Second US Stimulus Package of $1,200 on the Way as Bitcoin Bulls Gain Momentum

A second stimulus check is on the way for American citizens, according to the White House’s economic advisor, Larry Kudlow. He confirmed this position during an interview with CNN’s Jake Tapper on July 26, signaling that the Fed’s printers might soon be busy again. This news coincides with strong crypto market bulls that have since pushed Bitcoin past $10,360 as of press time.

Earlier, BEG reported that the first stimulus round might have helped Bitcoin recover from black Thursday, given that quite a large number of Americans invested in Bitcoin. Could this new stimulus round push BTC further? A lot is clearly in play, but an injection by the Fed will likely result in a BTC rally, just like other markets have started to recover.

The European Union also recently announced plans to initiate a second Euro stimulus, aiming to distribute close to 1 billion Euros. While a direct correlation has yet to be linked to Bitcoin’s price surge following the announcement last week, speculators see the move by the EU may have contributed to Bitcoin’s price movement. The leading crypto asset had been stable for quite a while, ranging between $9k and $9.3k, but this resistance has since been broken over the past week.

Bitcoin Investors Gained over 40% ROI Since April.

With most of the stimulus payment processes clearing in April, investors who got into the market at the time are now over 45% in profit.

As the March economic downturn took a heavy toll on all sectors, the price of BTC dipped to lows below $4,000, but then eventually climbed back to almost $7,000 at the beginning of April. Looking at these stats, Americans who opted to buy Bitcoin with their stimulus money can cash out with around 40% gains depending on at which point they bought into the market.

Though considered volatile, digital assets such as Bitcoin are proving to be lucrative as fundamentals make inroads to the retail space. No wonder applications like Jack Dorsey’s Cash App are fast catching up with this trend.

The platform recently moved to allows Bitcoin purchases, including an automatic feature for such executions to grow revenue through Bitcoin’s demand. It is quite noteworthy that most of Cash App’s Q1 revenue this year came from Bitcoin purchases, a trend that might replicate itself in an even bigger way should more Americans decide to spend their stimulus on Bitcoin.

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Author: Edwin Munyui

U.S Treasury Secretary Says the Country Will Not Shut Down Despite Second Wave COVID-19 Fears

U.S Treasury Secretary, Steve Mnuchin, has ruled out the possibility of a second lockdown despite a spike in new COVID-19 cases within the United States. This comes as Wall Street and Asian markets dipped towards the end of last week in fears of possible second wave.

Mnuchin was speaking to CNBC reporter, Jim Cramer, on June 11 as he made these remarks. He went on to defend the position of keeping the economy open noting that a contrary move would cause more damage,

“We can’t shut down the economy again. I think we’ve learned that if you shut down the economy, you’re going to create more damage.”

Furthermore, many vital areas such as medical have been put on hold and ought to bounce back according to Mnuchin. The Treasury Secretary noted that they foresee a bounce back in the remaining two quarters of 2020.

The Optimistic Outlook

While the U.S remains as the highest country with active COVID-19 cases, Mnuchin signaled an optimistic future for the leading economy. He emphasized that President’s Trump approach was prudent coupled with the $3 trillion stimulus approval from the House of Reps and Senate. Notably, only about $ 1.6 trillion of the injected funds are the in U.S economy. Mnuchin has since highlighted that another $1 trillion will be pumped into the economy within the next month.

Following this progress, the U.S Treasury Secretary, said that his number one job is getting everybody to work; an initiative that is already underway in collaboration with the Trump administration. Mnuchin said,

“We have the Fed program, we have Main Street [lending program], which is going to be now up and running, and we’re prepared to go back to Congress for more money to support the American worker.”

Recently, another $3 trillion stimulus package was passed by the House Democrats sparking debate but is yet to be voted in the Republican-dominated Senate. The latter, however, prefer a more conservative approach towards increasing federal deficit to ease the COVID-19 economic effects.

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Author: Edwin Munyui

Numerai Raises $3M in Second NMR Token Sale, Led by Union Square Ventures, Placeholder

Numerai, a hedge fund and information marketplace, has closed its second native token NMR fundraising round at $3 million.

