Should Bitcoin Have Trading Halts or Circuit Breakers?

October 19, 1987. Better known as Black Monday (now a Showtime original series), it was the worst market crash in US history since Black Tuesday on October 29, 1929, which triggered the Great Depression. On Black Monday, the Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 22.6%, while S&P 500 futures contracts plummeted 29%. 

With trading volumes sky-high and systems overwhelmed all over the world in October 1987, a solution was finally put in place known as “trading halts,” which basically acted as circuit breakers to stop trading. To this day, the SEC regulates market-wide trading halts, although an individual market, even an individual stock, can trigger its own freeze. 

Trading halts can stop trading for 15 minutes and, in severe instances, can close trading for the day. 

On March 12, 2020, the stock market plunged severely due to the global pandemic, triggering a Level 1 halt. 

While the traditional financial markets have a system in place — what about the cryptocurrency market? Bitcoin has experienced some major mood swings in response to economic uncertainty, but will investors welcome regulatory action in a decentralized market structure? 

To learn more, watch the video below. 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Xf4sGQ63_2M&feature=youtu.be

 

eToro USA LLC; Investments are subject to market risk, including the possible loss of principal.

8 Ways To Survive A Cryptocurrency Market Downturn

Cryptocurrency Investing on eToro – a League of Its Own Cryptocurrencies represent a distinct asset class in a league of their own. While they have often been associated with extreme volatility since their inception a decade ago, volatility is a double-edged sword. While you can earn a significant amount of money quickly, you can also lose it just as fast. The average annual return of the US stock market since the 1950s is estimated at 7%[1], however, in the cryptocurrency market, prices can move by many percent in a single day (for example, Bitcoin circa 2017).  The fast-paced nature of the cryptocurrency market also manifests itself in a far shorter market cycle than in traditional financial markets. Here are some tips to help you survive a market downturn. #1 Reflect on your true Intentions (Long-term vs Short-term Horizon) Knowing your investment objectives and your time horizon are two important elements that will dictate your investment decisions. Individuals can be characterised as either short-term traders or long-term investors. Short-term traders thrive in a volatile environment where they tend to make frequent investment decisions — in the form of buying and selling — in very short time intervals. They can hold on to their investments for days, hours, minutes and even seconds! Short-term trading is highly risky, and is usually reserved for sophisticated and experienced individuals. For normal retail investors, a long-term investing approach is a safer strategy, where investments are held for the long haul. Given the potential and gradual adoption of blockchain technology, cryptocurrencies may skyrocket in value over the long term. With a longer-term horizon, you do not need to be exposed to short-term price variations that can take their toll mentally and emotionally. You should only acquire cryptocurrencies through reputable and licensed cryptocurrency exchange such as eToro, which offers many popular cryptocurrency and tokens to choose from, and several features to help you get started on your crypto journey, for example, eToro’s extensive articles that cover basic trading strategies as well as guides to help you navigate the complexities of the market. #2 Limit Your Exposure to Obscure Tokens Obscure tokens are tokens with low market capitalisation or even coins which have gone through an Initial Coin Offering (ICO), but are not yet listed on any exchange. Usually, these tokens are thinly traded across a small pool of exchanges, probably due to little trading demand or because they are  relatively new coins. Obscure tokens are highly risky, because they do not have an established track record and prices could be extremely volatile due to their paltry liquidity. Prices can swing rigorously if a large order is executed on an exchange. Although these tokens could be significantly profitable if prices go on an upward trajectory, you could also stand to lose a big chunk of value if prices move adversely. A market downturn, as witnessed at the start of 2018, could obliterate the value of obscure tokens significantly, and they could possibly lose as much as 70% to 90% of their value. Only when you have considerable experience and knowledge dealing with obscure tokens should you seek to include them in your portfolio. You should always store your coins in a secure digital wallet. eToro offers a secure digital assets Wallet solution that supports over 120 coins and  lets you safely store your cryptocurrencies. #3 Invest only After Extensive Research In this complex and fast-moving space, research is your best friend. Engage in thorough due diligence before carrying out any investment decisions. If you are thinking about investing in a new coin or token, first evaluate the website, team and most importantly, the project’s white paper. Ensure that the project has clearly defined the problems which it is addressing and that the solution has been thoroughly explained. Only when you are clear about the project’s direction, its potential and the absence of red flags, should you commit to executing the investment. One easy way to understand sentiments related to any coin is to utilise a crypto social feed, such as eToro, which allows interaction with a vibrant community of like-minded crypto enthusiasts. #4 Do Not Over-Leverage Yourself When new to the cryptocurrency market and trading in general, it is best to avoid highly leveraged products and strategies in the fast-evolving cryptocurrency space. Products such as cryptocurrency derivatives, options and CFDs should be avoided if you do not fully understand their mechanics. Strategies such as margin trading are also highly risky and should be avoided to reduce your risks. Investing in cryptocurrencies is already risky; trading using leverage could significantly increase your risk exposure, especially in a market downturn where the possibility of margin calls increase exponentially. Acquiring real coins from regulated cryptocurrency platforms such as eToro is a good first step. #5 Putting all your eggs in one Basket? Financial wisdom dictates that diversifying is key to managing your investment portfolio. Put simply, a basket of crypto is wiser than investing solely in one coin. Without diversification, your losses will be directly tied to one investment. In a diversified pool of coins, your losses can be mitigated across all coins and could reflect a lower overall loss in a market downturn. The availability of different coins and trading pairs in many cryptocurrency platforms — with eToro being one of the most prominent — allows you to effectively diversify your portfolio safely and conveniently. #6 Earn free Cryptocurrency on the Side In a market downturn, the focus should be more on accumulating cryptocurrencies due to lower market prices, especially if you are a long-term believer in digital currencies. There are numerous ways to earn free cryptocurrency on the side, including utilizing your computing resources to collectively mine cryptocurrency transactions and earn mining rewards, subscribing to services that provide free coins in exchange for work being done (such as BAT browsers) and exploiting cashback rewards services that provide you cryptocurrency rewards if you shop online.  #7 FOMO Makes you Lose Fear of missing out (FOMO) is a widely used term in the cryptocurrency space to describe a situation that entails extreme hype which generates investment decisions on a particular coin. Investing in a cryptocurrency purely based on hype and speculation is an irrational move and could result in significant losses for investors. You must do thorough due diligence for every investment decision to ensure that you truly understand the coin’s proposition and utility, using leading resources such as  eToro’s free market research on prominent coins. #8 Ignore Volatility of the Market Volatility in the cryptocurrency market can be extreme. It is always a good idea to try not to be overly zealous when looking at price movement, since market volatility can induce a heightened degree of anxiousness and FOMO, both of which could be detrimental to your investment decisions. Downturns come and Go Market cycles are a natural part of the free market. The volatile nature of the cryptocurrency market could shorten the market cycles of booms and busts relative to more traditional and mature markets, such as the stock markets. It is important to enter the market with a focused and long-term investment horizon. [1] Data derived from Investopedia

SnapEx Platform Review

SnapEx, a global service-oriented cryptocurrency contract trading platform is designed for everyday use by novices and experienced traders alike.  Recently, it has grown in popularity due to low trading fees (0.1%) and easy to use interface offering up to 100x leverage on top crypto assets. To assist traders in understanding the SnapEx platform and whether or not it is an ideal choice over the rest of the sea of competition out there, we’ve prepared this review.  About SnapEx SnapEx is a crypto margin trading platform founded in 2018 and headquartered in Singapore.  The platform offers crypto traders exposure to a variety of crypto-asset derivative contracts using up to 100x leverage. This comes with providing the users the ability to profit from whichever direction the cryptocurrency market turns next through long and short positions. Bull market, bear market, or even a sideways trading range, SnapEx arms traders with an arsenal of trading tools to keep success rates high and risk to a minimum – all while maximizing profit margins with leverage. The platform’s latest update permanently discounted trading fees by 30% across all trading instruments listed on SnapEx to just 0.1%, putting even more profits in the pockets of traders.  This came alongside a new and refreshed website look. A new blog and competition sections (where users can earn USDT) were also added. SnapEx also lets users reduce fees further through exchanging SNAP points earned by completing daily check-ins, trading, and other tasks. Each trade even earns users some SNAP. Any exchanged USDT can be utilized as a margin for up to 100x leverage or can be withdrawn to an external wallet. Unlike other crypto platforms, SNAP tokens aren’t additional crypto tokens, they are simply reward points awarded to users that offer various incentives.  Deposits and Withdrawals The minimum deposit to get started trading on SnapEx is just 5 USDT. All deposits and withdrawals on the platform occur in real-time and are fully transparent.  Cryptocurrencies can be deposited from an external crypto wallet address, or a credit or debit card can be used to purchase crypto for trading. In select countries, SnapEx even offers an OTC purchase service. SnapEx supports deposits in BTC, ETH, and USDT. However, any crypto-asset deposited or purchased is instantly converted into USDT for trading. USDT is the main base currency in all SnapEx trading pairs.   USDT stored in the SnapEx wallet can be withdrawn to an external wallet at any time, but users must first select from the omni-layer USDT or ERC20 USDT before sending.  Trading Instruments  SnapEx offers contracts for the most popular crypto-assets paired with USDT as the base currency. This gives exchange rates and crypto pricing more parity with the dollar but allows for the flexibility that USDT provides over fiat money. All crypto trading pairs can be traded with flexible leverage depending on risk appetite and level of thrill-seeking, ranging from 10x, 25x, 50x, and 100x across both long and short positions. Minimum margin requirements start at 5 USDT and max out at 20,000 USDT.  Crypto assets paired with USDT include: Bitcoin (BTC) Ethereum (ETH) Litecoin (LTC) Ripple (XRP) EOS (EOS) Cardano (ADA) Bitcoin Cash (BCH) Ethereum Classic (ETC) Regulations and Supported Countries Despite rapid growth and surging interest, the cryptocurrency market is still unregulated. But that doesn’t stop the crypto derivatives platform from respecting and adhering to global regulatory compliance orders and being an upstanding member of the financial community. Therefore, SnapEx doesn’t accept users from the USA, Hong Kong, Singapore, Malaysia, and China. Over 36 countries, however, are supported, including: Vietnam Korea Indonesia Japan Philippines Canada Malaysia Turkey India Australia Germany Thailand Taiwan Russia New Zealand Ukraine Brunei Saudi Arabia France Poland United Kingdom Holland Portugal Israel Pakistan Singapore Cambodia Macao Laos Azerbaijan Czechia Moldova Finland United States Kazakhstan Ghana Community Presence A reliable and trustworthy platform always has a strong community and large social media footprint. SnapEx shows all signs of being a trusted, reliable platform with a presence on every platform be it Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, and YouTube. Additionally, the platform has a super-active community on Telegram. Admins are available round the clock, seven days a week, and are ready to resolve any query or any issue that users may have. SnapEx Affiliate Program  SnapEx offers the best affiliate program in the crypto space, with 50% commissions on direct referrals, and another 10% on indirect referrals driven by the first batch of users brought in. Influencers, affiliate marketers, bloggers, YouTubers, and more are all eligible for exclusive offers to attract users and market materials to help with reach and visibility. Combined, SnapEx users who have joined the affiliate marketing program have collectively earned over $350,000 worth of USDT tokens. Individual top earners top over 125,000 USDT themselves, highlighting just how lucrative the program can be. Conclusion: Is SnapEx Worth Signing Up For?  Finding a crypto derivatives platform with low fees and offering a large variety of crypto contracts at up to 100x leverage is like finding a diamond in the rough.  Especially when it provides an opportunity to offset trading fees through reward points. SnapEx users can earn up to 100 USDT worth of SNAP points by completing simple tasks. These points can then be used to avail decent rebates on trade fees.  SnapEx’s host of cutting edge trading tools and features and the low minimum starting point at just 5 USDT makes registering for a free trading account a no brainer and a breeze. Visit SnapEx today to register for a free account.

eToro’s Professional Crypto Exchange Adds Institutional-Grade Product Suite, Launches Inverted Fee Model

Offering includes advanced FIX API, cold storage custody solution, Credit Line, special order types, and brand new high-performance matching engine  July 23, 2020: eToro, the multi-asset platform with over 13 million registered users globally, has added several enhanced trading and risk management tools to its crypto exchange, eToroX. This new set of tools is targeted at the growing segment of professional and institutional crypto traders, which has a unique set of trading and commercial requirements.  Employing a unique and progressive inverted “Taker-Maker” fee model*, eToroX flips the traditional “Maker-Taker” pricing structure, by allowing a rebate to be paid to takers who execute market orders above certain volumes, rather than them paying for the privilege of trading. Research from the University of Melbourne examined the few traditional exchanges that adopted inverted fee models, and concluded that the net impact of those models on market quality is positive, showing price efficiency and an increase in liquidity with an inverted venue market share, with a decrease in short-term volatility. As part of its focus on professional and institutional traders, and their requirements for better risk management tools, eToroX has added a range of new Order Types, to amplify user abilities in trading tokenized FX, commodities, and crypto 24×7, including FOK, IOC, GTC, and GTD, as well as special Iceberg orders. It has also established a highly secure cold storage custody solution, of the same high standard as those utilized by traditional financial houses. Further tools being introduced include an institutional-grade API with FIX protocol, in addition to REST and WebSocket protocols, and a credit line program** for spot trading, enabling users extended access to eToroX’s deep liquidity markets, and allowing them to trade with up to ten times more volume. According to Peggy Sullivan, Senior Policy Advisor at the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, “to have more mainstream adoption of the cryptocurrency or the digital asset space, we need to make it easier for the institutional markets to enter.” This is confirmed by a report from Aite Group, a global research, and advisory firm, which finds professional crypto traders to be in “desperate need of institutional-grade tools.” eToro has published a new position paper, describing eToroX’s new approach, and the external research and interviews with industry leaders that motivated it. The position paper outlines all the main barriers to institutional adoption of crypto and how eToroX has responded to them and includes comprehensive details of the new resources the crypto exchange has incorporated to enable institutional-grade traders looking to transition from the world of traditional finance to crypto. Yoni Assia, CEO of eToro, said, “2020 is proving to be a significant year for institutional interest in crypto investing. The data is showing that institutions are buying the biggest cryptos by market cap such as bitcoin and ethereum, in a bid to position themselves ahead of the next bull run. Furthermore, due to the unique way in which this year is playing out, investors are seeking uncorrelated alternative investments, and cryptocurrency seems to be the ideal answer to this for many.”  Vice President of Business Solutions, Doron Rosenblum, added, “Institutional investors have not been able to enjoy a similar quality of trading tools in the crypto industry as those they rely on in traditional asset classes. We want to address these concerns directly, as outlined in our position paper, in a bid to open up the crypto ecosystem to both institutional participants as well as pro traders. Institutions are now much more aware of how a 24×7 risk management mechanism allows the management of risks on a constant basis, which is only possible via the crypto ecosystem. We are seeing this in eToroX’s data, where the most traded crypto assets on our platform by institutional investors are stable coins pegged to commodities and Fiat currencies. We have launched these initiatives today to give these types of traders access to deep order books at a competitive price.” Institutional traders joining eToro’s crypto exchange will also enjoy a VIP onboarding process, with dedicated, one-to-one service. eToro launched its on-chain crypto exchange in 2019 as part of the company’s commitment to the belief that one day all investable assets will be tokenized and traded on the Blockchain. * Click here for a full breakdown of our fees. **The eToroX Credit Line program is subject to our acceptance and suitability policy. About eToro group eToro was founded in 2007 with the vision of opening up the global markets so that everyone can trade and invest in a simple and transparent way. The eToro Group consists of the eToro platform, our multi-asset trading and investment venue, and eToroX, which manages our crypto wallet and exchange. The eToro platform enables people to invest in the assets they want, from stocks and commodities to crypto assets. We are a global community of more than 14 million registered users who share their investment strategies; and anyone can follow the approaches of those who have been the most successful. Due to the simplicity of the platform users can easily buy, hold and sell assets, monitor their portfolio in real-time, and transact whenever they want. As technology has evolved, so has our business. In 2018 we launched our professional crypto exchange, together with the eToro Wallet. Together with the investment platform, eToro provides a holistic service for buying, selling, and holding crypto assets. We believe that leveraging blockchain technology will enable us to become the first truly global service provider allowing everyone to trade, invest, and save. Disclaimer:  eToro is regulated in Europe by the Cyprus Securities and Exchange Commission, regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority in the UK and by the Australian Securities and Investments Commission in Australia. eToroX is incorporated in Gibraltar with company number 116348 and its registered office is at 57/63 Line Wall Road, Gibraltar. Its distributed ledger technology (DLT) provider license was granted by the Gibraltar Financial Services Commission in December 2018 (license number FSC1333B).

