eToro to Offer Crypto Cards in the UK After Acquiring Visa Principal Member, Marq Millions

eToro, a popular commodity trading app with the option to trade traditional stocks as well as digital assets, is all set to launch its debit card for U.K. customers. Etoro’s decision to launch its debit card might be influenced by its recent acquisition of principal VISA member Marq Millions Ltd, which also posses an e-money business holding license.

The news broke on July 29, but the fiscal details of the acquisition were not revealed. The firm would now offer its debit card as eToro Money. However, the Marq Millions Ltd management team would work with the eToro Money.

The date for the launch of the debit card has not been revealed yet, however, the debit cards would be first made available to the club members in the United Kingdom.

After the launch of a debit card for U.K. club members, the services would be expanded to Europe and later to even non-eToro members. Apart from acquiring the prime Visa membership, eToro would also inherit EMI License permission from the U.K.’s Financial Conduct Authority as well.

How would eToro’s Debit Card Works?

eToro’s debit card would facilitate instant cash-in and cash-out services, which could be a big hit among crypto traders to cash out their profits in cash.

Yoni Assia, CEO of eToro, commented on the company’s plan to launch the debit card and also believe that there will be many takers given the firm boasts of 14 million registered users.

There has been a massive surge among crypto service providers to launch crypto debit cards as it makes crypto transactions easier. Many traditional financial firms have shown interest in launching crypto debit cards, and many crypto service providers are also looking to launch a crypto debit card in the near future, which is a clear sign of rising popularity and adoption of cryptocurrencies.

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Author: James W

Iranian Govt Approves Industrial Crypto Mining by Power Plants in the Country

The government of Iran has approved a decision that would allow industrial-scale powerplants in the country to operate bitcoin miners in their plant, given they don’t use subsidized fuel. The announcement was made on July 27th in the Islamic Republic News Agency (IRNA), a local publication.

Mostafa Rajabi Mashhadi, Deputy Managing Director of Iran’s Power Generation, Transmission, and Distribution Management Company, Tavanir. Mashhadi commented on the government’s decision to approve crypto mining, that now they are focusing on making sure that these industrial-scale businesses do not exploit the subsidized electricity meant for farmers and underprivileged. He said:

“Now we’re in a situation where the supply of electricity is of great importance to the public. We will not allow anyone to misuse tariffs provided for the agricultural and industrial sectors to produce Bitcoin while it’s worth more than $9,000.”

The Iranian government had approved crypto mining back in July 2019 and issued 1,000 operating licenses. Since then, fourteen recipients of the permit have requested 300 MW electricity energy, which is equal to the consumption of three provinces in the country.

Now that the government has also approved mining for power plants, it would be imperative to ensure a balance between the amount of energy being consumed for mining and the standard requirements of the public.

The tariffs offered by the Iranian government on electricity for mining cryptocurrency depend on several factors, like the cost of oil, the abundance of energy, and many more similar elements.

Iran Turns to Crypto Amid Troubled Times

Iran has been facing a mounting financial crisis, which has been only aggravated by several trade sanctions imposed by the US. The value of the national fiat has also fallen significantly since 2011, which has forced the government to look for an alternative.

Given Iran offers one of the cheapest electricity, bitcoin and crypto mining always seemed a profitable industry that can be nurtured. The government’s recent decision to allow power plants to operate bitcoin miners appears to be a step in the right direction.

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Author: Rebecca Asseh

Binance Opens Fiat-to-Crypto Trading Platform for the Australian Market

Binance has launched a new fiat-to-crypto platform for the Australian market, a move that will enable its users from the down south to be able to buy digital assets as well as trade them against the local currency, AUD. The crypto exchange announced the milestone in a blog post on July 28, noting that Australians will now have access to a broader range of digital assets compared to the portfolio under Binance Lite Australia, a crypto brokerage initiative launched for this market back in March 2019.

