Is DeFi Driving Ethereum’s Put/Call Option Ratio to Reach A Yearly High?

As per the latest data set released by the crypto research group Skew, Ethereum network’s Put-Call open interest ratio has risen to 1.04 on 2nd July. The open interest ratio has increased to a yearly high, which was last seen in July 2019.

The Put-Call open interest ratio measures the number of open put options against the number of Call options. A put option allows the trader to sell the underlying asset of their options contract at a predetermined price before the maturity date of the contract, while the call option gives a right to buy to the trader.

The put-call option ratio has tripled over the past four months and has seen a right angle rise from a value of 0.84 to 1.04 over the past couple of months. A clear sign that traders are working overtime in search of yield. The price of Ethereum has failed to maintain its value above $240 despite multiple moves above the price point, which indicates that the second largest cryptocurrency has exhausted its uptrend.

Luuk Strijers, COO at cryptocurrency exchange Deribit called it a bearish sign and suggested that investors were buying puts to protect their portfolios from falling. He said,

“Typically this implies the market is more bearish as investors are buying puts to protect their portfolios from a fall in the underlying,”

Typically traders write options when the market momentum is bullish, or the market is consolidating, where the trader receives a premium for selling the underlying asset at a downside rate. If the market moves, the value of the put option drops then, in turn, yields profit for the trader.

Source: Skew ETH Put/Call Ratio

The Derbit exchange COO also stated that Ethereum’s rise in open interest ratio for put-call options had increased mainly due to traders writing excess put options. Traders with long term positions in the spot market are writing put options to generate some extra yield on their investment.

John Todaro, head of research at TradeBlock, tweeted that Ether price could see an uptrend once the demand for Ether in the Defi ecosystem rises. He explained,

“There’s a lot of excitement around new DeFi tokens, and most of the collateral locked up across those platforms is in Ethereum. As that outstanding ether supply comes down and demands from Defi platforms hits escape velocity, ether will rally hard.”

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Author: Silvia A

OKEx Partners With Settle Network to Offer Fiat Gateway For Latin Americans

OKEx, one of the prominent crypto derivatives exchange, has partnered with Settle Network LATAM ((Latin America) to offer fiat onboarding for Latin Americans with support for three local currencies. The crypto exchange made their partnership public on July 3rd, informing locals that they can purchase Bitcoin and Ethereum on their platform using Argentine peso (ARS), the Brazilian real (BRL), and the Mexican peso (MXN).

LATAM digital settlement network is supposedly the largest digital settlement network in Latin America. The firm’s Latamex platform has been specially developed to allow people to make crypto purchases using local fiat currencies. Jay Hao, CEO of OKEx commented on their recent partnership and said,

“One of the important goals of OKEx is to enable everyone to enjoy intermediary-free financial services by promoting the blockchain-driven economy. For that, it’s essential to lower the threshold for the exchange between cryptocurrencies and fiat currencies in order to cover users in more countries and regions. The cooperation with Settle Network is of strategic significance to OKEx. Latin American users can now purchase BTC and ETH with multiple local currencies in a compliant way through bank transfers. In the future, OKEx will continue to expand the coverage of fiat currencies to allow more users to purchase cryptocurrencies more conveniently.”

Fiat Gateways Have Become Common To Drive Adoption

Fiat gateways or fiat onboarding has become quite a trend for crypto exchanges to help them expand their reach and subsequently help in broader crypto adoption. Earlier traders had to depend on utility tokens or stablecoins to buy cryptocurrencies, which at the time looked convenient but looked quite complicated for a new entrant. However, with direct bank transfers and fiat gateways, even a newbie can invest in bitcoin or any other cryptocurrency.

OKEx is not the first crypto exchange to partner with the Latin American payment processing giants. Binance was the first exchange for making use of Settle network’s LATAM product for fiat onboarding of locals during the last quarter of 2019. The largest crypto exchange by trading volume has been expanding rapidly, availing new derivative products and services. Among these, the fiat-gateway for several countries was the talk of the town.

