The Simpsons Reports Bitcoin Price at Infinity; This Week’s Catalyst to ‘Blow People’s Minds’

Coinbase’s Wednesday listing a “big milestone” for the industry whose valuation dwarfs Google’s at the time of its IPO and the current market cap of Nasdaq and ICE, which runs the NYSE.

Bitcoin is nearing its all-time high as the market gets extremely excited about the upcoming listing of the largest US cryptocurrency exchange on Wednesday.

Going as high as $61,300 today, BTC is hovering around $60k. But the market believes we are nowhere near the top.

In fact, according to The Simpsons, Bitcoin is going to infinity.

The big catalyst for Bitcoin to send it higher, not to infinity, but all that closer to six figures is Coinbase going public on the Nasdaq under the ticker “COIN.”

Being the first major crypto company to do so has put everyone’s eyes on it. This listing is expected to provide the crypto market and other crypto exchanges an idea about investor appetite for the crypto industry and other start-ups in the sector.

“A crypto company moving to IPO is a big milestone,” said Nick Jones, CEO, and co-founder at crypto wallet Zumo.

“It’s moves like this that make consumers feel safer with crypto and ultimately boost confidence in the space.”

As we have seen recently, more and more mainstream companies are entering the sector. Besides Tesla and Square putting BTC in their Treasury, Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley are all set to offer their clients access to Bitcoin. Also, PayPal, Mastercard, and Visa have joined in.

An interesting facet about this listing is Coinbase’s $100 billion valuation.

Commenting on the eye-popping valuation, Amy Butte said more interesting is the fact that crypto is a “real innovation in financial services,” and Coinbase has added to this innovation in terms of settlement and new use cases.

“Institutions even in the last 3-4 months have really come in, and corporates have come in and said hey I need to have crypto as a part of my treasury planning.”

As for context on this valuation, Google’s IPO was worth only $23 billion, and unlike Coinbase’s no lockup period, the tech giant’s employees were locked out from selling for 6 months.

As for exchange comparison, Intercontinental Exchange, which runs the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE), has a market cap of $65 billion, and Nasdaq has only $25 billion.

“Coinbase is going to blow people’s minds,” said Matt Hougan, CIO at Bitwise Asset Management. “I think it’s going to force traditional finance to wrestle with the phenomenal growth that is taking place in crypto.”

But it makes sense given that Coinbase reported revenue of $1.8 billion, with an adjusted EBITDA of $1.1 billion. And, of course, 56 million verified users. These numbers have the market expecting a rush of investors and crypto ETFs to own it.

“It is possible our ETF will be the first to own it,” said Matt Kennedy, senior IPO market strategist at Renaissance Capital.

Meanwhile, Michael Saylor, CEO of MicroStrategy calling for an uptrend in BTC, following this listing.

“Simple arithmetic implies that Coinbase is gaining 1 million users & $10 billion in digital assets each week. This direct listing will be a wake-up call for institutional investors, financial advisers, & investment banks worldwide. Bitcoin Rises.”

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Author: AnTy

SEC vs Ripple Pretrial Conference Set for Feb; Majority of Customers & XRP Volume Not in the US

Ripple says the action against it is “an attack on the entire crypto industry” and the lawsuit has “affected countless innocent XRP retail holders” that have no connection with the company.

The list of crypto service providers announcing no more support for XRP in light of the SEC suing Ripple and its top two executives now include Coinbase, Bittrex, OKCoin, Crypto.Com, Bitstamp, OSL, Beaxy, Swipe, CrossTower, Stex, Ziglu, Eobot, Sarson Funds, Jump Trading, Galaxy, B2C2, Bitwise, 21Shares, Bitcoin Suisse, Wirex, Simplex, and Grayscale.

An Indonesia-based exchange is also informing its customers of the risk of XRP delisting “in connection with the United States Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) lawsuit against Ripple Labs, Inc which was deemed to have violated the regulations regarding securities.”

In response to market-wide delisting, Ripple published a statement where it says the “majority of our customers aren’t in the U.S. and overall XRP volume is largely traded outside of the U.S.”

While Ripple will continue to operate and support all products and customers in the U.S. there are “clear rules of the road for using XRP in the UK, Japan, Switzerland, and Singapore,” says the San Francisco-based company.

The company further reiterated that the SEC action against Ripple is “an attack on the entire crypto industry here in the United States.”

This lawsuit has “already affected countless innocent XRP retail holders with no connection to Ripple” and muddled the waters for traders, exchanges, and market makers said the fintech company adding that they will defend themselves and get clarity for the US crypto industry.

