January 31

“The central bank is developing “the national payment gateway for Cambodia” as a blockchain-based, peer-to-peer platform with its own specially designed cryptocurrency. The CBDC will work on a closed system supported by its banking members.

Users will be able to set up a Bakong wallet that will be automatically linked to their bank accounts, allowing easy fiat currency exchange into the new CBDC in real time. NBC says it will store all transaction data from the platform, suggesting payments may be fully traceable.

[T]he system can support any type and number of currencies, including cryptocurrency. We are in the final stages of the deployment.”

“It’s “very important” the bank should lay the groundwork of the technology.

The speed of technical innovation is very fast. Depending on how things unfold in the world of settlement systems, public demand for CBDCs could soar in Japan.

Amamiya said the central bank does not yet plan to issue a CBDC because potential issues need more research, such as the the ramifications for monetary policy.”

“Mallers compared Zap’s new infrastructure development to swiping a Visa card, but using Zap’s web of lightning nodes to settle charges. Since users never interact with the digital asset, evergreen crypto concerns such as taxes and volatility melt away.

You can download it, link your bank account, your debit card and you can scan any lightning payment you want. Then it will turn around and it will debit your account so that you’re using U.S. dollars to interact with the lightning protocol.

Mallers said Zap’s wallet is positioned to bring “normies” into the crypto space for the first time.

“Bittrex has insured digital assets held in its cold (or offline) storage to up to $300 million, the highest coverage yet offered by a cryptocurrency exchange. [The policy] will protect users’ holdings in cases of “external theft and internal collusion.”

The policy was approved after the exchange demonstrated its internal security and compliance protocols, and was supported by other syndicates based out of Lloyd’s of London, one of the world’s largest insurance markets.”

“U.S.-regulated security token platform TokenSoft is now providing self-managed accounts for investors. Effectively a digital wallet, the product offers automated dividend distributions and built-in reporting for token issuers.

Setting out to provide the tech for firms to “go straight to IPO” by putting their shares on a blockchain, Borda said that TokenSoft is ‘building all the things you need for an automated investment bank.'”

“The alliance believes there is not sufficient legal or regulatory clarity in the U.S. around staking yet, including how staking rewards are taxed and how entities should interpret securities laws for validation relationships.

The lobbying group said having the two companies on board adds weight to its mission of advancing the proof-of-stake (POS) industry. Other members of the group include Tezos, the Interchain Foundation and the Web3 Foundation. 

Proof of Stake is an increasingly important innovation that the crypto space as a whole is rapidly trending toward.”

See Also: Coinbase Custody Goes International With New Entity in Ireland
See Also: US Rep. Emmer Unsettled by Stifled Crypto Innovation at Congressional Hearing

Taproot only improves privacy in limited aspects and under specific conditions. Wuille then added that Taproot is “certainly no silver bullet” for privacy.

Taproot hides scripts and makes multisig (often) indistinguishable. It does not directly do anything for CoinJoin.”

“BCH block number 620025 was mined at 2:14 on Jan. 30. The next block, number 620026, was found at 7:33 of the same day with 6,950 transactions in 2.33 megabytes.

BCH has so few transactions that after 5.5 hours of no block it still only fills up 2.3MB.

Slower than usual blocks occasionally happen on the Bitcoin blockchain as well. Proof-of-work blockchains, due to the variety of their users and the random nature of the mining process, often show rare events recognized as occasional anomalies.

“Griffith was arrested in November on allegations he spoke at a cryptocurrency conference in North Korea last year, where he allegedly taught his audience how to use cryptos to evade sanctions.

We are going to vigorously contest the charge and look forward to getting all the facts in front of the jury at trial.”

January 30

“Swiss regulators have given the go-ahead for what is purportedly the country’s first fully compliant initial public offering (IPO) on a blockchain.

Swiss blockchain firm Overture will launch a compliant IPO and offer ordinary class-A shares natively on the Ethereum blockchain, using smart contracts provided by Zug-based EURO DAXX (the European Digital Assets Exchange).

The company has approved the first Swiss articles of incorporation that directly states the digital nature of the shares (tokens) and the use of the blockchain as the technology to keep the shareholders registry […] transfer of the company ownership can be achieved only with a transfer of the tokens on the blockchain and only the ownership of the token can give the status of shareholder.

This streamlined blockchain-native approach to securities offerings is set to be embraced by major new platforms in the country.”

“Binance US has joined other major exchanges in the staking game, adding staking rewards for cryptocurrencies algorand (ALGO) and cosmos (ATOM). The exchange said returns will be given on a monthly basis starting Feb. 1.

Binance US now joins Kraken and Coinbase in offering staking rewards on PoS coins, though the latter two exchanges only offer staking on Tezos (XTZ).”

