Mobile Crypto Wallet BRD Hits 6 Million Users; Sets Target on 10M by Early 2021

Bread, (BRD), a Zurich based crypto wallet provider, announced on Oct 6 that the platform has hit 6 million users globally. These numbers have been particularly driven by the high adoption rates in Latin America and India; the firm is now optimistic of hitting the 10 million mark within the first phase of 2021.

BRD has been in the game since 2015, but only skyrocketed its user acquisition this year. As recent as July, the digital wallet provider was only doing 550,000 Monthly Active Users and it took close to five years for the firm to hit 1 million. It now seems that the COVID-19 pandemic was a much-needed booster for this startup. The firm’s user base has been growing by about 1 million every 2 months.

According to BRD’s CEO Adam Traidman, the pandemic is causing most people to dig deeper into the fundamentals of existing systems, hence the reaction to optional markets such as crypto,

“It’s causing a lot of thinking about money and finances. People have had a lot more time over the last six months to look at their investments and as a result of that, we found that for cryptocurrency in general, but especially for BRD’s business, we’ve been growing dramatically.”

Niche Markets

Adam went on to highlight that BRD’s dramatic growth has resulted from two groups of users; millennials and those affected financially by the COVID-19 pandemic. The first group, which happens to be very speculative and tech-savvy leverage platforms like Robinhood, access traditional markets instead of brokerage firms. The latter mostly compose of individuals looking to hedge for inflation or currency devaluation in shaky economies like Argentina and Venezuela.

Also Read: Bitcoin Scales Just Fine As A Store Of Value Says MicroStrategy CEO

BRD’s recent success is a culmination of fundamentals, including its non-custodial crypto wallet that allows users to retain control of their digital assets. According to the firm, this saves the hustle of a lengthy registration process, limiting most people from being onboarded into a financial ecosystem. BRD users can also use their bank accounts or Apple Pay to acquire cryptocurrencies. The startup has had quite successful funding rounds, with the latest being a series B that raised $15 million back in Jan 2019.

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Author: Edwin Munyui

Kucoin’s Hackers Identified With ‘Substantial Proof’ in $280M Theft, Law Enforcement Involved

Kucoin announced through its CEO Johnny Lyu that they have found the hackers who compromised close to $280 million of the exchange’s funds in last week’s hack.

Lyu tweeted this update over the weekend as crypto markets struggled in the red zone following the Kucoin hack, BitMEX indictments, and the news of President Trump contracting COVID 19.

The hack update noted that authorities and law enforcement, in particular, are now involved in the matter,

This update comes as a reprieve to Kucoin stakeholders, although the Singapore based exchange had assured the crypto community that funds were SAFU. While its funds in cold storage remained untouched, the hackers had managed to siphon around $280 million from hot wallets and are in the process of dumping the hack proceeds for value realization.

However, this seems not to be going so well for the group, which has only sold $13 million worth of the stolen funds. These were sold through decentralized exchanges, including Uniswap, Kyber Network, Tokenlon, and DEX.AG. As for the rest, Lyu now says that an additional $64 million has been frozen in collaboration with other CeFi providers, bringing the total to $204 million.

Besides the updates, Lyu also signaled that Kucoin is gradually returning to full functionality and supported deposits and withdrawals of 31 tokens as of October 3. In an earlier follow-up Livestream on September 30, the Kucoin CEO had acknowledged the hack as part of growing bigger,

“As a crypto team just turned three years old, although we never slack off on security-related issues, we couldn’t dodge the cruelest coming-of-age ceremony that every predecessor used to embrace.”

While this hack may have hit hard, one thing that emerged is the collaborative effort by crypto projects to curtail the movement of ‘compromised’ funds. Some projects like Velo Labs have gone to re-deploying their smart contracts to freeze the funds. Nonetheless, this has also sparked controversy on the whole aspect of decentralized ecosystems.

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Author: Edwin Munyui

Digital Asset Trading Platform eToro Rolls Out Cardano (ADA) And Tron (TRX) Staking Service

Popular trading platform, eToro, announced on Thursday that it would provide staking rewards for cryptocurrencies starting with Cardano (ADA) and Tron (TRX).

The multi-asset exchange stated that clients that own these cryptocurrencies, ADA, or TRX, would have a chance to earn rewards by staking, which will be paid out monthly. The firm also revealed that it plans to introduce other assets later, but hasn’t revealed what the next digital assets would be.

According to the press statement, the system is fully automated, and users will not need to do anything extra but just trade these assets like normal.

The rewards will be calculated by taking a daily snapshot, which will be taken at 00:00 GMT. The automated system calculates the staking rewards based on the snapshot and distributes them at month-end according to the average daily position size. This means that traders who will change their positions on these cryptocurrencies over the course of the month will see their staking rewards change.

