SoftBank Invests $200 Million in Latin America Crypto Exchange

SoftBank Invests $200 Million in Latin America Crypto Exchange

This fresh capital will be used to scale Mercado Bitcoin’s operations, expand its offerings, and invest in infrastructure to meet the rising demand for cryptocurrency in the region.

Japan’s Soft Group Corp. has invested $200 million in one of Latin American’s biggest cryptocurrency exchanges, Mercado Bitcoin.

According to Roberto Dagnoni, executive chairman and chief executive officer of 2TM Group, the parent company of the exchange, it was part of the firm’s Series B funding round.

SoftBank made the investment through its Latin American Fund, which represents the Japanese multinational company’s largest investment in a Latin American crypto company.

With this funding round, 2TMhas reached a valuation of $2.1 billion.

Launched in 2013, Mercado Bitcoin has grown its client base to 2.8 million in 2021, over 70% of the entire individual investor base in Brazil’s stock exchange, 2TM said.

During the first five months of the year, about 700,000 new customers signed up to use Mercado Bitcoin’s services, and the company’s trading volume increased to $5 billion, more than the total for its first seven years combined, it said.

This latest investment from SoftBank comes at a time when the cryptocurrency market is in capitulation after experiencing a drawdown of as much as 50% to 75% from their all-time highs while money continues to flow into the private crypto market as investors bet on the long-term growth of the industry.

Dagnoni remains unfazed by the sideways price action going on in the crypto market, saying, “We are strong believers in the fundamentals of crypto.”

Meanwhile, the fresh capital will be used by Mercado Bitcoin to scale its operations, expand its offerings, and invest in infrastructure to meet the rising demand for cryptocurrency in the region.

The company is looking at regional expansions in Latam and expansions via mergers and acquisitions while focusing on custody which is “very important in releasing the power of the institutional market,” said Dagnoni in an interview with Reuters.

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Author: AnTy

Ethereum Targeting October for The Merge through Scaling Project ‘Rayonism’

Ether is enjoying a lot of momentum with prices aiming for fresh ATH as interest for the cryptocurrency gains interest from retail and institutions alike, as seen in the volume recorded by CME ETH futures, inflows into Ether funds, and four ETH ETFs gaining traction.

This has been ahead of the London upgrade that will involve EIP-1559 aiming to burn the ETH paid in gas fees, making it a deflationary crypto asset, all ready to come in July, a tentative date set in the last dev meeting.

Besides this reduction in ETH supply, the transition of the second-largest network from PoW to PoS is of significant importance. It will help the network remove the scalability issue.

Phase 0, the beacon chain, has already been launched in December, and almost 4 million ETH has been deposited so far in ETH 2.0.

During the ongoing ETHGlobal’s Scaling Ethereum event, a virtual hackathon that also involves summits, the devs talked about the need to move away from the centralized staking, especially crypto exchanges, and onto more decentralized options.

The developers working on Ethereum are targeting October 2021 for the Merge, which will swap the actual consensus layer from proof-of-work to proof-of-stake.

Though a bit optimistic, Ethereum virtual Hackathon hosting between April 16th and May 14th is working on the Merge. It has been given the name of Rayonism, a project that is taking the research and engineering efforts of the Eth1-Eth2 Merge and Sharding and building testnets around the ETHGlobal Scaling Hackathon.

If the Merge gets delayed due to the Shanghai upgrade, it can then come by Q1 of 2022.

During the Summit, it has been shared that the code changes for the Marge are expected to take weeks and not months, with much of the work needed to be done with testing and auditing.

Once the Merge is complete, a cleanup fork will take place, which will enable the withdrawal of the locked ETH.

From here, the team will move to sharding, which is expected to make the network scale up to 25x, which the community has long been waiting for as very high usage of the Ethereum network has made it accustomed to congestion and high fees.

Parallel to sharding, the key execution layer upgrade will be statelessness along with state expiry that will enable much higher gas limits and scaling on L1. Finally, the focus will be on zkSync 2.0 and StarkNet to make native execution on shards easier.

