Biggest News of the Week: Going Mainstream or A Sacrifice in the Name of Pump?

This week, the big news came in the form of PayPal announcing support for cryptocurrencies.

Not only the payments company would allow its users to buy, sell, and hold crypto, but soon it will also allow the users to shop at its 26 million merchants using crypto.

For now, Bitcoin (BTC), Ethereum (ETH), Bitcoin Cash (BCH), and Litecoin (LTC) are the ones supported directly within the PayPal digital wallet.

“The shift to digital forms of currencies is inevitable, bringing with it clear advantages in terms of financial inclusion and access; efficiency, speed and resilience of the payments system; and the ability for governments to disburse funds to citizens quickly,” said Dan Schulman, president, and CEO of PayPal.

As reflected in the price of Bitcoin surging past $13,000 to a new 2020 high, the market was elated. The other three digital assets had a good time with gains.

First Thing First

Why was this particular set of cryptos selected?

These crypto are actually among the digital assets approved by the New York State Department of Financial Services, and the NYDFS has granted PayPal a first-of-its-kind conditional Bitlicense.

Other coins approved by NYDFS for listing include Binance USD (BUSD), Gemini Dollar (GUSD), Paxos Standard (PAX), and Pax Gold (PAXG). Ethereum Classic (ETC) and Ripple (XRP) joined these cryptos in approval for the custody list.

Now, some feel by adding altcoins, it has just become another ‘exchange listing pump’ phenomenon.

“New bullish catalyst will be which altcoin Paypal lists news. They will be the Coinbase listing of 2020 and 2021,” noted one trader.

As a matter of fact, the company could really be setting the stage for its own dollar-pegged digital currency to “reduce their dependence on the correspondent banking system and other card networks,” as Facebook is doing with Libra, said Meltem Demirors, the chief strategy officer at CoinShares.

Bullish AF

PayPal news was met with excitement; the market celebrated it with gusto, seeing it as a sign that other institutions now would have no choice but to follow suit.

“We knew crypto trading on PayPal was coming, but to also enable crypto use for shopping at its 26 M merchant network is huge. Also, with PayPal and Venmo in the fray, every Fintech firm will now follow,” said a partner at the crypto fund, The Spartan Group.

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“If you liked the recent PayPal and Revolut launches, you’ll love the dozens of neo-banks and fintech teams currently scrambling to figure out what their “crypto strategy” is,” said Arjun Balaji.

In terms of exposure, “PayPal is bullish AF,” as the company has 487 million userbases while the bitcoin network currently has only 187 million total on-chain participants (23.4 million on-chain holders plus 101 million exchange users).

But is it Really?

While the digital asset price remains in bullish momentum, it didn’t take much time for the excitement to die down in the market.

Some even called this rally, “insiders frontrunning the PayPal news,” while others think it just “the most bullshit cope.”

For starters, PayPal has been merely playing catch up, and Bitcoin is the one providing PayPal an alternative to central banks – “archaic inflationary political central bank monopolies.”

The real caveat is that merchants won’t be receiving payments in virtual coins. But the biggest issue has been taken with the fact that PayPal doesn’t allow the cryptocurrencies in its account to be transferred to other accounts, on or off PayPal.

“So, this is all a big PayPal nothing burger, just entries in a central PayPal database, nothing to do with bitcoin,” said analyst PlanB.

Popular hardware wallet Trezor also said: “You shouldn’t use PayPal” because ‘not your keys, not your coin’ as Paypal doesn’t provide the private key of the crypto holdings.

Not only its ex-CEO Bill Harris called Bitcoin “the greatest scam ever,” but PayPal is also known for “stifling competition and preventing users from ever withdrawing their cryptocurrency to the safety of a wallet they control the keys to,” wrote Trezor in a blog post.

Amidst this hard criticism against PayPal for restricting self-custody being “objectively bad” and “necessary for Bitcoin to succeed,” others argue that this was exactly how Square’s Cash app started out, and eventually, it opened up.

“This is a great way for a risk-averse firm to offer its customers exposure to Bitcoin without worrying about “travel rule” compliance,” said Jerry Brito, executive director at crypto think tank Coin Center.

“In all fairness to PayPal, those features may come later,” tweeted Weiss Crypto Ratings.

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Author: AnTy

JPMorgan: Bitcoin has “Considerable” Long-Term Upside as it Competes with Gold “More Intensely”

The tide is turning. This week PayPal announced support for cryptocurrencies, and now JP Morgan is changing the tune; as it says, Bitcoin is competing with gold as an “alternative” currency.

The physical gold market, favored by the older generations, is worth $2.6 trillion, including the assets held within gold ETFs.

