Privacy-Focused Messaging App, Signal Launches Crypto Payments Through MobileCoin

  • Signal, the private messaging app, launches a mobile payment system.

Following an impressive year in the messaging industry, Signal, the popular private messaging app, is launching mobile payments system, mobilecoin (MOB). According to a statement by Signal founder Moxie Marlinspike, who has been an adviser to the project for the past three years, the new payment system aims to provide a simple and private platform to send payments. The platform is built on Stellar blockchain leveraging the blockchain’s scalability and instant payments network.

The platform will launch a beta project first before rolling out the full product, a blog post confirmed on Tuesday. At launch, the beta phase of Signal’s payment service will only be available to U.K. customers enabling them “to send and receive privacy-focused payments as easily as sending or receiving a message.”

Users will send funds, receive funds, keep track of their balances, and review their transaction history directly from the Signal app. MobileCoin aims to improve privacy in financial transactions; hence the app will not have access “to your balance, full transaction history, or funds.” The app also allows users to transfer funds when they switch to another app or service.

The coin will be available to eligible users only on FTX exchange.

However, some analysts look at this as a step back for Signal, who have made their name in enhancing privacy via encrypted messages. “Signal as an encrypted messaging product is really valuable,” Matthew Green, a member of the Zcash Foundation board, said.

“Speaking solely as a person who is really into encrypted messaging, it terrifies me that they’re going to take this really clean story of an encrypted messenger and mix it up with the nightmare of laws and regulations and vulnerability that is cryptocurrency.”

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Author: Lujan Odera

Jersey-based CoinShares Launches Physically-backed Litecoin (LTC) ETP on SIX Exchange

Jersey-based CoinShares Launches Physically-backed Litecoin (LTC) ETP on SIX Exchange

  • CoinShares launches Litecoin electronic-traded products (ETP) on Tuesday.

One of Europe’s largest digital asset investment firms, CoinShares, announced the launch of its physically-settled Litecoin electronic-traded products on Swiss-based SIX exchange. Each ETP contract will be backed by 0.20 LTC (~$38, as of writing), and will trade under the ticker symbol, LITE.

The Litecoin ETP is the seventh digital asset added to the company’s portfolio, adding to the $4 billion assets under management by the investment firm. CoinShares Physical, the firm’s ETP investment arm, holds two-thirds of its assets in Bitcoin, with Ethereum gradually taking up a larger share. The post reads,

“Each unit of LITE is backed with 0.20 litecoins at launch, providing investors with passive exposure to the Litecoin network’s native asset.”

LITE will carry a base fee of 1.5% p.a., and the base currency is set to USD only. Chief Revenue Officer of CoinShares, Frank Spiteri commented,

“As demand for digital assets amongst the traditional investment community steadily increases, we are starting to see the green shoots of demand for investment exposures outside of the top two dominant networks.”

The Jersey-based firm reported an explosive quarter in Q1 2021, with an 11% growth in total Bitcoin and Ethereum inflows reaching the $4.5 billion mark.

Litecoin currently trades at $223 and ranks ninth on Coingecko’s largest market cap list with a total market cap of $14.8 billion.

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Author: Lujan Odera

Bitcoin Mining Chip Maker, Ebang Launches a New Cryptocurrency Exchange, Ebonex

Bitcoin Mining Chip Maker, Ebang Launches a New Cryptocurrency Exchange, Ebonex

Bitcoin mining ASIC chip maker, Ebang International, is expanding its business operations by launching a cryptocurrency exchange.

Canada stock exchange-listed firm, Ebang is expanding its crypto mining operations to the secondary market with the launch of a new cryptocurrency exchange, Ebonex. The exchange will register “qualified investors,” allowing them to deposit, trade, and withdraw from their accounts starting today.

The hardware mining giant launched an invitation-only beta testing phase for Ebonex earlier this year following a successful $100 million IPO in 2020. Dong Hu, Chairman and CEO of the firm, stated the exchange was a “result of the continuing investment in research and development.”

