JPMorgan Piloting Blockchain-based Payment Solution in Asia

American investment bank and financial services provider JPMorgan, on Monday, April 12, launched ‘Confirm,’ a blockchain solution to reduce the number of rejected or returned payments.

‘Confirm’ Validates Transactions In ‘Near Real-time’

Following the launch, the US bank is now test-running the blockchain solution with 12 banks in Taiwan. The financial institutions include CTBC Bank, Taiwan Cooperative Bank, and First Commercial Bank.

As part of the test run, the banks were required to transfer money to Indonesia, using JPMorgan’s clearing solution – ‘PayDirect.’

Disclosing this development to the investing public, the banks which were used as case studies, according to JPMorgan, were able to request and receive confirmation of beneficiaries’ account information in ‘near-real-time.’

According to the US banking giant, there are numerous risks attached to transaction failures in the blockchain market, some of which are -a heightened risk of fraud, increment in cost from payment returns, and poor customer experience because of delays in processing payments.

Why this solution is timely for digital asset holders

In the blockchain industry, transactions are mostly seamless as cryptocurrency transactions are often done without problems. But there are instances where unsuccessful and failed transactions are recorded. In situations where failed transactions occur, one of the most common reasons is ‘fees.’

It is pertinent to note that the fees asset holders input in their transactions is collected by miners, who are shouldered with the responsibility of confirming transactions on the network.

These fees are used to determine the priority of each transaction as far as blockchain is concerned. Meaning that the higher the fee, the higher the level of importance placed on a transaction, and vice-versa. So, if the price an asset holder includes is too low, there are chances that miners will not consider such a transaction worthwhile to validate. And the most common consequence of this is rejection.

While no data is accessible at press time to confirm the rate at which traders experience failure in their transactions, there are indications most of the transactions that suffered rejection were because of the injected fee. More so, when a low price is used during the period that a network is experiencing congestion, there is a likelihood that it will not be successful. Due to how the blockchain is designed, miners are the only ones that determine every transaction’s status.

However, with ‘Confirm,’ JPMorgan brings a solution aiming to reduce failed transactions and increase successful ones.

Through a secure peer-to-peer network in the blockchain industry, trading entities can request an account’s validation before payment initiation. They can also respond to requests for account owner and status or participate as both a requestor and a responder.

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Author: Jimmy Aki

Cosmos (ATOM) Enhances Interoperability with IBC Protocol Rollout

Cosmos has finally launched its Inter-Blockchain Communication (IBC) protocol following a majority vote from the community members.

Cosmos IBC Now Lets Blockchains Talk To Each Other

The newly launched protocol would enable the transfers of tokens and data between sovereign blockchains.

More than 1500 Cosmos validators and delegates supported the launch.

The long-awaited IBC protocol would also address scalability issues through sharding technology, according to the development team.

Cosmos also said that this launch opens up a whole new world of possibilities for the decentralized finance (DeFi) space, as decentralized applications (DApps) built on its network would be able to execute multi-chain smart contracts.

According to Tendermint CEO Peng Zhong, the launching of the IBC marks a momentous milestone in the evolution of the Cosmos ecosystem as it builds the foundation for interoperability.

Cosmos has been working on its vision to realize an open blockchain protocol for some time now.

Although the IBC whitepaper was released back in 2016 by Cosmos co-founders Jae Kwon and Ethan Buchman, it was not until 2019 that a mainnet was launched.

In 2020, the ATOM’s native blockchain launched another incentivized testnet for IBC, dubbed Game of Zones, which stress-tested the IBC module pre-launch and distributed over 100,000 ATOMs in rewards to dozens of validators.

Stargate, the last phase of IBC, which completed the original roadmap laid out in the Cosmos whitepaper, was then launched in February 2021. Speaking on the impact IBC would have on the blockchain space, the lead developer of the IBC Protocol Christopher Goes, said,

“IBC will create an ecosystem of politically independent chains that can interact via trade and information exchange. Knitting together many different blockchains can form a new crypto-economic system”.

The Impact of IBC In DeFi Sector

IBC’s launch greatly expands the realm of possibilities for blockchain applications. IBC will be used to transfer both fungible (cross-chain payments) and non-fungible tokens (NFTs) between chains. This will see the subsequent rise of interchain token exchanges and NFT marketplaces.

The launch of IBC is a big deal, especially in the decentralized finance (DeFi) sector, as it could open up opportunities by allowing tokens to zip between chains. A product on an application-specific blockchain could use an asset from a completely different chain.

