Facebook’s Digital Wallet Novi ‘Ready To Come To Market’ Having Secured Approvals In The US

Facebook, whose Payments system is already being used in more than 160 countries in 55 currencies, is beating Twitter, which plans to integrate BTC Lightning Wallet in every account. Meanwhile, Ethereum co-founder is skeptical of both the social media giant’s plans in the crypto space.

“Novi is ready to come to market,” wrote social media giant Facebook’s David Marcus in a blog post. Novi is a digital wallet that is tied to the Diem blockchain-based payment system.

Facebook’s stablecoin project Diem, previously named Libra, was first introduced in June 2019 with the original plan to be backed by a wide mix of fiat currencies and government debt. Now, it’s meant to launch as a stablecoin backed by only the US dollar.

But it ran into resistance from global regulators leading to its rebranding as Diem. In his blog post, Marcus reported the increased obstacles the project has been facing, which is yet to be launched.

Marcus, the former PayPal chief hired by Facebook in 2018 to lead its blockchain efforts, said on Wednesday that the global payments system is flawed, being too slow and too costly, among other things, and they can fix it. And Novi can play an instrumental part in that, he said.

“Change is long overdue. It’ll happen one way or another,” said Marcus, the co-founder of Diem Association, a non-profit consortium overseeing the development of Diem stablecoin.

“We feel that it’s unreasonable to delay delivering the benefits of cheaper, interoperable, more accessible digital payments.”

Marcus noted that they are seeking necessary regulatory clearances and have already secured licenses and approvals for Novi in nearly every state in the US. “We will not launch anywhere we have not yet received such clearances,” he added.

He further said the Diem Association is currently engaged in dialogue with US and global regulators and has addressed every legitimate concern raised so that it can build high-quality and compliant stablecoin with extensive consumer protections.

The Time is Now

Novi, previously called Calibra, is designed to allow users to add money to their wallets that would be converted to a Diem digital currency which then could be sent to others worldwide. But for now, Novi would only start with offering fiat currency within the digital wallet but still, “it would bring people a lot of value,” Marcus said.

Marcus further noted that Facebook is already ‘an actor’ in the payments industry. It has enabled over $100 billion in payments volume in the last four quarters while being used in more than 160 countries for payments in 55 currencies.

“I strongly believe if there was ever a chance to create an open, interoperable protocol for money on the internet and truly change the game for people and businesses around the world, it is now.”

Much like Facebook, Twitter co-founder and CEO Jack Dorsey is working on bringing payments to his social media platform. Last week, Dorsey said he is using “Lightning to enable a currency for the internet” by allowing every account on Twitter to link to a Bitcoin Lightning Wallet.

“FB beat twitter to the punch again. And jack owns a crypto currency focused payments company,” tweeted @IamNomad, a cryptocurrency market maker.

However, Ethereum co-founder Vitalik Buterin is skeptical of both Dorsey and Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerburg’s big plans in the cryptocurrency space.

Commenting on Dorsey’s plans to create a new business focused on decentralized financial services using Bitcoin (BTC), Buterin said in an interview with Bloomberg; it doesn’t really have the functionality to do that as it was designed largely to be a “currency of the house.”

This is unlike Ethereum, which allows one to directly put ETH or Ethereum-backed assets into these smart contracts where arbitrary conditions govern how those assets get released, “Jack is basically going to have to create his own system that enforces those rules,” he said.

As for Zuckerberg’s plan to turn Facebook into a “metaverse company,” Buterin pointed to a “huge amount of mistrust” about the social media platform; as such, he recommended Zuckerberg to build on the existing blockchain instead.

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Author: AnTy

The Simpsons Reports Bitcoin Price at Infinity; This Week’s Catalyst to ‘Blow People’s Minds’

Coinbase’s Wednesday listing a “big milestone” for the industry whose valuation dwarfs Google’s at the time of its IPO and the current market cap of Nasdaq and ICE, which runs the NYSE.

Bitcoin is nearing its all-time high as the market gets extremely excited about the upcoming listing of the largest US cryptocurrency exchange on Wednesday.

