Kraken Gets Approval in Wyoming to Become America’s First Crypto Bank

Cryptocurrency exchange Kraken has obtained approval from the crypto-friendly State of Wyoming to create the world’s first Special Purpose Depository Institution (SPDI), tentatively called Kraken Financial.

The idea to become the bridge between the crypto economy and the existing financial ecosystem first came into existence in 2016 through the Delaware Blockchain Initiative, shared Marco Santori, Chief Legal Officer Kraken. Caitlin Long, founder, and CEO of Avanti tweeted,

“What a win-win for crypto & Wyoming! As of **NOW** Kraken has a US bank charter—a 100% reserves-required, audit required (w/ ProofOfReserves), custody via legal bailment, no rehypothecation type of bank!”

Source: @MSantoriESQHeadquartered in Cheyenne, Wyoming, Kraken Financial is the first digital asset company in the US to receive a bank charter. It will be able to provide deposit-taking, custody, and fiduciary services for digital assets. David Kinitsky, CEO of Kraken Financial said,

“Wyoming is a rare and shining example of how thoughtful regulation can drive innovation for FinTech companies.”

As a bank, by Wyoming law, Kraken Finance is required to maintain 100% of reserves of its deposits of fiat currency at all times and will have to meet every withdrawal demand of its client no matter the loans outstanding.

This development means Kraken’s reliance on third party financial institutions will be reduced, and they will be able to “launch a new wave of innovative products for our users.”

The exchange will start with the US first and then expand globally, which means for now only it will only offer accounts to US residents. Users can start with USD deposits and withdrawals and digital assets custody.

Over the next few years, the company plans to expand its services to digital asset staking, trust account, online and mobile banking, a debit card, and Proof of funds attestations, among other things. Kraken said in its official announcement,

“We expect to be able to offer additional retail, wealth management and treasury services (and potentially other asset classes such as securities).”

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Author: AnTy

KIMCHI is the Latest Hot Dish in DeFi with Over 30,000% APY

Sushi was yesterday; KIMCHI is now!

Uniswap’s clone SushiSwap has been forked to create KIMCHI.

Within four hours of its launch, the unaudited project saw half a billion dollars locked in KIMCHI, which claims to “become the next hot DeFi mining token.”

“KIMCHI is lit,” according to the pro yield farmer Arthur Hayes, co-founder, and CEO of crypto derivatives exchange BitMEX. “It’s a staple of the CHAD diet. Get on my level,” he added.

Launched today, KIMCHI token’s price jumped to $12.26 level and is now back at $4.27, as per CoinGecko. The token is expected to be listed on Gate.io soon.

When it was launched, the project offered APY in six digits percentage but has now come down 8.3x. Uniswap KIMCHI/ETH APY that started with 178,573% has now fallen to 21,500%.

Still, the APY offered on different swaps is between 1,800% to 31,000%.

Currency, it’s offering farming on ETH, USDT, SUSHI, TEND, and other Uniswap assets to earn above-mentioned interest rates for providing liquidity on the platform.

KIMCHI is a fork of automated money maker Sushi, which is a copycat of Uniswap but with a governance token, and Yuno, but apparently “unlike YUNO, in Kimchi, it is not exploitable because owner is set to a non-functional timelock contract.”

SushiSwap issues its SUSHI tokens to those providing liquidity to the platform and gives a cut of its trading fees to those who have locked their tokens in a smart contract.

But the latest farming token clearly states on its website, “SUSHI is way better with KIMCHI” and “TEND with KIMCHI is also fucking yammy.”

Sushi was the one that pushed Uniswap’s volume to surpass that of Coinbase Pro and its liquidity to go beyond $1 billion. This project locked in over a billion dollars in less than four days of its launch.

But according to KIMCHI, it is them that are writing a “new history in DeFi Crypto field. We’ve just entered new era.”

KIMCHI’s market cap has reached over $45 million since becoming available today. The DeFi sector meanwhile has total value locked (TVL) at a whopping $9.5 billion.

It goes without saying that these DeFi projects are extremely risky where people are acting first before thinking. Degens are yield farming the latest for a few days before jumping on the next hot thing, which like the 2017 ICO mania are popping in every other day.

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Author: AnTy

Filecoin to Begins its Incentivized Testnet This Week Ahead of Project Launch Next Month

Crypto project Filecoin which proposes to create a peer-to-peer storage system, will begin its incentivized testnet this week. This testnet will allow users to earn Filecoin by testing the scalability and robustness of the network.

