No High DeFi Yield for US Customers, Coinbase Allows Global Users to Earn Interest on DAI via Compound

No High DeFi Yield for US Customers, Coinbase Allows Global Users to Earn Interest on DAI via Compound

Cryptocurrency exchange Coinbase has launched a high DeFi yield product for its global users, except in the US.

“We are making DeFi more accessible, enabling eligible customers in more than 70 countries to access the attractive yields of DeFi lending on their DAI with no fees, lockups, or set-up hassle,” Coinbase said in a prepared statement.

This means Coinbase users will now be able to earn interest on their crypto holdings through decentralized finance (DeFi), starting with stablecoin DAI, which will be deposited with Compound Protocol.

“This is an important milestone for the industry, demonstrating what major on-ramps to DeFi will look like,” said Robert Leshner, founder of Compound Finance.

The interest on DAI holdings will be variable with higher rates to reflect increased risk and unique access to global liquidity, it said. The APY for supplying DAI fluctuated between 2.83% and 5.39% in October, noted the exchange.

The leading crypto exchange in the US, which went public in April this year, said through this move, they want to make DeFi more approachable and customer friendly.

While DeFi is becoming a popular use case of crypto by enabling people to access apps without a centralized intermediary, Coinbase said accessing these protocols is expensive and complex. As such, they want eligible users to access the “attractive yields” of DeFi right in their Coinbase account with just a few taps but without the network fees.

“DeFi has tremendous potential to help increase economic freedom, and we’re excited to be able to provide a trusted and accessible way to participate,” the exchange added.

US customers, however, aren’t eligible to take advantage of this opportunity. The US is exempted from this service as back in September, Coinbase CEO shared that the SEC has threatened to sue them if they launched their yield-earning product called Lend as the agency alleges it to be a security.

“There’s a lot of lending going on. There’s a lot of trading going on. And without protections, I fear that it’s going to end poorly,” SEC Chair Gary Gensler said around that time.

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Author: AnTy

UNIFY Financial Credit Union and Five Star Bank Allows Customers to Now Buy, Sell, and Hold Bitcoin

UNIFY Financial Credit Union and Five Star Bank Allows Customers to Now Buy, Sell, and Hold Bitcoin

Five Star Bank and UNIFY Financial Credit Union will be the first banks to offer their customers the ability to buy, sell, and hold Bitcoin, said Digital banking company Q2 Holdings.

This has been made possible by Q2’s partnership with institutional bitcoin broker NYDIG. The partnership was first announced in June to meet the demands of the bank’s account holders.

At the time, NYDIG also partnered with digital banking services firm NCR to make crypto purchases available to 650 banks.

Q2, a Texas fintech firm that has 18.3 million users, provides online banking software to more than 450 small and medium-sized banks and credit unions, including Scotiabank, Mercantile Bank, and Texas Security Bank.

Finally, this partnership has come to fruition as the everyday customers of these two banks will be able to trade and hold Bitcoin alongside their existing accounts without needing to use the cryptocurrency exchanges.

The New York-based Five Star Bank has about 50 branches, and California-headquartered UNIFY has 50 branches worldwide with more than $3 billion in assets.

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Author: AnTy

Solana Based DeFi Protocol, Luna Yield, Goes Dark as Customers Fear An Exit Scam: Report

Solana Based DeFi Protocol, Luna Yield, Goes Dark as Customers Fear An Exit Scam: Report

While the market appears to be rallying once more, this month hasn’t been all sunshine and rainbows for crypto platforms. In what is growing to be an alarming trend, it appears that a rug pull might have duped some crypto investors.

Nowhere to be Found

Earlier today, SolPad, an Initial Digital Offering (IDO) platform built on the Solana blockchain, confirmed that one of its platforms has gone completely dark. The platform, named Luna Yield, offers yield farming with vaults that are available on Solana (SOL), Polygon (MATIC), and the Binance Smart Chain.

In its tweet, SolPad explained that the platform appeared to have been witnessing problems. The service scrubbed its online presence, deleting its websites and social media channels. The website is still available on Google’s results page, but it can’t be reached.

