MyEtherWallet Provides Easy Access to dApps With DappRadar Integration

  • Popular Ethereum wallet app MyEtherWallet (MEW) has provided an upgrade that decentralized application (Dapp) users will find welcome.
  • Earlier this week, the company announced that it had inked a partnership to provide easy access to Dapps on its mobile app, essentially allowing it to capture several growing crypto markets.

Easy Access to Over 2,000 Apps

A press release explained that MEW had partnered with top dApp analytics site dAppRadar on the initiative. Thanks to the partnership, MEW users will be able to access over 2,000 dApps on their MEW browser.

The new feature will allow MEW users to track applications across several sub-industries, including decentralized finance (DeFi), non-fungible tokens (NFTs), and more. It will also allow users to track their portfolios across apps and easily tap into the new wave of crypto-based financial services.

Users can search for specific dApps, and the partners believe that iOS users will be able to view rankings and critical metrics for the applications from later this year.

Currently, these metrics are only visible through web browsers within the MyEtherWallet app. They will most likely include numbers like active users, total value locked, periodic trading volumes, and more. In the announcement, Kosala Hemachandra, MEW’s chief executive, explained:

“Our dedication to bringing DApps to all of our users, no matter how they choose to access them, reflects our belief that wallets can, and should, become the hub where the entire Ethereum DApp ecosystem comes together.”

Gas Fees Reach New Highs

The move is sure to provide easier interaction across the Ethereum blockchain. MEW remains a top figure in the Ethereum ecosystem, and most dApps run on the Ethereum blockchain too. Considering that many of these users are interwoven, easy access between one Ethereum-based service and another should consolidate Ethereum’s influence in the decentralized space.

As for the Ethereum network itself, it continues to deal with the problem of rising gas fees, something that continues to threaten its dominance in the DeFi space primarily. According to data from YCharts, the average gas fees hit an all-time high of $17.50 per transaction on Wednesday, beating the previous record of $17.43 that was set exactly a month before.

The rise forced immediate reactions, with top crypto exchange Liquid announcing that it would have to suspend Ether withdrawals due to the gas hike.

As for the DeFi space, things are getting direr. Many DeFi projects require the execution of smart contracts, and there are now reports of fees associated with protocols running into the thousands of dollars.

It’s been widely reported that large transactions on Synthetix cost as high as $1,100, while simple swaps on exchanges like SushiSwap and UniSwap went as high as $75.

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Author: Jimmy Aki

ECB Files for a ‘Digital Euro’ Trademark as Central Banks Turn Focus to CBDCs

The European Central Bank (ECB) filed an application last week to trademark the name ‘digital euro’ as the CBDC craze gains momentum. A report by Bloomberg revealed that the ECB applied for the ‘digital euro’ trademark through its German-based legal representatives, Bock Legal. This development comes barely a week since ECB president Christine Lagarde confirmed that the regulatory body is exploring the potential benefits and downside risk of issuing a ‘digital euro.’

Speaking at the European Parliament, Lagarde highlighted that the EU is yet to make a decision on whether it will issue a digital euro. However, she was also keen to note that the bank is actively exploring the CBDC space as per its mandate in monetary oversight,

“We are exploring the benefits, risks and operational challenges of doing so … We have a duty to play an active role in balancing the risks and benefits of innovation in payments, so that money continues to serve Europeans well.”

While a practical digital euro phase may take some time, the move by ECB to trademark this name further shows the underlying potential of CBDC disruption. A newly released report by Deutsche bank estimates that around 80% of the world’s central banks have already embarked into some CBDC activity, even if its minimal research. In Europe for instance, Italy and France have already committed to participating in a digital euro-pilot.

China on the other hand is setting the pace for a tokenomics dominance, having begun the digital yuan pilot back in April. This initiative had been ‘under the hood’ for close to five years but was only piloted post-lockdown. People’s Bank of China (PBoC) is in charge of the digital yuan ‘e-RMB’ and intends to gradually replace fiat currency in circulation as part of scaling its monetary effectiveness in the age of cryptocurrencies.

Other jurisdictions that are likely to be at par or slightly behind China include the Bahamas and Thailand. The former is set to launch its CBDC ‘Sand Dollar’ this month while Thailand has partnered with Hong Kong to build a cross-border CBDC. This initiative is currently in the second phase where ConsenSys is set to lead product development, working alongside PWC and Forms HK.

