DeFi Trading Startup, Dharma, Adds Ability to Buy Tokens Directly from Bank on UniSwap

Dharma, a DeFi-focused startup, has been given the green light to enable Automated Clearing House (ACH) trading for DeFi tokens within 13 states in the U.S. The startup, backed by Coinbase, has been making major strides in the burgeoning DeFi space, with the latest integration of the Uniswap DEX a few months back. The startup is optimistic about becoming the ‘Robinhood’ of crypto as per earlier comments from its CEO, Nadav Hollander.

“Our goal in building ‘the Robinhood of crypto’ is to bridge the final gap between these blossoming markets and the millions of individuals who will want to tap into them as they gain popularity and mindshare.”

The ACH service by Dharma will enable its U.S clients to make direct DeFi token purchases from their bank accounts. According to the milestone update, users will incur a 1.5% fee while the weekly purchase limits have been capped at $25,000. U.S states where this service is available to include Wyoming, Wisconsin, New Hampshire, Washington, Virginia, Texas, Pennsylvania, Montana, Michigan, Massachusetts, Georgia, California, and Arizona.

With the ACH service in place, Dharma’s prospects of pivoting as the ‘Robinhood’ of crypto have increased; Nadav noted that DeFi trading with their application would undoubtedly make the participation process simpler,

“Investing DeFi has, up until now, been a bifurcated and highly technical process. Now, it’s as easy as downloading an app and connecting your bank account.”

Notably, Dharma had earlier incentivized user participation by offering to cover the gas fees coupled with a no-fee, no-gas promotion in August. Its newly integrated ACH services are being supported by APIs from a Fintech giant dubbed ‘Plaid.’ Nadav told CoinDesk in an email that they are leveraging services from an active crypto-focused bank. However, he did not disclose the name.

“We are processing ACH transfers through a direct partnership with a well-known bank active in the crypto space.”

Dharma’s journey in the DeFi space has evolved quite fast; the startup secured $7 million in a funding round back in February 2019. At the time, Dharma’s focus was an Ethereum based lending service; it later moved to stablecoin-oriented savings and finally the Uniswap integration.

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Author: Edwin Munyui

C.R.E.A.M Finance Goes Live on Binance Smart Chain; Deposits Jump Past $300 Million

Earlier this month, Binance announced the launch of Binance Smart Chain to enable the creation of smart contracts and the staking mechanism for BNB.

At that time, it announced Ethereum-based Cream as its DeFi collaborator, and today the DeFi project has gone live on Binance Smart Chain.

Unlike the sky-high costs on the Ethereum network, BSC boasts of only $0.05 – $0.10 per transaction.

“BSC never aimed to replace ETH, BSC is just ETH-compatible. Smart projects are giving their users more options. Option for cheaper fees,” said Binance CEO Changpeng “CZ” Zhao.

Binance is speeding up its efforts to keep up with the DeFi world. Recently, it announced a $100 million fund to connect the DeFi and CeFi world with “support for Yield Farming with major crypto assets coming soon to Binance Smart Chain.”

As Binance chases DeFi, its native token BNB enjoys the greens of 18% to trade at $27.5.

Meanwhile, right from the launch of Cream on BSC, the tokens supported are BNB, BUSD, BTC, ETH, XRP, BCH, and LTC.

“The Binance ecosystem and its reach of 400,000+ accounts and fiat gateways covering over 170 countries and regions will help get DeFi into mass adoption,” states Cream’s official announcement.

Since its launch two months back, C.R.E.A.M Finance has amassed $309 million in deposits or total value locked (TVL), $224 million of which were added just this week — making it the 10th largest DeFi project as per DeFi pulse.

This week, the DeFi aggregator also launched an automated market maker (AMM) called ‘Swap,’ a market that is increasingly getting crowded with new projects popping up every other day.

A fork of Balancer, Swap comes with a slightly lower fee structure than the popular Uniswap with support for Yearn, Aave, Compound, Balancer, Uniswap, and TokenSet besides its own tokens.

