Blockchain Payment Firm, Wyre, Gets A $5M Investment From Stellar Development Foundation

Blockchain Payment Firm, Wyre, Gets A $5M Investment From Stellar Development Foundation

In a press statement shared with BitcoinExchangeGuide, the foundation stated that it is investing $5 million worth of Enterprise Funds that will help introduce various payment application programming interfaces, commonly known as APIs, which can integrate with different apps within the Stellar ecosystem.

The foundation also explained that on/off ramps for Stellar USDC will also be rolled on for the existing fiat pairs consisting of USD, GBP, CAD, AUS, and EUR.

Founded in 2013, Wyre has executed transfers of more than $5 billion and provides advanced services to both businesses and individuals such as crypto to fiat ramps, crypto wallet infrastructure, savings account, and foreign exchange others.

The foundation stated that the addition of Wyre to the Stellar network would help create crucial payment infrastructure and allow for relationships that will connect to the international financial system.

“Growing the network of Stellar anchors— stablecoin issuers and on/off ramps — is fundamental to how Stellar connects global financial systems with blockchain technology. Bringing Wyre’s industry-leading payment APIs to the Stellar ecosystem will empower businesses, especially anchors, to expand existing payment corridors and develop new ones.”

Denelle Dixon Stellar Development Foundation CEO

Dixon is also set to become a member of Wyre’s board of directors to represent Stellar Foundation.

With Stellar USDC set to go live in Q1, Wyre will help in different ways. Wyre is set to offer a compliant and safe way for apps within the Stellar ecosystem to use the dollar-pegged stablecoin without the developers’ need to create additional tools, the statement elaborated.

Stellar’s Enterprise Fund was launched last year, and Wyre’s investment is the first one for this year. Cumulatively the fund has pumped more than $14 million in different companies and projects so far, including Abra, Settle Network, SatoshiPay, and DSTOQ.

Stellar Foundation’s chief operating officer, Jason Chilpala, explained that the Enterprise Fund was started to offer support to businesses with goals in tandem with Stellar’s, such as enabling cheap and reliable cross-border payments.

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Author: Joseph Kibe

Celsius Network Grew 10x in 2020; ‘Huge’ Interest from Retail & Institutions for BTC, ETH & Others

Today, Bitcoin is keeping around $33,000 after recording an approximately 30% correction from January’s all-time high of $42,000.

The mainstream media and the likes of Scott Minerd of Guggenheim and JPMorgan are getting skeptical of this bull run extended further. Still, the cryptocurrency market has seen three of these bull runs and is expecting more uptrend.

According to Alex Mashinsky, CEO of Celsius Network, “seeing a small correction is probably healthy for Bitcoin,” which is still the best performing asset class across 10, 5, or three year periods.

Not to mention, “at the same time, we are also seeing some of the other old coins close to hitting new highs. It is not just bitcoin outperforming. I think it was just a lot of migration of capital from the traditional markets, from the bond markets, from the stock markets into this non-correlated asset class,” Mashinsky said on Bloomberg.

Celsius, the second-largest asset management in the world, manages under $5.3 billion and works with over 350 institutions.

“We grew 10 times during 2020… We have seen huge adoption both in retail and from institutions,” he added.

Retail Front Running the Institutions

Bitcoin skeptics like UBS global wealth management still see Bitcoin failing due to regulatory threats and central banks issuing their own digital currencies.

However, while China is issuing a central currency, they do not promise limited supply, and just like the Fed is printing dollars, they will continue to print their digital versions, Mashinsky said. He added,

“The beauty of bitcoin is that it has limited supply. Everybody in the world knows that no one can print more of these, and the more people come in and buy Bitcoin, the higher the price is going to go.”

Besides the CBDCs, the mainstream media likes to point out how only 2% of buyers hold up to 95% of all Bitcoin. But what they miss about this data is that exchanges hold the BTC of a lot of users.

Mashinsky explains how Celsius has a bitcoin wallet with over $2 billion in it, but it doesn’t belong to one person. Unlike the traditional equities, you can’t really point to the owner. “We have 350,000 users that aggregate their coins into this wallet to earn yields,” he said.

“What we are seeing is that this is the first time in history where the retail guy got in on the next big thing ahead of institutions. The institution is just now running in,” with JP Morgan and Citi recommend Bitcoin for the first time.

The OG’s of the cryptocurrency space has been here for years, which are retail and the ones selling to the institutions.

