Privacy Coins Monero, Zcash, & Dash Slump as Existential Threat Looms

Privacy coins are facing a threat to their existence as the regulatory noose tightens.

Monero, Zcash, Dash, are some popular privacy-focused cryptocurrencies that obfuscate transactions, making it harder for exchanges and custodians to comply with the new international guidelines aimed toward preventing illicit financing.

Delisting Spree

Earlier this week, crypto exchange OKEx delisted five privacy coins viz. Monero (XMR), Dash (DASH), Zcash (ZEC), Horizen (ZEN), and super bitcoin (SBTC).

The exchange will remove support for these coins on October 10, while withdrawal services will end on Dec. 10.

The reason behind the same is a violation of the Financial Action Task Force (FATF’s) “travel rule.”

In June, the FATF issued the final guideline on cryptocurrencies that requires exchanges to collect and transfer customer information, including account number, location, beneficiary’s name, and account number, during transactions.

Because privacy-oriented coins do not allow collecting such information, the exchange ended the support for the coins.

Before OKEx, UK-based crypto exchange CEX.io delisted privacy coins Zcash and Dash on the account of “global regulatory and compliance developments.”

Coinbase UK also removed support for Zcash but that move was likely to do with its new banking partner ClearBank.

Most recently, another Korean exchange, Upbit announced that it will stop providing support for Monero, Dash, Zcash, Haven, PIVX, and Bittube, starting Sept. 20.

A Fundamental Right

However, the developer team behind these privacy coins say they can be in full compliance with FATF’s rules.

While Monero shows no history of transactions, it has a “view keys” feature. Meanwhile, Ryan Taylor, CEO of Dash Core Group said, “Dash is identical to Bitcoin and is 100% capable of meeting the requirements.”

In this privacy coin delisting spree, Binance has been adding support for them, the latest one at its lending business.

“Do you think privacy is a fundamental right?”

Changpeng Zhao, Binance founder said at that time.

Prices Take a Hit

According to Coincodex, delisting has been hurting the prices of these coins.

“It’s certainly seen as creating a huge hurdle to the existence of privacy coins,”

Jesse Spiro, the head of policy at crypto investigative firm Chainalysis Inc told Bloomberg this week.

In the past 3 months, Zcash went from $117 to $44, seeing a loss of over 62% while currently trading at $46.39.

During the same period, Dash prices tumbled from $190 to $79 but recently gained momentum and climbed above $90, still down more than 50%.

As for Monero, in June it was trading around $115 that started September below $70 and is currently trading around this level only.

Spiro anticipates more exchanges to drop privacy coins while Jeff Dorman, chief investment officer at Arca said,

“There is a good chance many will be delisted and liquidity will dry up.”

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Author: AnTy

Weekend factor? Altcoins looking to shine as Bitcoin (BTC) price stagnates around $10,000 USD

The weekend (Sat/Sun not the musician) always brings out the best in the crypto world –whether in volume, price, interactions or news flashes. As other markets close on Friday evening, the cryptocurrency markets keep running every second, minute, day and month.

Since the year began, weekends have had a rather significant impact in the growth of Bitcoin price from $3,500 at the start of the year to $10,100 USD as at time of writing. However, in the past few months, alternative coins (altcoins) have performed better than the pioneer cryptocurrency as reported by Bloomberg on Friday.

The Rise of Altseason?

BTC price momentum subsided in the past month and investors seem to have switched to altcoins. A number of top altcoins have outperformed the undisputed king of cryptocurrency in the last weeks as Ethereum, Ripple, and Bitcoin Cash (BCH) all experienced massive gains in the past fortnight.

Ethereum (ETH), the second-largest crypto in market cap outperformed Bitcoin in six of the past 10 weekdays according to daily closing prices. Furthermore, ETH’s price beat Bitcoin’s in 8 of the past 11 weekends in total daily returns showing investors increasing confidence in the largest altcoin.

https://assets.bwbx.io/images/users/iqjWHBFdfxIU/i71QUV4ew.kM/v3/pidjEfPlU1QWZop3vfGKsrX.ke8XuWirGYh1PKgEw44kE/620x-1.png

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Source: Bloomberg

Ripple (XRP) has also witnessed a bullish momentum in the past week growing by 7.1% to trade at $0.28 USD as at time of writing.

Scott Freeman, co-founder and partner of JST Capital spoke to Bloomberg saying altcoins are on the verge of a breakout. As most projects gain real world use cases, investors are expected to increase their stake in the altcoin market Scott explained.

“With the realization that these technologies now are being adopted, they’re starting to solve real problems, and it’s coming to fruition at some level where the value proposition of these things is being recognized more broadly.”

– Scott Freeman

A Tough Mountain to Climb

Despite the latest heroics from altcoins in the past two weeks or so –a period that BTC’s price has remained rather stagnant oscillating around $10,000 USD – the top cryptocurrency is still way ahead of the other altcoins.