Also Read: Fed Researching CBDC & Planning to Deposit ‘Digital Dollars’ Directly To the Digital Wallets of Americans

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Author: Edwin Munyui

Liechtenstein’s Regulator Declines Binance Applications As Major Shareholder In Bank

  • Liechtenstein FMA denies the Binance application as a major shareholder in Union Bank AG.
  • Binance CEO, CZ, also locked out from a seat on the Board of Directors.
  • The distressed bank now looks at full liquidation.

Reports from a Swiss news outlet, Inside Paradeplatz, stated that the Liechtenstein Financial Market Authority, FMA, had rejected the Binance exchange application to take over the reigns at Union Bank as a major shareholder. The report further states, Binance CEO, Changpeng “CZ” Zhao application to sit at the bank’s Board of Directors was also swiftly rejected in a ruling released on July 10th.

However, the world’s largest crypto exchange came out strongly at the start of the week to quash those claims stating they’ve never made an application to the FMA. In a Telegram message first reported by CoinDesk, a spokesperson from the firm said,

“Binance did not try to invest, and did not try to put CZ on the board.”

A Distressed Bank

Union Bank declared bankruptcy after a long battle with the authorities and multiple attempts to save the bank were fruitless. Notwithstanding, two of the banks’ early founders, Ukrainian-runaway investor, Konstantyn Zhevago, and another unidentified Iranian shareholder have been on the Interpol most wanted criminals list since the end of 2019 due to money laundering charges.

At the end of 2019, one of the insiders reportedly told Union Bank AG’s shareholders Binance was at the cusp of acquiring a major stake in the bank to save it from crumbling. The reports stated Binance had to pay about 15 million CHF (~$15.7 million) as well as file its approval to become a shareholder with the FMA. The Swiss news outlet reports further claims CZ was ready to convert his crypto to raise the amount needed through a newly created CL1 Foundation.

Binance denied these allegations earlier when the rumors first came about.

The last Opportunity for Union Bank, Gone…

This represents the last opportunity for the bank to find new investors to save it from collapse as the FMA also denied any expert advice on Binance taking over the distressed bank.

The Vaduz-based bank held a shareholders meeting on Aug 7th to discuss the future of the bank following Binance’s and CZ’s crushed advances. In a statement by the bank, the shareholders decided to liquidate the bank as they could not meet the capital adequacy requirements of the European Capital Adequacy Ordinance (CRR) implemented on 1 January 2020.

While not mentioning any specific investor, the bank stated the Board of Director’s search for acceptable investors was cut short by FMA rejections, hence the reason for non-attainment of the CRR. The statement reads,

“The reason for the non-attainment of the capital adequacy requirements was that no shareholder acceptable to the FMA could be found who would have contributed the necessary funds.”

No further comments were provided by FMA and the Union Bank AG. Customers’ deposits remain secure.

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Author: Lujan Odera

Abra Rolls Out Interest-Earning Accounts; Up to 9% on Cryptocurrency and Stablecoin Deposits

Abra users will now be allowed to generate extra income on the crypto investment application. Their customers are set to earn interest for their deposits on their Abra interest accounts as announced on their website.

In a short YouTube video, they have illustrated how by holding their deposits in the Abra interest accounts, they will earn income interests. The up to 9% interest rates yearly compounded at the end of every business day.

They are currently extending support for some popular crypto and stablecoins in the markets currently. The array of crypto assets to be deposited for interest generation are such as: Bitcoin (BTC), Ether(ETH) inclusive of some stablecoins like USDT, PAX, USDC and TUSD.

The BTC and ETH generating 4.1% and 4% respectively with the stablecoins accruing 9% interest rates according to Lomesh Dutta, the VP in charge of Abra’s growth. He however added that pending on the demand from their institutional borrowers the interest rates will be subject to evaluation. He remarked that their interest rates have surpassed what banks can currently offer in interest rates.

They have consolidated their place in crypto sphere receiving overwhelming response from the Philippine, US and UK markets garnering over a million users. They have collaborated with Prime Trust for custodial services in the project. This will obligate all the users that are to benefit from the initiative to confirm their identities with the Prime Trust as per the KYC policies.

Notably, Abra are onset to create a decentralized global banking solution on Stellar’s Blockchain. This move could have been inspired by Stellar’s Development Fund (SDF) $5 Million cash injection to the crypto wallet provider.

