SBI Holdings Buys Japanese Crypto Exchange, TaoTao, Just Days After Binance Deal Failed

  • SBI Holdings announces the acquisition of Japanese crypto exchange, TaoTao Inc.
  • TaoTao announced on Monday that an agreement with Binance had failed.

In an announcement on Wednesday, TaoTao Inc., a Japanese based crypto exchange funded by Z Holdings (formerly Yahoo! Finance), was wholly acquired by the Japanese conglomerate, SBI Holdings. The conglomerate is celebrating its second licensed cryptocurrency exchange, as it aims to dive deeper into digital currencies.

According to the statement, SBI Holding’s derivatives and foreign exchange wing, SBI Liquidity Market, acquired 100% of the issued shares on TaoTao, the latter becoming a wholly-owned subsidiary of SBI Holdings.

“We are pleased to inform you that we have decided to become a wholly-owned subsidiary of SBILM,” TaoTao statement.

The Japanese based Financial Service Authority (FSA)-licensed exchange joins SBI VC Trade, SBI’s crypto-focused venture capital arm, as the second licensed exchange owned by SBI Holdings. Both entities will provide crypto trading services to customers across Japan and build on the crypto ecosystem experience.

Following the acquisition, TaoTao aims at maximizing the strengths provided by SBI Group to provide customers with “the latest, safe and secure crypto asset trading services,” the statement further reads.

While no official reports have been released on the deal’s value, sources close to TaoTao claim the total fee could rise to 2 billion Japanese yen, or approximately $19 million.

Binance deal with TaoTao fails.

The news comes barely 48 hours after the Japanese crypto exchange announced that the Binance deal to acquire it had failed. According to the report, the world’s largest crypto exchange was in discussions to buy TaoTao, but the deal fell through with no explanation offered.

Following the failed partnership, it is unlikely that Binance will revive its services to Japan residents this year after abandoning its services due to tough regulations from the FSA.

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Author: Lujan Odera

IOHK and The UN Launch $10k Hackathon to Fight Hunger & Climate Change Using Cardano

  • IOHK announces a partnership with the United Nations.
  • The Cardano-developer will launch a hackathon targeting the millennium development goals (MDG).

The Input-Output Hong Kong (IOHK) development team is partnering with the global humanitarian organizations, the United Nations (UN), launching a hackathon to end poverty, hunger and solve climate change. The hackathon will have a top prize of $10,000, aiming to incentivize developers to make the humanitarian millennium goals more achievable.

IOHK aims at improving the overall blockchain impact in international development using the Cardano blockchain. The hackathon proposal submission period opens on Saturday, and entries must be finalized by October 18 at 11:59 MDT. The selections will then take a week before results are released on 24th October, on the 75th anniversary of the launch of the United Nations – United Nations day.

Participants can submit any Cardano-based solutions on any of the new 17-millennium development goals set in 2015, including ending extreme poverty and hunger, fighting inequality and injustice, and tackling climate change. A pool prize of $10,000 worth of ADA, Cardano’s native token, will be released to incentivize projects to build.

The winning projects will be judged by a panel from the IOHK and UN employees, determining “an idea’s technical prowess, scalability, and social impact, as well as its financial and volunteer support.” The statement further states,

“The winning ideas will be able to seek the advice of experts from both the UN and IOHK to ensure that they are implemented in the most impactful way.”

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Author: Lujan Odera

Ethereum-Based Scaling Solution, SKALE Network, Deploys Phase 2 Of Its Mainnet

  • SKALE Network announces the launch of its phase two mainnet launch.
  • The Ethereum-scaling project goes live with over $78 million staked on the platform.

In an announcement made available to BEG, SKALE – a decentralized Ethereum-based project backed by Winklevoss-backed Gemini and ConsenSys – announced the successful deployment of Phase 2 of its mainnet. The platform aims to increase scalability, increase throughput, and reduce the high gas fees on the Ethereum blockchain.

According to the statement, a total of $78 million has already been staked on the platform as the Phase 2 launches. The amount was raised from over 4,000 SKALE users and businesses using the network from over 90 countries globally. So far, SKALE Network has 130 network nodes spread across 46 countries.

SKALE, an ‘elastic blockchain network,’ is a Layer 2 scalability solution built on Ethereum offering a convenient and efficient platform for decentralized apps (DApps) to build on. The platform promises over 1,000 elastic SKALE blockchains offering sub-second transaction times and higher throughput than the current Ethereum blockchain.

