Another Fork of the Fork? Bitcoin Cash Upgrade Coming in November

Bitcoin ABC and its lead developer Amaury Sechet are forking Bitcoin Cash now, according to BCH proponent Roger Ver.

“Bitcoin ABC and @deadalnix have announced that they are forking away from #BitcoinCash on Nov 15th. We wish them good luck with their new coin and thank them for the free airdrop to all BCH holders,” tweeted Ver.

Ironically, November 15th is also the day when Bitcoin Cash (BCH) was hard forked into Bitcoin SV (BSV) back in 2018.

However, it is just an upgrade, as a month back, Sechet published an update about Bitcoin ABC where he talked about making primary improvements such as a new Coinbase Rule and change to the Difficulty Adjustment Algorithm to the blockchain.

“The addition of this new rule represents a significant step. […] node implementations, have developed a financial reliance on powerful interests such as mining corporations, venture capital funds, and angel investors,” read the blog.

Ver’s reaction came following Bitcoin ABC’s 0.22.1 release, which will activate the new coinbase rule, diverting 8% of all newly minted BCH to a development fund on Nov. 15.

Cointext CTO Vin Armani, who sees a split to be a more desirable outcome than infighting, says the most important thing about the event is that “there will finally be a Bitcoin network, with the roadmap necessary to become peer-to-peer cash at a global scale, that doesn’t include vocal and influential humans who believe you can fund such a project with donations.”

He further shared that the vocal people in the council have cryptographically proven that they are major miners and holders in the network, and their incentives are aligned with increasing the value of the network. If these influential people get “overthrown,” it will be by those with an even greater stake.

In the Bitcoin Cash network, Bitcoin ABC has 533 nodes (42%), while BCHN’s 126 nodes represent just a 10% share in the network’s 1,260 total nodes.

Bitcoin Unlimited (BU) implementation that has the largest share 44%, with 565 nodes, however, is opposed to the coinbase rule. And if BU and BCHN come together, they can reject the November upgrade.

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Author: AnTy

Anheuser-Busch InBev, ING Bank, & Rolls Royce Join Mousebelt’s Blockchain Education Alliance

Blockchain Education Alliance, an initiative by Mousebelt, has gained four new significant members according to an announcement by the blockchain accelerator on August 17. They include margin crypto trading platform Multi.io, Rolls Royce, Belgium brewing firm Anheuser-Busch InBev and Dutch-based ING bank.

The project whose fundamental goal is to accelerate blockchain education and research now has 26 members following this addition. Having launched in October 2019, pioneer members included ETC Labs, Nem, LTO Network, Harmony One, Wanchain, ICON, Tron, and the Stellar Development Foundation. It was not long before the initiative attracted the likes of Binance, Mastercard, KuCoin crypto exchange, and Constellation Labs onboard as well.

With such players already approving the Blockchain Education Alliance strategy, some of its milestones include a 72-hour live blockchain education event that was held in May. This virtual conference was dubbed ‘REIMAGINE 2020’ and featured networking events, panel and debates, and a continuous livestream of the keynotes.

Given the prevailing lockdowns at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, REIMAGINE 2020 attracted students from various universities, giving them exposure to cutting edge tech like blockchain as well as an opportunity to meet with the industry veterans. Mousebelt’s head of Education, Ashlie Meredith, further pointed out that they are looking to nature skills given the looming uncertainty in the global economy,

“In a time when many students will not be returning to campus, increasing opportunities for educational experiences, jobs and internships is of utmost importance.”

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Author: Edwin Munyui

Bitcoin Futures Trading at a High Premium; Already Hitting $12,000 on CME

Bitcoin has yet again gained momentum, with people expecting for $12k to hit soon. According to analyst Mati Greenspan, for a sustainable rally, a small retracement before we blast through $12,000 would be good for the largest digital currency.

“But judging by the current temperature, I’m not even sure a cooldown period is possible,” he said in his daily Quantum Economics email.

