China’s One Region Accounts for 35.76% of Bitcoin Hash Rate

A Bitcoin Mining Map is launched by the Cambridge Centre for Alternative Finance (CCAF) that allows checking the average monthly bitcoin hash rate produced by different countries around the globe.

Based on the geolocation data (IP addresses) provided by Poolin, BTC.com, and ViaBTC mining pools that collectively represent approximately 37% of Bitcoin total hashrate, this is the first geographical breakdown of bitcoin hash power distribution.

Unsurprisingly, China is the dominant force in the Bitcoin hash rate that accounts for 65.08% of the average monthly share of the total hash rate in April.

This share has decreased from 67.26% in March, 72.03% in February, and 72.82% in January.

In China, Xinjiang provided over 35.76% of this hash power followed by Sichuan (9.66%), Nei Mongol (8.07), Yunnan (5.42%), and Beijing (1.73%).

In April, the US came at second place with a share of 7.24%, followed by Russia 6.90%, Kazakhstan (6.17%), Malaysia (4.33%), and Iran (3.82%).

Canada, Germany, Norway, and Venezuela contributed less than 1% of the Bitcoin network’s hash power.

Source: Cambridge University – Bitcoin Mining Map

But this third halving that will cut the bitcoin block reward from 12.5 BTC to 6.25 coins will intensify the competition to capture the hash rate of the network and may result in a shift in hash power.

Just four days away, amidst the rising hash rate and difficulty, small and overleveraged miners would be washed out from the market and could see the balance of hash rate power tilt in North America’s favor.

Meanwhile, the number of computers running the bitcoin program is dominated by the US at 19.10% after the geographical location of 21.35% share not available, as per Bitnodes.

The US is followed by Germany(17.39%), France (5.82%), Netherlands (4.25%), Canada (3.01%), the UK (2.59%), Singapore (2.58%), Russia (2.31%), and China (2.02%).

These nodes that validate new transactions and store copies of the network’s shared transaction history have fallen to a level not seen since 2017. This decline could be because running a node is getting harder at a rate that is surpassing technological improvement.

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Author: AnTy

Crypto Custodian BitGo Now Allows Digital Asset Insurance In Excess of $100 Million

Digital asset security company BitGo now allows its customers to increase their insurance limit for crypto that’s stored in special vaults to $100 million and beyond.

Back in February 2019, the company introduced the cold storage insurance backed by Lloyd’s, the same insurance that just had its coverage limits lifted. It seems the demand was high for such a change, said Rodrigo Vicuna, the CFO at BitGo.

The Market’s Insurance Capacity Has Increased

2 years ago, big exchanges and crypto custodians were struggling to offer insurance against digital assets being lost, but this changed ever since Lloyd’s of London’s syndicates started to risk more and increase the insurance market capacity. The BitGo’s Lloyd’s-covered insurance is against damage or theft from vaults holding cash, fine art, gold and many other assets. When it comes to crypto, the cover is $100 million or more for digital assets that were kept on devices never to be connected to the internet. This means it covers against theft of cryptographic keys and of the physical access to any storage.

Crypto.com to Be the First Customer of the Policy

BitGo said that Crypto.com, the exchange based in Hong Kong and ran by its CEO and co-founder Kris Marszalek, is going to be the new policy’s first customer. Here’s part of Marszalek’s statement about this:

“BitGo carries a robust insurance program, elevating the scope of protection for our digital assets in their custody and providing further assurance to our customers that their funds are safe and protected.”

The excess policy will be arranged by Woodruff-Sawyer & Co and London’s Paragon Brokers.

Hot Wallet Coverage Can Be Added Too

Not only BitGo expanded its cover for cold storage, but it also offers coverage for hot wallets, as a result of a partnership with Coincover, which has made the announcement that is Lloyd’s-backed. The crime policy at Coincover covers third-party hacks, which are very common means of stealing crypto.

