Food Delivery Giant, Just Eat, Starts Accepting Bitcoin Payments

The online food order and delivery service, Just Eat is now accepting Bitcoin as a form of payment in France, in partnership with bitcoin payment provider Bitpay.

The official page of the company’s France website puts bitcoin as an added payment method besides cash, vouchers, PayPal, and credit cards.

Users can choose the bitcoin option to pay for their food when finalizing the order and which then gets redirected to the payment provider, Bitpay, to complete the process. Just Eat doesn’t charge any fees for the payments made in the digital asset.

In case of order cancellations, a user is refunded in Euros into a traditional bank account, and the rate applicable is the one applied at the time of the payment because Bitcoin has already been converted into Euros.

Home delivery services have become the way of the norm during the coronavirus pandemic, after the lockdown and social distancing forced people to go with these options because they couldn’t go out. Users have also switched to online modes of payment that have the use of cash declining.

Just Eat also recorded revenue of €1bn in the first half of 2020, thanks to this phenomenon. Consumers unable to dine out pushed the food delivery groups’ revenue increasing by 44% year-on-year.

The Netherlands-based platform recently also received the regulatory approvals for its acquisition of US food delivery venture Grubhub. With this merger, which was signed in June for $7.3 billion, will mark Just Eat’s expansion into the US market and is also expected to make it the world’s largest online food delivery company outside of China.

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Author: AnTy

Bitcoin’s Energy Consumption Dropped Significantly Post Halving But Still Rivals Many Countries

Bitcoin network has always been criticized for the amount of electricity it consumes in order to verify transactions and add new blocks to the network. The recent block reward halving event which cut the supply of Bitcoin per block from 12.5 BTC to 6.25 BTC also removed many low-level miners using old mining machines for whom the halving of block reward made it impossible to make any monetary profit. As a result the hash power input also got reduced by a significant 38%.

According to data from Digiconomist suggests that post halving, Bitcoin network’s electricity consumption has dropped by 24%. However, despite this significant drop, the amount of electricity consumed by the network is still equivalent to that of the state of Israel. While the carbon footprint left by the Bitcoin network, which is around 27.51 Mt, is equivalent to Syria.

The data from Digiconomist also revealed several other interesting aspects of the energy consumption on the Bitcoin network. For example, the amount of energy required to verify a single Bitcoin transaction can power an average US household for nearly 18 days. The amount of electronic waste produced in the Bitcoin ecosystem is equal to the amount generated by Luxembourg.

Some of the key metrics of the Bitcoin network include:

Description Value
Bitcoin’s current estimated annual electricity consumption* (TWh) 57.92
Bitcoin’s current minimum annual electricity consumption** (TWh) 39.61
Annualized global mining revenues $2,900,972,599
Annualized estimated global mining costs $2,895,968,095
Current cost percentage 99.83%
Country closest to Bitcoin in terms of electricity consumption Bangladesh
Estimated electricity used over the previous day (KWh) 158,683,183
Implied Watts per GH/s 0.069
Total Network Hashrate in PH/s (1,000,000 GH/s) 96,473
Energy footprint per transaction (KWh) 547
Number of U.S. households that could be powered by Bitcoin 5,362,904
Number of U.S. households powered for 1 day by the electricity consumed for a single transaction 18.48
Bitcoin’s electricity consumption as a percentage of the world’s electricity consumption 0.26%
Annual carbon footprint (kt of CO2) 27,512
Carbon footprint per transaction (kg of CO2) 259.74

Source: digiconomist

While the debate around the Bitcoin network’s electricity consumption has been going on for quite some time now, but the mining consensus used by the Bitcoin network i.e Proof-of-Work (PoW) despite consuming such vast amounts of electricity is also one of the most secure mining algorithms. Proof-of-Work ensures the network’s security.

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Author: Rebecca Asseh

Crypto Exchange KuCoin and DigitalBits Partner to Roll Out Enterprise Currency Desk (ECD)

The crypto exchange KuCoin and DigitalBits have formed a partnership in order to launch a new type of over-the-counter (OTC) desk.

KuCoin says the Enterprise Currency Desk (ECD) is created for companies that want to work with decentralized finance (DeFi) and blockchain technology in order to provide digital asset acquisition solutions.

The first partner is DigitalBits, a platform where companies can deploy branded stablecoins in lieu of consumer brand loyalty reward systems. It provides companies access to more tokens, allowing them to power their operations like wallet authentications, staking and transaction fees.

