Australian Crypto Payments Service Provider, Banxa, Set to Go Public in Canada

Banxa, an Australian based fiat-crypto payments service provider, is set to list on the Canadian Stock Exchange this December. The shares of this crypto startup will begin trading on the Canadian VC marketplace dubbed ‘TSX Venture Exchange,’ an ecosystem run by TMX Group, which is also in charge of the Toronto Stock Exchange.

According to the initial reporting by a local Financial Review Street talk section, Banxa will be listed on TSX Venture Exchange with an estimated market cap of $50 million. Notably, the firm had already received a green light from Canadian authorities to debut within this jurisdiction. Banxa touted the listing as the first of its kind for a crypto payments provider. Domenic Carosa, the founder and Chairman of Banxa, informed the publication that,

“Our TSX listing will make Banxa the first crypto Payment Service Provider (PSP) to be listed in the world, bringing well-needed transparency and governance to the crypto sector.”

The Aussie crypto startup has been operational for around six years and now enjoys the backing of heavyweights, including OKGroup, Alium Capital, and Alex Waislitz’s Thorney. Some of its clients include prominent exchanges and digital wallet providers like Shapeshift, Abra, Kucoin, OKEx, and Binance. Banxa has raised around $5 million pre-IPO, holding its series A funding earlier in the year.

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Author: Edwin Munyui

VC Backed Startup, Deel, Partners With Coinbase to Roll Out Cryptocurrency Payroll Service

Deel, a San Francisco based crypto startup backed by Andreesen Horowitz, is launching a crypto payroll tool that would allow international workers to get paid in different cryptocurrencies.

Deel raised about $44 million in funding ($14M Series A and $30M Series B) during the ongoing pandemic and specialized in offering payroll and compliance services to remote workers internationally. The new payroll tool would allow the Deel customers to accept their payroll in top cryptocurrency like Bitcoin, Ether, and XRP with instant withdrawals.

Deel has partnered with Coinbase to offer its payroll tool, and users would be required to have or create a Coinbase account to use the new services.

Dan Westgarth, Deel’s chief operating officer, explained that the motive behind creating such a payroll tool was to help international workers to save hefty remittance costs charged by traditional banks and money transfer services. He explained,

“A question on a lot of people’s tongues is: will it be widely adopted? Will the companies paying these people to be willing to opt into it?

Well, we built it in a way that the company doesn’t choose. The remote worker chooses.”

“So I can be working for an old, boring institution, run by a load of old guys who don’t understand crypto and oppose it.

They could pay me in U.S. dollars, but given I’m a Deel user and given I get paid through Deel; I could elect to have my paycheck delivered in XRP — instantly.”

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Author: James W

Verizon to Launch News Verification on Public Blockchain for Complete Transparency

On Friday, Verizon officially unveiled its new open-source newsroom product based on blockchain, designed to set new standards for corporate accountability. The platform itself, aptly named Full Transparency, is dedicated to immutably document the news releases of the company, doing so by way of a public blockchain.

An Age Where Massive Amounts Of Information Can’t Be Trusted

Verizon then proceeded to post its first news story through this platform, according to a Verizon representative. This story made a record of any and every alteration made to the original publication, though a representative from Verizon noted that these only apply to the text changes.

As the years stretched on and connectivity increased, a massive spike in censorship, fact-checking and fake news have only caused grief in both traditional and social media. To highlight this, Verizon mentioned the 2020 Edelman Trust barometer, which stands as an indicator of the public’s trust in media. On the 19th of January, Edelman’s “Trust Barometer” reported that 76% of the world is concerned about how false information can be weaponized, with 57% feeling that they cannot fully trust their media.

The Mandatory Kind Words

Jim Gerace stood as the Chief Communications Officer of Verizon and stated the matter at large. He highlighted how Verizon is eager to bring Full Transparency to the market, seeing a company dedicated to connecting people to information. Gerace stressed how this product could ensure that corporate trust and accountability can be held in its own quiet way.

Alongside this, Gerace openly invited organizations across the globe, at least those prioritizing transparency as much as Verizon does, to adopt these communication practices of blockchain verification.

Setting New Standards For Transparency

Verizon hopes that this platform will set a new standard when it comes to corporate responsibility and transparency. In its statement about the matter, Verizon highlighted that all news releases published to Verizon Newsroom will now be bound and secured through the use of cryptographic principles. Through doing so, subsequent changes can then be tracked and contextualized as well.