The project is also expected to go live next month, Colin Evran, Filecoin’s ecosystem lead told Bloomberg.

Lately, it has been gaining a lot of interest from Chinese speculators, with the majority of its miners on the testnet also being Chinese miners.

The idea here is to build a decentralized version of the internet where no single authority, like the tech giants, Google and Amazon, have full control.

Created by Protocol Labs and raising $200 million in 2017, Filecoin is aiming to solve this issue through its distributed storage system, making it impervious to attacks on the internet. The added advantage of a P2P storage system is the lack of a central point of failure.

“It’s one of the missing pieces of the Web 3 ecosystem,” said Evran. “Anyone can become a data-storage provider, not just the big companies that do that now.”

The company has partnered with ConsenSys Labs to encourage the development of Filecoin and its Interplanetary File System, or IPFS, protocol. With this partnership, the firm will be distributing $1.6 million in grants to developer teams.

Just last week, ConsenSys introduced the Filecoin launchpad accelerator, which is powered by Tachyon. This cohort will focus on “startups building more open, interoperable, and programmable tools, infrastructure, and applications for the distributed web through IPFS and Filecoin.”

Once the project is released publicly in September, users who want to store their data on the decentralized system will have to buy that capacity using its cryptocurrency. The users who will provide the data storage will earn the cryptocurrency for their contribution as well.

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Author: AnTy

Chainlink Collabs With Colorado State Lottery to Create Innovative Web3 Games

Chainlink has partnered with the State of Colorado for a hackathon to create a new lottery game. The new hackathon will involve $17,500 in prizes to three winners as well as $8,500 in Web3 bonus prizes, which will be sponsored by Chainlink.

The Colorado Lottery has designed a GameJam Hackathon, which will be open to individuals from across the globe.

According to the State of Colorado, the new innovative games will aim at collecting around $1 billion in revenue which will be used for land conservation, outdoor fund recreation as well as improving the state schools. The state lottery will also aim at enhancing responsible gaming.

Excited by such similar successful projects in other states like Wyoming, Jared Polis, the Colorado governor, stated that he is committed to ensuring that the Colorado government becomes an example to other states when it comes to technology space.

Polis explained that the Colorado government is committed to serving its populace through innovative technology better. He explained:

“Last year, we launched Colorado Digital Services to begin developing critical public-private technology relationships to position our state government as a tech leader, but more importantly, to better serve our population through technology.”

Sergey Nazarov, Chainlink’s co-founder, stated that his firm was excited to partner with such lotteries. He also added that he desires to see the blockchain technology move beyond the traditional token sphere.

Nazarov also expressed his gratitude for working with Colorado Lottery in helping developers to come up with non-fraud gaming apps. He added:

“I think this shows that smart contracts, blockchains, and oracles can be successfully composed to go beyond tokens and on-chain financial products (DeFi), into the many markets that need truly tamper-proof and highly reliable digital agreements.”

According to a press release, the opening ceremony is set for the evening of July 31. Some of the keynote speakers will be Vitalik Buterin and Governor Polis.

The press statement claims that the new lottery becomes the ‘first-ever public-private partnership and hackathon.’

Keep it here for more updates on how the lottery will use the blockchain technology going forward.

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Author: Joseph Kibe

Abra to Venture Into Global Financial Services Powered by Stellar’s Blockchain

Abra, a popular crypto-fiat wallet along with an exchange application, is planning to create a decentralized global banking solution built on top of Stellar blockchain. The move could be inspired by Stellar’s $5 million investment in Abra earlier this year.

Bill Barhydt, CEO of Abra during the SDF’s digital second quarter review meeting on July 15, talked about the company’s roadmap and emphasized particularly on “interest-earning capability,” which will be one of the most sought after features in coming days. Barhydt while talking about the upcoming services and features and the interest-earning services commented:

“This allows consumers, for example, people who aren’t even familiar with cryptocurrency, to store dollars and earn significant interest on those dollars.”

During the meeting, Barhydt also said that the interest-earning features would also be made available for cryptocurrencies along with the staking services.

How Does Abra Work?

Abra being a crypto/fiat wallet exchange app and now collaborating with banks, exchanges, and other financial entities and acts as a liquidity provider through its platform. Recently it has shifted its focus towards retail players to offer its application and expand its reach.

