European Banking Giant, Société Générale, Issues Security Token On Tezos Blockchain

European Banking Giant, Société Générale, Issues Security Token On Tezos Blockchain

One of the largest financial institutions in Europe, Société Générale, is continuing its blockchain and crypto exploration by offering tokenized securities running on the Tezos blockchain network.

Sharing in a press statement, this is the first tokenized asset offered by the institution. The security token issuance marks an imperative milestone for the bank in its focus to start a full-spectrum crypto business unit by next year.

In preparation to kickstart crypto market operations by next year, Société Générale has launched a subsidiary dubbed Forge that will offer tokenized security that can be connected with its legacy banking platforms. Besides issuing tokenized securities, the bank also plans to offer exchange and custodial services, but they will focus on institutional customers and not retail.

The bank also explained that the new tokenized security was offered after meeting all legal and regulatory requirements.

“This new experimentation, performed in accordance with best market practices, demonstrates the legal, regulatory and operational feasibility of issuing more complex financial instruments (structured products) on a public blockchain.”

With the current security offering, this is the third year in a row that Société Générale has adapted blockchain developments and solutions to fit growing demand.

In 2019, the banking behemoth offered a 100 million euro bond using its specialty outfit dubbed Société Générale SFH via the Ethereum network.

In May of last year, SFH and Forge, in collaboration with the French central bank, offered another 40 million euro bond that was tokenized and settled through the yet to be made public central bank digital currency (CBDC).

Société Générale is one of the financial institutions that Banque de France has earmarked to participate in a pilot for a central bank digital bank (CBDC) project.

Early this month, Société Générale was one of the banks which European Investment Bank tapped to utilize blockchain technology while issuing digital bonds.

Although the European Union has not yet agreed on crypto regulations for the region, Société Générale is still pursuing the operationalization of the crypto business unit.

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Author: Joseph Kibe

Gitcoin Spins Out of ConsenSys After Raising Over $11M in a ‘Strategic’ Capital Move

Gitcoin Spins Out of ConsenSys After Raising Over $11M in a ‘Strategic’ Capital Move

Gitcoin, a decentralized funding program supporting open-sourced blockchain projects, has grown its Treasuries by $11.3 million, a blog post confirmed on Wednesday. The funding was led by Paradigm, with top crypto firms such as IDEO, 1kx, Electric Capital, The LAO, and MetaCartel Ventures also joining the round. Other individual investors included Andreessen Horowitz’s board partner, Balaji Srinivasan, and Naval Ravikant, co-founder of AngelList.

The additional funding aims to increase the firm’s capital during tougher crypto market times and assist the company spin-out from its parent company, ConsenSys.

“It was time for us to go and see if this bird can fly and if we can do this on our own and manage our own balance sheet accordingly,” Gitcoin COO Kyle Weiss said.

Launched in 2017, the firm has helped several companies get off the ground, including Uniswap (UNI), Defiant (a crypto-focused publication), and the Ethereum 2.0 testnet, Prysm. The program has released nearly $20 million in grants to connect crypto and Web3 startups with open-source developers.

Weiss said the extra funding would enhance the “general development of the space” to decentralize the internet while helping open source developers in funding, especially in times of crisis.

“We want Gitcoin and Gitcoin Grants to have staying power, so now is the time to make sure there’s enough money in the treasury to last the next four to 10 years, potentially through at least another bear market” Weiss said.

Gitcoin rolled out four grant programs in 2020 to over 20 projects after $975,000 in grants across 2019.

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Author: Lujan Odera

Bitcoin Payment Network, BitPay, Joins Square-Led Crypto Open Patent Alliance (COPA)

Bitcoin Payment Network, BitPay, Joins Square-Led Crypto Open Patent Alliance (COPA)

The alliance promotes sharing open-source patents and projects across partners.

BitPay is the latest in a string of big crypto companies to join the Square-led Crypto Open Patent Alliance (COPA), a blog post released on Wednesday confirmed. The alliance aims to enhance development across the crypto industry by promoting open-source projects and shared patents among members.

Launched in 2020, COPA is an alliance working towards ensuring Bitcoin and crypto remain completely free and open – as first envisioned by Satoshi. Square and Twitter founder Jack Dorsey has been at the forefront in calling for cooperation across the crypto field, stating the alliance will “help the crypto community defend against patent aggressors and trolls,” just like they recently did with Faketoshi, Craig Wright.

With cryptocurrencies and blockchain technologies becoming mainstream, firms in the space are changing their way of business, with patent protection and court battles becoming the order of the day, Stephen Pair, CEO of BitPay, said.