The governance token of the project is currently trading at $252 in green. In the past seven days, Cream has jumped 170% in value and made its ATH at $289 on Wednesday.

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Author: AnTy

Chainlink to Provide Decentralized Weather Data for Arbol’s Crop Derivatives on Ethereum

Chainlink has partnered with Arbol, a crop insurance startup, to enable farmers to hedge against weather risks based on Ethereum’s smart contract infrastructure. Arbol will leverage Chainlink’s decentralized data feed to keep its fundamentals up to date such that the farmers are settled in time and at the prevailing market prices.

Arbol’s smart contract ecosystem will feature derivatives whose underlying will be weather patterns. Chainlink, therefore, plays a vital role given its oracle network will be the one providing decentralized weather data from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), amongst others. The blog announcement by Arbol reads,

“This ensures that not only is the smart contract itself tamper-resistant and immutable (thanks to the Ethereum blockchain), but the inputs that trigger the smart contracts are equally secure and reliable thanks to Chainlink.”

A Better Alternative to Traditional Insurance?

Arbol argues that its derivative-based crop insurance product proposes a greater value than the current ecosystems. Some challenges posed include inefficiencies in claim payouts as well as a lack of niche products for players along the food supply chain. Given such shortcomings, the startup, which made a debut in 2019, is now convinced that decentralization works much better in farming risk management.

For starters, the weather derivative products are not as binding as traditional contracts, which in most cases favor insurance firms. With decentralization, any farmer can predict weather outcomes and take safe positions based on market availability. In addition to this, interested stakeholders from all over the world can also finance the Ethereum-built ecosystem.

Last but not least is the ability to settle based on pre-coded parametric as opposed to human subjected processes. This will allow farmers to get their ‘insurance’ faster than they would have from a centralized financial institution.

“The ability to settle immediately upon receipt of Chainlink data allows businesses and farmers to recover immediately. Thus, they now have the working capital to, for example, purchase seeds or resume operations rapidly, as opposed to waiting months of delay to settle.”

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Author: Edwin Munyui

CoinMarketCap Launches ‘Earn’ Initiative That Will Pay Users to Learn Crypto

Leading crypto metrics site, CoinMarketCap, has launched an initiative that will enable its account holders to earn tokens for learning about projects in the industry. Dubbed ‘CoinMarketCap Earn,’ this program intends to scale educational activity in the crypto space as opposed to providing investment or financial advice. Notably, a similar initiative was launched by Coinbase back in 2019, although it runs as an education rewards program.

The CoinMarketCap Earn program is an interesting prospect, given the platform’s cutting edge in crypto traffic. A good percentage of stakeholders in the industry, including newcomers, visit the site regularly for price updates alongside other market stats. With such an established audience, its Earn program could onboard millions into the crypto ecosystem.

According to the FAQs on CoinMarketCap Earn, the program will enable interested users to watch educational videos of featured crypto or blockchain projects, after which they will take quizzes. Should one be successful in answering all the quiz questions, they can earn up to $10 worth of the project’s underlying tokens.

A source from CoinMarketCap has since told The Block that the program will be featuring two projects every month with an 8-day campaign period for the token offers. While the news comes as a boost to the crypto community, markets including Mainland China and the U.S, have been excluded from the product. This is where Coinbase, which serves the American market, still beats CoinMarketCap despite a recent acquisition by Binance.

Band Protocol Debuts First

Following the progress made towards crypto education, Band protocol, which is a cross-chain focused on data oracles for the smart contract and DeFi space, will be first to launch an earning program. The Sequoia Capital-backed project has already allocated $160,000 worth of its native tokens ‘BAND’ to this course. Band Protocol CEO, Solaris Srinawakoon, emphasized on the value addition in scaling crypto education,

“Education is key to accelerating the use of crypto assets, and we are thrilled to be part of CoinMarketCap’s efforts to help users learn more about their underlying technology.”

