Celo Dollar (cUSD) Stablecoin Launches as the Libra Rival Eyes Digital Ecosystem Dominance

Celo Dollars (cUSD) stablecoins are now live on the platform’s mainnet according to a medium post by the foundation on June 29. This comes barely two months since Celo’s mainnet went live; the project has been making aggressive moves in both development and community growth. With Celo’s stablecoin (cUSD) now accessible, the foundation is optimistic that its vision of an all-inclusive financial ecosystem will be realized.

Notably, Celo’s infrastructure has been gaining popularity as its Alliance membership surged following its debut in March with an initial 50 members. Two months in, the number had grown to 75 as more players collaborate to expand Celo’s ecosystem. Prominent names contributing to this project include Bison Trails, Alpha Wallet, Paxful, Polychain, and Mercy Corps, to mention a few. Currently, the Alliance’s focus is in four areas; communications, policy, remittances, and international aid.

The Celo Dollar (cUSD)

As cryptocurrencies take the center stage of digital asset innovation, programmable money is a no brainer for today’s economy. It is, therefore, not surprising that the digital currency trend has been resilient since Bitcoin recorded ATH back in 2017. Consequently, crypto market players have come up with ways to eliminate some aspects of volatility hence the rise of stablecoins over the course of 2019.

Celo Dollar (cUSD) is designed to further enhance the grown of $34 billion P2P markets, $1.4 trillion PoS market, $248 billion gig economy, and $87 billion remittance market. Users can leverage the cUSD to make touchless merchant payments in the wake of COVID-19 preventive measures. They can also send or receive Celo Dollars locally and internationally at friendly fees that are as low as $0.01.

Finally, this Celo based stablecoin can be used to access financing by borrowing at interest. This is especially valuable in economies with a high unbanked population given the increase in smartphone accessibility hence the opportunity to operate on Celo’s network instead.

Celo’s Prospects

The Celo Alliance is considered a Libra rival in the digital currency space but may soon be in the clear should regulatory pressures favor its existence. It has been making significant milestones since we began 2020, including a $700k grant allocation to startups building on the Celo blockchain network. cLabs, Celo’s founding company, also raised $10 million in the Celo Gold (cGLD) token sale on CoinList in which around 509 global investors participated.

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Author: Edwin Munyui

Libra to Become a Reality in India? Facebook Invests $5.7 Billion in Jio Platform

In its biggest deal since WhatsApp, Facebook Inc. will invest $5.7 billion in Jio Platforms. The Tech giant will buy about 10% of the digital assets controlled by Asia’s richest man, Mukesh Ambani to become the largest minority shareholders in the company.

This is the US company’s attempt to gain a broader foothold in WhatsApp’s biggest global market and connect the platform with e-commerce venture JioMart, which would rival Amazon and Walmart in the country.

Jio Platforms of Reliance Industries brings Jio’s digital apps, ecosystems, and wireless platform together under one umbrella. This partnership will allow Facebook to expand in India which is rapidly embracing online payment and e-commerce. Zuckerberg said in a Facebook video,

“India is a special place for us.”

“We’re also committing to work together on some critical projects that we think are going to open up a lot of opportunities for commerce in India.”

The companies will start working with Indian regulators to seek approval now that the deal is formally announced. Back in 2019, Facebook ran into opposition from Indian regulators when it tried to launch a payments feature inside WhatsApp regarding encrypted content regulation.

India Supports Tech-Issued Digital Currency

Facebook has about 250 million users in India while Whatsapp has more than 400 million. Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg has also been aiming to introduce a digital currency in the country.

Zuckerberg has long been looking at the market for his so-called cryptocurrency project, Libra. Now, this big step might aid him in finally introducing his stablecoin to the South Asian country’s half a billion internet users.

The good thing for the tech giant is unlike the developed markets, emerging markets have confidence in tech-issued digital currency.

