Hindenburg Research Shorts Chinese Bitcoin Mining Maker; Ebang Continues its Fundraising Spree

Hindenburg Research Shorts Chinese Bitcoin Mining Maker; Ebang Continues its Fundraising Spree

The short-seller argues Ebang makes “extraordinary claims” to be a market leader, which is “backed by no evidence,” resulting in EBON shares dumping.

Short-seller Hindenburg Research is shorting Chinese Bitcoin mining machine producer Ebang International Holdings. This sent the shares of the company (EBON) down 20% to $5.53. EBON shares have lost 63% of their value since the mid-March high.

Ebang made its debut on Nasdaq in June last year, and during this period, it has made three fundraising rounds, one in November and two in February this year alone, raking in $170 million in the last two.

According to Hindenburg, Ebang “claims” to be a leading bitcoin miner maker, but their research “indicates no evidence backs this extraordinary claim.” It further goes on to the point that ever since releasing its final miner in May 2019, its sales have been dwindling to near-zero, “delivering only 6,000 total miners in 1H20.”

The ongoing bull run has fueled a surge in fundraising in the crypto sector, which raised $2.6 billion in just three months, more than the amount raised in the entire last year.

Hindenburg has also been short on another Chinese blockchain company and took short positions in electric vehicle companies, including Nikola Corp, Lordstown Motors, insurer Clover Health, and Kandi Technologies Group Inc in the past year.

According to the firm, its research revealed that instead of using the capital proceeds to develop its business, Ebang has been moving the cash out of the company through “a series of opaque deals with insiders and questionable counterparties.”

Interestingly, this week, Ebang also announced the closing of its previously announced best-efforts follow-on public offering for the sale of 14 million units at a purchase price of US$6.10 per unit, for aggregate gross proceeds of approximately US$85.4 million.

The company intends to use its net proceeds to expand its crypto mining business and for the establishment and operation of the mining farms, crypto exchange, and general corporate purposes.

As we reported, Ebang announced the launch of its cryptocurrency exchange just this week, which Dong Hu, Chairman, and CEO of the company, said, “will not only expand the revenue sources from our cryptocurrency business but also optimize the development of our blockchain industry chain.”

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Author: AnTy

Palm Beach Research Analyst, Teeka Tiwari to Release His Next Pick for Trillion-Dollar Crypto

Palm Beach Research Analyst, Teeka Tiwari to Release His Next Cryptocurrency Prediction to Hit A Trillion-Dollars

The analyst who picked Bitcoin (BTC) at $428 in 2016 is set to announce the next Trillion dollar cryptocurrency.

The cryptocurrency market faces one of its greatest bull markets in recent history as demand for cryptocurrencies, NFTs, and decentralized finance (DeFi) keeps growing. Bitcoin (BTC), the largest crypto, is trading at $58,823, as of writing, placing it at a $1.097 Trillion dollar market capitalization after a solid 948% growth in the past year.

Palm Beach Research Group’s Teeka Tiwari, a crypto enthusiast, and an analyst will be releasing his prediction of a new crypto will soon join Bitcoin in the Trillion dollar market cap bracket. In an upcoming webinar event, “Crypto’s Next Trillion Dollar Coin,” set to be held on March 31, 2021, at 8 PM ET, Tiwari will reveal the next cryptocurrency and “where he believes the real money will be made in the crypto boom of 2021”.

According to the Palm Beach Research Group website, Teeka’s shows and webinars in the past have helped investors make insane profits in crypto and he intends to create the same results for his followers in the upcoming webinar.

Teeka Tiwari is a former hedge fund manager and a Wall Street executive who has made a name among crypto circles. He has been a regular contributor to the FOX Business Network. He has appeared on FOX News Channel, CNBC, ABC’s Nightline, The Daily Show with Jon Stewart, and international television networks.

Teeka was an early Bitcoin adopter, having bought his first Bitcoin at $428 in 2016 and calling a Trillion dollar market cap.

Investment analysis research firm, Palm Beach Research Group, offers retail and institutional clients a range of investment advice products (both paid and free), including the “Palm Beach Daily,” “Palm Beach Insider,” and “The Palm Beach Letter.” The company employs some of the top investment analysts from Wall Street and top financial firms globally.

