CoinEx Exchange and Simplex Partner to Easily Buy Cryptocurrencies With Credit Cards

On March 31, crypto exchange CoinEx disclosed they will become partners with Simplex in order to aid crypto credit card purchases.

As per the exchange’s press release says, CoinEx users are now able to buy 5 digital currencies such as Bitcoin (BTC), Bitcoin Cash (BCH), Ethereum (ETH), Litecoin (LTC) and Tether (USDT) with their credit or debit cards. While there’s no number specified, the fiat currencies supported for payments will be the US dollar, euro and the Canadian dollar. Making a comment about the deal, the CEO and founder of CoinEx, Haipo Yang said:

“We are thrilled to be partnering with Simplex to lower the threshold for more people to enter the crypto world. This is also a milestone for CoinEx, as it’s the first fiat onramp we integrated to our platform. We endeavor to provide our current and potential users with more convenient functions.”

Crypto Purchases to Take Place More Smoothly

Simplex was founded back in 2014. They have shown itself to be important company in the crypto industry, especially when it comes to offering credit and debit card services. It charges 3.5% of each transaction and has a $10 minimum fee. However, its platform is not for institutional investors because it has a daily cap for purchases of $20,000, together with a $50,000 monthly limit. Here’s what the chief executive and co-founder of Simplex, Nimrod Lehavi, had to say about the partnership with CoinEx:

“Enabling fast and secure credit card payments is a key step to mass crypto adoption. We are excited to partner up with CoinEx and bring a better and easier experience to users worldwide.”

Huobi and Binance are Simplex’s Clients

Furthermore, Simplex is licensed in the EU, having important clients like Huobi and Binance. It’s based in Israel and has recently closed a deal with BitPay to allow its users to make direct crypto purchases on its platform. CoinEx is backed by Bitmain and a ViaBTC Group’s, the 5th largest Bitcoin (BTC) mining pool, subsidiary. It functions under Estonia’s laws and trying to expand globally by adding more support for fiat currencies. Here’s what Yang had to say about this specifically:

“Our goal in 2020 is to cover at least 10 different languages speaking markets, and building a fiat gateway is our first move to attract more users around the world.”

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Author: Oana Ularu

BMW’s Blockchain-based Supply Chain, PartChain, For Raw Materials To Launch This Year

Known by people all over the word for their automobiles, BMW, announced they will launch a new blockchain supply solution in 2020, to no less than 10 suppliers.

The new blockchain platform, PartChain has already passed successful testing by BMW last year. Previously the platform’s model of the blockchain was to ensure immediate data transparency and traceability for car parts across supply chains in which many international parties are engaged.

Automotive Lighting and 2 BMW Plants Ran the Pilot

The solution pilot for tracking and purchasing front lights had in 2019 involved 2 BMW plants from a total of 31, and 3 locations of the Automotive Lighting supplier. One of the BMW AG’s Board of Management members, Andreas Wendt, who’s also responsible with the Group’s purchase and supply network, said BMW is planning to expand to more suppliers in 2020, precisely to 10 of them.

Blockchain Gets Combined with Cloud Tech

According to Wendt, BMW’s blockchain plan was to use blockchain in order to create a platform that’s open and allows data between the Group and supply chains to be shared safely and anonymously. Since the pilot was used only for component tracking, the plan is for BMW to extend the platform’s applications to manufacturing raw materials. Aside from blockchain, which provides the collection of data and transaction in a tamper-proof way, PartChain employs Microsoft Azure and Amazon Web Services technologies.

PartChain to Be Shared with MOBI

Wendt also said that BMW has the intention to share PartChain with Mobility Open Blockchain Initiative (MOBI) members. MOBI was co-founded by BMW in 2018. It was created after BMW, Renault, Ford and GM decided to collaborate with major blockchain, engineering and tech firms, amongst which the biggest names are IOTA, IBM, Hyperledger and Bosch.

The MOBI Vehicle Identity Standard was created, and it’s a program based on blockchain database for identity numbers of vehicles, supporting digital certificates of ownership, warranty, mileage and identity of vehicle, information that can be kept in an electronic wallet.

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Author: Oana Ularu

Bitfury Joins Other Crypto Miners In Helping COVID-19 Research Through Folding@Home

Bitfury, a blockchain development startup has announced that it will now use the computing power it normally utilizes in processing its virtual currency processing to conduct research on Covid-19.

