DOJ Establishes National Cryptocurrency Enforcement Team

US Deputy Attorney General Lisa Monaco announced new enforcement initiatives targeting crypto contractors who fail to report cyber breaches ‘because cryptocurrency is used in a wide variety of criminal activity.”

The creation of a National Cryptocurrency Enforcement Team (NCET) was unveiled on Wednesday during a virtual speech at the Aspen Cyber Summit, whose goal is to tackle complex investigations and prosecutions of criminal misuses of crypto assets, particularly crimes committed by exchanges, mixing and tumbling services, and money laundering infrastructure actors.

The team will also assist in recovering assets lost to extortion and fraud, including payment to ransomware.

“Cryptocurrency exchanges want to be the banks of the future, well we need to make sure that folks can have confidence when they’re using these systems and we need to be poised to root out abuse.”

“The point is to protect consumers.”

To head the team, the agency is looking for someone with experience in technology underpinning cryptocurrencies and blockchain, it said.

With this, the DOJ aims to “strengthen” the Department’s ability to disable financial markets that allow cybercriminals to “flourish.”

The NCET will investigate and prosecute crypto cases; support the coordination and sharing of information and evidence among law enforcement offices, and collaborate and build relationships with private sector actors with expertise in crypto matters to further the criminal enforcement mission.

“For too long, companies have chosen silence under the mistaken belief that its less risky to hide a breach than to bring it forward and report it. That changes today.”

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Author: AnTy

Wormhole Launches Solana-Ethereum Bridge to Move NFTs Cross-Chain

Solana-based interoperability protocol Wormhole officially announced the launch of a cross-chain bridge between the competitors Solana (SOL) and Ethereum (ETH).

This bridge will enable the transfer of digital assets between ERC-20 and SPL blockchains.

The total value locked (TVL) in the decentralized finance space has skyrocketed to nearly $170 billion, climbing towards the $192 billion peak earlier this month. This growth in TVL continues to grow as more and more layer 1 blockchains gain traction, driving this demand for cross-chain bridges.

Ethereum is currently in the lead at $118 billion, followed by Binance Smart Chain (BSC) at $16.23 billion, then Solana at $8.74 billion, Terra $8.05 billion, Polygon at $4.1 billion, Avalanche $3.16 billion, and Fantom at $1.24 billion, according to DeFi Llama.

As Yearn Finance (YFI) creator Andre Cronje explained last week in a panel hosted by Sanctor Capital,

“The whole DeFi wave gave a reason for people to begin interacting with different blockchains.”

“The more we’re interacting, the more we are realising that there’s actually a little bit too much activity for any one chain to handle this stuff.”

“While I can’t specifically pinpoint a big bang moment, it’s a combination of the maturing of different blockchains and their DeFi ecosystems, and things like NFTs that are giving people more and more of a reason to interact.”

On Wednesday, Wormhole stated that they are launching the NFT bridge between Ethereum and Solana, meaning users will now be able to send Ethereum and Solana NFTs such as CryptoPunks and Bored Ape Yacht Club, and Degen Ape Academy cross-chain.

Just like different layer 1 blockchains are cropping up and ruling the cryptocurrency market, non-fungible tokens (NFT) are all the mania right now as well.

NFTs are currently the most vibrant sector, representing material activity on Ethereum, as can be seen in the daily number of ERC-721 transfers that increased by over 10x from the beginning of 2021 to today.

NFT marketplace OpenSea, meanwhile, is the economic hub of NFT activity on Ethereum, which grew at a staggering pace this year. In August, OpenSea registered more than $3 billion in total volume while the number of unique buyers peaked at 35k the same month.

Besides attracting new users and generating new economic activity, NFTs also congested the Ethereum network and started growing on other blockchains, which offered cheaper and faster alternatives.

So, Wormhole is enabling the users to move digital art across the two blockchains.

For now, in the initial version, the bridge will only support ERC-721 (with metadata) and SPL assets with plans to expand NFT support even further to enable cross-chain transfers of ERC-1155 assets as well.

“We can’t wait to see how users will leverage the NFT bridge to bring together previously disparate communities of artists, musicians, and content creators across multiple ecosystems,” tweeted the team.

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Author: AnTy

Popular DEX Aggregator 1Inch Completes Deployment on Optimism Ethereum Network

Cryptocurrency aggregator 1Inch has announced the successful deployment on the Optimism Ethereum mainnet.

The development signals a move from 1Inch that should primarily address rising transaction costs and lengthy withdrawal wait times. 1Inch is hoping to optimize its platform’s performance for users, and this is a great way to go.

