbase only conducted transactions thru registered bank accounts.
These new payment systems are currently in beta, but they are accessible to most Coinbase users.
Bitcoin. It’s the cryptocurrency some of us love, and some of us hate. It’s demise is being constantly predicted by tech pundits. Yet, it continues to endure. Despite what the naysayers think, there are plenty of companies trying to find ways to expand the reach of Bitcoin. Two such companies have now teamed up to release a new Bitcoin debit card.
Bitcoin exchange Coinbase recently joined forces with payment processor Shift. Together, they’re launching a Bitcoin debit card that carries the Visa logo:
Whether your currency is new or old shouldn’t matter. Bitcoin is now accepted online and offline at over 38 million merchants worldwide. Case closed.
The process is fairly simple. Load some Bitcoin into your Coinbase account. Sign up for the debit card thru Shift and then link the two accounts. Once everything’s done, you can now pay for virtually anything with Bitcoin where Visa debit cards are accepted.
If you’d like to make it easier to spend your own Bitcoin like “real money,” keep in mind that the Shift debit card does carry some fees. For example, there’s a $10 fee for the issuance of a plastic card (which also goes for replacement cards), there’s a $2.50 fee for using the Bitcoin card at an ATM, and a 3% fee for all international transactions. However, there are no annual fees or fees on domestic transactions. However, both Coinbase and Shift reserve the right to start charging fees on domestic transactions in the future.
You can learn more about the new Bitcoin debit card at the Coinbase blog.