However, bitcoin has already jumped the $12,000 resistance on CME Group. Yesterday while people were awaiting $12k, BTC futures went as high as $12,100 before dropping back under $12k level.

The positive thing is while the spot price is around $11,780, CME Bitcoin futures are trading at $11,955, at a premium of nearly 1.5%.

Source: TradingView

The futures premium has been soaring since last week amidst the bitcoin rally, a trend which is continuing this week as well while the digital asset continues to rise further.

When it comes to September contracts, CME bitcoin futures contracts are trading at even a larger premium than the retail exchanges. The September premium has increased from 2.05% to 2.76% over the last week, as per Arcane Research. Denis Vinokourov of Bequant noted,

“The futures term structure remained in deep contango, suggesting risk appetite is aplenty, and this demand for leverage has been particularly evident in the lending market, where traders were seeking to borrow fiat versus crypto holdings to maximise basis trading strategies.”

The premium rates at retail exchanges have also been rising during this period, indicating strong bullish sentiments. At the time of writing, BTC was trading at $11,800 on Bitfinex, $11,824 on Coinbase, and $11,831 on Bitstamp and Gemini.

Increasing institutional demand

As bitcoin started rallying last week, the futures market saw a sudden increase in its funding rates, a tool to reassure the price of the perpetual swap is kept close to the underlying asset. The funding turns positive when the perpetual contract is trading above the BTC spot price, which has long trades paying a fee while short trades received a rebate.

The funding rates soared this week, on Binance they peaked at 0.14% as “investors sought to get leveraged exposure to the upside,” only to fall back to near normal state at 0.021%. The crypto data provider states,

“This is a healthy sign in the market, as it indicates that the market is stabilizing, and the leveraged longs are on a decline.”

Besides all this, trading volume is also enjoying a surge. Bakkt had its moment when it hit a new all-time high of $132 million, 200% higher than the old record signaling a shift in institutional sentiment to bitcoin exposure after it broke $10,000.

The total open interest on Bakkt futures jumped to $24 million last week, a spike of 550% from the lows on July 16th. This week, it has further grown to $26 million.

CME’s OI has been having even more eventful days as it reaches $830 million, currently holding 16.8% of the total open interest in the BTC futures market, a record high dominance for CME — a clear indication of increasing institutional demand for bitcoin.

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Author: AnTy

Ledger Hardware Wallet to Issue Exploit Fix to Prevent Users from Sending BTC on Accident

According to a blog published by Mo Nokhbeh, a crypto software researcher, the Ledger Wallet app is in danger of exploitation due to a vulnerability that has persisted on the platform since 2019. According to Mo, a user can send Bitcoin (BTC) instead of other Bitcoin forks such as the BTC testnets, Litecoin, Bitcoin Cash etc. without their knowledge if even if they had selected the ‘forks’.

To use the Ledger hardware wallet, a user must install the corresponding app on to the USB drive allowing users to hold different types of digital currencies. However, only one app is able to be open at a time to ensure security and total isolation of the apps.

An issue arises with BTC and its corresponding forks for example if your Litecoin app is open and live and you’d wish to send LTC, the wallet will prompt a confirmation of a Bitcoin transaction while the interface presents it as an LTC transaction to a Litecoin address. If you accept the confirmation, a fully valid BTC transaction will be sent out of your wallet instead of the cheaper altcoin forks.

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

Interactions with Ledger

Mo has been vocal to the Ledger team on the vulnerability of their platform, but claims his cries fell on deaf years with the issue persisting for the past year and a half. In a response posted on Decrypt, a spokesperson from Ledger said the delays were mainly due to the communications channels the security researcher used. The spokesperson said,

“The researcher contacted us through many means—mainly Twitter DMs. The appropriate medium for bug bounty remains the dedicated email address [email protected] Due to this, our point of view on this timeline differs, and we are genuinely sorry for the miscommunication.”

However, Nokhbeh denies the claims saying the only time he sent a Twitter DM was recently in June 2020 after a number of failed tries through the official channels.