Meanwhile, the initial pretrial conference of SEC vs Ripple Labs Inc. is set for February 22nd, 2021.

“The point of this conference is to determine if there is a hope of settling and discovery dates,” said Jesse Hynes, an NJ Attorney.

In this process, the parties will basically learn everything they can about the other side’s facts and get to request documents and take depositions (interviews). “Judge Torres generally sets a 120 day period for fact discovery (which may be shortened if there are exigent circumstances),” said Hynes adding from there, another 45 days are allowed for Expert discovery.

It is after the final pretrial submission date, which is 30 days after, that the trial is set. As such, if case this goes to trial, at best the market is looking at September 5, 2021, “but that is unlikely” because “there are always delays and consents to push back dates and extend discovery.”

So, it will be a long battle that could take years to come to a result. Meanwhile, XRP price is suffering, having fallen to levels not seen since 2017, currently trading around $0.20.

In the meantime, XRP enthusiasts have launched a petition “Granting Ripples (XRP) token as a non security by the SEC” on Change.org. So far, the petition has only got 132 signatures.

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Author: AnTy

WEF Partners with Chainlink to Release an Industry-Wide Oracle Standard

  • WEF partners with Chainlink to conceptualize an industry oracle standard.
  • Open-source frameworks to connect Traditional and Digital Ledger Technologies.

Geneva-based World Economic Forum (WEF) has partnered with Chainlink, a decentralized oracle network, to create an industry-wide oracle standard that lays out new ways to integrate traditional software into the rising DLT systems blockchain technology.

In a 40-page concept paper titled, “Bridging the Governance Gap: Interoperability for Blockchain and Legacy Systems,” co-authors Sergey Nazarov, founder of Chainlink and members of the WEF, aim at interoperability between DLTs and the legacy systems to harness the power each of the systems offers to institutions, corporations, and governments. The paper reads,

“The approach to building blockchain middleware as the middle layer that can bring both the systems together will help in accelerating the positive effects of blockchain and distributed ledger technology where they are used and bring out the best of both worlds.”

However, the integration of the two fields faces a challenge in enticing enterprises to adopt DLTs given the lack of direct connection between the legacy and DLT systems, the paper further explains. To this end, the paper advocates the use of decentralized oracles, proposing an open-source framework standard to connect smart contracts to external data sources to integrate traditional and DLT systems.

The paper explains technical details on how legacy systems and DLTs can integrate to offer more efficient systems. For legacy companies wishing to use blockchain systems, It further explains how digital systems can be enhanced to talk to smart contracts.

This open framework structure aims to improve transparency and accountability, reduce corrupt behavior using smart contracts, and enhance data validation through decentralized oracles and information security.

A move towards DLT-legacy interoperability is a ‘crucial step’ to bring blockchains’ desirable qualities to the traditional enterprise world. The authors further call on the governments, authorities, and policymakers and enterprises

“to evaluate these suggestions as per their operational environment and initiate building capabilities for exploiting and employing DLTs for their existing legacy systems.”

Despite the potential that smart contract systems offer to legacy systems, the paper issued several challenges and limitations DLTs face, including unclear regulation, limited scalability, high transaction fees (on some), and data dissemination risk on public blockchains.

Also Read: WEF: Blockchain Is A Core Component in Sustainable Digital Finance

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Author: Lujan Odera

CoinGecko Sees 200% Traffic Growth in October, Closes in on CoinMarketCap’s Dominance

Price trackers are crucial to the crypto industry, just as it is with any other market. While Coinmarketcap has been the de facto leader for most crypto traders, CoinGecko is looking to steal its place.

Gains as the Months Go By

When it comes to market aggregators in the crypto market, the situation is essentially a duopoly. Coinmarketcap is the undisputed king, although CoinGecko basically exists as a possible second option. However, a post from news source The Ken shows that the paradigm might be shifting.

Published last week, the report explained that CoinGecko received 20.6 million unique visitors on desktop and mobile combined in October 2020. While the number was still lower than the 29 million visitors that Coinmarketcap notched in the same period, it marked a significant change in the tides.

The Ken’s graphic showed that CoinGecko had seen almost a 200 percent growth in visitor numbers since May when the company had just 8.75 million. On the flip side, Coinmarketcap had also lost 3 million visitors between May and October 2020.

While CoinGecko isn’t there yet, it appears that this David is on its way to slay the giant.

Is Binance to Blame?

CoinGecko and Coinmarketcap publish similar data. But, they vary in how they rank exchanges and other services in the industry.

