Chinese Devs to Use Telegram’s Open-Sourced TON Blockchain To Launch Their Own Network

  • Chinese TON developers announce the launch of their variation of the TON blockchain after successive launches by TON Lab’s Free TON platform and New TON.
  • This comes shortly after the global messaging app, Telegram’s CEO Pavel Durov, backed out of the open-source blockchain project.

In an official announcement from the Chinese TON project, the third “fork” from Telegram’s abandoned TON blockchain is set to launch. The company aims to follow through with  Telegram’s vision of a decentralized blockchain project after Pavel’s move to pull the messaging app firm out of the $1.7 billion ICO project.

After a long and tough legal battle with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), Telegram called it quits in the TON project. The $1.7 billion ICO will be partially redistributed to investors over the next year and further withdrawing their appeal lawsuit from the federal courts.

The abandonment by Telegram, however, does not stop the building process given the blockchain’s open-sourced build. The China TON Blockchain developers, led by founder, Tooz Wu, aim at “starting the TON Blockchain testnet in the first step, and recruit more nodes and developers to join the network”. The published announcement further reads:

“We also aim at testing the network, and then redesigning network rules that are more adapted to the current context, and invite more people to experience and use TON.”

A Battle for the Betterment of TON

The launch of Chinese TON opens up a competitive field as it battles for subscribers with TON Lab’s Free TON and New TON. Speaking on the latest announcement co-founder and CEO of TON Labs, Mitja Goroshevsky, believes more communities working on the project improves development rather than stifle it despite extra competition. He said:

“The technology is open for everybody and anybody can launch it. […]Users will decide which has the most technical depth, which is better [and] more decentralized.”

However, Chinese TON developers do not share the same feelings towards Free TON with a tweet from a top developer calling the token a “shitcoin.”

Telegram’s off the TON project

While the open-source development goes on smoothly, Telegram’s investors in the GRAM token ICO are threatening to sue the company.

In April, the company announced they will be calling off the project and redistributing 72% of the investment to U.S. customers immediately and overseas investors are given an option to wait a year to receive 110% of their investment.

Pavel, however, warned investors and users against any private developers and platform claiming partnerships with Telegram.

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Author: Lujan Odera

Compound Roadmap to Full Decentralization to Begin with Issuance of COMP to Their Community

  • Compound will now issue COMP tokens to the users of their protocol in a bid to achieve full decentralization.
  • They have released an elaborate plan to be orchestrated over the course of four years as they seek to hand over the governance of the protocol to the Compound users.

News has emerged that Compound administrators of the DeFi lending protocol COMP now seeks to bring onboard their shareholders in the governance process of the protocol as they push towards achieving full decentralization.

In a post, Compound CEO, Robert Leshner, unveils the road map of how they intend to scale up governance to the entire Compound Community. COMP token holders and respective delegates would now be allowed to propose, debate, and vote on all matters relating to their protocol. The vast protocol boasts of locking in at least $100 million in its DeFi ecosystem.

Notably, the COMP governance token was unveiled this year in February, with the majority of the tokens being allocated to Compound top brass and investors. This is when they first included Compound users in decision-making, stipulating that with just 1% of the users backing a proposal they would be able to vote on whether the change was in their best interests. The CEO is convinced that complete decentralization is the way forward, as he shares the sentiment that if there was a Bitcoin corporation controlling the BTC, it wouldn’t be as popular.

“Distribution will be spread over 4 years”

According to CEO Leshner, those who leverage the Compound protocol will automatically qualify and continuously receive the governance tokens as the future of the protocol lay in their hands. 4,229,949 approximately 42% of the COMP token will be diverted to a Reservoir contract. It would in turn disburse 2,880 tokens daily in a four-year plan distribution plan. The plan is aligned to their objective of bringing more users into the governing of the Protocol.

It will trickle down to their array of markets: ETH, USDC, DAI based on the interests generated from the respective markets. From which they will be split 50:50 ratios for suppliers and borrowers with the COMP transferred straight to their wallets for transactions once their addresses reach the 0.001 COMP set threshold.

