18 June

“According to the results of Deloitte’s 2020 Global Blockchain Survey conducted from Feb. 6 to March 3, 2020, 39% of 1,488 senior executives and practitioners in 14 countries said they have already incorporated blockchain into production at their companies — a 16% increase on last year’s figures.

The survey revealed many firms are increasingly prioritizing blockchain technology and the potential of digital assets. 82% of respondents said they will be hiring staff “with blockchain expertise” within the next 12 months.

Nearly 89% said they believe that digital assets will be very or somewhat important to their industries in the next three years.”

Chinese officials are reportedly planning to create an East Asia digital currency to assert more independence from the United States dollar and foster trade relations within the region.

10 members of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference, the country’s top political advisory body, proposed creating a digital currency that would be backed by a basket of currencies including the Chinese yuan, Japanese yen, South Korean won and Hong Kong dollar. The article does not specify which blockchain the projected cryptocurrency would be based on.

They suggested that the new regional cryptocurrency should be developed by the private sector.”

“I do think this is something that the central banks have to design. The private sector is not involved in creating the money supply, that’s something the central bank does.

Emmer was asking specifically about a recommendation from the Digital Dollar Project, which suggested a digital dollar be issued by the Fed but designed in partnership with the private sector and accessible through a two-tiered banking system similar to the one in place in the U.S. today.

Powell said the idea of a digital dollar – a blockchain-based version of the current world reserve currency – is complex, and one that the Fed takes seriously, but also that the idea needs to be studied further before one can be created and implemented.”

“Global investment bank Nomura, hardware wallet company Ledger and crypto investment fund CoinShares today launched a long-awaited crypto custodian service, called Komainu.

Komainu will service institutional investors and support a range of cryptocurrencies. It is regulated by the Jersey Financial Services Commission.

Komainu’s advantages over other systems are, it claims, that it can integrate with the technology systems of large financial institutions. Nomura is the latest large financial institution to offer custody services.”

Governments collectively spend approximately $9.5 trillion on procurement contracts worldwide, and up to 30% of that is lost due to corruption.

The aim of the project is to apply a high level of transparency to the procurement corruption use case in the context of the country’s system of government contracting.

WEF partnered with the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) and the Office of the Inspector General of Colombia to develop a proof-of-concept (PoC) using the Ethereum public blockchain.

See Also: Chainlink, MakerDAO Honored as World Economic Forum ‘Tech Pioneers’

“Starting next week, its users will be able to store and convert bitcoin to the company’s RydeCoin with zero transaction costs. As a technology firm, accepting bitcoin is only the first step in Ryde’s long-term plan to turn its RydePay wallet into a decentralized electronic ledger and open it to more cryptocurrencies.

I have been watching the developments of this particular space and increasingly I’m sanguine about the prospects of cryptocurrency and its usage.”

“Ubisoft is launching around 55 Rabbids collectibles as tokens on Ethereum’s blockchain.

The collectibles have their own properties, design, value, and can be traded like trading cards. Ubisoft will donate all proceeds from the sale of these collectables to the UNICEF fund.

Rabbids tokens are utilizing an “always-for-sale” model. This means that other would-be collectors may purchase the tokens from their current holder at any time, so long as they’re willing to pay the collectable’s current inherent price in Ether (ETH). Former Rabbid’s owners will receive a special token certificate in order to prove that they once owned the tokens.

The gaming giant also explains that Rabbids tokens transform every time they get a new owner.”

See Also: South Korean Soccer League Tokenizes Players for Fantasy Football Game

“The 200 million baht bond issue [is] a pilot project to further financial inclusion by making it easier for people to subscribe to government issued bonds. The ministry said the bonds carry an extremely low face value of 1 baht ($0.032) each and would be sold through the state-owned Krung Thai Bank’s blockchain wallet.

The statement said distributing the bonds through the blockchain e-wallet was a step towards increasing the efficiency of the government system and an investment in the true digital economy.”

“The New York City-based asset manager filed on Tuesday for an ETF that may invest up to 5% of its net assets in the Chicago Mercantile Exchange’s (CME) bitcoin futures contracts.

The move casts bitcoin as a perhaps normalized investment opportunity for a fund that more generally seeks exposure to commodity markets at large.

The “WisdomTree Enhanced Commodity Strategy Fund” would invest the rest of its net assets in energy, industrial metals, precious metals and agriculture commodities.”

“Crypto startup CurioInvest is selling tokens for a rare supercar valued with a $1.1 million hard cap. The tokens represent a limited-edition 2015 Ferrari F12 TDF.

The token is built on Ethereum’s ERC-20 standard, which Verboonen says will mean it can practically be traded on any exchange. Each token represents a share of whatever the car’s ultimate sale price. During the first five years, CurioInvest will only consider offers at a minimum 20% above the $1.023 million present valuation. If, after that time, the car still hasn’t been sold, it will go at auction to the highest bidder.

When you look at these assets, you see that rare collectibles have outperformed the S&P 500.”

“China has long dreamed of turning the Greater Bay Area—comprised of mainland China, Hong Kong and Macau—into a unified economic hub, but competing legal systems have stymied its ambitions.

China Guangfa Bank, one of the biggest commercial banks in mainland China, recently launched the first cross-border blockchain-based financial system, allowing for seamless payment settlements throughout the Greater Bay Area.

Ultimately, Beijing sees the Greater Bay Area competing with overseas rivals like the Bay Area in San Francisco and Tokyo Bay in Japan. EY estimates that the GDP of the region would be close to $2 trillion, coming just under California.”

Good read.

“In the 1950s, each dollar of debt drove nearly 70 cents of economic growth. It has fallen ever since. Recently, each dollar of debt bought less than 30 cents of growth. That number has deteriorated further in the last few months.

As the ratio of debt to GDP increases, even more debt is needed tomorrow just to maintain current economic activity. For a Fed overly concerned about short-term economic activity, this dilemma creates a self-reinforcing problem. The situation is akin to a Ponzi scheme that needs constant feeding.

Surging debt levels means the Fed will have to become even more creative and active in managing interest rates.

