Urdubit Launches New Features.

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Bringing more trust to current bitcoin and blockchain users in Pakistan, urdubit has now introduced a few new features. Starting with a new theme, that integrates a better look and twitter updates to more banking options. The new theme is named coinage, while you can still go back to old theme by simply selecting the themes link, it makes it easier for new users to buy or sell their bitcoins.

The other option introduced is the cash over counter. Now customers can sell their bitcoins on urdubit and trade them for PKR instantly or via orderbook. Once sold they can request a withdrawal via JS Bank Cash Over Counter option. This options promotes the ability for any non banking client to simply receive a xpin on their mobile via sms. The customer is then able to take the sms to any JS Bank show thier CNIC and receive cash. This feature is a JS Connect feature now being offered to users of urdubit. Pakistan having one of the largest unbanked population in the world relies on mobile money penetration over dumb/smartphones. The banking sector is only caters to about 22 percent of the population where as mobile accounts are about 8% of that total. This means majority of transfers are done via Cash in and Cash out agents of services such as easypaisa, jazzcash, ubl OMNI. Which the introduction of Cash Over Counter any verified user can simply request to pickup cash of upto PKR 50000 from any JS Bank branch by simply showing the received sms and vegging a copy of the customers CNIC to bank teller. For a bitcoin user without a bank this is the easiest way to cash out bitcoins in Pakistan.

Blockchain Tech which is the parent company of urdubit has also signed an MOU with IBM to work on hyperledgers and bring its uses to Pakistan. This will enable Pakistan to lead in the field rather then follow.


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So, you are one of those who managed to save a little money from the blood-sucking economy that is hell bent on ruining out status of living, and now you want to know as to what could be the best investment? First of all, we would like to congratulate you upon saving some funds and asking for expert opinion. Well, as far as investment is concerned, the typical Pakistani mindset would always think of a few things: prize bonds, dollars, gold or real estate. The last one is the best, but it does not apply to the middle class Pakistanis. As compared to prize bonds, dollars or gold, property takes a lot of money.

Bitcoin
Well, before we give our opinion, let us have a look at another option that most of the people are not aware of, but that has made SOME big waves. This is bitcoin, the digital currency which is skyrocketing with passage of every week. The chart below shows, there was a very slow growth in early years of Bitcoin. The price if we consider 2014 as the base year the price has seen a steady increase of about 300%.

btcmarket-price-usd

In 2010 the price for one Bitcoin was $0.008 and it first made an impact in mid-2013 when it touched the barrier of $250 per Bitcoin. From then onwards, it was a steady rise and the climax was when Bitcoin crossed the psychological barrier of USD 1000, back in the fall of 2014. After that it was a speedy decline, but Bitcoin showed some resistance and today one Bitcoin is worth $740+. If you have a look at the other chart, you’ll see that weekly local Bitcoin’s volume in PKR is still more than PKR 1,600,000.

coin-dance-pkr-volume

Real Estate
Now, let’s have a look at real estate. Well real estate certainly guarantees increase in annual revenues. The price always go high, apart from a few exceptions. Let us take a look at this chart. The average price of residential property is PKR 9,931 per square feet and it is only going up. Market shows a very steady growth from 2011 to 2016. Price per square feet index shows that in 2017 the price per square feet index will cross the psychological barrier of 10,000/square feet. If we consider the same time frame in Pakistan the price of property has grown on an avg of 40% depending on which locality you have invested. Which means you have to be well aware of the local before you actually invest.

property

Gold
Gold investment has not been a very good choice for a long time. If we have a look at the chart, we can see that back in 2012, the gold price per kg was more than $57,000 and then there was a tendency of falling gold prices; the price was at its lowest in a period from Jan 2012 to July 2012. It descended to $50,000 per kg and then was a sudden rise. The highest gold price was noticed before January 2013, when the price almost touched the barrier of $58,000/kg. From then on wards, it is only a falling action. In late 2013 gold price set a new barrier: $42,000 per kg and for some reason the prices have been mostly around this figure. The price of gold on the other hand is below 10% increment if an investment was made in 2014.

gold-prices

 

Inflation Rate
Another important factor is the inflation rate. Our inflation chart shows us how Pakistan’s inflation rate is fluctuating. Back in 2014 the serious efforts of Government resulted in a steady decrease in inflation rate and it descended from more than 5% to 4%. In coming months inflation descended to an ever lowest 2% but it soon went upwards and around June 2015 it was more than 3%. Then we noticed another decrease and by the mid 2015 it was at its lowest. Since then on wards it was only an increase and as per the latest statistics, in the fall of 2016 inflation rate has crossed the psychological barrier of 4%. However, that was not a long-lasting success and very soon inflated started to rise again. When compared to the record low inflation rate: 3.40 percent in September, 2015, this new inflation rate cannot be described as anything short of horrifying and unnerving. For a common man a simple equation means that if you bought a a loaf of bread in 2014 it would be 8% cheaper to buy then roughly. This also shows that currently the PKR is on a year to year decline in value and hence the buying power is decreasing so keeping value in fiat currency in Pakistan is an automatic no go.

