MetaMask Launches A ‘Token Swap’ Feature In the Battle For A Share of the DeFi Market

MetaMask, the ConsenSys backed Ethereum app, introduces a token swap feature, promising the best trading fees in the decentralized finance (DeFi) ecosystem. This aims to take a share of the market from the prevailing decentralized exchanges which used Metamask connection to transfer funds to the trading wallet.

At launch, MetaMask will release the ERC-20 token swapping feature on Firefox web browser extension with other web extensions and its mobile app to come later. The token swapping feature will source its data feeds from multiple decentralized exchanges and their aggregators to offer the best prices and gas fees on the platform.

“We get the best prices because we simultaneously aggregate the most liquidity sources (DEXs) and many different methods for splitting the order across the DEXs (aggregators),” Jacob Cantele, head of product at MetaMask.

The token swapping feature is set to open a gateway to users to directly swap their tokens without the need for a third-party service. Previously, a user needed to connect their MetaMask wallet to a DEX such as Paraswap or Uniswap to swap their ERC 20 tokens to obtain them. With the direct swap, users will not choose to transfer their tokens to another party – reducing the number of steps.

The wallet will support data feeds from Uniswap, Paraswap, Kyber Network, 0x exchange, and 1.inch exchange, among other decentralized platforms.

According to ConsenSys, the fees will range across users depending on the order size, with trading fees expected to range from 0.03% to 0.085% on the platform.

The latest developments follow the Metamask mobile wallet’s launch on iOS and Android, allowing users to buy Ethereum (ETH) using Apple Pay directly. The developments will be key to onboard more customers, recently announcing they had reached 1 million active digital wallet users.

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Author: Lujan Odera

ConsenSys to Lead Phase Two of Hong Kong and Thailand’s Cross-Border CBDC Project

ConsenSys has been awarded the contract to lead phase two of the cross-border payments ‘CBDC’ project between Hong Kong and Thailand. Dubbed project ‘Inthanon-LionRock,’ the initiative follows successful research by the central banks of both jurisdictions, which found an additional value case in building a cross-border CBDC.

According to the press release by ConsenSys, they will work alongside industry giants Forms HK and PriceWaterhouseCoopers (PWC) towards implementing the second phase. Notably, the project has been in the works since May 2019 when the Bank of Thailand (BoT) and Hong Kong Monetary Authority (HKMA) signed a memorandum of understanding to dig deeper into the value proposition CBDC’s.

With ConsenSys now in the picture, the joint CBDC between Thailand and Hong Kong will move past the research phase to a more practical era. ConsenSys has since been tasked with building a proof-of-concept (PoC) cross-border corridor to enable Hong Kong’s Lionrock and Thailand’s Inthanon networks to interact seamlessly. The press release reads,

“Using its enterprise Ethereum stack, ConsenSys will test solutions that prioritize scalability, security, and interoperability.”

This is not the first time ConsenSys works collaboratively with a particular authority towards designing and developing a CBDC. The blockchain software technology firm has, in the past, worked with the South African Reserve Bank and Monetary Authority of Singapore to create decentralized payment networks. ConsenSys Hong Kong Director, Charles d’Haussy, noted that they are thrilled to take on a new initiative in a similar line,

“ConsenSys is thrilled to lead this implementation of CBDC for cross-border payments. We are humbled to work on the development of Hong Kong’s financial infrastructure.”

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Author: Edwin Munyui

ConsenSys Acquires JPMorgan’s Ethereum-based Quorum for an Undisclosed Amount

Blockchain software startup ConsenSys has acquired Quorum, JPMorgan Chase’s blockchain unit, for an undisclosed amount.

The investment banking giant has also made a strategic investment in ConsenSys, the company established by the co-founder of Ethereum, Joseph Lubin, in 2014 to help build applications running on top of the second-largest blockchain network. Lubin said,

“Even before the very first block on Ethereum was mined, and ConsenSys was formed, we’ve collaborated with JPMorgan on Ethereum proofs of concept and production systems.”

There is a “commercial arrangement” for ConsenSys to support JPMorgan in their projects.

Quorum blockchain, which will remain open-source, was built internally at JPMorgan using the Ethereum network. The blockchain is used by the bank to run the Interbank Network — a payments network that already involves over 300 banks, which will continue to operate using the platform.

The Quorum team will remain at JPMorgan, and the transition will happen over the next year before it starts working on other blockchain projects.

“We believe a platform like Quorum could thrive better in the hands of a software and services-oriented organization,” said Umar Farooq, global head of blockchain at JPMorgan.

“Acquiring a blockchain sort of misses the point,” said Samantha Radocchia, author of the book “Bitcoin Pizza” about this development.

