Russia’s State-Owned Bank, Sberbank, Files Papers to Launch Blockchain Platform for Stablecoin

Russia’s State-Owned Bank, Sberbank, Files Papers to Launch Blockchain Platform for Stablecoin

  • Russian state-owned bank, Sberbank, submits blockchain applications to the central bank.
  • The registration procedure is set to take up to 45 days; the project to be launched in spring.

According to local reports, Russia’s largest state-owned bank filed an application to the Central Bank of the Russian Federation seeking approval for its blockchain underlying its stablecoin, Sbercoin. Speaking during the ‘Digital Transformation and Prospects for Regulating the Digital Economy’ seminar, Anatoly Popov, deputy chairman of the board of Sberbank, confirmed the bank “applied with the Bank of Russia to register its blockchain platform in early January.”

Sberbank’s blockchain will host the reported Sbercoin, which was previously reported to launch in 2021. Popov further said, “the bank is ready to work with such a fiat currency,” having tested the project internally and seeing that the solution works.

According to law, the registration process is set to take about 45 days, with the Central Bank either approving the application or sending comments to the Sberbank team. If approved, the Sberbank blockchain will launch in spring, Popov confirmed. However, the bank is still working around how to tax the digital assets on the blockchain.

“There is a high probability that this project will be launched in the spring,” a spokesperson at the bank said. “There is one more issue that has not yet been fully resolved – the issue of taxation of digital financial assets, but we hope that it will become clearer.”

In December, the state-owned bank announced its plans to launch Sbercoin, only a month before Russia implements its draconian crypto laws.

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Author: Lujan Odera

Hive Blockchain Purchases 6,400 Bitcoin Miners From Canaan; Aims to Hit 2021 Goal

Hive Blockchain Purchases 6,400 Bitcoin Miners From Canaan; Aims to Hit 2021 Goal

Hive Blockchain, the Vancouver listed crypto mining firm, has announced the purchase of 6,400 Avalon Miner 1246 machines from Canaan Creative. This new purchase is part of its 2021 goal to scale its mining capacity beyond 1,000 Petahash per second (PH/s).

The new mining machines will increase Hive Blockchain’s mining power by an aggregate of 576 PH/s, bringing the total to 1,229 PH/s once the machines are delivered and deployed. Hive said that newly acquired miners would be delivered in 8 tranches within the course of 2021.

“Based on the orders that have been placed, this new equipment is expected to be delivered in 8 tranches in 2021, with 500 miners delivered in May and June and 900 miners delivered each month in the remainder of calendar 2021 commencing with the July delivery.”

Hive anticipates that the 1,000 PH/s targets will be achieved sooner than expected with the order already in place. The firm is now eyeing a new goal of 2,000 PH/s by the end of the year, a milestone that could further spur its overall market value.

Meanwhile, Canaan Creative, which reported a Q3 net loss of $12.3 million, might find some reprieve following the new order. Earlier on, the firm’s CFO Quanfu Hong had expressed optimism in a market bounce back as the world gets back to its feet.

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Author: Edwin Munyui

HUMAN Protocol Moves to Solana Blockchain In Search Of Scalability And Speed

HUMAN Protocol Moves to Solana Blockchain In Search Of Scalability And Speed

  • Hybrid labor protocol, HUMAN protocol, is moving to Solana blockchain.
  • The partnership aims to provide scalable and secure decentralized labor pools.

HUMAN Protocol is a hybrid framework that helps in machine learning techniques by providing a marketplace for humans to contribute their reasoning, mental skills, and knowledge. These activities include labeling tasks, voicing tasks, and identifying photos, videos, and sounds to improve machines’ intelligence.

The company is partnering with Solana blockchain, an open-source and scalable blockchain, to build a decentralized labor pool to complete these tasks. Growing demand for the protocol and scalability constraints has seen HUMAN Protocol turn to Solana to settle the large number of transactions on-chain, settle labor pools efficiently and make payments instantly.

