Wyoming Allows Insurance Companies to Invest in Bitcoin and Other Cryptos Starting July 1

Wyoming authorities have taken many positive steps towards the crypto market with its blockchain and crypto custody rules. The state also became the first one to pass a bill that gives direct property rights to cryptocurrency owners and might be seeing a crypto bank soon as well.

Now, in another first, they are making it possible for insurance firms to invest in Bitcoin and other crypto-assets by amending its insurance code, as per the reports. The new law will be effective from July 1, 2020.

“YES! Insurance cos in Wyoming will be able to invest in bitcoin & crypto as of 7/1/2020 (this was recently signed into law by Governor Gordon). Most likely insurers will offer this as part of variable life policies rather than whole life, since NAIC capital charge will be high,” said Caitlin Long, a Wall Street Veteran and the founder and CEO of Avanti, the Crypto Bank coming to Wyoming.

With this first provision of its kind in the nation, domestic insurers will be allowed to invest in digital assets. Digital assets are defined in Wyoming law as

“a representation of economic, proprietary or access rights that is stored in a computer readable format, and includes digital consumer assets, digital securities and virtual currency.”

As per this provision, “digital consumer assets” which are digital assets used or bought primarily for consumptive, personal or household purposes are excluded. These also include an “open blockchain token constituting intangible personal property” such as utility tokens.

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Author: AnTy

WHO Collaborates With Oracle, IBM and Government Agencies to Develop COVID-19 Blockchain Data Monitoring System

World Health Organization has teamed up with the likes of IBM, Oracle, Microsoft and many other government agencies to create a blockchain-based open data hub called MiPasa. The platform will verify various data and information related to the COVID-19 outbreak to ensure its validity and create plans to contain the pandemic based on the same.

The coronavirus pandemic has engulfed the whole world leading to chaos, fear, the uncertainty of the future and a stream of misinformation. The MiPasa platform created by Hacera has been built on top of Hyperledger Fabric with a range of data monitoring and analytic tools to test the available data on the outbreak and other information which would eventually lead to correct detection of virus infection hotspot.

Jonathan Levi, CEO of Hacera, believe MiPasa would be “COVID-19 information highway,” and precise analysis of the information and data available presently are more than enough to make the right decisions.

While creating an enterprise-grade blockchain-based system could take months, but tough times call for tougher measures and as a result, the collaboration of major players like Microsoft, Johns Hopkins University, China’s National Health Commission and many other agencies made it possible to create the MiPasa platform in no time.

IBM at the Forefront to Avail Data Analytics tools on MiPasa

IBM is at the forefront of the initiative and noted that after brainstorming about the idea for a data verifying and analyzing consortium, they all agreed that it is the need of the hour. Gari Singh, IBM Blockchain CTO noted,

“It’s not that we were trying to force blockchain into this solution, but we thought we need to replicate data, we need to have trusted sources, we need to make sure it can’t be tampered with.”

IBM has also pledged to bring ‘Call for Code’ initiative which would ensure in the rapid creation of various analytical tools for monitoring all kinds of data. Sing also said that coronavirus testing data is something they were looking to add to the platform in the near future.

The platform is also focused on the ease of use where someone can enter a set of information from a mobile device which then will be utilized by the platform to build an application for the same.

Data analytics can be a big game-changer in the present scenario and if the quality of the data input is consistent and correct, it would create a powerful insight into the spread of the virus, which then can be used to stem and contain the problem.

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Author: James W

Binance’s Educational Platform Opens Up Government Approved Office in Shanghai

Binance, one of the most popular crypto exchanges in the crypto-verse which also has many subsidiaries including Binance Academy (a blockchain and crypto-centred educational portal) is all set to open its first office in Shanghai, China. Changpeng Zhao (CZ), the CEO of the exchange confirmed the same on Twitter.

This can be seen as a major milestone for Binance given there have been many rumors of them unofficially running an office and even some reports of them being investigated by the authorities (which the exchange has denied time and again). CZ has been trying to strike balance with the authorities for quite some time now, but given China’s stance on crypto exchanges forced Binance to shift their operating base outside the country.

The Begining of a New Chapter for Binance

According to the local news report, the major milestone would see Binance Chain’s core team working with Lingang Xinyefang and Lingang Innovation Management College in order to set up a research institute in Shanghai province. The focus of the research institute would be to develop various use cases for blockchain technology, for which China seems to be really bullish.

