bitcoin christmas gift guide

All I want for Christmas is crypto! You can almost imagine a glittery Mariah Carey draped in baubles singing the song accompanied by a chorus of bitcoin whales. 

We live in an exciting new financial world that is changing every facet of our lives. Even Christmas. With the infamous Black Friday upon us and Christmas peering at us from around the corner, now is the time to get all your Christmas gifts in-check.

A recent report indicated that teenagers want cryptocurrency and digital gaming currency this Christmas, not money or gift cards, so let’s see what bitcoin presents are out there.

Bitcoin Hardware Wallets

Buying a crypto hardware wallet is the perfect gift for a crypto fanatic. You can never have enough security when it comes to storing your digital assets. Plus, these devices are slick and stylish. Hardware wallets are similar to USB storage sticks but optimized to keep your crypto safe offline. Some of the best hardware storage products on the marketplace are Trezor, Ledger and Keep Key.

Block Explorer recently reviewed 12 of the best crypto wallets to help you make the right choice.

Ledger nano best hardware bitcoin wallet

Buying Cryptocurrency as a Present

Do you have friends or a younger family member who is interested in crypto but are yet to take the plunge? Why don’t you do it for them? There are all sorts of ways you can introduce your friends and family to crypto this Christmas, here are a few.

Give the Gift of Bitcoin

The easiest way to give a friend some bitcoin for Christmas is by giving them a crypto paper wallet. They are the ideal gift for those who do not have a physical bitcoin wallet or access to an exchange. The paper wallets can be customized to give a gift in the crypto of your choice.

christmas gift bitcoin paper wallet

Fortnite V-Bucks Instead of Gift Cards

Gift cards were always a solid choice when it came to giving presents to young people. But the game has changed. The game has changed to Fortnite! A recent report by the asset management company Piper Jaffray shows that American teenagers now prefer V-Bucks or crypto as opposed to money or gift cards.

V-Bucks, although not exactly crypto, is the digital currency of choice on the ultra-popular Fortnite game, which has taken the world by storm this year. 1,000 V-Bucks costs $9.99, making it a cheap yet appealing gift. Alternatively, buying PlayStation4 PSN credit cards, which can then be used to purchase V-Bucks online or PS4 products, is also an ideal gift for young gamers. 

fortnite v-bucks christmas present

Cryptocurrency Tech Geek Gifts for Christmas

If your family or friends are keen crypto users and enthusiasts, maybe you need to seek out some crypto tech geek gifts for Christmas.

HTC Exodus 1 Blockchain Smartphone

Nothing says Merry Christmas to a crypto-head like buying them the HTC Exodus blockchain smartphone. Part phone, part crypto wallet, the Exodus offers simple access to a range of Dapps and can act as its own blockchain node to trade cryptocurrencies. The phone is currently only available to buy in bitcoin or ether, and if you order now, it will be posted out in early December. 

htc-exodus-1-blockchain phone christmas present

Bitcoin Mining Hardware for Christmas

It was once possible to mine bitcoin on your computer (ah, the good old days!) Nowadays, it requires hardware equipment called an ASIC miner. Ranging from $39 at the bottom end to $3,000 + at the top end, there are options for every budget. 

However, we should point out that bitcoin mining is by no means profitable. And if you’re a parent, be aware that your “gift” will probably double the household electricity bill! 

bitcoin miner christmas gift

Crypto Novelty Gifts

What if you’re on a tighter budget? If so, a novelty crypto gift is the best way to go. Not only are they value-for-money, but can also bring a smile to the face of a friend or family member for less than $30.

Cryptocurrency Gift Coins

On Amazon and some other online marketplaces, you can buy cryptocurrency coin gift sets. They are a cool little collector’s item and come in sets with your favorite coin names such as bitcoin, monero, ethereum and so-forth. For as little as $19.95, you can’t go wrong.

crypto coins gift set

Bitcoin Mugs and Cups

A cool little novelty present you could buy a friend is a bitcoin mug or cup. Check out this Bitcoin mug that only costs $14.95 on Etsy. An ideal present for a bitcoin enthusiast.

bitcoin mug gift

Crypto T-Shirts and Clothing

What do you buy a crypto friend who already has everything? A crypto T-shirt with the words “Just Hodl” on the chest that costs only $18.99. There’s a wide range of crypto-inspired t-shirts online that offer a cheap and fun way to fill up the Christmas stocking this year.

