USDC’s ‘Breakthrough’ Use-Case, US Govt. to Distribute Aid to Venezuela via the Stablecoin

With the support and licensing from the US Government, Circle is providing foreign aid through the USDC stablecoin to the people of Venezuela. Circle said,

“While this may be the first time, it will no doubt not be the last as global stablecoins firmly arrive on the world stage as a foundational infrastructure in the future of the international monetary system.”

USDC is the fastest-growing stablecoin of 2020, growing 500% in the past 8 months, with a market cap of over $2.8 billion.

In an announcement on Friday, Circle said it has been “approached” to help the “legitimate elected government of Venezuela” to distribute the financial aid to front-line medical workers in the country who, besides coronavirus, are also battling with hyperinflation, international sanctions, and economic collapse under the Nicolas Maduro regime who had launched his own oil-backed crypto petro.

After imposing sanctions on the Maduro regime, the US government seized Maduro and his government’s assets, which they now seek to get in the hands of the Venezuelans fighting COVID-19, for which they have turned to blockchain and fintech.

In collaboration with the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela, led by President-elect Juan Guaido and U.S.-based fintech innovator Airtm, aid will be distributed by leveraging dollar-backed USDC.

The Guaidó government will basically use the seized funds to mint USDC, which will be then sent to Airtm, a blockchain-based bank and dollar-denominated payment platform that powers digital payments throughout North, Central, and South America.

The USDC will then be sent to Venezuelan healthcare workers’ accounts as AirUSD — Airtm’s stablecoin-backed dollar token.

“All of this is powerful, inspiring, and underscores the ability of the internet and digital currency to transform… how value and money moves,” said Circle adding that

“it marks a historic moment where in order to execute on US government foreign policy objectives, economic and political leaders have turned to stablecoins.”

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Author: AnTy

Trezor Incorporates ‘Tor Switch’ in its Desktop App for Increased Privacy

The popular hardware wallet, Trezor, is working on providing its users’ privacy.

In its desktop app “Trezor Suite,” the cold wallet service provider has implemented the privacy project Tor to allow its users to obscure their connection.

Tor is an open-source network which has its servers distributed around the world run by volunteers and uses a special protocol that encrypts data at multiple levels. One can now not only enjoy the safety of the hardware wallet but the anonymity of Tor as well on Trezor.

“Tor is the perfect match for users who are concerned about sharing identifying data with a third-party service or anyone who might be observing their communications,” said Trezor in its announcement.

By downloading the latest public beta version of Trezor Suite, one can start using Tor with Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies. Currently, The Tor switch is only available in the desktop app, located in the top-right of the Suite window.

Used by the likes of whistleblowers such as Julian Assange and Edward Snowden to evade espionage from the US governments and from journalists, security specialists, governments to individuals worldwide, Tor has helped protect human rights and individual freedoms.

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Author: AnTy

What’s the Point of an Insurance Fund if It Wasn’t Used on the Worst Day In BTC’s History

  • No one to blame for the debacle but ourselves because BitMEX has “no interest in actually providing a functioning platform”
  • “Is this really what we set out to build? A speculative playground where traders and exchanges are the ones controlling our world” – Melody He, crypto hedge fund founder

One of the worst days of Bitcoin resulted in crypto derivatives exchange BitMEX recording one of its highest liquidations ever.

Once the Bitcoin price broke below $4,800, it was dominated by “cascading liquidations,” becoming its “own monster,” said Ari Paul. This widened the spread between the Bitcoin price on BitMEX, where it found the low at nearly $3,600 and spot exchange where it was around $3,700-$3,850.

As we reported, Sam Bankman-Fried, founder and CEO of competitor exchange FTX accused BitMEX of being responsible for Bitcoin’s violent sell-off. He said the price of bitcoin would have gone to zero if BitMEX hadn’t halted its platform under the pretense of “hardware issue.”

This “hardware issue” was the ”kill switch” like the circuit breaker in the traditional stock markets. “I think it was because their market was out of control. I think they made the right decision,” said pseudonymous trader Lowsrtife.

After they halted trading, the bitcoin price bounced 35% in under 25 minutes.

BitMEX then took over the manual control of the engine to make more “profit” from it and “became very reluctant to sell until the market bounced over 1000 points.”

It’s Our Own Doing

Lowstrife believes BitMEX didn’t cause the dump as such a fall would have happened anyway. But what’s clear is that “the market ceased to operate rationally below $5000.” Because of the panic that began from the broader economic turmoil in a run to cash and liquidity, BitMEX got overloaded but their liquidation engine wasn’t prepared to handle 90% of the long-side getting REKT.

For all of this, the trader said there was no one to blame but yourself because BitMEX has “no interest in actually providing a functioning platform.”