Today marked the official signing ceremony where the local authority seal of approval took place and the possession of the office was handed over to Binance. While CZ has often propagated that in modern times physical headquarters and office does not make much of a difference given the technology has made it possible to function without the need of one. However, given China’s notorious and passive stance towards crypto service providers despite being bullish on blockchain make this event indeed historical for Binance.

Does Binance’s Office Approval Suggest China’s Softening Stance on Crypto?

The answer is a hard NO. China has been tip-toeing about their approval for crypto for quite some time, but it seems it would be quite difficult to see China’s softening regulatory stance on cryptocurrency. This has been evident on many occasions in the past, be it them calling Bitcoin the best use case of blockchain, in the wake of PM’s call for accelerated blockchain adoption, but the very next day they took a U-turn and said that Bitcoin still has many flaws which would be overcome by their national CBDC.

Very recently they have blasted cryptocurrencies for being volatile and how it could never become an instrument of finance. Even the recent Binance approval for research is strictly for blockchain purposes only. While there is still no confirmation on the launch date of national digital currency, which many speculated to be in line for launch since October 2019.

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Author: James W

Imposed Quarantines and Social Distancing Leads To A Surge In Online Payments With Bitcoin

The continuing spread of coronavirus has seen many people prefer to stay indoors leading to a massive disruption of the traditional economy, this has led to a boon for some digital sectors.

In the recent past, increased state-enforced quarantines as well as moves to social distancing and many firms coming up with policies to enhance working from home which has led to an increase in screen time as well as digital shopping. At the start of this week renowned outlets led by Amazon and Walmart announced they were facing challenges in meeting the high demand coming from panic buying, CNBC reported.

The panic buying has now started to spread to the cryptocurrency space, which has increased the number of crypto payment processors.

Bitcoin rewards app, Lolli, announced that its sales volumes had doubled mostly from firms supplying food-related items as well as personal essentials like Safeway and Vitacost. The firm’s communications head, Aubrey Strobel, revealed the details to CoinDesk. Strobel stated:

“The majority of Lolli’s merchants are online. As a result, our sales have dramatically increased over the last couple of weeks as a reaction to the pandemic. We expect to see this continue over the next several weeks as people transition to a remote work schedule and prepare for COVID-19.”

With 894 locations in 17 states, Safeway is a major Lolli partner with operations in Washington as well as California that have reported high cases of coronavirus in the recent past. Customers get rewarded in Satoshis by Lolli which also has a partnership with various restaurant delivery apps such as Postmates as well as Caviar. The firm also partners with PetCo that provides pet food to customers.

[Start Stacking Sats With Lolli]

Another crypto-based firm, Strike by Zap, which is at the moment operating in beta, almost closed down its operations following a sharp rise in payments than expected. The firm’s CEO stated that their wallet surpassed the previous all-time-highs early last week following processing transactions valued more than a Bitcoin. The firm which rolled-on in January, was set to handle transactions valued at least 1 Bitcoin every month.

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Author: Joseph Kibe

Ethereum Price Analysis: ETH Could Extend Its Downtrend Below $190

Ethereum price started an upside correction from the $189.35 low vs the US Dollar. ETH to USD is facing many hurdles above $204.50 and it is likely to resume its downtrend in the near term.

Key Takeaways: ETH/USD

  • Ethereum price is trading in a bearish zone below the $204.50 and $207.75 levels against the US Dollar.
  • ETH/USD broke a key contracting triangle with support near $199.60 on the 2-hours chart (data feed from Bitstamp).
  • Bitcoin price is down more than 3% and it is likely to dive below the $7,750 level

Ethereum Price Analysis

In the past few day, there were mostly downsides in Ethereum price below the $215.00 and $204.50 levels. ETH to USD even broke the $200.00 support area and traded to a new monthly low at $189.35.

Ethereum Price
Ethereum Price

Looking at the 2-hours chart, Ethereum price settled well below the $204.50 pivot level and the 50 simple moving average (2-hours, purple). Recently, there was an upside correction above the $200.00 level.

The price made an attempt to surpass the 23.6% Fib retracement level of the downward move from $252.65 to $189.35, but it failed. It seems like the $204.50 and $205.00 levels are important barriers for the bulls.

As a result, Ethereum price broke a key contracting triangle with support near $199.60 on the same chart. The price is now trading well below the $204.50 level. An initial support is near the $194.50 level, below which there is a risk of more losses towards the $189.35 level.

Any further losses may perhaps lead the price towards the $188.50 and $182.50 levels in the near term. Conversely, the price must gain traction above $204.50 to start a decent recovery.