just hodl tshirt christmas gift

Buying Digital Assets Christmas Presents

In this day and age, you can buy digital assets on the blockchain. Here are some options for you:

Cryptokitties as Collectible Digital Pets 

Cryptokitties is a blockchain-based collectible game where you can purchase virtual cats with crypto (think Pokemon on a blockchain). It’s possible to buy, sell and breed the cryptokitties. You can buy a friend a cryptokitty, which they could maybe even sell for a profit one day.

give cryptokitty as a gift

Be a Dictator with Your Own Crypto-Countries

Ever wanted to be a dictator of your own country? You can buy your friend a crypto country for Christmas. Crypto Countries gives you the chance to buy and own countries as smart contracts on the Ethereum blockchain. You can take ownership of the country, which automatically increases in price (valued in ETH). In some cases, if another user desperately wants to buy your country, they might even pay double back to you in ETH.

cryptocountries gift

Buying Virtual Land on Decentraland

You could buy virtual land as a Christmas gift on the VR Decentraland platform, which is one of the most innovative projects on the Ethereum blockchain. As with physical real estate, you can improve the price of the land and sell it on for a profit. Decentraland’s next “land auction” is launching in December, just in time for Christmas.

Decentraland-Review-The-Blockchain-Virtual-World

High-End Luxury Crypto Gifts

If you think that novelty Christmas gifts are for cheapskates and you want to throw the big bucks around, how about a luxury watch or flash sports car? 

Buying a Rolex with Crypto for Xmas

If your friend is a ‘he’, how about this stunning Rolex Yacht-Master II for 10.68 BTC? If the present is for a ‘she’, why not splash out on the jaw-dropping Rolex PearlMaster 34 that costs in the region of 38.8 BTC?

bitcoin watch

Or a Lambo?

It’s every bitcoiners favorite meme: when you make it rich in crypto, you buy a Lambo! You can buy a 2017 Lamborghini Aventador LP 750-4 for approximately 120 BTC. Or if you are looking for something more affordable, you could purchase a 2017 Ferrari 488 3.9 GTB Spider 2DR for 63 BTC. 

bitcoin lambo christmas gift

Whatever you buy this Christmas with your crypto, just remember that the thought is actually more important than the gift or its price. And if you believe that, I have an authentic Egyptian Pharaoh skull in immaculate condition for only 5 BTC. It’s a bargain. Happy hunting! 

Many blockchain analysts and experts believe that crypto adoption and integration will only be possible on a grand scale when major multinational companies jump on the proverbial bandwagon.

But did you know that some of the world’s largest companies are already planning and plotting for this eventuality, even if they’re publically criticizing cryptocurrencies? (We’re looking at you, Google, Facebook, and Mastercard).

Did you know that the Bank of America already has almost 50 blockchain patents, just in case?

When talking to one of the financial industry’s leading news websites, Fortune, back in January, the Bank of America’s chief technology officer, Catherine Bessant said:

bank-of-america-icon-png“We’ve got just under 50 patents in the blockchain/distributed ledger space. While we’ve not found large-scale opportunities, we want to be ahead of it, we want to be prepared.”

 

They are not the only large-scale company that has secured blockchain-related patents.

Major multi-national companies might not be shouting crypto from the rooftops at this moment but they are preparing for greater adoption of blockchain technologies. They can’t afford to miss the boat.

2018 Global Blockchain Patent Enterprise Ranking

When the 2018 Global Blockchain Patent Enterprise Ranking was released in September, it unearthed some interesting data.

Some of the largest companies in the world have already secured a myriad of blockchain patents. The list includes the likes of Alibaba, Google, IBM, MasterCard, Visa, Sony, PayPal, Nasdaq, Microsoft, Facebook, just to name a few who are already ahead of the curve in relation to blockchain related patents.

Blockchain patent ranking
The top 20 companies with blockchain patents. The Chinese name at number one is Alibaba – the so-called “Chinese Amazon.”

Let’s explore the exact nature of these blockchain patents held by the world’s mega-companies. And what possibly end-game uses do they have for their use of blockchain technology.