Jack O’Holleran, CEO and co-founder of SKALE, stated the launch of Phase 2 and the launch of the SKL token would boost the development of the raging DeFi market, Web3 applications, and gaming as transaction speeds on SKALE increase and fees lower.

He further stated that SKALE Phase 2 mainnet launch would mitigate the persistent problems on Ethereum, such as high gas costs, even with a booming DeFi market. He further stated,

“Validators and delegators alike have real incentives to participate as SKALE’s economic model pools security similarly to how DeFi projects pool liquidity.”

Over the past few months, Ethereum has faced a surge in gas costs as the DeFi and gaming markets boomed to billion-dollar valuations. The issues on Ethereum have set several projects to look for better options. Recently, AI intelligence firm, SinguarityNET announced plans to move a “significant portion” of its operations from Ethereum to Cardano blockchain.

This follows the launch of Phase 1 of the SKALE Network in July this year.

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Author: Lujan Odera

Coinbase Pro to List Balancer (BAL) and Ren (REN) In A Push Towards The DeFi Ecosystem

  • Coinbase announces the launch of Balance (BAL) and Ren (REN) trading on its professional exchange.
  • New York state and U.K residents locked out from trading the new tokens.

In an announcement on October 1, Coinbase revealed two new listings – Balancer (BAL) and Ren (REN) – expected to start trading on Coinbase Pro starting October 6 officially. The latest move shows Coinbase’s commitment to the decentralized finance world following the listing of over 10 DeFi tokens in the past three months, including Uniswap (UNI), Band Protocol (BAND), and Compound (COMP).

According to the listing statement starting Oct. 1, Coinbase’s professional trading exchange, Coinbase Pro, will be accepting REN and BAL token deposits. Trading these new DeFi tokens is expected to launch on Tuesday, 6th Oct at 9 AM Pacific Time (PT) if enough liquidity requirements are reached.

At launch, trading of Balancer and Ren will be paired with Bitcoin (BTC), and the dollar (USD) – BAL/USD, BAL/BTC, REN/USD, and REN/BTC – with more pairs are set to be added in the future.

The balancer is an Ethereum-based automated market maker (AMM) that lets users provide liquidity to the trading pool and receive trading fees as rewards (in BAL tokens) for being a liquidity provider. REN is a native token that enhances the transfer and swapping of tokens across blockchains.

As is custom for Coinbase, the trading of REN and BAL will launch in four phases – transfer-only, post-only, limit-only, and full trading. Trading of REN and BAL “will be available in all Coinbase’s supported jurisdictions, except for New York State and the U.K.,” the blog post reads.

More details will be provided by the exchange as the trading launch date nears.

Recent Coinbase News:

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Author: Lujan Odera

AVA Labs to Launch Its Avalanche (AVAX) Blockchain Mainnet On September 21st

  • AVA Labs announces the launch of its mainnet Avalanche blockchain will take place on September 21.
  • The mainnet aims to challenge Ethereum 2.0, providing lower latency and higher throughput.
  • Avalanche mainnet targets the surging world of DeFi products.

AVA Labs, a blockchain development firm, announced it would release its Avalanche blockchain mainnet on September 21. Emin Gün Sirer, the founder of AVA Labs and a computer science professor at Cornell, termed the mainnet “a new beginning for blockchains, cryptocurrencies, and decentralized applications.” Adding,

“Monday will mark the beginning of a new era for cryptocurrencies, blockchains, and decentralized applications.”

“Avalanche is the first major breakthrough in our space since Satoshi’s leap forward, and we intend to follow in their footsteps to have the same, defining impact as we stand on the cusp of a new decade.”

According to a statement from the team, Avalanche blockchain mainnet will launch this coming Monday, aiming to provide newly-bred solutions for decentralized finance (DeFi), crypto, and blockchains in general. On the launch of the mainnet, Avalanche’s native token, AVAX, will be distributed to rightful owners, Emin said.

AVAX will be distributed to the early owners of AVA, including those who participated in the private and public sales of the token, developers who were awarded grants from AVA Labs, and those who earned commissions.

Avalanche’s mainnet launch follows 16 months of intense development since the blockchain exited its stealth mode. According to the statement, Avalanche is the first-ever smart contracts platform that delivers sub-second verification and finality of transactions to challenge the upcoming Ethereum 2.0, Ethereum’s forthcoming main update.

Notwithstanding, Avalanche will also support all projects on the Ethereum Virtual Machine (EVM) and provide EVM development kits. This aims to enable “millions of independent validators to participate as full, block-producing nodes,” the statement further reads.