“As per Bakkt’s data, not a single bitcoin options contract was traded last week on Bakkt. This is happening while the price of bitcoin has rallied to three-month highs, raising the cryptocurrency’s volatility. Demand for options tends to rise with a spike in volatility.

For now, institutional investors seem to be preferring CME over Bakkt, which isn’t surprising as the CME’s two-year-old bitcoin futures are among the most liquid derivative products in the cryptocurrency space.”

Next month’s ETHDenver conference will have the support of the Colorado state government. Colorado officials will organize a series of presentations, workshops and hackathons as part of ETHDenver’s “Advance Colorado” track.

This is the first time we’ve had the Governor’s office and total body of state agencies in support of building a bridge between the web3 community and the Colorado state government. This is the beginning of a massive collaboration that’s not been seen before in the space.”

“A recent poll revealed community support for Zcash mining reward changes, which will take effect in November 2020, with the Zcash Founder’s Reward terminating in November.

The new mining reward distribution will be as follows: 80% for miners, 7% for the Electric Coin Company, 5% for the Zcash Foundation and 8% for grants. Zcash currently pays out 80% of its mining rewards to miners and 15% to founders, investors and other types, with the remaining 5% going to the Electric Coin Company. 

Stipulations were also introduced for formal accountability and reporting requirements of each participant.”

“1.84% of assets held as equity with Schwab are for the Grayscale Bitcoin Trust (GBTC), a Bitcoin investment vehicle that saw record participation in 2019. This is more than equity Millennials held in Berkshire Hathaway, Netflix, Disney Corp., and even Microsoft and Alibaba.

By contrast, Grayscale did not figure in the top choices of Generation X and Baby Boomer investors.

The premium for GBTC now stands at almost 8%, reflecting a common assumption that institutional interest overall in Bitcoin is growing.”

“BCB Payments Ltd., is now the “first and only crypto-focused” company to have been registered as an Authorised Payment Institution in the U.K.

With British banks reluctant to engage with crypto firms, BCB is one of few options available. The firm said it takes a ‘dedicated focus on B2B payment services including business accounts and cryptocurrency market liquidity for some of the world’s largest crypto-engaged financial institutions.'”

See Also: Silvergate Bank Adds 48 Crypto Clients in Q4 Even as Deposits Slip 4%

“The new index’s name is NRI/IU Crypto-Asset Index and it is meant for use by financial institutions. The NRI/IU Crypto-Asset Index is rebalanced monthly and tracks the performance of a pre-defined basket of crypto assets: Bitcoin (BTC), Bitcoin Cash (BCH), Ether (ETH), Litecoin (LTC) and XRP.

Strong demand from institutional investors is contributing to the growth of crypto-asset funds, and well-diversified products like index funds are attractive as alternative investments.”

Fixed Rate Decentralized Loans on Ethereum

“Andreas Antonopoulos has come out in support of the legal team of Liebowitz, filing an affidavit on Jan. 27 vouching for the expertise of the team — which Antonopoulos has seen in action on the Kleiman v. Wright case. 

In recent months, Bitfinex alongside related companies Tether and iFinex have seen four separate class-action complaints filed against them, all alleging market manipulation and all identifying the class as anyone in the United States who transacted in Bitcoin since mid-2017.”

See Also: France Charges Alleged BTC-e Operator Alexander Vinnik Following Greek Extradition

January 29

“A draft of India’s national strategy on blockchain and distributed ledger technology suggests a central bank digital currency (CBDC), the digital Indian rupee, and a national blockchain.

As an alternative to Public Blockchains that operate with native cryptocurrency, like Ethereum, it is strongly recommended that Government of India along with RBI come out with a Central Bank Digital INR (CBDR) administered over a Public Permissioned Blockchain that processes transactions through a Turing Complete Virtual Machine allowing decentralized applications to run on its platform.

Additionally, the company recommended adopting a “light touch regulatory approach” at the initial stages of the blockchain industry’s development in India.”

“The DMCC, backed by the government of Dubai, has announced plans to replicate Switzerland’s Crypto Valley in a tax-free zone in the UAE.

Announced at Davos last week, the DMCC, a state-backed entity, has teamed up with the Switzerland-based CV VC to build out a sector in the UAE devoted to pushing blockchain and cryptocurrency innovation.

Dubai’s Crypto Valley will feature several co-working facilities, education and mentorship for those seeking careers in the blockchain space, and incubation services for crypto-based businesses.”

“Singapore’s Payment Services Act 2019 (PSA) brings so-called Digital Payment Token (DPT) services – effectively covering all crypto businesses and exchanges based in Singapore – under current anti-money laundering (AML) and counterterrorist-financing (CTF) rules.

