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

Indian Crypto Exchange, CoinDCX, Launches User-Friendly Mobile Trading App

Indian Crypto Exchange, CoinDCX, Launches User-Friendly Mobile Trading App

The cryptocurrency industry in India is one of the largest in the world. With a government that has relaxed its industry policies, many exchanges and crypto-based organizations are expected to grow in the country.

The largest crypto exchange in the country, CoinDCX, is trying to bring cryptocurrency trading and its adoption closer to the masses.

The exchange has launched a new mobile app called CoinDCX Go, which will remove many barriers investors and new entrants face in the crypto industry.

The crypto industry won a major battle when the Supreme Court of India ruled out the banking ban for crypto assets. Since then, there has been a high increase in the level of crypto-related activities in the country.

And with the sudden growth of most crypto assets, there will be many prospective Bitcoin investors looking to tap into the current market bull run. However, buying and selling cryptocurrencies has not been easy, a CoinDCX survey found out.

Indian market ready for a crypto explosion

The exchange said most of India’s citizens say they are finding it difficult to invest in Bitcoin or other cryptocurrencies. The discouraging situation has been blamed on a lack of awareness, the lack of easy options, and the regulatory uncertainty tied to cryptocurrencies.

On a similar note, most people believe that Bitcoin investments are a viable alternative form of investment and would add Bitcoin to their portfolio.

The information available about the CoinDCX Go app explains that the new app will be very beneficial to the newcomers in the crypto space as it will provide a “quick check-in check-out trading experience.”

CoinDCX Go is fully supported by an anti-money laundering and artificial intelligence-based algorithm. Global custodian Bit will serve as the exchange’s custody for funds invested, making users’ funds safe in any circumstance.

CoinDCX Allows Denomination Trading

CoinDCX is one of the exchanges that are very friendly to newcomers in the crypto space. The exchange offers trading denomination for 14 of the industry’s top assets.

According to CoinDCX, the app has several benefits to users, including making the various technicalities simple and making crypto transactions simple, easy, and legal.

CoinDCX chief executive officer Sumit Gupta has commented on the launch of the new app. The main goal is to enable users to see benefits in the industry and encourage more crypto adoption, especially from the mainstream financial sector. He also said that users should not worry about technical details because the exchange will offer such support.

Support on technical issues will be provided “around the clock,” He reiterated.

Encouraging more Bitcoin adoption

India is undoubtedly a strong force when it comes to the cryptocurrency market, with a population that exceeds 1.3 billion. However, CoinDCX said only about 0.5% of this population has invested in cryptocurrency, which offers a huge market for the industry’s growth.

CoinDXC hopes to use the new app to make it easy for new entrants into the market. Presently, the app doesn’t charge any deposit or withdrawal fees, unlike other similar apps in the industry.

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Author: Ali Raza

Ant Group Launches Blockchain-Powered Cross-border Trade Settlement Platform ‘Trusple’

Ant Group, owner of mobile payment app Alipay, launched a blockchain-powered platform for cross-border trade settlements this week. The move came ahead of its IPO, which it plans to list in Hong Kong and on Shanghai’s STAR Market next month simultaneously.

The 16-year old giant, which is backed by e-commerce conglomerate Alibaba Group, is seeking to raise about $35 billion in the dual IPO to become the world’s largest IPO by surpassing oil giant Saudi Aramco’s billion last December.

Previously known as Ant Financial, Ant was rebranded this year as a tech firm due to tighter financial regulations.

Ant is known for submitting the most number of blockchain patent applications globally, over the past two years. The technology saw a surge in interest after President Xi Jinping said last year that the country should accelerate its development.

Its new platform, “Trusple,” is based on Antchain, the company’s blockchain technology.

On this platform, buyers and sellers upload their orders, which automatically generate smart contracts with information like logistics. The banks then process payments using Antchain.

The users of the platform could also include vendors that sell to other businesses through marketplaces like Alibaba’s overseas e-commerce site, AliExpress.

