The State of Wyoming Appropriates $4M to Staking Program for At Least 3 Cryptocurrencies

The State of Wyoming Appropriates $4M to Staking Program for At Least 3 Cryptocurrencies

The state of Wyoming continues to drive cryptocurrency adoption, and the latest development in the area is creating a cryptocurrency staking program, advisory council, and appropriating $4 million towards it.

As per the latest Bill HB0001 regarding the increasing or decreasing the existing appropriations for the operation of state government for the period of July 1, 2020, and ending June 30, 2022, the University of Wyoming Cryptocurrency Staking Program has been introduced.

The bill appropriates four million dollars ($4,000,000) from the strategic investments and projects account to the University of Wyoming to operate and maintain nodes and staking pools for at least three publicly tradable cryptocurrencies.

Interestingly, the second-largest cryptocurrency Ethereum is currently underway to be fully shifted from proof-of-work (PoW) to proof-of-stake (PoS), and already 4,026,082 ETH, worth $10.68 million, have been deposited in ETH 2.0 for staking.

The university has to provide public access to the staking pools and nodes and facilitate the operation of the blockchains.

All the fees and revenues generated from this operation will cover any costs of operation and administration. Any excess shall be deposited in the strategic investments and projects that will be used to support blockchain programs and activities at the university and community colleges in the state.

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Author: AnTy

Visa Partners With Digital Bank in Crypto API Pilot Program; Making Buying BTC Easier

Visa Partners With Digital Bank in Crypto API Pilot Program; Making Buying BTC Easier

While it started as an ardent opponent of the use of Bitcoin, the financial service provider Visa has demonstrated its capacity for changing course on first impressions, as it rapidly becomes one of its biggest supporters.

Over the past few years, Visa has been working behind the scenes to partner up with 35 Bitcoin and cryptocurrency-based platforms and set its sights on merging mainstream banking & cryptocurrencies with its new cryptocurrency software program, which will get started later this year.

Visa represents just one of a growing number of multinationals and celebrities that have either taken steps towards or overtly expressed their support for cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin. Globally-renowned stars from actress Lindsay Lohan, Paris Hilton, and Snoop Dogg have made their positions clear on BTC. Just this week, in fact, Tesla CEO, Billionaire, and Twitter sensation, Elon Musk, hit the front-pages when he added ‘Bitcoin’ to his title, adding that it was “on the verge” of breaking into institutional finance.

Visa Chief Executive, Al Kelly, speaking during the company’s Q1 2021 earnings call, laid the company’s aims out in plain terms for attendees, describing Bitcoin as a ‘virtual gold’ which had yet to be harnessed fully as a mode of digital payments.

“Our strategy here is to work with wallets and exchanges to enable users to purchase these currencies using their Visa credentials or to cash out onto our Visa credential to make a fiat purchase at any of the 70 million merchants where Visa is accepted globally.”

Alongside Visa, PayPal was one of the payment giants that recently made waves in the cryptocurrency space. Its announcement would allow its 346 million users to buy and spend Bitcoin. While this was met with celebration by investors and enthusiasts alike, PayPal was quick to face flak after users complained of being prevented from moving their digital assets off PayPal’s platform.

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Author: James Fox

China’s Central Bank Successfully Completes Its Largest CBDC Pilot Program In Shenzhen

China’s Central Bank Successfully Completes Its Largest CBDC Pilot Program In Shenzhen

  • China’s central bank completes a second successful test on its digital currency project in Shenzhen.
  • Over 140,000+ transactions were completed, $3 million given away, and 100,000 residents participated in the test.

The People’s Bank of China (PBoC) completed its largest digital currency electronic payment (DC/EP) test in Shenzhen. Over $3 million of the central bank’s digital currency was given away to over 100,000 residents in Shenzhen via a red envelope lottery, a WeChat post confirmed. The 10-day long test, which began on January 7th, saw over 140,000 transactions completed at points of sale designated to accept the digital yuan.