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Author: James W

Tron Founder Justin Sun Cashing In On DeFi’s Boom With Launch of JUST BTC, LEND & SWAP

He is back!

As people in the crypto community have been expecting, Tron founder and CEO Justin Sun is here to ride the DeFi boom. But no TRX isn’t being turned into a DeFi project, but he’s announcing new plans altogether.

The “marketer” of crypto space who called his creation a “shitcoin” took to Twitter on Friday to share that Tron-based IEO JUST (JST) — which was launched on the Sun acquired Poloniex exchange in early May and then airdropped to TRX holders — will be launching not one or two but three DeFi projects.

“JST will become the core DeFi token of the entire TRON,” said Sun adding this DeFi ecosystem will cover areas in decentralized loans, decentralized trades, and cross-chain.

JUST DeFi team will be launching three new DeFi products. The first one is “JUST Lend” that will allow Tron users to earn interests or borrow assets against collateral.

The second is “JUST Swap,” which is apparently a fully decentralized on-chain protocol for token exchange. The last is “JUST BTC,” a TRC20 token backed 1:1 by Bitcoin.

“We can’t wait to see the series of JUST products’ all-rounded empowerment, community governance, and fully shareable dividend integrated into the TRON DeFi ecosystem,” he said.

Sun warns about a DeFi Project

In separate news, Sun distanced himself and his company from a DeFi project called Oikos (OKS), which is built on Tron.

Earlier this week, Sun said the DeFi project was developed by the community and has “nothing to do with Tron” and himself.

He warned investors against this project, saying the smart contract wasn’t verified. Investors need to be cautious of their investment, and the risk of getting hacked as “Justin Sun would bear no responsibilities,” he said while referring to himself in the third person.

Also, he denies OKS having any relationship with IEO on Poloniex.

“OKS is at its early stage, the risk is very high, we don’t encourage investors to participate/invest in this project,” said Sun.

Oikos has been a popular project among the Chinese crypto community, reports China-based 8btc.com. The token was reportedly listed on Chinese crypto exchange Hoo.com upon Sun’s recommendation and then on MXC exchange that saw OKS surging 4x.

Sun’s announcement resulted in the token briefly crashing 30% in minutes.

Oikos also announced that negotiation with Tron broke down and has now updated its token sale report.

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Author: AnTy

Cryptocurrency Payment Processor BitPay Finally Announces Support for SegWit

Bitpay, the crypto payment processing giant, has finally integrated the segregated witness (SegWit) protocol, a second layer scalable solution to make bitcoin processing cheaper. The Segwit integration is currently optional for bitcoin wallet users on BitPay. However, the firm plans to make it a default feature by the year-end.

SegWit was first proposed by Pieter Wuille, a bitcoin core developer in 2015. The SegWit protocol aimed to free up block space on Bitcoin blockchain without increasing the block size.

SegWit also eliminated a transaction signature vulnerability, which allowed miscreants to manipulate transaction signatures. On the other hand, BitPay is one of the largest crypto processors and currently processes around $1 billion worth of crypto transactions every year.

BitPay had earlier passed on an opportunity to integrate SegWit on its platform almost three years back and instead opted for another protocol called SegWit2x. SegWit2x implemented segWit itself, but at the same time, it also increased the block size from 1MB to 2 MB.

The Bitcoin community was divided over the use of the two protocols, creating conflict in the community over the size of the Bitcoin block, and many believe this also led to the creation of Bitcoin Cash Network.

However, SegWit2x failed to capture on the industry support, and as of today, 63% of all bitcoin transactions are processed using SegWit.

BitPay’s Decision Surprises Many

BitPay’s staunch support for an alternative second-layer protocol over SegWit has made many wonder what changed the minds of its decision-makers.

Sean Rolland, BitPay director of the product, claimed that now is the perfect time to introduce SegWit to its users as it decreases the cost of transactions by up to 30%, and the firm believes it would reduce the fee by 5%-10% with a new update.