This is why this time is different from 2017 as we see “some of the world’s smartest investors not just looking to diversify the asset class, but also generating yields and generating alpha on Bitcoin, and Ethereum and 42 other assets we manage. This is a new asset class that is now being adopted by a very broad base of investors,” said Mashinsky.

These institutions are coming in because of the macro environment. The problem is with the monetary system, which saw a half of the world’s dollars created in the last 12 months, basically when corona started.

This currency debasement is making a lot of people nervous and in their search for non-correlated assets to move away from the dollar or the euro, and because there are very, very few options, it is resulting in a stampede in Bitcoin, Mashinsky said.

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Author: AnTy

Jim Cramer Advises a 5% Investment in BTC to Protect Your Wealth from its Kryptonite, ‘Inflation’

Jim Cramer Advises a 5% Investment in BTC to Protect Your Wealth from its Kryptonite, ‘Inflation’

Mad Money host Jim Cramer recommends making a 5% investment in Bitcoin.

Jim Cramer made this recommendation during his program on Thursday night to the unknown Maryland-based winner of the $731 million Powerball jackpot.

“You know what, if you won the lottery – Yes, I’m gonna say it: 5% in Bitcoin,” said Cramer, who himself owns some BTC. However, he further advised not to buy all the Bitcoin at once or buy it on the weekend.

“Crypto could be incredibly volatile,” he said on the day the price of Bitcoin dropped just under $29,000, marking an approximately 30% pullback from an all-time high of $42,000 in early January.

The stock picking personally described the leading cryptocurrency as an “important new store of value.” Cramer said,

“If you’re already rich, you have to worry about inflation the same way Superman worries about Kryptonite. Because it’s the only thing that can really wipe you out. And given the way we’re spending like drunken sailors in this country, it may be an issue.”

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Author: AnTy

EY Heads to Court to Dispute the Value of Crypto From Bankrupt Exchange, QuadrigaCX

EY Heads to Court to Dispute the Value of Crypto From Bankrupt Exchange, QuadrigaCX

Ernst and Young (EY), the bankruptcy trustee for collapsed cryptocurrency exchange QuadrigaCX, plans to evaluate the company’s assets and settle disputes before disbursing creditors and users of the crypto exchange.

EY will be going to court on January 26 to propose a date for accessing the claims for crypto assets rather than the date of the exchange’s bankruptcy on April 15, 2019.

The trustee is not taking the same stance as cryptocurrency startup BlockCAT, one of the creditors.

BlockCAT made CAR $4 Million Claims

The date’s choice may have a big impact on the fiat value of the funds that creditors are expected to receive from the remaining asset pool. BlockCAT has already filed a compensation claim of about CAD 4 million. The crypto startup has filed a petition and is looking to maximize payouts.

According to the firm, the actual evaluation date for users’ cryptocurrency claims should begin with the initial court order for the exchange and not a separate date proposed by its trustee.

The decision of the court regarding the date will be significant for both the creditors looking for disbursement in fiat currency and the former users of the exchange who are making claims for crypto assets.

After QuadrigaCX went on liquidation, CAD$ 224 million was made in claims by 17,053 users. However, the claims could be totaling CAD$291, depending on the date chosen for the asset valuation.

The trustee is expected to make sure claims made are properly disbursed before the exchange is finally dissolved. However, the court needs to decide on a valuation date before any payment process begins.

The problem is now the date of valuation, as BlockCAT asks for an earlier valuation date while the users are of a different opinion. BlockCAT wants to maximize its payout from the asset pool, as it seems the exchange’s remaining assets will not be enough to settle all claims.

Creditors and Users Disagree on the Payment Date

The main issue the trustee needs to settle before commencing disbursement is the disagreement between the creditors and the users on the date for claim settlement. While the creditors predominantly have fiat money claims, the former users of the exchange have cryptocurrency claims.

The trustee will be paying out claims made for U.S. dollars and cryptocurrency in Canadian dollars. This means that the court has to choose the right valuation date before disbursement.

Concerning the problem, the trustee filed a factum (statement of facts) at the Ontario Superior Court of Justice to receive approval to use the exchange rate on the conversions’ bankruptcy date. With the value of many crypto assets rising far beyond expectations since 2019, when the exchange was declared bankrupt, the trustees could pay hefty sums to use the current valuation.

