Cryptocurrency Exchange Gemini Acquires Crypto Custody Firm Shard X

Cryptocurrency Exchange Gemini Acquires Crypto Custody Firm Shard X

Cryptocurrency exchange Gemini has acquired cryptocurrency custody specialist Shard X.

Per an official blog post, Gemini disclosed that it would use Shard X’s multi-party computation (MPC) technology to speed up its efficiency.

Gemini To Use Shard X’s MPC Technology

The technology would help increase the speed at which the exchange transfers customer assets on its platform, the New York-based firm said.

“We’re excited to announce the acquisition of Shard X, a leading developer of secure multi-party computation cryptographic technology. Gemini will integrate Shard X’s MPC technology into our distributed, multi-site key management and signing infrastructure.” Gemini stated.

MPC is a type of cryptographic technology that is fast and secure. It breaks up private keys into shards or parts and distributes them between various parties to execute a transaction.

Shard X was founded in 2018 by Yaniv Neu-Ner, Nikita Lesnikov, and Navaho De Wet in London. The firm claims to be the first company to offer multi-party computation (MPC) on hardware security modules (HSMs).

This acquisition would enhance the security of Gemini’s crypto custody platform, which surpassed $30 billion of crypto assets under custody last month.

The addition of Shard X’s MPC will work in concert with all other aspects of Gemini’s custody offering, including Gemini’s key security, like role-based governance protocols, biometric access controls, and physical security.

It will also expand Gemini’s reach to decentralized finance (DeFi) and other applications. Basically, this acquisition is set to beef up Gemini’s custody tech.

The terms of the deals were not disclosed. However, the exchange’s Chief Operating Officer Noah Perlman revealed that Shard X would join Gemini’s UK affiliate.

Gemini was founded by brothers Cameron and Tyler Winklevoss in 2014. The company, which has more than 440 employees, is known for its regulated platform that allows users to buy, sell, store, and earn interest on more than 40 cryptocurrencies.

Shard X Joins Growing List Of Gemini’s Acquisitions

The Shard X deal is the third acquisition for Gemini in the last two years.

In November 2019, Gemini acquired the popular non-fungible tokens (NFTs) marketplace Nifty Gateway. The platform, which launched in 2018, facilitates nifty purchases for some of today’s most popular crypto-games and applications, including OpenSea, Gods Unchained, and CryptoKitties.

Fast forward to January this year, Gemini also acquired crypto credit card company Blockrize to accelerate its plans of launching the Gemini Credit Card. A card that offers rewards in digital currencies.

Meanwhile, there have been a couple of crypto custody acquisitions lately. A notable one among them is Galaxy Digital’s $1.2 billion acquisition of crypto custodian BitGo and PayPal’s acquisition of Curv.

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Author: Jimmy Aki

Investment Bank Cowen to Custody Crypto for Institutions, Signs Partnership With PolySign

Investment Bank Cowen to Custody Crypto for Institutions, Signs Partnership With PolySign

Renowned investment bank Cowen Inc is set to make its foray into the cryptocurrency market.

The firm would offer hedge funds and other asset managers crypto custody service through a partnership with fintech company PolySign Inc, per an official announcement.

Cowen Leads PolySign’s Funding Round

Cowen said that its digital asset investment division would provide crypto custody services to institutional clients, helping them seamlessly secure, access, and leverage Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies in their portfolios.

As part of the partnership, the bank invested $25 million into PolySign, which is a part of the $53 million funding raised for the firm recently. Other investors include Blockchain.com, Race Capital, Sandia Holdings, and PilotRock Investments.

The custody solutions for the digital assets will be provided by Standard Custody & Trust Company, a subsidiary of PolySign. Standard recently received a trust company charter from the New York State Department of Financial Services.

The CEO of Cowen, Jeffrey Solomon, noted that the heightened demand for crypto assets had intensified the importance of custody service, especially since there is a lack of clear regulations for asset managers. Solomon added,

“The demand is clearly here. We’re going to be able to help a lot of our institutional clients get over the hump and start trading digital assets in the not-too-distant future.”

