German Central Bank Official: CBDC Proposal is More ‘Political Strategy’ than Technical Decision

A popular figure in the German central bank has said the decision to launch a digital Euro is more politically motivated than the technical value proposition. Burkhard Balz was speaking at the Europe-Asia conference where he made the remarks. These sentiments coincide with a spike in CBDC interest, especially in Europe, where the ECB has zeroed in on the possibility of a digital Euro in recent months.

According to Balz, this move would be more politically motivated, given the fiat domination dynamics when it comes to reserve currencies. He went on to suggest a more detailed assessment based on this opinion,

“Introducing CBDC is a political decision rather than a technical decision. Therefore, a comprehensive conceptual analysis and assessment of CBDC relative to alternative options is necessary – especially in terms of the fulfillment of our mandate, but also regarding its impact on society as a whole.”

Nonetheless, he also highlighted the need to move swiftly, given the current progress to maintain Euro confidence if a virtual monetary policy shift is inevitable. Balz believed that a collaborative international approach would yield better results in developing seamless ecosystems to support global payment networks’ growth.

As for the risks associated, Balz mentioned that a CBDC could set precedence for ‘digital bank runs’ in a situation where these digital assets are held as a store of value instead of being used for payments. On the issue of stablecoins, he was adamant that they should be issued with the blessings of monetary bodies and regulatory authorities,

“I believe that it is in the interest of the global central bank community that new payment arrangements, like stable coins, with potentially global reach, should only be offered if appropriately regulated and supervised.”

With such ongoing discussions, it might not take long before a particular jurisdiction officially launches its own CBDC. Currently, China’s digital yuan is the most progressive in the pilot phase for a couple of months. Other Asian giants like Japan and South Korea are planning to follow suit with their pilot CBDCs scheduled for next year. Europe has also filed for a digital Euro trademark as discussions hit upon its viability.

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Author: Edwin Munyui

Coinbase Adds Wrapped Bitcoin (WBTC) & Custody Service to Support Filecoin (FIL)

In its DeFi listing spree, Coinbase Pro has added the popular and fast-growing Wrapped Bitcoin (WBTC).

The San Francisco-based exchange has taken to list all the hot and happening DeFi products, and WBTC, which has grown to become the third-largest DeFi project with nearly $1.2 billion in total value locked (TVL), is the latest one.

An Ethereum token, WBTC represents Bitcoin on the Ethereum blockchain, where 1 BTC can be converted to 1 WBTC and vice-versa. This protocol allows bitcoin holders to participate in the popular DeFi space.

WBTC listing is announced with two trading pairs, USD and BTC.

Starting Monday, Oct. 19, WBTC will be available in all Coinbase’s supported jurisdictions except New York state.

Recently, Coinbase has added support for the likes of Yearn.Finance (YFI), Balancer (BAL), Uniswap (UNI), UMA, REN, Loopring (LRC) BAND, Compound (COMP), Celo (CGLD), Numeraire, and OmiseGo (OMG) along with supporting additional European and UK order books.

Amidst this, the same day, Coinbase Custody also announced at-launch support for Filecoin (FIL), which after years of first coming into the market, finally launched its mainnet.

“We’re thrilled that Coinbase Custody is providing secure custody for FIL. Coinbase has a great track record of building new, innovative tools for its users,” said Juan Benet, Filecoin founder.

Filecoin is a decentralized storage network and marketplace where miners earn FIL tokens by renting open hard drive space, and clients pay them to store and retrieve their data.

Its testnet took off in China, and already “roughly $100M of storage hardware is humming on the testnet.”

“Buying hardware and converting it directly to crypto is key here,” said Muneeb Ali, co-founder of Blockstack.

Yesterday, the mainnet of the Filecoin network was launched at block 148,888, a number the team said signifies “prosperity for life” in Chinese, chosen “to honor the epic contribution by our Chinese mining community to Filecoin’s long-term success.”

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Author: AnTy

YFI’s Andre Cronje Re-Confirms He’s Not Quitting DeFi and ‘Still Building’

Popular Yearn.Finance creator Andre Cronje came on Twitter after a 10-day hiatus to deny the reports of him leaving the project.

“Still here. Still building. Nothing has changed. Anyone that says otherwise fuck off. I’m just done tweeting and being on social media,” tweeted Cronje.

The clarification came after CoinDesk reported that Cronje is quitting DeFi, and other employees have taken over the project.

Before this, there have been rumors floating in the market about him quitting the project, with some team members saying that is not the case.

“I’m not building anything at all anymore,” he reportedly told the publication earlier this month.

“I do it because I’m passionate, but if people are going to use my test environments, then lose money, and then hold me liable, it means there is 0 upside and only risk for me.”