The Solana Foundation team is working on deploying the decentralized labor pools on a functional marketplace. HUMAN Protocol developers work on easing the onboarding process for developers and users on the platform. Lonnie Rae, Head of Operations at HUMAN Protocol Foundation, said in a statement on the partnership. Rae added,

“Building on Solana should enable us to scale our decentralized labor pools significantly for better operating performance across the HUMAN platform,”

“We’re so excited to see what we can build together.”

Solana currently provides over 700,000 transactions per second (TPS) – way above the transaction speeds of Bitcoin at 5-7 TPS, ETH 1.0 (15-20 TPS), and ETH 2.0 (100,000 TPS) – which provides a stable option for the HUMAN Protocol, the statement further reads.

HUMAN Protocol is gradually taking over the global CAPTCHA market, which has previously been monopolized by Google’s reCAPTCHA module. hCAPTCHA, built using HUMAN Protocol tech, currently captures over 15% of the market share and disburses the vast information to an open marketplace for anyone to train their machines. This democratizes the access to data important to machine learning, reducing the power Google holds.

“In my mind, they’re creating a global brain formed through billions of interactions in a decentralized marketplace,” Raj Gokal, COO at Solana said. “This is the rare combination of vision, execution, and ambition that Solana was built for.”

HUMAN Protocol now joins a vast list of projects leveraging Solana’s blockchain to optimize speed and utilize the scalability properties it offers. Following the integration of Circle’s USDC stablecoin on Solana, one of the largest blockchain-based music streaming platforms, Audius, integrated on the blockchain, and Velas, a self-optimization blockchain platform, also joined the blockchain to increase transaction speed.

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Author: Lujan Odera

What’s Happening on the Bitcoin Network Amidst The Red Hot Market?

Miners are reaping the fruits of rising BTC price and fees as blockchain activity continues to ramp up.

Bitcoin continues to smash new record highs, the latest one being $35k and nearly $36k. But this has just started and we have a long way to go.

This ATH came after the market had a 20% pullback on Monday providing a ‘buy the dip’ opportunity. “A large pullback of 20% – 30% should be expected, even in a bull market,” noted Arcane Research.

And this drop has been the result of sky-high funding rates and of course an overly confident market that led to $1.2b worth of longs getting liquidated in the BTC futures market — by far the largest daily liquidation since BTC started moving a few months ago.

After normalizing, these funding rates have started rising back up already.


What’s just as interesting is the activity the largest crypto network has been seeing.

This price action has actually been on the back of the strong volume. Leading spot exchanges crushed all the previous records by having three days with over $10 billion in volume.

“$80+ billion in trading volume in the last 24 hrs on Binance. ATH x 2!” resulting in scaling issues, noted the CEO of leading spot exchange, Changpeng Zhao.

In terms of blockchain activity, Bitcoin active addresses grew by 9.3% week-over-week to start 2021, averaging over 1.1 million per day. These addresses are actually near all-time highs.

On January 3rd, the 7-day average reached 1.15 million, just shy of the all-time high of 1.18 million set in December 2017. The number of hourly active addresses (24h MA) actually just hit a new ATH.

Network security continues to look strong as well with the hash rate growing by 11.7%, again reaching for a new all-time high.

Bitcoin miners are currently enjoying revenue of $33 million per day, as per data source Glassnode. This has been thanks to the rising BTC prices and the average Bitcoin fees that have yet again surged to $11, moving up since Dec. 13.

Between the last halving and October, the average daily revenue was at around $10 million. It has only been within 5 weeks in late 2017 that this number has been higher.

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Author: AnTy

Riot Blockchain to Increase its Hashrate Capacity by 65% with Additional 15,000 Mining Machines

Riot Blockchain to Increase its Hashrate Capacity by 65% with Additional 15,000 Mining Machines

Nasdaq-listed Bitcoin mining firm’s new purchase is a pre-order as Bitmain supplies are sold out until Q3 of 2021.

