Mimblewimble Blockchain Platform to Bring Privacy to DeFi With BeamX Launch on Nov 19

Beam, the privacy-oriented crypto project, is finally set to debut into the booming DeFi space with a product dubbed ‘BeamX.’ This platform will enable DeFi developers to build financial applications based on fundamental factors that define the Beam ecosystem; at the very core is confidentiality. BEG had earlier reported Beam’s intention to provide privacy solutions for the DeFi space; it now seems that the project is ready with its value proposition.

The BeamX DeFi Platform

According to the announcement, BeamX is scheduled for launch on Nov 19, with the initial iteration being a test network that aims to ‘flesh out the infrastructure, documentation, and developer tools.’ The Mainnet is set to be activated sometime in Q1, 2021, after the Beam hardfork. Prospectus apps include lending, stablecoins, and decentralized exchanges, which leverage the concept of Automatic Market Making (AMM) to create liquidity.

This innovation is set to benefit from an underlying set of tools, including Confidential Assets, Laser Beam, and Atomic swaps. Developers will be able to build DeFi apps through smart-contract like functions dubbed Beam Shaders.

These contracts will be compiled from various programming languages into WebAssembly (WASM) with execution delegated to the Beam Virtual Machine, which runs in the platform’s nodes. As for the integration with Beam wallets, BeamX apps will be embedded via a web-based framework.

Privacy Coming to DeFi

Beam, which leverages the mimblewimble blockchain for enhanced privacy, saw it fit to introduce confidentiality in DeFi as well. Currently, this is an issue given that most DeFi apps run on the Ethereum public blockchain, which means that their activity is exposed. This includes crucial information, such as bot trading strategies, on-chain lending, and margin trades. The blog post reads,

“The only way to resolve any such issues is by adding privacy to DeFi, which is exactly what the BeamX platform is targeting.”

Some infrastructure upgrades that BeamX will feature oracles and interoperability with other blockchains such as Polkadot (DOT) and Ethereum (ETH).

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Author: Edwin Munyui

JPMorgan Dives Deep in Blockchain with Onyx, CEO says Tech is Now Just Beyond the ‘Hype Curve’

  • JPMorgan’s stablecoin JPM Coin is finally being used commercially for the first time.

Takis Georgakopoulos, JPMorgan’s global head of wholesale payments, revealed on Tuesday that a major tech firm, whose name is not disclosed, will be using the token to make global payments starting this week.

The investment bank that moves more than $6 trillion a day across more than 100 countries has created a business unit called Onyx. In the making for five years, it is staffed with around 100 employees to do the blockchain projects in-house. Georgakopoulos said,

“We are launching Onyx because we believe we are shifting to a period of commercialization of those technologies, moving from research and development to something that can become a real business.”

The bank aims to save 75% of the total cost for the industry. But the project is months from its commercial launch, said Umar Farooq, the newly named CEO of Onyx.

“If you think about blockchain, we are either somewhere in the trough of disillusionment or just beyond that on the hype curve,” Farooq said, referring to the “Gartner Hype Cycle.” “That’s why at JPMorgan, we’ve been relatively quiet about it until we were ready to scale it and commercialize it.”

As we reported, the bank has also revamped its Interbank Information Network (IIN), piloted in 2017 as Liink that has over 400 banks and corporations as partners.

The company is also looking into creating new, separate payment rails for central banks that are interested in starting their own currencies. Georgakopoulos said,

“If we are able to develop a model that works, we think the probability of adoption becomes very high.”

Additionally, JPMorgan is reportedly actively exploring digital asset custody and is looking for help from crypto firms. To offer the services, it would enlist sub-custodians and have already reached out to firms like Fidelity Digital Assets and Paxos.

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Author: AnTy

SEC Proposes $5 Million Settlement in Kik’s $100 Million ICO for KIN

Kik Interactive, the embattled Canadian messaging startup, seems to have finally reached a settlement deal with the SEC regarding its illegal ICO back in 2017. Since the summer of 2019, the two parties in court have gone back and forth, with the latest ruling by a New York judge, favoring the SEC.