Bitcoin, on the other hand, has a market cap of $240 billion and mostly favored by millennial investors. In 2020, to date, Bitcoin has surged more than 80% compared to gold’s nearly 25%.

To catch up to hold in terms of market value, the leading digital currency would have to surge more than 10x from current levels. JPMorgan said in a note on Friday,

“Even a modest crowding out of gold as an ‘alternative’ currency over the longer term would imply doubling or tripling of the bitcoin price.”

Over time, the investment bank said crypto could be held for other reasons than just being a wealth store as gold is. JPMorgan stated,

“Cryptocurrencies derive value not only because they serve as stores of wealth but also due to their utility as a means of payment. The more economic agents accept cryptocurrencies as a means of payment in the future, the higher their utility and value.”

It also mentioned that the endorsement from the payments company is “another big step toward corporate support for bitcoin.” This, according to them, would further enhance millennials’ usage of BTC as an alternative currency.

Greater interest by institutional investors

Overall, the potential long-term upside for bitcoin is considerable as it competes more “intensely” with gold, “given that millennials would become over time a more important component of investors’ universe,” states JPMorgan.

Millennials and corporate endorsement of the digital currency have also induced greater interest by institutional investors, further says the report.

This is evidenced by the spike in activity across both bitcoin futures and options at CME. Before Paypal’s announcement this week, open interest on CME bitcoin futures averaged a record of 10.5K contracts per day in Q3, up 32% from Q2 and up 127% vs. Q3 2019.

Moreover, institutional flow saw strong growth, with 692 new accounts added, and the number of large OI holders also averaged 79 in Q3, up 64% compared to Q3 2019.

“Holy Cow. Most bullish commentary for bitcoin that I have read from JP Morgan” noted Dan Tapiero, co-founder of 10T Holdings. “Widespread research piece reaches all clients of the bank. Paypal announcement “cover” for other traditional players to get involved,” he added.

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Author: AnTy

JPMorgan: Bitcoin has ‘Considerable’ Long-Term Upside as it Competes with Gold ‘More Intensely’

The tide is turning.

This week PayPal announced support for cryptocurrencies, and now JP Morgan is changing the tune, as it says, Bitcoin is competing with gold as an “alternative” currency.

The physical gold market, favored by the older generations, is worth $2.6 trillion, including the assets held within gold ETFs.

Bitcoin, on the other hand, has a market cap of $240 billion and mostly favored by millennial investors. In 2020, to date, Bitcoin has surged more than 80% compared to gold’s nearly 25%.

To catch up to hold in terms of market value, the leading digital currency would have to surge more than 10x from current levels. JPMorgan said in a note on Friday,

“Even a modest crowding out of gold as an ‘alternative’ currency over the longer term would imply doubling or tripling of the bitcoin price.”

Over time, the investment bank said crypto could be held for other reasons than just being a store of wealth as gold is.

“Cryptocurrencies derive value not only because they serve as stores of wealth but also due to their utility as means of payment. The more economic agents accept cryptocurrencies as a means of payment in the future, the higher their utility and value.”

It also mentioned PayPal that the endorsement from the payments company is “another big step toward corporate support for bitcoin.” This, according to them, would further enhance millennials’ usage of BTC as an alternative currency.

Greater interest by institutional investors

Overall, the potential long-term upside for bitcoin is considerable as it competes more “intensely” with gold, “given that millennials would become over time a more important component of investors’ universe,” states JPMorgan.

Millennials and corporate endorsement of the digital currency have also induced greater interest by institutional investors, further says the report.

This is evidenced by the spike in activity across both bitcoin futures and options at CME. Before Paypal’s announcement this week, open interest on CME bitcoin futures averaged a record of 10.5K contracts per day in Q3, up 32% from Q2 and up 127% vs. Q3 2019.

Moreover, institutional flow saw strong growth, with 692 new accounts added, and the number of large OI holders also averaged 79 in Q3, up 64% compared to Q3 2019.

“Holy Cow. Most bullish commentary for bitcoin that I have read from JP Morgan” noted Dan Tapiero, co-founder of 10T Holdings. “Widespread research piece reaches all clients of the bank. Paypal announcement “cover” for other traditional players to get involved,” he added.

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Author: AnTy

Ledger Launches Support For Algorand (ALGO) Staking On Its Software App, Ledger Live

  • Crypto hardware wallet manufacturer, Ledger, is launching support for the Pure Proof-of-Stake (PPoS) platform, Algorand.
  • The announcement sent to BEG further states the software application will support Algorand’s Standard Assets (ASA) management.