Here’s what a KuCoin press release for Wednesday reads:

“A designated service to address token procurement and liquidity will allow companies to easily engage in blockchain-based solutions, without having to employ experienced traders to obtain and utilize large amounts of tokens.”

DigitalBits: Intermediary for Provisioning Tokens

As reported by the Digital Bits’ vice president of operations – Michael Luckhoo – DigitalBits will be an intermediary, provisioning tokens for certain functions of businesses.

Luckhoo also mentioned that leveraging a partner in the ecosystem will be helpful for companies aiming to intake token requirements, instead of trying to obtain the same thing from each and every project taken separately.

The ECD Solution Will Cater to Enterprise Clients

The ECD solution is a traditional OTC one, only optimized and catering specifically to enterprise clients. KuCoin wants to allow its platform to serve as

“A designated service, addressing token procurement and liquidity allowing companies to easily engage in blockchain-based solutions, without having to employ experienced traders to obtain and utilize large amounts of tokens.”

The ECD will function as a subscription desk for brands and businesses. Not to mention that it allows brands access to Bitcoin (BTC) and Ethereum (ETH) rewards programs.

KuCoin’s Daily Trade Volume Increased Since 2018

According to previous reports, the Seychelles-based crypto exchange KuCoin raised $20 million in a Series A funding backed by Neo Global Capital, Matrix Partners and IDG Capital back in 2018.

Since then, it reached $33.5 million in daily trade volume. The company said that its new service is going to reduce the friction businesses usually experience when trying to launch branded tokens or to obtain large amounts of stablecoins.

[Also Read: KuCoin Joins Binance, Huobi In Offering A White-Label Crypto Exchange Solution]

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Author: Oana Ularu

Fidelity Digital Assets Onboards First Crypto Exchange, ErisX to Increase Trading Liquidity

ErisX clearinghouse now has a new member, Fidelity Digital Asset, (FDA) has joined ExisX in order to offer better buy and sell liquidity by taking advantage of its own central limit order book.

The announcement of Fidelity’s new venture was made on Thursday, and stated that the ErisX spot market will be available for all FDA customers. ErisX is the first crypto exchange to be onboarded by FDA. Terrence Dempsey, head of product at FDA believes, that ErisX was so attractive to his company because they are regulatory compliant and have the right counterparty risk analysis tools. He said,

“We have an execution platform that is connected to our custody offering that offers two things,” he said. “One [is] a matching engine, so we’ll look to cross client trades and if we can’t … we go out to a network of venues, or liquidity providers as we call them, that we can actually go and execute with.”

ErisX Validates FDA’s Work

The CEO of ErisX, Thomas Chippas, said of the new partnership:

“[…] a great validation of what we’ve been working on for so long, which is to get these sorts of household institutional intermediary names into our market.”

Crypto enthusiasts already know that one of ErisX’s goals is to make more traditional intermediaries come into the crypto world, and FDA has invested efforts in doing all this by offering execution and custody services for quite a while now. Thursday’s announcement indicates the already long lasting relationship between the 2 companies will further be solidified. Fidelity Digital Asset was one of the initial investors in ErisX back in 2018.

What Benefits Will the Deal Bring?

The central limit order book is a great benefit as it’s made available to all clearinghouse participants so they can access the same pool of liquidity. While OTC desks are tapping a price when having to connect buyers and sellers in order to increase their own profits, the ErisX system doesn’t do this. Dempsey said FDA worked in the past with OTC desks, but decided that identifying the liquidity pool to which the crypto custodian of the asset manager has access is what’s truly helpful. In other words, ErisX provides access to its spot exchange and order book, with the user experience and interface are being handled by FDA.

ErisX to Continue Adding Clearinghouse Members

As Chippas said, ErisX is planning to add more clearinghouse members. He didn’t specify how many members there are at the moment but mentioned they’re both institutional and retail clients. Names like TradeStation and TD Ameritrade were noted. He added that the new partnership with the FDA won’t raise any concerns for the long-term relationship ErisX has with TD Ameritrade. He added,

“The fact that Fidelity’s customer trades will now occur on a regulated and surveilled order book should build confidence for other entities.”

