Popular Retail Trading App, Robinhood, Is Testing A Crypto Wallet, Shows Beta Version

Popular Retail Trading App, Robinhood, Is Testing A Crypto Wallet, Shows Beta Version

Online stock trading app Robinhood (HOOD) is testing the long-awaited new features in its crypto wallet that will allow users to send and receive crypto assets outside of the app.

The beta version of the brokerage service provider’s iPhone app showed that it is working on such features.

According to a Bloomberg report, the software also had a hidden image that showed a waitlist page for users signing up for the feature. The code for the app also referred to cryptocurrency transfers.

Discovered by software developer Steve Moser, the planned offering also shows the ability to set up two-factor authentication to use the feature.

CEO Vlad Tenev has repeatedly said that adding crypto wallets and allowing deposits and withdrawals is the company’s priority. “It’s something that our teams are working on,” he said on a call following the company’s second-quarter earnings release.

At the time, Tenev also said that they are growing their crypto team “hugely” this year and that they “might add some new coins along the way,” too.

The company that went public in July had 41% of its net revenue in the second quarter coming from cryptocurrency trading. And out of this $233 million revenue, 62% came from the meme coin Dogecoin (DOGE) alone. DOGE -3.81% Dogecoin / USD DOGEUSD $ 0.20
Volume 1.77 b Change -$0.01 Open $0.20 Circulating 131.38 b Market Cap 26.38 b
10 h Popular Retail Trading App, Robinhood, Is Testing A Crypto Wallet, Shows Beta Version 5 d Coinbase is Coming for the Sizable and Lucrative Futures and Derivatives Market in the US 1 w Robinhood Trading App Rolls Out “Dollar Cost Averaging” for Crypto Investments

The new crypto features are being tested as part of the company’s “alpha program,” which will require the users to activate crypto sending and receiving. The enrollment page will require an identity check with the message reading, “Complete the steps to start sending and receiving crypto.”

Code in the app also revealed plans for spare change investing and an early deposit option for checking accounts.

This comes after Robinhood launched price volatility protection and recurring orders for crypto purchases last week.

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Author: AnTy

$500B German Asset Manager is Considering Adding Bitcoin to A ‘Handful’ of Private Funds

Union Investment, a $500 billion Germany-based asset manager, is testing a pilot program with Bitcoin exposure certificates. If the program becomes a success, it will also open Bitcoin exposure to other funds.

The certificates will be available in the quarter fourth of this year with the date yet decided.

For this, “We are considering adding bitcoins in small amounts of 1% to 2% maximum to a handful of other funds for private investors,” Portfolio Manager Daniel Bathe told Bloomberg.

Union Investment had its first Bitcoin exposure in its mixed fund at the beginning of this year. These were Delta 1 certificates in private funds that are allowed to invest up to 1% in Bitcoin, and currently, they are just below that, according to Bathe.

With this move into cryptocurrency, Union Investment aims to get ahead of its competitors, with one of the largest ones, DekaBank, not yet offering any fund with Bitcoin exposure. However, a spokesperson from Dekabank, Germany’s largest asset manager, did say in July that the firm was also considering investing in the leading cryptocurrency.

Germany is expected to see a massive wave of crypto adoption after a new law came into effect in August that allowed “Spezialfonds” that are holding $1.8 trillion to invest 20% in crypto.

“We are observing an increased interest of mixed fund managers in crypto assets,” said Kamil Kaczmarski, a consultant for financial service providers at Oliver Wyman in Frankfurt.

Traditional German investment managers are likely to begin their crypto exposure through certificates and other derivatives, as seen with German public bank Sparkassen, which recently made Bitcoin and crypto investment available to its customers via certificates, individual stocks, and ETFs.

The post 0B German Asset Manager is Considering Adding Bitcoin to A ‘Handful’ of Private Funds first appeared on BitcoinExchangeGuide.

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Author: AnTy

Twitter Testing Tipping Users in Bitcoin Through Lightning Network in Beta

Twitter Testing Tipping Users in Bitcoin Through Lightning Network in Beta

Twitter has started testing the ability to tip users on the platform in Bitcoin.