Binance touted the new platform as ‘fast, secure and reliable’ given its underlying value proposition to the Aussies. With this new initiative, users operating in the Australian market will be able to make AUD deposits on Binance from their bank accounts through PayID. As for withdrawals, users only have to link their bank accounts with Binance Australia to initiate such a request. Currently, Binance Australia’s services are available on mobile web and desktop, with the app set to be integrated later.

Binance Founder and CEO, known as CZ in the crypto space, has since noted this underlying potential in Australia and an opportunity for Binance to flex muscles down south as well,

“Australia has been at the forefront of blockchain innovation with favorable policies. By providing a secure and regulated platform for trading digital currencies with AUD, Binance Australia aims to make crypto more accessible among Australian users, furthering our mission to provide crypto access and drive freedom of money worldwide.”

Binance Global Expansion Streak

This top crypto exchange has been making inroads to a number of markets in recent months as more stakeholders demand crypto services in their local jurisdictions. One strategy that the firm appears to have mastered is running local subsidiaries through affiliate partners. Binance Australia, for instance, is run by a locally registered crypto exchange dubbed ‘InvestbyBit, Pty,’ which is closely related to crypto payment service provider, TravelbyBit.

Some of the markets that the exchange has recently expanded to include the U.S, South Korea, Jersey, and Uganda. In addition to this, Binance has also signaled that it will soon launch its service in the U.K as it looks to scale its market position even further. Apart from expanding its trading services, the CZ led crypto exchange has been aggressively listing new digital currencies to its P2P trading ecosystem.

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Author: Edwin Munyui

Philippines Central Bank Governor Confirms Interest in Launching A Digital Currency

  • Philippines joins the race to launch their digitized fiat, CBDC.
  • Fiat not going away soon, central bank governor says.
  • China and Japan are also focusing on CBDC.

The central bank of the Philippines, otherwise known as Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP), expresses its interest in launching its own central bank digital currency (CBDC).

In a story first covered on Bloomberg, the governor of BSP, Benjamin Diokno, stated the country had formed a research committee on the possible launch of digital currency. The article further states that the research team is set to release its findings in the coming month.

The committee, which was formed earlier this year, started its research on the policy implications and potential feasibility that digital currencies bring to the Philippines economy. Speaking in a virtual conference, Diokno said:

“We have to first look at the findings of the group before making a decision.”

This is the first time the country is publicly declaring its interest in developing its digital currency.

Fiat Demand not Going Away Soon

The launch of digital currencies is widely considered as an end to the demand for fiat currencies, rising the skepticism on CBDCs across regulators and financial authorities globally.

Diokno, however, said the need for fiat in the Philippines would remain stable despite an introduction of the CBDC, further stating the importance of the underlying blockchain technology.

Diokno said:

“Cryptocurrency for us has always been beyond the asset itself but more on the blockchain technology that underpins it.”

Philippines will be joining a select group of countries researching and developing their CBDC’s, including its neighbors, China, and Japan. Japan announced it would accelerate its digital yen development with a new CBDC department earlier in the month, and the former is already carrying out testing on the digital yuan.

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Author: Lujan Odera

Pantera Bitcoin Fund Clients, Including Institutional & HNWI Investors, Are HODLers

The blockchain investment fund, Pantera Capital, has completed its seven months, and its Bitcoin fund has generated a lifetime return of 15,140% net fees and expenses, “outperforming bitcoin over the same period.”

Pantera Bitcoin Fund provides institutions, and high-net-worth individuals access to large quantities of bitcoin without the burden of safekeeping them. It also offers daily liquidity, but most of its investors are long-term hodlers, with an average holding period of 841 days.

Bitcoin’s high volatility, 75% annualized volatility, is the most common concern of institutions in its adoption but also the reason behind such prominent gains, which made it the best performing asset class of the last decade.

Also, it used to be a lot higher and will be a lot lower in the next few decades, that’s just the way new asset classes work. “Volatility exists because it’s still a young asset class — bitcoin is just a teenager,” reads Pantera’s report released on Wednesday.