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Author: AnTy

MetaMask Rolls Out Mobile Wallet on iOS and Android; Buy Ethereum Directly with Apple Pay

  • MetaMask launches its mobile app allowing users easy access to wallet services.
  • Available on Apple iOS and Android

Following the launch of its public V1 version, ConsenSys (who purchased MetaMask recently) announced on Thursday the launch of its MetaMask Mobile app. The app aims to provide a secure, fast, and easy-to-use wallet for Ether (ETH) and Ethereum-based tokens on the phone. The mobile app will now be available to both iOS and Android users.

According to a statement obtained by BEG, the MetaMask Mobile version will provide similar services to its web version without compromising on the security of the token vaults. However, unlike the web-based version, the mobile version is a native cryptocurrency wallet that will interact with dApps installed on the phone or entering the dApp URL on a built-in web browser.

MetaMask is a crypto wallet that functions as a web browser extension allowing users to connect to web-based dApps directly easily. The platform securely stores ETH and Ethereum based tokens allowing easy and frictionless transactions on any dApp.

The MetaMask mobile version also comes with an easy payment gateway for those who want to purchase ETH and ERC-based tokens. A report from Mashable confirms the mobile crypto wallet will allow users to buy crypto using Apple Pay, debit cards, or other payment methods (depending on the country).

MetaMask remains the DApp wallet of choice even in the rise of DeFi, with ConsenSys stating the wallet has over 4 million users. The MetaMask Mobile app was released in a closed beta version back in 2019, with 135,000 users testing it.

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Author: Lujan Odera

Subsidiary to Top Austrian Mobile Network Provider, Launches Crypto Payments for 2500 Merchants

Austrian leading mobile service provider, A1 Telekom Austria Group, announced its subsidiary, A1 Payments, will be accepting digital currency payments like Bitcoin and Ethereum. On Monday, a posted blog stated the firm’s new payment system would allow individuals as well as corporations to transact with thousands of merchants across Austria.

BEG announced A1 Payment’s plans to get into the digital currency payment back in August 2019, with the Head of A1 Business Marketing, Markus Schreiber, saying then:

“With our pilot operation in the A1 shops, we are testing the demand and acceptance of digital currencies in Austria.”

A1 Payments pilot included several cryptocurrencies, including BTC, ETH, Dash, Litecoin (LTC), and XRP. However, the main launch has begun with the inclusion of the first three, and more tokens to be added in the future.

The digital payment system also allows other cashless options for merchants, including bank credit cards and payments via online platforms such as Alipay.

Similar to other crypto payments intermediaries, A1 Payments provide the payment terminal, take care of its maintenance, and the processing of payments. This means that all the trades by crypto users in merchant shops or towards corporations will be settled in EUR. Hence the receiving counterparty does not need any knowledge in digital currencies to accept them.

The Austrian company aims to offer seamless payments across their customers, enabling “companies with only one terminal to accept digital currencies alongside conventional payment methods.”

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Author: Lujan Odera

Samsung Blockchain Wallet Adds Support For Decentraland’s LAND & MANA Tokens

Samsung, a prominent mobile manufacturer from South Korea, has added support for the decentralized Virtual Reality platform (VR) Decentraland. Samsung’s Keystore wallet with this integration is getting better with each day and more user friendly. The integration would also allow the Decentraland crypto app to work with Samsung’s crypto platform.

The integration would allow Cryptoland users to store their Non-Fungible Tokens (NFT) and trade the native token LAND as well.

Decentraland, as the name suggests, is a decentralized virtual community where users can purchase and lend virtual properties using the native tokens LAND and MANA. The LAND token represents a 10×10-meter piece of virtual land in the Decentraland universe. With the latest integration with Samsung wallet, it would become more convenient and easy for the users of the platform to trade LAND tokens.

Decentraland launched in February 2020, and it has become the most significant game and NFT project to collaborate with Samsung wallet.

Samsung has shown an active interest in the decentralized space where its flagship series of Galaxy phones come with built-in wallet support. With each passing year, the firm is adding new features and integrating new tools and services to make it more user friendly and secure for its customers.

