IOTA to Launch A New Wallet; Firefly Was Built from the Ground Up for the Chrysalis

IOTA has announced a new wallet dubbed ‘Firefly’ according to a recent tweet by the IoT-focused blockchain foundation. The tweet sent out yesterday revealed that Firefly would replace IOTA’s infamous wallet, Trinity, which was hacked earlier this year.

Dominik Schiener, the co-founder of IOTA, quoted this tweet announcement noting that the chrysalis upgrade will feature many upgrades as the platform prepares to go fully decentralized in the awaited 2.0 upgrade.

“With Chrysalis, we are fundamentally upgrading the entire IOTA stack.

Over the coming weeks, everyone will participate in this new IOTA future and try our new Firefly wallet and Testnet. This will be an exciting new chapter for IOTA and the entire ecosystem!”

The Chrysalis upgrade marked the commencement towards ‘coordicide’ where IOTA’s coordinator will be removed to usher in complete decentralization. As we reported earlier, the chrysalis is the final testnet before the coordinator is removed.

IOTA’s developer, Charlie Varley, who commented on the ‘Firefly’ announcement, further expounded that the prospective wallet has been a work in progress. He added that the new wallet is redesigned from scratch based on the experiences learned from Trinity, with the first alpha expected in the course of 2020,

“Firefly is our new wallet. We are aiming for a first alpha this year. Taking everything we learned from Trinity, we redesigned it from the ground up.

In 2021 we will add additional features like contacts and chat. Firefly will set a benchmark for user-facing apps in crypto.”

In February, the Trinity wallet had been compromised, an attack that resulted in the loss of $1.6 million user funds, although this was later reimbursed by IOTA’s co-founder David Sonstebo. IOTA is now looking to improve its ecosystem’s security with the 2.0 launch, which is anticipated to take place in Q1, 2021 when the coordinator is replaced by coordicide.

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Author: Edwin Munyui

Cybersecurity Firm, CipherTrace, Files Second Patent for Tracking Privacy Coin Monero (XMR)

  • A cybersecurity firm, CipherTrace announced on Monday their second patent on tracing and tracking privacy-enabled cryptocurrency, Monero (XMR)

A press release shared to the BEG news desk confirms CipherTrace, a blockchain analysis, and cybersecurity firm, has filed its second “Monero tracing” patent – “Techniques and Probabilistic Methods for Tracing Monero.” The patent follows the firm’s registration of the “Systems and Methods for Investigating Monero” patent earlier in the month in a bid to trace and track the privacy-enabled cryptocurrency.

Over the past few years, regulators and governments worldwide, including the United States and Russia, have been working on solutions to tracking XMR. According to the statement, over 45% of the darknet transactions are completed using privacy coins – with Monero leading the line, only second to Bitcoin (BTC).

Monero gives the user total anonymity through a privacy-by-default blockchain, unlike other privacy-based blockchains, ensuring no user can be deliberately or accidentally be traceable.

In September, the crypto intelligence firm announced a partnership with the U.S. Department of Homeland Security to develop a forensic tool to track and trace Monero. At the time, CipherTrace CEO Dave Jevans confirmed the product has been in the works for a year stating,

“Our research and development team worked for a year on developing techniques for providing financial investigators with analysis tools. There is much work still to be done, but CipherTrace is proud to announce the world’s first Monero tracing capability.”

The latest patent will allow CipherTrace to build unique solutions and a toolkit to help regulators and law enforcement officials easily trace private cryptocurrency. The patent covers many features, including forensic tools to explore the XMR transactions, statistical and probabilistic methods to clustering likely owners, transaction visualization tools and methodologies for gaining intelligence about XMR transactions and node operators, etc.

This will exacerbate money laundering across the virtual asset service providers (VASPs) such as crypto exchanges and custodial services. Monero’s privacy makes it difficult for these VASPs to take on the compliance risk due to the high possibility and risk of money laundering. Over the past year, several exchanges have delisted XMR due to these challenges, including OKEx, Upbit, and recently Switzerland-based ShapeShift.

