Binance’s Has Been Blacklisted in Russia Since Sept; New Ruling Removes the Restriction

Binance’s Has Been Blacklisted in Russia Since Sept; New Ruling Removes the Restriction

  • The World’s largest crypto exchange in terms of capitalization, Binance, has been removed from the blacklisted websites in Russia following a court order.
  • Binance’s website was formally blacklisted in September last year by the Russian regulators. However, the exchange’s trading in the country has not been affected.

According to a popular news agency, Kommersant, on Jan. 21, Arkhangelsk Regional Court ordered that the Binance website be expunged from the list of blacklisted websites in the country.

The head of Binance Russia, Gleb Kostarev, confirmed to Bitcoin Exchange Guide that the reports were indeed true explaining that the court session was held on Jan. 20. The court’s decision read,

“Issuance and usage of bitcoins are fully decentralized, and there is no way to regulate it by the government, which contradicts the current Russian law.”

Binance’s website was blacklisted in June after Arkhangelsk Regional Court sided with local prosecutors, arguing that the firm was aiding in distributing information regarding Bitcoin, unlicensed crypto in the country. According to Kostarev, Binance Russia was not issued with a formal notification of the court hearing and only realized the blacklisting by the regulator, Roskomnadzor, three months later. Kostarev stated that the failure to notify the company made it difficult to defend its rights properly in court.

The ruling which was seen by CoinDesk indicates that the prosecutors extracted their complaint after Binance moved to challenge the decision.

Cryptos such as Bitcoin is legal in Russia even after the digital assets law was adopted on Jan.1. The law states that cryptos are legal taxable properties. The country also adopted another order requiring civil servants to declare their crypto holdings for taxation purposes.

Kostarev explained that the blacklisting of the firm’s website had no major effect on its trading volumes.

“Though the September ban had no impact on our volumes in Russia, for us, it was important to protect our reputation and appeal in this case.”

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Author: Joseph Kibe

SingularityNET to Move ‘A Significant Portion’ Of Operations To Cardano From Ethereum

In an announcement on Sept. 30, SingularityNET, the AI firm developing the human-like Sophia robot, announced its partnership with IOHK, the development team behind Cardano, led by founder, Charles Hoskinson. The strategic partnership between the two firms has been on the table for several months as Ethereum blockchain gas fees spiked to all-time highs – at an average tx cost of $15.

The move between the two will see IOHK transfer Ethereum (ERC-20) based AGI tokens to Cardano-based AGI tokens, similar to the wrapped tokens. Moreover, the statement says there will be significant advantages to switching to Cardano, mainly the new updates coming to the Plutus smart contract language – moving away from Ethereum’s Solidity coding language.

However, the statement did not state the portion of SingularityNET that will move from the Ethereum network,

“Final decisions and details regarding porting of a portion of the SingularityNET network to Cardano have not yet been made and will be discussed in-depth with the SingularityNET community when the time is right.”

The move to Cardano aims to increase the speeds of the transaction while lowering the network fees. The announcement states Ethereum high gas fees and high latency times as the main reason they are looking at other options. Additionally, the never-ending postponement of the ETH 2.0 launch, which will introduce a proof-of-stake (PoS) consensus mechanism, has been a barrier to the growth of SingularityNET.

“The ambitious Ethereum 2.0 design holds promise, but the timing of the rollout of different aspects of this next-generation Ethereum remains unclear, along with many of the practical particulars.”

In a 90-minute video chat with Hoskinson, SingularityNET CEO, Ben Goertzel, stated the company still aims at having a multi-chain approach when building blockchain-agnostic solutions to AI. This means that the company, more than likely, will not fully move the blockchain operations from Ethereum, Goertzel stated.

He states it will be left to the community to decide which blockchain offers the best properties, given Cardano has its own flaws. He stated:

“If it turns out the Ethereum portion is more powerful and useful for some purposes, and the Cardano portion is useful for other purposes, then so be it, right?”

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Author: Lujan Odera

SEC Takes a ‘Big Step Forward’ Regarding Broker-Dealers Trading Digital Asset Securities

In a no-action letter dated Sept. 25 from the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), the agency has released guidance on the settlement of digital asset securities at alternative systems, which “could end up being significant news for exchanges, including DEXs.”

The SEC proposes a “three-step process” for ATS trading that might replace the previous four-step process that FINRA and the SEC instructed broker-dealers to follow. Dating back to the July 2019 statement from the SEC, the letter outlined the factors to be considered to allow ATS operators to facilitate the trade of digital securities.

