Binance Invests in Indonesian Regulated Crypto Exchange, Tokocrypto, Driving New Initiatives

Binance is ready to bet on the Indonesian crypto market, as it has made an undisclosed investment in Tokocrypto, a crypto exchange based and regulated in Jakarta.

On Tuesday morning, Binance announced it’s going to put funding into Tokocrypto, for this exchange to build new products and offerings, improve its tech stack and expand its customer base.

Tokocrypto launched back in 2018. Since then, it became the first business of its kind to obtain a 2019 business license from Indonesia’s Commodity Futures Trading Regulatory Agency (BAPPEBTI).

What’s Indonesia’s Stand on Crypto?

As far as digital assets, Indonesia has enforced strict laws. Crypto is not a way of making payments in the country. In contrast, the new regulations from early 2020 have had investors putting up a rather high minimum capital if they want to trade with crypto derivatives.

However, it seems there are a few holes in the governmental regulation when it comes to crypto trading in Indonesia do exist. While no unbiased reports are revealing the details of the Indonesian crypto market, a Reuters report from early 2020 says the country’s crypto market is as big as the stock market here.

Here’s what Changpeng CZ Zhao, the CEO and co-founder of Binance had to say about this and the Tokocrypto investment:

“Indonesia will become one of the leading centres of the blockchain ecosystem in Southeast Asia. Our investment in Tokocrypto will allow us to explore exciting new opportunities together for the Indonesian market with a regulated local partner to enable the freedom of money further.”

Huobi Also Made a Move-in Indonesia

Binance’s competitor Huobi was the first big exchange to begin operating on the Indonesian crypto market by establishing a local branch in 2018. Binance’s arrival is more recent and started after the Indonesian rupiah currency had been added last month to Binance’s peer-to-peer (P2P) platform. By investing in Tokocrypto, Binance gains exposure to the crypto scene in Indonesia, yet without having to go through regulatory requirements.

The Investment Sum Hasn’t Been Disclosed

While the sum for the investment Binance made in Tokocrypto hasn’t been revealed yet, at least the purpose of the funding is known. As mentioned earlier, new services, products and technological improvements are going to be promoted, together with a blockchain education initiative and national expansion.

Tokocrypto has already been backed by the Singapore-based investment and asset trading firm QCP Capital. Its advisory board has Darius Sit and Joshua Ho from QCP Capital, also Digix’s Shaun Djie, sitting as members. Besides, the exchange collaborates with PPTAK, the Indonesian financial intelligence agency, trying to partner up further with other industries’ players.

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Author: Oana Ularu

Crypto Exchange Bitfinex Now Offers Staking on EOS, VSYS, and ATOM; XTZ Coming Soon

One of the largest crypto exchanges, Bitfinex, is ready to begin offering staking services to their customers as a result of high consumer demand for it.

The announcement was made on April 3 and says the staking rewards offered by Bitfinex will be up to 10% per year on crypto assets that use the Proof-of-Stake (PoS) algorithm. Here’s what Paolo Ardoino, the exchange’s CTO, had to comment about the news:

“We’re committed to engaging our existing users and the wider community with new products and innovations. The Bitfinex Staking Rewards Program provides our users with another avenue to increase their holdings on our platform.”

Customer Demand for Staking Has Been High

Ardoino also mentioned that the exchange’s customers asked in very high numbers for staking, the service that allows traders to make passive income on the crypto assets they hold with Bitfinex. Staking here will support 3 cryptocurrencies: Cosmos (ATOM), V-Systems (VSYS) and EOS. It was specified that more stackable tokens are going to be added in the following months and that Tezos (XTZ) will launch in May.

Furthermore, Ardoino talked about the launch of P2P margin trading or lending-related products and derivatives sometimes soon. The promotion of the new staking service includes a competition in which Bitfinex branded apparel can be won.

Passive Income Options Are Now Everywhere

Crypto exchanges are in a fierce competition when it comes to offering their customers opportunities to generate passive income on the crypto assets they’re holding. Back in March, OKEx consolidated its Earn interface for staking, lending and term-deposit services, offering passive income streams for up to 32 crypto assets. OKEx’s director of financial markets, Lennix Lai, said that traditional banking could never offer the opportunity of staking when it comes to generating passive income.