BitGo and Coincover are working together ever since Coincover’s name was Digital Asset Insurance (DAI). David Janczewski, the CEO of Coincover, had this to say about the partnership with BitGo:

“Anybody with a BitGo wallet could get hot-wallet coverage with us.”

He added that Lloyd’s offering on the policy is for each case taken separately, whereas the limits for the hot wallet cover are in millions and possible tens of millions.

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Author: Oana Ularu

BlockFi Adds New On-Ramp, Allowing Customers to Use Cash Deposits to Buy BTC

The cryptocurrency-focused financial company BlockFi said it now has a newly enabled feature that allows its customers to buy Bitcoin (BTC) with cash.

Before, the Jersey City-based crypto lender, only allowed users only to transfer their digital assets [BTC, ETH, LTC, and stablecoins USDC, GUSD] onto the platform from wallets and exchanges. But after today’s announcement, BlockFi customers will be able to send cash to the firm’s platform through wire transfers, through a partnership with crypto-friendly Silvergate Capital.

8.6% Annual Interest Rate

Money will be deposited through cash transfers, whereas the annual interest set for the deposits will be 8.6%, which is about 860 times more than what JPMorgan Chase bank accounts offer.

However, BlockFi isn’t a bank like Chase, which means it doesn’t offer accounts that have federal insurance protection for deposits. Also different than Chase, the crypto firm BlockFi allows its customers to receive their interest rate in BTC. Here’s what Zac Prince, the chief executive of BlockFi, had to say about all this:

“In an increasingly low-yield and volatile market, opportunities like earning 8.6 percent on stablecoin deposits with BlockFi stands out in the crypto sector.

Adding support for inbound wires will facilitate increased liquidity on BlockFi’s platform, which flows through and improves liquidity in the broader crypto ecosystem.”

BlockFi is Trying to Meet Demand

Individual investors from all over the world are more and more interested in cryptocurrencies. Prince mentioned that BlockFi began to develop the capability for wire transfers after receiving many requests from customers to do it. The company was founded back in 2017 and announced in February this year that it has raised from Morgan Creek Digital, Valar Ventures and Winklevoss Capital $30 million in funding.

Its platform has been disclosed to hold $650 million in assets, crypto-backed loans included. On Tuesday, BlockFi announced that it has received the license to function as a money-services business in Florida, which means residents of this state can use its interest accounts and trading service.

Want to get started with BlockFi? Click here to learn more.

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Author: Oana Ularu

CoinFlip ATMs Now Support Stellar (XLM), Making It the 8th Cryptocurrency Added

Major crypto ATM operator CoinFlip now allows their customers to buy Stellar Lumens (XLM) at their network of machines, CEO and co-founder of CoinFlip Daniel Polotsky says.

This means XLM is going to be more available in physical stores, also mentioned Polotsky. CoinFlip has around 450 ATMs in convenience stores and gas stations all over the US. These machines allow customers to buy some of the available cryptocurrencies just by using their credit or debits cards. In 40 locations, CoinFlip has ATMs that allow the crypto to be sold for USD cash.

Most Important Cryptocurrencies Already Supported by CoinFlip

The CoinFlip ATMs were already offering access to Bitcoin (BTC), Ether (ETH), Litecoin (LTC), Komodo (KMD), Tron (TRX), Chainlink (LINK) and Dash (DASH). Polotsky said XLM has been demanded by customers, also that it has a good market prominence and a high liquidity every day, so this was convincing enough for CoinFlip to adopt it. The startup is planning to continue adding coins, seeing it’s rapidly expanding its network of ATMs, which is already clear to function in more than 40 states. This is what Polotsky said about what being done at the moment at CoinFlip:

“We’re trying to push out 20 [ATMs] a week.”

No KYC Verification Up to $900

Sam Conner, one of the biggest XLM supporters wrote on his Twitter about the benefits CoinFlip offers. He said users are now able to connect via the CoinFlip platform to their Ledger hardware wallet. It was also mentioned that buying at CoinFlip ATMs doesn’t need any Know Your Customer (KYC) knowledge for up to $900, so it allows anonymous buys.

