FTX Launches Trading of Tokenized Shares in Partnership with German CM Equity AG

Cryptocurrency derivatives exchange FTX will now allow its users to trade not just crypto but tokenized shares of big giants and some of the world’s most popular companies like Amazon, Apple, Netflix, Facebook, and Tesla.

These tokenized equity offerings are backed by the shares of actual stocks, custodied by CM-Equity, and can be redeemed for the underlying shares.

For now, trading is available on more than 12 equity and cryptocurrency pairs like BTC and stablecoins.

Because the tokens represent a fraction of one share, traders will be able to trade even half of a share if they want. Erik Voorhees, CEO of crypto exchange ShapeShift said,

“American companies cannot offer or compete with this. I’m glad intl companies can still innovate, and that crypto breaks down all borders over time.”

There have been some concerns in the crypto community about FTX breaking US regulations by offering trading opportunities for stock CFDs.

But for starters, traders in the US and other restricted jurisdictions won’t be eligible to trade these new offerings.

Also, for this, FTX has partnered with Swiss-based Digital Assets AG and CM Equity AG, a financial firm fully regulated in Germany, to offer fractional stocks.

“CFDs aren’t illegal – and offering them for US-traded companies on the NYSE and NASDAQ is allowed – you just need to follow the regulations and not try and skirt the rules just because you are on a blockchain,” said Adam Cochran, a partner at Cinneamhain Ventures.

In response to this news, the price of FTT jumped to $3.91. But it is to be expected, as FTX CEO Sam Bankman Fried said, “Everything on FTX involves FTT.”

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Author: AnTy

Coinbase Launches a Visa Rewards Debit Card for US Users; Earn 4% Back in XLM or 1% in BTC

Cryptocurrency exchange Coinbase has released Coinbase Card to allow its users to spend crypto everywhere Visa debit cards are accepted. It also offers the ability to earn up to 4% back in crypto rewards in Stellar Lumens (XLM) or 1% in Bitcoin (BTC).

The debit card is funded by the users’ Coinbase balance, which is touted by the exchange as the “easiest, quickest way to spend your crypto worldwide.”

With Visa partnership, it can be used in millions of locations around the world. For now, the supported countries are Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, the UK, and the US, with additional markets to be added later. While it will be open to these countries, the rewards program will only be available to US customers initially.

The card can be used for everyday purchases and works offline, online, and internationally. It can further be used at ATMs for cash withdrawals.

The card has many fees attached to it, starting with £4.95 / 4.95 € fee being the Plastic Card Issuance Fee for customers in the EU and UK, as per its FAQ page, but according to the announcement, there will be no fee for the card itself to US customers.

The page is slim with details on fees, but here is what we see for the EU and UK customers: While for domestic cash withdrawal, for both ATM and Over The Counter “OTC” withdrawals, it charges 1% of the amount per transaction over and above £200 / 200 € per month, for international cash withdrawals, the charge increases to 2% with no changes to the limit.

There is no fee on domestic purchase transactions but 0.2% of the value of POS transactions for Intra-EEA Purchase and 3% internationally.

Coinbase Card has a Chargeback Processing Fee of £20.00 / 20,00 € and a Crypto Liquidation Fee of 2.49% on every transaction.

While it isn’t clear yet what the fees associated with each transaction, you need to be wary of the tax nightmare that you will also need to deal with.

Given Coinbase’s history with sharing data with the government agencies, the crypto community isn’t feeling overly excited to provide them with more information.

However, Coinbase does point out that they go to “great lengths to keep all of your sensitive information safe.”

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Author: AnTy

Non-Custodial Bitcoin Exchange, Hodl Hodl, Launches Lending Service Without KYC

Hodl Hodl, a non-custodial Bitcoin exchange, is launching a KYC-free lending product for its customers. The exchange claims that its lending product would be the first truly decentralized finance (DeFi) product.

The exchange would start lending USDC, PAX, USDT, and DAI stablecoins via peer-to-peer lending. The users would be required to put their bitcoin up as collateral to access the stablecoins and the collateral period ranges from one day to a full year. Apart from offering the flexible collateralization period, the platform does not ask for any form of KYC details to access their services.