Crypto.com launched on March 23 the Crypto Earn service that offers returns of as much as 12% per year on its platform’s deposited TrustToken stablecoins. Crypto.com’s CMO Sean Rach said the more products that help customers generate passive income with crypto are created, the more the crypto industry gets a chance to compete fairly with banks and traditional banking models.

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Author: Oana Ularu

Tether Prints over a Billion USDT in March, Rising Demand or Exchange Run?

We are about to end March, a month that saw the price of bitcoin hitting $3,850 and ready to end the quarter with over 10% losses. With these losses, Bitcoin will make a red quarter hattrick while BTC price hovers around $6,400.

While the price of bitcoin ranges, Tether Treasury is printing the heck out of USDT. In March only, they printed about $1.14 billion worth of USDT, as per Whale Alert.

Till last week, Tether has been printing batches of 60 million USDT in an interval of a few days but from Tuesday onwards, they started printing $120 million worth of USDT for every other day.

All of these new USDT, Paolo Ardoino, CTO at Tether and its sister company, Bitfinex, a crypto exchange said has been “inventory replenish.”

In the past week, the market cap of USDT has also jumped over $6 billion. The popular USD pegged stablecoin also took over the third spot from XRP earlier this month.

This third-largest cryptocurrency by market cap has been managing the second-highest daily trading volume after bitcoin and at times even surpassing that.

Demand for USDT on the Rise

Interestingly, though this month USDT traded above the $1 USD mark which is a potential reason for this much USDT printing.

Source: Messari

Sam Bankman-Fried, the CEO of competitor exchange FTX said these inventory replenishes are because of the “huge buy-side demand for USDT.”

This demand for USD is coming from over-the-counter (OTC) flow, primarily from Asia, and people selling BTC converted into USDT to hedge positions and to reduce risk. Another thing worth noting is margin USDT which drives some of this demand and requires the funds to be kept in USDT.

And all of this is related to changes in futures premiums, crypto sentiment, miner balance sheets, borrow/lend rates, and desire to move capital, he said. “USDT is over $1 rn either they sell it for $1 and OTC buyer sells it for the arb, or they use USDT to buy btc,” said hedge fund manager Tradeboi Carti.

This demand for USDT then drives up the price and in turn supply, so regular USDT minted by Tether Treasury.

According to Bitfinex Bitcoin whale Joe007, there could be a “troubling” possibility as well in the way that,

“some USDT-only exchanges may be running fractional-reserve shops. Now that people are selling crypto for USDT and try to withdraw, exchanges don’t really have that USDT, and need to buy it asap to maintain liquidity.”

Waiting for the perfect moment to buy

As we reported, while the price of cryptocurrencies fell this month, stablecoins have been seeing an increase in demand and market cap. Just like investors are fleeing for the safety of cash in the macro environment, crypto investors took to park their funds in fiat-backed stablecoins.

In the week following the crash in the crypto space, stablecoins’ balances on exchange doubled and the combined balance of USDT and USDC on exchanges surpassed $1 billion. 85% of these stablecoins are held by Binance while 8.3% is with Bitfinex.

“It is a measure of how much money is sitting on the sidelines or placed in limit orders at exchanges, waiting for the perfect moment to buy,” said Ankit Chiplunkar, a research lead at crypto analysis firm Token Analyst.

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Author: AnTy

ConsenSys Codefi’s Activate To Launch Its “Proof-Of-Use” Token Platform With SKALE

  • Activate to limit partnering projects based on a maturity level gauge and how ready partners are to launch
  • Tokens to be issued to only dedicated users as they implement proof of use

Activate, a Consensys backed token platform, has announced making its maiden token launch with the SKALE mainnet. Built by the ConsenSys Codefi, it is set to allow the users inputs in the sales of the tokens.

SKALE supported by Ethereum is a secure and decentralized network built for the Decentralized App (DApp)Developers. Their protocol of sharing computational load among different chains is largely based on proposed Ethereum shard system.

