Decentralized Storage Network Filecoin to Launch Mainnet on Oct 15th; Raised $200M In 2017

Three years following its successful initial coin offering (ICO) approximated at $205M, Filecoin has finally confirmed that its long awaited mainnet launch is set for mid next month.

In a blog post from the team, the decentralized storage platform stated that the mainnet will be rolled out on Oct.15. The firm also revealed that the network will go live at block 148,888.

The platform is designed as a blockchain rival to Amazon Web Service as well as Cloudflare. The platform conducted one of the most successful ICO’s in history raising $205 million.

Dubbed decentralized dropbox, Filecoin is seeking to end the overreliance on the third-party hosting services used by companies such as Microsoft or Amazon. This will be advantageous to users as their content will not be monitored, like is the case with Dropbox, all information within the Filecoin platform will be encrypted making monitoring impossible.

The upcoming launch will end speculation in regards to years of delay. The firm had forecasted that its testnet would be launched by the end of 2018 while the mainnet was set to go live by 2019. The team then revised its estimation saying that the testnet was to be launched in the spring of last year while the mainnet would be launched by end of last year.

Filecoin was finally able to release its testnet in December last year. At that moment, the firm explained that the mainnet was set to be launched in March this year. Now, almost an year after the launching of the testnet, the firm has announced the mainnet will be launched mid next month.

All signs show that Filecoin is set to meet the expectations. On Aug. 24, the team released an incentivized testnet which is a sign that the platform is at the final stages of its design and development.

However, the team is facing challenges as an infuriated group of miners as well as venture capitalists in China are threatening to fork the platform before it can be officially launched. The group are of the view that they might be underpaid if the mainnet goes live. Protocol Labs, the firm behind Filecoin, had earlier released a paper stating that about 80% of miners could be rendered unprofitable.

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Author: Joseph Kibe

Bitfinex Launches Perpetual Contracts Settled In Tether (USDt) for Europe 50 and Germany 30

  • The renowned crypto exchange, Bitfinex, is expanding its product line beyond crypto assets and is rolling out an equity index derivatives which will settle in the controversial stablecoin Tether (USDt).

According to a press release shared with Bitcoin Exchange Guide, the perpetual contracts will be on Europe 50 and Germany 30 and are set to go live on Monday. The firm also clarified that the new offering would provide its clients with exposure to conventional stock markets.

Europe 50 represents the STOXX Europe Index that covers about 50 stocks based in 18 countries in Europe. On the other hand, Germany 30 is a representative of the Deutscher Aktien Index (DAX), which covers Germany’s 30 most significant stocks listed in the Frankfurt Stock Exchange.

According to the press release, every contract will provide up to 100x leverage, and USDt will be used for settling.

An equity derivative can be equated to a traditional futures contract; however, it comes with no expiry and operates like a margin-based spot market. Bitfinex Derivatives CTO, Paolo Ardoino explained:

“This is the first time that an exchange from the digital asset space has launched a product that bridges the gap with traditional stock markets, representing a significant milestone in the evolution of crypto as an established asset class.”

Ardoino also explained that Bitfinex was motivated to move to the traditional markets by CME moving to Bitcoin futures. Ardoino says that the new product will help in improving cross-asset trading initiatives in the crypto space.

Ardoino also explained that since the new offering will settle in USDt and will help in the reduction of forex as well as interest rate risks. This will also aid in ensuring that the trading is seamless as well as efficient, said Ardoino.

The new product will be available in the selected countries and only for verified users. This means that traders wishing to trade the new product will need to go through the various due diligence aspects to verify their source of funds, identity, and banking history.

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Author: Joseph Kibe

OpenBazaar Saved, For Now, Sizable Donation Still Needed for Next Year

Decentralized marketplace OpenBazaar was saved over the weekend from becoming a ClosedBazaar when an anonymous donor agreed to “cover the costs to run OpenBazaar infrastructure through at least the end of the year.”

But 2021 will come soon enough, so the platform wants people to donate while it works to “find ways to lower costs and decentralize more of the infrastructure.”

It first announced its shutdown on Friday unless reportedly a sizable donation of $100k is made to the platform that provides seed nodes, API wallet, and exchange rate API. The marketplace has been reportedly seeing a lack of adoption and user growth.

Some crypto community members took a jab at the employees of the project for attacking bitcoin and supporting SegWit2X – they were one of the signatories of the 2017 New York Agreement.