Coinmarketcap also appears to have lost credibility since its acquisition by top exchange Binance in May. Binance chief executive Changpeng Zhao said at the time that the purchase was in line with both firms’ vision to improve transparency in the crypto industry. However, some of the moves since then have drawn criticism.

Almost immediately after the Binance acquisition was completed, Coinmarketcap changed its ranking algorithm for exchanges. The aggregator explained that it would now rank exchanges based on web traffic, explaining that high volumes would only be possible if exchanges have a high number of retail traders. The platform contended that since the crypto market is mostly retail-driven, web traffic is a suitable metric for ranking exchanges.

In July, Coinmarketcap was caught in another controversy after it mistakenly listed the Binance Coin (BNB) as the top decentralized finance (DeFi) token. The aggregator eventually highlighted that the case was no more than a human error and that it eventually made amends.

In the months since the Binance acquisition, several of Coinmarketcap’s top officials have left the company. In August, Carlyle Chan, the company’s long-standing Chief Strategy Officer – and the interim CEO following the Binance deal – resigned from her role.

Jeremy Seow and Spencer Yang, Coinmarketcap’s Vice President of Products and Vice President of Operations, also quit.

It appears that the changes since the Binance acquisition haven’t benefited Coinmarketcap as much as they have helped Binance. Many in the crypto space believe that the market aggregator has essentially pivoted to pleasing its new owners, and it is now bleeding visitors because of it.

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Author: Jimmy Aki

Coinbase Front-Runs an Upcoming “Negative” New York Times Article

On Wednesday, Coinbase not only cautioned the industry of the Treasury Secretary’s intentions to regulate self-custodied wallets but showed another bout of transparency.

In its attempt to front-run the New York Times, the San Francisco-based cryptocurrency exchange said NYT is “planning to publish a negative story about Coinbase” in the next few days regarding its apolitical stance.

Coinbase says it doesn’t care what NYT thinks, but what they do care about is “our employees,” and as such, they put out this explanation for everyone.

The story, for which The Times reporter Nathaniel Popper has been reaching out to Coinbase employees, reportedly will allege that “several Black employees had negative experiences at Coinbase over the last few years,” wrote the exchange. It further said,

“The story will likely imply that Black employees were discriminated against during this process; this is false.”

While the story is likely to allege that several Black employees filed complaints with the company, the reality is there have been “only three” such people that did that.

Coinbase is basically expecting the story to paint “an inaccurate picture” as such, the exchange wants to convey that it is “committed to maintaining an environment that is safe, supportive and welcoming to employees of all backgrounds,” don’t be political at the workplace, of course.

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Author: AnTy

Social Media Giant Launches ‘Facebook Finance’ Division to Push For Payment Opportunities

  • Facebook Inc. is determined to push its strides in the payment industry with the launch of the F2 division, Facebook Financial, to handle all its payments.
  • The division will be led by the co-founder of Libra Association, and Novi CEO, David Marcus
  • Stephane Kasriel joins from Upwork Inc.

The largest social network company in the world is launching a new payment and commerce division led by Davis Marcus. Facebook Financial will be in charge of all the payment projects currently in development under FB, including WhatsApp Pay, Novi, and any universal payment features set to be built on Messenger and Instagram in the future.

The launch of the division focuses its energy on building stable commerce systems within the Facebook-controlled apps, in a bid to increase advertisement revenue and keep users longer on the platform, the Bloomberg states.

One of the key developments F2 will work on is the launch of WhatsApp Pay in Brazil and India to boost e-commerce. However, the process of registration and tough regulations in the country are slowing the implementation process.

David Marcus, who has championed for the development of digital currencies since the launch of Libra, states the company is working with financial regulators in these two countries to integrate payments on their apps. He said,

“It’s helpful to have specific expertise in financial services regulation to build things the right way from the get-go.”

Former CEO of the freelancing marketplace, Upwork Inc., Stephane Kasriel, will join the Facebook Finance division as a payments vice president, deputizing Marcus.

Recently, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg explained the benefits of Libra to Facebook shareholders during the AGM, stating the stablecoins will usher in a new wave of higher prices for advertisements on its social platforms.

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Author: Lujan Odera

The Curious Case of the New Bubble in the ‘DeFi’ Town of Crypto

As in 2017, Initial Coin Offerings (ICO) was the craze in the crypto industry, in 2020, it’s decentralized finance (DeFi) that is rocking the world of crypto enthusiasts.

This year, DeFi has grown at a fast pace, with a record $3.5 billion value locked in this sector. Also, 4 million ETH are locked in these protocols.