Abra’s recent tussle with the SEC and CTFC saw the digital asset firm fork over $300k in fines after the futures commission filed charges against Abra and their Philippine affiliate Plutus. According to the financial watchdogs, Abra failed to verify the eligibility of the clients to whom they offered their unregistered security swaps.

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Author: Lujan Odera

Robinhood Shuts Down UK Expansion Plans to Focus on Core Business in The US

  • Popular crypto-friendly trading application, Robinhood is set to shelve UK expansion plans citing recent global pressures as the cause.
  • The company will however, increase its efforts on the U.S. market after a sluggish year so far.

News emerging confirming that the popular U.S. based trading app Robinhood will abandon their UK launch indefinitely. According to CNBC, the U.K clients who enlisted to join the platform were informed of the plans by the company earlier on Tuesday.

A spokesperson of the company cites tough times in the past few months, as the cause of them shelving their expansion plans. Instead, Robinhood will focus on consolidating on their position in its home markets. They are, however, confident that they would eventually venture into the UK markets.

The California based startup had set up a waitlist for potential clients in the jurisdiction late last year as soon as they were greenlighted to commence operations by the Financial Conduct Authority. The commencement of their UK operations would have pitted them against rival fintech firms such as Revolut and Freetrade.

Robinhood further indicated that they would take down their UK website and delete clients emails from their systems to ensure their privacy. Most of their UK staff will integrate into the US teams, with others being cut loose.

Robinhood’s recent troubles

Launched in 2016, their user accounts have swelled from 1 Million on launch to more than 13 Million user accounts currently. Their exponential increase in user accounts was recorded in the first quarter of 2020 by more than 3 Million users bringing attributing to multiple outages.

Notably, the firm received a $320 Million cash injection in a recent funding round that was led by TSG Consumer Partners and IVP. The Series F funding round that was launched on May having raised north of $280 Million by then with participation from Sequoia Capital, Unusual Ventures, and Ribbit Capital. This brings their overall valuation to a whopping $8.6Billion.

They were recently found themselves in the middle of a tragedy that caused a backlash from social media. This was after a 20-year-old purportedly committed suicide after hemorrhaging close to $730,000 while trading put options on their trading app.

The firm has since come out to announce measures that would make it harder for their mostly young clientele to access options trading while committing up to $250,000 to the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention as a donation.

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Author: Lujan Odera

Abra to Venture Into Global Financial Services Powered by Stellar’s Blockchain

Abra, a popular crypto-fiat wallet along with an exchange application, is planning to create a decentralized global banking solution built on top of Stellar blockchain. The move could be inspired by Stellar’s $5 million investment in Abra earlier this year.

Bill Barhydt, CEO of Abra during the SDF’s digital second quarter review meeting on July 15, talked about the company’s roadmap and emphasized particularly on “interest-earning capability,” which will be one of the most sought after features in coming days. Barhydt while talking about the upcoming services and features and the interest-earning services commented:

“This allows consumers, for example, people who aren’t even familiar with cryptocurrency, to store dollars and earn significant interest on those dollars.”

During the meeting, Barhydt also said that the interest-earning features would also be made available for cryptocurrencies along with the staking services.

How Does Abra Work?

Abra being a crypto/fiat wallet exchange app and now collaborating with banks, exchanges, and other financial entities and acts as a liquidity provider through its platform. Recently it has shifted its focus towards retail players to offer its application and expand its reach.

Elaborating on his plans for introducing interest-earning, Barhydt explained that they would partner with large institutional players who would work in tandem with its backend infrastructure to offer “a very sophisticated lending system.” Talking about their plans and how Abra aims to create the global banking solution, Barhydt said:

“For us to take this to another level, Abra is building an entirely new part of our business to facilitate the movement of funds globally, in real-time, using the Stellar network. What this will enable for us in all forms of global lending.”

He also explained that the success of defi in the past couple of years made him believe that the crypto market is more than ready to accept crypto lending and interest-earning potential that these digital assets posses. He explained:

“We want to take this to another level, and use the Stellar platform to enable traditional banking applications at a global scale truly.”

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Author: Silvia A

Ryde Car-Pooling App in Singapore Adds Bitcoin Payment Support Via An Integrated Wallet

Ryde, a popular car-pooling service in Singapore, has become the first application of its kind to offer bitcoin payment support.

