Former CFTC Chairman Giancarlo’s Digital Dollar Project Adds 22 Members to Advisory Board

Digital Dollar Foundation, an outfit that is pushing for the creation of a digital dollar in the US, has now announced its board of advisors. The foundation is led by ex-CFTC executives Chris Giancarlo (aka Crypto Dad) as well as Daniel Gorfine who has also roped in Accenture.

According to a press release, the new board of advisors was unveiled on Thursday and consists of 24 people who will work together towards the development of a US CBDC.

The advisory board brings together experts with broad backgrounds in both the finance industry as well as payment technologies. Some of the members include exCFTC commissioner Sharon Bowen, Usman Ahmed who is PayPal’s policy official, fintech law professor Chris Brummer, Sheila Warren who is the head of blockchain efforts in the World Economic Forum (WEF), as well as DRW’s CEO Don Wilson. As well as the former Treasury Undersecretary in charge of Terrorism and Financial Intelligence, Sigal Mandelkar and former President Trump’s adviser Tim Morrison.

The Digital Dollar Foundation looks forward to advocating for research as well as discussion on the possible benefits that comes with the use of a US CBDC. The new board will explore how a digital dollar will operate as well as scale. The group will also explore if a digital dollar can be utilized in private transactions.

Giancarlo explained that the board consists of individuals from different sectors who are experts in monetary policy, commercial and central banking, privacy law, KYC/AML, economics, tax and other relevant disciplines that are crucial in the exploration of how a digital dollar will be used and its impact on the US and the global economy. Giancarlo explained:

“The insights and expertise of the new advisory group members will be invaluable as we work together to help make the dollar a more effective and smarter currency in an increasingly digital global economy.”

The developments come as legislators are haggling on how a digital dollar which is non-crypto can help in the distribution of funds to US citizens at a time when the world is fighting the Corona pandemic.

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Author: Joseph Kibe

EOS Block Producers Reach ‘Strongest Consensus’ In Approval Of Worker Proposal

The EOS Worker Proposal, which is famous for being very controversial, was announced by the most important EOS block producers that it went into its first execution stage and is supported by many participants to the network.

One of the leading EOS block producers, EOS Nation, reported that many Eosians agreed to support the new proposal and nothing could have changed their mind. On March 24, it also announced that a number of 34 both active and standby producers approved the EOS Worker proposal. It seems that until now, this is the strongest consensus achieved by any proposal in the EOS Mainnet.

The Eosio.wps System Launched

The March 24 first multi-signature approval launched the eosio.wps account that stores funds needed for new operations on the system. After this approval and the MSIG execution, eosio.wps will receive 50,000 EOS tokens in transfers from eosio.names, while the 3rd MSIG is going to deploy the Worker proposal smart contract to the same account, namely eosio.wps. After the 4th approval, the new proposal will have the whole network’s voting system reconsidered.

A Proposal Surrounded by Controversy

According to the new scheme and outlines, anyone can make a proposal on how the EOS blockchain should work, in exchange for a small EOS fee. After that, the block producers, regardless if they’re active or standby, need to vote on the proposal with +1, -1, or 0. In order to pass, a proposal has to gather 20 points. Here’s what the co-founder and CEO at Block.one, Brendan Blumer, had to say about the strategy employed by EOS:

“Socially authorising the BP’s to direct token-holder funds into projects without a clear or measurable return of value is risky, and may open the door to corruption and external scrutiny.”

Many voices don’t agree with him, but it remains to be seen how things are going to work for the EOS Worker Proposal in the future.

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Author: Oana Ularu

IOHK Releases Ouroboros Hydra Protocol to Improve Micropayments on Cardano Network

The IOHK blockchain technology company led by Charles Hoskinson, the Ethereum co-founder, has announced on March 25 the Ouroboros Hydra, its second-layer Cardano blockchain scalability solution.

The Hydra protocol is going to improve the scalability of Cardano, which means it’s going to perform more transactions at lower fees, making it easier for the blockchain applications to operate and encouraging the use of the network. Here’s what the director of Edinburgh University’s Blockchain Laboratory, Aggelos Kiayias, explained what solving scalability could mean:

“Solving the scalability question is the holy grail for the whole blockchain space. The time has come to apply a principled, evidence-based approach in designing and engineering blockchain scalability solutions and this research is a decisive step in this direction.”

