Despite Regulatory Impediments, Facebook’s Libra Proclaims It Is “Growing Strong”

  • Many countries around the world are looking to block the launch of the Libra cryptocurrency.
  • TechCrunch’s critical article on the recent Libra summit inspired a statement to be released by the project.

The announcement of Facebook’s upcoming digital asset, Libra, has come with its fair amount of controversy and upset across the globe. Even while some countries are refusing to allow for its use at all, the Libra Association doesn’t appear to be the least bit bothered. In fact, in a post regarding the technical infrastructure, it states that Libra is “5 months and growing strong,” completely ignoring the backlash.

Libra recently launched its blockchain testnet, which has already performed 51,000 mock transactions through the last two months. There have already been 40 wallets, tools, and block explorers that are built on the blockchain testnet, as well as 1,700 GitHub commits. Coinbase, Uber, BisonTrails, Iliad, Xapo, Anchorage, and Facebook’s Calibra are presently running Libra nodes to process transactions. There are still six more nodes that the company aims to establish, and eight more to be set up by members.

Despite the update on the backend of Libra, there still seems to be a lack of plan to reach the goal of 100 members and nodes by next year, considering that there are presently only 21 members with nodes. After all, the launch is next year, and there’s still many regulators in the US and globally that won’t allow this to happen, which isn’t addressed at all.

Facebook is mostly focusing on fintech at the moment, since it isn’t dealing with any of the concerns about Libra. The platform launched Facebook Pay this week, allowing members of their Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp, and Instagram platforms to use a single payment method for paying merchants, friends, and charities. The new payment system could push for users to make more purchases on the platform, giving them a better idea of the transactions occurring on the platform while attracting merchants to spend more on their advertisements. Apart from financial inclusion, these goals are primarily what Facebook was trying to establish with their new cryptocurrency.

Many of the concerns from lawmakers stem from the way that Libra could potentially be a way for criminals to launder money, putting users’ assets at risk. It also puts a lot of power in the hands of Facebook, especially considering the ongoing antitrust investigations.

While the announcements from Libra could’ve been an opportunity to show how the project aims to deal with fraud and security issues, the Libra Association instead chose to talk code. Fixing policy was left off and almost completely ignored. Though TechCrunch submitted questions to the Libra Association for further clarification, a response was not provided before their article was published.

However, a later update of this article showed that a spokesperson from Libra responded to the criticism. The statement from the spokesperson explained that the Libra Core Summit was created as an effort to support members and educate them, regarding how to run a Libra node, build a Libra wallet, and more.

The spokesperson, Michael Engle, added,

“For those organizations without a technical team to implement a node, the Libra Association is working on a strategy to support deployment in 2020, when the Libra Core feature set is complete. The Libra Association intends to deploy 100 nodes on the mainnet, representing a mix of on-premises and cloud-hosted infrastructure.”

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Author: Krystle M

Bitcoin Could Be Gearing Up for a Rally as Holiday Season Celebrations Approach

  • Historically, Bitcoin and crypto markets have shown significant movements around Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year
  • Watch out for BTC futures expirations on Nov. 29

Bitcoin price continues to struggle since hitting $10,500 on Oct. 26, after a surge of 42%. The leading cryptocurrency has been on a constant decline ever since, dropping under $8,400 yesterday.

Currently, BTC/USD is trading at $8,457 with 24 hours loss of 1.81%, as per Coincodex while managing the daily trading volume of just $230 million.

But things might start turning out good for Bitcoin as the holidays approach. Historically, Bitcoin and other crypto markets have shown significant movements around Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year.

According to SFOX research, during the 2017 bull rally, between November 12th, 2017, and December 17th, 2017, the price to buy bitcoin increased by 218%. Then during the last week of December and the first week of January, BTC surged 40%.

The reason behind this hike is that holidays are convenient times for families to get together. This is the time for the people to discuss Bitcoin and Luddites to know about Bitcoin and how they can purchase some BTC.

These holiday-based price fluctuations are corroborated by search volume data on Google. During the 2017 Bitcoin rally, US search volume for the term “bitcoin” spiked in the days following Thanksgiving, similarly in the days immediately before Christmas and immediately after New Year’s.

This surge is driven by a spike in first-time interest in Bitcoin, people looking to gift it at Christmas, and then another bout of interest following New Year’s celebrations.

It is possible holidays to introduce a new wave of fear of missing out (FOMO) to the marketplace.