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Author: Hank Klinger

ShapeShift Rolls Out Self-Custody Trading App for BTC, ETH, LTC, DGB, TUSD, & ERC20 Tokens

ShapeShift, a Switzerland based self-custody crypto exchange has launched its sovereign mobile trading application following on the footprints of Robinhood and Revolut. The newly launched mobile trading app would allow the traders to buy and sell crypto from their mobile devices, with the users having full control over their keys.

A self-sovereign trading app like ShapeShift is considered safer since it does not involve any third parties for the storage of the assets. At the time of launch, the mobile trading app would support bitcoin, Ethereum, and ERC-20 tokens, Digibyte, and TrueUSD.

ShapeShift also claims to boast a customer base from 120 countries and at the time of launch they tweeted:

“Our new app gives you the power to trade with competitive rates & buy Bitcoin in 120+ countries, all while enjoying self-custody of your crypto.“

Erik Voorhees, ShapeShift’s founder and CEO released a statement for the launch of the mobile app which read:

“The ShapeShift crypto platform launched a year ago, bringing proper self-custody digital asset management to the masses. But, it was only available on the web. The mobile app is here, and with one email and password, users can enjoy self-sovereign finance on both web and mobile.”

ShapeShift’s mobile trading app launch sits well with its expansion plans to reach out to a new customer base. Back in February this year, the firm announced a new COO in Lisa Loud, a former Apple engineer, and PayPal executive.

ShapeShift Trying To Take a Piece In The Growing Mobile Trading Sector

The mobile trading app arena has started to see some competition with Robinhood sharing the majority of the market. ShapeShift’s mobile trading app launch comes just days after the London-based challenger bank, Revolut, launched its mobile banking app with the facility to purchase Bitcoin and Ethereum for US customers. At the same time, European customers can also buy Litecoin, Bitcoin Cash, and XRP.

Robinhood has also canceled the UK launch of its stock and crypto trading app after getting the broker authorization from the UK Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) in 2019. A company representative commented on the postponement of the UK launch and said they are currently trying to strengthen their position in their core market in the United States. The spokesperson said:

‘”A lot has changed in the world over the past few months, and we’ve made the difficult decision to postpone our UK launch indefinitely. As a company, we are refocusing our efforts on strengthening our core business in the US.”

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Author: James W

Robinhood Raises Another $320M in Series F; Trading Apps Valuation Soars to $8.6 Billion

The crypto-friendly mobile trading app, Robinhood, has raised another $320 million in its new funding round. This takes the total amount of funds raised in its Series F funding round to $600 million, and its overall valuation to a whopping $8.6 billion. The investment round was led by the likes of TSG Consumer Partners and IVP.

The Series F funding round was announced by the company in May and raised around $280 million at that time, where the funding round was led by Sequoia Capital, along with participation from firms such as NEA, Ribbit Capital, 9Yards Capital, and Unusual Ventures.

The Robinhood app has been riding high on the success of this pandemic period. With the app registering whopping traffic, given that it allows users to trade and buy cryptocurrency, making it an excellent way for beginners to venture into the crypto space. The firm has reported the creation of more than 3 million funded accounts by May, suggesting the popularity of the application.

The Robinhood App may be seeing a great deal of success in 2020, but it also has its fair share of controversies, especially multiple outages and shutting off the app at peak hours. It also reportedly led to the suicide of one 20-year-old user Alexander Kearns. He found his Robinhood wallet balance at -$730,000 while trading options after one of the many shutdowns of the application.

The co-CEOs of the firm Vlad Tenev & Baiju Bhatt soon wrote a blog post expressing their condolences for the loss of Keams and also promised to upgrade the interface and added layer of authorization required to trade options. The firm also donated $250,000 towards suicide prevention. An excerpt from the blog post read:

“It is not lost upon us that our company and our service have become synonymous with retail investing in America and that this has led to millions of new investors making their first investments through Robinhood. We recognize this profound responsibility, and we don’t take it lightly. We aspire to innovate, lead, and go beyond the status quo.”

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Author: Hank Klinger

Blockchain Smartphone HTC Exodus Integrates DeFi, Adds Support for SegWit Protocol

HTC, the Taiwanese mobile phone company that launched Exodus, the blockchain phone, back in October 2018 has announced major upgrades on April 29th.

