Mastercard Adds Crypto and Blockchain Track to FinTech Incubation Program

Mastercard Adds Crypto and Blockchain Track to FinTech Incubation Program

With payment processing warming up to cryptocurrencies more and more by the day, several companies in the former space have been looking into integrating digital assets into their services.

Mastercard has become the latest to bring out a crypto-focused initiative, with the company announcing support for blockchain and crypto companies in its incubator program.

Touching All Areas of Crypto

Earlier this week, Mastercard announced that it would add blockchain and cryptocurrency track to its Start Path incubator program for companies. In a press release, the New York-based payment processing giant explained that the program looks to support fast-growing companies in the blockchain, crypto, and digital asset space.

Mastercard explained that the cryptocurrency track is part of its efforts to support the startup ecosystem – a mission that it has had since the Start Path program launched in 2014. By expanding to include crypto and blockchain companies, Mastercard hopes to capture more facets of the payment and financial innovation space. Companies in this program will get invaluable tools and expertise from Mastercard, allowing them to scale much faster.

The startups will also leverage the program to connect with Mastercard’s ecosystem of banks, merchants, digital payment companies, and other players in the FinTech space.

As for the crypto track, the major pain points that companies hope to address include data privacy and accuracy, asset tokenization, and integration between the traditional and digital economies. With Mastercard’s help, solving identified challenges is expected to be much easier and faster.

Jess Turner, executive vice president of New Digital Infrastructure and FinTech, explained that Mastercard also hopes to forge the future of cryptocurrency. Theis, they will achieve, by bridging mainstream financial principles with digital asset innovations.

The crypto track already has several members. These include Domain Money, a U.S.-based investment platform for retail investors; SupraOracle, a Swiss blockchain oracle for public and private chains; Mintable, a Singapore-based NFT marketplace; and Uphold, a U.S.-based crypto-native digital money platform for payments and investments.

Crypto Cards for Everyone

Mastercard has been doing tremendous work to improve the ubiquity of cryptocurrencies for a while now. Earlier this month, the company announced plans to tweak its crypto cards program to allow traditional banks and crypto companies to issue crypto credit cards to their customers.

With the initiative, Mastercard will partner with crypto businesses – particularly exchanges and wallet service providers – to make it simpler for their partners to convert cryptocurrencies to fiat. Additional players in the FinTech space to join this program include Circle, Uphold, ButPay, Evolve Bank & Trust, and the Metropolitan Commercial Bank.

Under the program, Mastercard will use its massive payments network to make crypto-fiat conversions more seamless and also offer more choices for people interested in cryptocurrencies.

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Author: Jimmy Aki

Uniswap Hits Over Bln in Weekly Trading Volume & 0 Billion Overall

The popular decentralized exchange Uniswap has hit a milestone of processing more than $100 billion in trading volume in its entire life.

Ever since the beginning of 2021, the DEX has been doing more than $5.5 billion per week, which went past $7 billion during the second week of February, as per Uniswap.Info.

With this much volume, Uniswap is the leading decentralized exchange (DEX), capturing the majority of market share, 54.4%, which is down from 70.7% on August 31st due to SuhsiSwap’s launch.

The TVL (total value locked) of the protocol has also surpassed $4 billion for the first time.

Much like the exchange, its token UNI is experiencing a significantly positive price performance. Uniswap Token, with a market cap of $6.34 billion, is trading above $21, up 345% this year so far.

After exchange balances peaked at 36.86 million UNI in early January, a 10% outflow of over 5.3 million UNI tokens occurred, supporting a price rally from $6.33 to over $23.26.

According to Glassnode, over this same period of time, the number of intra-day transactions transferring UNI tokens tripled from 277tx per hour to a peak of 830tx per hr. However, despite this continued price appreciation, there has been a marked slow-down of transaction counts for UNI tokens since the beginning of this month.

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Author: AnTy

PayPal: Society has Reached an Inflection Point, Moving From Physical Cash to Digital

Paypal, the payment processing giant, has recorded another strong quarter with $5.26 billion in the second quarter of 2020 and added 1.7 million merchants to its ecosystem. Paypal executives got on a call recently to discuss the future of cash, and during their discussion, they noted that society had reached an “inflection point” post COVID-19 outbreak.