“We see both business and consumer adoption accelerating as a result of COPA industry leaders working together to advance technology innovation, making the blockchain easy to use for both businesses and consumers.”

As one of the oldest Bitcoin payment channels, BitPay saw it fit to release their patents to the alliance to enhance innovation in the crypto payment space. The platform processes cryptocurrency payments to enable borderless payments using assets such as BTC, ETH, DOGE, BCH, and stablecoins such as USDC, PAX, and BUSD.

BitPay joins Coinbase (a COPA founding member) as the second high-profile company in the COPA alliance to push forward an ‘open patents policy’ to boost the growth in developments and innovation in the crypto ecosystem, a statement from Coinbase read at the time.

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Author: Lujan Odera

Fed Reserve Chair Jerome Powell Calls BTC A ‘Speculative Asset’ Amid Coinbase Direct Listing

Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell Calls BTC A ‘Speculative Asset’ Amid Coinbase Direct Listing

Cryptocurrencies have been around for more than a decade and have just gained global relevance in the last two years.

This has been largely due to institutional investors seeing digital assets like Bitcoin as a hedge against inflation. However, the US Federal Reserve boss believes that crypto-assets are still not ripe for payments.

Crypto Is Just For Speculation

In a virtual interview organized by the Economic Club of New York, Powell said that cryptocurrencies are ideal as vehicles for price speculation. According to him, they have not attained the status of becoming a payment option.

Powell also said that cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin could be rightly compared to precious metals like gold, given the difficulty of mining them. And since humanity has always placed gold on a high pedestal, he feels that Bitcoin can transform into the same mold.

Powell’s comments may seem contradictory to crypto owners who believe that Bitcoin was created for payment services. The jury is still out on whether Bitcoin would function as a medium of exchange effectively. This is due to the development of solutions like sidechains and Lightning Network.

Companies like Tesla now accept Bitcoin as payment for their sedans, and many more businesses would tow the same line soon. The adoption rate in the traditional markets has also been growing.

Just yesterday, the U.S-based bitcoin exchange Coinbase made its debut on Nasdaq as a publicly-traded company.

The milestone, which is a first for the crypto industry, is poised to attract more investments into the space.

Coinbase opened its shares to the investing public at a whopping $381 per share against the $250 reference price.

The company also made its Q1 report for 2021 public, noting that it generated over $1.8 billion in revenue and onboarded 56 million unique users since its founding.

BTC Better Store Of Value Than Gold

Powell’s views on cryptocurrencies are not entirely novel to the crypto universe. Last month, U.S Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen called Bitcoin a highly speculative asset and not fit to be used as a value transmission mechanism.

According to the well-known Bitcoin critic, value transmission through cryptocurrencies is an extremely inefficient way of conducting transactions. Her comments have not slowed down investments in the sector. Software company MicroStrategy owns Bitcoin worth billions of US dollars. The company’s CEO Michael Saylor sees Bitcoin as a better store of value than gold and other precious metals.

Recently, the company announced that non-employee board members will now be paid using Bitcoin.

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Author: Jimmy Aki

ClearShares ETF (PIFI) with No Involvement in Bitcoin, Changes its Ticker to “BTC”

ClearShares Piton Intermediate Fixed Income (PIFI) ETF with No Involvement in Bitcoin, Changes its Ticker to ‘BTC’

During the last bull market, companies pulled similar moves, and before that, similar behavior provided the firms with “a large and permanent value increase during the dot-com bubble.”

ClearShare has filed with the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) to change the ticker for its ClearShares Piton Intermediate Fixed Income ETF from PIFI to “BTC.”

This name change will be effective from April 16, 2021, as per the official document.

ClearShares is an investment advisory service provider which launched this Fund late last year on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE). This Fund invests in corporate bonds, U.S. government treasuries, and government agency debt with no mention of crypto assets.

But the company is riding the cryptocurrency wave and filed for this ticker change just the day before the largest crypto exchange in the US, Coinbase, went public with a whopping $100 billion valuation.

The ticker “BTC” that the firm is trying to copy here explicitly points to only Bitcoin, a trillion-dollar asset that surged to a new all-time high at nearly $65,000 this week, up more than 1,600% from March lows.

Meanwhile, PIFI is a mere $29.64 million market cap fund as its shares trade at $98.81, barely moved from its jump to $100 when it was launched six months back.

This Fund that can be purchased on popular online brokerage accounts, WeBull, Vanguard Brokerage Services, TD Ameritrade, E*TRADE, Robinhood, Fidelity, and Charles Schwab, pays an annual dividend of $0.02 per share and currently has a dividend yield of 0.02%.