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Author: Lujan Odera

DigiByte Collaborates With Threefold Grid To Further P2P Decentralized Internet Capabilities

  • DigiByte onboards ThreeFold grid to enable their developers and communities to deploy Digibyte nodes on the peer to peer ecosystem.
  • The grid is now available to over 21 jurisdictions globally.

Peer to peer Internet firm, ThreeFold through a post revealed a partnership with DigiByte. They intend to harness Blockchain’s capabilities to promote a fully decentralized internet ecosystem.

They now seek to combine their efforts to launch user and developer projects on the peer to peer grid managed by ThreeFold. The developer community from DigiByte, now with access to the grid, allowing them to deploy their DigiByte nodes independently by utilizing smart contracts feature on the ThreeFold network.

The alliance has also urged potential contributors from DigiByte communities to take advantage of the grid’s potential for their own personal use. Laid down step by step procedures for launching the DigiByte nodes have also been provided on a ThreeFold forum

DGB-Threefold

DigiByte launched in 2013, has morphed to provide one of the most secure UTXO Blockchain thereby capturing a large following in the crypto communities. It is governed by the DigiByte foundation, a non-profit mostly ensuring that the decentralized nature of the Blockchain is upheld.

With their DGB currently trading at $0.018444 recording trading volumes of around $14,527,464 in the past 24 hours. There are about 13,183,077,253 DGB in circulation according to Coinmarketcap as per this writing.

DigiByte co-founder, Rudy Bouwman was particularly proud to work with ThreeFold according to his twitter post.

“The @DGB_Foundation is proud to be a partner to ensure further global decentralization.”

Having been live for almost two years the ThreeFold grid has extended its reach to global scales now covering over 21 nations. This year April they launched their ThreeFold Grid V2.0 supporting a min of 600 active nodes boasting bandwidth capabilities of over 40 million Gigs. Other partners now in their fold are HP, TomoChain and Stellar.

Founder recently step down from DigiByte Active management role

Notably, DigiByte Founder, Jared Tate recently stepped down, distancing himself from any direct contribution to the firm. In a series of tweets, he ranted about the main motivation of the majority of stakeholders being mere short term profits.

He was opined that the very beneficiaries of DigiByte should be able to give back citing individuals and organizations that have milked the DigiByte cash cow and yet never contribute to the growth of its ecosystem.

“All 90% of the people care for is cashing out when a coin “moons.” Its a primal force. I get that. But every day I see this tech being used to enrich the few at the expense of the long term good of the many.”

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Author: Lujan Odera

CBDCs May Be A Tailwind for Bitcoin and Further ‘Accentuate’ its Role in the Global Digital Economy

People’s Bank of China is gearing up for the launch of their Central Bank Digital Currency (CBDC) in 2020 and nearly all central banks of advanced economies, from the Fed, ECB to BoE, and BoJ, are actively analyzing the prospect and impact of such currencies.

These currencies have the potential to streamline payments but if successfully launched, will they affect bitcoin negatively? According to Grayscale’s latest report, it would be the exact opposite. The report reads,

“If CBDCs are successfully launched, the infrastructure and education that would accompany the use of these bearer assets could serve as a gateway for further adoption of Bitcoin and other digital currencies.”

The move from fiat currencies to digital infrastructure would only highlight Bitcoin’s features of being scarce, uncompromising, and apolitical that is open for anyone to use.

Unlike bitcoin and even stablecoins, CBDCs are issued and tracked by central banks and have the same features as fiat currencies just in digital form.

Digital fiat would only make it easier to issue new currency

Although implementation details aren’t yet available, the potential issuance of CBDCs raises a number of challenges.

If issued as bearer assets, CBDCs could pose a threat to commercial banks because then depositors would be able to transact and store the currency outside of the banking system, as such they would necessitate upgraded financial infrastructure, new policy, and management practices.

“This would represent a significant shift in managing the control, movement, and accounting of money.”

This means CBDCs would bring control and surveillance of both issuance and transfer of money under the government watch.

