MoonPay Raises $400 Million in Second Round Funding, Valuation Now at $3.4 billion

MoonPay Raises $400 Million in Second Round Funding, Valuation Now at $3.4 billion

US-based crypto payment startup, MoonPay has completed a $400 million capital injection raise bringing the total valuation of the company to $3.4 billion, a blog post from The Information reads. The funding aims to enhance the features of the platform and boost the global adoption of cryptocurrencies.

This funding round was co-led by venture capital firm Tiger Global Management and Coatue Management aiming to grow the user acquisition rates.

MoonPay launched in 2019 with a simple aim to increase cryptocurrency adoption across the globe. With a team of just two young entrepreneurs — co-founders Ivan Soto-Wright and Victor Faramond — the company set out to create a simple and secure software solution that would enable people from all over the world to participate in the “biggest digital revolution since the internet” the company’s blog reads.

The platform allows users to use their credit and debit cards to buy crypto assets or other digital assets on marketplaces such as OpenSea, Bitcoin.com, Abra, ZenGo, Spot, and Trust Wallet.

Last month, MoonPay partnered with the crypto wallet provider Blocto to provide a fiat on-ramp to the Flow blockchain and easier access to NFT marketplaces. Earlier in the month, the company announced a strategic partnership with Bitmart exchange allowing users to better optimize the trading experience.

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Author: Lujan Odera

South Koreans Turn to Serum (SRM) As Solana (SOL) Ecosystem Pumps

SRM is currently the second most traded crypto on one of the biggest South Korean exchanges, Upbit, after Dogecoin. It is also trading at a premium on both Upbit and Bithumb, the latter also announcing the listing of SOL.

While Bitcoin and Ether are taking a breather under $45,000 and $3,000, respectively, other altcoins are busy pumping.

This especially holds for Ethereum (ETH) competitor Solana (SOL) and other coins in its ecosystem that have been pumping like crazy.

After months of ‘Solana Summer’ chanting by the SOL enthusiasts, finally, it is having a blast. Up 182% in the last 30-days, SOL is currently trading just above $70, having hit a new ATH at $80.12, according to CoinMarketCap on Wednesday.

SOL’s year-to-date gains currently stand at a whopping 3,706%, among the highest in the crypto space.

Amidst this uptrend, one of the biggest South Korean exchanges, Bithumb, announced the listing of SOL against KRW and BTC.

With SOL on an uptrend, decentralized exchange Serum built on Solana is also up 192% in the last 30-days. But trading at $7.87, SRM is still down 39.5% from its ATH four months back and has recorded only about 600% returns YTD.

This week, Huobi Global announced the listing of SRM against USDT and BTC.

SRM is currently the second most traded crypto on the biggest South Korean exchange, Upbit, after Dogecoin. Bitcoin doesn’t come until the 4th spot and Ether until the 9th as Koreans choose altcoins over the top coins.

SRM is currency trading at $8.28 on Upbit, while on Binance, it’s at $7.89, representing a kimchi premium of nearly 5%, according to Coinmarketcap.

While on Bithumb, which is listing SOL today, SRM is not among the top 10 most traded crypto assets but falls at the lower end of the top 20 and is also trading at a premium at $8.22.

“If the Koreans love SRM that much they’re gonna fucking love SOL,” tweeted trader @SmartContracter

South Koreans are simply busy trading XRP, DOGE, LUNA, ADA, ETC, AXS, and EOS.

AUDIO of Solana-based Audius streaming protocol has gone up over 110% in just a week after its partnership with TikTok.

Other Solana-based projects that are up in triple-digits in the last 30-days are COPE, Raydium (RAY), Bonafide (FIDA), MAPS, and Step Finance (STEP).

Besides SOL and the tokens in its ecosystem, another DeFi platform with a focus on stablecoins and with the backing of A-list investors such as Andreessen Horowitz and Galaxy Digital that is growing in value is Terra (LUNA), up over 100% in the past two weeks, hitting a new ATH today $33.22 and currently trading at just above $29.

LUNA’s YTD gains stand at 4,418%, nearing Dogecoin’s 5,163% gains which is yet again pumping as Dogecoin Foundation returns with its board of directors, including Ethereum co-founder Vitalik Buterin and Jared Birchall, manager of Elon’s family office, but is still down 59% from its ATH.

