Voyager to supply Interest on Three Newly Listed Stablecoins

February 6, 2020 - Reading time: 2 minutes Administrator
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Announced Wednesday, the Vancouver, British Columbia-based Voyager said its support of tether (USDT), USD coin (USDC) and true USD (TUSD) would enable traders to raised manage risk and fund their accounts without browsing a bank.


“Adding these three new stablecoins to our platform gives our customers an alternate funding mechanism and another means to hedge their risk within the crypto market,” said Stephen Ehrlich, Voyager co-founder and CEO.


Voyager allows both retail and institutional investors commission-free trading on multiple exchanges from one account. The platform uses technology said to make sure traders get the simplest prices available. The firm earns revenue by taking a selection from orders executed at levels better than quoted at order submission.


Ehrlich, who wont to be the CEO of E*Trade, founded Voyager with Oscar Salazar, the previous CTO of Uber, within the summer of 2018. The broker began offering interest on 3 percent APR on bitcoin last November, following its acquisition of wallet startup Ethos earlier that year.


“Voyager customers also will be ready to earn interest on these stablecoins, giving them differently to grow wealth within the crypto industry,” said Ehrlich. Deposits and withdrawals for all three stablecoins opened earlier Wednesday, with interest-earning beginning Feb. 1.


The brokerage took the weird step of a reverse merger in 2019, purchasing the bulk of shares during a publicly traded company – during this case, a defunct mining exploration company – and mixing so as to become listed on the Toronto stock market .


By becoming a listed company, Voyager now makes quarterly and annual disclosures of its financials and answers to the Canadian securities regulator. which will help build trust with traders, consistent with Ehrlich, who said there was "an increase in demand for users trying to find new, secure platforms to shop for and trade crypto assets."


Enterprise Ethereum Alliance Launches laboratory for Blockchain Interoperability

February 6, 2020 - Reading time: 4 minutes Administrator
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The EEA TestNet will operate as a pre-certification sandbox, where forks of ethereum are often standardized consistent with certain specifications began previously by the EEA, which can make them interoperable with one another . There are now many companies performing on enterprise versions of ethereum, plus a completely new cohort of industry players joining the fold via Hyperledger’s ethereum-based member Besu, making standardization a priority. 


As it stands, ethereum-based clients and protocols are frequently unable to speak to every other. for instance , Quorum, the privacy-centric version of ethereum built by mega-bank JPMorgan, can’t operate with Hyperledger Besu, which is meant to figure seamlessly across private deployments and therefore the public ethereum mainnet.


“Early on in technology families, people do often make assumptions of interoperability. But once you actually put these pieces together in an app, they do not work,” said Paul DiMarzio, director of community for the EEA. 


The launch of the laboratory , developed by DLT testing platform Whiteblock Genesis, brings the EEA standards program into its “middle stage,” said DiMarzio.


“We are providing an area where clients can start to urge their feet wet during a testing environment then , towards the top of the year, will provide the particular ability to certify against those specifications. Then we will actually stamp things as being EEA certified and branded and have that guarantee of interoperability as against an assumption,” he said. 


Zak Cole, CEO of Whiteblock, takes up a task as chair of the EEA Testing and Certification working party . Cole said the TestNet will exist indefinitely as businesses still join the ethereum community. “Even if we've some tech specs finalized, people are getting to want to be ready to experiment within a low-risk environment,” he said. 


There has been some suggestion of rivalry between JPMorgan’s Quorum and Hyperledger Besu, which was built by engineers at PegaSys, one among the most spokes within the ConsenSys wheel of ethereum-based startups.


The current disconnect between Quorum and Besu activates a subtle difference within the implementation of the Istanbul Byzantine Fault Tolerant (IBFT) consensus algorithm (Besu refers to its version IBFT2), which DiMarzio said the new test environment could help “iron out.”


“Some scenarios include public transactions, private transactions, permissioning, block validation and therefore the IBFT consensus mechanism,” said Dan Heyman, head of PegaSys, during a statement about planned test scenarios for Besu. "An EEA certification program is being talked about for potentially the top of 2020."


