Category Archives: Bitcoin

Content: SG Flexible Loans – 950

Have you ever heard of a flexible loan? You might have come across this if you have ever applied for a home loan or if you are in the plans to get one.

What is a Flexible loan?

To understand what is a flexible loan, you must first understand what the basic terms and fundamentals are. What makes this most important is that you must understand how to calculate the interest when it comes to such loans.

Calculating the interest

How this works really is that it practices the reducing balance concept. This simply means that a part of your installments will contribute to the interest of your loan. Meanwhile, the other part of it will be used to pay the principal amount that you owed. In other words, you do not just pay for the principal amount but the interest as well. However, this will gradually change because when the amount you owed is higher, then the bank will allocate a larger portion of the installment for the interest charged.

At the same time, you get to pay as little interest as possible because it is actually the benefit of being a borrower. This is the very reason why borrowers will try to make more payments so that they can reduce the amount that they owe the bank. Some would go for what is known as bullet payments which are basically large cash payments. In doing so, they can save on the interest that they are paying.
When someone does that, they fall into a problem with liquidity. This means that they might be in a situation where they will need additional cash because of an emergency.

A Basic Term Loan

Another concept that you must know is known as a basic term loan. this is basically a term loan with a fixed repayment period. Basic term loans used to be the only type of property loans available in Malaysia. What this means is that you cannot make any additional payments to expedite the entire process. If you are holding a basic term loan with a bank and would like to make additional payments, then you must inform the bank in writing. This is to clearly state that you want to make such an arrangement so that the bank can adjust accordingly.

In a basic term loan, if you make an additional payment without informing the bank and assuming that it will reduce your principal amount, then you are gravely wrong! In fact, you will not affect the amount in any way at all. What it does is that it will become pre-payment and just kept there in the bank and slowly used to pay your installments. At the end of the day, you will still be paying the same amount to the bank just like you are paying the installments on time.

The situation will be worse if you need the cash due to an emergency or any other reasons. You will not be allowed to take out any of the additional payments made in the bank. This simply means that you must be absolutely sure you do not need the money if you are going to make any additional payments.

Why banks were so rigid then?

There are reasons why banks were so rigid then when they offered basic term loans. This was because there were no systems that are so advanced as they are today. On the other hand, banks still needed to earn their interest which is why they discouraged customers to reduce their payments.

What is a semi-flexi loan?

There is something known as a semi-flexi loan. As the name implies, this is an improvement from the basic term loan concept. Introduced not too long ago by Malaysian banks, this is seen as an attempt by the institutions to reduce the restrictions for customers to make additional payments in trying to reduce their owed amounts. With semi-flexi loans, customers could make additional payments which will not be placed as pre-payments but will be used to reduce the principal amount owed. Meanwhile, customers could now withdraw additional amount in their accounts if they need to. However, customers intending to this will have to pay a processing fee and would need time as well. Because of this flexibility, all property loans offered by banks today are by default semi-flexi loans.

What about Flexible Loans?

On the other side of the spectrum is what is known as a flexible loan, sometimes referred to as flexi-loan in short. This is the type of loan that allow you to withdraw or deposit money into the loan account as and when you wish. The good thing about this arrangement is that there will be neither additional procedures nor charges involved. What the bank usually does is to connect your loan to a Current Account. How it works is that the installment will be reduced from your Current Account and additional funds in your account will be used to pay the principal amount.

How is this calculated?

If you took a flexible loan say for S$500,000 and you have put in S$300,000 into your current account (which is connected to your loan account), then the interest will be calculated on amount owed which in this case:
S$500,000 – S$300,000 = S$200,000.
This simply means that the interest will only be imposed on the SG$200,000 which means you have saved interest on the S$300,000. This is a great option if you have a lot of spare cash which you can park inside your current account. Otherwise, it would be best to take a default loan for your property which is the semi-flexi concept.

Monero

One of the many types of crytopcurrency or more fondly known as digital currency being traded across the globe today is Monero. Among the benefits of Monero amongst the many other cryptocurrencies today is its focus in privacy.

What about Monero?