Elaborating on his plans for introducing interest-earning, Barhydt explained that they would partner with large institutional players who would work in tandem with its backend infrastructure to offer “a very sophisticated lending system.” Talking about their plans and how Abra aims to create the global banking solution, Barhydt said:

“For us to take this to another level, Abra is building an entirely new part of our business to facilitate the movement of funds globally, in real-time, using the Stellar network. What this will enable for us in all forms of global lending.”

He also explained that the success of defi in the past couple of years made him believe that the crypto market is more than ready to accept crypto lending and interest-earning potential that these digital assets posses. He explained:

“We want to take this to another level, and use the Stellar platform to enable traditional banking applications at a global scale truly.”

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Author: Silvia A

Department of Homeland Security Seeks Blockchain Start-Ups to Mitigate Real Life Challenges

  • The U.S. Department of Homeland Security has called on Blockchain start-ups yet again to create real-life solutions that could solve problems they face.
  • Through their tech scouting wing, the Silicon Valley Innovation Program (SVIP), they have issued a set of potential use cases they would like solutions for.

Among the array of use cases, the SVIP has included traceability of supply chains revolving on the e-commerce, food and natural gas industry, essential personnel license compelled by Covid-19 travel restrictions, and a potential stand into their Social Security Number system.

SVIP’s technical director, Anil John, highlighted this during a virtual day event on Tuesday, insisting that they were seeking solutions to solve local shortcomings.

In a previous similar Blockchain start-up, the initiative by the DHS and SVIP, where they dangled an $800k grant incentive for start-ups with solutions whose purview could help supplement their anti-counterfeiting and anti-forgery measures. The U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP), U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), and Transportation Security Administration (TSA) were all set to gain from the initiative.

Uses Cases That Blockchain May Optimize:

Social Security Number Alternative

Even though the SVIP often been commissioned with finding mitigations to unique problems facing the DHS on numerous occasions. They have called on the Blockchain start-ups to generate a unique identifier system to serve as an option to their SSN program for the DHS privacy office.

Senior director for Privacy Policy and Oversight at DHS, David Linder, has clarified that the system wouldn’t be a replacement to SSN rather a unique identifier that could be shared while averting the risk of revealing personal information.

Essential Personnel Verification

There has also been mention of a digital essential person verification system for U.S. Citizen Immigration Services. To lessen the spread of the Covid-19 virus, travel restrictions in the U.S. were imposed.

To curb the spread of Covid-19 in the U.S., they want to make verification for essential staff easier as core government functions have to carry on. Citing a border control analogy, John illustrated how such a system would come in handy in attestation of essential staff seeking to move across the border to and from Canada.

They have, however, confirmed that this would not be a version of the Covid-19 immunity certificate with John unsatisfied with the logic and science behind the issuance of immunity passports and certificates.

Streamline Supply Chain Traceability

Pitches for Supply chain tracing solutions are also welcome with a keen focus on e-commerce, food, and natural gas sectors.

Director of CBP’s business transformation division, Vincent Annunziato, disclosed that his agency is seeking to do away with paper-based systems in favor of a fully digitized system that has been greenlighted by auditors. He cited Walmart’s leafy greens and FDA’s projects that are all leveraging Blockchain Tech.

Blockchain Interoperability

The SVIP top brass, John, deems the exchange of information across the various Blockchain crucial. He has reiterated on the importance of operating standards that will allow the platforms to overlap hence facilitating information sharing across the Blockchains.

There will be accepting solutions from across the globe and not limit their search to local talents.

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Author: Lujan Odera

Ontology Integrates Chainlink’s Decentralized Oracles To Boost DApp Development

Ontology blockchain is the latest project to integrate Chainlink’s decentralized oracles to create a credible data management system.

According to a release post on Medium Ontology blockchain, which allows cross-chain transactions, launched its integration with Chainlink. The integration is expected to enable the ONT to developers to leverage off-chain data on their decentralized applications (dApps) in real-time.

The integration with Ontology is expected to create a new data management base for the platform by integrating the “ONT ID, Ontology’s digital identity framework, and the ONTO wallet” into the dApps. To make the integration compatible, the Ontology dev team had to switch the Chainlink smart contract to its native code, Python programming language.