As we reported, the first test in Shenzhen saw over $1.3 million worth of digital yuan disbursed to over 47,000 consumers in the Luohu district during the week-long trial. According to the report by PBoC, over 2 million people applied to the first lottery, with a total of 50,000 red envelopes, for a chance to win 200 digital yuan.

According to the post, 1.8 million residents applied for the ‘red envelopes’ in the latest lottery, with 95,628 winners receiving the digital yuan in their wallets. A total of 139,794 transactions were made during the 10-day trial period, totaling $2.8 million spent by the residents. Residents deposited a further 1.51 million digital yuan (approx. $232,000) to their DC/EP wallets during the trial period.

In November, local reports from China confirmed that the PBoC worked on launching trials and piloting the digital yuan project to other provinces starting with Suzhou in Xiangcheng. Suzhou trials will be carried out similarly to Shenzhen ‘red envelope’ trials but are expected to feature offline payment channels and a smartphone touch feature.

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Author: Lujan Odera

Digital Yuan Pilot Records $300 Million in Transactions But No Launch Yet, says PBOC Governor

The pilot program on the digital yuan rollout across four cities – Shenzhen, Suzhou, Xiong’an, and Chengdu has been smooth, said Yi Gang, governor of China’s central bank People’s Bank of China.

Over 4 million transactions, totaling more than 2 billion yuan ($299 million) in the digital currency so far, have been made, he said.

As per the figures, the digital yuan pilot expanded 21% and 82% from the 3.3 million transactions valued at 1.1 billion yuan, respectively recorded in late August, according to South China Morning Post.

The PBOC pilot discovered 12,000 use cases for DCEP, up 80% from 6,700 ways as of late August. Yi said,

“So far, the experiment and pilot program have been (going) fairly smoothly.”

Legal Framework Needs Completion

The comments were made during the Hong Kong Fintech Week conference on Monday, where Yi was speaking on a virtual panel with Agustin Carstens, head of the Bank for International Settlements, and Klaas Knot, president of the Dutch central bank.

Despite the digital yuan usage expanding rapidly across Chinese cities, Yi said they are in the early stages of developing a central bank digital currency. On the launch of digital yuan, Yi said China first needs to complete,

“A fairly complicated, and complete legal framework and regulations (for digital yuan) that enhances its transparency.”

With DCEP, the world’s second-largest economy is accelerating towards a cashless society. The country’s digital payments transaction volume has actually been expected to surge to 412 trillion yuan by 2025, up from 201 trillion yuan last year.

A Global Framework for CBDC

As we reported, the central bank published a draft law last week aiming to provide the DCEP a legal status.

Yi didn’t say anything about that on Monday but said the PBOC had completed the architectural design of the (CBDC). He further reiterated that the pilots would also run at the Winter Olympics in 2022, for which QR codes, tap-and-go transactions, and other features will be available.

During the panel, which was moderated by the Hong Kong Monetary Authority’s chief executive Eddie Yue, Yi said the PBOC would also collaborate with other central banks to establish a legal framework for CBDs globally. Yi said,

“I would like to cooperate with the Bank of International Settlements, the Financial Stability Board and international central bankers to discuss a legal framework, [fostering] transparency and how to safeguard [the development] of central bank digital currencies.”

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Author: AnTy

‘Large-Scale’ Crypto Exit Scams Detected in Estonia’s E-Residency Program

Estonia had granted foreigners remote access to its digital infrastructure through its e-residency program, which is now linked to cryptocurrency frauds abroad.

Amidst Europe working on improving its anti-money laundering rules, with EU banking watchdog calling for a single set of regulations after going through several related scandals, companies headed by Estonian e-residents have been involved in “a few large-scale exit scams,” where clients are unable to withdraw their assets.

The police’s Finance Intelligence Unit form last week said these companies that are registered overseas are also linked to organizing “suspicious initial coin offerings and the misappropriation of large sums within them.”

The Baltic nation’s reputation recently got a hit after seeing Europe’s biggest scandal with Danske Bank accused of funneling $230 billion in illicit funds through the Estonian branch.