Luna Yield was the second IDO to debut on SolPad, going live earlier this week. According to news sources, the platform had gotten $6.7 million in user funds and was building a relatively strong community. Now, it appears that all of those funds have been stolen.

According to an anonymous source, the platform’s founders reportedly took all of the SOL tokens in the platform and converted them to Ether. From there, they transferred the money to Tornado Cash – a decentralized, non-custodial privacy solution that’s built on the Ethereum blockchain. Put simply, those funds are gone and can’t be recovered.

Although the SolPad team has requested patience as they try to contact the Luna Yield developers. However, this situation already has the trappings of an exit scam – a case where a platform’s developers take off with investors’ funds. If indeed it is an exit scam, it would be a first on the Solana blockchain.

Criminal Activity Making a Comeback

The situation marks just the latest criminal event that will befall the crypto space in the past few weeks. Last week, cross-chain decentralized finance (DeFi) protocol Poly Network was hacked, with investors losing up to $610 million in digital assets. After multiple investigations, the hacker was said to have exploited a vulnerability between contact calls to conduct the hack.

Eventually, nearly all of the funds were restored after the hacker seemed to have grown a conscience.

Poly Network eventually claimed that the hack was filled with “white hat behavior” and even offered the hacker a job. They turned it down, along with the company’s $500,000 bounty.

While the industry was reeling from that, Liquid Global, a popular crypto exchange, was hit in a hack just yesterday. The Japanese exchange confirmed the hack on Twitter, noting that only its hot wallets had been affected.

Although Liquid has yet to confirm anything, news sources believe that the exchange lost about $80 million to the hack. There are also unconfirmed reports that the funds belonged to the Celsius Network, which integrated with Liquid in April to offer the latter’s customers a compounding return on their crypto purchases.

Efforts are being made to get the funds back, with fellow crypto exchange KuCoin blacklisting all addresses involved in the hack.

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Author: Jimmy Aki

BNPL Firm Afterpay to Offer Bitcoin Purchase Option to Customers Following Acquisition by Square

BNPL Firm Afterpay to Offer Bitcoin Purchase Option to Customers Following Acquisition by Jack Dorsey’s Square

Twitter co-founder and CEO Jack Dorsey’s payments company Square Inc. has announced that it will purchase buy now, pay later (BNPL) firm Afterpay for $29 billion, the biggest buyout of an Australian firm.

The transaction amount is expected to be paid in all stock. As of writing, Square (SQ) has been trading at $247.26. Afterpay shareholders will receive a fixed exchange ratio of 0.375 shares of Square Class A common stock for each Afterpay (APT) ordinary share. Square may elect to pay 1% of the total consideration in cash, said in its official announcement.

The deal is expected to be closed in the first quarter of 2022, subject to certain conditions. Dorsey, Co-Founder, and CEO of Square said,

“Square and Afterpay have a shared purpose. We built our business to make the financial system more fair, accessible, and inclusive, and Afterpay has built a trusted brand aligned with those principles.”

The company plans to integrate Afterpay into its existing Cash App and Seller business units and offer Afterpay customers the ability to manage their payments directly in Cash App. Also, Afterpay consumers will receive the benefits of Cash App’s financing tools, including stock and Bitcoin purchases, money transfer, cash Boost, etc.

As we recently reported, another Australian BNPL firm Zip Co Ltd. is exploring the option to allow its users to trade cryptocurrencies using their Zip wallets, which was one of the most requested new product features from the company’s users. Brian Grassadonia, Lead of Square’s Cash App business said,

“The addition of Afterpay to Cash App will strengthen our growing networks of consumers around the world while supporting consumers with flexible, responsible payment options.”

By combining with Square, Afterpay also plans to accelerate its growth in the US and globally and further offer access to its new category of in-person merchants, said Anthony Eisen and Nick Molnar, Afterpay Co-Founders and Co-CEOs. They will join Square upon completion of the transaction.

Square will also appoint one Afterpay director as a member of the Square Board following the transaction’s closing.

