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Bitwage Releases Bitcoin Payroll for the Individual. Live your life in Bitcoin, with or without your Employer.

Bitwage Releases Bitcoin Payroll for the Individual, BP(i) and Enters Beta.
Ways to spend Bitcoin have been growing rapidly since 2013 (Overstock, Gyft, TigerDirect, Expedia and soon PayPal, etc). However, ways of getting Bitcoins have not been growing as quickly, creating a downward pressure on the price of Bitcoin at the online exchanges and little demand for said merchants. There is quite a bit of friction involved in buying Bitcoin from an exchange, with lots of personal information and wait time required. How can we expect mainstream adoption with such high barriers to entry?
*Enter Bitwage Payroll. *
Earning Bitcoin during your day job minimizes friction of on-boarding, while at the same time reducing the number of steps and commission spreads. With Bitwage, there is now an easy way to obtain Bitcoins with Zero-Click Bitcoin Payrolls. We at Bitwage recognize that implementing Bitcoin Payroll may not be at the top of every employer’s list, leaving many who wish to receive a portion of their pay in Bitcoin wanting. This is why we are happy to announce that:
Bitwage Releases Bitcoin Payroll for the Individual, BP(i) as of November 3rd
Bitwage allows anyone, regardless of how big or small, Bitcoin-friendly or Bitcoin-hostile their employer is, to be able to receive a Bitcoin wage. If your employer offers direct deposits, there is no need to evangelize the employer about Bitcoin. Just switch to a bank account that happens to be Bitcoin-friendly. No need to go all-in to Bitcoin. Convert as much or as little of your paycheck to Bitcoin as you want, say 10%.
This is a FREE Private Beta. Sign up at https://www.bitwage.co to get started!
In addition, the Bitwage solution will allow for employees and employers alike to create their capital gains reports and file them through our partnership with Gocheto Financials with just a few clicks.
So what are some of the implications of BP(i):
Live Your Life in Bitcoin, Regardless of Your Employer
Everyday, more and more people are looking for ways to minimize their reliance on the current financial system in exchange for a taste of the future. With the current methods, users have to rely on the inefficient banking systems to act as a conduit between the traditional sector and the digital sector. Now, with BP(i), you can live within this modern digital ecosystem without interfacing with a banking intermediary. From as small as 1% to as large as 100% of your paycheck, you can now live the way you want to live. Whether you are a new user looking at Bitcoin as an investment or you are looking for a way to move into the next generation of financial systems, now you can live your life in Bitcoin.
Unbanked and Underbanked Now Have a New Way to Get Paid
Through BP(i), the unbanked and underbanked in the United States now have a way to access modern financial tools, regardless of their employers.
There are over 10 million unbanked residents in the US alone who either cannot keep a minimum balance to establish a bank account or do not trust the banks in general. Without bank accounts, this segment of the population are forced to deal with the fees and friction associated with the check cashing and prepaid cards industry. In 2012, Green Dot, a major prepaid card player, reported that there were more than 4.2 million active cards and $16.1 billion in gross dollar volume of funds loaded onto their cards that year. Netspend reported 2.1 million active cards with $11 billion in gross dollar volume. The costs associated with prepaid card include initiation fees, monthly fees, POS fees, cash withdrawal fees, balance inquiry fees, transaction statement fees, customer service fees, bill payment fees, fees to add or load funds, dormancy fees, fees to get remaining funds when closing the account and overdraft fees. On average, the fees on prepaid cards cost the unbanked and underbanked up to $30 a month depending on the card. In addition, there were over $31 billion in overdraft fees last year in the US alone. These costs are just for the ability to hold and send money.
With BP(i), unbanked and underbanked now have a new opportunity to have access to these basic financial tools without all of the exorbitant costs related to the traditional financial system. Although Bitcoin payroll may initially act as an investment vehicle due to its volatile nature, as the ecosystem evolves and provides new tools to hedge against the volatility of Bitcoin, BP(i) provides new avenues to provide financial relief to those that need it most.
Receiving International Contractor Payments Just Got Way Easier
Over 2.6 million full-time jobs are outsourced from the United States alone. Millions of freelancers contract for companies in US and Europe from other countries, many of them without a reliable banking network or wire-transfer capabilities. Even after international contractors are paid, after all the delays, transfer fees and conversion fees (which total to about 8% on average), their local currency can be quite volatile and not a good store of value, such as the Ukraine Hryvnia, which lost over half its value against USD during 2014).