According to MacRumors, the Twitter beta shows that the social media giant is testing this service. Mobile developer Alessandro Paluzzi has also leaked an image of what it would look like.

According to the report, this tipping function will use the Lightning Network to make smaller Bitcoin payments and would support both custodial and non-custodial wallets.

Lightning Network is a layer 2 solution for faster and cheaper Bitcoin transactions. The capacity of LN has risen to a new all-time high of 2,350 BTC while the number of channels and number of nodes is also hitting new highs at 68,787 and 25,969, respectively, according to 1ML.

The leaked image shows that Twitter will use Jack Maller’s LN app Strike to generate Bitcoin Lightning invoices. This means, in order to use this feature, users would require a Strike account to receive tips.

“We use Strike to generate Bitcoin Lightning invoices so you’ll need to connect your account to accept Bitcoin tips.”

Back in July, on Twitter’s second-quarter earnings, CEO Jack Dorsey suggested that Bitcoin would be coming to Tip Jar and other products, including Super Follows, Commerce, and Subscriptions.

At the time, he also reiterated that Bitcoin is the “best candidate” to become the “native currency” of the internet which will mean “people and companies can freely trade goods and services anywhere on the planet.”

As we recently reported, Dorsey said he’s using LN to enable a currency for the internet by allowing every account on Twitter to link to a Bitcoin Lightning Wallet. He also said the company is planning a Bitcoin hardware wallet and a KYC-complaint DEX for Bitcoin and exchanging other assets like stablecoins but with a decentralized identity solution.

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Author: AnTy

New York is Pilot Testing IBM’s Blockchain-Based Health App to Track COVID-19 Vaccinations

New York is Pilot Testing IBM’s Blockchain-Based Health App to Track COVID-19 Vaccinations

New York set to pilot IBM’s blockchain-based health app across the state to confirm an individual’s vaccination or recent negative COVID-19 test. The app was first tested in a Brooklyn Nets basketball game earlier this month.

New York governor, Andrew Cuomo, announced a pilot program to test the Excelsior Pass, a blockchain-based health app developed in partnership with IBM Technologies. In a statement during the “NY Governor’s 2021 State of the State Address”, Cuomo stated the app would confirm a person’s vaccination status or recent COVID-19 test to “get back to normal.”

“The Excelsior Pass will play a critical role in getting information to venues and sites in a secure and streamlined way, allowing us to fast-track the reopening of these businesses and getting us one step closer to reaching a new normal.”


Excelsior Pass, a blockchain-based health app developed by IBM (Image: NY Gov)

The app will be tested at the Madison Square Garden and Barclays Center events to help fast-track the reopening of public spaces and events in the state.

The app will voluntarily ask users to share their health status through their mobile phones, and the data is then encrypted and stored on a blockchain safely. Steve LaFleche, General Manager, IBM Public, and Federal Market, said,

“This solution can provide New York, and other states, a simple, secure, and voluntary method for showing proof of a negative COVID-19 test result or certification of vaccination.”

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Author: Lujan Odera

Top Chinese Bank Launches Testing for a Digital Yuan “Hardware Wallet” Card

Top Chinese Bank Launches Testing for a Digital Yuan “Hardware Wallet” Card

  • Top Chinese bank launches testing of its “hardware card wallet” for the digital yuan.
  • The card is currently testing Dongcheng District – targeting the elderly.
  • Beijing residents testing the CBDC can also use the wallet to pay for healthcare services.

A local news report, Xinhua Net, confirmed that the Postal Bank of China has launched its biometric hardware wallet card for the digital yuan. The card is still in its testing phase to provide Dongcheng District residents with the ability to pay and transact using the central bank’s digital currency.

The hardware wallet provides users with biometric security to spend their digital yuan using a one-tap system on selected stores. Once the transaction is complete, the card’s ink screen window displays the transaction amount and the wallet balance.

The new card focuses on giving the elderly a more efficient way to use the digital renminbi given the challenges they face with smartphones, Chen Yuejin, Chairman of the Postal Bank of China, said.