As such, crypto businesses in Singapore are required to first register and then apply for a license to operate in the jurisdiction, similar to the Fifth European Anti-Money Laundering Directive (AMLD5) which went into effect Jan. 10.

They [MAS] have gone a bit further than FATF in terms of some criteria, but at the same time some of the other aspects of it are probably not as far as FATF has intended.”

“The Ethereum Foundation awarded a $650,000 grant to Nimbus for continuing its work on light Ethereum 2.0 clients. The project’s goal is to allow smartphones and embedded devices to run smart contract-capable nodes.

These funds will be used to get Nimbus into a production-ready state, as the next milestones will involve the testing and eventual release of a client supporting Ethereum’s beacon chain.

Devices that will be able to support Ethereum nodes also include the Raspberry Pi, point of sale units and other embedded devices.”

See Also: ‘Aragon Fundraising’ goes Live

“The patent outlines a ledger-based payments system that could make it easier for individual users, businesses and governments to track and trace transactions made using a cryptocurrency.

Dubbed the “self-aware token,” it is designed to record all transaction data when not being used on a payments platform. When the token rejoins the platform ecosystem at a later stage, it automatically uploads data from any “off-line transactions.”

For IBM, the ability to determine the provenance of a token can help “bolster trust and viability” within a new token-based economy. Businesses can confirm tokens have not been used for any criminal activities, and administrators or regulators can build profiles on parties to enforce relevant laws and regulations.

“Finland-based LocalBitcoins has reportedly suspended user accounts without warning, with some users being unable to withdraw their Bitcoin.

Customers residing or otherwise located in the following countries are required to have an enhanced due diligence process. 

As LocalBitcoins continued to tighten its AML policies in 2019, its global Bitcoin trading volumes have been gradually dropping to touch a multi-year low in early 2020. Bitcoin trading volumes on LocalBitcoins dropped more than 50% since September 2019 by early January 2020.”

“Mining pool Bitcoin.com will not now support the controversial bitcoin cash development fund proposal without broader agreement from the community.

Bitcoin.com will not risk a chain split or a change to the underlying economics.”

“Today, Representative Counsel issued a letter to the Honorable Bill Blair, Canadian Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness, requesting an update on whether the RCMP will conduct an exhumation and post­mortem autopsy on the alleged body of Gerald Cotten prior to Spring 2020.”

“On the one hand you have these oracle networks starting to take on a life of their own and starting to become a sustainable resource for the larger crypto ecosystem; you’re seeing use cases other than DeFi—gaming and insurance—start to move towards production. And you’re seeing some of the enterprise architectures that we’ve come up with start to also, slowly, move towards production.

The number of data networks enabling smart contracts to access data on BTC, ETH, LINK, BAT and many more, is growing rapidly. There are now almost 30, and Chainlink plans to publish the full list very soon. 

A data rich environment of inputs, that people can easily use, is now becoming available.”

January 28

The Deutsche Bank report said digital currencies, while only a decade old, have already been shown to have the ‘potential to radically change payments, banking, central banking and the balance of economic power.’

We believe a new digital currency could become mainstream within the next two years.

Researchers also highlighted that digital currencies could combine the convenience of electronic payments with the privacy of cash payments. If CBDCs were fully rolled out, Deutsche Bank said, central banks could make interest-bearing accounts available to every citizen. That could ‘resolve many problems caused by the current fractional reserve banking system.'”

“The World Economic Forum has created an international consortium to design a governance framework for cryptocurrencies, including stablecoins.

Building on our long history of public-private cooperation, we hope that hosting this consortium will catalyse the conversations necessary to inform a robust framework of governance for global digital currencies.

The news comes just days after the WEF outlined a “Blockchain Bill of Rights”. A group of central banks also announced last week they would create a working group to evaluate use cases for the nascent technology.”

See Also: Coinbase and Ripple Execs Unveil Master Plan to Drive US Crypto Adoption

“The [Task Force] is focused on the standards and specifications used to integrate the Ethereum Mainnet with ERP, CRM, and other corporate systems of record.

Rearranging existing architectures around centralised ERP-systems towards decentralization implicates new ideas about how systems interact, and what kind of (internal) states can or should be recorded in a publicly available distributed ledger.

We are excited to see all of these companies working together to realize the benefits of using Ethereum mainnet in enterprise applications.”

See Also: Ethereum Goes Multichain

“A lawsuit accuses the frontman of the TRON cryptocurrency and his business associate of harassing and firing two employees, allegedly as payback for the employees’ objections to management practices and applications of the technology they were developing.

Hall said he flagged the risks of third parties hosting copyright-infringing content and child pornography, but Sun and Li cared little about his proposal to retain lawyers to review the TRON Foundation’s BitTorrent updates.

