Anchorage Adds Institutional Custody Support For Ripple’s XRP With The Help of Xpring

The digital custody provider Anchorage announced they have added support for XRP.

By market capitalization, XRP occupies the third place in the top of the largest cryptocurrencies. It’s used by Ripple for all international payments. Before Thursday, it was the only cryptocurrency in the top 3 that Anchorage didn’t support. From now on, it has become available with the custodian, but only for institutional investors.

Anchorage Supports Other 18 Digital Assets

Anchorage’s support for XRP started formally on the Anchorage website on Wednesday. Here’s what the president of the company, Diogo Monica, had to say about the news:

“As the third-largest digital asset by market cap, XRP appeals to a number of our institutional clients, which include VC funds, family offices, hedge funds, and other large-scale crypto investors.”

A press release from Anchorage mentions that a large number of institutions already happen to hold XRP. There are 18 other digital assets that the custodian supports, and Monica said the custodian wants to add support for many other more of them that meet the bar.

Anchorage Is Committed to Security

Anchorage seems to be very committed to provide security for the custody product that it has to offer, which is definitely world-class. The XRP community thinks the new Anchorage support is a great addition for XRP holders. The addition makes total sense, seeing that Ripple, the company behind XRP, is continuing to close partnerships with big names in the cross-border payments world, such as Philippines-based Azimo, the US-Mexico corridor’s MoneyGram and Intermex. According to Brad Garlinghouse, Ripple’s CEO, XRP valued at $54 million were sent between the US and Mexico only one week in February.

Anchorage Collaborated with Xpring

In order to integrate XRP, Anchorage collaborated with Ripple’s developer platform Xpring. It also said that it may add new advanced XRP functions such as payment channels in order to allow users to send payments that aren’t synchronous and that get settled at a later date. When the custodian’s future plans regarding Facebook’s Libra were mentioned, Monica said that the company is working with blockchain developers.

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Author: Oana Ularu

Opera Integrates Unstoppable Domains .Crypto Extension For Android Devices

Opera users can now have access to decentralized web sites after teaming up with Unstoppable Domains which is supported by renowned Bitcoin worshipper Tim Draper, CoinDesk reports.

The deal makes Opera the first main browser to integrate .Crypto extension domain. The deal will let Opera users to easily make crypto payments through surfing the decentralized sites.

The announcement also states that the owner stores the blockchain domains and not the registrar firms. Additionally, decentralized sites are kept on peer-to-peer networks instead of cloud services. This is a huge milestone as now people can conduct transactions with no need of middlemen. Storing on peer-to-peer networks also makes it possible to avoid censorship.

Unstoppable Domains explained that the new development will have an impact on the internet connections since, with time, distributed networks are known to be highly robust, has increased uptime and will minimize the risk of DDoS attack incidents.

According to Unstoppable Domains, although decentralized domains aid in avoiding censorship on the publication side, they are however unable to help viewers from countries and regions that face censorship, de-anonymization as well as surveillance issues.

According to Unstoppable Domains co-founder, Brad Kam, users facing censorship or surveillance challenges will have to utilize VPNs or related tools just like is the case with present day web. He went ahead to explain that decentralized sites only address the user’s capacity to publish and not the viewer’s issues.

The new partnership makes Opera the inaugural mainstream browser to integrate a domain which does not have a conventional domain name system. Opera has been on the forefront in coming up with features that support the blockchain and crypto industry. In October last year, the firm also allowed Bitcoin payments within the browser, the first one among major browsers.

In other related news, Unstoppable Domains also announced it had launched a blockchain-based browser that will ease the access to decentralized web. These decentralized websites from Unstoppable Domain are kept by the users in their wallets and the content safeguarded on an InterPlanetary File System as well as various decentralized storage networks.

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Author: Joseph Kibe

BitMex Research Suggest Bitcoin Ecosystem is Thriving With Diverse Development Work

In the wake of the coronavirus outbreak, the financial institutions have come to a standstill and governments around the globe are pumping and printing fiats at their will to keep it going. Bitcoin, the decentralized digital currency which was created in the wake of the 2008 financial crisis also registered a massive drop of almost 50% leading to panic selling.

Apart from the price drop, the Bitcoin network has also seen falling hashrate input, decreased mining difficulty which created a sense of uncertainty among many. However, a recent report from BitMex Research suggests that Bitcoin is going strong and the network is healthier than that of 2014.