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Author: Oana Ularu

Telegram’s Open-Sourced Blockchain Network (TON) Might Launch Without The Company

  • Telegram’s blockchain platform, TON, might be launched despite a court order that allowed the SEC to halt its $1.7 billion token sale.
  • A US court on March 24 ruled that Telegram tokens (grams) be deemed as securities as per an earlier request by the SEC.
  • Till then, the messaging company will not be able to proceed with its blockchain network launch.

The Telegram community, however, is determined to roll out TON and have since come up with suggestions to pioneer this network either way. Fedor Skuratov, who is the founder and previously TON Labs communications manager, is leading over 25 developers within this ecosystem. So far, one of the tabled possibilities is launching TON without the involvement of Telegram’s team or the firm as an entity. Skuratov noted that this strategy is among those in serious consideration, given TON’s open-source nature.

Technicality Aspects

Assuming the Telegram Community Devs proceed with this launch, some technical and legal aspects might present unexpected challenges. Skuratov is however optimistic that developers will be able to form a consensus as soon as the platform goes live. This is because the only requirements are the generation of a genesis block and 13 validators within TON’s network;

“Strictly speaking, no additional measures are required to launch TON by the community, except for a consensus within the community.

But in order to get recognized, we will need to come to an agreement with investors (at least, with a majority of them),”

Ideally, this approach is similar to hard forks with the only difference being TON’s main version has yet to go live. On the upside, Telegram had already published the nodes to facilitate TON’s launch. Furthermore, TON Labs, has been running its own similar testnet whose value is pegged to a consensus amongst the investors.

TON Investors Sentiments and Legality

This proposed path might sound like a good option but will be hard to implement given the unsettled atmosphere since September 2019. Investors who were expecting gram tokens based on their acquired TON ownership have become increasingly impatient. They had agreed to a postponement launch from October 2019 to April this year; it is now uncertain although Telegram filed a notice to appeal the latest court decision.

Given this development, TON investors are likely to be proposed an extension of the gram token allocation. Alternatively, they might be compensated up to a certain percentage of their investment.

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Author: Edwin Munyui

Coinbase Wallet Users Can Now Earn Interest From DeFi DApps Directly In The App

The Coinbase Wallet has just integrated with decentralized finance (DeFi) apps in order to allow its users to lend crypto assets and track the growth of their interest straight from the wallet app.

As an announcement made by Coinbase on Wednesday says, Coinbase Wallet users are already putting millions into DeFi platforms through the wallet’s Dapp browser and WalletLink. Still, Coinbase wants to make their experience even more enjoyable. Until now, they didn’t have the option to compare rates from different providers, nor were they able to see the total of their balance with these providers with out leaving the app itself.

What Does the New Feature Bring?

According to the Coinbase announcement, the new wallet feature allows users who own a Coinbase wallet account to interact with lenders such as dYdX and Compound, which are both DeFi platforms. They can choose their coin and a smart contract provider in order to invest as much crypto as they want into one of the DeFi products.

As said before, they can view how much interest they’re earning and their total balance without having to exit the wallet. iOS users will have the new feature this week, while Android users will still have to wait a few more weeks.

DeFi Products Are Risky

Coinbase wanted to warn investors about the fact that DeFi products are quite new and present a risk. Caution was advised when using them. Here’s what the announcement reads exactly:

“Before you get started, please be aware that DeFi lending apps are relatively nascent and come with risks.

DeFi apps are programs running on the blockchain, and like any computer code they can potentially have bugs that cause you to lose money. Returns are not guaranteed and your deposits are not insured.”

Basic information and the definitions of minimum collateral or contract’s assets under custody are being provided for the wallet’s users to know better what contracts to choose. However, they’re still advised to do their own research in order to understand how the apps work and the risks they’re about to take.

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Author: Oana Ularu

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

Bitfinex Ordered To Freeze $860k Bitcoin Linked To BitPaymer Ransomware By UK Courts

A High Court in the United Kingdom has issued a freeze order on Bitcoin acquired via a ransomware attack against a Canadian-based firm. The proprietary injunction issued is a court order that prohibits an individual from handling their own assets until a proprietary claim case is heard and determined.

According to court documents about the ransomware case, more than 1000 computers belonging to the firm were attacked and their use disabled via a malware. The computers’ files were encrypted making it impossible to access them. The anonymous attackers asked for $1.2 million to be paid in Bitcoin so that they could decrypt the firm’s data.