Read More>> Crypto Hardware Wallet Ledger: ‘Funds are Safe’ After ‘BigSpender’ Vulnerability Found

Solution to the Ledger App vulnerability

In a statement focusing on the possible exploits, Ledger said the vulnerability arose as a tradeoff between security and usability especially for the Bitcoin network. While the external security of the wallets remain solid, Ledger allows Bitcoin forks/derivatives that follow the same derivation path as the top crypto to derive public keys or sign Bitcoin transactions. It reads,

“Some BTC forks use the same derivation path as BTC. If we prevent these forks from using the BTC derivation path, this would simply prevent users from using the Ledger Nano S/X with these forks.”

The statement further states the solution to the issue has been released in a new update warning users when their intended and confirmation transactions do not match.

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Author: Lujan Odera

People Using Cash-Savings to Load Up on BTC as Protection in a Record Low-Interest Rate World

The 10-year Treasury note yield fell to its record low stretches, not seen in 234 years, according to Deutsche bank.

“The U.S. has been through depressions, deflations, wars, restrictive gold standard regimes, market crashes and many other major events and never before have we seen yields so low back to when the Founding Fathers formed the country,” said Jim Reid, chief credit strategist at the bank.

“In the year 2007, it was normal to get a fixed return of 5% when lending your money to the U.S. government for ten years. Today, you’ll be lucky to get 0.5%,” wrote analyst Mati Greenspan in his daily newsletter Quantum Economics.

With yields falling into negative territory — if we factor in inflation over the next 10-years, you are going to lose even more — and the Fed deciding to keep the interest rates virtually zero, investors are running out of ways to get meaningful returns. And this is why gold and digital gold make an attractive option.

As such, people are increasingly using their interest-earning cash savings to load up on bitcoin, especially as volatile assets take off, said Bloomberg.

The coronavirus pandemic has actually been a boon for account balances — not only lockdowns cut consumer spending, but central banks also injected money at a record pace. The personal savings rate in the US rose to a record 32.2 in April but fell to 19% in June, still at historically high levels. Also, between March and June, customers deposit 16% more into their accounts compared to last year.

What’s Attractive

But is it really the time to hold onto money when the US dollar continues to lose its value thanks to the Fed printing trillions of dollars and the interest rate on traditional safe vehicles falling.

Being up 58.81% in 2020, Bitcoin sure looks appealing just like gold, which has risen 29%, setting a new record. The largest cryptocurrency has been actually the best performing asset of the last decade.

A few months back, billionaire investor Paul Tudor Jones also announced that between 1% and 2% of his assets were held in bitcoin as protection in a low-interest-rate world.

Stocks that have been surging since bottoming out in March — recording its best 100-day performance between March 23 to July 1 since 1933 are also preferred by people in such an environment.

Americans have gained confidence in the market in the long run. A Bankrate survey found 28% of Americans, up from 20% last year, said the stock market was their top choice for long term investment. Cash investments meanwhile hit their lowest level in eight years at 18%.

Bitcoin coming to your near bank

While bitcoin started rallying last week, hitting a new 2020 high today, national banks have got the green light from OCC to offer custody services, which may open new doors for the crypto industry. It may have started with national banks, but it won’t be surprising if state-chartered banks jump in too.

“The door’s just been opened for funds, institutional players, and investment advisers” to expand their relationships to crypto, Kari Larsen, partner at Perkins Coie LLP in New York, told Bloomberg.

This decision has been made after the OCC received questions from several banks about holding digital assets, said acting Comptroller of the Currency Brian Brooks, a former Coinbase employee.

Agency’s decision to allow banks to hold bitcoin and crypto is “a recognition that tens of millions of Americans are invested in this asset,” he said at a virtual conference hosted by the American Bankers Association.

The OCC’s decision would also make it easier for crypto companies to work with banks, which viewed them as high-risk customers due to concerns regarding anti-money laundering (AML) and compliance with the Bank Secretary Act.