Designed to run on most major operating systems, Monero known in short as XMR is typically a cryptocurrency which is open source. Its major focus is on privacy and operates on a decentralized platform. This is because of the rising cases of illegal use of cryptocurrency that has promoted a lot of attention. As such, Monero becomes extremely popular through its egalitarian concept.

Background of Monero

Monero first came about back in October 2013. Then, it was launched by Nicolas van Saberhagen and was made popular after it was launched over the Bitcointalk forum by someone known as BitMonero. This was a combination of 2 words, Bit and Monero. The former got its name from Bitcoin which was rising in popularity then while Monero is the Spanish word for coin. Barely a week after its launched, the name was changed to Monero.
By 2016, Monero has become one of the major digital currencies in the world. This was most evident around that year after it was adopted by AlphaBay, a major darknet market. This was the year when Monery enjoyed a huge jump in transaction volume and market capitalization. A year later, Confidential Transactions adopted Monero, giving it a more strength and stature.

Highlights of Monero

There are several traits that make Monero so demanded and popular. Among them includes:

  1. Improved existing cryptocurrency design
  2. more egalitarian mining process
  3. obscuring sender and receiver

The Monero digital currency is designed based on the CrytoNight PoW hash algorithm. This is derived from a reliable protocol named CrytoNote. This protocol has a reputation of providing high privacy levels and it is fungible.
In operation, Monero prides itself to be:

  1. A private digital currency – being open sourced and designed to be secure, it is untraceable and private. The buyer has full control over how the funds move. As such, the accounts are not known in public
  2. Secure and decentralized – operated by a network of users, the distributed consensus is used to confirm the transactions before they are captured in the blockchain.
  3. Untraceable – this is where users can enjoy anonymity. As transactions are not linked to a certain user, the addresses and amounts are by default obfuscated.
  4. Private – Ring signatures, stealth addresses and ring confidential transactions are used to obfuscate the information, allowing them to be hidden from the private domain
  5. Fungible – private by default, Monero are not associated with previous transactions and as such cannot be manipulated in any way

Digital currency and Bitcoin in Malaysia

Believe it or not, the cryptocurrency wave has hit Malaysia and it is growing faster than anyone can imagine. As it is one of the biggest evolution in the currency market for so many centuries, cryptocurrency has captured a lot of attention among traders and merchants. While the global market is busy with its changes and other movements, Malaysia too is enjoying a similar wave as more and more people and merchants are fast taking up bitcoins for trade.

Not just Malaysian retail

Online retailers are the most common type of parties who are ready to accept digital currencies. Meanwhile, brick and mortar retailers too are beginning to see Bitcoin as a good way of accepting transactions. However, in a recent report, the F & B industry too is taking notice.
Among them are foot stalls who have since advertised that bitcoin is accepted. In major cities like the Klang Valley, there are now food stalls stating they accept Bitcoin and Etherum, collectively 2 of the largest cryptocurrencies globally. Some food stalls in smaller cities are accepting them as well although they are more prone to accepting only bitcoin.

Still in infancy stages

Although merchants have started accepting cryptocurrencies, this is still a very new market. A lot of merchants are gearing up for what will happen once cryptocurrencies become mainstream and those who have started the ball rolling will surely benefit from it.
Besides that, there has been a few training centre that has sprung up in recent months that offer people who like to know more about how cryptocurrency works, the trading mechanism and other related issues. One of the exchanges operating has recorded a million wallets ever since. To put that into context, around 1000 bitcoins were traded in a single day which amounts to about RM50 million while the value between RM2 and RM3 billion is being traded in Bursa Malaysia daily.

What about volatility?

The risks and liabilities have all been mentioned numerous times. Whatever the situation, there are many other concerns especially amongst Malaysia’s investors. Among them:

  1. Price – Perhaps the biggest concern with cryptocurrency is the fact that its prices have been surging uncontrollably.
  2. Options – there are literally thousands of different cryptocurrencies in the world today and they are all readily available online. While Bitcoin and Etheruem is currently the top 2 currencies, users can buy from any which means the risk of losing is obviously higher
  3. ICOs – known as initial coin offerings, they are mushrooming because it is easy and there are now even local ones too
  4. knowledge – Malaysians need to be well educated about how this works. It is not about bitcoin or Dash but it is the blockchain technology which should take center stage.