The court case throws Sun deeper into the fray of mounting scrutiny over his cryptocurrency businesses.”

“Bitcoin gold, a cryptocurrency that forked from bitcoin in 2017, has again been hit by 51 percent attacks. The is not the first time bitcoin gold has seen such an attack. In May 2018 around $18 million in the cryptocurrency was reportedly double spent.

Two deep blockchain reorganizations (or reorgs) resulted in double spends of 1,900 BTG and 5,267 BTG, respectively. The losses amount to around $87,500 at current prices.

Interestingly, bitcoin gold’s value has risen since news of the attack broke.” 😂

Optimistic Rollups on Ethereum

See Also: ‘Optimism’, formerly Plasma Group, Scaling Ethereum (video)

Major Swiss private banking and wealth management group Julius Baer has launched a digital assets trading and custodial service via a partnership with regulated crypto-specialist Seba.

To meet what it deems to be an increasing demand, Julius Baer will be offering its clients services such as secure digital asset custody, cryptocurrency transaction solutions, as well as consolidated portfolio overviews.”

“Ditto Music, which paid out $100 million in royalties last year, claims a roster of 250,000 artists including the likes of Ed Sheeran, Sam Smith and Royal Blood.

Bluebox is designed to split royalty payments for a recording’s lifetime and accurately track plays on the system. The app records music around legally-binding smart contracts, which are written into code and instantly copyrights the content. 

There’s billions of dollars of unclaimed royalties out there. The blockchain can help millions of artists claim what is rightfully theirs.”

“The Israeli Securities Authority (ISA) has issued a Request For Information to identify potential regulations that prevent the development of blockchain-based ventures in the country.

The regulator emphasized that DLT ‘has the potential to promote the Israeli capital market.'”

January 26

Great read – Highly recommended.

The reason I know crypto will disrupt traditional finance is because our system is permissionless and theirs isn’t.

Centralized power, even when in the hands of intelligent and well intentioned people, is much less inventive than decentralized, bottom-up experimentation. This is why market based economies flourish, despite seeming chaotic and haphazard, while command and control economies have all failed spectacularly.

Traditional web APIs are de facto permissioned. They’re controlled by the company that creates them. By contrast, smart contract based applications are de facto permissionless. Every smart contract application exposes an on-chain API which any other smart contract or frontend can utilize. In turn, whatever you build will be a tool in the next developer’s toolbelt. It’s platforms all the way down.

Smart contracting cryptonetworks aren’t just powerful permissionless platforms. They’re permissionless platforms for building permissionless platforms.”

Great in-depth metrics for Ethereum through 2019.

“In 2019, it’s clear that there’s enough real activity at the application layer to give us some confidence that Ethereum is growing in the right directions. The work being done at the protocol level means that Eth1 can be sustainable in the medium-term, and steady tangible progress on Eth 2 builds confidence that Ethereum could someday scale to billions of users. It’s been a harsh winter, but Ethereum kept on building straight through it.

See Also: What’s New in Eth2: Jan 24

“We’re now at the point where it’s possible to build and track a sophisticated crypto money portfolio without a broker and without a bank.

Wall Street extracts 20% GDP to do the stuff you can do on Ethereum for pennies.

See Also: Zerion

“Covantis, a blockchain initiative backed by global agribusiness giants like Cargill, has selected major Ethereum-focused firm ConsenSys as a technology partner.

Within the partnership, ConsenSys will build an Ethereum-based blockchain platform to digitize the post-trade finance industry and bring efficiencies and cost savings to the international agribusiness supply chain.

This platform is evidence that blockchain technology has started to deliver on its promise of unlocking value through collaboration and removal of information silos within and across industries.

See Also: Covantis

“I think a better way to fund development is mining pools voluntarily donate a portion of the block reward.

At current LTC price, 1% of block rewards is about 7x Litecoin Foundation’s yearly expenses. Even if a small percent of miners are generous enough to donate, the foundation would be able to put it to good use by funding developers to work on Litecoin Core, Mimble Wimble, LiteWallet, LN wallet, hosting the yearly Litecoin Summit, and pushing for adoption of Litecoin by merchants and users.”

January 25

A fifth of the world’s population may well have access to a central bank digital currency (CBDC) in as little as three years.

30 percent of respondents said they had active plans to issue some form of digital currency, with about 10 percent saying they were already developing pilot projects. 20 percent said a CBDC could be issued within the next six years. Another 10 percent were reported to be “imminently close” to launching a digital currency to the general public, possibly by 2023.

The BIS survey concluded that emerging economies generally had more incentive to issue CBDCs. Every bank that had progressed to active development or pilot projects came from an emerging economy.