The company had taken a cover against cybercrimes and the insurer negotiated with the attackers for a $950,000 payment made in the form of Bitcoin for the files to be decrypted. A tool was then given by the attackers to decrypt the data 24 hours after paying out the ransom. However, the firm still required 10 days for full restoration of its systems.

The firm’s insurers sought the services of blockchain analytic startup Chainalysis to determine the people behind the attack. Chainalysis found that majority of the Bitcoin paid out (96) had instantly been laundered via Bitfinex, a crypto exchange platform. The court then ordered Bitfinex to provide relevant information about the account that got the Ransom before Dec.18 last year.

Bitfinex did not comment on the details it handed over to the court when asked by Cointelegraph about the case. However, the firm stated,

“Bitfinex has robust systems in place to allow it to assist law enforcement authorities and litigants in cases such as this. In this case we have assisted the Claimant to trace the stolen Bitcoin and we understand the focus of the Claimant’s attention is no longer on the Bitfinex platform. It now appears Bitfinex is an entirely innocent party mixed up in this wrongdoing.”

The insurance firm’s legal counsel, Darragh Connell, confirmed that the case is still in court and the return hearings about the interim injunction is set in the near future.

Ransomware attacks have become a crucial challenge in the fight against cyber attacks and are becoming highly advanced as technology advances. Just last month, CyrusOne, a data analysis firm, was forced to part with $600,000 as ransom in a similar attack.

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Author: Joseph Kibe

Crypto Exchange OKEx COO Andy Cheung Resigns To Start A New Blockchain Business

Cryptocurrency exchange OKEx’s COO, Andy Cheung has resigned from his position in order to start a blockchain consultancy institute, BitWork. About his departure from the exchange, he said,

“My goal is to drive mass cryptocurrency adoption. But my contribution can be very limited in a cryptocurrency exchange. I decided, and we agreed amicably, that I can better achieve my goals with a new venture. Still, it’s been an absolute pleasure to have served OKEx.”

With BitWork, Cheung is planning to provide various solutions to the needs of the crypto market. Cheung explained,

“By helping more projects to get exposure and connecting them to different markets, we strive to facilitate mass crypto adoption.”

Hong kong-based BitWork will consist of a team of experienced blockchain experts that will offer exchange partnerships, advisory, marketing management, branding and public relations, fundraising, and event management services to cryptocurrency and blockchain projects.

Cheung has been with OKEx since its launch and oversaw its operations, marketing, and public relations. The exchange confirmed his departure from the company on Twitter and wished him well on his endeavor,

“Mr. Andy Cheung no longer works as COO for OKEx. We appreciate Andy’s contribution and wish him all the very best in his future career,”

“OKEx will continue to provide top-class crypto service as well as building the blockchain community.”

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Author: AnTy

Lisk’s Lightcurve Blockchain Studio To Layoff 40% Its Workforce To Reduce Burn Rate

The blockchain project Lightcurve has made the decision to lay off 40 percent of its employees in order to enable moving forward in the market. It is worth mentioning that Lightcurve is part of the open-source platform Lisk, which is powered by a cryptocurrency called LSK and is among the top 100 largest cryptos in the space.

Lisk’s Lightcurve Blockchain Project Reduces Its Staff

Volatility in the cryptocurrency market continues to show its effects on different crypto and blockchain projects. The CEO and co-founder of Lisk, Max Kordek, said on Discord that Lightcurve had to fire 21 employees considering they had to reduce costs. The company had 53 employees that will now become 32.

They will not only help in reducing costs but they will also be focusing on keeping talent in the research and backend development sectors. Meanwhile, frontend development, marketing, and other operations would be downsized.

This staff reduction would also allow the company to become ‘more agile,’ considering a large degree of the funds were going to human resources. Lightcurve is currently based in Berlin, Germany, and the remaining employees will continue with their jobs at the firm.

This is not the first time that a blockchain and a crypto-related company decides to reduce its number of employees. Circle, for example, informed back in May this year that they were reducing staff by 10 percent. This represented 30 employees at that time.

Furthermore, the blockchain firm ConsenSys decided at the end of 2018 that they were reducing the number of employees to rebalance their priorities. After this lay off of around 10% of its staff, the company announced a new roadmap for ConsenSys and a change in its business strategy. And just recently they are parting ways with operations in India and the Philippines.

Chainalysis is another firm that decided to lay off 20% of its workforce to remain profitable while operating in the market. Huobi Global laid off Australian employees back in Feb.

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Author: Carl T