“The value proposition for governments is clear, but it may raise concerns around privacy, especially from citizens in democratic societies who may not welcome this level of oversight.”

And this is where bitcoin comes in, which offers the complete opposite of a CBDC, censorship resistance, and decentralization, allowing users to transact and store their digital currency without the risk of their payments getting blocked or their funds being stolen or seized. As such,

“the interest in developing and implementing CBDCs may be accentuating Bitcoin’s role in the global digital economy.”

Already, the active discussion around CBDCs is strengthening the case for non-sovereign digital currencies, like Bitcoin,

“by forcing institutions to consider adopting digital currency infrastructure, while also educating users on digital bearer assets and the characteristics of good money.”

Also, digitizing the currency doesn’t mean the central bank would lose the ability to dictate and implement monetary policy. It would rather become easier for a central bank to issue a new currency and set effect rates on assets held in personal custody. The report states,

“With public trust in governments waning, this paradigm may prove to be a tailwind for Bitcoin.”

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Author: AnTy

Crypto Derivatives Exchange ErisX, Opens API Service for BCH, BTC, ETH, and LTC Block Trading

  • ErisX REST API will now grant registered clients access to their Block Trade platform. This will be a reserve for the Institutional investors due to the large volumes of minimum trades required.
  • The pre-negotiated deals will only be reported for automated verification and instant clearing by the ErisX clearing win.

ErisX has now unveiled a REST API that grants its clients access to their Block Trade. This is a facility that allows investors to make big trades, within the given array of listed spot and futures commodities, privately.

Authorized users will be able to table already struck Block deals to the exchange via the REST API or their web-based platform. This will then be subjected to verification from the exchange. It’s also set to include verifying credit for both parties and then submitted to their clearing arm, ErisX clearing for immediate settlements.

It’s only after the deals have already gone through that they can be published on their portal. This system would be restricted to spot trades of 10 BTC, 100 BCH, 100 ETH and 250 LTC while including 10 Future BTC contracts and 50 ETH contracts according to the release.

They have, however, insisted that this feature would only be afforded to Clearing members that had already joined and those currently onboarding ErisX.

They would then be required to pre-fund their accounts before attempting any trades to ensure transactions go through smoothly, whilst mitigating counterparty woes. The parties would be required to either submit their trade dates to the system or within 15 minutes of execution.

This, according to CEO, Tom Chippas, would mitigate risks brought about by OTC based workflows while ensuring competitive prices for their clients.

“We are removing the friction and risks associated with OTC based workflows…. Our Members with a competitively priced service.”

Other exchanges have also launched similar Block trades for their institutional investors including Coinbase and Japanese based Nomura. However, Carlos Mosquera Benatuil, CEO of Solidus OTC is confident that the Commodity Futures Trading Commission oversight would rule out counterparty settling risks.

Notably, the TD Ameritrade backed crypto exchange recently launched physically settled Ether contracts in the US. These would be offered under the supervision of the CFTC.

This was bolstered by the fact that ErisX clearing was able to get approval for the coveted BitLicense by the NYFDS. This license has only been issued to 25 other companies since it was introduced in 2015. It is a must-have for any crypto firm that intends to engage with New York-based clients.

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Author: Lujan Odera

Gold Breaches $11 Trillion, Bitcoin’s Annual Issuance Rate at Parity with Gold

In the current macro backdrop, both bitcoin and gold have recorded an increase in their prices.

Earlier this month, macro investor Paul Tudor Jones said bitcoin reminds him of gold in the 1970s and that bitcoin is the best bet in the ‘The Great Monetary Inflation.’

Talking about the hedge against the inflation which he sees coming from central bank money-printing, he bets on gold and treasuries with a “growing role for Bitcoin.”

American billionaire hedge fund manager Paul Singer in his April investor also said the fair value of gold in the current macroeconomic environment is “literally multiples of its current price” and “one of the most undervalued investable assets existing today.”

Recently, gold’s market cap breached the $11 trillion mark.

In the coming years, the market size for non-sovereign stores of value is expected to expand dramatically which spells good for bitcoin as well.