Hydra Will Improve Cardano’s Functionality

As a second layer blockchain scalability protocol, Hydra will be on top of other Cardano main protocols and improve the network’s functionality. Its name, Ouroboros Hydra, comes from Greek mythology and has a meaningful resonance because the system’s protocol has each user of the network generating 10 additional heads. Each of these heads will bring a new throughput lane for transactions and data, this way making the blockchain faster with scales. Here’s what Charles Hoskinson had to say about the new protocol:

“Once implemented, it [Ouroboros Hydra] will allow the Cardano blockchain platform to scale to process more transactions than any other blockchain or traditional payment system.”

1,000 Transactions per Second on Each Head

The simulations conducted by the University of Edinburgh revealed that there can be 1,000 transactions per second on each head, which means 1,000 heads can scale 1 million transactions per second. In the last few years, the Hydra project received funds from the EU’s Privilege Project, as it has united researchers in distributed ledger technologies cryptography from all over Europe.

Cardano’s ADA Price to Remain the Same

Cardano’s ADA didn’t meet any change in its price as a result of this news being released. It’s still on the 15th position according to market capitalization, at 1.81% on the day and trading for about $0.029, CoinMarketCap says. Until now, blockchains have struggled to scale and at the same time to not compromise centralization, but it seems Cardano comes to change the game completely.

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Author: Oana Ularu

Republic To Leverage Algorand’s Chain to Build A Digital Security for Startup Investments

A platform dubbed ‘Republic’ has announced it will soon launch its own digital assets based on Algorand’s blockchain. The former allows investors to acquire a stake in upcoming startups; they are now set to tokenize the underlying and have them regulated as digital securities. Algorand on the other hand, prides itself of being a leading provider of Blockchain 3.0 solutions especially for the scalability trilemma.

Kendrick Nguyen, a co-founder of Republic, highlighted that they are optimistic about this move;

The innovation comes at a time financial market stakeholders are looking for alternatives to boost participation. According to the COO of Algorand, W Sean, the equity markets playing field will be leveled for all sorts of investors based on tokenization;

“Republic’s mechanism of allowing anyone to invest in rigorously vetted startups across an array of industry sectors demonstrates a unique approach of leveling the playing field for entrepreneurs and investors of any size.”

So far, Republic has been successful in creating a market where investors and project owners can interact for progress. The firm has helped raise over $65 million in funds within the course of 2019; this together with other proceeds have been allocated to over 150 entities in the last three years.

Algorand’s Blockchain Solution

This distributed ledger service provider was created to tackle shortcomings by Blockchain 1.0 and 2.0. The platform plans to make its Layer-1 fundamental more scalable for businesses and enterprises. Founded by Silvio Micali, this project seems to attracting more prospects as blockchain enthusiasts embrace third generation innovations.

Looking at these fundamentals, a collaboration with Republic is likely to yield significant adoption for both networks. Republic currently enjoys over 500,000 users and are hopeful of greater figures once they integrate with Algorand’s chain.

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Author: Edwin Munyui

Toyota Blockchain Lab To Focus On Expanding Partnerships To Drive DLT Adoption

Japanese automaker giant Toyota has announced various blockchain enterprises which are meant to digitalize and revolutionize the automotive sector.

As per a press statement released by the company, Toyota Blockchain Lab has conducted various successful trials where one of them aims at tokenizing the vehicles as well as ownership rights within the blockchain technology.

Toyota Blockchain Lab was started in April last year with the task of integrating blockchain within the giant Toyota’s infrastructure. The press release reiterated this initiative revealing that various enterprises are in the works while some collaborations are being forged.

At the moment, Toyota is utilizing blockchain technology for its clients as well as vehicle initiatives. The company revealed the ‘value digitalization’ where the aim is to increase financing techniques through asset tokenization in both vehicles as well as owner rights. The press statement stated:

“Toyota Blockchain Lab has been examining plans for promising applications for use and promoting demonstration trials while accumulating Group knowledge. It is also engaging in global collaboration with Group companies, including Toyota Research Institute.”

The firm also stated that some of the aspects it is working on are ID sharing as well as digitalization of clients’ contracts as some of the areas the blockchain technology will be employed. The firm also cited that it will overhaul its supply chain where blockchain will be used to record as well as share data regarding the parts manufactured as well as shipping. Other potential applications comprise vehicle transaction details for tolls, electric charging as well as parking. Blockchain is also expected to be used for car-sharing, Decrypt reports.

The press statement also gave details about the Toyota Woven City initiative which will be powered through hydrogen as well as smart technology. The Woven City project was launched in January and is set to weave together various technologies such as artificial intelligence and blockchain. The announcement stated that this will be a great opportunity to build a city from ground-up where future technologies will be the driving forces for all the city’s infrastructure.

