Sean Culkin Becomes First NFL Player to Get Entire Salary in Bitcoin; Trevor Lawrence Also Joins in

Sean Culkin Becomes the First NFL Player to get His Entire Salary in Bitcoin, Trevor Lawrence also Joins in

Chiefs tight end has been interested in BTC for years, which he believes is the “future of finance,” and now he gets to have “real skin in the game.” Meanwhile, the former Clemson quarterback signed an endorsement deal with FTX and received his first payment exclusively in crypto into his Blockfolio account.

American football quarterback Trevor Lawrence is joining the small but growing number of athletes getting paid in Bitcoin.

This latest development is the result of Lawrence signing an endorsement deal with cryptocurrency exchange FTX.

“We’re really trying to get our name out a lot,” said Sam Bankman-Fried, the CEO of FTX. This isn’t’ the first time Sam has been trying to take FTX and, by extension, crypto mainstream.

Recently, FTX closed the $135 million deal with Miami-Dade County to name Miami Heat’s home court, FTX Arena, for a period of 19 years.

The former Clemson quarterback received his first payment exclusively in crypto, which was transferred directly into his Blockfolio account, a crypto trading app acquired by FTX in August last year for $150 million.

“Trevor was excited about crypto,” Bankman-Fried said. “That’s what drew us to him.”

The signing bonus that Lawrence received in crypto, a mixture of Bitcoin, Ethereum, & Solana, is reportedly already worth more than when it was deposited on Friday night. Future payments to him will be made in whatever combination of crypto and dollars Lawrence chooses.

“Crypto is on a lot of people’s minds,” Bankman-Fried told DealBook.

Joining Lawrence is Kansas City Chiefs player Sean Culkin who will be taking his entire base salary for 2021, $920,000 in BTC.

With this, Culkin becomes the first National Football League player to be paid entirely in BTC. Russel Okung, who famously declared “pay me in bitcoin,” receives only half of his salary in BTC.

Much like Okung, Culkin will be staking sats via Zap’s Strike.

Culkin, who first became aware of Bitcoin in 2016, shared his enthusiasm on Twitter and has been sharing his thoughts on crypto regularly. Culkin said,

“For me, it makes sense to get paid in the hardest form of currency, and it’s something that is resistant to inflationary pressures that I think is very relevant in this current economic environment.”

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Author: AnTy

Crypto Exchange & Payment Network, Crypto.com, Becomes VISA Principal Member in Australia

Crypto Exchange & Payment Network, Crypto.com, Becomes VISA Principal Member in Australia

Crypto exchange platform Crypto.com has joined digital payments giant VISA as a principal member for the Australian market, per an official blog post.

VISA Cards for Australian Crypto Users

The crypto-facing company, headquartered in Hong Kong, said that this partnership would see them issue VISA cards to their customers in Australia.

The exchange had set the stage for the move by securing approval from the Australian Foreign Investment Review Board to transact business in the country. Crypto.com secured the approval through an acquisition of an Australian card-issuing firm called The Card Group Pty Ltd.

Crypto.com customers can now convert their cryptocurrencies into cash to spend at retailers that accept VISA cards.

CEO of Crypto.com Kris Marszalek noted in the post:

“Having been a Visa partner for several years, we’re excited to deepen that relationship with a slew of world-firsts. Signing the global partnership with Visa and becoming a principal member with the world’s leader in digital payments affirms our commitment to accelerate the world’s transition to cryptocurrency.”

This partnership will serve as a boost for the crypto trading platform. The partnership opens up the Australian market for Crypto.com and allows them to deepen their relationship with their customers.

Crypto.com has now launched its VISA card offering in 31 countries, including the US, Canada, Europe, and the Asia-Pacific region.

The exchange also plans to launch a service dubbed “Spending Power,” which would allow cardholders receive fiat loans collateralized with crypto.

Crypto.com Launches Venture Arm To Boost Crypto Adoption

Crypto.com (formerly Monaco) has been driven by the singular goal of creating greater awareness for cryptocurrencies.

To fulfill its crypto-literacy mission, the company launched a new venture arm called Crypto.com Capital on March 4, 2021. The department will focus on funding crypto startups and has earmarked $200 million for that purpose.

The venture arm will release seed funds for crypto-focused startups from $100,000 through to $3 million. Further investments in the Series A funding round would see the successful startup get between $3 million to $10 million.

It also made a foray into the sporting arena through a partnership deal with Formula 1 team Aston Martin Racing Team. According to Business Insider reports, the partnership will be a multi-year sponsorship deal as the British racing team is set to return to the Formula circuit after leaving in 1960.