While CipherTrace works to remove the anonymity that cryptocurrency assets offer, the privacy of the crypto users’ identities will not be disclosed, the statement reads.

“We do, however, identify the Virtual Asset Service Providers (VASPs) that are commercial companies operating cryptocurrency businesses.”

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Author: Lujan Odera

Gemini Partners with ClearBank to Provide Banking Services for UK Exchange Users

In September, U.S.-based Gemini announced its intentions to expand fully into the U.K., to offer trading and custody services. It seems the crypto exchange is now turning its words into action.

Today, cloud-based clearing bank Clearbank announced that it had become the UK banking services provider of top crypto exchange and custodian Gemini.

ClearBank will provide its single API integrated secure infrastructure for Gemini, including securing sort codes and dedicated account numbers. It will also offer express access to payment mediums like CHAPS and Faster Payments.

There have been increased numbers of crypto holders in the U.K., especially now that there is uncertainty regarding the stability of the dollars after Brexit.

The U.K. Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) recently revealed more than 1.9 million holders of crypto assets.

Last month, Gemini rolled out its full services in GBP after receiving an Electronic Money Institution (EMI) license from the FCA.

The license and the present partnership with ClearBank will enable Gemini U.K. customers to deposit or withdraw their GBP balances through the bank. Gemini is offering its customers a secured ClearBank API platform for the complete safety of their accounts.

Apart from protecting the account of the users, Gemini will also maintain the highest regulatory compliance.

Partnership with address issues consumers are facing

ClearBank chief executive officer Charles McManus says the bank is happy to be chosen as Gemini’s banking partner. He pointed out that Gemini has proven that it’s a market leader in the exchange industry over the years. The crypto exchange is also one of the first the bank has worked with, confirms McManus.

In the deal, the role of ClearBank is to provide payment rails and access to accounts, which will help Gemini deliver the best customer experience. He revealed that the partnership aims to help address some of the biggest issues consumers have faced in the industry.

Head of Gemini UK Blair Halliday also commented on the development. According to him, its customers’ high needs in the U.K. have prompted the need to opt for ClearBank as its official banking partner for its U.K. customers.

He said customers in the U.K require fast and easy access to their funds at all times. With faster payment methods, it grows the relationship with customers, and that’s exactly what Gemini has set out to achieve.

Blair also said its shared innovative technology with Clearbank makes the arrangement possible. He pointed out,

“With our shared focus on rigorous compliance, robust security, and innovative technology, ClearBank is an obvious partner for Gemini.”

As cryptocurrencies increase in popularity in the U.K, consumers are always exploring faster and more efficient methods to store their funds.

As a result, users of trading platforms should instantly fund their accounts without being forced to pay extra FX charges. They also want to know their funds are safe and secure, which can only be achieved with a high-risk management standard. Gemini said by choosing ClearBank’s banking services, it hopes to address its customers and crypto holders’ underlying needs.

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Author: Ali Raza

Oasis Network Launches Mainnet, Enabling More DeFi Privacy & Data Tokenization

Top cryptocurrency exchange Binance has announced it will list privacy-focused Oasis Network on its platform. The listing will enable Oasis Network to make it easy for under-collateralized loans in DeFi.

Binance announced this on its blog, with plans to offer Oasis Network on its platform with three pairs, which include ROSE/USDT, ROSE/BUSD, and ROSE BTC.

Yesterday evening, Oasis Network mainnet was live with over 75 independent validators already registered.

According to the Network, it is set up to provide decentralized applications, and it can provide about 1000 transactions per second.

In 2018, Oasis Network raised $45 million from top crypto ventures such as Binance Labs, A16z, Pantera, and Polychain.

The funds helped the company to grow bigger, offering more efficient services to its users. The company ensures the encryption of data and ensures the enforcement of privacy policies via smart contracts.

