Uniswap in Discussion with Fintech Giants to Bring DeFi to the Mainstream

The likes of PayPal, Robinhood, E*Trade, and Stripe were mentioned at the EthCC conference. Robinhood itself is focused on crypto considering new offerings, including new wallet, staking, debit rewards, and a lending product.

Leading decentralized exchange (DEX) by volume Uniswap is having discussions with fintech companies to provide DeFi services to the mainstream.

“We’re trying to put Uniswap and the rest of DeFi right there in those applications so that we can bring the dream of open, 100% uptime liquidity to the whole world,” said Uniswap’s growth lead Ashleigh Schap, in a now-deleted YouTube video from the EthCC conference that was held in Paris last week.

Schap named PayPal, E*Trade, and Stripe that wants to talk to them.

Uniswap founder Hayden Adams took to Twitter to clarify that they are not partnered with these companies but are talking to “a ton of finance/tech companies,” as many companies interested in understanding DeFi are reaching out to them.

As for deleting the video, Adams said it was done so on their request because “we thought (it) could be interpreted to suggest we have relationships that we don’t.”

According to the presentation at the EthCC conference, Uniswap is looking to work with intermediaries like Paxos, which powers PayPal’s crypto service, crypto custody firm Paxos, and Talos to build the bridge between DeFi and consumer finance.

As we have seen throughout this year, traditional finance is coming into the crypto market in a herd and as Schapp said at the conference, pitching Uniswap isn’t that hard as it was years ago, as these big firms have now become less resistant to DeFi. However, they have concerns with blockchain technology.

“To stay relevant with their user base is a huge, huge reason that all of these giants are starting to really look closely at working with something like Uniswap.”

Schap also mentioned speaking with Robinhood regarding using Uniswap to automatically settle a trade right when it happens with the user.

The zero-fee trading app has been particularly focused on cryptocurrencies, as revealed by Robinhood during its IPO roadshow over the weekend. This makes sense given that over one-fifth of their revenue comes from crypto, and one-third of that is from Dogecoin (DOGE) alone.

During this recent event, CFO Jason Warnick talked about hiring a new dedicated CFO for its crypto unit and introducing a number of new features, including a new wallet, staking, debit rewards, and a lending product.

“On the spending side there is more we can do with direct deposit and debit cards, particularly giving the opportunity to connect rewards with our brokerage and crypto offerings,” Warnick added, “In crypto, we are making a lot of investments in things we know our customers want, such as wallets, lending, and staking.”

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Author: AnTy

“America on FIRE”: Congressional Crypto Hearing Focused on the Market Frenzy

“America on FIRE”: Congressional Crypto Hearing Focused on the Market Frenzy

Cryptocurrencies were once again the focus of the hearing of a subcommittee of the House Financial Services Committee on June 30.

Right from the get-go, Congress was pretty clear on their bais with the hearing titled “America on ‘FIRE’: Will the Crypto Frenzy Lead to Financial Independence and Early Retirement or Financial Ruin?”

Instead of crypto itself, the focus of the hearing was more on surface-level things, especially trading.

Rep. Tom Emmer (MN-6) was seemingly bullish on crypto, emphasizing tech innovation and how it’s the future of finance. Lack of regulations makes people hesitant to participate, and American entrepreneurs are missing out, he said.

Another supporter was Rep. Warren Davidson (OH-8), who talked about countering China which is building the creepiest surveillance tool in history, by embracing the potential of this technology.

Rep Brad Sherman (CA-30) remained as bearish on crypto as ever, which he said is loved by tax evasionists. According to him, the California lottery would make a better “bet” than blockchain.

“Cryptocurrency is something you can bet on, but if people want to have the animal spirits to take risk, I’d prefer they invest in equity markets to support the building of American companies, or the California lottery to support the schools in my state.”

To Rep Al. Green (TX-9), crypto reminds him of the financial crisis of 2008. “I do have some consternation, and my consternation emanates from 2008,” he said while speaking about the $700 billion bailout package he voted against at the time.

“I learned an important lesson. Do what you think is in the best interest of your constituents, even if they disagree.”