This endeavor comes thanks to Verizon and Huge, a marketing company, as well as MadNetwork, a blockchain data storage company, and AdLedger, a nonprofit blockchain application entity.

Verizon has already been exploring blockchain-based solutions for a while. Earlier in 2020, Verizon set its sights on blockchain technology to help enhance security, as well.

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Author: Ali Raza

Enel Group Attacked Again by Ransomware, Netwalker Demands for 1234.0238 Bitcoins

According to an update from Bleeping Computer, Enel, a multinational energy firm based in Italy, is facing yet another ransomware attack. Barely five months since the firm neutralized a Snake ransomware attack, a Netwalker has now attacked its systems, touting to have accessed 5TB of Enel’s data. They are demanding to be paid 1234.0238 BTC ($16.3 million at the time of publication) as a ransom to surrender its decryption keys and maintain Enel’s data privacy.

As per the Bleeping computer report, the attacker first shared a ransom note with them; it appeared to be from a Netwalker who had compromised Enel’s data. Notably, Enel is a leading Fortune 500 company and operates in over 40 countries, while its customer outreach is more than 61 million.

Netwalker-Enel-ransom-note (1)
Source; Bleeping Computer

While Enel has yet to comment on the issue, the attackers have shared links to confirm that they have compromised data from the Enel group. So far, Enel has yet to respond to Netwalker, a situation that now appears to be doubling the amount of ransom. The attackers are now asking for 1234.0238 BTC to give Enel access to the decryptor; something they say must be bought.

Nonetheless, the Netwalker attackers have communicated with the Enel group as per a recent post on Enel’s support chat.

“Hello, Enel. Don’t be afraid to write to us. Tomorrow we will make a blog post about you or start looking for good hands for your files.”

Meanwhile, they have shown that they are willing to leak Enel’s data if their demands are not met. The Netwalker has already released a screenshot of Enel’s unencrypted data, threatening to make it public and analyze further for ‘interesting things.’

As the crypto industry grows, attackers have found a ‘favorite’ in privacy coins like Monero while others don’t go past Bitcoin. Recent months have seen multiple malicious players demand ransom in BTC, one of the latest attacks on Argentina’s immigration office where the hackers demanded $4 million in BTC.

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Author: Edwin Munyui

Serum Blockchain Launches New Automated Market Maker, To Challenge Ethereum’s High Fees

Project Serum announces its own automatic market maker (AMM), the Serum Swap, based on the Solana blockchain. This is a direct challenge to the Ethereum blockchain, which has witnessed a lag in transactions and high gas fees as the DeFi application growth exploded in the past few months.

The new Serum Swap AMM will work similarly to other decentralized AMMs in that you can join a liquidity pool and trade cryptocurrencies on the platform seamlessly.

Serum is a platform launched by Sam Bankman-Fried, CEO of FTX Exchange as a competitor to Ethereum – providing a faster and cheaper platform to complete your decentralized finance, DeFi, trades. While Ethereum promises up to 15 transactions per second, the Solana-based Serum Swap “takes about 1 second” to settle a trade or pool addition/removal, and the gas fees at a low of roughly $0.00002 per trade.

At launch, SBF Almeda, as Sam is known on Twitter, announced the Serum Swap platform would offer users over 1 million SRM tokens, native to Serum, to incentivize saving and trading on the AMM. Liquidity providers and traders on the platform will receive these airdropped SRM tokens as additional rewards for their kick-starting actions until November 25 – representing a 600% APY.

Serum continues its fight in the DeFi space with the Swap launch following the recent addition of Circle’s USDC stablecoin – a widely used asset in the ecosystem – and the launch of the Solana-Ethereum bridge, named “Wormhole.” The bridge aims at offering DApps on Ethereum, a direct channel to a scalable and low fee transaction platform.

The platform charges a taker’s fee of 0.3% payable in SRM – 0.25% goes to the liquidity providers (LPs), 0.04% goes to an SRM buy/burn depending on profits and losses made 0.01% goes to the GUI hoster.

While Ethereum’s Uniswap remains the largest swap and AMM in DeFi, with over $2.87 billion in locked value (TVL), a jam and fee raise experienced in the last bullish run could see several investors switch to cheaper and faster platforms.

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Author: Lujan Odera

Cashaa’s New Joint Venture, UNICAS, to Roll Out 22 Physical Crypto Banks in India

U.K. based cryptocurrency firm, Cashaa partners with India’s banking service provider, United Multistate Credit Cooperative Society, as the latter, introduces banking transactions using cryptocurrencies to 22 physical locations in northern India. According to a blog post on Medium, the two financial firms will operate under a joint venture, UNICAS, to launch the products in December this year.