The initial version of IBC allows users to kick off token transfers between various chains only on the Cosmos Hub, the central blockchain that connects all other Cosmos blockchains or zones. Now for the first time, Cosmos has achieved actual cross-chain token transfers.

The blockchains built on Cosmos’ native consensus model like Kava (KAVA) and Crypto.com (CRO) will likely be the first crypto projects to adopt the IBC standard, putting an end to blockchain silos.

Even though Gavin Wood-led Polkadot (DOT) blockchain ecosystem is on the path to end network tribalism through its Bridges protocol, Cosmos seems to have beaten them to the finish line.

Meanwhile, Cosmos also announced its plans to add the Gravity DEX, a decentralized exchange, as the next upgrade following IIBC.

The Gravity DEX will act as an online marketplace for trading tokens from any connected blockchain, including tokens from IBC-enabled blockchains, wrapped ETH (wETH) to wrapped BTC (wBTC) tokens, and from any future networks that implement IBC.

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Author: Jimmy Aki

Moon Integrates Lightning Payments for All US-based VISA eCommerce Stores

Moon Integrates Lightning Payments for All US-based VISA eCommerce Stores

Moon has launched a new payment option that enables customers to purchase goods and services using virtual VISA cards on select eCommerce stores. This new payment feature is targeted at any VISA-enabled e-commerce site based in the United States.

Lightning Payments for VISA Merchants

This latest feature is in partnership with VISA. Users can make purchases using Moon’s Virtual VISA prepaid cards. Once purchased, the cards can be used as the payment option during checkouts at any VISA-enabled e-commerce site. What makes these cards unique is that they are created at the point of purchase.

They are generated for the exact amount of the purchase by the user at checkout. Once this is done and confirmed, the extension creates a Lightning invoice. Once the invoice is paid for, the card is loaded with the exact amount, no exchange or deductions made. The card can then be used to pay for the items in their cart.

Moon cards are virtual cards loaded with cryptocurrency temporarily for the purpose of making online purchases. The crypto is converted to USD to allow you to spend the funds immediately whenever you want, especially on sites where cryptocurrency is not accepted.

The cards are to be used only once. This way, if your payment information is leaked, there is no risk to the security of your coins. Moon cards have no fees and are only available to United States users.

Although some e-commerce retailers let you pay with cryptocurrencies, Moon’s focus is to enable crypto purchases on popular platforms that are yet to adopt crypto. This includes popular retailers like Amazon and Target. The startup allows customers to link their Coinbase balances to their Moon extension. You can make purchases using Bitcoin, Litecoin, Ether, and Bitcoin Cash.

Moon extension browser is available on browsers like Chrome, Brave, and Opera.

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Author: Jimmy Aki

SBI Group Rolls Out XRP on Its VC Trade Cryptocurrency Lending Service

SBI Group Rolls Out XRP on Its VC Trade Cryptocurrency Lending Service

Having launched its cryptocurrency lending service in late 2020, the Japan-based financial services company – SBI Group – has announced that it will be enabling access to XRP as part of its lending service – SBI VC Trade.

This news is according to an announcement made by the company on Feb. 4. SBI VC Trade Lending will enable users will be able to earn interest by depositing their XRP on the platform – so long as it was between 1,000 and 100,000 XRP. In order to obtain an interest dividend on whatever is staked, they would need to lend it for a period of up to 84 days.

Within the statement, SBI stated the following:

“VC Trade Lending is a service that allows customers to rent out their crypto assets to the company and receive interest rewards according to the quantity and duration of the crypto assets.”

The company has added that XRP annual interest would come to 0.1% (including taxes).

As readers may have noticed, the introductory interest rate (0.1%) is much lower than the going rate for lending Bitcoin BTC 1.63% Bitcoin / USD BTCUSD $ 37,416.45
$609.891.63%
Volume 68.15 b Change $609.89 Open $37,416.45 Circulating 18.62 m Market Cap 696.67 b
8 s SBI Group Rolls Out XRP on Its VC Trade Cryptocurrency Lending Service 3 h $72M New Crypto VC Fund Gets Backing from Billionaires like Paul Tudor Jones & LL Cool J 4 h Dutch Footballer Says “Don’t Wait to Buy Bitcoin” While Goldman Issues a Warning
on the platform. At present, there has not been a reason behind this, other than the potential risk associated with Ripple at present, but this is not validated.