The Evolution of Proof of Stake – From Peercoin and Nxt to Algorand

The concept of using Proof of Stake (PoS) as an alternative to Proof of Work (PoW) for securing crypto networks has been around for a long time now. It was Sunny King and Scott Nadal who first proposed PoS in 2012 as a more energy-efficient solution than mining, which has traditionally been used to secure blockchains such as Bitcoin. In the years since, Proof of Stake has gone from being a fringe technology to the default mechanism favored by new crypto networks. It’s also become the chosen consensus algorithm of blockchains that are moving away from PoW as part of a broader upgrade to bring their features in line with those sought by today’s network users. This is the story of how Proof of Stake evolved into the king of the consensus mechanisms. In the Beginning There Was Peercoin In 2011, Sunny King and Scott Nadal began ruminating what would become known as Proof of Stake, and the following year fleshed out their concept in the Peercoin whitepaper. As they explained it, “proof-of-stake is based on coin age and generated by each node via a hashing scheme bearing similarity to bitcoin’s but over limited search space. Block chain history and transaction settlement are further protected by a centrally broadcasted checkpoint mechanism.” There were two primary goals driving the creation of PoS. The first pertained to energy efficiency. If new blockchains were to continue springing up, there would not be enough computational power to secure them all. Chains with low hashpower would be susceptible to 51% attacks, while Bitcoin’s rising energy consumption had already begun to attract the ire of environmentalists. The second consideration that gave rise to Proof of Stake was a desire to increase the security of the chain. Proof of Work is remarkably robust, but it has its drawbacks, including the facilitation of selfish mining and centralized cartels with enough hashpower to potentially control the chain. While Proof of Stake has its own attack vectors, it solves or at least mitigates some of the problems inherent to PoW. Nxt Pioneers Pure Proof of Stake Clever as King and Nadal’s idea was, it was only partially implemented in Peercoin, which still relied on Proof of Work in tandem with PoS. It was not until the launch of Nxt in 2013 that PoS was fully tested in the wild. Developed by software company Jelurida, Nxt was the first pure Proof of Stake blockchain, and the template for subsequent PoS networks to copy. An open source blockchain written in Java, Nxt serves today as a payment network and dApp- launching hub, complete with private chains for business applications. Numerous crypto projects then began to experiment with PoS, tweaking the consensus algorithm to suit the characteristics of their network. The biggest manifestation of this came with the launch of EOS, developed by Steemit founder Dan Larimer following a $4 billion year-long ICO. EOS uses delegated Proof of Stake (dPOS), in which token-holders can delegate responsibility for validating transactions to block producers. Despite attracting criticism for dPos enabling the creation of “cartels” – i.e block producers who collude – EOS has succeeded in bringing PoS into the mainstream, and can claim credit for accelerating Ethereum’s move away from PoW. Beware of PoS Chains Making Unfounded Claims For most of its history, Proof of Stake has been characterized by mutual cooperation between blockchain projects and iterating upon the ideas of others. Better consensus algorithms result in a better outcome for all crypto users, after all. But it hasn’t been all back-slaps and mutual love: developers have fallen out along the way and latecomers to the staking game have caught flak. Algorand notably attracted the ire of Nxt, most recently, and was taken to task over its claim to have created the world’s first pure Proof of Stake blockchain. Nxt has the whitepaper and seven years of history to disprove that, and Jelurida developer Lior Yaffe was not afraid to pick apart Algorand’s disingenuous claim. The debate spilled over into crypto social media, and concluded with the judges scoring the bout in favor of Nxt. Proof of Stake may be open to any blockchain to use, but credit for its formation remains a source of pride among those who toiled over the consensus algorithm before it was cool. The Future of Proof of Stake In just eight years, Proof of Stake has gone from being a niche idea to the industry’s favored consensus mechanism, responsible for securing billions of dollars in crypto assets. Networks such as Tezos and the forthcoming ETH 2.0 are bringing staking to a new audience of token-holders, who can play their part in securing the crypto network in which they have a vested interest, and be rewarded for their efforts. While Proof of Work will remain the favored consensus algorithm of Bitcoin and its ilk, every major new blockchain today is PoS. Thanks to the efforts of Peercoin, Nxt, and other early developers, Proof of Stake has quietly taken over the blockchain industry. Everything else, from DeFi to sidechains, is built upon its foundations.

Top 3 CashBack Crypto Services to Watch

Cashback Crypto
Who doesn’t love rewards and rebates? The cashback concept appeals to pretty much everyone and goes some way towards assuaging the guilt that tends to follow an indulgent spending spree. Earning a modest percentage of your transaction value back in the form of in-store credits, discounts or cashback is a fixture of the modern commerce experience, with new schemes even granting rewards in cryptocurrency. If you’re keen to generate a passive income in your preferred digital asset, these crypto back solutions are worth a look. StormX The proposition of StormX is simple: earn anywhere, anytime, from any device. And that message is obviously resonating with users, 2.5 million of whom have signed up to date. Available on the App and Google Play stores, and also as a Chrome add-on (“StormShop”), the popular microtask and earning platform is a truly global service, currently available in over 187 countries. The rewards aren’t middling either: shoppers can earn up to 40% crypto back, with five supported digital assets comprising BTC, ETH, LTC, DAI, and STMX, the latter being the platform’s native token. As for retailers, over 500 have signed up thus far, including the likes of Samsung, Microsoft, Macy’s, Nike, New Balance, Adidas, Gamestop, Groupon, Acer, Dell, and Sephora. StormX CEO Simon Yu recently explained the company’s business model on Twitter, noting: “Our revenue stream is through small transaction fees of each activity. When a user earns rewards from shop or play, we make money. The more users earn, we earn. It’s a great model. We make money when our users make more money.” StormX works on a tiered system. For example, basic members earn 2% crypto back on all Samsung purchases, from TVs and laptops to smartphones and accessories – but 7% when they become Diamond members. Those on a higher tier also wait less time to obtain rewards. The key to increasing your level over time is to shop often and accrue StormX (STMX) tokens. NBX Thanks to Norwegian crypto payment startup NBX, tokenized rewards are available to shoppers across Scandinavia and beyond. Cash Points is the name of its loyalty scheme, which comes with a number of perks for regular travelers – which is sure to appeal to the jet-setting crypto community. Register your Fly Norwegian reward number with your NOBX account, for instance, and you’ll be entitled to 10% cashback, which can be redeemed for tickets, extra baggage, seat reservations, and booking changes. Because NBX points can be earned through trading on the company’s cryptocurrency exchange, traders are incentivized to ply their craft in the knowledge that they’ll effectively receive a rebate. Trade on NBX and then use the accrued points to snap up a discounted flight to over 150 global destinations. Now that’s a deal that crypto users can get with. Crypto.com The crypto back offered by Crypto.com flows into users’ accounts whenever they make purchases with their MCO Visa card. As with StormX, rewards are paid out in a tiered fashion, with 1% of transaction value being paid on purchases made with the free Visa card, and 2, 3, 4, and 5% paid for each of the other levels. Numerous high-profile merchants have already opted in, including Spotify, Amazon Prime, Netflix, Expedia, and Airbnb, and you can actually get a 100% rebate from the streaming platforms depending on your tier. Users can also take advantage of interbank exchange rates to withdraw cash around the world, and with the top two tiers of cards, you get special lounge access at selected airports. The MCO Visa card is available in the U.S., Canada, Europe, and APAC regions including Australia and New Zealand. If you’re a frequent shopper, you could easily earn hundreds of dollars worth of crypto per year – even while using the free card. Cashback Is the Future of Rewards Crypto cashback projects are an evolution of the old bitcoin faucets that dispensed generous rewards in the early days. Sadly, faucets these days disburse insultingly low payouts, making them virtually useless. Crypto back options like those summarized above represent a worthwhile endeavor, helping you earn a passive crypto income while indulging in a little retail therapy. They might also play an important role in bringing more mainstream users to crypto, particularly since e-retail revenues are forecasted to grow to $6.54 trillion in the next two years. With the e-commerce market rising, and the cashback concept already familiar to shoppers here’s hoping we see more cryptoback projects emerge in the near future.        

Crypterium Becomes an Official VISA Europe Partner, Launches New Crypto Payment Card

crypterium visa card
Cryptocurrency adoption relies heavily on companies and services making digital currencies as easy to use as cash. Decentralized finance, and second-layer payment technologies have played prominent roles in widespread reach and acceptance of cryptocurrencies.  One company that is doing it differently is Crypterium. Through a unique offering combo of crypto banking options, a wallet, and a payment card, Crypterium is redefining crypto adoption. The company recently became an official VISA Europe partner and announced the launch of its new Crypterium Card VISA Edition New Crypterium Card VISA Edition to Expand its Crypto Card Reach Globally After becoming an official partner of the world’s leading electronic payment card issuer, Crypterium is diversifying its crypto card lineup with a new Crypterium Card VISA Edition. Crypterium Card, the company’s previous card product offering through UnionPay, is already a popular choice amongst 30,000+ users across 150 countries. The new VISA card will expose more than 500,000 customers of Crypterium to a globally accepted payment method. Users can load up the Crypterium card through the Crypterium Wallet. The in-wallet exchange service will immediately convert cryptocurrencies stored into fiat that can be used to load the card and then spent at any location accepting VISA cards. The distinctly designed card adorned in vibrant yellow and dark blue not just looks stunning but also provides a smooth and familiar user experience. The card even supports contactless near-field payment technology, which is critical given the current environment and is expected to support Apple Pay.  Crypterium is Issuing the New VISA Card for Free, CRPT Token will Holders Get Free-Delivery  The KPMG and H2 Ventures awarded crypto bank aims to break down barriers and bridge the gap between crypto adoption and mainstream usage. One way they plan to do so is by offering the all-new Crypterium Card VISA Edition for free. Commenting on the announcement, Crypterium CEO Steve Parker said:  VISA is the world’s most accepted payment card. For us, this product was a logical step. The launch of the Crypterium Card VISA Edition is aligned with our desire to provide customers with exceptional flexibility. With this card, our clients can easily pay anywhere in the world with a single tap, keeping full control of their finances through the Crypterium Wallet The only cost associated with each new Crypterium Card VISA Edition is the delivery fee, however, holders of Crypterium’s CRPT tokens will receive free-of-charge delivery – yet another key benefit to holding the tokens. Access All Card Features Through Crypterium Wallet for iOS and Android The new Crypterium Card VISA Edition, like the Crypterium Card from UnionPay, can be managed entirely from within the Crypterium Wallet on iOS and Android.  The free app download enables a wallet interface that lets users block and unblock the card, set and alter their security PIN, take a look at transactions, and more. All accounts are 100% backed by insurance from industry leader BitGo. The Crypterium Card VISA Edition could be a giant leap for crypto adoption, allowing more crypto holders to pay for goods and services at point-of-sale locations all over the globe where VISA cards are accepted. For more information, visit their website or download the free iOS and Android app.  

Will Tezos Be the Altcoin to Unseat Ethereum on the Crypto Market

Tezos vs Ethereum
Ever since it’s record $232 million ICO (initial coin offering) back in 2017, Tezos (XTZ) has earned a justifiable amount of buzz in the crypto world. But does the Swiss-US joint venture have legs?  First off, it’s important to understand what makes Tezos stand out among the thousands of cryptocurrencies on the market. XTZ utilizes a proof-of-stake based consensus model, which, unlike Bitcoin and Ethereum’s proof-of-work models, isn’t dependent on mining for its blockchain protocol.  Instead, Tezos employs a more democratic model where all stakeholders have a hand in managing the protocol in what is known as a “self-amending blockchain.” One of the big takeaways from this model is that it avoids the issue of hard forking into two different blockchains. Hard forking is what caused bitcoin cash to break off from bitcoin and Ethereum to break off from Ethereum classic.  In comprehensive terms, Tezos uses a “formal, on-chain mechanism for proposing, selecting, testing, and activating protocol upgrades.” It results in a uniquely formalized process, in which users have control of what happens to updates, as long as it’s within the Tezos protocol.  It all adds up to some exciting potential for Tezos, which has generated some major public enthusiasm and investor interest. The Bank of France is testing out a Tezos node, and a tech investment firm called Silicon Valley Coin chose Tezos (noticeably over Ethereum) to tokenize its fund.  XTZ is also making a lot of noise on the STO (security token offering) market, with global investment banks like BTG Pactual, tZERO, and Alliance Investments contributing to a reported $2.6 billion-plus in STOs deployed on the Tezos blockchain.  So, will all this buzz and heightened interest result in Tezos being the next altcoin to go boom? Or is it all just hot air? Check out eToro’s video to find out more about Tezos and if it has what it takes to rival Ethereum as the no. 2 cryptocurrency on the market.  Disclaimer: The information presented here does not constitute investment advice or an offer to invest. The statements, views, and opinions expressed in this article are solely those of the author/company and do not represent those of Bitcoinist. We strongly advise our readers to DYOR before investing in any cryptocurrency, blockchain project, or ICO, particularly those that guarantee profits. Furthermore, Bitcoinist does not guarantee or imply that the cryptocurrencies or projects published are legal in any specific reader’s location. It is the reader’s responsibility to know the laws regarding cryptocurrencies and ICOs in his or her country.  

Why PayPal’s Upcoming Crypto Service is a Big Deal

PayPal crypto
Recently, rumors that PayPal is looking to begin offering cryptocurrency direct-sales began making headlines after insiders from the company, in addition to recent job postings looking for blockchain experts highlighted its renewed interest in cryptocurrencies.  If confirmed, PayPal’s entry into the crypto space may result in a significant boon for the industry, by providing an easy entry point for the hundreds of millions of investors — a major step forward in the path to mass adoption.  300 Million Potential New Users  PayPal is an online payment system created in 1999 by Max Levchin, Peter Thiel, and Luke Nosek. Later on, the company merged with X.com, a banking platform founded by Elon Musk. Just like many cryptocurrencies, PayPal is designed to serve as an alternative to traditional payment methods like checks and cash—but without the decentralized aspect.  The platform was massively successful in its early days and quickly gained tech unicorn status after accumulating more than 1 million users by 2002, before being acquired by eBay. In 2014, PayPal once again split from eBay and continued its meteoric growth, racking up more than 325 million active accounts and 1 billion transactions to-date.  Now, PayPal stands as one of the largest online payment companies, easily eclipsing some of its closest rivals, including Transferwise, Skrill, and Stripe. This market dominance puts the company in a strong position to enter the cryptocurrency industry with a bang, since it already provides services to almost 10% of all internet users.  Although the recent speculation directly highlights PayPal’s intention to begin serving cryptocurrency enthusiasts, this isn’t the first time the online payment giant has flirted with the crypto space. Back in September 2014, Coinbase — currently one of the most popular cryptocurrency exchanges — announced its partnership with PayPal. Since then, PayPal has formed similar arrangements with the likes of BitPay and GoCoin. As a result of these partnerships, there was a great deal of initial speculation that it wouldn’t be long until PayPal itself launched its own range of crypto offerings. But PayPal’s senior director of corporate strategy put a dampener on things by revealing that the partnerships only allow these platforms to accept cryptocurrency payments, rather than demonstrating PayPal’s interest in the industry.  Nonetheless, PayPal has been spotted hiring blockchain and cryptocurrency experts, re-fueling the rumors that it’s just a matter of time before cryptocurrency support is added.  If the rumors turn out to be accurate, then PayPal may be the largest corporation to directly facilitate to cryptocurrency purchases — potentially exposing its some 300 million users to the benefits of decentralized currencies like Bitcoin. With around 67 million Bitcoin users between America and Europe combined, this could potentially see the total number of users more than quadruple under ideal conditions — or even more if you use more conservative estimates.  The Early Birds Ultimately, if the payment processor does start supporting cryptocurrencies, the dramatic increase in interest that will likely result could see major cryptocurrencies appreciate considerably — similar to the 2017 cryptocurrency boom.  In anticipation of this massive uptick in interest, several crypto platforms have already begun integrating PayPal payments into their solutions. This includes Newscrypto, a popular cryptocurrency trading education platform that allows users to buy NewsCrypto Coins (NWC) with PayPal, allowing them to unlock advanced trading features, arbitrage detection and whale alert tools and more by purchasing a membership plan.  Likewise, Pundi X recently integrated PayPal into its point-of-sale device ‘Xpos,’ allowing users in America to accept PayPal payments for cryptocurrency sales. The Xpos device is currently used by merchants in over 30 countries, and is similar to PayPal’s ‘Here’ card reader, but instead transacts over the blockchain. The new feature is currently opt-in, but Pundi X will be rolling out PayPal support via an update in the coming weeks.  Though NewsCrypto and Pundi X are the most recent crypto firms to boast PayPal support, peer-to-peer trading giants Local Bitcoins and Paxful have supported PayPal payments for years — which is part of the reason they have been so successful in acting as on-ramps to the cryptocurrency industry. But will they be completely replaced by PayPal? Only time will tell.     

