Crypto Exchange Gemini Makes an Aggressive Move, Adds 15 Hot DeFi Tokens

DeFi is all the rage in today’s crypto world, and no one wants to be left behind, especially cryptocurrency exchanges.

Over the past few months, we saw these exchanges rushing to DeFi space – in the fastest ever listing of these tokens, a complete U-turn from the past few years when crypto projects had to approach them or even pay them to get their tokens listed.

Coinbase has already jumped the altcoins and DeFi mania, this time, it’s Gemini which defines DeFi as a “warm ray of sunlight shining down on us during the winter of our financial discontent.”

According to the exchange’s official announcement, “the Decentralized Finance (DeFi) revolution is coming into bloom, and it presents the possibility of permissionless, bankless, alternatives to the legacy financial system.”

The promise of DeFi is apparently “aligned” with Gemini’s “ethos” of giving its customers “greater choice, independence, and opportunity.”

While the exchange says these new tokens make up some of the major building blocks of DeFi, still, it warns that they present “unique risks,” and the listing doesn’t endorse the protocol and “makes no recommendation that” customers participate in the DeFi ecosystem.

Up until today, Gemini’s list of cryptos was extremely limited. A meager nine coins were available on the exchange for trading viz. BTC, ETH, LTC, BCH, ZEC, BAT, LINK, DAI, and OXT.

But on Friday, Tyler and Cameron Winklevoss-founded crypto exchange has made an aggressive move and extended this list to 15 more coins.

“We are proud to be the first regulated platform to offer trading and custody support in the State of New York,” for a total of 24 cryptos.

The exchange announced new support for the most popular DeFi tokens, including Balancer (BAL), Curve (CRV), Ren Network (REN), Synthetix Network (SNX), Uma (UMA), Uniswap (UNI), and Yearn.finance (YFI) which are available for both trading and custody.

Five tokens that were previously supported for custody, Decentraland (MANA), Kyber Network (KNC), Maker (MKR), Storj (STORJ), and 0x (ZRX), are now available for trading as well.

On top of this, Keep Network (KEEP), Wrapped Bitcoin (wBTC), and tBTC (tBTC), three new coins altogether, have been added to its custody.

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Author: AnTy

KuCoin Hack: Exchange’s Insurance Fund to Cover User Loss “Completely,” Tether Freezes 33M USDT

The Singapore-based cryptocurrency exchange KuCoin released a statement regarding detecting large withdrawals on September 26, 2020, at 03:05:37 (UTC+8).

The exchange has reportedly lost $150 million worth of funds, although KuCoin hasn’t declared it yet but released “suspicious addresses,” which are constantly updated. As per the company’s internal security audit report, some BTC, Tether, ERC20 tokens, and other cryptos from KuCoin’s hot wallets were transferred out of the exchange.

Tether has already frozen all the stolen USDT, but the community isn’t supportive of the move. This isn’t even the first time they did so; one address in 2017, eight in 2018, seven in 2019, and 24 in 2020 so far has been frozen by the company.

“If you steal our Tether, we’ll steal it right back,” commented one trader on this move.

KuCoin assured that “the assets in our cold wallets are safe and unharmed, and hot wallets have been re-deployed.”

In a live stream, KuCoin CEO Johnny Lyu said one or more hackers “stole” the private keys to hot wallets but those cold wallets, that aren’t connected to the Internet as such considered more secure, were unaffected.

He also said the exchange is in contact with the police and that “all the loss will be covered by KuCoin risk provisions.”

The exchange has transferred the remaining crypto assets to the new hot wallets.

The Asian exchange that trades over 200 cryptocurrencies has a daily trading volume of about $100 million, as per CoinGecko. Following the security breach, its exchange token KCS fell by over 17% but has since recovered to above $0.90.

The trouble at the exchange first started when users complained about withdrawal issues. Initially, it was maintained that the platform was experiencing a system issue, and later, KuCoin’s admin team claimed that “transactions are simply pending,” and funds are SAFU.

While Liu said the amount lost is “small,” that might not be the case, many are pointing out that there could be over 1k BTC and tokens like ETH, LTC, Omni USDT, XRP, YFI, OMG, Maker, Ocean Token, Chroma, Gladius, Hawala, and others lost.

Currently, the investigation is going on, and a security review will also be conducted. Still, the exchange has said that any losses suffered by a user would be “covered completely” by KuCoin and its insurance fund.

