By Dino Londis (Invests.com) – At Invests.com I’ve reported on wearable technology like the Google Glass and the Fitbit wrist band. Wearables are expected to be the next big thing, but no one has yet found the winning device.
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I’ve also reported on encrypted currencies, like Bitcoin and Suncoin, and how they hold the potential upset global currencies including the dollar.
I’ve reported on advances in point of sale technology from PayPal, and Google Gear where you can leave your wallet at home and simply swipe your watch to pay for a coffee at Starbucks or lumber at Lowes.
I’ve reported on the maturity of gesture technology like the Nest thermostat where a simple swipe through the air changes the settings in the house. It’s all done without the need for a screen.
Well now a startup called MEVU is combining wearables, point of sale and swipe technology into a single device into what it calls the first Bitcoin wallet that will be able to make payments with only gestures.
The device is powered by Coinbase’s wallet and will allow the wearer to send Bitcoins to another person simply with a flick of the wrist to pay for small things like parking, coffee or “a quick donation to charity.”
If the MEVO sounds like too much too soon and you’re looking for a more conventional way to spend your bitcoins. XAPO is introducing the world’s first Bitcoin debit card.
Though it’s not yet released, XAPO promises that it will reduce the transaction bottleneck for everyday purchases – as opposed to big ticket items. In fact, the merchant wouldn’t need to know that the customer was using a Bitcoin wallet because they are getting U.S. (or whatever) currency.
The company’s innovation is that it’s automating the process of converting Bitcoins. Right now customers must manually convert the encrypted currency and then attach it to a pre-paid card.
Last month the Palo Alto based company raised $20 million to build the infrastructure behind the debit card and it may find a willing market since Apple has all but removed Bitcoin Apps from its App Store. In early February 2014 Apple abruptly yanked the app Blockchain from the App Store. Last year it removed Coinbase and BitPak. According to Rob Sama a representative at BitPak, Apple told him it had removed the app, “because that Bitcoin thing is not legal in all jurisdictions for which BitPak is for sale.”
Bitcoin is illegal in Russia and its future is in doubt in China. Nicholas Cary, CEO of Blockchain said that Apple may have removed the apps because it sees Bitcoin as a potential competitor. He told Wired, “I think that Apple is positioning itself to take on mobile payments in a way they haven’t described to the public and they’re being anti-competitive.”
Essentially all Bitcoin mobile app development is for the Android OS which is less secure than iOS and that’s a problem because Bitcoin’s growing popularity has also made it a target for hackers to steal the currency from unsecure websites hosting online wallets.
Kaspersky Lab reports that malware like Zeus is effective at stealing online Bitcoins from users’ PCs. And following a rise in the Bitcoin exchange rate near the end 2013 it saw more programs designed to steal the crypto-currency from user e-wallets. In fact it said the number of attacks targeting the crypto-currency increased more than 2.5 times and accounted for 8.3 million incidents.
Bitcoin’s fans remain optimistic and new ways to store and spend the currency are announced almost daily. Its value also remains resilient. Bitcoin has been floating between $450 and $500 for the past month.