Coinbase Adds Wrapped Bitcoin (WBTC) & Custody Service to Support Filecoin (FIL)

In its DeFi listing spree, Coinbase Pro has added the popular and fast-growing Wrapped Bitcoin (WBTC).

The San Francisco-based exchange has taken to list all the hot and happening DeFi products, and WBTC, which has grown to become the third-largest DeFi project with nearly $1.2 billion in total value locked (TVL), is the latest one.

An Ethereum token, WBTC represents Bitcoin on the Ethereum blockchain, where 1 BTC can be converted to 1 WBTC and vice-versa. This protocol allows bitcoin holders to participate in the popular DeFi space.

WBTC listing is announced with two trading pairs, USD and BTC.

Starting Monday, Oct. 19, WBTC will be available in all Coinbase’s supported jurisdictions except New York state.

Recently, Coinbase has added support for the likes of Yearn.Finance (YFI), Balancer (BAL), Uniswap (UNI), UMA, REN, Loopring (LRC) BAND, Compound (COMP), Celo (CGLD), Numeraire, and OmiseGo (OMG) along with supporting additional European and UK order books.

Amidst this, the same day, Coinbase Custody also announced at-launch support for Filecoin (FIL), which after years of first coming into the market, finally launched its mainnet.

“We’re thrilled that Coinbase Custody is providing secure custody for FIL. Coinbase has a great track record of building new, innovative tools for its users,” said Juan Benet, Filecoin founder.

Filecoin is a decentralized storage network and marketplace where miners earn FIL tokens by renting open hard drive space, and clients pay them to store and retrieve their data.

Its testnet took off in China, and already “roughly $100M of storage hardware is humming on the testnet.”

“Buying hardware and converting it directly to crypto is key here,” said Muneeb Ali, co-founder of Blockstack.

Yesterday, the mainnet of the Filecoin network was launched at block 148,888, a number the team said signifies “prosperity for life” in Chinese, chosen “to honor the epic contribution by our Chinese mining community to Filecoin’s long-term success.”

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Author: AnTy

Stellar to Become The Third Blockchain to Support Stablecoin USDC; Rolling Out in 2021

USDC is being added to the Stellar blockchain. The stablecoin, which was launched on the Ethereum network, was later added to the Algorand blockchain.

The announcement was made on Thursday at the Stellar Development Foundation quarterly review event. The support of USDC, a stablecoin pegged on the US dollar, aims at enhancing Stellar’s position as a prominent international payments network. The support is set to take place during the second quarter of next year.

Denelle Dixon, Stellar Foundation CEO, explained that supporting USDC will help the platform reach a wide array of clients worldwide. Dixon explained:

“We are focused on creating equitable access to the financial system by building a global network that delivers services to users regardless of their geography.”

Dixon also explained that support of USDC would enable Stellar to expand its global reach and, at the same time, provide different chances of growth as well as innovation for developers and enterprises developing different projects within the network.

USDC is managed by CENTRE, which is a consortium that is led by Coinbase and Circle. The consortium states that the amount of USDC in circulation is approximately 2.8 billion. On the other hand, Stellar, mostly utilized by financial enterprises for international payments, boasts about 4.6 million accounts.

USDC was released in 2018 and is currently the second biggest stablecoin with a $2.75 billion market capitalization. USDC trails Tether’s USDT, which has a market capitalization of $16.17 billion.

CENTRE has stated that Stellar addition is evidence that its multi-chain approach is on course. Jeremy Allaire, Circle’s CEO, explained that Stellar addition would enhance interoperability. Allaire explained:

“We value the increased interoperability and wide range of developers that the Stellar network brings to the table, and look forward to seeing how adding a strong and stable USD anchor to Stellar grows its ecosystem and its importance as a platform driving global financial inclusion.”

Dixon explained that the partnership between USDC and Stellar is set to open numerous opportunities and corridors.

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Author: Joseph Kibe

Binance Boosts Visa Card Incentives with Auto Top-Up, Daily Cashback & Higher Spending Limits

Binance has added some perks to its recently launched debit card rolled out in the European Economic Area (EEA) one month ago. The crypto exchange is looking to expand its footprint in the retail market as more crypto users opt to have a good part of their portfolio stored in digital assets. Binance’s Visa-branded card is designed to facilitate a seamless conversion to fiat when making payments.

With over 60 million outlets accepting Visa payments, Binance card users can leverage this service to make online payments. The exchange is yet to integrate a prepaid function for PoS payments but is currently in the product pipeline. Notably, the crypto card service by Binance is part of a growing niche as more merchants move to accept crypto payments.

Binance has now increased the incentives for using its crypto card; the exchange introduces a ‘daily cashback’ reward program instead of the ‘one-week’ initial arrangement. This means that users will be getting their rewards daily, making it more attractive to use the Binance card more frequently.