Bybit Announces “World Series of Trading” Contest with Prize Fund Worth 200 BTC

bybit wsot prize 200 btc
Bybit has announced it is launching a brand-new series of trading contests called the “World Series of Trading.” Targeted at traders of all levels, Bybit will allocate prizes from a pool worth 200 BTC or over $1.8 million at the current market price. The company plans to run the event twice each year, with the first one kicking off this summer.  The inaugural World Series of Trading (WSOT) event aims to bring together retail and institutional traders across the globe to battle it out for their share of the massive prize pool. Prizes will be awarded based on the percentage of profits on each trader’s account, creating a fair and equitable opportunity for anyone to win, regardless of the value of their trades.  Speaking of the launch, Bybit CEO and co-founder Ben Zhou stated: “The World Series of Trading will be the main tournament of Bybit Games and the crypto trading world. We at Bybit believe in the importance of empowering traders who embody the prowess and passion for crypto trading.” Bybit is even providing incentives for its users to participate in the WSOT event. Registered participants will be eligible for a 20% trading fee discount with the opportunity to earn up to $9,400 in additional bonuses.  Anyone wanting to join in can register on the Bybit website before July 30. The WSOT event itself will run from August 14 to August 31.  The WSOT is the latest event in the “Bybit Games Calendar” which has seen previous success with last year’s “BTC Brawl” contest. During November and December 2019, traders from several countries fought it out for a share of a prize pool worth 100 BTC.  Bybit’s Relentless Growth The WSOT announcement is just the latest in a series of launches from Bybit, which has been pursuing aggressive growth since it launched in 2018. Recently, the Singapore-based exchange has released a slew of new products and features aimed at increasing its appeal to traders.  In May, the company launched its Mutual Insurance product, offering a new way for traders to hedge against losses. Last month, it has introduced a fiat gateway that allows users to buy BTC or ETH using a credit card or bank transfer, with low fees. It supports over 20 fiat currencies, meaning it’s easier than ever for Bybit to onboard new users around the globe.  Bybit Catching Up to BitMEX?  This growth strategy appears to be paying off. Since May, Bybit has seen open interest in its crypto-backed BTC futures recover to pre-March levels, following the market-wide Black Thursday selloff. Data from Skew shows this is in contrast to its biggest rival, BitMEX, which has struggled to regain a footing in the markets.  Amid the March crash, the Seychelles-based platform saw traders suffer heavy losses during two periods of downtime. It now seems that Bybit has moved quickly to capitalize on the opportunity to capture market share from BitMEX.  Disclaimer: The information presented here does not constitute investment advice or an offer to invest. The statements, views, and opinions expressed in this article are solely those of the author/company and do not represent those of Bitcoinist. We strongly advise our readers to DYOR before investing in any cryptocurrency, blockchain project, or ICO, particularly those that guarantee profits. Furthermore, Bitcoinist does not guarantee or imply that the cryptocurrencies or projects published are legal in any specific reader’s location. It is the reader’s responsibility to know the laws regarding cryptocurrencies and ICOs in his or her country.  

Crypto Exchange KuCoin Lists Digitex Futures’ Native Token DGTX

Crypto Exchange KuCoin Lists Digitex Futures’ Native Token DGTX
KuCoin, is one of the world’s most popular cryptocurrency exchanges with over 5 million registered users across the globe. The crypto exchange has listed a new coin, the native token of Digitex Futures, DGTX with two trading pairs. KuCoin Introduces Two DGTX Trading Pairs As Part of New Token Listing Starting July 3, DGTX/BTC and DGTX/ETH will begin trading on KuCoin. Deposits will be enabled 24 hours in advance in anticipation of the listing going live. KuCoin, founded in 2017, became synonymous with the cryptocurrency market at this time, earning it the title of “the people’s exchange.” The crypto exchange is known for giving its users what they want. They often listen to customer feedback, which influences what features or tokens get added to the platform.  Due to growing demand following the April mainnet launch and the upcoming full launch of Digitex Futures’ flagship futures trading platform, KuCoin has listed DGTX. Exchange Listing Is Response To Rapidly Growing Demand For Digitex Futures  Digitex Futures has been onboarding users over the last several weeks, gearing up for the highly anticipated launch of its zero-fee futures trading platform which the token underpins. Native exchange tokens must offer utility and value for demand to exist. The DGTX token is integral to the entire Digitex Future experience – it is the only way for traders to access zero-fee trading on the platform. All account balances are denominated in DGTX and PnL is settled with the token. The innovative take on commission-free trading has put not only the token but the platform itself in high demand. A full launch is scheduled in the coming weeks, and later a spot market will also debut alongside the company’s flagship futures trading product.  In addition, Digitex Futures will also be adding new markets to the platform in the coming months. An ETHUSD perpetual contract based on the second-ranked cryptocurrency by market cap, Ethereum, will be added next. However, the firm will also add contracts against traditional assets such as gold, oil, and forex currencies. Gold, oil, and forex are especially attractive currently due to the explosive volatility surging throughout these traditional markets. Digitex Futures CEO Adam Todd says the move to add traditional markets is to attract a “wider net of traders” and expose the current “core base of crypto traders to traditional markets.” With DGTX reaching an entirely new user base through KuCoin, more platforms will likely follow suit with token listings ahead of the full platform rollout. And with more markets on the way, Digitex Futures’ user base will also thrive. Disclaimer: The information presented here does not constitute investment advice or an offer to invest. The statements, views, and opinions expressed in this article are solely those of the author/company and do not represent those of Bitcoinist. We strongly advise our readers to DYOR before investing in any cryptocurrency, blockchain project, or ICO, particularly those that guarantee profits. Furthermore, Bitcoinist does not guarantee or imply that the cryptocurrencies or projects published are legal in any specific reader’s location. It is the reader’s responsibility to know the laws regarding cryptocurrencies and ICOs in his or her country.  

Jay Hao, CEO of OKEx on the Recent Partnership Between His Company and Paxful.

Okex paxful partnership
We are back again to follow up on OKEx’s recent announcement regarding its partnership with Paxful. It seems like a milestone development for both the companies who are market leaders in their respective spaces. It would be great if you can answer a few questions regarding the partnership to quell our curiosity. Q: What was the reasoning behind this partnership between two giants — OKEx and Paxful? One of my first goals, when I became CEO of OKEx, was #FinanceAll. We want to push the adoption of cryptocurrencies further to people who are unbanked or underserviced by the traditional financial industry. One of the ways we can do this is through strategic partnerships, the other is continually strengthening our product offering and innovating. Paxful’s values and goals are very aligned with ours and they have become the leading peer-to-peer Bitcoin marketplace, as we are a leading cryptocurrency exchange. They have a very strong presence in many regions that OKEx would like to also operate or increase awareness. They also have a very robust payment network infrastructure which allows people to pay with more than 300 different local payment methods. This is particularly important in developing countries where people may not be able to access (or not want to use) a bank account to buy bitcoin. Paxful will serve as a great fiat-on-ramps gateway for OKEx and users will get exposure to the same sophisticated technology, security, and trading features as OKEx users, as well as high-interest accounts for their crypto and other features like C2C lending. We hope that through this move we will reach more and more people and onboard the next wave easily into cryptocurrency, allowing them to better their lives and economic livelihood. Q: How is this partnership going to help users on both platforms? They can now buy bitcoin locally with whichever payment method best suits them, in some cases, the payment method can even be what the seller deems acceptable. This is so important in developing areas that lack financial infrastructure. In countries with high inflation like India and Argentina, this will easily allow them to buy bitcoin to shield their savings from inflation. They will also have access for the first time to OKEx’s wide range of products and services, which is the most diverse in the industry. So it’s a win-win for users on both platforms. Q: How does this partnership with Paxful contribute towards OKEx’s goals? The partnership immediately gives 100 million users access to over 300 payment methods to buy bitcoin and also enter the wider cryptocurrency ecosystem where they can learn about other cryptocurrencies, trade, stake, save, and participate in the crypto economy as well as their local economies. Given the situation currently, it’s particularly pertinent for people to educate themselves financially and to know that they have options. This partnership is another step forward for us to onboarding more people to crypto and achieving #FinanceAll. We will continue to forge strategic partnerships like this and the partnership with Ethereum to become one of the first validators on the Ethereum 2.0 Topaz testnet. All of these moves help contribute to our goals. Q: Were there any challenges while arriving at this arrangement? There were technical hiccups along with the integration on both sides, thanks to the professional teams and speedy turnaround, we have made it solved before launched. Q: Do OKEx and Paxful have any plans to jointly create something new? We will plan further in the future, especially to get a better trading and withdrawal experience for both sides of users. Q: Now that you have forged an alliance with Paxful, which platform do you think OKEx should integrate with next? We have many plans in the pipeline and will continue to grow through partnerships, but also through our own determination to be the best, to continue to innovate, and entice more traders into the space with our wide variety of trading products and options. We can’t currently comment on future partnerships but you can be sure that we will continue to grow, collaborate, and join forces with platforms and companies that reflect our goals. Q: Anything else you would like to add? Another huge area that still needs more work when it comes to mass adoption is education. This is why OKEx is also putting many resources into our OKEx Academy to teach people about crypto assets, buying, and storing them, trading, etc. We are also offering a Beacon Program this month that is a masterclass and mentorship series dedicated to participants in the European region, which has been hard-hit by the pandemic, with many people left unemployed. Through this, we hope to pique the interest of people, educate them, and maybe even kickstart their new careers in crypto. We’re very bullish about the future of crypto and believe that by continually pressing forward and collaborating, we can onboard more and more people to the space. Disclaimer: The information presented here does not constitute investment advice or an offer to invest. The statements, views, and opinions expressed in this article are solely those of the author/company and do not represent those of Bitcoinist. We strongly advise our readers to DYOR before investing in any cryptocurrency, blockchain project, or ICO, particularly those that guarantee profits. Furthermore, Bitcoinist does not guarantee or imply that the cryptocurrencies or projects published are legal in any specific reader’s location. It is the reader’s responsibility to know the laws regarding cryptocurrencies and ICOs in his or her country.  

65% of Circulating IPX Already Staked, First Blockchain VPN Marketplace Launched

63.5% of Circulating IPX Already Staked, First Blockchain VPN Marketplace Launched
IPX is the native cryptocurrency token powering the Tachyon protocol, designed to underpin the next generation of VPN, IoT, DeFi, CDN, DNS, data storage technologies, and also includes an innovative new take on staking.  Tachyon also aims to create a blockchain-based decentralized marketplace for bandwidth worldwide, built to empower a variety of growing business technologies such as IoT, VPN, CDN, DNS, and more.  Tachyon VPN is the first application powered by the Tachyon Protocol.  The protocol is bridging anyone with bandwidth and anyone looking to use bandwidth and has already reached over 470,000 global users since its launch in March 2020. On the supply side, everyone can run a node and earn IPX rewards by offering VPN traffic. On the demand side, all VPN users can use IPX to access VPN traffic.  Tachyon Achieves Milestones in Node Growth and Total Tokens Staked Tachyon achieved a milestone in just one week after its staking went live on ipxus.com and Bithumb with over 173,000,000 IPX tokens staked across 1225 nodes. When staking first launched, the blockchain-based network had just over 150 nodes, demonstrating over 700% growth in the total number of nodes in the network. According to CoinMarketCap, there’s a circulating supply of 266,000,000 IPX in the market. This means that 65% of circulating IPX tokens have already been staked since the launch. Everything You Need to Know About  IPX Staking System Node providers in the Tachyon network stand to earn additional rewards generated in IPX tokens by staking a set number of tokens. Anyone can run a Tachyon node to begin earning incentives from the self-governed IPX Staking System. No technical skills are required to start earning a portion of the daily reward distribution.  Tachyon’s IPX Staking System utilizes both a Session Reward and a Staking Reward. Session Rewards are variable and earned by selling bandwidth to global VPN users while Staking Rewards are set at a regular reward automatically generated by the system. Standard staking capacity for individual Tachyon nodes stands anywhere between 20,000 and 200,000 IPX tokens.  IPX Staking debuted with partner ipxus.com, bringing over 1000 new nodes to the Tachyon Network. The staking model has also debuted on Bithumb, one of the largest cryptocurrency exchanges in the world, which further increases IPX’s visibility. Additionally, Tachyon recently revealed an IPX Wallet which is designed for Tachyon VPN users to exchange other cryptocurrencies and fiat currencies to IPX tokens immediately inside Tachyon VPN to purchase premium VPN traffic.  Initial staking partners include ipxus.com and Bithumb, but the list will expand in the future and more users will demand access to the unique staking solution offered by Tachyon.  To learn more or get involved in the IPX Staking System, visit the company blog for more details. You can join IPX staking on IPXUS here: https://ipxus.com. Also, you can join the IPX staking on Bithumb here:: https://en.bithumb.com/staking/goods. Disclaimer: The information presented here does not constitute investment advice or an offer to invest. The statements, views, and opinions expressed in this article are solely those of the author/company and do not represent those of Bitcoinist. We strongly advise our readers to DYOR before investing in any cryptocurrency, blockchain project, or ICO, particularly those that guarantee profits. Furthermore, Bitcoinist does not guarantee or imply that the cryptocurrencies or projects published are legal in any specific reader’s location. It is the reader’s responsibility to know the laws regarding cryptocurrencies and ICOs in his or her country.

Could Bridges Solve Ethereum’s Second-Layer Scalability Issues?

Could Bridges Solve Ethereum's Second-Layer Scalability Issues?
Scalability is becoming the albatross around Ethereum’s neck. In a recent tweet thread, Vitalik Buterin went out on a limb to state that the initial deployment of Ethereum’s second-layer scaling strategy has “basically succeeded.” But before Ethereum fans had an opportunity to get too excited, the CEO of Starkware, one of the users of the solution, urged caution.  Ethereum’s own scaling solution, dubbed ETH 2.0, isn’t expected to arrive before 2022. It could even come later, given the project has already faced significant delays. So with both ETH 2.0 and second-layer solutions failing to deliver any immediate remedy for the scalability challenge, could interoperable bridges from projects such as Syscoin provide the answer?  The Convoluted Road to Ethereum’s Scalability  Layer 2 solutions emerged as a potential means of speeding up Ethereum’s transactions while the core development team worked on building an improved version of the original. However, based on recent events, it seems that getting Layer 2 platforms in place is now proving every bit as problematic as ETH 2.0.  Plasma was the original version of Ethereum’s layer 2, a scaling solution using sidechains. While it initially looked promising, in 2019, Ethereum developers abandoned it in favor of Optimistic Rollups.  Now, despite Vitalik Buterin tweeting that Rollups are live on Starkware and other platforms, CEO Uri Kolodny commented rather wryly that the deployment was “only on Twitter, not the Ethereum magnet.” As if that wasn’t bad enough, the following week, the CTO of Skale Network, based on Ethereum, stated that Layer 2 solutions “lack real-world usability.” Tether Takes Advantage of “More Viable Plasma” The abandonment of Plasma by Ethereum developers came at a time when many projects, including OMG Network (formerly OmiseGo), were already partway through their own implementation. Now, OMG has scaled back Plasma to “More Viable Plasma.”  Although the project appears to have compromised on decentralization to make its version of Plasma more viable, it was enough to attract Tether to issuing a version of USDT on the network. Tether hopes that the expansion to OMG Network will decrease its load on the Ethereum network. This is somewhat ironic considering Tether only started issuing USDT on Ethereum as a way of reducing its load on Omni.  This irony hasn’t been lost on self-confessed Ethereum troll Udi Wertheimer, who recently took advantage of Twitter’s new private tweet channels to engage Vitalik Buterin on the benefits of blockchain.  During the conversation, Vitalik expressed his view that Tether is “flying close to the sun, and every time they expand issuance, they get closer.” The conversation led, as so many blockchain-based discussions do right now, to interoperability and why USDT doesn’t appear to be leveraging it. Vitalik took the opportunity to question why issuer backed stablecoins couldn’t become a cross-chain bridge.  Udi pointed out that users can do this already with an exchange, but both agreed that not using an exchange to move stablecoins between networks would be an improvement.  The fact is, with Ethereum developers continuing their battle for scalability, interoperability can’t be a priority. However, interoperable bridges could provide a solution that achieves true interoperability and can solve the scalability problem to boot, providing a viable alternative to second layer platforms.  Furthermore, one of the interoperable bridges already in operation could be just the solution that Tether is looking for to avoid the issuance expansion risks Vitalik outlined of expanding issuance.  How Do Bridges Work?  Syscoin launched its own version of a bridge earlier this year, providing a live example of how they can help Ethereum to achieve scalability. Using the Syscoin Bridge, an Ethereum developer could send their token from the Ethereum blockchain to Syscoin’s network, where it benefits from high-speed processing and low transaction costs.  It works via a mint-and-burn mechanism. Each time a token leaves the Ethereum ecosystem, it’s burned and its equivalent, subject to the same smart contract rules, is minted as a Syscoin Platform Token. In this way, token supply is maintained across both chains.  Bridge transactions are overseen by Bridge Agents, who receive rewards as a percentage of tokens within each Bridge transaction.  Syscoin achieves high throughput thanks to its Z-DAG layer. Z-DAG stands for Zero Confirmation Directed Acyclic Graph, and it’s an instant settlement protocol developed by the Syscoin team. It arranges transactions in order and writes them to the blockchain, settling them in real-time. Transactions then pass through a second consensus layer using Proof-of-Work, which provides on-chain finality.  The speed of Syscoin’s network has been independently verified, reaching up to 60,000 transactions per second.  The project isn’t the only one to launch a bridge feature. Earlier this year, RSK released its own version of a bridge between its network and the Ethereum blockchain. As RSK is based on the Bitcoin network, the RSK Token Bridge effectively introduces interoperability between the Ethereum and Bitcoin blockchains.  A Ready-Made Solution With second layers proving to be every bit as challenging as building ETH 2.0, bridges provide a perfectly workable scalability solution without introducing more complexity. Furthermore, for big projects like Tether, using a bridge eliminates the risk of being spread across multiple networks, while keeping transaction costs low. What’s more, unlike the apparently partial implementation of existing second layers, bridges are already launched and ready to go.  