Evans Thomas, the commercial litigator, said a reimbursed user based on the 2019 crypto conversion might receive 23% less than the actual present value. However, if BlockCAT succeeds in convincing the court to use the February date for payments, the asset pool’s share to be paid to the affected users in CAD claims will rise.

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Author: Ali Raza

Hive Blockchain Purchases 6,400 Bitcoin Miners From Canaan; Aims to Hit 2021 Goal

Hive Blockchain Purchases 6,400 Bitcoin Miners From Canaan; Aims to Hit 2021 Goal

Hive Blockchain, the Vancouver listed crypto mining firm, has announced the purchase of 6,400 Avalon Miner 1246 machines from Canaan Creative. This new purchase is part of its 2021 goal to scale its mining capacity beyond 1,000 Petahash per second (PH/s).

The new mining machines will increase Hive Blockchain’s mining power by an aggregate of 576 PH/s, bringing the total to 1,229 PH/s once the machines are delivered and deployed. Hive said that newly acquired miners would be delivered in 8 tranches within the course of 2021.

“Based on the orders that have been placed, this new equipment is expected to be delivered in 8 tranches in 2021, with 500 miners delivered in May and June and 900 miners delivered each month in the remainder of calendar 2021 commencing with the July delivery.”

Hive anticipates that the 1,000 PH/s targets will be achieved sooner than expected with the order already in place. The firm is now eyeing a new goal of 2,000 PH/s by the end of the year, a milestone that could further spur its overall market value.

Meanwhile, Canaan Creative, which reported a Q3 net loss of $12.3 million, might find some reprieve following the new order. Earlier on, the firm’s CFO Quanfu Hong had expressed optimism in a market bounce back as the world gets back to its feet.

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Author: Edwin Munyui

Crypto Mining Service, Titan, Receives Investment Funds From Coinbase Ventures

Crypto Mining Service, Titan, Receives Investment Funds From Coinbase Ventures

The developer of Bitcoin mining software and services Titan has announced a strategic investment fund from Coinbase Ventures. The investment fund was made during Titan’s seed fundraising round.

The investment will allow Titan to expand its offerings, which enable Bitcoin mining firms to achieve growth, profitability, efficiency, and sustenance.

Titan’s Expansion Goals Continue

Titan has been very active in the market lately. Last month, the company announced a partnership with North American mining leaders CoreScientific and CoinMint. The partnership is part of the agreement to become members of the Titan Pool. It is designed to help miners in the cryptocurrency industry meet opportunities and deal with challenges that may come in the future.

The Titan Pool is currently undergoing a high-volume test, as the firm is planning to launch its closed beta this month. Co-founder and chief executive officer of Titan Ryan Condron have commented on the development.

“The investment from Coinbase Ventures serves as a powerful endorsement of the Titan team, roadmap and vision,”

He added that the mining industry had advanced a lot, as it started from being a hobby to becoming an industry. Now, it’s a critical global computing infrastructure. Condron also reiterated that Titan is now equipped to help top miners in the world to overcome their challenges.

Titan says it makes mining less complicated, scalable, and profitable using its advanced mining management software. The company was launched in September 2018 by Matthew Roszak, Jeff Garzik, and Ryan Condron.

Coinbase Prepares for IPO

In another development, Coinbase is certainly one of the most popular cryptocurrency exchanges in the U.S, as the cryptocurrency exchange is highly profitable. However, despite its popularity, the company isn’t a publicly listed exchange and doesn’t make its financial figures available to the public.

This may come as a surprise to many, considering the popularity of the exchange. This may change as the company is preparing for an IPO.

Most of the company’s profits are from trading fees from Bitcoin and other crypto assets. The company filed an S-1 form intending to launch an IPO with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) on December 22.

The firm has been involved in several projects and partnerships. It has also invested in a lot of startups to expand its portfolio and encourage more cryptocurrency adoption.

The investment with crypto mining pool Titan is another strong indication of where the exchange’s goals lie. While it has invested in several projects, the firm also received funds from top investment firms like Andreessen Horowitz and Tiger Global Management.

With the firm’s massive growth, many investors would want to participate in its upcoming IPO, which may likely be the biggest in 2021 as Bakkt and Gemini prepare for IPO’s as well.

This is not the first mining investment of Coinbase. In 2018, the exchange also invested in mining hardware startup Coinmine.

