Roger Ver’s Bitcoin.com Mining Pool Pulls Out Of Bitcoin Cash Tax For Development Fund

Bitcoin.com, a mining pool associated with Roger Ver, has announced it has withdrawn its support for the proposed BCH development fund which has been controversial among BCH miners due to insufficient consultation in the community.

Bitcoin.com through a blog post stated that it will withdraw the support of the development fund whose details were released last week by BTC.TOP CEO, Jiang Zhuoer. Bitcoin.com stated that it would not support the proposal as it didn’t want to see chain split or an alteration of the current economics.

The blog also states that such a proposal requires a consensus of many mining pools as possible. The firm also indicated that the opinions of other players like exchanges and businesses should also be considered before such a plan can be implemented.

Roger Ver, Bitcoin.com’s chair had signed last week’s proposal. Others included Haipo Yang of ViaBTC and Antpool/BTC.com’s Jihan Wu. The proposal called for a taxation of 12.5% block reward to be set aside as development fund like the Zcash one. During the launching of the proposal, the group stated that the fund will be used to finance long-term development but members will determine the projects to be funded.

While the proposal received some support, critics have argued that various aspects were underspecified like the ‘Hong Kong corporation’ which is set to coordinate as well as compensate for network development. In addition, critics pointed out at the ‘no-debate’ clause which meant that a miner who doesn’t support a soft fork may have his/her blocks orphaned.

Bitcoin.com explained that withdrawal of its support will offer an opportunity to both the users and developers to discuss and agree on precise funding proposals.

The new developments follows threats of a hard fork by unidentified ‘opposing miner group’ that says it controls about a quarter of the entire network’s mining hashrate. The opposing group said it was unfair for some mining pools to dictate to others to come up with proposals without engaging them.

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Author: Joseph Kibe

TradeStation Users Now Have Access To CME, Bakkt Bitcoin Futures Options Trading

TradeStation is an online brokerage firm for securities and on 27th January announced that its clients can now trade Bitcoin Futures Options from CME and Bakkt on their recently revealed FuturesPlus platform.

The new futures platform would come equipped with various analytical tools and simplified pricing to help institutional clients to trade the futures contractor from both the popular platforms in one place.

Futures contracts have become the hottest crypto trend since it has given a smooth pathway for institutional traders to enter the digital space. Earlier these big shot traders avoided crypto markets owing to its high price volatility and risk-return factor.

However, the likes of CME and Bakkt has efficiently managed to bring in these institutional players by offering a less volatile form of investing via futures contracts. These contracts are settled at the prefixed date of every month to depending on the time frame of the trader’s contract.

CME Group was the first exchange to enter the futures market for digital currencies as it launched its Bitcoin futures contract during the peak bull market for the king coin in December 2017. Recently they also launched the Bitcoin Futures Options trading with tremendous response from the community as it’s volume soared and doubled in just the first week.

Bakkt’s physically settled Bitcoin futures were launched in September 2019 amid high speculations and hopes. However the start was quite disappointing for Bakkt as it failed to generate trading volumes anywhere near CME’s, but slowly picked up the pace by December and since then has seen significant rising volumes with each passing day.

TradeStation Securities has been in the business since 1980’s catering its services mainly towards institutional clients. The securities brokerage firm has been known for offering commission free trading for traditional stocks, futures, options and exchange traded funds as well.

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Author: James W

Japanese Crypto Exchange Liquid to Offer Bitcoin Perpetual Contracts

The famous Japanese cryptocurrency exchange Liquid has announced on Monday that its platform will support Bitcoin (BTC) perpetual contracts offering 100x leverage to traders.

A lot like futures but different from the traditional contracts, perpetual contracts don’t expire at a certain date. This is how Liquid explained the newly offered perpetual contracts product:

“A perpetual contract has no expiry date and has no interest fees. Instead, a funding swap occurs between all open perpetual long and short contracts on Liquid. When trading perpetual contracts on Liquid you are trading contracts based on the price of BTC. Perpetual BTC contracts are represented by the P-BTC ticker on Liquid.”

The New Investment Instruments Still in Beta Phase

The date for the public launch if the new investment instruments hasn’t been given yet, as the project is still in the closed beta stage. For now, Liquid is inviting traders to perform tests on its platform and talks about a promotional offer of free services for one month. The company has been launched back in 2014. It’s a subsidiary of Quoine, the Japanese fintech behemoth. Its platform grants users access to crypto exchanges from all over the world. Besides, it’s valuated at more than $1 billion.