Like most proof of staking (PoS) tokens, investors will need to hold the assets for a certain number of days before they receive the first reward. However, the amount of time required is variable. For Cardano, one must hold the asset for nine days.

According to the press release, the rewards will be compounded on a monthly basis. It says:

“Clients staking on eToro benefit from doing so on a regulated and globally trusted platform. We also believe staking rewards on our platforms are among the most generous in the market, from a minimum of 75% of the staking yield.”

In late July, Cardano introduced staking on its mainnet following a successful trial using an incentivized testnet. In the recent past, staking as a service has gained prominence, and eToro will now be competing with various exchanges and independent staking providers such as Binance, Coinbase, Bison Trials, and many more.

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Author: Joseph Kibe

Chainalysis And Integra FEC Win $625k Grants From IRS To Track Monero (XMR) Transactions

Announced this last Wednesday, The U.S. Department of Treasury has awarded two grants to blockchain tracking and monitoring firms, Chainalysis and Integra FEC. Both firms received $625,000 in grants in a bid to develop privacy-focused blockchain transactions such as Monero and Layer-2 protocols.

In early September, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) called out firms and companies building blockchain tracking and monitoring tools to submit proposals on cracking privacy blockchains – especially Monero (XMR). The taxation authority incentivized companies to apply with a $625,000 grant promised to the winning contracts.

In less than three weeks, the IRS has made its decision selecting blockchain analysis firm, Chainalysis, and data forensics analysis firm, Integra FEC. Both the companies will receive a total of $1.25 million, shared equally, with authority looking for solutions to trace and monitor the privacy coin.

An IRS spokesperson confirmed a total of 22 companies in the blockchain space applied for the grants, with the two firms winning the bids. The winning teams will receive an initial payment of $500,000 to develop the privacy-based monitoring and tracking tool, and the rest of the amount will be released once the prototype of the tool is released and inspected.

The New York-headquartered blockchain analysis firm is a relatively known company in the crypto space. Chainalysis recently announced a partnership with the Wyoming state financial regulator to monitor public blockchain transactions and cryptocurrency mixers.

Integra FEC is a Texas-based data forensics firm that is relatively unknown in the crypto space despite partnering with the U.S. securities regulator, SEC. The firm built a consultation service, “Other Scientific and Technical Consulting Services,” for the SEC.

Also Read: Gemini Rolls Out Zcash (ZEC) Shielded-Address Withdrawals For Transaction Privacy

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Author: Lujan Odera

Coinbase’s Anti-Politics in Workplace Stance Goes Against Bitcoin’s Core Principle: Twitter CEO

Twitter CEO and Bitcoin proponent Jack Dorsey criticized Coinbase Inc.’s newly announced policy for keeping politics out of the workplace, saying it is exactly the opposite of what bitcoin and cryptocurrency are all about.

“Bitcoin (aka “crypto”) is direct activism against an unverifiable and exclusionary financial system which negatively affects so much of our society. Important to at *least* acknowledge and connect the related societal issues your customers face daily. This leaves people behind,” said the Twitter chief.

The tweet from Dorsey, who’s Twitter profile bio only reads “#bitcoin,” has been in reaction to Coinbase CEO Brian Armstrong’s blog post arguing that the company must be mission-focused and not “advocate for any particular causes or candidates internally that are unrelated to our mission, because it is a distraction.”

Social activism, according to Armstrong, has the potential to “destroy a lot of value” at a company by being a distraction and creating internal division.

“Jack making an appeal to all the (ex) Coinbase employees that are about to get paid to leave, well played,” tweeted one crypto community member, “Brian driving his talent away… Jack sniping it.”

Amidst this, former Twitter CEO Dick Costolo pushed things further by suggesting those who disagree with having political activism in the workplace will be “lined up against the wall and shot.”

The world is divided on Coinbase’s mission, with some completely against it and others hailing it as “leading the way” and interpreting it as “let’s stop shitposting about politics in slack and get back to work.”

The San Francisco-based cryptocurrency exchange with more than 35 million users says, “We are an intense culture, and we are an apolitical culture.”

The company took one step further and doubled down on its stance this week. In an internal email to employees, Armstrong offered any employee who “doesn’t feel comfortable with this new direction” four to six months of severance to leave the company.

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Author: AnTy

SingularityNET to Move ‘A Significant Portion’ Of Operations To Cardano From Ethereum

In an announcement on Sept. 30, SingularityNET, the AI firm developing the human-like Sophia robot, announced its partnership with IOHK, the development team behind Cardano, led by founder, Charles Hoskinson. The strategic partnership between the two firms has been on the table for several months as Ethereum blockchain gas fees spiked to all-time highs – at an average tx cost of $15.