The launch of Avalanche also brings with it solutions to the burgeoning DeFi ecosystem that has been plagued by over-congestion and high fees on ETH. In a statement obtained by BEG, AVA Labs co-founder and chief operating officer, Kevin Sekniqi, said the development team has always looked for solutions to the DeFi ecosystem with Avalanche to solve the scalability problems.

“There’s no known limit to the number of full, block-producing validators who can participate in Avalanche consensus without losing performance. We’ve tested upwards of 2,000 of these full validating nodes without any drop-off in performance or downtime,” Kevin said.

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Author: Lujan Odera

Stablecoin Issuer Tether To Move $1B In USDt From TRON To Ethereum; Total Supply Unchanged

  • Tether announces a chain swap transaction containing $1 billion worth of its stablecoin, USDt, from the Tron blockchain to Ethereum.

In an announcement made on Monday, the stablecoin issuer stated the swap will be completed in two tranches, starting Tuesday, September 15. A tweet from the official page of Tether vaguely stated the swap will be completed by a Tier 1 exchange, which asked to perform the swap. The tweet reads,

A token chain swap is a process of moving tokens from one blockchain to another. This process allows users to directly trade on one blockchain instead of another e.g. a user can move their tokens from the Ethereum blockchain to Omni or Tron. It happens solely on the demand by users and issuers have no power over the chain swap.

This does not change the total market capitalization and supply of USDt.

The latest Tether chain swap from TRON to Ethereum comes three weeks following a similar move in August. As the decentralized finance (DeFi) space grows, investors are moving their capital to Ethereum in a bid to capture the gains from the emerging field.

This will set the TRON blockchain aback to about 43.7 billion in total supply hosted by the blockchain while ERC-20 based USDt market cap surges to $9.8 billion.

Tether is opening up its borders to faster and more scalable blockchains such as Solana and Algorand in a bid to ease the congestion on Ethereum. However, the demand for ERC-20 based USDt does not seem to end any time soon as exhibited by the latest chain swap.

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Author: Lujan Odera

Tether to Add Layer 2 Solution, ZK-Rollups, to Reduce Congestion On Ethereum’s Network

Tether announces plans to integrate ZK-Rollups, a second layer solution using zero knowledge proofs to bundle up transactions as one to reduce the burden on Ethereum-based USDt transactions. Integration of Layer 2 solutions is becoming an ever growing concern for Ethereum users after the recent spike in gas fees in tandem with DeFi market growth.

ZK Rollups is an implementation built on top of the Ethereum network, leveraging zero knowledge proofs to bundle up transactions and send them, improving scalability on the blockchain. ZK, or zero knowledge is required of the transactions. This hence reduces computing and storage resources for validating the block by reducing the amount of data held in a transaction.

Speaking on the integration, CTO of Tether, Paolo Ardoino, named ZK-Rollups as the most comprehensive and most preferred second layer solution on Ethereum as it works on-chain.

Tether is working on reducing the amount of transactions conducted on the Ethereum blockchain in a bid to decongest and probably reduce the fees. Recently, the stablecoin was added on OMG Network, also a layer 2 solution, as a sidechain to help in scaling Ethereum and reduce the skyrocketing transaction fees.

The growth of Tether’s demand has been majestic over 2020 as Tron and Ethereum both hold more USDt than the Bitcoin network. The token set an all-time high market capitalization as reported by BEG after a frenzy across the DeFi space caused a spike in demand.

The demand of USDt – as the largest stablecoin – has seen it flip the number of transfers and transactions made on the largest blockchain, Bitcoin. According to a Coinmetrics report, the 7-day average adjusted transfer value of Tether broke the $3 billion mark, finally reaching $3.55 billion compared to Bitcoin’s $2.94 billion as of Aug 25.

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Author: Lujan Odera

Robinhood Soars To $11.8 Billion Evaluation After $200 Million Series G Funding

  • Robinhood announces $200 Million in recent series G funding led by D1 Capital Partners.
  • A statement from the US-based brokerage startup has disclosed that the new cash injection will go into improving their products and overall user experience.

Robinhood has closed its Series G funding at $200 Million. The Brokerage application firm made this announcement today via their official blog.

The new cash injection brings their company valuation to $11.2 Billion. D1 Capital Partners will onboard as the new investors to the California based startup. The firm highlighted that the funds would go into the improvement of their core product as well as their customer experience.

“With this funding, we’ll continue to invest in improving our core product and customer experience.”