The fundraising round saw participation from CoinFund, Union Square, Placeholder, Ventures, and Dragonfly Capital.

The first token sale was conducted in March last year, raising $11 million with its fundraising round being led by Paradigm and Placeholder. A majority of the funds raised in the first round were utilized to build the hedge fund.

Numerai is also known for hosting tournaments for data scientists who help the firm find the best trading strategies for the hedge fund. The firm stated that a portion of the raised funds would be utilized to develop their other venture Erasure which is a popular defi information staking protocol and 17th largest Dapp.

Currently, $2.1 million worth of tokens are locked in the information staking protocol which is primarily used for its data scientist tournaments along with its marketplaces Erasure Quant and Erasure Bay.

Erasure Bay is Numerai’s latest initiative, which launched back in March this year to make the interaction between the user and the platform simpler. This new marketplace makes it easier to exchange information before people could only submit predictions related to the equity market, but with Erasure Bay now they can do so.

Richard Craib, the founder of Numerai who was also one of the investors in the fundraising round commented on the success of the token sale and said:

“[This fundraising] gives us a lot more money that goes directly to developing Erasure and increasing the number of stakes, increase the users, and letting the protocol be used all over the Internet,”

Talking about the Erasure Bay, he said:

“Erasure Bay is demonstrating that you can trust other people online if they’re willing to put some cryptocurrency at stake and let you burn it if they misbehave. We did not expect all these weird use cases but we’re into it.”

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Author: James W

Ripple Reports Zero XRP Sales in 1Q 2020 Through Exchanges, OTC Sales Dropped by 86%

For the second time in a row, Ripple didn’t sell any XRP through exchanges. As per the Q1 2020 report released by Ripple, the company’s XRP sales declined by 86.6% which involved only the institutional direct sales that are done over-the-counter (OTC) to strategic partners.

Total XRP sales were $1.75 million compared to $13.08 million in the previous quarter to focus solely on its OTC sales to “build XRP utility and liquidity in strategic regions including EMEA and Asia.”

ripple-xrp-Sales-Summary
Source: Ripple’s Q1 2020 XRP Markets Report

Total sales as a percentage of total volume had a 99.3% drop QoQ from 8bps to 0.6 bps.

The reported daily volume for XRP increased in Q1 2020 from 4Q19, from $187.34 million to $322.66 million, it was even higher than 3Q19’s $198.10 average daily volume.

Volatility also increased from 3.1% to 6.2% which was higher than BTC’s 5.8% but lower than ETH’s 7.3%.

This past quarter Ripple released 3 billion XRP but used only 300 million and the rest were moved to a new escrow account as usual.

The most success reportedly was seen in Ripple’s On-Demand Liquidity (ODL) where the dollar value transacted increased by more than 294%.

Interestingly, Ripple signed on another partner, a UK-based digital transfer services Azimo to use the digital asset XRP for cross-border payments. Azimo is using ODL to send payments to the Philippines that helped the company save 30% to 50%.

“XRP the preferred digital asset for funds transfer”

The world’s fourth-largest cryptocurrency by market cap, as per Messari is currently trading at $0.224, up from $0.134, the level it dropped to during the March sell-off. This growth was mainly this month as the digital asset jumped nearly 30% in April.

In its Q1 2020 report, Ripple also pointed out how digital assets are seen as safe-haven assets during market turmoil in the financial markets.

But while the Bitcoin and Ethereum networks became overwhelmed during the Black Thursday as investors rushed to transfer digital assets to either sell out their positions, meet margin calls, or take advantage of price disruption, the XRP Ledger (XRPL) “remained stable” in terms of transactions pricing and speed, “making XRP the preferred digital asset for funds transfer.”

In the light of continued uncertainty about the long-term economic extent of this crisis and recession, Ripple expects the market volatility to continue. Also, cryptos will have a “sustained test” regarding whether they perform as a safe haven asset class.

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Author: AnTy

Northern Data Teams Up With Canaan Creative For Blockchain And AI Development

The globe’s second biggest Bitcoin mining equipment developer, Canaan Creative is joining forces with Norther Data AG, a blockchain infrastructure company, to combine their synergies in various fields related to the blockchain and crypto industry.