Going as high as $61,300 today, BTC is hovering around $60k. But the market believes we are nowhere near the top.

In fact, according to The Simpsons, Bitcoin is going to infinity.

The big catalyst for Bitcoin to send it higher, not to infinity, but all that closer to six figures is Coinbase going public on the Nasdaq under the ticker “COIN.”

Being the first major crypto company to do so has put everyone’s eyes on it. This listing is expected to provide the crypto market and other crypto exchanges an idea about investor appetite for the crypto industry and other start-ups in the sector.

“A crypto company moving to IPO is a big milestone,” said Nick Jones, CEO, and co-founder at crypto wallet Zumo.

“It’s moves like this that make consumers feel safer with crypto and ultimately boost confidence in the space.”

As we have seen recently, more and more mainstream companies are entering the sector. Besides Tesla and Square putting BTC in their Treasury, Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley are all set to offer their clients access to Bitcoin. Also, PayPal, Mastercard, and Visa have joined in.

An interesting facet about this listing is Coinbase’s $100 billion valuation.

Commenting on the eye-popping valuation, Amy Butte said more interesting is the fact that crypto is a “real innovation in financial services,” and Coinbase has added to this innovation in terms of settlement and new use cases.

“Institutions even in the last 3-4 months have really come in, and corporates have come in and said hey I need to have crypto as a part of my treasury planning.”

As for context on this valuation, Google’s IPO was worth only $23 billion, and unlike Coinbase’s no lockup period, the tech giant’s employees were locked out from selling for 6 months.

As for exchange comparison, Intercontinental Exchange, which runs the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE), has a market cap of $65 billion, and Nasdaq has only $25 billion.

“Coinbase is going to blow people’s minds,” said Matt Hougan, CIO at Bitwise Asset Management. “I think it’s going to force traditional finance to wrestle with the phenomenal growth that is taking place in crypto.”

But it makes sense given that Coinbase reported revenue of $1.8 billion, with an adjusted EBITDA of $1.1 billion. And, of course, 56 million verified users. These numbers have the market expecting a rush of investors and crypto ETFs to own it.

“It is possible our ETF will be the first to own it,” said Matt Kennedy, senior IPO market strategist at Renaissance Capital.

Meanwhile, Michael Saylor, CEO of MicroStrategy calling for an uptrend in BTC, following this listing.

“Simple arithmetic implies that Coinbase is gaining 1 million users & $10 billion in digital assets each week. This direct listing will be a wake-up call for institutional investors, financial advisers, & investment banks worldwide. Bitcoin Rises.”

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Author: AnTy

Tether Saves the Day by Reversing a 1 Million ERC20-based USDT Transaction Sent to DEX Swerve

Some might say, Tether has saved the day.

Surely for the degen whose million dollars was involved here. But not for the crypto industry, which promotes self-sovereignty.

As Dovey Wan said, “It’s defeating the purpose of “code is law” and “unconditional execution of smart contracts.”’

And of course, it’s DeFi (Decentralized Finance), not CeFi (Centralized Finance).

What happened was someone accidentally sent a million dollars in ERC20-based USDT to the Swerve token contract directly.

“I have sent 1000000 usdt to swrv address, who can help me get back the usdt,” wrote the user @free on DEX Swerve’s Discord channel.

Swerve Finance is the copycat of the popular DEX Curve, which has more than $1 billion of total value locked (TVL) in it. Swerve, meanwhile has only about $385 million locked while having less than 10% of Curve’s volume.

Its token SWRV is trading at $3.40 with a market cap of $5.4 million compared to CRV’s $74 million market cap at $1.88.

Tether then came to the rescue of the degen, offering to recover the amount.

Paolo Ardoino, CTO at Tether and it’s sister company Bitfinex, asked the person to open a ticket to the Tether support service. Because of the amount involved, Ardoino said the company would prioritize it if the person directly involved in the issue provides the ticket ID.

“If it’s USDt ERC20 stuck in an address we should be able to recover it, but in order to be sure, please contact our customer support and we’ll try our best,” said Ardoino.

USDT is the most popular stablecoin in the market, but much like Coinbase and Circle’s joint effort USDC, it can blacklist the transactions and recover your money.