The UNICAS venture will allow users to invest in cryptocurrency, real estate, gold, and other physical assets directly, buy crypto using cash at any of the 22 physical locations, and take up loans against their digital assets. Cashaa plans to open over 100 physical locations across India in 2021, currently stationed across three states – Delhi, Rajasthan, and Gujarat, with a combined population of over 140 million.

The Indian based bank will provide the physical locations and licenses necessary to operate in the country while Cashaa joins in with experience in the crypto space. Mr. Dinesh Kukreja, Managing Director of United Multistate Credit Co. Operative Society, will lead UNICAS as the joint venture’s chief executive.

“We are the first regulated financial institution in the world with physical branches where users can access crypto products,” Kukreja, CEO, UNICAS.

Kukreja stated the project would allow the company to “scale and offer customized financial and crypto products for the local Indian markets.” The banking location will be reconstructed as crypto launches, allowing crypto transactions using the rupee and asking for loans using your crypto assets.

At launch, the banks will allow transactions, buying, and selling of six cryptocurrencies, including – Bitcoin (BTC), Cashaa (CAS), Ethereum (ETH), Binance (BNB), Bitcoin Cash (BCH), EOS, Litecoin (LTC), and Ripple (XRP).

However, there still is the dark cloud of regulation from the Indian government following the Supreme Court’s ruling – overturning the blanket ban of cryptocurrencies imposed by the Royal Bank of India (RBI). Kumar Gaurav, Founder & CEO of Cashaa, said the confused nature of the government could be the reason “most Indians are not aware or are miss guided about cryptocurrency as an online product.”

“They tend to trust what they see or what the government recognizes and recommends,” he continued. “Also, India is still largely a cash-based economy despite a Demonetization drive. With UNICAS Crypto lounges we intend to address both issues which are slowing the process of cryptocurrency adoption in India.”

The joint venture aims at rapidly expanding its reach across India – targeting over 100 branches serving cryptocurrency customers in 2021. With the traditional finance world merging with the innovative crypto industry, Kukreja aims the partnership will “bring enormous transformation to both Indian fintech and the crypto industry.”

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Author: Lujan Odera

Kraken Opens Trading For Japanese Users, Becoming 1st Exchange to Enter Japan Organically

Kraken, one of the leading crypto exchanges based in the United States, has relaunched its trading services for Japanese customers under its expansion plan in the Asia Pacific region.

Japanese customers would be able to access Kraken’s spot trading services, to begin with, according to the announcement on October 22. The exchange would offer spot trading services for Bitcoin (BTC), Ethereum (ETH), Litecoin (LTC), Ripple (XRP), and Bitcoin Cash (BCH). The exchange would offer crypto-to-crypto trading pairs along with JPY-denominated pairs for trading.

Kraken claimed that it is the first foreign exchange to organically enter the Japanese market without acquiring any local exchange.

Customers Could Make Deposits in 5 Crypto Assets

The re-launched trading services in Japan by Kraken has been done under its expansion plans in the region. To encourage more customers to join the platform and make it easier for them to trade using the platform, the exchange would offer deposits in 5 crypto assets along with local JPY deposits and withdrawals. The local fiat deposit and withdrawals would be available via SBI Sumishin Net Bank.

Before its current relaunch in Japan, Kraken had already launched its Japanese customers’ services back in 2014. By 2018, it had shut its operation in the country, citing the rising cost of operations and expanding in other geographical locations.

Kraken acquired the ‘Crypto Asset Exchange Service Provider’ license last month on September 8th and started registering user accounts by September 18.

David Ripley, COO of Kraken, expressed his joy in re-entering the Japanese markets and said that Japan is a dominant crypto market, and it would prove to be a crucial point for the exchange in its expansion plan in the region. He said,

“In today’s challenging economic environment, more people are turning to cryptocurrencies to hedge against volatile markets and use cryptocurrency as a store of value.”

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Author: Hank Klinger

Bitstamp Rolls Out New Crime Insurance Policy to Protect Crypto Held on the Exchange

Bitstamp, one of the leading crypto exchanges based in Europe, has introduced a new insurance policy against online crypto thefts and other crimes for digital assets held online.