Since the start of 2019, ETH/BTC pair dropped by over 40% to trade at 21 million satoshis. XRP/BTC pair plummeted under the 3000 satoshi-mark earlier in the month, representing a 70% drop since the start of the year. XRP is currently trading at 2974 sats, as at press time, 3.3% lower in the past 24 hours.

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Author: Lujan Odera

US Space Authority, NASA, to Hire Data Scientist with Blockchain and Crypto Asset Knowledge

The new data scientist position published on LinkedIn on Sept 21 terms having blockchain and cryptocurrency knowledge a ‘plus’.

As the world moves towards new technologies, there seems to be an increasing interest in blockchain-based skills in the hiring departments of traditional heavyweight companies in various industries. The latest job listing from NASA shows an affinity to blockchain and cryptocurrency knowledgeable applicants.

The aerospace and aeronautics company is looking for a data scientist to work in NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory Company in Pasadena, California. The data scientist selected is expected to conceptualize and develop innovative applications for the laboratory and conduct earth orbiting missions. Furthermore, the scientist will become a member in a team of other scientists who make up the JPL’s Innovation Experience Center (IEC).

NASA Places Priority on Blockchain

The job requires a number of technical qualifications including proficiency in Cloud Computing and Big Data, knowledge in deep learning frameworks and major frontend frameworks such as Node, D3.js, Flask, Vea and React. While all these skills are expected on the job, listing blockchain and cryptocurrency knowledge comes as a shock to the community.

The company post states having skills in the field as a bonus qualification on the job. It reads,

“Experience with cryptocurrency and Blockchain is considered a plus.”

An Affinity to Blockchain

In the past few months, NASA has shown its affinity to blockchain as the company announced a number of projects to be built using the decentralized technology. In early January, the company announced its plan to build a blockchain solution to manage the air traffic and security. The open source platform enhances aircraft privacy and anonymity while providing a secure and efficient method for communication between air traffic officials.

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Author: Lujan Odera

Swizerland’s St. Gallen University to Pilot Program for Storing Diplomas and Degrees on Blockchain

The university partners with BlockFactory, a blockchain based firm to build a transparent and tamperproof system to store academic certificates.

An interview on CNN Money Switzerland on Sept 21 with St. Gallen University’s CIO, Harald Rotter revealed the university’s use of blockchain technology to issue trusted digital certificates. As the problem of fake diplomas and degrees heightens across the world, the university plans to store over 200 immutable certificates next year.

St. Gallen Pilots Blockchain Project on Digital Certificates

The University is aiming to be the first higher education institution to offer digital certificates in the country. IN a report by UNESCO, over 200,000 fake diplomas exist as the issue of educational fraud takes root in various societies around the world.

The university started the project in early 2018 and is ready to pilot the blockchain, built on Ethereum, to authenticate and verify over 200 academic diplomas. Harald said,

“I saw that it could be necessary and it could be a valid use case to transfer or to make easier to validate our diplomas based on a digital process on blockchain.”

Universities around the World Adopting Blockchain

Educational institutions around the world are looking to develop blockchain solutions to store academic certificates. In April this year, nine universities including Netherlands’ Delft University of Technology, the University of Potsdam’s Hasso Plattner Institute in Germany, the MIT and the Harvard University, Division of Continuing Education, Mexico’s Tecnologico de Monterrey, UC Irvine, UC Berkeley as well as the University of Toronto in Canada, have partnered to launch a blockchain solution for academic certificates.

University of Malaysia also announced the E-Skrol, a dApp built on NEM blockchain that aims to reduce the cases of fake degrees within the country.

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Author: Lujan Odera

“Bakkt Launch Will Be Anti-Climatic,” Says Trader But That’s Not the Key Question

  • A series of long wick down, not bearish
  • The volume takes a drop while the price continues to move downwards
  • Today could be the day we see the defining move with Bakkt around the corner

Bitcoin is struggling to stay above $10,000 ahead of the Bakkt launch.

Yesterday, Bitcoin went down to nearly $9,900 level and then today, dropped even lower to $9,842 before going back to $10,000. But we are back on a downward move.

Currently, BTC is trading at $9,959 with 24 hours loss of 0.44%, as per Coincodex.

“A ridiculous 4 hour chart, where every single candle has a down wick,”

shared trader Scott Melker. These series of long wick down he explains,

“implies dips being bought. It’s not bearish.”

Bitcoin’s bounce from just under $9,850, analyst The Cryptomist describes as the “perfect bounce of RSI support as suggested previously!”

And today she says “could be the day we see the defining move with weekly close” with Bakkt’s physically delivered daily and monthly Bitcoin futures launch just around the corner.

She, unlike Melker, however, is short on BTC price.