The platform’s main objective is enabling parties to securely host the tokenized networks among active users. It would effectively allow individuals to directly take part in of trading tokens while staking in the network as explained by ConsenSys’ Global Lead of Token Architecture Ejaaz Ahamadeen.

“Activate is a platform that allows anyone to engage and participate in decentralized networks. That’s kind of like a statement as a whole. And the best way to think about it is it equips you with the means to purchase, manage or use your utility tokens through its entire existence.”

With current projections from the Activate team suggesting that the Token sales would occur as soon as mid-year. According to the Strategy Lead for ConsenSys Codefi, Mara Schmiedt, Activate seeks to instantly assign tokens to active participants in the Network as soon as Activate’s partners have launched.

However, Activate follows various criteria while choosing partners. They intend to focus on the maturity of the project in that they should be ready to launch their network as soon as they come onboard. She said,

“We are very limited to the projects that we can work with due to many factors, the primary one being maturity of the technology. We’re not going to support a project who’s not going to mainnet soon.”

Proof of Use

The tokens will be distributed on a proof of use basis. This ensures that participants actually purpose to use the token. This requires the users to give a timeline of when they want to use the tokens before you actually get to use them meaning that they have to surrender up to 50% of their tokens to the mainnet for at least 3 months as was further explained by Mara Schmiedt.

While Skale’s CEO, Jack O’Holleran was adamant that money was not their top priority at the moment. They want to focus on first adding participants on their mainnet.

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Author: Lujan Odera

Binance Exchange To Restrict Crypto Trading For Japanese Users In The ‘Near Future’

  • Binance ready to phase out Japan residents from trading services in near future.
  • Further confirmation on details on the operations is set to be released at a later date.
  • Could regulation strictness be the case, similar to Binance’s troubles in the US?

In an announcement released on Thursday, January 16, 2020, on Binance blog, the world’s largest exchange will stop serving Japanese customers in the near future. The statement started out by thanking the support of their customers over the years since launch in 2017. The statement further read,

“Binance.com will be phasing out the provision of services to residents of Japan.”

The statement however confirmed that trading on the platform will continue as usual for Japan based customers. However, in the future the exchange will start slowly restricting Japan residents from trading on the platform with the official announcement expected to be released “shortly”.

The announcement will come as a blow to crypto investors in Japan as one of crypto’s largest exchanges closes its doors on the residents. Regulation has been one of the toughest barriers to entry for cryptocurrency companies in Japan and the latest closure may yet be a case of regulation uncertainty.

While all seems lost could there be a possibility of a “Binance US” situation unfolding in the country?

Binance Japan on the way?

The closure of trading services on Binance Global for US residents was indeed a big blow to the crypto industry in the biggest economy in the world. Every cloud has a silver lining though; Binance US, a regulated cryptocurrency platform sprouted to cater for US customers. Could such an effect take root in Japan?

While no official communication has been offered yet, the possibility of a highly regulated KYC compliant Binance Japan may be on the way.

As at publishing, no response to our questions has been received yet from Binance. We will follow up the story as it develops.

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Author: Lujan Odera

Over 49% Bitcoiners Believe the Bitcoin Price is Going to a $1 Million Dollars in the Next Decade

  • BTC ready to end 2019 with 92.5% and the decade at about $7,200
  • Currently, the market is in consolidation meaning “weak die off but the strong get stronger”
  • BTC will print a trend reversal if it closes above $7,800 until then the price will range

We are just a step away from entering into 2020 and Bitcoin is going to end the year at a positive return of 92.5%.

At the time of writing, BTC/USD has been trading at $7,200. Meanwhile, as the holidays continue, trading volume continues to sink as in the past 24 hours, Bitcoin recorded a trading volume of a mere $254 million.

So, what season is it exactly?

Mati Greenspan, founder of investment firm Quantum Economics in his Monday newsletter notes that after turning into spring at the beginning of this year from 2018’s crypto winter, now we are simply in consolidation.

