Ripple Co-Founder Says He Recovered from COVID-19 + More News

Crypto Briefs is your daily, bite-sized digest of cryptocurrency and blockchain-related news – investigating the stories flying under the radar of today’s crypto news. Ripple & XRP news Nik Bougalis, a Ripple engineer responsible for XRP's server software, said in a GitHub submission that a group of Ripple developers including himself had designed a new private

Oil volatility following Trump tweets brings crypto traders to PrimeXBT

Few asset classes are as known for their volatility as cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin, Ethereum, and others are. Because these young digital asset valuations are driven primarily by speculation and hype, they are especially susceptible to wild price swings.

However, today, it was the oil market that experienced crypto-like gains, causing the price per barrel of oil to surge by over 25% following comments from US President Donald Trump in reference to his expectation that Russia and Saudi Arabia will reduce production output by approximately 10 million barrels.

Trump Tweets and Oil Prices Spike: Russia and Saudi Arabia to Cut Production

According to a Trump tweet, the US President claims that Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman discussed a potential oil production cut with he and Russian President Vladimir Putin. He believes that the two major oil producers across the globe will announce the production cut in the coming days.

Trump points to a possible production cut of as much as 10 million barrels of oil, but notes that it could be “substantially more” due to less demand for the commodity in the market.

The news caused WTI Crude oil prices to surge by over 35%, and Brent oil, the global benchmark, gained over 47% before pulling back.

Meanwhile, Bitcoin also rallied on the day, only surging by 7% by comparison, showing just how much more volatile and profitable oil trading has been compared to cryptocurrencies.

Explosive Traditional Market Volatility Lures Crypto Traders

Bitcoin and altcoins continue to be the primary focus of cryptocurrency investors and traders, however, the recent volatility in traditional markets like commodities, the stock market, and even forex has caused a massive spike in interest in these assets.

During 2019, more crypto investors became interested in precious metals like gold and silver as the Bitcoin as a safe haven asset narrative began to take hold across the crypto market.

As most learned this past March, no assets were safe from the coronavirus and resulting market crash caused by the pandemic.

Cryptocurrencies, gold, oil, stocks, and more all suffered historic losses and dropped to extreme lows. And while this sort of hellish environment is brutal on longer-term investors or those looking to pad their retirement, the recent volatility is ideal for traders to profit from.

It’s resulted in more and more investors turning to trading to earn back losses suffered during the crash, and more and more crypto traders turning to traditional markets where additional volatility and profit opportunities lie.

There’s Never Been a More Profitable Time As a Trader

With all markets more volatile than they have been in over a decade, and prices rapidly moving in either direction back and forth, it’s the best time possible to be a trader.

Traders can use tools like long or short positions to profit from any direction price moves. Stop losses and other risk management strategies can keep losses to a minimum, and professional tools such as leverage can ensure that only little upfront capital is ever put on the line.

All that’s left is to choose the asset or assets for you, and get started trading. And with more people working from home due to the quarantine measures put into place by most local and national governments, it’s an ideal time to start day trading and profiting from these wildly volatile price swings.

Trade Traditional Markets and Crypto Under One Roof With PrimeXBT

To address the growing demand by crypto traders seeking exposure to a variety of traditional assets in addition to Bitcoin, Ethereum, and others, PrimeXBT, a Bitcoin-based margin trading platform also offers forex, commodities, stock indices, and more, alongside crypto assets.

Assets like WTI Oil, Brent Oil, gold, silver, Natural Gas, and more can all be traded with up to 1000x leverage, allowing traders to not only profit from these volatile markets, but amplify any profits using the power of margin.

Traders can build a diverse portfolio using the PrimeXBT trading platform’s advanced trading tools. These tools include everything from long and short positions, build-in charting software, and innovative products like the all-new PrimeXBT Turbo platform, offering profits of up to 90% in 30 seconds and the Covesting Fund Management Module.

The Covesting Fund Management Module beta launched this week on PrimeXBT, letting traders of varying experience levels profit alongside one another. The tool allows traders to become fund managers, who can then build a name for themselves in the platform’s public ratings system. Fund managers can then trade assets like oil, crypto and others found on the platform, and enticing less experienced investors to add their capital to the professional trader’s fund.

With so many tools designed to extract the most profit possible from the current market volatility seen across all asset types, there’s no more well-rounded trading platform than PrimeXBT.

Disclosure: This is a sponsored post brought to you by PrimeXBT. For more information on our rates for sponsored posts, please see our advertising page.

The post Oil volatility following Trump tweets brings crypto traders to PrimeXBT appeared first on CryptoSlate.

Analyst: Moon Mission For Tezos Cryptocurrency Following Hammer Reversal

The cryptocurrency Tezos has only just come back down to Earth after spending early 2020 skyrocketing to new highs, but according to one crypto analyst, a moon mission may be next for the hyped-up altcoin following an inverted hammer reversal candle. Cryptocurrency Refuels After Historic Crash Coronavirus Collapse Few altcoins have had as strong of a start to the year as Tezos. A massive nearly 200% rally took the asset from a dollar and a quarter to as high as nearly $4 before the recent market collapse cut the asset down to size. Like most other cryptocurrencies, Tezos fell by over 50% or more on the XTZUSD trading pair amid the coronavirus crisis. Traditional assets such as gold, the stock market, and more also suffered record-breaking losses. Related Reading | Tezos Cryptocurrency May Rally to New Highs, According to Key Bullish Factors  The collapse took Tezos price back down to a dollar – a 75% decline. But given the asset’s strength prior to the panic-induced selloff, Tezos will likely be quick to rebound. And according to one cryptocurrency analyst, Tezos is likely to do just that on the XTZBTC trading pair, where the asset is ready to go on a moon mission against Bitcoin in the very near future. The powerful move up is expected following an inverted hammer candle – a common reversal candlestick resembling a hammer. $XTZ notice the inverted hammer and it's location. 🌕 Moon mission is loading… pic.twitter.com/E4jVwfMqhm — Pentoshi (@Pentosh1) April 3, 2020   Inverted hammer formations are created when the open, low, and close within a similar proximity, but a long upper wick at least twice the size of the candle body is left behind. The price action shows a defense by bullish investors and traders, and the following candle typically tips off an analyst about what to expect for future price movements – in this case, more bullish momentum. It could signal that buyers are outweighing sellers and the price could soon reverse. But why are investors so bullish on Tezos? Staking New Ground: Tezos To the Moon Thanks To Annualized Earnings From its 2018 bottom to the recent peak, Tezos had grown in value by over 400%, earning it a reputation for providing enormous profits to crypto investors. The surging valuation helped the altcoin enter the top ten cryptocurrencies by market cap, earning it higher visibility with investors and solidifying it as among the safer investments in the space. Although it is the surging prices that are fueling interest itself, the cryptocurrency also offers an annual APY return in more XTZ tokens for those that stake their holdings on the blockchain. Related Reading | Could Crypto Exchange Coinbase Be Pumping Tezos To The Moon? Certain wallets or cryptocurrency exchanges offer staking, and the additional earnings have made Tezos extremely attractive with crypto investors trying to squeeze out any money they can out of two years of a continued bear market. Whatever is causing the interest, its working, and Tezos could be ready to moon once again.

Crypto Traders Allegedly Involved in a $35m Ponzi Scheme

Three cryptocurrency traders allegedly scammed over 100 investors in a Ponzi scheme.

Three alleged cryptocurrency traders ran a Ponzi scheme which scammed more than 100 investors for over $35 million, according to a lawsuit filed by an entity formed by the victims in a federal court of Florida, United States.

According to an announcement published on April 2, Q3 Investment Recovery Vehicle, who represents defrauded investors, accused the trio of alleged crypto traders of cheating victims by promising them a winning trading formula. 

Former NYSE and Wells Fargo workers among the accused 

The federal securities fraud case names three individuals as the primary perpetrators of the scheme. They include James Seijas, who worked as a financial advisor for Wells Fargo until March 2019, Quan Tran, a surgeon, and Michael Ackerman, who was a New York Stock Exchange institutional broker. These three are thought to have appropriated money from at least 20 victims who relayed their complaints in the court. 

The Q3 Recovery Vehicle stated the following:

“The founders claimed, fraudulently, that the investments would be used to trade cryptocurrency using a proprietary and wildly successful algorithm developed by Ackerman.”

Less than $10 million was used for crypto trading

According to the complaint, less than $10 million “and possibly less than $5 million” of the collected investments were used for virtual currency trading. Meanwhile, the defendants allegedly misappropriated at least $20 million for their personal use.

The recovery vehicle claimed that between August 2017 and December 2019, all funds were collected to finance the Ponzi scheme, including posts on a doctor-centric Facebook group.

Donna Seijas (wife of James Seijas) and Steve Saunders, who was the vice presidents of operations for Skyway Capital Markets LLC, are also mentioned in the complaint.

Bitcoin Needs To Make an Effort to Not Waste This Crisis

While many bitcoin (BTC) hodlers hope that despite the COVID-19 pandemic and troubles in the traditional financial markets - or exactly because of them - BTC will skyrocket, it might not happen without the active involvement of the Cryptoverse itself. "In addition to the unique properties of BTC, the industry needs strong storytelling, marketing, and user experience to

ShapeShift Enables US-Based Customers to Buy Crypto With Debit Card

Crypto exchange ShapeShift allows United States-based customers to buy BTC with a debit card in the new exchange’s platform.

Switzerland-based crypto exchange, ShapeShift, has enabled its United States-based customers to buy Bitcoin (BTC) and Ethereum (ETH) with a debit card in the new exchange’s platform.

ShapeShift’s founder, Eric Voorhees, announced the development in a tweet on April 3, saying:

“If you're in the US, you can buy Bitcoin instantly in the new ShapeShift.com platform with your debit card. You can literally have the Bitcoin, in your possession, five minutes from now.”

KYC processes compliance

ShapeShift’s new platform doesn’t require account verification to purchase cryptocurrencies, which has led to questions from the tweet’s commentators.

When asked about the project’s Know-Your-Customer (KYC) policy, Voorhees confirmed that KYC is not required. This is due to the fact that, as is the case with Shapeshift, the platform does not actually hold custody of customer funds. Since transfers occur P2P between wallets owned and controlled by individual users, KYC measures are not strictly necessary.

ShapeShift has not yet released a mobile app, and only allows customers to purchase crypto via debit card through its web platform.

Crypto industry actively adopts debit and credit cards

Crypto exchanges have been actively adding support for debit cards, with some of them even issuing their own. Most recently, major crypto exchange, Binance, entered the crypto debit card sector with news of an official Binance Card. Issued by Visa, the card is initially only available in South East Asia, though the company states that other regions will be unlocked soon.

Earlier this year, Coinbase became a principal member of Visa, which allows it to issue debit cards without relying on third parties. The company’s Coinbase Card connects to each user’s Coinbase account, allowing individuals to spend their crypto balance via an instant conversion to fiat.

“Rocket fuel”: Why this prominent investor is still eyeing a $100,000 Bitcoin price

With global markets crashing and the broader economy on the verge of another great recession, it’s hard to visualize Bitcoin rallying, especially since it collapsed by 50 percent in a single 24-hour period in mid-March.

But top investors still see upside for the cryptocurrency, with one analyst eyeing a $100,000 Bitcoin price, which is 1,380 percent higher than the current market price of $6,750. Here’s why he expects BTC to appreciate this much.

Bitcoin to rally to $100,000?

Speaking with a commodities news site and bullion dealer, Kitco, Anthony Pompliano — co-founder of crypto fund Morgan Creek Digital Assets and an industry analyst — explained that despite the recent drawdown, Bitcoin is still on track to “rally hundreds of percent” to $100,000 in the coming years.

The exact prediction is $100,000 by December 2021, just over eighteen months from now. Backing this lofty forecast, he cited three things:

  • Central banks are printing money en-masse: To stave off the negative effects of the coronavirus outbreak, central banks have begun to debase money en-masse through quantitive easing and low-interest rates. Analysts believe as the value of fiat decreases, Bitcoin should rise.
  • The upcoming block reward halving: In May, the number of Bitcoin mined each day will get cut in half due to the so-called “halving.” This will reduce the amount of natural selling pressure placed on the BTC price by miners.
  • Demand for Bitcoin is growing: As shown by the strong increase in demand for stablecoins, there is a growing demand for cryptocurrency, presumably due to the aforementioned two narratives and the search for new investments amid these stressing times.
What’s really going on with Tether’s exploding supply? Crypto exec tells all
Related: What’s really going on with Tether’s exploding supply? Crypto exec tells all

These three factors, Pompliano explained, will work in tandem to increase the demand of Bitcoin in a time when the scarcity of the cryptocurrency increases, resulting in both a positive demand shock and a negative supply shock — two trends that should dramatically increase the price of the asset.