The Titan investment will help the crypto mining pool complete its beta testing phase, which is expected to end in February. Mining giant Core Scientific is among the clients currently testing the pool.

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Author: Ali Raza

Anchorage Secures Trust Charter from OCC; Becomes First Crypto Bank

Anchorage Secures Trust Charter from Outgoing OCC Brian Brooks; Becomes First Crypto Bank

Crypto custody and financial services firm Anchorage has received a conditional trust charter from the OCC.

Anchorage, a crypto custody and financial services provider, is the first crypto native company to secure a bank charter.

According to a press release, the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC) announced on Wednesday that it had granted Anchorage a conditional license to operate as the first digital bank in the U.S.

A First for the Industry

The development is a landmark event, as it allows traditional banks to offer Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies to their customers via Anchorage.

Anchorage was established in 2017 by Diogo Mónic and Nathan McCauley, two former employees at payment processor Square.

While it started as a custody service, the company has expanded its offering to include crypto trading and lending. It already went through two funding rounds, with the most recent involving companies like Andreessen Horowitz and VISA. It filed for the bank charter late last year, citing the need for adequate sub-custodial services in the crypto space.

Anchorage chief executive Nathan McCauley stressed that this was a significant development nonetheless. Speaking with Forbes, McCauley explained that the trust charter would make traditional banks more comfortable dealing with cryptocurrencies.

“It will let all sorts of people come to the table who until now have been hesitant to come in. It marks a big shift in the availability of crypto assets,” he added, claiming that several large companies will be more willing to invest in crypto in the future.

Industry news sources have added that a full bank charter will depend on some unique requirements. For one, Anchorage will need to fulfill certain liquidity and capital requirements. The company will also need to meet the OCC’s risk management standards.

Banks Warming Up to Crypto

Traditional banks have already shown an appetite for dealing with cryptocurrencies. JPMorgan, the country’s largest investment bank, has adopted a significantly pro-Bitcoin stance in the past few months, with several analyses detailing the possibility of the leading cryptocurrency usurping gold as the global reserve asset.

At the same time, New York-based Morgan Stanley recently increased its Bitcoin exposure after upping its stake in business intelligence solutions company MicroStrategy. A filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) last week showed that Morgan Stanley had acquired 792,627 shares in MicroStrategy, giving it 10.9 percent ownership of the latter. MicroStrategy made significant Bitcoin plays last year, with the company owning 70,470 BTC as of December 21.

The OCC also ruled to allow banks to run independent stablecoin nodes earlier this year. In an interpretive letter, the agency explained that banks could use stablecoins for their permissible activities, including but not limited to making payments. More developments like these show that banks are gearing up to embrace digital assets, and Anchorage hopes to be a big part of that.

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Author: Jimmy Aki

Tax Automation Startup TaxBit Secures Investment from Paypal, Coinbase, and Winklevoss Capital

Crypto Tax Automation Startup TaxBit Secures Investment from Paypal, Coinbase, and Winklevoss Capital

According to an announcement on Thursday, Paypal, Coinbase, and Winklevoss Capital have invested in crypto tax automation startup TaxBit. The tax compliance startup seems to gain traction from prominent players in the crypto industry. More tax authorities led by the likes of IRS tighten their oversight on cryptocurrency activity.

Winklevoss Capital was already an investor in TaxBit, having participated in their seed round, which raised $5 million. TaxBit is yet to disclose how much it was funded in the latest round of investment by the three industry giants.

As the IRS forges a clear path for crypto tax reporting, stakeholders have made adjustments to meet the set requirements. Per the latest Form 1040 draft, the IRS requires anyone who took part in crypto activity within 2020 to report the same. It outlines that the scope of such activities includes virtual currencies that have been airdropped or transferred for free and obviously transactions involving crypto assets.

“If, in 2020, you engaged in any transaction involving virtual currency, check the ‘Yes’ box next to the question on the virtual currency on page 1 of Form 1040 or 1040-SR.”

Given such developments, the TaxBit crypto tax automation software is among the solutions that firms and retail are looking for to remain tax compliant. This Salt Lake City startup reduces the workload of reporting taxes through two primary applications focused on exchanges, crypto businesses, and consumers. It is not surprising that they have now increased their capital base with support from major contributors to the crypto ecosystem.