While not facing domestic legal challenges in Japan, Ripple is facing a large-scale federal lawsuit within the United States – specifically for alleged violations of existing U.S. securities laws by selling unregistered securities. The decision by SBI comes from a difference in the legal definition of XRP; Japan, unlike the U.S., believes that XRP does not qualify as a security.

Since 2020, SBI has risen as one of Ripple’s large-scale partners, having brought out a few XRP-related products. In the wake of legal challenges in the United States, Yoshitaka Kitao – CEO of SBI – made it plain that Japan remains the most likely (or friendly) candidate for Ripple to move to.

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Author: James Fox

First Tether (USDT) Minted on Solana; Stablecoin USDC Launched on Stellar

First Tether (USDT) Minted on Solana; Stablecoin USDC Launched on Stellar

Stablecoin issues Tether first announced during the summer of 2020 that it had launched its USDT coin on Layer 1 blockchain Solana, which claims to be faster and cheaper than Ethereum.

Now, the first USDT has been finally minted on the Solana blockchain, as announced by Paolo Ardoino on Twitter late on Tuesday.

Tether, the dominant stablecoin in the market with a market cap of more than $27 billion, is supported on a number of blockchains, including Ethereum, Tron, EOS, Omni, OMG Network, Algorand, Liquid, and others, with support to be added for more blockchains as well.

Solana has seen growing adoption with crypto exchange FTX launching its DEX Serum on it a few months back. FTX chief executive Sam Bankman-Fried called Solana “awesome” at the time and said it is “10,000 times faster and 1,000,000 times cheaper than Ethereum.”

Another popular stablecoin USDC, with a market cap of about $6 billion, also supports Solana blockchain, and on Tuesday, it announced support for Stellar as well.

Stellar blockchain is now fully integrated across all the Circle products. This will help bring USDC to “billions of people around the world” and swap and exchange instantly for Brazilian Real, Argentinian Peso, Nigerian Naira, Euro, and South African Rand. Jeremy Allaire, co-founder & CEO of Circle said,

“Not only will this unlock new on-chain FX markets, but it will help people across the world, including in emerging markets, to access the power of digital dollars, and have seamless convertibility with local stablecoins.”

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Author: AnTy

Square Commits $10M to Bitcoin Clean Energy Initiative; Net-Zero Carbon by 2030

Square has launched a clean energy investment initiative to help make the “bitcoin supply chain greener.”

In its press release on Tuesday, the San Francisco-based company announced its plan to become net-zero carbon for operations by 2030. A verified carbon removal portfolio is expected to be launched in Q1 of 2021.

With this came the ‘Bitcoin Clean Energy Investment Initiative‘ to which Square is committing $10 million to support companies that “help drive adoption and efficiency of renewables within the bitcoin ecosystem.”

The new initiative will support companies working on green energy technologies within the bitcoin mining space and accelerate its transition to clean power. Any gains made from this investment will also be reinvested back into the initiative.

Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey is a Bitcoin proponent and his company Square, which has invested $50 million in BTC, purchases the largest cryptocurrency on behalf of its Cash App customers.

“We believe that cryptocurrency will eventually be powered completely by clean power, eliminating its carbon footprint and driving adoption of renewables globally,” said Square co-founder and CEO Jack Dorsey.

At the end of October, as we reported, the New York Department of Financial Services (NYDFS) sent out a letter to banks and cryptocurrency businesses to pay attention to the financial risks associated with climate change and incorporate them into their business strategies. Dorsey said,

“Published estimates indicate bitcoin already consumes a significant amount of clean energy, and we hope that Square’s investment initiative will accelerate this conversion to renewable energy.”

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Author: AnTy

Blockchain Coalition, Universal Protocol Alliance, Launches The First Tradeable Carbon Token

The Universal Protocol Alliance (UPA) has launched the first tradeable carbon token, according to a press release shared with BEG. This group comprises prominent players in the blockchain industry, including Bittrex Global, Uphold, Infinigold, Certik, and Ledger. UPA’s goal is to eventually digitize or tokenize every asset class in preparation for a new era of finance.

The newly introduced tradeable carbon token is dubbed ‘UPCO2’, represents a year of carbon dioxide or a similar reduction from ‘Verra-approved REDD+ voluntary projects in the world’s rainforests.’ This new carbon token is available for trading on the Uphold digital asset platform and marks the first of its kind to trade in a public blockchain ecosystem.

Democratizing the Global Carbon Market

Recent years have seen the demand for carbon skyrocket as the world became more environmentally aware of pollution’s looming risks. According to World Bank stats, the need for carbon credits is currently more than its supply by close to 4 times. Universal Protocol Alliance is among the groups that are presently working to offset this gap.