As for cashback reward rates, Binance has bumped the figure to 8% from 7%, which was initially set as the maximum amount. Binance crypto card users whose purchases are eligible for the cashback rewards can expect an 8% cashback that could be cashed out daily. It is quite noteworthy that the cashback reward program favors BNB holders, depending on the amount they hold.

Besides the cashback incentives, Binance raised its crypto card’s spending limit to €870 per day. The crypto exchange anticipates that it will further raise this limit upon scaling the physical card mainstream use in the future. An automatic top-up feature has also been integrated to make daily deposits seamless.

The Binance crypto card touts zero maintenance, subscription, and transaction fees, apart from 3rd party charges where they apply. Users can currently deposit funds into their pre-selected Binance digital wallets to use them via the exchange’s crypto card. However, it remains scanty whether Binance will ultimately feature withdrawals, contactless payments, chip, and PIN tech within the physical card.

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Author: Edwin Munyui

Bermuda-Based Digital Asset Bank, Jewel, Partners With Crypto Custodian Anchorage

Jewel, a proposed digital asset bank in Bermuda, has been added as one of the clients to Anchorage’s digital asset custodial services. The yet to be approved digital asset bank announced on September 16, noting that the move will be beneficial to crypto companies based on the island.

Anchorage, licensed in the U.S, significantly increases the value proposition of Jewel digital asset bank as a prospectus entity in the Bermuda crypto banking space. Jewel’s chairman and founder, Chance Barnett said,

“Our relationship with Anchorage enables us to serve our clients with the rigorous security and product standards needed for bank-level safety, service, and compliance.”

Leveraging Anchorage as its crypto custodian will help Jewel run operations smoothly; the target functions include the provision of checking accounts and other crypto banking services to firms in this niche. Consequently, Anchorage is set to play a fundamental role in the custody of digital assets entrusted to Jewel by its clients.

It is quite noteworthy that Anchorage’s custodial services are relatively liquid, given that the firm does not use cold storage. Jewel is optimistic that this position will further facilitate its product scaling to feature lending services for crypto-oriented entities. The company’s Chief Revenue Officer, Jill Richmond, added that they intend to increase operations to other jurisdictions as well,

“We are at the forefront of being able to service global markets … We have existing letters of intent at the moment with a number of the top Tier I, Tier II digital asset exchanges.”

Bermuda’s Progressive Blockchain and Crypto Approach

While Jewel will probably be the first approved digital asset bank in Bermuda, the island has been a leader in the blockchain adoption and regulatory space. Some notable milestones include developing a blockchain identification system in collaboration with the Shyft network and Perseid. The small island is also becoming a crypto business hub with exchanges shifting operations from stiff regulatory jurisdictions like the U.S.

Interestingly, Bermuda’s government is also one of the few authorities that accept tax payments in crypto, the USDC coin, to be specific. If Jewel is given the go-ahead, the crypto payment options will probably scale based on this digital asset bank’s ability to spur integration by acting ‘as the banking bridge between digital assets and traditional fiat currency (USD) held in banking accounts.’

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Author: Edwin Munyui

Shyft’s Veriscope Governance Task Force for AML Adds Bitfinex, Huobi, Tether, & Others

Shyft Network, a blockchain-oriented firm focused on KYC and AML solutions has added significant liquidity players in the crypto space, including Bitfinex, Unocoin, Tokocrypto, Haskey, and Tether to its Veriscope Governance Task Force. They join the likes of Bitfury and Binance, who had already been onboarded to the Veriscope decentralized compliance framework and smart contract ecosystem.

According to the announcement on August 8, this development will further increase Shyft Network’s favorability in providing a self-regulatory solution to the FATF Travel Rule. This regulation, which came into effect early this year, requires Virtual Asset Service Providers (VASPs) to share the underlying KYC details of both originators and fund beneficiaries for amounts above $1,000.

Despite a preference towards privacy and anonymity, the crypto community led by market giants have reacted positively towards the FATF Travel Rule initiative. Shyft Network’s Veriscope is among the solutions that have since been floated to ease the burden of sharing information or reporting the same to oversight bodies.

Notably, the company tapped some of the FATF top leadership to lead Veriscope which launched as recent as July. They include Rick McDonell who served as the FATF’s executive secretary and former head of Canada’s FATF delegation, Josee Nadeau. The two will serve as Veriscope’s chairs in collaboration with VASPs that have been onboarded in the governance task force.

Veriscope’s Value Proposition in Travel Rule Compliance

As the FATF compliance deadline approaches in 2021, viable and cost-efficient solutions to sharing KYC information are in the pipeline. Some players like BitGo have already gone ahead to leverage API integration to assist their clients in seamless data appending, as per the Travel Rule guidelines. Now that Veriscope, a public blockchain built network, has also made a debut; the vision to FATF compliance in crypto just made a significant milestone.