The executives on the call claimed that almost 70% of their customer base now fears for their health when it comes to paying in cash as it requires physical contact. This is understandable given the coronavirus pandemic has not only brought businesses to a halt, but it has also created a sense of fear among common masses over physical contact.

John Rainey, CFO of Paypal, believes the fear of physical contact has accelerated e-commerce and contactless payment by many years in just one quarter.

PayPal owned Venmo has also seen explosive growth as the total number of users reaching 60 million users. The increase in the use of Venmo is a big boost for PayPal’s plan to become the leader in the digital payment arena. Venmo was earlier used just for splitting bills, but in recent times the use case has expanded to a broader domain.

Paypal to Invest Heavily to Improve its Digital Wallet

Paypal being the payment and remittance giant does not want to miss out on the changing times and the changing dynamics in the payment arena. This is the reason they have decided to invest in their digital wallet service to ensure it is the go-to digital wallet for consumers. Paypal is also promoting the use of a QR code-based payment option through its merchants and Venmo app.

Paypal revealed that they are expecting to grow their revenue by 25% for the rest of the year.

They have also decided to finally venture into the digital asset offering through its platform, which the company has sidelined for quite some time. The payment giant has partnered with Paxos to avail of the purchase of digital assets from within the app.

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Author: James W

Currencycloud Partners with Ripple to Leverage RippleNet for Efficient Cross-Border Payments

Currencycloud – one of the global payment processing giants – has become the latest member of the RippleNet family and would help ripple in expanding its cross-border remittance services further. The B2B payment processing giant is known to work with several small and medium business entities before joining the RippleNet.

RippleNet, a venture of Ripple blockchain, is known for its cross-border remittance solutions and has partnered with hundreds of banks, financial institutions, and payment processing giants to avail fast and cheap cross-border transactions using XRP as liquidity.

RippleNet aims to be the payment processor for a rapidly-changing world and is banking on the wave of globalization moving from west to east.

Asia is one of the footholds for the decentralized tech provider firm, and they have made aggressive expansion in the region with new members and services regularly.

Currencycloud, which has been working with Small and Medium Enterprises (SME), aims at expanding its service to help its new partners, especially in a world where traditional banks often overlook SMEs for big MNCs. The payment processing giants hope to reach new firms and SMEs who are deprived of the banking facilities up until now.

Ripple’s Client List Grows to 350

Ripple, which calls itself a decentralized tech company, ventured into remittance services through RippleNet a few years back, and even though the XRP token hasn’t managed to see a price break though, in a very long time, the cross-border solutions have garnered a lot of popularity over the years.

Ripple now boasts over 350 clients and recently updated its official website to include its new partners.

Mike Laven, CEO of Currencycloud, commented on their recent association with RippleNet and hoped the partnership would be mutually beneficial, helping them in expanding their network to new parts of the world. He said:

“Currencycloud is all about bringing clarity, speed, and value to the traditionally opaque, costly, and time-consuming issues associated with cross-border payments, particularly for SMEs that have historically been under-served by traditional banking. Ripple’s solution will help us to extend our network to new parts of the world, removing more barriers to payments for our clients.”

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Author: Hank Klinger

Cryptocurrency Payment Processor BitPay Finally Announces Support for SegWit

Bitpay, the crypto payment processing giant, has finally integrated the segregated witness (SegWit) protocol, a second layer scalable solution to make bitcoin processing cheaper. The Segwit integration is currently optional for bitcoin wallet users on BitPay. However, the firm plans to make it a default feature by the year-end.

SegWit was first proposed by Pieter Wuille, a bitcoin core developer in 2015. The SegWit protocol aimed to free up block space on Bitcoin blockchain without increasing the block size.

SegWit also eliminated a transaction signature vulnerability, which allowed miscreants to manipulate transaction signatures. On the other hand, BitPay is one of the largest crypto processors and currently processes around $1 billion worth of crypto transactions every year.

BitPay had earlier passed on an opportunity to integrate SegWit on its platform almost three years back and instead opted for another protocol called SegWit2x. SegWit2x implemented segWit itself, but at the same time, it also increased the block size from 1MB to 2 MB.

The Bitcoin community was divided over the use of the two protocols, creating conflict in the community over the size of the Bitcoin block, and many believe this also led to the creation of Bitcoin Cash Network.

However, SegWit2x failed to capture on the industry support, and as of today, 63% of all bitcoin transactions are processed using SegWit.