Liquid Will Be a Direct Competitor of Huobi and Binance

After the new instruments are going to be launched, Liquid will compete directly with giants like Huobi and Binance. Back in 2019, FTX backed by Binance launched a similar instrument that tracks 8 of the most popular crypto projects in China.

The financial regulator in Japan is thinking of putting a 2x leverage cap that depends on the crypto margin trading at exchanges, while Liquid is continuing to offer its very large client base more crypto-based services. For example, last year it redefined and improved trading services by introducing an isolated margin trading. More than this, its platform held a public sale for the Gram token created by Telegram, only to recently cancel it.

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Author: Oana Ularu

WEF’s New Global Consortium To Focus On Cryptocurrency Governance Framework

The World Economic Forum (WEF) has announced the creation of a global consortium which will come up with a governance framework for all cryptocurrencies comprising stablecoins.

In a blog post, WEF announced that after extensive consultation among the global community members, an international consortium which will work closely with financial institutions, representatives of governments, developers as well as other global community members to analyze the type of crypto governance which can enhance financial inclusion.

Klaus Schwab, WEF founder who is also the chair, said that virtual currencies are critical area of interest which needs input from different sectors, geographies as well as functions. He said:

“Building on our long history of public-private cooperation, we hope that hosting this consortium will catalyse the conversations necessary to inform a robust framework of governance for global digital currencies.”

According to CoinDesk, the new consortium will aim at providing solutions to the current fragmented regulatory regime in different countries. The consortium will also advocate for innovative regulatory approach in order to enhance technological advancement. The consortium is also expected to come with principles that will encourage the public and private players to work together in exploring the various prospects which comes with virtual currencies.

The international consortium has the backing of various central banks basically from the developing countries and different non-governmental entities. The consortium also has backing from Mark Carney of Bank of England who has previously argued that digital currencies have great potential.

The initiative received support from industry players such as Libra Association’s David Marcus, ConsenSys’ Joe Lubin as well as Neha Narula from MIT’s Digital Currency Initiative. They all praised the efforts taken by the WEF.

The new developments come just a few days following the forum’s blockchain head, Sheila Warren together with Sumedha Deshmukh who came up with ‘Blockchain Bill of Rights’. Last week, various central banks stated that they will set up a working group which will analyze how the crypto technology can be used in the finance sector.

WEF also announced that an international technology governance summit will be held on April 21-22 this year.

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Author: Joseph Kibe

Celsius to Implement Compounding Interest on Cryptocurrencies Deposited in Its Wallet

Borrowing and crypto lending platform Celsius’s Founder, Alex Mashinsky announced, that starting February 1st, they will begin applying compound interest for their customer’s wallets.

The news came in a Twitter AMA (Ask Me Anything), with some other updates also mentioned. It seems the Celsius community had asked for the compounding interest. By implementing it, Celsius will compete with BlockFi and other traditional financial services. This is what the firm said in a recent announcement that was sent to Cointelegraph:

“You asked for it, and we delivered! Starting February 1, interest income on crypto deposits will officially be COMPOUNDING! That’s right – all the coins in your wallet will now be earning interest on interest!”

Other Updates

As said before, the AMA announced many other updates like the ability for lending against EOS tokens, revamped loyalty tiers and collaboration with Korbit, the South Korea-based crypto exchange. Also, users have been told they can now earn as much as 8.1% APR if they deposit their first Bitcoin (BTC).

Celsius Developed Faster than Other Crypto Lenders

The Celsius Network has developed into the fastest, when compared with other crypto lenders, having a little over two billion in coin loans in their beginning, only to double this sum to $4.25 billion by November 2019. Platforms for crypto lending are continuing to be more and more popular because they allowed customers an opportunity to receive interest for deposited assets, not to mention they enable tokens to be used as collateral against stablecoin and cash loans.

The interest rates offered by Celsius on deposits are for many cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin (BTC), Litecoin (LTC), Ether (ETH), Dash (DASH), Bitcoin Gold (BTG), EOS, and ZCash (ZEC), not to mention they also have higher interest rates for a few of their stablecoins.

