Anchorage Adds Institutional Custody Support For Ripple’s XRP With The Help of Xpring

The digital custody provider Anchorage announced they have added support for XRP.

By market capitalization, XRP occupies the third place in the top of the largest cryptocurrencies. It’s used by Ripple for all international payments. Before Thursday, it was the only cryptocurrency in the top 3 that Anchorage didn’t support. From now on, it has become available with the custodian, but only for institutional investors.

Anchorage Supports Other 18 Digital Assets

Anchorage’s support for XRP started formally on the Anchorage website on Wednesday. Here’s what the president of the company, Diogo Monica, had to say about the news:

“As the third-largest digital asset by market cap, XRP appeals to a number of our institutional clients, which include VC funds, family offices, hedge funds, and other large-scale crypto investors.”

A press release from Anchorage mentions that a large number of institutions already happen to hold XRP. There are 18 other digital assets that the custodian supports, and Monica said the custodian wants to add support for many other more of them that meet the bar.

Anchorage Is Committed to Security

Anchorage seems to be very committed to provide security for the custody product that it has to offer, which is definitely world-class. The XRP community thinks the new Anchorage support is a great addition for XRP holders. The addition makes total sense, seeing that Ripple, the company behind XRP, is continuing to close partnerships with big names in the cross-border payments world, such as Philippines-based Azimo, the US-Mexico corridor’s MoneyGram and Intermex. According to Brad Garlinghouse, Ripple’s CEO, XRP valued at $54 million were sent between the US and Mexico only one week in February.

Anchorage Collaborated with Xpring

In order to integrate XRP, Anchorage collaborated with Ripple’s developer platform Xpring. It also said that it may add new advanced XRP functions such as payment channels in order to allow users to send payments that aren’t synchronous and that get settled at a later date. When the custodian’s future plans regarding Facebook’s Libra were mentioned, Monica said that the company is working with blockchain developers.

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Author: Oana Ularu

Current Market Environment A Big Test For Bitcoin.Bitcoin Achieves A Big Win Over The Stock Market In The First Quarter of 2020

Bitcoin was trading around $6,200 on April Fool’s Day, then the digital asset took a hike of over $500. Currently, we are trading over $6,750, up about 8.23% in the past 24 hours.

While the price of bitcoin jumped yesterday, US stocks closed in the red on Wednesday. The second quarter is not looking off to a great start, with the Dow, S&P 500, and Nasdaq Composite all finishing 4.4% lower.

Could this be the start of the decoupling? It’s to be seen as experts are still calling out the equities to find its bottom and if bitcoin manages to hold the fort then, it would be a good sign for the digital asset.

For now, major global markets are mixed on Thursday, with Futures markets pointing to a positive opening for Wall Street ahead of weekly jobless claims data expected later today in the United States.

Meanwhile, the longer-term Treasury bonds rose suggesting investors continue to see them as a safe haven asset. Gold prices also rose along with oil.

A Quarterly Win

Not just yesterday, Bitcoin has also decreased to less than the leading US equity indices in the 1st quarter.

In the 1st quarter of this year, the world’s leading cryptocurrency fell over 10% and in comparison, in the same quarter the Dow performance was it’s worst ever, with a loss of 23% of its value. S&P 500 also had its worst first quarter ever by recording 20% losses, the biggest quarterly loss since 2008.

Meanwhile, gold prices rose by 4% in the first quarter.

This volatility in three months had been the result of the coronavirus outbreak that turned into a pandemic, with an unimaginable amount of people infected around the globe leading to the shut of business and lockdowns.

The economic impact from the novel coronavirus is predicted to be drastic which contributed to an enormous sell-off in the markets even with central banks putting forth stimulus policies.

A big test for Bitcoin

Despite Bitcoin crashing 48% and still being under pressure, a shift might be taking place. Vijay Ayyar, from crypto exchange Luno said,

“Bitcoin is still a relatively smaller asset class that is increasingly uncorrelated to traditional asset classes and this is in the process of being established as we speak.”

