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

Lightning Labs Allows Users to Earn Interest on BTC by Providing Capital to LN

Lightning Labs has launched a marketplace for liquidity on the network.

The startup focused on developing the Layer 2 payment channel for Bitcoin, Lighting network, has opened the door to “LiFi” – Lightning financial products.

This non-custodial, peer-to-peer marketplace “transforms” your Lightning liquidity into a tradable asset on the Lightning Pool, allowing the user to buy or sell access to this liquidity.

In simple words, “People can earn interest on their BTC by helping to provide capital to the Lightning Network, while keeping control of their funds.”

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Unlike decentralized finance (DeFi), where a third party is the one with the custody of your funds, as in the case of Wrapped Bitcoin (WBTC), it is BitGo; Lightning Pool allows sellers to earn yields on their BTC without trusting a third party with their sats.

“The yield is earned from buyers on the Pool willing to pay a premium for access to new capital on Lightning without counterparty risk,” reads the announcement.

The lack of liquidity on the liquidity Network has been an obstacle, “one of the most widely felt pain points,” to its adoption, which the marketplace is addressing through Pool, which will allow everyone to participate.

“We developed Pool out of a need in the market that emerged from Lightning users who were looking for new sources of liquidity to enable them to more efficiently receive funds and transact on Lightning.”

In the beginning, the payment channels will have a maximum leasing time limit of two weeks or 2016 blocks, which will be diversified to six months. The liquidity provider will receive fees on their Pool account up-front.

“Pool features a p2p auction mechanism, batched execution, and a new concept called shadowchain using bitcoin script.”

Currently, it is in closed alpha with exchanges and wallets to make sure when it launches, it has enough liquidity. And because this is not DeFi, the maximum account size, for now, is 10 BTC as it is early and needs to be stress tested.

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Author: AnTy

Decentralized Exchange IDEX Launches v2.0 With A Heavy Focus on Enhancing User Experience

IDEX has launched a new update called IDEX 2.O promising to enhance user experience on decentralized exchanges (DEX) amid growing popularity and users. The hype around defi (decentralized finance) in 2020 has propelled DEX’s to the forefront of discussions.

IDEX 2.0 is solely focused on improving the user interface and how consumers interact with DEX’s. While decentralized exchanges have been in the game for quite some time, centralized exchanges (CEX) have garnered all the attention and transaction volume.

IDEX is promising to bridge the gap between centralized and decentralized exchanges for users. Among the prominent changes that come with the version, 2.0 include front-running and failed-transactions. Failed transactions have been the biggest Achilles heel for the DEX. With IDEX 2.0, users won’t have to sacrifice the ease of maintaining and using truly decentralized platforms.

Alex Wearn, the IDEX CEO, addressed the issues which have plagued and limited the reach of decentralized exchanges and said,

“Decentralized exchanges put the users ‘closer’ to the blockchain. This means that they have to deal with some of the shortcomings of blockchains themselves.

In particular, this could include things like long wait times for transaction and trade execution. The open nature also exposes users to issues like front-running and trade failures.”

IDEX 2.0 promises to improve on this concerning issue and offer several improvements over the existing systems. Some of the key features include,

  • Frictionless onboarding, if you’ve traded on any centralized exchange, then you will know how to use IDEX 2.0
  • Instant trade execution
  • Front-running protection
  • Guaranteed trade settlement
  • Private order books
  • Capacity for thousands of users and hundreds of thousands of orders per second

DEX Protocols Have Highest Transaction Failure Rates

Uniswap, one of the most popular DEX’s which has seen a significant bump in the transaction volume; in fact, it has generated more volume than many mainstream centralized exchanges on several occasions. Despite such heightened popularity and user growth, Uniswap has also registered significantly higher translation failure rates.

As per a report published by Dex Tokenlon, Uniswap registered a whopping 22%+ failure rates during the peak trading hours as of the first couple of weeks in September. While the success of defi has been quite unprecedented, so was the transaction failure rate. This could prove to be one of the biggest points of frustration for active users and traders and, in many cases, turn away the new users.

Apart from Uniswap, many other popular Dex has registered similar failure rates, and in many cases, a defer rate of 10%. IDEX, in its report, noted that these DEX are required to “keep order matching and execution off-chain, guaranteeing successful trades all while keeping the user in control of their assets.”

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Author: James W

Zcoin Launches Lelantus Testnet, Leveraging Burn-and-Redeem Model for Enhanced Privacy

Zcoin, the privacy-focused crypto project, has launched Lelantus testnet as it looks to increase the anonymity features within its ecosystem. The testnet launched on October 20 leverages a burn-and-redeem approach to provide higher privacy for its blockchain transactions, coupled with short confirmation times.

This newly adopted model by Zcoin is an alternative to other decoys ‘anonymity functions’ that distort transaction trails. As for the Zcoin Lelantus testnet, users will be able to destroy an arbitrary amount of coins and later redeem new ones from the pool, eliminating the associated transactional history. Reuben Yap, the Zcoin project steward, told Coindesk in an email that,

“At any time in the future, you can submit a cryptographic proof that proves you destroyed/burnt coins without revealing which coin it was … This proof, once accepted, will allow you to redeem coins that do not have any previous transaction history or linkages.”