Crypto Lending Services On the Rise Since 2018

In the past couple of years, crypto lending services have seen a significant boom, especially after the rise of venture-backed firms such as BlockFi and Genesis Capital. Genesis currently boasts of $1.4 billion in outstanding loans, while BlockFi currently has $1.75 billion worth of assets under its management.

Hodl Hodl CEO Max Keidun commented on the idea behind launching a KYC-free lending service and said,

“Hodl Hodl is trying to build true P2P lending in bitcoin. Almost all (if not all) existing lending platforms are centralized, require KYC, don’t allow you to play by your own rules.”

Another thing that Hodl Hodl is actively highlighting is that it would not be the custodian of the assets put in collateral. Instead, borrowers would lock their bitcoin’s in two-out-of-three multisig escrows. The borrowers can get back their collateralized bitcoin by repaying the stablecoins with interest.

Stefan Jespers, a Belgium-based bitcoin advocate, commented on the growing trend of lending services in decentralized space and said,

“If you have some stablecoins laying around that you aren’t using, it’s a nice way to make some extra money with it. And you know beforehand what the interest rate will be.

With most other products on the market, those rates can change frequently; here, it’s locked for the entire duration.”

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Author: James W

Crypto Options Exchange, Deribit, Mandates ID Verification for All Users Before the Years End

The largest cryptocurrency option exchange in trading volumes, Deribit, will start mandatory government ID verification to maintain KYC/AML compliance rules.

Panama-based cryptocurrency options exchange, Deribit, requires all users on the platform to be ID verified by the end of the year. As per the official Deribit Twitter, it was confirmed that the tier verification model on the platform would be abolished for a blanket ID verification process for all users on the platform.

This follows a recent announcement by rival and troubled exchange, BitMEX, who will start ID verification on their platform. Both derivative exchanges will require new users and current ones to submit a copy of government ID verification, including passports, driver’s licenses, or legitimate and valid identification documents.

As the world of cryptocurrencies embraces the FATF “Travel Rule,” more entities are expected to join the bandwagon – tougher KYC/AML compliance being implemented. The official Twitter account said,

“New clients will be required to adhere to these market standard conditions in order to be able to open an account.”

“Existing clients will get one month from that date to become verified and upload both required documents (if not already). A formal announcement will follow soon including final timing.”

The new changes replace the old tiered system that allowed users to deposit and withdraw up to 1 BTC (~$13,000) from Deribit exchange without any KYC verification or ID requirements. All users on the derivatives exchange will be forced to verify their ID before trading or withdrawing any amount.

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Author: Lujan Odera

OKEx Resumes P2P Fiat Trading for Chinese Yuan, Indian Rupee, & Vietnamese Dong

Cryptocurrency exchange OKEx announced on Wednesday that it is resuming peer-to-peer (P2P) trading for CNY, INR, and VND fiat pairs from today at 12:00 pm (UTC). Buy Crypto fiat gateways are also being reactivated.

However, cryptocurrency withdrawals remain temporarily suspended with “sell crypto options still not available.” The exchange also warns off of escrow trading due to the risk of scams and disputes.

Early last week, OKEx suspended a digital asset withdrawal, saying it was “out of touch” with one of the holders of the private keys who is cooperating with a police investigation.

There have been reports that OKEx’s Chinese founder Xu Mingxing was taken away by police.

It is not clear what the investigation is about, but there have been signs of a renewed crackdown on money-laundering activities on OTC trading platforms.

An OKEx seller told Caixin that “scrutiny has been tightened recently.” The seller further shared that buyers must provide screenshots of their payment accounts to regulators within a week for identification and account verification purposes for OTC transactions.

The exchange, meanwhile, maintains that user funds are safe and not affected. All the other functions are also working normally.

“No on-chain out-flow from OKEx has taken place since withdrawals were suspended on 10/16. Instead, there’s been continuous on-chain in-flow to OKEx,” tweeted OKEx CEO Jay Hao on Tuesday. “Your assets are safe. We’ll do our best to resume withdrawals ASAP.”