JPMorgan declined to comment. 


DiMarzio said EEA must coordinate its testing program with the Ethereum Foundation, which is overseeing the rollout of the ethereum 2.0 public blockchain, but the bulk of the EEA’s focus isn't directly concerned with the complex switch to a symbol of stake (PoS) system of block creation. 


"The EEA TestNet is meant for members to run applications that follow current EEA specifications. PoW and PoS are consensus algorithms, and therefore the current EEA client spec doesn't dictate what specific consensus algorithm must be used. A shift in base protocols from PoW to PoS will in fact be evaluated by the working groups to work out if the specs (and TestNet) should be changed," he said.


Most private clients currently substitute different consensus algorithms, like IBFT, Raft, and Proof of time period (PoET).


"The EEA working groups are especially watching Byzantine Fault Tolerant consensus algorithms, primarily those associated with IBFT, for potential future adds to the spec," said DiMarzio.

Binance’s Fiat-Gateway Partner Banxa Raises $2M serial A Round

February 6, 2020 - Reading time: ~1 minute Administrator
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Led by blockchain investment company NGC Ventures, the round also saw the ASX-listed Thorney Investment Group Australia participate, consistent with a handout on Wednesday.


The firm offers a fiat currency to cryptocurrency gateway solution that was recently tapped by crypto exchange Binance for its addition of Australian dollar and euro payments.


The new investment are going to be wont to support the firm's plans to expand in new markets including in Europe, Asia and Africa.


“Banxa addresses the difficulty of user experience and onboarding while providing the much-needed regulatory assurances for newcomers to the present nascent digital asset class," said Roger Lim, founding partner of NGC Ventures.

Currency ‘Cold War’ Takes Center Stage at Pre-Davos Crypto Confab

February 5, 2020 - Reading time: 9 minutes Administrator
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“It’s a sort of conflict , but not only for crypto,” said Multicoin Capital’s Beijing-based partner Mable Jiang. “Currency is that the leverage.”


Jiang said China’s goal is to leverage the increase of cryptocurrency, including both domestic bitcoin mining and a state-issued digital currency, to supplant the dollar and become the world’s leading economic power. Such rivalries feel lightyears away within the frosted Swiss alps, which are teeming with high-net-worth individuals absorbing the previous couple of days of politician-free ski slopes before the planet Economic Forum in Davos.


Roughly 250 people gathered at the Crypto Finance Conference St. Moritz in the week , hosted during a luxurious mountain getaway at 6,000 feet, for a series of talks that largely revolve around embracing strict compliance standards. (Cameron and Tyler Winklevoss took an opportunity from skiing to argue that thorough regulatory standards could help the U.S. retain its leading role within the global economic system .)


For crypto conference regulars who recall the post-2017 token boom correction, this gathering might desire falling into a machine , complete with security token sales and closed-loop stablecoins. Meanwhile, the planet Economic Forum (WEF) worked with 38 central banks round the world in 2019 to develop digital payment or asset strategies, consistent with Sheila Warren, the WEF’s head of blockchain and distributed ledger technology. From Cambodia to Colombia, many emerging nations decide to launch operational stablecoin projects, beyond pilots, in 2020.


“There’s this sense that they [emerging economies] could actually enjoy pegging a stablecoin to a basket of currencies during a way that they can’t currently do if they issue folding money ,” Warren said.


Today, most global commerce relies on dollars in some fashion. Warren said there’s “certainly an interest” among emerging economies in developing systems that don’t undergo ny clearinghouses. That’s where Jiang said the Chinese plans for a digital RMB currency are available .


“It’s not actually for people that sleep in China. they need WeChat or AliPay,” she said. “It’s another global settlement currency, including for developing countries round the world, which they [the Chinese] are friends with.”



Attendees of the CFC St. Moritz conference. (Photo courtesy of CFC St. Moritz)

Warren said the U.S. would likely resist systems that circumnavigate the dollar, adding Chinese officialdom are actively participating in talks associated with the WEF’s blockchain initiative. ConsenSys, the Ethereum Foundation and therefore the Ethereum Enterprise Alliance are among the businesses consulting leaders in those emerging economies, she said.