Bitcoin mining firm Riot Blockchain (RIOT) has purchased another 15,000 ASIC machines from Bitmain. This latest purchase puts the Nasdaq-listed company’s total number of ordered machines to over 31,000 this year.

The latest round of S19 Pro and S19j Pro Antminers mining machines is expected to expand the Castle Rock-based miner’s hashrate capacity to 3.8 exhashes per second (EH/S) in 2021. This will be a 65% increase from Riot’s current 2.3 EH/S capacity.


The new purchase is a pre-order as Bitmain supplies are sold out until Q3 of 2021. Riot, however, expects the delivery and deployment of the latest batch of machines to start in May next year and continue through October. Jeff McGonegal, CEO of Riot said,

“Continued growth in deployed miners is paramount to a miner’s success.”

“Expanding the Company’s bitcoin mining hash rate and operating on a cost-effective basis is very important, particularly during periods when the bitcoin spot price has appreciably increased. We are pleased to have secured this latest purchase, especially given that the available supply of mining hardware continues to become increasingly scarce.”

The shares of RIOT meanwhile rallied about 53% in the last two days and is currently trading around $14.64. Compared to Bitcoin’s 20% uptrend in December, Riot shares jumped more than 70% during the same period.

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Author: AnTy

Vietnam Prime Minister Puts “Blockchain Technology” on its Priority List

Vietnam Prime Minister Puts “Blockchain Technology” on its Priority List

It is to ensure they “actively participate in the Fourth Industrial Revolution,” states the order.

Amidst the on-going price action and institutional attraction the digital asset industry is getting, Vietnam’s Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc has signed an order which places cryptocurrency as one of the top four technologies on priority.

The order dated Dec. 16, 2020, prioritizes four fields of technologies viz. digital technology domain, physics, biotechnologies, and energy and environment sector.

Under the digital technologies domain, the government has included blockchain technology.

Other technologies part of this section includes Artificial intelligence, Internet of Things, Big data analytics, Cloud computing, Quantum computing, Next-generation network technology like 5G, 6G, other, Virtual reality, Augmented reality, Intelligent, and Adaptive cybersecurity, Digital twin, Plant simulation technology, and Precision Agriculture.

The prioritization is “for research, development, and application to actively participate in the Fourth Industrial Revolution,” so the country can get a headstart and not be left behind.

As per the order, ministries, cities, and relevant organizations “shall base themselves on this Decision” to orient and prioritize allocating resources for research, development, and technology application.

All the required parties have to start acting on it from the date of the issue of the order and report to the Prime Minister.

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Author: AnTy

PayPal & Revolut’s Crypto Brokerage, Paxos, Raises $142M to Facilitate Digital Asset Adoption

Thanks to a new funding round, the blockchain startup is powering PayPal’s new cryptocurrency service is gearing up for a big year in 2021.

Gearing Up for 2021

The company confirmed that it had raised $142 million in new funds and is looking forward to significant growth in the new year.

Per a press release, Paxos confirmed that its Series C funding round was led by Declaration Partners, a New York-based investment management firm backed by billionaire David Rubenstein. The round also included Mithril Capital and PayPal, which is already a major Paxos partner.

The funding round brings Paxos’ overall haul to $240 million. Company chief executive Charles Cascarilla explained that the funds would go a long way in bolstering its expansion plans as it looks to build the “market infrastructure of the future.” He added that the company would double its workforce, expand its product solutions, and create new products to target enterprises.

The CEO also reiterated his company’s commitment to regulation and security.

Plans Ahead

While Paxos appeared to have started the year quietly, the past few months have been monumental for the firm. The company was instrumental in PayPal’s smooth entrance into the crypto space, partnering with the payment processor to launch PayPal’s crypto service.