The math agrees with Pompliano

Indeed, per previous reports from CryptoSlate, pseudonymous analyst PlanB found that Bitcoin’s market capitalization over time can be plotted on a logarithmic regression, which has an R squared of 93 percent (was originally 95 percent but has since been adjusted down due to volatility), or extremely accurate in non-statistics lingo terms.

The model predicts that BTC will have a fair value of $55,000 to $100,000 — approximately ten to twenty times the current value — after the halving due to the emission shock.

Importantly, the model doesn’t predict when Bitcoin will see this rally, but it predicts a long-term growth towards the fair value.

The post “Rocket fuel”: Why this prominent investor is still eyeing a $100,000 Bitcoin price appeared first on CryptoSlate.

Homeowners Can’t Pay: US Lenders Prepare for Catastrophic Real Estate Market

Homeowners Can't Pay: US Lenders Prepare for Catastrophic Real Estate Market

The coronavirus has managed to seep into every facet of the global economy and it seems nothing will escape its financial wrath. During the last two weeks as unemployment levels have skyrocketed in the U.S.; analysts, economists, and wealth managers have been warning about another subprime mortgage crisis. Most of these observers believe there’s no doubt the real estate market will collapse again, as economists understand that the loss of jobs, wages, and severe reduction of business activity has devastated the American economy.

Also read: US Real Estate in Jeopardy – Analysts Predict Housing Market Crash to 29-Year Lows

Real Estate Industry Will Suffer from Unemployed Homeowners Who Can’t Pay Loans and Renters Who Can’t Pay Landlords

There are a number of individuals and organizations that predict the covid-19 economy will destroy the American housing market and it might be far worse than the 2008 subprime mortgage crisis. One of the biggest reasons people think that the real estate economy is about to be hit hard is because of the number of U.S. citizens that are unemployed right now. This has caused mortgage borrowers to stop paying loans due to not having funds. Debtors who are landlords are suffering too, as renters cannot come up with the money to pay monthly rent expenses because they are out of work. At the time of publication, estimates note that roughly 40% of New York tenants may not be able to pay their rent this month which in turn hurts the landlord paying the mortgage.

Homeowners Can't Pay: US Lenders Prepare for Catastrophic Real Estate Market
Many economists think the housing market could sink in the near future because of restrictive measures like social distancing and the economy shut down. U.S. unemployment spiked considerably by 6.6 million in one week and over 3 million the week prior. Because homeowners can’t pay their loans and renters cannot pay landlords, economists envision a massive subprime mortgage crisis that will be more devastating than the last.

Estimates from Moody’s Analytics chief economist Mark Zandi note that 30% of Americans with mortgages might not be able to pay their loans. Zandi says that figure is around 15 million American households and it could grow worse if the economy is shut down through the summer months. Property owners and renters are concerned about the unpredictable economy and a great majority of earners are seeing a smaller paycheck thanks to fewer shifts, hours, and layoffs across the board.

Homeowners Can't Pay: US Lenders Prepare for Catastrophic Real Estate Market

The U.S. government’s safety nets are not working and the ones that are available only cover a fraction of homeowners. Many Americans are upset because government-backed home loans through the FHA, Freddie Mac, Fannie Mae, and the VA are allowing deferred payments for mortgages. In some instances, these lenders are allowing up to a year of deferred payments. But government-backed loans only cover 60% of the nation and the 40% leftover have traditional real estate loans with banks.

The Airbnb Bubble: Some Airbnb Super Hosts Have 10+ Mortgages

Similarly, property owners who rent might not get monthly payments for a very long time. As individuals in the U.S. are finding themselves out of work, they can’t pay the rent to their landlords. Some renters and politicians in various states are calling for an emergency rent freeze and eviction moratorium until the covid-19 threat is behind us.

Homeowners Can't Pay: US Lenders Prepare for Catastrophic Real Estate Market
Some speculators are concerned that the Airbnb market will cause a negative domino effect on the housing industry. While the coronavirus is causing people to stop renting from Airbnb hosts it will crush Airbnb ‘super hosts’ who have upwards of ten mortgages.

Landlords with mortgages could be crushed as the Rental Housing Finance Survey (RHFS) estimates there are more than 22.5 million rental properties nationwide. Some economists think that super hosts from Airbnb could cause the housing market to buckle as well, thanks to the unwinding Airbnb rental economy. Mega or ‘super hosts’ are Airbnb landlords who mortgaged multiple homes in order to profit on the platform’s rental market.

“Watch the real estate market, my neighbor is an Airbnb super host,” tweeted Spencer Noon. She is on forums with other hosts [and] many of them have 10+ mortgages. 0 guests are booking their properties [and] they are running out of cash.”

Homeowners Can't Pay: US Lenders Prepare for Catastrophic Real Estate Market

From Predicting a ‘Booming Spring Real Estate Market’ to a ‘Catastrophic Buying Season’

Even small banks and real estate lenders are being told by the government they have no idea how long the industry shut down will last. “Nobody has any sense of how long this might last,” explained Andrew Jakabovics, an executive from Enterprise Community Partners, a nonprofit affordable housing group. “The forbearance program allows everybody to press pause on their current circumstances and take a deep breath. Then we can look at what the world might look like in six or 12 months from now and plan for that.”

Homeowners Can't Pay: US Lenders Prepare for Catastrophic Real Estate Market
Unemployment rates continue to soar. If people can’t work, then they can’t afford rent and homeowners can’t afford to pay mortgage loans either.

On March 21, news.Bitcoin.com reported on how Lendingtree’s chief economist Tendayi Kapfidze predicted a complete “shutdown in the housing market.” Today, Kapfidze says with the government in “bailout everyone mode,” they probably will try to stop mass foreclosures. “I expect policymakers to do whatever they can to hold the line on a financial crisis,” Kapfidze told the press. “And that means preventing foreclosures by any means necessary,” he added.

In addition to the looming subprime mortgage crisis, office, retail, industrial, and multi-family homeowners invested a lot of upfront funds expecting a good season in the spring. “If the pandemic has taught us anything, it’s how quickly everything can change. Just weeks ago, mortgage lenders were predicting the biggest spring in years for home sales and mortgage refinances,” Bloomberg’s recent real estate coverage explains. Meanwhile, on April 2nd, financial publications wrote: “Real estate spring buying season could be catastrophic.”

Even the President Is Looking for a Loan Deferral

Throughout the covid-19 economy, wealth managers and economists are curious about which safe-haven asset will society be confident in during the financial meltdown. While many predict precious metals will be the avenue, history shows that during the 2007-2008 subprime mortgage crisis bullion markets were manipulated by central banks.

Reports highlight that Donald Trump’s company has asked Trump’s biggest lender, Deutsche Bank, for some leniency toward repaying some of his loans. “These days everybody is working together,” explained Eric Trump, the U.S. president’s son, and executive of the family business. “Tenants are working with landlords, landlords are working with banks. The whole world is working together as we fight through this pandemic.”

The current black swan event, covid-19 may call for a black swan asset like bitcoin because it’s not manipulated as easily as real estate property and precious metals. Traditionally investing in real estate outperforms a myriad of other investment assets, but cryptocurrencies have outshined property investment by a longshot. In fact, in contrast to real estate investment which gained 70-100% in ten years, BTC gained 8.9 million percent over the last decade.

Moreover, analysts can clearly see that office, retail, industrial, and multi-family investors will take a big hit from the covid-19 economy. Even U.S. President Donald Trump is having issues coming up with funds to pay for his Florida properties and his administration asked Deutsche Bank and Palm Beach County to give him leniency.

What do you think about the real estate industry’s hardships in the near future? Let us know what you think in the comments below.

The post Homeowners Can’t Pay: US Lenders Prepare for Catastrophic Real Estate Market appeared first on Bitcoin News.

Irony: Bitcoin Relies on the Banks It Was Designed to Dethrone

With an economic collapse upon us, it has revived discussion around the concepts that prompted the creation of Bitcoin. And although the asset could have its finest hour in the face of the coming hyperinflation, ironically, the first-ever cryptocurrency’s existence currently depends on the banks that it was designed to replace. Will this ever change, or is Bitcoin doomed to be forever tied to fiat gateways in some way? Bitcoin Built to Dethrone Banks, But For Now, Heavily Relies On Them Bitcoin is the first-ever cryptocurrency, created by the mysterious Satoshi Nakamoto. It was released during the last economic recession, and its Genesis Block contains references to the controversial bank bailouts taking place during that period of time. Bitcoin was created to be a peer-to-peer form of digital cash – a decentralized cryptocurrency network operating without the need for a central authority. Related Reading | Economist: Government Overspending Amidst Crisis is Bullish for Bitcoin  And while that works in theory and concept, in execution, central authorities are very much needed. A central authority or third party may not have any direct control over the Bitcoin protocol, however, in the futuristic digital asset’s current state, many direct connections to central authorities remain, and much of Bitcoin’s success and mere existence hinges on its line to central authorities like banks. But why is it so important that these ties between banks and Bitcoin remain open and flowing? But the Cryptocurrency May Forever Be Shackled to Fiat Gateways Unless a user is transacting in private, through black market deals, classifieds, OTC, or even LocalBitcoins, most people are stuck getting their cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin from some type of cryptocurrency exchange. These cryptocurrency exchanges or other fiat gateways like the Cash App are the only means to acquire Bitcoin for most, and any of these products or services must be directly tied to a banking account with all personal information added for tracking by the IRS and other third parties. Clearly, the original intent behind Bitcoin was not for it to forever rely on fiat gateways for its network to build in value. But for now, it’s a necessary evil that continues to put Bitcoin at severe risk. However, there’s no other alternative. Related Reading | Will Bitcoin Dethrone The Dollar As Global Reserve Currency?  Because buying the leading cryptocurrency by market cap usually requires a bank somewhere along the line as an intermediary – among the biggest issues Bitcoin seeks to solve – at a whim, these banks could suddenly decide to not allow customers to purchase such assets. Then what? Bitcoin still exists and it is indeed unstoppable in terms of the network operating. Even if all fiat gateways suddenly disappeared overnight, the network would still exist in some form. But until it is in wide use, it will remain shackled to the fiat gateways it sought to dethrone so that users can buy and sell the asset back into fiat, as ironic as that may be.

Oil Prices Surge 24%, Will Bitcoin Bulls Follow Suit?

Should the bitcoin Community Be Worried About the Oil Market Crash?
Bitcoin has been bullish this week, peaking yesterday at over $7,083 on Coinmarketcap and even surpassing $7,200 on several major exchanges. The cryptocurrency declined below $6,900 as of today, but the bullish stance might be supported by surging oil prices. Bitcoin-Oil Correlation Bitcoin usually doesn’t show any correlation to traditional assets. Still, it fell below $8,000 specifically after the oil market crashed by over 30%, which was the largest single-day decline in three decades. After several weeks of struggle, crude prices have rebounded. Does it mean Bitcoin bulls will feel more encouraged by the market conditions? During the recent weeks, Bitcoin and oil have shown some very close correlation. Actually, the interference of price changes was maybe even more relevant than Bitcoin’s comparison to the stock markets. When prices intensified in volatility, the Bitcoin-oil correlation was slightly delayed, with crude trends defining the subsequent moves in the Bitcoin prices. Note that this correlation is only temporary and may be valid specifically during market turmoil, which affects institutional investors. Historically, Bitcoin has very little to do with oil and may even demonstrate an inverse correlation at a later date. Crude Prices Jump 24% Since April 1 Since the start of the month, oil prices bounced back and increased by over 24%. Currently, Brent and WTI futures are trading at $33.41 and $26.73, respectively, up from $25 and $20. The crude rally has extended after US President Donald Trump said that he got in touch with Russia and Saudi Arabia, urging the two oil producers to reconcile and cool the conflict. Just spoke to my friend MBS (Crown Prince) of Saudi Arabia, who spoke with President Putin of Russia, & I expect & hope that they will be cutting back approximately 10 Million Barrels, and maybe substantially more which, if it happens, will be GREAT for the oil & gas industry! — Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) April 2, 2020 Last month, Saudi Arabia started a price war against Russia by boosting crude output and cutting prices, which surprised markets, especially when demand is tumbling amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Commodity investors hope that the two countries will reach some consensus soon. The general optimism has boosted oil prices, and this might be additional support for Bitcoin to consolidate above $7,000. So far, the largest cryptocurrency hasn’t managed to maintain above that level, but the chances are that Bitcoin will react a bit later. Do you think Bitcoin hasn’t bottomed out yet? Share your thoughts in the comments section! Image via Shutterstock, Investing.com, Twitter @realdonaldtrump

Amid Widespread Privacy Coin Delistings, Bitstamp Considers Zcash Support

Bitstamp may announce first new listing in nearly three years, with the exchange contemplating support for seven new crypto assets.

