Solana’s Data Aggregator Step Finance Raises $2 Million in Private Sale

Solana’s ecosystem continues to grow in leaps. One of its projects, Step Finance, saw $2 million infused into the network via a funding round led by Alameda Research.

Step Finance Raises $2 Million In Private Sale

In a press release on Tuesday, Solana-based decentralized finance (DeFi) protocol Step Finance announced that it had raised $2 million in a private sale to scale up its platform.

The project, which was birthed from the Solana hackathon held earlier this year, saw participation from prominent investors.

Among the star-studded roster includes names like Alameda Research, the hedge fund led by pro-crypto investor Sam Bankman-Fried.

Decentralized exchange Raydium (RAY), One Block, 3 Commas Capital, Solidity Ventures, and several new names also placed bets on the project.

Step Finance is touted to be the “front page” of the Solana ecosystem as it enables users to monitor transactions across the Solana network on one interface.

Step Finance is a known competitor to Ethereum’s Zapper as it creates a user-friendly platform for users to monitor all their DeFi transactions.

In speaking on the necessity of the Step Platform to the overall Solana ecosystem and the DeFi world, co-founder of Step George Harrap spoke on the limitations for projects built on Solana.

Harrap argued that most projects on the platform are siloed and separated from one another.

According to Harrap, users cannot verify their token and LP balances, current position sizes, and other tidbits unless they visit each website individually and sign in to understand their portfolio’s performance.

To him, Step Finance is the answer to these disparate efforts.

Step Finance continues to ride on the waves of savvy investors desire to get into a promising project before it grows.

In a blog post, the crypto startup mentioned that it would launch its native utility token $STEP on April 24. According to the development team, the digital token will play a pivotal role in automated strategies, optimal token swaps, yield farming, staking pools, bridges, and data visualization on the Step Platform.

Ethereum Killer Solana

The Solana ecosystem is reputed to be an Ethereum killer by enthusiasts. According to the DeFi project, its high throughput of 50,000 transactions per second (TPS) makes it a suitable replacement for developers looking at an alternative DeFi platform to save and do more efficiently.

The Ethereum network has been working on a transition to a more sustainable consensus protocol.

Its much-anticipated Eth 2.0 is expected to transition to the proof-of-stake (PoS), which will see it address the challenges of network congestion and high gas fees.

But in the interim, many DeFi facilitators like the Solana ecosystem aim to capitalize on these flaws.

The Solana ecosystem has been rapidly onboarding many projects. The world’s largest stablecoin, Tether’s USDt, announced that it had found a home on the Solana network just like USDC. The Graph (GRT), an Ethereum protocol, also said it was adding support for the Solana network.

In a fundraising round, the Solana Foundation raised $40 million from crypto exchanges like OKEx and others to better develop the Solana network software. It also received support from the digital trading platform AscendEX on the Solana Program Library.

At press time, Solana’s native token SOL trades at $25.37 after falling 7% on the 24hr chart.

Read Original/a>
Author: Jimmy Aki

Senate Committee Approves Wyoming Bill; One Step Closer to Giving DAO Legal Standing

Senate Committee Approves Wyoming Bill; One Step Closer to Giving DAO Legal Standing

Wyoming ranks as one of the most forward-thinking states in developing and improving legislation on a blockchain. Once again, the state aims to make history in this regard as the Senate committee approved a bill recognizing decentralized autonomous organizations, or popularly known as DAOs, as companies.

The law is currently in Wyoming’s House of Representatives and, if passed without amendments, will become the first state to recognize decentralized governance systems.

DAOs employ decentralized governance using smart contracts. These platforms function without a hierarchy, whereby everyone on the platform has equal control over the decisions and voting processes. According to OpenLaw’s Aaron Wright, who was involved in drafting the bill, the law, if implemented, will boost the overall participation of DAOs in the state. He tweeted,

“Well-intentioned DAO creators will have tremendous freedom to structure their affairs using any mix of statutory filings, legal agreements, or smart contracts to organize.”

“This flexibility will give folks the ability to play with governance and DAO structuring productively.”

This will also add legitimacy to these DAOs and cryptocurrency projects, allowing them to operate as Limited Liability Companies (LLCs). However, the bill still has some straightening on pertinent issues around cryptocurrencies and blockchains, Wright said.