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Author: Lujan Odera

RenVM Ready for ‘New Frontiers’ with Alameda Research Partnership

RenVM Ready for ‘New Frontiers’ with Alameda Research Partnership

DeFi protocol Ren that enables the permissionless and private transfer of value between blockchains has joined hands with Alameda, a quantitative crypto trading firm founded by FTX founder and CEO Sam Bankman-Fried.

This partnership will prioritize Solana’s support in Ren’s Multichain libraries and in RenVM, Ren’s core product that brings interoperability to DeFi.

The team has already started working and will begin bridging assets to and from Solana in Q2.

For RenVM, the upcoming support for Solana and integration into Serum means more volume, users, fees, and authenticity to the protocol. Taiyang Zhang, the CEO at Ren said,

“I’ve always been impressed by the pace of innovation @SBF_Alameda +team sustains and value created for the wider crypto ecosystem. Now that we get to collaborate, I’m more bullish than ever and look forward to taking RenVM to new frontiers.”

The joint efforts will also involve “reaching the next phase of decentralization.” After distributing the control of RenVM to third-parties, now Alameda will also participate in Greycore, which will be responsible for consensus and execution. The team is expecting to start testing MPC on Testnet soon.

As for Solana, the ability to move ETH and ERC20 tokens along with SOL, SRM, and other Solana-native assets between chains will help integrate Solana more deeply into DeFi.

REN token’s price jumped over 20% on the news as it trades at $0.75, up 120% YTD, and to trader @SmartContracter, it looks “Giga bullish.”

But not just for REN, the market sees it as good news for all the parties that means SRM and SOL as well. While SOL hit a new ATH at $5.34 today, SRM is just 20% away from its peak of $3.76 hit during 2020 DeFi summer mania.

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Author: AnTy

The European Central Bank & EC Join Together to Research A Digital Euro Launch

The European Central Bank & EC Join Together to Research A Digital Euro Launch

European Union entities, the European Commission, and the European Central Bank (ECB) will be coming together to discuss the potential challenges that come from the creation of the Central Bank Digital Currency, the Digital Euro.

Within a joint statement from both the Commission and European Central Bank, the aims of their effort were to explore its prospects for public and private sectors:

“The European Commission and the European Central Bank (ECB) are pursuing their efforts towards ensuring a strong and vibrant European digital finance sector and a well-integrated payments sector to respond to new payment needs in Europe.” The ECB will go on to decide whether the project will be put into motion in mid-2021.

“Such a project would answer key design and technical questions and provide the ECB with the necessary tools to stand ready to issue a digital euro if such a decision is taken,” the joint statement reads.

While the ECB officially closed its public consultation phase on January 12th, the news service EURACTIV, a news service centered on EU policy, found that 41% of polled respondents expressed serious concerns. Concerns regarding security (17%) and Pan-European reach (10%) also emerged.

While the European Union has entered the introductory stages of its CBDC, China’s digital currency – the Digital Yuan – has already established itself as the powerful front-runner and sets its sights on a global payments framework based on CBDCs.

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Author: James Fox

Cardano and Nervos Research Initiative to Find Solutions to UXTO Security Issues

Cardano Foundation is partnering with the Nervos network in a joint research initiative to secure smart contracts, especially on a blockchain, using the Unspent Transaction Output (UTXOs) transaction model. The research efforts come in handy as Cardano aims to take over the decentralized finance (DeFi) ecosystem following the Goguen testnet.

Cardano, and Nervos, two public chains using the UXTO accounting method on their networks, announced a joint research partnership that will see them share proprietary information and write research papers on open-source accounting models, UXTO-based security, and develop a universal standard of accounting across blockchains.

This initiative is set to enhance and develop better security systems on UXTO-based blockchains to provide more efficient interactions with DeFi applications.

First conceptualized and adopted by Bitcoin (BTC), the UTXO accounting model has grown as the most secure across blockchains. A UTXO accounting model entails recording the number of coins remaining in a specific wallet after executing a transaction while monitoring every transaction continuously. This accounting model provides a more secure network than the account-based model, which is used by smart contract-based blockchains such as Ethereum (ETH) and ERC20 tokens, the statement further reads.