Bitcoin Exchanges in Malaysia

To invest in Bitcoins, you will need to have a digital wallet. This is available mostly online where you can then store and manage your currency. In Malaysia, Bank Negara Malaysia has made its stand on bitcoins and cryptocurrencies but you can now buy your coins via various exchanges over the internet. We list the few popular ones.

Issues to consider

In any case, because it deals with your money, you should consider the following:

  1. Source – Where is it from and how long has it been operating
  2. Ease of use – Will you be able to access your wallet at any time and any place?
  3. Security – It is your money, if security is not your concern, nothing else will.
  4. Cost

Coinmama – convenient

This is one of the many exchanges that are very popular as customers from almost any country with a credit or debit card can buy bitcoin. It is very convenient for those who do not buy a lot of bitcoins where they need not have to verify their identity. It is the exchange that allows the highest limit when you use a credit card to purchase your bitcoin. However, it fees are among the highest as well.

LocalBitcoins – good reputation

Besides offering the platform to purchase your bitcoins, this exchange is an escrow agent as well. This means that it helps to bridge buyers and sellers of bitcoins where the trades can be carried out in various payment methods. Besides that, LocalBitcoins allow in-person trading which is quite unique while it is not a popular choice among those who like to buy large amounts of bitcoins.

Luno – Asia oriented

Luno is the few exchanges which is very popular in countries like Indonesia and Singapore while having a strong presence in Malaysia as well. It has an Instant Buy feature as well as allowing you to enjoy 0% fees if you place a buy-order while waiting for sellers to take up your offer. It is in fact, one of the most trusted exchanges for the Asia region that has low withdrawal charges while deposits are free. However, there are quite limited options when it comes to deposit as it only allows bank transfer so far. Luno was banned in Malaysia in January 2018 and withdrawal to any Malaysian bank account is subjected to banks.

Bitcoin Exchange Malaysia

As the name implies, Bitcoin Exchange Malaysia is based in the country where it makes it easy for buying bitcoins but is known to have less than favourable rates.

Bitcoin ATMs

You can use cash to buy bitcoins through this platform. It is designed to be private and very convenient. However, the downside of this exchange is its high fees which range between 5 and 10%. The idea is to use this platform to find the nearest and most available Bitcoin ATM.

Peercoin

Peercoin is one of the many alternatives to cryptocurrency Bitcoin. It has its own set of features that make it a preferred digital currency which has been gaining a lot of traction lately.

Background of Peercoins

Peercoin’s name comes fromi the words ‘peer’ and ‘coin’ designed to reflect the fact that it is a peer-to-peer cryptocurrency and runs on the proof-of-stake and proof-of-work platforms respectively. The brainchild of Scott Nadal and Sunny King, Peercoin came through the paper written by them in August 2012.

The latter was responsible for another altcoin known as Primecoin. Eventually, he would be the sole developer who created Peercoin after Nadal left a year later. The underlying inspiration of Peercoin is Bitcoin as it has a very similar technical platforms. Distributed under the MIT/X11 software license which does not impose any limit on the number of coins. This is not the same care with the likes of Bitcoin and Litecoin. Instead, it would aim for a long-term scalability where it could attain a 1% annual inflation rate. Like other cryptocurrencies, Peercoin is decentralized where the tokens are issued by the stakeholders.

Checkpointing in Peercoin

Checkpointing is the unique feature that Peercoin adopts. This was stated in the original paper that was presented that introduced a centrally broadcast checkpoint mechanism as it seeks to solve the distributed consensus problem that Bitcoin cannot.

Features of Peercoin

Among the features of Peercoin includes:

  1. Mining and transactions – a SHA-256 is used to manage the transactions, issuance and balances of Peercoins.
  2. Digital Signatures are used as the basis for addresses where payments are made to. All of the addresses start with the letter P.
  3. Blockchain – The Peercoin blockchain is where the transactions are recorded
  4. Coins – Mining and minting are 2 ways new coins can be created.

