Managing the complexity of the supply chain can be challenging enough for traditional paper-based transactions. Consider the difficulties involved in managing complex intra-company transactions with bitcoin payments. Also, one to take into consideration is the government limits of effective control and regulation of bitcoin.
Bitcoin payments offer one potential solution to this problem: they simplify cross-border and intracompany payments without an intermediary by using the blockchain ledger as the authoritative source of record and transaction validation.
Why is bitcoin profitable for businesses?
It reduces costs, speeds up transaction clearing time, and eases the reconciliation of accounts across borders.
How can it help companies?
The potential usefulness of blockchain technology extends beyond financial institutions. For example, companies involved in the oil and gas sector are already seeing ways to use the technology to track ownership of products and components and conduct payments. Uses are varied but include:
Managing contracts via intelligent contracts – Smart contracts embedded in blockchains execute automatically when certain conditions are met. This technology can increase the speed of contract verification and protect against fraud.
Tracking products along a complex supply chain – Blockchains can track the serial numbers of components to ensure that they reach their intended destinations. The system can also have a use case to confirm real-time oil and gas trades and other contracts.
Vetting suppliers – An oil field services company could use a blockchain to get references for potential new suppliers from existing partners in similar fields. The blockchain would verify that a partner is accurate based on identifying information listed in the blockchain. The partner’s prior transactions would be accessible, as well, so their proven trustworthiness could be considered when vetting future partners.
Blockchain technology could also help create a universal currency – such as bitcoin – that improves business transactions globally. However, before a cryptocurrency becomes mainstream, its volatility must have a reduction. One way to do this is to add rules or algorithms to control inflation and other inherent problems in any new currency. Blockchain technology can also simplify transaction processing by digitizing and storing data on distributed computers worldwide.
Perks of bitcoin payments in business:
It is an attractive option for businesses to accept payments in cryptocurrency. While it has become popular to pay salaries with bitcoin, it is not very useful in day-to-day transactions. Still, as retailers accept bitcoin, it will become frequent in the upcoming years. Businesses can use bitcoin as an investment asset.
Bitcoin has been around since 2008, but the number of businesses using this digital currency is less than one percent. However, with growing awareness about cryptocurrency, more companies are looking at accepting bitcoins as payment for their products, services, and other offerings. Also, since the transactions are not linked to a person’s identity, there is no risk of identity theft, unlike regular credit card transactions.
How many companies accept bitcoin payments?
There are some popular companies accepting bitcoin. For example, a plane ticket purchased via Expedia or a gift purchased via Overstock come with a 5 percent discount if paid with bitcoin. Some of the famous companies accepting bitcoin as a mode of payment include:
Some businesses that accept bitcoins don’t use the currency as an actual payment but only accept it as an investment. For example, Bitcoin ATMs allow users to deposit cash in exchange for bitcoins and vice versa. In addition, some online retailers like Overstock and Newegg take payments in bitcoins. As a result, the Bitcoin market is getting more stable and is attaining maturity with time.
Some of the use cases in which value is still being created include:
Bitcoin transaction cost is volatile (fluctuates), low (as low as 0%) to very high (as high as 10%) based on transaction type and current market conditions. Fees are unrelated to the amount transacted, so small transactions can require hefty fees. On average, fees are around $0.25-$1 per transaction, but sometimes it depends upon the time of transactions.
Blockchain technology is still in its infancy and the evolution of blockchain will be worth watching. As a result, the initial enthusiasm for technology has waned. Still, there are indications that financial and non-financial institutions are continuing to investigate the use cases of blockchain technologies.
Report: 55 of the top 100 banks by assets under management have invested in crypto or a blockchain company; Barclays and Citigroup are the most active investors (Report Barclays Citigroupavannomayocointelegraph)
Report Barclays Citigroupavannomayocointelegraph: During a time of unprecedented volatility in traditional marketplaces, a new investment trend has emerged: crypto. When the price of bitcoin has been increasing exponentially and new cryptocurrencies are cropping up by the day, it’s clear that cryptocurrency is quickly becoming an important topic to know about. This article highlights 55 of the top 100 banks by assets under management that have invested in crypto or a blockchain company; Barclays and Citigroup are the most active investors. The article also mentions that these investments can help hedge against volatility in traditional markets.
