Etoro Looking To Launch Its Own Debit Card and Expand Its Services in 2020

eToro, the popular trading platforms which allow users to trade traditional shares as well as crypto assets is planning to launch their debit card services in 2020. The trading platform is also looking to expand their service base in the United States, Hong Kong and Africa.

Although the rumours of a possible debit card launch have been riffed for quite some time now, but in a recent interview eToro’s CEO confirmed that the company will be launching its debit card services this year.

Yoni Assia, CEO and co-founder of eToro in a recent interview confirmed the company’s plan on debit card and said,

“the card will expand the financial services that we currently provide to customers from over 100 countries around the world.”

Assia believed that the debit card service would help in crypto adoption as well as enhance the customer experience for its 12 million users. The CEO noted that the introduction of the Debit card would allow users to manage and spend their funds better.

Assia also believed the move would help them become the trading platform of choice as their platform is only among the very few which offers trading services for traditional shares and asset classes along with cryptocurrencies.

The firm is also planning to expand its services in the countries where it has a working base in and the target countries include the United States, Hong Kong and Africa. The firm’s CEO noted,

“Today, we offer US customers only trading in cryptocurrencies, but in the future, we’ll expand our activity there to trading in shares. In addition to the 42 US states in which we’re active, we’re planning to expand to other states, including New York.”

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Author: Lorraine Mburu

BlockFi to launch BTC Rewards Credit Card and Add Support for Litecoin & USDC

  • BlockFi working to make wealth management simple and accessible
  • Their new product will allow users to earn a BTC cash-back rate on every transaction via BTC rewards credit card
  • Support for USD Coin (USDC) and Litecoin (LTC) is also coming in few weeks

BlockFi, a cryptocurrency lending service backed by Winklevoss Capital, Galaxy Capital and ConSenSys Ventures among others will be coming with its newest product, the BTC rewards credit card, announced the company in its letter from founders where it reflects on 2019 and what to expect in 2020.

The company will be working on developing a product that allows users to spend money on their BTC rewards credit card. But instead of earning a cash back or airline miles, you will earn a BTC cash-back rate on every transaction that you may make with that card.

This BlockFi says is “a way to add value to crypto OGs as well as a novel way to introduce crypto to non-owners in an easy, familiar way.”

Apart from working on the BTC reward credit card, BlockFi will be adding support for USD Coin (USDC) and Litecoin (LTC) in the first few weeks at the “most competitive interest rates in the market.”

Currently, it offers a 6.2% annual percentage yield (APY) on less than 10 BTC deposits and 2.2% on more than 10 BTC. On less than 1000 Ether, BlockFi offers 4.1% APY and 0.5% on the amount exceeding 1000 ETH. On GUSD, there is a standard 8.6% APY.

Expanding the Use of crypto on a global scale

Last year has been a “breakout year” for BlockFi when it launched USD loans secured by crypto, BlockFi trading, and BlockFi Interest Account (BIA). While with BlockFi Trading one can buy and sell crypto pairs with no fees, with BIA you can diversify your crypto portfolio without having to purchase crypto and also earn passive income.

BlockFi also secured $18.3 million in Series A funding led by Peter Theil’s Valar Ventures with participation from Morgan Creek Digital, Winklevoss Capital, and Akuna Capital with ConsenSys and Galaxy being the earlier backers in Q3 of 2019.

At that time, the founder Zach Prince said BlockFi has been seeing its monthly revenue grow over 10 times since January.

Now in 2020, the company’s vision is to “to build upon our current suite of financial products in a way that makes wealth management simple and accessible.”

The goal, they say, is to “further expand the use of crypto on a global scale.”

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Author: AnTy

Google Suspends Ethereum Wallet & Browser MetaMask’s Android Client

  • Tech giant Google bans MetaMask on the grounds that it doesn’t allow apps that mine cryptos
  • Metamask wants community to speak out and use other browsers like Firefox and Brave instead
  • MetaMask is “totally overwhelmed” and is a hierarchical company

Google has suspended the Ethereum wallet and decentralized app browser MetaMask’s Android client from its Play app store, announced the Ethereum Dapp browser on Dec. 27.

MetaMask took to Twitter to share that the tech giant cited their policy that bans mining on mobile as the reason behind this ban. Google’s policy reads,

“We don’t allow apps that mine cryptocurrency on devices. We permit apps that remotely manage the mining of cryptocurrency.”