Bitstamp, one of the longest-running active cryptocurrency exchanges, is considering launching a batch of new crypto asset listings.

Curiously, Bitstamp is contemplating support for Zcash (ZEC), despite an increasing number of exchanges seeking to distance themselves from privacy coins due to associated regulatory risks.

Bitfinex considers first new listings in 3 years

On March 31, Bitstamp announced it is “actively exploring” support for seven crypto assets, including two stablecoins and one privacy coin.

The prospective listings comprise Basic Attention Token (BAT), Ethereum Classic (ETC), Stellar Lumens (XLM), Paxos Standard (PAX), 0x (ZRX), USD Coin (USDC), and Zcash.

Exchanges abandon privacy coins

In 2019, updated money laundering guidelines from the Financial Action Task Force, or FATF, comprised the catalyst for a spate of privacy coin delistings.

During August 2019, leading U.S.-based exchange Coinbase announced that it would no longer offer support for Zcash custody and pairing for customers based in the U.K.

In September, South Korean exchanges, OKEx and Upbit, announced they would cease support for several privacy coins including ZEC, Monero (XMR), and Dash (DASH); crypto assets described as “the three anonymous siblings” by Japanese regulators.

BitBay also dropped XMR in November 2019.

Users may see signs of prospective listings on Bitstamp

The exchange notes that consideration of the prospective listings will involve “strict technical, safety and compliance reviews, as well as regulatory approval in certain jurisdictions.”

Bitstamp adds that users may notice “signs of engineering work” related to the crypto assets under consideration, adding: “We cannot guarantee that this will result in any new listings and it does not disqualify any other assets from being monitored for possible support at Bitstamp.”

Should Bitstamp support a new crypto asset, it will be the exchange’s first new listing since Bitcoin Cash in 2017, and the first listing introduced by NXMH — the Belgium-based investment company who acquired Bitstamp in October 2018.

“This Is the Year for Bitcoin”: Novogratz Expects Bitcoin to Hit $20,000 in 2020

Bitcoin

Despite the recent recovery in the crypto markets, Bitcoin remains far below its all-time high of $20,000.

But according to a top investor, the cryptocurrency will revisit this price in the very near future.

Bitcoin to Soon Surmount $20,000?

In April 2nd’s episode of CNBC “Closing Bell,” Mike Novogratz — an ex-partner at Goldman Sachs and CEO of crypto merchant bank Galaxy Digital — doubled down on a prediction he made that Bitcoin will retest $20,000 by the end of 2020.

He added that within the coming six months, BTC should double, which would mean a price of at least $12,000 by October.

He put so much faith in the prediction that he said:

“This is the year of Bitcoin and if it doesn’t go up now by the end of the year, I might just hang my spurs.”

It isn’t only Novogratz that is expecting Bitcoin to hit $20,000 within the coming year.

Per previous reports from Blockonomi, Dan Morehead, a former Wall Street trader turned head of crypto fund Pantera Capital, said that he thinks Bitcoin will set a new record within the 12 months:

My best guess is that it will take institutional investors 2–3 months to triage their current portfolio issues. Another 3–6 months to research new opportunities like distressed debt, special situations, crypto, etc. Then, as they begin making allocations, those markets will really begin to rise.

Also, Raoul Pal — a former Goldman Sachs executive and hedge fund manager — suggested in a recent interview that he thinks Bitcoin will clear its $20,000 high within the coming 12 to 18 months.

What’s The Idea Behind These Predictions?

Although all individual investors and analysts with their own opinions about markets, these three investors seem to agree on what will cause Bitcoin to appreciate so far and so fast: central banks.

In the aforementioned interview, Novogratz explained that he thinks society has passed the “Rubicon,” so to say, of money printing and the monetization of debt to try and spur economic growth.

Indeed, to try and stave off a collapse in society, this, governments and central banks have been forced to respond with their most drastic measures available — boosted unemployment benefits, tax holidays, free money for all citizens, trillions of dollars worth of quantitative easing, and negative interest rates.

Bitcoin Price Predictions
Bitcoin Price Predictions for 2020: From Zero to a Million – What do the Experts Think?

All three of the aforementioned investors believe this trend, which is both debasing fiat money and showing the flaws of the traditional system, could benefit Bitcoin, a scarce and decentralized alternative to fiat money. As Morehead wrote in a recent newsletter:

As governments increase the quantity of paper money, it takes more pieces of paper money to buy things that have fixed quantities, like stocks and real estate, above where they would settle absent an increase in the amount of money. I think they will do that. The corollary is they’ll also inflate the price of other things, like gold, bitcoin, and other cryptocurrencies.

Novogratz, notably, also believes the dynamic of the block reward halving could boost the value of Bitcoin, as he mentioned this event in an interview with CNBC published earlier this year.

Indeed, as found by PlanB, Bitcoin’s market capitalization over time can be plotted on a logarithmic regression, which has an R squared of 95%, or extremely accurate in non-statistics lingo terms.

The model predicts that BTC will have a fair value of $55,000 to $100,000 — ten to twenty times the current value — after the halving due to the emission shock.

The post “This Is the Year for Bitcoin”: Novogratz Expects Bitcoin to Hit $20,000 in 2020 appeared first on Blockonomi.

Top Analyst Believes Bitcoin Could Benefit From a Period of Deflation

Bitcoin

If you’ve perused Crypto Twitter over the past few months, you know the obsession of Bitcoin investors and inflation, specifically hyperinflation; if you ask an investor in the cryptocurrency why they buy BTC, they’re likely to mention something regarding the hyperinflationary collapse of Zimbabwe’s currency.

It’s natural: unlike fiat currencies which can be printed at the whim of central banks and governments, Bitcoin is strictly scarce, with the protocol ensuring that only 21 million coins will ever be mined and sent through the blockchain. Inflation, of course, should help an asset that is scarce and in demand.

But, over the past few weeks, with the collapse in the price of oil and a dramatic drop in the velocity of money, there’s been a serious discussion of an impending deflationary cycle. Deflation meaning that the value of your dollar actually increases, which should theoretically promote hoarding and decrease the value of assets.

But, a top macro analyst recently suggested that a deflationary “wave” could help Bitcoin in the longer run. Here’s how.

Signs of Deflation

Over the past few weeks, due to the mandatory lockdown put in place around the world, the demand for goods and services has fallen off the face of the Earth, epitomized by the collapse of certain oil barrels to $0, even negative prices. Seriously.

With this, it is clear that deflation, which is caused by a large decrease in demand or the velocity of money, is on the horizon.

The issue is, to stave off deflation and a brutal recession, the Federal Reserve and the world’s central banks and governments are being forced to activate every monetary measure they have in their power to keep the gears of the economy moving.

According to Raoul Pal of Global Macro Investors, with this in mind, “that might mean the Fed will do the unthinkable […] and go to negative rates,” before pointing to charts that show the Federal Funds and 10-year Treasury Bond yields are on the verge of heading negative.

Regardless, he seemed certain that deflation is coming, calling the chances of a negative CPI (inflation measure) reading “very high.”

Could Be Huge For Bitcoin

Again, while the main thesis around Bitcoin investment is to stave off the inflation of fiat dollars, a deflationary event could seriously benefit Bitcoin, analysts say.

Pal, for instance, explained that with the current macro backdrop “Dollars, Gold, and Bitcoin make the most sense,” adding that he is positioning his portfolio for 18 months to 36 months out, seemingly suggesting he doesn’t expect deflation to happen just yet.

Pal didn’t expand on his points, but it’s easy to see why he has a growing interest in gold and Bitcoin considering what he said.

Firstly, negative interest rates decrease the opportunity cost of owning assets that yield 0%, such as gold and Bitcoin. Why hold a bond yielding -0.5% a year when you could hold a scarce asset with room for upside that yields 0%?

And secondly, Jeff Booth, a Canadian technology entrepreneur and author of The Price of Tomorrow, suggested in a recent interview with Real Vision that deflation is likely to dramatically worsen the world’s debt load. Why?

Well, despite rates being zero or even negative, a deflationary environment would mean that the real value of debt, most of which was accumulated in the inflationary environment of the early-2000s or 2010s, would increase, leaving many debtors with a bigger and bigger hole to dig out of.

In other words, the chance of defaulting on debt should increase in a period of deflation, which in turn may erode trust in institutions, forcing individuals to seek alternatives like gold and Bitcoin, Booth said in the interview.

The post Top Analyst Believes Bitcoin Could Benefit From a Period of Deflation appeared first on Blockonomi.

Ethereum Privacy Tool Tornado Set to Be Fully Non-Custodial Within Next Month

Tornado

Tornado.cash has been an early and promising prospect in Ethereum’s advancing privacy arena.

Its potential? To be a solution anyone can use to make anonymous Ethereum transactions in a non-custodial manner, meaning users would maintain control of their funds every step of the way.

However, due to the security trade-offs and the financial stakes around a rising project like Tornado, the tool isn’t entirely non-custodial yet — its admins could still materially exert control over the system if put under duress, for example.

“The dirty secret of Tornado Cash is that it is controlled by a multisig, and the trusted setup was done on a single machine,” SpankChain CEO and MolochDAO grassroots Ethereum funding group founder Ameen Soleimani said in a recent proposal to fund $40,000 toward a new Tornado trusted setup ceremony.

Such a ceremony would set up the parameters of a new non-custodial version of Tornado in a verifiable way, and the good news for the project and for Ethereum in general is that funding proposal did pass. The passage kicked off work on an audit by NCC Group Security Services, an auditing firm recommended to Soleimani by Zcash pioneer Zooko Wilcox.

Toward Better, More Secure Privacy

This will set Tornado on a trajectory to fulfilling its full potential, Soleimani has said:

“The objective is to perform a legit trusted setup, then ditch the admin multisig and lock the contract open, so we have privacy on Ethereum until the heat death of the universe or the end of time, whichever comes first.”

Notably, the NCC audit of the new Tornado trusted setup codebase comes after MolochDAO facilitated a prior $10,000 proposal aimed at optimizing the user interface and design of the ceremony.

As for the newly approved funding, it’s put Tornado on course to be fully decentralized in short order. In responding to criticism that the tool has previously been hailed as non-custodial when it wasn’t, Soleimani separately noted:

“I’ve never called it safe yet, pretty sure the team advertises it as ‘highly experimental.’ In less than 1 month it will be legitimately decentralized though.”

A Win for MolochDAO

Actualizing better privacy on Ethereum is a major point of need for the platform and frankly for blockchain projects in general. Tornado has been an early star in Ethereum’s young horizon accordingly, but it’s needed help getting across its finish line potential-wise faster.

To that end, MolochDAO’s $40,000 grant was hugely helpful — surgical, conducted fleetly and with focus for something that is extremely consequential for the Ethereum community on an indefinite basis going forward.

As such, the episode shows in stark fashion just how much of a force for good that the MolochDAO group can be in the Ethereum ecosystem.

The organization was first launched in early 2019, and since then it’s gone on to fund thousands of dollars of grants toward dozens of Ethereum projects. Its funding of the Tornado trusted setup audit is hardly the group’s first consequential efforts, then, but it may very well go down as some of its most important and long-lasting work when all is said and done.

Promising Possibilities

Ethereum is itself a flexible platform, so the blockchain’s flexibility combined with the privacy offered by Tornado can eventually prove to be quite a dynamite combination.

For insance, consider the coming bitcoin-pegged tBTC Ethereum token, which is slated to launch in a few weeks and will bring a trustless version of the OG cryptocurrency into Ethereum’s DeFi arena. In the future, it’s possible that Bitcoiners will be able to most effectively “mix” their bitcoins atop Ethereum using solutions like Tornado.