Some of the key updates include the integration of Compound and MakerDAO along with further support for the SegWit protocol. These new updates would be added through Firmware Over The Air (FOTA). Apart from these major upgrades, the firm also promises to improve the blockchain experience on the phone.

SegWit operates as a second-layer protocol which helps to scale bitcoin transaction and make it more secure. SegWit separates the main part of the data from the one that is required to authenticate the original transaction, which not only makes the transaction data smaller and easier to process but also more secure.

The Defi Protocol Integration With Zion

Zion operates as a private vault within the Exodus smartphone, allowing secure transactions and storage for a wide range of crypto assets, along with management of one’s private keys.

The integration of Defi protocols like MakerDAO and Compound would make Zion a highly versatile wallet, given how popular Defi ecosystem has become in recent times.

With this integration, Exodus owners can directly stake their ETH through Compound and MakerDAO and draw loans in DAI against their collateralized ETH. This integration would surely make way for better management of funds as well as staking and lending.

HTC Exodus Adds Many New Features to Make for a Complete Blockchain Experience

Apart from SegWit and Defi protocol integration, the firmware update would see many other added benefits including Stellar Memo support.

The stellar memo is a transaction identifier which is required by many exchanges to distinguish one transaction from another. The absence of the memo often results in lost funds, thus this integration would ensure each transaction made from the Exodus smartphone is distinct and secure.

The new firmware update would also improve the Initial Block Download (IBD) process which is a node synchronization process. A faster IBD would ensure that the smartphone downloads the newly mined blocks faster which in turn would help in processing new transactions faster and more efficiently, since, during the node synch process, the node does not accept any new transaction.

Apart from these significant updates, other minor, yet defining improvements include Enhance Dapp Hub search function: This feature would allow users to search for any Dapp using URL on Dapp hub.

System Enhancement

The System Enhancement saw the Addition of Google Security Page.

HTC was a prominent smartphone maker before the China-made cheaper alternatives took on the mobile market and significantly cut its share.

However, HTC dived into the decentralized space with its blockchain phone Exodus and later launched a lite version for the same. And since then it has continued to focus on bringing pure blockchain experience via smartphones.

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Author: James W

ICE-backed Bakkt Rolls Out ‘Limited Beta’ As a Starbucks Payment Option To Mobile Users

Some of the Starbucks mobile app will now have the option of using Bakkt Cash as payment, seeing the limited beta period for this method has started.

The news comes as the Bitcoin (BTCP) derivatives provider is pivoting towards consumer-facing services and after it made the announcement of a $300 million funding round. Here’s what a Starbucks spokesperson said about the partnership with Bakkt:

“We are currently conducting a limited test for our customers, using the Bakkt payment method. Customers can see Bakkt as an option but the test is only available at this time.”

Starbucks, a Strategic Launch Partner for the Bakkt Digital Wallet

In a statement released earlier, Starbucks said it happens to be a strategic launch partner for the dollar denominated Bakkt digital wallet. Here’s what the coffee giant had to add on the matter:

“We anticipate that a range of cryptocurrencies will gain traction with customers and, through our work with Bakkt, we will be uniquely positioned to constantly consider and offer customers new and unique ways to pay seamlessly, at Starbucks.”

Adam White, the President of Bakkt said this on Twitter about the integration:

Bakkt Didn’t Make Any Official Statement about the Partnership

While an official statement about the partnership with Starbucks wasn’t made by Bakkt, on Monday, the company published a blog post in which it describes how it wants to put Bitcoin (BTC) and loyalty points into the same place. Discussions about an offer of crypto payments and loyalty point programs have been happening since February to say the least, when Bakkt made a move to buy Bridge2, the loyalty solutions provider. Here’s what the company’s blog post reads exactly:

“At Bakkt, we take a broad view of digital assets. Whether it’s miles from your favorite airline, loyalty points from the local grocery store, or bitcoin you’ve purchased, the Bakkt app enables you to aggregate all of these assets into a single digital wallet.”

Since the coronavirus threat is continuing to grow in the US, the coffee behemoth Starbucks is applying the take-out only business model.

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Author: Oana Ularu