Shyft Network Co-founder, Joseph Weinberg, noted that Veriscope’s governance task force will work collaboratively to develop sustainable and growth accommodating policies,

“In a time where we are seeing global coordination challenges and incoming guidance requirements that make significant alterations to our ecosystem, it is critical that the rest of the world has strong liquidity representation and directives from our largest operators who in turn aggregate network effects for the smaller VASPs in our space.”

It is also quite noteworthy that the Veriscope underlying model will allow the VASPs within its network to choose who they want to share information with, hence maintaining operational sovereignty while complying with the FATF Travel Rule.

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Author: Edwin Munyui

Brave Adds Gemini Trading Widget; Privacy-Focused Users Can Buy Crypto Directly In the Browser

Brave browser has added a Gemini Trading Widget to its main interface, a move that will allow the users of this privacy-focused browser to access Gemini’s crypto listings without a hustle. According to the announcement by Brave, their partnership with Gemini is a significant step in making crypto purchases, sales, storage, and rewards more interactive at a basic level.

Notably, Gemini’s Trading Widget is not the first to be integrated with Brave; the browser had already featured a Binance Widget that has been functional since April.

A Brave Opportunity in Crypto!

Following a successful pitch based on privacy, Brave has been on the rise, with its number of active users increasing every quarter since the start of 2020. The latest stats from June show a monthly active usage of 15 million while daily active users stood at 5.3 million. Interestingly, this browser is also crypto-friendly and runs its own token-based ‘BAT’ reward ecosystem for viewing ‘privacy ads.’

The addition of Gemini’s Trading Widget, which was originally testest on the Nightly version, comes as no surprise to the crypto community, given the crypto exchange listed BAT tokens a few months ago. This widget is pretty seamless and accessible on Brave’s opening tab; users just need to connect to their Gemini accounts, after which they can use Gemini’s card on the Brave interface to initiate trades and manage their accounts as well.

Other than crypto trading activities, the collaboration will enable Brave-verified content creators to leverage Gemini’s content creator wallet to custody their BAT rewards.

“That means Brave creators can receive their BAT payments into their Gemini Creator Wallet, or in any other fiat or crypto asset supported on Gemini’s Exchange.” Reads the blog.

While the integration with crypto networks seems to be going smoothly, Brave has encountered its fair share of challenges with a recent call out for profiting from affiliate company links. The company’s CEO, Brendan Eich, however, apologized and reassured Brave users that they would no longer alter links automatically.

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Author: Edwin Munyui

Travala Adds Support for VeChain’s Cryptocurrency, VET, As A Payment Option at 2.2M Hotels

VeChain has become the latest cryptocurrency to be added to the travala.com’s cryptocurrency payment portfolio. The addition would open the gates for VeChain token holders to book their travel tickets and over 2.2 million hotels via travala.com using the native VET token.

Travala.com, over the years, has established itself as a noted travel booking platform that allows its customer to book tickets to their favorite destination using cryptocurrency. The platform has already added Bitcoin, Litecoin, Ethereum, and many more cryptocurrencies to its platforms. The services of the platform are available in over 230 countries.

Juan Otero, CEO at Travala.com, shared his views on the importance of this partnership and how it would help them in achieving their goal of broader crypto adoption. He said:

“At Travala.com, we are dedicated to expanding valuable options for our users. Through this partnership, we hope to continue to push the growth of cryptocurrency adoption by enabling our user’s access to VeChain’s reputable ecosystem and fast, user-friendly payment execution.”

Given the vacation rental market size is expected to grow to $114 billion by 2027, travala.com can play a major role in expanding the adoption and use of crypto.

VeChain, on the other hand, is a popular enterprise-friendly public blockchain platform. The blockchain platform association with Travala.com promises to not only expand the use of crypto but also ensure safety and security. VeChain said that its VET token would work as smart money for the users.

Sunny Lu, the co-founder, and CEO at VeChain, commented on their recent association with one of the largest travel booking platforms and said:

“Positioned as the ecosystem enabler, VeChain has been on the path for accumulating real-world applications and client base, and we’re always on the lookout for partnerships amongst a diverse list of industries to widen the adoption of blockchain. We’re pleased to partner with Travala.com to bring users an enhanced travel experience through the utilization of blockchain technology.”

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Author: Hank Klinger

Chiliz Onboards Spanish eSports Franchise Team Heretics; Will Launch Their Own Fan Token

Chiliz has added another major esports team to its roster in the form of a famous Spanish esports team called Team Heretic. Chiliz’s Socios.com, a fan token platform, revealed the latest addition to its platform through its official twitter handle on August 18. The Spanish esports team, in association with the fan token platform, would create and distribute fan tokens $TH for €2 apiece during the initial offering period.