The research report suggests that the development of the Bitcoin network is getting stronger not just from the Bitcoin core community, but the contribution has poured in from different walks of the crypto ecosystem who are continuously working to make the network more scalable.

Lightning Lab and Blockstream Biggest Contributors

Source: BitMEX Research

The BitMex report revealed that Lightning Lab and Blockstream are the biggest contributors to the Bitcoin network. Both these platforms have continuously worked on scaling the sidechain solutions. Bitcoin’s scalability has been one of the biggest talking points in recent times and layer 2 solutions in the form of lightning network and liquid are being actively developed as a sidechain to contain the congestion on the main network.

Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey’s Square app comes in the third position in terms of their contribution to the Bitcoin network. Square is well-known for its belief in the lightning network and has worked in accordance with them to make it more reliable and user friendly.

The research also makes note of independent developers contributing to the network and believe there are at least 33 core developers working on the platform, but there are many other anonymous contributors as well which cannot be easily tracked.

Altcoins Do Not Enjoy Same Diversity in Development

While it’s very evident from the research that the Bitcoin network still attracts a lot of developers both known and unknown to its platform, the same does not hold true in the case of altcoins. The research report revealed that the development community for the majority of the altcoins is quite centralized.

Ethereum and IOTA top the list with over 100 developers working on the foundation tram. While centralization in the developer team has its drawback, it also ensures a clear vision for the platform which streamlines the flow of development and subsequent progress of the network.

As for the financial aspect of the development, the exact details of the funding is obscure as contributions pour in from many non-profit organizations like Chaincode Labs and MIT DCI, while the likes of Square and Blockstream has raised significant amount as well.

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Author: James W

Hyperledger Fast Tracks Dev of Ethereum Based eThaler As US Central Bank Digital Dollar

  • A lot of talks have emerged on the possibility of the Federal Reserve issuing a digital dollar as part of the $2.2 trillion dollar stimulus package to fight the COVID-19 pandemic being a key turning point in the discussions.
  • Now, an Ethereum-based project is accelerating its efforts in the development of a platform that will potentially allow the Fed to directly send cash to an individual.

eThaler Set To Create Central Bank Digital Currency (CBDC)

At a planned meeting at Hyperledger, a blockchain consortium, it was decided to accelerate its efforts in the development of eThaler, an Ethereum based project aiming to create a CBDC. While the need for a CBDC has only been a priority to a small number of governments, the current COVID-19 virus pandemic, is setting a new stage for governments to become more “blockchain-friendly,” the U.S becoming the latest superpower to join the race.

In February, a clear use of the CBDC started to show as California Congresswoman and chair of the House Financial Services Committee, Maxine Waters, introduced the concept of a digital dollar, firing up the accelerated development of Hyperledger’s, eThaler.

Vipin Bharathan, 59, chair of the Hyperledger identity working group said,

“The concept of the CBDC seems to have gotten an imprimatur from the house finance committee. That’s a significant step, and I argue that such crisis situations always produce new ideas, and acceptance of new ideas, which will live on long after the coronavirus has burned through the world.”

Development of the eThaler, CBDC project

Over the past six months, developers across the world have kept working on open-source projects – professionals from Accenture and InfoSys and the Itau Bank in Brazil – leading the charge. The token follows the ERC-1125 standard, which differs from the conventional ERC-20 token standards by providing a single standard designed to support multiple kinds of tokens.

The token is expected to be fungible, mintable and destroyable through a burning process similar to Binance Coin (BNB) structure. Notwithstanding the CBDC is expected to be highly divisible to allow micropayments across the system, a feature currently unavailable with fiat currency.

“Lastly, and perhaps most controversially, the asset must be “pausable” in case a bug in the software is discovered, or an update is being implemented.” – Forbes.

Criticisms of the CBDC

Despite the accelerated development of the platform, it may not be used for the current disbursement of the $2.2 trillion dollar relief fund with several critics coming forward to disclaim the formation of a CBDC.

First, the legacy finance argument is that most of the currency across the world is already on a digital platform. Doubling up, is the Bitcoin community who believe that the central banks interference still makes the blockchain centralized hence defeating the purpose.

