Bitcoin Millionaire Addresses Reaches Highest Level Since January 2018

As Bitcoin’s price holds strong at $13,000, the number of Bitcoin millionaire addresses are also hitting levels not seen since the last bull run.

Those addresses that have been holding more than $1 million worth of BTC have surpassed 20,000, the highest level since January 2018, as per Glassnode.

These numbers have been increasing since March when the sell-off pushed these addresses from about 17,500 to nearly 7,500.

In August, these numbers took a big leap when it added about 5,000 new addresses. Now, it has reached levels that we came close to in the middle of last year.

The number of addresses with more than $1 million of Bitcoin reached its all-time high at just above 28,000 at the top of the market in December 2017 when BTC price hit $20,000.

According to Bitinfocharts, while 20,554 addresses are richer than $1 million, only 2,754 addresses have $10 million worth of BTC.

Meanwhile, more than 25 million addresses have $1 worth of BTC, close to 9.7 million addresses have more than $100 of BTC and 3.64 million has $1,000 worth of Bitcoin.

The number of addresses richer than $10k worth of BTC is moving to 990k, and 182,414 addresses have $100k BTC.

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This has been as Bitcoin works towards solidifying its role as digital gold, a store of value. Recently, a team of analysts at JP Morgan also touted the leading digital currency to be in “intensive” competition with gold, suggesting a “doubling or tripling” in its price if this trend continues.

“The older cohorts prefer gold, while the younger cohorts prefer Bitcoin as an ‘alternative’ currency,” read the research note.

The analysts also added that Bitcoin’s long-term prospects could further improve because of its utility as a payment mechanism.

In that regard, just yesterday, a BTC wallet holder moved over 88,857 BTC, worth about $1.15 billion for a fee of mere 0.00027847 BTC, worth less than $4.

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Author: AnTy

Parity Releases Substrate 2.0 to Build Custom, Scalable Blockchains Interoperable with Polkadot

Substrate has achieved a major milestone; the blockchain framework has released version 2.0, which is also compatible with Polkadot, which, along with Kusama, is already running the latest version.

Polkadot (DOT), built on Substrate, is currently the 6th largest cryptocurrency with a market cap of $3.74 billion, currently trading at $4.40.

Polkadot blockchain developer, Parity Technologies announced the launch of the second version of its blockchain building kit on Wednesday. This blockchain framework basically allows you to create and customize the blockchain “precisely” for your application or business. The new release provides the developers with additional tools to do just that.

With an aim to develop a Web 3.0, Substrate acts as a tooling kit for developers making their own blockchains that are interoperable with Ethereum’s co-founder Gavin Woods’ Polkadot.

The new release comes with 70 composable “modules” called “pallets” to play with various design ideas. These pallets, which can be developed using FRAME, help add basic and extended functionality.

“Substrate 2.0 comes with many new pallets that will help you quickly and easily build and deploy your blockchain runtime with the right properties for you and your network.”

Version 2.0 also includes modules for getting off-chain data on the blockchain. This new feature called off-chain workers communicates with the main chain to keep all network participants up to date and remove the massive data sets and intensive processes. Parity states,

“Substrate 2.0 comes with a suite of pallets to make data integration much more efficient for blockchains that depend on existing and/or real-world data.”

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Author: AnTy

CoinMarketCap’s Top Execs Jump Ship; Did Binance Push Them Out or Seeking Greener Pastures?

After two years at CoinMarketCap as a chief strategy officer, Carylyne Chan, who has also been the acting CEO, is exiting the renowned cryptocurrency market data firm. Following Chan on the exit door are Spencer Yang and Jeremy Seow, the Vice Presidents in charge of Operations and Product, respectively.

Chan joined CoinMarketCap in January 2018 and announced that she would be leaving the company on Aug. 31. Chan was appointed as the interim CEO following the acquisition of CMC by Binance in April this year.

Seow was appointed as CoinMarketCap’s vice president in charge of products in June 2019. Yang also joined the data firm in June last year as the vice president in charge of operations, growth as well as revenue.