With barely three weeks since the ruling, the SEC has now proposed that Kik should settle with a fine of $5 million with the market watchdog. Kik’s ICO had raised a total of $100 million, intended for a crypto network dubbed ‘KIN.’ This was, however, cut short by the SEC, which sought to pursue Kik on account of issuing an illegal security.

According to the SEC’s court document, the two parties have agreed on a proposed judgment and are now seeking the court’s approval. Other than the $5 million in penalties, Kik will be required to give a 45-day notice if they want to launch another Kin token sale. The document states,

“The proposed Final Judgment, if approved by the Court, would permanently enjoin Kik from committing future violations of Section 5, according to Section 20(b) of the Securities Act of 1933, 15 U.S.C. § 77t(b); impose a conduct-based injunction, as outlined in the proposed Final Judgment, under Section 21(d)(5) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, 15 U.S.C. § 78u(d)(5); and require Kik to pay a penalty of $5 million, under Section 20(d) of the Securities Act, 15 U.S.C. § 77t(d). The proposed Final Judgment would conclude this action.”

Unlike Telegram, which had a similar encounter with the SEC, Kik has not been obliged to return its investors’ funds. This means that the project’s tokenization dreams could be realized despite the SEC’s 16-month long legal battle. Notably, Kik has previously argued that its Kin token was sold based on its underlying utility instead of a speculative nature suggested by the SEC.

If the court approved the proposed judgment, Kik would only settle for $5 million; this amount is equivalent to what they collected during their fundraising initiative dubbed ‘Defend Crypto’ Campaign. Other ‘illegal’ ICOs like EOS and Telegram have had it a bit rougher, with each settling at $24 million and $18 million, respectively.

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Author: Edwin Munyui

SEC Goes After John McAfee, Who Made Over $23 Million in Fraudulent ICO Promotions

SEC’s next target, finally, is John McAfee. In just a week, the US Securities and Exchange Commission went after BitMEX, and the 74-year-old software magnate turned crypto bull.

McAfee was reportedly nabbed in Spain today and is now facing extradition to the US over charges of fraud for promoting initial coin offering (ICO) and tax evasion, facing a maximum sentence of five years in prison on each count of it.

McAfee earned millions in income from promoting cryptocurrencies and other activities and failed to file tax returns from 2014 to 2018, “despite receiving considerable income from these sources,” as per the indictment.

The cybersecurity entrepreneur allegedly evaded his tax liability by directing his income to be paid into crypto exchange accounts and bank accounts in the names of nominees. The DOJ also details that they didn’t find any connection with the “anti-virus company bearing his name.”

While DOJ’s charges against McAfee are a bit dry, SEC’s 55-page filing is far more interesting that details McAfee’s alleged fraudulent activity promoting several ICOs throughout 2017 and 2018. The SEC complaint reads,

“McAfee leveraged his fame to make more than $23.1 million U.S. Dollars (“USD”) in undisclosed compensation by recommending at least seven “initial coin offerings” or ICOs to his Twitter followers. The ICOs involved the offer and sale of digital asset securities and McAfee’s recommendations were materially false and misleading for several reasons.”

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The suit doesn’t mention the name of the ICOs but points out that he did not disclose that he was being paid for ICO promotions, violating federal security laws, and even lied to investors by falsely denying that he was paid by the issuers.

He also falsely claimed himself as the investor and technical advisor when in reality, his tweets “were paid promotions disguised as impartial investment advice.”

SEC claims McAfee’s bodyguard, Defendant Watson, also substantially assisted him in his schemes and negotiated the deals with ICO issuers for which he was paid at least $316,000.

McAfee himself received over $11.6 million in Bitcoin and Ether and an additional $11.5 million worth of promoted tokens, “as undisclosed compensation for his promotions of seven ICOs.”

The lawsuit also mentions John McAfee promising to “eat my d**k on national television” if his $1 million BTC price prediction didn’t pan out, which of course, didn’t and later he called it a “ruse.”

