Evolve Files for a Ethereum ETF After Launching its Bitcoin ETF Last Month

Evolve Files for a Ethereum ETF After Launching its Bitcoin ETF Last Month

Evolve Funds Group has filed for an Ether exchange-traded fund (ETF) with the Canadian Securities regulators.

After launching the Bitcoin ETF (EBIT) on the Toronto Stock exchange, just a day after the first Bitcoin exchange-traded fund ever — Purpose Bitcoin ETF which gained the first-mover advantage and raised $421 million in just two days of its debut.

As a result, last week Evolve lowered the management fee on EBIT to attract investors. EBIT currently has $40 million in assets under management, as at March 1, 2021.

Now, Evolve with $1.7 billion in AUM is aiming to be the first mover in Ether ETF and has filed a preliminary prospectus to provide investors exposure to the world’s second-largest cryptocurrency.

The price of Ether is currently trading around $1,550, up over 113% YTD. Raj Lala, President, and CEO, at Evolve said,

“Ether is a digital asset that is not issued by any government, bank or central organization and was intended to complement rather than compete with bitcoin.”

ETHR aims to provide investors with exposure to the daily price movements of the U.S. dollar price of Ether which will be based on the ETHUSD_RR, a once-a-day benchmark index price for Ether administered CF Benchmarks which is currently the settlement index for futures contracts listed by CME Group as well.

ETHR will offer Canadian dollar-denominated unhedged units (“CAD Units”) and U.S. dollar-denominated unhedged units (“USD Units”). Elliot Johnson, CIO, and COO at Evolve says,

“Ether is the building block for a revolution in digital finance which is still in its infancy.”

“Ethereum is the most actively used blockchain with Ether being used to pay for transaction fees and computational services.”

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Author: AnTy

SatoshiStreetBets Launching its Own Cryptocurrency to Send it to the Moon

SatoshiStreetBets Launching its Own Cryptocurrency to Send it to the Moon

The spinoff of WallStreetBets wants to have its own token to “rally behind” and because “YOLO.”

SatoshiStreeBets, a subreddit group, is launching its very own cryptocurrency. The group that describes itself as “the crypto version of WallStreetBets,” is planning to launch SatoshiSwap (SAS), a utility token that will be distributed to its members based on the upvotes on their posts.

The token, which is expected to be launched sometime in February, will also be airdropped to the users of the popular DEXs Uniswap and SushiSwap and those who provide liquidity.

This is because the SatoshiSwap, a cryptocurrency, and DAO is inspired by the popular UniSwap and SushiSwap projects, and the DEX market is “shaping up to be wildly successful and lucrative” but with the glaring problems of high gas fees, scaling issues, among others, as per the Reddit post.

Besides “YOLO,” the community of traders wants a token of their own to “rally behind and throw all our support towards.”

Created in February 2020, SatoshiStreetBets is a spinoff of WallStreetbets, which was behind the pump of popularly shorted stocks like GME and AMC. The SatoshiStreetBets subreddit currently has 3.15k members who are called “degens.”

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Author: AnTy

BWM, Ford & Honda Led Group, MOBI, to Track Vehicle Identities Using Blockchain

BMW and Ford are some of the main participants in launching the Vehicle Identity Standard’s second installment in collaboration with the Mobility Open Blockchain Initiative (MOBI).

The days of incorrect mileage, false maintenance, and damage histories when buying vehicles could soon end after some of the largest automakers in collaboration with transportation and blockchain leaders joined forces in developing a blockchain-based platform that will help in tracking and protect vehicle identity.

The group has released the second version of the Vehicle Identity (VID) blockchain platform. Dubbed VID II, the new platform is a continuation of VID I, which was touted as a vehicle birth certificate. The new standard focuses on vehicle registration as well as maintenance traceability.

The new standard will enable vehicle registration between states and nations to connect easily via a secure, shareable, and trustworthy ledger. The maintenance traceability will also offer a tamper-proof history to insurance firms, government agencies, and buyers, eliminating vehicle information asymmetry. Andre Luckow, the Emerging Technologies head at BMW, said,

“At BMW, we strive to create seamless digital solutions. The reference architecture in the VID II standard is a crucial building block in transforming the frictionless and trusted mobility ecosystem.”

VID II was authored by different worldwide mobility leaders and renowned tech firms to enhance multi-stakeholder interoperability.

BMW and Ford are the VID II co-chairs with support from IBM, Honda, Accenture, Car IQ, Bosch, DMX, Denso, Quantstamp, Luxoft, and AWS.