But as Galaxy Digital’s Mike Novogratz pointed out in a recent interview, the latest drawdown of 50% to 75% in the cryptocurrency sector happened without a plunge protection team, and lawsuits like in traditional finance and the system worked how it was supposed to.

“So I saw these last three weeks as an amazing test and an amazing successful test for the whole crypto ecosystem.”

From the cryptocurrency market side, Peter Van Valkenburgh, Director of Research at Coin Center, gave the testimony.

Commenting on the energy usage, he explained that “the traditional financial sector uses an estimated five times more energy than Bitcoin,” adding that Bitcoin’s energy usage doesn’t scale per transaction.

Talking about the beauty of peer-to-peer ledgers, he shares that “it’s not a proprietary standard from a corporation” and shows us that transactions are “not censored by some third party or some government that wants to coerce certain transactions or block certain transactions.”

“For every transaction, we want blocked, there’s a transaction that we should celebrate for being unstoppable.”

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Author: AnTy

Bridgewater Associates CEO Ray Dalio Owns Bitcoin, But Cautions its ‘Greatest Risk is its Success’

We’re in the part of the cycle where gold, bitcoin, real estate, everything is going up, but with the US dollar on the verge of devaluation and inflation looming, future expected returns go down after a point, meaning there’s “no longer the incentive to buy those things.”

“I have some bitcoin,” revealed Ray Dalio, the founder, and CEO of the world’s largest hedge fund Bridgewater Associates.

Dalio revealed this during the Consensus event held by CoinDesk that was recorded on May 6, joining the herd of institutional investors warming up to cryptocurrencies.

This is because he would rather “have bitcoin than a bond” in an inflationary scenario, he said.

This makes sense given that since March 2020, the price of Bitcoin has gone from $3,800 to $65,000, and even after the recent 54% sell-off, it is trading around $37,500. Meanwhile, the yield on benchmark notes, US 10-year Treasury bonds, has only managed to move from 1.473% to 1.62%.

The yield on treasury bonds has been falling for decades, which was at 15.82% back in late 1981. Bitcoin, on the other hand, has been hitting a new ATH every cycle.

Dalio was previously skeptical about Bitcoin and later said he is learning about it and then wrote about it having the capacity to be an alternative store of value. Now, he has finally come around and invested in cryptocurrency. Recently, as we reported, Bridgewater’s chief financial officer, John Dalby, left the firm to join bitcoin custodian NYDIG.

Bitcoin looks appealing in the current environment where the US dollar is on the verge of devaluation, last seen in 1971, said Dalio. China is threatening USD’s role as the world’s reserve currency.

Here, Bitcoin with its gold-like properties is looking increasingly attractive as a savings vehicle, he said.

However, for him, the biggest concern remains regulatory crackdown. Dalio said,

“Bitcoin’s greatest risk is its success.”

Losing Control

During his interview, Dalio talked about how the greenback is in the mid of the first cycle, “debt and credit create buying power,” of the rise and fall of the global reserve currencies.

The second cycle is an “internal cohesiveness clash cycle” as both the wealth gap and political groups grow and then the rise of another great power that challenges the existing top currency.

The first cycle started as the government created buying power, a “stimulant” in the short term, but eventually, they have to pay back their debts, becoming long-term “depressants.”

So, if they need more money, they have to keep printing, and then taxes go up, leading to capital controls as happened in 1971 when President Richard Nixon took the U.S. off the gold standard, making dollar “fiat” currency, and stocks went up.

“It causes… gold, bitcoin, real estate, everything to go up because it’s really going down in dollars. And that’s the part of the cycle we’re in.”

Inflation is of importance here, especially monetary inflation that happens due to a devaluation of the currency, rather than the other one caused by supply and demand.

While pushing the prices of real estate, stocks, and cryptocurrencies up, their future expected returns would go down after a point. Once they come down to the interest rate level, “then there’s no longer the incentive to buy those things.”