The SEC is seeking to get the defendants to pay civil monetary penalties, prohibiting them from participating, directly or indirectly, in the issuance, purchase, offer, or sale of any digital asset security, disgorge all ill-gotten gains received, and to get the investors appropriate relief.

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Author: AnTy

150,000 Bitcoin Coming Back to Mt. Gox Creditors in 10 Days; Will BTC Price Drop?

After being postponed several times, the hacked Mt. Gox Bitcoin will finally be sent to the rightful owners of those BTC in 10 days’ time, i.e., October 15, 2020.

The last date of the rehabilitation plan was July, set in March this year by the Tokyo District Court.

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The Japan-based Bitcoin exchange was launched in 2010, which was managing 70% of all bitcoin transactions worldwide. Former Ripple CTO Jed McCaleb was the one behind this exchange but sold it to Mark Karpelés just after three months.

Between 2011 and 2013, the exchange reported the loss of around 840k BTC, about 6% of all bitcoin in existence at the time. The initial loss of funds sent the price of one Bitcoin on the exchange to just one cent. At the time of writing, BTC/USD has been trading at $10,700.

The company announced bankruptcy, and although 650,000 BTC were never recovered, 200,000 BTC were in fact recovered.

At one point, Mt. Gox was investigated by the US Department of Homeland, and a former business partner sued to claim a breach of contract.

Mt. Gox creditors have been empty-handed for a long time due to the ongoing bankruptcy process until a Japanese court finally put a rest to it and put it under rehabilitation law.

Volatility Coming for Bitcoin?

After going through various deadline postponements, the day could finally be here. This has rattled some of the market participants who believe this could have a “catastrophic impact” on the price of BTC. According to one such participant,

“If 150,000 BTC is sold on the market, it would cause a brutal drop, and fear would quickly spread across the markets.” This is because creditors will take the opportunity to take profits on the “over 2,600% ROI from 2014.”

However, it is a very real possibility that bitcoin won’t react at all. In 2020, we saw MicroStrategy bring about $425 million worth of BTC that did not affect whatsoever on the price of the leading digital asset.

These past couple of weeks, we also saw big news like the $281 million KuCoin hack, CFTC bringing criminal charges on popular crypto derivatives exchange BitMEX, and the US President Donald Trump testing coronavirus postie having a ‘zilch” effect on the price of BTC.

Bitcoin has become almost boring for many traders, with its 180-day volatility falling to a two-year low. The digital asset is holding strong to its $10k mark; as a matter of fact, Bitcoin’s winning streak of sustaining above $10,000 has made a new high of 70 days. As per data source IntoTheBlock,

“The IOMAP shows that over 1.45 million BTC was purchased by 1.76 million addresses between $10,427 and $10,736.81. This is expected to (and has been) an area of strong support.”

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Author: AnTy

Switzerland Passes Blockchain Legislation Unanimously; Will Take Effect Early 2021

  • Switzerland has finally approved legislation for blockchain and digital assets, making it one of the major financial hubs to have a formal regulatory reference point for the upcoming crypto market.
  • The country’s parliamentarians voted unanimously for the ‘Blockchain Act’ that had been passed earlier in summer.

According to a report by the international unit of Swiss Broadcasting Corporation, SWI, this legislation on DLT’s and blockchain is likely to come into effect at the beginning of 2021. The milestone will open up doors for Swiss crypto-savvy investors to participate in the latest tech, including decentralized finance (DeFi); companies will also be able to tokenize shares within the law amongst other assets.

These new blockchain-oriented laws for Swiss crypto companies define several events and the probable course to follow, should such situations arise. Given the new dynamics underpinning crypto ecosystems, some underlying laws on bankruptcy and security trading have been amended to accommodate the digital assets.

