Mt. Gox Rehabilitation Plan Deadline Postponed, Yet Again, for Two Months

It’s been over six years, and Mt. Gox creditors are still not any closer to getting their BTC back.

In the Tokyo District Court’s latest announcement, the rehabilitation plan deadline has been postponed, yet again, from Oct. 15, 2020, to December 15, 2020.

Already this deadline has been changed several times, and yet again, they postponed it to two months later, which brings no relief as this could easily be changed again. According to the order,

“The Rehabilitation Trustee is currently formulating the rehabilitation plan, but as there are matters that require closer examination with regard to the rehabilitation plan, it has become necessary to extend the submission deadline for the rehabilitation plan.”

mt gox rehab plan

The cryptocurrency market continues to await the possible release of 150,000 BTC, currently worth over $1.7 billion, to its former users.

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Author: AnTy

Ethereum 2.0 Developers to Launch Zinken Testnet After Spadina ‘Dress Rehearsal’ Fails

After five years of waiting for Ethereum 2.0, developers may have to wait longer for its launch after a failed launch of the Spadina Network. The ETH 2.0 developers plan a third testnet, Zinken, which is expected to solve bugs and fix problems found in the previous two testnets – Spadina and Medalla.

ETH 2.0 is expected to introduce sharding protocols to increase Ethereum’s scalability and reduce blockchain gas costs. The main upgrade on ETH 2.0, however, is the proof-of-stake (PoS) consensus mechanism that is expected to replace the energy-intensive proof-of-work (PoW) currently available.

ETH 2.0 Phase 0, or the Beacon Chain, is expected to launch later in the year with the full implementation of the upgrade set to take over two years. According to original plans, Spadina was set to be one of the final testnets, or a “dress rehearsal, before the launch of Phase 0, but bugs and finality problems were discovered.”

One ETH 2.0 developer, Danny Ryan, wrote on Twitter that despite ETH 2.0 clients becoming more robust, the high latency times for finality raised several issues on the Spadina network, including “cli options, testnet config, bootnodes, and genesis calculation bugs.” Ryan further wrote,

“Even though we expect moderately low participation on a short-lived non-incentivized testnet, small errors in the client release process greatly exacerbated this problem, resulting in ~1/3 participation in the first few epochs.”

To respond to the issues stated above, the developers will run the Zinken testnet as a “dress rehearsal.”

The bugs, however, are not critical, Prysmatic Labs developer, Raul Jordan, stated. Comparing the failures in Spadina to Medalla’s earlier failures, Jordan believes the failures will be a “learning experience” for ETH 2.0 developers.

Also Read: Ethereum Miner Fees Beats August Record with a 47% Increase in September

Ryan confirmed the Zinken testnet dress rehearsal would be launched in the coming two weeks.

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Author: Lujan Odera

Decentralized Storage Network Filecoin to Launch Mainnet on Oct 15th; Raised $200M In 2017

Three years following its successful initial coin offering (ICO) approximated at $205M, Filecoin has finally confirmed that its long awaited mainnet launch is set for mid next month.

In a blog post from the team, the decentralized storage platform stated that the mainnet will be rolled out on Oct.15. The firm also revealed that the network will go live at block 148,888.

The platform is designed as a blockchain rival to Amazon Web Service as well as Cloudflare. The platform conducted one of the most successful ICO’s in history raising $205 million.

Dubbed decentralized dropbox, Filecoin is seeking to end the overreliance on the third-party hosting services used by companies such as Microsoft or Amazon. This will be advantageous to users as their content will not be monitored, like is the case with Dropbox, all information within the Filecoin platform will be encrypted making monitoring impossible.

The upcoming launch will end speculation in regards to years of delay. The firm had forecasted that its testnet would be launched by the end of 2018 while the mainnet was set to go live by 2019. The team then revised its estimation saying that the testnet was to be launched in the spring of last year while the mainnet would be launched by end of last year.

Filecoin was finally able to release its testnet in December last year. At that moment, the firm explained that the mainnet was set to be launched in March this year. Now, almost an year after the launching of the testnet, the firm has announced the mainnet will be launched mid next month.

All signs show that Filecoin is set to meet the expectations. On Aug. 24, the team released an incentivized testnet which is a sign that the platform is at the final stages of its design and development.

However, the team is facing challenges as an infuriated group of miners as well as venture capitalists in China are threatening to fork the platform before it can be officially launched. The group are of the view that they might be underpaid if the mainnet goes live. Protocol Labs, the firm behind Filecoin, had earlier released a paper stating that about 80% of miners could be rendered unprofitable.

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Author: Joseph Kibe

Kraken Returns to Japan; Subsidiary Payward Asia Granted Crypto Exchange Permit

Kraken crypto exchange is making a return into the Japanese market, two years after it exited this space owing to regulatory hurdles at the time. According to the firm’s announcement on September 8, Kraken’s crypto trading services will now be offered again to Japanese clients through its local subsidiary, Payward Asia Ltd.

