Crypto Exchange Gemini Makes an Aggressive Move, Adds 15 Hot DeFi Tokens

DeFi is all the rage in today’s crypto world, and no one wants to be left behind, especially cryptocurrency exchanges.

Over the past few months, we saw these exchanges rushing to DeFi space – in the fastest ever listing of these tokens, a complete U-turn from the past few years when crypto projects had to approach them or even pay them to get their tokens listed.

Coinbase has already jumped the altcoins and DeFi mania, this time, it’s Gemini which defines DeFi as a “warm ray of sunlight shining down on us during the winter of our financial discontent.”

According to the exchange’s official announcement, “the Decentralized Finance (DeFi) revolution is coming into bloom, and it presents the possibility of permissionless, bankless, alternatives to the legacy financial system.”

The promise of DeFi is apparently “aligned” with Gemini’s “ethos” of giving its customers “greater choice, independence, and opportunity.”

While the exchange says these new tokens make up some of the major building blocks of DeFi, still, it warns that they present “unique risks,” and the listing doesn’t endorse the protocol and “makes no recommendation that” customers participate in the DeFi ecosystem.

Up until today, Gemini’s list of cryptos was extremely limited. A meager nine coins were available on the exchange for trading viz. BTC, ETH, LTC, BCH, ZEC, BAT, LINK, DAI, and OXT.

But on Friday, Tyler and Cameron Winklevoss-founded crypto exchange has made an aggressive move and extended this list to 15 more coins.

“We are proud to be the first regulated platform to offer trading and custody support in the State of New York,” for a total of 24 cryptos.

The exchange announced new support for the most popular DeFi tokens, including Balancer (BAL), Curve (CRV), Ren Network (REN), Synthetix Network (SNX), Uma (UMA), Uniswap (UNI), and Yearn.finance (YFI) which are available for both trading and custody.

Five tokens that were previously supported for custody, Decentraland (MANA), Kyber Network (KNC), Maker (MKR), Storj (STORJ), and 0x (ZRX), are now available for trading as well.

On top of this, Keep Network (KEEP), Wrapped Bitcoin (wBTC), and tBTC (tBTC), three new coins altogether, have been added to its custody.

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Author: AnTy

Grayscale Consuming 53% More Bitcoin than Minted Since Halving

Goldman Sachs’ call covering bitcoin on Wednesday left the crypto community disappointed after they said that the largest cryptocurrency is not an asset class and they do not recommend it to their clients.

The report compared bitcoin with the Tulip mania from the 1600s and further argued that it is used for illegal activities and is prone to hacks. But the market trend showcases a completely different picture.

For starters, Bitcoin price jumped over 4% and went above $9,000 despite the negative remarks from the investment bank. BTC is continuing its upwards movement from yesterday and it makes its way to $9,400.

Also, institutional interest in the crypto market has been picking up lately with the open interest on bitcoin futures and options at CME Group hitting new highs. The volume on Deribit, the leader in the bitcoin options space, has been growing steadily as well.

Now, as per crypto enthusiast and independent researcher Kevin Rooke, since the historic halving event on May 11, Grayscale Investments have bought 18,910 BTC.

“Wall Street wants Bitcoin, and they don’t care what Goldman Sachs has to say,” said Rooke.

What’s even more interesting is only 12,337 BTC has been mined since the halving which indicates a rapidly growing institutional demand for Bitcoin.

Technically, the BTC mined since halving till May 27th should be 14,400 because the event cut down the miner inflow in half, from 1800 BTC per day prior to halving to 900 BTC per day.

But the halving also caused a decline in hash rate and the time it has been taking to find the blocks increased from the regular 10 minutes to 14.3 minutes which is still sitting high at 10.4 minutes on May 26th despite the 6% downward difficulty adjustment to 15.14 terahashes per second. It was only today that the block time has fallen below 10 minutes. As such, the less number of newly minted BTC.

The week following the halving when issuance was cut in half, 6,300 new BTC were minted while Grayscale’s Bitcoin Investment Trust bought 12,021 BTC on $112 million in inflows.