Better Performance for 1Inch

As a data aggregator, 1Inch collects data from decentralized exchanges across the industry and offers users insights into the best price to trade. This way, users don’t need to go hopping from one platform to another in search of profit maximization opportunities.

Sergej Kunz, 1Inch’s chief executive, explained that the deployment of Optimism’s mainnet will ensure that the company can dramatically improve transaction speeds.

Optimism Ethereum is a layer-2 scalability solution developed to run with the Ethereum blockchain and improve its performance. Thanks to compatibility with the Ethereum Virtual Machine (EVM), services will be able to connect their infrastructure directly to it.

Optimism works on the principle of optimistic rollups, which batch transactions off the Ethereum blockchain to lighten the chain’s load. From there, the transactions are grouped into a single block and validated at once.

While the technology is promising, there is still some work to be done. The Optimism Ethereum network can process up to 0.6 transactions per second (TPS). Yet, the team is hopeful of its potential. They believe the network’s numbers can jump to about 2,000 throughputs, following a series of tests and infrastructure optimizations.

However, there’s a significant lag with withdrawals. While the network credits deposits almost instantly, withdrawals are only confirmed after a 7-day waiting period. The developers are currently working on a “fast withdraw” feature that will significantly improve that metric.

Can’t Wait for Ethereum 2.0 Anymore

So far, slow transaction time and gas fees have been pressing issues for DeFi. Many top protocols first launch on the Ethereum blockchain, and this popularity has seen the second most valuable crypto protocol battle with scalability issues.

Gas prices have dropped since their highs earlier this year, but this is attributable to the crypto market crash of May that saw the market overrun by the bears. If the current rally stretches on, these prices could be on the rise again pretty soon.

In a bid to address this issue, many decentralized applications (dapps) platforms have begun seeking alternative protocols – giving rise to competing chains like Polkadot, Solana, and the Binance Smart Chain (BSC). Ethereum itself is currently on the way to its Ethereum 2.0 upgrade, which will make the chain more scalable on both fronts. But, Ethereum 2.0 most likely won’t come until 2022. So, dapp projects are left with no choice but to find innovative ways to satisfy their users.

1Inch is just the second DeFi protocol to launch on Optimism Ethereum in as many months. Back in July, UniSwap, the second-largest decentralized exchange, launched its v3 update on the network as well. As expected, the launch was geared at optimizing performance across the board.

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Author: Jimmy Aki

Ripple Inks Partnership With South Korean Payment Provider, GME Remittance

Ripple Labs Inc has announced a partnership with GME Remittance, one of the leading companies in South Korea.

GME Remittance Joins RippleNet

The partnership would enable GME Remittance to use Ripple’s global financial network, RippleNet, to enable faster remittance payments to Thailand.

GME Remittance aims to connect with RippleNet customers to expand into additional remittance corridors across the region and globally.The collaboration was established through SBI Ripple Asia, a joint venture between SBI Holdings and Ripple.

By joining RippleNet, GME Remittance is now connected to Siam Commercial Bank (SCB), Thailand’s oldest bank and Ripple’s long-time partner.

According to the COO of GME Remittance, Subash Chandra Poudel, Ripple was chosen as a partner because of the benefits RippleNet offers.

Poudel said the team is already benefiting from RippleNet’s privileges. For instance, RippleNet tracks transactions at every step of the process, and this he said makes it easy to send money across borders with speed and transparency.

Emi Yoshikawa, Vice President of Corporate Strategy and Operations at Ripple, believes that partnerships with providers like GME Remittance would help deliver good customer experiences while accelerating their expansion into new markets.

With this move, GME Remittance joins an existing list of Korean financial institutions and money transfer companies who have pitched their tent with Ripple.

Ripple Increasing Adoption Of Services In Asian Region

Ripple has been particular about expanding and increasing the adoption of its services this year. To this end, the San Francisco-based firm has formed several partnerships, especially in the Asia Pacific region.

According to Ripple, the region is one of its fastest-growing areas, with transactions growing 130% year-over-year.

Last month, Ripple announced a collaboration with Japan’s SBI Remit and Philippines-based firm Coins.ph. The partnership was formed to launch RippleNet’s first live On-Demand Liquidity (ODL) service implementation in Japan.

Ripple has also made other moves to expand its ODL service in the Asian region, like acquiring a 40% stake in cross-border payments firm Tranglo.

Since this partnership with Ripple, Tranglo has continued to expand its services significantly. The company recently received approval from the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) to provide account issuance, domestic money transfer, and e-money issuance services.