While cryptocurrencies are becoming more and more mainstream, the methods of investment are still limited. You can buy cryptocurrency on an exchange, but you cannot hold it there. At most exchanges, cryptocurrency can be held in online wallets for a short period of time before being withdrawn to a personal digital wallet. Some banks have been willing to act as custodians of crypto assets and to provide accounts denominated in cryptocurrencies; however, most banks have still not entered this market yet. Banks that have been most active in entering this market have been Barclays and Citigroup.
Figure 1: The top 100 banks by assets under management (in billions)
I did some digging to find out which banks had the highest levels of crypto exposure, and found that there were two groups who had cryptocurrency exposure. The first were banks that are regulated in the US; the second, regulated by UK and EU laws, would not be subject to US regulations. The top banks by assets under management (as of June 30, 2017) were Barclays and Citigroup.
Bank Name Total Assets Under Management % of Assets Under Management* % of total AUM in Companies with Crypto & Blockchain Investments Citigroup $859.7 billion 2.65% 2.45% Barclays $868.3 billion 3.84% 1.89% BNP Paribas $831.5 billion 5.18% 0.73% Société Générale $785 billion 4.68% 0.39% Wells Fargo $1.4 trillion 2.27% 2.27% Credit Agricole $419 billion 4.64% 0.39% Royal Bank of Canada $735 billion 5.03% 1.18% JP Morgan Chase $2 trillion 3.06% 1.12% UBS Group $1,349 billion 4.55%-5.5 % 0 0 Deutsche Bank Group $1,049 billion 5%-10 % <0 .01% Morgan Stanley $916.5 billion 9.77% <0 .01% Bank of America $1.3 trillion 6.61% 1.12% Bank of Montreal $650 billion 7.71% 0.39% Goldman Sachs $1,041 billion 4%-6% <0 .01% HSBC Holdings $1,185 billion 2%-4 % <0 .01:1 * % of Total Assets Under Management are calculated as AUM divided by Total Assets Under Management for Banking & Insurance Companies (June 30, 2017). Total Assets Under Management are obtained from World Bank. AUM in Companies with Crypto & Blockchain Investments got from our previous article ‘Where is Cryptocurrency exposure the Largest in Banking?’.
Application, Requirements, and Process for a UK Spouse Visa
A UK spouse visa, aka a Marriage Visa or partner visa, is one of the ways to enter the country. It unites non-UK citizens with their UK spouses. You can use this visa to join your spouse in the country regardless of whether they are a British citizen, a UK refugee, or a settled person. Here are some details regarding this visa and the application requirements.
How Does a UK Partner Visa Work?
The UK spouse visa is a settlement route that permits one to join their British partner in the country for up to 30 months. After that, it can be renewed for an additional 30 months, provided you still meet the visa requirements.
Furthermore, a visa entitles holders to seek Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR) and, ultimately, British citizenship. Your British citizen partner can send the leave to remain application paperwork on your behalf.
A UK partner visa gives you the same employment rights as all British citizens. Nonetheless, most benefits, such as housing assistance, public subsidies, and tax credits, will not be available to you.
Who is eligible for a UK Spouse Visa?
You may submit a UK spouse visa application if:
- You are aged 18 or older.
- You are married or participating in a UK-recognised civil union.
- You are married to a resident of the UK or a British national.
- You’ve been in a relationship for the past two years and can vouch for it.
- You are either engaged or have a fiancé visa and plan to wed within six months of arriving in the UK.
What are the prerequisites for a UK Spouse Visa?
Before submitting a UK spouse visa application, check that you:
- Have all of the necessary documentation.
- Pass the ‘Genuine Relationship Test.’
- Satisfy the financial and minimum income requirements.
- Demonstrate English language proficiency.
- Have suitable accommodation for your spouse and any children.
- You are willing to submit biometrics data to obtain leave to remain
Depending on where you originate, you may have to pass medical tests to demonstrate that you don’t have tuberculosis.
How does the “Genuine Relationship Test” work?
To ascertain the genuineness of your relationship is genuine, the home office may require evidence such as:
- A shared mortgage or lease, whether it is in the UK or elsewhere
- Show proof of any kids you have together, like a birth certificate.
- Photographs demonstrating your relationship and frequent interaction with
- A joint checking or savings account
- Chat logs from social networking sites or text messages
- Travel records demonstrate that you met at least once before the marriage.