Earlier this year, ConsenSys underwent a restructuring to separate its software business form venture activities. As we reported recently, ConsenSys also owned the source code of popular Ethereum wallet MetaMask.

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Author: AnTy

Ethereum Wallet MetaMask’s Open-Source Code Now Owned by ConsenSys

Popular Ethereum wallet, MetaMask, is migrating its open-source under a new license — “Copyright ConsenSys Software Inc. 2020. All rights reserved,” announced the firm.

According to MetaMask, open-source software solves critical share problems, but “fair compensation for the maintenance of these community goods remains a problem.”

Since its release, 4 million individuals have used its browser extension, but now to “compete” with products in the web3 tech stack such as web browsers, MetaMask has taken the path that is “fairly compensated.”

Originally published under an MIT license, MetaMask’s code can be used by any developer to fork it and reuse it without any limitation. But under the new license, it seeks to prevent the commercial use, those with more than 10,000 monthly active users, of its code, which is now owned by ConsenSys.

The license protects the wallet from “free-riders or upstream competitors from exerting monopolistic control.”

“Going from MIT to non-commercial freeware, commercial-use-inquire-within is a huge FOSS bait and switch. I can’t think of any other project that’s done this in the space,” said Preston Byrne, an attorney who was an early entrepreneur in the sector, on this development.

He argues that now ConsenSys “claims the right to demand” those using the code to pay them. Even license fee on non-commercial use is ultimately “determined by ConsenSys in its sole discretion.”

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Author: AnTy

Canadian Tech Startup Sues ConsenSys For Stealing Payment Coding; Lawsuit is Fabricated

Canadian tech startup, BlockCrushr, is taking Ethereum developer, ConsenSys, to court over the stolen intellectual property of a payment solution. The plaintiff claims ConsenSys stole its source code when they participated in a ConsenSys-sponsored hackathon to create a rival payment system to theirs.

In a filing to the Eastern District of New York Court, BlockCrushr claims ConsenSys broke trust as an investor by stealing trade secrets and launching a rival version of their recurring payments platform, a day before they began.

The link between the two companies started in 2020 when BlockCrushr participated in ConsenSys’ Tachyon Accelerator Program. ConsenSys had also invested $100,000 into the company, but the founders of the company believe the mentor was simply playing them to steal their trade secrets.

BlockCrushr claims it shared a “detailed every aspect of its marketing, financial, technical, and regulatory strategy” to ConsenSys during the Accelerator program. Furthermore, the filing states they shared over 120,000 lines of source code of their recurring payments platform to gain guidance.

The complaint states that following the Accelerator program, ConsenSys would invest and guide the company forward, but no funding came. Due to cash strains and lack of funding, BlockCrushr’s founders Andrew Redden and Scott Burke, claim they had to lay off employees to streamline funding.

After securing a new round of funding, BlockCrushr moved to launch to market but were beaten to it by ConsenSy’s new recurring payments platform, “Daisy Payments,” which began on August 22nd, 2019, a day before their slated product launch.

TheBlock was able to get a comment from the ConsenSys legal counsel team who claim the story by BlockCrushr is fabricated and false but declined to comment before the court hearing.

The Canadian tech startup is now suing ConsenSys for damages caused by misappropriation of trade secrets and a breach of contract.

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Author: Lujan Odera

AMD And ConsenSys-Backed, W3BCLOUD, Raises $20M to Enhance Decentralized Cloud Computing

  • Ethereum-related ConsenSys and AMD announced a cloud computing project, W3BCLOUD, which has so far raised over $20 million in its first seed funding round.

ConsenSys and chip manufacturer, AMD, announced a $20.5 million seed round funding raised through convertible notes for its W3BCLOUD project, a data center venture. The project aims to offer an institutional-grade and enterprise-friendly decentralized cloud computing services. The funding will be used to increase the capacity of GPUs used by W3BCLOUD from the current 6,000 cards to well over 20,000.

The project will be built on the Ethereum network with iterations on other blockchains are also in the project’s plans. The co-founder of W3BCLOUD, Wael Aburida, states the company will spend over 90% of the seed funding amount in a bid to increase the “horsepower” of their computers to provide stable and high-performance cloud services to their customers.

The seed funding round aims at a hard cap of $30 million after a successful round of financing by ConsenSys, AMD, and a group of “unnamed” family offices in the United Arab Emirates.

Why the Extra GPU capacity?

Speaking on the partnership between AMD and ConsenSys, the co-founder and CEO of W3BCLOUD, Sami Issa, said the former would provide the hardware needed (GPUs) to “optimize the decentralized computing platform” while the latter offers the blockchain skillset to develop software solutions starting with the Ethereum blockchain.