“BitMEX was undoubtedly the biggest bull (not by choice) due to the sheer amount of Long Swaps they inherited from traders who had been liquidated,” said trader with pseudonym Flood (BitMEX).

This move on BitMEX saw the liquidity in options market evaporating and 5% spread on spot markets.

Lowstrife also points out how the insurance fund of BitMEX had 35,508 XBT on March 11, 2020, and 35,210 XBT on March 14 questioning,

“What is the point of the insurance fund if, after the worst & most violent day ever in crypto, none of it was used?”

Now, the industry believes, this is not only the time for the crypto exchanges to look for circuit breakers but also as Melody He, co-founder of the crypto hedge fund, The Spartan Group said,

“After this, we should rethink the crypto financial system – is this really what we set out to build? A speculative playground where traders and exchanges are the ones controlling our world.”

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Author: AnTy

Malta Financial Services Authority Addresses The Challenges With Security Token Offerings

On Tuesday, Malta’s Financial Services Authority (MFSA) published a document providing answers to questions relating to security token offerings (STOs) in the country.

The watchdog released a summary of a combined 2 months of feedback sent by market participants. The feedback referred to how STOs could be leveraged in a way that didn’t impede innovation. The consultation process had kicked off in July of last year.

It aimed to determine legal certainties and challenges of blockchain-based securities from the Maltese market perspective. Eighteen industry participants provided their feedback through September 2019. These participants included technology providers, national agencies, law and consultancy firms.

EU Legislation Looms Large Over Study

What featured heavily within the report were the implications of the broader EU legislation, specifically, the Market Abuse Regulation and the Markets Financial Instruments.

The MFSA concluded that digital ledger settlement could be utilized. But many of the respondents to the consultation argued that EU rules on central securities depository (CSD) present stumbling blocks to implementing it.

MFSA: Binance ‘Not Authorized’ in Malta

The release of this feedback comes just days after the MFSA announced that it wouldn’t provide the crypto exchange Binance with a license to operate in Malta.

There’s speculation that the feedback report was in response to Binance’s announcement that it still has its headquarters in the country.

Malta has tried, for some time, to lose its reputation as a money-laundering hub. With the resignation of Malta’s prime minister under facing allegations of involvement in the murder of Daphne Caruana Galizia, the MFSA also underwent a leadership change.

UK Specialists Working for the MFSA

The leadership of the MFSA now includes 3 UK nationals with experience in conduct supervision, financial crime compliance, and banking supervision.

According to a press release, the Maltese watchdog is trying to comply with European Central Bank (ECB) recommendations, especially after being warned by the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) that it may be put on its grey list for legal sanctions.

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Author: Oana Ularu

European Space Agency to Use Blockchain-Powered Satellite Data For Mining Transparency

Blockchain tech is fast on the track of providing solutions from space despite a skeptical approach towards its major use as per now ‘cryptocurrencies’. The European Space Agency (ESA) has committed to fund a blockchain project that aims to cut costs in the mining chain processes through satellite data.

Hypervine, a Scottish startup headquartered in Glasgow, is the entity behind this idea of space data and blockchain integration. The firm set out to smoothen information storage for quality improvement in mining environments. Today, Hypervine is part of the Scottish Centre of Excellence in Satellite Applications (SoXSA) and has previously collaborated with Tontine incubator and Napier University in Edinburg.

Hypervine’s Blockchain Solution in Mining

Just like other industries, Mining has to adopt given the inevitable nature of change especially with the fourth industrial revolution (4IR). It is this niche that has seen Hypervine establish an operation suited to pace up the multi-trillion industry.

One reason for settling in the use of blockchain tech is its immutable nature. The proposed Hypervine model will allow true records to prevail in perpetuity hence very fine details that initially resulted to miscalculations can be audited for decision making. Fatal accidents that are common in quarries can be averted with the satellite stored data accessible via blockchain.

Furthermore, mining firms which opt to leverage this tech in the future stand a chance of reducing their data management costs while increasing efficiency in strategic decisions. This is mainly because a coordinated database provides comprehensive and timely information to act on compared to gathering from different sources. According to ESA’s technical officer, Beatrice Baressi, funds are flowing into the mining industry for new tech;

“The use of satellite-based data for mining work is already a sector experiencing huge investment and funding across private and nationalised space programs.”

The Environmental Prospect

ESA supported its funding towards Hypervine noting that their innovation would greatly improve the environment. Beatrice added that blockchain can be an indirect driver to reducing carbon emissions which ultimately is good for earth;

“It is a core goal of ours to make industries such as quarrying safer, cleaner and more accountable. Working with companies such as Hypervine allows us to achieve these goals whilst improving the standards across multiple industries.”