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Author: AnTy

Santander UK Joins Other Banks to Block Payments to Binance Due to FCA Warning

Santander UK Joins Other Banks to Block Payments to Binance Due to FCA Warning & to Keep its Customers ‘Safe’

The British unit of the Spanish banking giant also said that they have seen “a large increase in UK customers becoming the victims of cryptocurrency fraud.”

Santander UK is the latest bank to block payments to leading cryptocurrency exchange Binance amidst global crackdown, which now also includes Poland, where the Polish Financial Supervision Authority cautioned against using the platform citing the FCA’s statement.

Much like Barclays, Santander UK says, this move has been made to keep its customers’ funds safe.

“Keeping our customers safe is a top priority, so we have decided to prevent payments to Binance following the FCA’s (Financial Conduct Authority’s) warning to consumers,” tweeted the support page of the British unit of the Spanish banking giant.

Santander UK further said that it has been seeing “a large increase” in its UK customers, becoming the victim of crypto fraud in recent months.

According to FCA, about 2.3 million people in the UK hold cryptocurrencies. Meanwhile, a study by behavioral finance firm Oxford Risk found that one in five UK customers actually don’t know what they are doing despite owning crypto assets.

This move comes after the UK regulator FCA banned Binance Markets Limited (BM), a separate UK-based entity of Binance, from operating in the country, saying the firm is not authorized to do so.

The ban, however, was limited to BML and did not affect Binance. Still, since then, Binance’s UK customers are facing issues in deposits and withdrawals, with banks suspending transfers to the crypto exchange, citing FCA’s warning.

“We are disappointed that Santander appears to have taken unilateral action based on what appears to be an inaccurate understanding of events,” said a Binance spokesperson in a statement.

As we reported earlier this week, Barclays banned debit or credit card payments to Binance until further notice, which came after a similar ban by Lloyds Bank. Lender NatWest has also lowered the daily limit on transfers to crypto exchanges due to a “high level of cryptocurrency investment scams.”

“When one bank bans, refuses transactions in a region… generally they all do. Call it a linked network of businesses. Call it a cartel. It is what it is,” commented crypto enthusiast and market maker @IamNomad.

Additionally, Binance itself temporarily suspended customer deposits via the Single Euro Payments Area (SEPA), which allows customers to send euros across 36 countries due to “events beyond our control.”

Unlike the banks in the UK, Bank of America has launched cryptocurrency research efforts, calling the sector “one of the fastest-growing emerging technology ecosystems.”

“We are uniquely positioned to provide thought leadership due to our strong industry research analysis, market-leading global payments platform, and our blockchain expertise,” Candace Browning, the bank’s global head of research, wrote in the note to colleagues.

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Author: AnTy

Visa Customers Spent Over $1 Bln on its Crypto-linked Cards in First Half of the Year

Visa Customers Spent Over $1 Bln on its Crypto-linked Cards in First Half of the Year

Payments giant Visa said that its customers spent more than $1 billion on its crypto-linked cards in the first half of the year, just as the payment processor has been making moves to make crypto transactions smoother.

The company said it was partnering with 50 crypto platforms that will allow its customers to convert and spend digital currencies at 70 million merchants worldwide.

This is yet another step in Visa’s acceptance of cryptocurrencies which announced in March that it would allow the use of USDC stablecoin to settle transactions on its payment network.

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Author: AnTy

Fiserv Integrates with NYDIG to Allow Customers to Manage Bitcoin Directly within Bank Accounts

Fiserv Integrates with NYDIG to Allow Customers to Manage Bitcoin Directly within Bank Accounts

Fiserv, Inc. (NASDAQ: FISV) announced its integration with Bitcoin services provider NYDIG that will enable banks and credit unions to meet growing mainstream interest in bitcoin, grow their customer base, and increase non-interest income opportunities.

The payments and financial services technology solutions provider has 74.84 billion in assets as of March 31, 2021.