Call for Help

OpenBazaar launched in 2014 at a hackathon in Toronto as “Dark Market,” it allows people to buy and sell goods online in a peer-to-peer network, without a single entity to oversee or control the process.

Its app Haven will also be removed from the iOS App Store, and Google Play Store on October 1st as such, users are recommended to immediately remove funds from their wallet.

“We wanted to bring the full power of decentralized marketplaces to a global audience,” but failed to achieve the level of user growth and adoption that is required to sustain their business.

Now, to maintain support costs and execute the next phase of the protocol that they “believe can unlock explosive user adoption,” community support, aka funds are needed.

At the time of writing, OpenBazaar has received less than $15k in Bitcoin, Ethereum, Bitcoin Cash, Litecoin, and Zcash combined.

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Author: AnTy

US Authorities Arrest A Women in Murder-for-Hire; Paid $5k In Bitcoin to Scammer

A woman based out of Nevada has been arrested by the authorities for allegedly hiring a hitman to get her ex-husband killed. It is being reported that the woman paid $5000 in Bitcoin on the dark web, but the website turned out to be a scam, and the woman was indicted for conspiring to kill her husband.

The woman was identified as Kristy Lynn Felkins residing in Fallon, Nevada, as per the court documents from the US District Court for the Eastern District of California.

Authorities were tipped off about the payment, who later traced the website and went on to track the bitcoin transaction made by the accused along with the incriminating messages that she exchanged with the bogus dark web website.

How Did the Murder Plot Begin?

The court documents revealed that Felkins started talking to someone over the dark web using a privacy-centric Tor browser (it uses multiple layers of addresses to constantly change the IP address of the user to avoid any tracing) back in 2016. The individual she was talking to advised her to launder bitcoin using peer-to-peer marketplace localbitcoins.com to avoid any tracing.

Felkins was not so sure about the idea and, at one point, even asked the representative of the website whether they were from the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI). She asked,

“How do I know you are not FBI, they do have the capability to infect one’s device and trace them back to their real IP. Just being cautious.”

Felkins eventually agreed to do as she was asked, and between March 6, 2016, and March 9, she sent 12 Bitcoins to the website. She asked the website to shoot her husband outside his workplace, and at one point, even suggested the murder look like a mugging gone wrong. However, the website demanded an additional $4000 for the task, and Felkins backed out, asking the “hitman” to proceed with the killing as agreed in the first place.

Felkins revealed that her ex-husband was quite abusive both mentally and physically. In one of her conversations with the alleged hitman, she said,

“This man mentally, physically, sexually, and emotionally abused me. I ran, and then he took my children away from me. He now mentally abuses my children and threatens their physical well being. He is quite the snake and master manipulator.”

The shady dark web marketplace, after receiving the money, started to give excuses to her and, at one point, even said that her husband was not found at his workplace. Both parties stopped communication in April 2016, while the authorities came to know about the alleged murder plot almost three years later and indicted Felkins on Thursday.

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Author: James W

SEC Takes a ‘Big Step Forward’ Regarding Broker-Dealers Trading Digital Asset Securities

In a no-action letter dated Sept. 25 from the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), the agency has released guidance on the settlement of digital asset securities at alternative systems, which “could end up being significant news for exchanges, including DEXs.”

The SEC proposes a “three-step process” for ATS trading that might replace the previous four-step process that FINRA and the SEC instructed broker-dealers to follow. Dating back to the July 2019 statement from the SEC, the letter outlined the factors to be considered to allow ATS operators to facilitate the trade of digital securities.

In the latest process, The broker-dealer custodian can inform the customer about the execution of trades after the fact as such, customers can submit the trade orders and confirmation at the same time, which “doesn’t change much for trading in the industry,” said Brian Farber.

According to the letter, this three-step process would “reduce operational and settlement risk.” Lewis Cohen, founder of blockchain-focused law firm DLxLaw tweeted,

“In the 3-step approach, customers are never exposed to a BD/ATS, so CPR doesn’t apply. It may sound obvious, but still a big step forward.”

Moreover, enforcement action won’t be taken if the broker-dealer operator maintains a minimum of $250,000 in net capital, all applicable securities laws are followed, and an agreement between the broker and their customers states that “broker-dealer operator does not guarantee or otherwise have responsibility for settling the trades.”

This means custodial broker-dealers like Coinbase can legally exchange digital securities without the SEC pursuing enforcement action against them, provided the above-mentioned steps are followed.