Hypervine is not the first blockchain project ESA is funding, the European intergovernmental organization allocated $66,000 to SpaceChain back in 2019. This is a blockchain start-up developing a multi sig satellite-based wallet.

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Author: Edwin Munyui

European Union Launches New Blockchain and AI Fund To Avoid Falling Behind US And China

The European Union (EU) and its commission have set up a new fund that will be dedicated to providing capital for artificial intelligence (AI) and blockchain projects in the region.

According to the reports, the EU donated around $100 million EUR to the fund and private investors are expected to bring up at least $300 million EUR. National banks will be able to invest in the fund, too. Some reports indicate that, in the future, the venture capital initiative could raise up to $2 billion EUR using the InvestEU Programme.

One of the main goals of the new project is to address something that is considered a flaw in the EU. While a lot of money was used in projects, large scale projects simply did not receive enough attention in the region.

Right now, the EU is already spending a lot on blockchain technology. During the year, the union spent around $674 million USD, mostly on proof of concept projects. The United States, however, is the biggest spender in the area, with over $1.1 million USD spent on the technology. China is the second-largest spender, with $319 million USD. No country in the EU has overcome that mark.

The European Investment Fund, the organization behind the venture capital project, has affirmed that the creation of the fund will certainly help the investor community in the EU. According to them, innovative technologies such as blockchain and AI are great investments and now, with the involvement of national banks, the investments in the area can be even bigger.

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Author: Gabriel Machado

Chinese Company Suning to use Blockchain in Fighting Counterfeits in the Retail Industry

Blockchain can protect the supply chain and combat counterfeits by providing end to end visibility and traceability in the entire supply chain. Suning, a Chinese retailer, has introduced the use of Blockchain for counterfeit protection before the Chinese shopping festival. It will apply to e-commerce platform operators, third party merchants, and online vendors.

How Suning Works

The supply chain participants are all linked to a single data collaboration platform. Every authorized personnel will be able to access Blockchain through a node; the node validator will validate all data before it is appended on the Blockchain. It will ensure traceability, provenance, and authentication in the supply chain.

A digital asset will mirror each trade item and logistic units in the physical chain in the Blockchain, the utility token. The token has a key that allows you to create a new entry into a ledger reassigning the ownership to someone else, to let them confirm and sign token transactions. Blockchain technology can serialize and track every trade item with a unique QR code for each. Once the food lands on a retailer’s shelf, consumers can scan a QR code on the food package with their mobile phones to receive food safety information about the product, including details as to what is in the box and its origin.

Expected Outcome

The aim of the Suning project is counterfeit prevention in China. The innovative technology will improve control over the supply chain by empowering customers to verify products before consumption.

It will improve customer relations and retention, as various brands can provide a higher level of essential data that boosts customer trust. The quality, unique characteristics, and sustainability of a brand can be documented. It also promotes stock control, to prevent stockpiling of unsold items by allowing real-time audits.

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Author: Daniel W

Liechtenstein Blockchain Act Approved By Parliament; Improved AML And Investor Protection

The Tokens and Entities Providing Services Based on Trusted Technologies (TVTG), also called the Blockchain Act, was passed in agreement with all the members in the Parliament of Liechtenstein. With the introduction of the Act, it tends to provide the users of blockchain technology a greater legal certainty and support the digitized economy positively. The Act is meant to govern all activities that are attainable on technical systems to provide legal certainty.

The Act received a green flag on the October 3rd but is said to enter force from January 1st, 2020. The parliament believes that this act will make Liechtenstein the first country to possess a comprehensive regulative understanding of the token economy. The law aims to remove the prevailing risks of Cryptocurrencies, to offer legal certainty and security but without imposing limiting restrictions and with that provide a reliable framework for a whole economy of digital and digitized assets. Most importantly the Blockchain Act shall provide each possible asset with tokenization, digitize it and listing it on a Cryptocurrency Exchange. This is often expected to facilitate the exchange and additionally storage of possession.

Co-author and attorney of the Act – Thomas Nägele, shared the news about the Act on his social media profiles to his followers. Mauro Casellini, the CEO of Bitcoin Suisse in Liechtenstein, has precisely explained to us the significance of the Act as –

“The TVTG not only creates legal certainty for all market participants but also heralds a new era, the token economy. With its pioneering role, Liechtenstein proves once again that it is the ideal location for FinTech and Blockchain companies and thus for us too, in the heart of Europe.”

Crypto companies move to Liechtenstein

Due to the friendly approach of the Blockchain Act, Liechtenstein was able to attract several new crypto companies to its land, according to a report by Cointelegraph. Cryptocurrency trading firm Bittrex has shared to introduce its new trading platform – Bittrex Global. Bittrex chose to establish the headquarters of the platform in Liechtenstein because of the small country’s regulative understanding of digital currencies and blockchain technology.