“This is why I believe the current market environment is a big test for Bitcoin and given how young the asset class is, it has actually held up quite well.”

He pointed out how gold is an already established safe haven asset and bitcoin is “arguably a second choice at this point” given its small but growing user base. Ayyar said,

“Hence, we’re seeing bitcoin lag gold a bit in terms of performance, but one can argue that as we move along in the next few months and years, bitcoin starts to take larger share away from gold and we will see an eventual ‘flippening’ happen, where bitcoin is at, or larger than, the market cap of gold and market movements in bitcoin start to reflect the overall market more accurately”

Interestingly, the market has already started to see action as Coinbase reported a 5x increase in deposits, twice the new user signups, and three times more trading users in the 48 hours of the crash.

Another US-based crypto exchange recorded an 83% rise in its signups and a 300% increase in verification, that is the KYC process to deposit fiat money instantly. Kraken is also on a hiring spree.

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Author: AnTy

France’s Central Bank Requests Proposals For CBDC ‘Experiments’ To Show Use Cases

The Banque de France made public on March 27 a request for digital currency experiment applications, in an attempt to understand the mechanisms and risks CBDCs pose in the eurozone.

France comes upfront when it comes to the digital currencies debate, being the eurozone member with the highest profile as far as launching a CBDC goes next to Sweden, where the Riksbank is also trying to digitize currency using the krona.

4 Years Since the Banque de France is Advocating Fintech Projects

Banque de France has been advocating experimental and more advanced fintech projects since 4 years ago. It has been posting jobs and holding speeches on CBDC development all the time. Here’s what its governor, François Villeroy de Galhau, said in a speech on CBDCs from December 4:

“We as central banks must and want to take up this call for innovation at a time when private initiatives – especially payments between financial players – and technologies are accelerating, and public and political demand is increasing.”

3 CBDC Usage Cases Addressed

France has been tackling 3 CBDC use cases, such as payment against digital assets, payments against financial instruments and payments against other central banks. It doesn’t advocate money creation and says the bank’s tokens books should be destroyed when each payment day ends. Furthermore, it plans to examine the potential impact of CBDCs on market infrastructures, regulatory frameworks, macroeconomic factors and monetary policy.

The Development of a Blockchain-Based CBDC Not Necessary

When it comes to technology, the bank said that it’s neutral and doesn’t necessarily want to develop a blockchain-based CBDC, being open to innovative solutions. On July 10, 10 project applicants that have to come from the EU will be selected. However, all this doesn’t mean the bank is going to necessarily issue a CBDC. Here is what it said in a statement:

“Indeed, any decision to create a CBDC is a matter for the Eurosystem. Consequently, the Banque de France does not intend to perpetuate or conduct such experiments on a widespread basis.”

Christine Lagarde, who has been France’s minister of economy and now runs the European Central Bank, has always been pro the ECB developing a CBDC, ever since she became the head of the institution in November 2019.

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Author: Oana Ularu

Former CFTC Chairman Giancarlo’s Digital Dollar Project Adds 22 Members to Advisory Board

Digital Dollar Foundation, an outfit that is pushing for the creation of a digital dollar in the US, has now announced its board of advisors. The foundation is led by ex-CFTC executives Chris Giancarlo (aka Crypto Dad) as well as Daniel Gorfine who has also roped in Accenture.

According to a press release, the new board of advisors was unveiled on Thursday and consists of 24 people who will work together towards the development of a US CBDC.

The advisory board brings together experts with broad backgrounds in both the finance industry as well as payment technologies. Some of the members include exCFTC commissioner Sharon Bowen, Usman Ahmed who is PayPal’s policy official, fintech law professor Chris Brummer, Sheila Warren who is the head of blockchain efforts in the World Economic Forum (WEF), as well as DRW’s CEO Don Wilson. As well as the former Treasury Undersecretary in charge of Terrorism and Financial Intelligence, Sigal Mandelkar and former President Trump’s adviser Tim Morrison.