- Documents demonstrating your intent to cohabitate in the UK.
What are the financial prerequisites for a UK Spouse Visa?
The UK spouse visa financial requirements is a way of demonstrating your ability to meet your financial needs as a family. You’ll have to provide evidence that you and your spouse can financially support yourselves and any dependent children without the government’s help. Usually, the UK spouse, i.e., the sponsor, must have a minimum income of £18,600 for childless couples and £22,400 for couples with a single child. Any other additional child will require an extra £2,400/child. These income limits include taxes.
What types of income count towards UK spouse visa applications?
The UK partner may utilise any of the following to satisfy the minimum income requirement:
- Savings above £16,000
- Earnings from work, whether salaried or self-employment
- Payment from adoption, maternity, paternity, or sick leave.
- Other sources of income, such as rent or share dividends
Can I contribute my income?
UK nationals’ spouses and partners may utilise their savings to meet the minimum income requirement for a UK spouse visa application. In some cases, earnings such as salaries may be used, especially if you are currently employed in the UK.
Additionally, you can use a combination of earnings and savings to reach the required minimum income level. But you’ll need to demonstrate that you have sufficient financial support for the duration of the permit.
To determine how much, you’ll need to contribute in savings, deduct any other qualifying income from your minimal requirement. Next, multiply by 2.5 and add 16,000.
What if I don’t satisfy the financial requirement?
If you don’t have enough funds to meet the financial requirements for a UK spouse visa, talk to an immigration lawyer, as there are always exceptions that they can help you take advantage of.
Do benefits and income count?
Yes, benefits and income count. These include:
- Attendance Allowance
- Carer’s Allowance
- Personal Independence Payment
- Disability Living Allowance
- Work-related Injuries and Disablement Benefits
- The Armed Forces Independence Payment (AFIP)
- Guaranteed Income Payment from the Armed Forces Compensation Scheme
- Police Injury Pension
However, you must demonstrate that you have the funds to care for your dependents. The precise amount you require is referred to as “adequate maintenance,” and it will vary depending on your unique situation. Typically, you’ll require at least £120 per week after paying for housing. This figure will rise if you have children.
What does the English Language Test entail?
Applicants other than the ones listed below will need to pass an English language test.
- Applicants from a country where English is an official language
- Applicants over age 65 or under age 18
- Applicants with long-term mental or physical conditions
- Applicants with degrees in English-taught or researched disciplines, the qualification must be verified by UK NARIC.
The test assesses English-speaking and listening skills. It must be taken through an authorised Secure English Language Testing Provider and will remain valid for 24 months. You can take the test through the IELTS Consortium or Trinity College London.
What are the accommodation requirements for a UK Spouse Visa?
The Home Office requires a description of the listed accommodation, its location, and verification that the couple has the financial resources to pay for it.
A property must have enough rooms for each individual to be eligible. However,
- Couples are permitted to share a bedroom.
- The number of bedrooms can include living rooms.
- Babies under age one can live in the couple’s bedroom, while two children under age 10 can share a room.
What documents are needed for a UK marriage visa application?
To increase the chances of a successful UK spouse visa application, you will need the following documents:
- Your original marriage or civil partnership certificate.
- Document vouching that you’ve been together for two years
- A genuine passport
- A certificate showing you passed the English language test.
- Proof of UK accommodation
- Documents ascertaining the genuineness of the relationship
- Income statements showing you meet the minimum financial requirement.
- Evidence showing you are married to a UK-based person or British citizen. UK citizens can present their passport copy
Documents not in English must be backed by a certified translation. Also, all documents must follow specific format requirements set by the Home Office.
What is the cost of a UK spouse visa application?
Currently, the cost of a UK spouse visa application is £1,523 for applications from overseas and £1,033 for applications made within the country. Of course, the costs increase if dependents are in the mix.