Estonia, which has a 1.2 million population, has also been seeing the issuance of digital IDs, a program that started in 2014, to e-residents down from the 2018 peak, having already issued 70,000 from 174 countries.

In June this year, the nation also canceled the licenses of 500 crypto firms, 30% of the total, as part of the clampdown on illicit financial flows.

Still, a new set of frauds have been detected. Officials had warned earlier that the e-residency program, allowing non-residents to run businesses from abroad, needed changes to avoid criminal abuse and improve its security.

Police have also moved to curb down on companies that exchange and help clients hold digital currencies.

The e-residency team is currently working “hand in hand” with the police and the FIU. “The survey doesn’t show that all fraudsters have been e-residents, but that there have also been e-residents among fraudsters,” said its head Ott Vatter.

According to the police, a “considerable connection” with e-residents is raising the risk of reputational damage in the crypto sector of Estonia, where about a third of companies, 554, providing crypto services have at least one e-resident as a related party.

Compared to 1,234 companies with cryptocurrency licenses at the end of last year in the country, as of August, there were only 353.

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Author: AnTy

RockX to Provide $500K Funding to Projects Building on Polkadot; $20 Million in Total

RockX, a digital asset development company, has announced a $20 million investment program for the Polkadot ecosystem over the next five years. The $20 million investment boost will be capped at $500,000 worth of native DOT token per project. In return, the RockX company would receive equity in the project or tokens worth the same value.

Alex Lam, the co-founder of RockX, who also runs a Bitcoin mining farm by the name of RockMiner, revealed that the funding for the Polkadot project was launched after receiving financial aid from several investors who like to remain anonymous. Lam revealed that most of these investors are big-time DOT token holders and Ethereum proponents. Lam said,

“They are guys who have been in the Ethereum community since 2015, and have supported the Ethereum ecosystem in the past via investments and building projects.”

The co-founder of RockX also said that his company would also offer technical support to the Polkadot ecosystem. RockX is currently running a node for Polkadot, Cosmos, Solana, Oasis, and Terra.

Investors Won’t Influence Any Projects

RockX co-founder revealed that despite the investment that these anonymous investors are making, they would have no say in which projects get the grant and how much they would receive. The RockX team would solely make the decision.

Apart from the $500k maximum cap for each project, RockX could also grant a ‘no-string-attached’ kind of funding to independent projects as well.

The $20 million investment grant also comes just weeks after Polkadot established its treasury. Although the investment grant has nothing to do with the treasury, both of them share a similar goal of boosting and expanding the Polkadot ecosystem while helping projects to grow and build decentralized useful products for mass consumption.

Signum Capital, one of the largest crypto funds in South East Asia and an investor in the RockX project, was all praises for RockX and its latest initiative. John Ng Pangilinan, the Managing Partner for Signum Capital, said,

“RockX is taking a step further to help blockchains grow by leveraging its technical capabilities and investor networks. This will set up a new collaborative model for the industry.”

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Author: Silvia A

Visa’s Fast Track Program On Boards New Bitcoin Lightning Payment Startup, LastBit

The Visa fast track program has onboarded a new Bitcoin Lightning crypto payment startup, LastBit, which recently launched its beta app. This addition comes barely a month since Strike also joined the Visa initiative to scale crypto adoption through Lightning BTC payment solutions.

Lastbit will enable merchants to accept BTC payments regardless of their preference since the underlying tech converts such transactions to fiat upon settlement. Currently, this BTC lightning-based innovation only allows merchants to receive their payments in U.S dollars. However, they are set to release an app that is Euro compatible in a few weeks, according to the company’s founder, Prashanth Balasubramanian.

LastBit’s BTC Lightning for Micropayments

Despite the rise of Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies, mainstream adoption is still one of the most significant uncertain factors. Well, BTC lightning solutions, which came up as a result of network congestion, seem to be finding a niche in micropayment fiat-crypto on-ramps, given the convenience in rates and transaction time.