inflation-rate

So, the question remains the same! To invest or not to invest? And if to invest, where? I leave that upto you, if you look through the charts and percentages you would see how important investment is for the future, and keeping funds in fiat currency might be the worst idea. We did not take into account saving accounts here but the interest rates on profit rates(if we are talking islamic banking) have steadily falling and is less then 8% per anum.

Writer: Bilal Ahmed
Editor: Danyal Manzar
Charts Source: Coin.dance, blockchain.info, zameen

Pakcoin

Interviewing the first vision of Pakcoin was where NewsBTC Pakistan came into existence. Pakcoin is a bitcoin like currency that is forked from litecoin source, hence its based on scrypt algorithm. The idea presented at the time was that there was transparency required in the current money printing/distribution system by the Central Bank.  Printing of money usually causes elevation of poverty. The developer behind pakcoin known as Abu Shaheer envisions replacing the current mobile banking sector with a decentralised blockchain scrypt based protocol under pakcoin. Currently 4% of Pakistanis have mobile banking access according to recent survey by State Bank of Pakistan. This means most of the transactions take place peer to peer via cash or via mobile banking type shops such as easypaisa, mobicash, upaisa or ubl omni and done CNIC to CNIC. These shops are expensive to use as the charges on transfers are quite high. The system currently in place is an outdated system and is often a problem for networks being down. The blockchain is redefining fintech and Pakistan should not be left behind. While pakcoin still has a long way to go they have accomplished alot since it came into being.

Going from having close to 0 (in August 2015) value per 1 pak it is now at = Rs. 0.5+ (as of this writing) and rising on a daily basis(latest rates can be checked at  http://pakcoin.info/). The network is still very small and not lots of mining going on. However with due time the network should become more secure. The few features introduced recently to bring acceptance to this in Pakistan, is the start of pakcoin tellers (think of these as easypaisa shops where you can buy or sell pakcoins easily for cash). While the idea of pakcoin is local we have seen expats throughout different countries become offering this service, this can inturn target remittance market where people can buy aboard and send them to their loved ones directly over the pakcoin blockhain. The system has a map and anyone can become a teller by simply listing themselves on the global map. The coins can be attained, bought or sold via btc or bitcoin also at exchanges such as novaexchangecrypotpia and yobit(Warning:Do not trade at yobit until wallets are updated). Additionally the coin now offers an online wallet system, mobile wallet (android smartphone) through uberpay wallet app in Google Play Store, a mobile topup service was also recently introduced so you can now use your pakcoins to do mobile topups within Pakistan. Adding these services has also seen pakcoin acceptance increase through Pakistanis, as they can buy or sell them through the exchanges, above mentioned tellers or even through pakcoins own website with jazz cash (formally mobicash).

For pakcoin to grow in Pakistan it is very important for people to understand that it is not just scheme but a truly decentralised way of doing payments or transferring funds which is backed by opensource and supported by dedicated developer who is working hard to bring features built to increase feasibility over time. It can be viewed as a technology that will help shape the future of banking at a local level over blockchain. To general public who are just getting in bitcoin, it is imperative to understand that what bitcoin did for cross board payments, pakcoin is trying to do to local micro finance banks.

Pakcoin is very active on social channels at Facebook  and twitter

Bitcoin Pakistan
Buying and selling bitcoin in Pakistan often a problem. We are often asked for trusted ways for trading btc to pkr securely and at the best rates possible. In this article I will cover the better options in Pakistan on how to buy or sell your bitcoins easily and securely. We will cover each option in detail and the merits and demerits of the method. Punjab, especially Lahore, Faisalabad, Islamabad, Rawalpindi seem to be the hot bed for bitcoin trading. I would like to cover all options including those of international options. However do take note that we will cover mostly local methods and not talk about btc to usd much as that is the most expensive unless you are looking to trade with higher volumes in dollar.

Urdubit:

This is a order booked based bitcoin trading platform where you can securely buy bitcoins and sell them at your own rates. This is one of the best methods as its the only known local exchange in Pakistan. It has been around since oct 2014 and done over 1000 btc in trade volume as of this writing. The best part of this exchange is that you are dealing with a great support team while being assured that your funds are not going to an exchanger directly. Since the platform is online and fully automated you dont have to wait for exchanger to send you bitcoins. Once you deposit funds you are free to buy or sell as many times and all bitcoin deposits and withdrawals are fully automated.