This filing to change the ticker to “BTC” is clearly a blatant and “cheap” move to ride on the crypto market’s ongoing bull rally.

As we saw during the 2017 bull market, several companies like Kodak tried to ride on the crypto market’s coattails, announcing a blockchain platform and launching its own coin (KodakCoin), resulting in an immediate pump only to die soon after.

This behavior of ClearShaers is actually no different from what the market saw during the dot-com bubble, a phenomenon noted by a research paper from 2001, saying regardless of the firm’s involvement with the internet, a mere association was enough to “provide a firm with a large and permanent value increase.”

“We document a striking positive stock price reaction to the announcement of corporate name changes to Internet-related dotcom names. This “dotcom” effect produces cumulative abnormal returns on the order of 74 percent for the 10 days surrounding the announcement day. The effect does not appear to be transitory; there is no evidence of a post-announcement negative drift,” reads the abstract.

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Author: AnTy

Cardano Releases Plutus Smart Contract Language in Preparation for Alonzo Hard Fork

Cardano Releases Plutus Smart Contract Language in Preparation for Alonzo Hard Fork

Cardano is steps away from adding smart contract functionality once the next major upgrade, Alonzo, is complete. The smart contract functionality will be coded using the native Plutus language.

Input-Output Hong Kong (IOHK) has released a detailed blog post on Plutus, the native smart contract programming language for Cardano, which will advance smart contracts’ development once the next major blockchain upgrade Alonzo, launches.

An announcement was made during the Cardano360 event; the Alonzo hard fork will “establish the infrastructure and add tools for functional smart contract development” on Cardano.

The Plutus smart contract language

Developers will need to be aware of three critical concepts before starting to build decentralized applications (DApps) and smart contracts on Cardano, the post reads. First, the extended unspent transaction (EUXTO) model, the Plutus Core (the ‘on-chain’ part of Plutus), and the Plutus Application Framework, or PAF in short.

Similar to Bitcoin, Cardano uses the unspent transactions accounting model, where the inputs are unspent outputs from other transactions. However, Alonzo introduces an enhanced version, the EUTXO model, which brings about the ability to record on-chain and off-chain transactions.

This is made possible using the PAF, which allows developers to create applications and services that automatically provide an HTTP and WebSocket interface, which enables the application to connect with off-chain data such as web browsers – providing unlimited capabilities to smart contract users.

Finally, the Plutus Core defines the platform’s functionalities, script, and data to allow EUTXOs to be recorded on the blockchain.

IOHK recently announced Cardano is moving towards full decentralization with Alonzo hard fork’s launch through an event called the “Public Assertion of Randomness.” This follows the launch of native tokens on Cardano following the Mary hard fork, allowing anyone to create their custom token, transfer and receive without a need for an external wallet.

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Author: Lujan Odera

One Reason Why Bitcoin (BTC) May Continue On Its Parabolic Trajectory

Despite the volatility this week, due to Coinbase making its debut on Nasdaq, the Bitcoin price is holding strong above $62,000.

Amidst this, over $623 million worth of BTC stolen in the Bitfinex hack in 2016 moved, representing 10% of the total 119,756 BTC originally stolen. This could have been an attempt to move unseen amidst all the worldwide frenzy around “COIN” listing.

After hitting nearly $65,000 on Wednesday, BTC took a hit to $61,500, which in part could be due to stolen bitcoin moving and in part COIN shares ending up lowering 24%. But the market expects BTC to be back to a new ATH before taking over $70k.

While anything can happen in the market, we are far from topping out based on past performance.

As CoinGecko notes in its latest 2021 Q1 report on the cryptocurrency industry, the ascent of Bitcoin in this cycle (2020- 2022) is mimicking the trajectory it took in the last cycle (2016-2018).

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As we recently reported, despite rallying 1,610% from March lows, due to a wave of institutional adoption amid a conducive macro-environment, BTC is only 225% above its 2017 peak of $20,000. By comparison, the 2017 peak was 1,578% above 2013 ATH, and the 2013 peak was 3,590% higher than the 2011 ATH.

Interestingly, unlike last year and the previous cycle, this cycle we see very low volatility despite bitcoin becoming a trillion-dollar crypto asset, making its way to a six-figure price.

One reason why bitcoin might continue its trajectory, according to the report, is inflation. After spending trillions of dollars, another $1.9 trillion bill was passed this week that will again pour more money into the market.

Moreover, with the Federal Reserve determined to keep interest rates low, there is a growing fear of rising inflation, a setup that has made Bitcoin an increasingly viable hedge against the inflationary macro-environment stated Coingecko.

