Privacy Browser Brave Partners With Top Blockchain Game, Splinterlands; Will Accept BAT

Brave, the privacy-centric browser, has partnered with one of the top crypto card games, Splinterlands. The partnership would see both the companies advertise for each other and collaborate on marketing initiatives. Splinterlands game would integrate Brave’s native token allowing players on its platform to earn credit using BAT tokens while Brave will promote the crypto game on its browser.

Brave will become the official browser for the crypto card game Splinterlands, which is a blockchain-based game built on the Hive Network (moved from Steem). The marketing campaign would also suggest Brave users try the popular card game. Along with becoming the official web browser for the game, the privacy-centric browser will also advertise the crypto game showing ads to users who have opted for the option.

Brave made the partnership official and tweeted about the same from it’s Twitter handle, saying,

Brave Boasts of 19 Million Active Monthly Users

Brave browser has gained both in popularity and user growth over the years and especially in 2020. The privacy browser reported 15 million active monthly users in June, which has grown to 19 million today. The leap is quite significant given it’s comparatively new, and in just 10 months, it has almost doubled the number of active monthly users from 10 million reported in December 2019.

The privacy-centric browser has not just seen a significant bump in the number of active users, but also partners. Today, it boasts of some of the top crypto firms as its partner, which include Gemini and Binance, the top crypto exchanges. Along with crypto partners, its popularity saw a bump when Joe Rogan, the most successful podcaster, announced that he has been using Brave for quite some time now, a couple of months ago.

Brave’s soaring popularity could be attributed to its product design. It blocks any third-party advertisement, which keeps all the users browsing data safe and secure. On the other hand, those who opt-in for the Brave’s advertisement are rewarded in the native token BAT.

Splinterlands is rated as the top blockchain collectible game by DappRadar, with the highest number of players playing the game in the past 24 hours.

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Author: Hank Klinger

IOHK and The UN Launch $10k Hackathon to Fight Hunger & Climate Change Using Cardano

  • IOHK announces a partnership with the United Nations.
  • The Cardano-developer will launch a hackathon targeting the millennium development goals (MDG).

The Input-Output Hong Kong (IOHK) development team is partnering with the global humanitarian organizations, the United Nations (UN), launching a hackathon to end poverty, hunger and solve climate change. The hackathon will have a top prize of $10,000, aiming to incentivize developers to make the humanitarian millennium goals more achievable.

IOHK aims at improving the overall blockchain impact in international development using the Cardano blockchain. The hackathon proposal submission period opens on Saturday, and entries must be finalized by October 18 at 11:59 MDT. The selections will then take a week before results are released on 24th October, on the 75th anniversary of the launch of the United Nations – United Nations day.

Participants can submit any Cardano-based solutions on any of the new 17-millennium development goals set in 2015, including ending extreme poverty and hunger, fighting inequality and injustice, and tackling climate change. A pool prize of $10,000 worth of ADA, Cardano’s native token, will be released to incentivize projects to build.

The winning projects will be judged by a panel from the IOHK and UN employees, determining “an idea’s technical prowess, scalability, and social impact, as well as its financial and volunteer support.” The statement further states,

“The winning ideas will be able to seek the advice of experts from both the UN and IOHK to ensure that they are implemented in the most impactful way.”

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Author: Lujan Odera

SingularityNET to Move ‘A Significant Portion’ Of Operations To Cardano From Ethereum

In an announcement on Sept. 30, SingularityNET, the AI firm developing the human-like Sophia robot, announced its partnership with IOHK, the development team behind Cardano, led by founder, Charles Hoskinson. The strategic partnership between the two firms has been on the table for several months as Ethereum blockchain gas fees spiked to all-time highs – at an average tx cost of $15.

The move between the two will see IOHK transfer Ethereum (ERC-20) based AGI tokens to Cardano-based AGI tokens, similar to the wrapped tokens. Moreover, the statement says there will be significant advantages to switching to Cardano, mainly the new updates coming to the Plutus smart contract language – moving away from Ethereum’s Solidity coding language.

However, the statement did not state the portion of SingularityNET that will move from the Ethereum network,

“Final decisions and details regarding porting of a portion of the SingularityNET network to Cardano have not yet been made and will be discussed in-depth with the SingularityNET community when the time is right.”