During her time at CoinMarketCap, Chan has implemented various policies which have seen the firm play a major part in the mainstreaming of the crypto market. Chan saw the firm launching on various platforms such as Reuters, Nasdaq as well as Bloomberg, with the firm’s crypto indices offering cryptocurrency data to a larger audience.

Speaking to Bitcoin Exchange Guide, Chan stated that she is leaving the company with hopes that CMC will play a vital role when it comes to crypto education and awareness. A crucial aspect of the strategy that she introduced was a feature known as CMC Alexandria, which is an educational sphere of CMC which looks to orient newbies to the crypto world.

Chan explained that there is a lot to do to ensure the mass adoption of crypto. She explained:

“Apart from shedding light on the complicated inner workings of crypto, I believe that there is also a lot more that we need to do to make the actual use of the technology easier. We’ve all known for a while that better user experiences and simplified interfaces and products will be key to ramping up adoption of crypto.”

Chan noted that she was proud that she was involved in hiring as well as training more than a quarter of CMC staff and is hopeful they will continue offering the best to the clients.

At publication time, the company was yet to communicate on the team that will take over from the departing management.

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Author: Joseph Kibe

Liechtenstein’s Regulator Declines Binance Applications As Major Shareholder In Bank

  • Liechtenstein FMA denies the Binance application as a major shareholder in Union Bank AG.
  • Binance CEO, CZ, also locked out from a seat on the Board of Directors.
  • The distressed bank now looks at full liquidation.

Reports from a Swiss news outlet, Inside Paradeplatz, stated that the Liechtenstein Financial Market Authority, FMA, had rejected the Binance exchange application to take over the reigns at Union Bank as a major shareholder. The report further states, Binance CEO, Changpeng “CZ” Zhao application to sit at the bank’s Board of Directors was also swiftly rejected in a ruling released on July 10th.

However, the world’s largest crypto exchange came out strongly at the start of the week to quash those claims stating they’ve never made an application to the FMA. In a Telegram message first reported by CoinDesk, a spokesperson from the firm said,

“Binance did not try to invest, and did not try to put CZ on the board.”

A Distressed Bank

Union Bank declared bankruptcy after a long battle with the authorities and multiple attempts to save the bank were fruitless. Notwithstanding, two of the banks’ early founders, Ukrainian-runaway investor, Konstantyn Zhevago, and another unidentified Iranian shareholder have been on the Interpol most wanted criminals list since the end of 2019 due to money laundering charges.

At the end of 2019, one of the insiders reportedly told Union Bank AG’s shareholders Binance was at the cusp of acquiring a major stake in the bank to save it from crumbling. The reports stated Binance had to pay about 15 million CHF (~$15.7 million) as well as file its approval to become a shareholder with the FMA. The Swiss news outlet reports further claims CZ was ready to convert his crypto to raise the amount needed through a newly created CL1 Foundation.

Binance denied these allegations earlier when the rumors first came about.

The last Opportunity for Union Bank, Gone…

This represents the last opportunity for the bank to find new investors to save it from collapse as the FMA also denied any expert advice on Binance taking over the distressed bank.

The Vaduz-based bank held a shareholders meeting on Aug 7th to discuss the future of the bank following Binance’s and CZ’s crushed advances. In a statement by the bank, the shareholders decided to liquidate the bank as they could not meet the capital adequacy requirements of the European Capital Adequacy Ordinance (CRR) implemented on 1 January 2020.

While not mentioning any specific investor, the bank stated the Board of Director’s search for acceptable investors was cut short by FMA rejections, hence the reason for non-attainment of the CRR. The statement reads,

“The reason for the non-attainment of the capital adequacy requirements was that no shareholder acceptable to the FMA could be found who would have contributed the necessary funds.”

No further comments were provided by FMA and the Union Bank AG. Customers’ deposits remain secure.

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Author: Lujan Odera

Singapore’s Financial Regulator, MAS, Wants More Power to Push Stringent Rules For Crypto

Singapore’s financial regulator, which also serves as the country’s central bank, The Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS), is seeking to introduce stricter rules for the crypto industry to adhere to the new Financial Action Task Force (FATF) standards.