This progress follows the approval of Payward Asia to operate a crypto exchange under Japan’s Payments Services Act. Notably, this entity is also part of Japan’s crypto self-regulatory Association; Japan Virtual Currency Exchange Association (JVCEA). With this regulatory foundation, Kraken stated that it is now confident of its re-opening business in the booming Japanese crypto market. The announcement reads,

“Kraken feels 2020 is the best year to restart the business in Japan because of the healthy market environment among other reasons.”

The exchange has scheduled mid-September as the target launch date with five crypto assets set to feature initially; Bitcoin (BTC), Ether (ETH), Litecoin (LTC), Bitcoin Cash (BCH) and XRP. Consequently, prospective Japanese users have been guided to open new accounts with Payward Asia Inc. so as to be able to leverage its crypto-crypto and JPY-crypto trading services. This includes previous users of Payward Japan K.K as the exchange noted there will be no transfer functions.

Kraken’s re-entry into Japan comes barely two months since it was licensed by U.K’s financial watchdog, the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), to offer Crypto Facilities which are basically ‘Kraken Futures’. This milestone gave exposure to sophisticated institutional investors in Europe who previously could not access licensed crypto derivative markets. Jesse Powell, the exchange’s co-founder and CEO, was particularly enthusiastic about the move,

“This particular license means that a sophisticated class of investors, limited by their own requirements to interface with a regulated venue such as an MTF, will now have access to crypto derivatives in Europe for the first time. More participants means more liquidity and a better experience for everyone.”

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Author: AnTy

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

CoinMarketCap’s Top Execs Jump Ship; Did Binance Push Them Out or Seeking Greener Pastures?

After two years at CoinMarketCap as a chief strategy officer, Carylyne Chan, who has also been the acting CEO, is exiting the renowned cryptocurrency market data firm. Following Chan on the exit door are Spencer Yang and Jeremy Seow, the Vice Presidents in charge of Operations and Product, respectively.

Chan joined CoinMarketCap in January 2018 and announced that she would be leaving the company on Aug. 31. Chan was appointed as the interim CEO following the acquisition of CMC by Binance in April this year.

Seow was appointed as CoinMarketCap’s vice president in charge of products in June 2019. Yang also joined the data firm in June last year as the vice president in charge of operations, growth as well as revenue.

During her time at CoinMarketCap, Chan has implemented various policies which have seen the firm play a major part in the mainstreaming of the crypto market. Chan saw the firm launching on various platforms such as Reuters, Nasdaq as well as Bloomberg, with the firm’s crypto indices offering cryptocurrency data to a larger audience.

Speaking to Bitcoin Exchange Guide, Chan stated that she is leaving the company with hopes that CMC will play a vital role when it comes to crypto education and awareness. A crucial aspect of the strategy that she introduced was a feature known as CMC Alexandria, which is an educational sphere of CMC which looks to orient newbies to the crypto world.

Chan explained that there is a lot to do to ensure the mass adoption of crypto. She explained:

“Apart from shedding light on the complicated inner workings of crypto, I believe that there is also a lot more that we need to do to make the actual use of the technology easier. We’ve all known for a while that better user experiences and simplified interfaces and products will be key to ramping up adoption of crypto.”

Chan noted that she was proud that she was involved in hiring as well as training more than a quarter of CMC staff and is hopeful they will continue offering the best to the clients.

At publication time, the company was yet to communicate on the team that will take over from the departing management.

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Author: Joseph Kibe

People Using Cash-Savings to Load Up on BTC as Protection in a Record Low-Interest Rate World

The 10-year Treasury note yield fell to its record low stretches, not seen in 234 years, according to Deutsche bank.

“The U.S. has been through depressions, deflations, wars, restrictive gold standard regimes, market crashes and many other major events and never before have we seen yields so low back to when the Founding Fathers formed the country,” said Jim Reid, chief credit strategist at the bank.

“In the year 2007, it was normal to get a fixed return of 5% when lending your money to the U.S. government for ten years. Today, you’ll be lucky to get 0.5%,” wrote analyst Mati Greenspan in his daily newsletter Quantum Economics.

With yields falling into negative territory — if we factor in inflation over the next 10-years, you are going to lose even more — and the Fed deciding to keep the interest rates virtually zero, investors are running out of ways to get meaningful returns. And this is why gold and digital gold make an attractive option.

As such, people are increasingly using their interest-earning cash savings to load up on bitcoin, especially as volatile assets take off, said Bloomberg.

The coronavirus pandemic has actually been a boon for account balances — not only lockdowns cut consumer spending, but central banks also injected money at a record pace. The personal savings rate in the US rose to a record 32.2 in April but fell to 19% in June, still at historically high levels. Also, between March and June, customers deposit 16% more into their accounts compared to last year.