The move to Cardano aims to increase the speeds of the transaction while lowering the network fees. The announcement states Ethereum high gas fees and high latency times as the main reason they are looking at other options. Additionally, the never-ending postponement of the ETH 2.0 launch, which will introduce a proof-of-stake (PoS) consensus mechanism, has been a barrier to the growth of SingularityNET.

“The ambitious Ethereum 2.0 design holds promise, but the timing of the rollout of different aspects of this next-generation Ethereum remains unclear, along with many of the practical particulars.”

In a 90-minute video chat with Hoskinson, SingularityNET CEO, Ben Goertzel, stated the company still aims at having a multi-chain approach when building blockchain-agnostic solutions to AI. This means that the company, more than likely, will not fully move the blockchain operations from Ethereum, Goertzel stated.

He states it will be left to the community to decide which blockchain offers the best properties, given Cardano has its own flaws. He stated:

“If it turns out the Ethereum portion is more powerful and useful for some purposes, and the Cardano portion is useful for other purposes, then so be it, right?”

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Author: Lujan Odera

Polkadot (DOT) Integrates Bluzelle’s Decentralized Data Oracles To Boost DeFi App Development

  • Bluzelle, a distributed oracle platform, announced a partnership with the blockchain research and development firm, Web3 Foundation (W3F), to integrate its decentralized data oracle on Polkadot.
  • This blockchain will offer developers the ability to build cross-chain applications.

According to a release on Medium, Bluzelle aims to bring “distributed storage capabilities” to projects building dApps on Polkadot ranging from decentralized finance dApps to gaming applications. The partnership between the two blockchain firms aims at directly taking up market share on the burgeoning DeFi apps market.

Polkadot’s founder, Gavin Wood (also the founder of W3F), said the partnership with Bluzelle would help in the quick transition of apps to the Web3 phase by leveraging the decentralized storage and trusted data oracles provided by the latter firm.

Polkadot is steadily improving cross-chain interaction between dApps in a bid to switch the web to Web3 standard entirely. In August, the Polkadot team announced the launch of its first parachain implementation testnet, Rococo, removing the need for relay chains. The Bluzelle integration will enhance development on Polkadot-based parachains by offering an architecture that “aligns with that of Polkadot” and “retains access to a reliable data network.”

Additionally, the oracles will provide DeFi projects with historical price data allowing the statistical analysis of token prices. Smart contracts rely on historical on-chain data to keep the market prices in check; hence projects using the decentralized oracles on Polkadot will be resilient to data manipulation attacks.

Bluzelle will be made available to all projects building on Polkadot’s Substrate framework.

Bluzelle is a delegated proof-of-stake (DPoS) blockchain-powered by Cosmos, claiming to handle over 10,000 transactions per second (TPS). Such infrastructure is a crucial feature to the growing DeFi market to provide scalability and cheap transaction fees – something that the current DeFi-leading platform, Ethereum, is suffering from. Pavel Bains, CEO of Bluzelle, said the consensus infrastructure would remain on Cosmos and further stating the embryonic stage of Polkadot’s integration:

“At this time, there is not anything built to show. It’s early stages. We are working with a number of DOT projects already.”

In February, BEG reported Polkadot’s integration of decentralized data oracle, Chainlink, becoming the first blockchain outside Ethereum to integrate the latter.

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Author: Lujan Odera

Boston Federal Reserve Seeks Top Blockchain Networks That Could Support A Digital Dollar

The Federal Reserve Bank of Boston partnership with Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) is currently testing over 30 blockchain projects to find the best one for a digital dollar. The tests aim at finding an already established project instead of building it from scratch with the Fed looking for a stable, secure, and scalable blockchain for the digital dollar project.

The Boston Fed started its study on central bank digital currencies back in 2015, releasing several published research papers on the possibilities and risks CBDCs pose to the U.S. economy. However, the practical bit is still some time from launch with statements from executives at the Boston Fed, confirming the timeline of the digital dollar launch is yet to be definite.

Speaking to Coindesk, Jim Cunha, the Senior Vice President at the Boston Fed, said, the project is still in its infancy stage hence the continuing in-depth research and learning on how CBDCs affect policy and the economy in general.