The Fed is now considering an enhancement to the way it manages QE. The “upgrade” is called yield curve control (YCC). YCC essentially allows the Fed to do unlimited amounts of QE with no time restraints. Embedded in YCC is the specific goal of targeting particular interest rates across the entire yield curve.

For example, assume the Fed set a 0.75% target yield on the 10-year U.S. Treasury note. They can then employ QE in any amount needed to buy 10-year notes when the rate exceeds that level. If successful, the rate would never exceed 0.75% as traders would learn not to fight the Fed.

YCC is a euphemism for price controls. Price controls are government interference and regulation, establishing prices for specified goods and services.

In this instance, we are talking about the most fundamental component of any economic system, the price of money. Historically, in every case, the implications of price controls have been unfortunate.

The problem with these actions is they engender anemic rates of economic growth. Equally concerning, they directly contribute to income inequality, a driving force for social unrest.”

“BlackBerry Optics leverages CPU telemetry from Intel Threat Detection Technology to provide enterprises with advanced malware software. This software’s main purpose is to detect cryptojacking attempts.

The software works across all types of workloads executing on the Windows 10 operating system.

With our new cryptojacking detection and response capabilities, we’re looking to make this practice a thing of the past.”

“Civic Wallet has formed a partnership with Circle Medical, a San Francisco hospital. Together, they will act as a Covid-19 vaccination-proofing tool for Circle Medical’s employees.

According to Civic, its technology is designed to protect individual identity privacy first. Users can control what information they do and do not want to share.

Civic Wallet users may share their Health Key but not provide their name or address to a requesting company.”

“Known as “fine-grained control,” the new update means entities such as exchanges can set specific conditions for each and every digital asset traded on their order books.

Stellar-based exchanges can already block investors from prohibited countries, such as Iran or North Korea, but they could now fulfill other regulatory requirements. The update might make it easier for security tokens to operate in the U.S.”

17 June

“Revealing its plans in a June 11 job posting, the central bank said it was ‘reinventing central banking‘ and radically rethinking the nature of Canada’s cash.

The Bank of Canada is embarking on a program of major social significance to design a contingent system for a CBDC, which can be thought of as a banknote, but in digital form.

According to the job posting, Canada’s CBDC should protect user privacy (though not to the degree that cash does), remain accessible to those without bank accounts or mobile phones, work when the power is out and rival banknotes in their security.

Further, the bank wants its CBDC to live on an architecture ‘with a potentially multi-decade evolving lifespanthat can grow in tandem with policy goals. The bank did not state what technology its CBDC might run on, whether it would follow a token-based or account-based model, or how it could create a digital currency that works where electricity does not.

The move casts Canada as a serious contender in the race to develop CBDCs.

“ConsenSys is being backed by heavy hitters like Binance and Huobi to test its new “staking-as-a-service” offering, designed to make it easy for institutions to earn income from the next iteration of the second-largest public blockchain.

This first batch of participants will provide feedback and feature requests to Codefi as it builds out its Eth 2.0 staking API, which is targeted at large exchanges, wallet providers, custodians and crypto hedge funds.

We have also been talking to some of the newer banks, the kind of challenger banks in the space, and they are definitely interested.

Codefi Staking was built using Teku, an Eth 2.0 client written in Java by PegaSys, a Consensys engineering team with a sharp focus on enterprise.”

“The Bitcoin (BTC) mining ASIC manufacturing industry is expected to further consolidate due to tightened competition, geopolitical pressures and slower returns on investment after Bitcoin’s recent halving.

Researchers wrote they ‘think it is likely that only 2 to 3 players will survive into the longer term.‘ Notably, BitMEX’s report expects that not only will ASIC manufacturing continue to consolidate, but the mining farm operating sector will as well.

Customers are now larger funds, and no longer small businesses or individuals.”

See Also: Bitcoin Mining Difficulty Makes Biggest Jump in 29 Months

“I don’t think that the balance sheet at anything like its current size presents any real threat to either inflation or financial stability.

He [also] revealed that it is unlikely that the Fed’s balance sheet will be de-leveraged following the crisis.”

See Also: Bitcoin Rises to $9.6K as Stocks Cheer Additional US Stimulus Plans

“Analysts say the growth of both transactions and the cost to process them is being driven by an increase in stablecoin usage and DeFi applications. Ethereum’s transaction count recently hit a 27-month high of 938,265 and was up nearly 45% from lows seen in January.

Ethereum-based Decentralized Exchanges (DEXs) such as Kyber, Uniswap and IDEX have all experienced solid growth in transaction volumes this year. ‘Almost $6 billion of USDT’s total supply is now on Ethereum, up from $1.5 billion in the beginning of 2020.'”

“People started putting USDC as collateral on Compound, taking USDT, swapping on Curve to USDC to put as collateral on Compound [and] doing that up to 30 times to earn COMP with leverage.

In other words, users put in USDC, borrow as much USDT as they can, switch it on Curve for more USDC, put that in Compound as well so they can borrow more, take out additional USDT and repeat until they have capped out their leverage. This allows them to absolutely maximize their activity on Compound as both a borrower and lender, which earns COMP on both sides.

See Also: Orchid’s decentralized VPN will price bandwidth using Chainlink

“SIMBA Chain, a blockchain-as-a-service company with deep ties to the Department of Defense, has two years and $1.5 million to research and develop a blockchain for supply chain logistics for the U.S. Air Force.

The firm will “stand up” a node running Hyperledger Fabric at Oklahoma’s Tinker Air Force Base – a hub for Air Force supply chain logistics – with a special focus on risk management: knowing the what, where, who and how of parts that may one day go through the USAF’s $62 billion procurement machine.”

See Also: Tokensoft Teams With Signature Bank to Launch Real Estate Security Token Platform

16 June

WhatsApp has premiered fiat electronic payments on its platform, with Brazil becoming the first country to experience a nationwide release. Users that have Visa and Mastercard debit or credit cards from Banco do Brasil, Nubank or Sicredi can now attach instant payments to their messages.

Payments are implemented via Facebook Pay, a payment system developed in 2019 for Facebook-affiliated apps such as Messenger, Instagram and WhatsApp.