According to Oasis Labs, the ‘confidential compute’ functionality helps encrypt data to ensure several processes’ privacy, from genetic research to credit history check.

By default, the Oasis Network respects the user’s data preference and supports new sets of privacy-preserving applications. Users can earn rewards when they stake their data with apps that control how the services they use consume their most sensitive information.

Oasis Labs collaborated with Binance in August this year to launch CryptoSafe, a decentralized platform designed to fight crypto fraud.

Oasis platform will offer a wider capacity

The Oasis platform’s integration offers a much wider network capacity to ensure credit checks and privacy of sensitive personal or sensitive data. It also helps loan applicants to establish their creditworthiness to creditors.

Most existing DeFi loan products provide over-collateralized lending, but plans are in place to also introduce under-collateralized loans.

Based on the post, Binance decided to collaborate with Oasis Labs to offer a platform where exchanges can reduce the industry’s number of frauds. While ensuring safety, the platform will also protect each participant’s sensitive data confidentiality in a decentralized environment.

Oasis Labs has hundreds of DeFi projects

The announcement also noted that the DeFi industry leaders such as Balancer and Chainlink recently joined the Oasis Network.

Oasis Labs has also assured participants that its security architecture can improve private decentralized exchange platforms’ operations, such as automated market maker Uniswap.

Oasis Labs says several partnership projects are already ongoing on the network, including Binance-led CryptoSafe Alliance and the privacy-first genome sequencing partnership with Nebula Genomics.

Just last month, Oasis Lab revealed that Nebula Genomics would use “Parcel,” its data governance API product, to enhance the platform’s capabilities. And there are hundreds of projects the company is presently working on, according to the report.

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Author: Ali Raza

Ethereum Classic Labs Rolls Out Wrapped ETC (wETC); Opening Up The DeFi Marke

Ethereum Classic has announced the launch of wrapped ETC (wETC) to act as a gateway to the Ethereum blockchain, which today is a major playing field of Decentralized Finance (DeFi) applications. The announcement, which came on Wednesday, means that ETC users will have seamless access to the DeFi ecosystem without converting their tokens.

Recent months have seen the DeFi space grow exponentially as more stakeholders bet on its long term value. Unsurprisingly, the trend is catching with other crypto projects, including BTC, which already found its way to DeFi through wrapped Bitcoin (WBTC). In fact, DeFi Pulse metrics show that WBTC is the second most locked asset in the $13.5 billion DeFi TVL.

ETC Joins the Ethereum DeFi Bandwagon

The recently released wETC is an ERC-20 token, hence compatible with the Ethereum blockchain and DeFi applications, ranging from DEXes, lending, and derivatives. Basically, ETC users will now be able to stake their tokens on Ethereum and leverage the varied DeFi services within the ecosystem. ETC Labs CEO and Co-founder James Wo said that the milestone would at least attract 10% of ETC holders,

“We wanted to make sure ETC could go to a different ecosystem and use different applications on top of that ecosystem … I expect at least 10% of ETC holders will want to participate and use wETC.”

Notably, Ethereum Classic emerged from the Ethereum 2016 hard fork, triggered by the DAO hack. It now appears that the two communities are ready to work together despite Wo’s stance that ETC will maintain a Proof-of-Work consensus as Ethereum shifts to a Proof-of-Stake mechanism,

“Not everyone trusts PoS. Some projects believe in PoW … So I think some of the ecosystems will probably stick to ETC or other PoW versions of a blockchain that can make smart contracts.”

The Token Wrapping Concept

As the blockchain and crypto industry evolves, interoperability solutions have been at the forefront of most innovations. The concept of wrapping tokens and using them on a different blockchain has changed the industry, especially with the growth of an ecosystem like Ethereum. Basically, this involves issuing a blockchain asset such as Bitcoin on a different blockchain-based on a 1:1 representation.