But MetaMask says they don’t offer mining and its appeal has also been rejected. The rejection also cited the same policy that no mining is allowed on Android. The company wrote,

“It’s unclear whether the reviewer doesn’t understand the policy, or whether they are enforcing an unwritten policy. Either way, it’s time to ProtectWeb3.”

Need for Decentralized Options

This, however, hasn’t been the first time that Google has blocked the crypto wallet of MetaMask that has an estimated 200k active users. That last time the search engine delisted it from the Chrome Web Store but the community spoke out and got it re-listed.

If it is left banned, MetaMask says they will be working on other ways to bring their services to Android users.

Meanwhile, it wants the community to speak out and show their support by using other browsers Firefox and Brave.

Earlier this year, MetaMask suffered a blow when fake MetaMask apps hiding malware were found on the Google Play Store.

This week we also saw Google-owned YouTube removing videos of crypto-related content creators. But it has revealed that the removal was done in error and some of the content has been stored. However, this event sparked the need for decentralized video hosting platforms.

MetaMask is “totally overwhelmed”

In another news release, a MetaMask contributor said its team is “totally overwhelmed” and not prioritized by its parent company ConsenSys.

In a Dec. 25 Reddit post titled “Help MetaMask out of its Activity-Trap,” says the team has several unresolved issues and its workflow structure isn’t either transparent or decentralized.

The Redditor and project contributor Lazardiscom specifically criticized its structural issues despite ConsenSys founder J. Lubin,

“trying to convince everyone that ConsenSys is a non-hierarchical company. It is not.”

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Author: AnTy

JPMorgan Tests Blockchain Solution To Track Automobile Inventory

  • JPMorgan is testing a new blockchain solution that it would allow it to track auto dealer inventory. In this way, it would be possible for companies to avoid linking the same cars for different loans.
  • The information was unveiled in a recent patent filed by the car financing arm.

JPMorgan Develops Blockchain Solution For The Automotive Industry

The patent describes a blockchain lending system that would allow car companies to handle car loans and their inventories.

It is worth mentioning that each of the cars in the market has an individual vehicle identity number (VIN). In this way and with the help of a blockchain system, it is possible to reduce inefficiencies in the industry and improve loans, services and solutions.

According to the head of research and development at Chase Auto, there is a responsible person that identifies each of the vehicles and reconciles the inventory on the dealer’s and the bank’s systems.

Clearly, this is an inefficient way of handling loans and inventories. This is why JPMorgan, with several years of blockchain experience, is trying to offer improved solutions in the industry.

Christine Moy, blockchain lead at JP Morgan, mentioned that the pilot is being tested with some partners but it is not ready to be released to the market as of yet.

Blockchain technology has been expanding during the last few years and several companies, including JPMorgan, are offering solutions to clients and other firms.

The automotive industry is also very important for the U.S. economy and it is clearly a large market for it to have old financial and tracking systems.

This is not the first time that JPMorgan is working with distributed ledger technology. The firm has also been developing its own permissioned blockchain network that would allow the bank to improve its presence in the market and offer better services.

It is possible for dealerships to pledge the same vehicle as collateral for one floor plan with one bank and using the same car for another floor plan and with another bank. With this new blockchain system that is currently being tested, this problem is solved and the whole system becomes much more efficient and fast.

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Author: Carl T

Northern Bitcoin AG Enters Merger with Whinstone Group to Build Massive Bitcoin Mining Farm

  • The merger will allow the companies to create the largest Bitcoin mining facility in Texas.
  • As a joint company, Whinstone and Norther Bitcoin AG become a leading global player.

Northern Bitcoin AG is responsible for the operation of a Bitcoin Mining Site in Louisiana and is presently working on developing the biggest Bitcoin mining facility in the world. According to a recent press release from BusinessWire, Northern Bitcoin decided to eliminate their competitor Whinstone US, Inc. by signing a merger agreement with them.

The Whinstone Group has been involved in the blockchain industry for the last five years, establishing its own mining facilities that are located in the US, along with Sweden and the Netherlands. The most recent site for the company was established in Texas across 100 acres, making it the largest data center in all of North America and the largest facility for mining Bitcoin.

The first construction phase of the new facility is scheduled for the first quarter of next year, and the company will end up ranking at the top of the industry worldwide. Two stock-listed corporations are the first customers of this site, which will use much of the 300 megawatts of capacity that will be available at the time.

Along with the focus on blockchain applications, the data center will be usable for the purpose of video rendering and artificial intelligence applications. The co-founder and managing director of Whinstone, Aroosh Thillainathan, elaborated, saying:

“With stock-listed Northern Bitcoin AG, we have found the ideal partner to position our successful business development on the capital market from now on. The joint company has the immediate potential to shape the future course of the global mining industry.”

