February 29

“Internal documents obtained by BuzzFeed revealed New York-based Clearview AI – a startup facing legal threats from Apple and Google as well as calls for greater scrutiny into its practices – had already shared or sold its technology to roughly 2,200 companies and authorities around the world.

Clearview’s software trawls websites and social media platforms to scrape data and match images posted online to persons of interest.

Coinbase was among the organizations that had used the software for at least one search. It hasn’t yet committed to using the product, they said.”

“As part of a defamation case in front of the New South Wales, or NSW district court, Judge Judith Gibson allowed cryptocurrency usage as collateral.

This is a recognized form of investment.”

“Through interviews conducted with multiple teams at ETHDenver earlier this month, it became apparent that this isn’t 2016’s DAO.

From coordinating the hackathon’s winners to purchasing meals at Capitol Hill food trucks in Denver’s historic Capitol Hill neighborhood, DAOs ran ETHDenver. Even the winning hackathon team was a DAO: Coz, a project aimed at being more efficient at distributing aid than non-profits.

If ETHDenver 2019’s focus on DeFi was an early indicator of that sector’s growth, DAOs could be much more prominent in 12 months’ time.

Hours after experiencing a major denial of service attacks (DDoS) attack, Bitfinex has announced it repaid another part of the loan facility to Tether.

The new $100 million repayment marks yet another move in the long-term controversial relationship of Bitfinex and Tether as both companies are facing class lawsuits accusing them of crypto market manipulation.”

“Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) recently disclosed “Cryptocurrency Intelligence Program” (CIP) is deployed in every crypto-facing Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) case.

The budget proposal described CIP as an unlicensed money services business identifier that crawls across illicit crypto-broker hotspots – peer-to-peer sites, darknet markets, classifieds – to gather intelligence. 

The BCSC established the CIP to adapt to changing methodologies and technology to target money laundering related to all types of criminal activity.”

“In an industry defined by the ideals of decentralization, companies like Binance and Kraken say they have been implementing this playbook for years: most of their employees already work remotely.

And while firms around the world scramble to develop protocols for what is increasingly likely to become a pandemic, and as capital markets plummet on global investors’ fears that the worst of the coronavirus outbreak is yet to come, these exchanges say they are going about business as usual.

They don’t need to shut their headquarters; they don’t have headquarters

“Chief Technology Officer David Schwartz said Ripple is working on “exciting” new features to broaden the ledger’s functionality and allow third-party users to introduce other cryptocurrencies into the XRP ecosystem.

Stablecoins is the obvious use case, but it’s not just stablecoins it’s essentially assets pegged to some external value.

Schwartz said asset-backed tokens on XRP would have “guaranteed” liquidity because of the ledger’s mechanics.”

The company unveiled a new type of a blockchain-based voting machine using Polys, the system released back in November 2017 designed to be an effective and secure way to vote online.

Elections running with this system would work like distributed ledger technology; the vote would be encrypted, while the link between the voter who cast it would be verified. Voters would then be able to confirm their vote had been recorded on the blockchain.

E-voting can solve some of these issues, allowing more possibilities for remote participation and even increasing turnout of younger people.”

Bernie has seen his price drop 21% to 51c/share, while Biden’s ascended 123% to 29c/share.

One of two things is probably going to happen in the Palmetto State: Joe Biden will win and get the juice to pick up a handful of Southern states on Super Tuesday. If Biden can win South Carolina…then lots of markets are going to pump in his favor.”

February 28

Loopring Exchange is the first publicly accessible zkRollup exchange on Ethereum mainnet. This is the user-facing product we have built on our own Loopring protocol, and we consider the exchange a public beta.

It is 100% non-custodial, inheriting Ethereum-level security guarantees while capable to perform at a throughput 1000x greater (and 600x cheaper settlement cost) than the current state of the art layer-1 DEXes.

There is no KYC to trade on Loopring.io and no personal data of any kind to be collected: an Ethereum address is all you need.

See Also: Synthetix Adds ETH Collateral
See Also: Torus v1.0: The Path to Decentralized Custody
See Also: WebAssembly / eWasm – Explainer (recommended read)

“Secure myState combines and implements existing blockchain integrations with a mindset of making government services easily accessible for everyone.

It’s a place where you can operate as a citizen, or a business entity; a document upload & verification system; an occupational license repository; [and] a one-stop-shop, for the people, by the people.”

See Also: Demo (Video)

“The $2.2 billion represents 16 different Class A commercial properties based in Austin and Houston, Texas, Brooklyn, N.Y., Oakland, Calif., and Ontario, Canada. New York City-based Red Swan is holding investors’ funds in escrow and plans to distribute shares in April.

Tokenization has struggled to transform the multitrillion-dollar real estate market as institutions hesitate to re-engineer back offices until they see liquidity. Red Swan claims it has 30,000 accredited investors on its platform.

