Russia’s State-Owned Bank, Sberbank, Files Papers to Launch Blockchain Platform for Stablecoin

Russia’s State-Owned Bank, Sberbank, Files Papers to Launch Blockchain Platform for Stablecoin

  • Russian state-owned bank, Sberbank, submits blockchain applications to the central bank.
  • The registration procedure is set to take up to 45 days; the project to be launched in spring.

According to local reports, Russia’s largest state-owned bank filed an application to the Central Bank of the Russian Federation seeking approval for its blockchain underlying its stablecoin, Sbercoin. Speaking during the ‘Digital Transformation and Prospects for Regulating the Digital Economy’ seminar, Anatoly Popov, deputy chairman of the board of Sberbank, confirmed the bank “applied with the Bank of Russia to register its blockchain platform in early January.”

Sberbank’s blockchain will host the reported Sbercoin, which was previously reported to launch in 2021. Popov further said, “the bank is ready to work with such a fiat currency,” having tested the project internally and seeing that the solution works.

According to law, the registration process is set to take about 45 days, with the Central Bank either approving the application or sending comments to the Sberbank team. If approved, the Sberbank blockchain will launch in spring, Popov confirmed. However, the bank is still working around how to tax the digital assets on the blockchain.

“There is a high probability that this project will be launched in the spring,” a spokesperson at the bank said. “There is one more issue that has not yet been fully resolved – the issue of taxation of digital financial assets, but we hope that it will become clearer.”

In December, the state-owned bank announced its plans to launch Sbercoin, only a month before Russia implements its draconian crypto laws.

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Author: Lujan Odera

OKEx Expands Its Real-Time Settlement Platform to New Coin-Margined Perpetual Swaps

OKEx Expands Its Real-Time Settlement Platform to New Coin-Margined Perpetual Swaps

In an announcement this Thursday, the world-leading crypto exchange OKEx confirmed they would expand their real-time settlement platform and add new coin-margined perpetual swaps to their platform. The exchange launched a real-time settlement for all perpetual swaps, futures, and options contracts to improve its customers’ overall liquidity and trading experience.

Real-time settlements for traders started at 8:00 am UTC on Dec. 29 on the ADA/USD perpetual swap to “improve the capital efficiency and improve cross-exchange arbitrage opportunities,” a post from the exchange read at the time. OKEX has since expanded the real-time settlement feature to “ALGOUSD, ATOMUSD, and an additional 20+ coin-margined perpetual swaps, including XLM, YFI THETA”. Here is a complete list of the crypto’s, all paired with USD:

  • ALGO
  • ATOM
  • CRV
  • DASH
  • FIL
  • IOST
  • IOTA
  • KNC
  • NEO
  • ONT
  • QTUM
  • SUN
  • UNI
  • XLM
  • XMR
  • XTZ
  • YFI
  • YFII
  • ZEC

The real-time settlement allows users to withdraw their profits from perpetual swap contracts at any time within the day – switching from the 4.00 PM UTC deadline.

“It is a huge benefit to our traders because it opens up greater trading opportunities for them, including cross-exchange arbitrage, as they can now settle their profit in real-time across exchanges,” commented Lennix Lai, the head of financial markets at OKEx.

OKEX has recently faced challenges and huge withdrawals from its platform following a five-week-long withdrawal suspension.

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Author: Lujan Odera

1inch Exchange Launches Second Liquidity Program; 1% Of Total Token Supply To Be Rewarded

1inch exchange set to reward 1% of total 1inch tokens to liquidity providers (LPs) on its platform over the course of the month. The exchange also announced new governance improvements with the launch of its upgraded Liquidity Protocol v.1.1.

Less than a month following the 1inch exchange airdrop, liquidity providers on the decentralized exchange (DEX) are set to be rewarded in the coming month in a “new liquidity mining program.” According to the exchange statement, liquidity providers from five pools, namely ETH-WBTC, ETH-1INCH, ETH-DAI, ETH-USDC, and ETH-USDT, will be rewarded 1% of the total 1inch token supply for supplying liquidity over the next month, starting January 9.

The rewards will be distributed equally to all the liquidity pools in equal shares; the statement further reads.

Back on Christmas Day 2020, every wallet that had interacted with 1inch till 24 December was awarded an airdrop of the 1inch tokens – the price rising close to 1500% once the token launched on Binance. The previous liquidity program, which ended on January 7, was a success with over 7.5 million 1inch tokens distributed to liquidity pools – realizing a 300% APY.