Currently, above $2, another Ethereum competitor Cardano (ADA), is also just less than 15% away from its ATH. Arweave (AR), Avalanche (AVAX), Thorchain (RUNE), and XRP have also enjoyed almost triple-digit gains in the last 30 days.

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Author: AnTy

Ethereum Fees And Daily Transactions Spike Thanks to Shiba Inu (SHIB), Tether & Uniswap

Much like in May, Shiba Inu is the biggest gas guzzler on the second largest network, as it launched ShibaSwap. NFTs through Axie Infinity and OpenSea, and MetaMask are also the contributors.

Daily transactions on the Ethereum network are now back over 1.35 million, which had fallen to just above 1 million, but still down from the 1.7 million peak in early May.

Fees are also seeing a spike, with average transaction fees making their way towards $10 after falling to $2.33 in late June. At its peak in May, it soared past $70.

Additionally, gas fees are recording an uptick to 55 Gwei after falling and remaining in single digits for a couple of weeks in June.

According to Etherscan, Tether and Uniswap are the biggest gas guzzlers today, followed by addresses that belong to the Shiba Inu coin project. At 5th and 9th place again is the SHIB project, all of which together accounts for more than 18% usage in the past 24 hours.

Much like in May, on Tuesday, the SHIB project was the biggest gas guzzler and was also at the 3rd and 5th spot, as noted by crypto trader Joe McCann.

The popular dog coin is actually launching a decentralized exchange (DEX) called ShibaSwap. In a single day, ShibaSwap attracted $1 billion in total value locked (TVL).

The token SHIB is currently trading at $0.00000874, down 77% from its all-time high of $0.00003791 hit two months back.

Ethereum co-founder Vitalik Buterin was the one who sent the SHIB prices crashing in May after selling 50% of its supply (about $6 billion worth at the time) which was sent to his wallet unbeknownst to him, in place of burning the tokens. Vitalik actually gave these coins to charity, saying he doesn’t want that kind of power over a project.

Amidst this, some critics point out that aping into ShibaSwap for a four-figure APR might be a risky venture, given that its smart contract allows a single address to migrate the deposited funds.

“TLDR: All the staked funds can be rugged by the devs at any moment #WarOnRugs,” said Valentin Mihov, ex-CTO at data provider Santiment.

Since then, the project has addressed the concern and made changes, moving the owner to multisig.

“ShibaSwap devs reached out and transferred the owner role to a 6/9 multisig. They also informed they plan to deploy a timelock,” said Banteg, a core developer at DeFi bluechip Yearn Finance.

Besides Shiba Inu, the popular NFT game Axie Infinity is the fourth-largest gas guzzler. As we reported, while the NFT space has been cooling down, the play-to-earn game Axie Infinity is seeing the highest volume at $84.1 million, 769% higher than Q1 2021 and reaching over 4,700 daily unique on-chain users, an increase of 360.61% from the previous quarter.

It also had a breakout month in June, earning a record $12.2 million in revenue, and already in the first five days of the month, it has generated $9.2 million.

The AXS token has surged 300% in less than two weeks and is up 2,145% YTD.

NFT marketplace OpenSea and popular Ethereum wallet MetaMask, which earned $7 million in the past 30-days (4th highest) and $31.7 million in the last 3-months (3rd highest), are also among the top ten gas guzzlers on the second-largest network.

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Author: AnTy

70% Bitcoin Mining Pools Give Signal to Taproot’s Second Attempt

70% Bitcoin Mining Pools Give Signal to Taproot’s Second Attempt

One of the biggest Bitcoin upgrades, Taproot, is starting its second signaling after the first one failed to materialize.

In order for Taproot to get locked in the protocol upgrade for November, 90% of the blocks mined need to signal their readiness. If activated, this upgrade will bring increased privacy and cheaper transactions to Bitcoin blockchain along with allowing smart contracts to be deployed on it.

This week, as we reported, Bitcoin mining difficulty hit an all-time high at 25.046 trillion after increasing by 21.5%. It was the largest percentage increase in about seven years.

This massive spike in difficulty adjustment came following the Bitcoin mining hash rate hitting a new ATH as well within a month of its 25% drop after some miners went offline due to blackouts in China which had pushed the self-regulating mining difficulty to decrease as well.

