Another Ethereum ETF Filed with the SEC

Now, two companies, VanEck and Wisdom Tree, have joined the race for an Ethereum ETF, with a longer coverage of risks, including consensus mechanism shift, energy-intensive mining raising the economic and societal costs of mining, congestion in-network, and more.

  • WisdomTree is the latest one and the second to file for an Ethereum exchange-traded fund (ETF) after VanEck.

According to the filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), Wisdom Ethereum Trust has named Cboe BZX Exchange as the exchange to list the ETF under a to-be-determined ticker symbol if approved. The ETF specialist firm hasn’t picked a crypto custodian yet.

WisdomTree has already filed for a Bitcoin ETF, but the US regulator has yet to approve a single one in the country. In Canada, several Bitcoin ETFs and Ether ETFs have been approved and are already demonstrating a spectacular performance making the US companies excited and competitive to be the ones to launch the investment vehicle first to gain the first-mover advantage.

While several, at least nine Bitcoin ETFs have been filed in the US, lately, Ether has also joined the race amidst the bull run as the crypto market matures and the second-largest cryptocurrency grabs the attention.

As we reported recently, JPMorgan, Goldman Sachs, and billionaire investor Carl Icahn have come in support of Ethereum, finding it more valuable as a payments system and a store of value than Bitcoin.

Besides the usual risks, this time, in regards to Ethereum, the firm also covered several more, including hard fork, its energy-intensive mining, raising concerns about climate change that may raise the economic and societal costs of mining, moving from Proof-of-Work (PoW) to Proof-of-Stake (PoS) consensus mechanism, new competing blockchain networks posing a challenge and competition from central bank digital currencies (CBDCs).

Congestion or delay in the Ethereum network delaying purchases or sales of ether by the Trust, scaling challenges and efforts to increase the volume of transactions not turning out to be successful, and miners acting in collusion to raise transaction fees adversely affecting the usage of the Ethereum network, are also covered as potential risks for the loss in the value of the Trust.

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Author: AnTy

One River Asset Management Submits Proposal to SEC for Carbon-Neutral Bitcoin ETF

Institutional cryptocurrency fund manager One River Asset Management has joined the long list of asset managers pushing for the approval of a Bitcoin exchange-traded fund (ETF).

So far, the U.S Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has refused to approve any despite the onslaught of proposals.

MC02 Tokens To Represent Carbon Reduction

Putting a new twist to an already old narrative, One River aims to address Bitcoin’s current carbon emission concerns.

According to an S-1 filing submitted to the SEC yesterday, One River says its Bitcoin ETF will be targeted towards reducing Bitcoin’s carbon footprint.

This will see the One River Carbon Neutral Bitcoin Trust purchase and retire the carbon credits for the estimated carbon emissions tied to the Bitcoin the Trust will be holding.

One River would leverage on its partnership with carbon credit platform Moss. For every Bitcoin owned, One River will purchase and burn Etherum-based MC02 tokens to offset carbon emission. MC02 token is a carbon credit token created to compensate for carbon emissions.

These fungible tokens will be encrypted and tokenized using blockchain, and they will be stored on a registry managed by software firm Verra.

One River’s green ETF proposal will be listed on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE), and Coinbase has been selected as a custodian for the Trust.

One River says the initiative is meant to enable climate-conscious crypto investors to gain exposure to Bitcoin and Ethereum without worrying about the underlying environmental risks.

Bitcoin ETFs have been a hot topic in the US of late. Following a series of rebuttals from the SEC, innovative investment firms have continued making their case. One of the most famous critics of the initiative was former Chairman of SEC Jay Clayton, who felt the crypto industry was not yet ripe for an ETF offering.

Citing market manipulation and fraud, Clayton refused every ETF filing that came across his table for the world’s oldest cryptocurrency.

However, Clayton seems to have gone beyond this pessimistic view of the burgeoning industry. He is currently an adviser for One River, joining the firm’s Academic and Regulatory Advisory Council in March 2021.

Clayton’s involvement in the ongoing filing could play out in One River’s favor following his experience with the SEC. With One River carefully targeting the energy signature of Bitcoin mining, it could herald a new era of ETF offerings in the crypto space.

Crypto Carbon Footprint: A Black Spot

The carbon footprint of proof-of-work (PoW) protocols like Bitcoin and Ethereum have been a hotly discussed topic in crypto in the past couple of weeks.

