Tezos Staking Reaches A New ATH at Over 80%; Top 5 Exchanges Holding 18% of XTZ Supply

One of the hottest cryptocurrencies in the crypto sphere, Tezos (XTZ) has been enjoying a rally throughout 2020. In mid-February, XTZ jumped 183% YTD only to fall 65% during the March sell-off.

Since then, the 10th largest cryptocurrency has risen 113% and is now trading at $2.75. This growing interest in the cryptocurrency has been because of baking or staking. Already, the network-wide staking ratio reached a new all-time high of 80.11% in mid-May.

However, much of this staking is via exchanges, as such the custodial staking trend remains unbroken but slowed down “significantly” in Q2.

Top five cryptocurrency exchanges combined hold 18% of total Tezos supply in staking and more in non-staking wallets.

Coinbase particularly is controlling 11.2% of the Tezos network consensus, after gaining another 13% month-over-month, over 8.2 million XTZ.

The growing staked XTZ has the staking yield falling to its all-time low of 0.94% with the inflation rate at 5%. Alexander Eichhorn, Founder at Blockwatch Data noted,

“Absolute inflation in Tezos is almost constant, so inflation rate slowly decreases over time.”

“However, since the amount of coins generated per block is dynamic to discourage attacks the future inflation rate may fluctuate slightly.”

“Long-term holders who dominate Tezos are very loyal to their bakers,” wrote Eichhorn. He found 77.5% of active delegators never switch their bakers while 14% do so multiple times.

Adoption seeing an increase as well

When it comes to growth, 35.5k new funded accounts joined in April, while many small investors entered the ecosystem, whales were few. But still, the top 1k accounts hold 63% of total supply with 78% of supply not moved for over 3 months now.

The network meanwhile has been seeing less growth in developer activity in terms of deployed contracts and calls but “the rising gas usage suggests, the contracts that are developed are getting more sophisticated.”

Interestingly, the largest private bank in Brazil Banco BTF is set to launch its $5 million real estate tokens on Tezos.

In February, last year, $10 million were issued on Ethereum blockchain but they “don’t want to be tied to just one blockchain,” and “want to have other options, other blockchains that might serve better the pieces of tokenization and issuing tokens that represent real assets.”

The Zug-based Tezos Foundation meanwhile is on a hiring spree to reduce its involvement in daily decision-making. David Fuchs, the former digitization manager at Swiss bank Vontobel is also being hired as a head of the enterprise adoption in Europe, the Middle East, and Africa.

In 2017 Tezos raised $232 million via initial token offering (ICO) and $25 million of the proceeds were paid to the Foundation to settle a US lawsuit over the ICO. As such, the Foundation runs independently of Tezos founders Arthur and Kathleen Breitman.

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Author: AnTy

At 3M Monthly Users, KIN Has Outgrown the Forked Stellar Blockchain, Proposes Move to Solana

The Kin token, launched by the popular social messaging app – Kik – has been embroiled in controversy since its Initial Coin Offering (ICO) in 2017.

While the crypto token has been dealing with a protracted legal battle with the US Security and Exchange Commission (SEC), there have been several technical issues at its core.

Kin conducted its ICO on the Ethereum blockchain but clarified that it would make use of Ethereum for security purposes while the transactions would be validated on Stellar blockchain.

Later, they forked the Stellar blockchain to create a modified chain of their own. However, the hard-forked stellar chain is now proving inadequate for the Kin cryptocurrency. As a result, the digital currency would migrate to Solana blockchain in the coming month.

Kin also shared an improvement proposal regarding its move to the Solana blockchain, suggesting that while its operations saw great scalability on the forked stellar chain. There are certain limitations that have caused the disruption in running the network operations smoothly and thus they have decided to make a move to Solana.

Pointing to the issues they are facing on the forked stellar chain, the proposal read:

“While Stellar offers most of the features needed to do basic functions like sending Kin between accounts, there is a limited amount of space for metadata on transactions.