A long road ahead: Development of a digital dollar

BEG reported last week the partnership between Boston Fed, the Digital Currency Institute (DCI), and MIT to enhance efforts in research on the digital dollar. The collaboration with MIT and DCI offers the Boston Fed a stable group to dive deeper into blockchains.

Neha Narula, director of the DCI, stated the partnership aims at extensively researching multiple blockchains to find the best fit for the digital dollar. The developers will leverage a “ready-made” blockchain to avoid “taking some brand-new consensus algorithm or cryptographic protocol and use it for a country’s national currency,” Narula said. In support, Cunha said the developers are working on

“30 to 40 blockchain projects either open source or private solutions at a very high level first, and then doing a deeper dive into a few of them.”

This is to promote a more comprehensive view of the blockchains allowing researchers to make steady conclusions on the privacy, scalability, throughput, security, and fees of each platform.

‘A different path to other CBDCs.’

The digital dollar will differ from other central bank currencies due to the U.S. laws on privacy as well as differences in challenges across the banks. In respect to this, Cunha expects the development of a U.S. CBDC to take “years” with the development distributed across players in the ecosystem.

“We’re not getting granular with this. We’re not trying to design and think about product design down to the level of ‘how would someone unbanked use this?” he said. “[Boston Fed] we’re trying to be flexible enough to allow innovation to answer some of those problems.”

Cunha maintained his stance that the digital dollar has no set timeline despite the advancement in the Chinese CBDC and private digital currencies such as Libra. Instead of competition, Cunha believes the introduction of other central bank digital currencies offers a collaborative spirit across the ecosystem, gaining the attention of people.

“It just creates more interest in the project,” he said.

As one of the 12 country-wide Fed branches, Boston Fed provides a reliable partner in understanding the digital currency systems, Neha said. Having formed a solid partnership, the DCI executive states the two will come up with the right questions and answers to research on the launch of a CBDC extensively.

“We’re excited about this collaboration because DCI’s goal is to answer the fundamental questions necessary to determine under what circumstances a CBDC is a good idea, and how we might deploy one should a central bank decide to do so.”

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Author: Lujan Odera

Solana (SOL) Added to Coinbase Custody; Cue in the Institutions

Solana has announced a partnership with Coinbase Custody, a registered fiduciary under the New York State Banking Law.

Over the past few weeks, the Solana Foundation has been working with the Coinbase team to integrate the Solana blockchain.

“This partnership closely aligns with our mission to bring speed and security to decentralized finance,” said Solana team.

Now, in addition to non-custodial wallet SolFlare and TrustWallet, investors get another option to store SOL in the offline cold storage system of Coinbase Custody.

With this move, Solana will be attracting institutional attention as Coinbase custody offers a comprehensive set of insurance policies for larger institutions to safely and more securely custody SOLs.

Additionally, Coinbase Custody, which also provides its services to Grayscale, offers staking and governance, “which are equally crucial for the long-term health of the network.”

Solana recently gained spotlight after derivatives exchange FTX launched its decentralized derivatives platform on it. FTX CEO Sam Bankman-Fried described Solana as a “fully decentralized blockchain,” which is “fast as fuck” and doesn’t need a trusted centralized sidechain.

Solana can “process 10,000 times as much as Ethereum; and it’s 1,000,000 times cheaper,” said Bankman-Fried at that time.

On the back of Coinbase Custody news, SOL jumped 26% but has since dropped 6% to now trade at $3.42.

For now, SOL is only available on Binance and FTX, but after this partnership, it might get listed on Coinbase as well. Solana has announced several partnerships so far in 2020, including Chainlink, KIN, and Terra Stablecoin.

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Author: AnTy

Binance-backed Travala Collabs With Agoda; Can Now Use Crypto Payments at 2.2M Properties

  • Binance-backed Travala.com announces a strategic partnership with an online travel platform, Agoda, in an aim to onboard an extra 600,000 hotels despite the heavy travel bans currently in place across the globe.
  • Travelers utilizing Travala will now have access to a vast catalog of some 2.2 Million listings in 90,124 destinations globally.

Online Travel Company, Travala.com will onboard over 600,000 extra hotels to its crypto enabled platform, the company announced on their official twitter after securing the partnership with Agoda, a leading online booking firm.

