Blockchain.com to Follow Other Exchanges; Freezing XRP Trading on January 14th

Blockchain.com to Follow Other Exchanges; Freezing XRP Trading on January 14th

Blockchain.com is the latest crypto exchange to halt XRP trading according to an announcement by the firm on January 4. This crypto exchange service provider joins a list of other exchanges that have taken a similar stance since the SEC filed a lawsuit against XRP’s parent company, Ripple.

The statement highlights that Blockchain.com will halt XRP trading within its platform from January 14 at 11:59 pm GMT. It goes on to clarify that XRP traders will retain access to their coins, as well as the ability to send them out, but the exchange will no longer facilitate XRP deposits.

Blockchain.com also made it clear that the action against XRP is a result of the ongoing lawsuit against Ripple, where the SEC claims that it raised $1.3 billion through an unregistered ICO. In essence, the regulator views XRP as an unregistered security.

Ripple’s woes have seen the price of XRP plummet despite the ongoing bull run; in fact, it slid down from 3rd position in market cap to stand at 5th as of press time. Popular exchanges that have already taken action to freeze XRP include Bittrex, Binance U.S, eToro, and Coinbase.

Meanwhile, there is another bandwagon of exchanges that are taking a wait-and-see approach. One of them is Uphold which recently issued its statement clarifying that it will continue to list XRP unless a court decision favors the SEC.

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Author: Edwin Munyui

Congress Members Request Treasury to Extend Comment Period on FinCEN’s Crypto Regulation

Congress Members Request Treasury to Extend Comment Period on FinCEN’s Latest Crypto Regulation

3,257 comments have been submitted so far to FinCEN’s midnight rulemaking.

Nine congress members have sent a letter to Treasury Secretary Mnuchin requesting an extension of the 15 day comment period on FinCEN’s proposed rulemaking related to “Requirements for Certain Transactions Involving Convertible Virtual Currency or Digital Assets.”

Tom Emmer, Tom Cotton, Bill Foster, David Schweikert, Darren Soto, Warren Davidson, Suzan K. DelBene, Ted Budd, and Tulsi Gabbard are the congress members who shared their concerns.

The letter states the concern that the midnight rulemaking does “not afford the American public a reasonable opportunity to respond” in what is “highly complex rulemaking.”

The members say while they do support the law enforcement in their efforts to combat criminals engaging in money laundering and illicit financing, “it would be impossible for the public to give meaningful comment with so little time.”

Not only a rushed process threatens the legitimacy of this rule but it would make the new regulations susceptible to legal challenges, reads the document.

They asked the department to extend the review period to 60 days and consider an extension of potentially six months to the proposed rule.

Meanwhile, the crypto community can submit their comments before the end of day on Jan. 4 on the government’s site. So far, 3,257 comments have been submitted.

“If we can get enough substantive comments in, they won’t have time to consider all of them adequately before Jan 20 and it will be out of Mnuchin’s hands,” advised Jerry Brito, executive director of CoinCenter while urging the community to comment no matter what part of the world they live in.

Joe Biden is to be sworn in as the President of the US on Jan. 20 and the Biden admin has announced that they will halt ongoing midnight rulemaking the day they get into office.

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Author: AnTy

Ruffer Investment Reduces Gold Exposure & Adds Bitcoin as an ‘Insurance Policy’

UK-based traditional asset manager Ruffer Investment is the latest company to allocate 2.5% of its portfolio to Bitcoin.

Much like Paul Tudor Jones, MicroStrategy, Square, MassMutual, and other institutions, Ruffer uses Bitcoin as insurance against the devaluation of the world’s fiat currencies.

The company’s Bitcoin allocation was close to 2.5%, which represents about $740 million (according to a spokesperson that confirmed with CoinDesk). On the other hand, Ruffer’s parent company has £20.3 billion ($27.4 billion) in AUM. The official announcement by the company reads,

“We wanted to give shareholders a short update on performance this year and to let you know about a new allocation to the digital currency bitcoin.”