The next hurdles are near the $207.80 level and the 50 simple moving average (2-hours, purple). The main resistance above the 50 simple moving average (2-hours, purple) is near the 50% 50 simple moving average (2-hours, purple) at $221.00.

Overall, Ethereum price is trading in a bearish zone below $204.50 and $207.80. Therefore, there is a risk of more losses below $192.00 and $189.35 unless there is a clear break above $207.80.

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Author: Aayush J

The US Twiddles Their Regulatory Thumbs As Asian Countries Are Becoming Crypto Powerhouses

2019 did not turn out to be the year of bulls as many had expected, but despite that cryptocurrencies and blockchain dominated the world news for their growing influence in various sectors around the globe. Interestingly, it’s not just world power which is seeing a gradual shift from West to East the Eastern world is also dominating the west in terms of crypto and blockchain acceptance and regulation.

Asia is currently leading the blockchain and cryptocurrency race with several countries in the continent looking to either implement friendly regulations or have already made strides. China towards the last quarter of 2019 called for accelerated crypto adoption, while Singapore has become one of the leading choices for fintech firms, as the country provides access to south Asian Markets of over 600 million people.

Singapore’s Payment Services Act which is slated to come into action by January 28th is already being seen as one of the most progressive and comprehensive regulatory frameworks covering blockchain and cryptocurrencies. The act is set to cement Singapore’s position as the hub for the fintech industry.

Central Governments Will Also Venture Into The Decentralized Space

Many central governments who were strictly against regulating crypto use in any form have come around to realize the potential of these digital assets. These governments have also realized that it is next to impossible to put a blanket ban on these cryptocurrencies and thus they are looking to regulate crypto trading.

Many central banks from Asia have also shown a great interest in launching a Central Bank Issued Digital Currency (CBDC) to offer faster cross-border remittance services while still maintaining their financial sovereignty. China is slated to become the first country of the world to launch its national digital currency whose research they started back in 2014 itself.

Many crypto analysts believe that governments around the globe understand the shortcomings in the fiat monetary system and know that it would lead to financial instability. This is the reason not just China but many other nations have started their research and development wing to study digital currencies and also develop a stablecoin pegged by the national fiat system.

While Asian countries are actively working to be at the top of the blockchain game Western nations especially the US and many developed nations of Europe are still not clear about the scope of use of cryptocurrencies in their nation.

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Author: James W

Rakuten’s Super Points Can Now Become Crypto Assets with Wallet Launch

  • Diamond members have a higher limit on how many Rakuten Super Points they can convert for each transaction and for each month.
  • The only points that users can convert are Rakuten Super Points, and partner service company points are not eligible.

Rakuten is getting involved in the cryptocurrency world with their own loyalty points. A press release from Rakuten directly states that the new services launched through their wallet will allow users to transfer their Super Points into a selection of cryptocurrencies. The app for Rakuten Wallet allows consumers to participate in spot trading.

In Japan, users with a Rakuten Wallet and Super Points have the ability to trade for Bitcoin, Ethereum, and Bitcoin Cash, as long as they have at least 100 Rakuten Super Points. Every Super Point is worth one yen during crypto conversion, and the transaction will be recorded in the smartphone app.

Ultimately, the creators of the Rakuten Wallet aim to reduce the difficulty that some consumers face with entering the crypto space, allowing even novice users to get involve with trading. The new service allows customers to also use the Rakuten Super Points for a broader use cases, which makes their loyalty membership program more appealing to consumers.

With the new service, the only points eligible are from Rakuten directly, not their partner service companies. The user can only exchange for amounts over 100 Super Points, though the company has certain restrictions on how many points can be exchanged each month and for each transaction, depending on the current membership.

Diamond members can convert up to 50,000 Rakuten Super Points at once, with a limit of 500,000 Rakuten Super Points per month. Other members have a maximum of 30,000 Rakuten Super Points for each transaction, and a limit of 100,000 Rakuten Super Points per month.

The service will be available starting today.

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Author: Krystle M

Acquisition of Circle Leads Poloniex Wallet Users to Yank Out Funds

  • Poloniex has delisted many coins through the last few years of decreasing liquidity, leaving the platform with just 98 trading pairs.
  • One of the most controversial coins to be delisted was DigiByte, which may have led to the gutting of the exchange.

Circle, Inc. recently made a game-changing decision for their customers, abandoning the US market entirely as they moved away from Poloniex. However, the decision has led many consumers to a drastic decrease in deposits for wallets on the Poloniex exchange. According to a recent article by Bitcoinist, the Bitcoin and Ethereum wallet users moved their coins to other markets instead, citing the decision to leave behind the US market as the main reason.