Alibaba

Blockchain patents: 90

alibaba blockchain patents

Out of the 406 blockchain patents that were applied for in 2017, Alibaba was responsible for 10% of them, bringing its total blockchain patent count to 90. The CEO of Alibaba’s financial sister-company Ant Financial, Jing Xiandong, actually went as far as stating that:

“We are the most patented company in the world of blockchain technology.”

At this point, Alibaba has used their blockchain patents in a number of ways such as tracking cross-border shipments, securing medical data and even for fighting against food fraud.

The vast majority of Alibaba’s blockchain patents revolve around design and utility. One of their most prominent patents is the Ant Financial Blockchain 2.0. It’s an open platform that focuses on self-operation and decentralization.

Alibaba is clearly leading the way for innovative blockchain solutions and is collaborating with a number of companies to further their blockchain developments.

IBM

Blockchain patents: 89

IBM blockchain patents

IBM is right up there with Alibaba for its prolific collection of 89 blockchain patents. In July alone they acquired six patents relating to possible blockchain capabilities. One of their most interesting patent acquisitions from July is Patent 1: 20180198630.

This patent is related to blockchain transactions that can preserve privacy. The patent would enable IBM to execute confidential transactions via smart contracts.

Further reading: Smart Contracts, Explained in the Simplest Possible Terms

They’ve also filed patents for tracking medical items which could optimize patient safety in a hospital environment. 

IBM is at the forefront of acquiring blockchain patents, most of which are system-based and facilitate smoother blockchain operations, as you would expect from one of the world’s largest tech companies.

MasterCard

Blockchain patents: 80

Mastercard blockchain patents

MasterCard is another major company with a variety of blockchain patents, mostly, as you would expect, pertaining to payment transactions.

The credit card giants filed for a patent in July that would encode an image of your payment card to a blockchain. Theoretically, you could then pay with your card in a store, using a point-of-sale device, without actually handing over your card. 

Another patent would allow Mastercard users to upload their travel itineraries to a blockchain, allowing shops and vendors the chance to bid for your business.

Yet another aims to partition a blockchain so it could handle and store multiple different types of transactions. 

Mastercard isn’t slowing down on the patents front either. They recently applied for a new patent that could theoretically launch a fractional reserve banking system for crypto.

When they do decide to delve headlong into crypto transactions, they will be ready to carve out a decent slice of the payments market.

Microsoft

Blockchain patents: 20

Microsoft blockchain patents

When it comes to mega-companies, few exist on the scale of Microsoft. Earlier this year, they filed for two blockchain patents that show the company is looking into the possibility of enhanced Trusted Execution Environments (TEE).

A TEE is a secure area of a main processor. It’s easy to get swamped by the technical jargon used by these patents and the technologies themselves.

Breaking it down, Microsoft might want to use its TEE patent to offer higher levels of security for a mobile operating system or its cloud system Azure.

Google

Blockchain patents: 22

Google blockchain patents

You would assume that Google isn’t much of a blockchain advocate judging by its stance on marketing ICOs and other crypto-based products. But the search engine king has obtained its own blockchain patents to ensure it is not left out in the cold.

Google applied for the patent US20170177898A1 back in June 2018, which was granted in July this year. The blockchain patent aims to stamp out data tampering:

“A system, method or computer readable storage medium configured for storing encrypted data on a blockchain. To write additional data in a blockchain, a request is received at a computing node.”

In layman’s terms, Google wants to use a blockchain system to verify any data stored on its database. This will safeguard the integrity of the information and will flag the info when it is altered or deleted.

Conclusion

The main focus of many blockchain patents applied for by major companies largely revolve around the authentication of existing data and the verification of transactions.

It’s quite ironic, however, that some companies such as Google and Facebook appear to be against crypto and blockchain adoption in the public sphere, but behind closed doors are snapping up as many blockchain-related patents as possible.

central bank digital currencies

When Venezuela created its own central bank digital currency (CBDC) in an attempt to stabilize its faltering economy and out-of-control inflation, it posed some interesting questions. 

Are CBDCs a viable financial solution for failing economies?

Could this be something that every country should implement?

Does the centralization of CBDCs go against everything cryptocurrency stands for or are they the future of widespread crypto adoption?

It’s not just failing economies looking into CBDCs either. The Bank of England released a paper discussing the merits of a national cryptocurrency. Switzerland requested a study on the benefits of launching an e-franc and Canada published a framework for a CBDC.

Is there a future where every country launches its own digital currency?

What is the Definition of a CBDC?