LastBit’s lighting payment, for instance, allows users to load BTC on their applications, after which they can access a digital debit card. With this card, they can then initiate BTC payments, which are received by vendors in dollars and soon Euros.  Balasubramanian has since noted that their goal is to facilitate the mass adoption of Bitcoin as a standard means of payment,

“We simply want to see the masses using bitcoin on a day-to-day basis. To do this, we have engineered arguably the most seamless interoperability between bitcoin and fiat, on top of the Lightning Network, that caters to the needs of both new and experienced users alike,”

Prospect Markets!

As the world continues to move towards digital ecosystems, crypto startups like Stripe and LastBit are looking to capitalize on the growing opportunities in various markets. On this front, LastBit is set to expand into Europe following approval from the EU. Balasubramanian confirmed this prospectus move with Coindesk, highlighting that;

“With a solid product, partnerships and notable investors […] behind us, we’re going to roll out our Bitcoin, Lightning, and EUR interoperable payments layer in the EU to prove that this works and that a small company without millions can pull off a complex payments product to push for Bitcoin adoption,”

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Author: Edwin Munyui

Coinbase Launches Dai Rewards Program, Sets APY at 2%; Is That The Best Rate Available?

Coinbase crypto exchange has launched a Dai rewards program that will see its clients earn a 2% APY for holding this stablecoin in their accounts.

According to the blog post on July 29, this product will be available in six countries, which include:

  • the U.S.
  • Netherlands
  • United Kingdom
  • Spain
  • Australia
  • France

The move comes as another boost to Maker, which is Dai’s parent and currently the leading DeFi with a total value locked (TVL) of $1 billion, 27% of the total DeFi market value.

Back in 2019, Coinbase rolled out a similar initiative for the USDC stablecoin with rates as high as .125%; this was, however, slashed by 90% this year. The U.S. based crypto exchange has since noted that stablecoins have quite a role to play in the crypto ecosystem when it comes to volatility elimination.

These digital assets have grown significantly, comprising $12 billion of the crypto market, it’s no wonder Coinbase has such faith in them:

“This is one reason stablecoins have grown to a market cap of more than $12 billion, as people use them to hold funds without volatility, transfer funds quickly and cheaply, and gain exposure to the U.S. dollar.” reads the blog.

Notably, the new Dai Rewards by Coinbase will be issued to accounts with as low as $1, with the initial rewards set to be distributed within five days. With the current market lows in savings rates, they might just be another asset class with a better deal than wall street bankers at the moment. But that isn’t to say that traders aren’t already voicing their displeasure for such a low rate. Comparing the rate at which Coinbase offers vs many other exchanges and DeFi apps, it is quite low. For example, Nexo offers 8%, Compound does 7.28%, or Celsius sitting at 5.93%.

Also, crypto investors get to control their digital assets at any time based on the aspect of decentralization. Dai holders can withdraw their rewards as well as funds at any time. The downside, however, is that crypto exchanges are risky than traditional banks.

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Author: Edwin Munyui

Crypto Exchange CoinMetro Launches New Affiliate Program

The CoinMetro crypto exchange recently unveiled a new and expanded affiliate program that aims to pay out the highest affiliate rates of any cryptocurrency exchange. In addition to collecting 40% of what their referrals generate in revenue, affiliates can also earn 10% of what traders referred by their referrals accumulate. Since CoinMetro’s revenue sharing program lasts for a lifetime, this puts the potential earnings of an affiliate far beyond what they could be for most other crypto exchange referral programs—making CoinMetro’s affiliate program one of the best crypto affiliate programs out there.

Under the new program, affiliates have a choice of participating in different income models: seasonal promos with a CPA model (set bonuses for signup/deposit), and a Revenue Share Model (receive a cut from revenue brought in from referrals). Because it offers a great deal of flexibility, this affiliate program is perfect for traders, affiliate marketers, crypto enthusiasts, and bloggers looking to monetize through their crypto content.

CoinMetro’s June affiliate bonus, in which both the affiliate and their referral received a 5€ bonus upon verification, managed to attract 7,000 new users in the first week of the month, with a significant portion of the signups directed by US traffic. Through its introduction to an expanded audience of traders, the exchange is gaining more visibility at a time when crypto is poised to enter a new bull market, making the potential for referral-based profits a highly lucrative endeavor.