In the latest process, The broker-dealer custodian can inform the customer about the execution of trades after the fact as such, customers can submit the trade orders and confirmation at the same time, which “doesn’t change much for trading in the industry,” said Brian Farber.

According to the letter, this three-step process would “reduce operational and settlement risk.” Lewis Cohen, founder of blockchain-focused law firm DLxLaw tweeted,

“In the 3-step approach, customers are never exposed to a BD/ATS, so CPR doesn’t apply. It may sound obvious, but still a big step forward.”

Moreover, enforcement action won’t be taken if the broker-dealer operator maintains a minimum of $250,000 in net capital, all applicable securities laws are followed, and an agreement between the broker and their customers states that “broker-dealer operator does not guarantee or otherwise have responsibility for settling the trades.”

This means custodial broker-dealers like Coinbase can legally exchange digital securities without the SEC pursuing enforcement action against them, provided the above-mentioned steps are followed.

According to Farber, it raises new questions such as the undefined term “custodian,” which not every holder uses. The mandate for $250k in net capital would require amending a membership agreement with FINRA. At the same time, the 2019 joint statement clearly prohibits those broker-dealers from custodial functions.

Comptroller Brian Brooks of the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency praised the move.

Drew Hinkes, an attorney at US law firm Carlton Fields also tweeted that the big picture is “It got easier to trade digital asset securities. BDs have certainty as to how to trade digital asset securities (and) Custodians are even MORE important.”

But still, there is no clear way to determine which cryptos are security and legal to trade. As such, more clarity and guidance is needed from the SEC.

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Author: AnTy

Ripple’s Big Plans for 2020: XRP as a Medium of Exchange & Not as a Speculative Investment

  • XRP price drops on Sept. 2017 level on Dec. 27th But seeing much development especially in Japan
  • Big banking executives went from skepticism to advocacy about digital assets
  • 2020 Ripple will be focused on new utility and use cases for XRP & new products to come

2019 is just about to come to an end. The year saw cryptocurrencies experiencing tremendous growth and first-ever working President, Donald Trump, tweeting about Bitcoin and cryptocurrencies. As Ripple CEO Brad Garlinghouse said, that moment couldn’t have been predicted.

For the third-largest cryptocurrency, price wise it has been a bad year. XRP dropped to a new low to $0.186 on Dec. 27, a level last seen in late Sept. 2017 during the bull run.

Down 95% from the all-time high, XRP is currently trading at $0.194, as per Coincodex.

2019 was a Big Year

XRP price might only be going down but the cryptocurrency is seeing much development especially in Japan.

“In Japan, almost every bank has started to work with XRP, what you may know as Ripple,” said David Jevans, CEO of CipherTrace.

Also, as Garlinghouse shared in the special holiday episode of The Ripple Drop, Ripple bagged MoneyGram in 2019 that uses the digital asset XRP to move funds. The transition from the skepticism towards digital currencies among MoneyGram executives to advocacy has been an ‘aha’ moment for Garlinghouse.

2019 saw the number of companies using XRP growing to 17 including TransferGo, Interbank, Euro Exim Bank, MoneyGram, Bitso, Bittrex, Bitstamp, FlashFX, Viamericas, Bitrue, Mercury FX, Coins.ph, goLance, Nium (formerly InstaReM), SBI Virtual Currencies, Catalyst, IDT, SendFriend, and Cuallix.

What was surprising in 2019 was how quickly people went from not caring about privacy to very concerned about how much Facebook and Google own their private data, shared Asheesh Birla, SVP of Product at Ripple.

Privacy he said became a mainstream topic of discussion in 2019 when it could have taken a lot longer.

XRP as a Medium of Exchange

Cryptocurrencies have been in existence for a few years now but they are still a speculative asset. Especially for XRP, it isn’t to fund the company either as Ripple CTO David Schwartz clarifies.

“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.”

However, now the company is focused on becoming a medium of exchange, “Our vision is to use digital currencies as a medium of exchange, not as a speculative investment,” said Ripple’s CEO in Brazil, Luiz Antonio Sacco.

The company is working towards expanding partnerships with Brazilian banks by 2020 as demand for cheap and instant solutions in the international remittance market grows rapidly.

In October, Ripple invested in Bitso to expand operations in Latin America with a focus on Brazil.

Now Big Things Coming for 2020

Going into 2020, the Ripple team is expecting big things.