Chiliz has an ambitious plan of adding 50+ brands to its socios.com platform, and the addition of Team Heretic comes months after back-to-back Dota 2 champions OG joined the platform back in March. The first sale of the fan token would begin on March 25.

The fan token, $TH, is built on top of Ethereum and allows the fans to participate in official polls on the Socios.com platform. The first event that the $TH holders can vote on would be to decide which Fortnite player would lead the team in a deathmatch.

And later, the team would also pick six $TH holders to join them in the match. Apart from these utilities, the token holders in the future would also get a say in the decision-making process. Pablo Canosa, Team Heretics Commercial Director, commented on their recent association with the Socios.com and said:

“It’s essential to us that our fans are involved as much as possible with the organization. Now—thanks to Socios.com—our fans can have a real voice and the opportunity to vote in important team matters. Not only this, but fans can also look forward to exclusive rewards and experiences too,”

$TH Token Distribution

The beginning phase of the token sale would see a distribution of 125,000 of the $TH Fan Tokens, where 90,000 of the 150,000 would be sold on Socios.com, and the remaining 35,000 would be sold on Chiliz.net where each individual could buy a maximum of 50 $TH tokens. The next sale and price of the token would be determined by the supply-demand and the mining of 5 million tokens.

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Author: James W

Gemini Increases Fiat Currency Options with CAD, HKD and AUD Support

Gemini crypto exchange has added support for three fiat currencies within its trading platform, according to an official announcement by the firm on August 17.

The Winklevoss brothers’ led digital asset trading platform will now feature the Canadian dollar (CAD), the Australian Dollar (AUD), and the Hong Kong dollar (HKD).

This milestone comes as a significant boost to Gemini, which has been looking to scale its operations globally. The firm has signaled a possible debut in the Asia Pacific region after it recently hired a managing director for this jurisdiction. Gemini further revealed that it is considering the application of a Singapore regulatory license.

With these newly included fiat currencies, the ambition of operating on a global scale are now a possibility for the Gemini crypto exchange. Initially, users could only top up their accounts based on the U.S dollar, a feature that left out a good number of prospects in other markets. The exchange has since highlighted that its users will derive the same utility from newly added fiat currencies.

Its clients in Australia, Canada, and Hong Kong can now top up their accounts and buy/sell crypto based on their native currencies. Gemini, however, noted that these newly featured fiat currencies are yet to be offered on the exchange’s Active Trader Platform but will be made available soon, given it is part of the product roadmap.

This latest expansion by Gemini is among the exchange’s 2020 highlights, with a notable mention being its recent partnership with Samsung. The two firms are now working together towards enabling Samsung Blockchain wallet users to leverage Gemini’s mobile application in crypto trading.

Other than that, the exchange has listed several cryptocurrencies, including Brave’s native token ‘BAT,’ DAI, LINK, and OXT. In terms of its expansion strategy, the exchange appears to be optimistic on the European market and has hired a former Sterling Bank Exec to make inroads in this market.

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Author: Edwin Munyui

Crypto Wallet, BitGo, Adds Staking and Custodial Services for Tezos Native Token ‘XTZ’

The California-based crypto custodian, BitGo, has added staking and custodial services for the XTZ token, having confirmed this progress on July 24. XTX, which is the native token for Tezos blockchain, joins other digital assets such as DASH and ALGO, which had already been onboarded by BitGo.

All of its tokens are based on a proof-of-stake consensus, which allows contributors to earn by lending their resources for network support in functions such as validating the blocks. The XTZ addition on BitGo will see prospects who stake it within BitGo’s hot and cold wallets, earn up to 6% in annual returns.

With only a few months in the staking arena, BitGo has made significant progress with the XTZ $2.4 billion market cap expected to add on the custodian’s weight in this niche. It has since confirmed that more Tezos blockchain-based tokens will be integrated within its ecosystem in the future.

BitGo Shining in 2020

The addition of XTZ is only but a minor to up to BitGo’s milestones this year. Towards the end of May, the firm launched a brokerage service dubbed ‘BitGo Prime’ whose niche is institutional investors. It has also extended it’s crypto custodial services to India, having acquired the country’s largest exchange ‘COINDCX’ as one of their clients.

Another highlight is the compliance of the FATF Travel Rule, where BitGo is already coming up with industry-standard solutions for sharing senders’ information. On this end, BitGo extended its API’s its customers to append their data as stipulated by the FATF guidelines in recommendation 16.

It also upgraded the API’s to be compatible with the IVMS101, a universal language that has been developed by VASP providers for seamless information sharing regardless of the operational protocol.

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Author: Edwin Munyui