Putin Approves Cryptocurrency Bill, Stopping Russians From Using Bitcoin for Payments

On Friday, Vladimir Putin, Russia’s president, signed one of the two digital assets bills into law, Russian media outlet RIA reports.

The new law was passed by Russia’s parliament, Duma, last week and states that firms can provide virtual securities on blockchain platforms provided they are well registered with the country’s central bank, Bank of Russia, as issuers as well as meet various provisions.

The new law also states that decentralized cryptos are taken to be a form of property that should be declared by the holders for taxation purposes.

The bill notes that as a property, cryptocurrency cannot be used to pay for goods and services in the country. However, businesses accepting crypto payments have until January next year to adjust to the new development.

According to RIA, the bill seems like a mild version of what was essentially proposed. Russian parliamentarians had developed a new proposal of the bill which would render any entity providing or trading cryptocurrency illegal in the country.

The first draft of the bill highly represented the skeptical stance that has been advanced by the country’s central bank. It led to widespread condemnation from the crypto community as well as from the country’s Ministries of Economic Development and Justice.

The law also states that Russian residents will now have a chance to challenge any transaction involving the digital currencies in a court of law provided the plaintiff has proof of transaction and is a crypto holder.

The Russian parliament is currently working on a more comprehensive digital bill that will touch on various issues regarding digital currencies. The bill is expected to be discussed and passed before the end of the year. However, no specific details on dates have been disclosed to the public.

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Author: Joseph Kibe

The Bigger the Hit to a Country’s GDP, the Higher the Stock Market Jumps

The US economy shrank by an annual rate of 32.9% between April and June, the sharpest contraction triggered by the coronavirus pandemic since the second world war.

This economic shock in April, May, and June was over three times as sharp as the previous record of 10% in 1958 and about four times the worst quarter during the Great Recession.

“This is something we have never seen before,” said Jason Reed, assistant chair of finance at the University of Notre Dame.

“At first I felt it was like a natural disaster that had hit the entire country at the same time. Now it is evolving into something worse than that.”

The record-settling fall in the gross domestic product, the broadest measure of economic activity compared to the same time last year after for the second week in a row following a four-month decline 1.43 million Americans filed for unemployment benefits last week.

Economists expect the economy to recover sharply later this year, but the recent rise in infections across the US is clouding that outlook.

Interestingly, during this time, the S&P 500 jumped 24% thanks to all the money printing the Federal Reserve did. After the initial $3 trillion stimulus package, another trillion-dollar aid is expected soon. For now, Congress is struggling to strike a deal on the new round of financial support.

On Wednesday, the Fed said the US economy is facing significant challenges from the coronavirus pandemic and vowed to continue to take aggressive action to support the economy to recovery.

The US’s GDP report came as Germany, Europe’s largest economy, recorded a slump in economic growth, contracting by 10.1% in Q2, the most significant decline since 1970, while its stock market DAX jumped 28%.

The fall in GDP came as parts of the US economy shut down in an attempt to halt the spread of coronavirus across the country. The closures led to a historic number of layoffs that sent unemployment soaring to levels not seen since the 1930s Great Depression.

Now, as the first month of the third quarter comes to an end, the S&P 500 jumped 3.6% in July. But it was precious metals that stole the show.

Gold jumped 10.6% this month and broke the 2011 record to hit a new all-time high in Q2. This has been in part due to a 1.6% decline in the US dollar index, which further hit over two-year low with a 4% decrease in July.

Meanwhile, bitcoin the ‘digital gold’ woke from the slumber just last week and spiked 23.6% in July, after a 68% jump in Q2, now trading above $11,300.

“Gold, Silver, Bitcoin all hitting, or going, to new ATH,” said Max Keiser adding the bad news is all of this is because,

“global central banks are staging a debt-for-equity coup disenfranchising 7.6 billion people who will be left for dead unless they have some Gold, Silver, Bitcoin.”

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Author: AnTy

Bitcoin Again on the Move Amidst “Increasing Market Demand”

Bitcoin is back on the move today. Volatility has been expected as options for 67,700 Bitcoin worth $745 million are expiring today.

Currently, the largest cryptocurrency is trading just under $11,400, up more than 3%, with over $2 billion in trading volume. In the past ten days, BTC has surged 24.5% that has resulted in the number of bitcoin addresses holding 1 million USD spiking by 38% to about 18,000.

Also, a whopping 93% of bitcoin’s supply is at a profit with the price at $11k.

Interestingly, BTC deposits at major exchanges continue to drop, which has been falling since March after the digital asset crashed along with the other asset classes. The deposits have currently reached the low-levels, last seen in May 2019, which suggests users prefer to store their BTC in private wallets. Moreover, it “may lead to a lower selling pressure the upcoming months.”

