6 reasons why you should start accepting bitcoin payments today

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If you’re selling goods or
services online, you’re surely familiar with the pains of collecting payments
from your customers and clients. You may have heard of a new way of accepting
payments using bitcoin and already wondering what are that benefits to you as a
merchant, and what kinds of businesses are accepting bitcoin today?

The examples of businesses
accepting bitcoin are numerous and the possibilities are endless; from fashion and
jewelry stores, to consumer electronics shops, to airlines, hotels and
restaurants, many of which are online and offline merchants. Most notable
international companies accepting bitcoin today are Microsoft, Expedia, Dell
and Overstock.

When it comes to the Middle East,
bitcoin technology has the potential to boost its fast growing e-commerce
market by offering a cheaper and easier payment method to consumers and
merchants. Credit card penetration in the region is low, as a large percentage
of adults in the Middle East don’t have a bank account. This leaves online
retailers stuck with accepting cash payments for online merchandises, in fact
close to 75% of online transactions are done by Cash-on-Delivery.
On the other hand, even if merchants accept credit card payments, they’re still
charged close to 3-5% fee on transactions and exposed to fraud and chargebacks
risk.

Below we’ve listed the main six
reasons why you, as a merchant, should start accepting bitcoin today:

1. Lower transaction costs: Credit card fees run anywhere
from 3-5% plus $.30 per swipe. Bitcoin transactions are free (with few cents
going to the network as miner fees) and you don’t have to pay machine monthly
rental fees or deposits. Sure, the majority of consumers in the region buys
goods and services either using cash or credit cards. Digital currencies such
as bitcoin may look like a distant third. But the use of bitcoin as new payment
option will continue to rise at the retail level as more and more people learn
about it and realize its benefits of the technology as a cheaper and easier
payment option for both merchants and consumers.

2. No chargebacks: When you accept bitcoin
payments, there are no chargebacks – meaning there is less risk to the seller,
for this single reason alone merchants should embrace bitcoin payments. Your
chargeback rate can have a huge impact on your bottom line, especially if
you’re a small-medium sized online store.

3. Easy to use
and set up:
It’s
extremely easy for you and for your customers to get up and running to start
accepting bitcoin. It’s as easy as downloading a bitcoin wallet on your phone
or opening a bitcoin web wallet online and generating a QR code for your clients to scan so they
can pay you immediately. It’s really that simple. You don’t need to place any
deposits or go through lengthy verifications to set up and get going.

4. Offer
diverse payment options to increase your sales:
If you want more customers to buy on your
platform, make it easy for them by offering diverse payment options that cater
to their needs. Set up your business to start accepting bitcoin. Bitcoin users
tend to be tech savvy young consumers who prefer to purchase goods using
bitcoin over other methods. This means that they will gravitate toward
merchants that offer them ability to pay for goods and services via bitcoin. You
may wonder how’s bitcoin adoption growing in the Middle East. Today, our BitOasis products (wallet and exchange) are available
across the Middle East with our exchange and buy bitcoin service only available
in UAE. The past 6 months we’ve seen tremendous wallet and growth and our
users’ buy bitcoin order volumes almost doubling on monthly basis.

5. Generate
publicity:
When you place a ‘Bitcoin
Accepted Here’
sticker in your storefront or announce it on your online
store, it’s an immediate conversation starter because you’ve shared with the
world that your store is embracing a new innovative payment option. Since
bitcoin is new and newsworthy, your brand can capitalize on being associated
with the new trend of adopting and embracing digital currency. Free press
equals more marketing for your business. Who wouldn’t want that?

6. Cross Border: Bitcoin is a
global payment system, it’s not bound to a geographical area or a certain
company, and with bitcoin anyone across the world with access to the internet
can now pay instantly and cross border without the need to have a bank account.
Accepting bitcoins means accepting all customers across the world to pay on
your platform without any friction or any extra fees. Your customers are only a
click away.

If you’re an online
store that wants to start accepting bitcoin payments, get in touch with us at [email protected] to get you set up. If you have any questions don’t hesitate
to reach out to me.

One-click instant exchange to bitcoin with our new partial redeem feature

We’re excited to launch our new partial redeem feature to make your buy bitcoin experience on our platform a lot smoother and easier*. From now on, all vouchers you purchase will be deposited in your wallet and reflected as a total in AED under one balance. With one click you can instantly exchange your voucher balance to bitcoin anytime and at any value you want.