This has been concerning Cronje’s other product Eminence.Finance rug pulling $16 million.

This isn’t the first time such a thing has happened. In August, Cronje had told another publication that he is quitting DeFi, after having similar thoughts in February this year, only to change the course as he said he won’t leave the space and will continue to build.

On Friday, the price of YFI found its bottom just under $12,300 to rally above $19,500, but today, the price went down to $16,880 before making its way above $17,300 to only fall back down to the current price of $16,630.

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Author: AnTy

Chainlink to Automate Auditing for REN Assets & Make Them ‘Highly Reliable’ as Collaterals

Chainlink is collaborating with another popular DeFi project RenVM to improve the “transparency and auditability” of renBTC, renBCH, and renZEC.

Last week, we reported how Chainlink joined hands with BitGo for auditing Wrapped Bitcoin (WBTC), which has nearly $1 billion BTC bridged on Ethereum.

The popular decentralized oracle network has already secured billions of dollars for leading DeFi protocols like Aave and Synthetix, and now it has found a new partner in RenVM.

Ren has just over $300 million funds locked in it with its token REN trading at $0.263, down only 7.4% since Oct. 1st, unlike many other Defi projects which have crashed during this period. LINK itself is down 51% from its ATH of $20, hit in mid-August.

RenVM, which has $900 million bridged, will be using Chainlink’s Proof of Reserve mechanism, fully automated and censorship-resistant, which is live on testnet and will soon be coming to mainnet.

By leveraging Chainlink, “smart contract applications on the Ethereum blockchain now have the ability to autonomously verify on-demand the current collateralization of each cross-chain asset minted within the Ren ecosystem,” said Michael Burgess, COO at RenVM.

Here, a Proof of Reserve Reference Contract will be deployed on Ethereum for renBTC, renBCH, and renZEC each. Through Chainlink’s oracles, the contracts will be kept up to date with the most recent collateralization. In case of deviation in reserves due to new minting or burning events, push an update.

Ren will also support Chainlink’s Price Reference Feeds to ensure RenVM based assets are “highly reliable” to be used as collaterals in DeFi. Loong Wang, CTO, and Co-founder of Ren said,

“Chainlink’s ability to automate the on-chain auditing process in a highly reliable and transparent manner, allows users to further trust Ren assets without having to track the reserves on their own manually.”

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Author: AnTy

A ‘Big’ Positive Step Towards the Bitcoin ETF Approval

In terms of the price of Bitcoin, criminal charges on the popular cryptocurrency derivatives exchange BitMEX may be bearish, but the same isn’t true for the overall market.

Just like it is bullish in the long term, this could help in getting the much-desired Bitcoin exchange-traded fund (ETF) an approval.

“Assume the CFTC & DOJ bring Bitmex down. The absence of Bitmex may then result in US exchanges and OTC desks becoming markets of “significant size,” sharply increasing the odds of the SEC approving an ETF,” said trader and economist Alex Kruger.

These past few weeks, several attempts at a Bitcoin ETF have been made to no avail as every single one of them has been rejected by the agency over the grounds of manipulation.

But the crypt community hasn’t let go of the hope for approval eventually. An ETF holds so much importance for the community because it is expected to bring a large number of inflows in the market, as such, pushing the prices higher. “A parallel demand curve shift.”

An ETF would be the “opportunity of a lifetime” that would allow retail to front-turn the institutions for once. Former macro hedge fund manager and a Bitcoin proponent, Raoul Pal expect “every” pension plans and family offices to allocate some of their money to it — billions of dollars pouring into it.

A Cue from CFTC

Seychelles incorporated exchange is known for its 100x leverage, and according to Bill Barhydt, co-founder, and CEO of Abra, it has been the key reason we don’t have a US Bitcoin ETF.

“Their market is easily manipulated by large traders. Not a valid reason for no ETF imo. Just a fact,” he said.

Although it may not be sufficient for an ETF approval, it is a big step towards that, for sure.

Adding to the expectation is the statement from Chairman Heath P. Tarbert, giving a hint of what’s to come, in which he said digital assets hold “great promise” not only for the derivatives markets but also the US economy.

“For the United States to be a global leader in this space, it is imperative that we root out illegal activity like that alleged in this case. New and innovative financial products can flourish only if there is market integrity. We can’t allow bad actors that break the law to gain an advantage over exchanges that are doing the right thing by complying with our rules,” Tarbert said.

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Author: AnTy

Digital Asset Trading Platform eToro Rolls Out Cardano (ADA) And Tron (TRX) Staking Service

Popular trading platform, eToro, announced on Thursday that it would provide staking rewards for cryptocurrencies starting with Cardano (ADA) and Tron (TRX).