Through the latest approvals, Tranglo will be able to enhance its payment function in different countries, including the Philippines, Indonesia, and others.

Ripple has also previously partnered with fintech company Novatti Group to expand the reach of its ODL service. Novatti was brought in to deploy the ODL Service via RippleNet to make instant, cross-border payments. The collaboration was also focused on improving remittances between Australia and the Philippines through Filipino-owned remittance service provider iRemit.

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Author: Jimmy Aki

dYdX Launches Governance Token, But the Airdrop Won’t Cover US-based Users

The decentralized trading platform also announced the launch of the dYdX Foundation “to fully decentralize” the Protocol and remove single points of failure.

Decentralized finance (DeFi) project dYdX announced the launch of dYdX Foundation, a Zug-based independent foundation, which it describes as the first important step in its journey towards complete decentralization.

The same day, the trading platform announced that the dYdX Foundation is launching the governance token DYDX, which “powers a community-led ecosystem of governance, staking, and rewards.”

The Foundation has minted a total of 1 billion DYDX tokens which will become accessible over five years starting on August 3rd.

50% of this is allocated to the community, out of which — 25% goes to its users who trade on Layer 2 based on fees and open interest, 7.5% to past users who complete a certain trading milestone on Layer 2, another 7.5% to LPs, 5% to a community treasury, and 2.5% goes to users staking USDC and DYDX each.

dYdX’s past investors will be getting a 27.73% share while the project’s founders, employees, advisors, and consultants get 15.27%, and the remaining 7% is allocated to future employees of dYdX Trading or Foundation.

All DYDX issued to stockholders, directors, officers, employees, and consultants are subject to various vesting schedules — 30% will unlock in 18 months, 40% will unlock equally from month 19 through month 24th, 20% from month 25 through month 36, and the remaining 10% will unlock equally from month 37 through month 48.

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The tokens will be airdropped over this month which will become transferable on Sept. 8. However, DYDX is not available to its users from the US and other prohibited jurisdictions.

“The launch of the dYdX Layer 2 protocol came with a new focus on global growth outside of the United States,” noted the team.

In order to be eligible for retroactive rewards, users must have traded on dYdX protocols (perpetual, margin, spot) on Layer 1 or Layer 2 in the past or deposited funds into its borrow/supply pools and have hit a certain threshold.

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The team also announced trading fee discounts based on DYDX holdings.

Meanwhile, the Foundation will help the project in research and development activities, promote and educate the public about it, and engage with third parties for the benefit of the ecosystem.

It will also issue, receive, spend, and hold digital assets (no speculative trading activities) and acquire, hold or grant trademarks, copyrights, and other intellectual property (IP) rights or licenses.

Through this Foundation, the project aims “to fully decentralize the dYdX Protocol, removing single points of failure and creating a self-sustaining protocol governed by a community of users.”

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Author: AnTy

Mastercard to Facilitate Conversion of Crypto to Fiat through Stablecoins

Payment processor Mastercard announced on Tuesday that it would enhance its card program for cryptocurrency wallets and exchanges to reduce friction in experience by making it simpler for partners to convert crypto to fiat currency.

For this, the payment giant is working with Paxos Trust, which helped PayPal enable crypto buying, selling, and hold service for its users, Evolve Bank of Trust, and Circle, the issuer of the second-largest USDC stablecoin to facilitate the conversion of crypto to fiat through fiat-backed stablecoins.

BitPay, Uphold, Metropolitan Commercial Bank, Apto Payments, i2c Inc., and Galileo Financial Technologies are other partners.

“Working with Mastercard’s pilot to turn digital assets into dollars for everyday spending will accelerate consumers’ use of crypto as a means of commerce,” said Stephen Pair, co-founder, and CEO of BitPay.

Scot Lenoir, chairman of Evolve, believes settlement via USDC and other stablecoins is the next step in modernizing banking for all, while JP Thieriot, CEO of Uphold says, removing friction and barriers to entry are “critical” to ensure the wide adoption of digital payments.

Up until now, when people spent crypto, it all settled on Mastercard’s network, and those planning to launch or expand card programs found it challenging. Now, the company aims to solve this with its new capability that will enable more banks and crypto companies to offer a card option to people wanting to spend their digital assets anywhere Mastercard is accepted.

“Today, not all crypto companies have the foundational infrastructure to convert cryptocurrency to traditional fiat currency, and we’re making it easier,” said Raj Dhamodharan, executive vice president of digital asset and blockchain products & partnerships at Mastercard.

