40 Ethereum Addresses Blacklisted, Holding Millions of Dollars Worth of Tether’s USDT

Tether, the creator of the leading stablecoin USDT, has been on a blacklisting spree and has blacklisted at least 39 Ethereum addresses since November 2017. Out of these 40 addresses, 25 have been blacklisted this year.

Philippe Castonguay, an Ethereum researcher, has created a dashboard that shows the number and list of addresses blacklisted by Tether up until now. All these blacklisted addresses would not be able to send or receive USDT, and the existing tokens in these addresses became useless. All the blacklisted addresses contain the millions worth of USDT and even one of the latest blacklisted address contain over a $1 million worth of tokens.

The million-dollar Ethereum address received 938,965 USDT tokens from Binance only last month. The owner of the address tried moving the funds the next day. It got blacklisted, but the transactions never went through.

Among all the blacklisted addresses, a majority of them contain around $100 USDT on average. However, the most valuable address consists of $4.5 million worth of USDT, along with 330,000 BUSD tokens and 13,500 ETH in it.

The blacklisting is mainly done if the address is suspected to be involved in any form of illegal or unusual activity and often on the request of authorities. As of right now, no one knows who owns these Ethereum addresses containing millions worth of cryptocurrencies.

Bitfinex, a sister company of Tether’s Stuart Hoegner the general counsel, commented on the recent slew of blacklisting and said,

“Tether routinely assists law enforcement in their investigations… Through the freeze address feature, Tether has been able to help users and exchanges to save and recover tens of millions of dollars stolen from them by hackers.”

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Author: James W

Circle and Coinbase’s USDC Becomes Second Stablecoin to Hit 1 Billion Circulating Supply

USDC, the dollar-pegged stablecoin launched by Circle and Coinbase back in October 2018, has become the second stablecoin to see its circulating supply surpass the 1 billion mark after Tether’s USDT.

USDT maintains a commanding lead within the stablecoin market with its total market cap exceeding $10 billion on June 30, only behind Bitcoin and Ethereum. This also makes USDC the 18th cryptocurrency in the decentralized space to have a 10-digit circulating supply.

The cryptocurrency market has seen a surprising uptick in demand for stablecoins like USDT and USDC, especially after the Black Thursday crash of the crypto space, which saw the value of Bitcoin and almost every other altcoin fall by over 50%.

The volatile nature of cryptocurrencies has made investors seek out stable assets to hedge their risk in troubled times. Thus the demand and use of stable coins have grown significantly.

Joao Reginatto, director of product manager at Circle, took to Twitter to announce the $1 billion circulating supply for USDC.

The Stablecoin Market Dominated by Tether

Stablecoins were invented to help provide easy on-boarding for investors, as in the beginning, and even now, many countries do not allow for direct purchase of crypto via fiat. Consequently, stablecoins have been in high demand since the advent of crypto exchanges. However, now it has become an integral part of the ecosystem, and people are also using it to hedge their risk.

With several stable coins available in the market including USDT, USDC, Paxos Standard (PAX) and TrueUSD (TUSD), Gemini Dollar (GUSD), and many more, a majority of the market is captured by USDT itself, where it enjoyed a market dominance of over 90% followed by USDC with near 3%-5%. The remaining stable coins control a fraction of the available market.

Source: Skew

A recent study from Skew suggests that USDT’s dominance is no more limited just to spot markets, and USDT-margined derivatives contracts are emerging and could gradually replace coin-margined contracts over the next year.

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Author: James W

BitPay Adds Binance’s USD-Pegged Stablecoin, BUSD To Its Merchant Payment Platform

  • BitPay adds Binance exchange’s stablecoin, Binance USD (BUSD) to its merchant payment processing platform.
  • BUSD is the latest in a string of crypto payment options including BTC, ETH and XRP.

In an announcement by BitPay, a merchants’ crypto payments processing firm, announced the addition of Binance USD (BUSD) on it platforms. Merchants will now be able to accept Binance stablecoin across the U.S boosting adoption rates in daily usage of cryptocurrency.

The CEO of BitPay, Stephen Pair, expects the partnership with Binance will open up cross border payments using the platform given the top exchange’s reach across the global market. He also expects the partnership between the two crypto companies to yield a wider market base as they provide users with a stable and quick gateway to purchase everyday goods.

He further said,

“With BUSD, BitPay expands blockchain payment choices for all our customers across the global payments space who want the flexibility of paying on the blockchain with the stability of the US dollar.”

Users can start depositing BUSD tokens in their BitPay Wallets starting April 27he service is set to be rolled out to respective merchants across the globe in the coming days. BUSD will also be available on its debit card, BitPay Card, a functionality only available in the U.S. The Card will support users across all the 50 states.