Highlights of Peercoin

Peercoin has several aspects that make it a better alternative which include:

  1. Hybrid – Peercoin uses a special hybrid proof-of-stake: proof-of-work platform. This was specifically made to solve the shortcomings of systems that run on pure proof-of-work platforms.
  2. Proof-of-work – using the SHA-256 algorithm, it offers miners better profitability as the proof-of-work block reward is halved every time there is a 16 times increase in the network.
  3. Energy efficiency – This is one of the very distinguished factors of Peercoin. The platform was developed with the intention provide a better alternative to the high energy consumption that bitcoin was so known for.
  4. Value – with a pre-determined 1% inflection annually, it seeks to maintain its value. This will yield an unlimited amount of coins in the future. Furthermore, it has a fixed transaction fee which will be destroyed instead of going to them miners to help control inflation of the currency.

Ripple

Ripple is one of the common names often associated with digital currency. It is seen as one of the recent platforms that has been garnering a lot of traction since it was introduced some 6 years ago.

Origin of Ripple

Ripple was created by 3 authors Arthur Britto, David Schwartz and Ryan Fugger. Its initial release came around 2012 and suffice to say, it has grown to become one of the major transactional platforms in the world today. Programmed to run on the GNU/ Linux operating system, its main objective is to offer currency exchange, transfer of funds and gross settlement in real-time, among others.

How Ripple works?

Ripple is associate with being an RTGS or real-time gross settlement system. Besides that, it is used for remittance and currency exchange which is known as the RTXP or Ripple Transaction Protocol. It utilizes what is known as the XRP or ripples. This runs on a distributed internet protocol which is open source. The XRP is typically its native cryptocurrency where it labels itself as being more:

  1. Secure
  2. instant and fast
  3. Almost zero cost
  4. ideal for global financial transactions without chargebacks

Ripple is designed to support cryptocurrency predominantly and the flat currency system that runs on a public ledger, very much like how Bitcoin works. However, it has its own consensus process where payments and transfers are possibly through its distributed network. Validators in this network includes the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), companies and internet service providers which mean that it does not need the Ripple company to operate the network. Among the companies that use Ripple are:

  1. UBS
  2. Santander
  3. UniCredit
  4. and the list of financial institutions is growing

Growth of Ripple

Since it was introduced in 2012, Ripple has grown by leaps and bounds. It became the second largest cryptocurrency based on market capitalization in January 2018 when it breached US$123 billion. The XRP had in 2017 surged past 35,000%. To put that into context, Bitcoin increased by around 1,300% that year.

Why Ripple is so effective

The reasons why Ripple is so popular and well accepted include:

  1. Contemporary and current – It is a payment system which is designed for the current netizen. After all, the payment infrastructure which are being used have been around for too long, some before the internet era
  2. Connected – the RippleNet is designed to be the one network that let you carry out all your transactions as it connects digital asset exchanges, payment providers, banks and other institutions.
  3. Technology – It claims to be the best blockchain in the market today built on the most technologically advanced network which is secure and robust

Storing Bitcoin Options

You would know by now what you can do with Bitcoins and the other alternatives. If you have found the benefits of investing into cryptocurrencies and would like to do this for a longer term, then you might need to know where you can store them before deciding what to do with them.

Enter the world of Wallets

Wallets are like what they meant, wallets! They are used to store cash or some form of monetary unit. The difference here is that they are digital ones which you can use to store your digital currencies. For Bitcoin, you use them to store the private keys that you will use to access the bitcoin address. In fact, you need the key to utilize your funds. We list down the various forms of wallets you can use.

Paper-based wallets

Using paper would perhaps be the cheapest method of storing Bitcoins. It is somewhat safer from all other digital form and in some markets, are highly successful. Many service providers offer paper bitcoin services which utilizes QR codes that you use to access your account. Because they are not stored digitally, you are safe from hacks and cyber-attacks.

Generic Digital Wallets

The generic digital wallets are those that come with those you install into your desktop or laptop computers. This occurs when you have already installed the Bitcoin Core (or the bitcoin client). Naturally, you wallet is already running and operational. Among the other types of desktop-based wallets include Armory, Darkwallet, Hive and MultiBit, all of which have their own unique features.

Mobile wallets

To overcome the limitations of desktop wallets, there are mobile wallets which are designed for those who are always on-the-go. After all, what is the good of having money when you are confined to spending them seated on the desk and not when you are out. Mobile wallets are designed as a mobile app which stores the private keys as well so that you can use your smartphone to make payments when needed. This includes the likes of Blockchain, Mycelium, Aegis and Xapo.