Despite this high volatility, bitcoin’s annual price low has been higher than the previous year’s low every time except for one year in its ten-year life.

Bitcoin Just a Tiny Fraction of All the Markets it can Disrupt

In 2020, bitcoin acted like a risky asset as it crashed along with the majority of the asset classes due to coronavirus pandemic. Starting last week, the digital asset started its journey as a digital gold — a safe haven asset and a hedge against inflation, as it went in the opposite direction of the S&P 500.

Bitcoin is currently trading around $11,000 after breaking two important key levels $10,000 and $10,500 earlier this week. BTC/USD is up over 50% YTD. Amidst these gains also came the green light from OCC that is now letting all nationally chartered banks in the U.S. provide custody services for digital assets.

It’s clear that bitcoin has many use cases, sometimes a store of value and others a centralized settlement system.

In terms of an alternative SoV to gold, bitcoin is just 2% of yellow metal’s $9 trillion market and as money, even a smaller fraction.

“With all these potential markets to disrupt, it really comes down to how many people choose to use it,” wrote Dan Morehead, CEO of Pantera.

“A few years ago, there were half a million people using it for speculation, commerce, remittances, and more. Now there are probably 50 million people using bitcoin and cryptocurrencies. And in a few years, if a billion people are using it, it’s going to be worth a lot more. It’s just supply and demand,” he said.

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Author: AnTy

Data Breach at Popular Hardware Crypto Wallet Ledger Affects Million; Trezor Fires Shots

Popular crypto hardware wallet Ledger reported the leak of 1 million email addresses and 9,500 detailed personal information of its customers.

Ledger’s competitor, Trezor, took this opportunity to advertise, “After 90 days, we get rid of all sensitive data about your order in our e-shop database (even e-mail addresses),” complete with promo code “DATAPRIVACY” to offer a discount on its products. But it’s limited to 9500 users.

The company came to know of the data breach on July 14th when a researcher participating in Ledger’s bounty program made them aware of it; Ledger shared in its official report. Ledger immediately fixed the breach and conducted an internal investigation.

Now, a week after patching the breach, the company discovered the vulnerability had been exploited on June 25th by an unauthorized third party. The entity accessed Ledger’s e-commerce and marketing database through an API key, which has now been deactivated and is no longer accessible.

The database access, which has been used to send order confirmations and promotional emails, including mostly email addresses along with contact and order details such as first and last name, postal address, email address, and phone number.

Approximately 1 million email addresses were affected, and a subset of 9500 customers was exposed for first and last name, postal address, phone number, or ordered products.

“Your payment information and crypto funds are safe,” as the data breach has no link and impact on hardware wallets, crypto assets, or Ledger Live security, ensuring the company.

The company has since then informed all of its customers about the situation, and those whose detailed personal information is exposed have been sent dedicated emails.

Ledger has also notified the CNIL, the French Data Protection Authority, which ensures that data privacy law is applied to the collection, storage, and use of personal data.

Last week, they partnered with Orange Cyberdefense to assess the situation and are actively monitoring the evidence of databases being sold on the internet.

The company is now extending the scope of its security and organizational program to e-commerce, which initially focused on Products (HW and Vault). Further steps are taken to meet the requirements listed in ISO 27001.

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Author: AnTy

Coinbase Launches Dai Rewards Program, Sets APY at 2%; Is That The Best Rate Available?

Coinbase crypto exchange has launched a Dai rewards program that will see its clients earn a 2% APY for holding this stablecoin in their accounts.

According to the blog post on July 29, this product will be available in six countries, which include:

  • the U.S.
  • Netherlands
  • United Kingdom
  • Spain
  • Australia
  • France

The move comes as another boost to Maker, which is Dai’s parent and currently the leading DeFi with a total value locked (TVL) of $1 billion, 27% of the total DeFi market value.

