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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Discussion Points:

  • Global Uncertainty
  • Upcoming French elections
  • Trump Picks Mick Mulvaney as a budget chief
  • SEC (Securities & Exchange Commission) will likely approve Bitcoin ETF
  • Bitcoin as an Asset class could help balance Hedge Fund investment portfolios in 2017

Trump’s plan to increase infrastructure spending, three rate hikes in 2017 can cause the dollar to exponentially strengthen & the strong dollar will force emerging markets to go after alternative currencies.

Where Bitcoin can be seen as their first choice of digital currency.

French elections outcome can possibly trigger the Frexit as there are more chances of Marine Le Pen becoming the next president of France.

Her divisive rhetoric, strict policies towards immigration & leaving the European union could create more uncertainty in Europe which may boost the price of Bitcoin exponentially.

Pro-Bitcoin Mick Mulvaney has been appointed by the Trump’s administration, who is a big believer of Bitcoin & Crypto Currencies. He is an active & vocal supporter of Bitcoin & Block chain technology. So this makes a good probability of getting approval of Bitcoin ETF from SEC in near future.

Now let’s talk about how it can be beneficial for big Hedge Funds. Bitcoin is consistently the lowest correlated asset to other asset classes in the markets, which can make a great diversification in their portfolios

& always bring good returns for their clients. Even if their traditional assets are at breakeven levels, remember there is going to be more uncertainty ahead & nobody knows how Trump trade policies are going to affect the Global markets.

I see more & more potential in bitcoin price growth, because there is going to be an insane demand for bitcoins from Hedge Funds.

We call it Smart money & Smart money is going to move the Digital currencies market in 2017.

I more likely see the price of Bitcoin going beyond $2000 in near future.

By Amaan Pathan currency strategist & forex trader

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



Bitcoin & Blockchain has caused a commotion in the banking world. It is only right to give discusses the prospects of blockchains and bitcoin with retrospect to Pakistani markets.

So what is blockchain?
While I was thinking of answering this question, I figured its important to define bitcoin first but then I realized that its important to touch this matter first so people get a better understanding what it is and why its important before getting into bitcoin.
Blockhain is a ledger. An empty ledger which keeps records on pages in our regular accounting terms which is time stamped and encrypted. For a the tech savy think of it as big database that is stores information in a distributed decentralized manner.

Oky So what is bitcoin and why is it less important then blockchain?
I believe that thinking that its more important then bitcoin might be a bit premature. We have to really deep dive into this to understand the what and the why. I will try not to get to technical on this and keep it simple for the average person to really understand the technology. Bitcoin was created by satoshi nakamoto it is simply a token on the blockchain which denotes its ownership to the person who holds the wallets public and private keys.

Now to touch on the fact why is it important. For this I think its very important to understand current banking structure. Banks use local central bank in this case State Bank Pakistan to clear and settle their inter day transactions. While most funds are held at head offices and transactions are done by physically delivery when settlements need to take place. Blockchain presents an interesting aspect where you can have a token and take ownership as when you work blockchains you dont really send or receive anything, the only thing that is happening is that ownership of the token is exchanging hands. Hence something that belonged to you now belongs to me. Once this happens a time-stamp is put on the ledger denoting the change of ownership. This is then verified by miners or ledger holders in a distributed manner so that all records are updated on all ledgers.

The one advantage this has is saving overhead costs of running a central server with a central point of failure. Banks and financial institutions are looking at this from the prospective of settling payments over a central permissioned / primisonless blockchain. However security for such chains will always be an issue. It imperative to note that bitcoin blockchain is the most secure open database in the world. You can use it to store records, transact it like funds or even just use it for means of trade. We have seen decentralized encrypted storage to validation of legal documents. Since if you want to hack the blockchain you will have to pretty much have to hack 51% of the entire systems running the bitcoin blockchain.



Enter Smart Contracts:
While smart contracts are new, they basically allow programming into the blockchains. These are still very new and not very secure. We can read up on Krypton hack and DAO hack over ethereum which is a smart contract based platform. These contracts can also be programmed over the bitcoin blockchain which makes it very powerfull. Something like rootstock, omni or counterparty allows you to that. What you can do with these have and endless possibilities and too long for discussion of this post.

Use Case:
The case that I really wanted to touch on was easypaisa, upaisa jazz cash and the likes of such. Like M-Pesa in Kenya, these mobile branchless banking services have helped cater an unbanked sector of Pakistan. While it is still very new, its catering to people who dont have access to bank in their home town. The design is such that they sign up merchants which could be a local store in any locality and allow them to cash in cash out money from a near by store rather then a bank. Pakistan having a banking penetration of around 16% only has seen its growth due to the introduction of such services. We have seen additional 4% now using the easypaisa type services in Pakistan.