If CoinFlip continues to expand at this rate, it can become the #1 crypto ATM operator in the US, seeing CoinCloud has 418 machines at the moment, while Coinsource and RockItCoin 272 and respectively 251.

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Author: Oana Ularu

Digital Asset Custodian Anchorage Now Supports Cosmos (ATOM) Custody and Trading

The crypto custodian Anchorage has just added support for Cosmos, meaning it now allows their clients to trade and store Cosmos tokens on the platform that it runs.

Staking services for Cosmos will also soon be launched, said Diogo Mónica, the co-founder and President of Anchorage. The company is based in San Francisco and different from other custodians it competes with because it offers custody and staking services for tokens like Tezos, Stellar, Zcash and many others.

The Cosmos Protocol Differs from Other PoS Mechanisms

Talking about the Cosmos protocol, Mónica had this to say:

“The Cosmos protocol is different than Tezos or any of the other proof of stake mechanisms. If you want to compound growth, Tezos protocol requires you to redelegate by using the onchain key so the key that holds the assets has to actively participate.”

Users holding Cosmos tokens in large amounts aren’t advantaged from a security point of view by an exposure of the private key straight onchain, so Anchorage is saying that it supports re-delegation while the private keys are kept in its hardware security modules. Mónica explained,

“One of the things that is unique about Anchorage is that our platform allows us to use the private keys from the safety of air-gapped hardware security modules without exposing them to the risk of being directly connected to the internet.”

Anchorage Also Acquired Merkle Data

Anchorage has also launched this year in January an institutional investors’ crypto platform and acquired Merkle Data, the famous data analysis company. These 2 moves are indicating that it’s looking to expand and to focus more on providing custodial services to institutions. Besides, the fact that it’s adding more features such as trading shows that it’s trying to make crypto more mainstream.

The acquisition of Merkle Data will expand Anchorage’s reach. The startup has been working a lot to create new services and improve the already existing ones over the past year. For instance, in October 2019 it added an on-chain voting governance platform, only a few months after introducing its clients holding Tezos and Stellar to “baking”.

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Author: Oana Ularu

Travala Expands Its Crypto Payments Options By Adding NEM’s XEM Token

Travel platform Travala, a firm that allows its customers to pay for hotel accommodations using digital currencies, has partnered with the NEM Foundation to support XEM token payments.

In a blog post, Travala and NEM Foundation announced that XEM has been integrated as a payment option on Travala’s platform. In this regard, XEM is now part of more than 20 other virtual currencies which are presented as payment options by Travala which comprise of:

Following the agreement, XEM holders can now enjoy up to 40% discounts for more than 2 million accommodations locations around the world. NEM CEO, Alex Tinsman expressed his gratitude saying that the travel platform has been essential in supporting the crypto industry and plays a vital role in enhancing the mass adoption of cryptos.

He added that the addition of the XEM payment option is a testament to the firm’s commitment to scaling the use of the token in various firms across all industries. Travala CEO, Matt Luczynski, welcomed XEM holders saying that his firm will ensure they get the best services.

The new developments come just days after the firm announced it had begun accepting USDT as a payment option for its over 2 million destinations.

The firm has been aggressive in providing crypto-based payment solutions. In November last year, the firm partnered with Bookings.com to enable its clients to book more than 90,000 divergent destinations via cryptocurrencies. The firm announced that its December revenues had increased by 33.5% following the partnership. About 28% of the December revenues were made through Bitcoin.

A spokesperson at the online travel firm said BTC is the most used virtual currency on Travala, accounting for more than 60% of all the crypto payments revenues.

The use of crypto in the tourism sector has not only been confined to bookings only. Late last month, Thailand announced that it will use blockchain for its digital visa application procedures to speed up the process and soon will be available to international visitors. Similarly, Alternative Airlines, a UK-based travel firm, has inked a deal with Utrust to allow payments using crypto.

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Author: Joseph Kibe

Saga Monetary Technologies Launches Onboarding Process for the SGA Token

Saga Monetary Technologies has already launched its onboarding process that allows people to buy ERC-20 tokens, the project being scheduled to launch on December 10, this year.