Mathis Schultz, the CEO of Northern Bitcoin AG, chimed in on this merger as well, commenting:

“With this merger, we are catapulting ourselves faster than originally planned to the top of the world in Bitcoin mining. Whinstone’s team has done a great job over the past few years and is proving its leadership in the blockchain industry by building the world’s largest mining facility.”

Schultz added that their collaboration offers a “dominant leadership position” in cryptocurrency and that both companies are set to “benefit significantly” as blockchain technology progresses.

The joint efforts of the two companies will make their merged brand into a global leader for Bitcoin mining. The arrangement allows the management of Whinstone to complement the management that already exists for Northern Bitcoin AG.

Learn more about Northern Bitcoin at www.northernbitcoin.com.

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Author: Krystle M

Walmart Canada, DLT Labs Put Mission-Critical Freight and Payments On Blockchain In Real-Time

  • The blockchain technology will allow users to trace deliveries, handle payments, and more.
  • SVP of logistics, John Bayliss, stated that blockchain helps the company to reduce their impact on the environment.

Blockchain technology is easily one of the biggest innovations to arise in the last decade, especially considering the censorship-resistant and transparent ledger that it offers inside and outside of cryptocurrency. Supply chain management has benefited in multiple areas around the world, and a press release by Walmart Canada shows that the retail giant has rolled out their own blockchain-based network.

The network will be used in their payment management and freight tracking, hoping to improve processing. Users will be able to trace deliveries, while still verifying and handling payments, as well as reconciliation.

The press release adds that the network is set up in such a way that it can be used with the legacy system already in place. In doing so, it also,

“manages, integrates and synchronizes all the supply chain and logistics data in real time, aggregating the data between Walmart Canada and its fleet of third-party trucks on a shared ledger.”

The senior vice president of logistics and supply chain at Walmart Canada, John Bayliss, recently drew attention to how efficient that blockchain technology can be with so much inventory to maintain. Bayliss remarked,

“This new dynamic and interactive blockchain technology platform is creating complete transparency between Walmart Canada and all of our carrier partners. Blockchain is enabling a material advance in our smart transportation network, with expedited payments, extensive cost savings and other benefits among our supply chain.”

He also pointed out blockchain offers the company a way to reduce the impact that they make on the environment, supporting their “environmental sustainability” work. Walmart has consistently been proactive in their efforts to implement this fintech for the internal protocols they have, and they even announced the goal of using blockchain tech for the tracking of shrimp from India to their Sam’s Club stores in the US.

Walmart submitted an application for a patent on a blockchain-based drone communication system in August. The system, connecting vehicles to one another, would send messages, blend the networks for communication, and show the location and bearing of various machines.

Even with this progress, there are some entities that see major hurdles ahead of companies like Walmart and Nestle that are taking on blockchain systems, but it has nothing to do with the technology. Instead, it is the “illusion of traceability,” as Craig Heraghty states. Heraghty, an agribusiness leader at PwC, states that physical points of entry aren’t guaranteed to be foolproof, even if the data on the record cannot be changed.

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Author: Krystle M

Opera Is the First Major Browser To Allow Bitcoin Payments and Integrates Tron (TRX) dApps

A new update has been recently announced by Opera. Now, the popular web browser will allow its users to pay with Bitcoin (BTC) and Tron (TRX) directly from it. According to the latest announcement, the users can now use cryptos on e-commerce sites and receive the tokens to the built-in crypto wallet of the program.

Charles Hamel, the head of cryptocurrencies at Opera, affirmed that the idea is to open up the browser to more blockchain ecosystems, not only Bitcoin. He affirmed that the solution devised by the company is made for people who have cryptos and don’t want to just keep them there. This, he believes, will also help the market to become more well-known and popular.

Initially, some of the features present in the update were originally a part of the beta testing version of the software. At the time, however, the software was being tested with Ethereum.

Despite this being a huge update for the crypto community, however, it comes with a grain of salt. Opera only has 3% of the total browser market share, which is dominated mostly by Google Chrome. While this is an important update, it is also true that there is a long road ahead.

Opera Is Getting Ready For The Future

The company has been really focused recently on the so-called Web 3 and developing for it. For instance, Opera Touch, the mobile iOS version of the browser, now supports apps based on the Ethereum blockchain. The software also has the Web 3 explorer, which is used to make transactions on the web 3.