“In recent years, we have made a considerable investment in R&D talent recruiting, as well as product innovation and iteration.”

“The launch of our cryptocurrency exchange business will not only expand the revenue sources from our cryptocurrency business but also optimize the development of our blockchain industry chain.”

The company has not been short of R&D endeavors to improve their business operations – or development of chips. Ebang announced in August 2020; they will shift their focus to AI-powered mining chips in 2024 as a bid to be ‘part of building the future chips.’

The new exchange will start with several top crypto assets available, including Bitcoin (BTC), Ethereum (ETH), Polkadot (DOT), Litecoin (LTC), and Chainlink (LINK). However, the report did not disclose which residents and countries will be eligible to participate in trading services on the exchange.

No comment was received from the exchange as of writing.

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Author: Lujan Odera

CI Global Asset Management Launches Bitcoin Mutual Fund, Also Files for Ether ETF & Mutual Fund

CI Global Asset Management Launches Bitcoin Mutual Fund, Also Files for Ether ETF & Mutual Fund

CI Global Asset Management has launched North America’s first mutual fund, CI Bitcoin Fund, to provide dedicated exposure to the leading cryptocurrency.

The Fund provides access to the Bitcoin market at an “industry-low” management fee of 0.40%, which has an initial minimum investment limit of just $500. Kurt MacAlpine, Chief Executive Officer of CI Financial Corp., the parent company of CI GAM said,

“As investor interest in digital assets continues to grow, it was a natural next step for CI to extend our bitcoin investment capabilities to a mutual fund platform, in addition to the CI Galaxy Bitcoin ETF.”

The firm’s CI Galaxy Bitcoin ETF is already trading on the Toronto Stock Exchange under the ticker BTCX. They are also working on merging their other product, a closed-end investment fund, CI Galaxy Fund (BTCG), launched in Dec. 2020 with BTCX.

The Bitcoin Fund is available to Canadian retail investors in Series A, F, and P units, with Series A carrying a management fee of 0.90% and Series F, a 0.40% the same as that of BTCX.

Mike Novogratz’s Galaxy Digital provides the segregated cold storage system for the secure storage of bitcoin holdings.

Besides Bitcoin, the firm is also working on launching Ethereum products and has obtained receipts for the preliminary prospectuses of CI Galaxy Ethereum ETF (the “Ether ETF”) and CI Ether Fund, a mutual fund. The Ether ETF will be investing directly in Ether, while CI Ether Fund will invest in the Ether ETF units.

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Author: AnTy

Wrapped IOTA Launches on Binance Smart Chain (BSC) to Boost DeFi liquidity

Wrapped IOTA Launches on Binance Smart Chain (BSC) to Boost DeFi liquidity

  • IOTA launches on Binance Smart Chain, or BSC, introducing decentralized finance (DeFi) capabilities for its holders.

In a blog post shared on Monday, IOTA Foundation announced the launch of “wrapped IOTA” on Binance’s decentralized platform, Binance Smart Chain (BSC). The introduction of IOTA on BSC will enable holders of MIOTA, IOTA’s native token, to participate in DeFi applications built on Binance Smart Chain. With the release of this feature, IOTA now lives on two blockchains for the first time.

“Now, with wrapped IOTA on Binance Smart Chain, IOTA holders can use the IOTA Token to participate in DeFi applications on the Binance network.”

This integration follows previous attempts by IOTA developers to build bridges across different blockchains to improve cross-chain interactions. The integration aims at growing liquidity across multiple chains providing IOTA as one of the asset classes you can borrow, lend, stake, and earn on BSC-based DeFi apps.

Users can use the IOTA-Binance bridge to swap their IOTA tokens to wrapped IOTA on Binance to start enjoying DeFi on BSC. The portal also allows reverse transactions from wrapped IOTA to IOTA at a 1:1 exchange ratio at all times. Once the wrapped IOTA has been deposited to your BSC wallet, users can trade, swap, and interact with services similar to any BEP20 token.

