Fireblocks Introduces Crypto Staking for Institutional Investors

Fireblocks Introduces Crypto Staking for Institutional Investors; Ethereum, Tezos and Polkadot

Fireblocks wants to help institutional investors access crypto staking opportunities. The company’s institutional focus comes at a time when interest in crypto is high.

Digital asset security platform Fireblocks has been working over the past year to improve institutional access to cryptocurrencies. Following the success in decentralized finance (DeFi) and more, the company is now turning its sights to the burgeoning staking scene.

Staking is for Everyone

Fireblocks plans to support hosted proof-of-stake (PoS) services for Ethereum 2.0, Tezos, and Polkadot, as it opens up token staking to its institutional client base.

Fireblocks has over 165 clients, which includes heavyweight crypto lenders Salt, Celsius, and UK-based Fintech firm Revolut. The crypto custodian is partnering with popular staking providers Staked and Blockdaemon to pull this off.

Company chief executive Michael Shaulov confirmed that the move was largely due to increased investor demand.

As he pointed out, most of Fireblock’s customers hold Bitcoin, while a small minority hold altcoins. That small minority is split in assets such as XTZ, DOT, and ETH, which total about $1 billion.

Institutional investors with idle funds, should expect between 5 and 15 percent in yields annually if they lock up their funds on the platform.

Fireblocks’ customers will maintain custody of their funds in their MPC-based wallets. From there, they can monitor their performance on Staked and Blockdaemon.

Data from Staking Rewards shows that the two are ranked first and sixth, respectively, on the list of crypto assets by staked value. With Polkadot staking in particularly high demand, Fireblocks appears to be in an excellent position to land its desired institutional clients.

Staking on Ethereum 2.0 is also on the rise. Industry news sources recently confirmed that Ethereum 2.0 staking on top crypto exchange Kraken had surpassed the billion-dollar mark.

Fireblocks’ Encompassing Institutional Crypto Play

Fireblocks’ cryptocurrency staking service is the latest in a flurry of efforts to drive institutional crypto investment.

Last June, the firm created an open network called Secure Asset Transfer Network, for institutions to connect, trade, settle and transfer crypto on-chain. The network launched with over 55 institutions and 26 exchanges. Participants included brokers, liquidity providers, asset custodians, and market makers. Shaulov said at the time,

“The launch of the Fireblocks Network makes it possible for users to store and transfer assets across the entire institutional ecosystem and removes the need for any middle-men. We’re redefining on-chain settlement processes by adding an unprecedented layer of security and efficiency, preserving the decentralized nature of blockchain, and allowing it to operate at the institutional level.”

The Asset Transfer Network was built on its multiparty computational technology (MCT). The Network also provides access to easy on-chain transfers while streamlining post-trade operations and settlements.

Fireblocks also has interests in the decentralized finance (DeFi) space. Last March, the company partnered with leading lending protocol Compound to allow institutional investors to access DeFi opportunities. Thanks to the integration, Fireblocks customers can now earn interest via Compound’s lending protocol.

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Author: Jimmy Aki

Tezos’ Edo Upgrade Will Implement Zcash’s Sapling Protocol for Shielded Transactions

  • Tezos becomes the latest blockchain to add Zcash’s Sapling privacy protocol.
  • The blockchain is also planning minor changes on its network.
  • Tezos allows self-amendment of the protocol without the need for a fork.

An announcement from Tezos, the baking algorithm network, confirms its blockchain is welcoming the Sapling privacy protocol from Zcash allowing users to send shielded transactions. As the new upgrade is known, Edo comes less than a month following the launch of the ‘Delphi’ upgrade on November 12. The latest updates aim at improving Tezos users’ privacy across the blockchain.

Apart from the sapling privacy protocols, the Edo upgrade will also add on minor fixes on the blockchain, including additional improvements on gas costs and performance, introducing the “adoption period to the voting schedule, ticketing, and some minor bug fixes.

Sapling, a privacy protocol developed by the Electric Coin Company (in charge of Zcash), allows users to send “shielded transactions” to enable privacy. Tezos will integrate this protocol giving their holders an option to send these types of transactions hence enhancing their privacy.

According to the joint press release from Nomadic Labs, Marigold, and Meta state – three Tezos smart contract developers – the new upgrade will be integrated easily on to the platform. This is only possible on Tezos compared to other running blockchains as the only “self-amending” platform. The release reads,

“Our proposal allows smart contract developers to easily integrate Sapling in their smart contracts and create privacy-conscious applications.”