What do citizens of countries with high (and under-reported) inflation rates such as Ukraine, Argentina and Venezula do to store the value of their wages? They exchange their local currency for dollars as soon and as often as possible. They often have to deal with currency controls and/or a real shortage of paper dollars in their region, and thus resort to doing business with back-street money changers, who charge a premium for their services, say 8 Argentinian Pesos for a Dollar, instead of the official rate of 5 Pesos.
With the creation of BP(i), receiving international contractor payments is as easy as receiving Bitcoins. Use Bitwage to accept the payments in the US, thereby reducing costs for both you and your employer, and have Bitcoins sent straight to your wallet. By the end of the year, we will be offering fully transparent international payments between the US and the Philippines. This service will be expanded to other countries in early 2015.
As we enter Beta, we will initially be keeping BP(i) and Automatic Zero-Click Bitcoin Payrolls free. Charges may apply for features such as non-automatic payrolls with Wire, ACH Debit, and Bitcoin, as well as 1099 Filings and Capital Gains Filings.
Sign up at https://www.bitwage.co to get started in our FREE private beta. For more information, please follow us at https://www.twitter.com/bitwage
Jonathan Chester, Founder and CSO
Avram Kantorovich, Marketing
Bitwage: Your Wage, Bit by Bit
submitted by bitwage to Bitcoin [link] [comments]

Bitcoin and the Individual Tax Game

There are only three things that are certain in this life: death, taxes and Bitcoin.
Bitcoin has grown so much so quickly that regulators internationally have been scrambling to catch up. Politicians may blather on about consumer protection and security, but they really care about one thing above all else: taxes.
That's where things are going to get interesting over the next several months. There will be quite a bit of gamesmanship that goes into this decision-making process, especially for economic powerhouses like the U.S. and China. At first, no country wanted to appear hostile to Bitcoin, fearing that any negative reactions or over-regulation would drive innovation overseas to foreign competitors. Now that fears of Bitcoin's imminent demise at the hands of central banks seem to be waning, expect countries to begin duking it out on tax policy. How will the U.S. government tax bitcoin?
Forbes contributor Robert Wood does a very nice job outlining the alternatives for the U.S.:
"If you swap one product or service for another, tax is due as the IRS explains at its Tax Bartering Center. If you provide services or sell goods for Bitcoin, you have income. If you exchange Bitcoins for cash, whether you have gain may depend on whether Bitcoin is currency or commodity…Transactions in Bitcoin could be property, barter, foreign currency, or a financial instrument."
It seems pretty clear that businesses selling Bitcoin for goods or services will need to report income, and in fact, the infrastructure is already in place for merchants to quickly calculate tax liabilities thanks to instant USD conversion tools from BitPay and Coinbase. The murkier waters include the tax treatment for individual wallet holders. If Bitcoin were treated as a foreign currency, gains (and losses) would be taxed at ordinary income rates. If it were treated as a security, the holder would be subject to capital gains taxes only after conversion to another fiat currency. And finally, an unlikely but terrifying option (as it would crush the U.S. Bitcoin economy), if bitcoin were treated like an asset that must be "marked to market," the holder would be required to pay taxes on unrealized gains.
This means that a person that bought a bitcoin at $100 that is now sitting on an asset worth $1,000 may be safe from taxes...temporarily. But if he sells that bitcoin after holding it for less than a year or if bitcoin is treated as a foreign currency, he will be required to pay taxes on that $900 gain at his ordinary income rate. If he sells the bitcoin after holding it for longer than one year and that bitcoin is treated like a security, he will be required to pay taxes on the $900 gain at capital gains rates up to 20% (plus 3.8% for high-income earners).
But this is where it gets tricky. Since the tax treatment hasn't yet been determined, the tax reporting infrastructure to adequately self-report gains may not yet be in place at companies like Coinbase or other international exchanges. I bought bitcoin as five different prices and sold at four different prices this year, but Coinbase hasn't yet built the sub-accounting functionality that allows me to specify how I meant to execute these trades -- in the most tax efficient way possible. That is, I wanted my "sell lot" of 5 bitcoins at $1100 to offset my original "buy lot" acquired at $700, not my earliest lot purchased at $125. Extrapolated out, this cumulative difference could mean thousands of dollars in unwarranted tax liability.