So, all the major upgrades to the Ethereum network are all planned out with developers working on making them a reality, and it is driving the ETH prices higher, which is currently trading above $2,500.

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Author: AnTy

New ‘Spider’ Crypto Routing Scheme By MIT Boost Blockchain Transactions By 4x

Massachusetts Institute of Technology researchers have developed a fresh technology that they claim will help ease the congestion on the cryptocurrency payments networks, Cointelegraph reports.

Dubbed Spider, the new crypto routing scheme will provide enhanced efficiency for payment channel networks commonly known as PCN. In a press statement, MIT claimed that Spider will help in reducing the time used for blockchain-based transactions as well as boost profits.

As per the press release, transactions in PCN are done with little action from the blockchain network. PCN enables the users to charge various accounts with a selected amount of cryptos. The payments are then done through a linkage of similar accounts whereby its only the opening and the closing of the said accounts are registered on the blockchain network.

Although conventional schemes utilize the shortest paths available to conclude a transaction and do not take into account the user’s balance, the new PCN technology depends on bidirectional joint accounts. In this case, payments are only routed to the channels with enough funds to complete the transactions. This, as per the press statement, will help to avoid a case where users within a joint account deals with lots of transactions leading to zero balance and making it hard to route additional transactions.

The researchers also explained that Spider will help in splitting every completed transaction into different smaller packets that can be distributed across various channels at divergent rates.

One of the key researchers of Spider technology is Vibhaalakshmi Sivaraman. He explained:

“Shortest-path routing can cause imbalances between accounts that deplete key payment channels and paralyze the system […] Routing money in a way that the funds of both users in each joint account are balanced allows us to reuse the same initial funds to support as many transactions as possible.”

Another crucial aspect of Spider is that it enables the queing of transactions when the accounts are congested rather than being rejected. The team also came up with an algorithm which will help in identifying the congested accounts.

The implementation of the Spider technology is scheduled to start before the end of this month.

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Author: Joseph Kibe

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

Bitcoin’s Hash Rate Hits A fresh All Time High Signifying A Strong Network Before Halving

Bitcoin hash rate has hit a fresh all-time high (ATH) which shows that the king crypto has continued to gain on its technical ability.

Fresh data from BitInforCharts shows that the total hashes have jumped to 126Eh/s. This shows that the Bitcoin network has been in a meteoric rise in the last two years as the rate was only 13Eh/s when Bitcoin hit its all-time high price in Dec. 2017. The new figure indicates 126 quintillion tried solutions for every second.

The high hash rate illustrates that Bitcoin is currently the strongest and most secure computing network in the blockchain and crypto industry. Currently, it is impossible to perform a 51% attack on BTC as anyone trying wouldn’t be able to withstand such a level of hash power.

The high hash rate shows that there is high miner confidence as there are more miners within the network than ever before. It also shows that miners are more cautious of the incoming BTC halving that will occur in May.

Hash rate can be described as the total amount of processing power that is required for validation in a network. A high hash rate means that it is now more difficult to mine Bitcoin than before. This means that only the miners with superb mining devices and can access chap electricity can afford to remain profitable. Since the start of this year, mining difficulty within the Bitcoin network has increased by 13%.

With the impending halving that will take place in May where miners will get half the reward for finishing a block (6.25 BTC), the ideal expectation is that there will be a mass exodus of miners to other cryptos. However, the recent trend of higher hash rates shows that there are more miners coming to the Bitcoin network.

The miners are expecting that the halving will lead to a price surge and could be the reason they are trooping to the network for a share of the pie post-halving. The high hash rates are good for the pre-halving period.

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Author: Joseph Kibe

Euphoria Kicks-in, Stock Market Hits Fresh Records But ‘Greatest Predictor’ Gives A Stark Warning

US Stock index futures have made fresh records as world markets rally on the back of easing tensions in the Middle East. Dow Futures along with futures on the S&P and Nasdaq are climbing higher.

As tensions eased between the US and Iran, US equities hit record highs with tech shares outperforming. Apple jumped after Chinese data shows that iPhone sales rose by 18% in Dec. in the country.