“Because Tezos can be amended, it was possible for us to add this exciting new feature directly to Tezos itself.”

This has been a year’s long journey for Tezos. They announced Sapling’s testing back in December 2019 since the development team has improved the performance by carrying out “extensive research and testing” on the privacy protocol’s workings.

The Edo upgrade will also include “Tickets,” an improvement aiming to make it much “easier and simpler for developers to write secure contracts.” The statement explains ticketing as a “convenient mechanism for smart contracts to grant portable permissions to other smart contracts or to issue tokens.”

The new upgrade also targets to change the voting system by introducing a “fifth period” or the “adoption period.” According to the proposal, the adoption period will increase the period between adopting a proposal and activation from one block (about a minute) to two weeks. This will allow “seamless transitions of proposals,” giving bakers, indexers, and other users of the network certainty in activating the proposal.

If the Edo upgrade is accepted, the Baking Accounts proposal will follow the next major upgrade, expected in about three months.

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Author: Lujan Odera

Tezos ‘Delphi’ Upgrade Makes it More Attractive For Defi Projects; Reducing Gas Price By 75%

Tezos has completed the Delphi upgrade, which many believe would make the blockchain a hub for defi projects. As per the official announcement, the Delphi upgrade has brought down the gas fees significantly, allowing users and developers to deploy more complex smart contracts on the platform.

The Delphi upgrade is believed to bring down the gas fee by a whopping 75% along with a four-times lower storage cost.

Tezos network makes use of gas just like Ethereum, but with a different implementation. While the Ethereum blockchain uses gas as a transaction fee, the Tezos network uses it as a limit setter for the consumption of computing power for a transaction. However, the transaction cost is determined by the amount of gas used for that transaction.

Gabriel Alfour, the lead developer at Marigold—and one of the core development teams that worked on Delphi, explained the importance of the lower gas fees and how it can propel the Tezos network to be a leading blockchain when it comes to the deployment of complex smart contracts. He said,

The motivation for such an interim proposal is straightforward. The size and complexity of smart contracts is limited by gas constraints, and so people attempting to build contracts with rich functionality have needed improvements to those constraints for some time.

Thus, such improvements are crucial to enable novel applications on Tezos that target areas like DeFi (“Decentralized Finance”), collectibles, and gaming.

Luckily, in August, we finalized some long-standing work on improving the performance of the Michelson type checker and interpreter, and on refining the cost model, thus mitigating the gas problem.

Growing gas fees due to the network congestion has been a substantial problem for Ethereums mainnet since defi gained traction, and its volume increased significantly. While the launch of ETH 2.0 is believed to solve many of the scaling problems for Ethereum, in the meantime, other blockchains such as Tezos can attract higher numbers of customers to its platform.

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Author: Hank Klinger

French Multinational Bank to Launch a Digital Euro Pilot Using Tezos Blockchain

Blockchain firm Tezos has been selected to spearhead the French central bank’s digital currency pilot program, one of a kind in Europe.

Societe Generale – Forge, a tech startup founded by French investment bank giant Societe Generale, has opted for Tezos to spearhead the central bank digital currency (CBDC) pilot program.

The French central bank Banque de France selected Societe Generale – Forge in July after a successful review of applicants in development of a CBDC to ease interbank settlements. France is carrying out an experiment to become the first European country to launch a digital Euro.

Tezos is a peer-to-peer public blockchain that has features such as on-chain governance, capacity to verify smart contracts as well as consensus algorithm that is primed on proof of stake. The blockchain platform comes with a vibrant ecosystem inclusive of research and development offshoot dubbed Nomadic Labs that is located in Paris and will play a vital role for the CBDC piloting. Nomadic Labs President, Michel Mauny explained about the deal:

“The Tezos project, strengthened by its technical capabilities, its adaptability, and its strong community, is already present in various projects, both in France and abroad. We are especially pleased to see this technology selected by Societe Generale – Forge, and to reaffirm, once again, that the quality and expertise of our engineering is rewarded.”

Francois Villeroy de Galhau, Banque de France’s governor, in December last year said that he was optimistic that France will be the inaugural European country to offer digital currency. The governor explained that the central bank is exploring how technology can be leveraged in enhancement of the financial markets more so when it comes to interbank regulations.