Binance CEO, Changpeng “CZ” Zhao also showed appreciation for the partnership with BitPay in his statement. CZ said,

“We believe a growing number of merchants and businesses will start adopting crypto, and we are glad to provide the payments solution together with BitPay, making the process simpler and easier.”

BitPay currently supports over 2 million customers across all the 50 states in the U.S and other points of sale across the globe. BUSD, adds in to a pot of cryptocurrency payment options already available including Bitcoin (BTC), Ethereum (ETH), Ripple-led crypto, XRP, and other stablecoins.

Binance USD was approved back in 2018 by the New York State Department of Financial Services (NYDFS) allowing its trade across the 50 states. The partnership

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Author: Lujan Odera

Solana Blockchain Adds First Stablecoin Terra to Expand Into The DeFi Space

Solana blockchain and Terra are collaborating to integrate the first stablecoin within Solana’s recently launched mainnet. The US blockchain platform aims to operate at ‘web scale’ while Terra which traces its origin to South Korea is backed by e-commerce giant, TMON. This partnership was announced on April 15 and is expected to improve the fundamentals of both projects.

Though still a young network, Solana has claimed its security, scaling and decentralization features are among the leading in today’s blockchain market. Notably, this initiative went live as late as 2019 after a Multicoin Capital led series A funding. They also winded up a token auction on CoinList this March and consequently got listed on Binance. The firm has since touted its value proposition in handling more than 65,000 transactions per second.

With Terra in the picture, Solana can further expand its smart contract ecosystem as more stakeholders opt for stable payments in a highly volatile market. Raj Gokal, the COO of Solana, echoed these sentiments,

“By bringing stablecoins onto our network, we aim to dramatically expand the design space for developers, opening the door to novel applications that require price-stable payments.”

On the other hand, Terra is set to leverage Solana’s efficiency to further spur its adoption. The project raised a significant $32 million back in 2018 in a funding round led by Binance. Currently, the platform’s payment app dubbed ‘CHAI’ facilitates $3 million in daily transaction volumes while its active users are over 1 million. Terra’s competitive edge is particularly on transaction fees where its 0.5% is much favorable compared to an average 3.5% on normal cards.

Given the new alliance with Solana, the two are set to be integrated through a low latency bridge which will balance token transfers through the ability to mint and burn on either network. Terra’s team has highlighted this will be a major stepping stone to its expansion goals,

“As we continue to grow, we expect demand to expand into new regions and new blockchain ecosystems beyond our own.

Anticipating this, we recognize the priority of building bridges and relationships to grow the reach of Terra’s stablecoins within the Solana ecosystem.”

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Author: Edwin Munyui

Tether (USDT) Stablecoin Rolls Out on the Bitcoin Cash Blockchain Network via SLP

Quick Read:

  • Tether (USDT), the leading stablecoin within crypto markets, is now available on the Bitcoin Cash Network.
  • This USD backed digital currency scaled to BCH as the more crypto users opt for stability amid uncertainty in oil markets and Coronavirus (COVID-19).

The demand for stablecoins has been on an uptrend in the past week surging Tether’s market cap to over $5.7 billion. As it stands, more than $480 million have been minted within the past weeks. These figures may continue rising especially with the move to leverage BCH’s Simple Ledger Protocol (SLP). The SLP is basically Bitcoin Cash generic token and fuels this network just like ERC-20 tokens do within Ethereum’s ecosystem.

Prior to the BCH launch, Tether (USDT) was already available on Tron, Omni, Liquid Network, EOS, Algorand, and Ethereum. This stablecoin began its journey on the Omni layer protocol but later shifted most operations to Ethereum’s network. However, some shortcomings like scaling options forced Tether to leverage more platforms as the market grows.

The BCH network is known for its lower fees and larger blocks compared to Bitcoin. Therefore, Tether is optimistic that leveraging this capacity will improve the stablecoin’s efficiency and value. The company’s CTO, Paolo Ardoino, highlighted that;

“A key strength of Tether is that it is underpinned by a rich diversity of different blockchains. Our latest collaboration with Bitcoin Cash will provide Tether with a variety of benefits.

We expect the adoption after launch to be pretty easy for any integrator. The launch will also support more applications on the Bitcoin Cash chain, with Tether facilitating payment for these applications.”

Given this development, Bitcoin Cash users will be more exposed to USDT via the network’s app. This platform was upgraded recently to allow participants access to the SLP native token. Bitcoin Cash Chair, Roger Ver, noted that it is exciting that the world’s largest stablecoin will start using BCH blockchain including Bitcoin.com wallets.