Recently, Bitcoin underwent its third halving, which reduced its annual issuance rate at 1.8% to parity with gold. And this has been while the top four central banks alone printed a combined $4.1 trillion over the past three months to fight off the effects of Covid-19.

btc vs gold halving
Source: MessariCrypto

“There are few opportunities with as much asymmetric upside as Bitcoin if it were to become successful,” noted Messari in its latest report.

Bitcoin with its sovereignty, secular tailwinds, and upside is an attractive option however, it has a long way ahead as to reach gold’s current market cap, the digital currency needs to rise 63x from its current levels.

[Also Read: Professional Money Managers Loading Up on Bitcoin Post Halving]

New banks are what matters more?

In the first quarter of 2020, central banks have been printing money relentlessly and slashed the rates to zero.

The lower rates affected the banks which eat into their interest margins as such various financial stocks are sitting at near YTD lows.

If we look at the traditional old banks, the likes of Goldman Sachs ($59 bln), Citigroup ($87 bln), and Western Union ($7.5 bln) are at their 3 to 5 years low while Wells Fargo at $95 bln market cap is at its 10 year low.

Even Warren Buffet has been selling his banks’ stocks including that of Goldman Sachs, JPMorgan Chase, U.S. Bancorp, Bank of New York Mellon, Wells Fargo, and Bank of America.

Bitcoin meanwhile with a market cap of $170 bln is up 25% YTD but still down 54% from its ATH in 2017.

“Maybe banks make the old economy worse, and FinTech (including digital assets) makes it better?” said Jeff Dorman, CIO at Arca.

But not just bitcoin, new finance companies like Paypal, Stripe, Square, and even stablecoins are making new highs or are near their peaks. As analyst and investor Howard Lindzon said,

“People say markets can’t move higher without the financials (banks) but maybe the new ‘banks’ are what matter more.”

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Author: AnTy

The US Department of Defense (DoD) Issues Contract to SIMBA Chain For R&D Data Storage

The US Department of Defense (DoD) is looking to secure and store their R&D data on a blockchain-based system and has outsourced the contract for developing the same to the SIMBA Chain in the form of a Business Innovation Research contract.

In an announcement made on 12th May, the US Department of Defense awarded a $20,000 contract to SIMBA to develop a proof-of-concept based blockchain system for 4.5 million research and design documents and over 4,000 users managed by the DoD.

This isn’t the first time the US government has shown interest in blockchain-based systems. In fact, the US government has been actively involved in research, development, and utilization of various blockchain use cases in their departments. Earlier, SIMBA Chain was also tasked with developing a system to help the US Navy secure its communications.

[Related: SIMBA Chain also Partnered with US Air Force in 2019, and again with the US Navy back in 2018 to track Aircraft parts]

The ongoing R&D storage project is being dubbed as ALAMEDA for Authenticity Ledger for Auditable Military Enclaved Data Access and is expected to be completed by June, following with trials would then begin for a period of 5 months.

If the project passes the test phase and proves to be a success then another grant of $1 million could be awarded for SBIR Phase II contract. The phase II would focus on commercialization and creating a Github like interface to control and manage documents within projects.

What Would Phase II Bring to the Table?

Phase II’s primary focus would be sharing documents and datasets while ensuring authenticity and integrity. SIMBA would be using its Chain’s cloud-based Smart Contract as a Service (SCaaS) platform to develop and deploy different DApps for iOS, Android, and other platforms without the need for any third-party interference.

Joel Neidig, CEO of SIMBA Chain commented on the latest partnership stating the need for a secure and decentralized data storing and monitoring system in this day and age where a ton of sensitive data is exchanged via mobile phones. He explained:

“The DOD, defence contractors, and enterprise-level businesses have benefited from mobile devices and how easy it has become to access and exchange date.

However, the enhanced flow of information represents a significant security risk. Hence the need for sophisticated blockchain solutions that authenticate and document users, eliminate the third party bad actors, and otherwise allow secure direct connections between trusted sources.”