However, Warren added, the WEF doesn’t make those introductions nor recommend any country issue a digital currency. It merely offers guidelines and support to decision makers in emerging economies. Carmen Benitez, CEO of the Switzerland-based startup Fetch Blockchain LTD, heads yet one more firm consulting countries wanting to issue a cryptocurrency.


“They approached us,” Benitez said of her clients within the Colombian president’s office, which is fixing a bank-managed stablecoin for state projects in 2020. “They need a coin … they just like the idea of keeping [the economic flow] as closed as possible with the coin.”



Cypherpunks might argue a state- or bank-issued currency with strict limitations imposed by the issuer bears little resemblance to “cryptocurrency.” But that doesn’t deter the blockchain fans gathered at St. Moritz. 


Benitez said employing a blockchain-based currency would offer better transparency and automation than Colombia’s current, paperwork-heavy system. Likewise, most attendees appeared more excited about fitting tokens into a standard banking framework than they were about innovations just like the Lightning Network, for instance .


“Stablecoins and financial institution digital currencies are going to be [widespread] in only a couple of years,” said Cyrus de la Rubia, chief economist of Hamburg full service bank . “Even if Libra doesn’t come true, there'll be another privately issued stablecoin backed by fiat currencies.”


To many of those attendees, bitcoin offers a welcome diversification of investment options. Indeed, Grayscale director Michael Sonnenshein said the firm garnered more assets in 2019 than all previous years combined, resulting in a complete of $2.4 billion worth of crypto under management. Bitcoin products are still the foremost popular, although altcoin dips don’t deter investors. 


“We saw stronger inflows into our ethereum product last year,” Sonnenshein said. “Investors are watching quite just bitcoin.” 


Generally speaking, self-custody isn’t a priority for such institutional, European clients. This bothers Pascal Gauthier, CEO of hardware wallet company Ledger, who said there’s scant specialise in secure custody as Europe is regulating bitcoin-related activities “very heavily, very quickly.”


European regulations like AMLD5 require all companies involved money transmission, potentially including lightning liquidity providers, decentralized finance (DeFi) products like Compound and custodial wallets, behave more like banks in 2020 by collecting know-your-customer (KYC) information. This even applies to small startups working with microtransactions. Plus, the Financial Action Task Force established new rules which will force exchanges to gather more information associated with addresses that users send crypto to in 2020.


Although nobody knows needless to say how these rules will play out, as they seem difficult to enforce, veteran bitcoiner Joseph Weinberg, co-founder of the Shyft Network, said he worries this approach could also be regulating away censorship-resistance.


“Lightning applications could also be accepting micropayments but acting as hubs, so if you think that about being a payment channel provider, you’re effectively involved as an intermediary,” he said. “At the top of the day, this is often all about sanctions.”


WEF’s Warren agreed dominant economic players, just like the U.S., are now tightening the reins on activities with the potential to circumnavigate sanctions.


Digital Dollar

Some digital fiat advocates believe blockchain technology could even make sanctions simpler . 


Former Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) Chairman J. Christopher Giancarlo, who recently became co-founder of the Digital Dollar Foundation to advocate for a financial institution digital currency (CBDC) from the U.S., said the term conflict was a wee bit “strong” for disparity between the U.S. and China. Yet he generally agreed the economic rivalry was like “the race to land on the moon.”


“Many other global powers are looking to say their own currency as a crucial reserve currency,” Giancarlo said. “A digital dollar allows for a more scalpel-like approach to sanctions.” 



Former CFTC Chairman Christopher Giancarlo speaks at the CFC St. Moritz conference. (Photo courtesy of CFC St. Moritz)

On the opposite hand, de la Rubia said it might take an extended time for any digital currency to rival the U.S. dollar’s global dominance. He argued that the ecu Union (EU) would love for Saudi Arabia to cost oil contracts in Euros, yet the EU has been unable to contradict the dollar’s supreme liquidity.


“Bitcoin will always be volatile, with supply well-defined and demand moving,” he said. “As long as China has international capital controls, it'll be hard for the yuan to require over, whilst a digital currency.” 