Bitcoin was created to provide an alternate easy to use financial tool which offered lightning-fast transaction speeds at minimal transaction cost.

However, as bitcoin’s popularity grew, the network started to show signs of fatigue as it was unable to handle the transaction volume, making it slow, complicated, and costly to use. This was when developers came up with an off-chain second layer solution in the form of the Lightning Network and SegWit.

The lightning network showed a lot of promise. Still, even after years into development, the LN protocol seems to have more complexities than it was invented to resolve. Thus, SegWit became a popular choice.

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Author: Lillian Peter

Binance’s BNB Gets A Branded Twitter Emoji As the Exchange Celebrates Turning 3

The largest crypto exchange in the world in terms of trading volume, Binance, becomes the third crypto-based firm to get a branded emoji on Twitter. Binance joins Bitcoin (BTC) and Crypto.com (CRO), which also have branded emojis.

Anybody that tweets using the hashtag: #BNB or #Binance will get to see the signature Binance logo. Binance CEO revealed the new branded emoji by tweeting #BNB to his over 500k followers on Twitter. CZ, as he is usually referred to, was thrilled by the new emoji saying that he could just sit there and randomly start retweeting other people using the new emoji.

Branded Twitter hashtags are a lesser-known form of advertisement service offered by Twitter to renowned brands. However, Binance did not reveal the amount it paid for the emoji. Although billion-dollar brands such as Pepsi, Anheuser-Busch, and IBM have, in the past, paid about $1 million to get branded emojis, the amount for crypto-based firms is believed to be much lesser. Larry Cermak, a researcher, working for TheBlock, recently revealed that a company that uses about $50,000 in Twitter ads qualifies to get a branded emoji.

The Twitter emoji comes just days before Binance prepares to celebrate its third anniversary, on July 14. The emoji speculated to be part of the anniversary celebrations. The firm has since started a new hashtag dubbed #BinanceTurns3 that also comes with an emoji.

As part of the celebrations, the firm is giving out Binance non-fungible tokens (NFT). To receive the tokens, one must follow the exchange on all of the social media platforms as well as share various content using the anniversary hashtag. The campaign is set to run until July 7. The Binance team believes that the emoji will help in creating a bigger and more visual buzz that will also lead to more mass adoption of the Binance Coin (BNB).

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Author: Joseph Kibe

Crypto Custodian, Curv, Raises $26M Led By Commerzbank, Digital Currency Group, Coinbase Ventures

Crypto custody firm, Curv, which claims to enhance the multi-signature technology through a “secrecy computational model,” closed a $23 million Series A funding round. They will use the new capital to expand its business to global clients, improve its secrecy features, strengthen its technological infrastructure, and grow its team.

The funding was led by Digital Currency Group (DCG) and CommerzVentures, subsidiary of one of Germany’s leading banks, Commerzbank, which deals with the investments of the bank. Other participants in the round include Coinbase Ventures, Tokyo-based Digital Garage Lab Fund, and Team8, a cybersecurity firm headquartered in Israel.

Curv is a cryptography startup that raised $6.5 million in a seed funding round in 2018, launching its International Digital Wallet service providing users with security, independence, and flexibility in its digital asset storage. The firm uses the multi-party computation (MPC) cryptography system to keep funds safe.

MPC generates random private keys and shares them across a group of designated authorities instead of the multi-signature technology that secures the wallet through one fixed private key and hard computations.

On the significance of employing MPC over multi-signature technology, Curv CEO, Itay Malinger said,

“There is not any point in time or space where there will actually be a private key. MPC breaks that paradigm, so you don’t have additional layers of security like guards or cameras or World War II bunkers that can take 24 hours to get at.”

Real industry adoption

Curv is experiencing sustained growth in the number of clients, including top industry players such as Franklin Templeton (to secure and custody tokenized shares), trading platform eToro and trading desk, Genesis Trading, also owned by DCG. Itay declined to give too much on its future partners and customers but said Curv is speaking to several exchanges and institutional players on Wall Street.