During its performance update on Dec. 15, the company noted that their portfolio made strong progress even amidst the turmoil of 2020, which was the result of gold and the inflation-linked bonds performing well, and more recently, equities reacted very positively to the success of the covid-19 vaccines, leading the portfolio higher.

The company further stated that they had made a recent addition “within the Ruffer Multi-Strategies Fund,” Bitcoin, which is “primarily a defensive move.” This allocation to Bitcoin was actually made in November “after reducing the company’s exposure to gold,” it said.

It further goes on to say that their bitcoin exposure though small is a “potent insurance policy against the continuing devaluation of the world’s major currencies.”

According to Ruffer, Bitcoin diversified their much larger investments in gold and inflation-linked bonds, adding that the largest cryptocurrency “acts as a hedge to some of the monetary and market risks that we see.”

The company aims to not lose money by being in cash and grow the value of their clients’ assets in the long term.

“Traditional asset managers are not buying bitcoin to dump after a short period of time. They represent the herd we’ve been talking about for years,” said trader and economist Alex Kruger.

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Author: AnTy

Twitch Director Moves “25% into Bitcoin;” Calling it a “Rare Opportunity”

The latest individual to jump into Bitcoin is Shaan Puri, the Senior Director of Product, Mobile Gaming & Emerging Markets at popular live streaming service Twitch, an Amazon subsidiary.

“I have moved 25% into Bitcoin,” Tweeted Puri on Thursday. He did not share just how much BTC this 25% got him but said, “To everyone saying you’re at 90%..the denominator matters.”

Sharing an insight into his decision to invest in Bitcoin, Puri called this a “rare opportunity,” and much like everyone in the crypto market, he thinks this bull run is different from the last one when BTC hit an all-time high at $20,000.

“I think it’s a rare opportunity to front-run a wave of institutional capital that will come into BTC in the next 2 years. And I think people think this time it hits $20k is “just like last time,” but it’s not for many reasons!” Puri said.

Puri is just one of many people that have become a Bitcoiner in 2020 as the price of the largest digital asset rallies more than 155% YTD.

Currently, trading around $18,500, Bitcoin is in a choppy market after surging to a new all-time high, right at the start of the month.

Wall Street legends Stanley Druckenmiller, Paul Tudor Jones, and Bill Miller have been endorsing Bitcoin this year while the likes of BlackRock’s Rick Rieder and Larry Fink, and Ray Dalio are talking about the huge interest in the cryptocurrency and its similarities to gold.

Yesterday, Puri also tweeted about the 169-year old institution MassMutual buying $100M of bitcoin, adding, “The Dinosaurs are coming.”

Before sharing his bitcoin investment with the public, Puri had also noted, “Bitcoin is the only asset where you can go irresponsibly long – and then everyone tells you it’s not enough. And they’re probably right.”

Earlier this year, Twitch also began offering discounts to users who paid with crypto on the platform.

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Author: AnTy

World’s Largest Hedge Fund Manager, Ray Dalio, Is Warming Up to Bitcoin

In his latest Reddit Ask-Me-Anything (AMA) session, the founder of the world’s largest hedge fund Bridgewater Associate, Ray Dalio, touched upon Bitcoin, in which there have been tons of questions.

“I think that bitcoin (and some other digital currencies) have over the last ten years established themselves as interesting gold-like asset alternatives,” replied Dalio to a question whether Bitcoin is a potential answer to the issue that the global new world fiat monetary system has become because of central bank money printing which in turn has increased inequality in the US. According to Dalio, Bitcoin has both,

“similarities and differences to gold and other limited-supply, mobile (unlike real estate) storeholds of wealth.”

Talking about Bitcoin relative to gold, Dalio has a strong preference for the asset that central banks will want to hold or use in exchanging value while transacting.