PoW consensus algorithm demands much electricity as miners or validators have to compete to solve complex mathematical puzzles. This sees much energy being utilized.

As captured by the University of Cambridge in a Bitcoin Consumption Index, the greenhouse gas emission of crypto mining has worried investors and climate activists. According to the index dedicated solely to BTC mining, PoW consumes as much as 112.57 TWh of electricity annually, more than small European nations.

This colossal energy demand has seen pro-crypto supporter Elon Musk back out of his commitment to the embattled cryptocurrency. Musk said his automobile firm would no longer accept Bitcoin as payment for its electric cars in a tweet. According to the eccentric billionaire, BTC’s carbon footprint was environmentally unsustainable, and he is ready to adopt a protocol with less than 1% of BTC’s energy demands.

The environmental implications of PoW protocols have seen crypto protocols scale up their transitioning to a proof-of-stake (PoS) consensus algorithm, which consumes less energy and is way faster. Ethereum, the second most valuable cryptocurrency, is piloting its blockchain to a PoS in the coming months.

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Author: Jimmy Aki

Online Marketplace eBay to Support NFT Transactions On Its Platform

Popular e-commerce company eBay has joined the non-fungible tokens (NFTs) train as the online retailer now supports non-fungible token (NFT) auctions on its platform.

eBay Making Strides In Crypto Sector

In a blog post, eBay said that it had updated its company policy to include the sale of digital collectibles like trading cards, images, or video clips on its platform.

The online retailer said it would update its policies and tools on digital collectibles in the future. But pending the updates, trusted sellers who meet certain requirements will be allowed to list their NFTs on the platform.

However, the company said that it would add new capabilities that bring blockchain-driven collectibles to future NFT updates.

eBay has prior experience verifying physical collectibles and items for buyers. It plans to continue this model using the power of the blockchain.

eBay added that it was also working on programs, policies, and tools to let its customers buy and sell NFTs across a broad range of categories.

With this move, eBay becomes the first e-commerce company to tap into the NFT frenzy. The company is also mulling the idea of accepting cryptocurrency as a form of payment in the future.

NFT Projects On The Rise

NFTs are digital assets with unique properties that cannot be interchanged with another. They are one-of-a-kind assets in digital form that can be bought or sold like any other physical asset.

With NFTs, these digital assets are tokenized to create a digital certificate of ownership. This ownership is what’s bought and sold. The details and records of the owner of the NFTs are stored on a public ledger, also known as the blockchain.

Popular NFT forms include gamified collectibles, pure collectibles, sports-based imagery and collectibles, and art-based collectibles. The uniqueness and price depend on rarity and special features.

Thousands of projects featuring NFTs have exploded in the crypto space over the last few months, from the piece of digital artwork by Beeple that went for $69 million to the numerous sports collectibles sold by NBA Topshot, a platform that’s in partnership with the NBA.

Numerous NFT marketplaces continue to spring up as the NFT craze waggles on. The popular names include Top Shot, Rarible, Nifty Gateway, and OpenSea. Having an online retailer like eBay, with a major presence in online shopping, making an entrance would extend the NFT craze to millions of active buyers on the platform. Popular cryptocurrency exchange Binance is also making inroads into the NFT market. The bitcoin exchange plans to debut its NFT platform by June 2021.

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Author: Jimmy Aki

Polkadot Powered DEX, Zenlink, Partners With Chainlink to Leverage It’s Oracle For DeFi Products

Zenlink, a popular decentralized exchange powered by Polkadot, has joined hands with blockchain oracle firm Chainlink. Chainlink is known for its live data feeds and oracles used for smart contracts. Zenlink would also leverage Chainlink’s oracles for its numerous DeFi products.

Oracles play a crucial role in smart contract programming and execution, making it a core product/service in the DeFi ecosystem. Live market data helps in seamless execution and secure transactions.

Zenlink aims to make the most of this partnership and expand the quality and quantity of services it offers. Currently, the DEX platform allows traders to swap their assets on parachains seamlessly. These oracles would make their financial products more robust and reliable. Zenlink hopes for reliability and security due to the oracle would also attract new traders to the platform.

Guo Tao, Zenlink Co-founder, commented on their recent partnership with chainlink and its importance.

“Zenlink will play a critical role in allowing users and developers to swap assets across parachains securely.

Chainlink’s high-quality data and reliable oracle infrastructure will enable feeders to trust the data feed used to trigger DeFi products built on Zenlink.