Facebook Pay ‘is built on existing financial infrastructure and partnerships‘ and is not related to the Novi (ex. Calibra) wallet that will run on the Libra network.

“Chairman of the CFTC Heath Tarbert calls for principles rather than rules to dictate the government’s handling of digital assets. The argument for principles is that the approach entails less red tape and, ideally, encourages innovation.

It is my view that the United States must lead the world in this technology, and applying overly prescriptive rules could stunt the development of this important market.”

“The Bank of Korea (BOK) said the six-person panel, comprised of legal experts in the financial and IT sectors, as well as one specializing in fintech, would provide guidance and advice to the bank as it develops and tests a central bank digital currency (CBDC).

We established the advisory group to discuss legal issues surrounding a CBDC and figure out which laws need to be revised or enacted for smooth progress in the BOK’s possible issuance of digital currency.”

See Also: China Could Roll Out Its CBDC Without Anyone Realizing

“Over a recent 30-day period, the total open interest for CME bitcoin options increased more than tenfold, from $35 million on May 11 to $373 million on June 10.

CME now represents over 20% of the global bitcoin options market behind Panama-based Deribit.

Growth in CME’s bitcoin options market is a strong signal that regulated institutions are exposing their books to bitcoin.”

See Also: BTC Futures Volume Posts 2020 Low, ETH Open Interest Surges
See Also: Someone Is Buying Shares in Grayscale’s Ether Trust for More Than $2,000

“The survey, which polled 4,852 participants across 17 countries, found that 47% of respondents trust Bitcoin over big banks. Over 45% of respondents preferred Bitcoin over stocks, real estate and gold.

While millennials may be leading the way in Bitcoin adoption, the survey found ‘increased knowledge of, and growing confidence in, Bitcoin among all age and gender groups surveyed.'”

See Also: Turkish Real Estate Firm Antalya Homes Now Supports Bitcoin Payments

“In Outlier Ventures’ Blockchain Developer Report for the second quarter of 2020, the firm notes that development fell by half for top markets Bitcoin Cash (BCH), Eos (EOS), and Tron Tron (TRX).

Eos saw the fastest drop in development, with the project’s mainnet launch precipitating an 86% fall in building taking place. Polkadot and Cosmos (ATOM) were the only projects to exhibit an increase in total development, increasing by 15% and 44% respectively.”

“Nexus Mutual, an alternative insurance provider for a variety of Ethereum-based DeFi protocols, has seen its risk pool double over the past 90 days to more than $4 million.

The way Nexus works is members of the mutual join by purchasing NXM tokens that allow them to participate in the decentralized autonomous organization (DAO). All decisions are voted on by members, who are incentivized to pay genuine claims.

DeFi users want the returns available, but want to avoid the smart-contract risk. More professional users take out Nexus cover to access yield safely.”

See Also: Crypto Lending Platform Compound to Start Distributing Tokens

“The Dash Investment Foundation, which claims to be the first ownerless and memberless investment fund in the world, recently bought its first shipment of physical gold.

The DIF allocates 10% of the Dash block rewards to support the Dash network in the form of loans or investments. While the capital is waiting to be deployed, the rebalancing strategy is supposed to ensure that it keeps growing.

Any money made on our investments can be used to buy Dash off of the open market, which we then burn. Burning Dash reduces the supply, and theoretically should increase the price of the Dash.”

Users ‘can’t transfer cryptocurrency to anyone who is not a Revolut customer,’ the updated terms and conditions read.

Revolut is also ending crypto card payments, one of the few ways its users could use their crypto outside the ecosystem.”

13 June

“In separate announcements, the Algorand and Tezos Foundations said they had linked up with two analytics companies, Chainalysis and Coinfirm, respectively, to help bake regulatory compliance into their eponymous blockchains.

In Algorand’s case, Chainalysis will provide a know-your-transaction (KYT) solution, allowing its foundation to monitor large volumes of on-chain activity for the native ALGO token and report any suspicious transactions to the authorities.

Tezos’ tie-up with Coinfirm’s is broader, allowing its foundation and commercial entities such as exchanges to monitor activity on the protocol. Soon after the Travel Rule guidance was announced, Coinfirm inked a deal with Ripple to tag transactions on the XRP ledger that may have been laundered through mixer services.”

Three months after the Supreme Court ruling to lift the banking ban, India’s Ministry of Finance has proposed to ban cryptocurrencies by law.

While much enthusiasm was seen in the crypto space in the past three months as new startups sprouted to push crypto adoption across the nation, this proposal could be a hard blow to all businesses and individuals involved in the space.

The proposal will first be sent to the Union Council of Ministers and then be forwarded to the parliament for final review.”

“The Ethereum Layer-2 scaling ecosystem has become tricky to navigate for builders as an increasing number of scaling solutions have seen the light of day.

We’ve put together a list of questions to help builders evaluate different scaling solutions and adopt the one most suited to their needs. Alongside these questions, we’ve put together a comparison table.

“Wilshire Phoenix, an asset manager which tried to launch a bitcoin exchange-traded fund (ETF) last year, has filed to launch a new Bitcoin Commodity Trust.

The trust may be looking to compete with Grayscale Investments’ $3.6 billion bitcoin trust. Fidelity Digital Asset Services will serve as the trust’s bitcoin custodian, while UMB Bank will serve as the cash custodian.

The Shares will provide investors with exposure to bitcoin in a manner that is accessible and cost-efficient without the uncertain and often complex requirements relating to acquiring or holding bitcoin.”

Everyone seemed to agree that they could improve financial inclusion by giving people more direct access to FedAccounts, which may operate using a digital dollar. What exactly a digital dollar looks like will probably be more controversial.

Davidson was especially concerned that what everyone is talking about when it comes to a “digital dollar” did not include some of the key advantages of the existing dollar, including privacy and autonomy:That’s the strength of cash, you have to have that characteristic that you’re not really filtering transactions.’

I think there’s still a long way to go until [there is] a shared vision of what this would look like.”