“Despite BTC’s recent surge to $11k, there are currently no signs of weak hands from long-term investors,” noted Glassnode. “Hodler Net Position Change remains positive since the end of March, with hodlers currently accumulating more than 50k BTC each month.”

However, Ki Young-ju, the CEO of on-chain analysis firm CryptoQuant, said whales have started to send Bitcoin and stablecoins to exchanges. He said,

“BTC whales are sending Bitcoins to exchanges. Stablecoin whales are sending stablecoins to exchanges as well. This week will be a battle between Stablecoin and Bitcoin exchange inflows. These inflows indicate potential buy/sell pressures.”

So Much HODling & Accumulation

Bitcoin gains are recorded amidst the amount of USDT flowing into exchanges spiking to yearly high. All the while, Tether continues to mint millions more USDT that “hints at increasing market demand and could potentially support further Bitcoin price appreciation,” states OKEx.

The exchange’s one-month futures annualized basis has also surged to as high as 27.67%, its highest level since late February. “Values above 20% indicate that traders are paying a very high premium on spots and using high leverage,” OKEx said.

Just this week, Bakkt recorded peak volume twice in a row while CME saw its open interest making new highs. Regarding the slow adoption of its bitcoin options product, CME Group continues to “work with both brokers and platforms to get them connected and up and running to facilitate trades with customers.”

Another bullish development seen in the market is the 1-year HODL wave, which has been unmoved on the blockchain over the last 365 days.

Additionally, this Bitcoin 1-year HODL wave has hit a new all-time high of 63%, up 1% since the start of July.

The fact that an increasing number of bitcoin investors are HODLing with no pressure from any sell-side in the form of deposits to exchanges speaks well for the world’s leading digital currency.

At this point, if bitcoin closes above ~$14,300 on the 12 Monthly charts, that would be one of the most bullish developments in this new cycle, said analyst Rekt Capital.

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Author: AnTy

Coinbase Teases 19 Cryptocurrencies They May List; Prices Jump Across the Board

One of the largest US based crypto exchange Coinbase has revealed that it is reviewing additional 19 cryptocurrencies for potential listing.

The San Francisco-based crypto exchange has announced that the 19 cryptocurrencies are being reviewed as per its Digital Asset Framework which will determine if they will be listed on its popular trading exchange platform.

The firm revealed that it is reviewing the graph, wbtc, uma, tbtc, theta, reserve rights, flexacoin, paxos gold, helium, ocean protocol, Hedera hashgraph, melon, keva, ampleforth, band protocol, fetch.ai, balancer, and curve.

The firm explained that the review process will check various technical and compliance analysis of the above mentioned cryptos where some of them may need to have regulatory license in various jurisdictions.

The exchange however cautioned that being under review doesn’t mean the cryptocurrency will be guaranteed of an automatic listing. The firm also clarified that those not under review doesn’t disqualify them from potential future listing. The firm stated,

“As per our listing process, we will add new assets on a jurisdiction-by-jurisdiction basis, subject to applicable review and authorizations. The omission of assets from this publication does not disqualify any such asset from active review and potential listing.”

The firm did not give any timeline on when the review process will be finalized or when the cryptocurrencies can expect to be listed.

As data from CoinMarketCap shows, most of the crypto assets under Coinbase’s review are trading within the green zone which is defined as 2-8%. There are some which have outperformed others like UMA (+10.05), Ocean Protocol (+12.93) and Melon (+17.23%).

Previous support of cryptocurrencies by Coinbase have led to a surge in the value of these coins and tokens. For instance, in June, the exchange’s support for COMP solidified its ranking as a major DeFi token. Similarly, the listing of MakerDAO (MKR) token back in May led to a surge in its prices in major exchanges. However, the ‘Coinbase Effect’ may not always yield a positive effect on the market.

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Author: Joseph Kibe

NY Court Orders Longfin to Pay $223M to Investors After Blockchain Pivot Turns Securities Fraud

Longfin, a now-defunct crypto firm that raised $27 million in 2017, has been ordered by a Manhattan federal judge to repay $223 million to its investors along with interest in the alleged security fraud case. Longfin acquired an undervalued company back in 2017, after which its share prices surged by 1000%.

The judgment came on July 29, where the federal judge concluded that Longfin, along with its chief executive Venkata Meenaalli, CTO Vivek Ratakonda, and the director of two related companies, Suresh Tammineedi collectively owned a nine-figure sum. The case’s ruling has granted a default judgment, as requested by lead plaintiff Mohammad Malik in January. The judge in his decision noted that Malik:

“offered sufficient evidentiary support through declarations and exhibits submitted in support of his claim for damages, and no evidentiary hearing is required.”

A Brief History of the Case

Longfin launched an IPO as a Regulation A+ offering back in September 2017, which allowed the firm to raise funds from both accredited and non-accredited investors. It also obtained waivers from several registration requirements of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934. It went on to raise $27 million by December and called its IPO a successful event.