Stellar allows up to 30 bytes of metadata (called a ‘memo’) per transaction, which is far short of what Kin needs to perform its basic functions”

Talking about the benefits of the Solana blockchain, the proposal read:

“Solana solves both the latency and the feature set problems. Solana uses a Proof of History consensus model, along with a number of other novel innovations that unlock significant improvement in throughput and latency.

Additionally, Solana would allow significantly more metadata in transactions since it has a Virtual Machine implementation, offering more flexibility.”

The Proposed Transition

In order for the transition to be possible, the majority of the Kin developers have to agree with the move. If enough developers agree, Solana could facilitate the transition in a matter of months. This transition could be completed by Jan. 7, 2021.

Tanner Philp, head of corporate development at Kik said that Kin ecosystem has registered a massive uptick in the number of users in the past 6 months, and a significant rise in the core metrics during the ongoing coronavirus pandemic which has lead to severe lockdowns across the globe.

During the beginning of March when the world started to realize the severity of the COVID-19, the total users who have spent Kin token were evaluated to be around 1.5 million, however, the number jumped almost three times to 4.4 million by April 20th.

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Author: James W

Kin Releases its Transparency Report, Revealing Foundation Budgets and Structure

The Kin Foundation that’s behind the social messaging app Kik has been involved in a long-drawn out legal battle with the US Security and Exchange Commission over the distribution of its Kin token.

Kik created the Kin token back in 2017.

The SEC alleged that Kin tokens fall under a Security bracket, and thus it must be registered with the regulatory body before the sale. The total market supply of Kin token has been kept at 10 trillion out of which 1.45 trillion are currently in circulation.

The Kin Foundation has now released a transparency report in association with the Messari group revealing crucial financial details. The transparency report was published on the 21st of May, and gave a glimpse at the operation of the Kin token.

The report revealed that the foundation drafts their budget one year in advance, which determines what funding would go towards developers, user grants, node incentives, and marketing and operations.

The Kin Foundation is currently headed by a two-member board consisting of Ted Livingston, the CEO of Kik Interactive and William Mougayar, author of “The Business Blockchain.” The report further revealed that the board members are selected annually by the members along with a Kin Representative who acts as a medium for the developer community and token holders.

The foundation currently has only one Representative in the form of Matt Hannam, however, the foundation plans to add a couple more representatives in the coming year. The Kin foundation also comprises of an informal community of 10 members who look over the kin rewards and disagreements.

The report revealed that around 28 million users have acquired kin from various sources since its creation in 2017 and around 300 million kin was spent per day this year alone.

The Legal Battle Over Security Tag

The United States is counted among nations with a tough regulatory stance towards crypto. This is because any security token offering which promises a profit on the token over a course of time need to be registered with the SEC. The same issue has led to the halt and several postponements of Telegram’s TON blockchain and GRAM token issuance. The Kin Foundation has maintained, since the beginning that,

“the SEC cannot meet its burden to prove that Kin purchasers were primarily led to expect profits from the managerial efforts of others.”

The foundation also believes that the SEC’s legal case against them is heavily inspired by the Telegram case. Eileen Lyon, Kik’s general counsel said:

“Our take on the SEC’s opposition is that it relies heavily on the recent Telegram case, which we think was poorly reasoned and wrongly decided.”

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Author: James W

Bitcoin Stolen in 2016 $72 Million Bitfinex Hack Moving

Some of the stolen BTC during the $72 million hack of crypto exchange Bitfinex in 2016 has been just moved.

Whale Alert that tracks large movements of top cryptocurrencies reported that 28.3 BTC worth more than $255k has been moved to an unknown wallet.

Four years back, Bitfinex lost 120,000 BTC worth $72 million, when the price of bitcoin was about $600. Today, with each BTC at $9,160, this stash is now worth more than $1 billion.

This isn’t the first time that these hackers are moving their funds. Back in June, last year about 185 BTC were transferred to unknown addresses, at that time BTC price was up over 60% YTD at around $10,000. Then in August, 30 BTC were also moved.