As we have seen, Bitcoin continues to outperform all major asset classes, but while the stock market is doing good, making new ATHs, gold, and bonds (TLT) did not amidst a “rally” in the U.S. Dollar index and rising bond yields.

Bitcoin’s market capitalization is actually just 10X away from flipping gold.

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When it comes to the rest of the market, Ether is finally moving up, hitting $2,400 this week. But with rising prices comes congestion and fee spikes, making it not conducive for retail users to do even a simple swap using DEXs. ETH 3.60% Ethereum / USD ETHUSD $ 2,523.06
$90.833.60%
Volume 32.2 b Change $90.83 Open $2,523.06 Circulating 115.48 m Market Cap 291.37 b
3 h European Banking Giant, Société Générale, Issues Security Token On Tezos Blockchain 3 h Gitcoin Spins Out of ConsenSys After Raising Over $11M in a ‘Strategic’ Capital Move 4 h Bitcoin Payment Network, BitPay, Joins Square-Led Crypto Open Patent Alliance (COPA)

With ‘Ethereum-Killers’ racing to offer the cheapest gas fees, this turned out to be good for Binance’s BSC. SOL 6.43% Solana / USD SOLUSD $ 27.85
$1.796.43%
Volume 221.45 m Change $1.79 Open $27.85 Circulating 270.02 m Market Cap 7.52 b
6 h One Reason Why Bitcoin (BTC) May Continue On Its Parabolic Trajectory 1 d Solana’s Data Aggregator Step Finance Raises $2 Million in Private Sale 3 d BNB Flying to Achieve $100 Bln Market Cap Ahead of Coin Burn & Amidst ‘BSC DeFi Summer’
BNB 0.93% Binance Coin / USD BNBUSD $ 544.29
$5.060.93%
Volume 4.59 b Change $5.06 Open $544.29 Circulating 154.53 m Market Cap 84.11 b
6 h One Reason Why Bitcoin (BTC) May Continue On Its Parabolic Trajectory 1 d Ripple Executives File for Lawsuit Dismissal On Back of Last Week’s Victory; XRP Jumps On the News 1 d Binance Is Listing A Tokenized Stock of Coinbase, CZ says ‘Rooting for $COIN’
ADA 1.61% Cardano / USD ADAUSD $ 1.48
$0.021.61%
Volume 5.34 b Change $0.02 Open $1.48 Circulating 31.95 b Market Cap 47.39 b
6 h Cardano Releases Plutus Smart Contract Language in Preparation for Alonzo Hard Fork 6 h One Reason Why Bitcoin (BTC) May Continue On Its Parabolic Trajectory 6 d Revolut Adds 11 New ‘Hot’ Cryptos Including DeFi Tokens for UK and EU Users

“Total TVL is growing, but BSC’s TVL appears to be stealing Ethereum’s thunder – in Q1 2021 alone, BSC’s TVL rose from 3% to 27%. Apr-21 Ethereum is likely losing ground because of rising gas fees which drives away retail users,” noted the report.

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Author: AnTy

Sotheby’s Sold Digital Artwork by Pak for $16.8 Million Along with a Single Pixel NFT for $1.36 Mln

Sotheby’s Sold Digital Artwork by Pak for $16.8 Million Along with a Single Pixel NFT for $1.36 Mln

Sotheby’s hosted its first digital art sale that fetched $16.8 million.

The non-fungible token (NFT) was created by anonymous digital artist Pak, the auction house said on Wednesday. It also sold an image of a single-pixel for $1.36 million.

The sale of the artwork was accepted in Ether (ETH) along with via debit or credit card.

Just a month back, rival Christie’s sold its NFT, “Everydays: The First 5,000 Days,” by digital artist Beeple for $69.3 million, which was all paid in Ether cryptocurrency. ETH 3.60% Ethereum / USD ETHUSD $ 2,523.06
$90.833.60%
Volume 32.2 b Change $90.83 Open $2,523.06 Circulating 115.48 m Market Cap 291.37 b
3 h European Banking Giant, Société Générale, Issues Security Token On Tezos Blockchain 3 h Gitcoin Spins Out of ConsenSys After Raising Over $11M in a ‘Strategic’ Capital Move 4 h Bitcoin Payment Network, BitPay, Joins Square-Led Crypto Open Patent Alliance (COPA)

According to the site NonFungible.com, $2 billion has changed hands through the NFT market in the first quarter of 2021 alone.

Called ‘The Fungible’ Collection,” the digital artwork sold by Sotheby’s includes a series of digital cubes which collectors could buy for $500 to $1,500 each, then receive NFTs based on the number of cubes they own.

The NFT of an image of a single pixel called “The Pixel” also fetched $1.36 million on the auction after 90-minute bidding.