The UPCO2 token is built to democratize carbon demand and supply by introducing a global playing field for clearing prices, just like other commodities, including gold and oil. Each UPCO2 token will be backed by a Voluntary Carbon Unit (VCU), while Verra will issue the same certificate. This is the standard International Agency that permits the conversion of greenhouse gas to tradeable carbon credits.

Mathew Le Merle, the chairman of UPA, explained that supporting projects through credit purchases prevents deforestation in areas like the Amazon and Congo Basin. He went on to highlight the value proposition of UPCO2 carbon token as an asset of the ‘future’ investor,

“For a new generation of investors looking for more than mere financial return, UPCO2 offers attractive social, economic, and environmental benefits. At a key moment for climate change, UPCO2 allows people worldwide to do good for the planet and potentially do well for themselves.”

A Lucrative Macroeconomic Outlook

In the future, there is a likelihood that combating climate change will be among the dominant discussion points across the globe. World Bank stats indicate that only 22% of emissions are compensated for by humanity; meanwhile, the percentage of countries that operate in regulated carbon markets has grown from 40% to 70% within the past four years.

Uphold CEO and Co-founder of the UP Alliance, JP Thieriot, emphasized this trend noting the underlying potential of the UPCO2 carbon token,

“Combating climate change is likely to become the dominant economic issue of the next 20 years.  The UPCO2 Token allows people everywhere to participate in this hugely important – and potentially lucrative – new market, as well as do the right thing for the planet.”

Notably, the Voluntary Credit Units offer some perks compared to the regulated credits, including global recognition and the ability to retain value until used or retired as compensation for carbon footprints.

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Author: Edwin Munyui

Uniswap (UNI) Farming to End Today, Billions of Dollars to be Released

Launched in the mid of September, the governance token of DEX Uniswap, UNI, is currently down over 10%. In the first week of November, the DeFi token crashed 72% from its all-time high, achieved right after its launch.

Since then, the 26th largest cryptocurrency by market cap of $803 million has doubled in value, trading at $3.56.

Uniswap actually has been the first DeFi project to hit $3 billion in total value locked (TVL), which is currently down at $2.84 billion. Meanwhile, it has 3.1 million ETH, 29.5k BTC, and nearly 190 million DAI locked.

The project, however, maintains its dominance in the market at 21.18%.

Interestingly, in the next few hours, UNI farming on Uniswap Protocol will end with about $1 billion to be released into the market.

As it stands, around $2.3 billion funds are deployed farming the native token, and with Ethereum being the reference token, it means there is currently $1.1 billion ETH locked. Although it remains to be seen how much ETH will actually leave, the portion that chooses to stay will get to enjoy the high fees.

This could still mean some selling pressure for Eth, which is trading just around $462, already “at resistance with a potential double top.”

DeFi-Inflow-of-Money
Source: IntoTheBlock

With this new influx of money flowing into the DeFi sector, it’s to be seen where it will exactly move to.

It is possible this money flow will potentially make its way to SushiSwap. While liquidity has been coming off its recent highs on Uniswap, SushiSwap’s liquidity has increased substantially.

Even SUSHI token is currently enjoying gains of over 17% at $1.36, up 109% month-to-date (MTD) basis compared to Uniswaps’ 62%.

However, both are still cheap when it comes to their valuations based on the price/sales ratio. While Uniswap P/S is around 10x and SushiSwap’s even much lower than that, its competitors like Curve and Balancer trade close to 80x.

In other news, over the weekend, the decentralized exchange Uniswap’s app interface went down due to issues with its gateway provider Cloudflare.

The automated market maker (AMM) built on top of Ethereum took to Twitter to share the outage issues and point out how “now is a good time to remember the benefits of decentralization.”

Unlike a CeFi, which, if goes down, has no way to access it, a “true DeFi on Ethereum there are no central points of failure” and “there is no downtime,” as pointed out by Uniswap creator Hayden Adams.

As can be seen with Uniswap, it is available on other IPFS gateways, can be run locally, easily be forked and re-hosted, and can be traded over Uniswap natively from Dharma and other Ethereum wallets. One can also trade on Uniswap through a wide range of aggregators, a command-line, and over Etherscan.

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Author: AnTy

Binance’s Mining Pool Becomes 4th Largest One Amidst ‘More Adoption & Institutional Participation’

Launched less than seven months back, Binance Mining Pool is currently the 4th largest one with a hash rate share of 11.36% after Antpool, Poolin, and F2Pool.