Founded in 1918 and headquartered in New York, Cowen holds almost $12 billion in assets under management. It is a diversified financial services firm that offers investment banking services, equity, and credit research services.

Cowen also offers sales and trading, prime brokerage, global clearing, commission management services, and actively managed alternative investment products.

Surging Crypto Prices Luring Investment Firms To Take A Closer Look At Crypto

The recent surging crypto prices seem to be luring hedge funds and investment managers into entering the market. Due to the high demand for crypto, wall street banks want to help their clients gain access to digital assets.

Prime examples of investment banks with unveiled plans to help their clients get exposure to the crypto markets are Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley.

However, Goldman and Morgan’s offerings differ from Cowen’s because they only offer indirect access to crypto through futures trading and mutual funds respectively. On the other hand, Cowen plans to actually provide custody for the underlying assets, which no major Wall Street firm has tried before.

Cryptocurrency exchange Gemini has also been winning in the crypto custody business. As of May 11, the exchange had reported about $30 billion worth of assets under management. Gemini works with the likes of BlockFi, CoinList, and WealthSimple.

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Author: Jimmy Aki

NYDIG Files for a Bitcoin ETF with the SEC with Morgan Stanley as Authorized Participant

Bitcoin trading and custody services provider NYDIG has filed for a Bitcoin exchange-traded fund (ETF) with the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).

Morgan Stanley will serve as the proposed authorized participant, as per the NYDIG’s S-1 filing published on Tuesday. Authorized Participants are expected to sell shares to the public at prices that reflect the value of the Trust’s assets, supply and demand for the shares, and market conditions at the time of a transaction reads the document.

If approved, it will trade on the NYSE Arca exchange.

The investment objective of the Trust is to “reflect the performance of the price of bitcoin less the expenses of the Trust’s operations,” but won’t seek to mirror the performance of any index, says the filing.

The subsidiaries – NYDIG Asset Management LLC is the sponsor of the trust, and NYDIG Trust Company LLC would be the custodian of the digital asset.

“Shareholders who decide to buy or sell Shares of the Trust will place their trade orders through their brokers and may incur customary brokerage commissions and charges. Such trades may occur at a premium or discount relative to the net asset value (“NAV”) of the Shares of the Trust.”

NYDIG is the latest in the line of firms filing for a Bitcoin ETF [Accelerate and VanEck], which many are expecting to be approved this year, while JPMorgan strategists believe a Bitcoin ETF approval would have negative implications for the price in the short-term by eroding Grayscale’s GBTC’s effective monopoly status and causing a cascade of GBTC outflows.

No Bitcoin ETF has been approved by the SEC to date.

Just last week, the first publicly traded Bitcoin ETF was approved in North America by Canada’s financial regulator, the Ontario Securities Commission (OSC).

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Author: AnTy

Over 12,000 BTC Moved to Coinbase’s Custody Wallet; Bitcoin Active Addresses Climb to 1.1M

Over 12,000 BTC Moved to Coinbase’s Custody Wallet; Bitcoin Active Addresses Climb to 1.1M

While Bitcoin’s adoption grows at a fast pace, “BTC veterans continue to hold strong.”

It’s been over a week now that the price of Bitcoin has been keeping above the 2017 high of $20,000. The BTC price continues to hold above $23,000 but is in red today with $4.77 billion in ‘real’ volume.

Price-wise, Bitcoin is trading in a range between $23,300s and $24,000. Trader Josh Rager said,

“A break above $24,000 would lead to bullish continuation but looks like liquidity was grabbed with fake-out. Further pullback with close below $22,550s likely lead to back down to $20k.”

The ongoing strong institutional adoption, however, spells only bullish momentum for BTC. Today, 12,006 BTC flowed out from Coinbase and were transferred to the “custody-looked-like wallets,” which makes Ki-Young Ju, CEO of CryptoQuant “very bullish on BTC.”