However, the thing is, an investor must diversify his investment portfolio, and Bitcoin can be one. He said,

“It could serve as a diversifier to gold and other such storehold of wealth assets.”

“The main thing is to have some of these type of assets (with limited supply, that are mobile, and that are storeholds of wealth), including stocks, in one’s portfolio and to diversify among them.”

Cash is a bad alternative

These positive remarks towards bitcoin came after Dalio said last month that he may be missing something about the digital asset and that he would “love to be corrected.”

“Looks like @RayDalio has been contemplating bitcoin. Definitely seems like he’s coming around,” commented analyst Mati Greenspan on this new development.

During the AMA, Dalio further talked about the flood of money in the market that is lifting the prices of most assets, which are distributing wealth in such a way that it is “threatening to the value of our money and credit.”

“With the amount of money out there, and cash being such a bad alternative, there’s no good reason that stocks couldn’t trade at 50x earnings,” said the hedge fund manager, which, to be honest, also holds true for Bitcoin but at a larger percentage.

“It is important to diversify well in terms of currencies and countries, as well as asset classes,” he said, adding, “I want excellent diversification at this time.”

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Author: AnTy

There Are 3 Major Drivers Behind XRP’s Bullish Price Action

Coinbase is the latest exchange to announce support for FlareNetwork’s Spark airdrop to XRP holders.

On Saturday, the San Francisco-based exchange said that customers in approved jurisdictions who hold XRP in their accounts on Dec. 12 would be qualified to receive Spark tokens. Coinbase wrote,

“The amount of Spark you’ll receive depends on how much XRP you had in your account at the snapshot time.”

The airdrop will be distributed after the Flare network launch, said the exchange.

Other cryptocurrency exchanges supporting the airdrop include Binance, Bitstamp, Bitfinex, Bithumb, Bittrex, eToro, Huobi, Kraken, KuCoin, OKEx, Poloniex, Nexo, Upbit.

Already, 81.564 accounts with 17.5 billion XRP balance have set up the claim for the SPARK token. Interestingly, the recent increase in XRP price and SPARK airdrop has the XRP holdings increased by 421 million and over 36 new XRP accounts created.

At the time of writing, XRP has been trading at $0.617, up 150% in the last 30-days.

An “Exciting” Development

Not only XRP holders get free SPARK tokens; Ripple is praising the FlareNetwork project.

In a recent interview with CNN, Ripple CEO Brad Garlinghouse said that XRP holders are “deservedly excited” about the latest project as he is because “Flare has carved out an interesting niche.” He’s optimistic for them as they move forward with this airdrop of Spark tokens.

Flare will airdrop Spark token to XRP holders on Dec. 12 at a 1:1 ratio. Garlinghouse added,

“I’ve met the management team there. I think they’re very talented, and I think they have a clear vision of the problem they’re going to solve.”

Ripple is an investor in Flare Networks that describes itself as “the world’s first Turing complete FBA network.” Its website is scalable with low transaction cost and integrates Ethereum Virtual Machine to bring Ether-like functionality to the XRP Ledger. According to Ripple CEO, the new “exciting” startup is,

“really distinct from what Ripple is doing.”

“just a further example of people’s recognition that XRP is such an efficient digital asset and… utility will drive the long-term value of any digital asset.”

He sees it as an opportunity from now on but says it does not affect its RippleNet customers or how they use ODL (On-Demand Liquidity) for customers.

Burn Those Billions

The market is reacting positively to all the XRP news that had the digital assets trading bid over the weekend. Open Interest on the contracts is also back above $0.4 billion.

Another supportive driver behind the recent price action is Tweets from Ripple Chief Technology Officer David Schwartz. To prevent the drop in its price that could occur, should those billions in frozen tokens ever flood the market, he noted the community could force burning billions of the protocol’s native XRP tokens held in escrow.