Now, just as happens with large transfers, the crypto community fears the worst.

One twitter user said, “If btc does not crash to sub 4k in 1 month, I’ll delete my twitter.”

Large amounts of Bitcoin on the move surely affects the price as happened on May 10. The BTC price fell about 16% that day after a large deposit took place on Gemini; but that deposit was “abnormally” large at 2,500 BTC unlike just over 28 BTC.

Such kind of big deposits result in heightened activity on the exchange where they were made but also triggers market sell on other exchanges as well. This causes a significant increase in trade volume across all exchanges, resulting in a drop in Bitcoin’s price.

However, at times, relatively small and few orders can also have a significant impact on liquidity across many major exchanges.

Just this week, there was speculation led sell-off that resulted in a brief decline of about 7% in BTC price.

It was after Whale Alert reported that 50 Bitcoin had been moved from a wallet dormant since February 2009. Whale Alert suggested it might have been bitcoin’s pseudo-anonymous creator Satoshi Nakamoto who moved the coins, triggering the panic among the market, but as we reported it was very unlikely.

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Author: AnTy

Steem Freezes $5 Million of 64 Hive Users Funds in Coordinated Hard Fork Today

  • Steem Blockchain’s hard fork on May 20th has been lauded by current Witness Group Triple A as essential to ensure network stability. However, some of the users are opined that these are punitive measures to those that did resist the Sun’s takeover bid.

The Steem project has been thrust into the spotlight yet again. This is as an oncoming hard fork on May 20th will see some users accounts frozen and lose up to 23.6 million STEEM valued to be well over $5 million.

The Tron CEO, Justin Sun acquired the SteemIt blogging site towards the end of the last year. Then was involved in a hostile takeover for the Steem Blockchain despite widespread criticism from the Steem Community.

Hostile Takeover

The Delegated Proof of Stake (DPoS) protocol allowed the takeover as the SteemIt Blog owned about a fifth of the total STEEM tokens. This combined with key support from Binance, Huobi and Poloniex was enough to rally their weight (about 45.6 Million STEEM) behind new witnesses in a bid to get rid of ‘rogue actors’. This was seen as an attempt to quell the soft fork within the Steem Blockchain and resulted to some staunch Steem users retreated to their new Blockchain namely the Hive.

The witness group, Triple A recently highlighted that the imminent update will only target those that are deemed a direct threat to the Blockchain. They cited that this would be crucial in ensuring the Network was stable and improve the Steem Ecosystem.

“Publicly attacking users, collecting personal information, threatening murder… spreading fake news, and damaging network stability.”

Punitive Measures to Hive Defectors

However, some share the sentiment that these are just some of the punitive measures Sun is rolling out for those who opposed his takeover bid. This and the fact that majority of Hive’s users weren’t allocated any free token according ‘TheMarkyMark’ who was a witness prior to Sun’s takeover. A screenshot from a Steem employee stirred speculation that some user accounts would be victimized by the new update. The code that was released on May 19th confirmed this as it was seen to contain names of the supposed ‘rogue actors’.

The targeted users have not taken the issue lightly and have threatened all those supporting the hard fork with civil suits. Targeted users such as ‘They Call Me Dan’ and ‘pharesim2’ are set to lose $600,000 and around 80,000€ respectively if the hard fork is to go through.

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Author: Lujan Odera

Ethereum Wallet App, Argent, Rolls Out of Beta Mode; Using Guardians Not Seed Phrases

Argent, an Ethereum wallet app which has been available in its beta version for a selected few customers is all set to make a public launch on both Android and iOS platforms, reported TechCrunch.

The Ethereum wallet app has also secured seed and Series A funding round from notable investors such as Firstminute Capital, Index Ventures, Creandum and Paradigm, raising a total of $16 million. The wallet is supposed to have excellent security features as well as seamless compatibility with Ethereum’s popular Defi platforms.

Argent is a non-custodial wallet where the user has full access to, and control over their keys. The wallet app also promises to offer a smooth and easy to use experience for its customers, keeping all technical complexities such as managing the seed phrase behind the curtains.