*Available for our UAE based customers


Below are the steps to instantly buy bitcoin using partial redeem feature:

1. Click Buy Bitcoin tab and enter the voucher amount in AED you want to purchase.


2. Once we receive our payment we will reflect your AED voucher balance with the new AED amount. You can go ahead and partially exchange any value of your voucher to bitcoin on the go.

If you have any questions or comments don’t hesitate to contact me (Dina Saman) at [email protected].

Announcing new buy bitcoin increased limits on our platform

We’re happy to announce that we have now introduced our user verification process to allow you to buy more bitcoins per week. Our new limit for verified UAE users is 5000AED/week. In the coming couple of months we will be working on increasing the weekly limit further to suit your buy bitcoin needs.

If you have any questions or comments please drop me an email at [email protected] and I will be happy to assist.

More bitcoins, more fun!

Where Can You Spend Your Bitcoins in the Middle East

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You’ve probably heard about bitcoin or you may hold some bitcoins yourself. You may be wondering why are people so excited about saving it and where can you spend bitcoin globally and in the Middle East.

Since some retail giants worldwide started accepting bitcoin as a method of payment it increased its popularity around the world and as a result, a bigger number of stores are joining the hottest trend of cryptocurrency. The biggest example is when Microsoft started accepting Bitcoin last December in exchange of digital content across its online platform. Dell followed those footsteps by partnering with a Bitcoin platform to allow customers buy high-end Alienware PCs using bitcoin.

Bitcoin in the Middle East is still in infancy stage, but the adoption and the demand in the region are fast growing. Will bitcoin become a popular method of e-payment that Arabs across the region will adopt?

Dubai held its first major Bitcoin Conference in December 2014, and this year we’re seeing stores, online and offline opening their doors for bitcoin. Moreover, more meetup activities from Tunisia all the way to Dubai and Sudan are taking place and more startups are jumping to join the bitcoin revolution. As consumer adoption is growing in the region, we at BitOasis often get asked where users can spend their bitcoins, so we’ve gathered a list of popular online and offline stores for you to checkout below:

  1. JadoPado.com: UAE based e-commerce site, is a market place where people around the world come together to buy and sell goods, it allows sellers to handle their own markets, while JadoPado handles the payments on behalf of them. Jadopado started adopting bitcoin as a form of payment since Last July to allow you to pay for more than 50,000 products online.
  2. The Pizza Guys: The famous Pizzeria became the first merchant in Dubai to accept bitcoin back in February 2014. The owners believe that because Dubai is a city filled with tourists being able to pay with bitcoin is an added advantage for the customers so they wouldn’t have to worry about foreign exchange rates and fees.
  3. Liwwa.com: A portal that connects small businesses in need of capital to buy the assets they need for their businesses with people who want to invest, while investors earn a return on their invested money. In July 2014, Liwwa.com announced their support for bitcoin payments so they’d allow their investors to lend borrowers with bitcoins.
  4. Anghami: The infamous music streaming platform in the Middle East has announced they’ll start accepting bitcoin payments back in March 2014 to become the first music service in the world to accept bitcoins in exchange of subscriptions.

With more merchants accepting bitcoin as a method of payment around the Middle East, we’ll keep updating our blog with the latest and hottest stores out there where you can put your bitcoins to use.

Sign up and create your free BitOasis bitcoin wallet on bitoasis.net.

If you have any questions don’t hesitate to contact me (Dina Saman) at [email protected]

Happy bitcoin shopping!

Vote to BitOasis @ TechCrunch Disrupt NY!

We’re excited to be part of TechCrunch Disrupt in New York!

There’s a voting process open today from 8AM – 3PM EST that we’re part of – if we win we will get the chance to pitch on main stage today in front of 2,000 people and investors at the event!

Please vote for us on this LINK (e-commerce & retail section> scroll down to BitOasis).

We’d love to have your vote and support!

BitOasis Team

You can now buy bitcoin in UAE with bank transfers

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We’re pleased to announce to that we’ve launched our buy bitcoin service in United Arab Emirates. If you’re a UAE customer, you can now buy bitcoin on BitOasis.

We’re working on allowing different methods of payments on our platform to make it easy for our Middle East based customers to buy and sell bitcoin. This is the initial buy bitcoin product we’re rolling out and we’ll be adding further features and payment methods to make it as seamless as possible to buy bitcoin.

