No More Coinbase and BitPay: Process Your Own Bitcoin Payments for $6 a Month

Merchants can now use a Bitcoin full node to process their own payments via the BTCPay server for under $6 a month — with or without Lightning Network functionality. 

Removing Microsoft Azure Reliance

A guide to the solution from creator and Bitcoin developer Nicolas Dorier published August 18 explains how merchants who want to accept payments without banking formalities can now do so entirely independently. A secondary issue, obligatory use of Microsoft Azure, has also been resolved, reducing cost and reliance on third parties.

“BTCPay Server can easily be hosted with the magical one-click deploy to azure. However, simplicity come with a cost: Around 65 USD per month,” Dorier begins.

While you can bring it down to around 20 USD per month by following this guide after initial sync. The cost of Azure is too damn high.

A further complication lies in the fact that Azure cannot be paid for with Bitcoin, leading to certain merchants “having [a] headache [when paying] for their Azure account because reasons about their credit card.”

Open Source Is ‘A Way Out’

Despite being in existence around a year, BTCPay only recently rose to prominence in the cryptocurrency world when veteran merchant CheapAir publicly documented its switch to the open source gateway after growing dissatisfaction with Coinbase and rejection of competitor BitPay.

“Bitcoin itself is decentralized, but payment processors are not, and they use their comfortable position to abuse its customers,” Dorier told Bitcoinist in an interview last year.

BTCPay is a way out.

Using an alternative VPS provider to Azure, such as Dorier’s Lithuania-based timevps, brings the cost of accepting Bitcoin transactions using a pruned full node down from a minimum of $20 per month to the equivalent of around $6.

“…If tomorrow the US government bans Bitcoin, or that using Bitcoin becomes suddenly “offensive or unpatriotic” (which will happen when shit hit the fan with USD), and merchants are using Microsoft Azure, then lots of shops will end up closed. This would hurt the ecosystem,” he added. 

What do you think about BTCPay’s merchant payments option? Let us know in the comments below! 

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Coinbase Wins Patent to Protect a Secure Bitcoin Payments System

The largest US-based cryptocurrency exchange has made another move towards providing a secure environment for digital currency trading.

Identifying the Present Issues

In a filing issued August 14, the US Patent and Trademark Office has granted protection for a secure Bitcoin payment system to Coinbase.

The system itself paves the way for users to pay directly with bitcoin through their wallet, without having to worry about the security of their private key. The patent also identifies the issues which are currently preventing this from happening.

It may be a security concern for users that the private keys of their bitcoin addresses may be stolen from their wallets. Existing systems do not provide a solution for maintaining security over private keys while still allowing the users to check out on a merchant page and making payments using their wallets.

Increasing Security

What the patent protects is a system which is intended to set up a “key ceremony” application — which creates bundles for custodians that are individually encrypted with passphrases. Every single bundle will have a master key share. Those shares are combined in order to store an operational master key, which, on its part, is used to encrypt the private key during the checkout process described above.

The multi-layered approach is intended to enhance user protection and security over their private keys. In order to further increase the security, the system can also be “frozen.” This is intended to prevent any transactions from being carried out if an administrator has suspended the system.

In order to “unfreeze” the system, the keys from the key ceremony have to be used. While the checkout process itself can be completed regardless of the system’s state, payments can only be made if it’s unfrozen.

Furthermore, the patent explains that the new secure Bitcoin payment system will also feature an API key which hints that different websites would be able to take advantage of it.

Coinbase is taking security quite seriously. Earlier in July, the San Francisco-based cryptocurrency exchanged opened its Custody service which is intended to provide secure storage solutions for institutional investors.

What do you think of the patent won by Coinbase? Don’t hesitate to let us know in the comments below!

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Waiting Game: 60 Percent of Top 100 Cryptos Have No ‘Working Product’

Around 40 of the top 100 cryptocurrency tokens by market cap support a “working product” which is “active and available to the public,” new research this week finds. 

Promises, Promises

The results of investigations by cryptocurrency education resource Invest in Blockchain conclude that the multitude of projects that launched coins in recent times often remain on the drawing board regarding real-world use cases. “…We evaluated each project’s status, looked at its roadmap, checked its release history, and compared completed features to what the team promises to deliver in the future,” the research’s authors John Bardinelli and Daniel Frumkin explained.

The findings broadly reflect common criticism of the altcoin space, with various commentators cautioning over investing in tokens based on issuers’ promises and plans.

Last month, a report from the University of Pennsylvania Law School produced unflattering conclusions about many ICO projects, with researchers claiming they often “failed” to provide basic protections for investors or fulfill whitepaper promises. Further no-confidence votes have come from BTCC CEO Bobby Lee, BitTorrent creator Bram Cohen, and others.

For Bardinelli and Frumkin, the picture also remains murky regarding delivery on promises. Taking the majority of the top 100 cryptocurrencies in turn, they describe Ripple, for example, as having a “completely unnecessary” token and Litecoin as a cryptocurrency which “does not really expand upon the functionality of Bitcoin in a significant way so much as it makes different tradeoffs.”

Other assets won favor, however, including privacy-focused altcoins Monero and Zcash.

Not all assets appeared on the list, with the authors adding a proviso:

There are many projects in the top 100 that have launched their mainnet, and can claim to have a ‘working product’ by a loose definition. However, we have chosen not to include projects which aren’t actually being used by any significant measure, which means that most of the recently launched mainnets will not yet meet our criteria.

What do you think about the Invest in Blockchain research? Let us know in the comments below! 

Images courtesy of Shutterstock.