The firm stated that it started allocating some of its powerful GPU-enabled computing nodes to help in running Covid-19 computation since March 20.

The latest move by Bitfury comes in efforts to contribute to an organized distributed computing endeavor dubbed [email protected] ([email protected]) which was started by a group of scientific labs from North America, Asia as well as Europe.

Following the ravanging Covid-19 pandemic that has led to damaging effects all over the world, [email protected] came up with an initiative to run simulations to understand the molecular structure of the virus as an attempt to assist positively to the progress of working therapeutics to fight the virus.

The [email protected] project requires massive computational power and has been requesting for computer resource donations from individuals, organizations as well as enterprises.

On its part, Bitfury revealed that so far it has used its nodes to compute more than 1,300 calculations towards the [email protected] project.

According to Valery Vavilov, Bitfury CEO, the project initiated by [email protected] is important as it brings together doctors and researchers in efforts to understand the virus and how it can be treated.

Bitfury becomes the latest entrant to the [email protected] project from the crypto sector. The initiative has earned support from various crucial players from the crypto industry. Golem, a computing network, as well as blockchain platform Tezos have set aside hundreds of XTZ that will be given to the biggest [email protected] donor by the end of the current month.

According to Cointelegraph, by March 12, there were around 20 teams from Tezos donating different resources to the [email protected] initiative. Another major contributor to the initiative is Ether miner Corewave which has donated computational power of about 6,000 GPUs. Nvidia has also contributed towards the project by urging gamers to donate unutilized GPU computing resources.

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Author: Joseph Kibe

HackerOne Cut Ties With Blockchain Voting App Voatz Over Breach of Partnership Standards

HackerOne, a bug bounty platform has severed all ties with popular blockchain voting application Voatz. The cutting of ties is first of its kind for HackerOne which has over 1800 partners across various business ventures, not once before it has come down to cutting off ties.

HackerOne is known for helping different corporations to find any security vulnerabilities in their system or software. Samantha Spielman, a representative for HackerOne noted that the breach of partnership terms made it impossible for them to continue working with Voatz, despite them not doing this ever in their 18 years of existence. However, Spielman declined to elaborate on what standards Voatz breached which led to the decision.

Voatz Reveal What Led HackerOne Cut Ties

Voatz in their statement noted that they regret the hindrance that has arisen in the partnership and was working to mend their ways. On the question of what led to the cutting off ties between the two firms, they revealed that a small team of researchers at HackerOne along with few other community members believe that Voatz reported some of their research to the FBI. The statement read,

“This falsehood and misinformation has been a source of animosity toward Voatz and our partners, who face consistent attacks from these researchers,”

Back in October 2019, it was reported that the FBI was investigating a possible breach on the Voatz app during pilot program run of 2018. West Virginia has been testing the Voatz app for their various pilot projects and Secretary of State Mac Warner said that there has been no problem with the application whatsoever and maintained that not a single vote cast through the app has been altered.

However, an independent group of MIT researchers has recently contradicted Warner’s claims and started a scathing attack on the Voatz app for a range of issues. The researchers pointed out that the blockchain voting app has a several security flaws, lack transparency and even warned election commission for giving a second thought before using it in any election.

Voatz responded to the attack in a sarcastic manner calling the research report unfair and even assigned Trail of Bits to analyze their platform. However, the move backfired on them as Trail of Bits found the claims made by MIT researchers to be valid. Later West Virginia also secured ties with the blockchain voting application.

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Author: Rebecca Asseh

Civic’s Hot Wallet to be Backed by $1M Insurance Policy Through Coincover Partnership

The non-custodial and multi-signature wallet Civic Wallet is now offering a $1 million insurance from Coincover.

Established as one of the biggest decentralized identity providers in the crypto industry, Civic Technologies (CVC), is the first non-custodial wallet company offering $1 million protection. At the moment, the wallet is in beta.

FDIC-Like Protection

The CEO and co-founder of Civic, Vinny Lingham, said the protection provided from the company is similar to the one from the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC). Here are his exact words on this:

“This is the first time that both technical and non-technical users can feel safe about their holdings. Until now, people had to keep their coins in the cold storage, but now they don’t have to worry about it as their holdings are insured up to $1,000,000 just like a bank account with the FDIC.”

