Jack Dorsey’s Square Starts Building ‘Mainstream Self-Custody’ Bitcoin Hardware Wallet Integrating with Smartphones

Jack Dorsey’s Square Starts Building ‘Mainstream Self-Custody’ Bitcoin Hardware Wallet Integrating with Smartphones

“We’re doing it,” said Twitter CEO and co-founder Jack Dorsey, adding to his last months’ Twitter thread where he talked about his payment company Square considering making a hardware wallet for bitcoin.

Now just over a month later, Jesse Dorogusker, head of hardware at Square, said late on Thursday that they are going forward with their plan to make a hardware wallet for the leading cryptocurrency. He said in a Twitter thread,

“We have decided to build a hardware wallet and service to make bitcoin custody more mainstream.”

The plan, as Dorsey agrees with, is to have a hardware wallet for Bitcoin that integrates with smartphones.

As Dorsey announced the go-ahead with their bitcoin wallet plan, he responded that the idea is to make it so easy to use that even a grandma would be able to use it while ensuring that the company won’t be able to access these wallets.

He also said that they would be looking at adding the functionality for users to “dedicate a percentage of daily sales to auto invest in Bitcoin.”

While a lot of questions and issues to reconcile, the team is clear about the product direction, which Dorogusker said,

“bitcoin first, global distribution, multisig to achieve “assisted-self-custody, and prioritizing mobile use.”

Square will be moving on to the next step, which involves building a small, cross-functional team. And for this, they are hiring for key roles in hardware, software, security, and business and looking for people who want to “build mainstream self-custody” with them.

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Author: AnTy

Investment Bank, Bernstein, Hosts Webinar on ‘Building Leverage Products for DeFi’ with Alpha Finance

Investment Bank, Bernstein, Hosts Webinar on ‘Building Leverage Products for DeFi’ with Alpha Finance

Investment bank Bernstein is hosting a webinar on yield farming in decentralized finance (DeFi).

The webinar, “Bernstein Crypto Live: Building leverage products for DeFi,” will be hosted on June 22 at 8:30 am ET.

Bernstein’s Indian Financials and Fintech director Gautam Chhugani will be hosting Alpha Finance Lab co-founder Tascha Punyaneramitdee.

“Alpha Finance is building leverage products to complement existing DeFi yield-farming and DeFi crypto-trading products” defines the official notice for the upcoming webinar.

According to the announcement, the bank will consider the need for leveraged products, system leverage in crypto, liquidations, and the impact of leverage during drawdowns.

They will also focus on understanding Alpha Homora and Alpha-X, other levered products that Alpha Finance can build, Alpha token staking and token-holder incentives, and Alpha Launchpad – an incubator platform for DeFi.

Alpha Finance Lab is an ecosystem of DeFi products that has launched Alpha Homora on Ethereum and BSC, a leveraged yield farming and leveraged liquidity providing product. For this, the loans are over-collateralized; as such, users can increase their realized yields but run the risk of being liquidated in case of a sharp reduction in their collateral value.

The project’s roadmap includes multiple products focused on DeFi applications, including a Defi launchpad for new projects, explains the notice. Their other product AlphaX is a non-order book perpetual swap.

The project is backed by The Spartan Group, Multicoin Capital, DeFiance Capital, and Delphi Ventures.

There is currently $1.2 billion of total value locked (TVL) in the project and 74.6 million ALPHA tokens staked, representing 26.14% of ALPHA’s circulating supply.

ALPHA token holders earn fees by staking their tokens, which are currently trading at $0.477 per coin, down 83.6% from its peak of $2.93 five months ago.

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Author: AnTy

FTX CEO Proposes Building SushiSwap on Solana and Serum

FTX CEO Proposes Building SushiSwap on Solana and Serum

A proposal has been made to build the DEX SushiSwap on Solana and Serum, codenamed Bonsai. With Sushi emerging as “having one of the most vibrant and influential communities” and “the sky’s the limit” for it, the proposal states it’s important to keep growing.