As for the US-China trade deal, President Donald Trump said he might wait until after the 2020 presidential election to reach the second part of the trade deal. After being at odds over commerce for two years now, both the counties are set to meet next week at the White House to sign the first phase of the agreement.

As such, Shep Perkins, CIO at Putnam Investments has called for S&P 500 to reach 5,000, faster than you might have imagined. Historically low long-term bond yields combined with price-to-earnings multiples that are in line with their average and could further expand are the reason behind this forecast.

S&P 500 might have closed Thursday at a record 3,274.70, but 5,000 could be seen as soon as three years, even if a recession hits, it could take five years.

But Everything isn’t All Shiny

However, it doesn’t mean the market isn’t vulnerable. Wharton School professor Jeremy Siegel is “worried that this is becoming a momentum-driven market at this point.”

The 2019 rally had S&P 500 gaining about 29% in its best performance since 2013 but Siegel is worried that “if it continues much longer that something will puncture it and people will get off the train.”

Also, according to the popular measure of price-to-earnings (P/E), the S&P 500 index is trading 18.6 times forward earnings. Based on the median price to earnings ratio, it is overvalued by about 30%.

Another bearish picture is shown by the bullish nature of the “Greatest Predictor” of the US stock market’s future. The Greatest Predictor is the average portfolio allocation of households to stocks. A contrarian indicator, high allocations results in poor subsequent returns and vice versa.

Not to forget that the World Bank has highlighted the risk of a fresh global debt after warning about the biggest buildup in borrowing in the past 50 years.

“Low global interest rates provide only a precarious protection against financial crises,” said Ayhan Kose, a World Bank official.

“The history of past waves of debt accumulation shows that these waves tend to have unhappy endings. In a fragile global environment, policy improvements are critical to minimize the risks associated with the current debt wave.”

An Alternative Solution Is Already Leading ‘em all

While stock market enjoying the longest bull run, Bitcoin emerged as the winner of the decade with a mind-boggling 9,000,000% gains.

What’s exciting is the world’s leading cryptocurrency is getting prepped up for its next bull run with a highly anticipated halving event coming up this year. According to some commentators, one BTC would be reaching a million dollar worth in the coming years.

While Fed cutting interest rates are pushing pressure on banks and robbing people from their savings, it would end up driving them into the asset class which will provide them with better returns.

The digital gold, a peer-to-peer digital currency system that has a fixed value and is censorship-resistant, has also started to show signs of becoming a safe haven in times of macroeconomic and political crisis.

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Author: AnTy

Bitcoin Price Jumps 8% and Gold Hits a Four-Month High, Is Tension in the Middle East the Driving Force?

  • Middle East tension spurs demand for safe-haven assets
  • Dow Jones hits fresh record high as well

In less than 24 hours, the Bitcoin price went from $7,170 to $6,853 to $7,341 on Bitstamp. On Bitfinex, the price climbed as high as $7,416.

Trading volume meanwhile is still low at $378 million though up from less than $200 million earlier this week.

Altcoins followed the world’s leading cryptocurrency and went green. Monero (XMR) s leading with 9.53% gains followed by Bitcoin Cash (BCH) which is up by 5.39%.

As for the next move, trader Livercoin said,

“If the two supports below us hold (7225, 7160), which I expect them to, next target is the resistance above the deep unswept swing highs (7530).”

Middle East Tension Spurs Demand for Safe-haven Assets

Just like digital gold, bullion continued its ascent, climbing to four months high. Currently, gold is trading at $1,548 per ounce just inches away from Sept. high of $1,550.

Gold gained strong traction amid the reviving safe-asset demand as escalating geopolitical tension in the Middle East triggered a wave of global risk-aversion trade. This provided a strong boost to the traditional safe-haven asset class, like gold.

Tension in the Middle East intensified on reports that US airstrike killed Iranian general Qaseem Soleimani who led the Revolutionary Guards’ Quds force. Iran’s supreme leader then vowed that “severe retaliation” awaits those who killed the commander further heightening tensions.