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Author: Edwin Munyui

Circle To Boost Adoption of USD Coin (USDC) With Business Accounts and API Services

As Circle looks to dive deeper into making its stablecoin (USDC) a household name, it is continuing to spin-off acquired projects that aren’t a core business. Next up on the chopping block is the crowdfunding platform SeedInvest that it bought back in October of 2018.

Circle has the intention to remain focused on the development of stablecoin products, announced Jeremy Allaire, Circle’s CEO and one of the firm’s co-founders. Included in this process, the company will roll out new Business Accounts and Circle APIs, that will allow developers to build on top of the USDC network.

Circle Has Many Revenue Streams

While Circle has many revenue streams, it’s still trying to grow its development and research wings, on which it has focused on ever since the summer of 2019, when it started to offer USDC products

Over the last year, Circle sold the crypto exchange Poloniex that it has bought in 2018, closed its payments app Circle Pay, also sold Circle Invest and Circle Trade to Voyager and respectively Kraken, not to mention is at the moment considering to sell SeedInvest too.

SeedInvest, No Longer at the Core of Circle’s Business

According to Allaire, SeedInvest is no longer at the core of the business conducted at Circle. The CEO’s said,

“We exited the exchange business … so the need for that set of licensing just doesn’t exist anymore. The second thing is this whole kind of tokenization, having regulated broker-dealers and tokenized securities, that’s been slow-rolled.”

Ever since January, the company has also reduced its number of employees from 300 to 125 as a result of its many departments being sold. Regarding this, Allaire had to say that:

“We had about 100 people who went with these different spinouts … [it was] a natural way for people to go with those businesses and product lines.”

What’s Next for Circle?

Speaking to Coindesk, Allaire said his company is planning to announce additional stablecoin products.

“We’ve been executing like crazy on USDC,” he said. “We’ve tokenized over $1.6 billion in USDC, crossed the $500 million market cap recently.”

These products will firstly include new business accounts that Circle is planning to offer to startups the new products for free and then transition to a usage-based subscription afterward.

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Author: Oana Ularu

Tether (USDt) Adds Chainalysis KYT Tool to Improve Its AML Compliance

The famous stablecoin issuer Tether and the blockchain forensics company Chainalysis have closed a partnership for Tether to improve the tools that it uses against money laundering.

The announcement that Tether will apply the token issuers’ Know Your Transaction tool from Chainalysis was made on Wednesday. By using this tool, the stablecoin issuer will be allowed to monitor transactions and to understand what risk every token holder presents.

Secure Compliance with Regulators’ Demands

Tether has issued the US dollar-pegged stablecoin USDT that is at the moment live on the Ethereum, Algorand, Omni, Liquid, EOS and TRON blockchains. Other tokens it has issued are the gold-pegged (XAUT), the Euro-pegged (EURT), and the Chinese yuan-pegged (CNHT). Here’s what Paolo Ardoino, the chief technology officer at Tether had to say about his company applying the Chainalysis’ tool:

“This solution allows us to ensure a secure compliance program that fosters trust with regulators, law enforcement agencies and users. This is achieved without sharing our user’s identifying information, as such data is only kept on our servers.”

Preparations for Regulators

While Tether didn’t talk that much about the reasons why it has made the decision to improve their compliance measures, things are very clear seeing as regulators from all over the world have started to send signals that stablecoins need to be scrutinized more deeply.

In October last year, Kenneth Blanco, the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network’s (FinCEN) director, said stablecoins won’t be exempt from AML laws’ compliance. Regulators categorize issuers of stablecoins as money service businesses (MSB) that should adhere to their specific regulatory standards.

While the money flow in and out of a stablecoin network is happening without any problem, regulators from all over the world have identified some serious risks associated with stablecoin transactions, so tracking the networks is very important. Tether can’t confiscate high-risk tokens, yet it does have the option to freeze the wallets containing them.

Chainalysis Is Spread Across 40 Different Countries

Since being created 5 years ago, Chainalysis has expanded. Now they offer tools and services not only to exchanges but also to financial institutions and even government agencies from 40 different countries in the world. In 2019, it won $5 million worth of contracts only from the US government.

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Author: Oana Ularu

Latest Analytics Shows 64% Of Controversial Stablecoin USDt Supply Controlled by 119 Addresses

Tether’s stablecoin ‘USDT’ continues to dominate this segment of the crypto market according to the latest statistics. However, questions on its decentralization inadequacy has been a common critic topic against the project.