In the meantime, David Janczewski, the CEO of Coincover, said he’s not running an insurance company, but one for crypto security and protection.

Advantages of Multi-Signature Wallets and Civic

With Civic Wallet being multi-signature, the user stores 1 key, the custodian BitGo another one and Civic the third one, which will migrate to Coincover soon. This means that in case something happens with Civic, users coins won’t be lost.

Another great thing about it is that legal heirs can recover funds from the wallet, which only works for US residents at the moment but will expand at a global level and support all BitGo’s coins. The coverage offered by Civic is free for now, but Lingham said they may charge accounts with more than $1 million in cryptocurrency a fee.

Civic Wallet has to abide by strict Know Your Customer (KYC) rules by supplying user identification issued by governments and using facial recognition identification technology. Users won’t have to leave the wallet in order to buy crypto and connect bank accounts. The insurance couldn’t have had a better time to arrive, seeing cryptocurrencies held in wallets are growing day by day in numbers.

Users Will Automatically Qualify for the Insurance

The $1 million insurance will be automatically activated, so users won’t have to do anything in order to get it. The coins covered are Bitcoin (BTC), USDC and Ethereum (ETH), which will be stored and bought straight in the app, only with a bank account.

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Author: Oana Ularu

44% Think Bitcoin’s in a Bull Market & Alt-Season Will Occur in 2020: Kraken Survey

In the currently unstable environment where industries are laying off, cryptocurrency exchange Kraken is on a hiring spree as it moves ahead to expand its team with 67 new hires.

The exchange also released a report called 2020 Sentiment Survey at a time when bitcoin has crashed 50% from this year’s top.

However, despite this, 44% of the respondents that involve investors and traders believe we are in a bull market in comparison to 22% that think we’re in a bear market.

Crypto market widely expects 2020 to be the year of the beginning of the bull run as such these industry participants remain as bullish as ever on the market as despite only 36% of them having raised capital last year, 49% now expect to do so this year.

According to 20% of Kraken’s VIP client base, adoption from central banks, corporations, various generations, institutions, and/or retail users would accelerate the crypto adoption.

Other potential drivers include bitcoin reward halving, conflict (political, war, etc.), FOMO, crisis (currency, debt, financial, etc.), and ongoing product development.

Bitcoin and Altcoins

Currently, Bitcoin is trading around $6,500 but the average price target for this year puts the digital asset at a new all-time high at $22,866, while the most commonly cited target was the $20,000.

Meanwhile, people remain as hopeful of a Bitcoin ETF as ever despite there being no proposal left for the US Securities and Exchange Commission’s (SEC) approval. 48% of the respondents believe a Bitcoin ETF will be approved in 2020.

When it comes to altcoins, the top five choices of Kraken’s survey respondents are Ether (ETH), Monero (XMR), XRP, Litecoin (LTC), and Tezos (XTZ), in this order.

The reasons for having these altcoins as their favorite included their development team, for hedging, liquidity, security, utility, and volatility.

However, what about the alt-season? The majority, 54%, still believes that the alt-season will occur in 2020.

These respondents see Ether surging to $810 this year, an increase of more than 500% from current prices. While the median price target was $500, the most frequent target was $300.

Coming onto the stablecoins, while over 44% of the respondents don’t use any stablecoin, Tether remains the top choice with 33.6% because of its ease of use, exchange support, stability, and supported pairs.

USDT is followed by USD Coin (8.7%) which is favored for being regulated, stable, and trusted and then DAI (8.4%) because of its Dai Savings Rate (DSR), being decentralized, and Ethereum-based.

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Author: AnTy

Bitmain Releases Antminer E3 Firmware Update to Keep It Mining ETH Till October

Mining hardware firm, Bitmain, set to extend the durability of its once “most powerful Ethash miner” from April to October 2020. The mining firm announced a new firmware that will prolong the Ethereum ASIC miners to the latter part of the year.

The company had previously announced its plan to do away with the Application Specific Integrated Circuits (ASIC) ETH-based mining, Antminer E3 come this April. The miners –which typically lasts for two years – were set to be faced out as the directed acyclic graph (DAG) files on the blockchain increased in size.

A risk to Ethereum’s hash rate?