The problem with this type of setup is overhead costs. The servers are subject to frequent breakdowns, in addition a hack could result in a catastrophic event on the micro finance bank offering this type of service. Shifting to a blockchain based setup and implementing a smart contract based token over bitcoin blockchain could result in using the most secure distributed database in the world with no point of central failure. The transactions will happen over the bitcoin blockchain without the need of a central server.

A private blockchain or a public permissioned blockchain can also be implemented which will require all agents of the network become custodians of the blockchain. The overheads of this type of setup while less secure is still very cheap as a simple $35 raspberry pi could even handle the entire node(or ledger at a local agent level). You could also implement this in a way where your local transactions are happening on the local chain but at the same time you allow remittance over bitcoin on your local network. This could in turn save millions to the local financial service providers while enabling a 24/7 network. I have tried to keep this article as close to explaining in English as possible. The technology implementation may not be as easy but can be done depending on what methodology is chosen at time of implementation.

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

Partnerships are always exciting in the world of Bitcoin and cryptocurrency, especially when it involves two completely different companies working together. Urdubit, the leading Bitcoin exchange in Pakistan, has partnered with Bitwage, a company specializing in Bitcoin payroll services.

Urdubit and Bitwage Form An Interesting Duo

Jab do bussiness jo kay bitcoin kay duniya may bhot active hoon to un ki partnership aik alka macha detay hain. Bitwage aur urdubit ki partnership aik ajeeb rishta hay. Indo ki services alag alag logo kay liya maksoos hain.

Pakistan, jahan Urdubit bhot active hay, wahan aik bhot bari community hay jo freelancers kay title may ati hay. Jin may bloggers, programmers aur small software houses be shamil hain. Pakistan ka current estimate $100 million ka hay jo kay abhee aik proper payment gateway Pakistan may nahee hay, bhot zida fees ka bahis bantay hay. Urdubit aur bitwage aik alternate option la rahay hain jo is waqat direct payoneer ki competition may hoo ga. Kio kay bitcoin khud aik protocol hay jis kay uper payments ki ja sakti hain. Urdubit is may aik broker ka kirdar ada kertay hay. Aur bitwage apnay users ko aik US/EU based bank account detay hay jasey payoneer. Jis may freelacers bloggers etc apnay funds transfer kerkay within 24 hours bitcoin hasil ker saktay hain. Yeh bitcoins phir easily sell ho saktay hain urdubit pay.

Bitwage, aik payroll company hay based out of USA. Yeh similarly operate kertay hain jasey payoneer kerta hay. Inho nay over US $4 million worth ki transaction process keri hain with bitcoin. In ka aim, companies ko aik alag payment ka zaryia provide kernay ka.

Pakistan aik bhot bari freelancer market ban chuki hay. Muskalat jis may hamaray pass Paypal type ki services nahee hain hum phir bhee over US $100 million ki transactions ker rahay hain. Is masalay ki waja say humay extra charges pertay hain. Even agar paypal hota phir bhee charges kafi high hotay. Abb aik alternate platoform available hogiya hay urdubit or bitwage ki wajja say through bitcoin abb cost kafi kam aye gi.

Is partnership ki launch announcement kay liay The NEST I/O jo kay SAMSUNG, GOOGLE aur USAID say funded hay, aik event rakha hay 27th May 2017 ko 6pm pay hay.


Pakistan has been one of the leading countries in the world receiving remittances. Yet transferring money to Pakistan is often a problem and suspect to high fees.

Bitcoin is one of the solution that presents itself to let Pakistan break free of world regulations and truly become a bitcoin country. The remittance sector of Pakistan has already crossed over $15 Billion per Anum this year. The issue with these huge amounts of incoming funds is that they often come with high fees. This in turn lets foreign companies make lots of money, and lose funds that would have otherwise entered into Pakistan economy. As put in a recent article at Economist  the banking sector earned about Trillion $1.7 in just payments.

Bitcoin cuts out the middle man hence when someone sends you bitcoin it comes directly to you with no middle third party. By receiving this directly and paying someone else it helps in adding a bit more to the reserves while saving money on transfers.

It has been long believed that bitcoin will help developing countries, and a recent report by propakistani states that only 16% Pakistanis own a bank account with mobile banking taking up 4%. Think about now owning a bank by simply using bitcoin you put the entire sector into banking, at the same time giving a chance to alleviate themselves out of poverty by connecting the people to the global economy.

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.