Apart from offering a secure vehicle identity standard, VID II will also be used in the supply chain, electric vehicle charging, and autos financing, among others.

According to Cynthia Flanigan from Ford’s research and advanced engineering department, VID II would be a building block that will offer enhanced transparent, safer, and efficient registrations and maintenance of a vehicle. The standard will provide the seller and the buyer with reliable data and information to help them make informed decisions.

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Author: Joseph Kibe

Dfinity Project Hits Mercury Milestone, Launching Its ‘Internet Computer’ Mainnet

Dfinity Project Hits Mercury Milestone, Launching Its ‘Internet Computer’ Mainnet

Dfinity, a startup that has been building the ‘Internet Computer’, launched its Mainnet quietly on Dec. 18 according to a blog post update from the company’s founder Dominic Williams. The firm which was valued at around $10 billion last year enjoys the backing of heavyweight VCs such as Polychain Capital and Andreessen Horowitz.

Dfinity’s internet computer is an advanced computing system built on blockchain technology; it is set to compete with the likes of Amazon Web services. This new internet computer leverages Chain Key technology which basically reduces the computing workload by splitting smart contracts into two; query calls and update calls. The former can be executed in milliseconds while the latter can take between one and two seconds, depending on the rate of block production.

According to the 18,000-word blog post, Dfinity’s purpose is to extend the functionality of the public internet through blockchain technology, hence eliminating the need for legacy techs such as firewalls, databases, and cloud services. The blog goes on to highlight that,

“Ultimately, the Internet Computer allows entrepreneurs and developers to reimagine both how and what they build — a paradigm shift that will change everything.”

While Mainnet had met its release date target of Q4 2020, Dfinity had yet to go mainstream on this milestone. According to Williams, this release is more of an Alpha version given that the project is still on its path ‘Genesis’. Some of the required metrics for the Genesis version to be met include network stress testing as it grows, the release of documentation, and significant amounts of the source code.

Currently, the internet computer is decentralized and runs on nodes located in 7 independent data centers spanning Switzerland, Germany, and the U.S.A. However, the project has issued only a fraction of its 469 million governance tokens; these were allocated to the Dfinity team, early investors, and other stakeholders who will be obligated to vote once the Genesis is met.

The update, which also outlines a 20-year plan is fundamentally bullish on the prospects of an internet computer in the coming decades. It outlines that,

“The Open Internet will finally be significantly bigger than Big Tech’s closed proprietary ecosystem, which will now be in terminal decline, but will take forever to disappear for similar reasons COBOL code is still running.”

Dfinity believes that open versions of existing applications like TikTok, Uber, and Google Photos can be built on its advanced blockchain-based computing ecosystem. In fact, the firm has previously built a TikTok ‘replica’ which it dubbed CanCan to demonstrate the feasibility of its tech. Per the blog, Dfinity anticipates unlocking the Genesis version of its Mainnet within the next 2-3 months, after which the network will transition to beta.

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Author: Edwin Munyui

Binance Backed Layer-2 DEX, Injective Protocol, Launches Solstice Testnet

Injective Protocol, the Binance backed cross-chain DeFi derivatives trading platform, is launching its testnet according to a publication on TechCrunch yesterday. This milestone comes as a significant step in the DeFi derivative market where action has been picking up in recent months; Injective Protocol plans to bridge the existing gap between chains so that derivative traders can operate freely across multiple decentralized exchanges.

This initiative allows DeFi derivative traders to operate on Ethereum and Cosmos blockchain networks’ likes without being limited to a particular chain. Injective Protocol leverages the Tendermint-based Proof-of-Stake (PoS) consensus to power an ecosystem where traders can engage in cross-chain derivatives trading. The project enjoys a $3 million funding from Binance and other prominent crypto investors, who include Pantera Capital & Hashed.

Pantera Capital has successfully existed in crypto, having invested in heavyweights like Bitstamp, Kik, and Blockfolio. A partner at the firm, Paul Veradittakit, praised the Injective Protocol cross-chain DEX derivatives exchange model;

“Injective’s Solstice testnet trades and feels like a state of the art derivatives exchange, but it’s actually entirely supported by a fully decentralized infrastructure.”

Notably, this project has been under the wraps for around two years as the team validated it with sizeable institutional traders, market makers, and funds. The co-founder and CEO, Eric Chen, previously worked in a blockchain-oriented fund where his role spun around cryptographic research. So far, Injective Protocol has already established partnerships with leading blockchain firms like Frontier, Ramp DeFi, and Elrond.