According to Farber, it raises new questions such as the undefined term “custodian,” which not every holder uses. The mandate for $250k in net capital would require amending a membership agreement with FINRA. At the same time, the 2019 joint statement clearly prohibits those broker-dealers from custodial functions.

Comptroller Brian Brooks of the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency praised the move.

Drew Hinkes, an attorney at US law firm Carlton Fields also tweeted that the big picture is “It got easier to trade digital asset securities. BDs have certainty as to how to trade digital asset securities (and) Custodians are even MORE important.”

But still, there is no clear way to determine which cryptos are security and legal to trade. As such, more clarity and guidance is needed from the SEC.

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Author: AnTy

Bitcoin Giving Strong Bullish Signals, Markets to Roar Higher into Next Year

Today, Bitcoin is on the move, aiming for $11,000, currently trading around $10,915.

Adding to this bullishness is all the dry powder. $20 billion worth of fiat is sitting on the sidelines in stablecoins, which has doubled since May.

https://bitcoinexchangeguide.com/bitcoin-re-entering-the-intense-historical-trading-area-following-a-strong-uptrend/
Source: Coinmetrics

Moreover, Bitcoin Difficulty Ribbon Compression is trending up, breaking out of the green buy zone for the first time since the March sell-off.

“Historically, these have been periods characterized by a positive momentum indicating significant BTC price increases,” noted Glassnode.

Not to mention the number of daily active addresses that have been growing strongly this year, with the 180-day average just surpassing its previous ATH.

Meanwhile, in other markets…

While bitcoin started seeing positive moves last week, gold continued down only to make some moves today at 1,871, which is the exact opposite of the US dollar.

The greenback started uptrending right from the beginning of last week, going from 92.75 to today’s 94.74 last seen in late July before it started sliding down. Still, it is holding onto the 94 level.

When it comes to the stock market, it has recorded four straight weeks of declines on the back of a stronger dollar, which is putting pressure on the prices of many assets.

Today, the stock market is also trying to start the week on a green note, opening higher, but it’s to be seen if it will be able to catch up.

Get Ready for the upcoming mania

While Bitcoin (-6.56%), Gold (-4.79%), SPX (-5.77%), USD (-0.62%), and WTI (-7.86%) all are looking to end September on a red note, the next quarter is expected to bring back the greens.

Unlike September and quarter 3, the next quarter has historically been of the green ones. However, for a brief period of time, the US Presidential election will keep the markets uncertain with the major event this week involving the presidential election debate on Tuesday and a vote in the House of Representatives for a second round of pandemic stimulus before the House goes into recess on Friday.

But moving into 2021, things are expected to be even better.

“Impossible to be bearish when we are coming out of the biggest recession in history. The world economy will roar in 2021. Once the uncertainty driven by the US elections is behind us, we are once again off to the races,” said trader and economist Alex Kruger.

According to him, the governments will “overcompensate with ever-increasing fiscal and monetary policy stimulus.”

This means the continuation of a trend that started in April 2020 not only for the stocks but also for crypto, precious metals, the real economy, and others, he said.

The key issue is with the day long term interest rates when they “start rising fast, that’s when we have a major problem.”

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Author: AnTy

ETH Locked on Aave & Uniswap Records a Sharp Rise

Decentralized Finance (DeFi) is back to recovering, currently at over $11 billion, reaching an all-time high of nearly $12 billion from last week, as per DeFi Pulse.

On this climb up, the amount of BTC on Ethereum is already at an all-time of 130.8k BTC. When it comes to Ether, at 8.2 million ETH, it still has some way to go before it hits a peak of 10.67 million ETH.

Interestingly, the third-largest DeFi project Aave with $1.63 billion in TVL, has added over 370 million ETH in just the last three days.

Since Friday, ETH locked in the lending protocol has jumped by more than 190% and a whopping 792% since the beginning of this month. Aave is the fifth largest ETH holder in the DeFi space.

The most amount of ETH is locked in Uniswap at 2.9 million, doubled in the past ten days. While Maker’s ETH balance stayed steady over 2 million throughout this month, both Compound and SushiSwap recorded a drastic drop.

Both are among the top five ETH holders, but the amount of Ether locked in Compound has been on a constant decline since the middle of this month, down 30%. Uniswap clone SushuSwap registered a whopping 72% fall in ETH deposit on its protocol, which is no surprise given its overall sliding value.

The price of Ether meanwhile, is also on the rise, up 3.24% trading at $364, a jump from last week’s low of $320.