And what it means is,

“The weak die off but the strong get stronger. It’s the way of nature and though may seem painful at times is actually a positive progression.”

As we reported, analyst Willy Woo has called it a “re-accumulation phase of a bull market.” Su Zhu of Three Arrows Capital also made an accumulation observation.

BTC Trend Reversal Patterns in the Making

Meanwhile, trader Josh Rager says we need to break above $7,800 and close above that for the market to signal a trend reversal.

“Until then, price continues to range with possible accumulation (over five weeks in this range),” added Rager.

Trader Jonny Moe also notes two potential BTC reversal patterns in progress, double bottom with a neckline at about $7,875 and inverse head and shoulders with a neckline at $7,700.

Along with this is another positive facet which is “year-end is traditionally a very important time for BTC trend reversals/confirmations.”

Also, we are seeing a miner capitulation completion signal that has occurred only a handful of times, 9 times in Bitcoin’s history.

“Hash Ribbons Buy confirmed. This is just the 10th time these conditions have been met for Bitcoin. It is highly likely we never see BTC under $6000 ever again. All other occasions saw an average gain-to-cycle-peak of +5000%,” points out Charles Edwards of digital asset management firm Capriole.

However, Moe warns that none of these positive signals matter until we break the necklines of $7,875 and $7,700.

Bitcoin to $1 Million

In the short term, Bitcoin has a lot of pain and gain coming its way but in the long term, people see it jumping past a million dollars.

A poll run by Greenspan on Twitter found that a staggering 49.2%, almost half of the 2,854 respondents believe that Bitcoin will be worth more than $1 million by the end of the decade.

It won’t be a big feat for Bitcoin, given that it has been the best performing asset of the decade already.

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Author: AnTy

Gold Value Surges Above $1,500 as Bitcoin Price Rises to $7,330 BTC/USD

Gold has just surged above $1,500 as investors are getting ready for the new year. Meanwhile, Bitcoin (BTC) is getting a nice post Christmas boost at $7,330. One of the most important things for investors is to understand whether the U.S. Federal Reserve (FED) will be cutting interest rates next year.

Gold and Bitcoin Are Getting Ready For 2020

Just after Christmas and getting ready to enter into a new year, both Bitcoin and gold have registered good performances throughout 2019. While gold surged 17% YTD, Bitcoin is up more than 90% since January, seeing a low of middle three thousand range to currently above $7,000.

Gold has been considered a safe-haven asset that is used by individuals as a store of value. In human history, gold was also used as a means of payment as well and is very useful for investors to hedge against volatility in traditional financial markets.

Meanwhile, Bitcoin wants to become a new store of value besides being useful to make cross border transactions. In the future, Bitcoin could be useful for investors if it becomes the new ‘digital gold’ as many enthusiasts are already calling it.

The current U.S.-China trade war could also be arriving at an end and the Fed may decide not to lower the rates further. In 2019, the FED cut rates three times. The U.S. economy and its financial markets are also expanding and reaching new records in terms of jobs created and stock market highs.

Some analysts consider that gold could continue growing in the future and further rate cuts could push the precious metal to over $1,600. This shows investors are still adding gold to their portfolios at current prices.

Regarding Bitcoin, the leading cryptocurrency is expected to be halving in mid-May 2020 which could eventually be the catalyst of a new bull market in the crypto space.

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Author: Carl T

Justin Sun Rolls Out Beta Test For Shielded Transactions on The Tron (TRX) Network Using zk-SNARK

According to Justin Sun, the CEO of the Tron Foundation, they are ready to beta-test shielded transactions. This would allow the network to process private transactions that hide the sender and receiver’s addresses, transactions input and output and the whole amount transacted between parties.

Tron Tests Shielded Transactions

The last weeks of the year are becoming increasingly productive for some cryptocurrency projects. Justin Sun announced on Twitter a few hours ago that they are working on shielded transactions for TRX.

As he explained, these shielded transactions will use zk-SNARK, also known as Zero-Knowledge Succinct Non-Interactive Argument of Knowledge. This allows transactions on the network to be 100% shielded and protected.