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Author: AnTy

Second US Stimulus Package of $1,200 on the Way as Bitcoin Bulls Gain Momentum

A second stimulus check is on the way for American citizens, according to the White House’s economic advisor, Larry Kudlow. He confirmed this position during an interview with CNN’s Jake Tapper on July 26, signaling that the Fed’s printers might soon be busy again. This news coincides with strong crypto market bulls that have since pushed Bitcoin past $10,360 as of press time.

Earlier, BEG reported that the first stimulus round might have helped Bitcoin recover from black Thursday, given that quite a large number of Americans invested in Bitcoin. Could this new stimulus round push BTC further? A lot is clearly in play, but an injection by the Fed will likely result in a BTC rally, just like other markets have started to recover.

The European Union also recently announced plans to initiate a second Euro stimulus, aiming to distribute close to 1 billion Euros. While a direct correlation has yet to be linked to Bitcoin’s price surge following the announcement last week, speculators see the move by the EU may have contributed to Bitcoin’s price movement. The leading crypto asset had been stable for quite a while, ranging between $9k and $9.3k, but this resistance has since been broken over the past week.

Bitcoin Investors Gained over 40% ROI Since April.

With most of the stimulus payment processes clearing in April, investors who got into the market at the time are now over 45% in profit.

As the March economic downturn took a heavy toll on all sectors, the price of BTC dipped to lows below $4,000, but then eventually climbed back to almost $7,000 at the beginning of April. Looking at these stats, Americans who opted to buy Bitcoin with their stimulus money can cash out with around 40% gains depending on at which point they bought into the market.

Though considered volatile, digital assets such as Bitcoin are proving to be lucrative as fundamentals make inroads to the retail space. No wonder applications like Jack Dorsey’s Cash App are fast catching up with this trend.

The platform recently moved to allows Bitcoin purchases, including an automatic feature for such executions to grow revenue through Bitcoin’s demand. It is quite noteworthy that most of Cash App’s Q1 revenue this year came from Bitcoin purchases, a trend that might replicate itself in an even bigger way should more Americans decide to spend their stimulus on Bitcoin.

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Author: Edwin Munyui

Whale Alert Analysis Reveals Satoshi Stacked $10.9B Worth of Bitcoin (1.125M BTC)

Satoshi Nakamoto mined around 1,125,150 Bitcoin in the early days, according to a new on-chain analysis released by the Whale Alert. Based on the current market prices, the value of this BTC stash is an estimated $10.9 billion.

Whale Alert detailed, in a Medium post, how a miner dubbed ‘Patoshi,’ who is believed to be Satoshi, acquired this number of Bitcoins within a year given the mining activity could only be tracked up to May 2010.

According to Whale Alert, the anonymous Bitcoin network creator mined such a significant number of coins to prevent a 51% attack, which at the time was likely. The analytics firm further pegs its findings on research by Sergio Demian Lerner back in 2013, which was the first to coin the term ‘Patoshi’.

Lerner’s findings revealed that Satoshi had mined close to 1 million BTC, relying on a technique dubbed ”extra nonce’. Notably, this technique is visible in the early pattern of BTC mining and shows the first transaction link which saw Hal Finney receive the first coins in this network.

The ‘Patoshi Pattern’

Lerner went on to define the probable Satoshi mining as the ‘Patoshi Pattern.’ Whale Alert researchers have since been able to isolate most of the nonce patterns attributed to the Patoshi set, hence the latest Satoshi BTC stack update.

Based on the analysis, most of the early BTC mining was done by one individual whose mining software was more advanced than the industry standard back then. The chart below gives an impression of this situation as the straight lines represent normal mining while the ‘saw-like’ lines paint a picture of the Patoshi pattern:

Source; Whale Alert

Whale Alert also learned from this pattern that Patoshi made adjustments on the block time to maintain an average of 0.6 blocks in every 10 minutes. He also kept a steady hashrate by controlling 60% of the processing power in efforts to prevent a 51% attack.

This was, however, reduced to 1 block in 10 minutes as more miners joined the BTC network in order to give them an opportunity to mine as well. As per Whale Alert’s findings, 48 computers supported this operation with one of these designed to coordinate the entire process.