For the Chinese crypto traders since late 2017, when the central bank of the country banned direct fiat on-ramp services, P2P trading has been the only way to trade. With withdrawals at the exchange suspended, crypto-assets like BTC and USDT on OKEx have been sold at a discount.

In response, OKEx banned some users’ accounts. “Multiple accounts have triggered our risk management system. As a result, those accounts have been automatically banned for internal transfers. To ensure the safety of your assets, we’d like to remind users not to engage in unauthorized platforms,” tweeted the exchange.

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Author: AnTy

Coinbase Releases Mission Protocol to Help Other Companies Adopt Similar Approach

A San Francisco-based cryptocurrency exchange saw several of its employees taking the severance packages and leaving the company after Coinbase clamped down on talking politics and activism at work.

It wants to help other companies set a similar apolitical mission, and for this, it has released a Mission Protocol Code of Conduct.

According to Coinbase, mission focus means being political about only the mission and putting aside those out of the project’s scope.

“Projects and organizations are full of diverse opinions, individuals, and areas of engagement. However, what brings everyone together is the pursuit of a goal that is bigger than any single individual. The whole is greater than the sum of its parts.”

Coinbase has released its v1.0 version Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International Public License and welcomes anyone to adopt its Mission Protocol by adding a copy of it to the company’s source code repository.

As per the official website, it is open to working with companies to set their mission and help ensure that a company is “on the right track to producing social good through its mission.”

Also Read: Coinbase Turned Over Info on 1,914 Users; 96.6% Were Criminal-based Law Enforcement Requests

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Author: AnTy

Luno Crypto Exchange Launches Bitcoin Savings Wallet With a 4% Annual Interest Rate

Luno cryptocurrency exchange app is now offering a ‘savings wallet’ that will allow its users to earn up to 4% in annual interest on BTC held. The exchange, which was recently acquired by popular blockchain investment firm, Digital Currency Group, is looking to tap into its 5 million user base by offering better rates than most traditional banks worldwide.

According to research conducted by Luno, 54% of its clientele earn zero percent interest on their cash deposits with local banks. The analysis also revealed, and it’s no surprise, that 95% of Luno users would like to earn interest on their crypto deposits.

The firm has since embarked on offering its new Bitcoin Savings wallet, which will pay out interest every month. Notably, this service carries no fees or fixed terms; users can withdraw their funds at any time. Luno Co-founder and CEO Marcus Swanepoel said that,

“In a time of economic uncertainty, the Bitcoin Savings Wallet is a safe alternative for anyone looking to make meaningful savings on their money.”

He highlighted that this milestone comes when the global community could benefit from investing in a ‘currency’ that is not correlated to an unhealthy economy. Luno, a U.K domiciled company, is currently available in Europe but does not serve the U.S market despite its burgeoning prospects.

The new Bitcoin savings feature by Luno coincides with the recent developments in Decentralized Finance (DeFi), where traditional financial products are now integrated with decentralized protocols. These innovations have been on the rise as speculators and fundamentalists invest in building this ecosystem. Nonetheless, it has presented some challenges, especially with scammers taking advantage of unsuspecting investors.

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Author: Edwin Munyui

Bitfinex and Celsius Partner to Let Users Earn Rewards for Holding Bitcoin & Ethereum

Celsius Network, a crypto lending, and borrowing platform partners with Bitfinex exchange to offer yield services to over 100,000 Bitfinex users. Celsius, which already offers its Ethereum holders a 9.65% interest rate and 6.2% for bitcoin users, would now offer its services to Bitfinex customers under the new collaboration.

The partnership would allow Bitfinex users to create a wallet with the Celsius Network and manage it without a need to switch between two platforms. This partnership would also allow Bitfinex users to withdraw their digital assets from the Celsius wallet at any given time without any additional fees for withdrawal or deposit.

The partnership would see interests being generated daily and later compounded for the next day, and the payout would be made by Celsius every week. The yield contract would also have the provision for auto-renewals for extending the custody beyond the set period or when the term expires.