Localbitcoins:

Some people dont like going through lengthy AML/KYC policy thats where localbitcoins comes into action. It supports a peer to peer model with escrow options. Its one of the oldest peer to peer platforms. Its based on reputation system so you will know who is trusted exchanger by user reviews.  Again its a bit risky based on the fact that some exchangers have still been able to scam after building trust with clients then doing off localbitcoins trade. The fees here is also the highest in my view. As localbitcons charges 1% fee to both buyer and seller. Then the trade or ad poster also charges anywhere from 3% to 10% in addtional fee.

Local Exchangers On Facebook:

This is most risky way in my opinion. Most these exchangers dont even have a face on their profiles and scam alot. The ones that are trusted are selling at really high prices. This is again a slow method as you have to wait for the exchanger to send you the bitcoins. Be extremely careful here.

MyCelium App:

I love this app. Its a android mobile wallet with builtin feature to post trades. The problem here is the same as the above as this is again peer to peer model it becomes a bit risky.

International Exchanges:

I will update the list that supports Pakistan here soon. But while this is the best way to get bitcoins fast it is also very expensive. Since you have to follow AML/KYC then buy usd from local market and use your local usd account to wire dollars to international exchanges to eventually be able to purchase or buy bitcoins. Again selling is the same problem you have sell then wire back to your local usd account. The wiring cost is alot so only do this if you are looking to wire atleast $5000 and above.

An advise is to search Bitcoin Pakistan and on facebook and join all possible groups of such names to keep yourself posted on information and happening of bitcoin in Pakistan and abroad.

NewsBTC Pakistan is proud to introduce the bitcoin NFC Wallet Card

NFC:
To understand the purpose of this card we need to first understand NFC. According to Wikipedia Near field communication (NFC) means near field communication or radio communication over short distances, but has come to be used in most cases for a specific set of protocols that enable two electronic devices, one of which is usually a portable device such as a smartphone,to establish connection with other device by bringing them closer together and transferring data.

Bitcoin NFC Wallet Card:
The idea was conceived by us to provide our users free of cost these reprogrammable nfc chip based cards which can be programmed to their liking. There are many case scenarios that you can use but the one we will cover here is the way to put your bitcoins on it or use this card as a merchant. Ledger sells this same cards for 29.00 € and calls it a java card running fidesmo platform which is open source and can be implemented here.

Bitcoin NFC wallet card can be used with bitcoin android based wallets such as ones provided by Mycelium and Blockchain.info. Since we want our users to be creative we have used top of the line NFC chip with 10000+ write cycles and a capacity of  888 bytes.

To receive this card free of cost please share this article publicly on your facebook, and make a comment on this post that you would like one. We will pick 50 random winners who will receive the card free of cost.

How To Use The Card:
This is pretty easy. You can simply use any nfc enabled mobile.

Goto Play store and download “NFC tag writer”
12628394_10208943007762133_3852274856437873053_o
Launch the application on NFC enable mobile/tablet and tap on “write tags” option.
12593470_10208936370996218_7110705007209310430_oNow there are multiple ways you can write the tags. Either you can create a “new dataset” or you can simply scan the qr code containing your wallet address from”copy QR code”.
12604822_10208936371076220_2033339766416445703_o
If you are creating a new dataset, create it as a “link”.

11057408_10208936373356277_2428056378073598555_oUnder ‘URI type’ select ‘URI (e.g. ftp, news, telnet, …)’ from the drop-down menu. Enter the URI in this format;
bitcoin: “your wallet address goes here”
1
You can enter the description as you like and tap on “save & write” button.
12604781_10208936376476355_2498299886551986925_o

Tap the card with your mobile device to begin writing.
12525194_10208936378276400_5619604151589988488_o
Viola ! you have successfully created a physical bitcoin wallet that you can carry in your pocket.
12525503_10208936377316376_6871253681589210430_o
Once your wallet address is written on NFC tag you can simply tap it with the mobile device that have any bitcoin wallet installed to make a transfer.

Screenshot_2016-01-16-12-20-35
You can also format the card by going to “erase tags” option under the app and delete you previous addresses and write new addresses on the same card.

In the end we would like to thank our sponsors who have been kind enough to help us bring this card to you free of cost.

First and foremost we thank Mr Haidar M Maccawala of yourstore.pk to be the first eCommerce store in Pakistan to embrace bitcoin into his system and bringing buying and selling of hard to find products. Secondly we would like to thank Mr Saqib from sakamaonline.com for their support, a true pioneer in supplying rugs, carpets and leather jackets worldwide and paid with bitcoin. Lastly Paybill.io is appreciated for its support on covering shipping of the card to the end users free of cost, a truly unique platform for bill payments in bitcoin starting with Pakistan.