The Digital Dollar Foundation looks forward to advocating for research as well as discussion on the possible benefits that comes with the use of a US CBDC. The new board will explore how a digital dollar will operate as well as scale. The group will also explore if a digital dollar can be utilized in private transactions.

Giancarlo explained that the board consists of individuals from different sectors who are experts in monetary policy, commercial and central banking, privacy law, KYC/AML, economics, tax and other relevant disciplines that are crucial in the exploration of how a digital dollar will be used and its impact on the US and the global economy. Giancarlo explained:

“The insights and expertise of the new advisory group members will be invaluable as we work together to help make the dollar a more effective and smarter currency in an increasingly digital global economy.”

The developments come as legislators are haggling on how a digital dollar which is non-crypto can help in the distribution of funds to US citizens at a time when the world is fighting the Corona pandemic.

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Author: Joseph Kibe

Hyperledger Fast Tracks Dev of Ethereum Based eThaler As US Central Bank Digital Dollar

  • A lot of talks have emerged on the possibility of the Federal Reserve issuing a digital dollar as part of the $2.2 trillion dollar stimulus package to fight the COVID-19 pandemic being a key turning point in the discussions.
  • Now, an Ethereum-based project is accelerating its efforts in the development of a platform that will potentially allow the Fed to directly send cash to an individual.

eThaler Set To Create Central Bank Digital Currency (CBDC)

At a planned meeting at Hyperledger, a blockchain consortium, it was decided to accelerate its efforts in the development of eThaler, an Ethereum based project aiming to create a CBDC. While the need for a CBDC has only been a priority to a small number of governments, the current COVID-19 virus pandemic, is setting a new stage for governments to become more “blockchain-friendly,” the U.S becoming the latest superpower to join the race.

In February, a clear use of the CBDC started to show as California Congresswoman and chair of the House Financial Services Committee, Maxine Waters, introduced the concept of a digital dollar, firing up the accelerated development of Hyperledger’s, eThaler.

Vipin Bharathan, 59, chair of the Hyperledger identity working group said,

“The concept of the CBDC seems to have gotten an imprimatur from the house finance committee. That’s a significant step, and I argue that such crisis situations always produce new ideas, and acceptance of new ideas, which will live on long after the coronavirus has burned through the world.”

Development of the eThaler, CBDC project

Over the past six months, developers across the world have kept working on open-source projects – professionals from Accenture and InfoSys and the Itau Bank in Brazil – leading the charge. The token follows the ERC-1125 standard, which differs from the conventional ERC-20 token standards by providing a single standard designed to support multiple kinds of tokens.

The token is expected to be fungible, mintable and destroyable through a burning process similar to Binance Coin (BNB) structure. Notwithstanding the CBDC is expected to be highly divisible to allow micropayments across the system, a feature currently unavailable with fiat currency.

“Lastly, and perhaps most controversially, the asset must be “pausable” in case a bug in the software is discovered, or an update is being implemented.” – Forbes.

Criticisms of the CBDC

Despite the accelerated development of the platform, it may not be used for the current disbursement of the $2.2 trillion dollar relief fund with several critics coming forward to disclaim the formation of a CBDC.

First, the legacy finance argument is that most of the currency across the world is already on a digital platform. Doubling up, is the Bitcoin community who believe that the central banks interference still makes the blockchain centralized hence defeating the purpose.

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Author: Lujan Odera

Galaxy Digital’s Novogratz Remains Bullish as Ever on BTC: “This is the Time for Bitcoin”

The price of Bitcoin has surged 74% from the low the digital currency put on March 12. However, we are still down 36% from 2020 high of about $10,500. But according to billionaire investor Mike Novogratz instead of panicking, this should be taken as a buy the dip opportunity.

In a recent interview with CNBC, the Galaxy Digital Holdings’ CEO said, “If there was ever a time — debasement of fiat currencies, monetization of trillions of dollars of debt, this is the time for Bitcoin.”

The bitcoin bull predicted on Tuesday that the world’s leading cryptocurrency would rally this year as it was designed after the 2008 financial crisis to be an alternative when central banks “run amok.”