But now, the network is back at new highs as miners come back online.

With the latest jump in difficulty adjustment, the previous countdown has ended, and the new Taproot signaling period has started that will last till the next adjustment that occurs every 2,016 blocks, roughly 14 days, to ensure the average interval between blocks remains at 10 minutes.

While 80% of all Bitcoin hash rate is currently signaling for Taproot, less than 10% of blocks has signaled “green” during the last epoch, as per Taproot.watch.

As of writing, 69.5% of mining pools have given their signal.

The biggest Bitcoin mining pools Antpool, Poolin, and F2Pool have given their signal, while the major ones that have yet to do so include BTC.com, Binance Pool, OKEx Pool, 1THash, and BTC.Top.

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Author: AnTy

BWM, Ford & Honda Led Group, MOBI, to Track Vehicle Identities Using Blockchain

BMW and Ford are some of the main participants in launching the Vehicle Identity Standard’s second installment in collaboration with the Mobility Open Blockchain Initiative (MOBI).

The days of incorrect mileage, false maintenance, and damage histories when buying vehicles could soon end after some of the largest automakers in collaboration with transportation and blockchain leaders joined forces in developing a blockchain-based platform that will help in tracking and protect vehicle identity.

The group has released the second version of the Vehicle Identity (VID) blockchain platform. Dubbed VID II, the new platform is a continuation of VID I, which was touted as a vehicle birth certificate. The new standard focuses on vehicle registration as well as maintenance traceability.

The new standard will enable vehicle registration between states and nations to connect easily via a secure, shareable, and trustworthy ledger. The maintenance traceability will also offer a tamper-proof history to insurance firms, government agencies, and buyers, eliminating vehicle information asymmetry. Andre Luckow, the Emerging Technologies head at BMW, said,

“At BMW, we strive to create seamless digital solutions. The reference architecture in the VID II standard is a crucial building block in transforming the frictionless and trusted mobility ecosystem.”

VID II was authored by different worldwide mobility leaders and renowned tech firms to enhance multi-stakeholder interoperability.

BMW and Ford are the VID II co-chairs with support from IBM, Honda, Accenture, Car IQ, Bosch, DMX, Denso, Quantstamp, Luxoft, and AWS.

Apart from offering a secure vehicle identity standard, VID II will also be used in the supply chain, electric vehicle charging, and autos financing, among others.

According to Cynthia Flanigan from Ford’s research and advanced engineering department, VID II would be a building block that will offer enhanced transparent, safer, and efficient registrations and maintenance of a vehicle. The standard will provide the seller and the buyer with reliable data and information to help them make informed decisions.

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Author: Joseph Kibe

Top Argentinian Crypto Firm Purchases Second Largest Bitcoin Exchange In Brazil

Top Argentinian Crypto Firm Purchases Second Largest Bitcoin Exchange In Brazil

  • Argentina’s crypto firm, Ripio, is set to purchase Brazil’s second-largest cryptocurrency exchange, BitcoinTrade. Ripio aims to expand its market presence and the prevalence of digital assets across Latin American countries.

According to a local Argentinian newspaper Ambito, Ripio, one of the leading crypto firms in the country has purchased BitcoinTrade, reportedly the second-largest exchange in Brazil. The purchase aims to increase Ripio’s market presence and strengthen its operations across Latin America as the leading digital assets service firm.

Ripio, the largest digital asset exchange in Argentina, announced at the end of 2020 that it had reached close to 1 million active users on its platform. Having entered the Brazil market in 2019, Ripio boasts as one of the fastest-growing crypto companies in the country – a clear indication of why the purchase of BitcoinTrade is important. Sebastián Serrano, CEO at Ripio said,

“We have been following the growth of Bitcoin Trade for a long time and we are convinced that we will overcome greater challenges by working now towards the same goal.”

Launched in 2013, Ripio is one of the oldest, and heavily resourced crypto companies in the Latin American region with over 150 employees across the region. The company will expand its digital assets services to the region to increase the adoption of crypto, Serrano further said;

“We seek to expand access to the world of digital assets, building simple tools and enabling reliable information for decision making.”

BitcoinTrade, launched in 2017, grew to become the second-largest crypto exchange in Brazil in volumes and user activity. As of today, the company joins the Ripio family working to expand digital asset services to Brazilian and Latin American people.