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Author: Lujan Odera

FDIC Urges People to Not Pull Money Out in a Desperate Attempt to Avoid A Bank Run

In the past weeks, investors have fled out of risky assets that resulted in equities, oil, cryptos to even gold and bonds falling in prices. The risky assets along with traditional safe haven assets were left out in favor of cash.

As usually happens in times of crisis, investors turn to hoard cash by selling everything they can get their hands on. However, people stockpiling indicates a cash crisis might be brewing. Interest rate cuts to zero percent and even in negative territory isn’t helping the case for banks either.

Yesterday, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation took to Twitter to advise people against withdrawing money and hoarding, cash emphasizing that “the safest place to keep your money is in the bank.”

In this less than a minute long video, FDIC talks about how in the current unprecedented times of novel coronavirus, people are fearful about what they should be doing with their money when they needn’t be because “your money is safe at the banks.” FDIC said,

“The last thing you should be doing is pulling your money out of the banks now thinking it is going to be safer someplace else. You don’t want to be walking around with large wads of cash and you certainly don’t want to be hoarding cash in your mattress. It didn’t pan out well for so many people.”

The corporation said, “no depositor has lost a penny of their insured deposits since 1933 when the FDIC was created,” as such “if you’re talking about having your money in a safe place, please keep it in an FDIC-insured bank.”

“You nervous about something?” is what Nik Carter of Coin Metrics responded with.

Bank Runs

In times of economic hardship, everyone makes a dash for cash and this time as it is happening, banks are struggling to provide liquidity.

According to reports, the likes of Bank of America, JPMorgan, and Chase are limiting the withdrawals. These banks have capped the limit between $3,000 to $10,000 in some of the areas.

“We don’t keep large amounts of cash in big bills in the branches because it’s dangerous for our employees and there is low demand,” said BoA.

However, there are no such limits on withdrawing crypto, as long as you are the one that owns your keys. But during the recent market carnage, the fact that cryptos also crashed hard has some in doubt.

However, it must be noted that so did gold just like it fell in 2008 during the financial crisis but only to emerge as the winner. And the same is expected of the deflationary Bitcoin with a hard cap of 21 million, unlike the US Dollar, that the Federal Reserve keeps on printing more and more.

As BitMEX in its recent report noted, “Where the Bitcoin price may shine is in the volatile inflationary aftermath of the response to the crash.”

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Author: AnTy

Blockchain Managers In Food and Ag Industry Given Stay-at-Home Exemptions During COVID-19

U.S states have started focusing on blockchains as management platforms following the latest directive by the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) which falls under the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). Currently, eight of the 50 states have announced plans to integrate blockchain managers as they work through the current COVID-19 virus pandemic.

Food and Agriculture are “Blockchain Managers”

On March 19, CISA released a number of recommendations to deal with the virus crisis across various sectors of the economy. One of the notable recommendations is the use of blockchain managers in the food and agriculture industry, which is an “essential” field at this time. In a bid to protect the workers and continue production, CISA wrote,

“Employees and firms supporting food, feed, and beverage distribution, including warehouse workers, vendor managed inventory controllers and blockchain managers.”

Now eight states including Washington, Indiana, California, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Ohio, Delaware, and Michigan are extending the recommendation (or some form of it) to get employees to stay-at-home.

A new look at blockchain managers?

At the moment, CISA and the states are yet to offer an explanation on the “blockchain managers” and how they are to be implemented. According to a researcher at Auburn University’s RFID Lab Allen Gulley, blockchain managers are already operational giving an example of IBM Food Trust blockchain.

Over the past few years, IBM entered into partnerships with some of the largest retail chains including Walmart to track food items from the farm to the store. Gulley said,

“You need to have a blockchain manager behind the scenes making sure that everything’s going according to plan.”

The recommendation has received a warm welcome from the Consumer Technology Association (CTA), a group promoting tech in the trading industry. CTA’s state and local tech policy director Nathan Trail said,

“One thing that we forget with IOT, blockchain, algorithms and so forth is there’s still a very human element that’s necessary in tracking and monitoring the systems to ensure they’re maintained as they should be.”

While the world continues its battles against the virus, blockchain technology becomes more important across industries. However, the lack of scalability for these systems still poses a challenge for the overall adoption rate.

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Author: Lujan Odera

South Korea’s UPbit, Bithumb Reveal Substantial Drop in Trading Volumes In Last 2 Years

Top South Korean crypto exchange platforms, Upbit and Bithumb, have witnessed a massive decrease in their trading volumes of 70% and 63% respectively compared to their 2018 results, Decrypt reports.