PayPal announced its crypto offering in October, confirming that it would allow users to spend cryptocurrencies at merchants that accept its service. The crypto service will support Bitcoin, Litecoin, Ether, and Bitcoin Cash. Explaining its role, Cascarilla said in a blog post that Paxos built the underlying platform that will power PayPal’s crypto service.

As the blog post explained, Paxos fits into PayPal’s service on two fronts. Its crypto brokerage service will provide PayPal with easy crypto trading and custody. The company is lending its API to the payment processor to promote an easy and seamless user experience.

BitLicense was also instrumental in helping PayPal secure a conditional Virtual Currency License (BitLicense), allowing it to provide its crypto services to New Yorkers.

Along with its PayPal integration, Paxos is also working towards becoming a fully-registered crypto bank. The stablecoin issuer filed its application last week, looking to incorporate its Paxos General Trust in New York.

blog post to that effect explained that the company would hope to broaden its service range and coverage through the bank charter. The bank pointed out,

“Our mission is to modernize financial market infrastructure and enable the movement of any asset, any time, in a trustworthy way. A national Trust Bank charter would help us realize our goal by enabling us to serve customers across the country in the most efficient way.”

With two business opportunities laying ahead, Paxos seems poised to become more of a force in the industry come 2021.

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Author: Jimmy Aki

Algorand Blockchain Adds Canadian Dollar Backed Stablecoin, QCAD, On Its Platform

Algorand blockchain welcomes its third stablecoin, QCAD, the Canadian dollar stablecoin built, issued, and managed by Stablecorp, a Canadian based fintech firm founded in a joint partnership with 3iQ, Canada’s largest crypto asset manager, and Mavennet Systems, a blockchain development firm.

In a press release statement on Thursday, Stablecorp Inc, a Canadian dollar stablecoin issuer, announced its partnership with Algorand to launch its digital asset on the latter’s blockchain. Algorand offers decentralized applications and projects a secure, scalable, and decentralized network that Stablecorp aims to leverage by launching QCAD on top of the blockchain. Algorand Foundation also released a grant to Stablecorp to incentivize the development of the stablecoins capabilities atop Algorand.

Jean Deagagne, CEO of Stablecorp, is looking forward to leveraging Algorand’s “robust and secure high throughput infrastructure” upon integrating QCAD stablecoin, he said in a statement. Furthermore, Algorand’s unique capabilities aim to expand the use cases of QCAD to spark mass adoption of the asset and “explore and scale new enterprise and consumer implementations,” he added.

According to the statement, the QCAD project is the first fully-regulated and mass-market stablecoin, “currently supported by over 22 different ecosystem partners, including exchanges, custodians, payment providers, and decentralized exchanges (DEXes)”.

Apart from providing a secure and robust platform for the stablecoin, Algorand also allows microtransactions, instant confirmation times, and wallet support for the token. Algorand testnet recorded over 1000 transactions per second, way faster than Bitcoin or Ethereum transaction times – at 7TPS and 15TPS, respectively. Sean Lee, the CEO of Algorand Foundation, said in a statement to BEG,

“The global scale and speed of the Algorand protocol will enable the high transaction volumes that will facilitate new and innovative consumer innovation using QCAD.”

QCAD becomes the third stablecoin built atop Algorand blockchain following the additions of dollar-backed Tether (USDT) and Circle’s USDC stablecoin. As a high throughput blockchain, Algorand opens up the use of high volume stablecoins on its unique globally scalable, secure, and instant platform.

The Canadian government has also been on its feet monitoring digital currencies, the benefits and flaws of launching a CBDC, and the role of blockchain systems in the economy. Recently, Canada announced plans to team up with other G7 countries to launch the CBDC, calling for more global cooperation between nations.

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Author: Lujan Odera

Elliptic Report: Crypto Criminals Turn to Privacy Wallets to Launder Bitcoin

Privacy has been one of the hot buttons in the crypto space. In a new report, leading blockchain analytics firm Elliptic reviews the industry’s illegal activity levels this year.