The tokens are ST-20 tokens running on Ethereum, but Red Swan plans to switch over to an Enterprise blockchain platform in the future.”

See Also: RealT Increases Property Yields with Compound

“There are a number of moving parts when it comes to meeting travel rule requirements, including creating an identity system across a universe of VASPs, the storing and sharing of personally identifiable information (PII) without compromising privacy, and agreeing on a standardized messaging or data transmission system.

Some players believe a decentralized blockchain-based approach is needed to solve the travel rule problem in a manner appropriate to crypto companies, while others would prefer to rely on more centralized systems. 

We have been working with OpenVASP on interoperability already. Because the Shyft blockchain is a forked version of ethereum, you can actually deploy all of OpenVASP’s smart contracts fully onto Shyft.”

“Eric Wall, CIO of the Nordic cryptocurrency investment firm Arcane Assets, described the project as ‘the worst coin to have gotten as high as it did.’

The cryptography community doesn’t even know what to say about them at this point. First their custom-made hash-function was broken and you could forge transactions. Now they had to shut down their network because their wallet was hacked. This is insane because you should not be able to shut down a decentralized network.

The sort of meta-question the industry is asking itself is whether IOTA can successfully keep their partnerships and convert themselves into somewhat of a success by replacing the technology pieces as they go, without having had any viable plan whatsoever when they began. They’re pushing the boundaries of the fake-it-till-you-make-it approach to the extreme.”

“The plan is to enable game developers to create games within the dashboard, or simply insert code into an existing game that would integrate the Lightning Network for payments. There is a growing trend of players who want to be compensated for their time.

Users could be compensated for their attention especially when it comes to being bombarded by adverts.

I personally think that digital economies will become bigger than ‘real’ economies in our lifetime.”

See Also: Fake Horses, Real Bets: Unikrn Is Putting Racetrack NFTs on Ethereum

“Chamath Palihapitiya, the billionaire chairman of spaceflight company Virgin Galactic, has recommended that everyone hold Bitcoin (BTC) as a form of crisis insurance. 

When you see the amount of leverage the financial industry is running, and you think about all these dislocations and all these exogenous things that are happening that you can’t predict, there’s a lot of risk to the downside, and it will be great that an average individual citizen, of any country in the world, has an uncorrelated hedge.”

February 27

“Arca Funds wants to create a fund to buy U.S. Treasury bonds and then use them to back a digital token created atop the ethereum blockchain network. Those tokens will then be distributed to investors. Executives with the project say they’re hopeful for the go-ahead in the next few months.

The ERC-1404 standard allows shareholders to interoperate with the entire ethereum ecosystem with added functionality that allows the fund to enforce transfer restrictions within the ArCoin smart contract.

The ultimate prize for crypto-focused entrants like Arca is that a new market for digital token-based funds might spring up to compete with exchange-traded funds, or ETFs, which can be traded like shares on venues such as the New York Stock Exchange and Nasdaq.

In materials on closely held Arca’s website, executives describe the proposed ArCoin as a “blockchain-traded fund,” or BTF.

“The securities regulator wrote the New York-based Wilshire Phoenix had not proven the bitcoin (BTC) market is sufficiently resistant to market manipulation.

SEC Commissioner Hester Peirce, known as “crypto mom” in the space, published a dissent, writing that the agency applies a “heightened standard” to bitcoin products.

This line of disapprovals leads me to conclude that this Commission is unwilling to approve the listing of any product that would provide access to the market for bitcoin and that no filing will meet the ever-shifting standards that this Commission insists on applying to bitcoin-related products—and only to bitcoin-related products.”

“Trinity College Dublin’s chair of computer systems, Dr. Douglas Leigth, authored a study comparing Chrome, Firefox, Safari, Microsoft Edge and Yandex in terms of how much personal data they share with backend servers. Brave’s default configuration was by far the best of the bunch.

Used ‘out of the box’ with its default settings Brave is by far the most private of the browsers studied. We did not find any use of identifiers allowing tracking of IP address over time, and no sharing of the details of web pages visited with backend servers.”

Users can send cryptocurrencies by asking recipients for their wallet usernames like “@walletfan” and use them as the sending addresses. To be clear, the short usernames do not replace 16-digit wallet addresses but instead provide a more user-friendly representative that sits on top.

The new support also includes an integration with ENS, allowing Coinbase Wallet users to send cryptocurrencies to .eth addresses.

We believe these improvements will make cryptocurrency much easier to use and help drive adoption with a more mainstream audience.”

“Decentralized finance (DeFi) platform Compound is going ahead and decentralizing itself. Compound is launching the testnet of its experimental governance platform today, complete with a trial version of its COMP governance token.

Community members who feel it should incorporate other assets will now have a much better chance to get their way, because updates will be a matter for users to decide.

From here, Compound will focus on building services that run on Compound.