Will Satoshi Liquidate the position?

Most analysts have said that Satoshi stopped mining at block 54,316, with 22,503 being mined by the Bitcoin creator. While this may not be the true position, there seems to be a consensus on the fact that Satoshi indeed holds a significant number of Bitcoins.

That said, the possibility of liquidation cannot be ruled out given these coins were not burned and have been in recent projects borrowing from Bitcoin’s decentralized architecture. Whale Alert now suggests that it unlikely that Satoshi will sell his Bitcoins since the initial accumulation was solely for network fundamentals and not financial gain:

“The timing of the shutdown, the mining behavior, the systematic decrease in mining speed, and the lack of spending strongly suggest that Satoshi was only interested in growing and protecting the young network. The bitcoin mined by Patoshi was possibly a mere byproduct of these efforts, and it is unlikely that the remainder will ever be spent, although the question remains why Satoshi didn’t simply burn them in this case.”

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Author: Edwin Munyui

As Decentralized Finance Continues to Evolve, Big Four Audit Firms Will Play a Major Role in DeFi

Big four audit firms are set to be a significant part of the Decentralized Finance (DeFi) ecosystem according to the latest blockchain industry report by German-based non-profit, dGen.

The DeFi space, which has seen tremendous capital gains in TVL, will grow even more prominent in the coming decade as per dGen insights on its report. Jake Stott, the co-founder of dGen, noted that support from other financial market stakeholders would be inevitable going forward. Tom Howard, Chief Strategy Officer at Mosendo, said;

‘Over time, traditional financial institutions will have no choice but to interact with  decentralized finance tools, slowly disinter-mediating the industry from the inside out.’

Functions like verifying the authenticity of an invoice, tracking payment settlements, and insurance claims could occur faster with the help of a blockchain. Their role will be to act as an intermediary between DeFi and traditional finance.

Dubbed the ‘Decentralised Finance: Usecases & Risks for Mass Adoptionreport, dGen paid particular attention to the DeFi space. Currently, over $2.5 billion in funds is locked within DeFi based products. It is an area that has been hailed as the future of markets given almost all traditional assets are finding their way onto Ethereum based protocols. Though still at its infancy stages, dGen acknowledged this underlying potential in DeFi stating that it,

“could leapfrog the current FinTech industry, providing a new structure of financial services.”

Consequently, this optimistic narrative has gained massive support from across financial services, tech, and the academia elite. DGen’s researchers are bullish that the market could grow past the trillion-dollar mark by 2030. The report highlights that DeFi will: “Provide income for thousands of gamers, streamers, and influencers”

It will also be adopted by European financial institutions who will switch to offering “DeFi-enabled savings and pension accounts.”

A recent Q2 report by industry giant, ConsenSys, concurs on the possibility of a DeFi future given historical growth rates in the past three months. It goes on to detail that Bitcoin tokenization protocols and Yield farming frenzy are the fundamental factors behind this growth as per now.

While the DeFi space has emerged as an avenue to make better interest compared to zero percent in some jurisdictions, it continues to face security threats arising from the core infrastructures.

“Knowledge and security risks will continue to reduce, on top of a growing number of securities in the event of a hack. It appears the solutions the industry needs to scale will come from within the industry itself.”

The team is, however, optimistic the underlying issues might be resolved in as little as one year. Kain Warwick, Founder of Synthetix told dGen,

‘Insurance on DeFi is still extremely limited[…] DeFi still has significant tail risk, so insurance is likely to remain very costly in the short term, but as protocols mature, costs should come down[…] allowing for simpler and more useful insurance to emerge’.

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Author: Edwin Munyui

G20 Set to Accept Digital Currencies; Green Lights Policy Changes for Regulatory Framework

The G20 members are set to accept digital payments as soon as November 2020, according to the Japanese media outlet, Kyodo News. This shift in attitude towards crypto assets coincides with increasing interest by oversight bodies.

Last year, the G20 was skeptical on digital assets’ ability to impact current financial ecosystems, this now seems to have changed as the members prepare for the annual summit to be held in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.