Lelantus testnet has done away with Zcoin’s initial model where users had to redeem the full amount of the coins burned; instead, they can now redeem partial amounts. Yap gave an example of a user who opts to burn $100; previously, they would have to redeem $100, but they can now take out a smaller amount with no trace it came from the $100.

This testnet also operates in a trustless manner based on the decisional Diffie–Hellman (DDH) assumptions. It means that the Zcoin privacy network will not require a trusted setup, as is the case in most cryptographic innovations. According to Yap, this quite a cutting-edge in preventing coin inflation,

“A compromised trusted setup in zero-knowledge proofs allows someone to forge the proofs, meaning that coins can be created out of thin air leading to hyperinflation … In privacy coins where amounts are obscured, such inflation can also remain undetected.”

With the Lelantus testnet scheduled to last for about one month, Yap hinted that 2.0 is already in progress. This version will offer more advanced features, such as allocating the rights to redeem burnt coins to another party.

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Author: Edwin Munyui

Block.One to Offer Enterprise Blockchain Service Via It’s New ‘EOSIO for Business’ Platform

Block.one, the developer platform behind the EOS network, has launched an Enterprise-grade blockchain solution called EOSIO for Business. The new enterprise platform would allow businesses to leverage their offering on the decentralized tech.

The business platform offers four modes to its clients, which can be utilized to build and maintain blockchain-based infrastructure. The four modes include Blockchain-as-a-Service (BAAS), training businesses on utilizing the platform, technical support, and a certification program.

Ted Cahall, Block.one’s Chief Operating Officer (COO) commented on the launch of the enterprise-grade blockchain solution and said,

“Despite knowing the inherent benefits that blockchain will deliver to their business operations, many in-house product engineering teams are wary of the complexity involved in setting up and administering their blockchain.”

“Our EOSIO for Business customers will be able to work directly with EOSIO experts to ensure that their implementations seamlessly integrate with existing technology, and they will also have exclusive access to the newest EOSIO features and upgrades.”

How EOSIO Promises To Help Enterprises Scale?

The new enterprise-grade blockchain solution from Block.one promises to help businesses grow and scale via its platform without worrying about the technical aspect and maintenance of the services. This part would be taken care of by Block.one itself whose BaaS service would include complete technical support along with maintenance of the EOSIO network

The consulting and certification part of the platform would make it more interactive and help the businesses utilize the decentralized tech as per their business model. The EOS engineers promise to help these enterprises to grow without worrying about maintenance or technical complexities.

Mythical Games is one of the first business rosters for the EOSIO platform. Rudy Koch, co-founder and SVP of Business Development at Mythical Games, said that their association with the EOSIO platform had enabled them to meet their goals. He said,

“At Mythical, we are redefining game economies and creating new revenue opportunities by putting more power and ownership in the hands of players and content creators. EOSIO is an integral part of our efforts.

Leveraging Block.one’s EOSIO BaaS service enables us to continue delivering world-class game technology products to our players and partners.”

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Author: Rebecca Asseh

Stellar to Become The Third Blockchain to Support Stablecoin USDC; Rolling Out in 2021

USDC is being added to the Stellar blockchain. The stablecoin, which was launched on the Ethereum network, was later added to the Algorand blockchain.

The announcement was made on Thursday at the Stellar Development Foundation quarterly review event. The support of USDC, a stablecoin pegged on the US dollar, aims at enhancing Stellar’s position as a prominent international payments network. The support is set to take place during the second quarter of next year.

Denelle Dixon, Stellar Foundation CEO, explained that supporting USDC will help the platform reach a wide array of clients worldwide. Dixon explained:

“We are focused on creating equitable access to the financial system by building a global network that delivers services to users regardless of their geography.”

Dixon also explained that support of USDC would enable Stellar to expand its global reach and, at the same time, provide different chances of growth as well as innovation for developers and enterprises developing different projects within the network.

USDC is managed by CENTRE, which is a consortium that is led by Coinbase and Circle. The consortium states that the amount of USDC in circulation is approximately 2.8 billion. On the other hand, Stellar, mostly utilized by financial enterprises for international payments, boasts about 4.6 million accounts.

USDC was released in 2018 and is currently the second biggest stablecoin with a $2.75 billion market capitalization. USDC trails Tether’s USDT, which has a market capitalization of $16.17 billion.

CENTRE has stated that Stellar addition is evidence that its multi-chain approach is on course. Jeremy Allaire, Circle’s CEO, explained that Stellar addition would enhance interoperability. Allaire explained:

“We value the increased interoperability and wide range of developers that the Stellar network brings to the table, and look forward to seeing how adding a strong and stable USD anchor to Stellar grows its ecosystem and its importance as a platform driving global financial inclusion.”

Dixon explained that the partnership between USDC and Stellar is set to open numerous opportunities and corridors.

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Author: Joseph Kibe