The Road to DApp Decentralization is Still Being Paved

dApp decentralization
It still seems to be a controversial viewpoint to some, but it’s nevertheless a fact that most “decentralized” applications (dApps) are heavily centralized.  Security researcher Chris Blec coins himself “DeFi’s best friend and toughest critic.” He runs a website called DeFiWatch, in which he’s audited several of the most prominent DeFi dApps to ascertain the degree of centralized control that dApp operators have over user funds. Scanning through the results, it’s evident that many DeFi investors of dApps such as Compound, dYdX, and Synthetix, are putting their funds directly into the same kind of wallet that any of us use to store cryptocurrencies. As the saying goes – “not your keys, not your crypto.” However, many people don’t realize that under the hood, dApps are centralized in many other ways than just key management. For example, the front end of the application is accessible via a user interface hosted on the internet. The company operating the app owns the domain and can also copyright the user interface and any branding or logos.  Some solutions have started to emerge. For example, object storage can now be managed in a decentralized way via the Interplanetary File System (IPFS.) The project was conceived as a means of overcoming the challenge that internet communication protocols are now handling more traffic than they were ever designed for, mainly due to file storage.  With IPFS, objects, or files such as images are stored and distributed across different nodes using a protocol based on BitTorrent. The nodes provide a path to the object, meaning that it isn’t stored on a centralized server that can become overloaded. This results in better delivery of web-based content that is also resistant to censorship.  The Risks of Centralized Data Storage Perhaps a bigger problem for developers – and users – of dApps is that of data storage. A typical dApp can have thousands of different data points, including personal data about users. Many users may be under the illusion that this data is stored in a way that’s decentralized, on the blockchain.  In the vast majority of cases, it’s not. Firstly, storing vast amounts of data on a blockchain such as Ethereum would quickly cripple the network. It would also make a dApp incredibly slow. With a throughput of 15 transactions per second, imagine having to wait for the time it takes to send an Ethereum transaction each time a dApp needed to read from the database. It would be unusable.  Furthermore, the cost of data storage on Ethereum is prohibitively expensive, around $150,000 for 100GB of data.  So most dApp developers use the same solutions as centralized applications and have their data stored by cloud providers such as AWS, on centralized servers. This means that users’ data is subject to all the same vulnerabilities as any centralized database. As we know from experience, centralized databases are like honeypots to hackers, who seek to profit from selling user stolen user data. Just look at some of the high-profile hacks of recent years – Equifax, with nearly 150 million users affected, Marriott Hotels, with 500 million, or Yahoo with a staggering 3 billion.   So the fact is that decentralized dApp users are no safer from having their data stolen than the customers of any of those firms.  For dApps to truly leverage the data security benefits of decentralization, we need a decentralized database equivalent to IPFS. Thankfully, developers now have access to Bluzelle, a decentralized database network for dApps.  A Decentralized Airbnb for Databases Bluzelle leverages the power of blockchain to crowd-source hardware for data storage purposes. It enables developers to rent the storage space they need to store off-chain data at a lower cost than centralized equivalents, in a kind of Airbnb model. Developers pay for the storage space, and for the number of reads and writes to the database needed by their dApp.  The cost savings are largely enabled by the decentralized replication model used by Bluzelle. Centralized data providers charge customers each time they want to expand into a new geographical region because the database has to be replicated onto new servers. Bluzelle’s model means that data is already replicated across multiple nodes, which can be located anywhere, so there are no extra charges.  If a developer needs more or less space, they can simply scale up or down as much as they need, on-demand. The network is run by validators, who participate in proof-of-stake consensus to earn a share of the revenues charged by the platform. Validators contribute their own hardware as storage space for rental, but also validate changes to the database.  Validators are grouped into “database zones” of 13 or more nodes, who each keep a copy of the data. Changes to the data have to be agreed by a majority of two-thirds, ensuring that data is tamper-proof and censorship-resistant.  The network operates two tokens. The BLZ token is the “public” token, an ERC20 that can be traded on exchanges. The BNT token is the native token of the platform. When a user or validator wants to access the Bluzelle network to rent storage or participate in staking, the Bluzelle wallet enables a conversion.  Paving the Way Bluzelle and IPFS are currently two of the only methods for developers to achieve a better degree of decentralization for their dApps. However, as the challenges of centralization in dApps becomes more apparent over time, it’s a sure bet that more solutions will emerge. Once that happens, the path to true decentralization will be easier to follow. Disclaimer: The information presented here does not constitute investment advice or an offer to invest. The statements, views, and opinions expressed in this article are solely those of the author/company and do not represent those of Bitcoinist. We strongly advise our readers to DYOR before investing in any cryptocurrency, blockchain project, or ICO, particularly those that guarantee profits. Furthermore, Bitcoinist does not guarantee or imply that the cryptocurrencies or projects published are legal in any specific reader’s location. It is the reader’s responsibility to know the laws regarding cryptocurrencies and ICOs in his or her country.  

Currency.com vs Bybit vs Bitmex: Cryptocurrency Exchange Review 2020

Currency.com vs Bybit vs Bitmex: Cryptocurrency Exchange Review 2020
Cryptocurrencies are gradually growing in popularity among traders as a tradable asset class on a par with traditional assets such as stocks, forex, and commodities. The appeal of cryptocurrency trading is growing due to its inherent volatility, massive trading volumes, 24-hour market, and opportunities for arbitrage. Now, everyone from retail investors to crypto whales, VCs, family offices, and institutional players, wants a piece of the crypto pie. Currently, three of the top-rated platforms for trading cryptocurrencies, crypto derivatives, and tokenized assets are Currency.com, BitMEX, and Bybit. In this post, we provide a comparative analysis of the three platforms to help you make an informed decision on where to conduct your crypto trading activities.  Overview   Beginner Friendly? ❌ ✅ ✅ Mobile App (iOS & Android)? ✅ ✅(App coming soon) ✅  Buy/Deposit Method: Cryptocurrencies (BTC Only) Cryptocurrencies Cryptocurrencies, Credit Cards, Debit cards  Sell/Withdrawal Method: Cryptocurrencies (BTC Only) Cryptocurrencies Cryptocurrencies and Fiat withdrawals  Minimum Deposit 0.001BTC No Minimum 0.002 BTC, 0.1 ETH, 0.05 BCH, 0.2 LTC  Available Cryptocurrencies: BTC, ETH, EOS, XRP, ADA, LTC BTC, ETH, EOS, XRP 1500+ Cryptocurrencies, Stocks, Commodities, Bonds, Forex  Offers Fiat Pairings? ❌ ❌ ✅  Offered Leverage 5X Up to 100X Up to 500X  Trading Fees: -0.0200% (Maker fees)        0.0750% (Taker fees) -0.0250% (Maker fees)        0.0750% (Taker fees) Crypto -0.025% (Maker fees) 0.075% (Taker fees) Tokenized Assets 0.0125% Tokenized Forex 0.002% Withdrawal Fees: No withdrawal fees No withdrawal fees Payment Gateway Commissions  Licensed or Regulated? ❌ ❌ ✅  Social Trading? ❌ ❌ ❌  Currency.com vs Bybit vs Bitmex: Opening Your Account BitMEX’s account opening process is simple. You’ll be required to enter an email address and to choose a password. You’ll also need to enter your first and last name, as well as your country of residence. BitMEX will then send a verification link to your email – once you click on the link to verify the email, you can go ahead to fund your account and start your trading activities. You can open a Bybit account in less than 30 seconds, and it all starts with you creating an account with either your phone number or your email. You’ll then be asked to choose a password, and a verification link will be sent to your email or phone for confirmation. Once you’ve verified your phone number or email address, you can proceed to fund the account to start trading.  Opening an account on Currency.com is also quite stress-free. It starts with you entering your email address and choosing a password. Afterward, you’ll be asked to select your country of residence and nationality, and you’ll need to confirm if you are resident in the U.S or not for tax purposes. The next screen will request for your first and last name  – and that’s it, your account is all set up and you can go ahead to fund it to begin trading.  Currency.com vs Bybit vs Bitmex: Available Assets ByBit and BitMEX seem to be focused exclusively on providing traders with access to core crypto trading and cryptocurrency derivatives trading. For instance, BitMEX provides access to the trading of perpetual crypto contracts and futures contracts. Bybit also supports the trading of crypto perpetual contracts and it is reportedly working on making more assets available to its users. However, neither BitMEX nor Bybit provides access to crypto options.  Currency.com doesn’t seem to offer crypto derivatives such as futures and options yet. However, Currency.com allows traders to trade in the most popular cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin, Ethereum, Litecoin, and Ripple. More importantly, Currency.com provides traders with access to tokenized legacy assets such as stocks, bonds, and commodities, and there are currently more than 1,500 tradable assets on its platform. Currency.com vs Bybit vs Bitmex: Regulation BitMEX is currently not regulated by any known authority or in any jurisdiction. In fact, in 2019, BitMEX technically banned residents of the countries in which it was incorporated. The company in a terse statement noted that “We have decided to restrict access to BitMEX for users in the jurisdictions in which HDR-affiliated employees and offices are located. Seychelles, Hong Kong, and Bermuda will be added to the list of jurisdictions already restricted from access to BitMEX.”  Similarly, ByBit is not currently regulated in any country or jurisdiction even though its headquarters is domiciled in Singapore and the company is incorporated in the British Virgin Islands. It is also worrisome that the company doesn’t require users to complete KYC verifications. However, Bybit says it is compliant with “Data Privacy Law” including the EU General Data Protection Regulation 2016/679. Currency.com is the world’s first fully regulated tokenized security exchange. The company is authorized and regulated by the High Technology Park of the Belarussian government, and it is licensed to operate as a crypto exchange platform. The company is also compliant with KYC and AML regulations, as well as user data privacy and protection laws.  Currency.com vs Bybit vs Bitmex: User Interface BitMEX’s platform doesn’t quite measure up in terms of the UX and UI. To start with, the platform feels crowded and users might not find it easy to find and access important menu items and options. Nonetheless, if you don’t want to make too many user journeys, BitMEX allows you to buy and sell contracts, use a slider to determine your leverage, and also to view market charts all within the same window.  ByBit’s platform is much easier to use than BitMEX’s platform. Its user interface shows a thoughtful layout with distinct panes showing different menu items. The different trading options such as buying and selling contracts as well as choosing how much leverage to apply are also provided within self-contained panes. The best part is that the UI also delivers subtle prompts to help you navigate the platform and to understand what the different features mean.  Currency.com’s platform layout delivers an intuitive UX with a default dark mode, a highlighted and self-explanatory tabs and panes. On the far left of the screen, you’ll find menu options to charts, trading reports, your portfolio, trading contests, support, and settings. At the top left of the screen, you can toggle between the standard exchange and the leveraged exchange. Just under the pane, you can search for specific assets and get an instant view of the most traded, top-rising, top-falling, and most volatile assets. The center of the screen is dedicated to a mix of crypto and traditional assets as well as a chart showing live Bitcoin/USD trading patterns. Currency.com vs Bybit vs Bitmex: Controversies Cryptocurrency trading still attracts skepticism and controversies because it fundamentally promotes money that is not backed by a sovereign entity. Many people are also skeptical about trading cryptocurrencies because governments and their agents are not yet willing to give cryptocurrencies the same legal status that fiat currencies enjoy. The fact that many charlatans took advantage of the 2017 ICO boom to perpetrate scams also adds to the skepticism around cryptocurrencies. Hence, it can feel like double jeopardy if your crypto exchange becomes enmeshed in a scandal.  Up until this point, Currency.com and ByBit have not been mentioned in any form of controversy. Both companies have been quick in responding to users’ concerns, clearing up ambiguities, and maintaining a stellar reputation.  However, in the last few years, BitMEX has been reportedly experiencing system overloads during peak trading times. The problem with the peak overload is that it often makes it impossible to enter or close trades and traders may lose out on trading opportunities through no fault of their own. Some users have also posted unverified reports suggesting that BitMEX might be guilty of allowing Insider Stop Hunt and that the exchange can sometimes maliciously liquidate users’ positions arbitrarily. Currency.com vs Bybit vs Bitmex: Final Verdict Currency.com, BitMEX, and Bybit are well-known, high volume, high liquidity cryptocurrency trading platforms. In the earlier parts of this review, we have pinpointed their strengths and weaknesses so that you can make an informed decision based on the features and factors that are most important to you. We would rather not choose one exchange over the other two; however, if we must choose a winner, Currency.com will come first because of the sheer volume of tradable assets that it has, its regulatory oversight, and it’s integration with the fiat economy. ByBit will come second because of its user-friendly platform and the fact that it doesn’t seem to be enmeshed in any form of controversy. And lastly, we will rank BitMEX in the third position because of its lack of regulatory oversight and the controversies around its operations.  Disclaimer: The information presented here does not constitute investment advice or an offer to invest. The statements, views, and opinions expressed in this article are solely those of the author/company and do not represent those of Bitcoinist. We strongly advise our readers to DYOR before investing in any cryptocurrency, blockchain project, or ICO, particularly those that guarantee profits. Furthermore, Bitcoinist does not guarantee or imply that the cryptocurrencies or projects published are legal in any specific reader’s location. It is the reader’s responsibility to know the laws regarding cryptocurrencies and ICOs in his or her country.