Moreover, that’s just one contemporary example out of many possible ones. At this point, it seems hard to overstate the utility of a mature Tornado project all things considered.

The post Ethereum Privacy Tool Tornado Set to Be Fully Non-Custodial Within Next Month appeared first on Blockonomi.

Thesis Team Raises $7.7 Million Ahead of tBTC “Bitcoin on Ethereum” Launch

A new and promising version of bitcoin is coming to Ethereum’s growing decentralized finance ecosystem, and the team building it is pushing full steam ahead upon securing fresh funding.

On Thursday, April 2nd, Thesis — the crypto venture studio guiding the Keep network, which will power the coming bitcoin-pegged tBTC Ethereum token — announced it closed its second fundraising round to the tune of $7.7 million. The first came in 2018, when the firm raised $12 million from the likes of Andreessen Horowitz and Polychain Capital.

Notably, this new round was led by major cryptoeconomy fund Paradigm, which is spearheaded by Coinbase co-founder Fred Ehrsam, and also had participation from other industry heavyweights like Fenbushi Capital and Collaborative Funds.

“Building a bridge that allows Bitcoin to interact with DeFi makes a lot of sense, and tBTC is a credible attempt to do exactly that,” Ehrsam said.

That “credible attempt” just got even more credible then, as a considerable portion of Thesis’s new war chest is set to go to funding tBTC development efforts. This is significant since both tBTC and the Keep protocol that underpins the novel token effort are slated to launch as early as later this month, so showtime is nearing.

The Rise of tBTC

Back in February, Thesis founder and chief executive officer Matt Luongo revealed tBTC — which is set to be trustless — had been launched on Ethereum’s Ropsten testnet.

The news made waves because the advancement brought the prospect of a trustless version of bitcoin built atop Ethereum closer than ever. There are a handful of other bitcoin-pegged ERC20 token projects besides tBTC, but most of them have non-trivial trust implications. The bitcoin that back the Wrapped Bitcoin (WBTC) token are custodied by BitGo, for instance, whereas tBTC will non-custodial.

This non-custodial design is powered by technology called threshold signatures, which allows users to effectively deposit bitcoin to thereafter receive the minting of an equal sum of tBTC. This will all be done in decentralized fashion, with no middlemen needed.

The arrival of tBTC is thus significant because it marks the arrival of a trustless version of bitcoin in Ethereum’s promising DeFi sector, meaning more people will now be able to put their bitcoin to use on Ethereum in decentralized lending projects and beyond. It makes both bitcoin and Ethereum more useful, in other words.

Moreover, tBTC will also be notable because its redemption process is facilitated by Ethereum smart contracts and not a centralized company. This will allow for the integrity of tBTC’s supply to be readily verifiable, as the token project’s specification explains:

“The goal of tBTC is the creation an ERC-20 token that maintains the most important property of Bitcoin — its status as “hard money” […] The ability to trade scrip for its backing deposit freely is what distinguishes a backed currency from fiat money. The supply of tBTC is always backed by an equal number of reserved BTC. This means for every token in  circulation, 1 BTC has been removed from circulation.”

Now Open Sourced

Another thing that sets tBTC apart from the competition is its trustless signing implementation via the Keep codebase was just open sourced last month, which is unprecedented.

“Keep’s complete open-sourcing makes tBTC the first and only BTC bridge with an open source permissionless signing implementation,” Thesis’s engineering lead Antonio Salazar Cardozo said at the time.

That open sourcing marked a good step forward in general, as it demonstrates the project’s commitment to transparency and gives other DeFi builders the ability to advance new tech toward new ends.

There is plenty of room for multiple bitcoin-pegged tokens atop Ethereum, to be sure. But tBTC, its tech, and its builders seem to have what it takes to be made for the long haul and non-trivial adoption.

The post Thesis Team Raises $7.7 Million Ahead of tBTC “Bitcoin on Ethereum” Launch appeared first on Blockonomi.

As Malta Delays Regulatory Clarity, Fewer Firms Remain on ‘Blockchain Island’

Once the go-to place for crypto and blockchain firms, is the “blockchain island” of Malta being hollowed out?

It seems that Malta is becoming both less popular among and less populated with crypto firms. The European Union country attracted dozens of industry players in 2018 on the back of the “blockchain island” agenda championed by the local government, but the relevant framework has not yet proven to be effective. Meanwhile, the official rhetoric apparently started to shift away from the blockchain sector, as the government now aims to consolidate it with “other niche sectors.”

Meanwhile, the Malta Financial Services Authority, continues to pluck out non-registered crypto agents — be it the world’s top crypto exchange or smaller startups. But in reality, no businesses have been licensed under the blockchain framework yet, despite it being released in the summer of 2018. As a result, a number of companies have decided to leave the island over the past months. So, who is currently based in Malta, and why?

Crypto regulation was off to a fast start

In July 2018, the Maltese government approved the Digital Innovation Framework, aiming to establish a strong regulatory climate for blockchain innovation and digital assets. The framework comprises three acts: the Digital Innovation Authority Act, the Innovative Technological Arrangement and Services Act, and the Virtual Financial Asset Act.

The latter, which is the most essential act out of three, required businesses to be licensed by the MFSA if they launch initial coin offerings, trade digital assets, or provide electronic wallets and brokerage activities. The act also introduces VFA Agents — the so-called “gatekeepers,” or entities that advise and support crypto firms.

The agency approved the first VFA Agents in May 2019. Currently, there are 21 authorized VFA Agents, according to the MFSA’s financial register. However, no VFA licenses have been issued under the framework yet, meaning that VFA Agents have few potential clients that are willing to apply for it.

Local politicians actively addressed the crypto bills when they were passed, arguing that the island nation had become a pioneer in the area. For instance, Silvio Schembri, who acted as a junior minister for financial services, digital economy and innovation, said that Malta was “the first world jurisdiction to provide legal certainty to this space,” even though nations like Canada, Japan and Belarus had already enacted cryptocurrency-specific laws.

Then-Prime Minister Joseph Muscat was also among the crypto-friendly officeholders. In September 2018, he went as far as to present his country as a “blockchain island” at the United Nations General Assembly.

Consequently, the Maltese government was especially close with crypto actors throughout 2018. In March, Muscat publically welcomed Binance to the island on his Twitter. The crypto exchange decided to move to Malta after facing regulatory difficulties in Japan, where it was previously headquartered.

A few months later, Binance held a private event at the official residence of the President of Malta. “How many of you have attended a blockchain even at the presidential palace?” CEO Changpeng Zhao, aka CZ, asked while giving a speech there, saying, “Malta came at a time when regulatory clarity was very much needed.”

It wasn’t just Binance that was looking for a friendlier jurisdiction and low corporate tax rates — which is set at 5%, the lowest in the EU. More crypto companies soon began relocating to the island, including fellow exchanges OKEx and BitBay. On Nov. 1, 2018, the cryptocurrency framework finally came into effect — but instead of getting the long-awaited clarity, local players were left dealing with more legal ambiguity and sluggishness.

Local players getting anxious

Most regulatory problems for crypto firms in Malta stem from the fact that no businesses have been licensed under the VFA framework yet, despite the fact that it’s been more than a year since it was enacted.

For instance, reports suggested that local banks were declining crypto and blockchain firms’ applications to open bank accounts, saying that it was beyond their “risk appetite.” As Schembri explained to the Times of Malta at the time, banks were reluctant to engage with crypto and blockchain firms because they were waiting for them to obtain MFSA licenses first, which he said was understandable.

In 2018, major crypto exchange OKEx successfully migrated to Malta from Japan after facing warnings from the local regulator. “Malta is getting crowded,” community commentators noticed at the time, when Binance was in the process of its relocation. Soon, OKEx received permission to operate and provide its services from Malta under the transitory provision granted by MFSA for a period of one year until the license is obtained, but the exchange is still waiting for a VFA license after almost two years.

As the time goes by, fewer firms remain hopeful. Leon Siegmund, a board member of Malta’s Blockchain Association and founder of Bitcoin Club Malta, criticized the VFA license in a comment to crypto publication Decrypt, saying, “It’s too expensive; it doesn’t provide any value.” The MFSA reportedly requires a fee of 10,000 euros to process a pre-application for the VFA license.

Additionally, Malta’s regulatory approach toward crypto businesses seems to be as stringent as that of other EU countries, given that the AMLD5 directive also applies. As Wayne Pisani, a partner at registered VFA Agent Grant Thornton, previously told Cointelegraph, “It was never the intention to create a soft touch regulatory framework.”

Therefore, some actors, such as derivatives exchange Deribit and a noncustodial exchange KyberSwap, have chosen to leave the island. In January 2020, KyberSwap announced it was moving out of Malta to the British Virgin Islands. The decision to relocate was driven by practical considerations, Sunny Jain, the company’s head of product, told Cointelegraph:

“KyberSwap anticipated that Malta will adopt a very strict implementation of new EU regulations for crypto companies. Under these new regulations, KyberSwap would require an extensive amount of information from our current and future customers, and overall costs might increase.”

Other companies that have cut ties with Maltese regulators include Bittrex and even the once-darling Binance. Bittrex announced it was relocating its headquarters to Liechtenstein in October 2019, just one month after the MFSA declared that it would “actively monitor” licensed crypto firms in the country (Bittrex declined to comment on this story nor to clarify the specific reasons for leaving Malta), while Binance was unexpectedly called out by the regulator, which issued a statement saying that the exchange “is not authorized by the MFSA to operate in the crypto currency sphere,” to which CZ said that Binance “is not headquartered or operated in Malta.”

The MFSA has now clarified to Cointelegraph that it issued the press statement to correct an article published by the Times of Malta, “which gave the impression that Binance was licensed to operate as a crypto exchange in and from Malta.” The spokesperson for the MFSA added that the agency is currently processing a number of applications, most of which are for crypto exchanges, adding that the aim is to establish the “highest standards of compliance and governance” for local businesses:

“The MFSA's stance has always been the same and remains unchanged: to operate in the virtual financial assets sphere in Malta, the highest standards of compliance and governance in the conduct of business, including AML/CFT standards, have to be adhered to, both at on-boarding stage and throughout the lifecycle of the licensed activity.”

Either way, it seems that Binance’s relationship with local authorities has apparently worsened, especially since Muscat stepped down due to a political crisis in the country at the end of 2019, which was followed by a cabinet reshuffle. The exchange has yet to respond to a request for comment.

Other companies that have seemingly left Malta include an Indian exchange Zebpay. The company moved to the island in October 2018 after the Reserve Bank of India banned crypto-related transactions in the country. Although things seemed good at the start — with CEO Ajeet Khurana saying in March 2019 that he was pleasantly surprised at how open-minded the Maltese government was — the company ultimately closed down its Maltese subsidiary.

In August 2019, less than a year after it moved to the EU country, the exchange informed its users that Zebpay Malta was shutting down. When asked to comment, however, a representative for the company said it is not “relevant” to this article because “ZebPay still has our Malta entity.” The spokesperson added, “We have just put EU operations on the backburner while we review our overall operations and refocus on core competencies.”

Further, investment trading market Coinvest, which once announced it was joining leading blockchain companies in moving to Malta, has since decided not to move forward with its registration in Malta citing a lack of progress, as confirmed to Cointelegraph by the firm’s representative.

Not everyone has left

The political crisis, which was largely fuelled by allegations of corruption and lead to Muscat’s resignation, might be a crucial factor for the current regulatory stagnation, according to Sidharth Sogani, CEO at crypto-focused research and intelligence firm Crebaco, who told Cointelegraph:

“At this point, Malta doesn't seem to have a proper loophole-free regulatory framework that takes care of illicit activities arising out of the Crypto industry and maybe that is the reason why the new licenses are delayed and the existing businesses are facing regulatory and compliance hurdles.”

“Over the last few months, we have seen an exodus of companies leaving Malta,” Cal Evans, the founder of compliance and strategy firm Gresham International, summarized in a comment for Cointelegraph, elaborating that the local regulation seems to be the main reason:

“The island made great steps toward creating crypto-friendly laws, but made little to no steps in implementing them. To date, it is rumored that only two licenses have been issued. The Maltese authorities seemingly unwilling, or unable, to issue the licenses companies so desperately wanted to prove legitimacy.”