CryptoQuant

Source: CryptoQuant

The biggest benefactor of this price action on the bitcoin network has been the fees, transfer value, and the market cap of the digital asset.

Last week, the network transferred $4.3 billion in adjusted value, up from $0.8 billion at the start of 2020. Much like this, in January, the average fee on the network was 2 cents which have now increased substantially to $12.

Amidst this price action, the active BTC addresses have hit a new yearly high.

The number of active addresses, 7-day average, on the Bitcoin blockchain is currently at 1.1 million, fast approaching the December 2017 record high of 1.13 million active addresses.

These addresses have been increasing consistently throughout this year to reach the levels that haven’t been seen since late 2017. At the beginning of this year, the number of active addresses was about 500k on average which went to 1.14 million just this week.

While the number of bitcoin daily active addresses doubled over the course of 2020, those holding at least 0.01 BTC grew by more than 700k during the same period.

“While adoption grew, BTC veterans continued to hold strong,” noted Coin Metrics.

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Author: AnTy

Nexus Mutual Expands Beyond DeFi, Now Provides Insurance Cover for CeFi

DeFi insurance provider Nexus Mutual has announced Custody Cover’s launch for the users of centralized exchanges and custodians. This means users can now purchase the insurance cover for the funds put into an organization to safely keep their crypto assets’ private keys on behalf of them.

It will cover the users if the custodian gets hacked and the user loses more than 10% of their funds or if withdrawals have been halted for more than three months. Initially, six custodians are supported: BlockFi, Nexo, Celcius, inLock, Ledn, and Hodlnaut.

Nexus Mutual’s second and the latest product aims to “provide protection outside of the DeFi space.” In the long-term, the idea is to cover risks both in and outside the crypto space.

“Having trustless coverage for CeFi services is hugely market expansionary for DeFi,” said the head of research at the crypto fund, The Spartan Group.

A building block for the broader ecosystem, Custody Cover is working towards encouraging more widespread adoption and DeFi onboarding by helping protect newcomers, said the team. A partner of the crypto fund, The Spartan Group, noted,

“Given the amount of assets sitting with CeFi lenders, this move could scale Nexus’ active cover by a multiple of current cover. Potentially very accretive to NXM over time.”

This DeFi project has about $100 million in TVL (total value locked), while its token NXM is trading at $23.90.

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Author: AnTy

Crypto Custodian, Casa, Now Allows US Customers to Buy Bitcoin Using Their Bank Accounts

Cryptocurrency custody platform Casa announced yesterday that users can now use their bank accounts to purchase Bitcoin on the platform. The platform said it is launching the service for its customers who are based in the US. It also stated that the purchased Bitcoin would be sent directly to the user’s wallet.

According to the announcement, the users can buy up to $200,000 worth of Bitcoin in a single month via the new service, with a 0.99% fee placed on every purchase.

Nick Neuman, chief executive officer of the platform, said users could buy the Bitcoin through partner platform, Wyre. He said there is a mining fee attached to each purchase because all purchased Bitcoins are sent on-chain directly to the user’s wallet.

Crypto exchanges also charge mining fees, usually when users are transferring their digital assets to their wallets.

Casa Buy BTC
Source: Casa Blog

Low transaction fees

According to Casa, the 0.00% fee for a single transaction represents one of the industry’s lowest fees.

Casa claims it has a superior security model that keeps customers’ investments safe as it gives users full control of their funds while keeping the funds safe.

Customers have exclusive access to their wallets because they have the keys. So, they have the freedom to choose how they manage their accounts.

Third-party custodians keep about 50% of all Bitcoin custodians because of the high-security level they provide for BTC stored with them.

They also provide users with full sovereignty and full control over their funds, making the Bitcoin network less resilient.

Casa says one of the benefits of relying on the platform for the custody of funds is that it has reduced the level of risks or complications that traders and investors have when keeping their funds. The high risks are the reasons why many Bitcoiners are not interested in self-custody.