Web- based wallets

This type of wallet is as implied, they are online and web-based. What web-based wallets bring to the table is convenience although it can be quite risky. In other words, you will be able to access your funds anywhere as long as you are online. This include names like Circle, Coinbase and Strongcoin, among many others.

Hardware-based wallets

Still in its infancy stages, these are basically hardware designed to store the private keys. Compared to all the other types of wallets, hardware-based ones are still not as popular as it require additional cost to develop and purchase. Names include Trezor, Crytolabs, Mycelium and KeepKey. In most cases, they utilize devices that are USB enabled like the Ledger USB wallet.

Litecoin

Litecoin is yet another name mentioned and traded in the cryptocurrency platform. It has become one of the most invested platforms besides Bitcoin and Ethereum.

Background of Litecoin

Released on an open-source client, Litecoin is the brainchild of former Google employee, Charlie Lee. This was back in 2011 when Litecoin was first introduced on GitHub. In mid October, 2011, Litecoin went live. What Litecoin is really is that it was somewhat similar or in some cases, a part of the Bitcoin Core client. However, it has the following traits:

  1. lower block generation time
  2. higher maximum number of coins
  3. runs on a different hashing algorithm

Highlights of Litecoin

Like other cryptocurrencies, Litecoin has enjoyed tremendous success in many areas. Around November 2013 for example, Litecoin experienced a 100% jump within 24 hours where it reached a market capitalization of US$1 billion that same time. This would then increase to 4-fold some 4 years later. To date, each Litecoin is valued at almost US$375.
Litecoin is the first cryptocurrencies to adopt Segregated Witness among the top 5 others rated by market capitalization. So, what really is Litecoin? We identify them below.

What is Litecoin?

To understand Litecoin, you must understand how Bitcoin works. Basically, Litecoin is:

  1. a peer-to-peer internet currency
  2. it is able to provide instant and at times almost zero-cost payment for transactions
  3. Open-source
  4. a fully decentralized global payment network
  5. no central authority controlling it

Litecoin a good alternative to Bitcoin

Using mathematical algorithms, it helps to secure the network while allowing investors to be in full control of their money. Litecoin helps transactions as it has faster confirmation times. The storage efficiency is a lot better than other cryptocurrencies because of its mathematics-based algorithm. There has been a lot of communities in the internet which has been in full support of Litecoin which include:

  1. forums
  2. Telegram
  3. Reddit
  4. Twitter
  5. and many others

Running on the MIT/X11 license, users are now able to modify and copy the software if necessary. After all, it is an open-source platform. Some important facts about Litecoin:

  1. Blockchain – Litecoin has a higher transaction handling as compared to Bitcoin. Merchants who accept Litecoin get quicker confirmation times
  2. Wallet Encryption – This technology allow the user to secure their wallet while keeping tap of their transactions and balance in the account.
  3. Mining Reward – If you are interested in mining for Litecoin, you would be happy to know that you will be rewarded for your efforts. In fact, you get 25 new litecoins for every block mined

Litecoin in Malaysia

Plus500 is a popular platform to buy Litecoin in Malaysia. Besides that, there are several other online brokers like Bitmax. Basically, you will need to first buy Bitcoin or Ether and then convert them into Litecoin. This is done via major banks like Maybank and CIMB Bank.

Ethereum

Bitcoin is a big revolution which has taken the world by storm since it was introduced several years ago. This has caused a ripple effect in many financial markets which have already grown by leaps and bounds.

Enter other players

As Bitcoin continues to grow in every way, many other names have since surfaced. One of the most popular names in this is Ethereum. What really is Ethereum and is it any different as compared to Bitcoin?