“The purpose of this proposal is to lay out an efficient and effective method for SushiSwap to evolve and build out its leading platform on Solana and Serum,” it reads, adding, “To reinforce perceptions of SushiSwap as a DeFi leader and innovator.”

As per the proposal shared by Sam Bankman-Fried, CEO of FTX, who is also building the DEX Serum on Solana, on Twitter, the team has been farming, staking, and investing in DeFi for the past eight months and Sushi from its beginning.

Now, they want to bring SushiSwap on Solana to provide the community additional liquidity, fast transactions, and significantly low fees on Serum.

The Layout

In the light of the cost of the Ethereum network making DeFi out of the reach of smaller users, they built Raydium. Having been worked on since last year, the AMM was launched just over this weekend.

The proposal also talks about the Raydium roadmap, which involves completing the development of liquidity pools and staking, launching mainnet along with the website and platform launch in Q1.

This AMM will work as a bridge for SushiSwap, and the protocol is already able to support Sushi’s liquidity pools for the Serum orderbook.

As a first step, Raydium will work alongside the DEX and then deploy on its testament. The next step would be the deployment of Bonsai pools and staking on the mainnet.

As an incentive, the double yield is also proposed for the first Decentralized Franchise Pool. The additional rewards will be in the form of a native RAY token, which means Sushiswap stakers on Raydium would get SUSHI rewards plus free yield from RAY.

The new project, Bonsai, is anticipated to launch on testnet within Q1 of 2021.

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Author: AnTy

Gemini Exchange Is Developing A Wrapped Filecoin Token (wFIL) for Ethereum; Backed 1:1

  • Winklevoss-backed exchange is building a wrapped Filecoin (wFIL) on the Ethereum network.
  • Users can withdraw and convert Filecoin (FIL) to wFIL on a 1:1 ratio.

Gemini cryptocurrency exchange is working on the launch of an Ethereum-based Filecoin (FIL) token – wrapped Filecoin (wFIL). The exchange is currently looking for developers interested in adding wFIL to their platform to enhance the decentralized file storage token usage on Ethereum.

On launch, users will be able to convert their FIL tokens stored on the Gemini exchange to wFIL in a 1:1 ratio and vice versa. Once converted, users can send and withdraw the wrapped tokens to any ERC 20 compatible address.

For transparency, all FIL tokens held in the Gemini exchange will be transferred to safe institutional-grade storage. This allows users to directly match the amount of wFIL in circulation to FIL backing the wrapped tokens.

FIL is the native token of Filecoin network, a decentralized file storage system that raised over $200 million in its public offering in 2017. The network launched its mainnet in mid-October, listing on three major exchanges before the event.

However, issues among Filecoin miners – who earn rewards for adding files to the network – on mainnet launch caused a slow hitch on the network taking off. 100% of miners’ rewards were held on the protocol for a vested period at launch, which saw miners operate at a loss.

FIL storage power surges over 40%

Chinese miners held a strike protesting the vesting period, which saw the overall network effective mining power decline. However, the miners seem to be back on their saddles, with the overall FIL storage power surging over 40% since the “strike days.”

Protocol Labs, the lead development team of Filecoin, activated a proposal to release 25% of miners’ rewards immediately without the vesting period on October 22 to increase the supply of FIL. The token is needed by miners as collateral to store the files.

As miners return to work, data shows the FIL storage power has grown over 40% in the past three weeks to 862.17 PiB, as of writing from 660 PiB on October 19.

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Author: Lujan Odera

Ontology & Polkadot Collab to Accelerate the Adoption of Its Decentralized Identity (DeID)

Ontology announced last week that it has collaborated with Polkadot and will be building on top of this sharded blockchain as it looks to improve the efficiency of its Decentralized Identity (DeID) solution. According to the medium blog post by Ontology, the integration with Polkadot will be supported technically by Parity Technologies, one of Polkadot’s stakeholders.