“Politicians from Japan’s ruling Liberal Democratic Party plan to propose the nation issue its own digital currency.

China is moving toward issuing digital yuan, so we’d like to propose measures to counter such attempts.

Further, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe told parliament today the government will work with the BoJ to examine digital currencies and ways of improving the yen as a means of settlement.”

“Pieter Wuille, a Bitcoin Core contributor and the brains behind the update known as Taproot [a significant privacy and scaling upgrade], submitted a work-in-progress code change to GitHub in what’s known as a “pull request,” showing the code is ready for more developer eyes. 

Merging this is obviously conditional on getting community support for the proposal. It’s opened here to demonstrate the code changes that it would imply.

If no one in the community comes up with any valid objections to Taproot (such as uncovering a security vulnerability) it could become the biggest change the digital currency has seen since 2017 [SegWit].

Ripple insiders prepare to dump onto the public (pre-SEC ruling? 🧐). 😆

Ripple CEO Brad Garlinghouse said an initial public offering (IPO) is seen as the ‘natural evolution for the company,’ perhaps even this year.

Garlinghouse made the comments at a Ripple-sponsored session at The Wall Street Journal lounge at the World Economic Forum.”

Ivan interviews former CFTC head, aka ‘Crypto Dad’, on the Digital Dollar Project

“‘We’ve been trying for 30 years,’ he said, referencing efforts to move beyond the U.S. dollar by settling oil contracts in euros. ‘Until bitcoin is regulated like the stock market, I don’t see that happening.’ However, if oil contracts were to be settled in currencies beyond the dollar, Jafar said that might be driven by political factors related to Russia and China.

China Blockchain Delegation Chairman Danny Deng said China’s blockchain-based currency, which he expects the People’s Bank of China (PBoC) to launch on a limited scale in 2020, could offer a backbone for energy markets. Several Chinese businessmen who work with the government and PBoC agreed the bank could offer an alternative to dollar settlement systems by 2021.

“The SCFM claims to have access to an “analytical product” that purportedly allows investigators to look at the origins of crypto assets as well as their uses.

It is impossible to stop operations now, but it is possible to block crypto wallets and remove illegally obtained crypto assets. This can be done by gaining access to the crypto’s private keys as a result of complex investigations.”

Altcoins to Watch

See Also: Unibright partnership with the EEA? (video)

“PlanetWatch announced earlier today the battle-testing of air quality monitors linked to research firm Algorand’s blockchain. The goal for the partnership is ‘a global network of air quality sensors and environmentally-conscious people.’

It is currently operating in several Italian cities (fixed installations and mobile ones on trolleys and buses), plus a long-term installation test in the Arctic.”

“Noting that he’s ‘neither here nor there on Bitcoin,’ Musk focused on its use for illegal transactions.

There are transactions that are not within the bounds of the law — there are obviously many laws in different countries — and normally cash is used for these transactions. But in order for illegal transactions to occur, the cash must also be used for legal transactions. You need an illegal-to-legal bridge. That’s where crypto comes in.

January 24

The toolkit is the WEF’s attempt to help policy-makers understand whether deploying a CBDC would be advantageous and guide them through its design. The WEF’s framework divides CBDCs into three categories: retail, wholesale and hybrid.

Risks, including: 1) bank disintermediation risk, which could reduce bank profits and lending activity; 2) digital‐bank‐run risk as depositors may rapidly convert commercial bank deposits to CBDC.

Transaction approval could follow a pre‐specified consensus process determined by the central bank, which could include privileges for the central bank such as transaction ‘veto’ powers or visibility. It is also possible to develop a DLT system in which the central bank remains the only validating node.”

See Also: BIS: No Evidence of Mass Transition From CBDC Research to Pilots and Experiments
See Also: Hawaiian Bill Would Let Banks Act as Crypto Custodians

‘Tether Says’…🙄

Tether Gold ‘represents ownership of one troy fine ounce of physical gold on a specific gold bar.’ The new stablecoins, with the XAU₮ ticker, will be issued on ethereum and tron as ERC-20 and TRC20 tokens.

Tether Gold is launching in response to the growing demand for a digital asset that provides exposure to the world’s most enduring asset and a geopolitical need for an alternative financial system.

Tether will charge no custody fees and ‘has direct control over the physical gold storage.‘”

See Also: Pornhub Now Lets Models Get Paid With the Tether Stablecoin

“Jiang Zhuoer, CEO of mining pool BTC.TOP, said that a group of some of the largest bitcoin cash mining pools were preparing to soft fork the network to implement a “short-term donation plan” that would cut block rewards by 12.5 percent in order to fund network development.