Ledger wallet users will now be able to “securely hold, transact, manage, and stake ALGO” on Ledger Live directly on their desktops or smartphones. ALGO becomes the fourth coin to create its staking pool on Ledger following successive additions of staking coin, Tezos (XTZ), Tron (TRX), and Cosmos (ATOM).

Ledger now supports over 1500+ crypto tokens and 27 crypto coins on its platform.

Algorand offers users a pure PoS platform, unique from the delegated proof of stake (DPoS) consensus algorithm, whereby users delegate stakers to make the governance decisions. Algorand’s PPoS allows “anyone to participate in the Algorand network proportionally to the amount of ALGOs they have in their wallets.”

Speaking to BEG, Fangfang Chen, COO of Algorand, stated his pleasure at partnering with one of the companies with the “highest standard of crypto security.” Chen further said,

“The Algorand ecosystem has experienced tremendous growth since the mainnet launch last year, and we are proud to work with Ledger, the industry-leading security company, to provide ALGO holders more opportunities to participate in the network while ensuring security and transparency of the whole Algorand economy.”

Additionally, Ledger Live wallet users will also be able to control and manage their Algorand Standard Assets, such as the recently added Tether stablecoin, USDt. Users can also manage the system credits, loyalty points, and “single, unique assets issued on the Algorand blockchain that benefit from the same security, compatibility, speed, and ease-of-use as the ALGO.”

Ledger aims at offering unparalleled security and ease of use to users in comparison to current ALGO-enabled staking platforms. Ledger Live allows users to stake their ALGO tokens on a single app while still storing their private keys on the Ledger hardware wallet – providing freedom without compromising on security.

Ledger is “expanding its tokens and crypto markets” – ALGO being the latest – with more to come, Pascal Gauthier, CEO of Ledger, said. The integration of ALGO on Ledger Live will provide users with a broader array of opportunities “to earn passive income, ensuring the highest level of control and flexibility.”

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Author: Lujan Odera

US Congressional Members Ask The Govt To Support Blockchain Tech For COVID-19 Relief

  • U.S. Congressmen lobby the federal government to increase support and hasten the integration of blockchain technologies across the economy to ease the effects of the COVID-19 global pandemic.
  • Blockchain technology innovations aimed at improving authorization of individual identity, supply chains, and medical registries.

A letter from lawmakers in Congress addressed to the US. President Donald J. Trump and directors handing the COVID-19 response strategies ask the top federal government executives to look into blockchain technologies as a solution to the pandemic.

According to the lawmakers (all members of the Congressional Blockchain Caucus) urge the use of blockchains to improve the country’s economic interactions, enhance digital identification, manage supply chains and ensure credibility in medical registries and certifications. The letter reads,

“The membership of the Congressional Blockchain Caucus urges your consideration, support, and implementation of utilizing blockchain technology that could greatly mitigate the effects of the Coronavirus.”

The members of the Congressional Blockchain Caucus who presented the letter are Bill Foster, Tom Emmer, David Schweikert, and Darren Soto – who lead the Caucus. Other members include Stephen Lynch, Warren Davidson, Jerry McNerney, Matt Gaetz, and Ro Khanna.

There is a growing need for verification and identity digitization as the world embraces social distancing. According to the statement, blockchains provide digital identity solutions that assist in authentication and verification of individuals, for example, when the U.S. distributed the CARES Package. Furthermore, blockchains offer strong encryption and a secure system hence protecting sensitive users’ data.

Blockchain can also improve the deployment of essential kits and medical equipment – especially during the times of the pandemic. These technologies could enhance the management of supply chains, identification of where supplies originate, transportation, and arrival times, the statement reads.

Additionally, medical registries, certifications, and licenses could all be deployed on a blockchain improving the medical field and professionals in the space. This could help these medical professionals securely and confidentially share critical information and deploy essential services in times of need.

This also points to the financial systems world whereby the U.S. Congress has continually called for more innovative technologies to be implemented to solve slow transactions and payments. In April, members of Congress reintroduced the “Digital dollar Act” to create a network of digital payments and distribute the CARES Act stimulus efficiently.

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Author: Lujan Odera

Gemini Increases Fiat Currency Options with CAD, HKD and AUD Support

Gemini crypto exchange has added support for three fiat currencies within its trading platform, according to an official announcement by the firm on August 17.

The Winklevoss brothers’ led digital asset trading platform will now feature the Canadian dollar (CAD), the Australian Dollar (AUD), and the Hong Kong dollar (HKD).