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Author: Edwin Munyui

Binance Opens Fiat-to-Crypto Trading Platform for the Australian Market

Binance has launched a new fiat-to-crypto platform for the Australian market, a move that will enable its users from the down south to be able to buy digital assets as well as trade them against the local currency, AUD. The crypto exchange announced the milestone in a blog post on July 28, noting that Australians will now have access to a broader range of digital assets compared to the portfolio under Binance Lite Australia, a crypto brokerage initiative launched for this market back in March 2019.

Binance touted the new platform as ‘fast, secure and reliable’ given its underlying value proposition to the Aussies. With this new initiative, users operating in the Australian market will be able to make AUD deposits on Binance from their bank accounts through PayID. As for withdrawals, users only have to link their bank accounts with Binance Australia to initiate such a request. Currently, Binance Australia’s services are available on mobile web and desktop, with the app set to be integrated later.

Binance Founder and CEO, known as CZ in the crypto space, has since noted this underlying potential in Australia and an opportunity for Binance to flex muscles down south as well,

“Australia has been at the forefront of blockchain innovation with favorable policies. By providing a secure and regulated platform for trading digital currencies with AUD, Binance Australia aims to make crypto more accessible among Australian users, furthering our mission to provide crypto access and drive freedom of money worldwide.”

Binance Global Expansion Streak

This top crypto exchange has been making inroads to a number of markets in recent months as more stakeholders demand crypto services in their local jurisdictions. One strategy that the firm appears to have mastered is running local subsidiaries through affiliate partners. Binance Australia, for instance, is run by a locally registered crypto exchange dubbed ‘InvestbyBit, Pty,’ which is closely related to crypto payment service provider, TravelbyBit.

Some of the markets that the exchange has recently expanded to include the U.S, South Korea, Jersey, and Uganda. In addition to this, Binance has also signaled that it will soon launch its service in the U.K as it looks to scale its market position even further. Apart from expanding its trading services, the CZ led crypto exchange has been aggressively listing new digital currencies to its P2P trading ecosystem.

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Author: Edwin Munyui

Stellar Community to Vote on ‘Protocol 13’ Update; Will Equip Exchanges with ‘Fine-Grained Control’

Stellar’s community is preparing for a vote that will enable crypto exchanges within its ecosystem to exercise more regulatory oversight. Dubbed ‘Protocol 13′, the new set of updates includes other modifications as well meant to improve the Stellar user experience. Notably, this vote is expected to take place later in the week.

In this new update, a ‘fine-grained control’ approach will be enabled such that exchanges will have control over specific digital asset activity. This means that a service provider in this line can authorize for independent action on every digital currency transaction as opposed to the existing version, which affects even legitimate orders. An earlier post from the Stellar Development Foundation (SDF), had alluded that,

“Often, issuers of regulated assets want customers to be able to trade their assets, but they also need to exert a high level of control over who can hold them, how much they can hold and under what conditions they can sell or buy more,”

Stellar’s Proposed Protocol 13

Should the community vote to pass this initiative, onboarding securities in blockchain and crypto ecosystems might become much more accessible. Usually, the headache comes in regulation given the stringent oversight requirements by financial watchdogs like the SEC. However, Stellar’s Protocol 13 now proposes a solution for this quagmire based on the ‘red flags’ that allow one to “revoke authorization while maintaining orders on the books.”

Interestingly, this protocol will also provide the flexibility of altering regulations over time based on industry developments such that a counterparty can view the status,

“With fine-grained asset control, an issuer of a regulated asset can set the asset to require the new kind of authorization … and when a user wants to make a payment or new offer, the issuer can check to see if it’s allowed given regulation.”

It is quite noteworthy that Stellar had already integrated block functions for exchanges to deny services to investors in sanctioned countries such as North Korea and Iran. Also, market manipulation through large stock purchases is currently limited by a 5% cap unless one fills Schedule 13(D) disclosure with the SEC.