They recently participated in a similar Series F funding lead by TSG Consumer Partners and IVP in July, raising a cool $320 million. This bolstered their valuation to $8.6 Billion after raising $280 million at an $8.3 billion valuation in May.

Launched in 2016, they have seen their user account numbers swell from roughly 1 Million on launch to about 13 Million currently. Their exponential growth was recorded in the 2020s Q1 registering more than 3 Million accounts facing multiple outages a flaw they have since fixed.

Halted UK expansion

The popular crypto-friendly app revealed that they have had to shelve their expansion plans into the United Kingdom market. They were forced to close and delete information from an online waitlist they had set up for potential clients after receiving approval from the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) to commence operations in the jurisdiction. They would instead focus on consolidating their position in their home markets.

Robinhood’s latest woes could be attributed to a tragedy involving a 20-year-old who allegedly committed suicide after, unfortunately, misinterpreting output from the app. Their put options category insinuated that the latter had lost close to $730,000 while, in fact, it wasn’t the case. The firm has since restricted the Put options category imposing age restrictions and a $250,000 donation to the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention kitty.

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Author: Lujan Odera

BitMEX Mandating KYC by Feb 2021, Not Bad for Crypto Market

Crypto derivatives exchange BitMEX now seems to be feeling the pressure of regulators as it announces mandatory know-your-customer (KYC) measures to “meet evolving international regulatory standards.”

Starting August 28, 2020, all BitMEX customers will be required to complete their ID checks within the next six months.

As per the User Verification Program, a user has to go through a four-step process, much like other cryptocurrency exchanges, that includes uploading a photo ID and proof of address, a selfie, and answering “a few multiple-choice questions about the source of funds and trading experience.”

With this move, the exchange says, they will be able to “create a more trusted and secure trading environment for all BitMEX users.”

Crypto trader DonAlt feels the same as he said it is “part of growing up,” and “all of the crypto will soon be KYC’d.” BitMEX also has “to do it at some point.”

It wasn’t shocking given the increased scrutiny the crypto space has been getting from regulators, who have already been probing into BitMEX for the past year.

“Whales are in all likelihood already KYCed. No reason to panic,” said trader and economist Alex Kruger. But because “Bitmex funding is flat which means longs and shorts are rather balanced. This matters in the event of unwinds.”

Moreover, this will help the industry as a whole, including the customers and new business entrants.

“I wouldn’t say that’s necessarily bad, just means shady stuff decreases while legit stuff (hopefully) increases,” said DonAlt.

Fellow crypto trader CryptoGainz is of similar opinion as the move by BitMEX will even the playing ground “in favor of newer exchanges building relationships with retail and offering favorable rates.”

However, the exchange has been losing its ground in the industry ever since the March sell-off as it saw its web traffic and BTC balance declining.

To soothe the sting of getting KYC’d, the exchange said it would also be launching a Trading Tournament with “sizable prizes.” Still, of course, only those that have completed verification will be eligible to compete.

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Author: AnTy

Binance Futures to List BTC/USD ‘Inverse’ Perpetual Futures; Leveraged Up to 125x

Binance announces the launch of its Bitcoin perpetual coin margined futures contract expected on Tuesday, August 11, 2020, at 7 AM GMT. According to the published blog post, traders can leverage their positions on the BTC/USD coin margined contracts up to 125x, to increase their rewards.

Remember, a higher leverage position increases your risk by the same proportion; hence be careful while using leverage.

The statement obtained by BEG states the coin margined BTC/USD contracts will be listed on Binance Futures, the exchange’s derivatives wing. BTC/USD coin margined perpetual contracts are similar to standard crypto futures. Still, they do not have an expiration date, and the margin is set in BTC instead of the conventional fiat currency.

Binance Futures’ BTC/USD coin margined contracts are the second in line to use BTC as the base currency following the recent launch of quarterly BTC/USD coin margined products. The exchange has launched the COIN- and USDT- margined products in a bid to promote the use of BTC and altcoins as the currency of settlement.

Changpeng “CZ” Zhao, CEO of Binance, states the ‘inverse’ futures contracts “helps strengthen the digital asset’s industry standing” as they allow long term crypto hodlers to invest with a long term view on the crypto. On the launch of these margined futures products, Aaron Gong, VP of Binance Futures said,

“[Binance] We are the only exchange that offers users flexible control of their margin balance by either spreading it across all their open positions or setting individual limits for each position they own (cross or isolate margin modes), as well as the ability to switch their margin modes at any time.”

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Author: Lujan Odera