In general non-custodial wallets and even hardware wallets, which are supposedly one of the most secure forms of crypto wallets available, require the users to separately note down the seed phrase on a piece of paper and then keep it safe to recover the wallet. This process can be confusing and complicated for the users who are new to the crypto space, and thus Argent aims to eradicate this complexity.

Argent, instead of using a seed phrase, introduces a new concept called ‘Guardian.’ A Guardian could be another hardware wallet device or even a metamask account. The user can confirm their guardians via an email or a text message, and when they lose access to their Argent wallet, they can recover it via their guardian account or device.

The Guardian would not just be there for recovery. An Argent user can do a lot of other things with their Guardians: like setting a transaction limit or even locking your account in case the user loses their phone.

Argent aims to become an integral part of the growing Ethereum ecosystem and support everything associated with the ecosystem. The wallet app has been created, keeping the ease of use as the primary focus.

Apart from hiding complexities involved in setting up a crypto wallet, the wallet would also cover the transaction fee, so that the user doesn’t have to worry whether their transaction would be processed. Defi is the latest trend of the crypto space; the wallet app will integrate dozens of Defi protocols and platforms to make it quick and straightforward to use the defi ecosystem as well.

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Author: Rebecca Asseh

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

Bitcoin Breaking Out of Re-Accumulation Phase Likely to Ignite “Another Parabolic Rally”

Since June 2019, Bitcoin has been in a re-accumulation phase, shared Tuur Demeester. He explained on Twitter how a year back bitcoin broke out of its accumulation phase that lasted about nine months only to start the re-accumulation.

As such, “a break out of this band will likely ignite another parabolic rally,” he said.

Bitcoin can Rally to $50k -$100k in Next Bull Cycle

Involved with Bitcoin since 2013, Demeester has been here when the world’s leading digital asset went through its first “crazy bubble” that took BTC from $1 to $30.

This time, he believes the bottom is in and the next bull market is here. This cycle according to him could easily take us to $50,000-$100,000. Demeester said in a conversation with Messari,

“Now we’re back in a bull market. I think for sure $3,000 was the bottom and I don’t think we’ll go below $6,000 again. I think a price target of like $50,000 is not insane at all especially given just how crazy the money printing is. I would even say like between fifty and a hundred thousand.”

However, it all depends on the buying power of the USD, for instance, if inflation takes the cost of a bicycle from $200 to $2,000, bitcoin would have to discount that.

Institutions are here, Retail is to come

Currently, bitcoin is trading around $9,800, up 157% from the March lows, and recording nearly 34% gains YTD. But, “retail is still not paying attention,” said Demeester.

According to him, they have been shaken out and there’s lots of despondencies. Whoever stayed invested probably got burned between 2018 and now and that’s gonna keep people away for a while still, he said.

But they will only come back once when we are close to 20,000 or beyond that. What’s driving the current market is institutions.

“Right now it’s institutions that are interested and it’s kind of like a land grab phase where this is gonna get big.”

Bitcoin is not correlated with the traditional financial system which is in all kinds of trouble. Moreover, it’s really scarce so these institutions are just kind of staking their claim and then see what’s gonna be built on top of it later.

So, the price right now is driven mostly by institutions — billionaires, family offices, and large institutions such as Paul Tudor Jones.

As such, the bitcoin market is still in the infrastructure phase despite JP Morgan becoming the bank for Coinbase and Gemini. It’s all about building the rails, both legal rails and financial bridges between the financial industry and Bitcoin.

He expects 2020 and 2022 to be the deployment phase where we really go mainstream and people can start using it for many different purposes.

You can watch the full interview here:

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Author: AnTy

Ripple Gains Praise From US Consumer Financial Protection Bureau For Remittance Service

Ripple and XRP’s remittance potential in cross-border transfers has been recognized by the US Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB).