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Author: AnTy

Bitcoin Cash ABC Rebrands To eCash, Introduces Avalanche Consensus Layer

Bitcoin ABC (BCHA) has announced that it would be rebranding and officially changing its name to a new project dubbed eCash.

The BCHA token will now be renamed XEC.

New eCash To Use PoS Consensus Algorithm

The project said it would be using the latest proof-of-stake consensus layer, “Avalanche,” which would introduce concepts like staking, fork-free network upgrades, and subchains.

The developers described Avalanche as a revolutionary consensus algorithm that reduces the confirmation time of transactions to less than 1 second, thereby greatly increasing the speed of block finality.

With Avalanche, the eCash protocol is expected to be technically sound using a decentralized governance framework. Lead developer Amaury Sechet said,

“eCash opens the door to possibilities previously unattainable by combining the core tech behind Bitcoin’s success – the same fixed supply, halving schedule, and genesis block – with the latest Proof of Stake consensus and protocol governance.”

Sechet also said that as part of the rebranding effort, the number of decimals in the token price would be reduced from 8 to 2.

Crypto exchange Binance has already said that all users of BCHA coins will be converted to XEC at a ratio of one to one million with this upgrade.

BCHA holders do not have to take any action, as the rebranding will take place automatically. The developers of eCash have advised users to upgrade their BCHA wallets, as they expect most wallets and exchanges to use the eCash/XEC variant once the upgrade is complete.

Bitcoin Cash ABC, A Fork Of Bitcoin Cash

Bitcoin Cash ABC is the cryptocurrency project that forked away from both Bitcoin and Bitcoin Cash. While Bitcoin Cash, the first of the Bitcoin forks, was created in 2017, Bitcoin ABC was created in 2020.

Amaury Sechet was one of the Bitcoin pioneers who had a significant impact on the development of both Bitcoin and Bitcoin Cash. However, he parted ways with core developer Roger Ver in 2020 before creating Bitcoin Cash ABC.

Both Bitcoin Cash and Bitcoin Cash ABC were developed to address the scalability and speed issues of Bitcoin, but they both differ.

One thing that makes Bitcoin Cash ABC different is its “coinbase rule.” The coinbase rule adds a tax to those mining Bitcoin Cash ABC in which 50% is given to developers for protocol operation and the remainder used in a governance system called the Global Network Council.

8% of all BCHA coins mined are distributed back into the ecosystem, enabling a self-sustaining network. Bitcoin Cash ABC has been doing well recently. The coin was up 78.6% last month and currently ranks 217th on the chart with a market cap of $587 million.

Bitcoin Cash, on the other hand, is currently the 12th-largest crypto asset with a capitalization of $9.2 billion, according to CoinmarketCap.

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Author: Jimmy Aki

Brave Browser Launches News Recommendations Engine that Protects Users’ Privacy

Privacy-centric browser, Brave, announced the launch of Brave Today, a new privacy-preserving content stream, aiming to offer news recommendations without using users’ data. Instead, the platform uses an algorithm to rank stories with several factors, such as the publishing date and browser history.

Nearly every social networking app recommends content, whether YouTube videos, Spotify music, or Google News. The feature, which is popular on most websites and apps, uses recommendation algorithms mainly focusing on your online behavior.

According to a release from Brave, the newsreader will preserve users’ online privacy by sourcing content from popular RSS feeds using a custom algorithm using different factors. The statement reads,

“This stream is designed to help people discover interesting new content throughout the day while respecting the user’s privacy.”

“By using Brave’s new private CDN to deliver RSS feeds to the browser anonymously, there is no data trail available for third parties to collect or track.”

The stream will allow readers to choose from up to 15 categories of news, including global news, business and finance, sports, fashion, food, lifestyle, tech, and crypto news. Users will also be able to customize their own news streams on Brave Today.

According to the statement, Brave is looking to beat top browsers such as Chrome and Safari via the new framework that bypasses checking users’ private browsing information. Using the Federated Learning with Privacy, a technique to improve machine learning while maintaining the data on the local device, Brave Today will keep users’ data away from third parties (including Brave), which suggests news stories.

The privacy-enabled news stream will be supported by two exclusive offerings at launch – Brave Offers and Brave Promoted Content. The former launches a marketplace on the browser that allows users to indulge in e-commerce while curating their shopping experience across various “deals of the day” promotions.

The Promoted Content stream will focus on advertisements and influencing brands as part of the Brave Ads campaign. The product is yet to launch to the wide market.