The insurance policy comes in the wake of several exchange hacks leading to the theft of millions worth of digital assets. Most of these exchanges fail to ensure the proper refurbishment for the loss incurred by the exchange users. Thus, this insurance policy initiative by the Bitstamp exchange could prove to be a great attraction for customers.

Paragon International Insurance Brokers would offer Bitstamp’s new insurance policy in association with Woodruff-Sawyer. The insurance policy would be applicable for several digital assets like bitcoin and other similar crypto-assets.

The policy would cover several crimes such as online theft, hack, employee theft, loss of assets while under the custody of the exchange, loss in transit, loss caused by computer fraud, and losses related to legal fees and expenses.

Bitstamp revealed that 98% of all the digital assets under its custody are held offline and are protected and covered by the crypto custodian BitGo. Thus, the current insurance policy would focus on assets held online, even though it meant covering both online and offline.

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Author: James W

Aztec 2.0 Launches Ethereum Layer 2 Scaling Solution for Privacy Using zkSNARKs

Aztec, an Ethereum based protocol, has released its L2 scaling solution coupled with the project’s fundamental aspect of privacy. The startup announced this news in a Medium post earlier today, noting that Aztec 2.0 is now live on the Ropsten testnet. This comes as one of the many reliefs to an ailing Ethereum ecosystem due to network congestion and high gas costs.

According to the post, Aztec’s L2 scaling solution has been derived from the zero-knowledge (zk) rollup tech. This infrastructure is basically part of Ethereum’s zero-knowledge proofs that have come up to make transactions private. Based on the PLONK research, Aztec claims that its newly debuted L2 scaling network enables the protocol to leverage zkSNARKS tech in two distinct ways.

For starters, zkSNARKS is used to encode every transaction as part of protecting Aztec users’ data. It also plays a role in the ‘roll-up’ of these transactions, hence the batching into one proof that is, in turn, sent to Ethereum’s on-chain. Aztec has since said that this approach could scale its network throughput up to 300 TP/s and preserve on-chain data simultaneously.

“Using this technique, the network can scale on-demand up to a hard limit of ~300 TX/S, while preserving on-chain data availability.”

The firm further claims that gas costs will be slashed by 200x in Aztec 2.0 compared to prevailing costs within its 1.0 ecosystem. Other than scalability solutions, Aztec has also introduced an open-source scripting language dubbed ‘Noir.’ This will allow developers to easily compose the zkSNARKS transactions code compatible with the new L2 scaling solution by Aztec.

Aztec plans to upgrade this innovation in November to integrate DeFi access while maintaining scalability and privacy. The post reads,

“This upgrade allows users to anonymously access DeFi transactions at a fraction of the gas price. And, without having to port DeFi protocols to layer 2.”

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Author: Edwin Munyui

LibertyX Confirms Bitcoin ATMs at Tesla Gigafactory’s; Elon Musk Questions the ‘Accuracy’

It now appears there is actually a Bitcoin ATM at the Tesla Gigafactory based in Nevada; this is despite Tesla founder Elon Musk downplaying the existence of one, following a tweet by Fold CEO Will Reeves, who claimed to have sighted the ATM over the weekend. The tweet also featured google map images, which reveal that the ATM sits close to the mega facility’s North-East section.

Finbold, which also reported on this news yesterday, seems to have gotten some insights on who might have installed the Bitcoin ATM. According to its Sunday report, speculations were that Bitcoin ATM maker, LibertyX, is the company behind these developments at Tesla. In a follow-up of the same, Finbold has since received a confirmation from the LibertyX team that they are responsible for the upgrade.

LibertyX was keen to highlight that it did not install new machines but upgraded the software of three ATMs in the factory to integrate a Bitcoin selling feature. The firm, which already has 5,000 live ATMs, plans to scale this to over 100,000 in the near future; its ATM manufacturing partners are Hyosung and Genmega. LibertyX also confirmed that the Bitcoin ATMs at Tesla has been live since August and can only be accessed by employees,

“The Tesla locations have been live since August. The ATM is currently only accessible for employees.”

While the Tesla founder is not much of a Bitcoin bull-like Twitter and Square CEO Jack Dorsey, he has previously sighted that he owns .25 BTC sent to him by a friend back in the day. In fact, LibertyX is hopeful that Musk will increase his BTC portfolio size with newly integrated Bitcoin ATMs at Tesla’s Gigafactory,

“Elon, 0.25 BTC isn’t enough, and now that you can buy bitcoin from the 3 on-site Gigafactory ATMs, you don’t even need to leave home.”

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Author: Edwin Munyui