The financial watchdog is seeking to have more powers that will help in prohibiting any unsuitable enterprise from doing any business within the country. The financial overseer is also seeking powers to oversee, license, and regulate all crypto businesses which offer services in other countries but are based in Singapore.

As per the proposal, the country’s financial authority is seeking to expand the provisions of the Payment Services Act (PSA), which came into effect in January this year. If the proposal is adopted, Virtual Asset Service Providers (VASPs) will be required to conduct their operations in other countries using the same standards and regulations in their country of origin, Singapore. Although the MAS, back in March, already exempted a few of the top crypto companies: Binance, Coinbase, Gemini, and Ripple.

The regulator has already published a consultation paper seeking public input and feedback in regards to the expanded powers of the Monetary Authority of Singapore.

The regulator argues that the new proposal will put a halt to regulatory arbitrage where multinational VASPs choose the regulations to adhere to if they suit their mode of business.

The VASPs that will be significantly affected by these proposals are the ones that work abroad but maintain a “meaningful presence” in the city-state; that is, their directors and offices are located within Singapore. Corporations registered in Singapore, partnerships, as well as limited liability partnerships created in the country, will also be affected by the new legislation.

The financial regulator also explains that the regulations will help Singapore to adhere to the set anti-money laundering (AML) standards that were set late last year by the global financial watchdog FATF.

The public has until August 20 to send their views and opinions.

Asia’s most preferred countries, is Singapore, for the crypto industry, because of its friendly crypto environment. There are more than 150 crypto and blockchain-based firms headquartered in the city-state.

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Author: Joseph Kibe

Total Value Locked On DeFi Platforms Soars Past $2 Billion; Compound Overtakes Maker by $67M

The decentralized finance (DeFi), also popular as open finance, world is growing to unseen proportions with the total value locked (TVL) on DeFi apps setting an unprecedented $2 billion mark on Tuesday. The top DeFi platform leads the charge, Compound, which has seen explosive adoption since launching its governance token, COMP, in mid-June, which led to a “yield farming craze.”

A DeFi craze cashing in

Total Value Locked On DeFi Platforms Soars Past $2 Billion As Compound Emerges Top App!
Source: DeFiPulse

Those yet to understand the magnitude of DeFi’s growth would do well to check the TVL charts provided by DeFi Pulse. The first billion locked in DeFi took close to 30 months to build up as decentralized exchanges tried to build up the industry’s values. In less than a month, the DeFi space has gained its second billion with the introduction of ‘yield farming’ playing an important role.

The committed value in DeFi protocols exponentially grew from approximately $50 million locked at the start of January 2018, reaching a peak of $1.275 billion in mid-February this year. However, the March 12th crash heavily affected the field, wiping off 56% of the value locked.

In mid-June, the launch of Compound (COMP) and Balancer (BAL) governance tokens re-sparked the DeFi craze, rising from $1.031 billion on June 16th to a current value of $2.022 billion in TVL.

[Read more: Techemy Capital plans to launch Compound (COMP) investment portfolio for yield farmers]

Compound leads DeFi resurgence.

It seems “yield farming” is the cause of the recent resurgence of the DeFi market, Compound leading the charge. Currently, the platform has the highest TVL, dominating 32.82% of the total value locked on DeFi platforms.

Using technical strategies on the borrowing and lending of digital assets on Compound, users earn higher yields, which has seen crypto enthusiasts dive into the market in huge numbers. In light of borrowing and lending, users are able to gain COMP tokens, which experienced a huge demand once launched.

Maker, a lending platform that prints DAI, is second on the log with a total locked value of $594 million; Synthetix, Balancer, and Aave close out the top five with $321 million, $157.8 million and $157.1 million locked respectively.

A burgeoning DeFi market cap

While the TVL shows the appetite for DeFi products in the market, the metric lacks to account for some areas such as the volumes transacted on decentralized exchanges (DEXes), transaction volumes across DeFi, etc.

The market, however, shows signals of surpassing the $10 billion dollar mark, with DeFi Market Cap, a data aggregator for the top 100 DeFi tokens, showing the total market cap of these tokens is at $7.4 billion.