However, some Malta-based actors remain optimistic. Jan Sammut, the founder of ICO Launch Malta, told Cointelegraph:

“Whilst the consensus is that the VFA act is overly onerous and that its implementation leaves much to be desired, the Maltese jurisdiction as a whole remains a very attractive prospect for blockchain companies. Therefore, apart from the few who made the decision to relocate to other jurisdictions very early on, most remain based here operating under their transitional period provisions.”

Similarly, a representative for OKEx reiterated the exchange’s commitment to stay in Malta in a comment to Cointelegraph, saying that there is still room for the crypto sector to grow on the island:

“We believe the Maltese government is very committed to crypto and they do have one of the most comprehensive crypto regulatory frameworks in the EU. Yet, OKEx will always be here to keep our commitment in joining hands with the Maltese government to build the ecosystem.”

Experts warn that further short-term developments are unlikely

As for now, the future of the crypto industry in Malta seems uncertain — the VFA act has yet to be implemented in full after almost two years. As Sogani suggested, this process might take even more time due to the pandemic: “I believe we won’t see any concrete revised regulation coming in the next six months, as a lot of things have been delayed due to the coronavirus lockdown.” The MFSA did not reply to Cointelegraph's request for comment by press time.

Related: New Malta Government Says It Still Wants to Run a ‘Blockchain Island’

When asked for a statement, Malta’s junior minister for financial services and digital economy, Bartolo Clayton, repeated his previous comment given to Cointelegraph, stating that “the Government of Malta is committed to consolidate blockchain together with other niche sectors,” adding that, “the Government of Malta is opting for an overarching and holistic strategy for the Digital, Financial and Innovative services in Malta.”

Additionally, Clayton’s press office mentioned that “the Junior Minister further extends his commitment to attract more investment in these emerging sectors.”

Time to DAO: Maker Foundation Charts Path to Dissolution

DAI

MakerDAO, an automated lending dApp, has become the most successful project yet in Ethereum’s rising decentralized finance sector. That’s largely thanks to the Maker Foundation, a non-profit organization that’s served as an early and apt steward of the dApp and its stablecoin, the Dai.

However, Maker Foundation’s leadership knows they will eventually have to step back for Maker and Dai to achieve real decentralization and fully actualize. The training wheels eventually have to come off, as it were, and Maker’s community must then step forward to take command of the steering.

Notably for DeFi, that time is now on the horizon. MakerDAO founder Rune Christensen used the project’s April 2nd governance meeting to chart a path to the Maker Foundation being formally dissolved in the years ahead and to having its responsibilities transitioned to a “self-sustaining,” community-run decentralized autonomous organization (DAO).

The 3 Pillars of Change

During that meeting, Christensen argued that a transition away from the Maker Foundation to a self-sustaining DAO would depend on three main pillars.

The first of those elements was “Elected Paid Contributors,” which would be specialists employed by MakerDAO’s community to carry out the key duties the Maker Foundation has been responsible for to date. Some of these EPCs will be organized on “domain teams,” e.g. a risk team or a marketing team, that will have unique authorities.

How these EPCs will work and operate still needs to be formalized, Christensen said, and beyond that the Maker Foundation will also need to effectively off-board its knowledge base to contributors to come.

The second of Christensen’s pillars dealt with Maker Improvement Proposals, or MIPs, which will be used to formalize governance decisions. The first 13 of these MIPs will be published next week and will get discussions going as to how the Maker community should proceed.

Lastly, the MakerDAO founder said vote delegation would also be huge for the DAO going forward. Voters already use the MKR governance token to make key decisions, but vote delegation hasn’t yet been possible.

Soon such delegation will be, though, and that dynamic will undoubtedly give rise to so-called protocol politicians: figures who vote on behalf of a faction based on a given political platform. For example, a person who wants many new collateral types approved in the Maker ecosystem could delegate their votes to a like-minded, more involved protocol politician.

Accordingly, vote delegation will probably lead to a few things, like larger amounts of MKR being used in votes and the development of a multipolar political arena wherein differing factions can keep each other in check and actualize truly decentralized governance. As Christensen explained on April 2nd:

“If Maker becomes a global actor, it is unavoidable that there will be a lot of political proxy wars of public figures fighting against each other for influence. That dynamic is always gonna happen. We just need a system that is resilient enough to deal with these non-optimal behaviors.”

MKR Auctions Successful

Christensen said the events of March 12th, or Black Thursday, has hastened the need for the Maker Foundation to work toward dissolution and prepping the wider Maker community for that major development.

Black Thursday was indeed Maker’s most challenging day yet, as ugly markets and acute liquidation anomalies left the lending system with some $5 million worth of protocol debt.

The good news for Maker is that debt was finally completely covered this week, albeit by emergency MKR auctions that inflated the MKR supply.

Accordingly, the episode provides an early and prime example for the kinds of crises that a fully decentralized MakerDAO ecosystem must be prepared to weather in the future.

The post Time to DAO: Maker Foundation Charts Path to Dissolution appeared first on Blockonomi.

Bail Bloc Founder Says How Monero Mining Can Help ICE Detainees

Cointelegraph has had an in-depth talk with Bail Bloc’s Grayson Earle about how the charity project helps release people from incarceration through cryptocurrency.

One cryptocurrency project is using Monero (XMR) to give undocumented immigrants a better shot at a fair treatment in the United States judicial system.

The Bail Bloc project collects cryptocurrency to help people get out of pretrial incarceration for cases with the United States Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). Unlike conventional charities, Bail Bloc doesn’t want your money — it wants your computer processing power.

Cointelegraph reached out to Bail Bloc co-creator Grayson Earle for deeper insight into the initiative.

Detainees make bail with Monero

Users download a special app that uses between 10% and 50% of their overall processor capacity— the user can set the rate — to mine the privacy-oriented cryptocurrency Monero.

Bail Bloc trades its XMR for U.S. dollars every month and then donates the sum on a rotating basis to the bail funds in the National Bail Fund Network.

“The idea is to get people to volunteer their spare computing power to mine, so it doesn't require them to make any cash donations. It's like creating an ad hoc supercomputer with the purpose of mining cryptocurrency,” said Earle.

ICE detention and who ends up there

ICE’s operations target individuals “who present a danger to national security” and “undermine the integrity of the immigration system”. However, most detainees are undocumented immigrants who otherwise have no criminal records and are detained simply for unlawful entry to the U.S.

In ICE detention, people can pay an immigration bond in exchange for their immediate release, but less than half of those in detention are given a bond hearing. Those who cannot afford to pay the bond, or who are not granted a bond at all, must wait for their court hearing while detained, which could last from months to years.

Additionally, ICE’s treatment of detainees has repeatedly raised concerns of violence, inappropriate segregation practices, foodservice issues, lack of recreation, and even violations of medical ethics.

While Bail Bloc was initially created for individuals in the American prison system, Earle said, "We've since re-oriented the project to pay immigration bonds for people affected by Trump's policies. This includes people who are not citizens of the U.S. who might be living here."

Bail Bloc steps in

Bail Bloc has mined cryptocurrency for the Immigrant Bail Fund since November 2018. The fund pays bonds for people in ICE detention across Connecticut, where the $15,000 immigration bond is nearly double the national average.

There are currently some 300 users running Bail Bloc on their computers, but the number is subject to fluctuation. “At its height, we had 2,500 users at peak hours, including Grimes as she actively used it while recording her new album,” Earle revealed.

It’s true — popular musician Grimes, (who was romantically linked to tech billionaire Elon Musk) tweeted about the project back in 2017, encouraging her fans to get involved:

“Downloaded bail bloc onto my comp. mines crypto currency 2 pay ppls bail; SO cool! & so easy..."

Why Monero?

It's not surprising that Bail Bloc chose Monero as its digital currency of choice. “The anonymity of everyone we have helped to release from pre-trial detention is paramount,” Earle said, adding:

“I chose Monero because it was a fairly stable coin and is ASIC-resistant. I knew that our target participant had a laptop so we needed CPU mining to be viable. More recently, Monero has made GPU mining less viable which also improves the viability of our project.”

Bitcoin Bulls Can Take BTC Price to $8K Amid Report $10 Oil Inevitable

As coronavirus is tipped to create fresh misery for oil markets, Bitcoin is eyeing a chance to hit 1-month highs, says Cointelegraph’s filbfilb.

Bitcoin (BTC) was pushing to flip $7,000 resistance to support on April 3 amid warnings that oil markets really will hit $10 a barrel this month.

Cryptocurrency market daily overview. Source: Coin360

Cryptocurrency market daily overview. Source: Coin360

Media: $10 oil could last the whole Q2

Data from Coin360 and Cointelegraph Markets tracked multiple attempts by Bitcoin bulls to push the market definitively over the $7,000 mark on Thursday and Friday.

At press time, all those attempts had failed to deliver support, with BTC/USD in each case falling back to the high $6,000 range.

Bitcoin 1-day price chart. Source: Coin360

Bitcoin 1-day price chart. Source: Coin360

Bitcoin surged higher earlier on Thursday, as anticipation built around an end to the ongoing oil price war which, according to United States President Donald Trump, could send the price of a barrel to just $9.

Fresh comments by Trump about an agreement sent oil markets spinning, with Brent crude gaining 30% in hours before comments by Russia contradicted the buoyant tone.

Speaking to CNBC, Victor Shum, vice president of energy consulting at insight provider IHS Markit, warned that $10 oil remained a firm possibility for April.

“We are projecting that Brent is going to drop to around $10 a barrel in April and will likely stay at that level in the second quarter,” he told the publication.

“There is little chance of any OPEC+ deal that’s going to save the crude oil market from the attack of the COVID-19. I think any talk of big cuts is probably too little, too late.”

Filbfilb: Bitcoin bulls are strong

For Bitcoin, meanwhile, previously cautious traders were now delivering increasingly upbeat forecasts for the short term.

In an announcement to subscribers of his Telegram trading channel, Cointelegraph Markets analyst filbfilb eyed a possible run to $8,000 as the next step.

“The bulls seemingly are strong here,” he summarized.

“Assuming the day closes something like it is now I favor the bulls to squeeze us up to ~8k.”

At $6,900, BTC/USD is just $300 below its position at the start of 2020, meaning Bitcoin has limited its year-to-date losses to just 4.3%.

Keep track of top crypto markets in real time here

Decentralized Predictions Market Augur Eyes June for V2 Launch

Augur

Decentralized prediction market platform Augur, one of oldest projects building on Ethereum, is nearing in on its much anticipated “v2” upgrade.

Augur, which allows users to permissionlessly bet on the outcome of events using its REP token, first launched on the Ethereum mainnet in July 2019 after being kickstarted by a $5.5 million REP initial coin offering in 2015.

The project’s forward momentum has continued alas, as on Thursday, April 2nd, its builders announced they were eyeing June 2020 as their target launch window for the project’s v2 roll out. The development comes after the Augur team published their v2 whitepaper back in November 2019.

Major Changes Coming

The upgrade will be a significant one, not only because the additions and changes it will bring to the Augur platform but also because of the way it will be facilitated. That’s because Augur’s REP smart contract isn’t pauseable, meaning a new and entirely different contract must be deployed to bring v2 about.

This dynamic requires “a manual opt-in migration of REP … aka, an opt-in hard fork,” the Augur team has previously explained. As such, in their April 2nd v2 announcement post, Augur’s builders noted that they were working to finalize the details around the coming token migration:

“When v2 is deployed, all current token balances must be migrated to a new REP token contract. We will soon be sharing details for exchanges and individuals to manage the migration process, so please hang tight.”

Beyond the token migration, the coming upgrade will also notably change the platform and REP in big ways.

For one, v2 will allow markets to be denominated in the stablecoin Dai, as previously only ETH-denominated markets were possible and thus were subject to the volatility of the ether price. Moreover, in v2 invalid markets will be tradeable, meaning users will be able to bet “Yes,” “No,” or “Invalid” on market outcomes. This wasn’t possible in v1.

Additionally, the major upgrade will see the REP token shift to being an ERC-777 token after having been just a straightforward ERC-20 token in v1. The new token standard will allow REP to have more advanced capabilities while remaining backwards compatible.

Ahead of the transition, Augur has set a cut-off date of May 15 for its v1 markets.

The Uniswap Factor

Another major element of Augur v2 is how it will be integrated with the decentralized exchange Uniswap’s own coming v2 upgrade, which is also slated to come out shortly.