With this deal signed, Crypto.com would see its logo placed on the Aston Martin F1 car, and the competition’s 87.4 million fans could prove a major attraction for the crypto exchange.

Crypto.com has seen its community grow as crypto-assets have surged. The crypto-facing company saw its community members double to 10 million crossing the 5 million mark set in October 2020.

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Author: Jimmy Aki

JVCEA Approves Enjin Coin for Coincheck Listing; Becomes First Gaming Token in Japan

JVCEA Approves Enjin Coin for Coincheck Listing; Becomes First Gaming Token in Japan

Enjin Coin has passed Japan’s stringent crypto rules and procedures to become the pioneer gaming crypto to win approval for use within the country.

In a press statement sent to Bitcoin Exchange Guide on Tuesday, January 19, 2021, Enjin Coin (ENJ) revealed that it had been approved by Japan Virtual Currency Exchange Association (JVCEA), a self-regulatory entity that oversees the country’s crypto exchanges.

According to the press statement, the token will debut in Coincheck Japan starting on Jan. 26. This means that customers will have a chance to buy the coin using the local currency, the Japanese yen.

ENJ describes itself as a store of value token that can be saved as non-fungible tokens (NFTs) once created by the Enjin gaming platform users. These NFTs are tradable, can be swapped, and integrated within the platform, thereby having the capacity to form a fresh in-app economy. The statement reads,

“From Super Mario to Pokémon and Final Fantasy, Japan is home to pioneering games that hold a lasting place in pop culture. We believe some of the world’s best blockchain games will come from the Japanese gaming industry.”

Coincheck is regulated by the Japanese Financial Services Agency (FSA) and is one of the country’s biggest crypto marketplaces. According to FSA crypto listing history, ENJ becomes the first to be listed in Japan’s gaming category.

The firm behind ENJ token, Enjin, set operations in Japan in 2019 after inking a partnership deal with HashPort, a blockchain accelerator based in Tokyo. HasPort was looking for ways to bring the Enjin gaming platform to the country. The two firms have been working aggressively to push for the licensing of ENJ by JVCEA to gain access to the Japanese exchanges. Per the press statement,

“After more than a year of due diligence, the approval and listing of Enjin Coin on Coincheck is an important milestone for Enjin and adoption of its blockchain platform in Japan.”

Following the approval, ENJ’s value exploded, and by publication time, the coin was exchanging at $0.43, an increase of about 90%. The coin has also joined the top 100 currencies club as per the market cap has reached $350 million.

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Author: Joseph Kibe

Anchorage Secures Trust Charter from OCC; Becomes First Crypto Bank

Anchorage Secures Trust Charter from Outgoing OCC Brian Brooks; Becomes First Crypto Bank

Crypto custody and financial services firm Anchorage has received a conditional trust charter from the OCC.

Anchorage, a crypto custody and financial services provider, is the first crypto native company to secure a bank charter.

According to a press release, the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC) announced on Wednesday that it had granted Anchorage a conditional license to operate as the first digital bank in the U.S.

A First for the Industry

The development is a landmark event, as it allows traditional banks to offer Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies to their customers via Anchorage.

Anchorage was established in 2017 by Diogo Mónic and Nathan McCauley, two former employees at payment processor Square.

While it started as a custody service, the company has expanded its offering to include crypto trading and lending. It already went through two funding rounds, with the most recent involving companies like Andreessen Horowitz and VISA. It filed for the bank charter late last year, citing the need for adequate sub-custodial services in the crypto space.

Anchorage chief executive Nathan McCauley stressed that this was a significant development nonetheless. Speaking with Forbes, McCauley explained that the trust charter would make traditional banks more comfortable dealing with cryptocurrencies.

“It will let all sorts of people come to the table who until now have been hesitant to come in. It marks a big shift in the availability of crypto assets,” he added, claiming that several large companies will be more willing to invest in crypto in the future.

Industry news sources have added that a full bank charter will depend on some unique requirements. For one, Anchorage will need to fulfill certain liquidity and capital requirements. The company will also need to meet the OCC’s risk management standards.

Banks Warming Up to Crypto

Traditional banks have already shown an appetite for dealing with cryptocurrencies. JPMorgan, the country’s largest investment bank, has adopted a significantly pro-Bitcoin stance in the past few months, with several analyses detailing the possibility of the leading cryptocurrency usurping gold as the global reserve asset.

At the same time, New York-based Morgan Stanley recently increased its Bitcoin exposure after upping its stake in business intelligence solutions company MicroStrategy. A filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) last week showed that Morgan Stanley had acquired 792,627 shares in MicroStrategy, giving it 10.9 percent ownership of the latter. MicroStrategy made significant Bitcoin plays last year, with the company owning 70,470 BTC as of December 21.