See Also: Digital Dollar Competing with more Prosaic but Proven 20th-Century Methods
See Also: Blockchain Firm Pitches CBDC Operating System to Bank of England
See Also: National Science Foundation Funds Research Into Crypto Dollars

“Protesters in Lebanon have set fire to the central bank in Tripoli in a show of anger with the country’s deepening economic crises and stagnant political orthodoxy.

The Lebanese pound (LBP) is trading for more than 5,000 per $1 in spite of the country’s official peg of 1,507 per dollar— a 20% depreciation since April, and over 230% since the peg was respected in January.

An increasing number of protestors are embracing Bitcoin (BTC) as a means of bypassing Lebanon’s failing monetary system.

“A new paper examining transactions on EOS, Tezos and XRP Ledger (XRPL) over a seven-month period ending in April found the overwhelming number of transactions on these three networks either have no value attached or are passing it back and forth within one entity.

96% of the transactions on EOSIO were triggered by the airdrop of a currently valueless token; on Tezos, 76% of throughput was used for maintaining consensus; and over 94% of transactions on XRPL carried no economic value.

In short, the authors write, ‘The massive potential of those blockchains has thus far not been fully realized for their intended purposes.‘”

“The publisher built a prototype to provide reliable metadata on various pictures found online. Often, pictures taken in a different location at a different time will be used in connection with unrelated events. Through the platform, readers and social media users will be able to know who took the picture and when.

The new prototype follows similar efforts by Italian news agency Ansa, which uses blockchain to “certify” its news stories.”

“Craig Wright’s legal team appears to alleged that he controls one of the Bitcoin addresses affiliated with an old Mt. Gox hack.

Just so we’re clear, Craig Wright has just openly admitted (via his lawyers) to be the guy that stole 80k BTC from Mtgox.”

“In the last few days, three Ethereum transactions have paid $5.7 million in fees. A new report explains that it might be a blackmail attempt on an exchange.

In short, the researchers claim that the hackers have gained access to an exchange’s funds. They are able to send money to certain whitelisted accounts that are marked as reliable in the exchange’s database to—but not to their own. So, they are sending the funds with excessively high transaction fees to sap the exchange’s accounts, and they’re demanding a ransom if it’s going to stop.

See Also: 500 Estonian Crypto Companies Lose Permits After $220B Scandal
See Also: Microsoft Azure Machine Learning Clusters Cryptojacked to Mine Monero

12 June

Bank Frick, one of Europe’s leading blockchain banks, is ditching SWIFT for Circle’s USDC stablecoin.

A trend we are seeing and expecting to surge in the year ahead—regulated banks adding support for USDC, which is becoming a significant alternative rail to value transfer for banks.”

“Unstoppable Domains has released its decentralized blog (dBlog) service hosted on Protocol Lab’s InterPlanetary File System (IPFS), complete with the .crypto domain.

dBlogs come complete with tools similar to Medium, with functionality such as plain text, images, audio and video. Notable crypto investors and enthusiasts have launched personal blogs on the network.

Kam of Unstoppable Domains noted the recent rise in censorship among tech platforms, not to mention nation-states with less lenient free speech guarantees than the U.S. He pointed to a report from think tank Freedom House that claimed some 2 billion people ‘experience a partially or fully censored internet.’

The censorship-resistant internet is usable now. No one can take it down.”

See Also: Filecoin Prepares for Network Launch With Final Testing Phase
See Also: Blockscan: The Search Engine for a Decentralized Web

“On June 11, the Congressional Fintech Task Force held a hearing examining FedAccounts and a digital dollar as ways of expanding financial inclusion in the United States. Particularly in the aftermath of greatly delayed $1200 stimulus payments directly to U.S. citizens, the digital dollar has gotten much more attention.

Nearly 35 million people have received paper checks, not direct deposits to their bank accounts. However, I’m concerned that the people who most likely need stimulus payments may not even be able to deposit a paper check.

Unless we act, this coming wave of innovation will put enormous strain on our aged financial system.”

Markets are taking the U.S. Federal Reserve’s less-than-optimistic economic forecasts quite hard, and that’s leading crypto traders to hit the sell button.

Cryptocurrency stakeholders have long insisted bitcoin is its own asset class, not tied to any other. However, it seems like it is increasingly operating with the traditional markets, at least for now.”

“According to the updated white paper, Libra hopes that ‘these CBDCs could be directly integrated with the Libra Network, removing the need for Libra Networks to manage the associated Reserves, thus reducing credit and custody risk.’

Further down the road, it would be possible to offer the central bank of Ghana, for example, a way of ‘creating a cross-chain trading window between you and the currency you issue, and user-level applications that are interoperable.’

In this particular race, Libra appears to be extending its hand to the U.S. and offering a way to get a CBDC into the hands of consumers.

You can be NASA, [Libra is] telling the Federal Reserve, and we’ll be the Space-X of money.”

See Also: Google and Gates Foundation to Help Spread Digital Payments in Developing Countries

“Vanguard’s end goal for the pilot is to improve the process of securitization with blockchain. The decades-old Wall Street practice of repackaging loans into bonds sold to investors is one that many firms are trying to reimagine with blockchain technology.

By digitizing and streamlining the ABS issuance process, we will be able to increase the speed and transparency of transactions while reducing costs and minimizing exposure to risk.”

“DEX tokens have increased on average 241% so far this year while centralized exchange tokens have only increased by 44%. And that’s not including some recent upswings. Kyber’s token (KNC) was leading the charge with an increase of more than 420%.

Looking at the ‘earnings’ of centralized exchanges, DEXs have a long way to go to emulate this kind of value […] But one advantage DEXs have is they don’t rely on the existence/good faith of a centralized entity […] This could prove to be more scalable both economically and in terms of user trust.”

“The exchange is exploring support for Aave (LEND), Aragon (ANT), Arweave (AR), Bancor (BNT), Compound Coin (COMP), DigiByte (DGB), Horizen (ZEN), Livepeer (LPT), NuCypher (NKMS), Numeraire (NMR), KEEP Network, Origin Protocol (OGN), Ren (REN), Render Network (RNDR), Siacoin (SC), SKALE Network, Synthetix (SNX), and VeChain (VET).