On Wednesday, the firm released a study showing that criminals are now laundering Bitcoin using private wallets like Wasabi.

The Hunt for Privacy

Private wallets are known for their privacy features. They obfuscate funds and hide their origins from tracking mechanisms, through a process called coin mixing.

Mixing works by swapping coins between users. It creates a complex network of transactions designed to create a maze that throws trackers off a transfer over time.

Elliptic explained that 13 percent of Bitcoin crime proceeds are now being laundered through these services. The number is up from the 2 percent reported in 2019.

Tom Robinson, Elliptic’s Chief Scientist, explained that the use of privacy wallets had grown primarily due to the increased identity verification standards operated by exchanges and traditional wallet providers.

While the general use of these privacy wallets has increased, there is a noticeable uptick in criminal applications.

Blame the Government and Analysis Firms

Mixers have also grown in prominence thanks to increased tracking technologies and procedures from firms like Elliptic.

Chainalysis and CipherTrace, two of the foremost analytics firms in the blockchain space, have worked extensively with regulators to crack down on illegal activity this year. Seeing nowhere else to turn to, criminals are now being inventive and using mixers.

CipherTrace has been incredibly effective in cracking down on privacy-related activities in the crypto space.

In August, the firm announced a new tool to track Monero transactions, the most popular privacy coin. It has even filed two patents to improve tracking for Monero.

In a blog post, CipherTrace stated that the patents would include forensic tools to explore transaction flows in Monero and assist financial investigations. They will also have probabilistic and statistical methods to score transactions and cluster possible wallet owners, as well as visualization tools and techniques to track stolen or illegally used assets.

“CipherTrace’s Monero tracing capabilities will allow [Virtual Asset Service Providers] to identify when inbound XMR may have criminal origins, allowing them to adequately risk rate customer transactions per any required regulations.”

CipherTrace added that it aimed to improve criminal users’ detection and improve the safety and sustainability of privacy coins.

The development follows an earlier $625,000 bounty program set by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) for anyone who can develop Monero tracking tools. As privacy becomes more of a luxury in the crypto space, it is understandable that criminals would want to get inventive and use privacy wallets.

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Author: Jimmy Aki

NEM In Final Stage of Testing of its Enterprise Blockchain ‘Symbol’ Before Mainnet Launch

NEM has announced that its enterprise-focused blockchain innovation dubbed ‘Symbol’ is set for a debut early next year. The announcement, which was made on Tuesday, highlighted that Symbol is in the last preparation phase before its Mainnet launch.

The NEM team is currently carrying out tests, having frozen Symbol’s iteration; this innovation is expected to introduce a hybrid blockchain infrastructure that features private and public architecture. NEM Group CIO, Dave Hodgson, commented on the value proposition in this enterprise-focused blockchain,

“Created for enterprise use, Symbol is purpose-built to be flexible to a suite of use cases, spanning regulated markets, supply chain, fintech, healthcare, government and more.”

Symbol’s scheduled Mainnet launch on January 14 will mark version 1 of the enterprise blockchain. Once it officially debuts, the platform will open up for use by businesses, token holders, and other stakeholders looking to leverage hybrid blockchain ecosystems. NEM Software CTO, Kristy-Leigh Minehan, emphasized that,

“As a hybrid network, Symbol offers a ‘best of both worlds’ scenario and more flexibility to businesses in how they manage and share data.”

According to NEM, the hybrid approach allows businesses to enjoy private and public blockchains’ benefits. These are fundamentals, such as the transparent nature of public blockchains and encryption measures/data restrictions embedded in private networks.

NEM’s Symbol hybrid infrastructure could be deployed in multiple business environments, including logistics or supply chains. As earlier reported by BEG, the team looked to tap into wine supply chain management as one of the debut niches.

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Author: Edwin Munyui