Issues surrounding the DAO’s interests, their tokens, and whether their tokens classify as securities need to be solved before they can be passed to law.

Preston Bryne, partner at Anderson Kill Law and a member at Adam Smith Institute, however, called for the bill to be scrapped as it could encourage scam companies’ formation. In a short thread on Twitter, Bryne wrote,

“Wyoming; scrap this bill. “DAO” is language long used by token hawkers to justify selling shitcoins and half-baked code. They don’t incorporate an LLC because they don’t want to KYC their members and be responsible for what the DAOs do. Don’t enable this behavior.”

He further explains that DAOs do not need to be licensed companies due to management issues that arise from voters being anonymous.

“Companies are supposed to be made up of and managed by people. They exist to protect people working in concert.”

“DAOs, at least to date, protect their members by obfuscation and anonymity. The state doesn’t need to step in here to grant them a corporate veil.”

Read Original/a>
Author: Lujan Odera

CFTC Commissioner Heath Tarbert Announces Departure From Office

After a successful 18-month tenure in office, Heath Tarbert is set to step down from his role as commissioner of the Commodities Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) on Friday.

Tarbert announced his departure in a tweet published on Wednesday, where he thanked his colleagues for the wonderful time spent. Tarbert stated,

“After almost 2 years at the @CFTC—including 18 incredible months as Chairman & Chief Executive—Friday will be my last day at the Commission. It’s been an honor to work with so many talented individuals who make the CFTC the global standard for sound derivatives regulation.”

Tarbert’s tenure as chairman included the classification of ether (ETH, +0.23%) as a commodity, the launch of ether futures contracts, and an expansion of regulated crypto derivative products.

Recall that in December, he had left his post as chairman of the CFTC, which was announced formally by the Commission on its website. He was then replaced by acting chairman Rostin Behnam. However, Tarbert had indicated that he would go on to stay at the commission as commissioner for an indefinite length of time.

Although his term was not set to expire until April 2024, he said he felt his leaving would help clear the way for President Biden’s selection of a permanent chair. This comes as no surprise as Tarbert had previously said his 18-month term would end once President Joe Biden took office.

Brummer To Head Federal Commodities Regulator

Meanwhile, following the announcement by Heath Tarbert, speculations have been made on who the next CFTC commissioner would be. Although President Biden has not yet nominated a permanent replacement, crypto-savvy academic and Georgetown law professor Chris Brummer is said to be in the lead for the position.

The Georgetown professor has been selected along with two Democratic commissioners, Rostin Behnam and Dan Berkovitz, by the Biden administration. Brummer has been quite vocal on the need for more minorities to be represented in the financial sector, saying this is the only way to quantify the impact policies have on minority groups.

Following his extensive research on digital technology and his role as a member of the sub-committee on virtual currencies, Brummer is seen by many crypto-enthusiasts as the person that will lead the agency to craft a dynamic regulatory framework for the crypto industry.

Read Original/a>
Author: Jimmy Aki

SEC Chairman Jay Clayton to Step Down By Years End; Will Crypto Regulations Ease?

Jay Clayton is set to step down as the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) chairman by the end of this year.

Clayton, who has been at the agency’s helm since May 2017, stated he would be departing six months from his scheduled exit. He was expected to step down in June next year.

Appointed by President Donald Trump and sworn in as chair in May 2017. His early departure could have accelerated by the apparent election of Joe Biden as the next president, it still remains to be seen who might replace him. Stating,

“I would like to thank President Trump for the opportunity, and the support and freedom, to lead the women and men of the SEC.”

The chair also thanked Secretary Mnuchin as well as the entire treasury for their support and assistance. He also praised other agencies in the treasury department for their close working relations.

According to a statement from the SEC, Through Clayton’s leadership, the SEC improved the capacity of businesses of different sizes to raise capital and strengthen the enforcement of programs. The report said:

“The Commission obtained orders for over $14 billion in monetary remedies, including a record $4.68 billion in fiscal year 2020, and returned approximately $3.5 billion to harmed investors.”

“In addition, during Chairman Clayton’s tenure, the Commission paid approximately $565 million to whistleblowers, including the largest single award in the program’s history ($114 million).”