As we recently reported, veteran trader Peter Brandt is also bearish on price as he warned,

“Descending triangles are most often bearish.”

There is much speculation about Bakkt launch in the market, with the CT divided on the event turning out to be bearish or bullish.

“I have a feeling Bakkt launch will be anti-climatic. Perhaps a small fakeout up followed by price bleed after,”

said CryptoSqueeze.

But the key variable, as economist and trader Alex Kruger points out is “How much volume will Bakkt attract,” when VanEck’s “fake ETF” traded $0 in its first week while CME Bitcoin futures traded $460 million — with the current volume being around $700 million — on its first week.

As Jefferey Sprecher, the CEO of ICE, the company behind Bakkt, himself said, it is about curiosity and demand isn’t there yet.

The daily trading volume of BTC has further slipped down to $380 million.

However, Melker says,

“the volume on this weekend drop is non existent and there’s a potential bull div forming on the hourly,”

despite Bitcoin looking weak and everyone being bearish.

As such, “not all cloudy skies,” he added.

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Author: AnTy

“It’s Alt Time, Whether you Like it or Not,” Analysts on the Start of Alt Season

  • Weekends are for altcoins to make gains, this time it’s BAT, IOTA, Cardano, and EOS’s turn
  • Altcoins will continue to catch up but investors getting “picky” about cryptos

This week has been a good one for altcoins as they surged in a long time while Bitcoin remained flat around $10,000.

If we take a look at the past 7 days performance of cryptocurrency market, while Bitcoin is in the green by just over a half a percent, top altcoins, Ethereum and XRP are still up by more than 17% and 10% respectively.

Stellar (XLM) is the biggest gainer with 22.54% gains followed by IOTA which is enjoying a rise of 20.65% in its value.

Other prominent gainers in terms of 7 days performance are Cardano (13.11%), LINK (14.37%), Maker (15.46%), BAT (18.67%), VeChain (14.14%), and ABBC Coin (1884%), as per Coincodex.

Today, altcoins are in the red with a few exceptions like BAT (6.66%), IOTA (3.04%), Tron (0.66%), Cardano (1.40%), and EOS (2.96%).

“Altcoins will continue to catch up”

Bitcoin is the king of the cryptocurrency market. In 2019, Bitcoin price soared more than 160% and BTC dominance went from 53% to 73%.

But now as Bitcoin takes a breather and its dominance start dropping below 70%, it might be time for altcoins to catch up “Altcoins will continue to catch up,”

Scott Freeman, co-founder of JST Capital told Bloomberg.

“With the realization that these technologies now are being adopted, they’re starting to solve real problems, and it’s coming to fruition at some level where the value proposition of these things is being recognized more broadly.”

But have to wait for a Bit Longer

Market analyst and trader CryptoWolf says while Bitcoin is expected to trade sideways for the next few months as the trading range gets thinner with possibly of dumps, “It’s alt time. Whether you like it or not.”

However, not everyone is sold on the idea of alt-season. It could be a bull run for some of the altcoins but not a massive one, for that matter.

For Mati Greenspan, eToro’s senior analyst, it’s too soon to call it the start of an alt-season.

“People are getting a bit more picky about what they’re investing in as far as cryptocurrencies. Seems like those who’ve been waiting patiently for the emergence of a new altcoin season are just going to have to wait a bit longer.”

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Author: AnTy

Justin Sun Announces Upcoming Staking Plan for Tron Partners

Tron is now introducing a new staking incentive plan, announced Tron CEO, Justin Sun on Sept. 21.

This upcoming staking plan, Sun says would involve a fair, decentralized distribution of staking revenues.

For each block, Sun explains, the most voted 127 nodes that is Tron partners will receive TRX rewards in proportion to the votes they receive.

The maximum reward for one block is 160 TRX.

What does this Mean for Tron Network

The idea behind this is to encourage greater user participation and smoother engagement with staking from more exchanges, wallet, and partners.

Furthermore, greater turnout and higher stake ratio across the network, Sun says will bring about a more active community and a more robust network economic system.

This will also increase the lock-up amount from users within the TRON ecosystem, he said.

The long list of benefits of this staking just doesn’t end here.

Sun further states how this TRX incentive plan means fewer unnecessary dividend distribution transactions that will lead to less bandwidth consumption and greater network robustness.

The staking plan for Tron partners would also result in more Tron nodes and partners including increased global and community participants which mean greater decentralization of Tron network.

“A foundation for more complex consensus and incentive plans, signaling more possibilities for future development,”

Sun said.

With Great Rewards, comes Great Responsibility

With cryptocurrencies today trading 70 to 90 percent below their all-time high, staking is becoming a popular way to make easy money, in some cases coin holders score up to 30% rewards.

Coins like PundiX — leading with 18.46% yield, IOStoken, Cosmos, Waves, Qtum, VeChain, NEO, NEM, and EOS are coins that offers staking rewards.

