Blockstream Launches Lightning Node Service For Bitcoin Newbies

Blockchain technology company Blockstream Corp has rolled out a Bitcoin Lightning node service called Greenlight, per its blog post. This service enables users to easily set up a node on the Bitcoin Lightning Network while using the company’s cloud infrastructure.

Users Retain Full Control Of Funds

The Lightning Network is a “second-layer solution” built on top of the Bitcoin network.

It’s run by a network of nodes that process payments and transactions are made using QR codes on its Jade platform. It is designed to boost faster transactions with lower fees.

Greenlight would enable users to maintain complete control over their funds while setting up a Lightning node.

This is because the private keys for both on-chain and off-chain transactions will remain in the custody of the user. Users can instead interact with their nodes through a simple user interface overseen by Blockstream.

Greenlight is built on top of c-lightning, a standard-compliant implementation of the Lightning Network protocol optimized for performance and extendibility.

The blockchain firm aims to make the Greenlight service user-friendly to educate amateurs and potential Lightning users.

Christian Decker, the core tech engineer at Blockstream, said that the new Greenlight service is aimed at helping users get started with Bitcoin and the lightning network. Decker added in the blog post,

“Onboarding Lightning adds another layer of complexity because of the need to operate channels and liquidity as well as manage backups and watchtowers. New users often opt for custodial services where these technical challenges are managed for them but at the cost of trusting the service operator with their funds.”

Blockstream disclosed that the service is already available on Sphinx Chat, a browser for the Lightning Network, and Lastbit, a technology Lightning payment platform. The firm plans to release Greenlight for the greater public after the initial beta phase.

Founded in 2014, Blockstream is a firm that focuses on providing blockchain technologies and crypto-financial infrastructure based on Bitcoin.

Blockstream Increasing Mining Colocation Deals

Blockstream’s Mining arm has signed a couple of partnerships this year amid the calls for clean energy usage in Bitcoin mining.

Last month, Blockstream announced it inked a deal with Bitcoin and crypto lender BlockFi to host BlockFi’s new mining machines in a facility in Georgia, USA.

The mining facility, which supports up to 300 megawatts of capacity, was deployed to BlockFi thttps://bitcoinexchangeguide.com/cryptocurrency-news/wallets/blockfi/o expand its service offerings and accumulate more Bitcoin.

Blockstream also disclosed a partnership with Square last month to build an open-source, solar-powered Bitcoin mining facility. This was in line with Square’s Bitcoin Clean Energy Initiative.

The partnership also saw Square invest $5M into the facility with Blockstream to provide infrastructure and expertise to build and manage the project.

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Author: Jimmy Aki

Brazil Approves its First Ethereum ETF

Blockchain investment firm QR Capital’s Ether exchange-traded fund (ETF) has been approved by Brazil’s Securities and Exchange Commission (CVM).

This first Ether ETF approval of the country comes just three weeks after their first Bitcoin ETF went public on the Brazilian Stock Exchange, which was approved in March.

QETH11 “will be listed on the B3, which becomes the 1st exchange in Latin America to have a 100% Ethereum ETF,” announced the firm on Twitter on Wednesday. The date of listing hasn’t been set yet.

This week, another manager Hashdex announced its Bitcoin ETF BITH11, which bets on neutralizing the carbon footprint of mining bitcoin acquired by the fund. It will be listed on the Brazilian stock exchange in the first half of August.

Brazil has also approved an ETF, HASH11, that invests in a basket of cryptocurrencies.

Meanwhile, QR Capital’s Ether ETF will track the same Ethereum index used by the CME Group, the CME CF Ether Reference Rate. QR Asset Management said.

“The Brazilian investor now has the possibility of exposure to the two largest and most valuable digital assets in the world, in a regulated, simple and secure manner. It is no longer necessary to register in exchanges, create private keys or worry about secure custody.”

QR Capital will use crypto exchange Gemini’s crypto custody solution to store digital assets.

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Author: AnTy

Payments Giants PayPal and Visa Invest in Blockchain Capital’s New Fund Focused on DeFi & NFTs

Payments Giants PayPal and Visa Invest in Blockchain Capital’s New Fund Focused on DeFi & NFTs

Payments giants PayPal and Visa both have invested in Blockchain Capital’s latest fund.