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Author: Lujan Odera

Kraken’s Crypto Facilities Becomes UK’s First FCA Approved Futures Exchange

Crypto Facilities which is also known as Kraken Futures has announced that it has received approval to start derivatives trading services mostly to institutional investors.

On Monday, the firm announced that it had received a Multilateral Trading Facility (MTF) license from UK’s financial watchdog, Financial Conduct Authority (FCA). According to the firm, the license will enable institutional investors to easily trade on the futures platform. The license means that the firm will enhance its clientele to investors that could have been barred by the UK laws from using unapproved exchanges.

In a statement shared with Bitcoin Exchange Guide, Kraken’s co-founder and CEO, Jesse Powell, explained that the firm has been pursuing the licensing as the firm is determined to ensure cryptocurrency is accessible to everyone. He stated,

“This particular license means that a sophisticated class of investors, limited by their own requirements to interface with a regulated venue such as an MTF, will now have access to crypto derivatives in Europe for the first time. More participants means more liquidity and a better experience for everyone.”

The firm also stated that the license makes Crypto Facilities the inaugural and the only approved derivatives company providing exposure to leveraged cryptos within the European Union.

Powell explained that sophisticated clients now have an opportunity to access crypto derivatives within the European Union which is a big step in the region.

Although the UK plans to exit the EU before the end of the year, the talks are not yet over and it remains unclear how regulatory issues will be handled after the exit. Majority of companies are hoping that passporting will be revoked.

The FCA had early this year warned against stern penalties on crypto derivatives platform BitMEX arguing that the company was luring UK customers even without its approval.

The Francisco-based Kraken bought out Crypto Facilities in February last year for an undisclosed amount which analysts estimated to be more than $100 million. At the moment the firm provides upto 50x leverage on various futures products such as Bitcoin, XRP, Bitcoin Cash, Ether and Litecoin.

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Author: Joseph Kibe

Ripple And SBI Holdings to Launch ODL Service For RippleNet Using XRP in Asia in 2020

The joint venture of Ripple Asia and SBI Holdings, also known as SBI Ripple Asia, has announced its plans of launching On-demand Lqiuiduty (ODL) solutions using XRP in Asia this year.

Ripple has made a name for itself because of its cross-border remittance solutions, also known as RippleNet. The firm has seen many takers for its technology, which uses XRP for liquidity on the ledger to facilitate instant cross-border transactions at a minimal cost.

The ODL solutions have been quite a hit, and given Asia is emerging as one of the fastest-growing crypto hubs, the joint venture between Ripple and SBI holdings wants to push for its adoption further.

The announcement was made by the CEO SBI Ripple Asia, Adam Traidman, during an interview on June 18, where he talked about the popularity of Ripple in Asia and how expanding ODL services would be the right move as it offers much cheaper cross-border remittance services. He said;

“I expect that probably later this year, and into next year, things are going to move into wider spread production.

I expect remittance companies that were restricted in growth because they have pre-funding requirements, they have a lot of capital—they’re going to have a lot more flexibility.”

Traidman also believes that introduction of ODL would eliminate currency fluctuations and the pre-funding requirement for making cross-border transactions. He explained ODL services wouldn’t gain the same adoption and popularity in the United States as it is increasing in Asia and Japan.

The reason for this is the US offers low-cost cross-border remittance service, so the people over there don’t need a system like ODL, while in Japan, its not only costly to send money across the border, but it also takes around a whole day. Traidman said,

“ODL can be used to convert the Japanese yen to XRP in real-time in Japan, and a family in Vietnam can immediately exchange the XRP for Vietnamese dong.

In this way, the price movements of the Japanese yen and the Vietnamese dong are almost unaffected.”

Ripple’s On-Demand-Liquidity(ODL) has seen a massive jump in use and volume, which is evident from the fact that the bulk of transactions has tripled over the first quarter of 2020, while the US Dollar transactions have risen by 294%.