IOTA Foundation expects this integration to be the first of multiple chains – possibly Ethereum ETH 1.69% Ethereum / USD ETHUSD $ 1,846.31
$31.201.69%
Volume 22.52 b Change $31.20 Open $1,846.31 Circulating 115.27 m Market Cap 212.82 b
3 h Wrapped IOTA Launches on Binance Smart Chain (BSC) to Boost DeFi liquidity 5 h Cosmos (ATOM) Enhances Interoperability with Inter-Blockchain Communication (IBC) Protocol Rollout 7 h CME Is Launching Cash-Settled Micro Bitcoin Futures, One-tenth the Size of One BTC
and Solana SOL 2.49% Solana / USD SOLUSD $ 19.22
$0.482.49%
Volume 263.92 m Change $0.48 Open $19.22 Circulating 268.2 m Market Cap 5.16 b
3 h Wrapped IOTA Launches on Binance Smart Chain (BSC) to Boost DeFi liquidity 5 d Stablecoin Giant Tether Sets New Record as USDT Market Cap Hits $40 Billion 1 w Solana (SOL) is ‘Uniquely Positioned’ to Snatch Market Share from Ethereum & ETH Killers, says VC
– to increase the cross-chain liquidity.

“We see this integration with Binance Smart Chain as the first step in growing liquidity across multiple chains, while also preparing for the ability for other assets to live on the IOTA network,” a spokesperson from IOTA Foundation said.

IOTA token is up 4.2% in the past 24 hours, trading at $1.55 following the news and Bitcoin’s surge past $59,000 on news that PayPal is adding crypto payments in its 29 million merchant checkouts.

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Author: Lujan Odera

Ethereum Wallet, Gnosis Safe Launches SafeSnap to Enhance Decentralized Governance in DeFi

Ethereum Wallet, Gnosis Safe Launches SafeSnap to Enhance Decentralized Governance in DeFi

Gnosis, a multi-sig wallet provider, is partnering with Snapshot to launch SafeSnap, a platform that enhances decentralized governance by allowing on-chain execution of off-chain votes.

In a document released on Tuesday, Gnosis, Gnosis Safe’s creator, a trusted Ethereum and ERC-20 tokens custodian, announced the launch of SafeSnap, in partnership with Snapshot, a decentralized governance platform. The new feature enables the decentralized execution of crypto governance protocols by bringing off-chain votes back on-chain.

Decentralized governance protocols have taken off with the rise of the DeFi ecosystem in the past year. However, the high gas fees on Ethereum have made it expensive to vote for proposals on-chain hence the rise of off-chain voting protocols such as Snapshot. However, the use of off-chain projects comes at the expense of decentralization.

The Snapshot governance proposal voting process is conducted off-chain with the duty to execute the proposal lying solely on the goodwill of team members and multi-sig key holders. SafeSnap aims to remove this centralization by automatically executing the proposal as soon as the “off-chain voting” closes.

SafeSnap aims to offer decentralized execution of crypto governance proposals. Several top DeFi governance protocols, including Yearn finance, SushiSwap, Synthetix, and Balancer, have already announced their support for the governance protocol.

Stefan George, a Gnosis co-founder and CTO believes the new feature will allow users to reduce high gas fees witnessed on Ethereum while maintaining decentralization in the proposal’s execution.

“The ability to execute DAO vote outcomes in a decentralized way, without taking the whole process on-chain and incurring the resulting gas fees, has been a difficult one to solve.”

Gnosis Safe will tally the off-chain voting from non-custodial multi-sig wallets and use Reality.eth, formerly Realitio, to broadcast the result on the main blockchain.

Once verified on the off-chain platform and resolved on Reality.eth, the proposal will have a 24 hour cooldown period before it is broadcasted to be executable by any participant on the blockchain.

The company boasts over $19.4 billion worth of ETH and ERC-20 token value in its Gnosis Safe Multisig wallet, including Metamask and hardware wallets. According to a BEG report in January, this makes it the fourth largest ETH custodial wallet operator.