In the summer of 2020, the decentralized finance (DeFi) market exploded to a near parabolic state birthing along with governance tokens and yield farming. However, as Bitcoin took its strides towards setting new all-time highs, the DeFi ecosystem slowed down, but there is a recurring interest in the field as BTC and ETH prices stabilize.

The total supply of 1inch tokens stands at 1.5 billion 1inch tokens, meaning 15 million tokens will be distributed across the five pools. This represents double the first amount disbursed to 1inch exchange users.

The DEX also announced the launch of its new 1inch Liquidity Protocol v.1.1 that includes several bug fixes and new liquidity products for users to participate in. While the older program is still effective, users will need to transfer their assets and incentives to the newly upgraded platform to participate in the new program.

Could this be the start of the second DeFi craze?

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Author: Lujan Odera

Sovryn Launches DeFi Platform on RSK Bitcoin Sidechain; With Suite of Lending & Trading Tools

New decentralized lending and trading platform launches with a focus on the top cryptocurrency, Bitcoin (BTC), rather than the conventional Ethereum-based applications.

Sovryn, a decentralized platform built and operating on Bitcoin’s RSK sidechain, announced the launch of its public chain this Tuesday, aiming to bring a full Bitcoin suite to the DeFi world. Users on the platform can now access a suite of DeFi tools, including lending, borrowing, and trading using Bitcoin.

The platform incorporates a decentralized exchange and a derivatives platform, where users can place future bets on assets (either long or short) with up to 5X leverage. In addition to borrowing and lending services on the platform, users can also stake (provide liquidity) on Bitcoin (BTC), Tether stablecoin (USDT), and Dollar on Chain (DOC) tokens and earn interest rewards by lending out the assets.

RSK is a Bitcoin sidechain type that offloads some of the transactions from the layer 1 chain to another public network. As a sidechain, RSK gives Bitcoin similar smart contract capabilities to Ethereum-based applications allowing new features to be integrated using Bitcoin.

In a statement to the press Edan Yago, Sovryn project lead, praised RSK as a “natural fit” for his project, allowing the development of a censorship-resistant digital currency. He further stated,

“Now, with the addition of a smart contract layer, deploying on RSK has meant we can provide the same or better functionality than centralized services, but in a decentralized way.”

The statement from Sovryn further confirmed a planned launch of its decentralized governance protocol later this month, similar to a lending protocol, Compound token launch in May. The governance smart contracts will be forked from Compound, with the early investors and users of Sovryn having the exclusive sale rights at the launch of the Sovryn governance tokens, which are expected to launch in Q1 2021.

To participate in voting on the platform, users must stake their tokens, where the longer you stake your tokens, the higher your voting power will be.

Sovryn completed a symbolic $2.1 million funding round led by Greenfield One and joined by other investors, including Collider Ventures, Monday Capital, and BlockVentures, who also provided development support. The funding value is a representation of the 21 million BTC coins that will be mined.

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Author: Lujan Odera

Binance Backed Layer-2 DEX, Injective Protocol, Launches Solstice Testnet

Injective Protocol, the Binance backed cross-chain DeFi derivatives trading platform, is launching its testnet according to a publication on TechCrunch yesterday. This milestone comes as a significant step in the DeFi derivative market where action has been picking up in recent months; Injective Protocol plans to bridge the existing gap between chains so that derivative traders can operate freely across multiple decentralized exchanges.

This initiative allows DeFi derivative traders to operate on Ethereum and Cosmos blockchain networks’ likes without being limited to a particular chain. Injective Protocol leverages the Tendermint-based Proof-of-Stake (PoS) consensus to power an ecosystem where traders can engage in cross-chain derivatives trading. The project enjoys a $3 million funding from Binance and other prominent crypto investors, who include Pantera Capital & Hashed.

Pantera Capital has successfully existed in crypto, having invested in heavyweights like Bitstamp, Kik, and Blockfolio. A partner at the firm, Paul Veradittakit, praised the Injective Protocol cross-chain DEX derivatives exchange model;

“Injective’s Solstice testnet trades and feels like a state of the art derivatives exchange, but it’s actually entirely supported by a fully decentralized infrastructure.”