Back in 2016, Ethereum also reversed the $50 million DAO hack, but the crypto king Bitcoin has never done so. Back in 2019, Binance CEO suggested such a move, a “rollback,” after the exchange suffered a hack, but it didn’t happen because of the strong opposition from the crypto community.

“Most CEX or wallets probably should not let users send to these addresses. But new ones come up all the time…” commented Changepeng “CZ” Zhao this time.

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Author: AnTy

US Secret Service Has Modernized Its Role in Tackling Financial Crimes in The Crypto Era

  • The role of the US Secret Service, whose purpose extends from protecting the US President Trump to protecting the US financial systems, has had to morph to tackle more sophisticated cybercrimes.
  • There is, however, a shared sentiment that cryptocurrencies are just a mere proponent of crime.

Launched on July 5th, 1865, the Secret Service’s role has evolved over the years. Initially attached to the Treasury, their primary purpose has been ensuring the safety of the US commander in chief alongside curtailing counterfeiting of the US currency.

However, after the 9/11 tragedy, the Secret Service was moved to the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). The purview of the service now extends to the investigation of financial crimes that have evolved significantly due to emerging technologies such as cryptocurrencies. However, there have been talks recently about possibly reuniting the Secret Service with the treasury.

Increased Cybercrimes during a global pandemic

Secret Service cyber policy advisor Jonah Force Hill has offered insight on how their role has been modernized, especially with ongoing talks around the development of the digital dollar. He also reports a spike in financial crimes against US citizens during this COVID-19 time with the FBI reporting a 75% increase in day to day cybercrimes in a June US house meeting. This was collaborated by statistics offered by VMware Cybersec Strategy lead, Tom Kellermann, indicating a large 900% bump in ransomware attacks in the first two quarters of 2020.

Despite cybercriminals demanding for crypto for ransomware, he admits that crypto is not the issue but just a small element of the crime. He highlights that cryptocurrencies will come under the scrutiny of the Secret Service if they undermine the integrity of financial and remittance systems. Money laundering and fraud use cases are also warranting intervention from the Secret Service.

There was mention of crime as a service model where cybercriminals offer customized services and data at a fee. This could include easily exploitable vulnerabilities in the systems, account login credentials, identities, and infrastructure, such as disk space for storage. This type of model enables the cybercriminals to gang up together to orchestrate a crime, drawing similarities with a bank heist crew where each member has a specific skill set.

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Author: Lujan Odera

Microsoft Joins Blockchain for Social Impact Coalition Initiative For Virtual Earth Day Hackathon

  • Microsoft is set to support the Blockchain for Social Impact Coalition (BSIC) program whose winners will be rewarded during the Global Virtual Earth Day on April 22.
  • This initiative involved a six-week hackathon geared towards practical solutions in sustainable cities and green energy.

The BSIC incubator project was originally under Ethereum’s enterprise-grade solutions provider, ConsenSys. Apart from Microsoft and ConsenSys, this project has been sponsored by other notable industry stakeholders from different sectors. They include UNDP, KPMG, Gitcoin, Celo, Pepo and the city of Austin, Texas. Given this support, the upcoming rewards set for the BSIC incubation winners total to $30,000 and is set to be allocated as per the outlined criteria.

According to Microsoft’s blockchain unit co-founder, Yorke Rhodes, the whole idea is to solve challenges in excess carbon credits, pollution, affordable housing and identity projects. Yorke who is also a BSIC board member highlighted that;

“It’s run like a typical incubator where we have weekly deliverables for all of the teams.

We also have subject-matter experts in these categories from around the world that we invited in to do seminars twice a week,”

During its launch, the BSIC incubator attracted more than 300 participants and narrowed down gradually to be left with about 30 teams. As mentioned earlier, they were tasked with creating solutions to make the world more climate and environmentally friendly through blockchain technology.

Currently, energy and sustainability are among the hot topics within global governing bodies. In this regard, Yorke noted that Microsoft is working with Brazil’s, Itau Unibanco, to bring to life long-term ideas tailored to the space.