The multi-asset exchange stated that clients that own these cryptocurrencies, ADA, or TRX, would have a chance to earn rewards by staking, which will be paid out monthly. The firm also revealed that it plans to introduce other assets later, but hasn’t revealed what the next digital assets would be.

According to the press statement, the system is fully automated, and users will not need to do anything extra but just trade these assets like normal.

The rewards will be calculated by taking a daily snapshot, which will be taken at 00:00 GMT. The automated system calculates the staking rewards based on the snapshot and distributes them at month-end according to the average daily position size. This means that traders who will change their positions on these cryptocurrencies over the course of the month will see their staking rewards change.

Like most proof of staking (PoS) tokens, investors will need to hold the assets for a certain number of days before they receive the first reward. However, the amount of time required is variable. For Cardano, one must hold the asset for nine days.

According to the press release, the rewards will be compounded on a monthly basis. It says:

“Clients staking on eToro benefit from doing so on a regulated and globally trusted platform. We also believe staking rewards on our platforms are among the most generous in the market, from a minimum of 75% of the staking yield.”

In late July, Cardano introduced staking on its mainnet following a successful trial using an incentivized testnet. In the recent past, staking as a service has gained prominence, and eToro will now be competing with various exchanges and independent staking providers such as Binance, Coinbase, Bison Trials, and many more.

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Author: Joseph Kibe

BTC Bull ‘Pomp’ Teams Up With TikTok Influencer Bryce Hall to Launch Capital University Podcast

Bryce Hall, a popular TikTok star, is all set to enter the financial realm with popular bitcoin proponent Anthony ‘Pomp’ Pompliano. Teaming up to launch a podcast called “Capital University,” unlike Pomp’s main podcast, which solely focuses on business and promoting bitcoin, this joint venture is focused on reducing the generational divide.

The podcast would be a different exchange of ideas for both the individuals, where Pomp would try to understand how social media influencers earn money. In contrast, Hall will try to learn tips on investments and building generational wealth through smart investment strategies. Hall said,

“I just want to highlight the power and importance of diversification. I do believe crypto is its own asset class and one worth exploring.

It is definitely the Internet’s version of gold with the caveat of having a known finite amount of units.”

Hall raises to fame through the popular short video sharing social media platform TikTok and boasts of around 25 million subscribers across various social media platforms and currently boasts of $2 million in net worth.

Hall also mentioned on Twitter that the new podcast would be a new learning curve in life, especially in terms of finances. He also opened up that currently, he does not hold any cryptocurrency, nor does he have any prior association within the crypto space.

The TikTok star might not have any crypto holdings at present, but given his association with Pomp, it would not be a big surprise if the young social media influencer does eventually invest in digital assets.

Several big shots have already agreed to come on the podcast, including Mark Cuban and Gemini exchange founders, Tyler and Cameron Winklevoss. Given Cuban as well as both of the brothers have made a name for themselves. They could also play a key role in helping the young influencer understand how digital assets work.

Hall also commented on his first guests for the podcast and said,

“When Tyler and Cameron Winklevoss are engaging with your tweets and direct messaging you, you better take what they say seriously and reevaluate your investment positions.” He continued,

“Right now, when you’re at the top, this is when you’re going to be making the most money. You just have to find a way to sustain it.”

Even though the Podcast officially launched yesterday, it has already soared to the number one business podcast in the world. This sudden rise was probably due to Bryce’s 25 million combined social media followers.

You can catch the first cut episode on YouTube here:

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Author: Rebecca Asseh

DeFi Protocol Synthetix Upgrading to L2 Scaling to Alleviate Gas Costs for Small SNX Stakers

Popular on-chain synthetic assets protocol, Synthetix is in the first phase of its transition to Optimistic Ethereum, a layer two scalability solution for the second-largest network that continues to grapple with congestion and sky-high fees thanks to all the DeFi craze.

Synthetix founder Kain Warwick is “unreasonably excited” about this development who recently hinted at what’s to come by saying those priced out of staking the digital asset will get “unpriced out” soon.

SNX is the 39th largest cryptocurrency with a market cap of $472 million currently trading in green at $4.70. The DeFi protocol also has about $600 million in crypto deposits.

Get those SNX Working

The first phase involves an incentivized testnet that trial SNX staking on Optimistic Ethereum, aimed at SNX stakers with smaller balancers who may have priced out of participating in staking due to high gas prices.

78.54% of SNX is already collateralized to mint synths.

Optimistic Ethereum is the only “generalized” Layer 2solution for Ethereum, meaning it doesn’t require any specific functionality to be built to support the existing L1 protocols.