The move between the two will see IOHK transfer Ethereum (ERC-20) based AGI tokens to Cardano-based AGI tokens, similar to the wrapped tokens. Moreover, the statement says there will be significant advantages to switching to Cardano, mainly the new updates coming to the Plutus smart contract language – moving away from Ethereum’s Solidity coding language.

However, the statement did not state the portion of SingularityNET that will move from the Ethereum network,

“Final decisions and details regarding porting of a portion of the SingularityNET network to Cardano have not yet been made and will be discussed in-depth with the SingularityNET community when the time is right.”

The move to Cardano aims to increase the speeds of the transaction while lowering the network fees. The announcement states Ethereum high gas fees and high latency times as the main reason they are looking at other options. Additionally, the never-ending postponement of the ETH 2.0 launch, which will introduce a proof-of-stake (PoS) consensus mechanism, has been a barrier to the growth of SingularityNET.

“The ambitious Ethereum 2.0 design holds promise, but the timing of the rollout of different aspects of this next-generation Ethereum remains unclear, along with many of the practical particulars.”

In a 90-minute video chat with Hoskinson, SingularityNET CEO, Ben Goertzel, stated the company still aims at having a multi-chain approach when building blockchain-agnostic solutions to AI. This means that the company, more than likely, will not fully move the blockchain operations from Ethereum, Goertzel stated.

He states it will be left to the community to decide which blockchain offers the best properties, given Cardano has its own flaws. He stated:

“If it turns out the Ethereum portion is more powerful and useful for some purposes, and the Cardano portion is useful for other purposes, then so be it, right?”

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Author: Lujan Odera

Kadena to Launch DEX to Rival Uniswap; Touts Higher Speeds and Multiple Protocol Support

Kadena announced on Tuesday that it would roll out a Decentralized Exchange (DEX) dubbed ‘Kadenaswap’ towards the end of 2020 in a bid to rival Ethereum, which is currently struggling with high gas fees and congestion. This JP Morgan blockchain initiative noted that its pipeline multi-chain DEX will provide DeFi traders with an option capable of handling high volumes as part of its contribution to the burgeoning space.

For starters, Kadenaswap is set to facilitate around 480,000 transactions per second compared to a mere 13 Tps on Ethereum. This has been a significant issue for Ethereum recently, as markets rallied in favor of DeFi ecosystems. Gas fees hit all-time highs, with traders paying as much as $15 per transaction at the beginning of September.

Kadenaswap has since been touted as the game-changer by its stakeholders, including Kadena president, Stuart Popejoy. Speaking to Coindesk, he confirmed that the DEX would have no issues in handling 480,000 Tps based on the fundamentals of Kadena blockchain, a platform that debuted at the beginning of the year.

Furthermore, Kadenaswap, unlike Uniswap, will support various protocols to build within its DEX ecosystem. Kadena’s native bridge infrastructure, coupled with the pact smart contract language, will allow its prospectus clients to integrate a couple of protocols not limited to Bitcoin, Ethereum, Cosmos, and Polkadot. Popejoy commented that,

“We already have production code with fully decentralized bridges, and so that creates an interesting opportunity to think of a multi-protocol, multi-venue DEX.”

Like most decentralized projects, Kadena is also considering launching its governance token ‘KDAX,’ used as the fuel to its DEX. This means that KDAX holders will get to vote on proposals intended to improve or keep Kadenaswap sustainable in the DeFi space.

While Kadenaswap stakeholders may be bullish, the DEX will face a tall order in trying to disrupt Uniswap, which currently enjoys $2.3 billion in liquidity and $271 million volume within the past 24 hours. Ethereum 2.0 will launch in the near future, according to the latest updates from the team. If successful, DeFi activity is more likely to continue thriving in this ecosystem.

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Author: Edwin Munyui

Binance Launches Decentralized Stablecoin Via; Forked From Compound & MakerDAO

On September. 28, Binance announced the launch of Venus Protocol, an algorithmic money market platform that allows borrowing of over-collateralized loans, lending, and generation of new synthetic stablecoins, VAI. According to a tweet by Joselito Lizarondo, founder of Swipe Wallet and Venus Protocol, the BSC-based platform is a fork from Compound (COMP) and Maker (MKR).

Venus does not include any VC pre-mined tokens or team allocation funds in a bid to fully decentralize the project. The VAI token is a multi-collateralized stablecoin offering cross-chain collateral with other crypto assets based in the BEP-20 format.

The platform allows over-collateralized lending with 75% or lower of the assets supplied on the Venus Protocol and interest-earning on collateral supplied. Users can also stake their vTokens (e.g., vETH) to mint VAI stablecoin, which is pegged to the dollar at a ratio of 1:1. The statement from Binance reads,

“VAI is minted by the same collateral that is supplied to the protocol. Users can borrow up to 50% of the remaining collateral value they have on the protocol from their vTokens to mint VAI”.