Although France seems to be on the forefront in development of a CBDC, other European countries such as Italy, Netherlands and Lithuania are also exploring the idea of CBDC. Additionally, the European Central Bank is also working on trials although details remain scanty.

Currently, Tezos is only one of the handful public blockchain platforms participating in development of a CBDC that could culminate to a digital euro.

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Author: Joseph Kibe

Tezos Foundation to Pay XTZ Token Sale Investors $25M to Settle Class Action Lawsuit

After three years, a long-running class-action lawsuit against Tezos Foundation has come to a close. A U.S. District Judge Richard Seeborg from the Northern District of California approved a $25 million payment by Tezos Foundation to aggrieved investors.

The class-action lawsuit alleged that Tezos Foundation conducted an unregistered initial coin offering (ICO) in 2017.

According to the court documents filed last week, Tezos, as well as its founders Arthur and Kathleen Breitman, will part with $25 million to the aggrieved investors. The settlement was first put on the table in March earlier this year but was settled last week.

According to the settlement agreement, the attorneys will be paid about $8.5 million of the total sum. The investors who underwent a loss after taking part in the Tezos ICO will share the remaining $16.5 million. However, the investors who gained after participating in the ICO will not be included in the sharing of the funds.

Tezos Foundation, in March, resolved to settle the class action lawsuit since it was expensive as well as time-consuming. However, the firm maintained that the case lacked merit.

In 2017, Tezos conducted one of the most successful ICOs of the year, raising more than $232 million through the sale of its XTZ governance token. However, before the firm could celebrate the success, a California based law firm filed a class-action lawsuit alleging that Tezos sold unregistered security to US-based investors.

According to the Federal Securities Law, a company should not sell security tokens before registering with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). These types of tokens must pass the Howey Test, and XTZ failed.

Following the filing of a class-action lawsuit, Tezos asked the court to dismiss the case as it lacked merit, but Judge Seeborg dismissed the lawsuit filed by Tezos attorneys.

Judge Seeborg’s order also states that the plaintiffs cannot make a future claim against Tezos as well as other defendants.

Although the class lawsuit has been settled, the issue of whether XTZ is a security or not remains unresolved.

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Author: Joseph Kibe

Tezos (XTZ) Launches Delegated, Pre-Funded, Self-Sustaining Harbinger Price Oracles

Tezos has announced Harbinger — it’s very own oracle to deliver signed price feeds based on market data from multiple crypto exchanges to its network.

With Harbinger, Tezos is expecting the algorithmic stablecoins, lending platforms, and insurance products to kick off the new use cases.

Initial versions of the contracts are already deployed on mainnet and CarthageNet.

It’s not surprising that the network is delving deep into oracle as oracle projects have been having a lot of attention and gains in the crypto market. The crazy growth of Chainlink (LINK) is evidence of how much traction the decentralized off-chain data feed providers are getting.

Other popular oracles in the market are Band Protocol (BAND) and Augur (REP).

Take on the DeFi World

Now, Tezos, a liquid-proof of stake crypto network, is ready to make the most of the decentralized finance (DeFi) world through its oracle.

Oracles are critical to the fast-growing DeFi space, which has a total value locked (TVL) surpassing $7 billion, in order to have trusted price feed.

In its official announcement, Tezos announced that in Harbinger, “an account that pays for fees to update the price oracle can be delegated and pre-funded with tez,” much like staking.

This, it says, will enable the development of “self-sustaining” price oracles where the block rewards for participating in PoS consensus offset the fees required to keep the oracle data current.

“Having a reliable feed for on-chain price data is critical for DeFi lending platforms. Harbinger is an important building block for the decentralized finance ecosystem on Tezos,” said Robert Leshner, founder of Compound.

After taking inspiration from MakerDAO in StakerDAO, this latest one is based upon Compound’s Open Price Feed.

Harbinger is a set of tools and reference contracts, allowing anyone to become a ‘poster’ who retrieves prices from ‘signers,’ which are crypto exchanges to deploy a price oracle on the Tezos network, which then publishes cryptographically signed prices.

Moreover, Tezos smart contracts use callbacks to receive data to avoid reentrancy attacks.

In the meantime, the 13th largest crypto by market cap of $2.5 billion, XTZ is falling alongside the broad crypto market, trading at $3.43.