When asked about bitcoin, Giancarlo preferred to match Facebook’s Libra project to his own Digital Dollar aspirations and therefore the yuan. 


“Only one among those three [currency issuers] would be constitutionally prohibited from mining that data for any purpose aside from illicit use,” he said. “A digital Yuan will absolutely be monitored by the govt for several purposes … a billboard venture absolutely will mine that data to mention whether you're shopping at Nordstrom or at Target.”


Giancarlo said he wants to dedicate the remainder of his career to modernizing America’s financial infrastructure, and he sees a blockchain-based fiat currency as a neighborhood of that. 


He wouldn't say what role bitcoin might play therein future. Instead, he said there’s an increasing interest in exploring “legitimate and positive use cases.”


Currency is, after all, a tool for political leverage. And although “blockchain” is on the ideas of everyone’s tongue this point of year in Switzerland, few people at St. Moritz acknowledge the role a decentralized cryptocurrency might play beyond an investing hedge.


Those who are bullish on bitcoin, not just blockchain, are left wondering how bitcoin are often a geopolitical hedge if most conduits for moving money round the ecosystem are essentially banks.

CabbageTech CEO Sentenced to 33 Months in Prison After Pleading Guilty in Fraud Case

February 5, 2020 - Reading time: 2 minutes Administrator
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McDonnell was also ordered to pay back his victims $224,352, consistent with the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Eastern District of latest York. Thursday’s sentencing caps McDonnell’s back-to-back legal fights with the federal , which saw the 47-year-old ny resident in civil then court on fraud charges. He pleaded guilty in June 2019, a handout stated.


Both cases stemmed from his tenure as CabbageTech CEO, where he defrauded victims of over $200,000, consistent with prosecutors. 


Thursday's release claimed he stole bitcoin, litecoin, ethereum and verge from 10 victims under the alter-ego “Jason Flack.” New victims were solicited on social media. While McDonnell promised investors would profit, he instead provided false financial statements, prosecutors sai. 


The CabbageTech platform started in May 2016, consistent with prosecutors. By 2018 the govt was taking notice.


That January, the Commodity and Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) filed a lawsuit against McDonnell, accusing him of defrauding investors. It based its right to enforce on a 2014 tax income Service ruling that bitcoin and other “convertible virtual currencies” are commodities. 


This definition had never been tested in court before but a judge soon ruled within the CFTC’s favor, creating a precedent for the IRS rule and bolstering the regulator’s subsequent enforcement actions across the space. McDonnell was eventually ordered to pay $1.1 million.


The Department of Justice followed with criminal action. it had been assisted by the CFTC’s previous work and secured a guilty plea from McDonnell in June 2019, consistent with a handout . 


“This office will still vigorously prosecute white-collar criminals who defraud the investing public,” Richard P. Donoghue, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of latest York, said during a statement Thursday.

Anchorage, Bison Trails Execs to Helm Libra’s New ‘Technical Steering Committee’

February 5, 2020 - Reading time: ~1 minute Administrator
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The new committee, composed of Anchorage co-founder Diogo Monica, Calibra core product lead George Cabrera III, Bison Trails founder Joe Lallouz, Union Square Ventures partner Nick Grossman and Mercy Corps emerging technology director Ric Shreves, was formed on Dec. 16, 2019, consistent with an announcement on the Libra developers page. it is the latest incremental update to the Libra roadmap following a wave of founding member defections last October.


The newly announced group will oversee the project's technical roadmap, guide codebase development and check out to create a developer community round the Libra project. before the stablecoin's public debut in June 2019, Facebook developers established the project's technical underpinnings. Many of these staffers have since been transferred to Facebook's crypto subsidiary, Calibra, including Facebook's former blockchain lead, David Marcus, and tech lead Ben Maurer.


The Libra technical committee plans to publish a governance framework before the top of March 2020, consistent with the announcement, that "will include the method by which the open source community can propose technical changes to the network and a transparent process for evaluating those proposals."


While Libra originally envisioned a launch by mid-2020, regulatory pushback may delay this, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg said during an interview late last year.