5 Unmissable Highlights From Consensus: Distributed 2020

CoinDesk’s virtual version of their annual crypto conference
Consensus: Distributed, CoinDesk’s virtual version of their annual crypto conference, is done and dusted, but the best bits have just been made available to a housebound audience. Highlights from the May 11-15 event have started appearing on CoinDesk TV, including interviews and fireside chats from some of the industry’s leading lights and brightest minds.  With the blockchain brain trust piping in from various locations and waxing lyrical about their chosen topics, we’ve curated five contributions you don’t want to miss. Mass Adoption Asia Edition with MiL.k and Yanolja With the global financial system under increased strain, are we any closer to realizing crypto’s mainstream potential? This was the topic up for discussion on May 12, when figures from the Asian blockchain scene jumped on a call with hosts Oihyun Kim of CoinDesk Korea and Jaewon Park from crypto disclosure platform Xangle. Among the interviewees was Samuel Yun, head of international business at MiL.k, a blockchain-based reward integration platform connecting lifestyle, travel and leisure services. “MiL.k is not about payment, but rather rewards and on-platform marketing,” Yun told the hosts. “We’ve been developing the project for almost two years, and we are excited to offer the project as a service. Our vision as a company is to bridge the technology to everyday lives.  “By using the platform, people can combine many different reward points from not only travel-specialized services but also lifestyle services that they use in their daily lives. Being able to combine different reward points means increased utility for users. With the Milk Coin (MLK), users can buy reward points with discounts on the MiL.k platform and even bring it out to crypto exchanges to cash it.” With so many rewards and loyalty programs in existence, MiL.k seeks to maximize benefits from vendors and users by increasing the utility of rewards generated. As Yun explains in the video, “Users get to earn many types of rewards but there are restrictions like ‘you should accumulate more than a certain point to actually use them as cash, or an expiration date is coming before your rewards have value.’ So for users, even though it’s framed as another type of asset, the utility of reward points have been quite low.  “To solve these current issues, the MiL.k platform allows you to combine previously-scattered reward points, which means the utility of your rewards can get much higher. It also offers you discounts when you buy reward points with Milk Coin.” A fascinating proposition – and given MiL.k’s partnership with South Korean travel firm Yanolja, plus a host of others in multiple sectors, MiL.k is one to watch. The Winklevoss Twins The Winklevoss Twins are A-listers in the crypto world, and hosts Leigh Cuen and Zack Seward clearly enjoyed probing the billionaire brothers’ brains during CoinDesk: Distributed.  During the interview, the Gemini exchange founders discussed the recent bitcoin halving, with Tyler noting, “When the first halving happened, I think we didn’t even know it was happening, it was so long ago. The second one was a big deal. Every four years, things improve by an order of magnitude, whether it’s price, the human capital coming into the space, the projects… So I expect these four years to be the best four years yet.” “I think the actual event tends to be a non-event, other than the celebration and the milestone” added Cameron. “And that’s really exciting. But I think a lot of the reduced sell pressure and the actual economics start to kick in and be felt generally a little after.  “Obviously this halvening has Covid in the backdrop which changes everything, and in many ways the stage for a store of value like bitcoin has been set. I think a lot of the stuff we’ve talked about in terms of bitcoin being digital gold, a safe haven and all that stuff, the talking points have been the same since we got into bitcoin about eight years ago with the first halving. But the dynamics of fiat regimes has drastically changed.” As well as the halving, the twins discuss what it took to convince banks to invest in blockchain with Cameron noting that crypto is “bringing commercial privacy to the blockchain.” It’s a fascinating interview, so be sure to check it out. Telegram’s TON on the Launchpad Telegram’s decision to drop its appeal against a U.S. Federal Court’s injunction forbidding its Gram distribution sent shockwaves through the cryptosphere. Of course, CoinDesk’s video from May 12 precedes that news, but the discussion between reporter Anna Baydakova and fund manager Yakov Barinsky and attorney Philip Moustakis is interesting all the same, with the trio wondering “Are global token sales possible after TON?” Providing you haven’t had your fill of impassioned conversations concerning Telegram’s tussle with the S.E.C., this one’s well worth a watch. Saifedean Ammous on Modern Banking & Crypto Twitter Economist Saifedean Ammous, author of best-selling book The Bitcoin Standard, sat down for a conversation with Nolan Bauerle and Bailey Reutzel that touched on many topics including Crypto Twitter – the virtual space where debates rage, ideas flourish and dissent foments.  Ammous also discussed the nature of the modern, debt-based financial system and posited that bitcoin is the future. “Why does this monetary system require central banks to keep stepping in all the time? That’s not normal, that’s not healthy. Bitcoin seems to be growing and offering us a completely different alternative way of running this monetary system.  “At a time when central banks are just finding more ways – or having to inject liquidity into their systems in order to prevent a catastrophe, and hope that they won’t need to do something like this next time, Bitcoin’s method of approaching this is just, stick to its original schedule that was specified before 2009. And we’ve seen over the last 12 years, many people have tried to change that schedule but it continues to stay as it is.” Bitcoin in the Middle East with Meldem Demirors & Nimrod Lehavi The number of blockchain projects in the Middle East is continually growing, with various governments leveraging the tech to streamline public services and bolster central banking security. On May 11, CoinShares founder Meltem Demirors and Simplex CEO Nimrod Lehavi  joined hosts Leigh Cuen and Zack Seward to discuss developments in this exciting emerging market, including in Israel, Turkey and Lebanon. They also discussed the effect of Covid-19 on crypto interest and acquisition. A conversation well worth listening to, particularly if you’re living in the Middle East or developing a project that will be used in the region.  

Digitex Futures Adds Chainlink Integration For Unrivaled Price Data Accuracy

Digitex-Logo
Digitex Futures has revealed a new partnership with Chainlink that sees the cryptocurrency futures trading platform fully integrating Chainlink’s decentralized Price Reference Contracts in an effort to provide the most consistent and accurate price data without fluctuation. Chainlink To Provide Digitex Futures With Tamperproof Price Data In a first for crypto futures platforms, decentralized oracles are being implemented to bolster platform security and protect user funds from vulnerabilities related to the spot exchanges powering each platform’s price index. Most futures trading platforms rely on an aggregated price index for each asset based on a variety of trusted spot exchange pricing to provide accurate data to clients. The challenge here is that these spot exchanges can experience outages, deviations, manipulation from larger players, or flash crashes that can impact the index price. By leveraging decentralized oracles and tapping into Chainlink’s highly reliable Price Reference Contracts as a price anchor, Digitex Futures’ users can be certain they are getting the most trustworthy, up-to-date data with full transparency. This also prevents issues with slippage, and eliminates the chance of flash crashes and or data manipulation. Full Integration Expected By Trading Platform’s Scorching Summer Launch The partnership is all part of Digitex Futures’ mission to “build a highly secure platform that’s protective of user funds.” The integration of Chainlink’s Price Reference Contracts the company says is part of a new, “broader development roadmap.” “Using Chainlink price data enables us to deliver stronger security and performance guarantees to our users, furthering our vision to revolutionize futures trading,” Digitex Futures CEO and founder Adam Todd explained. Digitex Futures is a hotly anticipated, zero-fee futures trading platform powered by the DGTX token. While the DFE Mainnet is still closed off to the public, with just over 200 users currently trading on the platform, the exchange has already reached a notional value of $77 million in volume in today’s 24-hour period. The company is expecting to onboard 10,000 users in the coming month of June, in its continued gradual phased onboarding.  CEO Adam Todd states that he particularly likes onboarding small groups of users in this spread out manner, as it really helps fine tune the exchange, so each new batch of traders have a better experience than the previous batch. The company expects the BTC/USD price anchor to be completely integrated by the time the Digitex Futures exchange is fully released to the public this Summer. Later, as more trading products are added Digitex will continue to tap into additional feeds provided by Chainlink’s Price Reference Contracts to deliver the same level of user experience across the board. Disclaimer: The information presented here does not constitute investment advice or an offer to invest. The statements, views, and opinions expressed in this article are solely those of the author/company and do not represent those of Bitcoinist. We strongly advise our readers to DYOR before investing in any cryptocurrency, blockchain project, or ICO, particularly those that guarantee profits. Furthermore, Bitcoinist does not guarantee or imply that the cryptocurrencies or projects published are legal in any specific reader’s location. It is the reader’s responsibility to know the laws regarding cryptocurrencies and ICOs in his or her country.  

Bitcoin and Crypto Market Updates by eToro Analyst Simon Peters

Bitcoin and Crypto Market Analysis and Updates by eToro Analyst Simon Peters
Bitcoin halving has come and gone. Many people waited with bated breath for a sudden spike in price, which didn’t happen. In fact, immediately after halving prices dipped a little, possibly as a result of miners selling off. However, since then bitcoin has made steady progress upwards and now sits just above $9,800. Although not back up to the highs of $10k just over a week ago, price momentum looks bullish, suggesting there is still plenty of potential for the crypto asset to rise even higher. Many of the more bullish crypto-asset analysts were looking for huge jumps in price post halving, but this is a fundamental misunderstanding of the long-term nature of bitcoin as an investment. As I’ve said before, I believe the halving precipitates a long bull run in bitcoin, one which may see highs of $100,000 – $120,000 within 18 months. Of course, there is always the possibility that it may drop, but this would be likely due to another black swan event such as a worsening of the Covid-19 pandemic, at which point other investable assets would be impacted as well. So how have miners been affected by the halving? They will have seen their revenues drop dramatically. Pre-halving total revenue from miners was sitting at $17-18m per day, now total mining revenue is around $7m, even with the rise in bitcoin prices. It’s definitely something to keep an eye on, as often these revenues are indicative of the health of the wider crypto-asset sector. And to show that what happens in the crypto asset sector does have a wider impact, Nasdaq listed ASICS manufacturer Canaan has seen a good run in its stock performance over the past few weeks as miners upgrade their kit. Because miners have taken a hit to their revenues, they need to invest in the most up to date and more efficient hardware, so firms such as Canaan will benefit. Crypto Asset Firms Enter Wall Street… As Customers JP Morgan, one of the titans of international banking, has taken on exchanges Coinbase and Gemini as clients, according to multiple reports last week. This is a significant move as it shows that not only are traditional banks waking up to the fact that their clients want to access crypto assets, it also brings further credibility to the sector. It will be interesting to see who follows JP Morgan with a similar deal, and indeed what else might come from this relationship. TONs Of Investors Disappointed As Telegram Scraps Blockchain Platform In other big news, Telegram announced that it will be abandoning its TON blockchain network. In the firm’s surprise announcement, founder and CEO Pavel Durov was critical of the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). In March a US court issued a preliminary injunction in favor of a suit from the SEC, which stated that if TON went ahead it would be engaging in the sale of unregistered securities. In a scathing commentary on the Telegram channel, Durov said the SEC was interfering with individuals’ investments. While positive steps are taken with developments such as that by JP Morgan, the TON controversy shows there is still much to do to reassure authorities around the world of the benefits of crypto assets and blockchain projects. To stop this sort of thing happening again and again, we need more dialogue between the regulators and the private companies who are innovating in the sector. That’s why it is encouraging to see Facebook’s Libra project appoint Stuart Levey as its new CEO. Not only is Levey the former global legal chief for HSBC, but he was also a consultant on financial crime to both the Bush and Obama administrations. This is a perfect example of how companies involved in these challenging projects can take steps to try and allay the worries of regulators. It is also probably a recognition by Facebook that for Libra to work, following its initial setbacks, it needs to demonstrate it understands the concerns of regulators and governments. We need to see more of this in the sector because gaining the trust of regulators will also help gain the trust of the consumer. BoE Says ‘Me, Me, Me’ A little closer to home, Simon Scorer, the Bank of England’s senior fintech specialist, has demonstrated similar disdain for the established crypto sector by declaring that the bank would not be led by tech providers when it comes to developing its own Central Bank Digital Currency (CBDC). While it is understandable that the BoE will want to take complete control when developing a new digital currency, in my view, it has to be realistic. With institutions globally looking at CBDCs, and many such as China and Korea seemingly close to launching, for the BoE to keep up with the curve it needs to recognize that working collaboratively with technology providers is the best way to achieve that.   Ethereum 2.0 The Next Big Event? For anyone worried that the bitcoin halving passing is the end of the excitement in the sector for the near future, fear not. Ethereum 2.0 is, apparently, on the horizon. While its performance has correlated to that of bitcoin, should these upgrades occur smoothly we could see an increase in Ethereum’s strength, possibly even competing with bitcoin for dominance in the longer term. Could Ethereum be the one to topple bitcoin? We will have to wait and see. Harry Potter And Half Bitcoin Block Reward Over the weekend, author J. K. Rowling expressed an interest in bitcoin. Or rather, she asked for help in understanding how the crypto asset sector works. Cue a deluge of Twitter users in her mentions using a plethora of jargon to explain the benefits of bitcoin. Unfortunately, it seems she was left none the wiser, but it is still good to see those in the public eye express interest in wanting to understand why these crypto-assets are so popular. They appreciate that bitcoin is no longer relegated to the confines of computer programmers and data scientists.  Powell’s Pronouncements Show That The Time For An Inflation Hedge Is Now In slightly harder news, Jerome Powell gave an illuminating CBS interview, where he discussed the potential by which the US economy could contract. We have all been aware for some time the measures the Fed is taking, with regards to quantitative easing and increasing the money supply. But Powell’s candid discussion yesterday shows that now is an absolutely vital time to look for ways to hedge against inflation. Bitcoin’s jump this morning from $9,200 to $9,800 is evidence of this.  Disclaimer: This is a marketing communication and should not be taken as investment advice, personal recommendation, or an offer of, or solicitation to buy or sell, any financial instruments. This material has been prepared without having regard to any particular investment objectives or financial situation and has not been prepared in accordance with the legal and regulatory requirements to promote independent research. Any references to past performance of a financial instrument, index or a packaged investment product are not, and should not be taken as a reliable indicator of future results.  All contents within this report are for informational purposes only and do not constitute financial advice. eToro makes no representation and assumes no liability as to the accuracy or completeness of the content of this publication, which has been prepared to utilize publicly-available information. Crypto assets are volatile instruments that can fluctuate widely in a very short timeframe and therefore are not appropriate for all investors. Other than via CFDs, trading crypto assets are unregulated and therefore is not supervised by any EU regulatory framework. Your capital is at risk.  

Renowned Crypto Analyst Teeka Tiwari Positively Highlights Crypterium’s CRPT Token, Calls for 700% Growth

Renowned Crypto Analyst Teeka Tiwari Positively Highlights Crypterium’s CRPT Token, Calls for 700% Growth
Crypterium, the award-winning crypto bank founded by former VISA GM Steven Parker, and its native token CRPT, just received a resounding recommendation from respected market analyst, Teeka Tiwari.  The Palm Beach Letter editor’s nod comes directly from his detailed, 28-page investment report called The 2020 Phenomenon Playbook, where he ranks CRPT as the #1 crypto investment in the space among other top tokens. Tiwari Expects Crypterium To Build A Solid Bridge To Crypto Adoption Mr. Tiwari’s report is deep and diverse, covering his recommendations for top crypto investments. But it also dissects important events taking place throughout 2020 that may impact the cryptocurrency industry, such as Bitcoin’s recent halving. The industry expert digs in on all things crypto and offers a deep dive into why each investment is chosen and breaks the recommendation down by multiple points. He has curated a list of incredibly attractive assets and supplied the most important facts backing up why their valuations are expected to increase. Topping the list is the CRPT token, which Teeka asserts can reach an estimated 700% growth over the next two years as an increasing number of transactions pass through the Crypterium network. Following Crypterium, Tiwari lists Tierion (TNT), 0x (ZRX), Crypto.com (MCO), Status Network Token (SNT), and Solve.Core (SOLVE) in his report as the next best-ranked cryptocurrency investment. CRPT had already been showing signs of rapid growth when on May 8, the token rallied 65% on an intraday trade, bringing the year-over-year ROI to 376%. It is important to note that this surge occurred before the release of Tiwari’s report. The report’s validation implies that CRPT is expected to grow more in value in the long term Anticipated Growth To Over $1B in Payments Fuels High Investment Valuation  Crypterium is a crypto network that consists of both a payments app and a card that makes storing, using, and spending cryptocurrencies as easy as traditional dollars and cents. This much-needed gateway to adoption has already grown to over 500,000 customers since its launch in 2018. But the former hedge fund manager sees even more growth in the user base, taking the number of payments the network processes annually to over $1 billion within the next three years. “We project a $100 million Gross Dollar Volume (GDV) run rate within the next two years. Assuming the average burn rate of CRPT remains the same, CRPT would need to be priced at $1.92,” Tiwari explained. Tiwari’s valuations are based on real-world data focusing on the number of payments Crypterium currently processes, combined with the company’s growth trajectory and the proliferation of interest in cryptocurrencies expected over the next several years. CRPT is currently trading at $0.51 per token at the time of writing. If the valuations presented by Tiwari and Palm Beach Research Group are achieved, it truly could become one of the best investments in the cryptocurrency space. Learn more about Teeka Tiwari and his Phenomenon Playbook here. Disclaimer: The information presented here does not constitute investment advice or an offer to invest. The statements, views, and opinions expressed in this article are solely those of the author/company and do not represent those of Bitcoinist. We strongly advise our readers to DYOR before investing in any cryptocurrency, blockchain project, or ICO, particularly those that guarantee profits. Furthermore, Bitcoinist does not guarantee or imply that the cryptocurrencies or projects published are legal in any specific reader’s location. It is the reader’s responsibility to know the laws regarding cryptocurrencies and ICOs in his or her country.  