In recent weeks, we saw central banks around the world announcing trillions of dollars in stimulus to pump in the financial markets and promising every step necessary to combat the impact of coronavirus on their economies.

“It needs to rally this year,” said Novogratz. “If at the end of the year Bitcoin’s not a lot higher, I’m going to scratch my head and say, ‘Look, what the heck is going on?’”

Bitcoin Looking Promising

Currently, BTC/USD is trading under $6,700 after surging to $6,990 after the $2 trillion stimulus coronavirus bill was passed. The move yet again followed the stock market. Yesterday, the Dow Industrial Average had its historic rise only today to swing between gains and losses.

Meanwhile, one technical indicator, GTI VERA Convergence Divergence is flashing a buy signal. Moreover, according to Christel Quek, co-founder of Bolt Global,

“It could be very likely that traditional investors are seeking to regain liquidity through profit hunting from crypto assets as equities are negative worldwide.”

However, in the short-term, in the next 1 to 2 months, economist and trader Alex Kruger sees everything from equities, their volatility, bitcoin if it remains risk-on, and crude oil to be lower.

It’s worth noting, in less than two months, Bitcoin will experience its third reward halving that would cut down miners block rewards while the cost of mining bitcoin will surge between $12000 to $15,000.

In the next six months, the economist sees equities and gold higher while his 12 months’ view is everything from equities, its volatility, gold to bitcoin going higher. But the main risk he said is if the equities’ bottom is in because of the rising coronavirus cases and the period of lockdown in the US.

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Author: AnTy

Bitfinex Rolls Out Shimmer Surveillance Tool To Reduce Suspicious Trading Activities

One of the largest digital currency exchanges, Bitfinex, has made on Tuesday the announcement that it’s going to deploy a proprietary surveillance tool that can combat all the abuse happening in the crypto trading market.

The tool is called Shimmer and will help Bitfinex both identify and investigate potential suspicious and manipulative practices, an activity that’s supposed to improve the market’s visibility and integrity, according to the exchange.

Bitfinex Decided to Develop Its Own Surveillance System

Bitfinex’s CTO, Paolo Ardoino, said about the new tool that:

“Comprehensive market and trade surveillance capabilities are integral to operating a leading cryptocurrency exchange. To meet the complex needs of an evolving digital asset class and to protect our sophisticated participants, Bitfinex has chosen to develop its own state-of-the-art surveillance system. This will help to assure that potentially manipulative practices are rooted out and suspicious behaviour detected.”

In case Shimmer finds anything unusual, it immediately sends the details of the potential manipulation to the exchange’s surveillance team. The information arrives in the form of emails and includes summaries of the suspicious trading patterns on the exchange’s pairs.

What Measures Will be Taken to Stop Manipulation?

One of Shimmer’s ways to block manipulative tactics is wash trading. Wash trading can take place when users buy and sell assets to mislead the market, or are trying layering, the situation of buy orders being used to confuse what’s being circulated about the demand and supply of a specific token.

Bitfinex Suspected of Market Manipulation

Some voices are saying Shimmer is only a mirage, as Bitfinex has ties with Crypto Capital, the controversial payment processing company. It seems the exchange lost funds worth about $1 billion more than a year ago, and the money were in Crypto Capital’s holding. Crypto Capital claims Portuguese, American and Polish officials have seized those funds.

In other words, Bitfinex faces charges of manipulation the market itself, seeing it lost so much through Crypto Capital. More than this, iFinex, which is the company owning Bitfinex and Tether, has a lawsuit going on. This lawsuit was filed by the New York Attorney General’s office and charges the iFinex with using Tether reserves illegally to replace about $850 million of Bitfinex users’ funds.

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Author: Oana Ularu

China Moves Closer to Issuing its Digital Currency in the Face of Coronavirus: Report

  • Alibaba, the company involved in the development of China’s digital currency filed for a patent related to the digital currency
  • The news came hot on the heels of new coronavirus bill in Congress proposing a digital dollar

The People’s Bank of China is getting nearer to releasing its digital currency, reports The Global Times.