Meanwhile, DeFi operations continue to experience the increased activity as more participants join the nascent crypto niche. DEX volumes went up by almost 70% during the summer DeFi craze, a trend that is unlikely to reverse in favor of centralized crypto exchanges. DeFi innovations like Injective Protocol tout solutions to the underlying CeFi challenges include exchange hacks, exit scams, and front running.

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Author: Edwin Munyui

China’s Digital Currency to Roll-Out In A Second City After Successful Trials In Shenzhen

  • The second city in China is launching a lottery to test its digital currency/electronic payment (DC/EP) project, a local report states.

On Monday, local Chinese media The Paper reported that the district of Suzhou in Xiangcheng would launch a lottery to give away the country’s central bank digital currency (CBDC) in a bid to test the real-use cases of the digital currency. The ‘red envelop’ lottery is set to launch on December 12th across the city, a date known as Double 12 across China, and an end-year shopping festival.

The report said the lottery would be released similar to the one carried out in the city of Shenzhen in mid-October. In Shenzhen, the endeavor was a highly successful one, with over 50,000 participants winning 200 digital yuan each – totaling approximately $1.5 million. A later report confirms that over 95% of the digital yuan distributed were used in two weeks, stretching to over 3000 stores that accept the digital currency.

The city was chosen given the large prevalence of installed near-field communication (NFC) and QR code point-of-sales across merchant stores. Suzhou’s DC/EP trial is also set to introduce several new features not used in Shenzhen’s trial phase, such as the offline payment feature and the smartphone touch functions.

China’s DC/EP project will also launch a trial in Chengdu, which is preparing in anticipation by installing the NFC and QR codes point-of-sales. The People’s Bank of China (PBoC) also announced plans to launch the DC/EP project in the Winter Olympics venue in 2022.

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Author: Lujan Odera

VC Backed Startup, Deel, Partners With Coinbase to Roll Out Cryptocurrency Payroll Service

Deel, a San Francisco based crypto startup backed by Andreesen Horowitz, is launching a crypto payroll tool that would allow international workers to get paid in different cryptocurrencies.

Deel raised about $44 million in funding ($14M Series A and $30M Series B) during the ongoing pandemic and specialized in offering payroll and compliance services to remote workers internationally. The new payroll tool would allow the Deel customers to accept their payroll in top cryptocurrency like Bitcoin, Ether, and XRP with instant withdrawals.

Deel has partnered with Coinbase to offer its payroll tool, and users would be required to have or create a Coinbase account to use the new services.

Dan Westgarth, Deel’s chief operating officer, explained that the motive behind creating such a payroll tool was to help international workers to save hefty remittance costs charged by traditional banks and money transfer services. He explained,

“A question on a lot of people’s tongues is: will it be widely adopted? Will the companies paying these people to be willing to opt into it?

Well, we built it in a way that the company doesn’t choose. The remote worker chooses.”

“So I can be working for an old, boring institution, run by a load of old guys who don’t understand crypto and oppose it.

They could pay me in U.S. dollars, but given I’m a Deel user and given I get paid through Deel; I could elect to have my paycheck delivered in XRP — instantly.”

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Author: James W

Non-Custodial Bitcoin Exchange, Hodl Hodl, Launches Lending Service Without KYC

Hodl Hodl, a non-custodial Bitcoin exchange, is launching a KYC-free lending product for its customers. The exchange claims that its lending product would be the first truly decentralized finance (DeFi) product.

The exchange would start lending USDC, PAX, USDT, and DAI stablecoins via peer-to-peer lending. The users would be required to put their bitcoin up as collateral to access the stablecoins and the collateral period ranges from one day to a full year. Apart from offering the flexible collateralization period, the platform does not ask for any form of KYC details to access their services.

Crypto Lending Services On the Rise Since 2018

In the past couple of years, crypto lending services have seen a significant boom, especially after the rise of venture-backed firms such as BlockFi and Genesis Capital. Genesis currently boasts of $1.4 billion in outstanding loans, while BlockFi currently has $1.75 billion worth of assets under its management.

Hodl Hodl CEO Max Keidun commented on the idea behind launching a KYC-free lending service and said,

“Hodl Hodl is trying to build true P2P lending in bitcoin. Almost all (if not all) existing lending platforms are centralized, require KYC, don’t allow you to play by your own rules.”

Another thing that Hodl Hodl is actively highlighting is that it would not be the custodian of the assets put in collateral. Instead, borrowers would lock their bitcoin’s in two-out-of-three multisig escrows. The borrowers can get back their collateralized bitcoin by repaying the stablecoins with interest.