Many argue that DeFi space is highly risky, which as we saw with numerous DeFi hacks this year, holds true. But at the same time, it is in its early stages, with innovations taking place every day. It is actually up to the community if it will be the start of something truly decentralized.

When it comes to decentralization, amidst the DeFi frenzy has emerged a new bubble “YFI” — a “completely valueless 0 supply token.”

The latest DeFi token that boasts of 1,000% yield as a result of a rapid spike in demand, but still yEarn has previously delivered annual returns of about 10% constantly for its lending pool.

The most interesting thing about this token by yEarn protocol (previously called iEarn) is that it started with $0 value but overnight skyrocketed to $2,500, driving $150 million of deposits, as ‘farming it’ yielded a whopping 1,000% annual returns for some traders.

Yearn Finance Chart
Source: CoinGecko

“Those of you in the old school who believe this is a bubble simply have not understood the new mathematics of one of the most fairly distributed project launched since BTC,” said analyst CL.

A yield aggregator, yEarn, redirects users’ deposits to lending markets with the best rates.

Unlike other projects where teams keep the majority of the token and in result voting power, the entirety of this protocol is in the hands of the community even though yEarn founder Andre Cronje shared In its official announcement that they want to give up control over its governance token “mostly because we are lazy.”

Yet another interesting aspect of this token is its supply, which the community is voting to cap at 30,000. These YFI tokens are distributed to those who deposit funds to yEarn pools, which soared by $150 million in just three days after the distribution first started.

The flow of money into its liquidity pool on the Curve DEX had the volume of yCurve surpassing $100 million.

Interestingly, yEarn’s unconventional approach has led the community to propose relocating tokens back to the founder. “If this proposal passes then it would be the one of the most legendary stories in crypto,” said analyst Qiao Wang.

Even the control of YFI has been put in a multi-signature wallet, which requires 6 out of 9 participants to agree on changes, and the founder Cronje is not a member of it.

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Author: AnTy

Institutions Are More Committed To Blockchain Technology Than Ever: Deloitte Survey

  • Global industry leaders are embracing blockchain technologies and digital currencies in a rate unseen before, according to the latest annual edition of Deloitte’s “2020 Global Blockchain Survey”.

A survey conducted by 1,488 executives across several industries across 14 countries, including Canada, China, Brazil, USA, South Africa, U.K., United Arab Emirates, and Switzerland revealed 55% of the big corporations are looking at blockchain integration as a top-five strategic priority in their companies. The key takeaway from the 2020 Global Blockchain Survey is,

“Organizations appear to be more committed to blockchain technology than ever and demonstrating this by implementing it as part of their normal course of business.”

Note: the survey focused on executives who had a clue on blockchain technologies tilting the overall distribution. Additionally, 100 respondents who have already tested blockchain integration within their companies (must have at least $3 million in VC funding) were also included in the survey.

Industries showing extreme blockchain tech craze

The number of executives that have brought blockchain technologies into production in their firms stands at 39%, a sharp rise from 23% in 2019. For larger firms, those with at least $100 million in revenue and $1 billion, the number goes up to 41-46%.

Deloitte Survey
Deloitte Global Blockchain Survey 2020

Digital assets as a replacement?

The digital currency race seems just as important as that of blockchain technology integration, with 89% stating digital currencies will be used in their industry in some way. Of these, 53 percent believe that digital assets will become “very important” in their line of industries.

These institutions are also gunning for the growth of a wide variety of digital asset classes with enterprise tokens, asset-backed stablecoins, and decentralized tokens such as BTC, a popular opinion. In a question on whether digital assets will, in the future, replace the fiat currency system, the group overwhelmingly agreed despite the different countries.

China leads in this aspect, with 94% of the respondents saying a digital currency will replace the Yuan. Brazil and UAE respondents also saw high scores of 92% and 90%, respectively. However, only 71% of South Africans believe digital currencies will replace the Rand.

Skepticism Surrounds Blockchains

However, despite the growth in institutional appreciation of blockchain, there is growing skepticism surrounding the hype of the blockchain technologies and whether they can deliver on promises. 54% of the respondents believe the technology is overhyped, a rise from 43% and 39% in 2019 and 2018, respectively.

Deloitte-Survey
Deloitte Global Blockchain Survey 2020

Cybersecurity has been one of the critical areas affecting the overall adoption and advancement of blockchain and digital assets strategy across industries, 21% of the respondents said. Positively, nearly 60% of the respondents believe cybersecurity is part of the problem to solve hence needed to be figured out in their strategy.