The OCC also ruled to allow banks to run independent stablecoin nodes earlier this year. In an interpretive letter, the agency explained that banks could use stablecoins for their permissible activities, including but not limited to making payments. More developments like these show that banks are gearing up to embrace digital assets, and Anchorage hopes to be a big part of that.

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Author: Jimmy Aki

IOHK and BONDLY Partner to Launch First DeFi Project on Cardano Blockchain

  • IOHK is making in-roads to introduce DeFi to Cardano blockchain.
  • Bondly, a decentralized exchange, becomes the first DeFi protocol on the blockchain.

Announced on Dec.10, Bondly became the first decentralized finance, or DeFi, to launch and run on the Cardano blockchain. This follows the successful launch of the Goguen testnet, a smart contract functionality that allows developers to build their decentralized apps atop the blockchain.

In a tweet, the Input-Output Hong Kong (IOHK) team confirmed the partnership with Bondly, a decentralized peer-to-peer exchange, further stating,

Following Shelley’s successful completion, an upgrade targeting more decentralization on the Cardano network, the community is awaiting the Goguen upgrade. According to the official statement, the Goguen upgrade, expected to launch in 2021 fully, introduces smart contracts and the ability to build decentralized apps on Cardano.

Bondly is a peer-to-peer e-commerce system and decentralized exchange that aims to bring the qualities of DeFi to the traditional finance world. The latest partnership with IOHK sees the two companies share visions and joint roadmaps entering 2021, including the addition of the BONDLY cryptocurrency to Cardano – a switch from the Polkadot ecosystem. Charles Hoskinson, Founder of Cardano, said,

“IOHK’s core mission is to widen and democratize access to financial services, which is why Bondly is a perfect partner for us.”

Once the Goguen upgrade is complete, BONDLY plans to integrate its e-commerce platform, BONDProtect, and BSwap, its over-the-counter (OTC) exchange, Cardano too. BONDProtect is a peer to peer marketplace designed to protect buyers and sellers using smart contract-based escrows that will run on Cardano’s fast and secure network.

Hoskinson further believes BONDLY’s capabilities are essential in further pushing Cardano-based DeFi ecosystems once the Goguen update is launched. DeFi solutions built on Cardano allows the blockchain to “live up its potential” and “replace the global digital financial system,” he further said confidently.

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Author: Lujan Odera

Tezos’ Edo Upgrade Will Implement Zcash’s Sapling Protocol for Shielded Transactions

  • Tezos becomes the latest blockchain to add Zcash’s Sapling privacy protocol.
  • The blockchain is also planning minor changes on its network.
  • Tezos allows self-amendment of the protocol without the need for a fork.

An announcement from Tezos, the baking algorithm network, confirms its blockchain is welcoming the Sapling privacy protocol from Zcash allowing users to send shielded transactions. As the new upgrade is known, Edo comes less than a month following the launch of the ‘Delphi’ upgrade on November 12. The latest updates aim at improving Tezos users’ privacy across the blockchain.

Apart from the sapling privacy protocols, the Edo upgrade will also add on minor fixes on the blockchain, including additional improvements on gas costs and performance, introducing the “adoption period to the voting schedule, ticketing, and some minor bug fixes.

Sapling, a privacy protocol developed by the Electric Coin Company (in charge of Zcash), allows users to send “shielded transactions” to enable privacy. Tezos will integrate this protocol giving their holders an option to send these types of transactions hence enhancing their privacy.

According to the joint press release from Nomadic Labs, Marigold, and Meta state – three Tezos smart contract developers – the new upgrade will be integrated easily on to the platform. This is only possible on Tezos compared to other running blockchains as the only “self-amending” platform. The release reads,

“Our proposal allows smart contract developers to easily integrate Sapling in their smart contracts and create privacy-conscious applications.”

“Because Tezos can be amended, it was possible for us to add this exciting new feature directly to Tezos itself.”

This has been a year’s long journey for Tezos. They announced Sapling’s testing back in December 2019 since the development team has improved the performance by carrying out “extensive research and testing” on the privacy protocol’s workings.

The Edo upgrade will also include “Tickets,” an improvement aiming to make it much “easier and simpler for developers to write secure contracts.” The statement explains ticketing as a “convenient mechanism for smart contracts to grant portable permissions to other smart contracts or to issue tokens.”

The new upgrade also targets to change the voting system by introducing a “fifth period” or the “adoption period.” According to the proposal, the adoption period will increase the period between adopting a proposal and activation from one block (about a minute) to two weeks. This will allow “seamless transitions of proposals,” giving bakers, indexers, and other users of the network certainty in activating the proposal.