Source: OMFIF Report

Recently, the Supreme Court of India also lifted the restrictions put by the Reserve Bank of India on banks and financial institutions that prevented them from providing services to crypto exchanges and businesses.

India’s crypto community is welcoming this new partnership as Nischal Shetty, founder of Binance acquired crypto exchange WazirX said,

“Clear signs of Crypto emerging as a popular technology in India. Facebook investing $5.7B in Jio is great news for Indian Crypto ecosystem. FB has Libra. Jio has been working on Blockchain Crypto tech. Libra may become a reality in India.”

Source: cryptokanoon

Facebook has also been making changes to the whitepaper of Libra as it continues to run into regulatory hurdles. Last week, the Libra Association announced that the stablecoin will be backed by individual national currencies.

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Author: AnTy

Saga, Crypto Lender Celsius Network Partner, Earn Up To 9.9% Interest On SGA Tokens

The Celsius Network, one of the biggest crypto lending platforms, has listed the SGA stabilized asset from Saga, giving its SGA token holders the possibility to earn interest.

This means users can preserve their assets’ value by using the SGA stabilization mechanism and in the meantime earn an attractive interest through Celsius. While Saga says the SGA is a stable asset, it doesn’t call it a stablecoin. The SGA has value according to a global currencies’ basket. It’s based on blockchain and gets its price from the SDR asset, which is backed by many currencies and was developed in 1969 by the International Monetary Fund (IMF).

What’s with the SGA Holders Earning Interest?

Ido Sadeh Man, the founder of Saga, said the Celsius SGA listing lets holders of the token to earn 9.9% APR interest. He also mentioned the collaboration is a vote of confidence for the global visions of Saga and the startup itself. In addition, SGA holders will be able to borrow against the SGA they’re holding at 3.45% interest rates, if their assets are being used as collateral.

Regulations Are in Place, Just Like with Facebook’s Libra

Of course, regulations are in place with the SGA, just as they are with Facebook’s Libra. Here’s what Man had to say about this:

“Compliance is a central pillar of Saga. It’s why, when we couldn’t find an onboarding program to satisfy our rigorous KYC procedures, we built our own.”

The parameters at Saga are fitted for the EU’s 5th Anti-Money Laundering Directive (5AMLD), the incomplete compliance with the US regulations being the reason why the company doesn’t operate in this country, Man mentioned.

Regulatory Compliance Important for the Expanding of Crypto Usage

Man added that regulatory compliance is very important when it comes to expanding the use of crypto. Here are his exact words on how Saga is operating in the UK:

“We selected the U.K. as our country of legal registration thanks to the regulator being open to building up a dialogue around how we can safely and legally implement cryptocurrency. We are proud that we have been in full operation since December 2019 and have not met with any legal challenges in this time.”

Many cryptocurrencies have had problems with regulations in the past 3 years. Crypto solutions seem to no longer have a way out when trying to defer government compliance, so they’ll have to respect regulatory demands sooner or later.

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Author: Oana Ularu

Blockchain Managers In Food and Ag Industry Given Stay-at-Home Exemptions During COVID-19

U.S states have started focusing on blockchains as management platforms following the latest directive by the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) which falls under the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). Currently, eight of the 50 states have announced plans to integrate blockchain managers as they work through the current COVID-19 virus pandemic.

Food and Agriculture are “Blockchain Managers”

On March 19, CISA released a number of recommendations to deal with the virus crisis across various sectors of the economy. One of the notable recommendations is the use of blockchain managers in the food and agriculture industry, which is an “essential” field at this time. In a bid to protect the workers and continue production, CISA wrote,

“Employees and firms supporting food, feed, and beverage distribution, including warehouse workers, vendor managed inventory controllers and blockchain managers.”

Now eight states including Washington, Indiana, California, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Ohio, Delaware, and Michigan are extending the recommendation (or some form of it) to get employees to stay-at-home.

A new look at blockchain managers?

At the moment, CISA and the states are yet to offer an explanation on the “blockchain managers” and how they are to be implemented. According to a researcher at Auburn University’s RFID Lab Allen Gulley, blockchain managers are already operational giving an example of IBM Food Trust blockchain.