The SEC also stated that Clayton was steadfast in the enforcement of different policies and regulations within the crypto space. His tenure coincides with the recent largest Bitcoin’s bull run and the 2017 ICO’s wave.

Clayton was a controversial figure in the crypto space for his hard stance that almost all the ICOs were offering unregistered securities. Notably, however, Clayton opined that Bitcoin was not a security as well as Ethereum too. Later, the SEC reaffirmed this opinion.

In his tenure, Clayton has seen the SEC institute fines on numerous crypto projects which ran ICOs. Over the last year alone, the SEC collected about $1.26 billion as fines from different crypto projects. His departure is seen as a welcome move from the crypto and blockchain community.

Read Original/a>
Author: Joseph Kibe

Coinbase Custody Exploring 39 Crypto’s Including DeFi Tokens for Listing

Coinbase continues to take its altcoins and DeFi listing spree one step further every other day. Today, the San Francisco-based exchange announced a slew of other tokens its exploring to add support for.

After adding FTX (FTT) and Serum (SRM), Coinbase Custody that offers features such as staking, governance, and decentralized finance (DeFi) and serves institutional clients across the Asia-Pacific region, announced a total of 39 new digital assets that are up for listing.

Coinbase’s crypto custodian has released the latest list of all the digital assets that it is exploring for listing, including some known DeFi tokens and some unknown ones that are heard for the time here only.

Aave (AAVE), Amp (AMP), Ampleforth (AMPL), Ankr (ANKR), ArCoin (ArCoin), Audius (AUDS), Barnbridge (BOND), BitTorrent Token (BTT), Centrifuge (RAD), Conflux Network (CFX), Curve (CRV), DFI.Money (YFII), Elrond Gold (EGLD), JUST (JST), JUST Stablecoin (USDJ), Meta (MTA), MovieBloc (MBL), mStable (MUSD), Neo (NEO), Nervos (CKB), Nexus Mutual (NXM), NKN (NKN), NuCypher (NU), Ontology (ONT), Paxos Gold (PAXG), Paxos Standard (PAX), Reserve (RSV), Reserve Rights (RSR), Request Network (REQ), Skale (SKL), SUN Token (SUN), tBTC (TBTC), Terra (LUNA), The Graph (GRT), Tron (TRX), VeChain (VET), WING (WING), WINK (WIN), and Wrapped Bitcoin (WBTC).

Some of these tokens like WBTC have already been supported on Coinbase’s other platform Coinbase Pro.

According to Coinbase, support for any digital asset is subject to its “significant technical and compliance review,” which in some cases may also be subject to regulatory approval in some jurisdictions.

Read Original/a>
Author: AnTy

New Messaging Standard Pushes Crypto Industry Closer to FATF ‘Travel Rule’ Compliance

Crypto firms have made a step towards FATF compliance following the release of a messaging data standard for the Virtual Asset Service Providers (VASPs).

The initiative has been dubbed ‘IVMS101’ and was pioneered by the Joint Working Group on InterVASP messaging standards (JWG).

This milestone is set to revolutionize how crypto firms will be sharing data with regulators like FCA, FinCEN, MAS, JFSA, and the FATF.

According to the IVSMS101 whitepaper, adopting this standard will facilitate the exchange of KYC/AML information by VASPs in a harmonized manner.

Notably, the project is a product of three key stakeholders with interests in VASPs: International Digital Asset Exchange Association, Global Digital Finance, and the Chamber of Digital Commerce.

Sian Jones, the convener of JWG, has since confirmed that the team’s vision of a standard data model is now a reality:

“I’m pleased to confirm that the working group approved the final text and that the IVSMS101 data model standard now exists,”

InterVASP Messaging Standard, IVSMS101

With this tech in place, all VASPs will be required to integrate the IVSMS101 standard for interoperability and efficient communication.

Basically, the IVSMS101 pegs its underlying design on a universal language that will simplify the process of decoding information shared by ecosystem participants. The paper notes that such an approach, not only enhances regulation but also minimizes the cost of sharing information.

The International Digital Asset Exchange Association (IDAXA) said through an email to Coindesk that the launch of a common standard is a step in the right way since the Virtual Asset guidelines were published by FATF back in June 2019,

“Coming up with the Intervasp Messaging Standard 101 (IVMS101) as a common standard is definitely the first step in the right direction.”