By the time Circle original acquired Poloniex, the supply of coins was already starting to dwindle. The exchange was dealing with technical and regulatory issues, and their traders were slowly decreasing. Tweets by CoinMetrics revealed that the supply that Poloniex held of BTC and ETH dropped dramatically during the Circle acquisition. As it stands, the exchange has not seen levels this low since 2016.

While the cryptocurrency market wasn’t regulated, Poloniex stood strong as one of the first exchanges to actually survive the years. However, the exchange also recorded many outages and disruptions in trading during that time, leaving it with a reputation for being unreliable. As recently as this year, Poloniex was forced to liquidate BTC collateral, leaving them with losses over the volatile CLAMS coin.

The socialized loss of about 1,800 BTC greatly angered traders, and the funds have still yet to be paid, which Bitcoinist suggests is one of the reasons that some traders have walked away from the exchange. While many analysts and experts would advise consumers not the store their funds on the exchange, the socialization of losses was definitely unexpected.

With the low liquidity, Poloniex also had to delist some of the coins that it previously had touted, which has mostly been unproblematic. However, when the exchange pulled DigiByte from their listing, the community became enraged, potentially becoming one of the reasons for the substantial outflow from Poloniex.

Considering the recent path that this platform has taken, Bitcoinist suggests that the focus of Poloniex is on the Tron ecosystem. As one of the larger carriers for the TRON-based Tether token (USDT), their listings have recently been opened up to other TRC-20 tokens. In fact, the TRX crypto asset is even an integral part of the earnings program for Poloniex, according to recent tweets from the latter.

Following this trend, the PoloniexDEX, which only recently launched, has already rebranded as the TRXMarket, now being used as a way for traders to access related coins and tokens.

Presently, daily trading accounts for $44 million on the Poloniex exchange, though these numbers are relatively low for an international exchange. Even with the many delisted tokens, the exchange still has 98 trading pairs, giving them a little standing against the competition of the market.

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Author: Krystle M

Major Loophole Flagged by Dev That Could Lead to $340M Theft, Stealing All Of MakerDAO’s ETH

  • The attack would require the work of a few MKR whales or many minor MKR addresses.
  • The cost of such an attack would be about $20 million, possibly more.

The Maker protocol currently holds $300 million in ETH, but is it as safe as investors believe? Micah Zoltu, a developer and the co-author of the original whitepaper for Augur, recently published a post that suggested that there’s a massive vulnerability with MakerDAO. In the blog, he states that this vulnerability could be attacked, pulling every bit of ETH from the MakerDAO system.

Often, users will lock ETH into the Maker protocol, allowing them to create loans involving the DAI stablecoin, which is pegged to the dollar. However, Zoltu points out that the way Maker is governed creates a problem, stating, “Some group of plutocrats can control how the system behaves.”

The only way that the attack could occur is if a few of the MKR whales decided to take fast action, though a sophisticated attack would only take about 40,000 MKR. Based on the voting system and the staking approach presently implemented for Maker, using 48,400 MKR would allow this attack to take place right away. Essentially, at least $20 million in cryptocurrency would be needed to make this possible, assuming that the price wouldn’t push upwards with this kind of purchase, which isn’t likely. Zoltu continued, writing,

“It is worth nothing that Maker Foundation could attack the system in this way right now if they wanted. What is worse, [venture capital firm] a16z has enough MKR on hand right now to executive the attack the patient way!”

Apart from the possibility of an inside job by individuals that want to see the DeFi application thrive, the ability to actually get all of the MKR needed for this type of attack is likely the biggest struggle. Joey Krug, who is a partner of Pantera Capital and has been made aware of this vulnerability, stated,

“I feel like it’d at least double the price. You could probably get a lot of whales to sell to you OTC if you were paying double market.”

In the open market, the price would skyrocket exponentially, in the event that the attacker had to start from square one.

As it stands, the MKR token governs the Maker protocol. There’s been a small amount burned already of the one million minted, but the Maker Foundation remains in control of a few hundred thousand in both treasury and smart contracts. At the time of writing, a single MKR sells for $499.16, and about $4 million to $10 million in turnover is processed daily.

By holding MKR, any investor has the ability to put up a smart contract, though Maker uses continuous governance to allow for changes at any time. The system just made the upgrade from the single-collateral DAI to the multi-collateral DAI, which means that a whole new version of the protocol is available. Now, there are two kinds of DAI, and users are being pushed to convert their old DAI to the current DAI.