The account-based accounting model offers a less cumbersome network to store transactions as opposed to the UTXO module. Account-based accounting models only focus on the balance of the wallet account, ignoring the individual transactions within the address, opening up a loophole to steal funds while no one is monitoring the wallet. Kevin Wang, co-founder at Nervos said,

“UTXOs are superior to account models in many ways and provide improved security, privacy, and scalability, all of which are critical for DeFi.”

This makes the account-based model susceptible to hacks and external attacks, as seen repeatedly across the DeFi space in 2020. According to a CipherTrace report, the overall value of DeFi hacks in 2020 rose to nearly $100 million as hackers turned their eye to the ballooning space.

Cardano and Nervos are both lining up to nab DeFi projects from Ethereum – both taking a step forward in 2020 to strengthen their market position. Nervos Network announced a collaboration with Huobi exchange to develop blockchain framework testnets on DeFi applications in March this year. Additionally, the network also added Chainlink’s decentralized oracles to enhance smart contract development on the platform.

Cardano recently announced its first-ever DeFi project built on the platform, Bondly, lending and borrowing DeFi app, earlier this week. This followed the launch of “Project Catalyst,” a $250,000 fund aiming at incentivizing DeFi developers to build on Cardano.

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Author: Lujan Odera

CBDC’s Offer Better Privacy Propositions Than Big Tech Digital Currencies: New York Fed

  • Fed research concludes that government-issued digital currencies offer better user data privacy than private companies’ digital assets.
  • However, CBDCs are not the answer to all problems relating to the privacy of payment data.

The research paper titled, “Monetizing Privacy,” by Rodney Garratt Professor of Economics at the University of California, Santa Barbara (UCSB) and Michael Lee, an economist at Federal Reserve Banks – Federal Reserve Bank of New York, states that central bank digital currency (CBDCs) will outperform the private company-based stablecoins such as Libra in protecting the privacy of user payment transaction data.

According to the research, the big tech firms are susceptible to selling users’ payment data to firms searching for an extra buck to boost their profits. It further states that a digital currency offered by these big tech firms such as Libra, led by Facebook and VISA’s digital currency, could lead to troubling cases of data privacy.

A follow-up post on the NY Fed blog by Lee and Garratt states some of these companies could become monopolies as more users join their platform and give them their data. Transactions using digital currencies will enable big tech firms with a competitive advantage to stack up on transaction data, further killing competition across the market. The post reads,

“This gap in product quality enables the [monopoly] firm to set discriminatory prices between payment types, taking into account the profit-maximizing quantity of data it would like to extract from consumers.”

“As a consequence, consumers obtain only a small share of the surplus generated from their data.”

The paper further states that public digital cash such as Bitcoin (BTC) could mitigate data monopoly by big tech firms. However, volatility in prices, fluctuating blockchain fees, and the rising costs of energy by BTC mining raise adoption issues.

A case for central bank digital currencies

The financial payment system is turning digital as the world battles with social distancing due to the global Corona Virus pandemic. With private big tech–owned digital currencies failing in offering users privacy on their transaction data, the research paper focused on government-issued CBDCs as the solution to privacy concerns.

The paper further states that a CBDC could also function as a measure against big tech data monopolies. CBDCs, however, not only offer increased privacy to users but also reduces the overall cost of fees and are environmentally friendly. The post reads,

“Nevertheless, the possibility that a privacy-preserving digital payment method may improve consumer welfare represents a relevant consideration for central banks to take into account.”

Regulators and authorities are urged to create policies around the privacy-enabled digital cash to ensure users are protected. Moreover, Garratt and Lee further claim that the privacy digital currency’s design should ensure that “the ability for consumers to purchase products without revealing their private data to vendors” is factored during development.

‘CBDCs not the answer to all privacy problems’

Despite the benefits CBDCs offer over big tech-built digital currencies, the paper notes that they also pose their own challenges in transactions. A “reliable and robust system” must be built to ensure that the privacy-preserving platform is secure at all times.

Notwithstanding, looking at “the commitment to privacy, regulators and lawmakers would have to rethink how to adapt current anti-money laundering practices.” Finally, a privacy-enabled CBDC could also affect the banking industry and financial systems, the report noted.