Sign up today, and give it a try: bitoasis.net

Drop us a message at [email protected] and let us know what you think!

Why should you use BitOasis: A breakdown of our multisig structure and security

Security is crucial for the growth and maturity of the Bitcoin space; however, some companies still underestimate the importance of security as a main pillar in any Bitcoin product and still expose their users to risks of losing their funds.

In 2012 we’ve seen the early adoption of multisignature transactions. Three years after, multisignature technology has become increasingly more important for the fast growing Bitcoin space as more companies started adopting it as a security standard for wallets and vaults.

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Photo: State of Bitcoin 2015 – CoinDesk

How do multisignature transactions work?

Traditional Bitcoin wallets rely on a simple send-receive system, which is the standard transaction to Bitcoin address (pay-to-pubkey-hash). This means for every Bitcoin wallet there’s one 34-character wallet address, which is a hash of the public key, associated with a 64-character private key that the user would have to be able to spend their bitcoins. Private keys need to be kept safe and only accessed when a user wants to sign a transaction. In these wallets, so long as you keep this single private key safely secured you’ll be fine. However, once this safety is compromised and hackers gain access to your key, they can easily empty your funds out of your wallet.

Multisignature transactions (pay-to-script-hash) are more complex than the scenario explained above. In a multisignature transaction, addresses can have various number of private keys associated to them such that you need any number combination of these keys to be able to spend the funds. This is what’s referred to as n-of-m multisig. The most standard combination of keys for multisignature wallets is 2-of-3 where you need 2 private keys out of 3 to be able to execute a transaction. Hence, even if the safety of one of your private keys was compromised the hacker still can’t steal your bitcoins as they need to gain access to the second key to sign off transactions out of your wallets.

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Photo: Since 2012, daily average number of p2sh transactions have been steadily increasing, p2sh.info

While multisignature transactions have been standardized in the Bitcoin protocol since 2012, it didn’t see much traction until early 2014 with more wallets providing multisig security and adopting BIP32 Bitcoin protocol.

HDM wallets and BitOasis multisignature structure

At BitOasis, we understand that security is a priority for any wallet solution and we have built a Hierarchical Deterministic Multisignature (HDM) wallet to provide the highest level of security to our users.

The deterministic characteristic in BitOasis HDM wallet allows it to automatically generate random new Bitcoin addresses on each transaction using a specific algorithm from a single seed, providing higher levels of privacy and easier wallet backups from the seed rather than manually keeping and updating a backup file that can be lost if your hard drive goes corrupted.

The hierarchical characteristic allows the generation of billions of addresses and accounts from a single seed. Think of it like a tree, where you have a single node (key) that have branches and each of these branches have other branches and so on. The HD wallet characteristics combined with a 2-of-3 multisignature setup is a powerful combination to create a wallet with the highest level of security, without compromising usability, and that’s what we aspired for.

Three keys, three distributed locations

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BitOasis multisig has three private keys in distributed storage in three different geographical locations:

  • The first key is secured by BitOasis under the control of the user and protected by a strong password and 2-factor authentication.
  • The second key is secured by implementing a trusted third party oracle, provided by CryptoCorp, that co-signs user transactions after examining the transaction to detect any potential wallet compromise or fraud.
  • The third key is a recovery key that is secured and held in cold storage by an independent legal entity for recovery in case of any service compromise.

How do BitOasis multisignature transactions work?

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  1. When you log onto BitOasis and try to spend your bitcoins, you sign with the first key and automatically forward your transaction to CryptoCorp to co-sign.
  2. Before it signs the transaction, CryptoCorp performs the necessary security and fraud detection checks to make sure the transaction was truly initiated by you and counter-signs with the second key. In the case of suspicious activity, CryptoCorp initiates an automated call or text to your cell phone to verify the outgoing transaction with you before signing it.
  3. Once you confirm that the transaction is initiated by you, CryptoCorp would sign the transaction with your second key.
  4. Once the transaction is signed by the second key, your funds are now spent and your transaction is broadcasted to the Bitcoin network for confirmation.

CryptoCorp’s oracle acts as trusted third party that only signs transactions when certain determined conditions are met, by that providing an extra layer of security that doesn’t compromise the usability of BitOasis’ HDM wallet.