The wrapped crypto asset can then perform various functions given its compatibility with a particular blockchain ecosystem. In the wETC case, users will transfer their wrapped tokens to the Ethereum blockchain via chainbridge, an interface for both ecosystems. A similar amount will be minted for use within the Ethereum ecosystem, after which they will be destroyed when users convert their tokens back to ETC.

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Author: Edwin Munyui

Kucoin to Launch a Non-Fungible Token (NFT) Exchange and Trading Services

Kucoin crypto exchange has announced that it is making a debut into the Non-fungible token (NFT) market through Pool-X, the exchange’s liquidity trading platform. According to the announcement, Kucoin will roll out its NFT exchange within the next few months. Meanwhile, the exchange has already opened an NFT deposit service through Dego.Finance NFT assets.

NFT’s gained momentum in the crypto space this year and almost picked up from where the DeFi bull-run topped. Well, it appears that these digital assets could actually cause another market hype, given their value proposition. Basically, NFTs can be leveraged in different industries to store value on a decentralized/blockchain ecosystem. Some of the most compatible niches include artwork, collectibles, and Gamefi.

Kucoin will be among the pioneer centralized crypto exchanges to feature NFT trading; a milestone that the firm touted in the announcement,

“KuCoin’s support on deposit and withdrawal of NFT assets indicates that NFTs will soon enter the centralized trading platform for circulation.

At present, trading NFT assets is difficult for users because many of them are unfamiliar with on-chain transactions.”

Notably, Kucoin opened NFT deposit services on Nov 16 as withdrawals are scheduled to commence on Nov 20. Plans to launch the NFT exchange and NFT trading service have been set for early next year. According to Kucoin’s CEO, Johnny Lyu, the firm has been paying close attention to NFTs despite minimal action at the moment,

“KuCoin is paying close attention to the NFT market. Although NFTs don’t have enough market attention at present, the potential is great.

Moreover, it has many application scenarios in insurance, bonds, options, and other fields. It can even create a virtual real world on the blockchain.”

He highlighted that Kucoin launched the NFT trading board to increase market participation, noting that the exchange will continue to contribute to the NFT space. Stats from NonFungible.com, an NFT data analysis platform, revealed that this space grew by 300% year-on-year to record $230 million in transaction volumes during the first half of 2020.

Kucoin is still recovering from a $280 million hack at the end of September. So far they have recovered close to 84% of the stolen funds, in which they believe they know who the hackers are and are working with local law enforcement to trace and arrest the attacker.

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Author: Edwin Munyui

Binance Drops BGBP Stablecoin; Citing Challenges in the Issuance and Redemption Process

Binance crypto exchange announced that it would discontinue its GBP-backed stablecoin ‘BGBP’ as of Nov 17 at 12:00 PM UTC. This coin was tied on a 1:1 ratio against the British pound and launched by Binance back in June 2019.

According to the announcement on Nov 16, the BGBP stablecoin is among a list of trading pairs that will either be removed or cease trading on the Binance exchange. The announcement noted that BGBP’s last trading pair against BUSD marks its final use case within the exchange’s trading ecosystem.

Notably, users who will still hold their BGBP after trading stops will have an option to leverage Binance’s convert function to exchange their stablecoins to GBP on a 1:1 basis. The blog post by Binance reads,

“Please note that BGBP/USDC is the last trading pair for BGBP. For users still holding BGBP after trading ceases, they will be able to use the Convert function to convert their BGBP to GBP at a 1:1 ratio.”

A Binance rep who spoke to theBlock, revealed that the BGBP was the exchange’s first fiat-pegged stablecoin experiment, hence more like a proof-of-concept. According to the spokesperson’s comments, BGBP posed some challenges in issuance and redemption,

It worked, but the issuance/redemption process was not the most friendly for users.”

The spokesperson further highlighted that Binance would instead direct users to its alternative GBP on-ramping services to derive similar utility.