Speaking on the latest partnership with Agoda, Travala.com’s CEO, Juan Otero, showed enthusiasm to start working on the journey of bringing crypto to the traveling industry. Over the past few months, the global pandemic has caused a global stigma and travel restrictions but Juan believes the partnership will connect even more people across the globe. He spoke saying,

“This strategic partnership with Agoda puts Travala.com in a league of its own. We can safely say we are the world’s largest blockchain-based online travel agency by number of accommodation options available with over 2,200,000 options to book covering 90,124 destinations.”

The Binance backed travel company extends its users with the option to remit payments for their trips via some 30 cryptocurrencies such as Binance Coin (BNB), Bitcoin (BTC), Bitcoin Cash (BCH), EOS, Ethereum (ETH), Litecoin (LTC), Ripple (XRP), Tether (USDT), Tron (TRX), and AVA.

Notably, AVA is a native token by Travala drawing a lot of similarities to the airline miles and loyalty points incentive programs by legacy booking platforms. In the month of June 2020, almost 13% of all bookings on the Travala platform were paid for via the incentive program.

Damien Pfirsch, VP of Strategic Partnerships at Agoda, the Singapore-based travel site, shares a similar growth trajectory of the partnership with Juan. Speaking on it, Damien said the new platform, Travala, will guarantee users an improved travel experience regardless of the geographical position of their trip.

Agoda brings to Travala.com several benefits including competitive rates and the wide listings of hotels to customers. He further said,

“Agoda’s technological expertise and private cloud ensure that partners enjoy best-in-class uptime connection to our supply for a smoother customer booking journey.”

Founded in 2017, Travala has placed itself strategically, forging unique alliances with leading travel firms ensuring their users a smooth travel experience all while leveraging crypto. They recently announced similar cooperation with mega travel booking platform, Expedia as well as Booking.com.

The deal with Expedia brought 700,000 hotels to Travala.com’s platform, marking its first major partnership with traditional search sites. Despite being rivals in the travel industry, the two giants collaborated in a bid to boost their market shares.

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Author: Lujan Odera

BTC Marketplace, LocalBitcoins Partners With Elliptic To Integrate Blockchain Monitoring

Global Bitcoin (BTC) peer-to-peer exchange, LocalBitcoins announces its partnership with Elliptic, a crypto surveillance company, to further compliance on the site. An announcement from the Finland-based company confirms the addition of two Elliptic Solutions to prevent illicit crypto from transacting on the platform, namely, the Navigator risk analysis tool and Lens wallet screener.

Following its registration as a virtual currency payment provider in Finland, LocalBitcoins set out changes in its regulations. The latest integration of Elliptic’s blockchain monitoring tools aims to comply with the AMLD5 recommendation set out to European countries. LocalBitcoins stopped cash trades on the platform, citing issues with KYC/AML compliance.

Read more>> LocalBitcoins drops in-person cash support for Bitcoin trading, could get left behind by rival

The P2P exchange also took steps to make KYC mandatory on the exchange as well as discontinue Iranian users from the platform due to global economic sanctions placed on the country.

According to the chief scientist of Elliptic, Tom Robinson, exchanges that implement the blockchain monitoring solutions reduce their overall work, saving time to focus on stricter compliance issues. Speaking on the latest addition of Elliptic, Tom said,

“The reduction in flows from dark markets to peer-to-peer exchanges is a clear consequence of these businesses introducing strong KYC and AML controls. Criminals are now thinking twice before trying to cash-out through the major peer-to-peer exchanges.”

Following the toughened regulation and compliance on LocalBitcoins, users seem to be migrating to rival P2P exchanges, challenging its dominance. In December 2019, Paxful became the first P2P exchange for dethroning LocalBitcoins in weekly volumes traded, and the latter has since struggled to recoup its dominance.

Read more>> P2P bitcoin market, LocalBitcoins, sees 10% YoY revenue jump despite competition and regulations

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Author: Lujan Odera

Binance Partners With CM-Equity To Expand Its Market Reach In Germany And Europe

  • Binance’s latest partnership set to introduce its trading services and crypto asset management to clients in Germany and Europe.

In an announcement on Friday, Binance, the largest crypto exchange in daily volumes traded, announced its partnership to a German investment firm, CM-Equity, to provide crypto brokerage and asset management services in Europe.