Some analysts have gone ahead to term the USDT coin as the ‘most controversial’ cryptocurrency in the current market. It is also notable that Tether, the USDT parent company, is not a newbie to lawsuits with its latest being a $1.4 million for alleged market manipulation which led to the December, 2017 bull run. Tether’s recent linking to the paradise papers which basically shows the firm is the same with Bitfinex added to the list of controversies.

Despite the shortcomings, Stats show that Tether’s star has been shining over the course of 2019 compared to peer cryptocurrencies. The USDT transaction volumes in the past week hit a high of $3.5 billion; this is a significant figure given most coins are still struggling below the $100k mark. USDT investors also seem to have confidence in the coin given its average HODL period stands at 3 weeks.

However, Tether’s decentralization is still in question as the stats revealed that 119 addresses control over 64% of the network; this translates to around 22 million USDT for each address. It therefore follows that the USDT ecosystem may actually be ‘centralized’ as most of the control lies only within 119 addresses.

That said, 2019 has generally been a good year for the USDT as it not only maintained but also increased its market share in the stablecoin demand market. Its main competitor the ‘USDC’ is yet to make as significant milestones to get to Tether’s USDT recognition level.

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Author: Lujan Odera

Africa’s First Stablecoin is based on Nigerian Naira & Built on Binance Chain

The very first stablecoin of Africa is backed by Naira, the fiat currency of Nigeria and it will be built on Binance Chain, the blockchain software system developed by the leading cryptocurrency exchange Binance.

Ghana-based cross-border money transfer startup Bit Sika in partnership with a crypto-focused investment firm Linova Capital will be launching a Naira-backed stablecoin called Africa Stablecoin (ABCD).

Kicking into gear…

The idea behind using Naira for its stablecoin project is the rapid increase in the use of Bitcoin in the country, Atsu Davo, founder and CEO of Bit Sika told a local news website. Davo said,

“Nigeria is one of the busiest places for cryptocurrency in Africa right now, and while we have plans to include other African currencies in the future, the country is a good starting place for us.”

Despite the regulatory uncertainty in the continent, Africa has garnered the top spot when it comes to Bitcoin searches on Google.

In fact, according to Twitter and Square CEO Jack Dorsey Africa will define the future of Bitcoin. He has already started seeing technopreneurs in the continent to tap into the crypto industry.

More to Come…

Binance already allows Nigerians to buy crypto on its platform using their fiat currency Naira in partnership with Lagos-based fintech startup Flutterwave.

Bit Sika first joined Binance Labs Incubation Program this year. Now, ABCD is ready to leverage the liquidity of naira. Davo explained,

“Many people have a hard time differentiating cryptocurrencies and knowing their actual value in their local currency. There are a lot of digital currencies backed by the US dollar. We have seen how well they do,”

“But I feel we also need cryptocurrencies that are compatible with African national currencies. People can easily acquire US dollars, but still choose to spend their local currencies. This illustrates the power of familiarity, which we aim for.”

With this stablecoin, the company is planning to provide a bridge between the legacy system and decentralized system.

Naira might not be one of the strongest currencies in Africa but Bit Sika is just getting started. The company has future plans to build decentralized applications running fiat currencies like Nigerian naira and more stablecoins for other African fiat currencies, as per its whitepaper.

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Author: AnTy

Coinbase’s Visa Debit Card Available In UK and EU, Adds First Stablecoin Support in Maker’s DAI

The Visa debit card offered by the crypto exchange Coinbase now has Ethereum-based DAI stablecoin support.

The news was released on Friday, when Coinbase Card made the announcement that DAI is the first stablecoin to be included in its offering. The debit card was launched in April this year and it allows UK and EU customers to spend the crypto they’re holding in their Coinbase accounts.

Coinbase Card added Support for Other Crypto Assets Last Month

In November, Coinbase Card added Brave’s token (BAT), Stellar (XML), Augur (REP) and 0x (ZRX). Besides, it furthermore supports Bitcoin (BTC), Bitcoin Cash (BCH), Litecoin (LTC) and Ether (ETH). The Coinbase UK head of marketing, JD Millwood, said in a recent commentary the offering of the debit card has managed to help many users spend crypto just as easily as they’re spending money from their traditional bank accounts, and that the Coinbase Card is going to be more in demand now that Christmas is coming.

10 More European Countries Added Last Month to Coinbase Card’s Portfolio

In November, Coinbase Card has expanded to 10 new European countries, making a total of 20 countries in which it operates. The newly added ones were Denmark, Liechtenstein, Sweden, Romania, Iceland, Norway, Bulgaria, Poland, Croatia, and Hungary.

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Author: Oana Ularu