Signed by Jihan Wu of Antpool/BTC.com, Roger Ver from Bitcoin.com and ViaBTC’s Haipo Yang, Zhuoer’s post argues there are “significant problems” with the current funding mechanism. A report by crypto investment firm Electric Capital found bitcoin cash lost more than 30 percent of its developers between December 2018 and June 2019, the largest drop of any major blockchain network.

Zhuoer’s post says BCH blocks that don’t follow the soft fork “will be orphaned,” meaning they won’t be accepted by the five mining pools and risk not receiving any block reward whatsoever. Funds will also be directed into an unnamed “Hong Kong corporation” that will coordinate and pay for network development.”

See Also: How Bitcoin Cash mining tax will affect Bitcoin halving

“Chairman of Security and Exchange Board of India(SEBI) said that applications of blockchain, artificial intelligence and machine learning have the potential to bring a paradigm shift in the securities markets landscape.

Blockchain could be used in clearing, settlement and record-keeping given its benefits in maintaining records in distributed ledgers, while still being a single source of truth. There is a need for active research into these technologies to explore their best possible usage in securities markets.”

“Gemini has finished a SOC 2 Type 2 evaluation, proving the operation’s security. The SOC 2 Type 2 exam includes Gemini’s trading and investing platform, as well as its custody services.

The Type 2 is the highest level of security compliance that any organization can demonstrate. We’re the only crypto exchange and custodian to demonstrate this level of security compliance.”

“The fund provides exposure to a global real estate portfolio through AARGO security tokens – built on the ethereum blockchain – with each token representing one share in the fund.

Being on the ERC-20 token standard means the company can readily integrate with a “growing decentralized finance (DeFi) ecosystem.”

“Digital asset storage provider Ledger is partnering with FLETA, a South Korea-based blockchain platform, for decentralized applications (dapps) to provide custodian services compliant with local laws.

Ledger does not just offer the security of storing crypto, it also allows financial institutions to build customized governance rules. We are helping crypto companies, such as exchanges, funds and custodians, to basically abide by the regulations when it comes to wallet management.”

  • “This market is primarily used by investors who view bitcoin as an alternative store of value from traditional currency, and can be thought of as a barometer for buy-and-hold sentiment.  
  • Institutional participation in cryptocurrencies may be lagging due to persisting imbalances in the underlying liquidity of these assets across various exchanges.
  • One of the breakout successes of 2019 was decentralized finance (DeFi) applications. User traction on ethereum continued to climb even when market price for ETH started to decline.

January 23

“The plugin –-  powered by a combination of [the public VeChain] blockchain and a cloud-based application called “TAM” –-  enables brands to generate non-fungible tokens (NFTs) that are pegged to physical assets. Consumers who purchase a product containing an NFT can scan that item to verify its authenticity. 

Shopify, which has grown to become one of the most popular ecommerce platforms in the world, consists of over 500 thousand active online stores. Shopify is the third-largest online retailer in the US, right behind Amazon and eBay.  

A number of companies are currently beta testing the Shopify plugin. The plugin will officially be released in Q1 of this year.

The RBI has not prohibited VCs (virtual currencies) in the country. The RBI has directed the entities regulated by it to not provide services to those persons or entities dealing in or settling VCs.”

“Hong Kong and Thailand’s central banks have stepped closer to implementing a joint central bank digital currency (CBDC) for cross-border payments.

Following a successful PoC, the banks concluded that the CBDC has the potential to significantly reduce intermediaries and settlement layers in comparison to the traditional banking payments system as well as prevent risks such as double spending.

The project is based on R3’s blockchain platform Corda and implements smart contracts in order to perform atomic Payment-versus-Payment (PvP) settlements for foreign exchange.”

The network itself can automatically exchange the sender’s payment into the asset specified by the receiver.

The present technology permits a first party to pay in any currency, while permitting the second party to be paid in any currency.

Consumers can pay in their preferred asset – using a privacy coin to keep their identities secret, for example – and merchants receive the full value in an asset they want to hold.”

“The enterprise blockchain consortium launched the Hyperledger Climate Action and Accounting Special Interest Group (SIG) during the World Economic Forum (WEF) Annual Meeting. The Climate SIG will enable participants to share ideas and findings on how distributed ledgers can help governments and companies coordinate on reducing global emissions.

DLTs are central to the creation of a global and open climate accounting system that helps integrate all actors and actions under the same planetary goal.

Members will develop the mechanisms required to enable trustless emissions and climate statistics reporting, and will create the protocols and standards suitable for companies and governments around the world.

Most experts at Davos appear to agree blockchain technology should be used for more data collection, not self-sovereign finance. 

While he didn’t suggest it should be banned outright, Jabbarov’s primary concern was collecting know-your-customer (KYC) information associated with bitcoin ownership.