The leading spot cryptocurrency exchange Binance launched its own mining pool in April this year, which at the time was the 11th largest one, accounting for less than 4% share.

At the time when the pool finally went public, Spencer Noon of DTC Capital had shared his skepticism towards saying the “galaxy brain power move” by Binance CEO Changpeng Zhao makes him nervous because this might led to exchange-owned mining pools to “prioritize their own transactions or even censor transactions to competitor exchanges.”

Recently, as we reported, a new Bitcoin mining pool actually promotes censoring certain Bitcoin transactions, which the community is against.

The increased market share is achieved by Binance amidst the bull run with Bitcoin up 120% YTD and ETH 253%.

As a result of the greens, the market has been experiencing heightened volume and interest from the likes of PayPal and legendary investors, including Stanley Druckenmiller and Ben Miller.

“Right now, we are definitely seeing more users come in, more adoption happening, and more institutional participation,” said “CZ” in an interview. “Overall, things are going pretty well, I would say.”

Regulatory Aspect

Amidst this, Binance.US also expanded its services to the 10.5 million residents of North Carolina, now serving over 80% of the US.

Binance.US first opened the registration to the United States users in Sept. 2019, but residents of the 13 states, including North Carolina, were excluded due to local rules and regulations.

Binance.US is an independent entity that is fully compliant in the US, according to Zhao, who said in an interview with Bloomberg that they are hopeful they will be able to get the licenses to offer its services in other left-out states as well.

Recently, as we reported, Binance started blocking the users who are US citizens, which according to Zhao, they have “always” done.

“But users do find intelligent ways to get around our block sometimes, and we just have to be smarter about the way we block,” he said.

“Basically, we do continually try to improve our blocking. There are sometimes a few guys who want to circumvent our blocking and still use the platform, and we have to come up with a smarter way to protect that, and when we do, we block them.”

As for China making new moves to regulate the crypto market, it doesn’t impact Binance’s operations because the exchange is not in Hong Kong, said Zhao.

“Our position is usually we want to see other smaller exchanges to succeed first in any geographic location, and then we will expand our services potentially to cover those regions as well,” he said.

But still, the Asia market “is pretty significant,” an estimated 25% to 40% of daily trading volume originating there, he said.

Commenting on China’s digital yuan plans, Zhao said the country is “way ahead” of other countries, which will put pressure on others. Being the first one to have a CBDC will mean attracting a lot of international usage and volumes, he added.

“This probably will help significantly in making RMB a more dominant currency in the world, and if that works, then I think that will put pressure on other central banks to get their own central bank digital currency out as soon as possible.”

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Author: AnTy

Bitcoin Mining Pool Stirs Controversy by Promoting Censoring BTC Transactions

Blockchain analyst firm, BlockSeer has launched a private mining pool, currently, in beta, that will censor certain Bitcoin transactions.

Given that the Bitcoin community emphasizes censorship-resistance, an essential feature of cryptocurrency that makes it differentiating from the central bank digital currencies, it’s pretty obvious that the company would come under fire for its move.

The community has never favored such steps and has time and again criticized those, like Coinbase and Tether, and other cryptocurrency exchanges, who censored specific transactions or parties.

Last month, DMG Solutions, to which BlockSeer is a subsidiary, suggested that ensuring transaction blocks are OFAC (US Government’s Office of Foreign Assets Control) compliant will help in the leading digital asset’s mainstream adoption.

DMG’s COO Sheldon Bennett said at the time that this pool would be “the first of its kind focused on governance, transparency and building Bitcoin blocks on the network,” which instead of focusing on transaction fees will be all about “sound transaction data and history.”

The company wants to bring “a new compliance-focused standard to the industry” by focusing on

“being devoid of transaction from known nefarious wallets which use this medium in ways that continue to sully the reputation of cryptocurrencies, specifically Bitcoin, in the mainstream as well as to impede widespread adoption.”

Protesting this move, Monero’s lead developer Riccardo Spagni says with censoring transactions as a key selling point of these new mining pools, regulators will try to take advantage of this by encouraging other mining pools to implement similar measures.

“It’s only a matter of time till most Bitcoin mining pools are forced to do this transaction filtering. Might be time to dust off p2pool + focus on Stratum v2 support for pools,” argued Spagni. “Also worth noting that adding more privacy to Bitcoin would prevent this,” he added.

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Author: AnTy