At the time, the firm also claimed that it had become the first publicly listed fintech firm under Reg A+ on Nasdaq. Soon after a successful IPO, Longfin acquired Ziddu.com, a cloud storage solution that claimed it had incorporated blockchain technology. The price of Longfin’s share surged by 1000% from $5 a share to $140 in early 2018. However, shareholders accused the company of issuing false and misleading statements, which led to the 1000% surge.

The firm is also accused of selling its shares after the surge, which prompted the Security and Exchange Commission (SEC) to look into the firm’s working and investigate any wrongdoing. The SEC started their investigation in April 2018, and soon after, the price of the shares crashed.

In September 2019, the SEC received a judgment in its favor against Longfin, where a New York federal court found that the crypto firm falsified documents and data to receive Regulation A+ offering.

The court also found that Longfin lied about primarily operating from the US and lied about qualifying shares and shareholders sold in the offering. The court found that $66 million in revenue generated by the firm came from “fictitious revenue and sham commodities transaction” equivalent to 90% of the company’s revenue.

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Author: Rebecca Asseh

Bank of England Taps Accenture to Update Real-Time Gross Settlement Service to Support CBDCs

The Bank of England (BoE) has appointed an Irish tech consultancy giant, Accenture, to assist in the renewal program for its Real-Time Gross Settlement Service (RTGS).

According to the announcement on July 30, the contract awarding follows a public procurement process that began back in February 2019. BoE has since noted that the renewal of its RTGS is set to add value to the U.K payment system in several ways. The announcement reads:

“…the renewed RTGS service is to increase resilience and access, offer wider interoperability, improve user functionality and strengthen the end-to-end risk management of the UK high-value payment system.”

The UK’s RTGS plays an essential role in the country’s financial ecosystem, settling an average of £685billlion every day. Executive Director for Banking, Payments, and Innovation, Victoria Cleland, noted that this milestone would play a significant role in shaping the future of UK’s payment network:

“The Renewal Program is a key priority not just for the Bank but also for the wider UK payments industry.  It will support a resilient financial system that protects the UK’s financial and monetary stability in the years to come.”

CBDC’s Also in Consideration

Reporting the news first, Coindesk, revealed that the BoE renewal RTGS might be compatible with a digital pound amongst other CBDC’s. The new design will feature tools for ‘bolt-on’ functions, should the BoE decide to integrate CBDC’s. Cleland further echoed that it will keep the U.K. on track when it comes to FinTech innovation:

“The renewed RTGS service will be designed not only to benefit everyone in the country which makes payments but to keep the UK at the leading edge of payments innovation.”

This development coincides with a new spark in CBDC interest by governments and regulators. China is currently ahead of the curve, having launched its digital yuan pilot back in April. Nations like France and Italy have shown willingness to participate in a digital Euro as soon as one is formalized.

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Author: Edwin Munyui

Joe Rogan Tells 200 Million Podcast Listeners To ‘Stack Sats’ With Cash App Advertisement

Joe Rogan, the popular host of the podcast – The Joe Rogan Experience – asked his followers to buy bitcoin during one of the episodes while promoting his advertiser Cash App. Before starting any episode, Rogan takes the first 5-10 minutes to talk about the sponsors of the episode.

Cash App is a bitcoin retail app using which people can buy and spend bitcoin and developed by Square, a venture of Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey.

At the start of episode 1515, Rogan talked about Cash App and how easy it is to use and then went on to discuss the technical supercity of bitcoin as a form of cash. He also mentioned the bitcoin slang and asked his followers to ‘stack sat.’ While promoting the Cash App Rogan read aloud:

“Bitcoin is a transformational digital currency that acts as a decentralized peer-to-peer payment network powered by its users, with no central authority. I love it. I wish it was the way we exchanged currency, and maybe it will be in the future. Get on board.”

Rogan also went on to explain what Sat is, given not all of his 200 million followers of the podcast might be aware of the term.

Joe Rogan’s podcast has made him a media mogul. He recently inked a $100 million deal with Spotify to transfer his podcast from youtube to Spotify. The gravity and the monetary aspect of the deal highlight Rogan’s reach and impact on today’s generation. The podcast has seen many high profile names grace the guest chair and, there is no particular theme, and the topic of discussion revolves around guest’s expertise and present affairs.

Rogan has also made it clear that he uses privacy centered Brave browser to get extra privacy for his data. So, even though Cash App is an advertiser, Rogan genuinely believes in Bitcoin and what it brings to the table.

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Author: Hank Klinger

Bank of Japan (BoJ) Appoints its Top Economist as the New Head to Oversee Digital Yen

The top economist of the Bank of Japan (BoJ) has been appointed as head of department overseeing research on central bank digital currencies (CBDC), as the central bank steps its efforts to join the race to embrace financial innovation.