Bitcoin futures also reported increased volume into the holidays. So far, we have been seeing the volume of BTC futures contracts up on both Bakkt and CME.

As crypto analytics company Skew reported, CME bitcoin futures volumes and long positions grew throughout last month. As we have seen Bakkt has been making record volumes steadily, hitting a daily trading volume ATH of $15 million on Nov. 9th.

An increase in futures trading volume is also interpreted to correspond with a positive turn in overall market sentiment. SFOX Multi-Factor has also turned “mildly bullish.”

But we need to watch out for BTC futures expirations on Nov. 29 as historically, this has had an impact on Bitcoin volatility and broader crypto markets.

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Author: AnTy

SBI Ripple Asia Launches First Money Transfer Service Between Japan and Vietnam

  • Vietnam is a “booming” economy and of the most attractive ones around the world
  • SBI CEO: “We will also develop remittance services that incorporate crypto-assets in the future.”

SBI Ripple Asia and SBI Remit, an international money transfer service, announced the launch of the first Japan-Vietnam money transfer service in real currency using the Distributed Ledger Technology (DLT) with the Vietnamese bank, TPBank on Nov. 15.

SBI Ripple Asia is SBI Group in collaboration with Ripple Labs offering technology support to financial institutions interested in RippleNet.

TPBanks is their latest addition that will leverage Ripple technology to improve their business and customer experience.

SBI Group is also an investor in the bank and has a shareholding of 19.9%. Earlier this month, we reported that Tien Phong Commercial Joint Stock Bank (TPBank) has joined RippleNet. On this collaboration, Nguyen Hung, CEO of Tien Phong Bank said,

“Our cooperation with SBI Ripple Asia Co., Ltd on the application of blockchain technology in cross border money transfers marks an important turning point in enhancing our customer experience and makes international money transfers via TPBank faster, more convenient and safer than ever before.”

Booming Vietnamese Economy an Attractive Market

Vietnam-Japan is a “booming” remittance corridor with the popularity of Vietnamese residents in Japan growing 4.57 times over the past five years. These numbers are further expected to increase.

“The booming Vietnamese economy is one of the most attractive markets around the world,” said Yoshitaka Kitao, CEO, President and Representative Director of the SBI Group and a member of Ripple’s Board of Directors. He added,

“The adoption of RippleNet will further differentiate the company from its competitors. We will also develop remittance services that incorporate crypto-assets in the future.”

SBI Remit, that is in partnership with MoneyGram and major Asian financial institutions will provide the TPBank safe and convenient services for the Vietnamese customers in Japan through RippleNet.

RippleNet is Ripple’s settlement platform with a network of over 300 financial institutions worldwide to enable faster, lower-cost payments around the world. It will ensure that transactions are executed faster while managing safety and transparency.

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Author: AnTy

PlanB: “Bitcoin Should be Over $100k Before Christmas 2021 or All Bets are Off”

Bitcoin is still hovering around $8,000, alternating between climbing to $8,500 and dropping to $7,700, while volume continues to disappoint, currently, registering less than $200 million on top ten exchanges with real volume.

However, we are just six months away from the third bitcoin reward halving in May 2020. In the past, during this period, Bitcoin saw an 80 to 140 percent increase in BTC price.

But what about after the reward halving?

Recently, Raoul Pal, founder and CEO of Global Macro Investor and Real Vision Group, had popular analyst PlanB, who uses stock to slow approach to determine Bitcoin’s future price, on his podcast and talked about just that.

“If we look at the stock to flow model, the only thing I take from that, I’m taking the co-integration into account, is that somewhere between a year and a year and a half after the halving so say before Christmas 2021, Bitcoin should be or should have been above $100,000,” said PlanB.

But what if Bitcoin doesn’t surpass the all-time high recorded in December 2017 to hit a six-digit figure?

“If that’s not the case, then all bets are off and it probably breaks down. I don’t expect that to happen but that’s the big test that going.”

And this is what a lot of people are waiting for but for now, he’ll just see how that plays out.

The halving, PlanB says will “obviously be a very, very interesting event,” which given the fact that it has been historically a bullish event for the Bitcoin price will definitely be.

But it’s not all. The leading digital currency is also seeing a lot of interest from other market participants.

“What I also see is more interest from the gold community,” said the analyst.

PlanB himself doesn’t invest professionally in gold “because it’s all mortgages and fixed income and stuff,” but he’s in constant communication with the well-known gold and commodity funds and managers and “all those gold people are looking at the digital gold that is Bitcoin.”