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Author: Rebecca Asseh

Libra’s Permissionless Blockchain Objective Pushed as They Face Regulatory Woes

  • Facebook backed Libra have moved away from their fully permissionless concept due to regulatory woes with the financial watchdogs.
  • Ran Goldi gave Libra a five to ten-year timeline to actually achieve their goal. They recently appointed a new CEO who they believed has the expertise and experience to help Libra launch legally.

Ran Goldi, the CEO of First Group, has now revealed that Libra might not be able to realize their Permissionless Blockchain ideology. At least not just yet. Adding that it might take another decade or half-decade to achieve this as he hosted the Consensus 2020 event earlier this week.

The CEO, who has been a major proponent of Libra, reiterated that the stablecoin could set the basis from which other Coins would be launched. The Permissionless concept would have to be put on hold due to the regulatory crunches posed. They had envisioned achieving this on a 5-year timeline but have been forced to abandon their plans until the financial watchdogs could realize that the DeFi sphere was actually capable of self-regulation.

Banking the Unbanked

When quizzed about what type of ecosystem could be developed around Libra, he was quick to cite that mostly remittance applications would benefit from Libra. This is as they venture into developing an application that would ‘bank the unbanked’.

He also conversed with Michael Shaulov CEO of FireBlocks on why they had no commitment to joining Libra despite their competitors Anchorage had already onboarded Libra. FireBlocks provides expertise in secure infrastructure (Storage and transfer) for financial institutions that are in cryptocurrencies and Blockchain. Servicing around 50 institutions facilitating over $7 billion in transactions.

Mr. Shaulov expressed his concern that they hadn’t exactly determined how joining Libra’s fold would be especially beneficial to FireBlocks.

“…we sort of realized that actually it’s not clear that being part of the Association would really help us.”

New CEO to help with regulatory crunches

Notably, the Libra association revealed their newly appointed CEO during a May 6th announcement. Mr. Levey, the former Chief Legal Officer at HSBC, boasts of vast experience in both private and government sectors. He has served in the government as the Under Secretary of the Treasury for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence under both Obama and Bush regimes.

He has been touted as the one to steer Libra from the regulatory crunches and help them launch stablecoins legally according to a Libra board member.

“…bringing his extensive expertise to combine technology innovation with a robust compliance and regulatory framework”.

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Author: Lujan Odera

Crypto.com Now Boasts $360M In Pooled Insurance to Secure Its 2M Users’ Digital Assets

Crypto.com announces a $360 million insurance fund for their offline crypto assets after partnering with institutional custody provider Ledger Vault, who offered additional insurance through Lloyd’s of London subsidiary crypto arm, Marsh.

However, the company’s CEO, Kris Marszalek, stated the journey to securing the additional funding is costing “an arm and a leg” but hopes for more competitors to enter the field to give crypto companies wiggle room in negotiation.

Crypto.com Insurance Fund Grows to $360 Million

Ledger Vault, a crypto-insurance fund secured a partnership with Lloyd’s of London Syndicate Arch back in 2019, securing a $150 million crypto insurance policy. Crypto.com, a subscriber to the system topped up $100 million through a direct plan and an additional $110 million in custody insurance from BitGo.

Marsh and Arch, the crypto arm in Lloyd’s who are leading focus on crypto-insurance enabled the Crypto.com’s additional insurance policy. James Croome, head of specie for Arch Underwriting believes current challenges in the underwriting of crypto insurance policies lie in understanding the custodial processes employed by the firms. Croome further said:

“By choosing to partner with Ledger Vault, a known service provider to insurers, Crypto.com was not only able to provide underwriters with the necessary confidence in their custodial security, but they were also able to obtain a policy in a much shorter time frame than is ordinarily the case.”

Crypto Insurance is a Hard nut to Crack

Despite successfully raising a record amount of $360 million in Crypto.com’s offline assets insurance, the CEO, Kris Marszalek, laments on the difficulty and time-consuming process, the big institutional insurance firms take. Kris said:

“These types of big firms and institutions take their sweet time of course, and boy, oh boy, do they charge an arm and a leg for this.”