Kazushige Kamiyama will be heading the payments and settlement department of BOJ, which has conducted joint research with other central banks on state-backed digital currencies and looked into how the growing presence of cryptocurrencies affect central banking.

As the central bank’s top economist, Kamiyama has spearheaded efforts to use big data in analyzing the economy, an approach that helped Bank of Japan catch real-time changes affecting the country’s economy amidst the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

BOJ also shared that Seisaky Kameda will be succeeding Kamiyama as its top economist and head of the statistics department.

This move comes at a time when BOJ is working on testing a digital yen. Earlier this month, the central bank released a report about the technical hurdles for CBDC, where it discussed checking the feasibility of such digital money from a technical perspective and considering whether or not to use blockchain for it.

The bank also set up a task force a couple of weeks back that was said to belong to the BOJ’s payment and settlement systems department. The new team is looking more closely into the CBDC by following up on BOJ’s efforts, including joint research it has been conducting with other major central banks since January.

Japan has been cautious about its digital currencies approach, given that it has the most cash-loving population in the world. But the fact that China is making steady progress towards issuing its digital yuan, having chosen the companies to test the CBDC, it has prompted not just BOJ but other central banks and governments to look into the idea of issuing CBDCs more closely.

BOJ has said although it has no immediate plans to issue its own digital currency, it has been conducting research on the issue with other central banks.

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Author: AnTy

PayPal: Society has Reached an Inflection Point, Moving From Physical Cash to Digital

Paypal, the payment processing giant, has recorded another strong quarter with $5.26 billion in the second quarter of 2020 and added 1.7 million merchants to its ecosystem. Paypal executives got on a call recently to discuss the future of cash, and during their discussion, they noted that society had reached an “inflection point” post COVID-19 outbreak.

The executives on the call claimed that almost 70% of their customer base now fears for their health when it comes to paying in cash as it requires physical contact. This is understandable given the coronavirus pandemic has not only brought businesses to a halt, but it has also created a sense of fear among common masses over physical contact.

John Rainey, CFO of Paypal, believes the fear of physical contact has accelerated e-commerce and contactless payment by many years in just one quarter.

PayPal owned Venmo has also seen explosive growth as the total number of users reaching 60 million users. The increase in the use of Venmo is a big boost for PayPal’s plan to become the leader in the digital payment arena. Venmo was earlier used just for splitting bills, but in recent times the use case has expanded to a broader domain.

Paypal to Invest Heavily to Improve its Digital Wallet

Paypal being the payment and remittance giant does not want to miss out on the changing times and the changing dynamics in the payment arena. This is the reason they have decided to invest in their digital wallet service to ensure it is the go-to digital wallet for consumers. Paypal is also promoting the use of a QR code-based payment option through its merchants and Venmo app.

Paypal revealed that they are expecting to grow their revenue by 25% for the rest of the year.

They have also decided to finally venture into the digital asset offering through its platform, which the company has sidelined for quite some time. The payment giant has partnered with Paxos to avail of the purchase of digital assets from within the app.

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Author: James W

SEC Contracts with DARPA Funded CipherTrace to Track BNB & Binance Chain

The US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) is now taking a special interest in Binance Chain and the native token of the leading spot exchange Binance BNB among other tokens on its blockchain.

Binance Chain hosts about 189 tokens along with the 10th largest cryptocurrency by market cap of $3 billion BNB and underlies Binance DEX, a decentralized exchange.

“This is a significant step to have more BinanceChain token listings on fiat exchanges. Working for our ecosystem projects,” said Changpeng Zao, Binance CEO.

As per the public records, SEC has chosen CipherTrace Inc. for this task to which the agency intends to award a fixed-price contract on a single source basis. The contract will be awarded by SEC by today for a period of one year with four options of one year each to extend the contract. It states,

“CipherTrace Inc., is the only source that can reasonably meet the SEC’s requirement in accordance with FAR Part 13.106-1(b).”

Founded in 2015, the blockchain analytics company was initially funded by the US Department of Homeland Security and DARPA, an agency of the US Department of Defense responsible for the development of emerging technologies for the military use.

CipherTrace is the only forensics and risk intelligence tool that can support Binance Coin (BNB) and all other tokens on the Binance network, reads the notice.

CipherTrace partnered with Binance in November 2019 to bring anti-money laundering (AML) tracing tools to Binance Chain.

At the time, Dave Jevans, CipherTrace CEO said, as the crypto ecosystem matures, regulators demand better transparency and compliance.

The technology will enable regulators to browse Binance blockchain and identify high-risk addresses, said Binance adding, CipherTrace will improve its blockchain’s AML controls.

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Author: AnTy