This milestone comes as a significant boost to Gemini, which has been looking to scale its operations globally. The firm has signaled a possible debut in the Asia Pacific region after it recently hired a managing director for this jurisdiction. Gemini further revealed that it is considering the application of a Singapore regulatory license.

With these newly included fiat currencies, the ambition of operating on a global scale are now a possibility for the Gemini crypto exchange. Initially, users could only top up their accounts based on the U.S dollar, a feature that left out a good number of prospects in other markets. The exchange has since highlighted that its users will derive the same utility from newly added fiat currencies.

Its clients in Australia, Canada, and Hong Kong can now top up their accounts and buy/sell crypto based on their native currencies. Gemini, however, noted that these newly featured fiat currencies are yet to be offered on the exchange’s Active Trader Platform but will be made available soon, given it is part of the product roadmap.

This latest expansion by Gemini is among the exchange’s 2020 highlights, with a notable mention being its recent partnership with Samsung. The two firms are now working together towards enabling Samsung Blockchain wallet users to leverage Gemini’s mobile application in crypto trading.

Other than that, the exchange has listed several cryptocurrencies, including Brave’s native token ‘BAT,’ DAI, LINK, and OXT. In terms of its expansion strategy, the exchange appears to be optimistic on the European market and has hired a former Sterling Bank Exec to make inroads in this market.

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Author: Edwin Munyui

Coinbase Wallet Integrates Unstoppable Domains; Send Payments Via .Crypto Addresses

Coinbase Wallet, a service rendered by US based Coinbase crypto exchange is extending its support for Unstoppable Domains according to an announcement made by the latter on their official twitter page.

Founded in 2018, Unstoppable domains is a blockchain-based domain name service that provides users with .crypto domains which can be used as a replacement of the long alphanumeric character wallets have.

With the domain names now integrated with the wallet, the users can trade and remit payments to other users without necessarily being obliged to key in often long crypto addresses. The .crypto domain names allow the users to launch and host decentralized websites running on a peer to peer protocol dubbed Inter Planetary File Service (IPFS).

The main difference that could be drawn from the legacy domain names that is: .com, .org is that they are issued by the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN). They ordinarily retain full rights to domain names and could shut any website down if need be. Whereas the Uncensorable domains that are hosted on the Ethereum ecosystem can only be taken down by the holders of the private keys.

Cofounder of Unstoppable domains, Brad Kam is optimistic that Blockchain domains are the future of crypto wallets. He commended Coinbase’s initiative that will solely push the market into crypto mainstream. The Coinbase wallet has now consolidated their place as a one stop shop for all the crypto inclusive of BTC and ETH that they provide.

They will also offer custody support for Blockchain domains granting Coinbase users privileges to register and manage the domains from the Dapp browser. They have currently registered about 250000 domains with 21000 including by some Fortune 500 companies being acquired in July. They raised $4Million in May 23rd 2019 seed round that was spearheaded by VC firm Draper Associates and Boost VC.

Notably, this is not the first collaboration that the San Francisco based Unstoppable domains. They have forged partnerships with Huobi wallet, my Ether wallet and the Trust wallet backed by mega crypto exchange Binance.

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Author: Lujan Odera

Samsung Blockchain Wallet Adds Support For Decentraland’s LAND & MANA Tokens

Samsung, a prominent mobile manufacturer from South Korea, has added support for the decentralized Virtual Reality platform (VR) Decentraland. Samsung’s Keystore wallet with this integration is getting better with each day and more user friendly. The integration would also allow the Decentraland crypto app to work with Samsung’s crypto platform.

The integration would allow Cryptoland users to store their Non-Fungible Tokens (NFT) and trade the native token LAND as well.

Decentraland, as the name suggests, is a decentralized virtual community where users can purchase and lend virtual properties using the native tokens LAND and MANA. The LAND token represents a 10×10-meter piece of virtual land in the Decentraland universe. With the latest integration with Samsung wallet, it would become more convenient and easy for the users of the platform to trade LAND tokens.

Decentraland launched in February 2020, and it has become the most significant game and NFT project to collaborate with Samsung wallet.

Samsung has shown an active interest in the decentralized space where its flagship series of Galaxy phones come with built-in wallet support. With each passing year, the firm is adding new features and integrating new tools and services to make it more user friendly and secure for its customers.

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Author: Hank Klinger

BTSE Exchange Lists Turkish Stablecoin, BiLira, While Turkey’s Economy Is Struggling

BTSE, British Virgin Islands-based cryptocurrency futures and OTC exchange has added support for digital Lira, the Turkish stablecoin also known as BiLira (TRYB).

BiLira is currently paired against USDT and would be available for trading on BTSE’s spot market. TRYB has become the 19th currency to be available for trading on the exchange.