Paypal, which recently debuted into the crypto space, is likely to benefit from this investment. More users will be willing to engage crypto assets once the hustle of tax reporting is eliminated. TaxBit Founder and CEO Austin Woodward expressed optimism on the milestone,

“We want to thank our customers, partners, and investors for helping us move the cryptocurrency space forward … This investment will help us achieve our aim of being the most innovative and trustworthy provider of cryptocurrency tax technology.”

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Author: Edwin Munyui

Hackers Have Been Stealing Crypto From Wallets for Over a Year with a New Malware

Hackers Have Been Stealing Crypto From Wallets for Over a Year with a New Malware Dubbed ‘ElectroRAT’

A new malware, dubbed ElectroRAT has been discovered by cybersecurity researchers at Intezer Labs; the remote access Trojan (RAT) targets crypto wallet users and has been operational for the past year according to the report published on Jan 5.

With crypto prices on a bullish trend, the market continues to be exposed to malicious attackers looking to drain funds from users’ wallets. This latest malware is said to have been embedded in three crypto apps built on Electron hence the pseudo ‘ElectroRAT’.

Under the Hood

Per the report, the apps in which the malware was hidden include Jamm, eTrade/Kintum, and DaoPoker. All these are crypto-oriented applications with the first two being trading apps, while DaoPoker was fronted as a gambling platform. Notably, the three applications were deployed for Linux, Mac, and Windows versions.

Intezer Labs researchers highlighted that the malware took longer to be detected since the apps were built from scratch, concealing the actual intention, which was to breach users’ crypto-wallets. The report describes ElectroRAT as extremely intrusive given its embedded functionalities. ElectroRAT has,

“Various capabilities such as keylogging, taking screenshots, uploading files from disk, downloading files, and executing commands on the victim’s console.”

This malware was written on the Golang programming language which made it even more difficult for malicious malware to be detected. Golang has become a favorite amongst malware authors given the complexity of analyzing projects written in this language; they tend to be more sophisticated than malware written in C#, C++, and C.

Level of Exposure

Intezer Labs estimated that thousands of users may have already been affected by the malware, although they might not be aware. According to additional evidence from the report, some of the victims are Metamask wallet users. This comes as no surprise given that the three apps sourced for marketing support and were able to advertise on popular crypto portals such as SteemCoinPan and Bitcointalk.

Cyber sec stakeholders who have commented on this development include Casa crypto custody CTO, Jameson Lopp, who said that such novel malware is to be expected in a bull market. He went on to caution crypto users against using wallets that store private keys on one’s desktop/laptop; instead, the ‘private keys should be stored on dedicated hardware devices’.

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Author: Edwin Munyui

Bitcoin Miners Busy Accumulating BTC; Revenue from Fees Surges 2300% This Year

Bitcoin Miners Busy Accumulating BTC; Revenue from Fees Surges 2300% This Year

BTC miner outflow is nowhere near the previous tops, it is actually even below the 2019 local top.

2020 has been a good year for miners given that their revenue from fees increased from $0.1 million at the beginning of the year to $1.7 million as of Dec. 20th.

The daily miner revenue increased by 31% over the past week, as miners raked in more revenue through fees amidst the strong week for bitcoin price and activity levels.

The rising prices of the digital asset pushed the average fees on the bitcoin network to past $12, a jump of more than 4,185% from the average fee of a mere 2 cents in January 2020.

Miners are also not cashing out their BTC at these prices as seen in the amount of miner unspent supply, BTC that has never left the miner address, which has been increasing since the last halving and currently stands at 1.7 million BTC. Glassnode noted,

“Despite the recent rally, Bitcoin miners are not spending more BTC than usual. The Miner Outflow Multiple, which shows when BTC miner outflow is high with respect to its historical average, is far from previous tops and even below the 2019 local top.”

BTC Miner Outflow

Source: Glassnode

Bitcoin miners’ monthly revenue has been surging since September. In the month of November, they recorded $521.69 million in both subsidy and fees, last seen in September 2019. So far, this month $443.65 million have been raked in by them in revenue.

Ever since Bitcoin halving in May, which cut down the miners’ reward in half, fees have been accounting for 8% to 12% of miners’ total revenue, up from 1% at the beginning of this year.

Interestingly, while the price of Bitcoin is currently ranging from $22k and $24k, the stocks of publicly listed BTC mining companies have been up.

In the last 24 hours, Riot Blockchain shares are up 32%, Marathon Patent Group 21.5%, and Bit Digital’s 3.8%.

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Author: AnTy