As “The People’s Exchange,” we will take full responsibility and maintain transparency,” said the exchange in an official statement.

For now, the exchange has suspended the deposits and withdrawals service, which will be restored gradually once it ensures a safe state.

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Author: AnTy

Gemini Crypto Exchange Opens Up GBP for Buying, Selling, and Trading for UK Customers

Cryptocurrency exchange Gemini is now expanding into the UK.

The launch follows obtaining an electronic-money institutions (EMI) license from the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) after the agency declared that all crypto exchanges operating in the country are required to register with it as per its Fifth Money Laundering Directive (5MLD) by Jan. 10, 2021.

Now that Gemini is open for business in the UK, the users in the region can buy, sell, store, and trade crypto using their local currency pound sterling (GBP).

“London is one of the birthplaces of modern finance and has a rich tradition of regulation, but also fosters an environment of innovation,” said Tyler Winklevoss.

The New York-based firm founded by Tyer and Cameron Winklevoss will now let its users buy Bitcoin and other cryptos using debit cards. Supported cryptos include Bitcoin (BTC), Bitcoin Cash (BCH), Basic Attention Token (BAT), Dai (DAI), Ether (ETH), Litecoin (LTC), ChainLink (LINK), Orchid (OXT), Amp (AMP), Pax Gold (PAXG), and Compound (COMP).

Cryptocurrency investors can also fund digital wallets via bank payments such as CHAPS, Faster Payments, and Swift wire transfers without incurring foreign exchange fees.

Gemini is among the few registered firms — already operating — in the UK, with Archax being another one approved by the US regulator and due to launch in the fourth quarter.

The crypto exchange, which is also a New York State Department of Financial Services regulated custodian, is also in the licensing process in Singapore.

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Author: AnTy

Brazil’s Hashdex Launches World’s First Crypto ETF in Partnership with Nasdaq

Brazilian manager Hashdex has obtained the approval to launch the world’s first cryptocurrency Exchange Traded Funds (ETF), in partnership with Nasdaq.

Named Hashdex Nasdaq Crypto Index ETF, the product will be listed on the Bermuda Stock Exchange, as per local media reports.

It is expected to be available by the end of the year, which will replicate the Crypto Nasdaq Index, a joint effort of Nasdaq and Hashdex, which aims to attract institutional investment in cryptos.

Hashdex already has three crypto funds available for investment, with the most accessible one being Discovery that has a minimum investment of $500 and a management fee of 1% per year.

While in the US, several attempts at Bitcoin ETF have been rejected by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). Hashdex has chosen the island specifically because of Bermuda’s crypto-friendly regulations.

According to Marcelo Sampaio, CEO of Hashdex, Nasdaq’s formal entry into the digital assets market is yet another confirmation that investments in crypto are being viewed with greater interest and confidence. He said,

“This process should also speed up the entry of institutional investors in this segment. It is a trend that increasingly becomes concrete.”

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Author: AnTy

Bitfinex Gets 90 More Days to Provide Tether Related Documents to The NYAG

Cryptocurrency exchange Bitfinex has been granted additional time to provide documents in a case filed last year by New York Attorney General (NYAG) Letitia James claiming that it hid the loss of more than $800 million.

New York state Judge Joel M. Cohen extended the injunction by 90 days in a virtual ruling Thursday. He also hinted the injunction might not get extended again after the preliminary injunction, issued 17 months ago, expires in the next few weeks. “The court doesn’t envision a long-term injunction,” Cohen said.

Judge Cohen further directed a special referee to set a schedule to provide the requested documents. The referee would now determine which documents related to Tether (USDT), the sister company of Bitfinex, and related companies are pertinent to the case.

The crypto exchange and related companies face claims by New York for hiding the loss of millions of dollars of clients’ funds. These funds, according to them, were deposited with a Panama-based payment processor Crypto Capital Corp. which was then seized by the government authorities. The companies said they are working to recover the money.

The ongoing dispute has been largely around the scope of documents Bitfinex has to produce related to Tether.

Tether is currently the 3rd largest cryptocurrency and the most popular stablecoin, with $15 billion worth of USDT in circulation, having grown from $2.7 billion in April 2019 when the case was first filed by James.

In the subsequent months, Cohen blocked Bitfenix from accessing, loaning, or making any claim on the cash reserves of Tether while the investigation was pending. The special referee has to now notify a schedule for the production of documents, the judge said.