According to a CFPB paper from May 11, the bureau responsible for providing the financial sector’s US consumers has been researching the remittance market’s new trends. Furthermore, it has been focusing on the continued expansion and growth of partnerships developed by digital asset companies such as Ripple.

XRP for Settling Cross-Border Transfers

In the same paper, the CFPB mentioned that XRP could be used for cross-border transfers. Also, Ripple’s products can give credit unions and banks exact information on how much remittance transfers’ recipients are going to receive before they’re even being sent anything.

The platform for global payments innovation (GPI) from SWIFT was mentioned in the paper too. This platform’s purpose is to speed up remittance by using the infrastructure banks from all over the world prefer to use.

SWIFT said it was considering using blockchain rails for its GPI solution ever since 2019, yet no update on this matter has been provided yet.

Ripple Pushes for XRP Adoption

In spite of showing support for Ripple, the CFPB doesn’t seem too enthusiastic about crypto company’s push for widespread adoption of the XRP. It concluded that any new solutions would most likely not eliminate the reliance on their correspondent banking network, as this what the market players’ feedback and the agency’s estimations have revealed.

Despite this, Ripple doesn’t give up, aiming at the financial mainstream. Only last month, it had Japan-based financial giant SBI Holdings, which it’s its investor and partner, announcing that Ripple-powered settlements are going to be integrated with ATMs all over Japan. According to market researcher Fundstrat, XRP was the weakest performing crypto asset since the beginning of 2020 until May.

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Author: Oana Ularu

The Battle of Decentralized Finance (DeFi) Continues As Bitcoin Takes Over Ethereum

The amount of Ether locked in decentralized applications (DeFI) has been on a constant decline since hitting the peak at 3.2 million ETH in February.

In the past three months, the amount of ETH locked dropped almost 19% and over 7% in less than a week.

Currently, 2.6 million ETH are locked in DeFi, as per Defi Pulse, with Maker accounting for 50% of this followed by Compound and InstaDapp.

Total value locked in DeFi also fell from over $1.2 billion in February to $530 million in March, following the Black Thursday. However, unlike Ether, this amount has grown to nearly $850 million.

This growth could also be the result of the Bitcoin locked in DeFi besides rising price.

45% Jump in Locked BTC

Up until March 15, the number of BTC locked remained flat at around 1.7k from where it continued to grow only to experience a huge spike this week.

Almost 1,000 BTC were added in a single day. With a jump of almost 45%, now more than 3.2k BTC are locked in DeFi.

While this growth has been in incomplete contrast with ETH, just like Ethereum, Maker dominates here as well.

DeFi projects with the highest amount of locked bitcoin include WBTC, Lightning Network, and Compound.

This uptrend was also the result of Maker now accepting WBTC as collateral. An ERC-20 token backed with Bitcoin, WBTC makes BTC available on the Ethereum Network. An overview of WBTC transactions shows WBTC was minted on CoinList and then sent directly to the lending platform Nexo Wallet.

Most of the newly minted WBTC was used to create DAI. As such, customers at Nexo were depositing BTC to get a loan, and Nexo, in turn, took those BTC to CoinList to mint new WBTC.

These newly created WBTC were then sent to Maker, locked up as collateral and in turn, Nexo received DAI which was sent to the customer or sold for USD to send US dollars to the customer.

Good for BTC price but bad for ETH price

Elsewhere, cryptocurrency exchanges continue to have steady bitcoin withdrawals, which started right after Black Thursday.

BTC balance on exchanges is down more than 300k BTC, worth about $3 billion, since the violent sell-off on March 12. This is the lowest balance held on exchanges since May 22, 2019.

As we reported, spot exchange Bitfinex saw the biggest decline of more than 50% followed by derivatives exchange BitMEX’s 32%.

This is good for the leading digital currency as investors are choosing to keep their BTC off the exchanges in favor of holding them.

In complete contrast, Ether (ETH) balance on crypto exchanges has hit an all-time high, up 132k ETH, worth about $26 million, since the sell-off in March.

Increased balance on exchange could mean holders are looking to sell-off their ETH.

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Author: AnTy