Vetting all transactions to prevent fraud

Each transaction is vetted to protect BitOasis users from theft, fraud and risk without having control on user funds. Transactions are pre-classified into different risk weights and when certain risks, anomalies or wallet compromise cases are identified, the user will receive an automated call from CryptoCorp and will be presented with the three options below:

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  • Enter number 1 to confirm that the transaction is initiated by you, and then CryptoCorp would sign with the second key
  • Enter number 3 to cancel the transaction, and hence CryptoCorp wouldn’t sign the transaction and in turn, it will not go through.
  • Enter number 9 to notify CryptoCorp and BitOasis that the transaction wasn’t initiated by you. This would put your account and all transactions on hold until you decide on next action.

BitOasis is currently in private beta and we’re rolling out our new exchange service soon.

If you enjoyed the piece and have more questions about BitOasis HDM wallet, shoot us an email at [email protected], or follow us on Twitter @BitOasis.

With our new Facebook integration, you can now send money to your friends much easier and faster than before!

For the past few weeks we’ve been working on a new feature we’re very excited to launch. With our new wallet Facebook integration you can now send bitcoins to your friends over Facebook instantly and easily without needing to save and copy paste bitcoin addresses every time you send a transaction.

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Once you register through Facebook (or link your existing BitOasis wallet to Facebook from Dashboard or Settings) you can immediately start using this feature to send money to your friends through Facebook.

Your My Friends page will be automatically updated with your Facebook friends that have BitOasis wallets, and you can use Invite Facebook Friends button to invite your friends to create BitOasis wallets. Your friends will receive their invitation to BitOasis as a Facebook notification on their accounts.

For every friend you invite and registers through Facebook, you will earn 500bits for free!

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By selecting your friend that you want to send money to (either through Dashboard or Send page) you can immediately send bitcoin to them without needing to copy paste or save long bitcoin addresses.

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We’re looking forward for you to try it! Give it a quick run, and let us know if you like it. We’ll be adding further features as we go, hence we’d love to hear your feedback on how we can improve. For any comments or questions, get in touch with us at [email protected]

We’re running a promotional offer on BitOasis. Sign up and you get 1000bits for free, invite your Facebook friends and you’ll get 500bits for each friend that signs up.

Don’t forget to follow us on Twitter @bitoasis and Facebook!

What We’ve Learned at Dubai Bitcoin Conference: Bitcoin is Fast Rising in the Emerging World

We had a great time at the Dubai Bitcoin Conference. The event took place at the Dubai International Financial Center (DIFC) on December 12-13 and had a great mix of international and regional attendees and speakers. The event, organized by Bruce Fenton, is the second Bitcoin event that took place in Dubai and the first to successfully create a platform for all Bitcoiners, internationally and regionally, to connect, network and explore partnership opportunities.

The two days featured great speakers such as Bitcoin entrepreneur & investor Erik Voorhees, David Johnston of DApps Fund, Greg Simon of Ribbit and Founder & CEO of Bitreserve, Halsey Minor. The event also had Garrett Cassidy from Circle, Ira Miller of Coinapult and Paul Snow of Factom presenting.

Whoever attended the two days of the conference can’t deny the strong presence of startups from emerging markets; India, Africa, Turkey and most importantly the Middle East. Day 1 had Sunny Ray of Unocoin talking about Bitcoin in India. Having the world’s largest inbound remittances flow, with the biggest share coming from Gulf Arab countries, Sunny highlighted that Bitcoin can play a big part in facilitating remittances into the country. Our very own Ola Doudin talked about the potential of Bitcoin in the Middle East and BitOasis multi-signature wallet. David El Achkar of Yellow gave an overview of the Middle East’s fast growing Bitcoin ecosystem, presenting all the latest meetup groups and startups filling the space. Charlene Chen of BitPesa showcased their work in Kenya and their expansion across Africa.

In recent years, Dubai has emerged as a leading global commercial hub with a business environment that attracts companies and individuals from different parts of the world. Its strategic location, that connects the east with the west, has enabled it to become a leading financial center where opportunities and talent meet. And this year’s Dubai Bitcoin Conference was a live example of that. Startups and investors from various countries have come to celebrate Bitcoin. But the biggest highlight of the conference surely was that Bitcoin is fast rising in the emerging world. We’re excited to be part of this movement, and we’re eagerly looking forward to 2015!

Big news! We’ve launched our private beta at the Dubai Bitcoin Conference. Request your early access to BitOasis here and get free $10 in bitcoins.