While there are new security changes, like a delay on voted changes to take effect, Zoltu points to the biggest weakness, there is no governance delay. This means, any provision that is voted and approved will immediately take effect, which head of engineering Wouter Kampmann believes is better to have for now. Kampmann added, “It’s really a matter of finding that sweet spot there.”

When speaking with CoinDesk, Kampmann stated that all of the ETH that MakerDAO holds wouldn’t just be moved into a wallet that an attacker could control. Instead, Kampmann stated,

“The way permissionless, unstoppable code works is that there is certain business logic that determines the rules of how to interact with the contract – and these rules are unchangeable.”

This kind of attack would take substantial intelligence and planning, but anyone who remembers the DAO hack is probably a little nervous anyway. Zoltu’s attack theory would need to take place quickly, as the governance delay would likely be increased in the first quarter, possibly as early as January. However, this decision isn’t actually up to the foundation staff. Kampmann stated,

“You cannot just ignore the economics of it. The problem with the model that’s set forth is really in the incentive model.”

There are presently a few whales that already have accumulated enough MKR to attack in this way already, but it isn’t likely they will. The attack would ultimately cause the loss of their value in other assets as it shakes up Ethereum, costing them much more than they gain. Kampmann states that MKR holders should be staking their MKR on votes, if they care about making the protocol secure. Plus, there’s still a lot of MKR sitting on the sidelines. Krug added that, while MKR whales probably have good intentions, it would be unwise to “assume it for sure.”

Another option of this attack would require massive collaboration amongst many minor whales, which account for about 16,000 ETH addresses. If they combined forces without tipping off the MakerDAO community, it is possible that they could avoid the price movement while collecting enough tokens. Considering that MKR simply doesn’t move around that much, this type of cooperation is not likely at all, but Zoltu doesn’t believe that all of these assumptions make the protocol safe enough. Zoltu added,

“They [the Maker Foundation] are operating under the assumption that there are no dark pools of liquidity available to attackers. This is, kind of by definition, something one cannot know.”

As The Next Web’s Hard Fork points out, MakerDAO recently stated that there was another major security flaw in October, allowing the theft of Ethereum before the DAI upgrade was released.

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Author: Krystle M

Alibaba Uses Blockchain to Participate in China’s Single’s Day Celebration, Generates $30 Billion in Sales

As the blockchain technology continues to grow and expand in different markets, many individuals and companies have developed an interest in the market. The blockchain industry is well established in the Chinese market. From being china’s favorite technology, it has expanded into a world success. Recently, a giant Alibaba used blockchain as it joined in the celebration of China’s Singles day this year. The Single’s day is celebrated on November 11 each year for the last past decade.

Alibaba is celebrating the Single’s day as a sales day together with happy singles as well as couples. During this year’s Single’s day, a couple of days ago, Alibaba generated sales amounting to $30 billion in one day, November 11, 2019. Apart from earning such a huge amount of money, the blockchain company set a precedent that will take shape in future celebrations of the Single’s day.

A fintech firm of Alibaba, Ant Financial, used the blockchain tech to offer ID verification, supply-chain tracking, and supply-chain financing solutions during the celebrations. This helped in the elimination of counterfeit goods in the market. The day was an ideal opportunity for the company to experiment with its blockchain understanding.

Hong Kong remains as an ideal market for Chinese technology companies to test their blockchain tech despite the protests. Early this week, a giant tech company Tencent announced that it would be rolling out a new blockchain-based virtual bank in Hong Kong. Tencent has already been registered under the Futures Commission and Hong Kong’s Security.

Hong Kong is trying to maintain the grips of its position as Asia’s fintech hub. However, the Chinese government is investing in other tech centers and mainland businesses such as Shenzhen. The government is trying so hard to starve Hong Kong to the extent that the island might soon witness a recession. Despite all that, Hong Kong is fighting to remain competitive and innovative to remain relevant in the tech industry. In May this year, Hong Kong began issuing licenses for virtual banks to leading technology companies such as Xiaomi and Alibaba.

Tencent will be rolling out a blockchain bank in Hong Kong after forming a JV with the Industrial and Commercial Bank of China. The new blockchain bank will offer an invoice-financing platform and a supply chain with McDonald’s. The virtual bank will have a huge customer-acquisition potential with the aid of Wechat, a platform used for all sorts of financial transactions.

As more blockchain-based banks are being developed, Alibaba might soon launch its blockchain online virtual banking solution. The company will ride on its advance e-commerce, its large market share, and its fintech firm, Ant Financials. The competition in China’s blockchain industry is a race towards fintech supremacy.

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Author: Denis Miriti