However, a neutral cryptocurrency such as Bitcoin can act as gold, but the government has the capacity to control anything. And as more people start preferring Bitcoin than bonds, like him, the more savings go into BTC than into credit, “then [governments] lose control of that,” he said.

And such a situation, he said, can lead those governments to crack down on bitcoin holders, he said. Overall, it’s about technology and whoever wins this race wins it all, Dalio said.

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Author: AnTy

Report: Tor Network Users Were Spied On Via Compromised Exit Relays

Report: Tor Network Users Were Spied On Via Compromised Exit Relays

Anonymous communication network Tor Network was reportedly under a continuous large-scale attack as up to 25% of its exit relay capacity was hijacked. This is according to a report published by cybersecurity researcher and Tor node operator Nusenu.

Malicious Tor Network Servers Spell Doom For Users

The attack, which was reportedly initiated in early 2020 by an unidentified hacker, went undetected for over 16 months. According to the report, users of Tor Network were spied on and might have had their data stolen as the malicious servers added to the network’s exit relays, tracks. and intercepts crypto-related data.

The Tor Network is open-source software that allows users to anonymize their Internet traffic by sending it through a network of servers operated by volunteers. This is done by directing network traffic through a series of relays to mask a user’s IP address and location and usage from surveillance or traffic analysis.

While the middle relays typically take care of receiving traffic on the network and pass it along–the exit relay is the final node that Tor traffic passes through before it reaches its destination.

The hacker allegedly took advantage of the system by adding their malicious nodes, disguising them as “exit relays” to the network. The plan was to intercept sensitive information like crypto addresses in transaction requests made by users to switch and redirect their cryptocurrencies to their wallets.

The report says the hacker has also recently started modifying downloads made through Tor, but it is unclear to what end or what other techniques they might be using.

Most of the malicious relays have been removed by developers, Nusenu revealed. However, the hacker has not backed down as it is still constantly rebuilding its network. If going by Nusenu’s estimations, up to 10% or even more of Tor’s exit relay capacity could still be controlled by the attacker to this day. Nusenu said,

“The recurring events of large scale malicious Tor relay operations make it clear that current checks and approaches for bad-relays detection are insufficient to prevent such events from reoccurring and that the threat landscape for Tor users has changed.”

Cybercriminals Continue to Torment the Tor Network

The Tor network’s history with malicious actors is well documented. In December 2019, hackers distributed a compromised version of the official Tor Browser, which had malicious tools to spy on users and steal their Bitcoin.

The scammers had reportedly used forums and the Pastebin website to distribute their offering, targeting Russian-speaking users of the Tor network. The cybercriminals were first documented and exposed by researchers at IT security firm ESET.

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Author: Jimmy Aki

BlackRock CEO: We’re Watching Bitcoin, It Could Be Another Store Of Wealth But Not Proven Yet

BlackRock CEO: We’re Watching Bitcoin, It Could Be Another Store Of Wealth But Not Proven Yet

The Bitcoin market needs to have a broadening so that large sums of money can be invested without moving the value for it to be successful, said Larry Fink, the founder of the world’s largest asset manager with $8.67 trillion AUM.

The price of Bitcoin might still be stuck up around $30,000, but institutions are still watching it and getting involved.

As we reported, the world’s largest asset manager who has $8.67 trillion in assets under management as of January 2021, recently filed with the SEC to add Bitcoin futures as an eligible investment to two of its funds.

Now, BlackRock CEO Larry Fink again talked about all the excitement around the leading cryptocurrency. “We’re watching it, we’re enjoying the conversation,” said the founder and Chairman of the asset manager giant.

While talking about working together on climate change, which he sees as an “investment risk” and sharing optimism around capital coming into China, Fink also addressed the Bitcoin market in an interview with Bloomberg, where he says, Bitcoin “is still very small.’

“It can move in a very large increment with small movements of money. So, it is not the market for the calm,” he said but added that he “understands the enthusiasm around it.”

Fink reiterated his views that this asset category is very small relative to other asset categories. The untested, highly volatile market is getting a lot of attention from the business media, which believes it’s gonna have a huge future, he said.