Bitcoin Volume

The more we discuses bitcoin and understand the possibilities it brings forth for Pakistan the more converts we have. This is now showing in trading volumes across different mediums of trade.  If we just check the localbitcoins volumes during last few weeks we see upward movement this not only true in Pakistan but through out the world. The increase in volume has also resulted in increase in numbers of users. As we see more localbitcoin traders poping up on localbitcoin and facebook almost daily.

Localbitcoin

coin-dance-PKR-volume

Urdubit

Talking to Mr Zain Tariq co-founder at urdubit the one and only bitcoin trading platform in Pakistan, it was informed to us that the volumes at urdubit have seen a steady climb and last month alone over 130 bitcoins have been traded uptill 26th Feb, The most they have done in any running month since the formation of the exchange. We were also informed that urdubit itself registered 1000 users in February which is almost 900% increase of previous months. It seems that Pakistan is now entering the age of bitcoin slowly but surely.

urdubit statistics

This is good news for freelancers, white-hat security experts and developers alike. This surge has partly been caused by users who are receiving international payments as absence of paypal in country like Pakistan have been widely publicised.

Bitcoin as a payment method is being used world wide, and with increasing number of users coming onto this, trading and services built around bitcoin in Pakistan is also increasing.


The world of bitcoin has often be subject to links to the underground world. The heart of this has been the SilkRoad saga. While bitcoin had been used on the blackmarkets such as now defunct silkroad, a bigger bigger menace to the reputation has been scams in the crypto community dragging it down.

Multi Level Marketing / Pyramid Schemes:

Mostly these schemes are seen as dubious and sooner or later either they scam or only the higher ups make money while rest of the investors end up losing. This has been a growing trend in the crypto community with targets being 3rd world countries especially the South Asia. We really have to understand bitcoin to realize its potential. Getting into details of if other cryptos that I will mention here are scams or not are totally upto the readers. What I believe is that we must really understand what bitcoin has presented to understand what these other coins offer.

What is money (fiat) as the fintech or crypto community now refers to it:

Its very important right now to understand how fiat works and the current banking system works. I would highly recommend watching the movie Bitcoin: The End Of Money. It gives more insight on how the current banking system and money system works. To summarize it here it for us to understand that the current fiat system works on loans and interest. Money is printed as per requirement of the state,(Pakistan or any other) by central banks against re payments by the govt to banks or bonds owners from the taxes recovered in the future. Once the government is unable to make repayments they simply print more money or fiat. This inturn devalues the currency of that country. The current system is all based on dollars which only the FED can print at its free will and loan out to countries through IMF, Worldbank etc. The reason I wanted to cover this is so that you may understand the the technical details and concept of bitcoin.

Open Source Software:

What we need to understand here is that opensource software simply means that the software is openly available, the code is modifiable and usable for your own use. A few example are linux, open office, liber office and our main topic of interest bitcoin, litecoin, dash etc. To the general public what this means it that the code is read by millions daily and they can easily detected if there are some fishy things going on. Coins such as Ripple (which are trying to replace the current swift system used by banks), leocoin and one coin come under closed source as their code is not available by general public to read and verify that nothing wrong is being done or nothing extra is being mined in this case at will by the owners of the coin.

How Bitcoin Works:

Saying the onecoin or leocoin or xrp is a scam is just jumping to conclusions. Every closed source coin is not a bad coin but thats just my opinion. However we must realize that bitcoin was created as a software that would be open to all, decentralized (meaning no individual or entity can control it. The problem with onecoin and leocoin is that they make it difficult for you to trade unless you become a member by buying from them first. Then there is no way to actually check how many coins were pre mined and if they are changing the code to mine blocks with extra coins hence making mining unfair. This is why these coins get flak. They also work on principle of MLM where you have to buy and sell to others and make a network. Bitcoin is not without problems but to say that onecoin and leocoin or even gcc ( as shown in their video the bitcoin dream) will rise and takeover bitcoin eventually is like selling dreams. The acceptance of bitcoin is in decentralization and verification not just that it was the first. It cannot be changed unless consensus is reached on new code, where as other coins as mentioned above are in control of the creator. Getting into the details that the owners of these coins are also linked to running pyramid schemes before and have been bared by SECP in Pakistan have been covered one too many times.

Why I would not invest:

I personally would not invest in these coins as they make it difficult for you to start trading since you don’t become a member first. Then there is the issue of unverifiable code, which is added to the fact that its closed source and in control of the company who actually wrote the code.

 

Update:

I was just informed that leocoin while being mlm coin is an opensource coin run on scrypt-jane algorithm. While this coin has been per-mined to sell to its users. I havent checked its block explorer. But wanted this to be updated so that people know about it.