What’s Attractive

But is it really the time to hold onto money when the US dollar continues to lose its value thanks to the Fed printing trillions of dollars and the interest rate on traditional safe vehicles falling.

Being up 58.81% in 2020, Bitcoin sure looks appealing just like gold, which has risen 29%, setting a new record. The largest cryptocurrency has been actually the best performing asset of the last decade.

A few months back, billionaire investor Paul Tudor Jones also announced that between 1% and 2% of his assets were held in bitcoin as protection in a low-interest-rate world.

Stocks that have been surging since bottoming out in March — recording its best 100-day performance between March 23 to July 1 since 1933 are also preferred by people in such an environment.

Americans have gained confidence in the market in the long run. A Bankrate survey found 28% of Americans, up from 20% last year, said the stock market was their top choice for long term investment. Cash investments meanwhile hit their lowest level in eight years at 18%.

Bitcoin coming to your near bank

While bitcoin started rallying last week, hitting a new 2020 high today, national banks have got the green light from OCC to offer custody services, which may open new doors for the crypto industry. It may have started with national banks, but it won’t be surprising if state-chartered banks jump in too.

“The door’s just been opened for funds, institutional players, and investment advisers” to expand their relationships to crypto, Kari Larsen, partner at Perkins Coie LLP in New York, told Bloomberg.

This decision has been made after the OCC received questions from several banks about holding digital assets, said acting Comptroller of the Currency Brian Brooks, a former Coinbase employee.

Agency’s decision to allow banks to hold bitcoin and crypto is “a recognition that tens of millions of Americans are invested in this asset,” he said at a virtual conference hosted by the American Bankers Association.

The OCC’s decision would also make it easier for crypto companies to work with banks, which viewed them as high-risk customers due to concerns regarding anti-money laundering (AML) and compliance with the Bank Secretary Act.

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Author: AnTy

BTC Matured from Retail-Roots to Larger & More Conservative Institutional Investors Allocating

“11 years from its inception, Bitcoin continues to lock in its network effects,” states Coinbase’s H1 report that points out how the world’s leading digital asset storing $176 billion in value weathered a macroeconomic shock that saw it crashing to $3,800 only to rise back to $10,000.

All this while achieving a wide distribution of holders and growing its hash rate and security via mining, which “reinforced its staying power in the first half of 2020.”

The first half of 2020 also saw increasing direct institutional allocation to digital assets, maturing from its retail and crypto-fund roots.

Coinbase also saw more substantial and more conservative institutional investors allocating in bitcoin for the first time as part of their alternatives strategy.

“We saw a noticeable uptick in our institutional business’s growth in H1 and continued to add leading university endowments, traditional multi-strategy hedge funds, VCs, and large family offices to our roster of clients buying digital assets directly.”

According to Coinbase, investors are still in the early days of untangling the relationship between macroeconomic policy and crypto but are increasingly turning to BTC.

This also means the rising demand for prime brokerage. Just this week, Acting Comptroller of the Currency Brian Brooks, ex-chief legal officer at Coinbase, declared that banks can now hold bitcoin.

A “heightened interest” was noted among fintech and brokerages in adding crypto capabilities to their product suite in H1, a trend expected to “accelerate in the coming years.”

Eventually, the San Francisco-based crypto exchange, which is planning to have an IPO by the end of this year or early next year, sees all modern financial services businesses wanting to provide their clients with digital assets as the asset class continues.

Hot Trends of 2020

Through all the ups and downs in the first half of 2020, crypto derivatives gathered more stream than the spot market.

Daily open interest in BTC futures rose 30.0% in H1, from $2.6 billion on January 1st to $3.5 billion on June 30th, while daily futures volume was down 12.9% for the period.

BTC options meanwhile saw steeper gains, with open interest rising 236.0% in H1 from $305 million on January 1st to $1.0 billion on June 30th. Daily options volumes also rose 90.1%, with CME Group being a “strong catalyst” for this growth.

Currently, the majority of crypto derivatives volume is supported by unregulated trading venues based in Asia and Europe. While they have proven initial demand for these products, “regulated venues will play an increasingly significant role,” just like it has been in the spot market, Coinbase said.

2020 is also the year of USD-pegged digital assets, which grew 104.6% in H1 with Tether and USDC being the most significant gainers. Stablecoins provide lower transaction costs and ease of on-chain movement.

“Coinbase continues to see that when clients are given a choice, many prefer to keep their assets – including their fiat currency – on “crypto rails.”

Stablecoins bridge the gap between the traditional financial system and the crypto economy — which has been the focus of growing number startups in H1, a trend that Coinbase expects to “continue and for crypto dollars. To play a key part.”