This integration, announced this week, means customers can manage bitcoin transactions directly within their bank accounts, providing them an easy way to buy, sell, and hold BTC through their trusted financial institutions. This partnership with Fiserv, Robert Gutmann, co-founder, and CEO of NYDIG, said,

“Represents a leap forward in bringing integrated bitcoin transactions to institutions of all sizes, positioning them to meet growing demand and interest from their customers.”

Besides using Bitcoin alongside bank accounts, both the companies are also working towards implementing the ability for banks to implement bitcoin-based rewards programs. Byron Vielehr, chief digital and data officer at Fiserv said,

“Interest in cryptocurrency, and particularly bitcoin, has skyrocketed over the past several years, to the point that bitcoin investing is now a commonplace activity,”

California-based First Foundation Bank is already working with Fiserv and NYDIG for the same. Its CEO Scott F. Kavanaugh said the banking industry “need(s) to lead in this area.”

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Author: AnTy

PBoC Talks Crypto ‘Hype’ with Banks and Institutions & Prohibits Use of Their Services

They will also increase the investigation and monitoring of customers, including exchanges and OTC dealers and capital transactions, and will take immediate action against those still involved because crypto trading “disrupt normal economic and financial order” and “infringe people’s property safety.”

  • The central bank of China summoned banks and payment institutions to talk about the speculation issues related to cryptocurrencies.

The People’s Bank of China met with the Industrial and Commercial Bank of China, Agricultural Bank of China, China Construction Bank, Postal Savings Bank of China, Industrial Bank, Alipay, and others and ordered them not to participate in virtual currency-related business activities.

The relevant departments of the People’s Bank of China pointed out that virtual currency trading activities disrupt the normal economic and financial order, breed the risks of illegal cross-border transfer of assets, money laundering, and other illegal and criminal activities, and seriously infringe the people’s property safety.

All banks and payment institutions are now asked to strictly implement the “Notice on Preventing Bitcoin Risks” and “Announcement on Preventing Token Issuance Financing Risks” and other regulatory requirements.

Banks and institutions are not to provide account opening, registration, and registration for related activities such as trading, clearing, and settlement.

They are to comprehensively investigate and identify virtual currency exchanges and over-the-counter (OTC) dealers’ capital accounts and cut off the payment link for transaction funds.

Furthermore, they must analyze the capital transaction characteristics of virtual currency trading hype activities, increase technical input, and improve abnormal transaction monitoring models.

Amidst this, the price of Huobi Technology’s shares rose, which according to local publication Wu Blockchain, could be due to the central bank’s “relatively mild” action.

Before PBOC’s statement came, the Agricultural Bank of China issued its own on Monday stating that it prohibits the use of its services for virtual currency transactions and related activities. Now, Alipay and others have also issued their related statements.

The decision has been made in accordance with the recent guidance from the relevant departments of the People’s Bank of China and the meeting of the Financial Committee of the State Council.

According to the statement, the third-largest bank in China prohibits customers’ access involving virtual currency transactions and will increase the investigation and monitoring of customers and capital transactions.

If customers are still involved, the bank will take measures against them immediately, including suspension of account transactions and termination of customer relationships. The translated version of the notice reads,

“In order to protect your legitimate rights and interests and the safety of funds in your account, please actively cooperate with our bank’s due diligence work, assist our bank in fulfilling its legal obligations, and crack down on illegal and criminal activities involving virtual currency mining and fund transactions.”

The bank is further urging customers to be on high alert to the risk associated with virtual currency-related business activities and to beware of being deceived.

While most banks in China released a similar notice in 2014 to stop customers from trading cryptos, this time is different in three regards. As per Wu Blockchain, the latest notice clearly shows the requirements of the central bank, requiring an investigation of past behavior and reporting that to the government.

On the negative side of things, China doesn’t seem to be done with its crackdown on crypto. On the positive side, “meaningful reversal in global markets just now, with equity futures doing a 180 turnaround and bonds giving back all overnight gains,” said trader and economist Alex Kruger.

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Author: AnTy

Crypto Exchange Bybit Suspends Trading for UK Customers Due to FCA Derivatives Ban

Crypto Exchange Bybit Suspends Trading for UK Customers Due to FCA Derivatives Ban

Crypto exchange platform Bybit is set to cease operations for UK-based customers citing the recent regulations issued by the regulator in regards to crypto derivatives.