Phemex Adds Zero Fee Spot Trading, Challenges Exchange Giants

phemex crypto trading
Crypto trading platform Phemex has launched a Premium membership program that enables fee-less spot trading. The exchange, which was founded by a group of ex-Morgan Stanley executives late last year, aims to challenge the dominance of industry heavyweights such as Binance and BitMEX by furnishing users with superior trading experience. The new program will go live on May 11, with membership priced at $9.90 USDT per month. Traders who avail themselves of the offer can swap as much or as little crypto as they desire without incurring fees, with existing and new members given the opportunity to try a free seven-day Premium trial. Eligible swaps against USDT include BTC, ETH, LINK, XRP, XTZ, and LTC. As well as the monthly package, the Singapore-based exchange is offering users a three-month Premium membership priced at $19.90 USDT or an annual membership for $69.90. Premium memberships can be extended at any time or allowed to expire, with no renewal obligation and Premium spot traders can gift a 30-day Premium trial to anyone they wish. “As a company, our goal is to transition into a more comprehensive financial service provider, one that always puts its customers’ needs first,” said Phemex CEO Jack Tao, who spent 11 years with Morgan Stanley, latterly as the MSET BXS global development leader. “We believe that our new membership spot trading program perfectly exemplifies this philosophy.” Tao is one of eight former Morgan Stanley executives to have built Phemex including Trading System Architect Yang Du. Like many Asian exchanges, Phemex is headquartered in Singapore but operates globally. The company is registered in the British Virgin Islands and deploys a remote workforce spanning China, Korea, Japan, the US, and Singapore.  No Crypto Trading Fee, No Problem Free trading is normalized in the traditional financial markets, particularly when it comes to ETFs and online stock and options transactions. Now, just over six months since its launch, Phemex has become the first crypto exchange to offer zero-free trading on demand. Phemex also claims to be the fastest crypto derivatives exchange in a super-competitive market, with its ultra-swift CrossEngine capable of handling 300,000 transactions per second. In the first quarter of 2020, Malta-based Binance enjoyed over 50% of spot trading market share, with BitMEX still leading the derivatives market. Neither platform offers free trading, although Binance allows users to reduce trading fees by utilizing its native Binance Coin (BNB). The crypto spot and futures markets witnessed $8.8 trillion combined trading volume in the first quarter, driven by a 314% quarterly increase for futures trading and 104% for spot trading. At present, Phemex offers bitcoin, ethereum and XRP perpetual contracts and up to 100x leverage, though plans are afoot to support traditional offerings such as S&P 500 stocks, stock indexes, FOREX, commodities, and metals. It has already onboarded over 100,000 users since launching in December. Disclaimer: The information presented here does not constitute investment advice or an offer to invest. The statements, views, and opinions expressed in this article are solely those of the author/company and do not represent those of Bitcoinist. We strongly advise our readers to DYOR before investing in any cryptocurrency, blockchain project, or ICO, particularly those that guarantee profits. Furthermore, Bitcoinist does not guarantee or imply that the cryptocurrencies or projects published are legal in any specific reader’s location. It is the reader’s responsibility to know the laws regarding cryptocurrencies and ICOs in his or her country.  

Blockchain Interoperability Is Finally Happening

Blockchain Interoperability Is Finally Happening
Cross-chain interoperability is one of the hottest topics in the blockchain space right now. With more disparate blockchain frameworks than ever and thousands of cryptocurrencies in circulation, users want a unifying solution that lets them switch between different platforms, transferring value freely as they go. While there are several blockchain projects that have shown tremendous promise in this field, it feels like a lot of them haven’t completely matured yet, e.g Polkadot , Cosmos, Fusion, Wanchain and other projects that are currently building interoperability infrastructures. They had to sacrifice certain aspects of their infrastructure, aspects that were mainly revolving around security and decentralization – to reach a feasible interoperability solution. A rising blockchain start-up that offers interoperability without compromising these specs, is Hybrix – an open-source project that aims to convert this ambitious goal into reality. Why Choose a Single Blockchain? As other projects focus on developing the best stand-alone blockchain (the fastest; the most scalable) and growing their community, Hybrix says you don’t need to choose. Dispensing with the tiresome debate over rival ecosystems, hashing algorithms and consensus models, and focusing on incentivizing everyday users, the peer-to-peer token protocol sits atop multiple blockchains by utilizing their data layers and enabling transactions across various chains. In other words, Hybrix acts as a much-needed bridge between heterogeneous ecosystems, engendering greater efficiencies and rewarding users with a higher degree of utility. The Hybrix protocol simply eliminates the need to use centralized exchanges to securely transfer value from one blockchain to another. The Hy token proves useful in this regard and can be used to transact value over any blockchain as desired.   Ideological Differences Compromise User Freedom Hybrix founder Joachim de Koning adopted bitcoin in the early days but as numerous blockchains sprung up in its wake, he recognized a barrier to widespread crypto adoption. Those blockchains that have no intrinsic knowledge of information that exists on other blockchains. Add ideology into the mix – crypto’s famous feuds give an insight into the oppositional philosophies of many platforms – and user freedom is seriously compromised.  There’s no getting around it: blockchains are isolationist ecosystems with their own philosophies, rules and processes. Almost all Defi projects are built on Ethereum; gambling dApps made on TRON; enterprise applications flock to various builds of Hyperledger. For example, imagine all basketball teams playing different versions of the same sport. Wouldn’t that make it difficult for players to collaborate within teams? Or for viewers to watch teams they don’t ordinarily follow? Or for any two teams to step on the same court and compete against one another? In essence, this messy picture describes the crypto sphere as it currently stands, with all independent blockchain platforms, from Bitcoin and Ethereum to TRON and EOS, playing by their own distinct rules. Sure, they work within the same industry and strive to achieve broadly similar goals, but the platforms are their own vehicles. Neither users nor developers cannot simply jump in one and move to another. A Second-Layer Solution for Borderless Blockchains Hybrix is not the first project that has tried to tackle this problem, of course. A range of off-chain and middleware solutions have tried building pathways between distinct protocols. Oracles – which broadcast data from outside a blockchain and make it readable on-chain – have received plenty of press, though they are mostly used to integrate real-world, off-chain data into the price feeds of platforms like MakerDAO and Compound. The idea of the Hybrix API solution originated from the Internet of Coins, a crowdfunded non-profit venture whose decentralized wallet supported 31 blockchains and 387 cryptocurrencies. Just as IoC challenged the walled garden approach of wallet providers, Hybrix is taking on blockchains themselves. Or rather, its second-layer solution is untethering users from the limitations of those ledgers by facilitating secure, trustless cross-communication between divergent systems. There are three levels to be aware of: a multi-ledger platform for developers, cross-chain value transfer for businesses, and dApps for end users.  Just as bitcoin simplified the financial system by enabling peer-to-peer transactions without the need for an overseeing central authority, Hybrix does the same for blockchains. There are no hard forks, no need for atomic swaps, and no risks of undermining decentralization. Instead, Hybrix uses the data sections of blocks to add an attachment representing both the token value and a computational proof of its chronological order. In this way, it’s possible to follow data throughout the crypto sphere. Unconnected systems become interconnected. Blockchains become barrierless. An Ecosystem for Everyone Inclusivity, decentralization, trustlessness – these words are synonymous with the founding principles of blockchain. But words mean nothing when developers and users don’t wish to be disciples of a single platform. Hybrix aims to harmonize the blockchain landscape to create an ecosystem for everyone. Something even warring blockchains can support. Disclaimer: The information presented here does not constitute investment advice or an offer to invest. The statements, views, and opinions expressed in this article are solely those of the author/company and do not represent those of Bitcoinist. We strongly advise our readers to DYOR before investing in any cryptocurrency, blockchain project, or ICO, particularly those that guarantee profits. Furthermore, Bitcoinist does not guarantee or imply that the cryptocurrencies or projects published are legal in any specific reader’s location. It is the reader’s responsibility to know the laws regarding cryptocurrencies and ICOs in his or her country.  

People Should be Able to Live the Life of Their Dreams Trading on Digitex: Adam Todd, Founder & CEO, Digitex Futures

interview with digitex futures ceo
Bitcoinist just recently had the opportunity to catch up with Adam Todd, Founder & CEO of Digitex Futures. Matters pertaining to progress on the development of the futures trading platform and many more things were discussed. Here’s the complete interview.  Digitex is launching at a time when the futures markets have become a lot more crowded. What makes it different from other futures trading platforms?  Zero fees allow manual scalpers to trade a lot which will create a new breed of very active futures traders on Digitex who cant trade like that anywhere else without getting killed by commissions. UI is also set up to facilitate quick, manual trading which will create a large group of engaged users. How did you come up with the idea for Digitex? I’d been a futures trader for years, both in the open outcry pits and on screens and commissions had always held me back and a commission-free futures exchange was always something I thought would be cool. When I discovered Ethereum and the ability to create tokens I got the idea of revenue generation through token issuance instead of charging volume-based transaction fees, thus not penalizing the most active traders which creates liquid markets. You’ve had a few false starts on the road to launch, with two previous launches having failed to get off the ground. Why is this time different? Better development team and better organized. I made many mistakes regarding the development due to inexperience in developing such a complex software application, but I was determined to succeed and have learned from those mistakes. I’m hiring smart people all the time and continually get better at what I’m doing. It may take us a few months to get Digitex properly firing on all cylinders with all of our waitlist onboarded and the new signups flowing in and good liquidity but when we do the marketing machine will kick in and Digitex will become a well-known brand throughout the cryptocurrency and blockchain world. Because of the development delays, I got very very good at internet marketing as a means of maintaining people’s interest in the project through those delays so that we could survive. Now the 21 strong internet marketing team we’ve built and trained during that time are raring to go and capable of turning Digitex into a beast. Anyone can build an exchange, we’re going to build a brand. A strong, powerful, well-known brand. How has the test net been progressing? Very positive user feedback from the test net.  How do you plan to compensate users who lose their funds during a system failure or downtime? Would you do it from a dedicated insurance fund? We have an insurance fund equal to 10% of the entire supply of DGTX Digitex recently decided to do away with KYC. What was the driver for this decision and what does it mean for which markets you’ll be able to target? KYC has no place in crypto and it severely limits our ability to onboard new users which in turn threatens whether we even survive as a project. The worldwide costs of KYC in terms of stifled innovation and lost opportunities is unfathomable. KYC goes against the founding principles of cryptocurrency by knobbling the very things that are great about it, such as instant, trustless transactions without the need for third parties that can empower billions of people around the world by connecting them to a fully functional, trustless system of money that does not require a government-issued ID. What do you think has been behind the massive growth seen in the crypto futures markets over the last year or two? What would be your forecast for further growth? Fast-paced and exciting way to spend your time online. I think online trading is online entertainment for most traders, a good way to spend an hour or two with some thrills along the way. Futures trading volumes online will skyrocket in the coming years, especially as the world shifts more online now for ways to make money and to be entertained. What can users look forward to after the main net launch? Any other new developments in the pipeline? Spot markets, social platform tournaments, more futures instruments, effective marketing campaigns leading to lots of users signing up and liquidity. How are you thinking about getting the price of Digitex Futures token back up (after the drastic fall around this time last year)? Simple, we need to create demand for the token. We do this by creating a great exchange that has no built-in edge working against its users and that is not being run to extract maximum value from each trader in the form of trading fees. We then spend a few months fine-tuning it and then we market the hell out of it. There is no quick fix or scheme for raising a token price other than creating genuine demand for that token and we have a grand plan up our sleeve for doing exactly that.  You launched the 100-Day Trading Battle in January this year? What was the response? Did it generate a substantial brand image and potential user interest for Digitex? Very good response, its main use was showing our matching engine was capable of handling 22 billion traded contracts (worth $146 billion) in a 24 hour period on its peak day. Our zero-fee model and one-click ladder interface is firmly aimed at high-frequency manual traders so its important that we built a high quality, robust platform that can handle this high load of active users, and the test net and trading battles showed that our platform is up to the job from a technical perspective.  Why did you choose to register the company in the Republic of Seychelles? Any plans to take on BitMEX at their home? Few other exchanges there too. Seemed like a hub In this already crowded futures market, what would you do to ensure the loyalty of your users? What would you do to keep new users engaged so that they don’t drop out? Continually give them a solid, fair platform with liquidity where they can trade futures without getting fleeced by high commissions and internal trading teams trading against them. I want Digitex to be a place where anyone with some patience and discipline and a determination to succeed can spend 40 or 50 hours a week trading and actually make a living and be able to live the life of his dreams, where anything is possible. Any plans to educate novice traders about crypto markets and crypto futures trading in specific? Yes, we will be launching the Digitex Academy which will be a high-quality collection of information and tips on everything to do with cryptocurrency and the blockchain. Disclaimer: The information presented here does not constitute investment advice or an offer to invest. The statements, views, and opinions expressed in this article are solely those of the author/company and do not represent those of Bitcoinist. We strongly advise our readers to DYOR before investing in any cryptocurrency, blockchain project, or ICO, particularly those that guarantee profits. Furthermore, Bitcoinist does not guarantee or imply that the cryptocurrencies or projects published are legal in any specific reader’s location. It is the reader’s responsibility to know the laws regarding cryptocurrencies and ICOs in his or her country.  