As crypto assets are strictly related to major currencies in the real world, stablecoins usually counterpose other cryptocurrencies. This is because they’re regulated and have a low volatility. The crypto community most of the time anticipates when it’s time to merge traditional cryptocurrencies’ benefits with the ones of stablecoins.

Saga’s New Coin Will be Called SGA

As said before, Saga is planning to launch its new coin called the SGA on December 19th. Those who want to own SGA can get involved in the onboarding process through the project’s official website. By doing this, they’ll be allowed to execute their purchase of SGA from the time at which the token generation event (TGE) will happen.

SGA to be Used Globally

According to Saga, the SGA will act as a stabilized currency that can be used globally. SGA’s tokenomics will regulate the token supply. Soon after the TGE, there will be a few national currencies that are replicating the International Monetary Fund’s Special Drawing Rights backing the token. These currencies are USD, EUR, GPB, JPY and CNY.

Participants to the Onboarding Process Compliant to Regulations

Those who decide to participate in the onboarding process are subject to Anti-Money Laundering (AML) and risk-based Know Your Customer (KYC) proceedings. At the same time, they will comply with the AML practices and regulations imposed by the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) and the UK law. In the interest of the SGA, the coin’s pegged nature of an asset is going to be replaced with the self-regulated token one. Relying on the reserve won’t last for too long either.

SGA Will Allow Holders to Run a Fair Governance

In spite of the fact that ERC-20 is SGA produced and based on the Ethereum PoW-based network, the new token will allow those who hold it to conduct numerous governance activities. For example, they will be able to elect an executive council to oversee the project, which means the consensus with the SGA network will be more like PoS or dPoS.

As its creators say, the SGA complies with the international regulations. The team behind the project is made of experts in economics, computer sciences and management. Saga managed to raise $30 million in seed from Lightspeed Venture Partners, Mangrove Capital Partners and others.

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Author: Oana Ularu

Will The ‘Initial Scavenger Hunt Offering’ Become The Next ‘Big Thing’ For Crypto Token Issuers?

Satoshi’s Treasure, which is a keys-hunting game with a reward of $1 million Bitcoin, allows gamers to experience the crypto industry. The project is run by Primitive Ventures, a tech company, will be releasing puzzles of about 1,000 keys, and the first gamer to collect 400 keys will walk away with the bitcoin prize.

According to Eric Meltzer, the co-creator of the game, Tezos Foundation is their first client with a game offering players Tezzies as prices that will be launched in December. According to Meltzer, 20% of the main game’s keys have already been released, with the rest being released by mid next year.

Satoshi’s Treasure began seven months ago and already has 50,000 subscribers via email. Among the supporters of the business, venture includes Balaji Srinivasan, Naval Ravikant, and IDEO CoLab Ventures.

Quorum Control, a blockchain-powered startup, is debuting a video game with over ten keys to Satoshi’s Treasure BTC prize and other prizes based on the company’s blockchain, Tupelo. This business model is helping Primitive Ventures in the distribution of their tokens without the necessity of an airdrop model. Although Quorum isn’t a client of Satoshi’s Treasure, it offers gamers the opportunity to experience the gamification of crypto projects.

Winners will also receive strings of letters and numbers in the form of a Non-Fungible Token (NFT). The NFT is part of the initial token supply and acts as a promissory note. About 120,000 Tupelo tokens will be credited to over 17 winners’ wallets.

Tupelo tokens will not be issued through a public sale like other tokens such as Ethereum. This unique characteristic of the Tupelo tokens allows all investors to trade in it, even those who are not accredited. When trading in other tokens, everything is exposed in public, but Tupelo tokens come with privacy.

Initialized Capital is also planning to have a share of the Tupelo tokens through the company’s equity deal, according to Garry Tan, the co-founder. Tan believes the game will help to boost brand awareness in the crypto market and is a way of testing the technology.

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Author: Denis Miriti