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

The Fed Fires Shots At Libra: FedNow Will Provide Instant Payments Without Bypassing Regulations

In a speech given on Thursday, Lael Brainard, the Federal Reserve governor canvassed on various financial issues in the United States and the world and the issue of stablecoin like Libra was raised.

The Facebook led project that was launched last year with lots of publicity, has been said to fuel the clamor by central banks in the world to develop their own digital currencies. Libra has also elicited criticism across the world with some financial regulators vowing to never allow the stablecoin to operate within their borders.

Jerome Powell,the Fed’s chair, explained to Congress that Libra ‘really lit a fire’ in regards to the works of the US central bank.

On her part, the Fed governor has previously stated that they are working with several central banks across the globe to come up with a way of introducing central banks issued digital currencies (CBDC).

Brainard’s speech majorly talked on FedNow which is a platform that is being created by the Fed which will allow financial institutions in the country to make instant payments. Brainard stated that most of the core aspects of the platform have been approved by the Federal Reserve Board.

Brainard’s speech also touched on the future of payment systems in the wake of advanced technology. She stated that stablecoin network projects such as Libra have raised fundamental issues on regulatory standards, financial stability as well as the aim of private money in the world. She stated:

“Efforts by global stablecoin networks such as Facebook’s Libra project to drive the next stage of payment innovation have raised other fundamental questions about legal and regulatory safeguards, financial stability, and the appropriate role of private money.”

The speech seems to explain some of the key projects being undertaken by the Federal Reserve when it comes to payments. Brainard stated that the Fed remains optimistic that technology as well as innovation will be used to deliver payments instantly, safely as well as efficiently. She however cautioned that the right safeguards must be developed for the technology to work swiftly.

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Author: Joseph Kibe

Several Catalysts Will Drive the Demand for the Scarce Digital Asset, Bitcoin: Fidelity

Bitcoin’s inherent properties have given rise to the perspective that the digital asset could be a store of value, states Fidelity in its latest report on Bitcoin Investment Thesis. It is actually an “aspirational” SoV, creating value as it matures into a store of value.

Fidelity likened investing in bitcoin today to investing in Facebook when it had 50 million users with the potential to grow to the more than 2 billion users it has today.

One of the key arguments against bitcoin being an SoV today is its volatility, but even upward volatility attracts investment, development, and innovation.

But there is no long-term value to store it if there is no sustained demand for the digitally scarce asset and a decentralized settlement network. According to the report, the demand for the digital asset would grow incrementally.

The Catalysts

External forces that are accelerating interest and investment in bitcoin include unprecedented levels and exotic forms of monetary and fiscal stimulus globally, which is exacerbating the concerns that Bitcoin was designed to address as such leading more users towards bitcoin as an “insurance policy.”

This is a near-to medium-term catalyst where as many as 285 stimulus measures have been announced in just eight months, including virtually zero interest rates, increasing money supply via QE, and a range of lending facilities.

These measures were taken by central banks and governments to counteract the deflationary pressures created by global lockdowns to mitigate the spread of coronavirus. These restrictions and lockdowns have also propelled deglobalization, yet another catalyst for bitcoin.

“The increase in money supply may translate to an increase in the price of risky or scarce assets,” it reads. In case the combination of policy leads to inflation or if it stays suppressed, but nominal leads stay low or go lower, investors may turn to an asset that maintains its real value and cannot be printed.

Traditionally, investors turn to fixed supply assets like real estate, dividend-yielding stocks, and precious metals. Still, this time they have a new type of fixed supply asset available that has “significant growth potential.”

Simultaneously, the massive transfer of wealth from the older generation to a younger one is a gradual process but an important long-term tailwind, as younger people view bitcoin more favorably. Long-term wealth preservation is yet another factor to drive this demand.

According to WEF’s 2017 Global Shapers Survey, 45% of the 30,000 millennials surveyed said they don’t trust banks to be fair and honest. Edelman’s October 2018 survey of affluent millennials, those aged 24-38 with $50K in investable assets, found 77% of them believe “the whole financial system is designed to favor the rich and powerful.”

There has also been an affinity in millennials towards bitcoin relative to traditional stores of values like gold. About 90% of ETF Store’s millennial clients prefer bitcoin to gold, which they say is “landslide.”

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Author: AnTy

This Stock Puts Crypto Pump to Shame; From All-Time Low to All-Time High

Crypto pumps have nothing on this stock, which makes sense, given that President Donald Trump himself is the one behind the pump.

This stock is none other than Kodak; that’s right; the same company that once jumped the blockchain train has now found another driver to pump its shares.

KODK shares are witnessing an enormous rally that seems to have no end in sight. Its shares started rising after the Trump administration announced the company would be transformed into a pharmaceutical producer under the Defense Production Act.