According to the latest report, China’s central bank in collaboration with private companies has completed the development of the basic function of the autonomous digital currency and is now drafting laws for its circulation.

Many companies in the private sector, most located in Shenzhen such as Alibaba, Huawei, Tencent, and China Merchant Bank are the participants in the development of China’s digital currency.

Alibaba’s financial arm, Alipay, has made public 5 patents pertinent to China’s  digital currency from 1/21 to 3/17.

The patents address digital wallets, issuance, transaction recording, and anti-money laundering aspects of the digital currency.

The next step in this process is working with financial services and regulators of insurance as well as passing legislation that could be lengthy and as such no exact date has been set for the launch.

Coronavirus Pandemic Pushing for the Need of Digital Currency

This report came close on the heels of the US considering creating a digital dollar to save the US economy from the impact of the coronavirus pandemic. The virtual greenback could be used to send payments of $1,000 for minors and $2,000 to legal adults.

Both the draft bills “Take Responsibility for Workers and Families Act” and the “Financial Protections and Assistance for America’s Consumers, States, Businesses, and Vulnerable Populations Act,” suggest the creation of a digital dollar.

Digital currency is seen as the “most convenient tool” to translate central banks’ zero and negative interest policy to commercial banks.

Citing the industry insiders, the Global Times also reported China should accelerate the availability of its digital currency as interest rates are driven into negative territory around the world to improve liquidity in the market amidst the coronavirus pandemic.

According to Cao Yan, vice director of the Advanced Research Institute of Blockchain, the central bank should accelerate the launch of its CBDC due to the Covid-19 global pandemic. Cao said,

“If there is a chance China is considering lowering its interest rate into negative territory as a final option and directing such policy to commercial loans and lending, a circulated digital currency rather than M0 will be able to achieve that.”

He believes the development of the digital currency would be more efficient if the bank works with private institutions that are involved with blockchain technology and 3rd party payment processes.

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Author: AnTy

Bitfinex Exchange to Remove 87 Crypto Trading Pairs Next Week to Improve Liquidity

Invoking low liquidity, the digital assets and crypto trading platform Bitfinex announces that it’s going to delist more than 87 of its trading pairs starting next week.

The move indicates an increased competition in the market, especially within the altcoin space, which can lead to greater volatility. Some altoins will only lose their Ethereum (ETH), or Bitcoin (BTC) pairing, while others will be completely dropped from the exchange.

Bitfinex Has Many Trading Pairs

Bitfinex, known for its vast selection of altcoins to trade against BTC/ETH helped it to achieve its success early on. However, it has witnessed a substantial drop in volume in the last 2 years. It has lost its popularity as one of the top exchanges in the market, especially for newcomers.

Removing the coins that aren’t performing as well as they once did is only logical. This change will improve and consolidate liquidity, which would further lead to a more optimized and streamlined trading experience for Bitfinex users.

The Crypto Community Is Not Very Supportive of Bitfinex

This move may not come as a surprise to most crypto traders, the exchange dropped out of the ranking as a top exchange when users became skeptical about the financial situation between the exchange and its sister company, Tether.  So much so that the NYAG filed a suit against them.

While the cryptocurrency space is becoming more and more mainstream, the Bitfinex’s position is unsustainable. Not only popular among traders and having a large trading pair selection, but Binance has also worked to comply with governmental laws and regulators, not to mention it offers transparency when it comes to operations. This is the reason why it has shown so much growth lately.

Altcoins Will Be Impacted by the Delisting

This delisting is not the only one in the altcoin space as of late. Many crypto enthusiasts said platforms are going to fail at some point, so being cut by exchanges is just the beginning.

Earlier this year Bittrex and Poloniex have also dropped their alts that weren’t performing so well. The challenge for projects isn’t to only have a high market cap or to be listed but to implement the adoption and use of blockchain technology, which is a criterion most altcoins won’t meet.

You can find the full list of pairs here.

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Author: Oana Ularu