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Author: Sritanshu Sinha

Binance Closedown for US Customers is Bullish for Bitcoin

Binance Closedown for US Customers is Bullish for Bitcoin
  • Binance to stop providing services to US customers, Bittrex to delist 32 altcoins by June end
  • Bearish for small cap altcoins, bullish for bitcoin & major cryptos

Recently, announced that it will no longer cater to US customers while stepping up their KYC/AML game. This news came after Binance announced that its Binance US will be launching soon as well.

The news sent shockwaves across the crypto community that deeply affected its native token Binance Coin (BNB) which as yesterday down more than 10 percent but since then has recovered and currently in the green by 1.70 percent in the past 24 hours as it trades at $33.34.

Recently, we also reported of Bittrex exchange delisting a long list of cryptocurrencies, 32 altcoins for the US customers effective from June 28, 2019.

“Like other industry participants, we will continue to advocate for laws and regulations that foster innovation,” wrote Bittrex.

Any open orders will be canceled on the date the change will take place but users will be able to hold and withdraw tokens from their Bittrex wallets as long as they are still supported on Bittrex International. Non-US customers are unaffected and will still be able to trade all of the affected tokens.

Another exchange that is ramping up its KYC protocol apart from Binance and Bittrex is Bitfinex which is seeking information from certain users.

Bearish for Small Cap Altcoins, Bullish for Bitcoin & Major Cryptos

A Twitter thread what Binance CEO Changpeng Zhao attributes as an “interesting take,” shares how Binance already sees this coming as they already had time to build a DEX and prepare

However, with Binance US, just like its other initiatives in Uganda and Singapore, Binance is most likely to roll with the top cryptos only. As for the DEX, it only trades Binance Chain related tokens, so in the near future, they don’t seem to offer any silver lining for altcoins.

Winter seems to be calling for altcoins, shares economist and trader Alex Kruger but this he says will be bullish for major cryptocurrencies, especially for Bitcoin.

In the short term, Kruger explains, for those exiting uses Bitcoin the most and this gives larger players a perfect excuse to move the market.

Bitcoin has already seen the greens as after the release of this news BTC jumped over 5 percent, adding $600 in less than 24 hours.

“Other majors is stage #2, tied to re-balancing demand,” as the major alts will eventually follow.

The small cap altcoins will be affected and experience the bears more so as Bittrex is also ready to delist them. Though getting red initially after the news, as Bitcoin surged to $8,780 levels, altcoins followed the world’s top cryptocurrency.

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Author: AnTy

Reserve and Chainlink Partner to Strengthen the Future of Decentralized Stablecoins

Reserve and Chainlink Partner to Strengthen the Future of Decentralized Stablecoins
  • Chainlink has been considered to be an industry leader when it comes to providing reliable data feeds that can be used for smart contracts.
  • Reserve will be utilizing Chainlink to help make the protocol that they rely on be more secure for users and also be able to accelerate the development timeline.

A Secure and Reliable Network is Needed for Success

Having a robust and dependable Oracle network is very important for any stablecoin design. These are smart contracts that have been incorporated with the stablecoin protocols, which become only as effective as the price data, that is used to regulate their behavior. Therefore, it is crucial for a company to get this step of implementation right as it aids in the success of the coin.

A reserve protocol requires to have reliable price data to ensure it can maintain the 1:1 peg against the US dollar, this is achieved by monitoring the reserve stablecoin constantly against the dollar. But this is not all as it will require adequate management of the portfolio of the current collateral tokens that have been used to back the Reserve Token.

“Natural” Industry Partners

The Co-founder and the CEO of the Reserve, Nevin Freeman, notes that he sees both the Reserve and Chainlink as being natural partners in the industry. As they are both able to build critical pieces that are needed for the decentralized infrastructure, making both part of the great movement.

Thus, without proper on chain price feed being offered, most dApps will not be able to work without them. He goes on to state the following.

“We’re very excited about stablecoins and their potential to make crypto a medium of exchange. Projects like Reserve are taking seriously the task of making crypto practical for daily transactions in the parts of the world that need it most.”

Since the launch of Chainlink, the Reserve team has been following very carefully, and from this, they considered the company to be the best option in using them as a reliable oracle solution.

Chainlink Considered A Community Leader

Chainlink has been established as a decentralized oracle network, that allows the smart contracts to access the off chain data feeds securely, traditional bank payments together with the web APIs.

A platform that is being selected as the top blockchain technologies by the leading firms within the community; the likes of Gartner.

[Author Alert] The author’s opinions above are solely based on their own self-conducted research. Assume any and all authors are using, holding, trading and/or buying cryptoassets mentioned as a portion of his or her financial portfolio. Use information at your own risk, do you own research, never invest more than you are willing to lose.

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Author: Lorraine M