Back in 2019, Coinbase rolled out a similar initiative for the USDC stablecoin with rates as high as .125%; this was, however, slashed by 90% this year. The U.S. based crypto exchange has since noted that stablecoins have quite a role to play in the crypto ecosystem when it comes to volatility elimination.

These digital assets have grown significantly, comprising $12 billion of the crypto market, it’s no wonder Coinbase has such faith in them:

“This is one reason stablecoins have grown to a market cap of more than $12 billion, as people use them to hold funds without volatility, transfer funds quickly and cheaply, and gain exposure to the U.S. dollar.” reads the blog.

Notably, the new Dai Rewards by Coinbase will be issued to accounts with as low as $1, with the initial rewards set to be distributed within five days. With the current market lows in savings rates, they might just be another asset class with a better deal than wall street bankers at the moment. But that isn’t to say that traders aren’t already voicing their displeasure for such a low rate. Comparing the rate at which Coinbase offers vs many other exchanges and DeFi apps, it is quite low. For example, Nexo offers 8%, Compound does 7.28%, or Celsius sitting at 5.93%.

Also, crypto investors get to control their digital assets at any time based on the aspect of decentralization. Dai holders can withdraw their rewards as well as funds at any time. The downside, however, is that crypto exchanges are risky than traditional banks.

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Author: Edwin Munyui

Several Catalysts Will Drive the Demand for the Scarce Digital Asset, Bitcoin: Fidelity

Bitcoin’s inherent properties have given rise to the perspective that the digital asset could be a store of value, states Fidelity in its latest report on Bitcoin Investment Thesis. It is actually an “aspirational” SoV, creating value as it matures into a store of value.

Fidelity likened investing in bitcoin today to investing in Facebook when it had 50 million users with the potential to grow to the more than 2 billion users it has today.

One of the key arguments against bitcoin being an SoV today is its volatility, but even upward volatility attracts investment, development, and innovation.

But there is no long-term value to store it if there is no sustained demand for the digitally scarce asset and a decentralized settlement network. According to the report, the demand for the digital asset would grow incrementally.

The Catalysts

External forces that are accelerating interest and investment in bitcoin include unprecedented levels and exotic forms of monetary and fiscal stimulus globally, which is exacerbating the concerns that Bitcoin was designed to address as such leading more users towards bitcoin as an “insurance policy.”

This is a near-to medium-term catalyst where as many as 285 stimulus measures have been announced in just eight months, including virtually zero interest rates, increasing money supply via QE, and a range of lending facilities.

These measures were taken by central banks and governments to counteract the deflationary pressures created by global lockdowns to mitigate the spread of coronavirus. These restrictions and lockdowns have also propelled deglobalization, yet another catalyst for bitcoin.

“The increase in money supply may translate to an increase in the price of risky or scarce assets,” it reads. In case the combination of policy leads to inflation or if it stays suppressed, but nominal leads stay low or go lower, investors may turn to an asset that maintains its real value and cannot be printed.

Traditionally, investors turn to fixed supply assets like real estate, dividend-yielding stocks, and precious metals. Still, this time they have a new type of fixed supply asset available that has “significant growth potential.”

Simultaneously, the massive transfer of wealth from the older generation to a younger one is a gradual process but an important long-term tailwind, as younger people view bitcoin more favorably. Long-term wealth preservation is yet another factor to drive this demand.

According to WEF’s 2017 Global Shapers Survey, 45% of the 30,000 millennials surveyed said they don’t trust banks to be fair and honest. Edelman’s October 2018 survey of affluent millennials, those aged 24-38 with $50K in investable assets, found 77% of them believe “the whole financial system is designed to favor the rich and powerful.”

There has also been an affinity in millennials towards bitcoin relative to traditional stores of values like gold. About 90% of ETF Store’s millennial clients prefer bitcoin to gold, which they say is “landslide.”