Alex Mashinsky, CEO of Celsius Network, commented on their association with Celsius and believed that the partnership would help both the firms extend their services to a new set of users. He said,

“Our integration with Bitfinex extends the mission and focus of both companies to bring the next 100 million people into the crypto community and do it while we do good before we all do well.

Celsius’s commitment to reward our users with 80% of the value we create is now available to all Bitfinex customers.”

Celsius to Bring More Liquidity For Bitfinex

The partnership between Celsius and Bitfinex is expected to help the exchange to bring in more liquidity for both the platforms. This would be possible because of Celsius’s lending policy, where the startup lends its digital assets to miners, investment funds, retail investors, and other digital asset companies ‘on a guaranteed and collateralized basis.’

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Author: Hank Klinger

Winklevoss’ Crypto Exchange, Gemini, Partners With European Payments Processor, BCB Group

The Winklevoss-owned crypto exchange, Gemini, is expanding its presence in the U.K., aiming to provide more efficient payment systems to its clients. The NYFDS regulated exchange announced a partnership with BCB Group, a payment processing service provider, to consolidate and enhance payments from U.K based clients.

Having previously partnered with top crypto exchanges, including Coinbase and Bitstamp, as well as crypto custodial firms such as Galaxy Digital, BCB Group’s rapport in the crypto industry is well established’. The partnership with Gemini will enhance the liquidity provisions and fiat-to-crypto conversions to the exchange.

BCB Group is an institutional-grade payment processor offering cryptocurrency-focused companies, accounts, and liquidity to boost financial transactions. The company received it’s Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) license to act as an authorized payment institution (API) in the U.K. This provides a regulatory cover for Gemini clients in the U.K.

Read More: Gemini Crypto Exchange Opens GBP for Buying, Selling, & Trading in the UK

The partnership with Gemini aims at improving conversions of fiat (i.e., British Pound) to crypto with faster and safer payment processes. According to Blair Halliday, Gemini’s chief compliance officer in Europe, partnering with BCB Group will simplify the payment process for its clients and improve the relationship with banks and institutions in the U.K.

Notwithstanding, Blair believes BCB Group’s partnership will further “secure access to real-time settlement infrastructure, enabling us [Gemini] to integrate with banking partners.” Halliday said,

“Gemini is focused on creating the smoothest experience possible for our UK customers to make deposits into and withdrawals out of their accounts instantly in GBP via Faster Payments, CHAPS, and SWIFT transfers.”

The crypto exchange is known for its regulatory approach, having recently acquired its FCA license granting it an Electronic Money Institution (EMI) license. This followed the company’s insistent nature is following the Fifth Money Laundering Directive (5AMLD) crypto-asset registration process.

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Author: Lujan Odera

Crypto Exchange Coinbase Is ‘OK being Political’ About One Particular Area

San Francisco-based cryptocurrency exchange Coinbase is losing about 5%, about 60 of its employees following its mandate barring political activism at work.

Chief executive officer Brian Armstrong shared this on Thursday in a blog post where he said these employees had accepted an exit package offered to employees who are bothered by the policy. The number is further expected to grow.

“There are a handful of other conversations still ongoing, so the final number will likely be a bit higher,” Armstrong said in the post.

He further added it was “reassuring” that minority groups at the company haven’t taken the exit package disproportionately.

In late September, Armstrong told employees that generous severance packages are offered to those who don’t want to comply with the prohibition on activism at work — the latest rules are basically designed to make the company apolitical.

In his latest blog, however, Armstrong clarified, “We have just made a decision to not engage in broader activism as a company outside of our mission.”

This means conversations about current events related to work are permitted, and employees are allowed to be political about this one particular area – cryptocurrencies.

This is because “it relates to our mission,” Armstrong added.

This clarification came after Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey called out Amstrong for his move, which he said is in direct opposition to what bitcoin and cryptos stand for.

“We are political about one thing: our mission,” which includes Bitcoin, crypto, economic freedom, and other unmentioned things, Armstrong replied to Dorsey at that time.

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Author: AnTy