Also Read: Is the DeFi Craze Killing Tezos? XTZ’s Main Selling Point “Staking” Is Losing Appeal

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Author: AnTy

Bolt Labs to Bring zkChannels, Private Payment Channels, to Tezos Blockchain

  • Bolt labs will collaborate with the Tezos dev team, Nomadic labs, and Metastate in a bid to integrate their private payment channel zkChannels on Tezos Blockchain.
  • ZkChannels, launched early this year, is utilizing a zero-knowledge proof protocol that will conceal private data attributed to the client.

Bolt Labs announced a partnership with Tezos that will see their payment channel hosted on the Blockchain. They will work with Nomadic labs and Metastate, developers of the Tezos Blockchain, to make a 2021 integration possible.

Anonymous Remittance channel

The alliance with zkChannels, the brainchild of the Bolt labs launched earlier this year, will enable private Blockchain-based payments leveraging zero-knowledge proof (ZKPs) protocols with a sharp focus on Bitcoin and Zcash. Unlike popular remittance solutions integrated with the Bitcoin Blockchain, Lightning Network discloses that some private features such as people’s bank accounts may be exposed, zkChannels seeks to hide this information from the merchants.

“Customers can transact anonymously with Bitcoin without revealing their identity to a merchant.”

The announcement from Bolt labs highlights that both the client and the merchant will have access to data from the zkChannels only viewing different fields. The customer will be notified of the cash distribution, whereas the merchant will be able to tell the amount of cash transacting on the channel without necessarily revealing the identity of the client. However, the protocol leaves allowance for channel closure at any given time to be initiated by either party, individually, or with consent from both parties.

Notably, Bolt labs were launched in 2018 by J. Ayo Akinyele alongside two Zcash cofounders Ian Miers and Matthew Green. They received $1.5 million last year in April in seed round funding that was participated by Xpring, Lemniscap, and angel investor Zooko Wilcox also a cofounder at Zcash.

They settled on Tezos Blockchain due to their flexible governance to facilitate test runs of the channel before it is taken up by other Blockchains. Tezos Blockchain is also best suited to gel with their BLS12-381 protocol with Ethereum currently not extending support for the pairing curve, pending the long-awaited Ethereum 2.0.

Meanwhile, the Tezos XTZ is currently sitting on the 12th spot, with a market capitalization of $1,790,099,395. They have recorded trading volumes of $65,821,412 in the past 24 hours, with 734,831,569 XTZ currently in circulation at the time of this writing.

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Author: Lujan Odera

Tezos (XTZ) Class-Action Securities Lawsuit for the $232M ICO Sees $25M Settlement Pending

A class-action lawsuit against Tezos during its 2017 ICO may end in a $25 million settlement. The lawsuit was filed against Tezos for the illegal raising of over $232 million worth of Ether during its ICO.

Filed back in November 2017, the lawsuit by Block & Leviton on behalf of investors that participated in the ICO, claimed that Tezos violated several security laws. The Tezos Foundation also announced its settlement proposal on Mar 20th and stands strong on the belief that the lawsuit itself is baseless.

Block & Leviton informed all investors that participated in the Tezos ICO between July 1, 2017, and July 13, 2017, that they might be eligible for a share of the $25 million settlement offer.

ICO investors were asked to submit the claim of their settlement via [www.TezosFoundationSettlement.com]. Investors have until Aug 6th to object to the settlement offer and until October 16th to submit their claims.

The lawsuit accuses Tezos of being an unregistered security offering and might be the reason why Tezos has decided to settle rather than prolong the case. If Tezos is found to be an unregistered security, it may cost them up to $150 million in direct fines.

United States District Judge Richard Seeborg approved the settlement offer proposed by Tezos on April 30th. In addition, during the final hearing – scheduled for Aug 27th – will determine the legal procedure for initiating the settlement to investors. The court statement approving the settlement offer read:

“The court will likely be able to approve the settlement, subject to further consideration at the Settlement Hearing.”

Looking at recent cases like Telegram and Kik ICO’s, which were deemed as unregistered security offerings. Telegram, which conducted one of the biggest ICOs back in 2017, raising billions of dollars in the process, are now unsure if they will ever be able to launch their blockchain Gram token.

Tezos, meanwhile, wants to try and avoid falling into that same legal quagmire and appears to be considering the settlement offer.