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Author: Oana Ularu

BlockFi To Cut Rates For ‘Tier 1’ BTC And ETH Lenders While Boosting ‘Tier 2’ Starting Feb 1

  • BlockFi announced changes in its Bitcoin (BTC) and Ethereum (ETH) lending yields starting Feb. 1.
  • Changes follow the increasing price and interest in the crypto assets.

An official announcement from BlockFi, a cryptocurrency startup that allows users to lend and earn interest on digital assets, stated the company will reduce the overall interest paid to lenders of Bitcoin (BTC) and Ethereum (ETH) starting February 1.

The changes come at a time the crypto market is experiencing tremendous growth as Bitcoin soared past $8,000 and ETH rocketed past $150, at the start of the year. According to the CEO of BlockFi, Zac Prince, the changes are set to accommodate the changes in market sentiments and price across the market. A growth in value means the lending demand is expected to hike effectively bringing the yield down. Zac said,

“As market conditions change, particularly price sentiment, this has an effect on the prices in the crypto borrowing market which is a big driver of rates that BlockFi can offer to our clients.”

BlockFi implements new yields for BTC and ETH

The report stated new rates for both BTC and ETH, the former witnessing its yield drop from 6.2% for Tier 2 (loaning up to 5 BTC) to 5.1% for its Tier 1 customers, those borrowing up to 10 BTC. The new rates will see the latter crypto cut its lending yield by 0.6% from 4.2 percent for Tier 1 customers, those borrowing up to 1000 ETH to 3.6 percent for those loaning up to 500 ETH (Tier 2).

Despite the lower rates offered, Zac maintains the company still offers the most competitive rates in the field. He said,

“Our rates are still way ahead of alternative options and we remain the only retail-focused interest-earning platform.”

The lending yields for other cryptocurrencies including Litecoin (LTC) and Gemini Dollar (GUSD) remain unmoved.

The latest move seems to be a move towards larger crypto investment in the firm as the holding/lending yield were adjusted upwards for Tier 2 investors on both BTC and ETH. Tier 2 BTC lenders will receive a percentage bump from 2.2% as ETH lenders receive 1.5% bump to 2%.

At the end of 2019, BlockFi announced trading on the four cryptocurrencies offered with zero trading fees.

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Author: Lujan Odera

Hacker Noon To Embed Blockchain Tech Into Its Blog, Allowing More Interactions With Readers

Hacker Noon, a knowledge website, announced they will launch on a blockchain, shortly after leaving Medium for calls of centralization. The official announcement from David Smooke, CEO of Hacker Noon, the blog-style based content site, stated the annotations of users (comments and reactions) will be stored on the users extra storage space to increase efficiency and reduce storage costs.

According to David, the annotations will be powered by ERA Inc.’s GUN, a P2P network, allowing authors to select annotations to be shown on their content from themselves and others. The companies partnered with a goal to improve the overall content sharing field by reducing the cost of storage and setting the platform on a decentralized network. The official website states,

“You, the author, have the power to accept or reject these annotations — if you reject them, they go away, but if you accept them, they show up on your story as a little yellow highlight, under the selected text.”

Once the annotations have been accepted by the author, the users/readers can view and save the annotations and in-line comments on their own devices reducing the cost of storage on the Hacker Noon site. Smooke said,

“Blockchain technology can distribute the hosting cost of running a site like ours, where people spend over 25 million minutes reading each month.”

Since splitting up with Medium, in the first half of the year in 2019, the latter company has tried to buy off Hacker Noon but to no avail. In one instance in March 2019, Smooke said Medium tried to offer a “low price” to purchase the blog but the sum was lower than what Hacker Noon makes a year in sales and advertisements. In a private funding round in 2019, the blog raised over $1 million USD for development from over 1200 investors.

The website currently receives over 4 million users on the site monthly with a target of adding more in the coming years. More developments are expected after the partnership between ERA Inc.’s GUN and Hacker Noon as explained by ERA CEO, Mark Nadal.

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Author: Lujan Odera

Paxos Adds Auto-Conversion, Directly Swap Fiat To PAX or Binance USD (BUSD) Stablecoins

On Tuesday, Paxos announced the launching of a fresh feature which will enable customers to instantly wire transfer money from different deposit bank accounts directly to Paxos Standard as well as Binance USD. In reverse, BUSDor PAX received by the given Ethereum address will instantly be sent back to the client’s bank account in the form of USD, CoinDesk reports.