BitPay’s Decision Surprises Many

BitPay’s staunch support for an alternative second-layer protocol over SegWit has made many wonder what changed the minds of its decision-makers.

Sean Rolland, BitPay director of the product, claimed that now is the perfect time to introduce SegWit to its users as it decreases the cost of transactions by up to 30%, and the firm believes it would reduce the fee by 5%-10% with a new update.

Bitcoin was created to provide an alternate easy to use financial tool which offered lightning-fast transaction speeds at minimal transaction cost.

However, as bitcoin’s popularity grew, the network started to show signs of fatigue as it was unable to handle the transaction volume, making it slow, complicated, and costly to use. This was when developers came up with an off-chain second layer solution in the form of the Lightning Network and SegWit.

The lightning network showed a lot of promise. Still, even after years into development, the LN protocol seems to have more complexities than it was invented to resolve. Thus, SegWit became a popular choice.

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Author: Lillian Peter

Bitcoin Transactional Fees Skyrocket with Halving Event Looming, Under 6 Hours Left

  • Bitcoin miners are now charging premium fees for transaction processing. The transaction fees have skyrocketed by over 300% from $0.63 towards the end of April to upwards of $3.00 on May 8th just a few days to the long-awaited 3rd halving event.

With just under 6 hours remaining before the third bitcoin halving unfolds, reports have emerged that BTC transaction fees have soared significantly in the past few months. Miners have increased their transactions fees with the BTC halving imminent.

The increased verification fees indicate that there are more users competing for resources within the BTC Network. Based on meticulous calculations, the network is then able to determine a premium fee for the miners as users are willing to pay more to get their transactions verified.

In the last 24 hours, bitcoin has been as low as $8,250 and as high as $9,180 BTC/USD after surpassing $10,000+ on May 7th.

300% Spike

Taking the previous industry trends as case studies, the transactional fees have always spiked onset Bitcoin halving. Towards the end of this April 2020, the transactional fee averaged at $0.62 and has only been on the on an upward trend since then.

Notably, on May 8th it settled at $3.19 marking a remarkable 300% bump. A similar trend was witnessed in 2016 as fees climbed from $0.10 to $0.62 in just a single day.

BTC halving is set to be triggered when the 630000th block is mined which has been predetermined to occur on May 13th. Miners are to bear the brunt of the halving as mining rewards per block are set to reduce by half from 12.5BTC to 6.25BTC.

The mining difficulty is also predicted to increase meaning it would be more expensive to mine. There are currently 18,374,250 BTC in circulation out the possible 21 million according to CoinMarketCap.

It’s been reported that most of its mining equipment will become obsolete after the halving. This means the end of the road for hobbyist and smaller-scale miners that can’t afford the next-gen rigs. The latest rig to be released is the WhatsMiner M30 series by MicroBT rolled out in April.

Reports of miners hoarding BTC

There have also been reports of miners hoarding BTC. They have been issuing less BTC than they are mining. This according to industry experts only fuels speculations that the BTC will increase its price post halving. Renown Industry Analyst, Chris Wood, has also urged investors to diversify their portfolios to include BTC pre halving.

Latest Bitcoin Price News and Crypto Market Updates

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Author: Lujan Odera

BitPay Adds Binance’s USD-Pegged Stablecoin, BUSD To Its Merchant Payment Platform

  • BitPay adds Binance exchange’s stablecoin, Binance USD (BUSD) to its merchant payment processing platform.
  • BUSD is the latest in a string of crypto payment options including BTC, ETH and XRP.

In an announcement by BitPay, a merchants’ crypto payments processing firm, announced the addition of Binance USD (BUSD) on it platforms. Merchants will now be able to accept Binance stablecoin across the U.S boosting adoption rates in daily usage of cryptocurrency.

The CEO of BitPay, Stephen Pair, expects the partnership with Binance will open up cross border payments using the platform given the top exchange’s reach across the global market. He also expects the partnership between the two crypto companies to yield a wider market base as they provide users with a stable and quick gateway to purchase everyday goods.

He further said,

“With BUSD, BitPay expands blockchain payment choices for all our customers across the global payments space who want the flexibility of paying on the blockchain with the stability of the US dollar.”

Users can start depositing BUSD tokens in their BitPay Wallets starting April 27he service is set to be rolled out to respective merchants across the globe in the coming days. BUSD will also be available on its debit card, BitPay Card, a functionality only available in the U.S. The Card will support users across all the 50 states.