Last year, the Incrementum report, ‘In Gold We Trust’ report had a paragraph on Bitcoin, for the first time. “So, everybody is looking at this thing” and “the more open-minded the gold investors are maybe thinking about rotating a little bit into the digital gold,” he said.

Also make sure to watch this preview of Plan₿ interview here:

And remember, as we approach the notorious halving in the next six to seven months, the fixed supply will be reduced in half (the 18th million bitcoin was mined today), but that will not change the overall supply of bitcoins being minted into existence.

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Author: AnTy

$77 Million Worth of Bitcoin Locked in Sidechains, Unavailable for Use

Out of the total circulation supply of around 18 million Bitcoin, around 9661 Bitcoins are stuck in different sidechains, which are not lost but cannot be used either. These bitcoins are stuck in primarily 3 major side chains that include Liquid, Binance Chain and Wrapped Bitcoin (WBTC) sidechains.

Side Chains are just like sister chains to the main network which are built to perform specific tasks. Their primary use is to hold the transaction amount when the user sends the fund to or from the sidechains.

As per the latest data from block explorers, Liquid network contains the smallest amount of Bitcoin stuck in sidechains with 89 BTC, while WBTC contain 571 BTC and Binance Chain has the highest number of Bitcoin stuck with 9001 BTC.

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Author: Hank Klinger

Coinbase Custody Now Supports Maker (MKR) and MakerDAO’s Governance

Coinbase Custody keeps adding new options for its clients. Around six months after letting the clients use a crypto staking service for the assets that were being held by the company, Coinbase Custody has recently announced staking support for MKR tokens as well.

MRK the native token of the MakerDAO network, famous for its DAI stablecoin. Now, the clients of the company will be able to participate in the governance of the system directly by using the custodial solution.

Before now, if they stored their assets in custody, they would obviously not be able to vote on the decisions of the network, which basically defeats the whole idea of custody, so knowing that this could turn into a problem, Coinbase Custody decided to add this new options so that no funds would need to be withdrawn to participate in the voting system of the network.

This, the custody company affirmed, would help in the protection of the clients, as they could participate without suffering any risk of theft.

Before now, the only asset that could be staked on Coinbase Custody was XTZ (Tezos). The staking, however, was not a really big source of income for the clients. In the two first months of the operation, around $8,000 USD was gained from staking, which was about only 0.5% of the total staking in the ecosystem.

The next governance decision in the network is set for November 15. Then, it will be decided whether the network will adopt a new multi-collateral DAI system or not. The decision is expected to pass.

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Author: Hank Klinger

NuCypher Secures Nearly $11 Million Led by Bitmain, Polychain for SAFT Encryption Project

An encryption startup called NuCypher has been able to raise around $10.7 million USD via a new agreement to sell future tokens. The investment round was led by Polychain Capital, a prominent venture capital firm.

Other prominent investors included Bitmain, Y Combinator Continuity Fund, Hashed, Arrington XRP Capital, Bitfury, Compound VC, Notation Capital, and CoinFund.

The product created by NuCypher is based on the proxy re-encryption technology, which is important because it allows files to be encrypted and for administrators to grant and revoke access to them as time passes.

This company, which was originally created in 2015, started to use the blockchain tech back in 2017. CEO MacLane Wilkison affirmed that the new investment comes during the launch of the company’s mainnet. According to him, the public testnet was used and tested for around two years and now the network is ready for the full launch.

All of the investors agreed to use the tokens that were bought as staking nodes for the network. According to Wilkison, this helps in the decentralization of the network and it allows the traders to earn more tokens, too.

This time, the investors bought 8% of the total supply of tokens. 31% of them were sold before now, meaning that 61% of the tokens were still not in the market. The node operators are paid for securing the network with more tokens, which are released regularly. The idea is that the rewards will decrease and, with them, the inflation of the network.

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Author: Gabriel Machado

ING Chief Economist: Central Bank Cryptocurrency Developments Will Happen in Next 2-3 Years

Mark Cliffe, chief economist of ING bank believe that central banks around the globe would move towards creating their own digital currency. Cliffe was responding to a question on when would a central bank among G20 nations can launch a full-fledged digital currency.

2019 has been the year of crypto adoption despite the ups and downs of the trade market. Private technology giants like Facebook and Telegram have announced the launch of their digital tokens, while many others are pondering over the same. SoFi, a financing firm added crypto to its trading platform, Bakkt launched “physically” settled bitcoin futures contracts.