A central bank digital currency is a cryptocurrency issued and controlled by a government, central bank or federal regulator. It’s basically a homegrown cryptocurrency dedicated to and ran by a country.

One of the main drawbacks of widespread crypto adoption is the lack of regulatory control. The implementation of nation-state CBDCs across the board could immediately fix those problems. They could be fully regulated by the state. CBDCs are not decentralized like many cryptocurrencies and represent real money in a digital way.

Governments or central banks would become not just the issuer of the digital currency, but also the regulator. It may offer the security and stabilization that is sometimes lacking with fluctuating digital currencies such as bitcoin. 

Venezuela Launches Petro CBDC

When news broke that Venezuela was poised to launch its own CBDC called the Petro, it was met with varying levels of suspicion and controversy. When announcing the launch of the petroleum-pegged Petro, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro took a swipe at the US and laid out his vision:

“They’ve dollarized our prices. I am petrolizing salaries and petrolizing prices. We are going to convert the petro into the reference that pegs the entire economy’s movements.”

venezuela petro

However, the petro cryptocurrency is shrouded in controversy. It has been called a scam by the American authorities, who claim the country is using the petro to skirt US sanctions. Many crypto-enthusiasts have also slammed the idea due to its centralized nature. All of these criticisms are valid. 

But could this concept work for other nations who are dealing with collapsing economies or would it spark the end of the decentralized nature of cryptocurrencies themselves?

Pros and Cons of Implementing a Central Bank Digital Currency 

There are arguments on both sides of the coin in regards to the adoption of central bank digital currencies. 

The opinions largely fall into two categories: long-term crypto users who are opposed to the decentralization of crypto; and those who want to see wider adoption and integration of blockchain technologies and CBDCs to bring together a coordinated effort to regulate the industry moving forward.

The Pros of Using a CBDC

Those who seek greater regulatory measures applied to the cryptocurrency industry such as governments, central banks, and some potential investors are more open to CBDCs. Many believe that the pros outweigh the cons.

  • Boosting the economy – The Bank of Canada Economist, Mohammad R. Davoodalhosseini, claims that even large economies such as Canada and the US could greatly benefit from the implementation of a CBDC. Research from the Bank of Canada (BOC) showed that a CBDC “can lead to an increase of up to 0.64 percent in consumption for Canada and up to 1.6 percent for the US, compared with their respective economies if only cash is used.”
  • Stabilizing failing economies – As we have seen with the implementation of the petro in Venezuela, some economies in the oil trade who are dependent and attached to the US dollar can use a CBDC to reinvigorate their economy.
  • Greater regulatory cohesion – If the people who are issuing the CBDC are the same ones regulating it, greater regulatory cohesion will naturally follow. If a handful of countries adopt CBDCs and collaborate together in a coordinated effort, regulating the industry would be much easier than present.
  • Easy access and confidence – The implementation of a CBDC could help to speed up the process of widespread crypto adoption as the risks currently associated with using crypto would be less if backed by an entire country and a central bank. It would create more confidence in the market for investors.
central bank digital currency countries
A map of countries with an active state-issued cryptocurrency. Credit: Coin Telegraph

The Cons of Using a CBDC

Although the introduction of a CBDC seems like a great idea from one point of view, some central banks think they won’t work. Even the Bank of Japan’s (BOJ) deputy governor, Masayoshi Amamiya has criticized the idea of central bank digital currencies. Here are some of the cons involved with issuing a CBDC:

  • Expensive setup costs – One of the major concerns for Masayoshi Amamiya and other central banks is that creating a CBDC is a costly affair. It’s not only banks that would be expected to implement new technologies but also the entire public sector, middle-men, and customers. As a CBDC is a state-run enterprise, taxpayers would be footing the bill.
  • Loss of financial privacy for users – The most discussed negative issue against CBDCs is the centralized nature of the concept. Most long-term crypto enthusiasts and other anti-establishment types champion bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies because of their privacy and independence from central banks. A CBDC goes against that philosophy.
  • Knock-on effect to pre-existing financial systems – Although introducing a CBDC may work for failing economies, it’s not efficient for larger nations that currently have a massive presence in the global financial markets and successful pre-existing financial systems. 