As we approach 2020’s Earth Day, the whole world is uncertain due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Vanessa Grellet, the Executive Director of ConsenSys has since noted they will hold the event live as opposed to prior plans,

“We made the decision to pivot our Earth Day 2020 event from an in-person event for people in New York City, to one that is 100 percent digital this year and available worldwide.”

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Author: Edwin Munyui

CoinOne Exchange Ordered to Reimburse Investor’s 25 Million Won in Hacked Assets Case

A South Korean court has ordered CoinOne exchange to cover the losses for an investor whose funds were stolen from the exchange, reported a local daily. A hacker got hands on the investor’s login details for the platform and withdrew all his holdings in BTC.

The total amount of funds stolen from his account is estimated to be 45 million won ($20,800), while the daily withdrawal limit on the exchange was only 20 million won. The heist took place in December 2018, and the hacker used VPN to hide the IP address.

Investor argued in the court that the exchange failed to safeguard his assets and thus they are liable for the damages. He said the exchange should have noticed the withdrawal is being initiated from a foreign address and thus must have consulted him first before allowing withdrawal.

The court did not buy the argument and ruled that the safety measure suggested by the investor is not a reasonable measure that the exchange should have employed.

However, in the final judgment, the judge did account for the extra amount withdrawn than the limit set by the exchange, and thus held them accountable and ruled that they must reimburse the additional losses above the withdrawal limit.

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Author: Hank Klinger

Shell Oil Partners With Blockchain-Based Startup LO3 To Enable Local Energy Trading via Exergy

Shell-Partners-With-A-Blockchain-Based-Startup-To-Give-Real-Power-To-The-People

The world’s fifth-largest oil and gas firm whose net worth is $262 billion has partnered with a blockchain-based firm LO3 that is located in New York, Forbes reports.

Europe’s giant oil and gas firm has pumped in an undisclosed amount of dollars in LO3 Energy whose platform Exergy monitors energy using the blockchain technology.

In the recent past, Shell has been keen on exploring the blockchain technology in its operation and this partnership marks the fourth public investment in a blockchain-based startup, Forbes said. The other three platforms that Shell has invested in are Vakt, Komgo, and Applied Blockchain.

As per the report, the gas and oil company has the leverage to turn its investment in LO3’s native tokens referred to as XRG and this will help in incentivizing the platform and there will need to access the decentralized energy grid. Initially, LO3 had planned to fund its project using an initial coin offering (ICO) using its XRG token, however, it has halted the idea until further notice.

The LO3 platform or Exergy is developed to monitor the flow of energy as it is included to a shared energy network in a locality. This will allow the residents who buy their power in the locality to be absolutely certain that it was indeed generated from a clean source windmill, a solar panel or a gerbil operating on a treadmill.

If triumphant, LO3 and its rivals in the growing “transactive energy” sector, could alter the work of the conventional electricity transmission and distribution firms such as Con Edison in the United States and Western Power Distribution in the UK from just installers of underground cables, to administrators of more coherent, distributed local energy grids.

Shell Ventures investment director Kirk Coburn explained the partnership:

“As we move into a less carbonized future, Shell aims to invest in innovative companies that will help enable the energy transition. LO3 Energy fits right in that space.”

More Partners

The partnership also brings in other players in the energy sector from around the world like Sumitomo Corporation Group based in Japan.

Although the details of the investment were not disclosed Coburn was categorical that he will be part of LO3 board as an observer and could later become a full board member if there are future investments.

Lo3 is also reportedly developing another token apart from XRG known as Anergy to enable consumers to sell data regarding their energy usage to various third party firms in the future.

Currently, although LO3’s Exergy is developed on the Ethereum blockchain there are plans to design it to integrate with the EOS blockchain.

Cointelegraph reports that LO3 is not the only one to develop a peer-to-peer energy distribution network. A few weeks ago Power Ledger, based in Australia, said it will soon release its decentralized energy distribution network in Austria’s second-largest city, Graz. just like LO3, Power Ledger also wants to optimize energy management first before eventually moving to zero-carbon energy.

Will blockchain revolutionize the energy market? Let us know in the comments section.

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Author: Joseph Kibe