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Author: Joseph Kibe

2017 Tech Rolls Out On Coinbase; Bitcoin Batching Will Help Reduce Network Fees by 50%

Coinbase has announced rolling out Bitcoin Batching for its transactions going forward. The firm posted a blog on March 12 noting that they’ve officially launched this feature and are optimistic it will save users up to 50% in fees.

Despite the extremely volatile crypto market in the past 24 hours, Coinbase proceeded to pioneer Bitcoin Batching within its network. Prior to this development, the exchange has been broadcasting single BTC transactions on the chain but this will now be done in batches. The blog highlighted that the move will not only reduce operation costs but ease congestion on Bitcoin’s network;

“we anticipate that this will reduce our load on the Bitcoin network by more than 50%, and the network fees our customers pay will automatically be reduced by an equivalent amount when sending.”

With this innovation, Coinbase is hopeful of improving the BTC protocol in order to facilitate scalability and reduce processing time. The blog further noted that general Bitcoin network fees will be fairer if transactions were to be executed in a timely fashion.

Stakeholders Reaction to Coinbase BTC Batching

As one would expect, Coinbase users stand to benefit the most from this initiative. The blog said that no action was required from them given the launch; they, however, should start realizing the fee benefits of Bitcoin batching immediately.

Some Bitcoin enthusiasts, on the other hand, have criticized the project on twitter. They said that Coinbase was late to the game as its peer competitors such as Kraken that rolled out bitcoin batching as early as 2017. This tech, while not new, has the potential for privacy issues and has become a somewhat hot topic in the past. According to industry experts, BTC batching exposes the addresses of recipients in that particular batch. One does not necessarily know the exact PII but will have the information that you both received BTC funds from a certain exchange.

Coinbase said that they are currently in the process of integrating both the normal exchange and Coinbase Pro. They, however, added that users who operate on the latter will not feel the effect as they already recover 100% of their network fees.

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Author: Edwin Munyui

Japan’s FSA Rolls Out New Initiative (BGIN) To Create ‘Open and Neutral’ Blockchain Dev

Japan’s Financial Services Agency (FSA), has announced the launch of the Blockchain Governance Initiative Network (BGIN). The regulator revealed this at the “BG2C – Special Online Broadcasting Panel Discussion,” held in collaboration with Nikkei on March 10.

According to Georgetown University Professor, Dr. Shin’ichiro Matsuo, this project is meant to create a sustainable ecosystem for blockchain tech development. The fundamental idea is to develop an open network that can facilitate dialogue between industry stakeholders.

Apart from a communication avenue, BGIN will serve as an archive for academic research and development on distributed ledgers. The project is set to create a common language which will enhance interaction and sharing of perspectives amongst network stakeholders like the JFSA;

“an open and neutral sphere for all blockchain stakeholders to deepen common understanding”

These developments are part of the G20 Osaka declaration where the JFSA spearheaded research initiatives around blockchain. The roundtable took place back in 2019 and prominent regulators across the world were in attendance. Some notable mentions include the United Kingdom, Singapore, Germany, and France.

Given Japan’s advanced crypto laws, BGIN is more likely to complement regulatory development so far. This open network will take blockchain discussions to distributed ledgers which means more input and consolidation within the industry.

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Author: Edwin Munyui

Securitize and LIFULL Partner to Tokenize the Rural Japanese Real Estate Market

  • A partnership between two companies has announced the completion of a Blockchain Crowdfunding solution in an attempt at solving Japan’s Vacant house crisis.
  • With an almost aging workforce and most of the youth migrating to urban areas in search of job opportunities leaving the countryside properties deserted.
  • It has been reported that two companies have jointly come up with a Blockchain solution in a bid to help solve Japan’s vacant house problem in rural areas.

A partnership between Securitize a compliance platform offering expertise in digital securities, fixed income, and real estate and Social Funding Co has announced the successful completion of a funding platform using digital currencies for real estate investments.

The project was launched by LIFULL and Securitize subsidiary BUIDL. This was before Securitize acquired BUIDL in December 2019 but gave commitments to carry on with existing partnerships. In the course of the project, they were able to prove how more efficient and cheaper crowdfunded Real Estate Funds based on Blockchain turned out to be in comparison to more traditional alternatives.

Securitize CEO Carlos Domingo has expressed excitement at the potential a comprehensive crowd-sourced Real Estate Funds in modernizing Japanese real estate markets.