This enhances our ability to scale and secure even more value across a wider variety of assets.”

Chainlink One of the Key Oracle Partner in the DEX Ecosystem

Zenlink’s association with Chainlink came as no surprise as more DEX platforms are looking to integrate and leverage live data feeds and oracles into their systems. Chainlink, being a reliable name with a tested record, has become a key player in the DEX market.

Apart from Zenlink, another Polkadot powered platform known as Equilibrium has also brought Chainlink on board to provide decentralized live feeds. Equilibrium also plans to utilize the decentralized oracles to enhance its financial products and services.

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Author: Hank Klinger

Ethereum Developer ConsenSys Partners with Thailand’s Central Bank & French Bank for Retail CBDC

ConsenSys has joined the Bank of Thailand as its technology partner to develop and test a prototype for central bank digital currency (CBDC). Other partners include SCG and Digital Ventures (DV).

As per the announcement, the CBDC will be tested and issued using ERC20 smart contracts. In partnership with Atato, it will “architect a solution using its Enterprise Ethereum stack, including ​Codefi​ and ​MetaMask​.” Charles d’Haussy, Director of ConsenSys in Hong Kong, said,

“A retail blockchain-based CBDC represents a new technology for the issuance of central bank money, where tokenized central bank money is accessible to the general public, and in this case businesses piloting the solution.”

The company that develops for the second-largest network Ethereum and funds the ecosystem startups is also helping French bank Societe Generale in its Central Bank Digital Currency (CBDC) pilot research.

According to the announcement, ConsenSys will work with the bank’s digital arm, SocGen – Forge, and will provide its expertise regarding issuance and management, delivery versus payment, and cross-ledger interoperability of the CBDC. Jean-Marc Stenger, CEO, SocGen said,

“We are pleased to partner with ConsenSys, a company who is a key player in the development of distributed ledger technology globally and offers many of the infrastructure and development tools used by the blockchain community.”

SocGen – Forge is also working with Banque de France on CBDC experiments and recently issued a EUR40 million bond that was settled with a digital euro.

These aren’t the first instances of ConsenSys being involved in CBDC experiments; it has been reportedly helping the Hong Kong Monetary Authority on a CBDC pilot to facilitate cross-border payments between commercial banks as well. Ken Timsit, Global Head of Enterprise Solutions at ConsenSys, said,

“ConsenSys is committed to advances in the CBDC space and has assisted six central banks around the world on CBDC projects.”

In August, it also acquired Quorum, JPMorgan’s blockchain platform on which the bank’s stablecoin JPM Coin is built, which is expected to see its first commercial use this week.

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Author: AnTy

VeChain Joins China Animal Health and Food Safety Alliance (CAFA)

VeChain has joined the China Animal Health and Food Safety Alliance (CAFA) as one of its council members and will be providing them technical and infrastructural support.

The enterprise friendly public blockchain platform, VeChain will help in “building a from-farm-to-table traceability system across the entire country.”

Established in 2009, CAFA, a government-backed organization that comes under the Chinese National Agricultural Science Technology Innovation Alliance, already has over 130 members that aim to build a platform that connects the government, producers, research institutes, and food industry associations.

Members of CAFA

Launched in 2015, VeChain has been working with several enterprises including Walmart China, BMW, BYD Auto, Haier, H&M, LVMH, D.I.G, ENN, AWS, PICC, and ASI, providing a governance structure and IoT integration.

Here, through VeChain ToolChain, all the members of the alliance will be able to log key processes of food products on blockchain in an immutable and secure manner.

VeChain launched ToolChain in 2019, a “scalable and easy-to-implement technology” that allows business owners to integrate the public blockchain VeChainThor into existing business processes.

VeChain ToolChain has also collaborated with Walmart China Food Traceability Platform and Foodgates through its built-in and ready-to-use customizable tools to enable foot enterprises to quickly achieve the “full lifecycle traceability for their supply chains” at a controllable cost.

In line with CAFA’s vision to provide “consumers with safe, high-quality and healthy food of animal origin,” traceability can start from cultivation covering processing, packaging, logistics, retail, and more. The official announcement states,

“Positioned as the enabler for the real economy, VeChain continues to promote exponential mass adoption of blockchain technology and drive tangible value for businesses.”