The growth of stablecoins was further driven by decentralized finance (DeFi), a new paradigm that Coinbase believes “will be extremely powerful long-term,” but is still in its infancy.

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Author: AnTy

Cambodia’s Central Bank Rolls Out Blockchain Payment System Whitepaper; It’s Not A CBDC

After three years of development, the Cambodian national digital currency may be out later this month, according to a recently released whitepaper.

The permissioned blockchain-based payments system differs from the central bank digital currencies, also known as CBDCs, being offered by several states, including China and Russia, the paper states.

Cambodia Launches “Project Bakong” Blockchain

The Kingdom has taken massive steps in introducing blockchain systems into its economy since the National Bank of Cambodia (NBC) set up a commission to look into distributed ledger technologies (DLTs) in the latter half of 2016. Project Bakong is permissioned, based on the Hyperledger Iroha, a business-oriented DLT platform.

A year later, the commission drafted a solution in different sectors of the economy that a quasi-digital currency may be useful under the auspice of “Project Bakong.”

According to the white paper, the project allows the country to transition from a heavily dollarized financial system to a real-time funds transfer system across the population, offering interbank transfers too.

“The implementation of Bakong would connect all financial institutions and payment service providers under a single payment platform which will allow for fund transfers to be processed on a real-time basis without the need of a centralized clearinghouse.”

Notwithstanding, the platform will also offer Cambodians a P2P platform that allows retail transfers and payment options as quickly as sending an email. The system is mobile-based to ensure reach and accessibility to open up the digital finance ecosystem to Cambodians, lifting them from extreme poverty levels.

‘Not a CBDC’

Despite NBC’s blockchain payment system being compared to CBDCs developed by China, Sweden, and the U.S., Cambodia’s system is quite different. While the CBDCs are developed and issued by the central bank, the quasi-digital currency will need to be “exchanged” for Khmer Riel, the official currency of Cambodia.

The paper describes the development of a blockchain payments system as a detour from the long-running use of the dollar. Given the relatively young population, the turn to digital payment systems may well be the key turning point, with over 5 million citizens already having e-wallets to transact digitally.

The paper states the platform was set to launch in early 2020 but is yet to. NBC announced in the fall of 2019 that the payment system could also take on international payments in the future.

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Author: Lujan Odera

Not Just Millennials, Boomers are Buying Bitcoin at a Record Pace

Millennials are the ones that have been fueling bitcoin growth all these years, who are burned by the banks. As we reported, 51% of millennials trust bitcoin over big banks.

This generation is the one that has lived through multiple recessions and they are the ones who are anticipated to inherit more than $68 trillion from their Baby Boomer parents by the end of this decade.

But Baby Boomers aren’t limited to just knowing about bitcoin anymore, they are actually investing in the digital currency.

“We’ve seen a lot of growth this year from both Boomers and Millennials,” said Alex Leishman, co-founder and CEO of River Financial Inc., a startup Bitcoin financial services firm.

Fed’s the Inspiration

According to the San Francisco-based firm, its number of clients has doubled every month this year, which was fueled by “Bitcoin Boomers,” new crypto investors over the age of 55. Since March, they accounted for 77% of River Financial’s volume growth.

Its average monthly volume increased 80% this year, which in part is led by Federal Reserve’s asset purchase policy, the firm said.

“The surging activity we’ve seen since the beginning of 2020 has been in part inspired by the Federal Reserve’s unprecedented monetary intervention,” said Leishman, a former aerospace engineer who was also a teaching assistant for Stanford University’s first cryptocurrency class.

Bitcoin is becoming more accepted after macro investor Paul Tudor Jones shared last month that he has 1 to 2% of his assets in bitcoin.

The company exclusively deals in Bitcoin and has now a private client service for investors who want to purchase up to $250 million worth of BTC.

Traditional Finance Meet Bitcoin

The company announced that it had raised $5.7 million from investors including Slow Ventures, Polychain Capital, Castle Island Ventures, DG Lab Fund, and individual investors.

“The evolution of finance is only happening faster in the wake of the current global economic crisis,” said Olaf Carlson-Wee, Polychain Capital founder. “We see River Financial as bridging the gap between traditional finance and Bitcoin.”

The company which now has licenses to operate in 10 states, plans to further offer standard checking and savings accounts in the coming year in partnership with a chartered bank.

According to Leishman, while Coinbase and Grayscale cater to those with the trading mentality, they do not provide the kind of customer service not the older and wealthy investors seek. River Financials provides services that one would get at a bank and assigns a private adviser to its investors as well.

Leishman says it doesn’t charge a fee to store customers’ bitcoin and customers treat the service as a savings bank with deposits, bitcoin purchase, accounting for 97% of company’s transactions.

River’s advisers include Elizabeth Stark of Lightning Labs and Steve Lee of Square Crypto.

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Author: AnTy