Blockchain is usually independent, working on data on the chain at a specific time. Hence the need for off-chain ramps such as Chainlink. The co-founder of Ontology, Andy Ji, believes the integration of Chainlink is set to enhance the scalability and robustness of its platform. He further said,

“Ontology’s high-efficiency and low transaction fees, combined with Chainlink’s adept ability to provide secure and reliable oracles consistently is a potent combination that will drive mutually beneficial outcomes for our respective platforms and communities.”

A Tried and Tested Platform.

Ji believes Chainlink is the best oracle option for the platform, given the large and warm reception it has received from some prominent industry figures and companies.

“Chainlink has demonstrated a stellar track record in providing bespoke oracle solutions to leading global enterprises including Google, Oracle, and SWIFT,” Ji said. “This experience underlines Chainlink’s credentials as the undisputed, market-leading decentralized oracle network.”

In the future, Ontology hopes to build multiple Chainlink oracles on its HydraDAo in a bid to “enable stronger data accuracy within smart contracts, cross-chain interactions, and cross-data source collaboration.”

This is not the first partnership between Ontology and Chainlink. In November 2019, Ontology developers started the process of adding simple decentralized data oracle from Chainlink onto its platform.

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Author: Cody L

UMA Project Launches Synthetic Token ETHBTC Which Tracks Relative Value of ETH to BTC

UMA Protocol, a decentralized finance (DeFi) project, has approved an innovative contract to create a synthetic token called ETHBTC which would track the relative value of Ether concerning BTC.

This synthetic token would allow users to bet on the relative value of the second largest token concerning Bitcoin. However, the synthetic ETHBTC token would not involve either ETH or BTC for minting.

While introducing Bitcoin’s synthetic value (tBTC being the latest project) on the Ethereum network as a collateralized asset has been the trend in 2020, the idea of creating a synthetic token that is pegged against the value of bitcoin and Ether is one of a kind.

This synthetic token would be the first deployment of the UMA project, and they are calling it a priceless token model since it will be built from scratch without the need for any oracle.

Hart Lambu, the co-founder of UMA, commented on the reason behind going for an unconventional defi project model despite it being their first deployment, to which he responded:

“ETHBTC was selected as the first test for UMA’s priceless synthetic design because it’s DeFi-centric but not too serious.

This first token is still experimental, so it felt wise to choose a product that appeals to hardcore DeFi natives – the type of people that might want to bet on this rate, and who best understand the risks of ‘new’ things.”

The UMA team has, however, cautioned users who were enthusiastic about buying tokens to be careful. According to them, not only is the token quite new, but even the concept behind it hasn’t been widely tested, and thus users must proceed with great caution.

How ETHBTC Works?

In order to mint ETHBTC, a user needs to deposit DAI in a smart contract, allowing them to withdraw ETHBTC against it. The user can then either trade it in the open market like any other Ethereum based token until the contract expires or increase the liquidity of the ETHBTC pool.

When the contract expires, the collateralized DAI is split between holders and stakers, and if the relative value of the ETH against BTC is higher, the token holder receives a profit and if the value has declined the token staker receives a profit. This means ETHBTC holders would go long while the stakers go short on the synthetic token.

The other interesting aspect of this priceless synthetic token is that it doesn’t require any oracle to track the price, unlike many other token systems (see chainlink’s decentralized price oracles). Primarily because there is no on-chain activity required to keep this model flowing, and Lambur believes this could be a perfect way to scale the DeFi platform.

In case of any dispute, the involved parties can settle the issue through a vote, and the decision-makers who vote for the winning side would receive the same UMA tokens.

Lambur also explained that the voting would be unbiased since the UMA’s economy has been designed in a way that people buying tokens to gain an advantage in the voting process would remain unprofitable. As of now, the ETHBTC can be purchased on Uniswap, which just launched v2.

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Author: Rebecca Asseh

Visa Files for a Centralized Digital Dollar Patent; Putting Fiat Currencies on Blockchain

Visa, a multinational payments service provider, has filed a patent to create a digital dollar based on blockchain tech with oversight from centralized computers. The US patent & Trademark office revealed the details of this application on May 14. However, Visa initially filed for the patent back in November 2019.

According to the publication, this idea is not solely based on the US dollar. Visa highlighted that the patent involves other currencies as well such that any central bank can smoothly transition to the digital form of its base currency. Dubbed the ‘Digital Fiat Currency’, it was filed in conjunction with inventors Alexander Pierre and Simon J. Hurry.