Paxos senior product manager, Zack Kwartler, explained that the new feature will be known as Auto-Transfers and will be available in all banks within the US. He explained that there is a need for blockchain-based financial solutions to be closer to the real financial world and Paxos is using this new feature to bring more dollars to the world of blockchain.

Kwartler also explained that Paxos want to change the narrative that stablecoins can only be used for crypto trading and show that they can help in payments as well.

Paxos has been aggressive in the introduction of new services and products in the market in the last few months. Last week, the firm introduced tokenized gold futures dubbed PAX Gold which is currently available on FTX exchange. Additionally, the firm was awarded a no-action license by SEC to enable it settle Equities products through a private blockchain.

The new feature will make it easy for traders to trade on both the PAXD and BUSD as well as open up the payment systems to the two stablecoins. It will now be easier for users to pay using the two stablecoins.

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Author: Joseph Kibe

Crypto Exchange Binance Rolls Out Global P2P Merchant Program To Increase Fiat On-Ramps

One of the leading crypto exchanges and blockchain ecosystems, Binance, has today announced the launch of a Peer-to-Peer (P2P) Merchant Program.

The merchants who are using this program will be able to earn revenue with zero transaction fees by providing fiat payment solutions. Binance will offer them professional support services. The program has been launched for providing higher liquidity and because Binance was in high demand all over the world. This is what the company’s CEO, Changpeng Zhao (CZ) had to say about it:

“In the past quarter, there has been increasing growth in trading volumes on Binance P2P platform, and we have constantly received requests for more fiat-to-crypto access from our global community. To meet the growing users demand, we are seeking credible merchants for Binance P2P trading platform globally. We welcome quality payment services providers to join Binance’s Global P2P Merchant Program.”

Binance Enrolling Merchants for Its P2P Trading Platform for the First Time

Ever since it has been launched in October 2019, Binance’s P2P trading platform hasn’t enrolled merchants until now. Joining it was only possible through invitation or the referral program. For the users to have the best experience and outstanding merchants their interests protected, the Global P2P Merchants Program will work based on a mechanism of elimination. Binance is planning to launch more promotional materials and activities on the P2P trading platform, for its users from all over the world.

Binance P2P Trading Platform Now Supporting VND

Earlier this week, it has been announced by Binance that its P2P trading platform has support for the Vietnamese Dong (VND), meaning that from January 20, users from Vietnam can use VND to trade Bitcoin (BTC), Tether (USDT), Ethereum (ETH) and BNB.

Binance P2P Provides Easier Access to Cryptocurrency

By using the business-to-consumer (B2C) and the consumer-to-consumer (C2C) models, Binance P2P offers easier access to cryptocurrency and improves the users’ experience. Binance is comprised of a few arms that provide freedom of money and serve the blockchain.

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Author: Oana Ularu

Square Crypto Launches Lightning Development Kit ‘LDK’ To Boost Adoption Of The Network

The crypto initiative started by the payment firm Square and called Square Crypto has announced on Tuesday the launch of its first product.

This product is a Lightning Development Kit (LDK) that’s meant to help the integration of Lightning with developers’ Bitcoin (BTC) wallet applications. It includes demo apps, language bindings, an API and many other elements that should make the Lightning integration safe, easy and simple to configure, says a blog post published by the group.

Square Crypto Took a Few Other Projects into Consideration

Square Crypto has mentioned that it took a few other projects into consideration, but that it finally concluded a Lightning-Network integration project for wallets is necessary, as developer are demanding it. This is what the company’s blog posted reads further:

“We spoke with dozens of wallet developers. What we heard was a desire for flexibility when integrating Lightning. Wallets and applications require different key store and backup mechanisms, security approaches, UX tradeoffs, and more. That means the solution is building for more wallets, not fewer.”

The Kit’s Release Not Yet Announced

The tools included in the kit intend to give developers an improved user experience, Square Crypto saying that:

“For bitcoin to become a widely used global currency – one that can’t be stopped, tampered with, or rigged in anyone’s favor – improvements to bitcoin’s UX, security, privacy, and scaling are required.”

It seems the kit is still getting built and a date for its release hasn’t been yet revealed. What’s sure is that today’s Lightning infrastructure is not complete and could sure use some more features. Back in December 2019, Square Crypto announced that it’s offering grants to a Lightning developer working part-time, in order to provide support for his work. Earlier in September, it hired 3 new team members, out of which 2 have experience with Lightning.

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Author: Oana Ularu