The coronavirus outbreak has led to postponed work resumption in government institutions, including the People’s Bank of China. Policymakers and research staff involved in the DCEP [Digital Currency Electronic Payment] project are no exception, which weighs on the development process.

A blockchain researcher at the Yangtze Delta Region Institute of Tsinghua University said that he expects the launch of the CBDC to still happen this year.

“Unlike trusted-setup systems, Supersonic requires no trust from third parties. A trustless zk-SNARK like Supersonic is a major breakthrough in cryptography within the last year, especially as decentralized finance applications gain traction.

Verifiable delay functions are a cryptographic tool that can be used to create perfect randomness, which is necessary for proof-of-stake networks. VDFs will be used in ETH 2.0. There is already a lot of investment in building good hardware and software support for VDFs.

“The platform will allow fans to own gamified ‘tokenized representations of their favorite fighters‘ resembling Tamagotchis, with fans able to train, level up, and manage diets to qualify for different weight classes.

Flow is Dapper Labs’ forthcoming blockchain project, which the firm describes as a developer-friendly platform for building blockchain apps, games and digital assets. Flow has seen ‘enormous interest from organizations and individuals across music, entertainment, and sports.‘”

“The regulator notes in its conclusion that digital ledger-based settlement could provide a “workable solution.” However, it adds a number of the respondents said that unless there are changes at the EU level relating to central securities depository (CSD) rules, there are obstacles to the introduction of the tech.

It looks likely Malta is looking to shed its reputation as a hub for money laundering.”

“Crypto prime brokerage service Tagomi is joining the Libra Association, becoming the 22nd member and the second to join since the group was formally founded in October 2019.”

A lawsuit claiming Ripple violated securities laws will be allowed to move forward.

Hamilton said the suit can include claims filed under federal law but dismissed some claims filed under California state law. The putative lawsuit is now stretching into its second year, after a number of similar complaints were consolidated and moved from state court to federal.”

February 26

The central bank does not see a real need to issue its own cryptocurrency unless a competitor to cash takes off.

We have concluded that there is not a compelling case to issue a CBDC at this time. Canadians will continue to be well-served by the existing payment ecosystem, provided it is modernized and remains fit for purpose.

The widespread use of private cryptocurrencies could change this calculation, he said.

It’s tough to predict if Libra will ever live up to its promises or even come into existence. But it is a good example of a transformative technology that affects how the bank needs to respond to the future of money.”

“The industrial era birthed the joint-stock company, a legal construct that helped fuel tremendous innovation and global growth — one that some have credited as being one of the most important innovations ever invented.

The blockchain era will be defined by decentralized organizations and DAOs, an evolution of the joint-stock company and one fashioned for open decentralized networks and not top-down, command and control companies.

The LAO is the next great experiment in this endeavor. The LAO is resurrecting The DAO in a way that aims to comply with US law, building a democratically managed decentralized organization that can invest in blockchain-based projects in a snap.”

See Also: MetaCartel Ventures Public Launch

“Nornickel, the Russian mining and smelting giant, has taken another step toward the issuance of tokens backed by metals on Atomyze, a Hyperledger-based blockchain platform.

The first batch of tokens will be backed by palladium, cobalt and copper mined by Nornickel. Over the first year, Nornickel expects to tokenize up to 10 percent of its overall sales volume.

“ConsenSys Health will be specifically targeting the U.S. healthcare market as the most ripe for disruption, citing its high per-capita cost — by far the highest among OECD countries.

According to ConsenSys, blockchain can improve on this by addressing the rising costs of research and administration. Making data sharing safer and faster, expanding access to care and engaging patients directly are some of the initiatives where blockchain can help.

Spinning off a separate company in this area is an opportunity for us to combine the powerful technology built by ConsenSys with a team of domain leaders to solve the biggest challenges in healthcare.”

“The community deemed action necessary because Steemit owns a giant pile of tokens that could be used to take over the blockchain. It is believed that Sun, a savvy marketer and controversial figure in the industry, now owns that giant pile.

When the soft fork was executed, the network’s validators, called witnesses, blocked STEEM held by a limited set of accounts from voting on who governs the network and participating in other ways that might allow it to seize control.”

“After facing multiple delays, Filecoin (FIL) is now looking toward a mainnet launch in Q3 2020 — which will be supported by a Gemini exchange custody solution.

The Filecoin project is a decentralized storage system based in the cloud. Its InterPlanetary File System, or IPFS, requires FIL coins as payment to miners in exchange for storage space.”

“Starkware believes it can solve two of the most pressing issues in crypto trading — the inherent vulnerability of centralized exchanges and the low transactional capacity of decentralized ones. 

We basically provide a scalability engine for exchanges. We batch a large number of trades together (could be tens of thousands) and prepare a single STARK proof, which attests to the validity of the entire batch.