However, according to reports from altcoin mining pool 2Miners, if the Antminer E3 hardware stopped in April, an extended drop in hash rate may be witnessed. Recent events on the Ethereum Classic and Ethereum networks showed a glimpse of E3 miners stopping in April. The risks have pushed the Chinese crypto mining hardware firm to release a firmware upgrade that will prolong the obsolescence of the miners until fall this year in October.

“This new firmware will expand the usage of Double Date Rate (DDR) Memory, as more space is needed to process DAG files,” the statement reads.

According to calculations the miner is expected to become obsolete at a block height of 11,400,000, which is likely to fall in October.

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Author: Lujan Odera

Tether Prints over a Billion USDT in March, Rising Demand or Exchange Run?

We are about to end March, a month that saw the price of bitcoin hitting $3,850 and ready to end the quarter with over 10% losses. With these losses, Bitcoin will make a red quarter hattrick while BTC price hovers around $6,400.

While the price of bitcoin ranges, Tether Treasury is printing the heck out of USDT. In March only, they printed about $1.14 billion worth of USDT, as per Whale Alert.

Till last week, Tether has been printing batches of 60 million USDT in an interval of a few days but from Tuesday onwards, they started printing $120 million worth of USDT for every other day.

All of these new USDT, Paolo Ardoino, CTO at Tether and its sister company, Bitfinex, a crypto exchange said has been “inventory replenish.”

In the past week, the market cap of USDT has also jumped over $6 billion. The popular USD pegged stablecoin also took over the third spot from XRP earlier this month.

This third-largest cryptocurrency by market cap has been managing the second-highest daily trading volume after bitcoin and at times even surpassing that.

Demand for USDT on the Rise

Interestingly, though this month USDT traded above the $1 USD mark which is a potential reason for this much USDT printing.

Source: Messari

Sam Bankman-Fried, the CEO of competitor exchange FTX said these inventory replenishes are because of the “huge buy-side demand for USDT.”

This demand for USD is coming from over-the-counter (OTC) flow, primarily from Asia, and people selling BTC converted into USDT to hedge positions and to reduce risk. Another thing worth noting is margin USDT which drives some of this demand and requires the funds to be kept in USDT.

And all of this is related to changes in futures premiums, crypto sentiment, miner balance sheets, borrow/lend rates, and desire to move capital, he said. “USDT is over $1 rn either they sell it for $1 and OTC buyer sells it for the arb, or they use USDT to buy btc,” said hedge fund manager Tradeboi Carti.

This demand for USDT then drives up the price and in turn supply, so regular USDT minted by Tether Treasury.

According to Bitfinex Bitcoin whale Joe007, there could be a “troubling” possibility as well in the way that,

“some USDT-only exchanges may be running fractional-reserve shops. Now that people are selling crypto for USDT and try to withdraw, exchanges don’t really have that USDT, and need to buy it asap to maintain liquidity.”

Waiting for the perfect moment to buy

As we reported, while the price of cryptocurrencies fell this month, stablecoins have been seeing an increase in demand and market cap. Just like investors are fleeing for the safety of cash in the macro environment, crypto investors took to park their funds in fiat-backed stablecoins.

In the week following the crash in the crypto space, stablecoins’ balances on exchange doubled and the combined balance of USDT and USDC on exchanges surpassed $1 billion. 85% of these stablecoins are held by Binance while 8.3% is with Bitfinex.

“It is a measure of how much money is sitting on the sidelines or placed in limit orders at exchanges, waiting for the perfect moment to buy,” said Ankit Chiplunkar, a research lead at crypto analysis firm Token Analyst.

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Author: AnTy

Bitcoin Beating Gold But What will Hold its Value Better in Five Years?

The price of bitcoin is currently trading in the green by 2.34% as it trades around $6,450. Although down 11.89% YTD and about 34% since the COVID-19 pandemic hit the markets, the crypto asset is up over 54% in the past year.

In comparison, gold is up 0.3% since February 9 and 5.7% YTD but only up 24% in the past year, as per Goldprice.org.

Interestingly, in 2013 when the price of bitcoin and gold was at $1,300. Since then at current prices, Bitcoin has recorded an increase of 392% while gold only jumped 23.5%.