The CEO pointed out the scalability issues and challenges on Ethereum to process vast amounts of data on the cloud computing platform. According to Sami, W3BCLOUD can be integrated and built on any blockchain, but Ethereum is the choice due to its market size.

The company is yet to release a statement on what the extra GPUs will be used for. Still, speculations remain high on possible mining businesses or increasing storage space for their customers. Currently, the data centers are focusing on wider decentralized computing services to branch out from the only blockchain. Issa hinted at the possible creation of new uses for the data centers, including decentralized AI and decentralized virtual reality.

He further said,

“We have access to the best computers and the best blockchain minds, we are going to build the computer infrastructure needed for the attractive use cases for the community.”

Preventing 51% attacks

Not only will W3BCLOUD build a decentralized cloud computing platform but also assist proof of work blockchains in securing their networks. The company will act as a shield to prevent hackers from carrying out a 51% attack in the early stages of the blockchain. This prevents hackers from double spending and rewriting the confirmed blocks.

Decentralized cloud computing is gaining steam in the crypto field with a number of companies, including RippleNET and Google Cloud, joining the fun.

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Author: Lujan Odera

ConsenSys Acquires Fluidity, the Firm Behind Peer-to-Peer AirSwap Trading Network

ConsenSys has acquired Fluidity, the firm behind peer-to-peer trading network Airswap. Airswap has been at the forefront of developing some of the industry’s first of its kind decentralized technology such as tokenization of real estate and security tokenization.

The AirSwap developer team has been instrumental in developing a roadmap and building blocks of defi ecosystem, and even though the terms of the acquisition haven’t been made public, the AirSwap team would continue to build the ecosystem with support from industry in building development after its association with the ConsenSys.

AirSwap was founded by Fluidity and ConsenSys back in 2017 and the acquisition by ConsenSys signifies their focus on developing core decentralized products in order to bring new innovative products to the market. ConsenSys is working to bring new innovative financial product and infrastructure on Ethereum blockchain.

ConsenSys code would leverage Fluidity’s core technology to power decentralized finance and commerce while AirSwap would utilize ConsenSys’s marketing and engineering to power the decentralized ecosystem.

The acquisition would see all the products and services along with the tram of Fluidity move to ConsenSys. The developer team working with AirSwap and Fluidity would continue their work in the fintech verse while ensuring frictionless trade, network growth, and new token mechanisms while working in synergy with the ConsenSys team.

Joseph Lubin, the co-founder of Ethereum network and ConsenSys commented on the latest acquisition and how the synergy between two firms would help in achieving the larger goal saying,

“Bringing Fluidity fully into ConsenSys will unlock powerful synergies that we have identified over the past few months. The team has built best in class token trading technology for different niches that ConsenSys can now help bring forth at scale. We are excited to reinvigorate the longstanding close relationship.”

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Author: James W

ConsenSys’ Ethereum Suite, PegaSys Added to Microsoft Azure Marketplace

  • ConsenSys’ partnership with Microsoft grows stronger as developers can now access a full suite of tools to build an enterprise Ethereum network on the Microsoft Azure platform.
  • These Include Hyperledger Besu, PegaSys Plus, and PegaSys Orchestrate
  • Microsofts Blockchain Dev Kit for Ethereum Support for Hyperledger Besu

In a statement to newsrooms earlier on Friday, May, 8, the ConsenSys owned PegaSys Ethereum Suite will now be available on the Microsoft Azure platform.

This sees PegaSys join a list of blockchain companies on the platform including Microsoft Enterprise Blockchain, Kadena ConsenSys’ Truffle, and Parity Technologies.

PegaSys Suite, which includes three major components including Hyperledger Besu,​​ PegaSys Plus, and PegaSys Orchestrate, allows Ethereum developers to deploy their multi-node networks with the blockchain explorers, monitoring dashboards and even development studio on Azure.

According to Dan Heyman of the PegaSys team, the suite has already been downloaded over 130,000 times with over 200 enterprise Ethereum networks built using the Hyperledger Besu platform.

Microsoft Azure Marketplace offers development kits, software licenses and Web 3.0 development tools to allow blockchain developer to easily build their products.

Furthermore, Yorke E. Rhodes III, the head program manager of blockchain engineering at Microsoft, added:

“Continuing to advance the enterprise quality and tooling for blockchain networks and development is core to serving the needs of customers using Azure. In combination with the VS Code Blockchain DevKit for Ethereum, a new standard for blockchain development has been set.”

ConsenSys and Microsoft have held a partnership since 2017. Both were founders at the launch of the Ethereum Enterprise Alliance creating a client service currently used on Hyperledger Besu. Heyman believes adding PegaSys to Azure marketplace will open up a gateway to more partnerships with Microsoft in the future. He stated:

“Our close collaboration with Microsoft improves our performance on Azure as well as lays the foundation for deeper collaboration on future Ethereum offerings.”