Therefore, the system becomes self-custodial which almost completely eliminates the risk of an exchange mismanaging users’ deposits. Its first use-case is the Deversify exchange, an Ether DEX, launched by Bitfinex.”

“Status had been working on the improvements to the Whisper protocol before realizing its significant scalability issues. In 2019 the team forked Whisper to create Waku. Its current version can handle up to 1,000 daily users. However, the team expects Waku 1.2 to handle up to 100,000 users when it is released in 2-3 months.

But for Status to compete with mainstream giants such as WhatsApp, Telegram, Signal the company is simultaneously working on another modular peer-to-peer messaging stack from the ground up.

We don’t rely on central servers, everything is p2p. All the messaging is routed via go-ethereum [Ethereum networking layer].”

Polkadot will be the first non-ethereum blockchain to integrate Chainlink.

Chainlink is set to become the first and primary oracle provider for all Substrate-based chains and eventually the entire Polkadot network.”

“Judge Katherine Failla heard this afternoon from three plaintiff teams suing iFinex et. al. and vying to serve as lead counsel in the emerging class action with potentially tens of thousands of injured members.

IFinex’s Tether (USDT) stablecoin firm and its Bitfinex subsidiary are charged with manipulating the Bitcoin market in 2017. The Griffin paper also found ‘insufficient Tether reserves before month-ends.'”

February 25

“Utility Settlement Coin (USC), the blockchain-based payments system involving commercial and central banks, will be working with ConsenSys-backed startup Adhara. Fnality raised $64.5 million in June 2019 from 14 shareholders including banking giants Barclays, Santander, BNY Mellon, ING and others.

Fnality’s plan is to represent five currencies on its blockchain – USD, euro, JPY, GBP and CAD – allowing wholesale banking transactions to happen instantly, cross-border and 24/7.

It’s quite likely given the regulations and the impact potentially on monetary policy … that something like Fnality will come into existence [before CBDCs]. But they are totally compatible.”

See Also: ‘Crucial’ for Central Banks to Consider Digital Currencies: Bank of England Exec
See Also: Central Bankers From Canada, Netherlands, Ukraine Call Blockchain Unnecessary for Digital Fiat

“Back when EOSIO, the software powering the $3.7 billion EOS chain, was just an idea, the crypto community debated whether delegated proof-of-stake, or DPoS, would lead to validation candidates effectively bribing users to support them. Now the community is all-in on what proponents call “voter rebates.”

Permitting payments makes it even easier for the wealthiest to cement their position. There is nothing stopping a validator from acting is if it were more than one entity, allowing whales to hold multiple spots on the governing council of block producers, effectively mounting a Sybil attack.

For the record, Vitalik Buterin called all of this. The ethereum (ETH) creator weighed in on what he saw as the inevitable vote-buying to come on EOS in a March 2018 post titled, “Governance, Part 2: Plutocracy Is Still Bad.””

See Also: EOS Network Suffering From Degraded Performance: Coinbase

“Finance ministers and central bankers from the G-20 are pushing for wider adoption of standards that compel cryptocurrency exchanges to disclose user information.

We urge countries to implement the recently adopted Financial Action Task Force (FATF) standards on virtual assets and related providers.”

“Caitlin Long, a former Wall Street executive who has helped Wyoming enact 13 blockchain-enabling laws, is taking advantage of the progressive Wyoming legislature to establish the first crypto-native bank in the U.S.

She believes that Blockstream is an ‘ideal partner for serving BIG institutional investors that require regulated banks to deliver them services around bitcoin in USD markets.‘ However, she states that Avanti will stay “protocol neutral” and will welcome all cryptocurrencies demanded by clients.

Long expects Avanti to open its doors in early 2021.”

“The purchase was made back in January 2014. At the time, Tyler Winklevoss acquired a ticket for Virgin Galactic’s passenger-carrying spaceship for 312.5 BTC, which was worth $250,000 at the time.

As such, Winklevoss’s initial investment of 312.5 BTC in the ticket is currently valued at over $3 million. Winklevoss has described it as his “Bitcoin Pizza moment.””

February 24

“Thousands of developers flocked to Denver, Colorado this weekend to participate in ETHDenver, one of the largest Ethereum hackathon and conferences in the U.S. Here’s an overview of several DeFi projects:

  • DeFiatInstant fiat to ERC-20 exchanges in a single transaction
  • 1x.agLeverage aggregator with automated trading strategies
  • ohmydefi – Decentralized options market
  • UpSideDai – Speculate on the price of Dai with 20x leverage
  • MakerDAO BTC Vaulta project that plans to use renBTC, a bitcoin-backed Ethereum, as collateral for MakerDAO’s Dai stablecoin
  • ShopiFi – DeFi E-commerce plugin

See Also: What’s New in Eth2

Cool concept!