Recently for the first time, Ripple bought $46 million worth of XRP despite already owning nearly half of the digital asset’s supply — a purchase the company said was made to support healthy markets.

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Author: AnTy

Coinbase Joins Square’s Crypto Open Patent Alliance (COPA) As A Founding Member

  • Coinbase is the latest founding member to join Square’s Cryptocurrency Open Patent Alliance (COPA).
  • Coinbase joins 18 other founding members aiming to enhance the “open patent policies on crypto projects.”

An announcement on COPA’s official website this Thursday confirms Coinbase, U.S. largest cryptocurrency exchange, joins the alliance as a founding member alongside Square Inc. The alliance aims to push forward an ‘open patents policy’ to boost the growth in developments and innovation in the crypto ecosystem. Coinbase joins the alliance to push “COPA’s missions forward, educate the community and drive membership, and establish and administer the alliance’s policies.”

In September, Square launched the COPA alliance to ensure that Bitcoin and the wider crypto ecosystem remain free and secure. Jack Dorsey, the founder of Square, said at the time that COPA aims to “maintain a shared patent library to help the crypto community defend against patent aggressors and trolls,” further asking more companies to join their goal.

Since the launch of COPA, 18 crypto companies have joined the alliance, including Blockstack, Blockstream, Kraken, Protocol Labs, and Satoshi Labs.

Senior counsel at Coinbase and member of the COPA board, Brittany Cuthbert, stated his enthusiasm with the exchange joining the alliance to create a “foundational patent shield for the crypto ecosystem.” Cuthbert further said,

“As the crypto economy continues to grow, we believe it is important to help empower all projects building towards an open financial system.”

Furthermore, COPA also announced Steve Lee, Square Crypto Lead, and Dan Robinson, a Paradigm researcher, a crypto firm focused on open-source protocols, as COPA’s newest board members.

COPA’s goal aims to enhance development and innovation across the crypto field by abolishing the tying up of “foundational technology in patents and litigation,” given the market is still in its early days. The alliance aims to make these foundational cryptocurrency technologies available to everyone through tackling offensive patent lockup by developers.

All COPA members pledge not to use their foundational development crypto patents, “except for defensive reasons,” which frees up the patents used by any developer across the space. Moreover, the alliance creates a “shared patent library where members pool all of their crypto patents together to form a collective shield of patents.” This allows members of the alliance to use any patent in the library to defend themselves and deter aggressors.

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Author: Lujan Odera

S&P Dow Jones Indices to Launch Cryptocurrency Indexes in 2021; Easing Access for Investors

“Slowly, at first, then all at once.” The latest major finance company to join the crypto bandwagon is S&P Dow Jones Indices. A division of finance data provider S&P Global Inc, the company said on Thursday, would be launching cryptocurrency indices in 2021.

It will be working with the New York-based virtual currency company Lukka to provide data on more than 550 of the top traded cryptos. S&P’s clients will also work with the index provider to create customized indices and other tools on digital assets, it said in a joint statement. Peter Roffman, the global head of innovation and strategy at S&P Dow Jones Indices said,

“With digital assets such as cryptocurrencies becoming a rapidly emerging asset class, the time is right for independent, reliable, and user-friendly benchmarks.”

They further said that the idea is to make it easier for investors to access more reliable pricing data about this new asset class and reduce some of the volatile and speculative market risks.

Bitcoin adoption has been gradual up until 2020, when suddenly, everyone wants in.

This is just another step this year that takes crypto into the mainstream. As Bitcoin rallies 170% in 2020, everyone wants to adopt the leading digital currency and enter the realm of cryptos. One analyst noted,

“Having mainstream indexes which represent crypto performance will only bolster adoption, and lead to the creation of fund which represent those indexes.”

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Author: AnTy

Tezos’ Edo Upgrade Will Implement Zcash’s Sapling Protocol for Shielded Transactions

  • Tezos becomes the latest blockchain to add Zcash’s Sapling privacy protocol.
  • The blockchain is also planning minor changes on its network.
  • Tezos allows self-amendment of the protocol without the need for a fork.