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Author: AnTy

DeFi App, Aave, Releases Aavenomics Upgrade as It Prepares to Launch Its Governance Tokenv

Aave, the Ethereum based DeFi protocol, has released a tokenomics upgrade proposal dubbed ‘Aavenomics’ that will define its shift to a more decentralized governance ecosystem.

The firm announced this milestone on July 29 via a medium blog, noting that it is another exciting phase for Aave. Aave’s founder and CEO, Stani Kulechov, has since confirmed that the new governance tokens have been under development since we began the year.

The protocol is set to join the likes of Compound and Synthetic, which already launched its governance tokens. Notably, the debut of Compound’s token saw the DeFi market rally to new ATH’s as this protocol overtook Maker in terms of total value locked (TVL). This position, however, has not held given Maker regained its position as the leading DeFi protocol; over $1 billion are currently locked within its ecosystem.

Aave’s Governance Token

Currently, Aave’s DeFi platform uses LEND as its native token, but these are now set to be swapped for the upcoming governance token, AAVE. These governance tokens will supposedly introduce a financial services ecosystem that is pegged on a future proof framework and distributed governance to enhance safety and sustainability.

The LEND token supply, which is currently 1.3 billion, will be reduced to a bare 16 million AAVE tokens once the Aavenomics proposal is fully integrated. Thirteen million of these AAVE tokens will be redeemed by token holders, while the remaining 3 million will be allocated to Aave Ecosystem reserve. Going by these stats, Aave set the conversion rate for LEND against the new governance token at 100:1 to achieve the target numbers.

To initiate the swap, a governance vote will be conducted via the existing LEND token holders. Once approved, the underlying smart contracts will then facilitate the swap in a move that will see Aave achieve more decentralization in its governance.

The 3 million tokens allocated to Aave’s Ecosystem reserve will be used to incentivize development, hence safety and economic incentives in the rewards pool. Their allocation will be heavily dependent on Aave’s community, a decision they can now voice via a governance token.

Aave’s DeFi Footprint

At the moment, Aave is the fourth DeFi in terms of TVL with a significant $445 million in locked digital assets, up 14.6% in the last 24 hours. The project launched in 2017, and went by ‘EthLend‘ at the time; this name was, however, changed in September 2018 to what is now ‘Aave.’

Some highlights by this ETH financial service protocol include its $18 million ICO funding. This was later topped up by other funding rounds that have seen Aave gather over $3 million from the sale of LEND tokens after 2017.

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Author: Edwin Munyui

No More Selling Pressure from $5.7B PlusToken Ponzi as Chinese Police Arrest 82 Members

Chinese police have finally arrested all 27 primary suspects involved in the Plus Token Ponzi scheme.

The investigation led by the Ministry of Public Security successfully arrested all the major suspects and 82 key members of the case, reported Chinese financial news outlet CLS.

The Multi-level marketing (MLM) scheme has reportedly grown to 3,000 layers in the past year, frauding more than 2 million people for a whopping over 40 billion yuan, about $5.7 billion.

A year back in August, Chinese police officials arrested six suspects involved in this scheme, but the main suspects were still on the run at that time.

With this Ponzi scheme, the Chinese police have cracked down on one of the biggest Ponzi Schemes involving bitcoin as an exchange method.

PlusToken was launched in early 2018 and then in mid-2019 when some users couldn’t withdraw their funds from the wallets; it solidified the earlier suspicions of it being a pyramid scheme although the company tried to brush it off as a “hacker attack.”

Over these months, PlusToken has been a red sword hanging on bitcoin’s price’s head as time, and again the stolen funds were moved. Just last month, its entire Ether stash, about 790,000 ETH, was moved, spreading a wave of terror that it may cause Ethereum price to dump.

Given that bitcoin bulls now have “little to no baggage,” Dovey Wan, founding partner of Primitive Crypto, said, “let’s send it to the moon.”

The leading cryptocurrency is currently trading just over $11,000 after breaking key levels $10,000 and $10,500 this week.

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Author: AnTy