This is assuming that people actually self-report their gains and losses. Take your bitcoin out of Coinbase or any U.S. wallet service and how will the government track you down? Many people with international accounts may not self-report. Technically, they are only required to do so only if they hold more than $10,000 in a foreign brokerages' custodial account (the fines for non-reporting are massive), but there is nothing to stop people from spreading their bitcoins across several brokerage "hot wallets" and keeping any remaining bitcoin above the $10,000 limit in "cold storage" - literally in safety deposit boxes or on personal hard drives.
And how about people who purchase goods with appreciated bitcoin? How can the government possibly wrap its arms around this in short order? I would expect many people to sit on their appreciated bitcoin and use it for purchases of actual goods and services rather than selling for fiat currencies. (In fact, I'm slapping myself for selling some of my stake this past weekend rather than loading up on thousands of dollars worth of Gyft cards, which can be used for Amazon, Target, Nike...F*CK!!!)
Finally, the peer-to-peer nature of the currency will make it difficult to judge whether a transaction is barter, income, gift etc. If you transfer some money to a friend to pay him back for a drink or dinner or a plane ticket, do you create a tax liability? There will likely need to be some floor price to transactions that get taxed under existing barter rules.
I am not a CPA or a tax expert, so please let me know if you have comments, questions or corrections. Tomorrow, I'm posting a summary of how other countries are treating Bitcoin for tax purposes to date.
@twobitidiot; for my free "Daily Bit" email [email protected]
submitted by twobitidiot to Bitcoin [link] [comments]

Gyft is the Bitcoin consumer's only good app.

On Friday, Barry Silbert tweeted his "wish list" of the top five companies he hoped would soon accept bitcoin, and asked his followers which merchants were in their top five. Some of the most popular responses were Amazon, Target, Whole Foods, and Zappos, which ironically are all companies that work with Gyft, the mobile gift card company that is probably the industry's most crucial and useful consumer bitcoin app.
One of bitcoin's biggest challenges is its lack of clear consumer use cases today. Unless you are a crypto-anarchist who is willfully "opting out" of the traditional banking / credit system, a privacy nut, a black market consumer, a bitcoin paper millionaire who spends bitcoin as a diversification strategy, or a prolific micro-tipper, you are better off using a debit or credit card for your day to day commerce. Said another way, bitcoin simply doesn't make sense for 99% of consumers.
I saw this first hand last week when I paid for dinner at a bitcoin-friendly sushi restaurant in my neighborhood. I transferred the $72.88 due through the merchant's BitPay account with bitcoin from a Coinbase wallet that appeared to be worth $73.24. Sure, that $0.36 "surcharge" might only be a half percent, but when you add it to the 1% cash back I was foregoing (2-3% for some credit cards that have better restaurant rewards), the merchant's bitcoin savings were simply additional costs incurred by me. I was spending bitcoin that had appreciated 30% in the past week and it annoyed me; how would consumers interested in a more stable bitcoin feel about that hidden fee?
Of course, I was at one of the few restaurants in my city that accepts bitcoin period. Forbes' Kashmir Hill demonstrated (for the second year in a row) how difficult it still is for any bitcoin enthusiast to live life without cash or credit cards. Hill's week using nothing but bitcoin in San Francisco showcased how there are not yet any reliable transportation vendors, point of sale systems or ATMs to make life on bitcoin truly viable. Instead, she spent much of her first post praising the existence of Gyft and its role as the bitcoin consumer's bridge to the non-speculative investment (aka "real") world where bitcoin can be used.
(http://www.forbes.com/sites/kashmirhill/2014/05/06/living-on-bitcoin-a-year-later-will-it-be-easie)
Gyft has, in fact, solved many of the early consumer use case problems for bitcoin. For starters, the company's mobile app has not been banned by Apple, making it usable for the millions of iOS faithful who might not exchange their iPhone simply to dabble with a new payment technology. Gyft also offers a 3% credit on bitcoin purchases, passing the cost savings back to the consumer and ensuring that I'll never see a surcharge for using bitcoin through Gyft as I will at my sushi restaurant. Finally, Hill outlined the life-saving utility of Gyft during her week-long experiment - gift cards to CVS, ride-sharing service Lyft, Fandango, etc. - that stems from its partnerships with over 200 retailers.