“GBTC had a record $29.9M/week inflows in Q1. Hasn’t been below $60M/week the past month,” shared Dan Elitzer.

As of Q1 of 2020, Grayscale was holding 1.7% of all bitcoin and this demand was driven by institutional investors, heavily dominated by hedge funds, at 88%.

At that time, Grayscale noted that “large increases in dollar-denominated inflows relative to Grayscale AUM have historically preceded market rallies.”

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Author: AnTy

Bitmain S17’s Defection Rate Jumps to 30% Ahead of Bitcoin Miner Inflow Cut Down

With just two weeks left in the bitcoin reward halving, miners are racing each other to grab as much of the 1800 BTC per day inflow as they can because, after May 12, it will remain just 900 BTC per day.

Miners are trying to get their hands on more powerful machines that will get them more rewards and make them profitable.

However, miners using the Bitmain S17 and T17 Antminer are having a rough time with the failure rates of these rigs spiking to between 20-30% which normally would be about 5%, as per the tweet by Samson Mow, Chief Strategy Officer (CSO) of Blockstream, a blockchain infrastructure firm.

The mining rigs from the world’s largest manufacturer of bitcoin miners are reportedly having technical issues. The heatsinks soldered on the top and bottom of the boards are falling out and shorting out machines. Users are also having issues with the power supply fans. Matt D’Souza, the CEO of Blockware Mining talked about this debacle,

“The first batch of s17+’s from December – the defection rates were high. Later batches have improved. It is why we offer a hardware + hosting package with s17+’s on site in the US. They are lightly run so clients know they are receiving a well functioning machine.”

Now, for these failures, Bitmain CEO Jihan Wu is blaming the fellow co-founder Micree Zhan who was ousted from the company by Wu in October last year “to save (Bitmain) ship (from sinking).”

Bitmain facing strong competition from MicroBT

While users are experiencing failure with the machines of Bitmain, a dominant crypto mining hardware maker, due to the coronavirus outbreak, miners worldwide have also been affected by the delay in manufacturing and supply of mining rigs.

This led Shenzhen-based MicroBT, which sold 600,000 units of its WhatsMiner M20, to capture (35%) the market share of Bitmain. MicroBT’s every unit generates 60 terahashes per second on average and its hardware was responsible for almost half of all bitcoin’s computing power last year.

With Bitmain planning to cut 50% of its workforce and having fired Zhan, the company is having setbacks while MicroBT continues to challenge their AntMiner S17. Bitmain however, still accounted for 65% of the market share as of December.

Both the companies are trying to outdo each other with more powerful mining rigs. Last month, the largest ASIC miner manufacturer sold its first round of domestic Antminer S19 within 24 hours of receiving orders. BTC ASIC manufacturers MicroBT has also revealed its new mining hardware, M30 series, that boasts of 100 Th/s hash rate. This flagshship product will be shipped in June, just after the halving.

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Author: AnTy

Coinbase Loses Chief Legal Officer To US Office of the Comptroller of the Currency

Brian Brooks, the chief legal officer of Coinbase, has left the crypto exchange in order take the second senior role with the US Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC).

The announcement was made by the OCC on Monday. It says that Steven Mnuchin, the US Treasury Secretary, has appointed Brooks as deputy starting with April 1. Brooks used to be Fannie Mae’s general counselor, corporate secretary and executive vice president. He also worked as chief legal officer for Coinbase from September 2018. Mnuchin said the cooperation with him will improve the financial system’s security.

What Does the OCC Do?

The OCC supervises and regulates US financial institutions and national banks. It was formed back in 1863 and is an independent entity that makes sure banks meet risk requirements and capital. Joseph Otting, who runs the OCC, was nominated and sworn by President Donald Trump back in 2017. About the collaboration with Brooks, he said that it will bring to the agency extensive banking, career and legal innovation. Here are his exact words about Coinbase’s former chief legal officer:

“He is a visionary thinker with a passion for service and a deep understanding of how the financial services industry supports our nation’s prosperity. We are fortunate to attract such an experienced and talented individual to join our federal agency.”