The blockchain-focused venture capital firm raised $300 million in funding for its Fund V from investors, including PayPal and Visa.

Blockchain Capital that invests in both crypto and equity assets said the investments would be focused on blockchain infrastructure and application of the technology, NFTs, and decentralized finance (DeFi).

The firm said some investors, including both the payments giant, will also be participating in a strategic partnership program.

Founded in 2013, the company has invested in more than 110 companies so far, including cryptocurrency exchanges Coinbase and Kraken and Anchorage and non-fungible token (NFT) marketplace OpenSea.

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Author: AnTy

Indexing Platform, The Graph, Taps StreamFast to be Core Protocol Developers With A $60M Grant

Indexing Platform, The Graph, Taps StreamFast to be Core Protocol Developers With A $60M Grant

StreamFast, a protocol infrastructure firm building blockchain streaming solutions, is joining The Graph as a core developer following a $60 million grant from the latter. The partnership aims to boost the development of a radically different and more open decentralized internet system.

Announced on Thursday, the partnership between the two companies means The Graph’s goal to build a new internet is growing nearer as StreamingFast adds its development expertise to the project. The partnership will also promote the building and democratization of Web 3 data access at scale and drive user adaption.

The Graph kicked off as a platform to build a decentralized network of public data on blockchains – kind of the internet on the blockchain. Since its launch in December, The Graph’s indexing protocol has grown to over 150 Indexers and over 7,000 Delegators. With StreamingFast joining the pool of developers, Eva Beylin, Director of The Graph Foundation, expects the platform to build a “sustainable decentralized community.”

“The Foundation and Council are thrilled to welcome the StreamingFast team as Core Developers in The Graph ecosystem.”

“We’ve learned a lot from decentralized governance experiments and protocol development in Ethereum and are dedicated to having many protocol contributors to ensure a decentralized community that is sustainable.”

Apart from adding developer expertise to The Graph, StreamingFast will also become a key component of Graph’s ecosystem and long-term infrastructure plans. The new partnership will provide The Graph with some of its core infrastructure intellectual property, API products, and core developers to work on the “decentralized internet.” Marc-Antoine Ross, Co-Founder, and CEO of StreamingFast said,

“We are philosophically aligned, and our powers combined to create a one-plus-one-equals-three effect. We’re eager to dedicate our time and resources to the betterment of The Graph and the Web3 ecosystem at large in the years ahead.”

Following successful integrations of Bitcoin (BTC), Polkadot (DOT), Solana (SOL), and BSC, The Graph (GRT) announced its plan to add eight new layers 1 blockchain earlier this February.

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Author: Lujan Odera

Solana Leads $3M Funding Round in Blockchain Data Platform PARSIQ

Blockchain data monitoring startup PARSIQ has closed a funding round of $3 million, led by the Solana Foundation.

The funding round also included notable investors such as Axia8 Ventures, Mindworks VC, Krypital Group, CoinUnited, and others.

PARSIQ To Use Fund To Expand Product Suite

The PARSIQ platform allows users to customize their notification settings to block out undesired noise while receiving important information in real-time.

The blockchain data firm revealed that the fund raised would be used to expand its product suite.

PARSIQ tools include notifications for token transfers, price fluctuations, and other blockchain-related movements.

Apart from Solana, the PARSIQ tools are also compatible with Bitcoin, Ethereum, and some other blockchains.

Solana Founder Anatoly Yakovenko, while speaking on the investment, said access to blockchain data through apps like PARSIQ was critical.

He noted that PARSIQ would help developers of Solana-based projects worry less when building out their stack, allowing them to concentrate more on their product.

The investment into PARSIQ comes after Solana raised $314 million in a private token sale.

The sale was led by Andreessen Horowitz and Polychain Capital with participation from Alameda Research, Block change Ventures, CMS Holdings, Coinfund, and others.

Founded in 2017, Solana is an advanced open-source blockchain project focused on providing a highly scalable, secure, and maximally decentralized platform.

Dubbed the Ethereum killer, Solana has been active in building tools and networks for others to build on the platform.

It has several decentralized exchanges (DEXes) and protocols built on it such as Serum, Raydium, KIN, Audius, Mango Markets, Bonfida, Maps.me, Pyth Network, USDC, Phantom wallet, and more.