If the Edo upgrade is accepted, the Baking Accounts proposal will follow the next major upgrade, expected in about three months.

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Author: Lujan Odera

Ethereum’s Sister Chain Is Getting Hot as Second-Largest Network Becomes a Whale Game

Ethereum’s Sister Chain Is Getting Hot as Second-Largest Network Becomes a Whale Game In the past month. The Ethereum fees have skyrocketed as DeFi protocols and ‘yield farming’ platforms gained extensive popularity. Just this week, the Ethereum network faced congestion of an extreme level never seen before.

On Wednesday, with the launch of the much-anticipated UNI governance token of Uniswap, the second-largest network saw a spike in daily transaction fees. The daily Ethereum’s average fees went as high as $11.61, marking the highest fee hike since the SUSHI saga earlier this month.

What this means is, the network has become almost impossible for small market participants to enjoy. Instead, it has become a whale game.

“While the smaller and less efficient market participants may be struggling, the larger firms that can capitalize on inefficiencies,” said Denis Vinokourov of Bequant.

This has brought the solutions like zk-Rollups and the sister chain of Ethereum xDai in the limelight.

True Defender of Ethereum’s Value Proposition

Gnosis, the prediction market firm, has already moved on to the Ethereum sidechain, xDai, which has been in operation for the last two years.

“To ensure high demand doesn’t mean low adoption, we’ve teamed up with xDai, an Ethereum sidechain designed for fast and inexpensive transactions, providing a developer-friendly environment that retains real-world economic incentives,” said Gnosis in its announcement about the partnership.

Just this week, data privacy and protection platform HOPR, P2P lending & marketplace EthicHub, Sablier, Ethereum-based privacy-focused multi-contract 0xMonero, prediction market Reality Cards, and The Commons Stack have joined Dai.

This proof-of-stake chain enables fast transactions for a minimal amount, just fractions of a penny. With stablecoin DAI as its core currency, the cost involved in these transactions is predictable and not highly volatile. In the case of xDai, users entrust their assets to a multi-sig controlled xDai bridge.

Being EVM compatible means any smart contract or Dapp deployed on Ethereum can also be deployed on xDai with minimal changes.

It is also planning to onboard a fiat-to-crypto option in the next quarter, which means one wouldn’t’ have to interact with Ether at all.

“Ethereum little sister xdaichain is getting hot. XDAI is the true defender of Ethereum’s value proposition before a fully functional ETH 2.0, can easily K.O stuff like BSC (sorry @cz_binance),” tweeted Dovey Wan, founding partner at Primitive Crypto.

ETH 2.0 takes the First Step Towards Launch

ETH 2.0, meanwhile is ready for its first step towards launch after core developer Danny Ryan submitted, a proposal for its critical phase.

Ethereum co-founder and the creator of Cardano meanwhile, found Gasper to be “insecure.” “Discovered a liveness attack on Gasper in the standard synchronous model where messages can be delayed arbitrarily by the adversary up to a known network delay bound….” he said.

Dubbed “Serenity Phase 0,” this proposal is responsible for bringing about the PoS consensus mechanism. The PoS chain called “Beacon Chain” will be built alongside the existing network.

However, it is just the first step of the 6-phase launch extending well into 2022, while Phase 1 is expected to be rolled out next year.

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Author: AnTy

Coinbase & Circle’s USDC Stablecoin Now Available on Algorand Blockchain; Up to 1000 TPS

  • Algorand (ALGO) becomes the latest blockchain to house Circle’s USDC stablecoin.
  • The blockchain promises 1000 transactions per second, providing massive scaling to USDC.

Center Consortium, a blockchain group led by payments firm Circle, and the largest crypto exchange in North America Coinbase, announced the addition of Algorand (ALGO) as the latest blockchain to host its USDC stablecoin. The blockchain becomes the second blockchain, after Ethereum (ETH), to add USDC in a bid to scale and speed up transactions using the token.

In a Medium blog post released on Sept. 9, Center Consortium stated the Algorand blockchain would help ease off transactions on Ethereum presenting a highly scalable and practically costless platform for USDC transfers. Algorand is one of the fastest layer one blockchains in the market today, providing over 1000 transactions per second (TPS) and transaction fees averaging less than a 1/20 of a cent – COSTLESS!

Algorand is a layer one blockchain that leverages blockchain technology allowing developers and users to build instant, seamless and decentralized applications on a scalable and costless platform.

Center Consortium parent company, Coinbase, listed Algorand’s native token, ALGO, in July this year due to customer demand causing a 30% price surge in a day. Algorand will now provide massive scaling to both retail and institutional USDC investors on the platform, Alesia Haas, Chief Financial Officer at Coinbase stated.