The legislation goes to the extent of providing clarity on trading security tokens as well as due diligence procedures by service providers. The clarifying is an effort to curb money laundering and terror financing activities that appear to be thriving in crypto networks. Speaking to Decrypt, Urs Bolt, a leading Swiss FinTech influencer, noted that the new laws would be a big boost for the country’s burgeoning crypto space. He commented,

“Overall, it will create one of the most favorable regulatory environments in the world. It will allow the financial center to lead in the digital asset space and hopefully attract new business into CryptoValley.”

Interestingly, this latest legal advancement comes just after Switzerland’s Canton of Zug decided to accept tax payments in crypto. The town, which has earned a nickname ‘Crypto Valley’ due to the high blockchain and crypto activity, said that residents can now pay their taxes in Bitcoin (BTC) and Ethereum (ETH) via QR codes; the initiative will roll out in Q1, 2021.

It is quite noteworthy that Switzerland joins its neighbors Malta and Liechtenstein, which had already enacted comprehensive legislation for blockchain-related tech. However, the country’s position on a CBDC remains unclear despite global hype and China’s debut of its digital yuan.

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Author: Edwin Munyui

INX To Launch A $117M Security Token IPO; Will Use Funds to Develop Its Crypto Exchange

INX, a Gibraltar-based crypto exchange, would finally conduct the Initial Public Offering (IPO) on August 24 for its SEC-registered hybrid token.

The exchange aims to sell its hybrid token at $0.90 apiece ad raise nearly $111 million from the sale of 133 million tokens. The IPO would also be a first of its kind, given it is the first security offering registered with the US Security and Exchange Commission (SEC).

Before the current offering, almost all STOs only filed notices to the regulators and were mostly unregistered, which kept away institutional investors for fear of scams. The INX exchange’s upcoming IPO took almost two years.

The INX token is being called a hybrid because it would act like a utility and security token, where INX holders can utilize it for different operations on the exchange like paying the transaction fee, and the token would also double down as a form of the company share.

The firm revealed that the proceeds from the IPO would be utilized for INX’s regulated exchange INX Trading Solutions, a $62 million cash fund would also be kept separate for maintaining the platform in case of data breaches, trading execution errors or counterparty defaults.

The court filings submitted by INX exchange also revealed that President Shy Datika currently holds 7.25 of the total supply, which is around 9.4 million INX tokens.

Apart from the president, Doren Cohen, a CEO of the brokerage firm who is assisting the exchange conducting the IPO, i.e., A-Labs also holds around 4.55 million INX tokens and 9 of the ten companies on the advisory board would receive approximately 2 million tokens at a discounted price of $0.01 apiece.

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Author: James W

Ethereum 2.0 Final Testnet, Medalla, Rolls Out; Is A 2020 Launch Now In Sight?

The Ethereum 2.0 Phase 0 Medalla public testnet finally went live on August 4, 2020 at around 1AM GMT giving hope of a possible ETH 2.0 mainnet launch this year. News coming in to BEG desk, confirms all five named client implementations have successfully synced to the Medalla testnet including Prysmatic Labs’ Prysm, ChainSafe’s Lodestar, PegaSys’ Teku, Status’ Nimbus and Sigma Prime’s Lighthouse.

Over the past two years or so, Ethereum developers have launched testnets with an aim to improve the development towards ETH 2.0. The Medalla testnet, the fifth and final official testnet in the transitioning of Ethereum to a proof-of-stake (PoS) network, is the only public test net so far.

The launch follows previous releases of the Sapphire testnet, when developers tested the validators by depositing 3.2 ETH. The Topaz testnet, released by Prysmatic Labs, introduced the full 32 ETH validators fee and in June, the Ethereum community introduced the Onyx testnet to boost the number of validators to 20,000.

Finally, a coordinated multi-client testnet dubbed Altona went live in early July to ensure further stability before the Medalla testnet could be rolled out this month.

A slight bump in the road

According to the Beacon chain, ETH 2.0 staking explorer, the Medalla testnet launched at Epoch 0 with 20,084 validators on board with over 640,000 ETH staked on the platform. Despite the successful launch, the platform faced a challenge with only 57% of validators available, presenting an issue in block finality.