Over the past few years, IBM entered into partnerships with some of the largest retail chains including Walmart to track food items from the farm to the store. Gulley said,

“You need to have a blockchain manager behind the scenes making sure that everything’s going according to plan.”

The recommendation has received a warm welcome from the Consumer Technology Association (CTA), a group promoting tech in the trading industry. CTA’s state and local tech policy director Nathan Trail said,

“One thing that we forget with IOT, blockchain, algorithms and so forth is there’s still a very human element that’s necessary in tracking and monitoring the systems to ensure they’re maintained as they should be.”

While the world continues its battles against the virus, blockchain technology becomes more important across industries. However, the lack of scalability for these systems still poses a challenge for the overall adoption rate.

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Author: Lujan Odera

South Korea’s UPbit, Bithumb Reveal Substantial Drop in Trading Volumes In Last 2 Years

Top South Korean crypto exchange platforms, Upbit and Bithumb, have witnessed a massive decrease in their trading volumes of 70% and 63% respectively compared to their 2018 results, Decrypt reports.

According to Financial Supervisory Services (FSS), Dunamu, which is Upbit’s parent company, saw its annual profits decrease by 93% to approximately $7.4 million.

The nosedive in volumes and profits by the two giant exchanges is attributed to a decrease in the total demand for cryptos within the local market in the last 24 months. The revelations in a decrease in the profits and trading volumes became public following regulatory filings by the parent companies.

As per the report by the FSS, during the peak months in 2017 as well as in 2018, Upbit handled approximately 1.35 million Bitcoins every month while Bithumb handled about 1.2 million Bitcoin every month estimated at $7.2 billion.

However, following increased regulations resulting in low demand for Bitcoin, in the 2019 and 2020 peak months, Bithumb handled about 300,000 Bitcoins. This is a decrease of 75% in monthly Bitcoin trading volumes.

On the other hand, Upbit also witnessed a massive drop in its monthly Bitcoin volumes from its 2017’s 1.35 million Bitcoin to about 250,000 Bitcoins in 2020 peak months. In the last two years, Upbit saw its monthly volume stand at 200,000 Bitcoins on average.

The two are not the only exchanges which saw their trading volumes drop significantly in the country. Other crypto exchanges in Korea like Gopax, Korbit and Coinone saw their monthly average volumes decrease by about 60-80%.

The massive drop in revenues and trading volumes among the renowned South Korean crypto exchanges comes amid two years of stagnance in the market growth. Upbit and Bitbumb have also been involved in various legal cases for different reasons.

In December last year, the National Tax Services demanded $67 million as tax from Bithumb while Upbit was accused of fake trade volumes. The two platforms have also been hacked in the recent past and four months ago Upbit experienced a $50 million heist.

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Author: Joseph Kibe

Enjin’s Blockchain Game Development Platform Launches on Ethereum

Enjin has just made the announcement of an Ethereum game development platform’s launch, platform that will enable developers from all over the world to incorporate crypto assets into apps and games without having the knowledge on how to write blockchain code.

The news was released on Tuesday and it says that game engineers will be able to benefit from what decentralized inventory has to offer, from integrating both gaming and non-gaming assets based on blockchain and from managing economic mechanics when it comes to the game play. Here’s what Maxim Blagov, Enjin’s CEO, said in a press release about the platform:

“Our platform is designed to integrate seamlessly into new and existing games alike, providing a competitive edge to studios of all sizes and across all genres.”

The ERC-1155 Token Standard Supported

The Enjin Platform is comprised of many services and tools based on supporting Ethereum’s ERC-1155 token standard web interface that developers may use in order to integrate non-fungible (NFTs) and fungible tokens in a smart contract. NFTs are used for crypto collectibles and most known for having some rare aspects. They use the Enjin coin (ENJ) to back the in-game assets’ value.