“People are fascinated about it,” Fink said. “It could be another store of wealth. But right now, it’s still untested. It has huge volatility.”

Fink is playing it neutral now as he says that the leading digital currency “has not proven yet on the long term viability of it.”

“For it to be truly successful, it is gonna have to have a broadening of a market, and you can invest large sums of money without moving the value,” he said. “So we are watching it, we’re enjoying the conversation” and fascinated by how many people have enjoyed the conversation.

The CEO also said that some form of a digitized currency would be playing a bigger role in the future, but it’s to be seen if it would be Bitcoin or some other currency.

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Author: AnTy

OKEx Recent Issues ‘Exposed Weaknesses in Internal Processes’ But Working on Correcting Them

On October 16th, OKEX users were shocked as the exchange unexpectedly halted all cryptocurrency withdrawals on the platform – stretching the halt to over a month. After the “normal withdrawal services” were resumed on November 26th, OKEX CEO Jay Hao joined a live Ask Me Anything (AMA) session on the official 27,000+member Telegram channel to explain what went down during the withdrawal hiatus on the exchange.

The withdrawal issues started on October 16th, when one of the ‘private key holders’ on OKEX multi-sig wallets was taken into custody by the Chinese police to help in an investigation. The exchange shut down its withdrawal services while all other operations remained functional during this period. The exchange stated they could not provide authorization on withdrawals on the exchange as they could not access the keyholder at the time.

In a transcript of the AMA session, Jay Hao explained the withdrawal pause caused “a lot of uncertainty” as the exchange was not sure when withdrawal services would return. The event has since caused an enormous impact on the exchange’s business activities, Hao explained.

“We have seen an understandable decrease in trading activity on the exchange.”

Following the five-week withdrawal pause, OKEX experienced one of its largest Bitcoin outflows shortly after the services were resumed. Over 29,300 BTC was moved out of the exchange on November 26th, recording its second-largest outflow yet in 2020, only bettered by the March crash withdrawals.

However, the hiatus did not significantly affect the BTC market recently reached a new all-time high as the market responded wonderfully to the news. Hao further explained,

“The incident highlighted the cryptocurrency market’s maturity — reflected in the price of BTC and other major assets in their resilience to the news.”

The China-domiciled exchange is working on new developments to prevent such withdrawals from happening in the future and win back its customers’ trust and confidence.

First, the exchange will implement a new hot wallet system that will follow a four-stage process – private key generation, its backup, enabling a master private key generation, and its backup key. Moreover, each private key will have a backup key that will ensure “there will never be assets lost due to unforeseen events happening to a private key holder,” Jay further said.

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OKEX new hot wallet system

A “new exchange transparency plan” that allows the public to view and monitor their wallet addresses at any time will be launched in the coming months. The exchange also plans to reward the loyal users who deposited or held tokens in their accounts during the exchange’s arduous period.

Additionally, Jay addressed the rumors surrounding the withdrawal pause and OKEX founder, Star Xu. In a coincidence, OKEX withdrawals resumed shortly after Xu was released from police custody, causing a buzz that he was the mysterious “private key holder.” Furthermore, Jay bashed rumors that the exchange was facing investigations on money laundering charges. Jay said,

“As stated in many previous announcements, the investigation has no relation to OKEx.”

“We have established, implemented, and continue to refine and Anti-Money Laundering, Anti-Terrorist Financing, and Trade & Economic Sanctions Program since our inception to ensure a robust and compliant digital asset trading platform.”

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Author: Lujan Odera

$100M In Crypto Loans Liquidated On Compound After ‘Bizarre’ 30% Spike In DAI Price

  • Over $100 million in loans were liquidated on Compound after a possible oracle exploits on Coinbase.
  • A further $8 million in crypto loans were liquidated on dYdX, a DeFi lending platform.

Almost $103 million in loan collateral has been liquidated on Compound Finance, a DeFi lending and borrowing platform, over the last 24 hours after a price spike on DAI stablecoin on Coinbase. According to data aggregator, LoanScan, a further $7.81 million was also liquidated on the dYdX exchange, totaling close to $110 million in DeFi loan liquidations.