Garlinghouse sees continued consolidation in 2020 as there is no need for 3,000 cryptocurrencies and 99% will eventually go away.

Breanne Madigan, head of the Global Institutional Markets at Ripple meanwhile is excited to build on On-Demand Liquidity (ODL) that leverages XRP.

“We here at Ripple are focused on new utility and use cases for XRP through our Xpring initiative and we are excited about new products to come in 2020,” projected Madigan.

Another thing that Ripple will focus on next year is fake volume as Madigan said, “We think about a lot in the Ripple, and we have made some noise about it is the persistence of fake volumes in the industry.”

As for, in the next decade, Ethan Beard, SVP of Xpring sees cryptocurrencies replacing the underpinnings of the infrastructure of the finance industry.

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Author: AnTy

US Space Authority, NASA, to Hire Data Scientist with Blockchain and Crypto Asset Knowledge

The new data scientist position published on LinkedIn on Sept 21 terms having blockchain and cryptocurrency knowledge a ‘plus’.

As the world moves towards new technologies, there seems to be an increasing interest in blockchain-based skills in the hiring departments of traditional heavyweight companies in various industries. The latest job listing from NASA shows an affinity to blockchain and cryptocurrency knowledgeable applicants.

The aerospace and aeronautics company is looking for a data scientist to work in NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory Company in Pasadena, California. The data scientist selected is expected to conceptualize and develop innovative applications for the laboratory and conduct earth orbiting missions. Furthermore, the scientist will become a member in a team of other scientists who make up the JPL’s Innovation Experience Center (IEC).

NASA Places Priority on Blockchain

The job requires a number of technical qualifications including proficiency in Cloud Computing and Big Data, knowledge in deep learning frameworks and major frontend frameworks such as Node, D3.js, Flask, Vea and React. While all these skills are expected on the job, listing blockchain and cryptocurrency knowledge comes as a shock to the community.

The company post states having skills in the field as a bonus qualification on the job. It reads,

“Experience with cryptocurrency and Blockchain is considered a plus.”

An Affinity to Blockchain

In the past few months, NASA has shown its affinity to blockchain as the company announced a number of projects to be built using the decentralized technology. In early January, the company announced its plan to build a blockchain solution to manage the air traffic and security. The open source platform enhances aircraft privacy and anonymity while providing a secure and efficient method for communication between air traffic officials.

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Author: Lujan Odera

Justin Sun Announces Upcoming Staking Plan for Tron Partners

Tron is now introducing a new staking incentive plan, announced Tron CEO, Justin Sun on Sept. 21.

This upcoming staking plan, Sun says would involve a fair, decentralized distribution of staking revenues.

For each block, Sun explains, the most voted 127 nodes that is Tron partners will receive TRX rewards in proportion to the votes they receive.

The maximum reward for one block is 160 TRX.

What does this Mean for Tron Network

The idea behind this is to encourage greater user participation and smoother engagement with staking from more exchanges, wallet, and partners.

Furthermore, greater turnout and higher stake ratio across the network, Sun says will bring about a more active community and a more robust network economic system.

This will also increase the lock-up amount from users within the TRON ecosystem, he said.

The long list of benefits of this staking just doesn’t end here.

Sun further states how this TRX incentive plan means fewer unnecessary dividend distribution transactions that will lead to less bandwidth consumption and greater network robustness.

The staking plan for Tron partners would also result in more Tron nodes and partners including increased global and community participants which mean greater decentralization of Tron network.

“A foundation for more complex consensus and incentive plans, signaling more possibilities for future development,”

Sun said.

With Great Rewards, comes Great Responsibility

With cryptocurrencies today trading 70 to 90 percent below their all-time high, staking is becoming a popular way to make easy money, in some cases coin holders score up to 30% rewards.

Coins like PundiX — leading with 18.46% yield, IOStoken, Cosmos, Waves, Qtum, VeChain, NEO, NEM, and EOS are coins that offers staking rewards.

However, staking is not just about making easy money, it has become a powerful incentive for participating in governance.

So, it is vital that coin holders understand the responsibility that comes with locking up their digital currencies.

In other news, MakeDao’s Dai stablecoin will be implemented on the Tron through Loom Network, a layer second scaling solution for the Ethereum blockchain.

Loom believes moving dai — the largest DeFi token with more than $337 million locked away in contracts — to other chains will help it grow.

Price wise, TRX is up 2 percent in the last 24 hours while trading at $0.017 as per Coincodex.

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Author: AnTy