Solana Hackathon’s Step Finance To Aggregate With Solana’s DEXes

The Solana blockchain had attracted thousands of developers to its network, breaking records for the most number of participants in a hackathon this year.

The hackathon, in collaboration with Serum, had over 3,000 registrations and over 100 project submissions.

One of the projects that emerged from the Solana hackathon is Step Finance, a DeFi position manager and aggregator. Although Step Finance did not win any prize during the event, it appears to be doing very well.

Step Finance started aggregating Solana’s decentralized exchanges (DEXs), including automated market maker Raydium, SerumDex, and Orca, to give traders faster access to price information.

Step Finance’s trading dashboard, called the Step Dashboard, will enable traders to have access to $845 million of liquidity and execute trades quickly at low fees.

Earlier this year, the aggregator completed a private token sale for $2 million in a round that saw participation from various Solana backers including Almaeda Research and Raydium.

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Author: Jimmy Aki

Flare Network Raises $11 Million in Funding to Bring Smart Contracts to All Blockchains

Flare Network Raises $11 Million in Funding to Bring Smart Contracts to All Blockchains

Decentralized finance protocol Flare raised $11.3 million in another funding round supported by heavyweights in the crypto industry. Launched at the tail end of 2020, Flare, a Turing complete Federated Byzantine Agreement-based (FBA) network, announced Hong Kong-based firm Kenetic Capital led the round, including top venture capital firms such as Digital Currency Group (DCG) and Coinfund.

The funding aims to boost the development of smart contract functionalities on blockchains that do not offer native support for smart contracts. At launch, Flare is set to support smart contract functionalities for Stellar (XLM), Litecoin (LTC), Dogecoin (DOGE), and XRP.

Other participants in the current funding round include crypto VCs such as LD Capital, cFund, Wave Financial, Borderless Capital, and Backend Capital. Adding to the $11 million fund are top crypto private investors Charlie Lee, Vinny Lingham, and Terra CEO, Do Kwan.

The platform’s main goal is to bring additional utility to other non-smart contract blockchains,” Flare CEO Hugo Philion shared in a statement. Supported by Ripple in 2019, Flare is now awaiting its mainnet launch to create a robust and complete blockchain ecosystem.

“The investment brings into the Flare ecosystem key participants in the investment community, together with major exchanges, market makers, blockchain founders, and entrepreneurs that have an interest in driving meaningful developments and participation on Flare.”

Flare Protocol is also planning one of the largest airdrops in crypto so far by awarding every eligible XRP account on the snapshot taken on December 12th, 2020, its native Spark tokens. Despite hundreds of crypto exchanges taking part in the airdrop, close to 2 Billion XRP locked on Coinbase will miss the Spark airdrop, BEG reported last December.

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Author: Lujan Odera

Goldman Sachs Joins Blockchain Infrastructure Company’s $28 Million Funding Round

Goldman Sachs Joins Blockchain Infrastructure Company’s $28 Million Funding Round

Blockdaemon has been acquiring many institutional clients who are starting to allow their customers to buy Bitcoin and Ether before branching out to protocols that pay interest on tokens.

Blockdaemon has raised $28 million from lead investor Greenspring Associates along with Goldman Sachs Group Inc.

BlockFi, Warburg Serres, Uphold, and Voyager Digital Ltd., were other investors in the Series A fund-raising, as per the company statement.

The firm that creates and hosts the computer nodes for the blockchain network is planning to make acquisitions and double its headcount to 100. With the latest funding, the company aims to “help institutions quickly and securely scale blockchain infrastructure.”

Over the past year, the company has seen rapid growth and gained customers, including JPMorgan Chase, Citigroup, PayPal Holdings, Robinhood Markets, and E*Trade.

“We’re selling ten times what we did a year ago, mostly to new institutions coming into the space,” said Chief Executive Officer Konstantin Richter.

In the first quarter of 2021, Blockdaemon reported a net income of $18 million and revenue at about $24 million.

Goldman Sachs, which led the $15 million investment into data provider Coin Metrics, contributed $5 million to the Blockdaemon round. “It’s been a long dialogue with them,” Ritcher said.

The CEO further shared in an interview that he’s been seeing a progression among large financial firms that starts with them allowing their customers to buy Bitcoin and Ether before branching out to protocols that pay interest on tokens to secure the network.