An announcement from Tezos, the baking algorithm network, confirms its blockchain is welcoming the Sapling privacy protocol from Zcash allowing users to send shielded transactions. As the new upgrade is known, Edo comes less than a month following the launch of the ‘Delphi’ upgrade on November 12. The latest updates aim at improving Tezos users’ privacy across the blockchain.

Apart from the sapling privacy protocols, the Edo upgrade will also add on minor fixes on the blockchain, including additional improvements on gas costs and performance, introducing the “adoption period to the voting schedule, ticketing, and some minor bug fixes.

Sapling, a privacy protocol developed by the Electric Coin Company (in charge of Zcash), allows users to send “shielded transactions” to enable privacy. Tezos will integrate this protocol giving their holders an option to send these types of transactions hence enhancing their privacy.

According to the joint press release from Nomadic Labs, Marigold, and Meta state – three Tezos smart contract developers – the new upgrade will be integrated easily on to the platform. This is only possible on Tezos compared to other running blockchains as the only “self-amending” platform. The release reads,

“Our proposal allows smart contract developers to easily integrate Sapling in their smart contracts and create privacy-conscious applications.”

“Because Tezos can be amended, it was possible for us to add this exciting new feature directly to Tezos itself.”

This has been a year’s long journey for Tezos. They announced Sapling’s testing back in December 2019 since the development team has improved the performance by carrying out “extensive research and testing” on the privacy protocol’s workings.

The Edo upgrade will also include “Tickets,” an improvement aiming to make it much “easier and simpler for developers to write secure contracts.” The statement explains ticketing as a “convenient mechanism for smart contracts to grant portable permissions to other smart contracts or to issue tokens.”

The new upgrade also targets to change the voting system by introducing a “fifth period” or the “adoption period.” According to the proposal, the adoption period will increase the period between adopting a proposal and activation from one block (about a minute) to two weeks. This will allow “seamless transitions of proposals,” giving bakers, indexers, and other users of the network certainty in activating the proposal.

If the Edo upgrade is accepted, the Baking Accounts proposal will follow the next major upgrade, expected in about three months.

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Author: Lujan Odera

Facebook-Led Libra Rebrands to ‘Diem’ in Attempt for a ‘New Start’ & Gain Regulatory Approval

Facebook has rebranded its stablecoin project Libra as “Diem” in its latest effort to gain regulatory approval. The new name comes after the Latin word “day” — denoting “a new day for the project.”

The Diem Network is preparing to launch its first digital coin as early as January next year, called the Diem Dollar.

First announced in June 2019, the project that aims to build a safe, secure, and compliant payment system received a lot of backlash from the regulators and raised concerns among the central banks over its impact on financial stability and monetary sovereignty. Stuart Levey, CEO of the Geneva-based Diem Association, said,

“The original name was tied to an early iteration of the project that received a difficult reception from regulators. We have dramatically changed that proposition.”

“We wanted a new start.”

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As we reported, the team is currently waiting to obtain a license from Swiss regulators to launch. It is also in talks with the US federal and state regulators but isn’t waiting for approval from them.

To satisfy regulators, Diem will comply with the sanctions and regulatory reporting requirements. “All of these design features we think make for a project we think that regulators will welcome,” Levey said.

The new network has also abandoned the 100-member goal and currently has 27 participants. The idea is to take things even more slowly; as such, just one digital currency — US dollar-pegged stablecoin — is being launched for now. It may pursue additional fiat-based cryptos later, said Levey. He added,

“We are not trying to cut all ties, by any stretch. It (the name change) is to signify that the association is operating autonomously and independently.”

The Diem Association also has no more plans to eventually transition to a permissionless blockchain to allow everyone to participate in verifying transactions.

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Author: AnTy