In response to this partnership, the 25th largest crypto by market cap of $890 million, VET jumped over 16% in value to $0.014. According to one trader, if the digital asset makes a HL, VET can see another 25% uptrend.

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Author: AnTy

Binance UK Joins the CryptoUK Self-Regulatory Association Ahead of Its Expected Launch

Binance U.K has joined CryptoUK, a self-regulatory trade association, as it prepares to launch its trading services in the United Kingdom. The exchange’s U.K subsidiary broke this news on Twitter, noting that they are joining the association as an executive member.

This milestone will see Binance U.K operate alongside the likes of Coinbase, Ripple, CryptoCompare, eToro, and CoinShares, who are also part of the CryptoUK executive committee.

Started back in 2018, the CryptoUK initiative came about as an avenue to accelerate crypto growth in the U.K through self-regulation. Some of the issues that the association advocates for include the development of best practices in crypto as well as sustainable growth. On this front, CryptoUK operates in liaison with stakeholders, not limited to financial regulators.

Currently, they are focused on giving feedback to Her Majesty’s Treasury, which recently inquired the public about crypto asset promotions. In addition, the association is set to play a contributing role in the U.K Cryptoasset Task Force stablecoin consultation, which is slated for late 2020. Ian Taylor, the chairman of CryptoUK, has since welcomed Binance U.K to advance the association’s course,

“Binance.UK will bring significant local and global expertise to our Executive Committee and initiatives. We look forward to working with them to help develop a supportive regulatory framework for cryptoasset businesses and customers in the U.K.”

This latest move by Binance U.K solidifies an entry position into the British market following the acquisition of EddieUK, which now operates as Binance Markets Limited. Notably, the firm was already regulated by U.K’s Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) hence a smooth transition that would have been otherwise cumbersome, given regulatory hurdles. Binance U.K head, Teana Baker-Taylor, acknowledged the additional value in joining a self-regulatory body,

“Self-regulating bodies play a key role in developing […] best practices, as well as building consumer confidence. Associations like CryptoUK help to facilitate meaningful discussion and education with policy makers, which enables the development of more informed policies that are more effective in supporting both the industry and consumers.”

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Author: Edwin Munyui

Elon Musk Selling DOGE Gives Dogecoin Another Pump

Tesla CEO Elon Musk has joined the party but late this time.

Last time, the zoomers weren’t able to realize their mission of taking DOGE off to $1 but it looks like Musk is here to make it a reality this time, or not.

The co-founder and CEO of SpaceX is back at tweeting about his favorite coin Dogecoin. Today, in a tweet, he memes about the “inevitability” of the Dogecoin standard overtaking the global financial system.

In a few hours, the price of DOGE jumped more than 24%. Currently, it is trading around $0.00345, still up over 14%.

In a separate tweet, Musk said “I only sell Doge!” which was in response to one user asking “where’s my fucking bitcoin.”

Earlier this week, the major twitter accounts including Musk’s were hacked to promote a bitcoin-related giveaway scam. According to the New York Times, it is reportedly an insider job.

Currently, the focus is on taking the bitcoin addresses to get to the hackers, the scam addresses have a history of “gambling on Bitmex and Coinbase usage.”

The hackers were only able to scam 12 BTC worth $120,000 out of people, the funds are currently on the move through mixing and merchant services.

Pump only to Dump

This isn’t the first time Musk has tweeted about DOGE and that has resulted in the altcoin’s price jumping. Back in April 2019, DOGE spiked 44% only to retrace to the price level where Musk mentioned the crypto.

“Bro where were you last week? We could have pumped this thing to not $1 but $2,” commented trader Josh Rager.

Earlier this month, the retail activity in equity markets spilled into the digital currency markets as a viral challenge on the popular social app Tik Tok saw users talking about pumping Dogecoin to $1.

The price of DOGE went to only about $0.0050 but its market cap jumped 150% to $700 million and its trading activity went off the charts.

The meme coin had since then pulled back to the level the pump started before Musk jumped in to pump the coin once more but these gains are also slowly wiping out.

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Author: AnTy

BTCPay Integrates PayJoin To Offer Added Privacy for Bitcoin Transactions

BTCPay, an open-source Bitcoin payment platform has joined hands with PayJoin to offer an added layer of privacy to the Bitcoin transactions on its platform.

Payjoin is among the latest privacy tools available in the market and is believed to offer better privacy protection than the popular alternative Coinjoin. BTCPay is quite popular among merchants who accept numerous Bitcoin and Lightning payments through this open-source tool.