Brooks Supported the Development of a Private Digital Currency in the US

Brooks has been very vocal when it comes to the US creating a private virtual currency. He even wrote in the Fortune Magazine, back in 2019, that the digital dollar would be better built by private corporations. Furthermore, he conceptualize a process in which the public sector sets the monetary policy and the private space builds the actual technology for it. Here’s what a spokesperson for Coinbase said about Brooks and its future role at the OCC:

“Brian is an amazing and accomplished leader who has been invaluable in shaping the Coinbase legal and compliance programs, and helping policymakers and regulators better understand the opportunities and benefits of crypto. We’re always proud of Coinbase alumni who go on to serve in government, bringing a crypto-friendly perspective with them.”

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Author: Oana Ularu

Former Ripple CTO Jed McCaleb Still Got 4.7 Billion XRP to Dump on the Market

  • 5% of total existing XRP supply is still left with Jed McCaleb, founder of Ripple, Stellar & Mt. Gox
  • Arthur Britto also holds billions of XRP in escrow that are to expire in the future

Whale Alert that monitors blockchains has taken to analyze XRP whale, Jed McCaleb. Founder of Mt. Gox, Ripple, and Stellar, McCaleb is one of the most famous whales of crypto space that has been a matter of concern for XRP investors because of the 9 billion XRP tokens he claimed to have received as part of his compensation for his role at Ripple.

A significant portion of his assets has been sent to Ripple for unknown reasons. Former Ripple CTO has also donated at least 140 million XRP to various charities.

In its latest study, Whale Alert tracked around 8 billion XRP to Ripple, a settlement account and his personal accounts from here McCaleb actively sells. In May 2014, when he first shared his intent to sell XRP, McCaleb’s holdings were worth about $45 million.

They managed to track the sales of 1.05 billion XRP, “almost exclusively through Bitstamp,” between 2014 and 2019 at an average price of 0.129 cents, putting the total sale amount at $135 million USD. McCaleb continues to sell, even last month he sold another 19 million XRP.

The profits have also been cashed out directly through Biststamp with no evidence of it being reinvested into the crypto market.

At present, 4.7 billion XRP which is around 5% of total existing XRP supply is still left with McCaleb, worth over a billion dollars, estimates Whale Alert.

“At the current rate it would take him around 20 years to sell all of it, however his activities have been limited by the settlement agreement with Ripple, which is likely to expire sometime in 2020.”

Insignificant amount but economic power can’t be ignored

The big question is does McCaleb selling XRP affects the price of the third largest digital asset by market cap. Whale Alert found that compared to XRP’s total trading volume per day, the amount his selling is “insignificant.”

But volume is not a good indicator for how much the market can absorb, as it explains, “It’s likely that a very significant part (if not most) of the volume on exchanges comes from comparable traders and that the net change of XRP on the market is much lower.”

The real question is how much effect does this whale have on the net amount of XRP available. Though there is not enough data, “because he is exclusively selling XRP, he is adding to the net amount available,” wrote Whale Alert.

While McCaleb has 4.7 billion of XRP left to be dumped on the market, Ripple co-founder Arthur Britto also holds billions of XRP in escrow that will expire in the future as well.

The significance of a large amount of sale on XRP’s sale might not be big but the “economic power and consequences of whales cannot be ignored,” concludes Whale Alert.

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Author: AnTy

What Is Bitcoin? Jeopardy’s G.O.A.T. Tournament Features BTC Ransomware Question

Bitcoin (BTC) was the star of Jeopardy! Last night, after the 3 contestants were left fighting for the “Greatest of All Time” place were given a quiz on cybersecurity.

The $800 question was tweeted by a viewer:

James Holzhauer, the professional sports gambler contestant, knew the answer is the most popular cryptocurrency in the world and won the contest.