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Author: James W

South Korea’s Financial Authorities to Include Cryptocurrencies in New Taxation Framework

  • South Korea’s Deputy Prime minister, who also doubles as Minister in charge of the Finance docket, has revealed their intention of placing cryptocurrencies under the list of taxable items.
  • This was revealed after the jurisdiction’s legislature passed amendments to facilitate crypto trading legally.

A local publication reported that South Korea’s Ministry of Strategy and Finance aims to introduce taxes for digital assets, with the rate expected to reach 20 percent. The announcement was made during the Financial Parliamentary committee meeting chaired by Minister Hong Nam-Ki on 17th July.

According to Hong Nam-Ki, the tax system aims to adapt to current market trends, including virtual assets. The government will work on a policy that will list the items liable to be taxed and what kind of taxation these items would incur. The taxation policy will be discussed through the next quarter, with the final report expected to be submitted to the legislature in September this year.

Legality and Regulation of Crypto Activities in South Korea

Earlier in March, the South Korean legislature passed two amendments that facilitated the legal entry of crypto traders in the jurisdiction after almost two years of deliberations. This would, however, be compliant with South Korea’s legal requirements, with a voracious appetite for crypto assets being recorded in the jurisdiction.

This put the crypto activities in the scope of taxable items as the Finance Minister, who also doubles as Deputy Prime Minister highlighted that they were looking to impose taxes where there is income. They intend to zero in on the crypto mining activities and Initial Coin offerings (ICOs).

In January, the Finance Ministry brought forth a proposition to impose a 20% tax on crypto revenues. This sparked speculation that the Finance Ministry was looking to re-categorize revenues generated from crypto as other income to fit specific taxation brackets the same as lottery winnings. This would be beneficial for crypto traders, as the alternative of classifying crypto-assets as capital gains would attract steeper tax rates of over 42%.

He also mentioned that they had engaged in global discussions over a new digital tax framework. He added that such laws are beneficial for S.Korea’s economy as it would increase revenue through taxing foreign crypto firms used by local residents, adding that local crypto firms would also be susceptible to taxation from foreign jurisdictions. This was after they were involved in a tussle with Bithumb after the latter challenged the $69 million tax imposed by National Tax Service (NTS).

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Author: Lujan Odera

Mempool Empties After Reaching to 95 Million Unconfirmed Transactions Post-Halving

Bitcoin price is keeping stable around $9,500 and the network is also coming back to the levels it was before the halving.

The week before last, the average bitcoin transaction fees soared to nearly $7. The fee remained below $1 except for during the times of extreme volatility in the market such as at the end of June in 2019 when BTC price jumped to $13,900 or during the peak of the 2017 bull rally.

Since its peak on May 20th, the bitcoin average transaction fee has been on a constant decline and is currently at $2.25.

The tremendous increase in bitcoin transaction fees of over 160% in May came after the halving. The historic event resulted in the hash rate declining and block finding time to surge above 14 minutes as such pushing the fees higher.

Moreover, as we reported, a mysterious entity, most probably the crypto exchange Coinbase consolidated outputs at the highest fee rates which drove up fees for everyone.

The number of transactions waiting to be confirmed also contributed to this. On the day of halving, the mempool had 935k transactions which peaked at almost 95 million on May 21st. High mempool size indicates more network traffic that results in longer than average confirmation time and higher priority fees.

But 10 days after that and we are back to normal levels, as per blockchain.com.

This backlog has been clearing for over a week now. With the next difficulty adjustment expected to be another downwards of nearly 11% later this week, it will only make finding blocks that much easier, balancing things out.

“3 weeks after the Bitcoin halving the mempool is almost empty again, 1 sat transaction confirming. No mining death spiral, even though we lost nearly 50% of the hashrate, it’s bouncing back, next difficulty adjustment down less than 10%,” said Whale Panda. “Bitcoin working like it was designed to.”

Just like fees and block time, the hash rate of the network is back above 100 Th/s, up from 83 Th/s on May 14.

Also, the rainy season in Sichuan, China, one of the hottest spots for Bitcoin mining, will push down the cost of electricity to about 0.10 RMB/kWh ($0.014 USD) which will help the hash rate to further recover.

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Author: AnTy