Lido to Allow ETH to be Staked on Ethereum 2.0 and Still Participate in DeFi

Ethereum 2.0 is getting ready for first big steps; in the next few weeks, it will begin its transition to proof of stake (PoS) by launching Phase 0 to allow people to stake their ETH.

But it comes with the caveat that the staked ETH will remain unlocked for months or years until transactions are enabled on ETH 2.0. It further means, these stakes ETH, which can only be in the multiple of 32 (worth about $11,850 at the time of writing), can’t be moved, traded, or used as collateral.

To allow people to secure the network through staking and participate in DeFi simultaneously, Lido is launched. Currently, in development, this project is headed by CEO Jordan Fish and CTO Vasiliy Shapovalov, with more details to come over the next few weeks.

This staking solution for Eth 2.0 is built to solve the issue of staked ETH being non-transferable and illiquid.

When using Lido to stake ETH on the Ethereum beacon chain, users will receive a token called bETH, representing ETH on the Ethereum beacon chain on a 1:1 basis.

Staking rewards earned from staked ETH will reflect the user’s ETH balance on the beacon chain, and so will the bETH balances.

“We believe that bETH will be an important base primitive in DeFi, and a foundational building block for the Ethereum money-lego stack,” reads the official announcement.

In this manner, ETH users can earn incentives through staking and simultaneously getting access to additional yield by participating in DeFi protocols.

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Author: AnTy

Aave Launches V2 to “Push DeFi Limits,” LEND Hits ATH & TVL Doubles to Exceed $1 Bln

One of the hottest crypto projects in decentralized finance (DeFi), Aave, is now ready to leave phase 1 by launching Aave V2 to “push the limits of what is possible,” with this sector.

There is already much excitement for the (formerly known as Eth.Lend) project, which was launched in January 2020 after a 2017 $16.2 million ICO, into the community as it integrates with other popular DeFi projects.

In the past couple of years, the protocol has grown to be of 1 billion market size with innovations like flash loans, credit delegation, and stable rates.

Recently, there have been reports that the project will be transferring the ownership of the project through its governance token AAVE.

In its latest announcement, the team shared governance features such as vote delegation and cold wallet voting that will be coming with V2.

“V2 will be the start of what is commonly referred to as “Liquidity Mining” for the users of the Aave Protocol,” it read.

Much Excitement

The native token of the money protocol LEND took a jump on these upcoming developments, hitting a new all-time high of $0.499. This biggest gainer of 2020, with 5,400% returns, has recorded an increase of 13,500% in the past year.

Even more exciting response was reflected in the total value locked in the protocol, which doubled, going from $529.5 million yesterday to surpass $1 billion yesterday, as per DeFi Pulse.

Meanwhile, with this new version, Aave is also ready to venture into debt, collateral, and margin trading.

The Aave protocol V2 will allow anyone to natively trade their debt position, which will open the possibility for interest rate optimization and yield optimization strategies.

To onboard a new set of users, this new version will allow users to repay with part of their collateral and introduce debt tokenization and native credit delegation.

Interestingly, the Aave protocol will open private markets to support tokenize assets of all kinds. “A collaboration between RealT and the Aave Protocol is in the works to push DeFi even further and bring mortgages on Ethereum.”

Fixed deposit rates are meanwhile chosen to provide a guarantee of income for liquidity providers, so that market volatility doesn’t affect them while improving the stable borrow rate.

With V2, Aave is also tackling the skyrocketing Ethereum gas prices. First, for gasless approvals, aTokens V2 integrates the EIP 2612. Besides introducing significant gas Optimisations that will be leading to a “sharp drop” in the transaction cost, they will implement native GasToken Support as well.

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Author: AnTy

Italian Banking Association Wants A Digital Euro; Ready to Participate in Pilot Program

Italian Banks are ready to participate in the launch of a digital Euro according to an announcement last week by the country’s banking association (ABI). This body made up of over 700 banks said in a statement that it would be willing to speed up the roll-out of an ECB backed digital currency. Talks in the CBDC space have recently made headlines in crypto as advanced economies like France take into consideration these digital assets.

Notably, ABI was previously involved in the digital currency industry has launched a research group to look further into the assets last year. Also, an inter-bank settlement DLT initiative dubbed ‘Spunta‘ is already running in a bid to increase efficiency amongst ABI members. The ABI quoted this milestone as one of the consideration factors in their contribution towards a digital Euro.

Following the progress, Italian banks are of the view that digital currencies propose a significant value addition to the existing market infrastructure. The announcement says,

“A programmable digital currency represents an innovation in the financial field, capable of profoundly revolutionizing money and exchange. This is a transformation capable of bringing significant potential added value, particularly in terms of the efficiency of the operating and management processes.”

EU Regulations Should Be the Standard

While the ABI acknowledges an underlying value n digital assets, the association was keen to highlight that the EU’s monetary policy framework should take the forefront in any decision attributed to this space.

“Monetary stability and full compliance with the European regulatory framework must be preserved as a matter of priority.”

According to the ABI, such an approach ensures that the regulator and banking entities can maintain public trust.

Apart from Italy, the digital Euro has support from France and the Netherlands. Germany has also signaled that a programmable digital Euro would be a good idea despite FUD sentiments by the president of the Deutsche Bundesbank, Jens Weidmann, back in 2019.

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Author: Edwin Munyui

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