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Author: Lujan Odera

DC Comics Launches Batman-Themed NFT’s; Warns Developers from Copying its Characters

DC Comics Launches Batman-Themed NFT’s; Warns Developers from Copying its Characters

  • Comic publisher DC Comics plans to launch a line of non-fungible tokens (NFTs), report states.
  • Developers and freelancers are warned against creating NFTs resembling DC Comics characters or projects.

According to reports arising last week, comic book publisher DC Comics is trying out the NFT marketplace, with a plan to launch their own line of unique NFTs. In a story first reported by Gizmodo, DC Comics is “exploring opportunities in the NFT marketplace” in a bid to combat freelancers and NFT developers using their intellectual property images such as Batman and Wonder Woman to sell their NFTs.

On March 11, DC Comics announced a partnership with Veve App, which creates digital NFTs, to launch its “Black and White statues of Batman” NFTs. The “Series 4” Batman collection comprises 4 different schemes each color scheme has a limited number of digital copies, increasing the rarity and value.

NFTs hype has grown exponentially in the past few weeks as sports teams, musicians, and players create their own tokens for sale. These assets are essentially digital certificates representing art, music, videos, or creative pieces, with the data stored using a unique token on a blockchain like Ethereum.

While the Batman NFT projects have launched, the letter did not timeline when DC Comics releases its batch of NFT tokens of other characters. The company is yet to respond to any questions on their NFT launch at the time of writing.

The news seems to collide with the recent sale of a “Wonder Woman-themed NFT” that fetched $1.85 million last week. The letter warns any developer and freelancer from issuing NFTs that bear any likeness to any DC Comic character. This probably due to DC not getting any share of the proceeds despite Wonder Woman’s creator.

The leaked letter states the company is “examining the complexities of the NFT marketplace” with a plan to stop unauthorized sales of NFTs bearing DC Comics characters. The company detests any sale of NFTs with DC characters from freelancers and employees as well. The letter states,

“Please note that the offering for sale of any digital images featuring DC’s intellectual property with or without NFTs, whether rendered for DC’s publications or rendered outside the scope of one’s contractual engagement with DC, is not permitted.”

“If you are approached by anyone interested in including any of your DC art in an NFT program, please let Lawrence Ganem, DC’s VP, Talent Services know.”

The trail of NFTs in sports can be traced back to the NBA’s Top Shot platform, which has sold thousands of NFTs, and recently NFL superstar running back Rob Gronkowski also launched his NFTs representing his four super bowl wins.

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Author: Lujan Odera

Tether Launches USDT On Ethereum Rival Solana Blockchain

Tether Launches USDT On Ethereum Rival Solana Blockchain

Tether’s USDT tokens have launched on the Solana blockchain network, according to a recent company release.

Solana Welcomes USDT Holders

This Tether integration with Solana would enable users to exchange Tether tokens at speeds higher than 50,000 transactions per second. Transaction fees are expected to be as little as $0.00001 per transaction. Per the release, this will aid the growth of high-speed, low-cost applications, including those in the decentralized finance (DeFi) space.

Tether already has integrations with Algorand, Ethereum, EOS, Liquid Network, Omni, Tron, and Standard Ledger Protocol. Solana is the eighth blockchain to support Tether.

USDT is a stablecoin pegged 1:1 to the US dollar. Stablecoins like Tether is designed to bypass the price volatility of most cryptocurrencies. They are also used to move funds to and from platforms without the hassles of high costs or slow transaction speed.

Tether holders can also earn interest on their tokens if they lend out their stablecoin, making it a viable financial space.

Tether’s CTO, Paolo Ardoino, said that the stablecoin would roll out different projects that will support the growth of decentralized finance (DeFi), trustless and inter-connected Web3.0, and blockchain gaming.

Ethereum’s high gas fees and network congestion have seen the growth of alternative smart contract-enabled blockchain networks. Ethereum’s unique capabilities of facilitating decentralized financial services and non-fungible tokens (NFTs) have made it a giant in the altcoins sector.

But the delay of its Ethereum 2.0 upgrade has seen many users begin to explore more cost-efficient projects like Solana.