In its announcement made on Wednesday, claimed that Ryde users would be able to deposit or top-up up to $899 in the Singaporian dollar, which would convert to the native Rydecoin without any conversion or transaction charges. The company also claimed that it is the only app that allows customers to pay in Bitcoin from within the native e-wallet.

Terence Zou, CEO of Ryde, claimed that adding Bitcoin payment support was a long-due process and was just a matter of time before it got added. He also mentioned that they had seen a significant boost in their transaction volume, which was one of the critical reasons behind adding Bitcoin payment support. He explained:

“I have been watching the developments of this particular space, and increasingly I’m sanguine about the prospects of cryptocurrency and its usage.”

Ryde might be the first car-polling service to add a Bitcoin payment facility from within their e-wallet. However, the Fold App was the first car-pooling service to introduce bitcoin as a micropayment via the lightning network. It allowed users to pay for rides in Bitcoin through an integration. Ryde, on the other hand, enables bitcoin payments from within the native wallet of the app.

COVID-19 Played a Major Role in Rolling Out Bitcoin Payments With Ryde

Ryde began working on a Bitcoin payment integration to its native wallet app back in 2019 when almost 60% of the Singaporean population was still dependent on cash transactions.

However, the outbreak of COVID-19 helped the car-pooling service accelerate its Bitcoin payment integration as people started avoiding cash transactions in fear of contracting the virus resulting in high demand for cashless transactions.

Ryde seized the opportunity and accelerated development. And that decision seems to have paid off as the firm announced the bitcoin payment integration on Wednesday.

Singaporean Government Trying Hard to Lure Crypto Firms to the Country

Singapore, considered among the most crypto-friendly nations, which is evident from the fact that it’s tied with the United States for third place for the highest number of crypto exchanges as per a recent report released by Crystal Analytics.

However, Zou mentioned that Singaporean people have access to bitcoin but through limited exchanges and ATMs, and it is still not widely accepted by merchants across the country.

The government is trying to change that through better regulations, it recently amended its Payment Service Act 2019, where it allowed prominent exchanges like Coinbase to operate in the country for a specified period. The amendments came into effect from January this year.

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Author: James W

Reddit’s CoFounder Alexis Ohanian Is Convinced We Are in the Midst of ‘Crypto Spring’

  • Reddit’s co-founder Alexis Ohanian has predicted a crypto spring remarking the real-life application of Blockchain solutions.
  • He has attributed this to the technological prowess harnessed by the experts. Reddit is in the midst of beta testing its Community Points system to incentivize content creators on the platform.

Following recent cutting edge technological innovations Reddit’s co-founder, Alexis Ohanian has highlighted that the current digital fintech sphere is set for a crypto spring.

Despite insisting that he was keen on the technological advancements rather than the pricing, he mentioned BTC almost breaking the $10,000 ceiling. Further denoting that he wasn’t in a position to predict the pricing.

These comments were made to a media outlet in regard to the real-life solutions by Blockchain brought about by the current crop of technically superior experts.

“…And that to me is the most interesting part… We’re seeing really top-tier talent building on the infrastructure”

He also disclosed that he has a percentage of his wealth locked up in crypto and was, so far, impressed, hoping the sphere would not change much. He is convinced that this is a worthy gamble evidenced by the increased number of Wall Street bigshots acquiring Bitcoin.

“It’s interesting to see OGs of Wall Street now getting into crypto and buying bitcoin. It’s increasingly showing that it’s here to stay”

Reddit ‘Community Points’ Initiative.

Reddit is well on course into trying out an Ethereum based solution on their platform for incentivizing content creators. The tokens dubbed MOONS and BRICKS are to be leveraged by Cryptocurrencies and Fortnite users respectively to earn rewards based on their contribution to Reddit.

The two communities boast of a combined membership of over 2.3 million members. This is a cog in the larger Reddit initiative of community points.

The beta tests will run till the summer of 2020. The two tokens can be claimed in a new Vault feature on Reddit’s platform. The vault will also enable the users to view their points while creating new Ethereum wallets where the ERC-20 Tokens can be securely stored.

“After the feature leaves beta, Community Points will be migrated to the Ethereum mainnet. Point balances will be carried over (though will need to be reclaimed).”

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Author: Lujan Odera

Arizona State Republican Party Convention Used Voatz Blockchain Voting App to Cast Ballots

Voatz, a blockchain-based voting application has officially been used by Arizona State’s Republican Party during a virtual convention which saw participation from 1,100 individuals.