This development will increase the market outreach and accessibility of Ontology’s DeID based on Polkadot’s cross-chain features, which allow multiple blockchain ecosystems to interact seamlessly. The Ontology DeID will be available within other chains operating on Polkadot once the integration is complete.

Ontology’s Parachain Vision

Integrating the DeID solution with Polkadot is just but the starting point; the Ontology blog highlights that a more significant effort will create a service-suite parachain. This feature will boost DeFi activity by providing credit scoring services, amongst other related functions. With this in place, Polkadot users will be able to leverage Ontology’s services to assess the lending and borrowing capabilities of other DeFi market participants.

Parity’s Ecosystem Development Lead, Eric Wang, emphasized the underlying potential in this collaboration,

“Ontology is an industry leader in the development and deployment of decentralized identity solutions. We look forward to working closely with the Ontology team to increase the use of ONT ID 2.0 through Polkadot to realize the benefits of digital identity, privacy for DeFi projects, and beyond.”

Ontology also intends to boost cross-chain liquidity within the Polkadot ecosystem; they plan on executing this through the elimination of DeFi entry barriers, especially for developers. On that note, Ontology has purposed to bid a parachain slot and make a debut of Initial Parachain Offerings (IPO) on the Polkadot blockchain network. Yaoqi Jia, Asia’s Parity Head of Engineering, is optimistic that they will help Ontology build an effective parachain,

“The Parity Asia team consists of talented engineers who are very excited to provide support to help guide Ontology in creating a truly impactful parachain.”

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Author: Edwin Munyui

Bank of Thailand Extends Tests Of Digital Baht; Integration With Hong Kong Later In 2020

Thailand is currently in its third developmental phase of building its central bank digital currency (CBDC), a local newspaper, and Nation Thailand reported on Thursday. The paper stated that the Assistant Governor of the Bank of Thailand, Vachira Arromdee, who said the bank is already rolling out its CBDC to large companies.

The Bank of Thailand recently announced its plans to develop a prototype digital payments system, integrating the CBDC in an aim to keep up with the developments across Asia in China and Japan. According to the report, the launch of the CBDC will be followed by a partnership with Hong Kong in the latter part of 2020, to integrate the countries’ digital payment systems.

A Closer Look at Implementing a CBDC

Vachira stated that digital currencies have yet to affect the financial market in the country, despite the increasing use of these assets. She further explains that blockchain technology and digital payment systems are impactful in reducing the cost and speed of transactions – improving the financial system.

Conversely, sustained growth of the digital asset market could present challenges to the traditional financial system by replacing banks as middlemen in the system. To avoid this, Vichira calls for a comprehensive study before the implementation of a ‘digital baht.’

“The central bank is also thinking about expanding the use of the cryptocurrency to the general public, but a comprehensive study must be completed before taking such action.”

Asset-Based CBDC?

The digital baht will be backed by government-owned assets such as international reserves and precious metals. In essence, the digital baht will resemble a stablecoin rather than China’s, Russia’s, or Japan’s CBDC, which is to be issued by the central bank directly.

Thailand’s government is further looking into the use of digital wallets and electronic wallets jointly with a decision to be made on whether or not to use them.

The spread of CBDC development fever is on a trail across Asia following the announcement of similar projects in China and Japan recently. While China’s motives in developing a digital yuan have been in the works for the past few years, Japan’s recent interest in developing a digital yen raises a few eyebrows.

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Author: Lujan Odera

Blockchain Developer Platform Releases Alchemy Build, A Tool Suite for Faster Production

Alchemy, a blockchain startup, focuses on building developers’ tools to help them become more productive and focus more on actual product development. The blockchain startup boasts some of the most influential artists in the 21st century among its investors, which include the likes of Jay-Z and Will Smith. The startup raised $15 million in Series A funding round in 2019.