There’s widespread concern about bitcoin wallets that essentially allow “secret bank accounts.”There needs to be unique identities of natural persons in this data.'”

See Also: Chinese Experts Suggest Using Blockchain Tech in ‘Social Credit’ System
See Also: What the Clearview scandal means for your privacy
See Also: Telegram CEO: Apple’s iCloud Is “Now Officially a Surveillance Tool”

Good Watch: Monero’s Fluffypony Weighs in at Davos

“Each “torchbearer” sends a tiny amount of bitcoin to the next. The goal is to highlight the speed and global nature of the lightning network. It’s moving around the world much faster the second time around, already reaching 91 people in three days.”

“The asset manager will continue to donate one-third of the management fees from its Grayscale Ethereum Classic Trust to the ETC Cooperative each quarter through 2021.

Since 2017, Grayscale has donated a total of $1.1 million, including $338,000 in 2019, to the cooperative, which funds development of the protocol.”

“Annotations and in-line comments themselves will be hosted on readers’ devices using GUN. Both firms are working towards further blockchain feature integrations in the near future.

Less dependency on central entities is essential for the internet to mature into a technology that works for the people using it.”

“Sports live-streaming provider SportsCastr is launching its own [ERC-20] cryptocurrency to reward viewers and encourage interactions. SportsCastr says the tokens can be earned at the “thousands of sports bars” on FanWide’s U.S. network and will be redeemable for cash.

FanWide has promoted over 1.5 million watch parties and is the official fan club network of teams in the NFL, LaLiga, Ruby League and others.”

January 22

The central banks of Canada, the United Kingdom, Japan, European Union, Sweden and Switzerland created a group with the Bank for International Settlements (BIS) to jointly research central bank digital currencies (CBDC).

The group will assess CBDC use cases; economic, functional and technical design choices, including cross-border interoperability; and the sharing of knowledge on emerging technologies.

The research group will be co-chaired by head of the BIS Innovation Hub and Deputy Governor of the Bank of England.”

See Also: 2020: The Year of DeFi (Video)

“The parting appears to be amicable, with Vodafone leaving specifically to focus on its own related service and not due to the regulatory concerns that apparently spooked other former members.

Vodafone will dedicate resources previously intended for Libra to its well-established and successful digital payment service M-Pesa, which the company plans to expand beyond the six African nations currently served.

Libra intends to admit new members to the Association in 2020, a person familiar with the situation said. The waitlist is currently north of 1,500 companies.”

See Also: Switzerland Softens Tone on Libra After Ex-President Says Project ‘Failed’
See Also: 3 More Execs Leave Swiss Stock Exchange’s $100M Blockchain Project

“Iceland-based Monerium, which has a European Economic Area (EEA) e-money license, has entered into a non-exclusive partnership with Algorand. The deal will see the two companies collaborate on developing ‘real-world use cases that are enabled by advanced blockchain technology‘ using Monerium’s “programmable” e-money.

Monerium allows clients to develop blockchain-based financial services, such as cross-border settlements, using any fiat currency of choice such as the euro, pound sterling or U.S. dollar. The firm holds clients’ deposits of fiat currency and releases them in digital form for use on a blockchain.

The e-money license granted by the Icelandic Financial Supervisory Authority in June 2019, allows the firm to operate across the EEA, which includes EU countries.

“Square Crypto, the payment company’s bitcoin-focused wing, is building a “Lightning Development Kit” for wallet and app developers to more easily build on the layer-2 solution.

The new kit includes an API, language tools, demo apps and other features to help developers integrate support for Lightning payments into their own wallets.”

“The regulator sees two distinct types of digital wallets:

Some, but not all, digital wallets hold stored value on behalf of customers and are pre-paid facilities. Others (such as Apple Pay) hold customers’ credit/debit card details and only facilitate payments from that nominated account.

APRA states that it would oversee digital currency wallets that are widely used for payments and value storage, such as Libra’s corresponding Calibra wallet, while excluding wallets that are mostly used to pass payments through, such as Apple Pay.”

“Grayscale filed a Form 10 to the SEC in November, opening the trust up to investors currently restricted from participating in non-regulated vehicles.

The trust’s shares are now registered under the Exchange Act of 1934, making the Grayscale Bitcoin Trust the first cryptocurrency investment vehicle to become a reporting company. The trust now has to publicly file its quarterly and annual reports as 10-Qs and 10-Ks with the SEC and publish updates on unscheduled material events and corporate changes.”

The platform will enable institutional investors to use crypto services such as liquidity pools, a regulated fiat channel and over-the-counter (OTC) trading via its smart order routing system and trading algorithm. Huobi plans to roll out custodian services, and interest rate and alpha products in the second quarter of this year.

One of the core value propositions of Huobi Brokerage is that it provides clients with best-price execution on large block orders.”