Notably, this project has been under the wraps for around two years as the team validated it with sizeable institutional traders, market makers, and funds. The co-founder and CEO, Eric Chen, previously worked in a blockchain-oriented fund where his role spun around cryptographic research. So far, Injective Protocol has already established partnerships with leading blockchain firms like Frontier, Ramp DeFi, and Elrond.

Meanwhile, DeFi operations continue to experience the increased activity as more participants join the nascent crypto niche. DEX volumes went up by almost 70% during the summer DeFi craze, a trend that is unlikely to reverse in favor of centralized crypto exchanges. DeFi innovations like Injective Protocol tout solutions to the underlying CeFi challenges include exchange hacks, exit scams, and front running.

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Author: Edwin Munyui

DeFi Leader, Aave, Rolls Out V2; Adding ‘Collateral Swaps’ to Reduce Loan Liquidations

Aave, a decentralized lending platform, launches Version 2 (Aave v2), bringing along a slew of new features to build more efficient decentralized lending solutions. While the added features all bring better efficiency to the platform, the new collateral swap feature is the poster boy for the Aave v2 launch on Thursday.

Furthermore, the launch coincides with the recent rise in Aave flash loans – reaching $1 billion – and rise to the fourth spot in rankings of the largest DeFi projects in total value locked (TVL) – recording $1.5 billion in TVL (10% of the total DeFi market cap).

The collateral swap feature

As mentioned, the new collateral swap is the most exciting feature in the new upgraded version. If a user wants to borrow across the DeFi ecosystem, users place their crypto as collateral, locking them up until they are repaid. For example, a user can put ETH as collateral against Maker’s DAI stablecoin to use it. However, they wish. However, this forces the user into a long position on ETH since they are locked for a set period.

If the price of ETH tanks, the user will be readily liquidated, as witnessed during the March mega-crash. The new collateral swap feature allows the borrower to swap their collateral for another token efficiently while using low gas costs. In the case that if the ETH price is collapsing, users can switch it for wBTC, AAVE, LINK, or even a stablecoin to protect them from volatile crypto price movements and potentially liquidations. Stani Kulechov, Founder of Aave, wrote in a blog post,

“In DeFi, assets that were being used as collateral were tied up, but now with V2, they are free to be traded,”

“Users can trade their deposited assets, across all currencies supported in the Aave Protocol, even when they are being used as collateral.”

The collateral swap on Aave v2 is supported by a new flash loan, a new feature on the upgrade, allowing users to open and close a loan within one block. The new feature aims to quicken the process and reduce the fees when repaying loans giving users a seamless experience.

“This new feature allows users to close their loan positions by paying directly with their collateral in just 1 transaction — smooth and simple.”

Native credit delegation introduced

Aave v2 encompasses a host of features, including credit delegation aiming to revolutionize the decentralized lending industry. According to Stani’s post, the credit delegation feature will “open up access to liquidity without [the user] needing existing capital.” Introduced back in July, the CD feature remained a hugely centralized feature on version 1, managed by the Aave development team.

The upgrade introduces a more decentralized power to users who wish to delegate their collateral to another account. In a statement to Coindesk, Kulechov called on developers to build systems atop the Aave v2 and solutions to boost credit delegation across the platform.

Other features added on Aave v2 include batch flash loans, flash liquidations, gas optimization, and stable & variable rate borrowing, allowing users to switch conditions on their loans at any given time, switching from regular and irregular rates.

The Aave community also recently passed the AIP-3 proposal that makes a move from v1 to v2 seamless. The statement reads,

“By using a Flash Loan powered migration tool, users will be able to make the transition without having to close their V1 loan positions.”

The migration will be launched later in the month.

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Author: Lujan Odera

ErisX Launches Cash-Settled Contracts to Help Limit Investors Exposure to Market Volatility

The cryptocurrency derivatives platform ErisX has now introduced cash-settled bounded futures to protect against market volatility and enable short positions in the crypto market.

Chief Executive Officer of ErisX Thomas Chippas said the firm wants to encourage traders interested in trading spot Bitcoin. By adding physically settled futures to the platform, traders will protect the futures clearinghouse and futures exchange.

Unlike physically settled contracts, the nature of cash-settled contracts means they do not need Bitcoin delivery. This enables investors to still profit from Bitcoin, even when they don’t have enough to invest heavily.

