BitOasis is now in Saudi Arabia!

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We’re
excited to announce that our buy bitcoin service and merchant API integrations are now available to our customers in Saudi Arabia.

If you would like to start
using or accepting bitcoin payments in Saudi Arabia, sign up to
our platform today!

We’ve been working
tirelessly to expand our fast growing reach and network to make our buy bitcoin
and merchant integration products available in your country. Our mission is to
make it easier and seamless for all our Middle East based customers to buy and
use bitcoin.

We’ll be rolling out
more features and payment options to buy bitcoin such as credit card and
CashU next month to make your experience as smooth and seamless as
possible.

If you have any questions drop us a message on
[email protected] or tweet at us @BitOasis,
we’d love to hear from you!

BitOasis is now in Qatar, Kuwait and Bahrain!

To all our customers in Qatar, Kuwait and Bahrain, we’re excited to announce that now our buy bitcoin service and merchant API integrations are available to you!

We’ve been working tirelessly to expand our fast growing reach and network to make our buy bitcoin and merchant integration products available in your country. Our mission is to make it easier and seamless for all our Middle East based customers to buy and use bitcoin.

Your support is making this possible. We’ll be rolling out our products to more countries in the next coming months with more added features and payment options to make your experience as smooth and seamless as possible.

So what are you waiting for, sign up today at bitoasis.net and let us know what you think!

Top reasons why you’ll soon be transacting in bitcoin

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Whenever you’re paying online or at a shop, you probably faced
situations where you were paying for your hotel using your credit card abroad,
or trying to grab that hot deal you found online, only to find out that your
transaction has failed. It’s also frustrating, time consuming and expensive
when you think of the time and fees needed to process that wire transfer to
your friend, not to mention the exchange fees on top of that. And you might
think, this is inevitable, you have to endure that nerve torturing process
every time you’re performing any transaction.

And among all of this there’s a new peer-to-peer electronic
cash transfer technology called Bitcoin
that is fast emerging on the sidelines. So what does bitcoin have to offer to
all people that want to transact more freely and instantaneously? Below, you’ll
find our top reasons why you’ll likely be using bitcoin to transact very soon:

1. Speed:

How much time it takes to perform a bitcoin transfer?
Virtually: As soon as you click the send button, the blockchain will register
the transaction and it will be updated on your wallet. It takes an average of
10 minutes to confirm the transaction on the blockchain. How about wire
transfers? First, the average time is around 3-5 business days, and banks may
hold on to your money a little longer. Credit card transactions may seem
instantaneous but they sometimes take days to clear on your account and often
there are delays in payments settled to merchants. [Score: Bitcoin 1 – 0 Traditional
payments]

2. Negligible fees:

The
average wire transfer fee is around $35 for international wire transfers. Even
Paypal charges around 3% and more for sending money
overseas. Credit card companies will charge at least 2-3% for each swipe. For bitcoin,
it costs typically 0.0001 BTC ($0.023810) for sending bitcoin transactions on
the blockchain and buying bitcoin on an exchange would typically charge you 1%
(some exchanges have lesser fees). [Score: Bitcoin 2 – 0 Traditional payments]

3. Crossborder and universal:

Since
bitcoin depends solely on having internet access, your friend in one half of
the world can send you money to your location on the opposite side of the world
in zero time delay. Bitcoin revolutionizes transactions and payments by
bridging the time and place borders as you can process your transactions
anytime, anywhere in the globe, to absolutely any other location with a single
click, you don’t have to worry about time difference or working days in
different countries so your payment or transaction gets stuck for an unknown
amount of time. Bitcoin guarantees instantaneous transactions to you as soon as
the sender clicks the “send” button. [Score: Bitcoin 3 – 0 Traditional
payments]

You must begin to wonder, where does that leave security? We’re
going to show you what it’s like to use our wallet!

4. Security: BitOasis wallet adopts
2-of-3 multisignature security measures, a sophisticated solution to secure
your bitcoin wallet against fraud and theft. Your wallet has 3 different private
keys that are stored at three different firms: BitOasis, CryptoCorp and
a third-party independent law firm. Therefore no single party has control over
your bitcoins, as you’ll need 2 of those keys in order to access your wallet
and transfer any funds.

Many other
existing wallets have also implemented sophisticated security measures and different
kinds of multisig, but our solution is different to other solutions by how we
secure the third private key (Recovery Key). Users can reach out to the third
party law firm that manages all of our clients’ recovery keys to access their
wallet and retrieve their funds in the case of emergency or if BitOasis online service
is no longer available. We also secure our user accounts online by implementing
2-Factor Authentication and have users enter the multi-digit authentication
code they receive on their mobile phones upon attempting to log in to their
account. Adding another score here?

What are you waiting for? Log in to BitOasis.net
and create your wallet now to enjoy all the amazing features and your
delay-free, cost-free money transactions using bitcoin.

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

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.

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!

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.