The risk-off mood and a sharp fall in the US Treasury bond yields further played a part in the jump in yellow metal’s price.

In determining the commodity’s next directional move, the key focus will be on the latest FOMC monetary policy meeting minutes.

So, Did Iran played a part in Bitcoins’ Spike too?

Given that demand for safe-haven assets has risen, it would be assumed that Bitcoin is also influenced by the Middle East’s geopolitical tensions.

But economist and trader Alex Kruger say this isn’t the case. The move-in Bitcoin, he notes came out four hours after all other assets.

“Talking heads will soon be discussing how bitcoin is a safe haven and is going up because of Iran. Which is absolute nonsense,” said Kruger.

“Round numbers are there to get run over, in both directions. I have a small long so I’ll be happy if speculators use the narrative to push prices up,” he added.

Dow Jones Hits Fresh Record High too

US stock index futures made a new all-time high on Thursday, with the Dow Jones hitting 28,868 on the back of a strong performance in the tech sector.

However, the optimism entering the market on the new year seems to be fading now as they were sharply lower Friday morning after the US confirmed the airstrike. Dow futures dropped 270 points, futures on the Nasdaq and S&P 500 were also lower. But oil prices rose by about 4%.

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Author: AnTy

New Data Indicates That Europeans Are The Most Active Traders For Bitcoin Futures On BitMEX

Fresh data reveals that for the last one month, European business hours have recorded high levels of activities on Bitcoin futures trades within the BitMEX platform. High volumes of BitMEX XBT/USD futures contracts were witnessed during European business hours, Bitcoinist reports.

The data shows that Europe is slowly becoming a hot crypto market especially in the last one year. The region has adopted crypto-friendly banking services and wealth levels are growing coupled with a superb tech sector, which have enhanced interest for crypto trading.

This year, trading BTC positions increased steadily before hodling behaviors were witnessed leading to a wave of buyers who want to take advantage of the situation. BitMEX ranks high among the highly active Bitcoin markets, increasing to the popularity of Bitcoin futures.

Despite the high popularity of Bitcoin futures and cryptos in general, traders and users in Europe are still facing some challenges. Crypto users and traders are forced to comply with highly stringent KYC guidelines and it is expected that tight monitoring will be implemented in the near future. Such aspects have led to some crypto-based companies to close shop such as BottlePay which is a crypto payment platform which cited restrictive AML regulations as the reason for their closure.

From Jan. 10, 2020, firms located in Europe will be required to adhere to the newly established AML guidelines which will be a burden to the still growing small companies. Some companies in the crypto industry have started to comply with the new guidelines like LocalBitcoins.

At the moment, it is hard to know exactly what led to high interest among the Europeans to trade in Bitcoin futures. However, polls show that European crypto traders is made up of a small click of investors but have surpassed the cash usage in fintech as well as crypto assets.

Interest in crypto trading and assets is likely to increase in Europe after the appointment of Christine Lagarde as the head of European Central Bank who is in favor of cryptos and digital currencies. She has indicated that the ECB could develop their own stablecoin.

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Author: Joseph Kibe

Coin Metrics: Bitcoin Miners All-Time Revenue Tops $14 Billion

According to fresh data released by Coin Metrics, the all-time revenue generated by Bitcoin Miners has topped $14 billion.

Yahoo Finance had reported on 30th August that despite the network increasing its hash rate by a large percentage, miners are still in a position to make tons of money. For those not in the know, increasing the hash rate in a network reduces the profit made by miners.

BTC Miner Revenue Continue To Grow At An Exponential Rate

The report from Yahoo notes that after the inception of the BTC network, it took the miners a total of 8 years to surpass the $5 billion mark. It, however, notes that the next $5 billion was mined at a faster rate as it only took 8 months for the miners to break their all-time revenue and top $10 billion.

What these mining statistics mean is that if the current mining profitability is to remain on track, then chances are that miners will top the $20 billion revenue mark by the start of next year (2020). The current mark of $14 billion is the most impressive taken into account that the hash rate has recently been on a massive tear. It is a tear that has seen it break some past records in the last few months.

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Author: Daniel W