Trump announced on Tuesday that the company would receive a $765 million loan to launch Kodak Pharmaceuticals, which will generate key generic medicines to fight the coronavirus and reduce America’s dependence on foreign drug makers.

In response, the company’s share skyrocketed, up more than 2,440% this week, that sent its market valuation to nearly $2 billion. During this uptrend, it triggered at least six halts for volatility.

Once a giant producer of film and cameras, the company filed for bankruptcy in 2012 only to emerge as a restructured business the very next year and has now pivoted itself to a materials and chemicals company.

Kodak CEO Jim Continenza said they already manufacture key materials for some pharmaceuticals and would take three to three and a half years to build out the new production capacity. For this, the company would hire 359 workers, most in New York state, and create about 1,200 indirect jobs.

“KODAK just went from All-time Lows to All-time Highs in just a few days,” said trader Mr. Anderson, adding, the chart of KODAK shares is of the kind that “every RIPPLE fanboy will pin their hopes and dreams on.”

Crypto market has been enjoying a rally for months now. However, this altcoin season has slowed down since Bitcoin hit the psychological importance level of $10,000.

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Author: AnTy

Crypto Community Sentiment Still Bullish Despite BTC Trading 40% Lower Than Yearly High

Bitcoin proponents had a lot of expectations from 2020, given the impending Block Reward Halving and the expected bull run. The year started as per expectations as Bitcoin crossed the $10K mark in the first month itself. The traditional markets were falling but Bitcoin showed resistance, however, the outbreak of coronavirus led to chaos not just in the traditional market, but it also impacted Bitcoin’s price in the second week of March.

Bitcoin fell by almost 50% in one day, registering one of the biggest drops since its inception. Many believed that the drop was caused by panic selling while few others believe institutional investors liquidated their hedge in crypto to provide support in the traditional market. Whatever may be the reason, it seems the Bitcoin community is not fazed by the recent drop and is highly bullish on Bitcoin seeing another bull run and achieve its all-time high price.

Santiment, a behavior analytical platform looked into hundreds of social media posts related to cryptocurrencies to analyze the overall sentiment of the market. Santiment’s analysis suggests that on the day of the drop i.e 12th March the sentiment in the market was quite “volatile” too. Some of the investors shrugged off the drop and believed it served as a perfect opportunity for new entrants in the market who have been complaining about the price. While a few others called it Bitcoin’s doom where a few went on to predict a total collapse of the digital asset in the coming days.

Bitcoin made headlines outside the crypto-verse as well

While crypto Twitter is known for voicing opinions strongly, the price drop on March 12 seemed to have garnered attention even outside the crypto verse. Santiment analysis suggested that negative sentiment prevailed on different social medias like Reddit, most of whom have been naysayers predicting Bitcoin’s doom.

While the COVID-19 pandemic surely had its share of impact on Bitcoin right before the halving, it seems Bitcoin proponents are aware of the volatility. The analysis is evident that despite the massive drop Bitcoin community is still behind cheering on for it to succeed.

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Author: James W

European Commission to Offer Grants for Creating Digital Twins Using Blockchain for Defense

Blockchain developers and specialists are being given grants by the European Commission (EC) so that they adapt civil tech to defense applications.

The European Defense Industrial Development was published by the EC on March 24. It calls on small to medium enterprises (SMEs) to come with solutions in the defense sector using new technologies that are quick to deploy and are cost-effective.

How To Be Considered For The Blockchain Grants?

The EC has provided an outline that offers guidance for the program, which may benefit from the 254 million Euros budgeted in 2019-2020 that were designated for grants to successful projects. The proposals should fall within these guidelines:

“Based on real-time cloud and on-premise digital twin benefiting from blockchain technologies’ robustness, able to channel all currently optimized logistics needs, such as chain of spare parts, maintenance, energy consumables.”

What Is a Digital Twin?

Digital twins are virtual representations or mirrors of physical entities, assets, and processes such as human beings, pieces of infrastructure, machines or objects. The blockchain is capable of strengthening the digital twins’ integrity because it allows tamper-proof cryptographic tags for validating provenance, ownership, and states of either objects or products, to be used.

What Can a Blockchain – Digital Twins Combination Offer?

The 2018 Deloitte report says the combination between blockchain and digital twins can bring benefits for the internet of things (IoT) sector and other applications that are very useful for production environments’ predictive maintenance.

According to Deloitte, blockchain is efficient at offering secure identity management and transparency in data analytics and ownership models. The EC admits that combining blockchain and digital twins is efficient in the energy, supply chains, and equipment maintenance sectors for defense. The submissions for the program will take place between April 15 and December 1, 2020, according to how the COVID-10 pandemic dictates.