In an official announcement, the firm stated that it would end its services to UK customers on March 31. The firm said the decision was reached in efforts to adhere to the regulations issued by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA). The exchange said,

“To comply with the Financial Conduct Authority’s (FCA) ban on crypto derivatives, Bybit will cease to provide services to customers from the United Kingdom.”

The firm is now advising its customers to close any positions and withdraw their entire funds before month-end.

Derivatives are financial instruments that monitor the prices of a given asset which in this case is cryptocurrency. Clients are not supposed to have any spot crypto when purchasing these products. Usually, high leverage is used for these products highly popular in the crypto space.

Last year, the UK financial regulator, FCA, prohibited the trading of crypto derivatives and exchange-traded notes (ETNs) in a move that sent shock waves in the market. The regulator said that these products were not suitable for retail clients as the underlying assets are highly volatile in nature.

The regulator started implementing the ban in January this year, but various firms such as Bybit still went on with the basic operations to the existing customers. However, this is set to change as customers based in the UK will not be permitted to create new accounts. Bybit stressed that sign-ups from UK phone numbers as well as IP addresses are henceforth restricted.

Bybit is ranked as one of the largest crypto derivatives in the world. CoinGecko reports that the exchange has transacted above $11 billion over the past day for just ten trading pairs.

The close of operations for UK-based clients is a major blow to the company as more than 5% of all the site’s visitors are from the UK.

Noteworthy, the firm stated that it was in talks with the UK authorities to find a solution for the existing and new clients.

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Author: Joseph Kibe

eToro and CEX Suspend Trading for US Customers; Grayscale Buys 3.23M XRP

eToro and CEX Suspend Trading for US Customers; Grayscale Buys 3.23 Million XRP

eToro, the social trading, and multi-asset brokerage company is the latest one to suspend XRP trading. The crypto-friendly firm will suspend trading on Jan. 3 for its US customers who will have until Jan. 24 to sell their XRP holdings.

Cryptocurrency exchange CEX, which manages about $11 million in volume also announced on Thursday that they will be delisting XRP for its US customers.

XRP XRP 6.48% XRP / USD XRPUSD $ 0.24
$0.02 6.48%
Volume 5.96 b Change $0.02 Open $0.24 Circulating 45.4 b Market Cap 10.86 b
8 h eToro and CEX Suspend Trading for US Customers; Grayscale Buys 3.23 Million XRP 1 d Binance US, Genesis, & Abra Suspends XRP Support; Bittrex & Uphold Clarifies No Plan to Delist 2 d SEC vs Ripple Pretrial Conference Set for Feb; Majority of Customers & XRP Volume Not in the US
trading and deposits will be halted on Jan. 14, 2021, while any open orders will be canceled a week after on Jan 21.

“XRP withdrawals are available,” stated the exchange adding that users from other countries are not affected.

Meanwhile, the reports of Grayscale selling a good 25% of its XRP holdings have been quashed by the company as it denied any such “large sales of underlying assets.”

As we reported the data from ByBt showed that Grayscale Investments’ sold 9.19 million XRP but now it shows that Grayscale’s XRP holdings have rather surged to 38.88 million as of Jan 1st, 2021 — an increase of 3.23 million XRP from Dec. 29.

Grayscale Investments XRP Holdings

Source: Bybt.com – Grayscale Investments XRP Holdings

Top exchanges like Binance, Bittrex, Bitstamp, and Coinbase have also discontinued XRP trading services for their US customers. Coinbase is also hit with a class-action lawsuit for allowing to trade XRP while knowing it was a security and profiting from the sale of the digital asset.

All these decisions have been made in the light of the recent Securities and Exchange Commission’s (SEC) action against Ripple Labs, Inc. The SEC alleges that Ripple and its two top executives, co-founder Charis Larsen and CEO Brad Garlinghouse sold unregistered security XRP.

The initial pretrial conference between both parties has been set for late February.

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Author: AnTy