Crypto Tax in 2020: A Comprehensive Guide

Crypto Tax in 2020: A Comprehensive Guide
Paying crypto taxes is becoming increasingly difficult in 2020, as government tax authorities around the world continue to change their minds on how digital assets should be handled. To make things easier, we’ve put together a comprehensive guide to bring you up to speed on the latest changes. Crypto-assets have entered the mainstream in the past few years, attracting the attention of tax authorities in leading economies. Following a boom in trading and prices, the gains made from crypto-related deals and activities are starting to be counted toward taxable income. Especially in the developed countries, tax authorities have tools to track unreported income. Cryptocurrency taxation accelerated after 2014, when Bitcoin and a handful of assets arrived on stage. With the arrival of significant gains in 2017, most tax authorities prepared to reinvent their rules and attempt stricter regulations on potentially hidden income. Having a general idea of when taxable events occur make it possible for crypto investors to make informed decisions, and avoid working in breach of local laws. Overall, the past 12 months saw shifts in regulations related to cryptocurrency. Tax regulators started not only passively reminding investors to pay any due taxes, but also issued specific guidelines and warnings on reporting income. It is possible that the IRS can also track transactions for some networks. The latest status of tax requirements and the level of interest that tax authorities pay to crypto assets varies by country and region, with the tax rates ranging from zero to as high as 55%. For now, the IRS 60X rule for futures and options trading refers only to forex options and futures, where 60% of gains or losses are accounted as long-term capital gain, and 40% are treated as short-term capital gains. The Legal Status of Digital Currencies, Tokens, or Coins The general consensus is that digital currencies of any form or based on any technology represent a type of ownership. The nature of the asset is relative as some types of tokens are considered securities.  Worldwide, regulations differ, but so far, no country has admitted any digital asset as “money”, “currency” or legal tender. Crypto assets are usually categorized as commodities, or a form of property.  So far, merely holding digital assets in a wallet is not a reportable event for most tax jurisdictions. But the most important concept is that of capital gains, or gains and losses realized upon the sale of a digital coin or token. Because cryptocurrency prices are extremely variable, it is highly possible that not all coins are sold for a gain.  Taxing and legalizing BTC and crypto trading is a complex issue, with each nation having its own set of rules. A handy list compiled by Reuters may be the starting point for exploring one’s specific tax situation and events that need to be reported.  Capital Gains from Crypto Sales A capital gain is a rise in the value of any asset held, whether stocks, real estate, or in this case, ownership of digital assets. A capital gain is only realized when the asset is sold.  It’s important to differentiate between a short-term capital gain, where the asset is held for less than a year. Longer-term holding means the sale will be taxed at the usually more favorable rate for long-term capital gains.  Because of the turbulent nature of cryptocurrency trading, short-term capital gains reporting may be more involved, requiring a log of all trading activity, as well as gains or losses realized.  The rule of short-term, or long-term gains may be applied depending on jurisdiction, and some taxation forms do not allow for such a differentiation.  Taxable Events The other important concept on trading crypto assets may be the actualization of a taxable event. For some jurisdictions, this may be as simple as selling the underlying asset.  But for US nationals, a taxable event may arise in other situations. Those may include:  Using cryptocurrency for buying and selling;  Exchanges between crypto assets;  Coins or tokens allocated in an airdrop; Coins and tokens allocated after a hard fork;  Receiving a payment in the form of crypto assets. US taxation rules are not entirely clear on taxing hard forks or tokens received for essentially zero-value. There is no consensus on what is the fair value of an airdrop, but it must be kept in mind it is possible some assets may be counted as a taxable event.  In the past few years, the growth of the sheer number of cryptocurrency assets, in the form of new coins and tokens, makes it impossible to track all assets received. However, some exchanges and other cryptocurrency-related operators may have the duty to report cryptocurrency sales and withdrawals.  Case: US-Based Forms US-based exchanges have been asked to produce 1099-K form, which only counts the transaction coming out of the exchange. This means the trader may have sold at a loss, but the end withdrawal may be counted as a gain.  To avoid the confusion, US citizens may have to fill out form 8849, which allows for more detailed tracking of asset acquisition and disposal.  But this case reveals a more proactive approach, as the IRS started to send out letters reminding traders to pay taxes on their crypto gains. But after more detailed discussions, the IRS has allowed for detailed reporting to describe all exchanges and trades that are relevant to the tax base.  Cryptocurrency Ownership At the moment, most blockchains, starting with Bitcoin, are pseudonymous. In theory, it is possible to track ownership, but only if there is voluntary reporting. For tax purposes, authorities count the receipt of assets as a confirmed transaction, and the moment the assets come under control.  In 2020, total surveillance of digital asset ownership is not feasible, and the IRS is still not tracking all potential owners. However, in the case of some tokens or specific blockchains, the ownership may be tied at least to a personalized account. In rare cases the issuers of tokens even perform KYC, tying ownership to a real-world identity.  But there is no proactive approach to track crypto ownership, and until the assets are sold through an exchange, or in another manner that is traceable, only voluntary reporting remains to inform the taxman.  And while the consensus sees crypto gains as taxable, at this point it is still possible for multiple transactions or trades to remain outside the scope of tax authorities. But those conditions may change in the future, exposing anyone that may have tried to disguise crypto ownership or gains.  Hard Forks and Capital Gains The issue of hard forks has been highly contentious for cryptocurrency owners. Buying Bitcoin was simple enough. But in the past two years alone, Bitcoin forked into several assets, thus potentially giving all owners the claim to the same amount of coins on other networks.  Starting with Bitcoin Cash, there have been more than a dozen forks. And while some of those assets traded at very low prices, the IRS issued requirements in late 2019, which ambiguously claimed a taxable event upon the receipt of a hard fork.  But the IRS has not clarified what it means to receive coins in a hard fork. Taking control of those coins is not automatic, and requires a process known as “coin splitting.” Coin splitting requires that an exchange credits the user accounts with the forked coins. The other approach is to move coins to a new wallet, where the balance may be recovered from the new network. Not all owners of BTC choose to gain access and control to all forked coins.  This has led to a letter requiring the US IRS to specify what it means by receiving coins in a hard fork, and to avoid taxation that may lead to a high tax bill for a now-worthless asset.  Case: Bitcoin Gold Bitcoin Gold was a hard fork from late 2017, which produced an asset initially trading above $500. If the initial IRS guidelines are to be counted, all BTC owners at the time of the hard fork, if they are US citizens, would owe tax on the new asset.  But the price basis for Bitcoin Gold is a price that has nothing to do with current market prices. The time of claiming the coins, if that is counted, may be very different from the price when Bitcoin Gold initially traded. BTG subsequently fell to a price as low as $5, and recovered to around $12 in early 2020.  Establishing the taxable event for this relatively small fork, as well as other similar attempts at re-creating Bitcoin, is still under discussion.  As of December 20, 2019, the IRS is still reviewing a letter from Congress, requiring a revision of the guidelines, and demanding that the latest tax rules are not treated as established law. Instead, the group of Congressmen takes into account the fact that cryptocurrencies are still a new technology, which cannot be captured in the rules of 1099 forms.  It is possible that reporting may vary in its detail and intentions, and the IRS cannot foresee and establish each taxable event arising from various digital coins or tokens. Hence, the best approach may be to look at trading history, but also to keep in mind the final gains, as well as funds that entered bank accounts or were received in another manner.  How the IRS Defines Crypto Value The idea that cryptocurrencies and other virtual assets represent value, and are hence taxable, stems from the way the IRS codifies those assets as representing value in recognized national currencies, including the US dollar.  “Virtual currency that has an equivalent value in real currency, or that acts as a substitute for real currency, is referred to as “convertible” virtual currency. Bitcoin, Ether, Roblox, and V-bucks are a few examples of a convertible virtual currency. Virtual currencies can be digitally traded between users and can be purchased for, or exchanged into, U.S. dollars, Euros, and other real or virtual currencies,” the IRS stipulates. “The sale or other exchange of virtual currencies, or the use of virtual currencies to pay for goods or services, or holding virtual currencies as an investment, generally has tax consequences that could result in tax liability,” warns the IRS. From those propositions stem most cases where each individual owner or trader may have to figure out the exact approach to report income, based on specific gains or losses. The IRS has a set of guidelines, ranging from general to specific, and has asked for reporting since 2014. But the new tax season has more details on reporting, this time expanding the scope of taxable events. The rules of 2019 are what is considered the most recent and relevant basis for reporting for tax season 2020. Letters of Warning In 2019, the IRS signalled its strong stance on crypto trading by sending 10,000 letters of warning. The letters were of two types – a warning and educational letter, and a more serious one demanding a reply and actions to file the correct tax returns. Letters 6174 and 6174-A require no action. But receiving letter 6173 requires an immediate response, and the failure to do so invites a tax audit. The sending of 10,000 letters suggests IRS may be tracking accounts related to exchanges, most probably Coinbase. The accounts mentioned in the letter do not relate to wallets or other forms of ownership, such as having balances on the blockchain.  To file the correct tax return, if required, may be done through form 1040. The warnings and requirements affect persons that have shown activity related to cryptocurrency trading, while failing to mention their ownership and trading operations. Sources of Balance Information Building up the base to calculate taxes may be complicated. Information on balances may be acquired from exchange logs.  For now, the IRS has not issued specific requirements for futures or derivatives trading. Futures trading and margin cryptocurrency 100X leverage are also not unusual, and may generate specific income streams. In 2020, there are no specific guidelines on how to tax 200X leverage, or even higher margin calls. But it is possible to claim a loss on trades. Reporting on Bitcoin transactions may also happen using various techniques, including FIFO and LIFO. But in the case of Bitcoin, any specific time of purchase may arrive with different price ranges. This means that a detailed list of transactions may specify exactly which coin was sold, and what is the difference between the purchase price and the sale price.  For instance, selling a coin acquired at $8,000 is not the same as one acquired when BTC was $1 or even $30. Hence, there is no requirement to sell earliest coins first, and reporting may focus on an asset purchased at a specific price.  This possibility means selling Bitcoin can form a base that can also lead to temporary capital loss, if the reporting person chooses to minimize taxes for a certain time period. Transaction information from wallets is also not revealing all taxable events. Moving coins between owned wallets or addresses is not considered a taxable event. So far, the IRS has not issued guidelines on reporting transactions or revealing the intention behind transactions, or giving any other evidence of private key ownership. Crypto-to-Crypto Exchanges and Stablecoins Perhaps the most confusing moment of cryptocurrency trading is the need to report a switch between crypto assets, as well as any capital gains stemming from those operations.  The IRS has a concept of Like-Kind exchange, which does not generate a taxable event when moving between some types of assets. However, this does not apply to cryptocurrency exchanges, which are not registered for Like-Kind swaps. For US citizens, as of 2020, those types of exchanges are only limited to real estate.  This also means cryptocurrency exchanges in the US are not registered to support Like-Kind exchanges, and fulfill the requirements to file form 8824. This also means that switching between Bitcoin and altcoins is capable of generating a taxable event.  For instance, buying BTC at $6,000, and exchanging it for Ethereum when BTC has already climbed to $9,000 generates the same capital gain of $3,000.  However, this gain can be offset by a loss as well. In case the altcoin drops in value, the sale itself generates a loss that may offset the capital gains, in the end leading to a lower tax bill. However, both operations need to be accounted for, until the last liquidation into fiat.  Stablecoins and Taxes In 2020, most cryptocurrency trades use one of several coins pegged to the value of the US dollar. Those assets have varied states of legal acceptance, but are widely used worldwide. The most common one, Tether, or USDT, is capable of storing the value of assets sold.  In the above example, BTC appreciated from $6,000 to $9,000. However, the asset was exchanged for USDT, meaning the funds are still not switched to fiat. Still, the capital gains may generate a taxable event, which means stablecoins are not suitable tools to disguise capital gains.  For US citizens, coins like Paxos, TUSD, or USDC also require complete screening with real-world identity evaluation. For now, exchanges do not report trades that transform gains into stablecoins. However, stablecoin issuers are a potential source of disclosure. Having a Coinbase account, as already discussed, means the IRS may be aware of cryptocurrency activity, while discounting the usage of stablecoins.  However, the best approach is to consult an expert on the issue of transactions between cryptocurrencies. The best approach is to have a complete log of activities, to achieve an easier calculation of the tax basis.  Crypto Taxation in Canada The Canada Revenue Agency works with a set of guidelines from 2014, advising on the correct filing. Canada supported highly active cryptocurrency activity, and the tax authorities had the tools to track and require payments, similar to the US system.  Canada treats cryptocurrencies as commodities for the purposes of taxation. Depending on sources, income tax or capital gains tax is applicable. Canada differentiates between sporadic and regular income, and treats regular activities as sources of business income.  As for fair value, the requirement is to estimate and self-report based on general guidelines.  “To figure out the value of a cryptocurrency transaction where a direct value cannot be determined, you must use a reasonable method. Keep records to show how you figured out the value. Generally, the CRA’s position is that the fair market value is the highest price, expressed in dollars that a willing buyer and a willing seller who are both knowledgeable, informed and prudent, and who are acting independently of each other, would agree to in an open and unrestricted market,” the Canadian tax authority explained. Crypto-to-crypto exchanges are also causing a taxable event in Canada, similar to the US-based system. Similarly, reporting for Canadian citizens or businesses requires the preservation of most records, including wallet entries, exchange withdrawals and any other relevant data on transfers and acquired coins and tokens. Tax Situation in the EU The European Union is one of the more relaxed regions for cryptocurrency trading. However, most countries are aware of the gains potentially made in cryptocurrency trading.  The tax rules within the EU are highly varied, as the overall rules allow trading, while leaving it to countries to figure out the tax accounts of citizens or corporations. For that reason, it is difficult to offer general guidelines on EU-based taxation. The exact rules vary based on local tax rates and types of taxes.  There is also a disparity in the way each country views digital coins and tokens. Germany, for instance, sees Bitcoin as money, however, not official money, but a form of “private money”. Switzerland, one of the most lax regulators, accounts for cryptocurrency in the way forex markets are codified when it comes to taxation.  For most EU countries, owning digital assets does not need to be declared. Switzerland is an exception, where the Swiss franc value of those assets must be declared in advance at the start of the tax year.  However, there is a big exception for speculative trading – not all operations need to be taxed as they happen. This is a big advantage and a relief to EU citizens, where only the initial and final value of assets may be reported.  Usually, traders will make a series of deals, and it is rare to see straightforward buying and selling of Bitcoin or other assets. The EU rules may be solved on a case-by-case basis. However, it must be noted EU bank accounts can be traced, and transfers above 5,000 EUR are often scrutinized.  EU-Based Exchanges and Brokerages EU-based exchanges and brokerages are usually completely transparent. They are connected to the EU-wide banking system, and offer relatively high limits for trading and withdrawals.  However, EU-based exchanges are not obliged to report on taxes and tax events, especially given the decentralized nature of the union, with many different jurisdictions. Thus, all EU citizens must report their gains or losses as physical persons, to pay the taxes owed.  The EU taxation rules also apply to Malta, Liechtenstein, Switzerland and other territories that have harmonized their financial legislation. The potentially applicable taxes are, in most cases, physical person income tax; some forms of local taxes; wealth tax when it applies, and possibly corporate tax in case the cryptocurrency activity is related to a business entity.  EU and VAT on Crypto Deals Cryptocurrency trading in the EU is treated in a way similar to forex trades. This means the trades do not incur VAT. Merchant usage of cryptocurrencies is also freely available, and for now may be a tool to circumvent VAT payments.  Taxing Miners in the EU Cryptocurrency mining is differentiated from speculative activities. Namely, the gains from this activity can be counted as the results of business activity. Thus, the sale price of coins can be offset by business expenses, including the hardware and electricity costs incurred in the process. This approach may require the services of an accountant, which may end up in a lower tax bill.  The EU has not issued any specific requirements on income from hard forks or airdrops. For now, capital gains where they apply may be calculated for any coins received and possibly sold for fiat.  UK Crypto Taxation The UK has had most of its financial rules harmonized with the EU. However, with Brexit looming as of January 31, 2020, and with a 10-month process of establishing a new relationship with the EU, the UK may have a different set of taxation rules before long.  The overall stance of the UK is that cryptocurrency is either an asset/property, or private money. Tax reporting also hinges on the principle of capital gains tax. Sales tax, a form of VAT, does not apply to cryptocurrency deals.  Case-By-Case Basis Unlike the US, where the IRS has attempted to create a system of terms, the UK tax service HMRC has taken a case-by-case stance. This means that each transfer or sale may be regarded as a novel situation, looking into where the exchange of value really happened.  The HMRC has admitted that cryptocurrency is a new sector, and with the advent of tokens, it has created multiple tax situations that are too complex for a single framework.  UK Tax Terms The tax authority has still established some general terms for digital assets. Usually, those  Assets utilize a Distributed Ledger, although a distributed ledger does not necessarily use a token or coin. Those assets can be stored, transferred, or exchanged.  The HMRC recognizes three types of assets: exchange tokens, utility tokens, and security tokens. Bitcoin, for instance, is considered an exchange token.  Taxation happens based on the de facto events regarding value transfers and capital gains, and not on the definition of the token. Thus, selling Bitcoin or a security token incurs the same capital gains tax.  The general stance of UK tax authorities is that in the majority of cases, individuals hold onto the tokens as a form of alternative personal investment.  “In the vast majority of cases, individuals hold cryptoassets as a personal investment, usually for capital appreciation in its value or to make particular purchases. They will be liable to pay Capital Gains Tax when they dispose of their cryptoassets,” the tax guidelines state. But because the tax authority looks at different cases, using cryptocurrency as an alternative form of payments may incur not only capital gains tax, but also personal income tax and insurance.  UK Definition of Crypto Trader UK tax authorities also differentiate between sporadic cryptocurrency deals, and what may be considered “trading” activity. High frequency and volume of activity may constitute financial trading activity, and incur a different type of taxation; once again income tax instead of capital gains tax.  “As with any activity, the question whether cryptoasset activities amount to trading depends on a number of factors and the individual circumstances. Whether an individual is engaged in a financial trade through the activity of buying and selling cryptoassets will ultimately be a question of fact. It’s often the case that individuals and companies entering into transactions consisting of buying and selling cryptoassets will describe them as ‘trades’. However, the use of the term ‘trade’ in this context is not sufficient to be regarded as a financial trade for tax purposes,” the tax authority explains. Thus, in the UK, it is important to differentiate between sporadic activity, and what may be considered business-like activity or regular trading.  In the case of highly active and regular cryptocurrency-related activities, business income reporting may be necessary, falling under a different set of rules. Airdrops Not Considered Until Liquidation The term disposal means the final act of liquidating digital assets. Like all crypto cases, the UK authorities look at the specifics and whether the airdrops have the nature of assets with potential returns. Generic, goodwill airdrops not related to any purchase or investment, incur capital gains only upon their sale.  More specific airdrops which may present dividends or other types of returns present specific challenges, depending on whether the assets were liquidated or if their value presented potential capital gains.  Airdrops were a fad in 2017 and 2018, when projects would award tokens for free, as a tool to expand their communities. Those types of generic airdrops can usually be accounted as a capital loss.  Token Pooling UK tax reporting has specific rules when accounting for multiple token sales with gains or losses. There is a 30-day waiting rule when acquiring new assets, before they can be pooled when accounting for capital gains or losses. Newly acquired assets that are traded within 30 days of acquisition must be counted separately.  Older assets may be used to calculate the cost of sale and the tax basis.  For instance, if Alice bought 10 BTC for $1,000, and then bought 10 BTC for $1000,000, she would have a total allowable pooled cost of $101,000. Selling 5 BTC for $40,000 could be discounted with the cost of 5 BTC from the pooled cost, or $25,250. Alice’s total tax gain would be $14,750, on which tax would be due.  However, if Alice bought one BTC at $7,000 and sold it days later at $8,000, it would be accounted separately and not pooled with previous purchases for a cost basis. This rule makes the timing of purchases and a detailed log extremely important. Claiming a different cost basis may make a big difference in counting gains or losses. With turbulent crypto prices, this may also make the final tax bill look different. In any case, just like US-based traders or owners, UK tax reporting requires keeping score of all transactions, and being ready to make the case for one’s specific intentions and levels of cryptocurrency activity.  Pooling and Hard Forks The HMRC will consider hard forks on a case-by-case basis. This means that if a Bitcoin owner did not decide to split coins, or receive coins from an exchange, tax authorities may be understanding and not require reporting.  For instance, a snapshot of the Bitcoin blockchain, which reportedly allowed access to HEX tokens, need not be reported if a user does not intend to take the HEX tokens, or trade them.  But if a fork-based asset is acquired, its fair value and cost are not pooled with other tokens, and a sale can be calculated just for that asset. Rekt: Reporting Asset Prices Going to Zero UK-based traders may claim they “disposed” of an asset, where the value has gone to zero. Even without a sale, following general capital gains rules, an asset can be pronounced to have “negligible value”. The zero-based value can then be used in conjunction with the cost basis of pooled assets, to claim capital losses. This rule is especially valuable to altcoins, where indeed losses and crashes to zero have been possible, despite previous spikes to extraordinary valuations.  Lost Private Keys Based on the above rule, loss of private keys may be used on a case-by-case basis to avoid paying capital gains. In case of a loss, the user claims negligible value minus the re-acquisition value of the assets, to crystallize a loss. However, the loss must be accepted by the HMRC, to avoid fraudulent claims. The tax authorities do not track blockchains, and claiming to have owned and lost private keys must be supported by evidence.  However, the HMRC does not have provisions for theft or loss of digital assets, except for the potential to claim negligible value.  As seen above, the UK guidelines are extremely detailed and also flexible, to reflect the shifting nature of the cryptocurrency space. The above cases may be made for other jurisdictions, and reveal examples in which tax authorities do not have a proactive outreach, but may be amenable to reporting or negotiations.  The latest UK regulation on cryptocurrency dates back from 2018, and there may be changes once Brexit becomes a reality.  Southeast Asia, Japan and China: Specifics in Crypto Taxation Southeast Asia is one of the hottest regions for cryptocurrency activity. For that reason, in the past few years, tax authorities have also reawakened to the reality of relatively high potential gains from trading.  Japan considers Bitcoin as a legal method of payments. Its approach is to levy capital gains tax on sales made for profit or loss. Cryptocurrency payment is highly developed in Japan, but payments are exempt from consumption tax.  Japanese taxation is relatively high, ranging between 15 and 55%, with mandatory reporting required on gains made based on crypto assets. The taxation depends on tax brackets, and is higher in comparison to gains from international stocks. Japan has allowed exchanges to link directly to banks, and trading is not anonymous, hence traceable by the National Tax Authority. China, for now, is still the Wild East when it comes to crypto. All coins and tokens are considered a “virtual commodity”. Ownership, trading, and disposal of cryptocurrencies are still a legal gray area.  As of 2020, China has still not levied tax on digital asset gains, despite the highly active trading activities. Exchanges may report in the form of corporate taxes, but for individuals, there is no tracking or compulsory reporting.  The reason for this may be the fact that China tried hard to separate the world of banking and fiat from trading cryptocurrencies. Back in 2017, most exchanges stopped offering pairs with the Chinese yuan, and switched to trading between coins only, with the aid of stablecoins. Legal observations have not noted any specific rules regarding cryptocurrency reporting, except for monitoring and auditing general wealth.  Since the fall of 2017, it has been near-impossible to trade in fiat. Hence, Chinese traders moved their activity entirely on the blockchain, and into USDT tokens. China is thus unable to track bank accounts, or link exchange accounts to real persons. Its aim to deprive the crypto sector of a fiat gateway is also hampering the potential to collect taxes.  The chief reason for China’s stance is to impress its rules on capital controls. However, the potential to move cryptocurrency internationally has somewhat managed to circumvent those controls, at least partially.  Crypto regulations constantly fluctuate in Southeast Asian countries. It is possible some countries levy taxes where there were none before.  Currently, Singapore levies no tax on crypto transactions. However, the country is very strict about money laundering, and has capital controls to avoid funds flowing out of the country. Selling cryptocurrency in Singapore may in the end require foreign citizens to report the sale to their respective countries’ tax authorities, or face a penalty and even imprisonment.  Thailand’s model is relatively simple, levying a 15% capital gains tax, while allowing a waiver of the 7% VAT in the country. Hong Kong is also offering tax-free Bitcoin sales, and does not require specific reporting on trades. However, income in cryptocurrency for merchants may have to be reported in Hong Kong dollar value.  Foreign nationals, however, are mostly blocked by significant difficulties in liquidating assets in those regions. Attempting to avoid taxes may be a complex affair for foreign nationals, and lead to potential penalties.  Cryptocurrency laws in Asia are also constantly reinvented, mostly focusing on fraud, consumer finance risks, as well as money laundering. For now, the regions have more lenient policies on taxation. Russia: Still Struggling to Tax Crypto Assets Russia is yet another region where cryptocurrency activity is extremely high. Yet the country is still not ready with regulations, and trading is a big gray area. For now, cryptocurrency activity flies under the radar of tax authorities.  But the Russian Duma may be working on new legislation, potentially tracking cryptocurrency activity and finally taxing individuals. For now, Russia still allows low-verification trading on some exchanges, which remain high-risk. Banks have offered to track transactions coming from cryptocurrency sales, but for now, Russian traders and sellers may fly under the tax radar. So, Can Crypto Avoid Some Taxes? In 2020, it looks like most of the Western countries and some markets in Asia are on track with taxing cryptocurrency gains. The IRS has taken the most proactive approach by linking identities to Coinbase accounts. But there are still offshore regions where cryptocurrency sales may be tax-exempt.  There is a caveat though- for most jurisdictions, the location of assets is considered the country of citizenship. This means even if a token is held on an offshore exchange, its location can still be considered the UK or the US for tax purposes.  Still, there are regions where a tax-free sale could be achieved, alongside other techniques for offshore businesses.  Slovenia, part of the EU, has all the benefits of a fully legalized market, plus zero capital gains tax on cryptocurrency sales. However, income in cryptocurrency is taxed with personal income tax. But overall, speculative trading may be possible for local residents without capital gains tax.  Belarus, while not in the EU, is one of the regions where crypto taxation is a gray area. The country, despite political risks, is still a haven of crypto activity, for those willing to get exposure to its regime and economy.  Offshore zones already mentioned include Singapore and Hong Kong, as well as possibly China’s Hainan special economic zone. But similar possibilities exist for Barbados, Malaysia, and Mauritius. Other offshore zones with special cryptocurrency rules include Puerto Rico, the hurricane-stricken country which attracted Bitcoiners.  But perhaps the biggest advantage is that cryptocurrency trades are VAT-exempt, limiting the liability when switching to fiat.  Tools to Calculate Crypto Taxes The tax base could be calculated using logs from wallets or exchanges. But there are tools that make the tracking of transactions easier, as well as the balances required to calculate the tax base.  Tools like Koinly consolidate exchange information, wallet transactions, and include the potential for professional advice to achieve the minimal potential tax payment. Koinly works with multiple major tax authorities, for detailed reports with complete compliance. The eToro brokerage and trading platform also includes tax calculation for UK citizens. It is also possible to use generic free tools for easier calculation. Crypto tax calculators usually support information directly from exchanges to complete the reports.  Taxing Mining Income Mining income is, in most cases, treated as regular business income, with rules applying to the specific jurisdiction. The biggest advantage of miners is they may claim the expenses of hardware and electricity to decrease the tax basis. In the past, mining has been an amateur activity. But since 2016, cryptocurrency mining 50x increases in activity were not unusual, for Bitcoin and other assets.  Depending on the coin mined, the value of this activity may be extremely low, as in the case of amateur mining. But Bitcoin mining may be used as a tool to decrease the tax basis for most miners. With multiple operations situated in China, it is possible some miners fly under the radar.  Best Approach to Crypto Taxation The best approach to cryptocurrency taxation is to err on the side of reporting. Regulations shift all the time, and depending on the potential for surveillance on bank accounts, tax authorities may be more aggressive in seeking out earnings originating from cryptocurrency exchanges. Simply having a big unexplained balance may alert tax authorities.  The rules of residence may vary, as some regions may have more lenient taxation. The other requirement is to keep detailed records of all activities, either using specialized tools or tracking and copying each transaction or operation to calculate the most favorable tax base based on regional rules.  For now, there is no need to report or reveal addresses or wallets, or declare a connection between a name and an address. But in the future, blockchain tracking may become a big part of taxation rules. Currently, only a few startups are working on tracking the blockchain, identifying “whales” and significant moves. But in the future, assets themselves may not be fungible and anonymous, leading to a stricter potential for taxation.  With season 2020 in full swing for reporting, the world of cryptocurrency also faced stricter regulations in the EU, as well as the USA, coming into force in the new year. Increased surveillance also looks like a positive fact, in that cryptocurrency has been accepted among investment methods, and taxing is a way to legitimize that activity. Did you find this comprehensive tax guide useful? Add your thoughts below! Images via Shutterstock The post appeared first on Bitcoinist.com.