Recent outages during Bitcoin (BTC) price surges coupled with the news Coinbase may sell its blockchain intelligence arm to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) and the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) has prompted massive withdrawals from the platform.

This may be too little too late.”

“As many DeFi products are regarded for upholding the values of permissionlessness with no centralized authorities, it would make sense for the companies governing the products to distribute their power and follow suit. Now we’re seeing businesses implementing dissolution into community governance as though it were a stage in their business cycle.

Ideally the governing communities will be incentivized by the revenue-generating mechanisms of said DeFi products. Governance will be the new frontier of business models for decentralized autonomous organizations.”

“The Ontario Securities Commission, or OSC, claims that the crypto exchange Quadriga collapsed in 2018 because of fraud committed by its late founder.

The report says Cotten opened several accounts under aliases and credited himself with “fictitious currency.” The deceased Quadriga founder was unable to meet his client’s withdrawal requests when the price of crypto assets fell. He then created a Ponzi scheme, covering the demand using funds from other Quadriga clients.

The OSC attributed about $115 million of the $169 million clients lost to Cotten’s fraudulent trading. Due to Cotten’s death, the OSC says it will not seek to bring legal action against Quadriga, as “it’s not practical.””

See Also: Japanese Judge Upholds Charges Against Mt Gox’s Mark Karpeles

Good discussion on the current monetary situation.

11 June

“This testnet is targeting v0.12.1 of the official Ethereum 2.0 specification, which is aimed to be the final specification before a mainnet launch and multiclient ready.

The Onyx test network is now accepting genesis deposits. We are aiming for the Onyx testnet to be multiclient compatible.

“Federal Reserve officials see U.S. inflation as likely to stay below 2% over the next three years. The revised inflation expectations show that officials see little threat of runaway inflation despite the central bank’s trillion-dollar money injections.

Weaker demand and significantly lower oil prices are holding down consumer price inflation.

The Fed made no change to its benchmark interest rate, now set in a range from 0% to 0.25%, and officials projected no hikes through the next three years. The officials saw U.S. gross domestic product falling 6.5% this year before a 5% increase in 2021 and 3.5% growth in 2022.

The central bank pledged to continue its purchases of Treasury bonds and other securities ‘at least at the current pace to sustain smooth market functioning.

The Federal Reserve has expanded its balance sheet by about $3 trillion this year to $7.2 trillion as of last week. Prior to the 2008 financial crisis, the central bank had less than $1 trillion of total assets.”

See Also: Rumor ECB Eyeing $500B Debt Quarantine in ‘Bad Bank’

“Galaxy Digital’s trading arm and regulated bitcoin futures provider Bakkt said the service will offer asset managers and other institutional investors a “white glove” trading and custody solution.

Galaxy will provide all the trading services and functionalities, leveraging its existing plugins to 30 different exchange venues. Meanwhile, Bakkt will offer custody services through its Bakkt Warehouse.

The idea is to offer a safe, efficient and well-regulated route into physical bitcoin access.

We designed this partnership to service the uptick in demand our two firms have received from traditional asset managers seeking access to physical bitcoin.”

The Human Rights Foundation (HRF) took a strong stance on bitcoin privacy tech Wednesday by announcing its new Bitcoin Developer Fund. The first $50,000 grant from the fund has been awarded to CoinSwap.

CoinSwap, a mixing technique originally invented in 2013 by Greg Maxwell, is part of a comprehensive suite of privacy tools being developed by bitcoin advocates.

The concern around mixing technology, or coin hygiene, stems from the flawed thinking that cryptocurrency transactions are identical to bank transfers using fiat currency. A peer-to-peer value transfer system fails without underlying coin privacy at its core, because the entire system would lack fungibility. This is a grand societal battle that must be won by privacy advocates.

Law enforcement methods will undoubtedly have to evolve beyond simply using money as an identity tracking device or simply relying on metadata through non-targeted driftnet surveillance. This means employing real and sometimes cumbersome police work that doesn’t violate the rights of any individuals.”

New York congressional candidate Jonathan Herzog hosted a live YouTube broadcast with Ethereum creator Vitalik Buterin on Monday, along with author and activist Glen Weyl.

Buterin skillfully framed his software project as it relates to the current economic and political crisis.

The challenge here is can we create systems that allow some groups of people to cooperate without that downside of a centralized or trusted actor having to be in the middle.”

See Also: Full Discussion (Video)

“MKR’s latest spike comes amid a community vote showing strong support for supporting non-crypto-native assets as collateral for the creation of DAI.

The vote signaled support for a protocol developed by blockchain startup Centrifuge that would allow “real-world assets” to be tokenized as ERC-20-based securities that can be used as collateral for DAI minting.

Currently, MakerDAO users can lock up Ether (ETH), Wrapped Bitcoin (WBTC), Basic Attention Tokens (BAT), or the stablecoin USD Coin (USDC) to fund DAI loans.”

See Also: How Dai-enabled Debit Cards Are Driving Maker Protocol Adoption
See Also: Cosmos-Based Interoperable DeFi Project Launches on Mainnet With BNB Collateral

“Microsoft’s Bitcoin-based decentralized identity tool, ION, went live with a beta version on mainnet Wednesday as one of many efforts by members of the Decentralized Identity Foundation (DIF) to fast-track tools anyone can use for COVID-19 crisis response programs.

ION is meant to enable user-controlled logins that suit independent companies or services, rather than having system-providers (like Facebook) owning a user’s login credentials.

Although Allen warned no technology offers a panacea, especially with regards to government overreach or recurring outbreaks, he expects some type of new “verifiable credential” technology will probably emerge from this crisis.

“A report published by CoinMetrics has found extreme wealth centralization among many top stablecoins, with at least 80% of the total capitalization for five top stable tokens being held in less than six accounts.

The report also found that more than 40% of transactions made using the Paxos Standard Token (PAX) are directly linked to a single multi-level marketing, or MLM, Ponzi scheme.”

“To date, Chainlink has dominated the oracle space, nabbing integrations with scores of crypto projects. Decentralized applications (dapps) are dependent on oracles to execute transactions which are then dependent on the underlying blockchain.