“It [Promoted Content] provides brands and media partners with a new unit to promote relevant content seamlessly to Brave Today readers.”

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Author: Lujan Odera

Square Unveils New Initiative To Promote Bitcoin Inclusion

Financial payments firm Square Inc. has announced that it would distribute $5 million in grants to a newly created fund aimed at encouraging financial inclusion for historically under-resourced communities.

Black Bitcoin Billionaire Group Selected As First Recipient

The newly created fund dubbed the Bitcoin Endowment Fund would be focused on building wealth and increasing Bitcoin education.

Square has selected the Black Bitcoin Billionaire group to be the first recipient to get a grant from the Bitcoin Endowment Fund. The Black Bitcoin Billionaire is an organization aimed at educating the Black community on Bitcoin.

The newly created fund would be funded with the interest Square earns on the Bitcoin in its corporate treasury, the company said in a memo.

The Bitcoin Endowment Fund is part of a program Square launched to invest $100 million in promoting financial inclusion.

The initiative is also focused on improving access to crypto and other technologies among minority communities.

As part of the program, $25 million would be contributed to the Netflix-led Black Economic Development Fund while $10 million would be given to the Entrepreneurs of Color Fund group.

Another $10 million would go to international organizations focused on supporting minority groups globally.

The Entrepreneurs of Color fund is managed by Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC), a non-profit focused on giving minority small business owners capital. It also provides support such as coaching, operational guidance, and training.

President of LISC Fund Management George Ashton noted that the tech firm’s support would help minority business owners struggling with their businesses.

This latest move from Square comes only days after it revealed that it is considering a Bitcoin hardware wallet that would give consumers greater control over their own cryptocurrency.

This comes as no surprise considering the fact that Bitcoin transactions have been a major source of revenue for Square. Through its CashApp, customers store Bitcoin and make purchases.

Square’s Constant Support For Bitcoin And Crypto

The Bitcoin Endowment Fund is part of Square’s ongoing push into Bitcoin and cryptocurrency.

The company recently invested $5 million to build an open-source, solar-powered bitcoin mining facility at one of the US sites of Blockchain technology firm, Blockstream.

Square also teamed up with Blockstream as part of its Bitcoin Clean Energy Initiative.

The CEO and founder of Square, Jack Dorsey, has been known to improve educational opportunities around Bitcoin alongside its adoption.

In February, Dorsey announced a partnership with rapper Jay-Z to donate 500 BTC to an endowment trust in Africa and India.

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Author: Jimmy Aki

Nvidia Restricts Ethereum Mining On Its Three GeForce Gaming Graphic Cards

One of the largest graphics card producers, Nvidia, has announced that it will limit its hash rate for its three newest graphics cards that will be marked “Lite Hash Rate” in an attempt to disincentivize the miners.

In an announcement made on Tuesday by Nvidia’s chief global marketing officer for GeForce, Matt Wuebbling, the affected graphics cards are RTX 3070, RTX 3080 as well as RTX 3060 Ti.

The firm explained that it will reduce the hash power of the three newest graphics cards by 50 percent in efforts to ensure that their high-end GPUs will only attract gamers rather than Ethereum miners.

Weubbling explained that the limitation of hash power will only be applied on only the newly manufactured GPUs. He said,

“This reduced hash rate only applies to newly manufactured cards with the LHR identifier and not to cards already purchased. We believe this additional step will get more GeForce cards at better prices into the hands of gamers everywhere.”

Nvidia had initially announced the introduction of limited hash rate on various GPU series in February. However, a driver update in March led to the removal of the limits with some crypto miners using the RTX 3060 model achieving a hash rate of about 118.9 megahashes per second.

The recent surge in Ether (ETH) prices has seen a spike for Nvidia’s gaming graphics and there are fears of GPU shortages should Ether’s price rise again. The profits for Ethereum miners surpassed those of Bitcoin miners on May 12 depicting the high number of Ethereum miners in the industry.

Nvidia seems ready to let go of the opportunity to leverage the ongoing Ether craze as it has already rolled on its own crypto mining processor.

The firm is set to kick off shipping of the three new graphics cards at the end of this month and will include the LHR label on the box as well as in retail product listings.

It however remains unclear whether the limits on hashrate will have any effect on the performance of the new graphics card. Some commentators have gone ahead to ask for a reduction in their prices since they will not be much more powerful.

The post Nvidia Restricts Ethereum Mining On Its Three GeForce Gaming Graphic Cards first appeared on BitcoinExchangeGuide.

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Author: Joseph Kibe