Blockchain and Defense

As it has been reported of late, BAE Systems, the US-based contractor providing defense service solutions and support together with civilian systems and intelligence, has a cryptocurrency exploiter open position for supporting operations. Back in July last year, the US Department of Defense also released its blockchain technology plan for digital modernization.

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Author: Oana Ularu

NYFDS Gives Crypto Firms 30 Days to Submit A Coronavirus (COVID-19) Contingency Plan

New York’s Financial regulator, NYFDS, has given crypto firms registered within this state one month to have submitted a preparedness plan for the COVID-19 pandemic.

The watchdog sent out letters to crypto entities it regulates which was followed by a state of emergency declaration by New York’s Mayor, Bill De Blasio.

These firms are required to outline how they plan to tackle short term and long-term operational risks amongst others as the world’s economy dips due to Coronavirus (COVID-19).

The letter sent out to over 15 firms regulated by the NYFDS partly reads;

“COVID-19 has already had adverse economic effects domestically and globally. It is critical that each regulated entity establish plans to address how it will manage the effects of the outbreak and assess disruptions and other risks to its services and operations.”

Markets across the world have been red with crypto also falling victim. These highly volatile assets lost over 30% this week despite stakeholders having faith that they would be a great alternative for value realization during black swan events. The NYFDS concern with players in this field is, therefore, no surprise given the industry’s brief history.

The NYFDS Risk Mitigation Proposal Outline

Crypto firms targeted by the NYFDS are required to highlight a minimum of 9 areas that pose an operational risk to their businesses. In addition, they should have 3 separate plans to tackle the identified shortcomings.

Basically, the operational outlook will cover company specifics that are exposed including probable solutions that can be implemented in a scalable manner. The NYDFS took this approach as it yet to quantify how much financial damage Coronavirus (COVID-19) has done and will do in the coming days.

This development means the likes of Ripple, BitPay and Coinbase will have to analyze the options of working remotely. Furthermore, the regulator requires them to update health protection tactics to prevent their employees from COVID-19 exposure.

Apart from coming up with a contingency plan, crypto firms operating in New York have to regularly check whether their suggested strategy is effective. As of reporting date, the number of reported COVID-19 cases in New York is below 100 but the city’s mayor, Bill de Blasio, might spike to 1000 hence the state of emergency.

Coinbase Ahead in COVID-19 Prevention

This San Fransisco based crypto exchange appears to have already taken initiatives to prevent more risks than the markets are already experiencing. Coinbase rolled out its contingency plan last month and it comprises four tiers; 0-3. At the moment, only Japan is at tier 1 with all the other subsidiaries still at 0. Ideally, all employees will work remotely in case it reaches a point where all outlet locations are placed in tier 3; this will probably be at the extremes of COVID-19.

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Author: Edwin Munyui

IBM Wins ‘Self-Aware’ Token Patent, It Can Record Offline Transaction Data To Upload Later

IBM was given a US patent for a “self-aware” token that’s capable of recording its own data for transactions.

The patent was awarded on January 7. It presents a ledger-based system for payments, a system that makes tracking and tracing crypto transactions easier for governments, businesses and individuals too. It’s designed to record the transactions even when not being used on the payments platform patented by IBM back in 2012. As soon as the token gets back to this platform’s ecosystem later, the data of offline transactions is immediately uploaded.

Payment Location and the Transacted Amounts Revealed

With the patent, tokens make a complete cycle and reveal all the data about the amounts that have been transacted, the payment location and some information on the token holders. However, the data is not stored in the token itself, but on other devices like phones, laptops and so on.

IBM says that knowing where the tokens come from is very helpful as far as bolstering “trust and viability” in the newly formed community that uses tokens goes, seeing businesses will be able to prove they haven’t been conducting illegal activities, individuals can make sure they haven’t been scammed, whereas regulators can enforce their laws more effectively.

Exchanges Between Different Asset Classes Facilitated

IBM claims that with the new patent, the exchanges between asset classes that are of various forms get to be facilitated. The more cryptocurrencies seem to be developed, the more payments between different asset classes are difficult to enable. This is what the company said about how important it is to record transaction data:

“e-Currencies [could] operate across disparate economic systems, fostering easier participating alongside sovereign currencies and other non-standard currencies.”

IBM’s Patent for a Blockchain-Based Web Browser that Protects Privacy

In August 2019, IBM also received a patent for a privacy protection blockchain-based web browser. It can be said the company had a certain contribution to the crypto space, seeing it launched the IBM Blockchain Platform back in 2017 and has contributed to the Hyperledger project.