“What if we could unify existing USD stablecoins into one asset per peg that is more usable, stable and secure than the sum of its parts, based on a sustainable and decentralised protocol?

To mint an mStable asset you send any of the underlying assets to the smart contract of that asset. For the USD asset, the underlying stablecoins could be USDC, TUSD, USDT, USDC, GUSD, DAI, and so on.

For example, if you send 100 DAI to the mUSD contract, you will receive 100 redeemable mUSD back. Minting costs you nothing. The process is the same for mGLD, mEUR, mBTC and so on.

Your mUSD is, in theory, more secure than your DAI as it’s backed by several other stablecoins.

See Also: Authereum is Live
See Also: Arbitrum Rollup is live on Testnet
See Also: Torus v1.0: The Path to Decentralized Custody

“When it comes to crypto games, Japan leads the pack with an estimated net worth of over $40 billion. In addition, expert blockchain researchers have predicted that with increasing smartphone penetration around the globe, the crypto gaming industry could take off even further in 2020 and beyond.

Here is a list of some popular blockchain-based games to watch out for in 2020.”

Good interview with Erik Voorhees

“While still in its infancy, the growth of crypto lending platforms has given birth to a new type of measuring metric: interest rates, which has the potential to draw in new investors while encouraging the movement of crypto capital out of storage and into markets.

Interest rates present a wide audience of investors unfamiliar with crypto with a compelling and straightforward metric to evaluate the digital asset class.”

“One of the latest episodes of “The Simpsons” featured Jim Parsons of Big Bang Theory appearing as a guest star to explain cryptocurrencies and how a blockchain works.

The song and dance predicts cryptocurrency to be the future money. ‘Each day I’m closer, to being the cash of the future. Not in your wallet, I’m in your computer!‘”

See Also: Watch (Video)

DeFi 101: 1-click Tx’s with DeFi Aggregator

“Per the paper, the groundwork for mainstream adoption of blockchain, fast payments and digital currencies is already in place. According to JP Morgan, the adoption of blockchain in banking is three to five years away.

The report also notes that the cryptocurrency market is showing signs of maturity such as increasing institutional participation and the introduction of new contracts on regulated exchanges.”

February 22

“ENS and Unstoppable Domains are confronting the hierarchical nature of the internet stack and the Domain Name System (DNS) by building out a peer-to-peer (P2P) internet alternative. Meanwhile, UniLogin provides a portal to Web 3.0 projects such as ENS.

Using the ethereum blockchain, this new crop of startups is helping developers get decentralized websites onto the internet without the approval of DNS authorities.

As an ethereum smart contract, Millegan said .eth domains are dependent on the ethereum network and not web hosting partners.

See Also: We tracked 133,000 Ethereum names and exposed their secrets
See Also: Universal Login Is Now… UniLogin!

Recommended read.

“Ren leverages a native virtual machine – RenVM – to unlock cross-chain DeFi interoperability for trustless asset exchange. We bring assets like Bitcoin, Bitcoin Cash, ZCash to DeFi – effectively expanding liquidity through an intuitive cross-chain user-experience.

With Ren, anyone can send real Bitcoin to an Ethereum-based contract. Best of all, trading is 1:1 – without any staking or wrapping.

Right now, the code is finished and undergoing a rigorous audit. I expect us to be live sometime between the end of Q1 to early Q2.”

“This is the first new member of the organization since its formation four months ago.

Shopify said in its blog post it intends to “work collectively” to build a payment network that works “everywhere.”

As a multinational commerce platform with over one million businesses in approximately 175 countries, Shopify, Inc., brings a wealth of knowledge and expertise to the Libra project.”

Binance is neither licensed to operate, nor is it regulated in Malta, the country’s chief financial watchdog has said.

The Malta Financial Services Authority (MFSA) issued a statement Friday denying it has ever regulated Binance or that the exchange has ever had leave to operate in the island nation’s fledgling cryptocurrency industry.

CEO Changpeng Zhao tweeted that ‘this is old news & has always been the case.’ It isn’t clear if Binance still has an office in Malta.”

See Also: Binance and Others Are Rushing to Provide Stablecoins to Nigerian Crypto Users

If the Swiss central bank doesn’t release its own coin by the end of 2020, SIX will launch its own Swiss franc stablecoin.Then you have a stablecoin but this is the problem: you have a counterparty risk involved.’

Instead, Moser wants the central bank to launch and issue its own digital currency. ‘That’s the exciting approach that we are working on.'”

“Over the past month, Bernie Sanders’ early primary strength has amassed him a commanding lead in Democratic Nomination markets. He’s currently trading in the mid-50s on PredictIt, up over 30c/share on second-place Bloomberg.

In the event of a contested convention, Bernie’s probability of winning would likely fall, as party insiders can tip the scales in favor of a more establishment nominee. If a clear-cut winner has not emerged after March 17, none of the crowded cast of candidates are incentivized to abandon the contest.”