Hill said it best: "Gyft is a very easy way to convert Bitcoin into usable money — without ever actually turning it into cash and paying the 1% fee charged by exchangers like Coinbase and Bitpay. Gyft absorbs that conversion fee for consumers, and at a lower rate due to its volume."
Are there any other consumer applications that even come close to encouraging greater consumer adoption of bitcoin?
submitted by twobitidiot to Bitcoin [link] [comments]

[ANN] getBspendB.com, the new way to BUY and SPEND bitcoins!

Introducing: getBspendB, the new way for you to GET and SPEND bitcoins!
getBspendB is a marketplace that connects bitcoin "Spenders" and bitcoin "Buyers" by leveraging Amazon wishlists. By creating a platform for Buyers to easily, safely, anonymously, and quickly purchase bitcoins, the Spender gains wide selection of Amazon merchandise at BELOW FIAT prices.
So how does GBSB work?
  1. First, the Spender creates an Amazon wishlist and shares the wishlist link featuring delicious coconut water priced at $26.99 with GBSB. The price is calculated and discounted (at 4% during beta), so the order will cost $25.91 or ฿0.2029*). If Spender's account balance is sufficiently funded, the order will be place in the orderbook for Buyers to grab.
  2. Bitcoin Buyers shares with GBSB how much BTC he wants to buy. GBSB returns him several similarly valued options to choose from. Buyer then purchases the products in the wishlist and selecting the Spender's hidden ship-to address (known only to Amazon).
  3. Amazon ships the items directly to the Spender. Buyer provides the tracking number to GBSB and Spender for an ETA.
  4. Upon receiving, Spender confirms with GBSB that package has arrived, and the bitcoins (minus a 5% fee) are released from escrow. Buyer can then withdraw the bitcoins to his private wallet, or use it as he wishes.
Seems kinda complicated you might say. There are so many parties involved in this single transaction.
Our Implementation focuses on the user experience. We aim to make the entire transaction eat no more than 20 minutes of each user's time. GBSB aims to be a fresh and unconventional method of exchange, that addresses several problems in the bitcoin ecosystem.
Currently available options for Buyers
It's too difficult to acquire them and buy things with them.
-theymos, admin of bitcointalk.org
It has only gotten harder since.
  • Traditional exchanges like BitStamp and MtGox are easily the cheapest methods of purchasing bitcoins in volume. However, an international wire costs at least $50 in wire and deposit fees while taking 2-5 days before reaching BitStamp. This high barrier prevents anything less than several thousand dollar transactions economical. The long paper trails and heavy scrutiny may be an additional concern for customers that value privacy. Policy transparency vary between exchanges: BitStamp provide timely warnings for customers to accommodate for regulatory conformity, while MtGox has been less inclined to disclose their situation.
  • Fixed rate meta exchanges such as the US based Coinbase takes advantage of the ACH system to remove the transfer cost completely. The 1% fee makes Coinbase a top choice for US buyers after the initial gauntlet. ACH has higher fraud risk than wire transfers, so Coinbase wisely minimize that risk by curating clients through ever-increasing levels of personal information verification steps, limiting customer purchasing power, and delivers bitcoins some point between 3-60 days (average is closer to 7 for the first time user). Occasionally clients report of being declined after days of waiting or frustration over verification steps. Coinbase's operation is highly opaque, with security holes that by pass limitations, sudden changes due to manipulation, and knee-jerk policy changes without warning. Coinbase however is backed by Silicon Valley big shots, so they are well funded enough to absorb the cost of the occasional mishap.