The company paid for the firm’s education in its custodial services within the space. Kris hopes the field will get more competitors in offering insurance to give a leeway for crypto companies to negotiate better rates. He concluded:

“Over time, as the industry gets bigger and maybe some competitors come in, we will have slightly more leverage to negotiate.”

However, top exchanges across the field are coming up with their insurance fund in a bid to solve the current barriers of entry in the institutional crypto-insurance field. Binance, BitMEX, Huobi and other top exchanges are all taking up the “self-insure” approach, but Kris quite prefers an external player given the audits and trust by the users. He said:

“Am I a fan of the insurance industry in general? Probably not. But our customers care. They know that before the insurer gives their stamp of approval, they are going to go in and check everything.”

Crypto.com Adds Payment Plug-in on Ecwid

Currently, the crypto exchange platform has over 2 million customers on the platform, and the number looks set to grow further after recently launching crypto debit and credit card purchases in several countries. Kris explained that the latest crypto insurances were less to do with the fund growing to support the several clients they have.

Furthermore, the company recently announced a partnership with Ecwid, a Shopify kind like application, to provide crypto payment checkouts on the platform. With the platform boasting over one million customers, the Crypto.com Pay Checkout plugin is expected to further raise awareness on crypto utility.

The plugin will support top crypto payments including Bitcoin (BTC), Ethereum (ETH), Litecoin (LTC), XRP and Crypto.com Coin (CRO), the platform’s native token.

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Author: Lujan Odera

When the US Declared Owning Gold Illegal & Why Bitcoin’s the Way to ‘Seize your Freedom’

On May 1, 1933, US President Franklin D. Roosevelt outlawed gold. He declared Americans withdrawing their gold and currency from the banking system a “national emergency” and ordered banks to close to prevent the export and hoarding of gold or currency.

These steps were taken in response to Roosevelt’s promise to end the Great Depression which drew national employment up to 25% and gutted the economy which began with the 1929 stock market crash.

But he couldn’t print enough money to tackle the situation, like today. The Federal Reserve Act of 1924 limited the amount of money that can be printed by the government as all paper money had to be backed by 40% of gold.

As such he declared a national emergency but even that couldn’t prevent runs on banks and gold drain. By issuing Executive Order 6102, Roosevelt made gold ownership illegal and punishable up to ten years in prison on noncompliance.

But the Great Depression didn’t end and in 1937 the stock market collapsed by 90% and unemployment further soared.

The US government then removed the gold standard in 1971, the last remaining restraint on federal deficits.

The ban on owning gold wasn’t lifted until 1974.

The result of removing the gold standard was deficit mounting while the purchasing power of the US dollar continued to decline. A dollar in 1913 has the same buying power as $26 in 2020.

As for the current outlook, several US presidential candidates have said that “we can always print more money” as we have been seeing for the past couple of months in response to the coronavirus pandemic. This is already increasing the risk of currency debasement.

Bitcoin’s distinct advantage over gold

Historically, the government seized gold when the fiat currency became utterly devalued and gold is most valued.

Could it happen again? Given the fact we may be facing another financial crisis, “Yes, The U.S Government Can Still Confiscate Gold” according to GoldTelegraph. Maybe not in the near future but it could very well happen in the long term.

Pointing out how it has already happened in 1933, Dan Held, Director of Business Development at crypto exchange Kraken said, “Seize your freedom. Buy Bitcoin.”

The last quarter also revealed the physical delivery shortcoming of gold. Also, while “Bitcoin markets have been relatively efficient amid recent macroeconomic turmoil (…) global gold markets that have been dislocated for the duration of a few weeks,” observed Coinbase in its latest report.

Although both are scarce and globally accessible units of value, bitcoin doesn’t rely on fragile physical supply chains like gold. As a result, recently there have been severe shortages of gold coins and bars.

Coronavirus lockdown disrupted gold refineries, miners, and supply chains but Bitcoins protocol continues to function as designed and this halving will make Bitcoin about as scarce as gold which is already teleportable.

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Author: AnTy