As we approach FATF’s one-year progress review, the IVSMS101 standard will be a key topic. Sian Jones has been commended by the Chamber of Digital Commerce for steering and delivering on the project in good time:

“Our members have worked hard to create this standard and achieve consensus in advance of FATF timelines – a real achievement in such a complex area.”

Currently, the standard has already gained traction amongst crypto industry stakeholders with notable firms like TRISA and Sygna Bridge backing the initiative.

Despite the strong value proposition, IVSMS101 has yet to clear the air on how entities in regulated jurisdictions will communicate with those in less strict environments. What is, however, evident is the shift towards the sunrise phase where the industry is seeing more execution based on the plans and designs laid out earlier on.

Read Original/a>
Author: Edwin Munyui

OKEx Launches New C2C Loan Feature; Use BTC As Collateral To Get USDT for Trading

OKEx made a step into the DeFi world and launched its new consumer to consumer (C2C) loan feature that aims to match the demand and supply of idle capital transparently and openly.

The times when crypto exchanges were scrambling to have listings of the most active tokens are long gone. Nowadays, the competition takes place on completely new terrains like the ones of cloud services and IEOs, so OKEx wants to provide a peer-to-peer (P2P) loan service and launched its new C2C loan feature.

Users Will Transact Directly

The exchange says on its blog that the new C2C feature is going to allow direct transactions, whereas the demands for loans and investment will surely be met. Users can use the C2C loan button once they update their OKEx app. In order to buy money from peers, they will have to put Bitcoin (BTC) as collateral, after which they’ll get paid in USDT. More assets are to be supported soon, said OKEx. Some interesting features like choosing the rates for payments and the duration of the loan are also available for them.

What Happens If a Debt Isn’t Paid?

Just like with any other type of loan, there are risks involved with the C2C feature too. For instance, if the borrower is unable to pay the debt, OKEx employs its system especially built for such a situation. In case the collateral declines under the prewarning limit, the borrower is sent a warning message to increase it. If this isn’t done, the platform closes the position as soon as the price gets to the closing line. Borrowers will be in the position of losing their BTC, while lenders will be sure to not be left without their money.

OKEx is expanding more and more, trying to offer better tools and options to a variety of customers. Now it’s no longer a derivatives and spot trading service, but also a precursor of the DeFi’s development.

Read Original/a>
Author: Oana Ularu

Cardano Successfully Tests Ouroboros BFT on the Bryon Testnet, Ready for Deployment

  • Cardano reaches the “important” step of OBFT update as it moves towards the Shelley era
  • This protocol update is the bridge for the currently in use Ouroboros Classic to Ouroboros Genesis, which will power the Shelley era
  • Network fundamentals on a steady rise, the number of daily active addresses reaches a peak of 9.76K

On Feb. 20th, Ouroboros will be updated on the Byron mainnet to Ouroboros BFT, stated IOHK while sharing the latest developments. It’s been more than 18 months since the IOHK has been building a new architectural foundation for the Shelley era on the mainnet.

As the network moves towards the Shelley era, they have reached a “really important” step that is the OBFT update, Ouroboros Byzantine Fault Tolerance. This hard fork will basically act as a bridge between Ouroboros Classic, which is currently in use on the Byron mainnet, to Ouroboros Genesis, which will power the Shelley era.

Exciting Months Ahead

Ouroboros is the consensus protocol, “the algorithm that sits behind Cardano’s capability as a decentralized proof-of-stake platform.” Ouroboros BFT has been implemented as a bridge by the developers as a “stepping stone in compatibility (…) to enable the evolution of Cardano on the Byron era, with its federated blockchain, to the decentralized Shelley era.”

Ouroboros BFT has been successfully tested on the Byron testnet and the team has announced that it’s time to deploy on the Byron mainnet. The deployment will be on Feb. 20th which the team says is “a really positive next step in the development of the Cardano platform.”

For the ADA holders, they don’t need to do anything as the update will happen behind the scenes and there will be no change to the coin, wallet, or exchange account or even if you have been involved with a Shelley incentivized Testnet, you won’t’ be affected in any way, shared the team on Wednesday.

The next few months will be “exciting” ones for the Cardano community as the network continues to evolve.