Many Other Questions on Cybersecurity

While the BTC question was referring to the 2018 situation in which the City of Atlanta had to pay over $2.6 million to have its computers unlocked by hackers who were asking for a $52,000 BTC ransom, the other questions in the cybersecurity category were on white hat hackers, website certificates that use encryption, the BYOD policy and keylogging platforms.

Not the First Time Jeopardy! Uses BTC-Related Questions

Jeopardy! has a history with cryptocurrency, especially since it introduced a special category on this technology in 2018. It even had questions about the supposedly oil backed Petro token from Maduro, the CoinYe inspired by Kanye West and the KIN cryptocurrency from Kik messenger.

However, crypto enthusiasts may think it’s frustrating BTC was used for a question about ransomware because critics of the crypto space are often saying governments should make more efforts and even restrict the industry’s technology.

Bitcoin Ransomware Was Everywhere in 2019

Unfortunately, Bitcoin ransomware was everywhere last year. For example, the malware campaign Ryuk attacked private enterprises and government organizations from all over the world, demanding payments of millions of dollars to be made in BTC for the data encrypted maliciously to be released.

What’s even worse is that things don’t seem to slow down, as this week, the Sodinokibi malware strain had been reported to have hit the foreign exchange Travelex, with hackers asking for $6 million in cryptocurrency for returning the access.

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Author: Oana Ularu

Top 10 Cryptocurrencies In 2019 by ROI Doesn’t Include BTC In The First Half

  • There’s less than a week left in 2019 but before we start a new year, let’s see which crypto assets ruled the market in the past year.

Bitcoin isn’t in the Top 5

The leading cryptocurrency Bitcoin surged to $13,900 level just at the mid of the 2019 a level that was last seen in early January in 2018 when BTC was in a downtrend. On the uptrend, we see it in early December in 2017 which was the first time, we hit that level.

Bitcoin, however, couldn’t sustain this level and soon made its way to the downside and is currently trading around $7,300. We are, however, still up about 94% YTD that has it among the top ten cryptos with the best return on investment (ROI). But we still couldn’t make it to the top 5 and are lower at 7th spot.

Trader NebraskanGooner shared through on Twitter,

Litecoin, VeChain, and RVN

With 32% gains, Litecoin is in the tenth spot that experienced its second reward halving. In 2019, after the reward having, the hash rate tanked while in a sudden move the transactions shot up.

In Sept., it has been one of the worst performers only to break the yearly high. While the crypto asset made “great progress” on the implementation of Mimblewimble, the Litecoin network also suffered from dusting attacks.

On 9th and 8th spots are VeChain and RavenCoin with 34 and 57% ROI receptively. This year we saw VeChain releasing a new blockchain tracking solution for food and beverages. VeChain partnered with Walmart, BMW, Haier, and the Republic of Marino as well. The company also announced a VET buyback program that resulted in $6.6 million of its token getting stolen.

The Key Player of the Fastest-Growing Company in Crypto Space

One step above Bitcoin is BNB, the native token of leading cryptocurrency exchange Binance which is up 135% in the past year.

At one point, BNB has been up 500% which is kind of a no-brainer because it is the center point of the fastest growing platform of crypto space. From Binance Chain, Binance DEX, IEO, to trading fees, the actually usable asset is everywhere on Binance exchange.

Economist & trader Alex Kruger on what got Binance so popular among people in a Feb 2019 Tweet,

CEO CZ himself, customer service, perception of funds safety, great product, user-friendly, community outreach, transparency, marketing, mobile app, innovators, volume/liquidity, pumps, lots of coins, low fees, BNB, trading profits, not spooked by regulators, and pushing global adoption are some of the reasons behind Binance and BNB’s success.

The Exchange Token

Yet another exchange token. Exchange tokens have been the norm of the market in 2019 which has been outperforming the other cryptocurrencies by a wide margin.