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Author: Lujan Odera

IOTA Tangle Tech Project Funded by Japanese Govt, to Build DLT-based Maintenance Solutions

Japan’s New Energy and Industrial Technology Development Organization (NEDO), a national research and development organization under the Ministry of Economy, Trade, and Industries in Japan, announced a strategic partnership with IOTA Foundation to create risk-based maintenance (RMB) systems across industries using artificial intelligence and distributed ledger technologies (DLTs).

In a press release shared with BEG, IOTA Foundation will team up with Best Materia, IMC, High-Pressure Institute of Japan, The Society of Chemical Engineers Japan, OMC, Lloyd’s Register, and Yokohama National University in the project. The project aims to provide solutions in the 170 Trillion Yen ($1.5 Trillion) domestic social infrastructure conservation market to build durable and secure infrastructure across industries worldwide.

The AI-driven RMB systems built by IOTA Foundation will be integrated across various industries in Japan to target more countries in the future. The project will assess the damages and risks involved in maintenance – using past maintenance data to predict which parts in industries, factories, and plants need maintenance.

As a software solution (SaaS) service, the RBM solutions will provide a decentralized data service built on IOTA Tangle, a distributed artificial intelligence system, and digitization and sharing infrastructure for data.

As Japan struggles to solve its aging problem across the country, the launch of AI-powered solutions will be vital in replacing current RBM specialists who manually carry out the maintenance schedule. Shigemitsu Kihara, CEO at Best Materia, hopes the integration of IOTA Tangle protocol will enable secure collection and storing of RBM related data, “which is the key to the AI system’s accuracy,” he said.

With blockchain-based RBM systems in place, plants and industries will benefit significantly in mitigating risks from the machines’ maintenance, etc. This will further reduce “unplanned outages, improve plant availability and lower costs” by reducing the manual influence and unnecessary repairs.

According to the release, over 30,000 industries require AI-powered RBM systems in Japan alone. The cost to integrate the project is estimated at 30-50 million Japanese Yen each – totaling 900 billion Yen (~$7.9 billion) to 1.5 Trillion Yen (~$13.2 billion).

In an email sent to BEG’s desks, Holger Köther, Director of Partnerships at IOTA Foundation, praises the open-source and distributed risk-based maintenance system. Holger hopes the IOTA Tangle platform will enhance data collection on the project and further stating,

“Digitalizing the risk-based maintenance (RBM) systems for safer and more efficient industrial plants is only one of many applications where IOTA will be used in the future.”

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Author: Lujan Odera

Estonia’s Central Bank is the Latest to Launch a CBDC Research Initiative

Estonia’s Central Bank, Eesti Pank, is the latest monetary authority to debut research into the potential of CBDCs within its jurisdiction. The bank announced on October 2 that it had launched a research program that will look further into the building and deploying a CBDC for Estonians. This development comes barely a week since the EU moved to trademark ‘digital euro’ as the region embarks on broader CBDC research.

According to the Eesti Pank announcement, they will collaborate with tech firms Guardtime and SW7 group towards the CBDC initiative. Notably, Estonia is one of the blockchain-advanced countries and currently leverages the Keyless Signature Infrastructure (KSI) blockchain to provide its netizens e-government services.

The research will now look into whether the KSI ecosystem can run an Eesti Pank backed CBDC. Also, possible electronic payment solutions that can be integrated with Estonia’s e-ID and e-government portals. However, there are no specifications on which particular technology is limited or should be used in the newly launched Eesti Pank CBDC research project.

It will be rolled in several phases, with the timeline set at around two years. The initial phase of Estonia’s CBDC research project will pay attention to building a scalable, secure, and practical ecosystem that is up to standard in terms of holding digital assets. Concurrently, the research is expected to feature resilience, privacy, security, and speed. Eesti Pank’s head of Payment Systems, Rainer Olt, has expressed optimism on this milestone;

“Over the years, Estonia has developed unique know-how to maintain secure, private, and efficient e-government. Estonia’s unique wealth of experience provides a good impetus to launch a project with technology companies SW7 and Guardtime to explore technological opportunities.”