The votes were even distributed among delegate users and cast on May 9th. The continuing coronavirus pandemic necessitated this otherwise exciting test-run.

Voatz has gained significant popularity for its remote, mobile-based voting solutions and has been actively considered for use by different states within the US.

While blockchain ensures that the casted votes are private and immutable, the use of the technology arose only because of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, which rendered voting by conventional means impossible.

Nimit Sawhney co-founder and CEO of Voatz commented on another successful use case of their application and said:

“This is a critical moment for our democracy, and we have to ensure that we have safe alternatives to voting in person. We believe deeply in expanding access to voting, and with many voters’ health at risk, we are proud to leverage our experience to support the Arizona Republican Party’s mandate to represent their delegates’ voices.”

Prior to use in the virtual convention in Arizona, Voatz was earlier used in the state of Utah and county Republican convention and it saw a total of 7,000 votes being cast during the mentioned events.

While federal agencies, up until now, have discarded any mass use of remote blockchain voting systems, the ongoing lockdowns and the new “normal” may force them to re-evaluate this position.

On the other hand, a GOP survey of participant voters suggested that 80% of the Utah voters were satisfied with the blockchain voting system, while more than 50% were comfortable in casting their votes using their mobile phones.

Blockchain Voting a Viable Solution to Traditional Time Consuming Process

The ongoing pandemic has wreaked havoc on the world. But it has also made way for viable alternatives to traditional processes: be it working from home, virtual conferences or video meetings.

Similarly, systems of voting need to be reevaluated, especially in how the age-old process of queuing up at voting centers and waiting for hours can be made more efficient.

A couple of weeks ago, Ohio senators proposed a blockchain voting system as well, which suggests that the government are looking into blockchain technology for voting solutions.

However, the Ohio proposal also highlighted certain shortcomings with these mobile-based voting systems, the biggest being hacking or 51% attacks where if someone gains more than 51% of the system resources they can manipulate the votes.

The same stands true for Voatz app as well, where its use in the 2018 elections for overseas military personnel came under scrutiny due to a hacking attack. A group of researchers at MIT also claimed that the Voatz voting app is not suitable for elections as it has many vulnerabilities which could allow hackers to manipulate the votes.

Despite criticism Jennifer Gardner, West Virginia’s Deputy Press Secretary for the Secretary of State’s Office is planning to use the Voatz app in the 2020 election for overseas military personals.

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Author: Silvia A

HackerOne Cut Ties With Blockchain Voting App Voatz Over Breach of Partnership Standards

HackerOne, a bug bounty platform has severed all ties with popular blockchain voting application Voatz. The cutting of ties is first of its kind for HackerOne which has over 1800 partners across various business ventures, not once before it has come down to cutting off ties.

HackerOne is known for helping different corporations to find any security vulnerabilities in their system or software. Samantha Spielman, a representative for HackerOne noted that the breach of partnership terms made it impossible for them to continue working with Voatz, despite them not doing this ever in their 18 years of existence. However, Spielman declined to elaborate on what standards Voatz breached which led to the decision.

Voatz Reveal What Led HackerOne Cut Ties

Voatz in their statement noted that they regret the hindrance that has arisen in the partnership and was working to mend their ways. On the question of what led to the cutting off ties between the two firms, they revealed that a small team of researchers at HackerOne along with few other community members believe that Voatz reported some of their research to the FBI. The statement read,

“This falsehood and misinformation has been a source of animosity toward Voatz and our partners, who face consistent attacks from these researchers,”

Back in October 2019, it was reported that the FBI was investigating a possible breach on the Voatz app during pilot program run of 2018. West Virginia has been testing the Voatz app for their various pilot projects and Secretary of State Mac Warner said that there has been no problem with the application whatsoever and maintained that not a single vote cast through the app has been altered.

However, an independent group of MIT researchers has recently contradicted Warner’s claims and started a scathing attack on the Voatz app for a range of issues. The researchers pointed out that the blockchain voting app has a several security flaws, lack transparency and even warned election commission for giving a second thought before using it in any election.

Voatz responded to the attack in a sarcastic manner calling the research report unfair and even assigned Trail of Bits to analyze their platform. However, the move backfired on them as Trail of Bits found the claims made by MIT researchers to be valid. Later West Virginia also secured ties with the blockchain voting application.

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Author: Rebecca Asseh