“Large institutions are getting serious about paying yield on tokens out to their customers,” he said. “It shows that large financial institutions over time will want to rival Coinbase” by copying its model of easier ways to buy and earn interest on various digital coins.

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Author: AnTy

Paxful Rolls Out Bitcoin Payments Feature for Online Businesses

Paxful Rolls Out Bitcoin Payments Feature for Online Businesses

Popular peer-to-peer (P2P) blockchain company Paxful has launched a new product, dubbed Paxful Pay, that would allow online businesses to receive Bitcoin payments, per its press release.

Merchants Can Hold Bitcoin

Paxful Pay would make it possible for customers to pay online merchants using several payment methods. Once the payment is received, Paxful would convert it into Bitcoin and send it to the merchant’s wallet.

Paxful is not stopping with Bitcoin. According to the roadmap, popular stablecoin Tether’s USDT would also be supported in the coming weeks. The service is mostly targeted at Paxful customers, which means they will find it easy to integrate other Paxful services such as the wallet and the marketplace. New users will have to sign up for a Paxful account, which will probably distort the e-commerce flow.

Artur Schaback, COO and co-founder of Paxful, spoke on why the product was needed for online purchases. He said:

“We’re thrilled to bring Paxful Pay to our global community. There is a clear need to offer local options for bitcoin and this product is a culmination of our efforts to deliver on that demand. By offering users the ability to complete purchases using almost 400 payment methods, they will now have an even stronger financial solution at their fingertips. We cannot wait to expand this offering to encompass as many merchants as possible.”

Paxful said Paxful Pay has onboarded over 100 merchants and is looking at adding more before the year runs out. The company continues to roll out a suite of innovative crypto products to aid adoption. Paxful previously launched a crypto debit card in November last year. The card enables users to convert Bitcoin into fiat currency at the time of purchase.

Paxful’s Focus On The African Market

Although Paxful has users in the US and Asia, it has a major focus on the African market. This might be attributed to the mass P2P businesses that exist in Africa.

According to the New York-based firm, Nigeria is its biggest market and the largest P2P market in sub-Saharan Africa. Kenya and South Africa also have large P2P businesses.

Last year, the company revealed it was actively looking to join forces with African-born crypto players to grow its market share on the continent.

Founded in 2015 with headquarters in New York, Paxful has over six million users and over $5 billion traded on its platform since inception.

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Author: Jimmy Aki

“OGN is Currently Undervalued,” says the Origin Team as it BuyBack $1.3 Mln Worth of its Tokens

“OGN is Currently Undervalued,” says the Origin Team as it BuyBack $1.3 Mln Worth of its Tokens

A common phenomenon in the traditional market, buybacks have been gaining traction in the crypto market as well. Popular names like Binance, FTX, DeFi bluechip Yearn, and many others have been doing buybacks for some time now.

Also known as repurchase, buyback involves a corporation purchasing its own shares in the stock market, reducing the number of outstanding shares, and inflating the earnings per share. It often leads to an increase in the value of the stock. Buyback demonstrates that a business has sufficient cash.

The latest crypto project to do so is Origin Protocol, whose aim is to create sharing economy marketplaces.

On Tuesday, Origin co-founder Matthew Liu announced that they would be purchasing $1,304,284 worth of Origin Tokens (OGN) on the open markets over the next week. These tokens will be removed from circulation and sent back to Foundation Reserves.

This purchase will be made from the revenue generated from our recent NFT sales for this token buyback.

“I love the conviction from the Origin team about their future prospects. Would encourage other projects to consider the same as a show of confidence in the value of their tokens,” noted SpartanBlack, a partner at crypto fund The Spartan Group.

The OGN buyback has been made because “our product is currently undervalued,” said the team, adding, the aim is also to reduce the supply.

Launched on Binance in January 2020, the project’s 80 million tokens are currently staked, which further decreases OGN float.

The team, however, is not done with reducing the numbers and will be taking additional measures in the future to manage circulating supply through additional buybacks and holding back tokens that would otherwise be released by Foundation Reserves.

As of writing, OGN is trading at $1.12 with a market cap of about $238 million, down over 67% from its all-time high of $3.35 from two months back, as per CoinGecko.

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Author: AnTy