In addition to it, he stated that they are using a multi-party computation (MPC) protocol that allows them to work transparently and securely in order to prevent malicious attacks on shielded transactions.

Tron is a highly scalable and fast cryptocurrency that is being used in different decentralized applications (dApps) around the world. Users consider Tron is a very reliable digital asset that provides them with the features they need.

Furthermore, the protocol with its new privacy implementation will be highly scalable, which will allow the whole network to welcome as many participants as desired. In general, private transactions tend to be slower and include larger fees due to their larger size in the network.

In addition to it, Justin Sun said that developers can participate and contribute to the crypto project on GitHub. Those that want more information can easily request it via email.

There are other cryptocurrencies that have already implemented privacy features or that are expected to have privacy solutions in the future. For example, Monero (XMR) is the most popular digital asset with privacy features. Litecoin (LTC), one of the top cryptocurrencies in the market is also working on privacy features for users to enjoy more privacy while using the network.

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Author: Carl T

New Blockchain Alliance By Chinese Authorities Aims to Improve Trade Finance

  • China is almost ready to release their national digital currency, which has been in development for five years.
  • Chinese President Jinping has voiced public support for the progress of blockchain technology.

Blockchain technology is continually finding itself in different use cases, and the municipal Shanghai government is setting out to improve the use of this fintech for global trade. The collaboration is between the authorities and financial institutions, establishing an alliance that will improve the operations for trade finance. According to reports by The Block and Global Times, the members of the alliance presently include (but are not limited to) the Shanghai Municipal Commission of Commerce, Shanghai Customs, the People’s Bank of China, and the Bank of Communications.

Ye Jian, a general administration official at Shanghai Customs, stated,

“This is the first blockchain application project in customs. China upholds multilateral trade and constantly improves its business environment by seeking technological innovation.”

There are already multiple free trade zones in China that have applied blockchain technology, allowing them to reduce the cost and speed of operations, while offering digital trading options.

In China, blockchain has been a popular technology, especially considering the public support from President Xi Jinping for it. Jinping stated China should be taking on a leading position in its ongoing development. Following five years of ongoing research and development, China is almost prepared to launch their own government-based digital currency.

As far as blockchain technology, Qi Hong of the China Construction Bank Shanghai branch says that the tech is still in an early phase of experimentation.

He added,

“We now use blockchain in sporadic financial products instead of the whole finance industry chain, and the public doesn’t have a sound understanding of the technology when it comes to financing. But I think the government’s call for blockchain construction will help push the technology’s application in a more comprehensive way.”

Yesterday, Hong Kong established a partnership with mainland China for a blockchain project that will help with trade finance operations.

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Author: Krystle M

Telegram Breaks The Silence About Its $1.7 Billion TON Blockchain Project

Telegram is finally ready to talk about its long-awaited Telegram Open Network (TON). After raising $1.7 billion USD last year in one of the most successful Initial Coin Offerings (ICOs) ever, the Telegram network has decided to finally go public with its involvement with TON.

This week, the company mentioned the project officially for the first time, as Terms of Service page for the Gram wallet was created on the company’s site. According to it, the wallet will be integrated into Telegram’s main app, but it can also be used as a standalone product for people who are not interested in it.

The document affirmed that Telegram has no direct control over the TON blockchain, as it is a decentralized product, so people are responsible for the safety of their own information and the company can ensure that any transaction will be confirmed.

Gram’s new wallet will be created by Telegram FZ-LCC, one of the subsidiaries of Telegram which works as an official publisher for Android-based Telegram applications.

Telegram will not keep any kind of private information of the users nor its public and private keys on its servers, affirming that the user is fully responsible for handling this information by itself, just like it would be with a Bitcoin or Ethereum wallet.

The company also clarified that it has no control over the verification of each transaction that will happen on the TON blockchain. In order to keep the network as decentralized as possible, all transactions cannot have any kind of interference made by the company.

This was the first time that the TON blockchain was officially acknowledged by Telegram, despite how everybody knows that it was in development. So far, only the private investors who bought GRM tokens have a connection to it.

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Author: Gabriel Machado