Other Updates

Apart from the authorization update, the soon to be voted protocol 13 includes a fee bump function. This feature is meant to assist transacting parties in the quick recovery of their user fees and bump up the cost on low-value payments for settlement during high network frequency. Another feature is a ‘multiplexed’ account to enable the separation of balances held by different sub-accounts under a custodial service provider.

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Author: Edwin Munyui

DigiByte Collaborates With Threefold Grid To Further P2P Decentralized Internet Capabilities

  • DigiByte onboards ThreeFold grid to enable their developers and communities to deploy Digibyte nodes on the peer to peer ecosystem.
  • The grid is now available to over 21 jurisdictions globally.

Peer to peer Internet firm, ThreeFold through a post revealed a partnership with DigiByte. They intend to harness Blockchain’s capabilities to promote a fully decentralized internet ecosystem.

They now seek to combine their efforts to launch user and developer projects on the peer to peer grid managed by ThreeFold. The developer community from DigiByte, now with access to the grid, allowing them to deploy their DigiByte nodes independently by utilizing smart contracts feature on the ThreeFold network.

The alliance has also urged potential contributors from DigiByte communities to take advantage of the grid’s potential for their own personal use. Laid down step by step procedures for launching the DigiByte nodes have also been provided on a ThreeFold forum

DGB-Threefold

DigiByte launched in 2013, has morphed to provide one of the most secure UTXO Blockchain thereby capturing a large following in the crypto communities. It is governed by the DigiByte foundation, a non-profit mostly ensuring that the decentralized nature of the Blockchain is upheld.

With their DGB currently trading at $0.018444 recording trading volumes of around $14,527,464 in the past 24 hours. There are about 13,183,077,253 DGB in circulation according to Coinmarketcap as per this writing.

DigiByte co-founder, Rudy Bouwman was particularly proud to work with ThreeFold according to his twitter post.

“The @DGB_Foundation is proud to be a partner to ensure further global decentralization.”

Having been live for almost two years the ThreeFold grid has extended its reach to global scales now covering over 21 nations. This year April they launched their ThreeFold Grid V2.0 supporting a min of 600 active nodes boasting bandwidth capabilities of over 40 million Gigs. Other partners now in their fold are HP, TomoChain and Stellar.

Founder recently step down from DigiByte Active management role

Notably, DigiByte Founder, Jared Tate recently stepped down, distancing himself from any direct contribution to the firm. In a series of tweets, he ranted about the main motivation of the majority of stakeholders being mere short term profits.

He was opined that the very beneficiaries of DigiByte should be able to give back citing individuals and organizations that have milked the DigiByte cash cow and yet never contribute to the growth of its ecosystem.

“All 90% of the people care for is cashing out when a coin “moons.” Its a primal force. I get that. But every day I see this tech being used to enrich the few at the expense of the long term good of the many.”

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Author: Lujan Odera

MyEtherWallet Launches New Mobile App For Fast And Secure Ethereum Purchases

  • MyEtherWallet (MEW) has released a mobile application that will enable ERC-20 token users to buy crypto in less than 15 seconds.
  • The digital wallet provider partnered with Wyre who is meant to facilitate crypto payments within this ecosystem.

The past few years have seen more users leverage MEW wallet to securely store their crypto assets. This open-source platform consequently emerged as a market leader as a non-custodial interface for Ethereum users and is now set to scale its market base with the new mobile app.

They have designed the new wallet to seamlessly connect to users’ MEWConnect accounts so that it can be a smooth, yet fast and secure upgrade.

The MEW Mobile App

This new innovation aims to onboard more users to the Ethereum network through convenience. Basically, the app is designed to allow the quick purchase of crypto coins via existing payment channels like credit cards. Kosala Hemachandra, the founder of MEW, highlighted in a statement that they are among pioneer providers of this service;

“We are one of the first Ether wallets. We are not about creating the most fashionable things, instead, we want to make Ethereum accessible to as many people as possible.

We realize that now, more and more, people are mobile-first. That is why we created a mobile app.”