A sly change to its whitepaper means Binance no longer reveals how much profit it makes each quarter.

The whitepaper now says, ‘Every quarter, we will destroy BNB based on the trading volume on our crypto-to-crypto platform until we destroy 50% of all the BNB.’ Whether they are burning 20% or 80%, the short answer is: We don’t know.”

Youtube has purged more crypto videos, just weeks after admitting that an algorithmic error caused it to ban many videos and channels.”

“It’s the first successful live deployment on the Ethereum mainnet of something called a “scalable Harberger tax contract,” and it might just help save at-risk animals. The project unites user incentives related to patronage, collectibles, and profit.

Wildcards is a platform that represents endangered animals as non-fungible tokens.’ Organizations doing relief work for the recent Australian wildfires might list tokenized koalas for sale, for example.

Animal tokens on Wildcards are always for sale. As you buy, you have to immediately set a selling price for someone to buy that token from you. But you pay a percentage of that designated selling price, called a harberger tax, in order to prevent you from setting that price to $5 million.

“It is developing two devices, named Turpial and Harpia, that would allow anyone to connect to the Bitcoin blockchain using long-range radio waves. Their application is not limited to BTC — any other blockchain like Monero could be integrated, or even messaging and file transfer systems like IPFS.

We are making something for the situations where you don’t have Internet at all, either due to lack of infrastructure, targeted censorship or in case you want to be completed anonymous.”

“The project will enable the local government and other stakeholders to manage the reserve fund for social aid on the blockchain. The city aims to launch a prototype within six months and go live within a year. Konya hopes to be a global model for local governments.

The cryptocurrency we are currently developing will be used in social aid programs, municipal corporations’ activities, public transport, and environmental services. This blockchain-based local ecosystem will serve the Konya citizens. The project will also see the development of a payment system to enable crypto in many municipal services.”

“The Canadian government has awarded enterprise blockchain startup Mavennet a procurement contract for the development of an on-chain steel-tracking platform.

The goal, as set out by ISED, is for Mavennet to build a blockchain proof-of-concept prototype that can track and share real-time data across the supply chain in the Canadian steel industry.”

January 20

“South Korea is considering re-classifying returns made on cryptocurrencies as a type of “other income,” placing it in the same category as money earned from lotteries, rather than as a form of capital gains, as it is currently treated.

The official added that no plans had yet been finalized, suggesting the tax plan could be amended or even thrown out by the ministry.”

Blockchain is more prominent on the WEF agenda than in years past but that’s not to say the technology will have a starring role in the Congress Centre itself. Central bank digital currencies (CBDCs) will [likely] dominate the conversation this year.

Crypto-related events on Monday:

  • The Blockchain Economic Forum kicks off with a keynote from Chris Giancarlo, the former chairman of the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission.
  • ConsenSys chief Joe Lubin is headlining CryptoMountain Rocks, promising ample discussion of decentralized finance (DeFi), stablecoins and what to expect in 2020.

“Project Ragnarok, a measure to return ether to ICO investors from the Digix project’s treasury – which was held independently of the company in a decentralized autonomous organization (DAO), DigixDAO – has passed with over 95 percent support. Digix itself does not plan on closing up shop given the results of the vote, however.

With the passage, a contract will be executed, unstaking and giving back 0.19 ETH per DGD – near par with the current value of DGD.”

Good interview w/inventor of the yield curve signal.

The Tezos Foundation earlier this week released the “Tezos Foundation’s Faucet,” available to everyone with a Tezos wallet. Enter your Tezos wallet address and complete the ReCaptcha puzzle to join a queue, whereupon you’ll receive up to 0.01 XTZ every 12 hours.

Development faucets are nothing new, but it’s rare that they’re used to disburse real funds; usually, they’re reserved for dishing out testnet tokens.”

See Also: Maker COO Interview (video)

“Hoskinson noted that he expects Cardano’s consensus algorithm to be upgraded with a hard fork next month. He said that he has “pretty high certainty” that the Ouroboros Bizantine Fault-Tolerant Consensus Protocol (OBFT) will be implemented in mid-February.”

“Chinese blockchain spending in areas of investment and financing deals has dropped over 40% in 2019.

As part of the study, Xinhua found that early-stage investments like Series A funding rounds accounted for 43.3% in 2019, while the proportion of strategic investment and mergers and acquisitions in the second half of 2019 increased significantly. Additionally, 292 institutions have totally participated in those investments.”

😂😂 I hesitate to continue to cover this blatant con artist.

“When asked why he himself is not one of the trustees, he said: 

Because I’m smart enough not to be. Because then people could force me to actually move coins. You can take things from trustees. If it was mine, people could have seized assets from me.”