Highlights of Ethereum

Ethereum has many features that make it such an attractive investment type. Among them include:

  1. Open source
  2. blockchain-based
  3. runs on distributed computing platform

Background of Ethereum

Ethereum was first proposed by Vitalik Buterin. He was a researcher in cryptocurrency as well as a capable programmer. This came about in late 2013 where he managed to secure funds through an online crowdsale around mid-2014. After that, almost 12 million ‘pre-mined’ coins were issued through the crowdsale and the system went live around a year later. At this rate, it totalled up to about 13% of the total supply of Ethereum being circulated.
The word Ether was used through its EVM or Ehtereum Virtual Machine. Ethers can be used to transfer between accounts. Meanwhile, the term ‘gas’ is used as the internal pricing mechanism. This is used to help allocate the resources in the network and to help curb spam when they occur. Later on around 2016, Ethereum was divided into ETH or just Ethereum and ETC or Ethereum Classic.

How it all started for Ethereum?

Buterin first got involved with Ethereum through his involvement with Bitcoin when he was attached with the Bitcoin Magazine. Then, he believed that there is a need for a scripting language for application development of Bitcoin. When this did not gain the acceptance he hoped for, he began working on this proposal. Before Ethereum, there were several names being used or proposed including “Olympic” and “Frontier” while other names like “Metropolis” and “Serenity” are said to be the future of Ethereum.

Is Ethereum available in Malaysia?

Bitcoin in Malaysia has been growing in traction since it was introduced. As the second largest blockchain in the world, Ethereum is enjoying the same level of success. Designed to run on decentralized smart contracts which Bitcoin is unable to do, Ethereum has been one of the most attractive investment platforms of late.
In fact, the price has been increasing since its token sale. 1 bitcoin would bring about 2,000 ether. What you need to do is to first buy bitcoin. You will then need to create your Ether Wallet. This can be done via MyEtherWallet which is possible online. From there, you can then exchange your bitcoin with Ether and then store them in your wallet. Coinhako is another name that could help you with this.
Buying Ethereum in Malaysia is possible via the same way you buy Bitcoin which is through bank transfer with prominent institutions like Hong Leong, CIMB and Maybank, among others.

Introduced back in October 2016, Zcash is among the latest additions to the cryptocurrency platform. It has been rated as one of the top 6 types of cryptocurrencies in the world besides the more popular Bitcoin. As cryptocurrency is fast becoming an exciting and among the most popular forms of investments, having alternatives like Zcash would be ideal, offering more options for investors and miners alike. What Zcash brings to the table is a more powerful and reliable technology for cryptocurrency.

Background of Zcash

The date that Zcash was introduced as 28 October 2016. Z stands mostly for Zero. What Zcash aims to do is to provide a better platform with improved privacy for its users. This is where cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin is being used as the benchmark. In fact, Zcash aims to use cryptography as the platform in offering this.
Zooko Wilcox-O’Hearn was the main behind Zcash. He is the founder and CEO of Zcash Company together with Matthew D Green, a John Hopkins University cryptographer. Before Zcash, Zerocoin was used before it was improved into what was then known as the Zerocash system. Later on, it was further developed into the Zcash cryptocurrency.

Highlights of Zcash

Like any other forms of cryptocurrency, Zcash has a fixed total supply circulated. This is at 21 million units. Initially, 20% of the coins created in the first 4 years of its release were given out as rewards to those involved in launching Zcash like the developers and investors, among others. Other highlights include:

  1. published on a public blockchain
  2. allow users to use a privacy feature which is optional
  3. the sender, receiver and the amount can be concealed if necessary

How does Zcash works

Through Zcash, the transactions being carried out can be ‘transparent’. This is in essence quite the same as how Bitcoin works via a zero-knowledge proof known as zk-SNARKS. The z-addr controls the shielding of transactions carried out. As such, Zcash coins become either transparent or shielded through their respective pools. An option of ‘selective disclosure’ is provided for private transactors which is important for auditing when the user needs to prove a payment.

How different is it with Bitcoin?

While Bitcoin is digital money, Zcash prides itself as private digital money. This means that the transaction details in Bitcoin can be viewed in the public domain while this is not possible through Zcash. Zcash still pales in comparison of market capitalization with Bitcoin. Mining is the way to release Bitcoin while user get some form of reward for mining Zcash.

Zcash in Malaysia

Cloud mining is the only way to get Zcash. Zcash mining pools are among the most popular methods which include names like Zcash Flypool, Coinmine and Suprnova, among many others. To buy Zchas, you can use a currency-changer like Cryptonator.