Initially run on the Ethereum blockchain, Band Protocol built out its own blockchain on Cosmos technology to sidestep congestion concerns. The team chose to build on Cosmos over Polkadot, another interoperability project, because of perceived costs.

For Polkadot the drawback is it’s quite expensive for any blocks to happen because you can think of it as [if] you need to rent a space on top of Polkadot.”

See Also: Algorand and Blockstack Are Building a Multi-Chain Smart Contract Language

“The Russian economy ministry is pushing back against the nation’s planned ban on cryptocurrency. The more conciliatory stance on cryptocurrency from a government ministry might be a sign Russia could yet tone down its hostile approach.

The new rules should take a different approach and work on creating a ‘controllable cryptocurrency market‘ in Russia.”

“Chinese local governments are facing difficulties when implementing blockchain applications due to stakeholders unwillingness to share privately owned data.

According to the investigation, there are more than 30 related local governments procuring blockchain technology. Their aim is to leverage blockchain to build management platforms that improve local administrative and social governance capabilities.”

10 June

“The Bitcoin Exchange Traded Crypto (BTCE), is the world’s first centrally cleared derivative crypto asset, and would be listed on Deutsche Borse’s Xetra market based in Frankfurt, Germany. Central clearing is a tool used in the European derivatives market to bolster stability by ensuring a financial institution takes on counterparty credit-risk.

The crypto security is also backed by bitcoin, with each share giving the holder a claim to a specific amount of the cryptocurrency. The physical bitcoin would be stored in a cold vault, meaning one not connected to the internet, operated by Palo Alto, Calif.-based custodian BitGo.

Investors get the benefit of trading and owning bitcoin through a regulated security, while having the option to redeem bitcoin if they choose. It really is a hybrid ETP product that has the same features as an ETF.

The bitcoin-backed security will be available in Germany and has also been passported to the UK, Italy and Austria, meaning users in these countries will be able to hold or trade the BTCE shares.”

Fidelity Digital Assets said institutional sentiment was improving in relation to cryptocurrencies.

86 U.S. institutions traded crypto futures this year, compared to just 40 in the 2019 survey. The survey also found 36% of respondents – 279 institutions in the U.S. and Europe – were currently already invested in digital assets. Hedge funds and venture funds were the two buckets with the greatest exposure.

Interestingly, it appears European institutions (45%) were much more likely to hold crypto compared to their American counterparts (27%).

These results confirm a trend we are seeing in the market towards greater interest in and acceptance of digital assets as a new investable asset class.”

“The Ethereum venture studio said the newly launched Codefi Compliance software suite would provide compliance and analytics for exchanges and DeFi projects across a range of different regulatory buckets, such as counter-terrorism financing (CTF) and anti-money laundering (AML).

Focused on the Ethereum ecosystem, the tool can track up to 280,000 different tokens that are based on the protocol – such as those built on the ERC-20 or ERC-721 standard. The idea is to replace the varied compliance in crypto at the moment, with the more consistent sort found in the traditional payments sector.

Codefi Compliance allows clients to track digital assets, monitor user behaviors as well as watch fund flows, and compile full data analysis.

Providing robust AML/CFT compliance for Ethereum-based digital assets is a keystone step in bringing the institutional financial industry to decentralized finance.”

“The Baseline Protocol has released integrations for Google Sheets and Microsoft 365, allowing multiple entities to privately verify that their databases share the same records.

Baselining uses the Ethereum mainnet as middleware for data verification without sensitive or unwanted information being made public on the network.

The proof demonstrated that the baselining technique does not necessitate that data is stored on a blockchain, instead using distributed ledger technology to ‘enforce the consistency of the separate records.'”

“South Korea’s second-largest city, Busan, will let its citizens access government services using a blockchain-based identification app developed by Coinplug.

The developer used the Metadium blockchain and its Decentralized Identifier technology to power the app. Through this system, user data is stored on their devices, and only a cryptographic proof of the information is submitted to the blockchain.”

Coca-Cola Amatil’s network of 2,000-plus vending machines will enable consumers to spend their crypto by using their smartphone, provided they have the Sylo Smart Wallet installed.

Now we’ve shown how it can work in Australia and New Zealand, we’re looking to grow the business globally. [We] will be targeting the U.S. market next.”

“Moscow’s Department of Information Technologies plans to use Bitfury’s open-source enterprise blockchain, Exonum. ‘The blockchain technology is working in the Proof of Authority mode.’

Despite hopes blockchain could make elections more transparent and fair, ‘there’s no evidence yet that it is better at preventing election fraud.’ At the end, it’s the people in power who decide what will be the design of a blockchain voting system and who will have access.

See Also: MIT Research Says Online Voting Needs More Decentralization to Protect Ballots

“Dash has announced a 104% rise in commercial payments through Q1 2020, along with increased adoption, trading volume and price performance.

In January a collaboration with Burger King in Venezuela enabled payments using Dash and other cryptocurrencies. Additionally, thousands of merchants in the country are now accepting Dash thanks to local advocacy programs and a recent integration with MegaSoft point-of-sale terminals.

In Brazil, over 2.5 million merchants can now take Dash as a means of payment through solutions such as ATAR Pay.”

“Cameron and Tyler Winklevoss will help produce a film based on the best-selling book that featured their entrance into the world of bitcoin.

“Bitcoin Billionaires” is a non-fiction book that tells the tale of how, amid their struggles after their famous court battle with Mark Zuckerberg and Facebook, the Winklevoss brothers happened across cryptocurrency and decided to make a big bet on the youthful technology.”

9 June

“Caught up in a police probe since Thursday, some Chinese crypto buyers and sellers and OTC market makers have already had accounts frozen because their transactions may have been contaminated by money-laundering activities involving cryptocurrencies.

It’s a concern because OTC desks are the only fiat currency on- and off-ramps for China-based crypto users who do not have overseas bank accounts.

There’s a growing trend of using blockchain networks to transfer high-risk capital in China, [where] U.S dollar-linked stablecoin tether (USDT) has now become the most popular choice.

Police are also catching up, using on-chain analysis to trace blockchain assets.”