Gold has been basically flat while bitcoin went to its all-time high at nearly $20,000 to $3,200 low and back at $6,400. Bitcoin’s volatility is clearly off the roof in comparison to bullion but as popular trader PlanB says, “No risk, no return.”

In the meantime, currently, gold prices are trading lower after the crude oil prices crashed and the US dollar index had a solid rally.

According to experts, gold has started to shake its risky asset image and is becoming more of a safe haven asset again.

“Gold’s supply chain for the physical metal was disrupted over the last 10-days, but that has now settled and taken away any momentum for higher prices,” said Edward Moya, senior market analyst at Oanda. The outlook of the bullion, however, remains bullish “as the world adjusts to never-ending promises of monetary easing,” he added.

The higher the SF, the higher market value

Although it needs to keep in mind that gold has decades behind it and the precious metal is a recognized safe haven asset with a market cap of about $10 trillion while bitcoin is just getting started, Bitcoin’s S2F will catch up Gold’s this halving.

Bitcoin’s current S2F ratio is 27 which will double to 54 and after May 2020 halving and would be very close to yellow metal’s 58.

In the short term, “why would anyone hold gold when cash is clearly doing a better job of storing value,” said analyst Mati Greenspan. The question he said is about the long term and “with policies like QE Infinity, long term low interest rates, & helicopter money, what will hold its value better in five years?”

As per the stock-to-flow model which is based on scarcity which means “utility as a savings vehicle,” if an asset isn’t scarce, it’s not good for saving. Also, “there seems to be a relation between SF (scarcity) and value: the higher SF, the higher market value,” said PlanB.

After 2024 halving, Bitcoin’s SF will go above 100.

Meanwhile, oversupply collapsing oil’s market structure

Now, if we take a look at the price of oil, in Canada it is cheaper than a pint of beer as the price of Western Canada Select (WCS) drops to $4. At one point, in Texas, WTI Midland’s contract slipped below $7 a barrel.

Futures in New York edged higher, above $20 as Chinese manufacturing data beats expectation although it is still down 65% since December end.

The broad market weakness has been the result of refineries in South Africa and Canada shutting down while major consuming countries cutting back. At the same time, producers are preparing to flood the market with its barrels and this oversupply is collapsing the market’s structure.

The steep decline in oil prices was also seen in the 2008 crisis, the time bitcoin was born. Now, “Petrodollar, the pillar of USD reserve status, seems fragile,” said PlanB.

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Author: AnTy

Lightning Labs New LSAT Protocol Promises To Do Away With Usernames And Passwords

A statement from Lightning Labs CTO, Olaoluwa Osuntokun, revealed the specs of the Lightning Service Authentication Tokens (LSAT) which is expected to act as a ticket of some sort. The new protocol can be used as both a medium of exchange and authentication token replacing passwords and login credentials for a minimal fee.

“LSAT is a new protocol standard for authentication and paid APIs (using the Internet’s preferred currency: sats!) developed by Lightning Labs which leverages the widely underused HTTP 402 (payment required) status code.”

The statement further released the Aperture, a reverse proxy for LSAT, and is currently in use on Lightning Loop. Olaoluwa released the specifications of the LSAT network, which will enable businesses to leverage infrastructure.

The LSAT authentication ‘key’

Imagine you wanted to log in to Facebook, Instagram, Twitter or Snapchat and all you needed is to pay a very small fee and keep the receipt. Then you do away with the need for a login process – no forgetting passwords, no logins. Notwithstanding, this system will make your account safe from hacks.

Well this is what LSAT promises its users by acting as an authentication key for an online service. This new system that has combined the Bitcoin Layer 2 solution and HTTP 402 (payment required) systems will also allow users to pay directly online using satoshis.

LSAT like regular cookies…but cryptographically secure!

“One can view LSATs as a fancy authentication token or cookie.”

LSAT, however, registers credentials that are cryptographically verifiable ensuring security on accounts. Olaoluwa further explained the system is “useful for system providers who expose an end API to the user” especially in large data storage services, access to rights on various data indices and also metered video streaming services such as the Aperture, also unveiled in the statement. Olaoluwa explained,

“Aperture can be used to easily create a new LSAT-aware paid API or service, and even seamlessly upgrade an existing web resource or API to make it LSAT-enabled, creating a portal from the existing web to the new Lightning-native web.”

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Author: Lujan Odera