Kyodo News detailed that the change in tact towards crypto ecosystems has been influenced by Facebook’s Libra proposal and China’s digital yuan. These two projects hit the crypto scene with a bang, fueling discussions across the board.

While China’s digital yuan is at its sunrise phase, Libra is still facing regulatory challenges. Nonetheless, the G20, which comprises 20 members, including the EU, has seen it fit to lay a framework for digital assets as well.

The changes in policy are scheduled to take effect as of October, just before the G20 annual summit. Discussions will revolve around digital currency use, money-laundering risks, and the challenges of using crypto as a form of payment. With such groundwork in place, G20 is optimistic about spreading the risk attributed to stablecoins as per an October 2019 report.

Global Progress in Digital Asset Frameworks

China continues to lead the way in CBDC progress, having recently piloted a digital yuan. The Asian superpower is now looking to integrate this PBoC backed digital currency with its existing financial ecosystem. Going by China’s active use of mobile payments via Alipay and WeChat, stakeholders are optimistic about a seamless integration in a move that will enhance the CCP oversight in digital payment networks.

The EU has made some fundamental progress in this field, especially in regulation. Currently, crypto-oriented businesses operating within its jurisdiction have to comply with the 5AMLD, which came into play earlier this year.

However, this framework has not been very friendly to all crypto-based entities as some had to relocate shops in search of more accommodating digital asset laws. Finally, the U.S, which has long been skeptical, are also looking into digital assets. CFTC Chairman, Heath Tarbert, recently said that they are waiting on the SEC guidance to go ahead with listing more crypto derivatives in the U.S market.

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Author: Edwin Munyui

Only 15% of Crypto Exchanges Hold User Funds in Cold Wallets: CryptoCompare Report

According to the monthly crypto exchange benchmark report by CryptoCompare, Gemini and Coinbase are at the top of the top crypto exchanges list with the highest score and “AA” grade. At the same time, Binance DEX grabs the first spot on the decentralized crypto exchanges’ list.

Top-tier exchanges like Coinbase and Binance are pushing the lower-tier ones such as Bitexbook out of the market. Top tier exchanges that have the lowest amount of risk for traders have been increasing their market share throughout 2020, which could be taken as a sign of a more mature market.

CryptoCompare-Report-Exchanges
Source: CryptoCompare

In Q4 of 2019, the top tier exchanges accounted for 32% of global volume, which jumped to 40% in Q2 of 2020. Lower tier exchanges’ market share meanwhile has continuously been on a decline from 68% in the final quarter of 2019.

Record Low Funds Lost in Exchange Attacks

Security at crypto exchanges at large, however, remains poor. Only a meager 15% of exchanges claim to hold 95% of user funds in cold storage, wallets that aren’t connected to the internet, and as such resistant to hackers.

12% of crypto exchanges use a third party custody provider to store user assets, up from 9% from Q4 2019.

4% of exchanges have been hacked in the last year. Most recently, UK-based crypto exchange Cashaa lost 336 Bitcoin, worth about $3 million in an attack, which resulted in a breach of one of its wallets.

The attack came when the industry is seeing a record low in funds lost in exchange attacks. Cashaa was one of the largest attacks of this year.

Source: TradeBlock

Just last week, a report from the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) came in, which the international financial watchdog said regulators need to meet in October to create a more robust global framework for crypto exchanges.

The report also found that about 5% of exchanges offer insurance on digital assets.

Inorganic Traffic Growth

June wasn’t a good month for crypto exchanges. As we reported, the volume dropped dramatically last month.

The same was the case for web traffic with Huobi losing the most – 31.7% between Q1 and Q2. Unlike other exchanges, OKEx saw an increase of nearly 240% in web traffic. Binance also saw a 9% increase.

“However, our research suggests that traffic growth for certain exchanges may be inorganic, as top traffic referrers were crypto ad or faucet sites,” said the quarterly report by CoinGecko for Q2 2020.

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Author: AnTy