“We pay a processing fee for credit cards, and we employ about 40 people in our fraud department. That’s a cost of doing business with credit cards. When we take cryptocurrency, we have a very small transaction fee with Coinbase, much smaller than our credit card processing fee, and we have no fraud prevention department. It’s like a cash transaction. For us, that is a much cheaper way of doing business.”CheapAir.com also made some major moves regarding their preferred payment platform. Having previously used the controversial BitPay to process Bitcoin payments, they decided to remove themselves from BitPay's limiting and pricey BIP70 protocol, opting for the more highly-regarded, open-sourced and free, BTC Pay. Despite the mass-media's sentiments and uninformed opinions from the public, Bitcoin had plenty of support, and was doing things in the background, as it had been all along, before all the public scrutiny. For some, a glimmer of light at the end of the tunnel seemed to exist in the form of gaining government regulation, and an improvement to the volatility and trust related to crypto-markets and exchanges. Leading the march toward this 'light' have been the potential approval by the SEC for proposed Bitcoin ETF (exchange traded funds)s. With failed attempts from the likes of Gemini exchange's Winklevoss twins, and the continual SEC postponement of the more robust, VanEck/SolidX ETF proposal, faith in the legitimacy of Bitcoin was further dwindling for the fence-sitters. Recognizing the potential negative effects of the SEC's unwillingness to approve an ETF, SEC commissioner, Hester Pierce, made a public statement of dissent, in regard to the commission's majority decision. She expressed:
“More generally, the Commission’s interpretation and application of the statutory standard sends a strong signal that innovation is unwelcome in our markets, a signal that may have effects far beyond the fate of bitcoin ETPs [ETFs].”February 16 will prove to be final deadline for an official SEC determination for VanEck/SolidX. Though there are skeptics, many believe that the addition of pro-crypto, Elad Roisman, to the commision, points to some legitimized optimism towards SEC approval of the ETF. It is a commonly shared belief by bulls that being regulated by the SEC will instill greater confidence from larger institutional investors, and further launch Bitcoin to the proverbial moon. Others point to the exciting launch of Bakkt, powered by the likes of ICE (Intercontinental Exchange) (you know, the parent company of the NYSE!), Starbucks and Microsoft. Bakkts is planning to use it's far-reaching and interdisciplinary assets by, "building an open, seamless global network to enable you to buy, sell, store and spend digital assets simply, safely and efficiently." Originally planning to launch in December of this year, Bakkt is now aiming to green light operations by January of 2019, and big things are expected to come from the cooperation of such powerful entities. It has been stated that Starbucks will likely be the initial arm for exploring Bitcoin acceptance in the retail sector, ICE will be handling physically-delivered Bitcoin futures and Microsoft, presumably, spearheading technological applications. Now, 10 years old, and growing at a rate that may entice the likes of Francis Ford Coppola to cast Robin Williams in the lead role of "Bitcoin", the growing pains are still being felt by all involved parties. The end of this year saw Bitcoin reach a price bottom which had not been seen since August 2017, proving the final nail in the coffin for many remaining hemming and hawing potential investors. Bitcoin again, for the 336th time, had been declared dead. Put your bagpipes down, because despite the FUD, and seemingly fatal news we see in mainstream media, there is still a great deal of life, as there always has been. The resiliency of Bitcoin, and the tech which both drives its development and facilitates its utility, have remained. Bitcoin is not a company, it cannot file for Chapter 11, and it can not be sold away, or go out of business. As the clichés have stated countless times, Bitcoin is owned by you, and is without borders, and is trustless, and is fungible, and is secure, and is powerful, and is scalable, and is practical and, well, despite all the mortal declarations, Bitcoin just IS, and will continue to BE. It's living and breathing, it's growing, changing and adapting, and its applicability is ever evolving. Revolutionary, complex and utterly new is Bitcoin and cryptocurrency. These implemented ideas seek to offer improved alternatives, and essentially strike up a coup, to a broken system, controlled by many powerful governments and special interests. It would be ridiculous and unfair to assume that the paradigm shift would occur overnight, or even in 10 short years. For those who choose not to care, or are not exposed to what's happening behind the curtain, we understand, you're not ready to love this free-spirited muse yet; that love is not for the faint of heart or the thin of skin. For those of us steadfast, excited, motivated and fascinated by what we know is happening behind the curtain, our adoration is strong, undaunted and unlike anything we've experienced in this most recent generation. We know and love Bitcoin for all its ups and downs, and for keeping us on our toes, and making us think hard and often, and reminding us that we can't totally predict what will happen from day to day, but we're committed, we're ride or die. Bitcoin tests us; our faith, our grasp, and our trust that big things are developing, much of which we can see. 2018 was a trying year, and many of us have been through a lot on this love rollercoaster, but we are passionate about it, we're part of something pure and integral and we're proud to be part of such a thing. We can't wait to see where we end up in this coming 2019, we can't predict anything specific, but we can guarantee that it's going to be another cathartic and wild experience. Thank you Bitcoin for just BEING, and in the words of Fat Boy Slim, I leave you with:
We've come a long long way together Through the hard times and the good I have to celebrate you baby I have to praise you like I should
Happy Holidays and have a wonderful New Year, from all of us at Coin Ninja. We hope you'll ride the rollercoaster with us and follow us on our own journey to build a better world with Bitcoin.