Paybill is planning a relaunch. This time things will be a little different. Gone are the days when you would pay and wait for you bill to be paid. Paybill has now been resigned with customer experience in mind.

The site has now entered public beta with instant bill payments. The idea is to fully automate all bills to be paid via btc or bitcoin in Pakistan. The overhaul has been done and a new python engine sits at the heart of Paybill to make it faster and better then before.

The idea behind Paybill was to become sort of an ebay for bill payments. Where merchants from all countries would be allowed to signup and make bill payments for anyone anywhere around the globe to pay his bill in a heart beat while securing the payment amount for the payee instantly. Mr Hassan co-founder at Paybill said, “We plan to run this in Pakistan for sometime before adding further countries. We want to make sure that this time its done right”

So now you can pay your bill instantly and securely with btc in Pakistan. Paybill plans to setup in such a way that all btc rates will be taken from local trading platforms in the country the bill is being paid in. This will ensure that the merchant/payee of the bill that the base price gets secured of losses with instant conversions happening in the back end. In Pakistan case paybill will utilize urdubit to convert the btc to pkr.

The trend in bitcoin acceptance continues as we wind down 2015. New entrants into this rising trend are Topup24, operating out of its main office in UAE and branch office in UK, topup24 offers prepaid/postpaid/billing easyload and/or topups in 120+ countries with payment methods such as bitcoin and paypal.

Topup24 is owned and operated by Mr Azeem Javed, who wants to penetrate the online e-commerce market in Pakistan.

What is Topup24?
Topup24 presents itself as to provider of mobile balance recharge service. They Offer mobile recharge service 24/7 throughout the world and especially in Pakistan, where the cellular density sits at 64%. Pakistan being the 6th most populous country in the world lagged features of online or internet mobile loads to Mobilink, Telenor, Ufone, Zong and Warid.

Topup24 looks to be on top.
Topup24 aims to provide unparalleled service in mobile recharge services to all those clients looking to add credit to their prepaid mobiles as well as their family members or friends living in other countries while making sure that the minimum balance recharge of  Rs 100 in Pakistan or $5 internationally. The rates are the best in the market with Pakistan leading the way $1 = Rs 100 recharge. The other thing to keep in mind here when the idea of topup24 was to provide mobility. Hence the compatibility on range of devices was kept in mind. The design elements of the website were kept to the minimum so in-order to enable usability on the go.

Beating the competition.
While talking with NewsBtc Pakistan Mr Azeem stated “Topup24 have fewer competitors in Pakistan with hardly any online presence” It is the motto of his service “be No.1 mobile recharge provider in Pakistan with minimum top up rates and with an online presence.” However to beat the international competition they plan to offer 10% bonus on referrals. “We have strong competitors providing mobile recharge internationally. They have very strong online presence, we are aiming to lead them by providing bonuses on international top ups and a better service”, Azeem.

How does topup24 work?
It is very simple to get your mobile top up. Simply visit Topup24 ,enter your e-mail and get your login information in your provided e-mail.
OR
Login using your social media accounts.Once you are logged in, provide your mobile number, choose amount and payment method. Once your payment is approved you will instantly get balance into your given mobile number to use. It usually takes 15-20 seconds to get it done. It’s that simple.

Support:
Topup24 aims to become the de facto force in mobile recharge service in Pakistan and internationally. They are committed to providing live chat, email and phone support while fulfilling the needs of users of mobile services.

You can contact us on live chat, e-mail and Phone.

Phone: +92 300 6145155 (Pakistan)
Phone: +971 50 30 65123 (United Arab Emirates)
Skype: azy0wzy
E-mail: [email protected]

After recent news about China claiming not to be able to control bitcoin transactions, the recent news on court ruling that bitcoin will be VAT-free in Europe has caused a stir between the masses. It has also resulted in quick upswing on bitcoin price as it went from $267 to $280. The decision is indeed great news and hopefully more countries follow this. Pakistan has lagged proper payment gateway, and this news make it easier for people in Europe to pay for services/products in Pakistan directly via bitcoin.

Bitcoin was meant to be decentralized and uncontrolled by governments. While different tactics had been used to curve bitcoin under regulations. Bitcoin is now breaking its shackles to go mainstream.

All this said I believe we are going to have a good upcoming month. It will be fun to watch how bitcoin moves forward in terms of price value. The price upswings always get me excited. Its even more fun when you can buy them low. Loving the volatility of bitcoin right now.

Note : VAT is similar to GST (General Sales Tax in Pakistan.)