“Transfer agents maintain and update securities ownership records as well as distribute payments, like shareholder dividends or interest (in Lottery.com’s case, a portion of raffle revenue) to owners.

With this we can basically do instant payouts.

Domingo pointed to the stock market’s costly-on-the-margins disbursement schemes that he claimed allow transfer agents like Computershare to profit off the dividends they’re meant to deliver. Such inefficiencies are impossible in Securitize’s model.

Securitize is looking to bring its royalty disbursement service to the company’s real estate partners next.

See Also: Overstock’s ‘Digital Dividend’ Dominates Security Token Rankings
See Also: Regulatory Clarity Will Spark Widespread Tokenization

“Lithuania’s Head of Innovation wants to pitch Lithuania’s ministries of energy and health on a cross-agency, multi-blockchain platform called LTChain that the whole government could use.

He pointed to interconnected systems, like a tax authority collecting fees, or an energy provider collecting payments, or a health ministry provider seeking to build networks between providers. ‘We don’t need to limit ourselves to one market, to one sector.

The central bank will begin discussions with government ministries soon.”

“Voice, the social media platform by EOS creator Block.One, announced that it will launch on July 4.

The social media platform will be available to readers on U.S. Independence Day, with only registered users able to publish content or engage online. Registration would remain on request until August 15, when Voice users can begin to invite friends.

Despite being a cryptocurrency-powered platform, Voice has come under fire for privacy concerns. All members will have their identities verified, with some meta data used to ‘prevent and detect crime.’

“A software program that mines Monero to bail people out of jail has seen an uptick in use as protests over the police killing of George Floyd continue across the U.S. The software is called Bail Bloc and runs in the background of your computer, passively generating Monero that is then distributed to bail funds.

Bail funds are used to pay bail for those in pre-trial detention, which can last for weeks or even months. In the wake of protests against police brutality more than 10,000 protestors have been arrested in the U.S.

We are dedicated as a project and as individuals to the movement for black lives, and feel that people should direct resources to organizations on the ground that can respond rapidly.

Thus far Bail Bloc has raised over $8,000, or enough to bail out 13 people. Several bail funds are accepting direct donations in cryptocurrency.”

“Chi tokens are meant to be created when the gas fees on Ethereum are low, which allows the user to “store” that price for later use. The mechanism could smooth out the price of gas between periods of high and low activity.

Chi’s developers say that the token can cut down the price of a transaction by as much as 50%.”

See Also: Ethereum Topped Bitcoin in Network Daily Fees Over Weekend

“The company claims that it can trace the vast majority of Zcash and Dash transactions due to the fact that most users do not use privacy-enhancing features. When it comes to Dash, Chainalysis goes as far as to say that calling it a ‘privacy coin’ is a misnomer.

In fact, independent wallet softwares provide more advanced forms of CoinJoin that are being used with major cryptocurrencies not labeled as privacy coins, such as Bitcoin, Bitcoin Cash, and Litecoin.”

See Also: Law Enforcement Is Starting to Make Criminals Doubt the Dark Web

Weekend Edition

“Should DAI remain mostly backed by trustless assets? Away from the grasp of third-parties and settled on Ethereum—maybe that’s the point of crypto.

Or should DAI open the door to trusted assets? Increasing resilience with non-correlated assets from traditional finance—maybe that’s how to onboard the world. It’s clear Maker is going in the direction of the latter.

Centrifuge is taking revenue streams from digital music and supply chain, tokenizing them, and adding them to DeFi. They see Maker as a global credit system for the world. They see DeFi as a force for traditional asset democratization—the future of FinTech—a new backend for global finance.

The trustless Purity Dai market it too small to satisfy the needs of stablecoin market. We will run out of collateral assets, heighten the stability risk of Dai, and will limit the circulation of Dai. MakerDAO has made the right decision to focus on Global Dai.

“You can send ETH and ERC20 tokens instantly, for free, and with the same 100% Ethereum security guarantees Loopring always upholds. Ethereum scales with Loopring. It scales exchanges, and it scales payments — it does so today, and it does so securely.

With Loopring, Ethereum has the most secure, scalable solution for trading and transfers.

Opyn uses [non-custodial] protective put options on ETH to allow option buyers to keep their upside while limiting their downside. If you buy Opyn protection, you are buying ‘the right but not the obligation to sell your option at a pre-specified price.’

In this case, let’s assume that the pre-specified price is $100, so if ETH price falls below $100, you can sell your ETH for $100, which is above the market price. The best part is, you can now buy even more ETH with this fat profit!”

See Also: Opyn
See Also: DeFi Strategies Guide

The recent surge in African peer-to-peer bitcoin transactions [is] now at more than $12 million a week. I think this, and similar patterns across other emerging market regions during the COVID-19 pandemic, reflect the most important cryptocurrency trend of the moment.

What’s driving this is a worldwide dollar shortage. If you can’t get dollars and you don’t trust your local currency, bitcoin and stablecoins start to look attractive, either as a hedge against future inflation or as a payments or remittances solution.

While quantitative easing has breathed life into U.S. stocks, the shortages have persisted in many emerging markets, creating serious problems in their citizens’ lives.”

“Of the 77,500 or so PAX dollar wallets in existence, MMM BSC’s [ponzi scheme] wallet clocks in as the ninth-largest holder, at 1.6% of all PAX issued. Take out the big exchange holders like Binance and Huobi, plus Paxos’ own internal wallets, and MMM BSC is Paxos’s third-largest holder. Just last week it was the largest. MMM BSC does far more transactions than any other PAX wallet owner.

Because it is regulated, Paxos has built a tool that allows it to freeze or seize PAX stablecoin balances. However, it has never frozen an address to date.

Stablecoins are growing. The amount in circulation has doubled to more than $10 billion in just a few months. As they become more prominent, stablecoins will attract more fraudsters. The industry may want to be sure that it pushes them away – or not?

“Lee and Yun created AstroCanvas, a game that gave stakers the ability to draw tiny amounts on one large digital canvas. Stakers could receive different colors to use on the canvas if they spread their stakes across staking pools of different sizes.