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Nearly $110 million in crypto loans liquidated over the past 24 hours after a DAI suddenly spikes 30% in price (LoanScan)

The momentary DAI price spike

DAI caused massive liquidations on Compound as the price of DAI momentarily spiked by 30% on Coinbase, the lending platform’s primary price oracle. According to Alex Svanevik, CEO at Nansen, a crypto-analysis firm, the liquidations arose from an under-collateralization of Compound users’ loans. Svanevik said,

“My understanding is that the DAI price on Coinbase was driven up to a premium of around 30%. Compound’s oracle uses Coinbase for pricing data.”

Nearly 45% of the total liquidated amount on Compound arose from one wallet address, the third-largest COMP farmer, facing liquidation in a total of $46 million.

So how exactly does a DAI price spike to $1.30 cause such massive liquidations?

As a lending/borrowing platform, Compound allows users to borrow and lend multiple cryptocurrencies across the platform. Borrowers must place more significant collateral than the loan they are receiving over collateralized loans. If, at any moment, the smart contract notices the loan is under-collateralized, then it will automatically liquidate the loan and repay itself. Svanevik further explains,

“This caused liquidations as the value of the loans exceeded collateralization-ratio thresholds.”

As DAI’s value spiked, the amount of DAI loaned out increased relative to the collateral provided, leading to under-collateralized positions, hence the liquidations.

Of the total $110 million in crypto loans liquidated, $56 million was from DAI borrowers, $38 million from Ethereum (ETH) borrowers, $10 million from USDC stablecoin borrowers, and $4 million from wrapped BTC (wBTC).

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Author: Lujan Odera

Crypto Thanksgiving Sale Goes Live, Black Friday to Offer More Discount?

Well, what were you expecting after an over 85% rally in these past two months?

This may have taken us all a bit by surprise despite expecting to see this coming for some time now, but it’s a Thanksgiving sale, and buying the dips is the only option.

Bitcoin started breaking one level after another, from just above $10,000 to a new 2020 high of $19,500 just yesterday. And much like BTC, altcoins have been having a wild time.

Recently, Ether went up to $620, and XRP was reaching for $1; everything was simply exploding higher and higher, approaching their mid-2018 highs.

Add today; the market has turned a deep red just like that.

Bitcoin started dropping and didn’t stop until it made its way to nearly $16,300, but the pain isn’t over yet as this 17% crash could further extend into the weekend.

At the time of writing, BTC/USD has been trading around $17,000 with a real trading volume of around $6.68 billion.

Just yesterday, crypto exchange Kraken reported an all-time high volume of $1.4 billion, with $480 million in Bitcoin, $400 million in XRP, and $198 million in ETH. After yesterday, today is going to be another big day for exchanges.

XRP recorded the biggest hit of 25%, falling to just under $0.50 level and Ether to $505.

Today’s biggest losers include Super Bitcoin (-56%), Bankera (-41%), Verge (-37%), ZEN (-32%), KIMCHI (-30%), Zilliqa (-28%), and CRV (-25%).

These deep losses resulted in wiping out $70 billion from the total market cap.

However, still, a few cryptos are recording gains: the notable ones are PumaPay (+56%), Ontology Gas (+53%), and CREAM (22%).

Bears, however, aren’t done with Bitcoin and, by extension, altcoins.

During the last bull run in 2017, the market had an average of 30% retracements nine times; such a pullback will take us to under $14,000 this time.

As Charles Edwards, founder of Capriole Investments, noted yesterday, “19.2K was a technical magnet and biggest near-term test for Bitcoin. That was the time to be super bullish. This is the time to be cautious.”

According to him, the largest cryptocurrency could slide to under $15,000.

“Conditions are very massively overbought and bound for a correction,” said Vijay Ayyar, head of business development with crypto exchange Luno in Singapore. He expects Bitcoin to stabilize and achieve an all-time high, but a large drop would follow even that in the prices for the cryptocurrency.