Chippas reiterated that the only way investors and traders will be drawn to physically traded futures is when exchanges start offering them on margin. He further revealed that ErisX has reached out to the U.S. Commodities Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) to enable the exchange to provide margined accounts for physically settled futures.

Meanwhile, the launch of cash-settled bounded futures, according to Chippas, will offer both lower and upper bonds on losses and gains, which protects investors from high volatility in the market.

Since 2017, exchanges have been offering cash-settled futures in the U.S. Cboe, and CME rolled out their products the same year, although the former stopped offering Bitcoin futures last year.

Traders can gain more crypto exposure through the platform.

ErisX gained approval from CFTC to offer additional trading services on its platform.

There is a minimum potential risk of trading cash-settled contracts, and it requires less collateral than other contracts.

Bounded Futures also protect holders against volatility in the market, as it enables short positions in the market. Traders can quickly cash out in the market when they discover that the trade is going against them.

The contracts are entered and settled in cash, enabling customers to gain more crypto exposure, even those who may have restricted access in the market.

He added that the bounded funds would offer traders the chance to profit even from a volatile market by allowing cost-efficient strategies. As a result, they manage their risks effectively and still reap good rewards from their investments.

“These contracts are one initiative among many that we have been working on to simplify access to the crypto markets,” Chippas said, pointing out that the goal of the exchange is to make trading simpler for traders.

Offering lesser trading risks

Another interesting feature is the bringing of all options on a single platform for traders. As it stands, ErisX offers traders the right access to crypto markets while maintaining performance and security. It’s currently the only US-based exchange that allows customers to trade regulated and spot futures on a single platform.

The exchange also has a reward or bonus policy where new clients are rewarded with a $50 token for their next transaction after completing signup and making their first transaction.

The exchange says it’s in the company’s goal and interest to continue offering maximum security and protection of traders’ funds even as they take advantage of the market volatility.

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Author: Ali Raza

Two-Thirds of PayPal Users Aim to Use Bitcoin at Merchant Stores: Study

  • Nearly 20% of PayPal users are ready to use and hold Bitcoin (BTC) on the platform, report.
  • Can this push BTC past its recently set all-time high price?
  • Research firm sets PayPal stock price target set at 35% increase due to BTC excitement.

Nearly a fifth of PayPal users are jumping on to the Bitcoin (BTC) train, a Japanese investment bank report, Mizuho Securities, reported. According to the survey carried out by 380 PayPal users, there is an uptake in BTC purchases on the global payments platform as users take advantage of PayPal’s Bitcoin capabilities.

According to the survey, 17% of the respondents said they had already purchased Bitcoin on PayPal, with a further 65% confirming they will use the top crypto in daily purchases of goods and services.

After years of belittling Bitcoin adoption and banning its customers from participating in Bitcoin trading, PayPal finally embraced cryptocurrencies. In October this year, BEG reported PayPal would allow customers to buy and sell BTC alongside other top cryptocurrencies such as Ethereum (ETH), Bitcoin Cash (BCH), and Litecoin (LTC).

Since Bitcoin’s price has exploded to set new all-time highs as retail customers on the payments platform stack up on the top crypto, Michael Santoli, a CBNC markets commentator, explained BTC’s ripping price growth as a factor of PayPal accumulating more BTC for their customers to purchase.

“Bitcoin ripping in part because PayPal and Square are buying loads of it to facilitate customer trading,” he wrote on Twitter.

Read more: Bitcoin Shortage Is Real; PayPal & Cash App Buying More Than 100% Of All Newly-Issued BTC.

Apart from the boost in Bitcoin’s price and usage on PayPal, user engagement, usage frequency, and PayPal’s stock monetization potential have also seen a boost following BTC’s integration. The survey reads,

“About 50% of PayPal’s bitcoin traders reported increased usage of the PayPal app after beginning to trade bitcoin.

This compares with just 9% who reported reduced engagement.”

Moreover, PayPal has found it difficult to convert non-Bitcoiners into Bitcoiners despite the growth in BTC purchases on the platform. Only about 8% of the non-bitcoin owners have purchased crypto through PayPal, with 42% of the non-Bitcoin holders stating they “do not know yet” if they will purchase the top crypto, the report stated.