The listing comes just as the Turkish economy has been experiencing a crisis; with the value of the national fiat falling to an all-time low against the US Dollar. The introduction of a digital fiat would make it easier for Turkish users to make cross-border payments with real-time settlements and low remittance fees.

Amid the growing financial unrest in Turkey, cryptocurrencies have found a high level of acceptance in the country. It has been a growing theme around the world that countries with troubled economies have looked towards crypto for an alternative.

Jonathan Leong, the CEO and co-founder of BTSE explained that the Turkish market has had quite a positive outlook towards crypto and since their entry in the country early this year, they have garnered a strong and growing community. Long also noted that the decision to list TRYB was prompted by huge community demand for the same.

Turkey Has Great Potential For Crypto Adoption

BiLira’s co-founder Vidal Artditi emphasised that Turkey has the potential to become a blockchain and cryptocurrency hub. Especially since the Turkish community has a high crypto literacy rate, with those not only understanding how crypto and blockchain functions, but also the importance of it in the current financial scenario. He cited further that Turkish citizens are known for hedging risk and trading crypto with high adoption rates.

Artditi also claimed that trading is a cultural phenomenon in Turkey and thus it aligns well with the idea of blockchain and crypto. Given mobile phone usage is in excess of 90% in the country, which could prove to be a driving force in crypto usage and adoption, Turkey has everything it needs to become a hub for crypto adoption.

Artditi also asserted that they are not interested in creating any sort of bubble and are true believers in the principle of cryptocurrencies. He explained:

“We’re not here to create a bubble. We’re here to create real use cases, which is why we’ve set up our system and our platform in a way that people can buy up to 100,000 euro per month without paying even a lira on commissions. It’s to be able to make it as easily accessible, even if it’s going to be damaging financially to our company in the short term. Just to make sure we highlight the value proposition of this product and how it can really change the lives of these people.”

In the past couple of years, cryptocurrencies have found more traction from countries where the economy is struggling for various reasons, be it hyperinflation like in Venezuela or trade sanctions imposed in Israel. Even African countries where poverty rates are quite high with a majority of the population being underbanked, crypto has emerged as a financial bridge.

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Author: Silvia A

Bitcoin Suisse Adds Tezos (XTZ) Staking & Custodial Support to Institutional Grade Vault

Bitcoin Suisse – the Swiss crypto brokerage firm – has announced custodial and staking support for Tezos on May 19th, in order to lure more institutional clients to its platform.

Staking has been the hottest trend in the crypto space this year, given major exchanges across space have added support for Tezos [like Bitfinex and Binance.US] and other Proof-of-Stake based tokens. The broker platform would be using its PwC-audited high-security vault to store the staked coins.

The Swiss brokerage firm has over $1 billion worth of assets under its custody and the Tezos delegation and support will be made available via its Bitcoin Suisse Vault.

Proof-of-Stake (PoS) based blockchain platforms allow users to stake their coins for a fixed period of time and earn ‘interest’ on the staked tokens.

The crypto-verse calls it staking ‘rewards’ instead of ‘interest’ earnings to avoid regulatory clampdowns, but both processes are quite the same. The only way that staking differs over traditional Interest is that staking offers governing rights to stakers on the blockchain, with staked tokens being used to maintain the blockchain network as well.

Niklas Nikolajsen, the founder of Bitcoin Suisse, is a firm believer in Proof-of-Stake and even suggested that it is a superior consensus to Proof-of-Work. Nikolajsen believes PoW based blockchains, which is Bitcoin primarily, leads to the heavy loss of electricity and is less efficient when compared to PoS systems.

The Bitcoin Suisse platform has been offering Tezos staking services for almost two years now, first started in July 2018, however, under the newly announced scheme, they would use their highly secure and PwC audited vault.

The firm claimed that the decision was taken looking at the increasing interest of institutional clients in various crypto products, especially the staking services, with hopes that their decision would bring in more institutional clients to their platform.

Bitcoin Suisse was also among the partners that supported the latest product of Tezos called tzBTC, which is a bitcoin-backed token on Tezos blockchain.

Roman Schnider, CFO, and Head of Operations at the Tezos Foundation commented on the launch of Bitcoin Suisse secure vault based staking launch saying:

“Tezos was created with fundamental security features like formal verification that allow for institutional-grade smart contract security.

As more institutional adopters and investors get involved with the Tezos protocol, institutional-grade custody services […] will be an integral part of the ecosystem.”

[Also Read: $35.4B Investment Bank in Latin American Issues Tokenized Real Estate on Tezos Blockchain]

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Author: James W