As it stands, the platform has integrated Apple pay within its network so that iOS users will avoid the long KYC process as Wyre will handle this based on the user’s Apple Pay personal information. MEW has since placed a 3.99% face fee for the U.S while other regions will incur 5.25% to use the service. Android users will, however, have to stick with card providers to initiate crypto purchases on the MEW mobile app.

Hemachandra also highlighted that MEW’s mobile app will provide top-notch security and will continue to offer only non-custodial services. According to him, private keys will be hosted within the devices since;

“phones now have a secure chip which is architecturally separated from the rest of the phone. We store encryption keys in this secure chip, it’s capable of generating encryption keys by itself, we never see it,”

This evolution by MEW into mobile apps marks a milestone for the company in scaling its market. The firm’s business will not only be crypto exchange services but also a fiat link for new crypto market entrants.

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Author: Edwin Munyui

Paxos Adds Auto-Conversion, Directly Swap Fiat To PAX or Binance USD (BUSD) Stablecoins

On Tuesday, Paxos announced the launching of a fresh feature which will enable customers to instantly wire transfer money from different deposit bank accounts directly to Paxos Standard as well as Binance USD. In reverse, BUSDor PAX received by the given Ethereum address will instantly be sent back to the client’s bank account in the form of USD, CoinDesk reports.

Paxos senior product manager, Zack Kwartler, explained that the new feature will be known as Auto-Transfers and will be available in all banks within the US. He explained that there is a need for blockchain-based financial solutions to be closer to the real financial world and Paxos is using this new feature to bring more dollars to the world of blockchain.

Kwartler also explained that Paxos want to change the narrative that stablecoins can only be used for crypto trading and show that they can help in payments as well.

Paxos has been aggressive in the introduction of new services and products in the market in the last few months. Last week, the firm introduced tokenized gold futures dubbed PAX Gold which is currently available on FTX exchange. Additionally, the firm was awarded a no-action license by SEC to enable it settle Equities products through a private blockchain.

The new feature will make it easy for traders to trade on both the PAXD and BUSD as well as open up the payment systems to the two stablecoins. It will now be easier for users to pay using the two stablecoins.

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Author: Joseph Kibe

Lisk’s Lightcurve Blockchain Studio To Layoff 40% Its Workforce To Reduce Burn Rate

The blockchain project Lightcurve has made the decision to lay off 40 percent of its employees in order to enable moving forward in the market. It is worth mentioning that Lightcurve is part of the open-source platform Lisk, which is powered by a cryptocurrency called LSK and is among the top 100 largest cryptos in the space.

Lisk’s Lightcurve Blockchain Project Reduces Its Staff

Volatility in the cryptocurrency market continues to show its effects on different crypto and blockchain projects. The CEO and co-founder of Lisk, Max Kordek, said on Discord that Lightcurve had to fire 21 employees considering they had to reduce costs. The company had 53 employees that will now become 32.

They will not only help in reducing costs but they will also be focusing on keeping talent in the research and backend development sectors. Meanwhile, frontend development, marketing, and other operations would be downsized.

This staff reduction would also allow the company to become ‘more agile,’ considering a large degree of the funds were going to human resources. Lightcurve is currently based in Berlin, Germany, and the remaining employees will continue with their jobs at the firm.

This is not the first time that a blockchain and a crypto-related company decides to reduce its number of employees. Circle, for example, informed back in May this year that they were reducing staff by 10 percent. This represented 30 employees at that time.

Furthermore, the blockchain firm ConsenSys decided at the end of 2018 that they were reducing the number of employees to rebalance their priorities. After this lay off of around 10% of its staff, the company announced a new roadmap for ConsenSys and a change in its business strategy. And just recently they are parting ways with operations in India and the Philippines.

Chainalysis is another firm that decided to lay off 20% of its workforce to remain profitable while operating in the market. Huobi Global laid off Australian employees back in Feb.

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Author: Carl T