The startup announced its new product, called Alchemy Build suite, which consists of debugging and search tools and promises to reduce the amount of time spent by developers on issues not related to the actual product.

The suite primarily consists of 4 tools, which include an explorer to help developers quickly locate the bugs and errors in the system, a composer to help developers create prototypes, a visualizer to find stuck transactions, and a debugger.

Alchemy a Big Hit Among Ethereum Based Product Makers

Alchemy is relatively unknown for the amount of work and collaboration it has seen since its inception. Alchemy’s platform is actively used by Ethereum based products and Dapps developers for developing the infrastructure of their products. Its client list includes the famous gaming dApp CryptoKitties, Binance Wallet, and Opera Web Platform.

Nikil Viswanathan, the co-founder of Alchemy, believes their latest product in the form of a Build suite would enhance and help developers to create a better product in less time. He said:

“Ultimately, this means that…developers [can] build products faster, which means that the users get more products, and more innovation in the blockchain space happens overall.”

The startup’s goal has been to remove the hurdles in the path of developers, and many firms who have partnered or used Alchemy’s tools are a testament to that.

The digital asset marketplace Ethereum-based, OpenSea, has also used Alchemy’s tool for building on resonated the same. Devin Finzer, the CEO of OpenSera said:

“Alchemy Build has been crucial in helping us build and debug our global marketplace.”

Pantera Capital, one of the leading investors during the Series A funding round, applauded the progress that the startup has made since its beginning. Paul Veradittakit, a partner, said:

“Alchemy Build is improving the lives of Ethereum developers by leaps and bounds, helping drive the ecosystem towards its potential.”

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Author: James W

Microsoft’s Blockchain-Based Identity System, ION, Launches Amidst Data Privacy Concerns

Decentralized Identity Foundation (DIF), a non-profit organization aiming at building a digital identity ecosystem, announced the launch of the beta version of Microsoft’s Identity Overlay Network, a Bitcoin-based identity platform.

At the mainnet launch, Microsoft’s ION will enable over 1.1 billion people who lack a legal ID to acquire one and also help in identifying and contact tracing COVID-19 patients.

The accelerating progress in government partnerships to develop decentralized digital ID systems, however, is facing resistance from several experts who believe it may lead to privacy concerns, hacks, and breaches of personal information.

Microsoft’s ION Partnership With Casa Wallet

The spread of COVID-19 has seen multiple digital identity and contact tracing apps come up in a bid to curb the spread of the pandemic. Microsoft’s ION will partner with Casa, a startup known for its Casa HODL Bitcoin wallet, to improve the “authentication, privacy and security” of users’ digital identities on the platform. ION’s project lead, David Buchner said:

“We are thrilled to have Casa collaborating on ION with us, which showcases the potential of building real-world applications that leverage the strong foundation Bitcoin provides.”

The ION project employs a tagging system, whereby instead of including all the data on a specific transaction on the platform, the info is given a reference number. The number is then added to the ledger, and is easy to retrieve the transaction at any time from the ION nodes.

Several other initiatives, including ConsenSys, backed the project, Uport, form the DIF, and this will allow the interoperability of the systems across the DIF platform. DIF leader Rouven Heck said:

“Everybody wants to move fast and has a high interest in demonstrating this technology can be very powerful.”

The miners on the BTC network validate and verify the reference numbers for a small fee.

A Race to Form Partnerships With Governments

Competition across the blockchain digital identity industry is spiking as governments continue to show interest in citizens’ medical and financial records. The targeted blockchain contact tracing on COVID-19 platforms has seen adoption by several governments and corporations.

In compliance with the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) credentials, over sixty corporations around the world formed the COVID-19 Credentials Initiative (CCI) to develop digital identity passports. Late last year, eleven South Korean startups announced plans to launch the blockchain-based digital identification service within the government’s regulatory sandbox.

However, some analysts remain skeptical of the actual safety and security of the personal data collected on these platforms.

‘Data Collected is Extremely Hard to Protect.’