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Author: Oana Ularu

The Story Behind the Renowned Icelandic, “Big Bitcoin Heist”: From Mastermind to Execution

Iceland is known for having the world’s largest bitcoin mine. Given so much space and low electricity, it is a spot that most eye when it comes to Bitcoin mining. However, the country is also known for having witnessed five crypto data centers that were broken into in a span of two months reports Vanity Fair. The accumulated loss? A gross $2 million. Turns out, 60% of them had a crew in common, led by mastermind, Sindri Thor Stefansson and his partner in crime, Hafthor Logi Hlynsson.

Who is Sindri Thor Stefansson?

Stefansson (32) is considered the mastermind of what Iceland calls the “Big Bitcoin Heist,” and many know him as being a famous thief. In the interview with the news outlet, Stefansson seems to be pleased with the work he’s done, stating:

“It’s the biggest burglary in the history of Iceland. So, I guess it’s my biggest yet.”

Taking everyone back in time, the thief shared that he’s always been a “naughty boy” as young as the kindergarten times, where he smashed into the school window to open the door. It’s supposedly the thrill that arose from such activity that led him towards this path.

He met his ‘best friend and partner in crime,’ Hlynsson at the age of six. What started as a combined effort in stealing from an elderly working at a shopping small, led the duo to commit the Bitcoin Heist. As he aged, he involved himself in all the things people are advised against, and by his early adulthood he had 200 cases of petty crime.

While in prison, Stefansson decided to get clean and start a new life. He got married and graduated with a degree in computer science. Having done odd jobs for far too long and in need of more money, he eventually came across Bitcoin mining (something that he was interested in).

Mr.X to Have Opened Stefansson’s Eyes

In 2017, Stefansson supposedly made an acquaintance called, Mr. X who is described as being a ‘dangerous international investor.’ Sharing his visions of mining Bitcoin,

Mr. X stopped the lad by asking, “Why go to all the expense and effort to start your own Bitcoin mind, when you can get a head start into the business by stealing computers from the competition.”

What did Stefansson get out of this? 15% of the goods, which supposedly amounts to 1.2 million per year forever. Stefansson was amazed by the entirety of computers being able to create money. He said:

“You’re stealing machines that make money. Making money while you sleep.”

The Plan Right Up Until Its Execution

Mr. X was supposedly the one to have rounded up a crew of five Icelandic men in their twenties. Given that everyone knew each other, the plans will be discussed at a friend’s house in Reykjavik. The crew itself can be considered a hierarchy, with the lower step consisting of 2 boys who had clean police records, then comes “the brains”, Hlynsson and obviously there’s the boss, who the police deem is Stefansson, but to him it was all about following Mr. X.

Stefansson had all the possible tools he needed for the team to succeed in the Bitcoin Heist. They even thought out communication, i.e. Telegram, because it is encrypted, and messages can be self-destructed. Some communication also took place in a Facebook Group called, “Foruneytid” (or the Fellowship).

At the time of the Bitcoin Heist, there supposedly wasn’t any securities walking around, as most simply stared at security monitors. The Heist started with breaking into Algrim Consulting data center. Then, they tried to attempt it at the Borealis Data Center, only to fail, but according to Stefansson, the police were slow in investigating the situation. Although what they had stolen sufficed, it seems like the crew wanted more power.

Stefansson at some point got an innocent call from his friend from school who was working as an electrician. He shared that the AVK Data Center required more electricity for something called Bitcoin. After having studied the AVK Data Center’s area and realizing that it was an early establishment with no security, it automatically became the next victim.

Stefansson and his buddy eventually got arrested but given how polite they were and having conversated with the thieves for three days, the police had nothing on them, and they were released.

In the same way, with additional reach to an insider, they hit the Advania Data Center. Eventually arrested again, but this time Stefansson was caught for good because he failed to delete information from his phone, which the police were able to access.

A Loophole in the Icelandic Law

According to the reportings, staging a prison break is not considered breaking the law because “all human beings are naturally entitled to freedom and thus cannot be punished for seeking it.” This is exactly what Stefansson did after some three months passed, and eventually flew to Stockholm under someone else’s name. Apparently, Sweden doesn’t require Icelandic travellers to carry a valid ID or passport.

Having reached Amsterdam at some point in his travels, he met with some members of his crew only to get caught again because of a picture of the trio that went on Hlysson’s Instagram. Ultimately, he was sentenced with four-and-a-half-years in prison.

As for Mr. X, he still remains at large with the stolen 550 computers. When Stefansson was asked if he were Mr. X, how he’d rate the entirety of the Heist, he replied, “A masterpiece. I just wish I had done it.”

“}” data-sheets-userformat=”{“2″:13057,”3”:{“1″:0},”11″:3,”12″:0,”15″:”Open Sans”,”16″:11}”>Latest Bitcoin Price News and Crypto Market Updates

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Author: Nirmala Velupillai