The Huobi exchange native token Huobi Token (HT) is at the 5th spot with 159% gains. One of the oldest crypto exchanges, it reduced the supply of its token in July this year by burning a whopping 14 million HT tokens in its quarterly burning event, which has been at a rate that was 116% greater than its previous quarter.

The Hottest One

Currently, the hottest cryptocurrency in the market is Tezos whose more than 70% of circulating supply is locked due to staking. Up over 179% over the past year, this year, the top exchanges like Coinbase, Binance, and Kraken introduced baking on XTZ that had its price shooting up.

Staking is expected to see much growth in the coming year with Caleb Kow, CEO of Tezos Southeast Asia himself predicting,

“Many who never came from the POW world would also start to explore staking for the first time and enjoy the seamless process.”

The Top 3

Centrality (CENNZ) recorded an ROI of 290% which is yet another token in the staking game.

Chainlink (LINK) is at the 2nd spot with 483% gains. This year LINK went into partnership with Binance, Deutsche Borse, Intel and got listed on Coinbase. LINK price’s “Parabola meme (meanwhile is) still intact” says trader Scott Melker but if it breaks, according to him we can expect at least a 40-50% drawdown.

The ruler of the market is EDUCare (EKT) which has been up a whopping 1,300 percent.

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Author: AnTy

Bank of Korea (BOK) Is Hiring a Digital Currency Expert

  • Central banks being proactive as no one wants to be left behind

Bank of Korea (BOK) is stepping up the development of its central bank-issued digital currency by hiring experts, suggests local media reports.

The central bank is looking for a PHD level specialist who will be in charge of the digital innovation research and payment department.

The team will study the underlying technology blockchain and the design, implementation, and operation of payment systems using distributed ledger technology.

Though the officials are firm that they aren’t building a CBDC some speculate they are indeed hiring for its development.

“There is no change in the existing position that there is no need for issuing CBDC for the time being,” an official from the Bank of Korea’s Digital Innovation Research Group said. “This hiring does not presuppose the possibility of issuing CBDC.”

Back in October, the People’s Bank of China (PBoC) started hiring for more tech professionals with expertise in computing, cryptography, micro-electronics, and econometrics to explore the research and development of its central bank-backed digital currency.

No Hurry to catch up

Last month, reports were that the Bank of Korea has no immediate plans to issue a CBDC. An official in charge of the digital payment research at the BOK said there is no need for a government-backed digital currency as people aren’t feeling any difficulty in making transactions with the current payment methods.

“We do not have to be in a hurry to catch up with the latest trend whose security and stability have not been confirmed,” the official added.

These sentiments echo the comments made by the US Federal Reserve that sees no need for a CBDC in the next five years.

Everyone joining in gradually

In the past few weeks, French’s central bank has also come forward with its plan to develop a digital currency and launch before the end of the first quarter of 2020.

Such a currency according to Bank of France governor Francois Villeroy de Galhau will help “preserve the trust in the financial system.” This he said would be beneficial to the whole Eurosystem and could also lead to to an ‘e-euro.’

The Reserve Bank of India’s governor Shaktikanta Das also shared that it is also exploring the issuance of a CBDC and that discussions are held with other government and central banks about it.

There is no knowing if any of the central governments would actually come up with their digital currencies in the near future but one thing is for sure no one wants to be left behind and are taking a proactive approach to keep ahead.

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Author: AnTy

Ethereum Booming in Preparation for Istanbul Network Upgrade

There is now just a day left before Ethereum goes through the Istanbul network upgrade. Scheduled for Saturday, December 7, this upgrade will occur at block number 9,069,000.

After Byzantium and Constantinople, Istanbul is yet another long-awaited upgrade which is part of the Ethereum network’s move from proof-of-work (PoW) to Proof-of-stake (PoS). This would be the final hard fork before Ethereum moves to Casper.

Upcoming Improvements

The latest Istanbul update involves a total of six Ethereum Improvement Proposals (EIPs). One of the EIP 152 implements the compression function to allow interoperability between the EVM and Zcash.