The funding will also support tX, a group of engineers developing on Curv, to ensure the platform is ready for both crypto-focused and traditional financial institutions in the international markets.

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Author: Lujan Odera

Binance Exchange to Acquire Major Stake In Crypto Payments Provider, Swipe.io: Report

A report from TheBlock reveals that top crypto exchange, Binance is in talks to acquire a majority of the stake in Swipe.io – a crypto payments startup.

While the agreement has yet to be made official, the exchange looks to push through the deal, intending to launch the main version of its Binance Card, a crypto payments debit card.

Back in April, Binance announced the launch of a Beta version of the Binance Card, which allowed users to spend crypto with over 46 million VISA accepted merchants across the world. The card costs $15 for pre-orders with no hidden or additional costs attached.

To begin, the card will start with support for Bitcoin (BTC) and Binance Coin (BNB), but the acquisition of Swipe.io, which allows multiple currencies, could open up the card to allowing more digital assets to be used.

Swipe.io, on its part, will produce the Binance Cards as a white-label product allowing Binance users to spend crypto instantly, with enhanced security features such as a card tracking feature. The official announcement on the acquisition may come later in the week.

The crypto payments platform recently announced a partnership with Samsung Pay to add its Visa debit card option. The addition of Samsung Pay saw the company become the inaugural company to provide this service to both Samsung Pay and Google Pay.

We have reached out to Binance, but as of press time, we have not heard back. We will update this article when they respond.

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Author: Lujan Odera

ASIC Bitcoin Miner Manufacturer, Ebang, to Launch Crypto Exchange Outside China

  • Ebang International Holdings to launch an offshore crypto exchange that can potentially double their income to $200 Million. This, alongside their new consultancy venture which, will supplement their dwindling revenue by 40% in 2020 will work to reduce their overreliance in the ever-volatile cryptocurrency.al

News has now surfaced that Bitcoin equipment manufacturer; Ebang International Holdings intend to unveil a crypto exchange to operate outside China’s jurisdiction. This is in an attempt to generate more revenue for the firm.

The BTC rig manufacturer could see a revenue increment of up to 40% by the end of this year emanating from their new consultancy business that involves managing datacenters for clients. Chief Financial Officer, Chen Lei in an interview with a media outlet remarked at the potential of doubling their earnings to $200 Million with the launch of the crypto exchange. This timeline could potentially be stretched to 2022.

Dwindling Fortunes

Notably, their 2019 revenue of $109 Million was significantly dwarfed by an excess of $300 Million they generated in 2018. Generally translating to net losses in both 2018 and 2019. This is due to their overreliance in the ever-volatile BTC which, has plummeted significantly well below $4000 before stabilizing. The BTC is currently trading at $9154.21 enjoying a market volume of $15911378811 as per this writing.

The Hangzhou-based ASIC rigs manufacturer filed a $100 Million IPO with SEC this year, April. Their share price after, however, shrunk by almost 4% after June 26th IPO to fall below the projected $4. Most of the funds from the IPO would go into the production of next-gen rigs and their overseas expansion campaign.

According to Mr. Chen, almost 10% of the total revenue generated would go to facilitate transaction fees as they seek to set up a regulatory compliant exchange outside China. This was partly due to ongoing purge on crypto activities in China as they march towards realizing their own CBDC, the digital Yuan.

However, it is yet to be seen how the escalating rows between Beijing and Washington will affect Ebang’s access to US capital markets.

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Author: Lujan Odera

Privacy-Focused Crypto, Beam, to Jump Into DeFi With ‘Confidential Assets’ In Upcoming Hard Fork

Beam, one of the significant privacy-focused crypto assets, is moving into the DeFi space in a bid to disrupt the $1.5 billion booming market. The project has since confirmed its second hard fork on June 28, an upgrade that will facilitate its debut in the DeFi space. This milestone comes with several modifications in Beam’s ecosystem hence the bold move towards ‘Confidential DeFi.’