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Author: Lujan Odera

Ethereum incubator ConsenSys to Layoff 14% More Staff Members Amid Coronavirus Crisis

ConsenSys, the New York-based Ethereum incubator may be laying off further staff amid the coronavirus crisis.

A spokesperson from the firm revealed that Consensys is looking to layoff 14% of its current workforce, which is around 90 people. The crisis may have been fueled by the ongoing pandemic, forcing many firms to go on cost-cutting campaigns, including staff layoffs.

However, this is not the first time that the firm is looking to cut short its workforce to manage costs. They went through similar layoffs back in February by almost the same percentage. And prior to that, the firm made further layoffs in late 2018 during the Consensys 2.0 restructuring.

The rumours about layoffs surfaced after a Monday town hall meeting. The currently forecasted layoffs would bring the company headcount to around 550 from the 850 which they started with this year.

A spokesperson from the firm commented on the current layoffs saying:

“The global COVID-19 pandemic has deeply impacted the world’s health and livelihood. ConsenSys has carefully analyzed its business in relation to what is occurring globally.

Like most of its peers, the company is seeing extraordinary uncertainty in the market, with businesses rebalancing priorities and reevaluating timelines.”

The spokesperson also assured that the layoffs were being conducted to manage underlying costs. However, a lot of meticulous planning has gone into it, ensuring that the key functions are maintained to ensure timely development of key products and solutions. ConsenSys would offer laid off staffs with 2 months of severance pay and career transition services.

Talking about the firm’s current focus of work, the company noted that they are currently looking into:

“crisis-related opportunities such as Central Bank Digital Currencies (CBDCs), emergency loans disbursement solutions, supply chains for personal protective equipment (PPE), and related identity solutions.”

Industries Laying Off Staff, and Cost Cutting To Get Through The Pandemic

The coronavirus pandemic has brought the whole world to a standstill. With most industries shutting down, laying off their workforce or going through complex cost-cutting procedures. The aim is to survive through the pandemic while ensuring the key aspects of their business is up and running.

Consensys is not new to layoffs as mentioned above it had done two layoffs prior to the current one for different reasons, however, the current layoffs are purely to manage cost amid the COID-19 crisis.

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Author: James W

EY, ConsenSys, Microsoft Launch Baseline Protocol; Enterprise Data On Ethereum Mainnet

ConsenSys and EY have commenced the formation of a blockchain protocol suited for enterprise clients. According to a press release on March 4, ConsenSyns said that the ‘Baseline protocol’ will leverage Ethereum’s Mainnet to deliver its distributed services.

This new innovation is meant to increase corporate efficiency especially in communication systems. As it stands, companies spend a fortune to integrate systems like ERP and CRM without a proper guarantee for functionality in their projected life time. Blockchain on the other hand offers an opportunity to create a common frame of reference although it is yet to gain the market’s confidence in terms of data security and privacy.

ConsenSys Group Executive for Mainnet, John Wolpert, is however optimistic that Baseline protocol will change the narrative in blockchain and attract enterprises to the market;

“A lot of people think of blockchains as the place to record transactions. But what if we thought of the Mainnet as middleware? This approach takes advantage of what the Mainnet is good at while avoiding what it’s not good at.”

Baseline Protocol in Detail

The whole idea is tokenization of financial services with blockchain as the underlying tech to facilitate these operations. Given the sensitivity on information sharing, Baseline implemented an open-source using the Zero-Knowledge Proof (ZKP) consensus within its ecosystem. Basically, enterprises can be mathematically recognized as network participants without the hustle of sharing private information.

This platform will further leverage smart contracts to create digital agreements on Ethereum. It is also designed in a compartmental manner such that enterprises can only access information from a permissioned chain. Despite its potential, Baseline protocol is not very scalable given the fundamental ZKP consensus. This algorithm is highly computational which in turn increases the amount of gas to be spent on Ethereum.

The Opportunity!

Notably, this decentralized project has attracted Microsoft which is set to contribute to its development. A technical steering committee is also being established with over 10 members confirming so far. Other significant players who are onboard include; Duke University, ChainLink, MakerDAO, Envision Blockchain and Splunk.

The Baseline protocol code is currently available for testing although this has been limited to a specific group. Plans are however underway to make it open to the general public over the course of March. EY’s Global Blockchain leader, Paul Brody, was keen to highlight this journey;

“Over the last two years, we have been advancing the state of the art for private, secure transactions on public blockchains. This takes the groundwork we have built and starts filling in gaps such as enterprise directories and private business logic, so companies will be able to run end-to-end processes like procurement with strong security.”

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Author: Edwin Munyui