The purchase is set to open up new horizons in the crypto ecosystem in Latin America, Carlos Andre Montenegro, founder of BitcoinTrade said,

“We are convinced that Ripio is the best company to extend the path we have built with BitcoinTrade in Brazil.”

Ripio joins Bitso, a Mexico-based crypto exchange, in the push to capture the hugely underdeveloped Brazilian crypto market. Bitso recently announced a $62 million funding round to expand its services across the Latin American region – with a keen eye on Brazil. Ripio also raised $44 million through VC investment including a $37 million initial coin offering (ICO).

Serrano believes the two companies have enough market to share in Brazil, given the largely underdeveloped crypto industry in the country. He further said,

“Bitso and ourselves are the two really well-funded companies with access to venture capital. There are no companies in that position in Brazil. But, really I think the opportunity is about growing the entire Latin America market.”

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Author: Lujan Odera

Mexico’s Second Richest Man Reveals his Bitcoin HODLing Plan

Mexico’s Second Richest Man Reveals his Bitcoin HODLing Plan

Ricardo Salinas Pliego calls BTC his “best investment ever” which he first bought seven years back.

Ricardo Salinas Pliego, the chairman at conglomerate Grupo Salinas has been a Bitcoiner long before he invested 10% of his liquid assets into the world’s largest digital asset last month.

Mexico’s second richest man recently revealed in an interview that he first bought Bitcoin in 2013 when the digital asset was worth just about $200.

However he sold all his BTC during the 2017 bull run at about $17,000 but he bought some again at a cheaper price because as he quipped, after all, “We always return to the scene of the crime.”

The billionaire calls Bitcoin his “best investment ever.”

As for the latest 10% of his liquid portfolio investment in Bitcoin, he doesn’t plan on selling anytime soon, at least not “for another five or ten years.”

This makes sense given that already Bitcoin has broken a new all-time high at $28,200 and we are just at the beginning of this cycle and institutions have just started to catch on. With many expecting $100k and $400k as the top of their cycle, and some even predicting $1 million per BTC in the future, HODLing is the best policy for a Bitcoiner.

According to Salinas, Bitcoin’s potential is in its feature as a store of value, unlike as a means of exchange which initially got him attracted to the crypto asset. Now that central banks all over the world are printing money and debasing fiat currencies, Bitcoin is emerging as a hedge against inflation. He said,

“What’s happening in Venezuela, in Argentina where fiat money is collapsing has become a scandal (…) It really opens your eyes to the problem of fiat cash.”

“Bitcoin is bits and bytes in the ether, but the good thing is that it cannot be debased and it cannot be confiscated that easily,” Salinas added.

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Author: AnTy

China’s Digital Currency to Roll-Out In A Second City After Successful Trials In Shenzhen

  • The second city in China is launching a lottery to test its digital currency/electronic payment (DC/EP) project, a local report states.

On Monday, local Chinese media The Paper reported that the district of Suzhou in Xiangcheng would launch a lottery to give away the country’s central bank digital currency (CBDC) in a bid to test the real-use cases of the digital currency. The ‘red envelop’ lottery is set to launch on December 12th across the city, a date known as Double 12 across China, and an end-year shopping festival.

The report said the lottery would be released similar to the one carried out in the city of Shenzhen in mid-October. In Shenzhen, the endeavor was a highly successful one, with over 50,000 participants winning 200 digital yuan each – totaling approximately $1.5 million. A later report confirms that over 95% of the digital yuan distributed were used in two weeks, stretching to over 3000 stores that accept the digital currency.

The city was chosen given the large prevalence of installed near-field communication (NFC) and QR code point-of-sales across merchant stores. Suzhou’s DC/EP trial is also set to introduce several new features not used in Shenzhen’s trial phase, such as the offline payment feature and the smartphone touch functions.

China’s DC/EP project will also launch a trial in Chengdu, which is preparing in anticipation by installing the NFC and QR codes point-of-sales. The People’s Bank of China (PBoC) also announced plans to launch the DC/EP project in the Winter Olympics venue in 2022.