These gains are in line with the rest of the crypto market, which is moving in tandem with Bitcoin, approaching $11,000. But while bitcoin’s options market is sending mixed messages, “front-end skew bid and 3-month largely flat,” Ethereum’s is much more bullish.

“This can point to hedging flow, especially given the rising trend of locking Bitcoin on the Ethereum network, as well as lend/borrow flow,” noted Dennis Vinoourov of Bequant.

At the same time, Ethereum bulls are also waiting for an update on the much-needed Proof of Stake (PoS) transition for which the Spadina testnet, dress rehearsal for the most important parts of the Eth 2.0, will go live this week.

However, the best thing happened with the Ethereum transaction fees, which have declined sharply since skyrocketing on Uniswap’s governance token UNI’s launch — another factor acting in support of the DeFi world.

The average cost of processing an Ethereum transaction has fallen to a 49-day lull, at $2.34 compared to early Sept. cost of $14.6, as per Bitinfocharts.

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Author: AnTy

Bahamas Central Bank Confirms CBDC ‘Sand Dollar’ to Launch In Less Than 30 Days

The Bahamas Central Bank has confirmed that its pipeline CBDC ‘Sand dollar’ will roll out next month as anticipated. This will mark the first retail-oriented CBDC to be integrated with fundamental financial market pillars as the world gradually shifts to digital payments. According to the announcement, Bahama’s Sand dollar is ready for national release and will be scaled past the pilot regions of Abaco and Exuma as of October 20.

Notably, the Sand dollar has been in the works since 2018 and came about as one solution to onboard more of the Island’s population into a ‘bank-like’ ecosystem. The latest development, therefore, marks a significant milestone for the prospectus Bahamian digital dollar, which might ultimately boost financial inclusion. The announcement noted,

“Although average measures of financial development and access in The Bahamas are high by international standards, pockets of the population are excluded because of the remoteness of some communities outside of the cost-effective reach of physical banking services.”

Sand Dollar Stakeholders

The Central Bank of Bahama will roll out Sand dollar in collaboration with Authorized Financial Institutions (AFI’s); these include Credit Unions, Money Transmission Business (MTB), Payment Service Providers (PSPs), and Commercial banks. They will act as the intermediaries between the regulator and retail market by providing services such as digital wallets and transactional operations.

The Sand dollar gradual national release will happen in two phases, with the first one being KYC and due diligence readiness amongst the AFI’s. This will cover all account tiers, including digital wallets that will be launched as part of the Sand dollar ecosystem. The Central Bank added that it would continuously increase engagement with the private sector stakeholders.

As for the second phase, emphasis will be on government services and public utilities; this stage is expected to kick off in 2021 between the first and second quarters. Likewise, the AFI’s are also in preparation mood with three PSPs, once a commercial bank and four MTBs already authorized to operate as Sand Dollar AFI’s.

“These AFIs are enabled to offer Sand Dollar services to stakeholders either through their custom apps (after successful completion of a cybersecurity assessment) or through the generic Sand Dollar app.”

Notably, the Sand dollar network has undergone an intensive cybersecurity assessment, which is, in turn, complemented by similar testing procedures by AFI’s before being integrated with this CBDC. Also, the Sand dollar wallets are embedded with 2FA features. The Central Bank, however, highlighted that Bahamians would enjoy confidentiality but not the anonymity of fiat.

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Author: Edwin Munyui

KuCoin Hack Update: 11 Crypto Projects Freeze the Stolen Tokens

Over the weekend, KuCoin lost about $275 million in BTC, XRP, BSV, XLM, TRX, stablecoins, ETH, and other ERC-20 tokens in a security breach. As we reported, the cryptocurrency exchange took full responsibility for the hack, obviously, and promised to cover all the losses through its Insurance Fund.

Binance CEO Changpeng Zhao believes this to be an “inside” job given how “incompetent” the hacker is.

Since then, the exchange has been in touch with the industry partners.

But what’s’ even more shocking, yet not surprising, has been the response of the crypto projects to this hack.

KuCoin has released the suspicious address list and asked the related parties to add them to the blocklist. The Crypto project did them even better by replacing the tokens altogether.

The most recent update came from Ampleforth, a stablecoin with an elastic supply that announced today that $14 million AMPL, 10% of its circulating supply, was stolen by KuCoin hackers, has been disabled by upgrading the contract.