Per this integration, Augur will rely on Uniswap “as as a decentralized oracle and price feed,” Augur’s builders have explained before. In their latest announcement, those builders said much of Augur v2’s work was already completed and that they would be tracking Uniswap’s impending upgrade to get the timing right.

“We are in communication with the Uniswap team and will gauge their launch situation to determine the best course forward,” Augur said.

Between Augur’s and Uniswap’s advancements, then, it looks like the DeFi space is definitely doing some big leveling up this year.

Where Does Augur Go From Here?

According to decentralized finance tracker site DeFi Pulse, Augur is the 20th largest DeFi project at the time of this article’s writing.

With v2 arriving, Augur is set to become considerably more useful and practical. It seems likely that this new utility will help attract new users to the platform, which in turn could translate to Augur climbing the DeFi charts some.

Of course, this isn’t to say that v2 will make Augur explode up the charts overnight. But it seems within reason that over time the upgrade might give Augur the momentum it needs to climb a few positions on DeFi Pulse. Only time will tell for now.

The post Decentralized Predictions Market Augur Eyes June for V2 Launch appeared first on Blockonomi.

Fed Balance Sheet Nears $6 Trillion, Bitcoin Breaks $7K

fed bitcoin
The Federal Reserve’s balance sheet just hit a new record, increasing to a massive $5.86tn. This is thanks to fresh new liquidity aimed to prevent markets from crashing during the coronavirus pandemic. As investors wonder what the end effects will be on fiat, Bitcoin breaks $7,000. Federal Reserve Balance Sheet Breaks Records According to Reuters, the US Central Bank’s balance sheet has ballooned by a massive $1.5tn in just three weeks since efforts to avoid economic catastrophe kicked in. Just to give that some context, that figure is the equivalent of more than one-quarter of the size of the entire country’s economy before the crisis hit and: It will certainly grow larger in the weeks ahead as the Fed keeps piling on assets and the economy likely shrinks. In a bid to keep markets functioning, the central bank is applying quantitative easing like never before. It is gobbling up mortgage bonds, Treasury securities, and other assets like a game of Pacman. Among its new purchases, Treasury holdings rose to $3.34tn from $2.98tn. The central bank is also ramping up the use of its liquidity swap lines. These enable foreign central banks to exchange their local currencies for dollars. This figure rose from $348.5 billion to $206.1 billion in just one week. Shortly after the U.S. Congress signed a $2tn coronavirus stimuli package, ex-presidential candidate Andrew Yang commented: Where did we get $2 trillion? The American people are catching on. — Andrew Yang🧢 (@AndrewYang) March 26, 2020 But that was a whole week ago. Now, with the balance sheet nearing $6tn and more spending sprees on the horizon… is fiat headed to the brink of collapse? Bitcoin Time to Shine Many economists have warned about the bubble-like economy being on the brink of recession. However, no one predicted that the coronavirus would be the needle that would prick it. The only choice governments may have is to increase their monetary supply. However, what will be interesting to watch is what happens at the end of the crisis. After all, the same types of measures were taken in the 2008/9 crisis and the left-over increase in money supply went into asset classes. This time around the money is so much more. It’s possible that another stock market boom begins… But it’s also likely that this will lead to a round of defaults, currency devaluation, and significant inflation. No one wants Bitcoin to benefit off the back of global suffering. But let’s not forget that Bitcoin emerged out of the ashes of the last global financial meltdown and now people have an alternative. As billionaire investor Mike Novogratz pointed out yesterday, now, more than ever is Bitcoin’s time to shine as a hard asset that doesn’t debase. As the Fed’s balance sheet mushrooms out of control, Bitcoin breaks $7k. It looks as if the smart money is already catching on. What do you make of the Federal Reserve’s latest balance sheet figures? Add your thoughts below! Images via Shutterstock, Twitter @AndrewYang

Coronavirus Pandemic Reminds Us That Security Is Important During the Zoom Boom

Under the guise of the COVID-19 pandemic, governments may target our civil liberties, and cryptography could become the technological protector of our rights.

Even with all the looming uncertainty surrounding the global COVID-19 pandemic, system security needs to remain at the forefront of companies’ planning. 

Businesses around the world are shutting down under local, state or national decrees as COVID-19 fears bring caution regarding public gatherings. Unsurprisingly, hackers have used the unprecedented opportunity of chaos and panic to probe weaknesses in information technology systems. One of those systems happened to be the United States Department of Health and Human Services, making the act even more egregious, considering the circumstances.

But the problem extends beyond hackers and threats to companies and individuals. During times of crisis, civil liberties also come under threat, and cryptography often provides a shield against unwarranted encroaches by the government.

So, whether you’re a business worried about paying server and security costs during this economic turmoil or an individual protecting your digital assets, cryptography can serve you well.

Hackers will continue to be opportunistic 

It’s an unfortunate byproduct of crises, but hackers can wield social, economic and financial chaos for their gain.

For example, hackers launched a distributed denial of service attack against the Department of Health and Human Services last month in a bid to slow down the COVID-19 response. The current narrative makes the hack seem distinctly malicious in its effort to make the pandemic response slower, but there is likely more to the story.

The surging number of cases and by extension the hoarding of medical data under a consolidated government system presents an opportunity for hackers to abscond with sensitive information. Moreover, when emergency responses elicit rapid reactions, much of the system’s security may be a patchwork of protocols not backend tested thoroughly.

For example, cases being uploaded from the field — such as hospitals, makeshift testing centers, etc. — to government servers that aggregate and display current COVID-19 metrics may contain serious security flaws due to the rapidity of their development. Applications developed by small teams to assist doctors in times of crisis may also not follow security standards, specifically the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act — commonly referred to as HIPAA — compliance laws, which are esoteric and outside the scope of most technology-focused engineers.

Hackers, looking for medical data that can be sold at a high value on black markets, likely view this as a gold mine. The hacking incident against the Health Department is probably not the first, nor will it be the last, of ongoing attempts to infiltrate prominent security systems. 

Cryptography provides a useful layer of defense against such intrusions. Masking medical data identifiers and other sensitive information is possible with a variety of cryptographic standards available today. Many projects in the crypto sector explicitly focus on financial applications, but the cryptographic modules for protecting and verifying sensitive data translate to other industries, such as healthcare, very well.

That’s not to say that cryptography is a panacea to the ongoing fallout of COVID-19. In some cases, governments are covertly using the dilemma as a method to subvert encryption entirely, such as is occurring in the U.S. 

Government surveillance covertly gaining favor among amid crisis

Hidden behind all of the headlines about the Federal Reserve interest rate, the S&P 500 tanking and COVID-19 cases was a proposed legislation effort that has profound consequences on the field of cryptography. 

Known as the EARN IT bill, U.S. Congresspeople have proposed a bill that would effectively grant the U.S. government the ability to access “any digital message.” The bill would create a consortium of law enforcement agencies headed by the Justice Department that would institute a standard verification mechanism for any digital message. If the message does not use the standard “verification” of the government’s technology to authenticate the message, then the sending/receiving parties can be sued into oblivion.

Concerning cryptography, this is a disastrous bill. The proposed document cleverly avoids the explicit use of the word “encryption,” but its language indicates that cryptography would become illegal, as all messages cannot be private between two counterparties. The government gets a backdoor.

Encryption would become illegal by default because it preserves privacy and authentication of a message between two parties, preventing the ability of a third party to snoop on the message’s contents.

The bill is still in its early stages, but it shows, once again, that governments do not approve of widespread encryption use among the public. Whether it be the Clipper chip scandal of the 1990s or the subversive move by Congress that is masked by a national crisis, the government’s efforts are persistent.

Fortunately, cryptography — which is empirically just math — does not adhere to the caprices of hackers, governments or opportunities to subvert its influence. The grassroots encryption movement started by cypherpunks and bolstered by the crypto community has spread the technology to an extent that is unlikely to fade away at fiat decree.

For businesses enduring the turbulent COVID-19 situation, don’t forget to account for your security during these vulnerable times. As individuals, remember that cryptography is your friend in protecting your civil liberties during a public health crisis.

The views, thoughts and opinions expressed here are the author’s alone and do not necessarily reflect or represent the views and opinions of Cointelegraph.

Dr. Huang Lin is the co-founder and CTO of Suterusu, a project developing trustless privacy technology. He holds Ph.D. degrees in applied cryptography and privacy-preserving distributed systems from Shanghai Jiao Tong University and the University of Florida. He has worked as a postdoctoral researcher at Ecole Polytechnique Federale de Lausanne on applied cryptography for genomic privacy and blockchain-based data monetization.

Top 10 CoinMarketCap alternatives to try in 2020

There’s no one-size-fits-all solution when it comes to crypto price trackers, we’ve decided to narrow down the search to top 10 CoinMarketCap alternative platforms worth looking at both for amateurs and professionals.

In the wake of the news that Binance is finalizing the acquisition of CoinMarketCap, the crypto community became increasingly worried about the centralization of key services such as coin trackers. Traders and crypto enthusiasts have begun to move away from CMC and are currently on the lookout for alternative platforms.

CoinGecko

CoinGecko

Founded by a research team consisting of Darren Lau, Daryl Lau, Teh Sze Jin, Erina Azmi, Kristian Kho, TM Lee, and Bobby Ong, CoinGecko has been at the forefront of the crypto industry since 2014.

In addition to reliably tracking price, volume, and market capitalization of more than 7,000 coins, CoinGecko also tracks community growth, open-source code development, major events, and other on-chain metrics.

WorldCoinIndex

WorldCoinIndex

A cryptocurrency platform providing real-time price information, WorldCoinIndex also offers news updates and lists around 1,500 cryptocurrencies.

The platform connects over 7000 cryptocurrency markets with more than 100 cryptocurrency exchanges, denoting all of the prices in BTC WorldCoinIndex and 13 fiat currencies—USD, EUR, CNY, RUB, CAD, GBP, JPY, HKD, BRL, AUD, KRW, IDR, INR, ZAR, and TRY.

Users can quickly access valuable information on any listed cryptocurrency, including their block explorer, social media feeds, and official websites.

CoinPaprika

Coinpaprika

Founded in Poland in 2018 as an alternative to CoinMarketCap, CoinPaprika offers a wide variety of services aside from price tracking. The platform offers an in-house cryptocurrency exchange and a non-custodial wallet, COINS, which supports over 2,000 cryptocurrencies.

Users can benefit from CoinPaprika’s on-board engine and access information such as whitepapers, employees, and the company’s progress about every listed coin.

Coinpaprika also has one of the most robust APIs, placing it ahead of its competitors with the comprehensiveness of data, rate limits, and being entirely free.

CryptoCompare

CryptoCompare

CryptoCompare is a price tracking platform that aims to provide real-time, high-quality, and reliable market data on more than 5,700 coins and 260,000 currency pairs. The company stands out due to its efforts to bridge the gap between traditional financial markets and cryptocurrencies.

Aside from historical data and its own CryptoCompare Index (CCCAGG), the platform offers valuable insight into the market in analysis posted on its website and various social media channels.

Messari

Messari

Created by a group of industry experts, Messari’s aim was to bring transparency into the crypto economy. The platform allows users to spot trends across more than 1,000 different assets and 100 time-series.

It’s weekly newsletters and other types of market analysis are a tool valued by many professionals in the industry, but it could also be useful for novice traders. The pro version of the platform allows users to customize the dashboard according to their own needs, reducing the noise from other listed cryptocurrencies.

Coin360

Coin360

Coin360 is a price tracking platform that gained popularity due to its interesting visual representation of crypto prices.

What it lacks in some of the more advanced features such as portfolio tracking, dashboard customization, and API resources, Coin360 makes up in user interface and easy sharing options.

All cryptocurrencies listed on the platform are grouped together by protocol type or other similarities, and have liquidity and spread data on their designated pages.

LiveCoinWatch

Live Coin Watch

LiveCoinWatch offers complete crypto market coverage showing live coin prices, charts, and market capitalizations of more than 2,700 coins spread out across 183 different exchanges.

The platform shows a variety of information on all listed coins, including posts on social media platforms such as Twitter and Reddit. All coins feature a FAQ section, as well as a depth chart and volume breakdown across cryptocurrency exchanges.

CoinCodex

CoinCodex

Cryptocurrency listings website CoinCodex provides real-time cryptocurrency prices and comprehensive overviews of 5,000 different coins. The platform gathers data from over 200 cryptocurrency exchanges, allowing users to create portfolios to stay on top of their investments.