“The catalyst this time is called Taproot/Schnorr, a years-in-the-making privacy and scaling upgrade that’s seen exciting progress recently.

There are two main options for enacting a soft fork. BIP 9 ensures the miners are prepared in advance of a soft fork, to make sure a change smoothly ripples throughout the network. A common objection to this approach is that it gives miners too much power.

Alternatively, there’s BIP 8, also known as the user-activated soft fork (UASF), which activates regardless of whether miners signal they are ready or not. Depending on execution, this approach could cause other problems.

Developing bitcoin is not a race. If we have to, waiting 42 months ensures we’re not setting a negative precedent that we’ll come to regret as bitcoin continues to grow.”

“The Tron (TRX) community was beside itself on Wednesday, Feb. 19 after founder Justin Sun’s address was shown to have voted in two Tron Foundation apps as a Super Representative (SR).

Super Representatives are responsible for overseeing block production on Tron’s blockchain. As such, they receive a sizable portion of the coin rewards from each block. In plain terms, this means that Tron’s community rules were bypassed, arguably to further enrich its own foundation.

Binance remains the top Tron SR, controlling 53% of the network.

The group provides a secure way for telecom customers to make digital payments directly with their carriers using blockchain technology. Using the Cross-Carrier Payment System (CCPS), a blockchain network developed by TBCASoft, transactions can be paid directly in the user’s currency through their mobile carrier. 

[We] will be one of the first carriers to launch the cross-border payment service and commercialize it in the Taiwan market. The service can help travelers reduce foreign transaction fees and enjoy the benefits of mobile cashless payments.”

“Reginald Fowler, an alleged operator behind payment processor Crypto Capital, was charged with wire fraud Friday, on top of existing charges of bank fraud, operation of an unlicensed money transmission business and conspiracy.

QuadrigaCX and Bitfinex are two of the exchanges which apparently used Crypto Capital to process user funds.

February 21

Principal members of Visa are financial institutions authorized to issue some types of payment cards. In theory, Coinbase could issue cards to other crypto companies, though it’s not clear if it plans to use that power immediately.

Membership will enable us to offer more features for Coinbase Card customers; from additional services to support in more markets — all elements that will help to evolve and enrich the cryptocurrency payment experience.

The debit card allows users to spend cryptocurrency as cash anywhere Visa is accepted. The card has since been made available in 29 markets with 10 cryptocurrencies supported.”

“The Paxos Settlement Service has gone live, allowing for the simultaneous exchange of cash and a select number of U.S.-listed securities on Paxos’ own private version of ethereum. It’s also the first time since the formation of the Depository Trust & Clearing Corporation (DTCC) that U.S. equities are settling in an automated manner in an outside system.

Building on this, Paxos said it will apply to the SEC in 2020 to become a fully registered clearing agency. Only seven such licenses exist in the U.S., and attaining one means Paxos can offer the new blockchain service to all broker-dealers to settle U.S.-listed equities.”

“According to the Wall Street Journal, the consolidation will give Morgan Stanley an inroad with E*Trade’s 5.2 million retail investors in what will be Wall Street’s largest deal since the 2008 financial crisis. Despite lagging in assets, E*Trade’s client base is far larger than Morgan Stanley’s three million.

It may also bring the wealth management giant closer to cryptocurrency markets. E*Trade reportedly toyed with launching a bitcoin (BTC) and ether (ETH) trading platform in April 2019. That service could now get wrapped into Morgan Stanley’s.”

See Also: HSBC to Drop 35,000 Jobs and Invest in Digital Finance

This is very cool!

Nexus Mutual – a decentralized insurance protocol – has officially accepted its first round of claims following the bZx flash loan attack from this past weekend. With Nexus Mutual paying out their first claims, the importance of insurance is being realized by the broader DeFi community.

At the time of the attack, Nexus Mutual had 6 members who took out covers on bZx. In total, there was around ~$87,000 in coverage on the bZx smart contracts. All accepted claims immediately received their payouts once the voting closed.

The paper concludes that lightning has an “unequal wealth distribution” with a smaller percentage of nodes on the network gradually accumulating a larger proportion of bitcoin.

Engineer Christian Decker, a lightning engineer at bitcoin tech startup Blockstream and one of the paper’s authors, said he is not worried about this state of affairs lasting. This trend toward centralization is “likely temporary.”

In a similar what-could-go-wrong exercise, Hebrew University researchers released a paper this week showing how to execute a “congestion attack” on the lightning network, making it tough to send payments. This hypothetical attack costs only about $4,000 at press time to significantly disrupt the network.”

The pilot program will be in operation for one year, until February 2021.

If and when the e-krona formally launches for use by the public, the idea is that this blockchain-powered currency would drive conventional payments and banking activities throughout the country. Instead of swiping a credit card or spending fiat currency, everyday transacting can move to the blockchain.