“This is a huge milestone for Synthetix, Optimistic Ethereum, and indeed the entire Ethereum space,” reads Synthetix’s official announcement. “Launching SNX staking on OE is a crucial step towards full scalability for the burgeoning DeFi ecosystem, truly allowing anyone around the world access to open financial infrastructure without the friction of high gas costs.”

In this incentivized testnet, the eligible SNX stakers, addresses holding between 1 and 2500 SNX that have staked at least once historically, will get a snapshot of their SNX balance on Optimistic Ethereum’s L2 testnet.

It can then be used to stake, mint, and burn sUSD and also to claim rewards for their participation, which are claimable on the mainnet launch L2.

In other news, SNX is getting listed on crypto exchange Bitfinex on Sept. 26 at 10:00 AM UTC.

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Author: AnTy

Hackers Extorting Bitcoin from Stolen ‘Call of Duty: Warzone’ Accounts

Hackers are targeting the accounts of the popular online game Call of Duty: Warzone and demanding bitcoin as a ransom payment from the victims to return the account, reported Motherboard.

Several victims are also complaining that the publisher behind the game, Activision is unresponsive to their requests for help. One victim told Motherboard,

“I turned it on one day, and my account was logged out, and I couldn’t sign in with my credentials, so I made a new account because I could not get in contact with Activision support, which I’m so mad about.”

Some of the hacks are done through previously compromised passwords from other websites, which is a common technique as finding breached data online is rather trivial. With people using the same password on multiple devices, it becomes easy for the hackers to break into their accounts.

The Warzone accounts that are advertised with rare weapon skins are on sale for hundreds of dollars.

Skins are awarded on fulfilling certain challenges, which at times can be time-consuming. They can also be purchased with an in-game currency, which can be bought with real money.

Activision actually recorded an increase of $596 million in in-game spending earlier this year. A large chunk of this comes from this free version of Call of Duty: Modern Warfare, Warzone.

In this game, players fight among 150 other players to be the last team standing. All the progress is saved to the Activision account of the player, and losing the account means they no longer have their character, ranking, and items.

In one case, the hacker demanded $400 from the victim to prevent their data, including bank information and posted a bitcoin address.

This bitcoin address has received a total of 1.2 BTC, worth about $12,000.

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Author: AnTy

Rug-Pulled on the Latest YFI Clone, Soft Yearn (SFYI), After Rebase Gets Exploited

YFI, the governance token of Yearn Finance, is the most popular DeFi token, which currently has the highest value of $21,465 and is dubbed a “cash generation machine.”

Since its launch in mid-July, many copycats of this popular DeFi token have emerged, such as CREAM, Wifey, YFII, YFL, and others.

The latest knockoff has been Soft Yearn (SFYI), the adaptive yield-stable currency, which merges Yearn.Finance and Ampleforth. “As DeFi flourishes, the demand for YFI will increase exponentially. SYFI has a direct growth relationship to the prominent YFI token,” reads the website.

Being a soft pegged currency, whenever SYFI has a significant difference form the main currency’s price, the contract or expansion algorithm will converge the market price to the pegged price.

Ampleforth birthed based-finance, but it hasn’t been a success — elastic-finance means the supply of the token changes, and so does the number of tokens held by an investor.

Also, rebases have led to the collapse of the projects. It was last seen with YAM, which found a bug in its rebase function resulting in its crash.

But on Monday, the price crashed 100% from its peak of $174 last week to $0.00040, as per CoinGecko.

The crash happened due to what happened during the rebase period.

“During our first rebase at 8:00 UTC, September 3rd, 2020, a malicious actor bought 2 SYFI, and timed the adjustment of their token holdings with a Uniswap sell. During the transaction, the rebase applied, but Uniswap price remained unchanged, thus, the perpetrator’s sell was amplified to the extent of wiping out most of the liquidity provided in the Uniswap pool. The rebase itself was also incorrect. The YFI rate per SYFI was not streamlined properly,” shared the SYFI team on its Telegram.

The team behind the project is now offering a “very large sum” of ETH as a bounty who can identify and apprehend the wrongdoer.

Last week, they did a presale and raised 400 ETH with a supply of 60,000 SYFI, double of YFI. However, unlike YFI, which is completely decentralized, but much like an ICO, they distributed portions of the token supply to the team and for marketing.

However, like the YAM project, they aren’t going anywhere and are planning a migration. They are also proposing to recreate the SYFI token, airdrop the number of tokens they had before the rebase, add at least 250 ETH to the initial liquidity pool, and fix the rebase mechanism.

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Author: AnTy