Stefan Jespers, a Belgium-based bitcoin advocate, commented on the growing trend of lending services in decentralized space and said,

“If you have some stablecoins laying around that you aren’t using, it’s a nice way to make some extra money with it. And you know beforehand what the interest rate will be.

With most other products on the market, those rates can change frequently; here, it’s locked for the entire duration.”

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Author: James W

Bank of Russia Is Studying Pros & Cons of a Digital Ruble; May Start Developing CBDC In 2021

  • The Bank of Russia (BOR) is studying the possibility of launching its digital ruble.
  • BOR and the Ministry of Finance investigate the advantages and cons of adopting a national digital currency within Russia.
  • Can a digital ruble replace the use of the dollar in Russia?

According to Izvestia, a Russian finance news site, the Ministry of Finance and Bank of Russia investigate other nations’ efforts in releasing a central bank digital currency (CBDC). The post, published on Monday, highlights some of Russia’s advantages of launching its own digital ruble, including reducing the cost of transactions, more opportunities for cross-border payments, and ending dollarization in its economy hence reducing sanctions from other countries.

Despite the advantages of the digital ruble, the Ministry of Finance cautions on the problems a CBDC could bring along. Digital currencies have long been associated with high volatility risks, poor network security, and its use in promoting illicit activities.

The central bank aims to increase its efforts in launching a digital ruble. While the final decision is yet to be made, BOR plans for the digital ruble to follow FAFT recommendations on digital assets. The digital coin is set to boost the overall domestic economy by enhancing online payments – allowing offline use of the digital ruble if there’s no internet.

According to Anatoly Aksakov, head of the State Duma Committee on the financial market, the digital ruble may start to be built as early as 2021. Once the consultation period elapses, the digital ruble will be released in a pilot phase, with several citizens using it.

Read More: Russian Central Bank To Curb Total Digital Assets An ‘Unqualified’ Investor Can Acquire

Can a digital ruble help in de-dollarization?

The Russian government is working on finding a way around its economy’s dollarization – a digital ruble is expected to do so. The central bank explains that the token will help end corruption, reduce the costs associated with distributing physical cash, and help Russia avoid sanctions.

The bank did not clearly say how the digital ruble will end sanctions from other countries, with Plekhanov Denis Domashchenko, a PRUE lab research lead. G.V., stating it ‘may not be the solution to sanctions.’ According to him, the digital ruble’s launch has more to do with the private cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin (BTC) circulating in the country rather than the dollar.

Russia has had a stern stand against the use and distribution of cryptocurrencies in the past. The digital ruble will not be any different from the regulator, stating that only the issued CBDC will be accepted as money across the country.

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Author: Lujan Odera

Reserve Bank of Australia Is ‘Closely Watching’ CBDC Research, Despite A ‘No Rush’ Attitude

Barely a month after saying it sees no rush in launching a central bank digital currency (CBDC), the Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA) has confirmed that it is still following closely on the developments in this space. RBA’s head of policy payments, Tony Richards, said that the monetary authority is also considering going the ‘wholesale’ way where the CDBC would be limited to particular financial institutions.

Richards spoke at a Blockchain, Crypto, and FinTech conference held at the University of Western Australia. He highlighted some of the considerations that RBA will focus on as it continues to deliberate on the CBDC proposition,

“We will be continuing to consider the case for a CBDC, including how it might be designed, the potential benefits and policy implications, and the conditions in which significant demand for a CBDC might emerge.”

While RBA’s mid-September report was skeptical about issuing a CBDC, Richards noted that a public policy case for its issuance is yet to be made. He went on to add that the bank is currently looking at the design options that it could take if it eventually launches a CBDC. Unlike Bitcoin, whose foundation is on the blockchain, Richards anticipates that an Aussie CBDC will take the form of a centralized & permissioned digital ledger.

Other consideration factors include whether to develop the CBDC as a token-based or account-based ecosystem. The RBA is also looking at the retail case as part of its ongoing research on the policy and technological effects of launching a CBDC. Richards confirmed that they would continue to follow closely what CBDC advanced jurisdictions are doing,

“If some jurisdictions do move towards full implementations of CBDC, there will be many central banks like us who will be closely watching.”

With the current CBDC developments, it appears that these digital assets may soon become part of legal backed tenders in global circulation. The Bank of International Settlements (BIS) recently released a CBDC report in collaboration with seven major central banks. Russia has also issued a consultative paper on CBDCs, while Japan’s central bank is set to pilot its digital yen in 2021.

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Author: Edwin Munyui