See Also: Brazil’s Central Bank to Launch Near-Instant Payments as a Response to Cryptocurrencies
See Also: Dubai Gov’t to Launch KYC Blockchain Consortium in Q1 2020

“As Libra is still a project, and thereby a moving target, the information provided remains insufficient for determining the precise nature of Libra and, by extension, its relation with existing EU law.

But he said the Commission wants to “act swiftly” in creating regulations for Libra, stablecoins and other EU crypto-asset projects.

Decentraland opened for gameplay on Thursday. For regular gamers, Decentraland may be a new kind of experience, what they call a “metaverse” where different game properties can meet in a shared virtual world. And since it’s on the ethereum blockchain, the “stuff” in that world is transferable (and sellable) beyond it.

Either way, there’s an estimated $100,000 worth of digital goods to be found for early explorers. There will be 15 intro games set up in the virtual world to introduce players to Decentraland’s mechanics. Players going through these games can get prizes and treasures from playing.

It’s the first virtual world that’s based on blockchain technology. I think you will be able to make a profit by playing. It’s something new in that regard.”

The SEC has forced crypto project Enigma to return the funds raised in a $45 million ICO in 2017 to harmed investors. It has also charged the project $500,000 for selling unregistered securities. Enigma will now need to register its tokens as securities, and file periodic reports with the SEC.

Enigma is a project focused on providing privacy for decentralized applications.

This settlement clears the way for our development team to focus fully on our original and continued vision.”

“Venture capitalist Tim Draper has taken a 1 million ANT stake in Aragon, a decentralized governance project on ethereum. The Switzerland-based Aragon Association is attempting to build a digital judicial system for decentralized autonomous organizations (DAOs) and its own Aragon network.

Aragon Association Executive Director Luis Cuende said Draper came on board after seeing the Aragon court go live.”

“Samsung Electronics’ newly launched Galaxy smartphone will come with the same crypto storage facilities found on previous models. Cryptocurrency private key storage will be available as standard across the entire S20 range.

The Korean tech giant said the phone’s security system includes a new ‘secure processor dedicated to protecting your PIN, password, pattern and Blockchain Private Key.‘”

February 19

“Enjin has announced the launch of its game development platform on ethereum, enabling potentially millions of developers to integrate crypto assets into games and apps with no knowledge of writing blockchain code.

Our platform is designed to integrate seamlessly into new and existing games alike, providing a competitive edge to studios of all sizes and across all genres.

More than 2,500 projects making use of ERC-1155 have already been created on the testnet version of the Enjin Platform.

See Also: Enjin Platform: Now Live on Ethereum Mainnet (Official)
See Also: ‘The Sandbox’ Game on Ethereum Sells $206,000 Worth of LAND

“The attack – the second in less than a week – began when attackers apparently took out a flash loan of 7,500 ETH (approximately US$1.98 million), using 3,518 ETH to purchase synthetic USD stablecoin sUSD from the issuer, which they then posted as collateral for a bZx loan.

In its entirety, the attack took just over a minute from beginning to end. A bZx spokesperson confirmed the company itself, rather than any of the platform’s users, would cover the shortfall.

bZx’s chief visionary officer and operations lead highlighted that bZx would accelerate plans to integrate Chainlink to diversify price feeds and prevent oracle manipulations from happening again.”

Matterum’s platform for authenticating collectible items is now live, and it’s already processed several $10,000 William Shatner figurines.

Mattereum has the tools to make physical goods flow around the world as easily as information using Ethereum blockchain smart contracts.

Amongst the first digitized objects were several signed Captain Kirk action figures. Other items that have been digitized are a WWI rifle cartridge and a bottle of 1931 Vintage Wine.”

“The Internal Revenue Service has invited a number of undisclosed crypto startups to a summit on March 3 to discuss its existing approach to taxing cryptocurrencies as well as enforcement efforts.

The summit will consist of four panels addressing technology, issues faced by exchanges, tax returns and regulatory compliance.

My understanding of the event is this is going to be something where the IRS is going to use this as an opportunity to learn from [participants] in the ecosystem but [it] may help inform IRS’s thinking.”

“In a proposal for financial reform released Feb. 18, the Democratic candidate not only wrote about cryptocurrency as an asset class, but also offered a regulatory framework for cryptocurrency in the U.S.

Cryptocurrencies have become an asset class worth hundreds of billions of dollars, yet regulatory oversight remains fragmented and undeveloped. Mike will work with regulators to provide clearer rules of the game.”

“Specifically, the initiative aims to record satellite-sourced information on a distributed ledger to provide mining firms with a trusted and coordinated source of data, replacing paper-based sources that need to be cross-checked by multiple teams in different locations.

As mining companies may spend months in order to obtain the right data from often-fragmented sources, the blockchain-powered satellite database project is also designed to cut costs of the mining industry.”