CoinMetro is an innovative way to buy and sell the world’s top cryptocurrencies, designed for use by traders of any level of experience. The exchange places a heavy emphasis on the education of its traders, equipping them with the knowledge they need to best maximize their success while trading and investing. CoinMetro currently features 13 different cryptocurrencies for trading and several different fiat pairing options.

Though based in the EU, the CoinMetro crypto exchange receives a lot of US traffic and from those looking to trade relatively rare pairings, such as BTC/GBP and ETH/GBP. The affiliate program is, therefore, great for customers in the US who are looking to add some extra funds into their CoinMetro account. Some of the other coins traded on the exchange include Bitcoin Cash (BCH), Chainlink (LINK), Quant (QNT), Ripple (XRP), and the exchange’s utility token, CoinMetro Token (XCM).

A fully EU-licensed exchange, CoinMetro is owned and operated by CoinMetro OÜ, which is incorporated in Estonia under company number 14448371. The CoinMetro Platform is an exchange-based order book for various pairings of cryptocurrencies and fiat currencies, such as euros and British pounds. For more information about CoinMetro and its new affiliate program, please contact Liina Laas (email: [email protected]). Additionally, more information about the referral program can be found here.

Disclaimer: This is a paid press release from CoinMetro. BitcoinExchangeGuide does not endorse, nor are we responsible for the content included in this paid release. We encourage all of our readers to do their research before interacting with the company.

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Author: Bitcoin Exchange Guide News Team

Algorand Foundation Opens 250M ALGO ($50M) Grant Program to Drive Its Blockchain Dev.

The Algorand Foundation has announced a generous 250 million ALGO grants program to fuel its blockchain development.

According to a Press Release shared on April 14, the foundation will allocate $50 million USD to further enhance its role in building participation within the Algorand blockchain network.

Currently, three stakeholders operating on this network have already been allocated 6M ALGO tokens as part of the Grants initiative. The announcement also notes that the program will take place over years, with four target categories that leverage Algorand’s blockchain.

These categories include:

  • Education & community initiatives,
  • DApps
  • Development tools
  • Innovative research based on the Algorand blockchain.

The foundation’s Head of Operations, Fangfang Chen, has since said they are optimistic on this milestone:

“We are thrilled to announce the 250M ALGO Grants Program, which is designed to support innovation that helps to grow the Algorand ecosystem,”

Chen added that Algorand believes that a public, permissionless and wholly Proof-of-stake (PoS) blockchain is instrumental in the creation of a borderless or open economy.

It, therefore, follows that the foundation is committed to developing an ecosystem through the Algorand blockchain, hence its support for projects in these specific categories.

The ALGO Grant Allocation Criteria

As you’d expect, this initiative’s going to get a lot of interest and applications from teams looking to capitalize on the opportunities of this grant by Algorand blockchain.

The foundation has since outlined two specific selection criteria that will be used to identify potential projects. One of these is a project’s projected positive impact on the Algorand community.

The other catch is its quality in terms of growth opportunity. As well as the academic or technical strength of a proposal and the team’s commitment towards their Algorand based solution. However, there are plans to build an open ecosystem in future that will allow the Algorand community to vote for their preferred projects.

As mentioned earlier, three projects have already qualified for Algorand’s grant program; these being Blog, Reach and PureStake AlgoSigner. Each of these are working on different solutions to make Algorand’s blockchain network a better platform for integration for modern-day industries.

For example, Blog focuses on nodes and API performance. Reach specializes in the DeFi space, while PureStake Algosigner breaks down the barriers between Algorand network participants.

Notably, the founder of Reach, Chris Swenor, praised the ALGO Grant program for its significance,

“The grant program from the Algorand Foundation is one of the most focused programs out there, and we believe it will be instrumental in accelerating the adoption of Algorand’s platform.”

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Author: Edwin Munyui