Binance CEO, Changpeng “CZ” Zhao also showed appreciation for the partnership with BitPay in his statement. CZ said,

“We believe a growing number of merchants and businesses will start adopting crypto, and we are glad to provide the payments solution together with BitPay, making the process simpler and easier.”

BitPay currently supports over 2 million customers across all the 50 states in the U.S and other points of sale across the globe. BUSD, adds in to a pot of cryptocurrency payment options already available including Bitcoin (BTC), Ethereum (ETH), Ripple-led crypto, XRP, and other stablecoins.

Binance USD was approved back in 2018 by the New York State Department of Financial Services (NYDFS) allowing its trade across the 50 states. The partnership

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Author: Lujan Odera

CoreWeave Switches 6000 Ethereum GPU Miners To Stanford’s Folding@Home for COVID-19

The largest Ethereum blockchain miner in the US, CoreWeave, is going to redirect the processing power from 6,000 specialized computers to coronavirus research.

The CTO of CoreWeave, Brian Venturo, said there’s at least one shot for the computers to find a drug that works against the virus, so the GPU’s power of the computers in the network, computers that are designed for repetitive calculations, is going to be doubled.

The GPUs Made Around 0.2% of Ethereum’s Total Hashrate

As Venturo stated, the 6,000 GPUs used to make up around 0.2% of Ethereum’s total hashrate, which means 28 Ether (ETH) a day. ETH is valued at $3,600 at the moment. As soon as the idea of its GPUs to be used for coronavirus research was launched, CoreWeave didn’t think twice and set up a test system in minutes. The company has contributed to the [email protected] wing with more than half of the entire computing power.

[email protected] Uses Computing Power from All Over the World

As a decentralized project, [email protected] employs computing power from all over the world in order to find out more about the coronavirus and its cure. Just like it happens in Bitcoin (BTC) mining, one user can detect the solution to an existing problem and share it with the other members in the group. Here’s what a blog post published by [email protected] reads:

“[Viruses have proteins] that they use to suppress our immune systems and reproduce themselves. To help tackle coronavirus, we want to understand how these viral proteins work and how we can design therapeutics to stop them. Our specialty is in using computer simulations to understand proteins’ moving parts. Watching how the atoms in a protein move relative to one another is important because it captures valuable information that is inaccessible by any other means.”

GPU Miners Encouraged to Join the [email protected] project

Since [email protected] could use more power, GPU miners are encouraged to join its cause. Some already did on their own. However, not all miners are able to participate. Venturo says that while GPUs are flexible, they need application specific integrated circuits (ASICs) in order to be involved in the research. Here’s why he said the Ethereum ecosystem has been chosen:

“This is one of the great things about the Ethereum mining ecosystem, it’s basically the largest GPU compute resource on the planet. We were able to redeploy our hardware to help fight a global pandemic in minutes.”

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Author: Oana Ularu

Bitcoin Network Achieves A New Milestone, Processing Its 500 Millionth Transaction

Bitcoin Network today reached a new milestone of processing 500 million transactions. For the first time since it went live in 2009, the network crossed the threshold of 500 million transactions today.

In Sept. 2017, the network had processed 250 million transactions and since then it has been on an incline. The growth rate as per the data site Satoshi didn’t show any signs of slowing come bear or bull market.

At this rate, in the next two years, we will be celebrating another milestone of crossing 1,000 million transactions on the Bitcoin network. Casa CTO Jameson Lopp commented about the importance of this block:

“Today, as of block 00000000000000000001145bf2e7cb7f04df55feaf3b55d9f6511522bbbf333f at height 616064, Bitcoin surpassed 500 million transactions confirmed on the blockchain.”

Bitcoin enthusiast Rhythm Trader also notes how Bitcoin has kept on going without stopping all this time.

“The 500 millionth transaction was just sent on the Bitcoin Network. No government, bank or third party had to verify these half a billion transactions, nor could they have stopped them if they wanted to. The power of bitcoin.”

On February 3rd, the Bitcoin network also saw $3.5 billion changing hands for the first time since the bull run of 2017. A big chunk of it, $1.7 billion was because of one cryptocurrency exchange Bitfinex which changed addresses.

These highs and milestones are being made irrespective of the Bitcoin price which has been through serious ups and downs during these times.

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Author: AnTy