According to a press statement released on Feb. 19, the two dominant players within the world blockchain industry, announced that they had formally entered into a partnership to bring their technological as well as operational prowess together for different projects in the industry.

Some of the key areas where the two firms will cooperate are in regards to artificial intelligence, development of blockchain based solutions and also large scale optimization of data center operations.

Northern Data has been steadfast in developing infrastructure used in high-performance infrastructure which can be applied even beyond blockchain technologies. The firm was formed after the merger of Northern Bitcoin AG, a blockchain infrastructure company based in Germany, and Whinstone US Inc, a data center operator based in the US. As per NG Zhang, Canaan Creative’s CEO,

“Our R&D team is collaborating with Northern Data. Both sides have achieved positive results. In addition, Northern Data will provide computational resources support for our overseas R&D in the U.S. Canaan looks forward to further cooperation in product development, AI, and high-performance computing.”

According to Cointelegraph, Canaan deals with the provision of AI chips as well as high-end mining hardware comprising of ASICs. The firm claims that it has produced more than 150 ASICs dating back in 2017 up to September last year. The firm was recently registered on NASDAQ making it a public trading company. This is a crucial milestone for the firm as it became the inaugural Chinese-based AI chips developer to fruitfully float an IPO in the United States.

According to the press statement, Northern Data AG praised the new deal and stated that it looks forward to ink such deals with various blockchain as well as AI developers in the near future. The current deal with Canaan comes just a few months after Northern Data AG partnered with SBI Crypto from Japan.

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Author: Joseph Kibe

Hyperledger Fabric 2.0 Launches With New Features; Decentralized Governance And Data Privacy

  • Hyperledger Foundation announced the launch of Hyperledger 2.0 on Thursday.
  • The second version of the open-source blockchain will include new features on governance, scalability improvements, and data privacy on a need to know basis.

In an official launch published by Hyperledger Foundation, users can now access the Hyperledger 2.0, the second version of their enterprise based decentralized ledger, focusing on production.

The open-source blockchain will introduce new data privacy controls on a need to know basis, a new chaincode management cycle that provides decentralized governance for smart contracts. Furthermore, the second version will provide a more scalable platform for efficiency. Rob Palatnick, Governing Board Chair at Hyperledger said,

“The release of Hyperledger Fabric 2.0 is an important step forward in the on-going evolution of DLT, and was developed based on feedback from real-world use, including improved chaincode management capabilities and performance enhancements.”

The Hyperledger Fabric model has been adopted by a number of large companies across the globe since launching in 2015. As of 2019, 30 of the Forbes Blockchain 50 companies, were using the open-source platform or experimenting on it including Amazon Web Services, IBM, Oracle, Tencent, Alibaba, and Google.

“Hyperledger Fabric is an enterprise-grade, distributed ledger platform that offers modularity and versatility for a broad set of industry use cases.”

Traditional financial companies have also adopted the open-source platform with Germany’s Deutsche Boerse testing on Corda and Hyperledger Fabric protocols in November last year.

Hyperledger Fabric 2.0 launches with new features

According to the official announcement, Hyperledger Fabric 2.0 launched with five major improvements from its legacy version. The new protocol will add a number of features including new chaincode lifecycle management and application patterns, data privacy on a need-to-know basis, consensus type of Raft and an external chaincode launcher.

The new governance chaincode lifestyle management will let multiple parties reach a consensus on the chaincode before accessing the chaincode, a new decentralized governance structure. Furthermore, the new data privacy protocols are set to improve how data is channeled in the system increasing privacy.

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Author: Lujan Odera

Binance Adds 2nd Fiat To P2P Trading Platform, Vietnamese Dong VND-To-Crypto Now Open

  • Binance crypto exchange announced the second fiat currency on their peer-to-peer (P2P) platform on Monday, January 20, 2020.
  • The Vietnamese Dong (VND) was added to Binance P2P platform allowing users to buy and sell four major cryptocurrencies.