This sale was particularly targeted toward “crypto-native collectors, said Max Moore, contemporary art specialist at Sotheby’s.

“These new crypto investors have a very different aesthetic and a very different taste profile than a traditional collector would, and so it’s important to provide a mix and a range of collectibles at Sotheby’s to attract a wide variety of audiences.”

The sale of the digital artwork took place on the crypto exchange Gemini owned Nifty Gateway.

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Author: AnTy

BlackRock CEO Larry Fink says He believes Bitcoin ‘Can Become A Great Asset Class’

BlackRock CEO Larry Fink says He believes Bitcoin ‘Can Become A Great Asset Class’

After reporting a record $9 trillion in AUM, Larry Fink said, “We’re studying it” and making “money on it.”

Bitcoin can become a “great asset class,” says BlackRock CEO Larry Fink.

This isn’t anything new coming from Fink or the world’s largest asset manager with a record $9 trillion in assets under management (AUM), as since late last year, much like the rest of the world, BlackRock has also been exploring the cryptocurrency sector.

“It may become a great asset class, and I do believe this can become a great asset class,” said Fink in an interview with CNBC on Thursday.

“I don’t believe we should think about crypto as a substitute of currency.”

While Fink said the asset manager has had “very little interconnectivity” in the conversation on crypto other than a “fascination” with their clients, they are definitely involved in the trillion-dollar asset. “We’re studying it,” Fink said.

“We make money on it, but I’m not here to tell you that we’re seeing broad-based interest by institutions worldwide.”

“Maybe they’re talking to somebody else, so I don’t want to suggest that we have perfect information.”

These latest comments came from BlackRock after the company reported better-than-expected earnings.

Just a day before, after beating expectations with Q1 2021 results, Goldman Sachs CEO David Solomon also shared his bullish views on cryptos saying they are “important to the future of global financial systems” and that they “continue to look for ways to expand” their capabilities to support clients’ needs.

Fink meanwhile said for their institutional clients, climate risk, budget deficits, and inflation are far more dominant topics of conversation than crypto.

As we reported earlier this month, BlackRock disclosed in its filing with the SEC that they already had exposure to Bitcoin through CME futures. Earlier this year, Fink had said that the crypto could be another store of value but that it hasn’t proven it yet.

BlackRock CIO of Fixed Income Rick Rieder, meanwhile, has been very bullish on the digital asset, seeing it replacing gold and that there’s clearly more bitcoin than supply.

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Author: AnTy

ECB Survey: 43% Of Respondents View Privacy As A Critical Ingredient For A Digital Euro

ECB Survey: 43% Of Respondents View Privacy As A Critical Ingredient For A Digital Euro

Weeks after European Central Bank (ECB) boss Christine Lagarde mentioned the bank’s intentions to conduct a public forum; the ECB has released its findings.

Privacy Is Uppermost On Europeans’ Minds

The press release made on April 14 was able to highlight some of the key requirements of a central bank digital currency (CBDC).

The public consultation, which began in October 2020 and ended on January 12, 2021, received a record number of responses. According to the ECB, 8,200 responses were filed with private citizens and professionals participating in the exercise.

The report noted that private individuals accounted for 94%. The remaining were made of professionals, including banks, payments service providers, and merchants.

The country with the most participants was Germany (47%), followed by Italy (15%) and France (11%).

The majority of the participants highlighted privacy as a major feature they would like to have on the upcoming digital euro. 43% of respondents called for this. This was followed by security at 18%, the ability to make payments in EU member states was 11%, and with no additional costs at 9%. Offline usability took the rear, with 8% of respondents asking for this.

According to the ECB Executive Board member Fabio Panetta, a digital euro will only be successful if it meets the needs of Europeans. Panetta assured all participants that the public consultation would serve as a guideline for the digital euros exploration.

CBDCs Tools For Government Surveillance

In a previous conversation, ECB boss Christine Lagarde had revealed that the process from adoption to the launch of a digital Euro could take up to four years.

CBDCs are a hot topic following the recent surge in private cryptocurrencies’ prices. With many countries clamping down on crypto assets, some national banks actively explore the potential of a state-sanctioned digital currency to combat the extinction of fiat.

The People’s Bank of China (PBoC) has become a major force in the CBDC race after launching pilot tests in several Chinese cities. Other national banks like the Swiss Riksbank are also considering a digital krona called the e-krona.

Despite what many consider a necessity to combat volatility associated with cryptocurrencies, critics of CBDCs have said that they are just tools for more government surveillance. This has led to some countries like the US stalling in their CBDC program until they have a solution for users’ privacy concerns.

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Author: Jimmy Aki