With Estonia joining the CBDC bandwagon, progress in this area seems inevitable despite a slack by leading economies like the U.S. The last few months have been particularly eventful; in fact, China may have already taken an early lead with the launch of a digital yuan pilot. This PBoC backed CBDC is dubbed DC/EP’ and has been a topic of debate given its potential of disrupting the dollar and euro in global trading markets. Although, it’s still in the early stages, and only so much can be predicted given the rate of development in crypto.

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Author: Edwin Munyui

Alameda Research and Three Arrows Capital Outdoing Each Other to Mint Record WBTC

On Friday, FTX CEO Sam Bankman-Fried’s Almeda Research minted the biggest wrapped Bitcoin (WBTC) ever, as per WBTC Network.

2317 BTC was minted on Sept. 25, breaking the previous single largest WBTC mint record by just one WBTC, which was set by Three Arrows Capital at 2316.5 WBTC just the day before.

Interestingly, the Singapore-based Three Arrows Capital made the now broken record by breaking Almeda Research’s largest mint of 1,999 WBTC, from last week.

Both the mints represent less than 3%, about 2.7%, of the current wrapped bitcoin supply, at 85,473, worth over $915 million.

Out of the total 116,551 BTC (over $1.2 billion) on Ethereum, WBTC accounts for a whopping 73%. In just five months, the total supply of wrapped bitcoin has grown by nearly 7,500% from 1125 WBTC and more than 13,000% from the beginning of the year.

In other news, WBTC is coming to Tron blockchain.

Tron entered a strategic alliance with custodian BitGo to make WBTC a TRC-20 token, a move which, according to Tron founder Justin Sun will help avoid the surging transaction fees on Ethereum.

“Everyone may now use their BTC/ETH to enjoy all the benefits of the Tron DeFi ecosystem without the high gas fees on Ethereum,” said Sun.

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Author: AnTy

Polkadot (DOT) Integrates Bluzelle’s Decentralized Data Oracles To Boost DeFi App Development

  • Bluzelle, a distributed oracle platform, announced a partnership with the blockchain research and development firm, Web3 Foundation (W3F), to integrate its decentralized data oracle on Polkadot.
  • This blockchain will offer developers the ability to build cross-chain applications.

According to a release on Medium, Bluzelle aims to bring “distributed storage capabilities” to projects building dApps on Polkadot ranging from decentralized finance dApps to gaming applications. The partnership between the two blockchain firms aims at directly taking up market share on the burgeoning DeFi apps market.

Polkadot’s founder, Gavin Wood (also the founder of W3F), said the partnership with Bluzelle would help in the quick transition of apps to the Web3 phase by leveraging the decentralized storage and trusted data oracles provided by the latter firm.

Polkadot is steadily improving cross-chain interaction between dApps in a bid to switch the web to Web3 standard entirely. In August, the Polkadot team announced the launch of its first parachain implementation testnet, Rococo, removing the need for relay chains. The Bluzelle integration will enhance development on Polkadot-based parachains by offering an architecture that “aligns with that of Polkadot” and “retains access to a reliable data network.”

Additionally, the oracles will provide DeFi projects with historical price data allowing the statistical analysis of token prices. Smart contracts rely on historical on-chain data to keep the market prices in check; hence projects using the decentralized oracles on Polkadot will be resilient to data manipulation attacks.

Bluzelle will be made available to all projects building on Polkadot’s Substrate framework.

Bluzelle is a delegated proof-of-stake (DPoS) blockchain-powered by Cosmos, claiming to handle over 10,000 transactions per second (TPS). Such infrastructure is a crucial feature to the growing DeFi market to provide scalability and cheap transaction fees – something that the current DeFi-leading platform, Ethereum, is suffering from. Pavel Bains, CEO of Bluzelle, said the consensus infrastructure would remain on Cosmos and further stating the embryonic stage of Polkadot’s integration:

“At this time, there is not anything built to show. It’s early stages. We are working with a number of DOT projects already.”

In February, BEG reported Polkadot’s integration of decentralized data oracle, Chainlink, becoming the first blockchain outside Ethereum to integrate the latter.

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Author: Lujan Odera