“A contract upgrade was quickly deployed to disable transfers from the attacker,” tweeted the AMPL Organization, adding: “All of the stolen AMPL remain locked in full.”

AERGO, the hybrid blockchain project, also found the “fix” today. Out of the 13.3% of the Aergo supply on the exchange, 66.8M AERGO ERC-20 tokens are in the hand of the hacker, for which, AERGO will deploy a new smart contract and migrate AERGO to the new contract.

Tether has also frozen the stolen tokens — they were actually the first ones to take this step, the same day as the hack. Paolo Ardoino, the CTO of Bitfinex and Tether, said the millions worth of USDT tokens have been “successfully frozen.”

Frozen USDT involved 13 million EOS-based USDT, 20 million ETH-based USDT, 1 million Omni-based USDT, and another 1 million Tron-based USDT were frozen.

Tether is actually infamous for taking such steps, which runs in double digits.

Other projects that made the same move include Velo Labs that will re-deploy and replace each (122 million tokens worth $75.7 million) VELO.

VIDT_Datalink freezes the 14.49 million VIDT tokens (worth about $7.2 million) and Covesting 3.12 million COV tokens (worth about $600K).

Silent Notary has announced that they will re-issue new SNTR and replace 78.9 billion affected SNTR tokens (worth about $90K) along with NOIA Network replacing about 81 million affected NOIA tokens (worth about $5 million) via a new smart contract.

Orion has already completed the Token SWAP of 3.82 million ORN tokens (worth about $9.5 million) and KardiaChain of 525 million KAI tokens (worth about $10.2 million) while Opacity is accelerating the planned Token SWAP.

With these moves, more than 50% of the stolen funds have been frozen by the protocols behind the stolen cryptos.

“If you can freeze it, it isn’t “crypto,” It’s completely fucking centralized,” commented Dan Held, growth lead at crypto exchange Kraken.

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Author: AnTy

Bitcoin Re-Entering the ‘Intense Historical Trading’ Area Following a Strong Uptrend

Bitcoin is back at near $11,000.

The leading digital currency has been making its way upwards since the mid of last week. Today, to mark the starting of a new week, Bitcoin went as high as $10,985, re-entering the $10,800 to $11,000 area of intense historical trading.

With the move, BTC has broken through its 30-day moving average — indicative of a strong uptrend and “that large funds are willing to actively purchase on the market.”

Currently, BTC is trading around $10,900 in the green with about $1 billion in ‘real’ trading volume.

“Weekly close looks good and don’t know why people continue to be overly bearish. Bitcoin got a short term pullback, and -20% is nothing unusual. Bitcoin continues to uptrend, and for the third week in a row has closed above the support zone of $9900 to $10,175,” noted trader Josh Rager, adding “$11ks next.”

As for the futures market, the Bitcoin futures curve has widened, albeit modestly, although “given the uncertain macro theme further upside remains somewhat uncertain,” said Denis Vinokourov of London-based broker.

The strong move came following the bullish weekend not only for BTC but also altcoins like KNC, REN, LINK, LEND, and ZRX, which according to Santiment, experienced similar factors like MVRV ratio in the ‘bounceback’ zone, ‘blood in the streets,’ ongoing accumulation, declining crowd interest, and strong fundamentals.

And today, a positive move in BTC price has the altcoins getting green again. Among the top cryptos, Cardano (ADA), with early 11% gains, and Polkadot (DOT) with 8.42%, are leading.

Today’s top gainers include Hegic (46%) and Swipe (40%), while Orion Protocol (76.5%) and Pixie Coin (62%) are the biggest losers.

Becoming Less Volatile

The third quarter is coming to an end this week. September did what it has been doing all those years and ended the month at a loss of -6.7%.

Interestingly, this month, bitcoin has been less volatile than Tesla. In Sept. bitcoin moved less than 1.25% in absolute value 52% of the days, unlike 6% of Tesla.

While the volatility of bitcoin continues to drop, investors are slowly moving to bot trading to capitalize on the price swings. Chinese brokerage service Pionex which has a monthly trading volume of $5 billion on its online brokerage platform, has over 80% of its 100,000 users running a trading algorithm.

The startup with Shunwei Capital and ZhenFund among its backers makes about $3 million by charging a 0.05% fee per transaction. The Singapore incorporated company has 80% of its trades fulfilled by the order books on Binance and Huobi.

“Trading bots let users overcome their humanity flaws and become a rational investor,” said founder Chen Yong.

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Author: AnTy