On the subject of contact tracing and data collection by these decentralized identifiers, Blockchain Commons founder Christopher Allen said the project would have a hard time upholding user privacy as the data such as the location of the patient is “incredibly hard to protect.”

Microsoft and IBM, who have been at the forefront of funding and developing digital identifiers, have faced much criticism, Harry Halpin, CEO of privacy-tech startup Nym, the latest industry player branding these systems “feel-good rhetoric.” Harry sarcastically said:

“Governments need to establish identities of who owns these keys, so they say, ‘OK, we’ll have an open standard, call it decentralized, and make it mandatory.’”

As the digital id systems grow, the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) released guidance for government regulation on financial institutions that use these systems.

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Author: Lujan Odera

VeChain Partners With Shenzhen Yuhongtai Foods to Trace Pork Products on ToolChain

Vechain, a blockchain firm specializing in building traceability solutions, has partnered with a Chinese food company called Shenzhen Yuhongtal. This partnership would allow Shenzhen to trace all its pork supply, which it retails through its subsidiary, Meijiada Fresh Foods.

The firm would be able to monitor every aspect of pork products right from how it’s raised to when it is harvested. The food company also has the policy to sell the pork the same day it is collected.

Meijiada Fresh Foods would utilize VeChain’s ToolChain blockchain system to offer every detail concerning the pork products through a QR code, which the customers can scan on their phone to get every minute detail of the product they are buying.

Shenzhen and Meijiada have expressed their desire to expand the range of products whose supply chain would be managed through a blockchain traceability system.

Blockchain solutions have been a great hit in the enterprise food supply-chain industry, which has actively adopted the decentralized tech to make their system more efficient and transparent. Both small scale firms to mega food businesses like Nescafe has invested in the blockchain traceability system.

Mainstream tech firms such as IBM, Microsoft, Amazon, and Twitter Using Blockchain Systems

Facebook has invested heavily in blockchain. IBM is currently leading the way in the food-supply chain ecosystem with its enterprise-grade blockchain traceability solutions. Even Amazon, which is now the highest valued firm in the world, applied for a patent back in May last year for a blockchain system to track goods.

KFC also recently started using the blockchain system to keep track of its digital ads distributions and operations.

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Author: James W

Chrysler Building’s Blockchain Real Estate Owners To Sell Building In Zurich, $135M Cash & ERC20

The current owner of the Chrysler building is offloading a property valued at around $135 million to a blockchain-based real estate firm. It’s expected that the buyers will pay a fifth of the asking price in the form of tokenized securities.

RFR Holdings, based in New York are the new owners of the Chrysler building after purchasing it in early 2019 as part of a joint buying agreement. The firm recently arranged to offload its common stake in Zurich-based corporate building to a real estate agency known as BrickMark, and which has offices in both Germany and Switzerland.

Announcement of the Purchase Agreement

This past Wednesday, BrickMark sent out a presser stating that as per the acquisition agreement, it would be paying 20 percent or a fifth of the asking price in the form of its official BMT security token.

Based on the terms agreed upon by all parties, BrickMark will now own eighty percent of the commercial property. It will also have an option to the shares remaining with RFR, though it has to do so by September 2020. While the selling price has not been made public, experts believe that the tokens are valued at tens of millions of euros.

Stephan Rind, the BrickMark CEO commented on the deal and stated that it was one-of-a-kind, and was so far the largest transaction to involve the use of digital tokens. Stephan went on to add that:

“There has never been a token-based real estate transaction of this magnitude. We are implementing what was once no more than a concept in the real estate industry.”

The commercial building in question is located in Bahnhofstrasse, in its down street area. In this area, the rent per square meter ranges between thirteen thousand and fifteen thousand dollars a year, a figure that makes it among the most affluent shopping areas around the globe.

News reports from 2014 indicate that Swatch Group acquired a property close to that location at an estimated price of four hundred and nine million dollars.

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Author: Daniel W