But the Casa platform will take care of those issues as it provides completely secure custody of users’ funds. One other benefit is the fact that their funds are insured against any risk.

The application process is simple

Casa has informed users on how to get started with the platform. According to the company, users can use the bank account button on the Casa app’s purchase screen. They will be redirected to the company’s purchase partner Wyre to complete the process.

The review of the application also doesn’t take much time. According to Casa, each user application review takes between a few minutes to a few hours. Once the review is complete, a notification is sent to the user, and they can start purchasing Bitcoin with their bank accounts immediately.

The company says its processing partner requires a photo ID as well as their full personal information when processing the Bitcoin purchase. The requirements are to make sure the deal is in line with government regulations and protect fraud. The data is never stored on the Casa server as it is submitted via the Casa app.

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Author: Ali Raza

Bison Trails, Coinbase Custody Colab to Add Solana (SOL) Staking as Institutional Demand Grows

Bison Trails and Coinbase Custody are further scaling their collaboration by introducing staking on Solana (SOL) blockchain. According to a press release shared with Bitcoin Exchange Guide, this initiative will enable Coinbase clients to leverage enterprise-grade validators within the Bison Trails ecosystem.

The two entities have been working together and have recently introduced staking on Polkadot as well. This latest milestone, therefore, comes as a significant boost in the ongoing partnership between Coinbase Custody and Bison Trails. Interestingly, both firms are based in New York, with former being regulated by NYDFS while the latter operates as an Infrastructure-as-a-Service Company.

Following this development, Coinbase Custody will feature among the pioneer digital asset cold storage providers to offer to stake on Solana. Combined with the Bison Trails infrastructure, Coinbase Custody is set to give its users an option to stake Solana tokens while their digital assets are stored offline and safe. The press release reads,

“Customers of both Coinbase Custody and Bison Trails will be able to select their Bison Trails validator via the Coinbase interface. This will make it simple to participate in securing Solana and Polkadot in just a few clicks.”

While the press release does not specify a speculated reward range, it highlights that staking SOL tokens at the moment increases the time-frame of becoming active before inflation adjustments are triggered for users to start earning rewards.

Bison Trails CEO, Joe Lallouz, has touted this advancement, noting the underlying value proposition in user experience,

“It’s a seamless integration and a phenomenal user experience. We look forward to working with the Coinbase Custody team to continue to add support for more protocols in the near future.”

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Author: Edwin Munyui

Solana (SOL) Added to Coinbase Custody; Cue in the Institutions

Solana has announced a partnership with Coinbase Custody, a registered fiduciary under the New York State Banking Law.

Over the past few weeks, the Solana Foundation has been working with the Coinbase team to integrate the Solana blockchain.

“This partnership closely aligns with our mission to bring speed and security to decentralized finance,” said Solana team.

Now, in addition to non-custodial wallet SolFlare and TrustWallet, investors get another option to store SOL in the offline cold storage system of Coinbase Custody.

With this move, Solana will be attracting institutional attention as Coinbase custody offers a comprehensive set of insurance policies for larger institutions to safely and more securely custody SOLs.

Additionally, Coinbase Custody, which also provides its services to Grayscale, offers staking and governance, “which are equally crucial for the long-term health of the network.”

Solana recently gained spotlight after derivatives exchange FTX launched its decentralized derivatives platform on it. FTX CEO Sam Bankman-Fried described Solana as a “fully decentralized blockchain,” which is “fast as fuck” and doesn’t need a trusted centralized sidechain.

Solana can “process 10,000 times as much as Ethereum; and it’s 1,000,000 times cheaper,” said Bankman-Fried at that time.

On the back of Coinbase Custody news, SOL jumped 26% but has since dropped 6% to now trade at $3.42.

For now, SOL is only available on Binance and FTX, but after this partnership, it might get listed on Coinbase as well. Solana has announced several partnerships so far in 2020, including Chainlink, KIN, and Terra Stablecoin.