“As such, to offer our users with better services, we have discontinued BGBP and will direct users to our other available fiat on-ramps that offer GBP.”

While Binance issued BGBP, its dollar-backed BUSD stablecoin has thrived more despite being a Paxos stablecoin white-label. According to coinmarketcap metrics, the BUSD stablecoin supply is cool $662 million compared to a mere $700,000 by the BGBP counterpart.

It is noteworthy that the BGBP stablecoin was primarily bought through Binance Jersey, a subsidiary that the exchange is shutting down this month. This also coincides with upcoming U.K stablecoin regulations that seek to implement oversight on these digital assets to be at par with rival payment methods.

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Author: Edwin Munyui

Bitcoin Payment Processor Rolls Out ‘BitPay Send’ to Allow Companies to Pay With Crypto

BitPay has announced a new product dubbed ‘BitPay Send,’ which enables companies to make crypto payments without necessarily holding digital assets. The crypto payment services provider targets extending its clientele portfolio with BitPay Send to bridge the gap that exists when it comes to paying for labor or services in crypto.

Powered by a blockchain ecosystem, the BitPay Send platform is built to increase efficiency in crypto payments and target companies of all sizes. This innovation facilitates massive payments such as the ones companies make to contractors, vendors, customers, affiliates, and employee salaries. Given the growing nature of the distributed economy, BitPay Send poses as an ideal platform for companies that source talent, especially from the gig economy.

Per the current systems, transactions can be extremely slow and costly, especially when a cross-border operation is involved. BitPay Send solves this challenge by supporting round the clock crypto payments across the globe. BitPay CEO, Stephen Pair, noted the high rate of blockchain payments adoption, which he attributes to the ease of sending and receiving payments globally. He added that,

“Traditional international payment methods are cumbersome, costly, and slow. With BitPay Send, companies can make mass payouts without having to buy, own or manage crypto and their recipients receive payments quicker and at a lower cost.”

BitPay Send is already in use by AdGate Media, which leverages the facility to make crypto payments to its affiliates. Basically, BitPay assumes the conversion risk, while AdGate only makes a fiat deposit paid out to an affiliate in crypto. Dan Sapozhnikov, the President of AdGate Media, was keen to highlight the value proposition by BitPay Send in their line of business,

“We have lots of affiliates who wanted to be paid in Bitcoin, especially those who are based outside North America and Europe where access to bank accounts is difficult …

having BitPay manage that risk was an important factor in choosing BitPay Send.”

Notably, recipients will only require a BitPay ID and crypto wallet hence the whole notion of eliminating banks as intermediaries. BitPay, which has been operational since 2011, enjoys the backing of prominent investment firms, which include Virgin Group, Index Ventures, and Founders Fund.

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Author: Edwin Munyui

Indian Exchange CoinDCX to Offer Pooled ETH Staking ahead of Ethereum 2.0 Launch

India’s largest crypto exchange CoinDCX announced the extension of its support for Ethereum 2.0 and its eagerly anticipated launch. The exchange has begun Ethereum (ETH) staking as it prepares for ETH 2.0 launch.

It has become one of the few exchanges globally to provide an elaborate solution to evade the logistical challenges with ETH 2.0 staking.

CoinDCX joins other top exchanges launching ETH 2.0

CoinDCX has always put its foot ahead of others regarding adopting and integrating solutions within the crypto landscape. The exchange has concluded plans to ensure the ETH 2.0 staking is offered on its platform without issues.

CoinDCX allows user funds to pool, ensuring full user participation within the network, starting with funds as low as 0.1 ETH. After the user has staked the funds on ETH 2.0, the exchange will carry the overlying infrastructure maintenance and hardware cost.

Co-founder of CoinDCX, Neeraj Khandelwal, commented on the new staking by stating that many observers and industry stakeholders have touted ETH 2.0 as Web3, the decentralized version of the internet.