Over 2,500 Projects Already Created

According to Enjin, over 2,500 projects that use ERC-1155 have been created on the Enjin Platform’s testnet version. The standard technology is the same with the one used by the Microsoft’s blockchain-based Azure Heroes contributor program for rewards.

Enjin has more planned and it has confirmed the public release in Q2 2020 of the Godot blockchain software development kit (SDK), its well-known open source game engine. Here’s what Witek Radomski, Enjin’s CTO had to say about what managing blockchain assets at his company means:

“For the last 12 years, minting, deploying and managing blockchain assets has been a challenging process that required specialized knowledge, but this all changes today.”

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Author: Oana Ularu

Etoro Looking To Launch Its Own Debit Card and Expand Its Services in 2020

eToro, the popular trading platforms which allow users to trade traditional shares as well as crypto assets is planning to launch their debit card services in 2020. The trading platform is also looking to expand their service base in the United States, Hong Kong and Africa.

Although the rumours of a possible debit card launch have been riffed for quite some time now, but in a recent interview eToro’s CEO confirmed that the company will be launching its debit card services this year.

Yoni Assia, CEO and co-founder of eToro in a recent interview confirmed the company’s plan on debit card and said,

“the card will expand the financial services that we currently provide to customers from over 100 countries around the world.”

Assia believed that the debit card service would help in crypto adoption as well as enhance the customer experience for its 12 million users. The CEO noted that the introduction of the Debit card would allow users to manage and spend their funds better.

Assia also believed the move would help them become the trading platform of choice as their platform is only among the very few which offers trading services for traditional shares and asset classes along with cryptocurrencies.

The firm is also planning to expand its services in the countries where it has a working base in and the target countries include the United States, Hong Kong and Africa. The firm’s CEO noted,

“Today, we offer US customers only trading in cryptocurrencies, but in the future, we’ll expand our activity there to trading in shares. In addition to the 42 US states in which we’re active, we’re planning to expand to other states, including New York.”

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Author: Lorraine Mburu

Binance Futures Adds Perpetual Contracts For Tron (TRX) With 75x Leverage

One of the largest futures trading platforms in the world, Binance Futures, has announced the introduction of TRX/USDT perpetual contract that will go live starting Jan.15.

According to a press statement released by Binance, traders will have a chance to choose from 1 up to 75x leverage. This means that a trader who opts for the highest leverage will have a chance to hold 7,500 USDT equivalent of TRX by only depositing 100 USDT which will act as collateral.

Binance has been looking at ways to attract more customers for its futures products and in October last year increased in leverage to 125x. Changpeng Zhao, Binance CEO, has explained that high-leveraged trading pairs are on high demand especially among institutional investors, U-Today reports. CZ explained,

“Binance Futures offers a fast and stable platform that is designed by traders for traders. We have seen an increase in institutional participation in trading, and these professional traders seek out the most efficient ways to trade very quickly, both in terms of cost and performance.”

Binance Futures has been aggressive in efforts to increase its market share when it comes to derivatives and in the recent past has introduced perpetual futures contracts for different cryptos including Litecoin as well as XRP.

Although the futures exchange has risen in terms of popularity, derivatives traders have been asked to be cautious as the derivatives market is highly risky and can easily lose their funds when their trades don’t work out.

Binance stated that it has a price limit of ±1% on the mark price to prevent market manipulation. However, this limitation will only be implemented for just 15 minutes after trading kicks-off at exactly 08:00 AM (UTC).

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Author: Joseph Kibe

OKEx Crypto Exchange To Integrate DAI Savings Rate On The 23rd, Users Can Earn 4% By Staking

The crypto exchange OKEx is about to become one of the major platforms integrating the Dai Savings Rate (DSR) and allowing stablecoin holders to earn a return of 4%.

MakerDAO, which is the autonomous and decentralized organization that’s behind Dai, made an announcement on Tuesday, an announcement in which it says on December 23, OKEx is going to integrate the DSR for its users.