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Author: AnTy

Bitcoin Self-Custody Provider Casa Now Allows Users to Buy BTC via Apple Pay

  • Bitcoin self custody service provider, Casa now allows its customers to buy and hold their own bitcoin.
  • Selling BTC is not supported yet.

According to the official announcement, Casa now allows buying bitcoin with Apple Pay, which gets deposited instantly into the Casa App — straight to the multisig storage. The digital asset here is the real bitcoin and not the IOUs from an exchange. The Colorado-based bitcoin security service provider said,

“With this update: purchasing bitcoin is fast, safe, simple, and direct. You can grow your investment without the risks that come with using a centralized exchange.”

Traditionally, bitcoin investors have to register with the exchange, deposit funds for trading, and then move their digital asset to the wallet. But Casa wants to make the bitcoin journey of new users simpler and faster, said chief executive Nick Neuman. He said,

“With the dollar declining in value and a new era of potential inflation on the horizon, consumers are naturally looking for a safe asset class that’s outside the turbulence of the existing financial system.”

With the Casa app, one can buy up to $250 per day, with a $20 minimum order size, and up to $1,500 per year. The company plans to increase these limits over time.

The Casa app charges a flat processing fee of $0.30 per transaction, plus 2.9% of the total amount purchased. It further includes a mining fee as BTC purchase is sent straight to the Casa wallet.

The purchase feature is launched in their iOS app only and soon will be coming to the Android app too.

The company also clarified the feature as a 100% opt-in, so if one decides not to buy bitcoin, all the existing KYC-free features are preserved. In case you are buying BTC, know-your-customer requirements include no documents and no photo ID scans but card information, full name, email, phone number, and address.

All the information is collected and verified through Apple Pay and processed by their purchase partner Wyre.

“Minimal info collected,” says the company adding, KYC data is also “never stored on Casa’s servers.”

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Author: AnTy

Gemini To Offer Custody Services For Unstoppable Domains’ .Crypto Web Extensions

  • The Winklevoss-led Gemini exchange, will now custody ‘Unstoppable domains’ for parties who wish to keep their .crypto domains safe.

The fear of losing your private keys has always seen crypto investors, especially institutional grade investors, relinquish the control to custodial services for safekeeping. Similarly, NYDFS-registered crypto exchange, Gemini will start to custody .crypto web domains, a censorship-resistant domain service from Unstoppable Domains, a blockchain firm.

These .crypto domains are self-custodial domains, meaning you are fully in charge of your website and run on the Ethereum blockchain as non-fungible tokens (NFTs). NFTs are unique collectible tokens that hold a specific value. As self-custodial domains, .crypto web domains are decentralized and resistant from any censorship.

Gemini exchange custodial services

The new product service that Gemini is offering is rather contradictory to the overall purpose of having a self-custodial domain. Imagine if the government takes over Gemini and forces the famous billionaire twins, Tyler and Cameron, to freeze your domain. This will kill off the main competitive advantage that a .crypto holds – censorship resistance.

However, the product is built for corporations mostly who have no problem with censorship resistance if they could build their decentralized website. Those non-controversial companies who want to keep their domains safe since they are not in use currently. Brad Kam, founder of the San Francisco-based decentralized domain name registrar, Unstoppable Domains said,

“These are traditional businesses. They’re not the kind of people that would be building decentralized websites early. That’s the reason why the custody service is more appropriate for them.”

The new .crypto custodial service will first be tested by two traditional domain naming system (DNS) firms, 101domain and EnCirca.

Unstoppable in developments

Unstoppable Domains launched at the tail end of 2019 after raising $4 million in a seed round from billionaire venture capitalist Tim Draper’s, Draper Associates, in a bit to promote free speech across the globe. The platform has since released over 200,000 censorship-resistant .crypto domains and extended its support for Chrome and Opera browsers.

Recently, Unstoppable Domains released a decentralized chat app aiming to give users complete data privacy in their communication.

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Author: Lujan Odera