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Author: Lujan Odera

Japan’s Top Banks Join Crypto Exchange-Led ‘Study Group’ to Discuss Digital Payment System

  • Three Japanese banking industry heavyweights are joining arms in a study group to focus on digital payment settlement networks in the country.
  • The study group is led by local cryptocurrency exchange, DeCurret Inc., giving possible hints of a crypto integration.

Top Japanese banking institutions, Mizuho Financial Group, Sumitomo Mitsui Financial Group and Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group (MUFG), alongside experts and industry leaders in Japan joined a study group to look into digital payment systems.

The group will meet once or twice a month from June to September this year chaired by former head of the Payments and Settlement systems, Bank of Japan (BoJ) and current director at Future Corporation, Mr. Hiromi Yamaoka.

DeCurrent Inc., released a statement dated June 3, 2020 outlining the key agendas of the meetings including digital payment systems, application of distributed ledger systems in the economy and digital currency settlement platforms within Japan.

The wide scale penetration of digital payment services and blockchain in Japan is remarkable. Ripple Inc.’s partnership with SBI Holdings has seen a number of big banks take on blockchain development including Fukushima Bank and SFMG. The study aims at coming up with a standardized version of these systems and blockchain infrastructure. The statement further noted,

“The purpose of this study group is to examine and discuss challenges and solutions concerning digital currencies and digital settlement infrastructure, to find a consensus toward their realization, and to present a direction for standardizing services and infrastructure.”

Other top firms that will join the group include the East Japan Railway Corporation, KDDI Corporation and Mori Hamada & Matsumoto in Tokyo. Japan based blockchain firm, Accenture Japan Ltd. and SIGMAXYZ Inc. will act as cooperating companies.

The study, once published, will be sent to the observant teams from the Ministry of Finance, Ministry of Trade, Economy and Industry, the Financial Service Authority (FSA) and the Bank of Japan.

DeCurret launched operations back in 2018 gaining approval to launch in Japan, and in March the following year, from the FSA. The license allows the exchange to carry out digital payment services and trading in the country.

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Author: Lujan Odera

Chainlink, IBM, ING, Microsoft, NASDAQ, and R3 Among First to Join InterWork Alliance

Top financial and blockchain industry companies have formed the InterWork Alliance (IWA) in a bid to standardize the business and enterprise tokenization market.

The alliance launched as a platform-neutral, non-profit organization, aiming to “create standard frameworks to boost the overall innovation and development of tokenized ecosystems.

At launch, the IWA comprised a total of 28 companies including traditional financial institutions such as NASDAQ, UBS, and R3; technological heavyweights such as Microsoft and IBM and blockchain companies including Accenture, Chainlink and Hyperledger.

Here is the full list:

InterWork Alliance

A New Tokenization Standard

Over the past decade, the tokenization of assets has exploded, disrupting the global economy. But the privatization of this process may stall the wide-scale adoption of these assets. The IWA aims to solve this by developing a ‘standard way’ to create these tokens before selecting a platform to station your project.

InterWork Alliance President, Ron Resnick said:

“The Alliance can deliver a proven, standard approach that is required to bring consumer trust into this space.”

The standards set by the Alliance will govern the creation of distributed assets, dApps, build frameworks to tokenize traditional assets, writing contracts over these tokens and maintain security/privacy of user data.

Marley Gray, principal architect, Microsoft, and the InterWork Alliance Chairman also added:

“The IWA provides a forum where industry participants can take real-world use cases as diverse as improving carbon market efficiency or trade finance efficiency, and use the technology-agnostic token and contract definitions to foster interoperability and drive widespread adoption – that’s the big picture of what we need to do in the Alliance.”

The IWA Framework on Tokenization

The IWA will have three key levels of framework implementation:

First, the Alliance will focus on the “The Token Taxonomy Framework” which provides a universal language to define a token and what it entails.

Secondly, “The InterWork Framework” is the layer that would allow businesses to implement multiparty contracts (MPC), enabling communication between them even if they choose a different blockchain to deploy.

Finally, “The Analytics Framework” enables businesses to fully leverage the market data from the system while enhancing the highest levels of privacy and data security.

The IWA has received several commendations from top firms, including the World Economic Forum (WEF). Sheila Warren, head of Blockchain and Data Policy, and member of the Executive Committee, WEF, said,

“Endeavors that provide platform-independent opportunities for businesses to focus on how to define the token models and contracts they need like the InterWork Alliance does, are both timely and important.”

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Author: Lujan Odera