According to Financial Supervisory Services (FSS), Dunamu, which is Upbit’s parent company, saw its annual profits decrease by 93% to approximately $7.4 million.

The nosedive in volumes and profits by the two giant exchanges is attributed to a decrease in the total demand for cryptos within the local market in the last 24 months. The revelations in a decrease in the profits and trading volumes became public following regulatory filings by the parent companies.

As per the report by the FSS, during the peak months in 2017 as well as in 2018, Upbit handled approximately 1.35 million Bitcoins every month while Bithumb handled about 1.2 million Bitcoin every month estimated at $7.2 billion.

However, following increased regulations resulting in low demand for Bitcoin, in the 2019 and 2020 peak months, Bithumb handled about 300,000 Bitcoins. This is a decrease of 75% in monthly Bitcoin trading volumes.

On the other hand, Upbit also witnessed a massive drop in its monthly Bitcoin volumes from its 2017’s 1.35 million Bitcoin to about 250,000 Bitcoins in 2020 peak months. In the last two years, Upbit saw its monthly volume stand at 200,000 Bitcoins on average.

The two are not the only exchanges which saw their trading volumes drop significantly in the country. Other crypto exchanges in Korea like Gopax, Korbit and Coinone saw their monthly average volumes decrease by about 60-80%.

The massive drop in revenues and trading volumes among the renowned South Korean crypto exchanges comes amid two years of stagnance in the market growth. Upbit and Bitbumb have also been involved in various legal cases for different reasons.

In December last year, the National Tax Services demanded $67 million as tax from Bithumb while Upbit was accused of fake trade volumes. The two platforms have also been hacked in the recent past and four months ago Upbit experienced a $50 million heist.

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Author: Joseph Kibe

Bitcoin Pushes Higher But is it Enough to Bring in Confidence in Decoupling

Coronavirus has led to uncertainty in the global financial markets. All the major indexes have plummeted over the past few weeks as the market crashes in the severity of the Covid-19.

In line with the global markets, bitcoin also crashed as investors took a risk-off approach due to global uncertainty. This crash in BTC prices had the crypto asset mirroring the stock market, leading to its highest ever 90-day correlation with the S&P 500 at 0.584. However, Qiao Wang of Messri Research notes,

“It’s not so much that crypto and stocks are correlated. It’s that in times of deflation + liquidity crisis, the entire world, including stocks, bonds, real estate, commodities, currencies, and crypto, converges to one trade. And that’s the Dollar trade.”

The S&P 500 which made its all-time new high just a month ago before the market started crashing, is currently down 32% from these highs. This makes it the 12th bear market in US stocks with 30% negative performance, which is worse than that of 1928.

Ben Carlson, director of institutional asset management at $1.2 billion Ritholtz Wealth Management said, “The good news: there are 10 that were worse than this one. The bad news: this one’s not over yet.”

A Huge Buy Signal

While the stock markets remain stagnant, this week, bitcoin seems to be decoupling from the risky assets as the price of bitcoin jumped to nearly $7,000 yesterday. Naeem Aslam, chief market analyst at AvaTrade said,

“Given the fact that the price has crossed the $6,000 mark – an important level of resistance – the upward momentum is likely to pick up the pace, and if the price crosses the 200-day moving average on a daily time frame, it would be a daily time frame, it would be a huge buy signal.”

Most of these upward price swings have been while the Euro and US stock markets were open, noted Nate Maddrey of Coin Metrics. Maddrey said,

“I think there’s a real chance that BTC decouples and potentially leads on the way up after this crisis has passed.

But I think it will likely stay correlated on the way down, or at least as long as the global liquidity crunch lasts.”

Holders Accumulating BTC

Yesterday, the digital asset surged over 32% but currently, Bitcoin is hovering around $6,200 having momentarily fallen to $5,865. Despite all these jumps in prices, the crypto asset remains a risk-on asset class, positively correlated to the S&P 500.

To have confidence in decoupling, BTC needs to hold up next time equities make new lows, said economist and trader Alex Kruger.

Meanwhile, Bitcoin HODLers are taking this opportunity to buy the dip. The “Hodler Net Position Change” metric which shows the monthly position change of long-term investors is currently at above zero meaning holders on average are accumulating BTC.