However, Ethereum Foundation’s, Hudson Jameson said on Twitter, the low count in validator participation offers a learning moment for the upcoming ETH 2.0 mainnet launch. He wrote,

“We are getting to experience firsthand how the network operates with a low number of validators and how it will improve as more validators come online! This is what testnets are for and I’m excited to see the situation develop as we get more folks online on the testnet. Get hype. Eth2 is coming :)”

The low participation levels is mainly caused by the people who staked the 32 ETH but are not online to validate the blocks. This issue is set to be settled out with these validators expected to be thrown out in order for the Medalla testnet to reach the optimal 80% validator participation threshold.

The Medalla testnet, a Spanish name for medal, is similar to the final testnet of ETH 1.0, labelled Olympic testnet, which gives a possibility that the ETH 2.0 mainnet launch could be completed later this year despite earlier predictions of a 2021 launch.

More developments on the story to follow.

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Author: Lujan Odera

No More Selling Pressure from $5.7B PlusToken Ponzi as Chinese Police Arrest 82 Members

Chinese police have finally arrested all 27 primary suspects involved in the Plus Token Ponzi scheme.

The investigation led by the Ministry of Public Security successfully arrested all the major suspects and 82 key members of the case, reported Chinese financial news outlet CLS.

The Multi-level marketing (MLM) scheme has reportedly grown to 3,000 layers in the past year, frauding more than 2 million people for a whopping over 40 billion yuan, about $5.7 billion.

A year back in August, Chinese police officials arrested six suspects involved in this scheme, but the main suspects were still on the run at that time.

With this Ponzi scheme, the Chinese police have cracked down on one of the biggest Ponzi Schemes involving bitcoin as an exchange method.

PlusToken was launched in early 2018 and then in mid-2019 when some users couldn’t withdraw their funds from the wallets; it solidified the earlier suspicions of it being a pyramid scheme although the company tried to brush it off as a “hacker attack.”

Over these months, PlusToken has been a red sword hanging on bitcoin’s price’s head as time, and again the stolen funds were moved. Just last month, its entire Ether stash, about 790,000 ETH, was moved, spreading a wave of terror that it may cause Ethereum price to dump.

Given that bitcoin bulls now have “little to no baggage,” Dovey Wan, founding partner of Primitive Crypto, said, “let’s send it to the moon.”

The leading cryptocurrency is currently trading just over $11,000 after breaking key levels $10,000 and $10,500 this week.

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Author: AnTy

86% of Polkadot Stakeholders Voted to Create A 100x DOT Split; Raised $44.4M in Private Sale

Polkadot has finally conducted its first token-based voting for multiplying DOT supplies by 100 folds. The voting was a success, with 86% of members voting for ramping up the amount by 100 fold, while 20% voted for an increase of 10x. 24% voted in favor of raising DOT supply 1000x. Only 4% of participants voted against increasing the supply.

The voting on the Polkadot network lasted for two weeks, and 2.86 million out of a total of 5.4 million tokens participated in the voting process. Earlier, the two leading developers behind Polkadot, Arity Technologies, and Web3 Foundation did not cast their votes and wanted to redenominate the tokens without the token holders’ vote.

What Led to the Decision to Increase DOTs Supply?

DOT only has one lower Denomination in the form of Plancks, where 100 million Plancks equals one DOT. This made Planck a non-usable and abstract denomination where a unit of Planck equals to lower than a cent. After the passing of the proposal to increase DOT’s supply by 100 folds, Polkadot’s supply would be five times that of Ethereum.

However, there hasn’t been an increase in the overall DOT supply; instead, once the redenomination occurs, 1 DOT would be equivalent to 100 DOTs. The redenomination is set to occur 72 hours after DOT transfers are enabled.

Polkadot is currently conducting public sales of 300,000 DOTs, which were earlier valued at $125. The startup declined to comment on anything related to the transactions as of now due to regulatory obligations. However, it was discovered through an address that the firm has collected $44.4 million worth of bitcoin (3,982.07 BTC) in a private sale.

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Author: Hank Klinger