The Imminent Future of CBDCs

At the time of writing, the only nations using a CBDC are Senegal, Tunisia, Marshall Islands, and Venezuela. Although Iran has also been researching the possibility of introducing one for similar reasons to Venezuela. 

Central Banks might well feel they are being left behind in regards to distributed ledger technology that could very well revolutionize the global financial markets as we know it. Thailand is one such nation that is embracing blockchain and considering its own CBDC. When recently talking about the issue with the Bangkok Post, a spokesperson for The Bank of Thailand said:

“Technological changes are having a major impact on financial services. The Bank of Thailand and local financial institutions agreed to launch a project to raise technological readiness in adopting new financial technologies to enhance operational efficiencies. Creating an ecosystem conducive for collaborative learning in technology will be an important driving force towards a digital future.” 

Although Thailand is currently only in the planning stage, they believe that by early next year, their very own central bank digital currency will be unveiled. 

Conclusion

Central bank digital currencies are an interesting alternative for failing economies with struggling financial systems, but not so much for economic powerhouses that already dictate the global markets at this current time. 

However, the evolving nature of the financial markets and distributed ledger technology, plus pressure from governments, central banks and high places who are pushing for greater regulations and cohesion in the crypto marketplace, means that a CBDC could be coming to a country near you sooner than you think. 

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blockchain island Malta

When the market-leading cryptocurrency exchange Binance announced in March it was moving its operations to the Mediterranean island of Malta, it made the industry sit up and take notice. The move raised a multitude of questions and a few proverbial eyebrows.

What makes Malta an attractive hub for cryptocurrency companies?

Why would a major exchange such as Binance go through the arduous process of setting up shop in such a seemingly isolated place at the other side of the world?

Does Malta make special exemptions and concessions for crypto-based firms operating on the island?

What’s the deal?

Binance Moves its Operations to Malta

binance malta blockchain island

Malta was once primarily known more for its stunning natural features such as its dominating cliff faces, its crystal blue waters and its world-class dive spots. These days it is becoming known as Blockchain Island and the home of major crypto exchanges, investment firms, and blockchain tech startups, with Binance leading the exodus from Asia and beyond.

Chased Out of China

Although originally founded in China, Binance has since become locked in legal disputes across not only its homeland but also in Japan and Hong Kong.

As crypto regulations tighten across Southeast Asia for exchanges as well as ICO projects, Binance was one of seven crypto-based firms that received a warning letter from the Securities and Futures Commission in Hong Kong not to trade digital assets.

Regulatory crypto crackdowns across Asia fueled Binance’s decision to seek pastures new. The crypto exchange decided to move their whole operation to Malta. And they also suggested that others should follow suit, which they did. When first announcing their move, Binance CEO Changpeng Zhao made a statement on his Twitter feed that said:

“Malta is very progressive when it comes to crypto and fintech. We think it is a good place for other crypto businesses to look into as well.”

 

Binance CEO cz tweet about Malta

The following message from the Maltese prime Minister Joseph Muscat on his Twitter account welcoming Binance gives a fascinating insight into the difference in attitude between Blockchain Island and the current restrictive crypto climate across Asia.

Malta prime minister tweet Binance

Other Crypto Companies Now Operating in Malta

When a company as large and integral to the crypto industry such as Binance moves its operations to Malta and encourages others to do the same, that’s exactly what happens.

Other massive crypto exchanges such as Bittrex and OKEx are also running some or all of their operations out of Malta. The list of blockchain-related companies continues to rise as crypto investment firms such as Neufund and Coinvest have also made the move.

From blockchain startups to ICO platforms Malta is now a melting pot of crypto-related businesses such as Decentralized Ventures, STASIS, Loci Nexus, the non-profit organization Bitmalta, nChain and the Maltese crypto startup Learning Machine, just to name a handful.

Malta - blockchain island

Why Does Malta Appeal to Crypto Companies?

The obvious reason why so many crypto companies are making Malta their home is largely due to the favorable digital currency regulations on the island. On June 4, 2018, Malta became the first nation to create official regulations for crypto operators.

The Maltese parliament passed three bills that established clear and concise regulatory framework for cryptocurrencies, blockchain technology and distributed ledger technology (DLT). The three Maltese crypto regulatory bills are as follows:

Malta Digital Innovation Authority Act (MDIA Act)

This act was created to establish the Malta Digital Innovation Authority and can certify DLT platforms. This law is in place to focus largely on internal governance and to outline the Authority’s responsibilities to certify distributed ledger platforms to ensure authenticity and the legal compliance of those wishing to make use of a DLT.