In an official announcement released on Monday by Binance, the largest crypto exchange in trade volume, users of their P2P platform will be able to buy and sell Bitcoin (BTC), Ethereum (ETH), Tether (USDT) and its own native Binance Coin (BNB) from peers.

The fiat currency becomes the second to join the platform after the Chinese Yuan (CNY).

A growing fiat-to crypto market

Binance has been on the forefront of setting up fiat-to-crypto gateways across the world and the launch of its Binance P2P platform is an exhibition of its efforts. At the moment, only two countries have access to their P2P platform, China and Vietnam. However, plans are underway to increase the number of countries on the platform. On the launch of the Vietnamese Dong (VND) pair, the CEO of Binance, Chengpeng Zhao, said,

“We are pleased to introduce fiat-to-crypto P2P trading services to Vietnamese users to flexibly trade cryptocurrency at low costs.”

The set goal is to add over 180 fiat currency pairs to its platforms in a bid to boost crypto adoption and its market dominance in the coming years.

While the Malta based exchange faces possible troubles in the EU given the implementation of the AMLD5 directive, CZ believes the exchange will continue to offer crypto services long into the future. The growth of Vietnam as a blockchain hub offers an option in case regulation takes a wild turn in Malta. CZ said,

“Vietnam has enormous economic growth potential, a vibrant entrepreneurship landscape, and wide cryptocurrency acceptance, making it the next global blockchain hub.”

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Author: Lujan Odera

Poll Hints Majority Doesn’t See XRP Hitting $1 Ever, Is Ripple at Fault?

  • XRP is the second biggest loser among the top 10 cryptocurrencies of 2019
  • The digital asset to face selling pressure from Ripple and adoption issues within the network
  • XRP never hitting $1 or as soon as next year, some extremely bullish with $589 next month

The third-largest cryptocurrency XRP is down 95% from its all-time high of $3.92. And according to the majority of the voters to the Mati Greenspan, founder of investment firm Quantum Economics’ poll, the digital asset isn’t ever going to $1.

While 39.4% of the respondents out of the total 1,831 voters, till now, sees $1 “never” happening, with 37.5% votes, a close second comes 2020. So, overall it’s more of a tie between $1 never coming or happening next year.

Some crypto enthusiasts (12.6%) also see the digital asset climbing to $1 in 2027 while a few (10.5%) are extremely bullish, seeing $589 next month.

XRP Continues to Lose

The first time, XRP hit $1 was during the 2017 bull run on December 21st. But since hitting its peak in January 2018, XRP has been crashing. It is the second biggest loser among the top 10 cryptocurrencies after Stellar Lumens of 2019.

Currently, we are trading at $0.192 and went as low as $0.186 last week, which was 27-months low.

But why is the third-largest cryptocurrency dragging on so much?

According to Greenspan, “XRP tokenomics is a bit funny that way.”

What’s Behind its Poor Performance?

The former analyst at eToro pointed out two main issues with XRP’s poor performance. The first one is Ripple holds a large portion of XRP tokens and selling them into the rallies.

The company owns 60% of all the XRP ever created. Also, Ripple has sold more than $1.2 billion growth of XRP since Q4 of 2016 and the company books its XRP sales as revenues, notes Messari. Out of the $1.5 billion Ripple raised since it was founded in 2012, $1.2 billion belongs to XRP sales.

“XRP tokenomics” is to blame.

“XRP tokenomics” is to blame.

“XRP tokenomics” is to blame.

However, recently, on this, Ripple CTO David Schwartz replied,

“Nobody buys XRP to give Ripple money to do things. We were vc/angel-funded and were going to build regardless. We started selling XRP only after there was a market price and for negligible amounts compared to our other funding.”

The second issue behind the poor price performance of Ripple’s XRP token according to Greenspan is

“Usage of the network does not necessarily require XRP tokens. Banks can use Ripplenet w/o ever touching the token.”

As Ripple announced during its SWELL 2019 event, the company has now more than 300 banks and financial institutions as partners. And currently, only about 17 of them use XRP to move funds.

The market in consolidation, People returning to the King

In the long term, however, prospects he said are “quite bullish.”

But in the short term, XRP faces selling pressure from Ripple itself and adoption issues within the network.