The expanding decentralized finance (DeFi) is also making a case for USDC’s addition of Algorand’s blockchain platform. Ethereum’s slow and expensive transactions on its blockchain are sending developers, users, and projects in search of a more scalable platform.

“Expanding USDC from Ethereum to additional blockchains like Algorand will ensure USDC has the flexibility to support everything from emerging DeFi projects to large-scale financial institutions”

“Today’s launch represents a significant improvement to USDC’s scalability, improving its utility and making it a significantly more useful protocol for solving real-world financial problems.”

The USDC stablecoin is available on the Algorand Mainnet starting 9th Sept. The statement also announced payments platform, Circle’s support of Algorand in its ecosystem. Algorand will now be integrated into platforms and APIs, including “Circle Payments, Wallets, Marketplaces and Business Account APIs”.

Jeremy Allaire, CEO and Co-founder of Circle, hopes for a happier future on Algorand’s “scalable and secure blockchain infrastructure.” In a statement to BEG, Allaire praised Algorand as the blockchain of the future as USDC moves to its next growth phase – web-scale infrastructure for global consumer payments applications.

In June, USDC, backed by dollars, announced its launch on Algorand is a debut of its multi-chain framework. The move opened up a gateway for users to transfer their assets from traditional finance systems to Algorand blockchain. Center Consortium plans to add USDC on other blockchains following Algorand’s partnership.

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Author: Lujan Odera

CoinDCX Becomes The First Indian Crypto Exchange To Launch Token Staking Services

Indian cryptocurrency exchange, CoinDCX, becomes the first in the country to launch simple staking services for its users. First reported on Coindesk, the staking service will launch with three tokens Tron (TRX), Harmony (ONE), and Qtum (QTUM).

Speaking on the latest developments, CoinDCX CEO, Sumit Gupta, confirmed the staking service would not carry fees or hidden charges. The Mumbai based digital asset exchange is built to promote retail staking with low minimum balances required to stake. A minimum of 100 ONE (~$1), one QTUM (~$3), and five TRX tokens (~$0.1) is required with an annual return of 8-10%, 6-10%, and 5-10% respectively.

Gupta further said the exchange would pool the staking deposits from customers in a bid to increase their staking rewards while simplifying the staking process. Additionally, CoinDCX will also measure the optimal reward system by offering staking rewards through their partner exchange, Binance, or directly on the blockchain.

The exchange has raised over $5 million in 2020 in a bid to expand its products and market base. In March, following the landmark Indian Supreme Court ruling against the crypto ban, CoinDCX raised a $3 million Series A funding round from BitMEX and Bain Capital. The exchange further extended its raise by $2.5 million, led by Coinbase Ventures and Polychain Capital, to increase the company’s market share and encourage crypto adoption in India.

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Author: Lujan Odera

Binance’s BNB Gets A Branded Twitter Emoji As the Exchange Celebrates Turning 3

The largest crypto exchange in the world in terms of trading volume, Binance, becomes the third crypto-based firm to get a branded emoji on Twitter. Binance joins Bitcoin (BTC) and Crypto.com (CRO), which also have branded emojis.

Anybody that tweets using the hashtag: #BNB or #Binance will get to see the signature Binance logo. Binance CEO revealed the new branded emoji by tweeting #BNB to his over 500k followers on Twitter. CZ, as he is usually referred to, was thrilled by the new emoji saying that he could just sit there and randomly start retweeting other people using the new emoji.

Branded Twitter hashtags are a lesser-known form of advertisement service offered by Twitter to renowned brands. However, Binance did not reveal the amount it paid for the emoji. Although billion-dollar brands such as Pepsi, Anheuser-Busch, and IBM have, in the past, paid about $1 million to get branded emojis, the amount for crypto-based firms is believed to be much lesser. Larry Cermak, a researcher, working for TheBlock, recently revealed that a company that uses about $50,000 in Twitter ads qualifies to get a branded emoji.

The Twitter emoji comes just days before Binance prepares to celebrate its third anniversary, on July 14. The emoji speculated to be part of the anniversary celebrations. The firm has since started a new hashtag dubbed #BinanceTurns3 that also comes with an emoji.

As part of the celebrations, the firm is giving out Binance non-fungible tokens (NFT). To receive the tokens, one must follow the exchange on all of the social media platforms as well as share various content using the anniversary hashtag. The campaign is set to run until July 7. The Binance team believes that the emoji will help in creating a bigger and more visual buzz that will also lead to more mass adoption of the Binance Coin (BNB).

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Author: Joseph Kibe