Innovative Technology Arrangement and Services Act (ITAS Act)

This bill is used to set up crypto exchanges and other crypto companies. It’s called the Innovative Arrangement and Services Act (ITAS Act) and is also primarily created to deal with DLT certification and platforms.

Virtual Financial Assets Act (VFA Act)

The third and final bill of this three-pronged attack focuses on regulating ICO projects, wallet providers and exchanges. The Virtual Financial Assets Act (VFA Act) was created to establish a regulatory regime that can keep the crypto industry in Malta in check.

The most interesting factor in regards to the three bills is they can be applied to a wide range of industries and technologies and are not necessarily anchored directly to the crypto or financial sector in Malta.

“We Understood Early on That the Serious Operators Wanted Legal Certainty”

When talking about new regulations, the Junior Minister of Financial Services, Digital Economy and Innovation, Silvio Schembri said:

Malta representative“When we started looking into what was needed for the blockchain industry to flourish, we understood early on that the serious operators wanted legal certainty. As of now, operators are functioning in jurisdictions of legal uncertainty. Operators fear that one day a government in that particular legislation will tell them they aren’t within the law – even though there are currently very few laws in place. This is creating legal uncertainty and we wanted to change this

 

Clear, concise, common sense and straightforward thinking are the foundations of Malta’s cryptocurrency regulations and the main reason why this picture-perfect Mediterranean island is now the most desirable destination in the world for all manner of crypto-related businesses.

A “Calculated Risk”

Maltese Prime Minister Joseph Muscat admits that its new laws are a “calculated risk” by fast-tracking blockchain companies and removing bureaucracy. For the moment, however, it appears to be paying off.

Is Malta the Future Epicenter for Cryptocurrency in Europe?

A recent report by a blockchain investment company called Fabric Ventures has shown a massive shift in worldwide ICO token sales. Europe is now leading the world in crypto-asset token sales with $4.1 billion in 2018, which vastly dwarfs Asia with $2.6 billion and the USA with a total of $2.3 billion.

As Europe leads the way for crypto and blockchain technology adoption, could Malta become the future epicenter for blockchain and cryptocurrency in Europe, which ultimately means the world?

Malta might be one of the tiniest nations in Europe, but small things can sometimes cast a big shadow. With a growing reputation as the world’s first blockchain island, easy-to-follow regulations and a welcoming attitude that doesn’t just accept blockchain and crypto, but actually encourages them, it’s no wonder that megalodon crypto exchanges Binance has made Malta its home.

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cryptocurrency insurance - do you need it?

At least four major cryptocurrency exchanges were hacked in 2018:

Coincheck – $500 million stolen.

BitGrail – $195 million stolen.

Coinrail – $40 million stolen.

Bithumb – $30 million stolen.

Did any of them have insurance? Not really.

The $500 million Coincheck hack was one of the biggest in history, but the company ended up reimbursing clients with its own funds.

Bithumb was insured, but not enough to cover the loss.

In other words, cryptocurrency insurance is patchy.

Assume Your Cryptocurrency Is Not Insured

If you are currently holding bitcoin online in a custodian service or exchange, your digital assets are more than likely not insured. 

We automatically assume our cryptocurrencies are covered, but the harsh reality is they are not in most cases.

coinbase logo

 

Even Coinbase, the largest crypto exchange in the US, only insures 2% of customers’ crypto funds – those held online, the most vulnerable to hacking. The remaining 98% is stored offline in significantly safer cold storage, but uninsured.

Read more: 8 Cryptocurrency Best Practices (Keep Your Crypto Safe!)

That’s Why Gemini’s New Insurance Is Groundbreaking

The Winklevoss twins recently announced that cryptocurrencies on their Gemini exchange and custody services are fully insured.

Gemini logo bitcoin custody insurance

It’s a huge step for the cryptocurrency industry as it moves towards mainstream integration.

But what other bitcoin insurance options are out there? Who are the biggest players, and do you need a personal cryptocurrency insurance policy?

Do You Need Personal Cryptocurrency Insurance?

The harsh truth here is that buying bitcoin insurance for yourself is going to be wildly expensive and difficult to secure.