The company founded in 2017 by Anatoly Yakovenko has quickly established itself as a major Ethereum rival due to its higher transaction speed and lower cost- two key areas Ethereum is having challenges with. The proof-of-stake blockchain network is highly favored amongst developers as they can connect their projects from the much older network to Solana.

Solana integrated stablecoin functionality in May 2020 and added its first stablecoin USDC in October of the same year. Following the news, Solana’s digital token SOL surged 16% from $13.81 to $16.06. Market corrections saw it slump to $15.26.

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Author: Jimmy Aki

New Zealand Digital Asset Firm Launches Country’s First Compliant Stablecoin, $NZD

New Zealand Digital Asset Firm Launches Country’s First Compliant Stablecoin, $NZD

The stablecoin is built on Ethereum leveraging Circle, Coinbase, and Blockchain Labs frameworks. Audit reports on the reserves will be released quarterly, the report states.

Techemynt, a digital asset transaction service, announced the launch of a New Zealand dollar-backed stablecoin, $NZD.

Auckland-born digital asset service provider, Techemynt announced the launch of a New Zealand dollar-backed stablecoin. The Ethereum-based token is fully backed 1:1 with cash and cash equivalents in the firm’s treasury (denominated in New Zealand Dollars).

According to the report, the stablecoin will provide an avenue to digital payments, remittance, arbitrage opportunities across the country. Additionally, $NZD aims to strengthen and stabilize the New Zealand dollar in order to make it “a prominent participant in the global digital asset economy,” it further reads.

Fran Strajnar, Executive Director of Techemynt, said the company partnered with top teams in crypto such as Circle, Coinbase, and Blockchain Labs to successfully deploy $NZD on Ethereum. This will be the first compliant New Zealand dollar-backed stablecoin and will continue to be built “adhering to NZ legal requirements,” he added.

“After nearly a year of development, $NZDs is now first to fully execute and deliver on the promise of bringing a New Zealand Dollar stablecoin to the world.”

To ensure transparency and accountability in issuing the $NZD stablecoins, Techemynt will employ the services of a “leading accounting firm” to provide quarterly audit reports on the state of the reverses to $NZDs issued.

Starting today, the Techemynt $NZD tokens will be distributed directly to customers who wish to acquire $100,000 NZD or more worth of tokens (~$71,300). Users can also acquire coins in the secondary markets through Bittrex owned exchange, Dassetx.com.

However, this is not the first time a New Zealand stablecoin has launched in the markets. Back in 2017, now-defunct crypto exchange, Cryptopia launched its NZDT stablecoin, reported to be backed 1:1 to the New Zealand dollar.

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Author: Lujan Odera

Binance Launches Solana (SOL) Staking; Holders Earn Up to 43% APY Paid Daily

Binance Launches Solana (SOL) Staking; Holders Earn Up to 43% APY Paid Daily

The largest crypto exchange in the world, Binance, has launched Solana staking. Users of the exchange now have an opportunity to earn up to 43.79% per year for staking SOL tokens.

The high-speed blockchain, Solana, which states it can handle about 65,000 transactions in one second, is designed to work under a proof-of-stake design model. The network is kept running by validators who earn SOL tokens for their work.

The SOL staking will be offered on a first-come, first-served basis where the entire stakes will be locked for a time to be determined by the holder, which will range from 15 to 90 days.

The launch includes a “high-yield, safe earn” on an annual basis so long as the staked amount is only 20 SOL equivalent of $325. This translates to about $142 total earnings if the SOL tokens are locked up for one year.

Binance also announced that those staking 10,000 SOL for only 30 days would earn 14.49%, while those staking 5,000 SOL for two months (60 days) will earn 16.7%.

Although proof-of-stakes are getting popular, they come with various risks. These platforms are created using a slashing process, which means that the platform is prone to stopping or slashing the transactions initiated by a malicious validator. This means that one can lose funds permanently. However, if Binance can ensure that all its validators are online and doing nothing malicious, there is nothing to worry about.

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Author: Joseph Kibe