Virtual Currency

Virtual Payments and Currency were at one time thought to be an unachievable, foolishly optimistic view of the future of the economy. In an infamous op-ed piece for Newsweek published in 1995, originally entitled "The Internet? Bah!" Clifford Stoll wrote: "We're promised instant catalog shopping—just point and click for great deals. We'll order airline tickets over the network, make restaurant reservations and negotiate sales contracts. Stores will become obsolete. So how come my local mall does more business in an afternoon than the entire Internet handles in a month? Even if there were a trustworthy way to send money over the Internet—which there isn't—the network is missing a most essential ingredient of capitalism: salespeople."[1] While his assessment seems laughably ironic in hindsight, it was shared by many in the age when America Online was the largest ISP in the US, and Amazon.com was still running running out of Jeff Bezos' garage. 20 years later, the virtual payments space is more secure, more user friendly, and much more diverse than ever before. While these new technologies pose new problems for law enforcement, and are a growing threat to traditional banks and financial services companies, they have increased consumer choice, and laid the groundwork for another two decades of innovation.

Bitcoin

Bitcoin was launched in 2009 as an entirely new protocol for sending payments over the internet. Instead of using Dollars, Pounds, or Euros, Bitcoin was an entirely new currency. Its value isn't backed by precious metals, or the credit of an established government, it instead garners value solely based upon its artificial scarcity, and the fact that a group of people agree that it's worth something. Its architect, known only by the likely-pseudonym Satoshi Nakamoto, is shrouded in mystery, but is widely considered in the software community to be a genius, if not for his economic ideals, certainly for his prowess in cryptography and programming.[2]

Bitcoin is an open source project, which means that anyone can review the code and verify its security. Bitcoin is trustless, meaning that there is no one entity that the user has to trust with their money, in addition to not having to trust a particular client (the tools exist for them to compile a client themselves or build their own).[4] Bitcoin quickly gained a following of mostly hardcore technologists and libertarian activists seeking to completely disassociate the value of their money from the government by leaving behind fiat currency altogether.[5] This was not enough to garner mainstream acceptance of Bitcoin, and as a consequence very few online merchants adopted the technology as a payment option in the first few years.[6]

In 2013, Bitcoin saw a surge in popularity among a more mainstream constituency after its value was propelled to new heights during the Cyprus banking crisis, when many Cypriots chose to take their money out of the country's banks and store it in Bitcoin, where the government would be unable to touch it.[7] Since then, converting traditional currency to Bitcoin has become easier than ever thanks to intermediaries like Coinbase, which allow for the buying and selling of Bitcoin through simple bank transfers[8], and more mainstream companies like Microsoft featuring Bitcoin as a supported method of payment.[9]

Due to its perceived nature of anonymity, Bitcoin has also gained a following among criminals, who have used to buy and sell illicit weapons, drugs, counterfeit currency, U.S. Passports, and stolen personal information like credit and debit card numbers.[10] While many have argued that this is a perception problem that Bitcoin will have to overcome if it wants to achieve mainstream acceptance as an alternative to cash[11], though many in the Bitcoin community are quick to point out that cash is still the main currency of choice for criminals. [12]

Multi-Currency

The Multi-currency card made by Mastercard is a debit card that allows the customer to upload currencies from 9 different countries. This card is chip and pin protected so it is not connected to any bank account. This is a great security feature because if the card is lost, it will not be able to be tracked back to anything that includes your personal information. When switching between currencies for payments, the multi-currency card uses a software called BPAY which is a central interchanging processor. BPAY comes into play if you do not have enough of one currencies on the card to complete a transaction and need to use some of another currencies that is loaded on the card. This card is great for students traveling abroad or for those who are traveling for business and will pass through many countries.

Alipay

The alipay, a China's leading third-party online payment solution. This payment solution was launched in China in 2004. [13]Alipay is not only a website but also a super popular app in China. According to 2014 record, Alipay has over 300 million registered users and more 190 million downloads of its wallet app.[3] Alipay become the biggest company of online payment. There are four steps if you want to use alipay to buy some stuff. Pay for Your Order, Confirm that You Received the Order or Apply for a refund and View detailed order and product info.[14]Every time when you finish your payment and before you get the what’s you buy, you have the opportunity to cancel your purchase. Because using this steps to purchase, Alipay is focusing on how to protect costumers' benefit. They will hold your payment for 30 days. During this time , if you are not satisfied with your purchase. You can cancel it. Slippery a company which want to make sure everybody can use Alipay safety. As a third party online payment, Alipay never charge for payment. [15]Everyday Alipay transfers 80 million dollars from different group of people and company.[3]In 2008, Alipay came out a dozen of rules of online payment. [14]This makes Alipay become more successful.Internationally, more than 300 worldwide merchants use Alipay to sell directly to consumers in China. Now alipay becomes a global company. It is an international company. This online payment method never only serve for Chinese. They allowed everyone in the World can use alipay and transfer money.[16]It currently supports transactions in 14 major foreign currencies.[3] Using a sentence to describe Alipay , It is a convenient, safe and simple way of purchase and payment.

U-Shield

What I would like to introduce is a USB stuff which is called the U-Shield. First of all, the U-Shield is not a software or a payment method. It's a technology for virtual payment. The full name of this stuff is USB Shield. It was developed by the ICBC, a Chinese Bank belongs to the government. The reason it was named as U-Shield is it looks like a normal flash driver. It's small and light. The only way to use the U-Shield is to plug it in your computer or laptop, and install a ICBC software for users the first time you use it. The U-Shield has its own code which can protect your online payment and money transferring. Every time you use the U-Shield you need to connect it to your device and launch the software your already installed. The software will require you to log in your online bank account to ensure that the users is you not others. Without the U-Shield you won't have the access to your own bank account. So the U-Shield is really important. And hackers could do nothing with your account even though they decode your password. Without the USB-Shield no one can move your money away from your account. So the U-Shield is for those people who require highly protection of their online bank account using. And the second generation U-Shield improved a lot, it includes a small screen on one side of its body. Users could know the transfer or payments money in total through the screen. And they will also see the receiver's account name on the screen. So it's very convenient for ICBC's users. Nowadays more and more Chinese bank are gonna use the similar stuff to protect users online account. But the U-Shield also has its weakness, like I said, you won't have access to your account without the U-Shield. Which means you need to keep the USB in a safe place, like in home. So it's a little bit inconvenient for you to access to online account in public place, such as office, cafeteria or school. Although it has those disadvantages, there are still a lot of people using the U-Shield, because in China, the hackers issue is very severe. Although the government is working on the web constructing, the web security is not that safe so far. That's the reason U-Shield was developed.