Cryptocurrency investors and traders within Europe and Germany will now be able to operate proprietary trading and brokerage services ON Binance. CM-Equity is a BaFin regulated investment firm that opens up a regulation-compliant gateway for Europeans to trade crypto assets and associated derivatives on a highly secure and liquid platform.

Binance aims to penetrate the European market in the preparedness of their upcoming VISA enabled debit cards set to be launched later this year. On the partnership, Changpeng Zhao ‘CZ’ said the two firms aim to “grow the digital assets industry in a sustainable way” as they expand their crypto services to global clients.

He further said,

“By joining forces with CM-Equity, Binance will be able to broaden our services in Europe while ensuring compliance with local regulations.”

CM-Equity was launched in 2020, growing into a fully compliant investment bank and has gained its license from the German Financial Markets Authority, BaFin. The German financial regulator launched its guidelines on foreign crypto custodians and crypto firms offering services in the country earlier in the year.

The partnership with one of the biggest crypto exchanges opens a new world of possibilities, Michael Kott, CEO of CM-Equity, He concluded,

“Our fully licensed digital assets platform will benefit from the best liquidity and frictionless service offered by Binance.”

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Author: Lujan Odera

Hong Kong Passes Limited Partnership Funds (LPF) Bill Including Investment in Digital Assets

Last week, “Limited Partnership Fund Bill” was passed by the Legislative Council of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region. The bill that aims at attracting private equity, real estate and venture capital funds to set up and operate in Hong Kong also covers investment in digital assets.

The bill will come into operation on August 31st, 2020.

With this bill, Hong Kong has established a new regime for investment funds to be registered in Hong Kong in the form of limited partnerships. It was first introduced in March to provide an alternative investment vehicle for private fund managers raising funds or investing in Asia.

Under this new regime, investment managers need to be licensed by the SFC (Securities and Futures Commission), ensure proper custody of assets, annual audits of independent funds, and be compliant with the AML/CFT.

“Major jurisdictions waking up to regulated Bitcoin products. Great progress in Hong Kong!” noted Gabor Gurbacs, digital asset strategist at VanEck.

The definition of “fund” in the Bill covers, but not limited to, Venture capital, Private equity, and M&A funds, Real Estate Fund, Infrastructure and project funds, Special circumstances fund, Mixed Fund, Non-performing asset fund, Credit Fund, and Funds invested in digital assets such as cryptocurrencies and virtual assets.

Fully Regulated Bitcoin Fund

Today, MV Index Solutions GmbH announced that in partnership with CryptoCompare, it had licensed the MVIS CryptoCompare Bitcoin Index (MVBTC) for its recently launched Bitcoin fund which is available only to institutional and professional investors.

“We are pleased that our Digital Asset Indices continue to be popular and that we are now also the underlying index or Hong Kong’s first regulated cryptocurrency fund,” said Thomas Kettner, Managing Director at MV Index Solutions.

“This will help to strengthen the status of digital assets as an asset class and fulfills the needs of institutional investors.”

The licensing is part of the broader push to bring institutional-grade fund products to investors looking to gain exposure to bitcoin and other cryptos.

“With the launch of their fully regulated Bitcoin fund, VSFG and Arrano Capital will help further the adoption of digital assets that fulfil the needs of institutional investors,” said Charles Hayter, CEO, and Co-Founder of CryptoCompare.

Hong Kong & Bitcoin

Not long back, bitcoin got really popular and increasingly in use in Hong Kong; however, lately, there hasn’t been any major capital flight out of it.

While crypto ATM Genesis Block Hong Kong seeing its volume doubling, no such spike can be seen on P2P platforms LocalBitcoins or Paxful.

While Nic Carter of Coin Metrics says, “unencumbered access to the financial system isn’t guaranteed,” Matthew Graham, CEO of Sino Global Capital, points out that “HKD is freely convertible” and as such doesn’t see it as a big use case.

They may not be using Bitcoin but seem to be using stablecoins as the trading volume between Hong Kong dollars and USD pegged USDT has been seeing a surge in June on fiat-to-crypto trading platform TideBit. This could be attributed to the national security law enacted by China on June 30.

However, much of trade happens over-the-counter (OTC) in mainland China and Hong Kong, so it’s hard to know the real trading volume and interest in stablecoins and digital assets.

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Author: AnTy