  • Since regulatory pressure tightened, the most recommended and fastest growing exchanges are decentralized exchanges, namely localbitcoins. The unqiue ability for closely proximate bitcoin traders to meet in person and safely trasact using good old cash. They help build personal relationships and trust between traders and provides an outlet for newer users to learn from more experienced ones. Of course, there is the occasional awkwardness, or the nearest seller being 3 hours away, or the insurmountable fear of leaving your basement (it's okay, we understand). Localbitcoin's online exchange is another method that offers any payment option imaginable by hundreds of bitcoin sellers online at all times. Prices vary, methods vary, user honesty also vary. This is perhaps the only major exchange at the moment that preserves anonymity of trades resonably well today. The reason for their success, is the same for bitcoins. Decentralization; peer-2-peer. I am a huge fan of localbitcoin and often traded there. However, their seemingly weekly feature updates, unintuitive UI and choice of words make navigation a bit tedious.
The GBSB Experience - Buyer
getBspendB is partly modeled after localbitcoin's decentralized nature, but serving a different purpose and offers many advantages over localbitcoin from Buyers' perspective. A fixed rate and fewer standardized options won't force Buyers from learning about all the different payment methods, or choosing between vendors based on their rate and reputation. The process needs only 20 minutes over 3 vists to the site, and 2-3 day wait to become the newest proud bitcoin user. Buying bitcoins is now literally as easy as shopping on Amazon.
  1. First visit requires registration, and selection a wishlist of suitable value to purchase for. Confrm the purchase after paying (Protip: Amazon Prime is your friend) and come back when Amazon has shipped.
  2. The second visit simply involves pasting the tracking number so everyone knows package ETA.
  3. Once package arrives, Spender confirms, Buyer logs back in one final time to withdraw the bitcoins.
Currently available options for Spenders
actual stuff selling for cheaper than dollars, rather than for more money than dollars
-nanotube, founder of #bitcoin-otc and Web of Trust, in private IRC conversation
The purchasing power of bitcoin has significantly improved in the past several months. 3 new types of "general stores" like Amazon have emerged on the scene.
  • The oldest is bitcoinstore. Users generally report competitive prices but tedious user experience. Bitcoinstore is in a unique position to be the Amazon of bitcoin, but they do not seem to be making an effort to improve the UI and search functions of the site, making potential savings less desirable. The sophisticated bitcoin users understand that time = money.
  • Another class of options is the all4btc and the defunct bitspend.net model. These services allow users shop as they normally would on their favorite sites, but rather than buying via credit card, they'd submit the item to these services, which return with a price in BTC to pay including an added processing fee for their effort to manually purchase the item for the customer. A more serious flaw of these businesses is an issue of unproven security and additional party to trust with your personal information. All4btc claims a 5% fee, but a quick test using same coconut water resulted in an invoice of ฿0.3672* or $46.08 in market USD cost. It wasn't clear as to what caused 70% markup, but the average US bitcoiner who probably has credit cards (or access to gift cards) has no economic incentive to pay any additional fee. There was a fee to buy bitcoins, so certainly there shouldn't be another to spend them. All4btc does have a seemingly cool chrome plug-in that can simplify purchases, but I got an error while trying to install so was not able to test. Bitspend is now defunct, partly due to their quick success and unscalability. Because orders were processed manually, the appearance of security and professionalism brought in enough customers that they were more often offline, waiting for mtgox withdraws. Abusing Amazon Prime TOS, Chase credit card benefits, and endless money cycling basically forced the bank to close their accounts.
  • Finally, several gift card vendors like gyft and egifter opens up many great merchants, including Amazon, to bitcoin consumers. Users comments are generally very favorable. The only drawbacks are the additional middlemen, smartphone app is sometimes required, and the bitcoins are likely converted directly to USD thus not actually expanding the bitcoin economy. Selection is wide enough such that if one dares to risk most of his net worth in bitcoin, he can at least stay alive.
    *rate of $125. 
The GBSB Experience - Spender
Because merchants benefits form near zero transaction costs of bitcoin and zero fraud risk, the reputable and competitive merchant must reduce the price (about 5%) on items paid in bitcoin. Given the hassle and cost of acquiring bitcoins, zero premium is still an uneconomic choice for the consumer. This lack of economic benefit is the sole barrier preventing bitcoin from becoming the glorious currency it should be. We aim to keep the fee low enough so that it's always cheaper for Spenders to replaced spent coins from exchanges in order to create a deep market for Buyers.
Remainder in comments
Or get on the list now!
submitted by getBspendB to getBspendB [link] [comments]

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