BTCPay’s integration of PayJoin might give the privacy tool much-needed recognization from a larger population and also lead to awareness around the use of privacy technology as cryptocurrencies were intended to be. The initial version with an integrated PayJoin tool was launched on Thursday.

Andrew Camilleri, one of the lead developers on BTCPay’s platform said:

“Our mission is financial sovereignty for everyone and PayJoin is a great tool to help break blockchain analysis heuristics and achieve that. Since BTCPay is so widely used, it should help jumpstart usage.”

The PayJoin integration and development work is being funded Blockstream and Blockstream’s Chief Strategy Officer Samson Mow is a firm believer in privacy who commented on the integration of PayJoin saying:

“We’re hoping to improve the privacy and fungibility of bitcoin by accelerating the adoption of P2EP. If enough wallets and businesses support P2EP, it could provide the critical mass needed to achieve widespread financial privacy.”

How Private Are These Privacy Tools?

A majority of these privacy tools just mix a range of Bitcoin transactions together from the point it was initiated to the final wallet, where they are destined for, in order to make it hard to detect the initial transaction point.

Tools like CoinJoin are being actively used by privacy wallets such as Wasabi. However, if a user sends any transaction from their wallet to a wasabi wallet it can be easily seen on the Blockchain, which defeats the purpose of mixing several transactions together.

On the other hand, PayJoin promises to overcome this issue as the transaction into the PayJoin doesn’t pool multiple transactions, but only the transactions of the sender and receiver which results in the final transaction looking like any other transaction on the Bitcoin blockchain.

Due to the use of privacy tools such as CoinJoin and Wasabi, many blockchain analytical firms have managed to find patterns in these mixing tools which help them in finding out the real owner of those transactions.

Camilleri said that PayJoin would be the perfect privacy tool every privacy centered individual has been looking for as it will not only keep one’s transaction private but would also ensure that the growing crop of market monitoring tools won’t be able to detect it.

However, there is just one drawback as it requires both the sender and the receiver to be online.

PayJoin was created back in 2018, but with very limited use and integration into wallets. One of the main reasons being highlighted is that both the sender and receiver wallet must support the tool.

Project Snowball is trying to resolve this issue by creating codes; making it easier to integrate PayJoin to any Bitcoin wallet. The involvement of Blockstream is also helping boost this procedure. Mow noted:

“The next interesting step would be for an exchange to support P2EP.

Ultimately we need to make a choice on what kind of world we want to live in, one where there is financial privacy or one where there isn’t.

Without privacy and fungibility, money can be used as a tool for oppression or financial surveillance. Bitcoin is the future of money and the future of money shouldn’t be Orwellian.”

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Author: James W

Bitstamp Integrates Fireblocks to Scale and Secure Institutional Grade Transactions

Bitstamp has joined the likes of Galaxy Digital, Celsius Network, and Genesis by integrating the services of crypto security firm Fireblocks to offer better security and faster transactions to its institutional clients.

Fireblocks which is a Fidelity backed security firm has been known to cater its services to large institutional clients. The recent integration on Bitstamp would allow the institutional customers to clear their transactions with a single confirmation.

The one-confirmation transaction would be initially rolled out for selected clients and in the time being Bitstamp is also working to scale the services to cater to more clients by enhancing their settlements capabilities.

How Do Fireblocks’ Services Ease Institutional Clients Work?

The integration of Fireblocks’ ‘Secure Transfer Environment’ allows institutional clients of one platform to connect their account on another platform which enables Fireblocks to enhance the transaction capabilities on the native platform.

The security service provider’s technology act as a bridge between exchange platforms, custodians, wallets and even counterparties. The security platform also ensures that all enterprise-grade security measures are met before initiating any kind of transaction.

The Institutional Client security provider makes use of chip isolation technology (SGX) which facilitates the secure transaction between two platforms while ensuring the security of Private keys as well as API keys.

Fireblocks has become a favorite of institutional service providers as it supports 180 crypto tokens and its security features have been integrated into more than 20 exchanges. These exchanges are moving over $2.5 billion worth of crypto tokens every month.

While large institutional service providers are the primary partners of the firm, the security service provider is also expanding its partnership spectrum by offering its services to lending platforms, like Compound to allow customers to earn passive income with interest rates between 3%-7%.

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Author: Hank Klinger