“With this card, it is much more convenient to enter and exit public places, and you can pay with just one touch. It is especially suitable for the elderly who have difficulty using smartphones.”

China is the leading country in testing and piloting projects supporting its digital yuan. In the past two years, the government has launched several pilot projects on its CBDC in Beijing and Shenzhen – recently disbursing over $3 million in ‘red envelopes’ to over 50,000 people, the largest pilot yet.

The expedited process of piloting the digital yuan forces central banks around the world to look into launching their own CBDCs to avoid falling behind with China. Despite several analysts touting the digital yuan to replace the dollar, Martin Chorzempa of Peterson Institute for International Economics’ believes there is a long road ahead still.

He believes Chinese electronic payment services lay the toughest roadblock for the digital yuan to become internationalized. Chorzempa said,

“A lot of people talk about (the digital yuan) being a driver of renminbi internationalization.”

“I think they have to beat Alipay and WeChat Pay in China before, I think, that they can make a dent in the U.S. dollar.”

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Author: Lujan Odera

Privacy-Focused Messenger, Signal, is Testing Crypto Payments Using A Stellar-based Project

Privacy-Focused Messenger, Signal, is Testing Crypto Payments Using A Stellar-based Project

As Whatsapp users exit the platform and move en masse into other apps, Signal is hoping to engage and keep them with new features, including cryptocurrency payments.

One of the many exciting aspects of the technology industry has been watching it adapt due to changing global trends in the past year.

The world was plunged into uncertainty when the coronavirus hit, and everyone had to stay home. However, Zoom, Amazon, and Netflix – among others – stepped in and kept users sane. Signal faces a similar meteoric rise to fame.

No Clarity on MobileCoin Integration Yet

Signal is a privacy-focused mobile messaging app that has seen substantial growth in users over the past few weeks. Hoping to keep the buzz going, the service has begun working on adding new features for convenience.

Keeping in line with its privacy focus, Signal now appears to be working towards crypto payments. Casey Newton, the founder of the technology newsletter service Platformer, reported that Signal was considering implementing crypto payment services into its messaging platform.

According to the report, Signal has been running pilot tests for a token on MobileCoin, a Stellar-based, privacy-focused cryptocurrency platform with backing from Binance. The report pointed out that Moxie Marlinspike, Signa’s chief executive, is an adviser to MobileCoin, hypothesizing that the two services are looking towards a possible MobileCoin deployment into Signal.

Marlinspike had downplayed any integration speculations, explaining that the tests were “design explorations.” However, Signal employees have reportedly confirmed that the company is actively looking into integrating MobileCoin into its platform.

Signal in the Spotlight

Signal’s growth was fueled by a new privacy policy update from Whatsapp is on a trajectory that several platforms have been on in the past. On January 6, WhatsApp users worldwide saw a pop-up from the service notifying them of changes to its privacy policy. While the changes were said to enable businesses to send and store messages, users would have to agree by February 8 or be deactivated by the app.

The privacy update caused a stir online, with many immediately suggesting alternatives. Several prominent tech names, including Elon Musk and Jack Dorsey, immediately touted Signal as a top substitute, and the app immediately saw a surge in users.

Quoting data from Sensor Tower, TechCrunch reported that the app got 7.5 million downloads between January 6 and January 10. It is worth noting that the company has been around for six years, during which time it reached 20 million downloads.

Signal isn’t the only app that benefited from the WhatsApp backlash. A tweet from Newton showed that Telegram, the latter’s top competitor, claimed to have added 90 million active users in January alone. However, Signal’s privacy focus has gotten a lot of attention.

Now that the app is on a tear, it will want to watch out. The Platformer report has noted that some employees are sounding warnings about changes in its corporate structure and some new features that the platform is adding. During its boom last year, Zoom faced issues with privacy and harassment issues. Now that Signal is hoping to keep its new users, all eyes will be on it to see how it performs.