Aside from a user-friendly interface, the platform also offers an ICO calendar, which features information on upcoming and completed token sales in the crypto market. It’s optimized for all devices, including mobile phones and tablets.

Coinlib

Coinlib

A cryptocurrency tracker aimed at the average user, Coinlib offers a streamlined design and a variety of resources that are set to satisfy even the most demanding customer.

The platform tracks more than 6,100 cryptocurrencies, providing advanced graphs and metrics ranging from community engagement and developer activity to performance indicators. Coinlib is free to use, but creating an account unlocks advanced features such as personalized price alerts and a customizable portfolio tracker.

CoinCheckup

CoinCheckup

Created with transparency in mind, CoinCheckup offers users reliable data on the crypto market gathered in a standardized research process. The free platform tracks over 2,000 different cryptocurrencies and digital tokens, providing all the necessary data—volumes, circulating supplies, and other metrics.

Aside from that, the platform puts a heavy emphasis on the background of each listed coin, enabling users to get in touch with the teams and companies that issued them. Fundamental analysis of the crypto market is also available on the platform, as is more advanced investment analysis and an overview of coins’ GitHub activity.

Conclusion

There is a wide variety of platforms and websites that offer real-time, reliable crypto tracking on the market. While it’s important to note that there will never be a platform that ticks all the boxes, it’s safe to say that even the most demanding user will be able to find a suitable alternative to CoinMarketCap.

The post Top 10 CoinMarketCap alternatives to try in 2020 appeared first on CryptoSlate.

1xBit Casino Review: One of the Largest Bitcoin Casinos

1xBit Review

Since 2016, 1xBit has been operating its online gambling platform that has been growing rapidly as the cryptocurrency space has taken off. It is constantly innovating to try to become the best offering in the crypto gambling space.

There is a great selection of different game types, with the selection within each of these categories also being extensive. There are more than 20 different cryptocurrencies that you can use through 1xBit, providing you with a great level of flexibility and anonymity.

As well as being an online casino, there is also a live dealer casino and a sportsbook that you can check out.

This 1xBit review takes a deep dive into each respective section of this offering to see where it shines and what areas are potentially lacking. This will allow you to determine if 1xBit is a good fit for you and your needs.

1xBit Homepage
1xBit Homepage

Visit 1xBit

1xBit Casino

While sports betting appears to be more of a central focus for 1xBit, there is also an extensive casino offering.

For slots players, there are thousands of different video slots to check out. Many of the biggest titles in the space today are on offer, with new games being added on an almost daily basis.

All different types of slots can be played, such as 3D slots, classic titles and jackpot slots. You have many of the best game developers supported through 1xBit, such as Oryx Gaming, Evolution Gaming, AWG, RTG Slots, Spinmatic, Playson, Betsoft and Pragmatic Play.

Some of the slots games on offer
Some of the slots games on offer

You can quickly filter through games by their popularity, developer or game type. The games are all played through your browser and the gameplay is smooth and seamless. For fans of jackpot slots, there are many different options, with fan favorites such as Jazzy Fruits being on offer.

There are even some games that have seven-figure jackpots for a lucky player to win. All of these games can also be played for free if you do not want to put your money on the line. You can even play four of these games at the same time.

There are also other popular casino games on offer. You have a few dozen different roulette variants to check out, with some of the more niche options being Turbo Roulette and 3D European roulette.

There are dozens of different blackjack variants on offer, such as multi-hand and double exposure three-hand variants. Baccarat fans have more than 30 options to check out, one of the most extensive offerings you will see on any online casino.

Filter by categories and providers
Filter by categories and providers

Other types of popular game types you can check out through the 1xBit offering include bingo, keno, drop & wins, casino poker games and Sic-Bo. There really is something for everyone in terms of this casino offering.

1xBit Live Casino

Live dealer casino gameplay has become very popular in recent years. 1xBit has been embracing this trend and offers an extensive live dealer offering.

There are live dealer tables from many different software developers, such as Evolution Gaming and Pragmatic Play. When you enter into the live casino section at 1xBit, you will quickly see the different game types on offer.

Each given variant will showcase on the surface the betting limits that are in place, so you can quickly find a limit size that suits your preferences. Each game type has an impressive amount of different variants and live dealer options.

Live Casino Games
Live Casino Games

You can decide on what geographical region you want to play in for example. All of the streams are of HD quality and allow for an immersive experience. There are betting limit options for absolute beginners and high rollers alike.

The main game categories for the 1xBit live casino offering include blackjack, roulette, baccarat, casino poker, jackpot games, Sic-Bo, Monopoly Live, Over/Under and a variety of other niche games. Overall, you cannot go wrong with the 1xBit live dealer casino experience, being one of the best around in the space today.

1xBit Sports Betting

There is a comprehensive sports betting offering at 1xBit. Every major sport is well-catered for. You will find markets for even more obscure sporting events. Each of the major sports will have a massive selection of different markets whether you are looking at futures betting or placing bets on specific games.

There is a live betting section that allows you to place bets on a multitude of different markets while the game is ongoing. Many of the different sporting events can be live-streamed through the platform. There is also an interface that showcases the action in real-time for that given event.

Sports Betting - Lots on offer!
Sports Betting – Lots on offer!

The odds are generally pretty good when compared to other platforms. If you want to cut your losses or cash out your winnings early during the middle of a given sporting event, you have the cash-out option. There is also a sports betting exchange for those people who are inclined.

One of the areas of the 1xBit sportsbook that is garnering a lot more attention as of late is the esports section. This is an area that a lot of online gambling platforms are focusing on more and more as the sector’s popularity is exploding.

There are usually a few dozen different markets for you to bet on for a given esports match. All of the leading esports are on offer for betting purposes. There is also live betting for these events.

Overall, this is a sportsbook that ticks most of the boxes you could wish for as a sports bettor.

Additional 1xBit Offerings

There are a few different aspects of the 1xBit online gambling offering. The 1xGames section is another way for you to play a variety of self-developed casual casino games.

Oftentimes, there are special cashback offers built into this offering.  There are countless niche games such as Dominoes and Yahtzee that you can play in this section.

You can also partake in the online sports betting pools through the Toto section. This offers jackpots for a range of different sports and esports.

There is also a binary options aspect to the offering, as well as a selection of popular online lotteries, such as Powerball and Mega Millions.

Finally, there is a range of virtual sports that you can try out when there is a lack of actual sporting events taking place. Overall, this is one of the most comprehensive collections of random types of games and offering that you will find with a crypto casino.

Welcome Bonuses

If you are signing up for a 1xBit account for the first time, then there is a welcome bonus offer that you can avail of.

To receive this offer, you will need to create an account and then deposit at least 5 mBTC or an equivalent sum in a different cryptocurrency. You will be able to avail of deposit bonuses for each of your first four deposits.

  • Your initial deposit will be matched 100%, up to a max bonus of 1 BTC.
  • Your second deposit is matched 50% up to 1 BTC,
  • Your third deposit matched 100% up to 2 BTC
  • Your fourth deposit is matched 50% up to 3 BTC.
  • Therefore, you can earn up to 7 BTC in bonus funds if you max out these offers.
Welcome bonus up to 7 BTC
Welcome bonus up to 7 BTC

Before you can cash out these funds, you will need to meet the wagering requirements. You need to wager the deposit amount at least 40 times inside of 30 days of making the respective deposit.

If you make another deposit while you have not yet wagered the bonus funds from the previous deposit, you will not be entitled to any more deposit bonuses.

There are certain types of games that will not contribute 100% to wagering requirements. For example, you cannot meet wagering requirements at all by playing live dealer casino games.

Overall, this is a decently sized welcome bonus offer with wagering requirements that are somewhat achievable and about standard for the sector.

Regular Promotions and Loyalty Program

There are also promotions for existing 1xBit customers. These will often change, keeping things fresh. You will find different offers for casino games and sports betting products. For example, for sports betting bonuses, you will get insurance on your bets, price boosts, cashback offers and free bets.

For casino games, there will often be free slots spins, bonus funds given to you to use for certain games and cashback bonuses. There is a great variety of promotions that will keep you interested in the long-term when it comes to the 1xBit offering.

Lots of different promos and bonuses
Lots of different promos and bonuses

There is a VIP cashback program in existence on 1xBit. This will see you earn loyalty points when you play certain games. One of the main exceptions is that you will not earn any loyalty points when you are playing 1xGames. There is a tiered system as part of this program, with the perks increasing the higher the tier level you reach.

The rate at which you earn points will also increase with the greater the level you reach. You will be able to redeem points for cashback when you hit certain levels. There are also other types of rewards that you can receive as part of this loyalty program.

Payment Methods

As 1xBit is mainly a crypto casino, it will not come as a surprise that there are many different crypto options open to you when it comes to funding your account.

When it comes to depositing funds to your 1xBit account, there are 68 different crypto exchanges that are linked to 1xBit. This figure will vary depending on what country you are residing in.

Cryptocurrency Payment Options
Cryptocurrency Payment Options

This will allow you to quickly exchange fiat into crypto if you need to do so or to quickly transfer from your e-wallet to your 1xBit account. Most of the main exchanges are on offer.

While 1xBit does not charge any fees for conducting deposit and withdrawals some of the exchanges may have their own fees that you need to consider in addition to the network fees.

For most of the exchanges, there will be a minimum required deposit of 1 mBTC. Most of them also do not have a cap on the max amount of funds that you can add to your 1xBit account.

The cryptocurrencies catered for on the site are:

  • Bitcoin
  • Litecoin
  • Dogecoin
  • Dash
  • Ethereum
  • ZCash
  • NEM
  • Bytecoin
  • Sibcoin
  • Digibyte
  • Bitcoin Gold
  • Bitcoin Cash
  • Ethereum Classic
  • BitShares
  • Verge
  • QTUM
  • Monero
  • STRATUS
  • Ripple
  • Tron
  • Tether
  • USD Coin
  • True USD
  • PAXOS ST

Usually, it will take less than three hours for these funds to be credited to your online gambling account. There is currently no way for different players on 1xBit to transfer coins to one another.

The withdrawal process is very similar to that of adding funds to your account, with similar caps being in place. Withdrawals will often be processed in less than an hour, which is ideal.

Overall, 1xBit only focuses on crypto transactions as opposed to a lot of other crypto casinos that also offer fiat transaction options.

Security

As 1xBit is predominantly a crypto-based online gambling platform, the goal is to allow you to play the best online casino games and have access to the optimal betting options while doing so in an anonymous manner.

There is no need for you to provide excessive information when signing up for an account. You simply can choose a username and a password and you will normally be good to go, having the ability to use a dummy email address.

You do not have to inform that platform about your home address or full name for example.

Members account area
Members account area

All transactions will, of course, be tracked through the blockchain and the process of conducting transactions through 1xBit is pretty straightforward. The online gambling platform is part of the Curacao government’s licensing and oversight regime. The best in firewall and SSL encryption technology is used at 1xBit to make sure that account funds are protected.

If you have any issues or concerns about the security of 1xBit, you can get in touch with the security department via email and have your concerns eased. If you wish, you can add two-factor authentication onto your account to give it an extra layer of security.

Mobile Offering

If you want to place bets or play casino games while you are on the go, there is a mobile app for 1xBit that caters for both iOS and Android users.

These apps can be downloaded in a matter of seconds and allow you the flexibility that comes with mobile gambling. The library of games is effectively the same on the mobile offering, with everything being optimized for the smaller device.

Mobile apps to download
Mobile apps to download

The navigation system is very easy to use, with the search filters and categories being your friend when you are searching for particular types of games. If you don’t want to download an app, you can also place bets through your mobile device’s web browser on the 1xBit platform.

Usability

The 1xBit desktop platform is nicely designed, with a sleek color scheme allowing the text to really pop out from the background. Each respective category of gambling is well able through the menu system. This means that you are not wasting time trying to find certain aspects of a given offering.

The filtering system is one of the best around. For casino games, you are able to add certain games into your favorites so you can quickly find them the next time that you are playing.

There is also a recently played games feature that showcases the games you have played in the recent past. You can also narrow down the games offering by the specific type of game you are looking for or by using the search bar to find specific titles.

You can also see sections that showcase the most popular games on the platform, as well as the newest arrivals.