Fundamentals on the Rise

In other news, the fundamentals of the Cardano network are also on the rise. The network activity has been seeing a rise with the number of daily active addresses reaching its all-time high (ATH) at nearly 10,000 on Feb. 12. This has been an increase of over 300% since January 1st, 2020.

The active address ratio has surged 231% from the beginning of the year, up from 0.58% on Jan.1 to 1.93% earlier this week.

Additionally, the number of transactions on the network has also seen a spike, recording an average of just above 3600 transactions daily. At the beginning of the year, the transactions were down at 1,000 but it has now jumped above 4,200.

In terms of price, ADA is currently trading at $0.0624, up 85% in 2020 so far.

Read Original/a>
Author: AnTy

Jack Dorsey is Building an Open Source and Decentralized Twitter

  • Twitter is funding an independent team of 5 called Bluesky
  • A decentralized step towards supporting and fostering the values of a free and open Internet

Twitter and Square CEO Jack Dorsey has taken another step towards building a decentralized standard for social media.

Bitcoin believer took to Twitter to announce his plans for an open-source Twitter for which the social media giant is funding a small independent team of up to five architects, engineers, and designers dubbed Bluesky.

A Decentralized Standard for Social Media

Dorsey reminiscences about the time when Twitter started which was so open that “many saw its potential to be a decentralized internet standard.”

Due to a variety of reasons, Twitter took the “centralized” path but now such solutions are struggling to meet the new challenges the company is facing.

He further notes that the value of social media is shifting away from content hosting and towards “recommendation algorithm.”

Also, the fact that content and conversation that sparks outrage and controversy have become the center of attention instead of those that “informs and promotes health” is another issue pushing Dorsey towards building a decentralized platform. New technologies meanwhile have made a decentralized approach “more viable.” Dorsey said,

“Blockchain points to a series of decentralized solutions for open and durable hosting, governance, and even monetization. Much work to be done, but the fundamentals are there.”

Dorsey has already taken a step towards decentralization with Square, which is doing the same for Bitcoin with Square Crypto.

Now, for a decentralized Twitter, the company has yet to make a decision if they want to go with an existing decentralized standard or create one from scratch.

However, it won’t be happening overnight rather will take many years to develop “a sound, scalable, and usable decentralized standard” that will allow the company to be more innovative and build an open recommendation algorithm for healthy conversations.

Also, it will have its own share of challenges and as such, it won’t be owned by a single corporation, “furthering the open & decentralized principles of the internet.”

Read Original/a>
Author: AnTy

Former ConsenSys Strategy Chief Planning to Launch Aligned Capital Venture Fund

Sam Cassatt, the chief strategy officer at ConsenSys has indicated that he plans to step down from his post to concentrate on launching his venture fund. The venture fund referred to as Aligned Capital has already received backing from Joe Lubin, the ConsenSys founder. According to a statement from ConsenSys, the chief strategy officer will remain part of the company and will hold an advisory capacity.

TransTech Conference

On Friday, Cassatt was speaking at the TransTech conference held in San Francisco where he pointed out that his venture fund was interested in raising at least $50 million in its first round of funding.

According to a statement released by Cassatt, the venture fund is expected to primarily focus on new technologies such as artificial intelligence, blockchain, cryptocurrency, and healthcare. He added that the venture fund was “designed to anticipate civilization-scale, evolutionary changes in human behavior.”

Andrew Keys, managing partner at DARMA Capital, and another former executive at ConsenSys is also backing Aligned. It was, however, not disclosed the amount of money or capital that Keys and Lubin would be injected into the new venture fund.

While Aligned is a completely separate entity from ConsenSys, during a phone interview, Cassatt pointed out that he would continue to apply the same principles as those of his former employer.

He added that Aligned was still in its formative stages, but that it was looking into how it would tackle issues affecting society today such as mental health and the use of artificial intelligence in today’s digital age.

Nichol Bradford is expected to join Aligned Capital as an advisor. Nichol is currently an executive working with Transformative Tech Lab, which was responsible for organizing the event held in San Francisco on Friday. Nicholas Paul Brysiewicz has also been named as an advisor, with Seth Goldstein coming in as a venture partner.

Read Original/a>
Author: Daniel W