OKEx Users to be Able to Directly Deposit Dai

As soon as this will happen, OKEx users will be able to make direct Dai deposits and stake in the DSR in order to earn the 4% savings rate, plus another reward offered by the exchange. Someone from OKEx said the exchange is going to offer the 40% yearly yield to new users, in the December 17 – December 23 period:

“Users can stake a minimum of 10 DAI or a maximum of 2,000 DAI during the 40% annualized yield bonus period. The maximum bonus would be 2,000 * 40% / 365 * 7 = 15.34 DAI.”

Bonuses for Inviting New People

More than this, OKEx users will also receive a bonus for inviting new users that register on the platform. Each user can invite 3 more people, receiving for each the 3 Dai bonus. This is how the spokesperson explained the system:

“For example, user A invites new user B during the staking promotion period. After user B registered an account and holds a daily average of 1,000 DAI in his account, user A can get 3 DAI invitation bonus and user B can enjoy DSR 40% annualized yield for 7 days. If user B holds 2,000 DAI daily during the special bonus period, he can get 2,000 * 40% / 365 * 7 = 15.34 DAI bonus after the promotion period ends.”

No Minimum or Maximum Deposit

MakerDAO mentions there isn’t a maximum or minimum for deposits, nor there are any fees, when it comes to getting started with the DSR. After an executive vote last month, the company activated the DSR. In an announcement made on Tuesday, it said users from all over the world have more than 16 million Dai locked in the DSR contract, in only 3 weeks since the launch.

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Author: Oana Ularu

Bitfinex Crypto Exchange Integrates Chainalysis Blockchain Analytics For AML Compliance

  • The new compliance solution is meant to protect platforms from the dangers of money laundering.
  • Chainalysis presently serves a total of 42 cryptocurrencies, though it previously only served Bitcoin.

Bitfinex is a platform that allows consumers trade both cryptocurrencies and major digital assets, much like other crypto exchanges. However, the market is becoming progressively stricter about the compliance procedures associated with anti-money laundering efforts. To ensure that Bitfinex keeps up with the requirements, the platform has employed a compliance solution with Chainalysis to “detect and prevent money laundering,” as well as other illicit activities for many cryptocurrencies, according to a press release from PR Newswire.

Jason Bonds, the Chief Revenue Officer for Chainalysis, commented that Bitfinex is often sought out by traders in the crypto space that are “seeking liquidity across various cryptocurrencies.” With this volume, the only way to be compliant with global regulations is with “an automated blockchain analysis solution,” which is what Chainalysis is providing. Bonds added, “We are thrilled to work with Bitfinex as we mutually invest in supporting multiple cryptocurrencies.”

Though primarily focused on Bitcoin earlier this year, Chainalysis has gradually expanded, leading them to now include 41 other cryptocurrencies. Some of these cryptocurrencies include Ether, Bitcoin Cash, Litecoin, Tether, Maker, Dai, and other ERC-20 tokens.

With the use of Chainalysis KYT, Bitfinex and other businesses have the ability to watch over massive crypto volumes, while continually identifying any high-risk threats. The alerts in real time make it easier for compliance teams to deal with imminent threats, while enforcing the policies set forth and mitigating resources.

Peter Warrack, the Chief Compliance Officer for Bitfinex, complemented the work of Chainalysis, calling their compliance solution “top-of-the-line, comprehensive, and privacy-safe.” He explained that these qualities allow Bitfinex to keep the bad players of the platform and to protect the good players that presently operate on it. Warrack remarked,

“The solution does not share information identifying users, which is kept strictly in-house. We are excited to work alongside the Chainalysis team to continue to build out a safe and robust platform for our users.”

The cryptocurrency ecosystem will continue to evolve, and regulatory requirements will follow suit. Any company that isn’t aggressive about pursuing and following these new requirements will quickly fall behind the in market, but Chainalysis has already made many accommodations to serve multiple blockchains ahead of these deadlines.

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Author: Krystle M