EIP 1108 will re-price the precompiles that would “greatly assist” with the privacy and scaling solutions on Ethereum. EIP 2200 is net gas metering changes for SSTORE opcode, reducing excessive gas costs, and enabling new usages for contract storage.

Due to the growth of the Ethereum state, certain opcodes have become more resource-intensive than they were previously as such EIP 1884 will raise the gas codes for those opcodes.

EIP 2028 is another one that will reduce the gas cost of Calldata from the current value of 68 gas per byte to 16 gas per byte. The reason behind this is

“higher bandwidth of Calldata improves scalability, as more data can fit within a single block.”

To take advantage of this lower gas fees, IDEX, a decentralized exchange (DEX) for ERC20 tokens is launching a new DEX on top of Rollup technology. Rollup is a layer two scalability protocol that has been made possible by this latest hard fork only.

The reduced gas fee has the Rollup-based smart contracts become a suitable scalability tool. This could help reduce gas on the new platform by as much as 90%, according to IDEX CTO Jason Ahmad.

The Growing Addresses

Before the Istanbul network upgrade is finally implemented, EtherScan announced the release of Beacon Chain 2.0 Testnet explorer.

Also, those running the nodes are required to upgrade to the latest version of Parity Ethereum, v2.5.11-stable and v2.6.6-beta, to make sure you are Istanbul ready.

Just before Istanbul, the new wallets on Ethereum shot up by 38,164 in just 24 hours. Just a couple days before on Dec. 2, 70,000 new addresses were also created.

The growing numbers on Ethereum Network are the result of the growth seen by DeFi (decentralized finance) that has about $450 million tied up in DeFi applications.

Ethereum price meanwhile is trading at $147, down 5% in the past 7-days, as per Coincodex.

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Author: AnTy

Delphi Digital: One in Every Five Bitcoins Has Not Moved in the Past Five Years, Setting a Record

  • Delphi Digital analyzed the UXTO age of Bitcoin recently, discovering how much has been left unmoved for one, two, and five years or more.
  • Presently, Bitcoin is priced at $9,271.32.

Delphi Digital: One in Every Five Bitcoins Has Not Moved in the Past Five Years, Setting a Record

Bitcoin has had a rough couple of days, dropping down around $7,500 on October 25th, though it has bounced back above $9,200 this week. While this type of drop is commonly associated with pessimistic long-term holders of the token. According to reports from The Next Web’s Hard Fork, the decline in price can be credited to newer investors that have only held Bitcoin for a few months.

Delphi Digital, a boutique research firm, stated,

“In the days following the selloff, there was additional movement from slightly older holders in the 6-12-month range and 12-18-month range, with heightened exchange inflows to match.”

The firm sorts Bitcoin, based on the last time they were moved, with Unspent Transaction Output data. The UXTO age refers to the amount of time that Bitcoin remains unmoving. In this graph, featured by Hard Fork, Bitcoin’s activity is divided amongst several bands. The black line shows Bitcoin’s price, while the green line represents the Bitcoin that has yet to move for a minimum of one year.

Delphi Digital stated,

“There hasn’t been much movement from long-term holders this year, despite the rollercoaster of price and sentiment. The portion of supply that hasn’t moved in at least one year started the year at 55.6%, peaked at the end of April at 60.8%, and currently sits at 58.3%.”

Presently, 38.7% of the circulating supply has not moved in at least two years, which has gone up from 34.6% earlier in the year. What’s more interesting is that there is still 21.6% of the circulating Bitcoin supply that hasn’t moved anywhere at all in about five years or more.

The firm explained,

“This is one of the things that distinguishes this mini-cycle from true bull and bear cycles, you don’t have long term holders cashing out as prices really take off. Long-term holders will dictate cyclical tops and bottoms, but it’s the short-term traders that will have a larger impact on intra-cycle prices as they gauge, among other things, the flow of new money entering the space.”

Presently, Bitcoin is priced at $9,271.32, rising by 1.34% with $23,860,622,318 in trading volume in the last 24 hours.

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Author: Krystle M