However, staking is not just about making easy money, it has become a powerful incentive for participating in governance.

So, it is vital that coin holders understand the responsibility that comes with locking up their digital currencies.

In other news, MakeDao’s Dai stablecoin will be implemented on the Tron through Loom Network, a layer second scaling solution for the Ethereum blockchain.

Loom believes moving dai — the largest DeFi token with more than $337 million locked away in contracts — to other chains will help it grow.

Price wise, TRX is up 2 percent in the last 24 hours while trading at $0.017 as per Coincodex.

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Author: AnTy

Wells Fargo’s Blockchain-based Stablecoin Will Be Faster, Cost Less Than SWIFT

The world’s fourth-largest bank said cryptocurrency will allow near real-time money movement and cut out settlement middlemen, thus reducing costs from fees.

Regarding the technical aspects of this new product, Wells Fargo has built their own blockchain using Corda Enterprise, the enterprise version of R3’s blockchain technology. While we will not see this product in 2019, the bank hopes to launch Wells Fargo Digital Cash within the next year. The transfers are expected to feature only U.S. dollars at first but the institution also plans on making other currencies available as they expand their operations globally.

Lisa Frazier, head of the Innovation Group at Wells Fargo said:

“When we move money across the world and we need to exchange currencies, we have to go through third parties such as SWIFT and other banks. That’s a long process and every time there’s a connection with external parties, it takes time and energy and effort.”

Obvious parallels can be drawn between what Wells Fargo is testing out and JPMorgan’s JPM Coin and its Interbank Information Network (IIN) which this week added Deutsche Bank to the 300-plus other banks on that network.

Lisa adds:

“I think the surprise is, we have found a really solid internal application for DLT on our book transfers. By doing this we are streamlining the book transfer process and are reducing the use of intermediaries that can cause a delay in settlement. Therefore we are widening the operating window for clearing of FX wires cross-border.”

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Author: Sritanshu Sinha

Arthur Hayes Says Emerging Digital Finance Might Force The Way Traders Take Breaks

One of the biggest differences between fiat and crypto exchanges is their availability for trading. Traditional exchanges have their own trading sessions, with few providing 24-hour access. This means that you can only transact within certain timeframes with no trading during state holidays or even weekends in most cases.

Talking about this to Bloomberg, the CEO of BitMex remarked:

“Some of the practices in our market are going to be mimicked in traditional trading […] All these things about being somewhere and trading something and physically reconciling records is all going to go out the window. Once you get away from that and understand that everything will be digital in the next 10 years, you realize that Bitcoin isn’t such a strange idea.”

This means that events that occur in real life outside of these timeframes have no instant impact on the market. Only at the next trading session will this influence be reflected (or not). This means that your last transactions made before the closing of the exchange may contradict the new trend that will be played at the opening.

Hayes also said that crypto is definitely not a threat to sovereign currencies, and actually would make things better for governments because they can track things better in their native currencies, which they can’t do with physical cash.

Crypto exchanges work 24/7 and instantly react to any event. So if you are fast enough, you can make profits via the news. But it also means that you should be online almost all the time, or you risk missing out on opportunities. In this case, you will need to take some steps towards preventing the loss.

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Author: Sritanshu Sinha

Bitwise Tells the SEC, “The World Is Ready For Bitcoin ETF,” Praising Market Efficiency

One of the biggest crypto exchanges, Bitwise, believes the market is ready to accept the Bitcoin ETF.

Matt Hougan, global head of research at Bitwise said:

“A lot of people have a view of the crypto market that is anchored somewhere in the past … maybe in Silk Road, maybe in the 2018 bear market. The reality is that the market has become truly institutional in nature, with very tight arbitrage between real exchanges, major advances in custody, and the growth of a large, regulated futures market.”

Page seven of the Bitwise presentation shared with the SEC shows that the average deviation of bitcoin price on cryptocurrency exchanges has decreased since December 2017. As hackers have proved adept at stealing bitcoin from exchanges, other companies and individuals, Bitwise presents the fact that cryptocurrencies are increasingly custodied by large institutions as a sign of maturity.

They identify three key factors:

  1. The Bitcoin spot market has become efficient.
  2. Bitcoin custody has become fully institutional.
  3. The regulated futures market has become significant.

The reality is that the bitcoin market of today bears little resemblance to the crypto market of a few years ago. The crypto market today is one dominated by firms like Jane Street and Fidelity; it’s one where regulated, institutional custodians provide world-class service and are insured by Lloyd’s of London.

On the other hand Grayscale’s Bitcoin Investment Trust (GBTC) has been trading over the counter since 2013, the SEC denied Tyler and Cameron Winklevoss’ application for a bitcoin ETF in July 2018, and a month later, in a mass announcement, rejected nine other bitcoin ETFs.

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Author: Sritanshu Sinha