Many governments around the globe who were either skeptical over regulating cryptocurrencies or were watching from the sidelines have decided to regulate it. China has fast-tracked its stable coin launch after Libra’s announcement, France and Portugal have made crypto transactions tax-free while Russia has proposed to tax crypto under property tax code.

Banks must strategize their digital currency plans in the same timeline as private sectors

ING last week released a report in which it discussed the growing trend of private firms releasing their own stablecoin, especially focusing on the recent announcement of Libra. The report pointed out that central banks around the globe must start thinking more seriously towards adopting the modern fintech trend before the private sector captures the future financial market.

The report also hinted that Libra is putting pressure on these central banks to start mulling about the ongoing trend of crypto. However, the report also downplayed the argument of future being cashless.

Cliffe’s response came during an event organized joint event held by ING and the central bank thinktank, OMFIF. The meeting was to discuss,

“Rapid advances in distributed ledger technology have spurred debate about the possibilities, advantages, and drawbacks of central bank digital currencies. The principal limits and trade-offs seem to stem from CBDC’s economic, monetary and financial contexts, and depend on underlying policy and political preferences concerning privacy, data administration, market power, cybersecurity, and the division of labor between the public and private sector.”

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Author: Gabriel Machado

Blockchain Analytics Firm Flipside Crypto Secures $7.1 Million to Study Tokens Economics

A data analytics firm called Flipside Crypto has recently been able to get around $7.1 million USD during its latest investment round. Companies such as the Digital Currency Group and Coinbase Ventures participated in the round, however, the round was led by Mike Novogratz’s Galaxy Digital.

In all of its investment rounds together, Flipside Crypto has been able to raise over $11.6 million USD. The company, which was founded in 2017, has always attracted the attention of the investors and companies such as Castle Island Ventures have invested in it more than once.

The CEO of the company, Dave Balter, has affirmed that Flipside Crypto is currently valued at around $32 million USD and that the company is set to grow from having 14 employees to 21 in the next year due to the success with the funding rounds.

Balter affirmed that the company has devised sophisticated tools that will help it to understand more about the activity and the behavior of stakeholders. With this information, companies would be able to create more effective businesses.

The company has found moderate success in the industry so far. 75 companies are already its customers, however, most of them are still using free services. Only around a dozen companies are using the premium services, which give more insights into the information that is provided. The goal now is to show how its services are valuable so that other companies can invest.

One of the customers, the Algorand COO Sean Ford, affirmed that the company works with Flipside Crypto because they enable them to customize their approach to analyzing data.

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Author: Gabriel Machado

Breaking: Bitcoin Price Drops to Nearly $9,900 Yet Again

  • Analysts and traders expecting a downward move

Bitcoin is back in the red zone.

Starting the day around $10,175, Bitcoin continues its downward move, going down to as low as $9,913.

Currently, BTC is trading at $9,993 with 24 hours loss of about 2 percent, as per Coincodex. Daily trading volume registered by the leading cryptocurrency is still low at $490 million.

Analysts and Traders Expecting a Downward move

Analyst The Cryptomist says,

“I am looking at one more touch on RSI pennant on both support and resistance before big move!”

Another bearish projection is made by veteran trader Peter Brandt as he comments on Bitcoin’s descending triangle.

“One thing I have learned from 45 years of trading: Markets have a tendency to do what the most number of market participants least expect and don’t want to happen. Descending triangles are most often bearish.”

And another bearish one,

Trader and investor Josh Rager also sees Bitcoin heading back down to $9,600 to $9,700.

Altcoins Following Bitcoin

We started the week at above $10,300 only to take a drop to almost $10,000 level and then back above $10,300 on the same day.

After not registering much movement rest of the week, on Sept. 19, Bitcoin tumbled down to $9,600, losing almost $500 under 5 minutes.

Then, the same day BTC price went back to $10,300 and since then it has been constantly moving downwards.

Altcoins, after having a great start of the week are back in the red with Stellar (XLM) in the lead registering 5.61% loses.

Interestingly, the total market cap has come back to where it started the week at $266 billion. During this week, we went as high as $273 billion and dropped as low as $261 billion, to no effect.

BTC dominance, on the other hand, is currently at 69.4%, down from 71.6% from earlier this week and 73.5% from earlier this month, as per TradingView.

Next week is expected to be an interesting one as two big events, in the form of Bakkt’s physically settled Bitcoin futures launch and CME’s Bitcoin futures expiration are projected to define the BTC price movement for the coming weeks or months.

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Author: AnTy