To enhance its privacy levels, Beam is built on the mimblewimble blockchain. This network designed to minimize transaction size to handle more activity, creating room for scalability. Also, it prevents one from reusing a blockchain address hence making it difficult for analytics firms to track crypto funds transferred on its chain.

With the DeFi market on a steep growth curve, Beam now wants to bring its underlying privacy features into this space. Currently, it is almost impossible to operate anonymously, given all transactions are recorded on Ethereum’s public blockchain. This also applies to the Ethereum Name Service (ENS) as well. Beam has since highlighted its goal as,

“Beam will enable true private and decentralized DeFi instruments like private stablecoins and private synthetics which will track commodity, stocks, and ETFs.”

Beam Upgrades in Preparation for DeFi

The new hardfork will facilitate the creation of Confidential Assets dubbed ‘Beam CA’ set to run within the network as independent tokens. This feature is part of Eager Electron 5.0, a recent upgrade designed for the creation of Confidential DeFi apps. Notably, the CA’s are linked with various assets ranging from commodities like gold to crypto-assets such as ETH.

Some fundamental privacy features embedded in the CA’s include sending assets via non-interactive transactions and an option to unlink transaction history. The Beam CA’s will be made available to users who can lock up to 3,000 Beam tokens, roughly $1,400 as of press date.

Apart from CA’s, the Beam hardfork lays the ground for scriptless smart contracts. Beam’s CTO, Alex Romanov, told Decrypt that the project would extend mimblewimble’s infrastructure to enable anonymity in the digital contracts,

“As a part of building a confidential DeFi platform on top of the Beam blockchain, we will enable the creation of Mimblewimble-based sidechains and integrate a wide variety of Scriptless Contracts to support escrows, collateralized debt positions, multiparty transactions, and Oracle-based settlements.”

The hardfork will also scale Beam’s DEX, which is currently available on atomic swaps as it completes the beta phase. Consequently, CA’s will be tradeable against frequently favored assets like BTC, LTC, BEAM, and QTUM once they debut.

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Author: Edwin Munyui

Three Strikes, You’re Out for BitLicense Applicants Under NYDFS’ New Guidelines

New York’s regulatory and financial agency has issued a warning to Crypto companies vying for the states Bitlicense. According to the watchdog, companies could see their applications terminated if they fail to adhere to feedback.

This was made public on Wednesday, 24 June, when New York’s Department of Financial Services announced that it would be implementing a new ‘three-strike’ policy for each application. Implementing such a policy would allow the agency to respond more effectively to applications that do not adhere to requested feedback.

According to the Department of Financial Services:

“If all deficiencies, involving a particular application requirement, or set of requirements have not been fully and effectively addressed by the end of the response period for the third deficiency letter… the DFS may, without further notice, deny the application.”

The introduction of this ‘three-strike’ rule comes as New York celebrates the fifth anniversary since the Bitlicense was introduced. Since its conception, the state has been continually updating its regulatory framework for crypto companies to do business in New York easily. While Bitlicense’s structure has been regularly updated and re-evaluated, the state has approved only 25 companies. Even now, only 19 of them have received physical licenses.

One of the most recent applicants under New York’s Bitlicense was the derivatives clearinghouse company – ErisX in May.

So what was the true motivation behind making these changes, and implementing this rule? The agency mostly cited that it sought to help improve the existing procedure of applying for the BitLicense. Implementing a three strike policy would allow more responsive applicants to have their applications expedited. Meanwhile, companies that don’t adhere to regulatory concerns would have their applications rejected. The note continues,

“DFS believes this policy will benefit the majority of applicants who diligently advance their applications once they are under substantive review, allowing for more effective use of DFS resources.”

While the three strike rule is the most catchy change introduced, regulatory changes include the introduction of a checklist feature. The purpose is to ensure that companies have clear guidelines on what steps need to be addressed or have already been completed.

While these new regulations presume to make the process easier, publications have since argued that it may make the whole process far harder.

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Author: James Fox