Despite the hiccups, PayPal’s integration of Bitcoin has seen the company’s share price (PYPL) double over the course of 2020. Mizuho Securities has since increased its PYPL share price target from $270 to $290 due to BTC and crypto excitement on the platform, a 33% increase from the current price of $218 per PYPL share. Bitcoin, on the other hand, has experienced a 190% increase over the course of 2020, despite crashing to $3,500 in March.

NOTE: With over 200 million customers on its platform, a sample size of 380 does not give the full picture of the Bitcoin purchases and sales already made on PayPal.

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Author: Lujan Odera

Coinbase Pro Drops Margin Trading, ‘Common Sense Regulations’ Needed

San Francisco-based cryptocurrency exchange Coinbase is disabling margin trading on the Pro platform, in response to the new guidance from the US Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC).

The exchange pointed to the “recent changes in our regulatory environment” but didn’t specify which guidance led to the move.

All open limit orders for those customers using credit will be canceled by 2 pm PT today, and no new margin trades will be allowed to take place anymore while the product will be taken offline next month once all the existing margin positions have expired.

Margin is borrowing funds from the exchange, which allows traders to leverage their positions to amplify their returns. Paul Grewal, Chief Legal Officer, in the official announcement said,

“We believe clear, common-sense regulations for margin lending products are needed to protect and provide peace of mind to U.S customers.

We look forward to working closely with regulators to achieve this goal.”

Amidst this, Coinbase’s app has found a place among the Apple App Store’s top 100 free apps. At 73rd spot, Coinbase has jumped about 40 ranks in just one day as the price of Bitcoin rallies towards new highs, trading above $19,000.

In terms of the free finance app, Coinbase has a place at the 5th spot behind the popular apps Square’s Cash App, PayPal, Venmo, and Robinhood, three out of four of which also allow trading in BTC and cryptos.

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Author: AnTy

Oasis Network Launches Mainnet, Enabling More DeFi Privacy & Data Tokenization

Top cryptocurrency exchange Binance has announced it will list privacy-focused Oasis Network on its platform. The listing will enable Oasis Network to make it easy for under-collateralized loans in DeFi.

Binance announced this on its blog, with plans to offer Oasis Network on its platform with three pairs, which include ROSE/USDT, ROSE/BUSD, and ROSE BTC.

Yesterday evening, Oasis Network mainnet was live with over 75 independent validators already registered.

According to the Network, it is set up to provide decentralized applications, and it can provide about 1000 transactions per second.

In 2018, Oasis Network raised $45 million from top crypto ventures such as Binance Labs, A16z, Pantera, and Polychain.

The funds helped the company to grow bigger, offering more efficient services to its users. The company ensures the encryption of data and ensures the enforcement of privacy policies via smart contracts.

According to Oasis Labs, the ‘confidential compute’ functionality helps encrypt data to ensure several processes’ privacy, from genetic research to credit history check.

By default, the Oasis Network respects the user’s data preference and supports new sets of privacy-preserving applications. Users can earn rewards when they stake their data with apps that control how the services they use consume their most sensitive information.

Oasis Labs collaborated with Binance in August this year to launch CryptoSafe, a decentralized platform designed to fight crypto fraud.

Oasis platform will offer a wider capacity

The Oasis platform’s integration offers a much wider network capacity to ensure credit checks and privacy of sensitive personal or sensitive data. It also helps loan applicants to establish their creditworthiness to creditors.

Most existing DeFi loan products provide over-collateralized lending, but plans are in place to also introduce under-collateralized loans.

Based on the post, Binance decided to collaborate with Oasis Labs to offer a platform where exchanges can reduce the industry’s number of frauds. While ensuring safety, the platform will also protect each participant’s sensitive data confidentiality in a decentralized environment.

Oasis Labs has hundreds of DeFi projects

The announcement also noted that the DeFi industry leaders such as Balancer and Chainlink recently joined the Oasis Network.

Oasis Labs has also assured participants that its security architecture can improve private decentralized exchange platforms’ operations, such as automated market maker Uniswap.

Oasis Labs says several partnership projects are already ongoing on the network, including Binance-led CryptoSafe Alliance and the privacy-first genome sequencing partnership with Nebula Genomics.

Just last month, Oasis Lab revealed that Nebula Genomics would use “Parcel,” its data governance API product, to enhance the platform’s capabilities. And there are hundreds of projects the company is presently working on, according to the report.

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Author: Ali Raza