The big threat Lee sees to the health of staking protocols is exchanges and their outsize role. A product like AstroCanvas would give holders an incentive to move some of those holdings off of exchanges so they can get some different colors on their palettes.

Essentially, if you wanted to draw something of a different color, you would have to delegate to a specific validator. It forces you to spread out your staking across different kinds of validators.”

The British government is taking £150 million (roughly $186 million) from “dormant” bank accounts to support the country’s coronavirus response—but it has promised to return owners’ funds if they’re taken by mistake.

£150 million from dormant bank and building society accounts is to be unlocked to help charities, social enterprises and vulnerable individuals during the coronavirus outbreak.

The UK government is also consulting on the possibility of adding insurance and pensions, investment and wealth management as well as securities to the dormant assets scheme. The announcement didn’t mention any attempts to contact potential relatives of dormant accounts’ holders in case of potential inheritance claims.”

Nearly 40% of new fintech firms to launch in Hong Kong over the past year are operating in the blockchain sector. DLT represents an increasingly dominant share of the country’s new fintech firms year-over-year, up from 27% as of 2018.

The report finds enterprise DLT solutions to comprise the largest sub-sector of the territory’s blockchain industry.”

6 June


Decentralized finance (DeFi) could soon boast a real-world use case. MakerDAO is in the process of voting on whether to further diversify the collateral it accepts for loans beyond cryptocurrency and tokens to include real-world assets (RWAs).

Specifically, Maker would also allow supply chain invoices and musicians’ future royalty streams as security when it lends out DAI. These assets would be represented on the Ethereum blockchain by non-fungible tokens (NFTs). Small businesses and artists could take the borrowed DAI and convert it to cash.

These businesses are looking to DeFi as a way to get money quicker and get it on their own terms, without having to go to a bank. They don’t have crypto to get their DAI loans, so they need to be able to use their invoices or their inventory.

The first companies ready to work with Maker on RWAs are ConsoleFreight, a platform for supply chain finance, and Paperchain, which makes musicians’ royalty payments from Spotify instantly available.

These should be seen as the first two [RWAs] in the greatest portfolio of assets that’s ever been built. It’s just the first step. Thousands and thousands of assets will exist alongside them.

The catch for lenders is that in the event of default, they would have to rely on the flesh-and-blood legal system to enforce their rights to the collateral, rather than an automated smart contract that can do so with on-chain assets.

Each Tinlake pool has a legal structure (an SPV) that mirrors what happens on-chain, ensuring that a claim on the RWA can be made by the investors.”

See Also: TUSD and USDC-B Approved by Maker Governance as Collateral Types in the Maker Protocol

“The introduction of digital currencies may justify a fundamental shift in the architecture of a financial system, a central bank ‘open to all.’

The paper determined the set of allocations achieved with commercial banks could also be achieved with a CBDC. If depositors started to exclusively deposit with the central bank it could end up becoming a “deposit monopolist,” attracting deposits away from the commercial banking sector.

This monopoly power eliminates the forces that induce the central bank from delivering the socially optimal amount of maturity transformation.”

Digital currencies could supersede bank accounts as low-interest rates make them increasingly obsolete.

That’s the view of Massimo Buonomo, the UN’s global blockchain expert, who added that digital currencies, particularly central bank digital currencies (CBDCs), could soon ‘eliminate the need for a bank account‘ altogether.

Buonomo said banks and credit cards have long enjoyed a duopoly on digital payments, but the advent of digital currencies means users could sidestep them entirely. Low-interest rates, enforced by central banks to encourage more borrowing, may expedite the process.

Those who are going to suffer the most [from digital currencies] are the credit card processing companies and the banks.”

“The Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC) said it was reviewing its regulations around digital bank activities to ensure that these regulations ‘continue to evolve with developments in the industry.

What are the barriers or obstacles, if any, to further adoption of crypto-related activities in the banking industry? Are there specific activities that should be addressed in regulatory guidance, including regulations?

The notice today indicates that Acting Comptroller Brooks is serious about modernizing banking regulations so that innovators can bring new solutions to the legacy financial system.”

“DeversiFi says one of the main issues traders have with conventional DEXs is most are completely public. That’s a conundrum for professional traders who worry such openness endangers their proprietary trading strategies. With DeversiFi trades are executed off-chain, so that third-parties can’t monitor the trading behaviors of individual users.

We have interest from 70 funds and large traders and have 18 funds ready to trade on DeversiFi 2.0 at or around launch.

We see DeversiFi as being the first sufficiently fast and scalable non-custodial alternative to centralized exchanges.”

Moscow citizens will be able to cast their votes on Vladimir Putin’s Constitutional amendments online via blockchain-powered e-voting. Blockchain will help to anonymize and encrypt each vote to provide safety and immutability of data.

The Constitutional amendments proposal aims to allow Putin to serve two more six-year terms — until 2036.”

“Marked for “law enforcement only,” a two-part report by Europol’s European Cybercrime Centre (EC3) analyzed the privacy tool’s impact on using the Bitcoin blockchain to investigate crimes.

Wasabi is a wallet that tries to get around Bitcoin’s radical transparency, giving users more privacy by scrambling transactions together and confusing the trail.

[The report] asks whether law enforcement can “demix” these transactions, answering that ‘realistically speaking, in most cases the answer is negative,’ though if a user messes up, there are ways to do it.

Things are not looking good‘ for law enforcement thanks to this relatively new software, the EC3 warned.”

“PoD proves that the user has physical access to a specified device, providing security even when a login and password have been stolen.

The burden of storing keys to sign and prove identity is managed by the SGX enclave. The enclave has to be assigned to the user in advance, meaning that the user can only access any service protected by PoD using pre-assigned devices. Not even the user has knowledge of the private key stored on the enclave.”

“Web Traffic Factor analyzes the user activity on trading platforms, including the number of page views, unique visitors, the time spent on site, search engine bounce rate and search engine rankings.

The data provider, which was purchased for an unspecified sum by Binance in early April, started adjusting its ranking system soon after the deal took place. As a result, Binance has come on top of its exchange ranking, drawing criticism from the community and other trading platforms.”