Rural-Urban Migration

Getting a house for free might sound like a con however Japan faced by an uncommon housing quagmire, the fact that it has more homes than the people expected to live there. With an already aging population (more than 20% of its population aged 70 and older and the birth rate declining), most of the young people have more often than not ended up migrating from rural to urban areas where they can get jobs.

As they move away they leave the countryside deserted with houses abandoned without heirs or new owners dubbed ‘Akiya’. In 2018 a record high of 13.6% properties across Japan was declared Akiyas.

This is seen as a move to attempt to revitalize Japan’s real estate in less desired countrysides as LIFULL explained in a statement. They are positive that renovating and upgrading the homes would prove essential in addressing the vacant housing issue in the country.

“Regional revitalization of real estate crowdfunding is being promoted as a solution to this problem.”

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Author: Lujan Odera

Tether’s Gold-backed Stablecoin (XAU₮) Now Available For Futures Trading on Bitfinex, FTX

The crypto derivatives exchange FTX has announced the listing of Tether Gold (XAUT), whereas Bitfinex, the Tether’s company sister exchange, rolls out XAUT futures trading.

FTX users are now enabled for XAUT against the US dollar trading. Aside from the XAUT/USD pair they can use, they will also be able to buy and sell perpetual or quarterly expiring Tether Gold futures contracts. Starting today, Bitfinex users will be able to trade futures contracts on XAUT against Tether (USDT), the US dollar-pegged stablecoin.

iFinex Financial Technologies to Provide Trading on Bitfinex

Bitfinex made the announcement on Friday, saying that traders are now able to buy and sell up to 100x leverage assets at an established data and price in future. The service will be provided by an iFinex product division called iFinex Financial Technologies. iFinex is the parent company of Tether and Bitfinex.

Only certain jurisdictions will have the XAUT/USDT futures trading active, also verified users, even if Bitfinex doesn’t ask for accounts to be verified. The jurisdictions are the same with those mentioned on the Bitfinex official website. Venezuela, Syria, Iran, North Korea, Cuba and Crimea’s annexed regions’ residents are prohibited from using the service.

News Was Released After XAUT Hit the $21 Million Market Cap

Bitfinex says in its Friday announcement that this launch of futures contracts trading for XAUT will bring much more exposure to the asset. XAUT crossed the $21 million market cap on Wednesday, March 4, when it became the world’s biggest digital asset backed by gold and overtook PAX Gold (PAXG).

At the moment, XAUT’s market cap accounts for $26.8 million, whereas PAXG’s for around $18.7 million, says crypto tracker Etherscan. PAXG was launched a few months before XAUT, being the first crypto asset that could be redeemed in gold. XAUT came at the end of January 2020 and immediately rolled out trading on Bitfinex.

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Author: Oana Ularu

Huobi Crypto Exchange Makes its Debut in Blockchain Development with DeFi PlatformHuobi Collabs With Nervos On Blockchain Framework Testnet For DeFi Applications

  • Huobi announced on Feb 28th the launch of its blockchain beta testnet as part of an expansion plan to tap into the decentralized finance (DeFi) market.
  • Huobi Chain, the blockchain network designed for this, runs as an open-source where participants can leverage the platform’s features to get financial services attributed to digital assets.

The Singapore-registered crypto exchange has partnered with Nervos in this project as its technical development partner. Together, the two provide a regulatory friendly ecosystem for DeFi’s offering financial services like lending, decentralized exchange, payments and asset tokenization based on blockchain networks. Huobi’s Group VP of Global Business, Ciara Sun, was optimistic of this milestone;

“With Huobi Chain, we want to provide the decentralized framework that facilitates industry-wide collaboration, which is critical to the widespread adoption of DeFi.”

For internal blockchain regulation, Huobi chain will use the Delegated Proof of Stake Consensus (DPoS) allowing authorities to operate on the network through special nodes. Furthermore, a decentralized identifier will be used to capture personal records digitally for the purpose of AML/KYC procedures across borders.

Huobi Chain Prospects and Practicality

This platform was purposely built to serve the financial services space; third parties can easily develop apps tailored to their needs once Huobi’s chain real version goes live. The Huobi chain network design basically facilitates cross-chain linking, asset management and the high-volume trades in financial markets. Both centralized and decentralized networks can interact with the blockchain through 3rd party side chains or smart contracts.

Popular crypto coins which are supported by Huobi chain include Ether (ETH), Bitcoin and Huobi’s native token (HT). It is however notable that the latter is the only utility token that will operate on Huobi chain.

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Author: Edwin Munyui