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Author: Gabriel Machado

Binance DEX Launching A XRP-Pegged Crypto Token Called “XRP-BF2”

  • Binance US and Binance DEX announced as the latest XRP community members
  • Coinbase UK to allow buy XRP with GBP
  • Chainalysis to add XRP as well over the next three months

The leading cryptocurrency exchange Binance is launching a token pegged with the third-largest digital asset XRP.

Binance CEO, Changpeng Zhao broke the news on Twitter after a Twitter use shared the link from the Binance Chain where it states the asset “XRP-BF2” will have a supply of 10 million.

This new token will allow Binance DEX users to invest in a crypto asset that will track the XRP price.

“The supply would still be ‘in circulation’, just on the Binance Chain. They should be actively used for trading. Nothing changes from the supply perspective. Demand should increase though as there is more use-case/trading going on,”

said Zhao.

In response, a Twitter user shared an image from a recent event where Ripple announced Binance US and Binance DEX as the latest XRP community members.

Back in June, Binance launched a token pegged to the leading cryptocurrency Bitcoin and the exchange is planning to launch digital assets that are pegged to all the major cryptos.

The idea is to make cryptos available to Binance DEX traders that have their own blockchains and aren’t native to Binance Chain via these crypto-pegged tokens.

This, in turn, will increase the utility value of the platform by increasing the trading volume and liquidity as the selection of tokens on Binance DEX has been increased.

XRP has support from other companies coming its way as well.

As Coinbase UK restarted GBP withdrawals and deposits for its UK customers after they were shut down in August, following Barclays cutting its banking services, the crypto exchange is enabling the option to buy five new digital assets including XRP with GBP.

Blockchain analysis firm Chainalysis is also planning to add more tokens inducing XRP over the next three months.

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Author: AnTy

Wells Fargo’s Blockchain-based Stablecoin Will Be Faster, Cost Less Than SWIFT

The world’s fourth-largest bank said cryptocurrency will allow near real-time money movement and cut out settlement middlemen, thus reducing costs from fees.

Regarding the technical aspects of this new product, Wells Fargo has built their own blockchain using Corda Enterprise, the enterprise version of R3’s blockchain technology. While we will not see this product in 2019, the bank hopes to launch Wells Fargo Digital Cash within the next year. The transfers are expected to feature only U.S. dollars at first but the institution also plans on making other currencies available as they expand their operations globally.

Lisa Frazier, head of the Innovation Group at Wells Fargo said:

“When we move money across the world and we need to exchange currencies, we have to go through third parties such as SWIFT and other banks. That’s a long process and every time there’s a connection with external parties, it takes time and energy and effort.”

Obvious parallels can be drawn between what Wells Fargo is testing out and JPMorgan’s JPM Coin and its Interbank Information Network (IIN) which this week added Deutsche Bank to the 300-plus other banks on that network.

Lisa adds:

“I think the surprise is, we have found a really solid internal application for DLT on our book transfers. By doing this we are streamlining the book transfer process and are reducing the use of intermediaries that can cause a delay in settlement. Therefore we are widening the operating window for clearing of FX wires cross-border.”

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Author: Sritanshu Sinha

Breez Enables Credit Card Use When Buying Lightning-Powered Bitcoin Now

Breez, a new payment startup, has recently unveiled the latest feature of its project, which is set to allow lightning-based BTC purchases directly from its app. These purchases are only possible because of a recent partnership that the company started with MoonPay.

The services will initially be available in a total of 35 different countries and have the goal of simplifying lightning payments.

In case you do not know, the Lightning Network is a layer 2 scaling solution for the BTC network. It was launched at the beginning of 2018 and it has gone quite a long way so far in fixing these problems despite a rocky launch. The technology is still experimental, but it is starting to shape up as a great solution.

According to the CEO of Breez, Roy Sheinfeld, this may even look like a somewhat simple achievement, but nobody has done it before.

Since the start, Breez was always about being more than a simple wallet, the service was meant to be a “holistic experience”, Sheinfeld affirmed. It needs to be UX focused and to provide solutions that no one has been able to provide before in order to make its clients happy.

Before now, the users needed to buy BTC before they could enter the Lightning Network and then move the BTC from its normal wallet to an LN wallet. This new option cuts time and allows the users to enjoy a more streamlined experience.

According to Sheinfeld, users will not need to verify any information if they want to buy less than 150 EUR worth of BTC. To buy more than that, they would need to pass a Know Your Customer (KYC) verification first.

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Author: Gabriel Machado