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Author: AnTy

Court Enforces Seizure of Korean Crypto Exchange Bithumb’s Shares

South Korean regulators have seized the share of the local cryptocurrency exchange Bithumb from its major investor. The move has been in connection with an ongoing case of the exchange for allegedly defrauding its clients, reported local media.

The company’s director Kim Byung-Geon had his holdings in the exchange seized on the decision of the Seoul Central District Court on Sept. 14.

Kim was earlier sued in the process of unsuccessfully trying to acquire Bithumb. He also filed an application for the seizure of the share of the majority shareholder, Chairman Lee Jung-Hoon.

The seizure was executed today at the Bithumb Korea Office in Gangnam-gu and overseen by accounting firm Samjong KPMG. Earlier this month, the firm filed a Letter of Intent (LOI) that it plans to sell its own share in Bithumb Holdings and will be sharing a shortlist soon.

Bithumb is currently under investigation for allegedly selling BXA tokens for 30 billion won (about $25 million) but failed to do so, which resulted in investors incurring huge losses. The exchange has already been raided twice by the police this month.

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Author: AnTy

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

Indian Government Looks to Ban Cryptocurrency Trading With New Law

India is not new when it comes to harsh and unfriendly cryptocurrency laws. Now, Bloomberg reports that the country is set to introduce a new law which will ban cryptocurrency trading within its borders.

Citing anonymous sources, the report states that India’s federal cabinet is set to discuss the bill prior to being sent to the parliament.

The report states that the Indian government will continue encouraging and supporting the growth of blockchain technology but will discourage crypto trading.

In 2018, Indian central bank instituted a ban on all crypto transactions following numerous cases of frauds prior to the sudden decision to ban about 80% of the country’s currency by Prime Minister Narendra Modi. However, the decision was rescinded in March this year after a successful filing of a suit in the Supreme Court by various crypto-based firms operating in the country.

The lifting of the ban saw almost a 450% increase in crypto trading in just two months from March. Paxful, a Bitcoin marketplace, registered a staggering 883% growth from January to May this year representing a growth from $2.2 million to about $22.1 million in revenues. Similarly, India’s largest crypto exchange WazirX registered a growth of 400% and 270% in March and April respectively.

The renewed effort to ban crypto trading comes at a time when the Indian Parliament has reopened following a prolonged break due to COVID-19 pandemic. The bill is likely to be introduced to parliament in this monsoon session which kicked off yesterday and is set to affect over 1.7 million Indians who actively trade in digital assets as well as institutions coming up with platforms to ease crypto trading.

Today’s report appears to be in tandem with June’s news where the nation’s finance ministry was reportedly urging for inter-ministerial consultations on how to ban crypto.

In the recent past, India’s federal government has been exploring possible ways of using blockchain technology to enhance service delivery in different sectors like management of land records, enhancement of pharmaceutical drugs supply chains, management of educational certificates, among others but remains adamant against crypto trading.

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Author: Joseph Kibe

Binance Rolls Out $100M Fund to Bring DeFi Developers to its Smart Chain (BSC) Platform

  • The world’s largest cryptocurrency exchange, Binance, is entering the raging decentralized finance (DeFi) ecosystem aiming to take over the market.
  • The centralized exchange will control the listings and governance of the platform – a case of CeFi taking on DeFi.

Binance announced a $100 million development grant in a bid to entice DeFi developers to build on its newly-launched smart contract platform, Binance Smart Chain (BSC). CEO Changpeng ‘CZ’ Zhao made the announcement during the company’s World DeFi Summit this Thursday, stating the platform will provide ‘a bridge’ between the centralized and decentralized worlds of crypto.

The platform will provide a direct link between Binance.com exchange and the Binance Smart Chain allowing users to access DeFi products without leaving the exchange directly. Binance Coin (BNB) holders will also be able to participate and have more rights in the governance of BSC by staking on the chain.

The Binance community members will be in charge of distributing the funds with a maximum of $100,000 offered to each team.

The team will use their IEO criteria used on platforms such as Binance Launchpad and Binance X to select promising projects. The centralization aspect of the new platform has irked parts of the crypto community but has also received its fair share of praise – majorly due to Ethereum’s high gas fees.

A New Centralized DeFi platform

According to CZ’s explanation posted in a short thread on Twitter, the new-look centralized DeFi will offer users a couple of advantages over sticking to DeFi.