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Author: Jimmy Aki

BIS to Build Proof of Concept Network for Testing Cross-Border Payments Using CBDC’s

BIS to Build Proof of Concept Network for Testing Cross-Border Payments Using CBDC’s

The Bank of International Settlements’ Innovation Hub (BISIH) announced this week that one of its highest priorities is the continued research and testing of Central Bank Digital Currencies (CBDCs), along with five other areas of focus.

This news is according to this year’s annual work program, which lays out its intention to “explore the feasibility of faster and cheaper cross-border payments” using central bank digital currencies. The BISIH further added that it would dedicate its work this year to exploring prototypes in the creation of “tiered retail CBDC distribution architectures” along with “tokenized green bonds to retail investors.”

To drive these priorities forward, they will be headed up by the company’s Innovation Hub Centres in Hong Kong, Singapore, and Switzerland while also coordinating with local central banks. The BISIH’s Innovation Center in Singapore, for example, has its sights set on the development of an ‘International Settlement Platform’ where regulated banks and payment entities can conduct and settle transactions using a range of CBDCs.

Meanwhile, Hong Kong’s Innovation Center will be working on green bonds, specifically with the intent of tokenizing green bond assets for retail investors. Additionally, Hong Kong’s center will work on building a bridge to enable foreign exchange transactions of approved CBDCs, along with stablecoin issuance.

Switzerland’s BISIH Center is one of the furthest ahead in terms of development. It has already completed two functional proofs-of-concept for linking payment systems to test out payment settlements using tokenized assets and wholesale CBDC. This was done through its initiative dubbed ‘Project Helvtica.’ Discussing the details of BISIH’s work program, Innovation Hub’s Head, Benoit Coeure, said the following:

“This work programme shows our commitment to exploring in the most practical ways how best to harness technological change for the benefit of central banks and create public goods to support the global financial system.”

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Author: James Fox

Over 2 Million Test Ethereum Staked On ETH 2.0 Medalla Testnet; Q4 2020 Launch In Sight?

  • Over 2 million staked in Ethereum 2.0 Medalla testnet.
  • Over 63,000 active validators are testing the new update.
  • Spadina Testnet set for launch on Tuesday, September 29.

Over the past four or so years, the Ethereum community has worked tirelessly in developing Ethereum 2.0, an update aiming to switch the current proof-of-work (PoW) consensus mechanism to a proof-of-stake (PoS) mechanism. According to data provided by Beaconcha.in, Eth 2.0 is edging closer to reality with huge participation in staking on the recently launched Medalla testnet.

The testnet block explorer shows over 2 million test ETH, named Görli ETH, are collectively staked on the Medalla testnet and a further 63,395 validator nodes activated. Over 5,200 validators are in queue to take up validator nodes, as at the time of writing.

Ethereum 2 0 Beacon Chain Phase 0 Block Chain Explorer beaconcha
Source: Beaconcha.in

Such a huge uptake in the testnet version shows an increasingly positive appreciation of ETH 2.0 as the staked amount increases. The participation range of the validators on Medalla testnet has ranged between 70% and 80% in the past 24 hours, averaging 63% since its launch a month or so ago.

ETH 2.0 is set to usher in a new world for Ethereum users allowing any ETH holder to stake 32 ETH to get rewards. Shifting the blockchain to a PoS network will set in a new consensus that will see a network of node validators stake their ETH to verify blocks added to a chain.

Staking on ETH 2.0 is, however, risky for malicious and careless node validators, who may see some of their staked ETH slashed. A validator can be slashed if they violate the Casper FFG rules or if they create two beacon blocks in one epoch. This discourages bad behavior and maliciously trying to cheat the blockchain into accepting a ‘bad block.’

ETH 2.0’s Spadina “small scale” Testnet

Today, Sept. 29, another testnet, Spadina, is set to launch a small-scale experiment to prepare the Phase 0 ETH 2.0 launch. Developers of Spadina aim a three-day “dress rehearsal” for the community to practice sending deposits, launching beacon nodes, and validator clients starting from genesis.