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Author: AnTy

GoDaddy’s DNS Hack Is at the Center of Several Crypto Domains Being Compromised: Report

  • Several cryptocurrency companies were targeted in the recent hack on GoDaddy.com, the largest global domain manager, including Japan-based crypto exchange Liquid.com and crypto mining service, NiceHash.

Earlier this month, BEG reported that Japan-based cryptocurrency exchange, Liquid.com, experienced a data breach hack, affecting the users’ Know your Customer (KYC) information. The attack follows GoDaddy’s, the world’s largest domain registrar, an incursion that saw hackers trick the firm’s employees into transferring ownership and control over targeted domains.

In an analysis of the recent intrusions, Krebs on Security, a cybersecurity website, reported four more cryptocurrency firms were target to phishing and “vishing” attempts, similar to Liquid exchange.

In a letter shared to crypto traders on its exchange, Liquid.com CEO Mike Kayamori stated that several customers’ data, including email addresses and passwords, were compromised following malicious attacks on their domain registrar, GoDaddy. Mike stated,

“A domain hosting provider ‘GoDaddy’ that manages one of our core domain names incorrectly transferred control of the account and domain to a malicious actor.”

This allowed the attacker to control and change the domain name system (DNS) and control some email accounts at Liquid exchange. This allowed the attacker to compromise some of the exchange data and gain access to the firm’s document storage.

NiceHash, a cryptocurrency mining service, was also compromised from GoDaddy’s malicious attack, the report stated. Five days after Liquid noticed the attack, NiceHash also found out that its domain registration records were being changed without authorization. To secure the customers’ funds, the crypto mining service shut down their website for 24 hours, resuming operations a day later. A blog post from the company reads,

“In the early morning (UTC) hours of November 18, 2020, the NiceHash domain was not reachable. The domain registrar GoDaddy had technical issues, and as a result of unauthorized access to the domain settings, the DNS records for the NiceHash.com domain were changed”.

An analysis of the hackers’ accounts showed that the affected domains were redirected to set email addresses and websites. Further research shows three other crypto firms, including Bitbox, Celsius.network, and Wirex.app, could also have been affected.

GoDaddy’s spokesperson, Dan Race, confirmed the attack affected its employees’ details through phishing and voice phishing hacks. His statement further reads,

“As threat actors become increasingly sophisticated and aggressive in their attacks, we are constantly educating employees about new tactics that might be used against them and adopting new security measures to prevent future attacks.”

This attack is similar to the recent Twitter hack in July, whereby hackers compromised over 130+ high-profile accounts in an established cryptocurrency scam. The firm’s employees were tricked using social engineering to take over the company’s administrative tools.

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Author: Lujan Odera

South Korea Set to Ban the Trading of ‘Privacy Enabled Coins’ On Virtual Asset Exchanges

  • South Korea bans “privacy coins” trading on crypto exchanges.
  • The updates were made as part of the guidelines to the “Special Payments Act.”

South Korea’s leading financial watchdog, the Financial Services Commission (FSC), announced on Tuesday a ban on the trading of privacy-enabled cryptocurrencies such as Monero (XMR), Dash (DASH), and Zcash (ZEC) from any virtual asset service provider platform. The move follows a guideline update on the ‘Special Payments Act’ that governs the country’s cryptocurrencies laws.

According to the statement, the FSC claims privacy-enabled coins enable high money laundering risk due to the difficulty tracing the transactions. In 2018, the Seoul Central District Prosecutors’ Office opened a case on drug dealers who received privacy coins in payment for their illegal goods. The new amendments will curb these kinds of payments preventing the spread of illicit and illegal activities.

The amendments by the FSC will start being implemented and enforced in March 2021, creating strict laws against trading privacy cryptocurrencies. Notwithstanding, the crypto exchanges in South Korea will have to comply with KYC/AML regulations. Customers will have to verify their accounts using a passport, identification card, or any government-recognized document.

Several exchanges have already delisted privacy coins, including South Korean-based OKEx and Upbit exchange. The Japan-based crypto exchange, Liquid, also announced the delisting of Zcash (ZEC) and the other 28 coins to comply with Singapore’s laws.

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Author: Lujan Odera