In a separate tweet, Greenspan explained that the market is currently in a “great consolidation” period where the entire is returning to the king, Bitcoin.

“People are realizing that many of the altcoins had exaggerated valuations beyond what the projects were worth” added Greenspan.

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Author: AnTy

Nationwide Outage Caused by Federal Reserve Network Issues

  • Second disruption to a Fed-run payment service in 2019
  • On the second day of disruption, Fed resolves the issue but “continue to investigate the root cause”

Yet another disruption in payments service. And this time the Federal Reserve is also involved.

It began with a surge of outages reported at Capital One and then other banks’ transactions started experiencing a delay in direct deposits.

According to Capital One, what happened was network issues at the Federal Reserve that was causing curtains transactions to be delayed.

The 10th largest bank in the United States by assets, Capital One said it is working with the Fed and will make sure transactions are posted as soon as the issue is resolved.

“Bitcoin up time since 2013? 100%” is Dan Held, Director of Business Development at cryptocurrency exchange Kraken’s response to this outage.

Disruption in FedACH Services

Capital One and other banks’ customers on Twitter have been complaining that their direct deposits have been delayed.

The Fed in the meanwhile navigated the second disruption in 2019 of a payments service. Jean Tate, a spokeswoman at the Atlanta Fed, that host central bank’s Retail Payments Office, said in an emailed statement,

“The FedACH service, which processes transactions for commercial banks, is currently operating normally after experiencing delays in processing yesterday afternoon and early this morning.”

Automated Clearinghouse Service (ACH) is a national system that processes electronic fund transfers of social security benefits, payroll, and tax refunds among others. She added,

“Some customers experienced delays in receiving confirmations of yesterday’s transactions. Federal Reserve technical staff continue to investigate the root cause of the issue.”

A Fed website dedicated to the central bank’s payment processing services put up a notice at 9:57 am. New York time on Thursday stating, “the FedACH Services application began experiencing disruption on December 18 at 3:30 p.m.” Wednesday.

Now the notification says “resolved.”

This has been the second disruption to a Fed-run payment service this year. Before this, it has been FedWire interbank funds transfer services that went down for three hours on April 1st.

At that time, the Fed blamed the outage on “an internal technical issue,” without any further detail.

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Author: AnTy

Exodus Blockchain Phone Maker HTC To Lay Off More Employees To Keep Its Innovative Edge

Smartphone manufacturer HTC has announced its intention to reduce its employees for a second consecutive year in efforts to realign its strategy and remain innovatively competitive, CoinDesk reports. The company stated that the strategy is to focus on a few marketable products comprising of its EXODUS the company’s series of blockchain-based smartphones.

The Taiwanese electronics giant which boasts of about 3,000 workers did not offer details of the downsizing such as the affected departments and the number of employees to be sacked. However, those who will be sacked will still be paid for two extra months and will enjoy end-of-year bonuses. The latest downsizing is the third for the company in five years. The Taiwanese-based company laid off 2250 workers in 2015 and last year, 1500 were also sacked.

HTC explained that the planned downsizing will help it to have an innovative advantage over its rivals in different products. As per the company, more resources will be allocated to expand VIVE, the virtual reality system and EXODUS, the blockchain-based smartphones sections.

The HTC EXODUS was released in May 2018 and has the capacity to link with decentralized platforms and enable the end users to download as well as operate decentralized apps (Dapps) just like other traditional apps operate in smartphones. The EXODUS smartphone can also be used like a hardware wallet offering the users with a safe and mobile device to store their crypto assets.

Earlier this year, the EXODUS developers added a crypto swap feature that allows easy exchanges among the ERC-20 based tokens.

The EXODUS series was made available for sale end last year and clients could only purchase it using cryptos. The company released its latest series in October this year and has the capacity to run a Bitcoin node. There are plans to enhance the next series to support Binance Chain.

HTC is facing intense competition from other smartphone makers like Samsung which introduced S10 that can run ERC-20 platforms and is compatible with Bitcoin. LG and Google are also contemplating introducing their own blockchain-powered smartphones.

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Author: Joseph Kibe