In February, the metric was above zero that means holders were selling and taking profits as they stopped taking profits. However, over the past week, holders have started accumulating bitcoin yet again.

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Author: AnTy

Itiviti Partners With Gemini on NYFIX’s Order Routing Network For Institutional Clients

The crypto exchange Gemini and Itiviti, the financial and service provider, have closed a partnership that allows Gemini’s crypto holders to trade with Itiviti’s NYFIX Nerwork’s institutional clients.

Furthermore, the partnership ensures the Itiviti’s NYFIX Network asset managers are leveraging the Gemini’s digital asset settlement and exchange ecosystem. NYFIX clients are going to have access to the same monitoring, analytics and post-trade processing tool as Gemini users.

Gemini Joins NYFIX’s Over 60 Worldwide Partners

Gemini has joined NYFIX’s over 60 partners from all over the world, partners that serve Itiviti’s clients, which are more than 800 institutional companies. Here’s what the Gemini’s head of technical exchange services, Drew Candres, had to say about the collaboration:

“We are excited to extend access to our platform to the NYFIX community which consists of an extensive network of asset management firms globally. We are focused on creating technology and services that help financial firms interact with crypto in ways similar to traditional asset class exchanges. Integrating with NYFIX helps our mutual customers seamlessly access the Gemini platform in a safe and familiar way.”

Gemini Will Expand Its Reach

NYFIX is known for providing a connection between the industry’s sell-side, buy-side and trading venues, in a routing network. It delivers managing services, whereas the product offered by Itiviti is broker independent and agnostic to the FIX community. The Itiviti’s head of network sales, Jason Landauer said that:

“Having Gemini connected is an exciting step for Itiviti. As the cryptocurrency space continues to grow, we look forward to providing connectivity for exchanges like Gemini and their counterparties.”

Gemini’s Expertise on Crypto Trading to be Used

The Gemini’s expertise on crypto trading services that have digital asset security is going to be used for the new service, seeing users will be able to trade the crypto they have in custody instantly, without having to wait for the outing of cold storage. With Gemini Custody, Gemini has been trying to expand its custodial services.

Gemini Custody is qualified and supports 18 cryptocurrencies, Bitcoin (BTC), Bitcoin Cash (BCH), Litecoin (LTC), Ether (ETH), Zcash (ZCASH) and 13 ERC-20 included. After signing with Poloniex, it was integrated with TradingView, the charting and trading platform, as the first crypto exchange to join TradingView’s trading board.

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Author: Oana Ularu

Crypto Adoption in Venezuela Increases as Coronavirus Quarantine Shuts Down Banks

Venezuela witnesses an increase in peer-to-peer (P2P) Bitcoin (BTC) trading after banks have been shut down in the country amid the coronavirus quarantine.

President Nicolas Maduro instilled on March 17 a nationwide quarantine meant to decrease the spread of the coronavirus. Until now, only 33 cases of the disease have been confirmed locally, so by implementing emergency measures, the administration hopes that its health system won’t become overwhelmed by the infection.

The Banking Sector in the Country Shut Indefinitely

As part of the emergency quarantine, the banking sector in Venezuela is shut down indefinitely, which has caused the P2P crypto trading to increase. The BTC and bolivar trade activity at Localbitcoins rebounded back at over $3.4 million in the last 2 weeks, after a period of 3 weeks in which the weekly volume has slipped.

The entire South America is going through an increase in the adoption of cryptocurrencies ever since the coronavirus appeared. Localbitcoins’ volume went up more than 30% in the country of Peru, and almost 15% in Colombia, only last week. Both these countries recently closed their borders.

Petro Adoption Is Currently Dampened

Venezuela’s efforts to implement the adoption of the Petro, its cryptocurrency backed by oil, have been dampened by the COVID-19 threat. President Maduro’s latest important initiatives on Petro happened in January, when the launch of a casino powered by the cryptocurrency has been announced. The profits from the casino are supposed to become funding for the education and health sectors in the country. More than this, the casino was opened just a week after the Venezuelan President decreed that Petro is to be used for all sales of airline fuel for international flights.

Still, people in Venezuela aren’t yet warm to the new cryptocurrency. In the Localbitcoins listings, it appears the tokens have been offloaded at half of their $60 fixed value.

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Author: Oana Ularu