The Digital Dollar Technical Aspect

Visa has since mentioned the possibility of leveraging Ethereum’s blockchain for this development. The proposed infrastructure design encompasses two records meant to facilitate a transparent conversion from fiat to digital. One is tasked to ensure that a digital denomination has been created while the other records that a corresponding fiat amount is removed from circulation,

“…every time a dollar worth of digital fiat currency is generated, the central entity ensures that a corresponding physical dollar bill is removed from circulation, in order to regulate the value of the digital fiat currency.”

The application goes on to tout cryptocurrencies as a viable solution given the cost-friendly nature and immutability aspects embedded within blockchain ecosystems. However, Visa, did not maintain the fundamental nature of blockchain decentralization as per the application. In fact, it further suggests that the centralized entity approach could be the answer for implementing monetary policy in digital markets.

Following this approach, Visa’s patent was praised by the former chairman of US Commodity Futures Trading Commision (CFTC), Christopher Giancarlo. He noted that the patent is a major statement from both private and public stakeholders in the US,

“This confirms when the U.S. does big things like the space program and the Internet, there are partnerships between the private and public sector. This patent filing is evidence the private sector is very much at work on the future of money.”

Visa’s Recent Scaling in Blockchain and Crypto Activity

As the world navigates living with Covid-19, payment service providers have been on their toes to match the current needs. This has somewhat favored the crypto market which many were initially skeptical about. Visa’s latest milestone within this space is the inclusion of Coinbase as one of its principal members. This alliance has seen Coinbase pioneer debit cards for crypto spending with the help of Visa. The firm also runs a FinTech Fast Track Program supporting startups within this industry based on Visa’s resources.

Despite this success, the digital dollar patent does not guarantee a solution in monetary policy or regulatory oversight. A Visa spokesperson told Forbes that not every patent result in a new product but the firm strives to respect intellectual property,

“While not all patents will result in new products or features, Visa respects intellectual property and we are actively working to protect our ecosystem, our innovations and the Visa brand.”

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Author: Edwin Munyui

KY Gov. Approves Blockchain Working Group Bill to Explore Use In Security of Critical Infrastructure

Kentucky has successfully completed a legislative process to create a blockchain-oriented working group. This is after its governor, Andy Beshear, signed a bill on April 24 effecting the establishment of a proposed task force.

An official update has since been shared on Kentucky’s General Assembly website on the details of this new bill. According to the publication, the bill was introduced in January 2020 with the aim of advancing blockchain tech. It was, therefore, dubbed ‘AN ACT relating to blockchain technology’.

Kentucky’s Blockchain Bill

This new development is expected to change the approach towards blockchain tech within Kentucky’s government and existing industries. Part of the bill reads,

“The working group shall evaluate the feasibility and efficacy of using blockchain technology to enhance the security of and increase protection for the state’s critical infrastructure, including but not limited to the electric utility grid, natural gas pipelines, drinking water supply and delivery, wastewater, telecommunications, and emergency services.“

Given its fundamentals, the bill appears to have been popular as it was passed with a unanimous vote of 87 against 2 during its final reading on April 14. It was then approved ten days later by Kentucky’s governor and will now guide this state in blockchain-related issues. If successful, Kentucky, is set to join the likes of Wyoming and other states that have so far developed concrete structures for oversight on blockchain tech.

As for the blockchain working group, the bill outlines a total of nine members, three of whom are ex-officio. They will be tasked with different sectors which include, energy, local government, public utilities, Information technology, Communications, and Fiscal matters. Notably, the members will include stakeholders from various public entities in Kentucky such as the Public Service Commission, Homeland Security, and the Commonwealth Office of Technology.

The working group is hence expected to report to Kentucky’s governor and the LRC towards the end of every year,

“The workgroup shall report to the Governor and to the Legislative Research Commission by December 1 of each year. The report shall include the current priority list and a discussion of whether blockchain could be deployed, and any associated cost-benefit analysis,”

This initiative is set to cost the state of Kentucky $400,000 annually according to a fiscal noted attached to the bill. The state, therefore, plans to raise these funds from its multiple revenue sources and invest in blockchain oversight and implementation through the acquisition of expertise for its desired goals.

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Author: Edwin Munyui