1xBit feels like a busy casino with lots of games to play
1xBit feels like a busy casino with lots of games to play

The process of playing casino games is very smooth, with the graphics general being very good. As there are so many different developers, you can find a certain game style or aesthetic that suits your eye and focus on these games.

The live dealer casino has HD quality streams that make it feel like you are actually sitting at the casino table in the flesh. The sports betting section is very clearly laid out and the process of placing bets using the bet slip couldn’t be easier.

The live betting interface is very smooth and you have access to all of the info or data you could need when betting on a given sports event live. The process of making transactions is seamless and will only take a matter of minutes to do.

The site speed as a whole is good, allowing you to navigate the platform with ease. There is a handy system also where you can quickly change the language of the site, the odds settings, check your account statistics and update your account balance.

Customer Support

If you have any questions or queries about the 1xBit offering, there is not really an FAQ section for you to check out. In the footer of the website, there are useful links that will help resolve a lot of issues or questions you may have. Otherwise, you can get in touch with the 1xBit support team that works around the clock.

24/7 Live chat Support is available
24/7 Live chat Support is available

You can send them an email for more detailed issues or you can use the live chat feature to get instant feedback for more simple requests and issues. The response times for the emails is usually within 24 hours of having sent it. There are also a number of social media accounts showcased on the website that can also be contacted.

Conclusion

As you have seen, 1xBit is one of the best crypto casinos and sports betting platforms in the space today. It ticks all of the boxes a gambler could ever want when it comes to the range of different types of gambling on offer.

There is great depth to each of these sections also in addition to the expansive range of game types. Slots players, sports bettors, table game fans and many other gambling fans will fall in love with what 1xBit has to offer.

The offering is almost unparalleled when it comes to online gambling platforms.

There is a welcome offer in place that covers your first four deposits with appropriate bonuses and the platform is always running exciting promotions for its existing players.

The loyalty program also comes in handy if you are planning on playing a lot on the 1xBit site. The desktop and mobile sites are both nice and fast and easy to use.

Conducting transactions is easy, with many exchanges and cryptocurrencies being offered. 1xBit takes your security seriously and allows you to gamble online in an anonymous manner.

Overall, you will be hard-pressed to find a better crypto gambling platform than 1xBit.

Visit 1xBit

The post 1xBit Casino Review: One of the Largest Bitcoin Casinos appeared first on Blockonomi.

Bitcoin Is ‘Gold 2.0’ And ‘Binary Bet,’ says Virgin Galactic Chairman

Chamath Palihapitiya. Source: a video screenshot, Youtube/Phocuswright Bitcoin (BTC) may have already created a new “quasi gold standard” for the world, and it is either going to the millions or zero, a prominent California-based venture capitalist believes. Speaking with Anthony Pompliano, Co-founder of digital asset management firm Morgan Creek Digital, on the Pomp Podcast this week,

Blockchain Head at European Commission Explains Usefulness of DLT

The European Commission sees some specific uses for blockchain technology in coordinating communication between member states, fostering crypto innovation.

The head of the digital innovation and blockchain unit at the European Commission (EC), Pēteris Zilgalvis, explained the concise benefits of distributed ledger technology (DLT) in an interview to The Banker, a subsidiary of the Financial Times. In the interview, published on April 3, Zilgalvis talked about the benefits and challenges of the technology.

According to him, blockchain provides a powerful framework for data sharing, something that can't be done by normal databases:

“We think that it presents an excellent technology for situations where different stakeholders need to collaborate but, due to competition or legal reasons, they do not want to or are unable to share a single database.”

He added that blockchain is not “the solution for everything,” but there are applications such as document certification, self-sovereign identities and regulatory reporting, where DLT is “30% to 80% more efficient.”

Sharing data between members of a group

The distributed nature of blockchain is especially useful in the context of the EU, where it provides a way of coordinating data between member countries without sending it to a central location in Brussels or Luxembourg.

This is the rationale behind the European Blockchain Services Infrastructure, which aims to bring public services into a pan-European context. One of the potential uses of EBSI is connecting European banks in terms of their regulatory reporting, for example by sharing client data gathered in their anti-money laundering efforts.

Zilgalvis noted that this is a bigger challenge than it may seem, as banks are reluctant to do so due to concerns about competition and user privacy regulations.

The European blockchain effort is finding more issues with the political aspect rather than technological, as Zilgalvis revealed:

“The biggest challenge is governance. The best use cases for blockchain are where it is not one enterprise or entity but many. Thus, governance is important.”

On the technology side, efforts are being made to improve scaling, consensus mechanisms and privacy.

Blockchain and crypto

Unlike some other governments, namely China, the European Union’s blockchain efforts are also coupled with a relaxed stance on cryptocurrencies, according to Zilgalvis"

“We haven’t made any moves to prohibit anything, which stands against the stereotype of ‘if it moves, Europe regulates it.’”

He added that crypto is regulated through the same principles as any currency and that any future changes will be “very much done in a ‘pro-innovation’ spirit.”

European countries are indeed traditionally open to crypto, with recent examples of favorable treatment being found in both France and Germany.

The European Central Bank is also pushing for issuing a “digital Euro” in response to Libra and similar worldwide initiatives. Zilgalvis, while noting that this is not EC’s area of competence, urged the bank to determine the advantages and risks of the proposal. He added:

“Obviously for the EC, and the EBSI initiative, it would be easiest for us to use the euro in our blockchain infrastructure rather than another digital currency or cryptocurrency.”

Why Bitcoin Crossing the 4-Hour 200MA is Huge News

bitcoin btc
The past few days have been positive for Bitcoin, as the flagship cryptocurrency continues to recover from the major correction last month. There is no shortage of analysis supporting further price gains, yet one critical piece of data stands out as very positive. BITCOIN POISED TO CROSS A MAJOR THRESHOLD Analysts Pierre has observed that Bitcoin is on the verge of crossing the 4-hour 200 day moving average. This price action may sound overly technical, yet it is a crucial link in better understanding Bitcoin’s market strength. Pierre has tweeted: One hour to go for bulls to reclaim H4 200 EMA, still running the show here. FYI last time we reclaimed it was on Jan 5th, and only lost it on Feb 25th Would be an encouraging sign for bulls, but still a lot of fight to win this area. I guess another crazy day for us.#Bitcoin https://t.co/kHlnSAo6AP pic.twitter.com/7JgT2Zsxap — Pierre 🌐 (@pierre_crypt0) April 3, 2020 Bitcoin last moved above the 4- hour 200 moving average on January 5th, after which its value jumped 27%. In fact, it was during this period that Bitcoin broke USD $10k for the first time in months. Thus, crossing this line is yet another indicator that investors are feeling comfortable about the price moving forward. The same phenomenon has happened in years past. For example, Bitcoin’s notable increase that began last April was also preceded by crossing the 4-hour 200MA. Also, there are many incarnations of the moving average, all of which have a solid track record of predicting price gains.  THE PRICE IS MOVING UP, BUT CAN IT HOLD? Yesterday, Bitcoin broke $7k for the first time since the March crash, yet quickly corrected as profit taking moved in. Now that the price is inching back up, crypto advocates appear optimistic moving into the weekend. It is worth noting that whereas another major correction appears unlikely, price volatility remains all but certain. The crypto market may be recovering, yet the global economy continues to shrink. Most experts now predict a recession has begun that could last months, if not years. How such a scenario could impact the blockchain space is uncertain. Unemployment numbers are the most troubling, as workers need disposable income in order to purchase Bitcoin. For now the sell off for quick cash seems to have abated, yet it could happen again should the work stoppages and furloughs continue. The good news is that a series of factors are coming together that all indicate a healthy market recovery. Much has been made of Bitcoin’s impending block halving, which is expected to cause a price surge. Also, the devaluation of fiat currencies by central banks should draw investors to crypto as well. In fact, all other issues notwithstanding, this time of year tends to see prices move up. Are you excited about Bitcoin crossing above the 4-hour 200MA line? Add your thoughts in the comments below! Images via Shutterstock, @pierre_crypt0

Traditional Traders Could Be Ready to Go Crypto, Prefer Bitcoin – Survey

Senior trading executives believe that larger trading companies are about to take the crypto plunge, and could be set to provide the market with a timely boost, per a new study. Bitcoin/USD is the most preferred trading pair, it added. In a report named Institutional Adoption of Digital Asset Trading, compiled by the Acuiti management intelligence platform, in conjunction

YouTube Bans Drive Cryptocurrency Fans to Decentralized Alternatives

YouTube’s crypto policy has driven crypto enthusiasts to look for decentralized alternatives that are uncensored and provide incentives to their users.

In recent years, Google-owned video-sharing platform YouTube deleted and banned an array of cryptocurrency-related channels. The platform’s policy has driven cryptocurrency enthusiasts to look for decentralized alternatives to YouTube, which allow users to skirt censorship and even incentivize them with their own tokens.

In a YouTube video published on April 1, a channel dubbed Bitcoin for Beginners reviewed some of the decentralized YouTube alternatives. When choosing the most relevant platforms, the channel host took into account their usability, track records and user interface as major criteria.

Among the most popular decentralized video sharing platforms, the author noted LBRY, Bitchute, BitTube, PeerTube and Dtube. 

Censorship-resistance and incentives

LBRY has a community-controlled blockchain protocol and enables users to mine library credits and send them as tips to various creators. However, it is not easy to find good content as the platform doesn’t lay out popular or trending videos before you start following a channel.

Launched in 2018, BitTube allows users to overpass censorship thanks to InterPlanetary File System (IPFS). BitTube appears to be more entertaining as it offers livestreams, games, groups, and other options. Moreover, the platform has a reward system, wherein it rewards creators and viewers based on the time watched, and provides two privacy tokens.

Bitchute claims to use a peer-to-peer WebTorrent technology, however, the service still can delist content as it comes from their centralized servers. Also, most of the content is heavily political. 

Another platform called DTube is built on IPFS and the STEEM blockchain and rewards its users with DTC tokens, which gives them an ad-free option. The last platform mentioned, Peertube, was launched in 2015 and is based on the WebTorrent technology. Peertube features P2P video sharing.

Calling for a mass migration to alternative platforms

In a bid to stand up to Google for censoring cryptocurrency-related content across its platforms, the crypto community started a petition in early March. The so-called #ForkGoogle memorandum accuses the tech giant of waging “campaigns of suppression against Bitcoin and blockchain industry for years.”

#ForkGoogle calls for the crypto community to boycott Google’s services and migrate to alternative decentralized platforms like blogging platform Steemit and open-source browser Brave.

In recent years, Google-owned video-sharing platform YouTube deleted and banned an array of cryptocurrency-related channels. The platform’s policy has driven cryptocurrency enthusiasts to look for decentralized alternatives to YouTube, which allow users to skirt censorship and even incentivize them with their own tokens.

In a YouTube video published on April 1, a channel dubbed Bitcoin for Beginners reviewed some of the decentralized YouTube alternatives. When choosing the most relevant platforms, the channel host took into account their usability, track records and user interface as major criteria.

Among the most popular decentralized video sharing platforms, the author noted LBRY, Bitchute, BitTube, PeerTube and Dtube. 

Censorship-resistance and incentives

LBRY has a community-controlled blockchain protocol and enables users to mine library credits and send them as tips to various creators. However, it is not easy to find good content as the platform doesn’t lay out popular or trending videos before you start following a channel.

Launched in 2018, BitTube allows users to overpass censorship thanks to InterPlanetary File System (IPFS). BitTube appears to be more entertaining as it offers livestreams, games, groups, and other options. Moreover, the platform has a reward system, wherein it rewards creators and viewers based on the time watched, and provides two privacy tokens.

Bitchute claims to use a peer-to-peer WebTorrent technology, however, the service still can delist content as it comes from their centralized servers. Also, most of the content is heavily political. 

Another platform called DTube is built on IPFS and the STEEM blockchain and rewards its users with DTC tokens, which gives them an ad-free option. The last platform mentioned, Peertube, was launched in 2015 and is based on the WebTorrent technology. Peertube features P2P video sharing.

Calling for a mass migration to alternative platforms

In a bid to stand up to Google for censoring cryptocurrency-related content across its platforms, the crypto community started a petition in early March. The so-called #ForkGoogle memorandum accuses the tech giant of waging “campaigns of suppression against Bitcoin and blockchain industry for years.”

#ForkGoogle calls for the crypto community to boycott Google’s services and migrate to alternative decentralized platforms like blogging platform Steemit and open-source browser Brave.