BEARPIG

everday I concern myself with big ideas & elegant solutions

If you're interesting in chatting about freelance work either contact me at The Observatory or via the various social media links below and find out how I can help your business.

Email Obfuscation with WordPress & Advanced Custom Fields

I tend to use WordPress as my main goto CMS and have found it’s use expanded greatly with Advanced Custom Fields (ACF) for tailoring the backend for clients.

I recently was asked to implement email obfuscation on a site using this setup so try to defeat crawlers/spammers (the endless fight…). I thought it’d be some use to share this with the world.

Here is what I started with…

<a href="mailto:<?php the_field('email'); ?>">
<?php the_field('email'); ?></a>

 

So currently the ACF field is called ’email’ and is being entered as the mailto: link and the description. WordPress has a built in obfuscation ability called Antispambot which converts email addresses characters to HTML entities to block spam bots (not bulletproof but better than nothing).

To use this with ACF, you just have to add a variable that you then declare in the <a>.

<?php $email = get_field("email"); ?>
<a href="mailto:<?php echo antispambot($email); ?>">
<?php echo antispambot($email); ?></a>

 

Thanks to willthemoor for the hint.

Bitcoin : China & the Future

Most of the huge growth over the last few months has been driven by the Chinese market, so any negative news will impact this. Originally the news that ‘China has banned it’ was a mistranslation. It in fact stated that it wasn’t to be used by financial services, and was fine for use in a ‘barter’ format for the public.

The later news that has caused the continuing fall was due to the major exchanges not being allow to accept ¥ deposits, meaning that new users can’t enter the system. This is currently in a state of flux as some exchanges are reporting normal usage whereas others are definitely stopped from deposits. Likely all due to the ruling as to whether an exchange is a ‘financial service’ between companies and whether this applies to end user usage.

Due to it’s current volatility to headlines, Bitcoin’s value to Fiat will jump around for another few months in my opinion. Sadly, most will miss out on the more important headlines such as:-

The US merchant BitPay hitting $100m in transactions & over 15k approved merchants

25% of the Swiss Parliament wanting to rule it as a Currency for “it’s potential in their financial sector”

Early next year ZipZap offering cash-to-bitcoin services in 28k locations in the UK

In any case, from someone with an eye on this space for a while, I believe this image sums up the current situation nicely.

btc

Thoughts on Bitcoin : Part 4

Bitcoin usage is currently split into the following sectors.

  • End Users using it to pay for goods direct with merchants in person (via a smartphone based POS system).
  • Users sending bitcoin direct to other users (as an online payment)
  • Exchanges that operate a system to buy and sell bitcoin in and out of FIAT (there are many of these exchanges, the biggest being in US, Japan, Russia & China – no major UK one yet).
  • Users buying bitcoin as a security or investment

With the current focus from Digital Jersey to push new technologies and mechanism forward, something like Bitcoin ticks a lot of boxes;

  • we already have a good standing in the Finance global industry
  • a lot of experience in KYC & AML procedures
  • several robust data centres
  • we are looking for a growth area in Digital services/businesses

Part of a big issue Bitcoin faces is that people believe it is anonymous. It is in fact, the opposite. Every transaction, going back to the start of the network, is publicly visible. It’s the owner of the transaction address that is anonymous. Pair this with KYC/AML procedures and there’d be a system for providing a whitelist for the entire network. On top of something system-wide like that, there is always the potential of a Jersey business accepting bitcoin online for products/services, from anyone in the world. Some local businesses already do, allowing them to tap into growing untapped marketplace.

From talking to a number of businesses in this space, it has become clear that certain jurisdictions are taking a progressive approach to these ideas. No one would sensibly expect anywhere to suddenly adopt bitcoin as a currency, but due to its approach, it tends to form legal questions. Do you class it as a currency/e-voucher/etc? Many countries are currently taking different approaches, Canada & Germany tend to be the most proactive; classing it as an asset and ‘units of account’ respectively. Last week, HMRC stated they are rethinking classing them as vouchers (as they did back in earlier this year) meaning that VAT wouldn’t be charged. Yesterday the Swiss parliament lodged a postulate to eliminate ambiguities and increase legal certainty related to bitcoin.

A week or so ago, Alderney made international headlines by announcing that they’d like to release a collectors coin that was half gold/half bitcoin. Seen as a PR stunt by most (including myself), it did get a lot of discussion going about how the Channel Islands could be positioned in this space. Guernsey’s immediate response was negative about the idea but also mentioned “In turn we may enhance our image as an innovative place to do business and may even be recognised as a leading jurisdiction in the field but any move in this direction may need to carry the label ‘proceed with caution”.

Links

Swiss parliament postulate Bitcoin
Taxing bitcoin
UK’s approach compared to other areas
US FinCEN’s guidance on virtual currencies
European Central Bank guidance on virtual currency schemes
David Woo’s comment on Bitcoin
FT article on Alderney

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