The small scale test net will only involve 1024 validators during the 72-hour rehearsal with the main net spec requiring 16384 validators to launch. Spadina’s mainnet launch will run co-currently with Medalla testnet in a bid to check for any bugs and risky activities in the process of launching ETH 2.0 Phase 0.

Medalla testnet hit 1 million staked ETH at the start of August, fueling the discussions that the ETH 2.0 launch could be fast-tracked to launch before the end of 2020. However, the process to fully transition to the proof-of-stake blockchain could take up to 2 years.

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Author: Lujan Odera

Mastercard Launches a Virtual Testing Platform for CBDCs

  • Global payments company Mastercard launched a virtual testing platform for central banks to test out their CBDCs.
  • The technology company invited central banks, commercial banks, techs, and advisory firms to evaluate the suitability of CDBDs through its custom testing platform.

As the Bank for International Settlements survey revealed, a whopping 80% of central banks are engaged in some form of Central Bank Digital Currencies (CBDCs). In the race to embrace digital payments, central banks clearly don’t want to lose its control of the monetary policy in issuing and distributing currency while supporting innovation.

Supporting central banks modernizing payments, Mastercard announced this “proprietary virtual testing environment” today where the use cases for the digital fiat currencies could be evaluated.

“Central banks have accelerated their exploration of digital currencies with a variety of objectives, from fostering financial inclusion to modernizing the payments ecosystem,” said Raj Dhamodharan, Executive Vice President, Digital Asset, and Blockchain Products and Partnerships at Mastercard. And with this new platform, the company wants to support that decision.

On this virtual platform, the interested parties can simulate the issuance and distribution of the CBDC along with the exchange ecosystem with banks and customers.

It can be used to demonstrate how CBDC can be used to pay for goods and services anywhere Mastercard is accepted.

The development efforts of the CBDC that includes the technical, design, and security aspect, can also be evaluated while to determine its value and feasibility in the market, use cases and tech designs can be examined as well.

“Mastercard wants to harness its expertise to enable the practical, safe and secure development of digital currencies.”

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Author: AnTy

Four Top Chinese State-Owned Banks Are Testing The Chinese Digital Yuan Project (DCEP)

In an unconfirmed report, four Chinese state-owned banks are gradually testing the ‘digital renminbi’ wallet app and Digital Currency/Electronic Payment (DCEP) system in different provinces across the country.

The reports, though unconfirmed, follow the recent comments by the People’s Bank of China (PBoC) confirming the “closed pilot of the digital RMB was completed” with plans to launch research on the legal digital currency underway in this second half of the year.

It was first revealed by a local newspaper, 21st Century Business Herald, who spoke with some of the employees working on the app. As reported, the app is in extensive scale testing in Shenzen and other parts of the country with four major banks – China Construction Bank, Bank of China, Industrial and Commercial Bank of China and Agricultural Bank of China – participating.

According to the report, users will need to have to open a digital account with either of the four banks to register the app. The digital wallets are then linked to various banks allowing the users to recharge their accounts and also spend on different utilities directly – similar to Alipay and WeChat payment services.

However, the app is still not publicly available for downloads as one respondent confirmed:

“Our bank is testing the ‘digital renminbi’ app on a large scale. The app cannot be downloaded publicly for the time being, and it has an identity code after opening it.”

The app allows users to transfer amounts to others by using their phone number or a QR code, pay, save, and spend RMB digitally across several merchants across China.

Read More: Will China’s CBDC See Strong Adoption Or Will Dollar Pegged Stablecoins Cause Resistance?

China has, in the past, hastened its efforts in launching a legal digital currency since the announcement of the Libra project, championed by Facebook. The leading committee on the digital currency, Central Bank’s Digital Currency Research Institute, launched closed pilot tests in Shenzhen, Suzhou, Xiong’an, and Chengdu in preparation for a Winter Olympics 2022 date release.

Moreover, the CBDC is in testing on Tencent Holding’s food delivery app, Meituan Dianping, as well as the Chinese Uber, Didi Chuxing, which are processing billions of dollars annually. China’s hastened launch of its DCEP project aims to reduce the dollar-influence across the country and East Asia.

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Author: Lujan Odera