Insurance giant Allianz reportedly offers individual insurance to cryptocurrency investors. But there is no mention of such a service on its website. You’ll have to contact an Allianz broker directly to broker a crypto policy.

And that could be very expensive. One expert claims it would cost $200,000 a year in premiums to insure $10 million in crypto assets. (Roughly twice the cost you’d pay to insure other financial products). 

And that’s the rate for crypto companies, not individuals.

Unless you’re a crypto millionaire, you’re better off searching for crypto custody services that are already insured, like Gemini. 

Or better yet, keep your crypto off exchanges and custody services altogether. Use your own cold storage and secure backups.

——————————————————————————————–



——————————————————————————————–

But let’s zoom out a little. Why are so many crypto companies not insured?

Too Much Risk, Too Little Revenue

Because of the fluctuating nature of crypto markets, big insurance companies have sat on the fence in regards to entering the cryptocurrency insurance affray.

There are two key issues here: risk and revenue.

Until recently, the crypto industry mainly consisted of volatile exchanges and startup companies. Most are high-risk and didn’t provide large enough revenues to encourage the major insurance players to get involved.

Put yourself in the mindset of a big insurance company. Given the number of hacked exchanges and failing ICOs, does it make any sense to offer coverage? Of course not.

And if they did offer coverage, the premiums would be so high (to compensate for the risk) that startups wouldn’t be able to afford them.

Times and Needs Are Changing

More and more crypto companies are breaking out, bigger players are entering the arena, and revenues are increasing.

As the industry evolves, there is a large gap in the market for insurance and security.

Ironically, the instability of crypto markets is what has kept major insurance companies away from the industry. However, it’s also the defining factor why it is important that crypto startup companies and individual users need insurance in the first place.

So we are currently in a state of limbo in regards to cryptocurrency insurance. The good news is that chaos is a ladder. With so much interest now in crypto, some insurance companies are starting to take a gamble on the crypto industry.

Biggest Cryptocurrency Insurance Companies

Although cryptocurrency insurance plans are being offered by companies, most are keeping it low and under the radar. But here are a handful of highly-trusted companies now offering cryptocurrency insurance protection.

Gemini Cryptocurrency Insurance with Aon

Gemini recently announced they have partnered with the leading insurers, AON, to provide insurance protection for custodial digital assets.

AON cryptocurrency insurance Gemini

Aon is a professional and global insurance provider that offers a wide range of insurance protection packages. Their latest partnership with Gemini is changing the game with its crypto coverage that complements the existing FDIC deposit insurance laws.

This might well be the main reason why Aon claims it controls 50% of the cryptocurrency insurance marketplace.

Lloyds Bank/Kingdom Trust Cryptocurrency Insurance

One of the most interesting partnerships lately is between the large-scale banking institution Lloyds Bank and the qualified crypto custodian, Kingdom Trust. As a qualified custodian, Kingdom Trust already stores over 30 cryptocurrency token types. Its crypto storage service is now insured courtesy of underwriters in the Lloyds market.

Although Lloyds seems to be keeping a low-profile on the subject and are treading carefully, their underwriting of Kingdom Trust’s service is not to be taken lightly.

Lloyds also reportedly provides insurance coverage for the 2% of Coinbase’s funds held online.

Chubb Insurance

Chubb is now offering its own Cyber Enterprise Risk Management (Cyber ERM) insurance policy to businesses. It covers a wide variety of cybercrimes including some cryptocurrency issues.

Chubb claims it doesn’t insure exchanges or crypto wallets, but it has paid out claims related to bitcoin mining and ransoms. There is also no mention of individual insurance yet.

Other notable mentions

As explained, insurance companies are still testing the water with crypto assets. Other name players who are now quietly offering cryptocurrency protection are Allianz, XL Group and AIG, although others will no doubt flock to the market over the coming months

What Should You Do Next?

Unless you’re a crypto millionaire, there aren’t many options out there for individual crypto insurance policies yet. However, we are seeing more insurance players offering coverage to crypto companies and exchanges. The door is opening.

Gemini is hopefully the first of many custodians and exchanges to integrate full insurance, and we’ll see more as we move forward. 

As a crypto investor, your best course of action is to check with your current crypto exchange or custodian. What level of insurance do they have, if any?

If you’re still concerned about safety, move your funds to a custodian with better insurance. Or move it into your own private cold storage and keep backups.

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