The launch of the platform can allow more ETH network scalability as it will drastically reduce energy consumption.

In preparation for the release, Neeraj said CoinDCX aims to become one of the few global crypto exchanges that will launch the offering for global users.

CoinDCX ETH2 staking is coming immediately after the Ethereum Foundation stated that it had released the deposit contract for ETH 2.0 on November 4. It allows prospective stakers to deposit 32 ETH to the contract in readiness for the launch.

Launch of ETH2 staking in two phases

CoinDCX said the project is split into two phases. The first phase is to make sure ETH staking is hassle-free, which has been achieved. In the second phase of the product launch, CoinDCX said it is bringing a unique engineered solution to provide more liquidity to funds locked. The phase is currently undergoing testing, and the exchange says it hoped to complete the testing phase before ETH 2.0 goes live next month.

Validators who want to stake ETH 2.0 effectively would need to provide 32 ETH to reach the 524,188 targets or its dollar equivalent of $200 million.

Interestingly, about $1 million worth of ETH was staked less than an hour after the announcement. A few days later, the staking funds have grown to $26.9 million (57,600 ETH).

The Chief executive officer and co-founder of CoinCDX, Sumit Gupta, revealed that the development should not surprise anyone since the exchange is known for championing innovations within the cryptocurrency community.

“We are contributing to the Ethereum ecosystem, so it helps to grow the whole ecosystem,” he reiterated. He further stated that the exchange is providing full support for users who are looking to stake Ethereum.

Earlier this year, CoinDCX rolled out it’s first offering with three major coins Tron (TRX), QTurn (QTUM), and Harmony (ONE).

The exchange allowed staking to all users holding minimum balances on the above tokens. Also, the exchange later started offering additional tokens on its platform, including XTZ, NEO, and EOS)

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Author: Ali Raza

Crypto Custodian Anchorage Hits Milestone; Receives a SOC 1 Type 1 Attestation Report

Anchorage, the U.S domiciled crypto custodian, announced that it had obtained a SOC 1 Type 1 report having completed an assessment. This audit was done by Ernest & Young (EY), one of the big four auditors in the world. According to Anchorage’s announcement on Nov 10, the milestone will be a big boost to its value proposition as a digital asset custodian that deals with other institutions, including financial service providers.

Basically, the SOC 1 Type 1 report entails assessing a company’s support ecosystems to ensure robust financial reporting mechanisms and internal operating systems. In the case of Anchorage, E&Y also looked into the control of private keys; an area where Anchorage’s Head of Compliance Jennifer Lee, expressed confidence on,

“What sets the Anchorage report apart is a heavy emphasis on our ability to prove exclusive control, confidentiality, and availability of private keys.”

The SOC 1 Type 1 report is not a walk in the park; this approval is only granted after the attestation of a qualified third party such as E&Y. With Anchorage receiving this report, the crypto custodian has further increased its mark of excellence as a financial services provider. Per the announcement blog, they were confident of this position but are now better placed with a formal confirmation by E&Y,

“Completing this examination and being granted the SOC 1 Type 1 report more formally signifies something we have long known: the controls and processes Anchorage has developed are world-class and meet a truly rigorous standard.”

In the future, the firm plans to complete SOC 1 Type 2 assessment, which is more rigorous and done over time than a one-time review. Anchorage also indicated that it would retain E&Y to be its third-party auditor in the type 2 evaluation, as it strives to increase standards in compliance reporting and support for internal systems. Cryptocurrency exchanges Gemini and Coinbase have also completed these assessments.

Notably, this crypto custodian has quite a bullish fundamental year, expanding into the burgeoning Decentralized Finance (Defi) niche. The firm’s collateral management services have also grown significantly through a major partnership with Silvergate bank to provide crypto-pegged loans to institutional clients. With a SOC 1 Type 1 report, Anchorage is optimistic about creating a more trustable crypto custodial ecosystem.

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Author: Edwin Munyui