First, the exchange will vet the tokens that will trade and transact on the BSC, managing the risks involved in scams. However, he maintains the vetting may not prove sufficient “and sometimes may even be negative (depending on the CEX), he stated. “But a reputable CEX is financially incentivized to maintain it.”

Finally, users who stake BNB on Binance will be able to earn different yields on multiple projects simultaneously. This is different from DeFi whereby you need to stake on different protocols to earn their yields.

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Author: Lujan Odera

Kenya Leads Crypto Adoption In P2P Exchange Volumes; Ukraine Tops Global Index: Chainalysis

Chainalysis, a cryptocurrency, and blockchain analysis firm, released it’s latest Global Crypto Adoption Index 2020, showing developing countries are witnessing greater adoption for crypto – Ukraine, Venezuela, and Kenya featured in the top five countries with Russia and China completing the list.

The interim report from Chainalysis focuses on four significant parameters to rank the 154 countries that took part in the survey. The metrics to measure crypto adoption include on-chain cryptocurrency received weighted against the purchasing power parity (PPP) per capita, on-chain crypto sent out (transferred) weighted against the PPP per capita, and several on-chain deposits weighted by the number of internet users.

Finally, the overall p2p exchange activity weighted by both the number of users and PPP per capita. The index ranks the countries using all the metrics with those closest to one with the most incredible crypto adoption.

Ukraine and Russia top crypto adoption rankings

A glance at the top 10 ranked countries shows a disparate difference in the levels of development across all countries except for Russia, which ranked highly in all four sectors. Ukraine, Russia, and Venezuela grab podium positions according to the Global Crypto Adoption Index by Chainalysis.

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Despite the three not leading in any of the factors mentioned above, the total index score favors the countries. Ukraine ranked fourth in both the on-chain crypto value received and retail value transfers, while China dominated the two factors. Vietnam (ranking tenth) also ranked highly on these metrics.

Kim Grauer, head of research at Chainalysis, Ukraine, and Russia, top the charts due to their underlying innovativeness and tech native population. The latter country also has a vast network of digital payments and e-payments already, which makes the transition to crypto a bit more seamless, she said.

Notwithstanding, the adoption growth in Ukraine and Russia can both be attributed to the current COVID-19 global pandemic that has shrunk both economies. In a bid to make additional sources of income, citizens in the country are turning to crypto for a solution.

Retail investors are pulling their weight in crypto

According to Michael Chobanyan, founder of Ukraine’s first crypto exchange, Kuna, retail investors (less than $10,000) are pushing the adoption rates in Ukraine in search of better investment tools. A lack of a stable stock market exchange, financial systems failure, and an expensive real estate investment – all collude in growing the retail crypto space, he said.

In a differing tone, Grauer said Venezuela adopted cryptocurrency as a need rather than it being a “cool technology.” The hyperinflation in the country is causing plenty of citizens from South American to turn to Bitcoin (BTC) as “a stable store of value.”

The three states, alongside Kenya, showed strong growth in retail crypto adoption while in China (in fourth) and the U.S. (in sixth), crypto adoption is led by big money players and institutions.

“Looking at the share of the transfers greater than $100,000, we noticed that over the past year, the share of the overall activity in North America that is professional has been growing.”

Kenya leads the P2P volumes metric

Another surprise on the list is East African powerhouse, Kenya, which emerged fifth on the Global Crypto Adoption Index ahead of heavyweight economies such as the U.S., Nigeria, and all of Western Europe. Despite performing poorly in three of the four categories, Kenya leads the world in peer-to-peer crypto exchanges trade volume weighted by its number of internet users and PPP per capita.

The East African state has seen rapid growth in P2P exchanges growth volume in 2020 as Paxful and LocalBitcoins pushed for Bitcoin adoption. P2P exchange volume ranking, however, overlooks the prevalence of regulated, centralized exchanges across other states, unfairly pacing more weight to developing countries. Kenya and Venezuela top the P2P rankings but did not manage to make the top ten on any other ranking metric.

Explaining the rankings, Grauer stated no one ranking metric catapulted any country to the top. The report concludes that cryptocurrency adoption is happening globally – only 12 of the 154 countries scored zero on the index. Additionally, developing countries have high numbers of retail investors as P2P exchanges play a crucial role in enhancing crypto adoption in these countries.

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Author: Lujan Odera