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Author: Rebecca Asseh

Coinbase, Who Controls Over 11% of Tezos, Rolls Out XTZ Staking in UK and 3 EU Countries

Over 6 months back, Coinbase launched Tezos staking for its US customers and now they are rolling this feature out for its users in the UK and other EU member countries including France, Spain, and The Netherlands.

“With yields on savings accounts and government bonds at record lows — and in many cases negative — in the UK and across Europe, staking offers our customers a simple way to earn rewards on assets,” said Rhea Kaw, Product Manager.

In its official announcement, Coinbase pitched that staking Tezos on your own or via a delegated staking service can be confusing, complicated, and even risky.

This is where Coinbase comes in, which allows its users to have an estimated annual return of 5% with an initial holding period of 35-40 days.

In comparison, Binance offers a 6.12% return, OKEx 6.32%, KuCoin 5.49%, Kraken 5.37%, and Gate.io 4.23%, as per StakingRewards.

Coinbase stakes Tezos on behalf of its customers and since the US launch of staking rewards, its customers have earned more than $2 million in Tezos staking rewards.

The US-based exchange currently controls over 11% of the Tezos network consensus with 74.4 million XTZ staked at Coinbase. The amount of XTZ staked on it grew +13% month-over-month (+8.2M tez) in May.

In May, the amount of Tezos staked reached a new all-time high of 80.1% of its all circulating supply. A spike in staking means the staking yield has fallen to its all-time low of 0.94%.

The tenth-largest cryptocurrency by market cap, Tezos is currently trading $2.86, up over 6.20%. In 2020, so far, the digital asset has recorded returns of +115%.

Since Tezos staking was first launched on Coinbase, the digital asset has spiked over 200% in value.

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Author: AnTy

Tezos Staking Reaches A New ATH at Over 80%; Top 5 Exchanges Holding 18% of XTZ Supply

One of the hottest cryptocurrencies in the crypto sphere, Tezos (XTZ) has been enjoying a rally throughout 2020. In mid-February, XTZ jumped 183% YTD only to fall 65% during the March sell-off.

Since then, the 10th largest cryptocurrency has risen 113% and is now trading at $2.75. This growing interest in the cryptocurrency has been because of baking or staking. Already, the network-wide staking ratio reached a new all-time high of 80.11% in mid-May.

However, much of this staking is via exchanges, as such the custodial staking trend remains unbroken but slowed down “significantly” in Q2.

Top five cryptocurrency exchanges combined hold 18% of total Tezos supply in staking and more in non-staking wallets.

Coinbase particularly is controlling 11.2% of the Tezos network consensus, after gaining another 13% month-over-month, over 8.2 million XTZ.

The growing staked XTZ has the staking yield falling to its all-time low of 0.94% with the inflation rate at 5%. Alexander Eichhorn, Founder at Blockwatch Data noted,

“Absolute inflation in Tezos is almost constant, so inflation rate slowly decreases over time.”

“However, since the amount of coins generated per block is dynamic to discourage attacks the future inflation rate may fluctuate slightly.”

“Long-term holders who dominate Tezos are very loyal to their bakers,” wrote Eichhorn. He found 77.5% of active delegators never switch their bakers while 14% do so multiple times.

Adoption seeing an increase as well

When it comes to growth, 35.5k new funded accounts joined in April, while many small investors entered the ecosystem, whales were few. But still, the top 1k accounts hold 63% of total supply with 78% of supply not moved for over 3 months now.

The network meanwhile has been seeing less growth in developer activity in terms of deployed contracts and calls but “the rising gas usage suggests, the contracts that are developed are getting more sophisticated.”

Interestingly, the largest private bank in Brazil Banco BTF is set to launch its $5 million real estate tokens on Tezos.

In February, last year, $10 million were issued on Ethereum blockchain but they “don’t want to be tied to just one blockchain,” and “want to have other options, other blockchains that might serve better the pieces of tokenization and issuing tokens that represent real assets.”

The Zug-based Tezos Foundation meanwhile is on a hiring spree to reduce its involvement in daily decision-making. David Fuchs, the former digitization manager at Swiss bank Vontobel is also being hired as a head of the enterprise adoption in Europe, the Middle East, and Africa.

In 2017 Tezos raised $232 million via initial token offering (ICO) and $25 million of the proceeds were paid to the Foundation to settle a US lawsuit over the ICO. As such, the Foundation runs independently of Tezos founders Arthur and Kathleen Breitman.

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Author: AnTy