Officials revealed that they tracked both offline and online purchases of fever medicine to organize relief efforts. While no direct mentions were made, it is implied that the information has been collected thanks to Alipay and WeChat, the country’s duopoly of mobile payment systems.

The information including the time, name, citizenship number, current residential address and contact telephone numbers of the above-mentioned patients has been taken in. On-site verification, follow-up testing, isolation and treatment have been organized.”

February 18

A rather brilliantly executed range of tx’s in our opinion, highlighting the power of DeFi and ‘flash loans’!

“Decentralized finance (DeFi) project bZx has suffered an attack which successfully gamed multiple DeFi protocols to extract $350,000 from the platform, about 2 percent of the assets under management.

The attacker borrowed 10,000 ETH, worth approximately $2.67 million, in a flash loan.

The attacker then split the borrowed funds, sending 5,000 ETH to DeFi protocol Compound and the other half to bZx. After the deposits, the attacker shorted wrapped bitcoin (WBTC) on bZx quickly followed by borrowing 112 WBTC on Compound, worth about $1.1 million, and selling the borrowed WBTC on UniSwap.

bZx uses UniSwap’s price feed for WBTC. When the attacker dropped the $1.1 million worth of WBTC on UniSwap, their bZx short became extremely profitable. bZx depended on only one oracle for pricing.

You can’t rely on [only] one oracle connected with an exchange API. The loss amounts to an expensive bug bounty and highlights the novelty of flash loans.”

See Also: Ivan on Tech Analysis (Video)
See Also: EthDenver: Build with Chainlink (Video)
See Also: DeFiZaps (Video)

“The CBR announced it had successfully piloted a platform that allows users to tokenize assets, including equities and currencies, and issue them to investors.

This coincides with local media reports that the CBR is planning on updating bank guidance on what constitutes criminal activity, for the first time in eight years. According to business news site RBC, both the sale and purchase of cryptocurrencies could be considered suspicious under the new guidance.

Still undergoing in-house assessment, the guidance would ask commercial banks to flag activity and authorizes them to block transactions, and even close the accounts, of any clients found to be trading cryptocurrencies.

Russia seems to have taken one step forward, two steps back when it comes to crypto.”

See Also: Brazilian Cryptocurrency Exchanges Hit Hard by Tax Regulations

“The latest decision to launch daily ETH options comes two weeks after daily bitcoin options went live. The new product will have strike price intervals of $5 and can be traded in the 24 hours preceding the expiry at 08:00 UTC every day.

These shorter-dated, cheaper options are great instruments to use for short term strategies enabling the trader to hedge events or benefit from expected short term moves.”

“Binance will soon be launching a digital asset trading platform that can be rebranded by smaller exchanges for their local markets.

Binance Cloud will offer the matching engine, security controls and liquidity of the main Binance.com exchange. So while an exchange may have its own branding and local fiat currency, the back end will basically be Binance itself, which will bring the benefit of more liquidity, albeit indirectly, and potentially in places where Binance doesn’t currently operate.

This could mean Binance would have to compete with AlphaPoint, one of the largest infrastructure providers on the cryptocurrency exchange market today.”

“India’s Chief Election Commissioner Sunil Arora said that the country hopes to increase voter turnout with a blockchain-based voting solution. Blockchain is being used by the system to allow citizens to vote outside their city of registration while also preventing them from casting multiple votes.

Arora said that he hopes the blockchain voting system will be put in place during his tenure, which ends in April 2021, adding that there is a proposal pending with the ministry of law to link voter IDs and citizen ID system.”

Eth2 101

“The latest developments are unlikely to impact crypto assets in the long-term, as the issuance of a digital yuan would be tightly controlled with no public mining or trading with existing cryptos, said eToro analyst Nemo Qin.

Unlike most crypto assets, the DCEP will be a centralized, government-issued digital currency … with these factors, the DCEP should not have a direct impact on the crypto asset market.”

See Also: Chinese Quarantine Cash To Stop Coronavirus

“MoneyGram has pushed out a new service called FastSend, but it has elected for Visa over XRP.

The weird part is that Ripple purchased a $50 million stake in MoneyGram in June, on the premise that it would start using XRP for cross-border transactions and remittance.

Good Interview: Tim Draper

This is just getting sad 😂

“Craig Wright has warned the Bitcoin (BTC) and BCH to stop using the Bitcoin database in order to avoid potential lawsuits. Wright argues that the distributed Bitcoin database rights should be considered as personal property.

Wright claims that representation of 21 million total Bitcoin is only a verbal deal. The Bitcoin’s creator should have the full rights to claim this unilateral contract.

As the creator of Bitcoin, I maintain the sui generis rights to any copy of the database created from Genesis in January 2009. I shall not be relinquishing the ownership. I will be licensing it, and have already engaged in a process.”