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Author: Lujan Odera

Cybersecurity Firm, CipherTrace, Files Second Patent for Tracking Privacy Coin Monero (XMR)

  • A cybersecurity firm, CipherTrace announced on Monday their second patent on tracing and tracking privacy-enabled cryptocurrency, Monero (XMR)

A press release shared to the BEG news desk confirms CipherTrace, a blockchain analysis, and cybersecurity firm, has filed its second “Monero tracing” patent – “Techniques and Probabilistic Methods for Tracing Monero.” The patent follows the firm’s registration of the “Systems and Methods for Investigating Monero” patent earlier in the month in a bid to trace and track the privacy-enabled cryptocurrency.

Over the past few years, regulators and governments worldwide, including the United States and Russia, have been working on solutions to tracking XMR. According to the statement, over 45% of the darknet transactions are completed using privacy coins – with Monero leading the line, only second to Bitcoin (BTC).

Monero gives the user total anonymity through a privacy-by-default blockchain, unlike other privacy-based blockchains, ensuring no user can be deliberately or accidentally be traceable.

In September, the crypto intelligence firm announced a partnership with the U.S. Department of Homeland Security to develop a forensic tool to track and trace Monero. At the time, CipherTrace CEO Dave Jevans confirmed the product has been in the works for a year stating,

“Our research and development team worked for a year on developing techniques for providing financial investigators with analysis tools. There is much work still to be done, but CipherTrace is proud to announce the world’s first Monero tracing capability.”

The latest patent will allow CipherTrace to build unique solutions and a toolkit to help regulators and law enforcement officials easily trace private cryptocurrency. The patent covers many features, including forensic tools to explore the XMR transactions, statistical and probabilistic methods to clustering likely owners, transaction visualization tools and methodologies for gaining intelligence about XMR transactions and node operators, etc.

This will exacerbate money laundering across the virtual asset service providers (VASPs) such as crypto exchanges and custodial services. Monero’s privacy makes it difficult for these VASPs to take on the compliance risk due to the high possibility and risk of money laundering. Over the past year, several exchanges have delisted XMR due to these challenges, including OKEx, Upbit, and recently Switzerland-based ShapeShift.

While CipherTrace works to remove the anonymity that cryptocurrency assets offer, the privacy of the crypto users’ identities will not be disclosed, the statement reads.

“We do, however, identify the Virtual Asset Service Providers (VASPs) that are commercial companies operating cryptocurrency businesses.”

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Author: Lujan Odera

US Household Net Worth Rises to a Record $119 Trillion Level in Q2

The net worth of American households and non-profit organizations surged in the second quarter to the highest level ever, thanks to the rebound in stocks and fiscal stimulus following a record drop in the previous quarter.

Household net worth increased by 6.8%, or $7.6 trillion, to a record $118.96 trillion, according to a Federal Reserve report. This was the largest quarterly gain since 1952. This is also about $380 billion more than the net worth at the end of 2019.

This increase came despite a record drop of $7 trillion in the previous three months, quarter first, caused by an economic shock from the COVID-19 pandemic.

During the same period, the level of federal government borrowing also soared as lawmakers responded with massive fiscal relief. Additionally, the value of equities increased $5.7 trillion from the prior quarter, while real estate advanced about $458 billion.

In the first quarter, the pandemic and the subsequent shutdowns sent the economy into a recession, which was the deepest since the 1940s. This resulted in a record decline in the household net worth in the first quarter of 2020.

Since then, the economy has been seeing a gradual recovery. Not to mention, the S&P 500’s quick recovery to pre-pandemic levels in mid-August and fresh highs this month. While the Dow Jones Industrial Average remained about 1.5% away from its February peak, Nasdaq jumped 23% higher than the previous ATH.

However, not every American benefited from this growth, as about 45% of the US population doesn’t own equities, according to a June 2020 survey from Gallup.

In the second quarter, in comparison, Bitcoin recorded over 42% returns.

The housing sector also experienced a V-shaped recovery as pent-up demand and record-low mortgage rates boosted sales, but again, one-third of households don’t own a home.

Consumer credit excluding mortgage debt decreased $69 billion during the pandemic, for the first time in four years.

Low-interest rates that the Fed has announced to keep near-zero through 2023, meanwhile bolstered corporate borrowing during this period. While firms’ debt increased at an annualized rate of 14%, federal debt outstanding swelled at a rate of 58.9%.

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Author: AnTy