The protocol is, however, governed by its governance token, XVS, which allows users to vote on issues on the platform such as adding collateral assets, initiating product developments, and major changes on Venus. At the start, Swipe wallet’s native token, SXP, will be used for governance “until there’s enough quorum of XVS mined to be sufficiently decentralized,” Lizarondo said.

A total of 20% of the mined XVS tokens will be allocated to the Binance launch pool, 1% to the Binance Chain Ecosystem, and the rest will be distributed to the miners. A total of 30 million XVS governance tokens will be mined by May 2024. Miners will be able to stake their Binance Coin (BNB), Binance USD stablecoin (BUSD), and Swipe’s SXP tokens to receive XVS tokens.

Binance also announced the XVS trading pairs would be listed in its Innovation zone, including the XVS/BTC, XVS/USDT, XVS/BUSD, and XVS/BNB pairs.

In September 2019, BEG reported Binance’s Venus project launch as a government-friendly replacement of Facebook-led stablecoin, Libra. But the Venus Protocol was clear to say that this wasn’t the same as the open project from Binance.

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Author: Lujan Odera

The XRP Ledger Foundation Launches To Accelerate XRPL Adoption And Development

The XRP Ledger Foundation, a non-profit, announced its official launch on September 24. The Ledger Foundation would be responsible for supporting the development as well as accelerate the adoption of the XRP Ledger across the globe.

The non-profit organization has received multiple grants from several organizations, including the remittance firm, Ripple and content moderation firm, Coil, and the crypto wallet service provider GateHub. The XRP Ledger Foundation also hopes to raise more funds in the near future from other stakeholders of the decentralized space.

The XRP Ledger has grown in popularity within the banking and financial industries, which make use of the ledger for facilitating instant cross-border transactions at a minimal fee.

The XRP Ledger Foundation aims to expand and accelerate the adoption of its dedicated ledger while also improving the underlying technology behind it. Apart from working on the XRP ledger, the foundation would also create a unique node list, support community-based initiatives, and help the developers to strengthen the ecosystem.

The key role of the foundation also includes securing capital for its developers. Wietse Wind, one of the most prominent XRP developers, which is also a member of the Fund’s board, suggested that they have already paid developers who would exclusively work for the XRPL.

The foundation would also work to create a dedicated XRP community fund, with the sole purpose would be to bring formal engagement to the community.

The announcements made by the foundation met with great enthusiasm from the community. David Schwarz, Ripple’s CTO, commented that Ripple is committed to supporting the growth of XRP ledger, and the foundation would further their goal in enhancing the ecosystem.

David Schwarz said:

“We and the community have worked over the past 8 years to dramatically increase the decentralization, performance, and feature set of the XRP Ledger and remain committed to its future growth and innovation.”

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Author: Rebecca Asseh

RockX to Provide $500K Funding to Projects Building on Polkadot; $20 Million in Total

RockX, a digital asset development company, has announced a $20 million investment program for the Polkadot ecosystem over the next five years. The $20 million investment boost will be capped at $500,000 worth of native DOT token per project. In return, the RockX company would receive equity in the project or tokens worth the same value.

Alex Lam, the co-founder of RockX, who also runs a Bitcoin mining farm by the name of RockMiner, revealed that the funding for the Polkadot project was launched after receiving financial aid from several investors who like to remain anonymous. Lam revealed that most of these investors are big-time DOT token holders and Ethereum proponents. Lam said,

“They are guys who have been in the Ethereum community since 2015, and have supported the Ethereum ecosystem in the past via investments and building projects.”

The co-founder of RockX also said that his company would also offer technical support to the Polkadot ecosystem. RockX is currently running a node for Polkadot, Cosmos, Solana, Oasis, and Terra.

Investors Won’t Influence Any Projects

RockX co-founder revealed that despite the investment that these anonymous investors are making, they would have no say in which projects get the grant and how much they would receive. The RockX team would solely make the decision.

Apart from the $500k maximum cap for each project, RockX could also grant a ‘no-string-attached’ kind of funding to independent projects as well.

The $20 million investment grant also comes just weeks after Polkadot established its treasury. Although the investment grant has nothing to do with the treasury, both of them share a similar goal of boosting and expanding the Polkadot ecosystem while helping projects to grow and build decentralized useful products for mass consumption.

Signum Capital, one of the largest crypto funds in South East Asia and an investor in the RockX project, was all praises for RockX and its latest initiative. John Ng Pangilinan, the Managing Partner for Signum Capital, said,

“RockX is taking a step further to help blockchains grow by leveraging its technical capabilities and investor networks. This will set up a new collaborative model for the industry.”

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Author: Silvia A