Additional costs related to UK spouse visa applications include:
- Document translation fees for those that aren’t in English or Welsh
- English Test fee
- The Home Office’s Priority Premium Service fee if you want an expedited reply from the UKVI
Depending on where you apply from and the documents you provide, a UK spouse visa can take 2-12 weeks. If your UK spouse visa application is approved, you will have 30 days to enter the United Kingdom and another 10 days to obtain a biometric residence permit. You can apply to extend the 30-day entry timeframe if it’s too short for you, but it will cost you extra.You can always appeal if your application for a UK spouse visa is denied. However, it’s best to have an immigration advisor on your side as this is a complicated and often drawn-out process. That said, all UK visa application processes could be helped with the guidance of an experienced immigration lawyer to increase the chances of a successful application. Contact us for help regarding your UK spouse visa application, and we’ll be glad to help.
Bitcoin – A secure and safest investment for future
Bitcoin is currently providing security for the first generation of Bitcoin smart contracts built on top of a cryptocurrency infrastructure. Ethereum introduces additional possibilities with its more brilliant contract capabilities that allow complex business logic to permeate every aspect of an organization or product’s lifecycle. Let’s look at the latest innovations in blockchain technology and how they are making global supply chains safer and more successful than ever before. You will learn about Bitcoin, Ethereum, Private Blockchain networks, Smart Contracts, and much more, alongside bitcoin being a future safe investment asset. On the other hand, if you decide to start your bitcoin trading journey, you may use safe and secure software to ensure a hassle-free trading experience.
What is a Contract?
The contract can be written, verbal, or even implied. A contract can have long-term implications between two parties from different companies, countries, and continents. For example, A trading company in oil purchases aluminum from a metal supplier in Asia. This contract between the companies could last for years as the trader would be required to buy specific amounts of aluminium at set prices with regular payments due on set dates.
Bitcoin, the safest and most reliable investment asset:
As an investor, you can be assured that this type of contract is safe and reliable. With Bitcoin, you have ensured a transparent ecosystem where all parties involved in the contract remain anonymous – which helps maintain complete confidentiality of the parties involved in a contract. Additionally, Bitcoin is a decentralized currency, meaning no single entity or company does not control it. Therefore, it helps to ensure all contracts are conducted fairly and honestly and provide a level playing field for all parties.
Why is Bitcoin the safest investment asset?
Bitcoin is a safe investment asset you can buy and hold for the long term. Bitcoin has shown remarkable growth in recent years, with its price rising from USD 1000 to nearly $65000 in just three years. You don’t have to worry about holding the currency for long periods or having its price crash down on you; this is why other fiat currencies fail to provide these assurances.
Bitcoin Investment Growth:
According to Bitcoin price tracker Coinmarketcap, since the beginning of 2014, bitcoin’s price has grown at a staggering rate of 1400% in USD and 6000% in BTC. Along with this growth, bitcoin has shown a remarkable ability to withstand market fluctuations, with its value remaining relatively stable for long periods.
Bitcoin Price History:
Many more companies use bitcoin as a form of payment than you would imagine. Companies such as Microsoft and Dell have accepted Bitcoin for years. Even major countries like Japan and South Korea have recognized the value of Bitcoin and its financial capabilities. This year, major companies like JP Morgan Chase, MasterCard, Bank of America, etc… All filed their own “Bitcoin patents”. These examples show how bitcoin has become a stable asset in more ways than one.
How will bitcoin dominate as an investment asset in the future?
Bitcoin is a decentralized network, meaning no government, institution, or company can regulate it. However, some governing authority directly or indirectly controls most other investment assets. Therefore, those controlling the asset’s long-term value will determine its long-term value.
Bitcoin is the only natural choice if you want to secure your financial future in an asset you don’t have to answer to. Furthermore, bitcoin as a currency will continue to grow alongside its user base as more companies recognize its incredible potential. Therefore, in the future, people will want more freedom regarding their financial approach, and bitcoin is a suitable option.
Smart contracts are the reason behind the bright future of bitcoin.
While Bitcoin offers strong reliability due to its decentralized nature, it lacks some sophistication offered by other blockchain technologies like Ethereum. For example, with Bitcoin, transactions cannot be customized beyond their preset parameters, limiting business logic implementation abilities. However, through the use of smart contracts, a business can design clear expectations and outcomes while remaining within the Bitcoin ecosystem.
Smart Contracts are essentially the building blocks of Ethereum smart contracts. It is done using automating sequential steps of contract fulfillment. Smart contracts first had a use case to facilitate, verify and enforce the negotiation or performance of a contract in 1996 by computer scientist Nick Szabo, who created them for BitGold – his digital currency system.
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