Ripple and XRP: The Complete Guide

Ripple XRP Bitcoinist
What is Ripple? The name has been incredibly prominent within the cryptocurrency space, for reasons both positive and negative. In short, Ripple is a payment protocol that facilitates fast, frictionless cross-border payments with minimal fees. This technology is based on a series of servers communicating constantly, while maintaining a distributed ledger with the latest state of balances and transactions.  The payment protocol also hosts its native asset, XRP, which acts as the chief medium for transferring value over the network. XRP, rebranded in late 2018, formerly bore the name Ripple.  How Does RippleNet Work? RippleNet is the latest iteration of Ripple’s payment protocols. In late 2019, Ripple, Inc. united all its products into one network, which could be used in various ways to transfer value. RippleNet allows for the usage and transfers of XRP, but there is also the option to generate value and liquidity without resorting to using the XRP asset.  In the words of Ripple, Inc., RippleNet is “ the most advanced blockchain technology for global payments—making it easy for financial institutions to reach a trusted, growing network of 300+ providers across 40+ countries and 
six continents.” RippleNet works by potentially hosting multiple potential assets of value. The network hosts an On-Demand Liquidity mechanism, which could allow transfers of value and exchanges across the world.  In 2020, RippleNet collaborates with more than 200 banks in various stages of exploration, and On-Demand Liquidity hosts around 15 companies with more members taken on board. The network allows payments in any fiat asset, as well as crypto assets, including Bitcoin (BTC). This set of features is impossible for Bitcoin, and only slightly accessible for Ethereum. Bitcoin itself has stuck to its first-layer solution, using the BTC asset as a unit of payment.  How is Ripple and XRP Different from Bitcoin? The past few years opened a competition between Ripple and Bitcoin. Ripple’s protocols promised to displace the older, less technically advanced Bitcoin network. But the biggest challenge to Bitcoin was the fact that Ripple did away with mining, and used a lighter form of encryption to avoid DDOS attacks, while also carrying virtually unlimited transactions. Bitcoin’s protection comes from transaction fees, but on certain days, even the Bitcoin network is overwhelmed by transactions. Bitcoin carries between 300,000 and up to 700,000 transactions per day, or up to 7-15 transactions per second. The Ripple protocol, however, is tailored to process up to 1,500 transactions per second. The exact number of XRP daily transactions, however, is not as transparent.  Bitcoin, for most of its history, has relied on voluntary miners and node operators. The connections between them rely on the general Internet infrastructure, with a few exceptional nodes that are easier to contact. Overall, the Bitcoin network has more than 10,300 nodes communicating across the globe, and it takes minutes for all nodes to update to the latest state of the ledger and confirm the transactions. Ripple, on the other hand, has a list of so-called validators, which have known locations and even names. The validators communicate roughly every 4 seconds, which updates the ledger and achieves consensus on transactions.  How Does XRP Work?   XRP is the native token of the Ripple network. Initially, the Ripple protocol was created in 2004, with the intention of revolutionizing interbank transactions. But XRP appeared later, around 2013, when Ripple Labs started its activity, and the team took up Jed McCaleb on board as its leader, later bringing in new investors.     The XRP asset was then conceived as having multiple use cases within the network. The immediate use case for XRP is to serve as a vehicle for carrying transactions, by representing any type of asset. Using XRP is also required to pay network fees, where each transaction will erase $0.00001 from the ledger. This serves to avoid spam transactions, in case transfers were entirely free.  XRP was envisioned with a total supply of 100 billion units, which are indivisible, unlike Bitcoin. Of those billions of units, millions were distributed in various stages of airdrops, preliminary sales, or private placements. XRP has been distributed to multiple owners, including banks, for testing. But the biggest XRP holder is Ripple, Inc., which held 55 billion units, with the aim of releasing them gradually on the open market. This process however, may take more than a decade to complete.  XRP has tied Ripple, Inc. to multiple partners, including Jed McCaleb, as well as R3, a big early partner which negotiated a vast XRP haul back at the time the asset was trading below a penny.  XRP Vs BTC Ripple has issued multiple challenges to the leading position of Bitcoin. The project was, in fact, already years ahead of Bitcoin at a protocol development level. Yet Ripple did not think of linking itself to the world of digital assets, at least not before Bitcoin had already established its success.  The involvement of Jed McCaleb was what brought Ripple into the world of cryptocurrencies. From that point onward, the competition between Ripple and Bitcoin intensified. This was the time that the narrative of Ripple and its protocol ‘making Bitcoin obsolete’ started to appear and be repeated.  But Ripple’s asset was still hovering at sub-penny prices, while Bitcoin had already made its forays into four-digit territory. Bitcoin was going through its own growth pangs at the time, with the challenges of mining starting to bring in larger business interests.  The Mt. Gox scandal also scarred the reputation of Bitcoin, showcasing some of the big risks involved in the new world of cryptocurrency. But as the years passed, the growing trading ecosystem brought Ripple’s reputation to fight that of Bitcoin. While the Bitcoin community spread more slowly, with significant skepticism and setbacks, Ripple was positioning itself deliberately, building a strong community and a new narrative.  By the time 2017 rolled in, Ripple was ready to make its biggest attack. The aim to displace Bitcoin, both in terms of market capitalization and usage, became central and drew in many true believers. Around that time, Bitcoin was also going through a mining boom, which showed how costly its production was. Ripple positioned itself with a system that did not require that much electricity, while promising to be more scalable.  bitcoin vs ethereum defi The years in development, in addition to big promises and an overall bull market, pulled out the XRP market price from its sub-penny positions, and into a growth boom unseen before. True believers were ready to even abandon Bitcoin for the chance of owning an asset that aimed to make Bitcoin obsolete.  Around 2017, Ripple was known as “the coin for the banking industry,” and ironically took to the task of creating “the bankers’ coin”. This paradox for Ripple went against the Bitcoin ethos, which was about independence and offering people an alternative to banking.  Bitcoin aimed to create a censorship-resistant, globally distributed community which was entirely open-source. But the nature of the network, which indeed turned out to be slower than Ripple, ended up reinforcing the belief that the Bitcoin protocol was obsolete. Those narratives were immediately reflected in trading activity, and Ripple’s asset achieved several spikes against Bitcoin over the years. Ripple’s XRP has reached peaks above 18,000 Satoshi, with new enthusiasts abandoning Bitcoin. Now, Ripple is awaiting a new revival against Bitcoin, at around 2,700 Satoshi.  Bitcoin, both as protocol and as the BTC tradable asset, held its ground. As of 2020, XRP and Ripple are charting their own path, and the hopes of displacing Bitcoin are more distant. Ripple has shown that adoption will not come by a storm, but as a gradual trek, adding banking partners, traders, and building an ecosystem from the ground up.  But Ripple has managed to ride on the back of Bitcoin, both to increase its visibility, and to establish a market price and appeal to investors.  Does Ripple Compete with Ethereum? Ethereum (ETH), in its latest use case, has transformed itself into a platform allowing for tokenization and asset representation. Ethereum is offering second-layer solutions, with the aim of switching to a system of staking, which in a way resembles the communication between Ripple validators.  Ripple’s protocol has the potential to take over multiple use cases that now belong to Ethereum. The RippleNet usage can build up features that now exist throughout multiple Ethereum projects. Those would include:  Decentralized exchange for crypto-based assets; Forex exchange by representing fiat currencies;  Fintech and payment ecosystems to compete with banks;  International remittances. The advantage of Ripple and the RippleNet protocol lies in curated partners, a more careful tracking of liquidity, and a concerted effort to present the solution to the world of mainstream business.  Ethereum has built up those use cases through various unrelated startups, which are now struggling to gain attention and bring liquidity to their tokens. Ripple, on the other hand, proposes a unified solution to those use cases.  Ethereum also has the disadvantage of requiring higher payments for its transactions. On the Ethereum network, gas fees are also variable, and may become extremely high. Additionally, Ethereum is still being mined, meaning securing the network also requires a significant investment in hardware. The Ethereum distributed ledger is also immensely hefty, and only a few entities store the vast information.  Ripple, on the other hand, has a technique of adding small-scale ledgers to achieve the latest state.  Ethereum is also going through a transformation, with its protocol still incomplete. The Ethereum ecosystem brings out some of its innovations through tokens and other side projects, which means there is no unified standard, and each token does not communicate with others. There is also no common liquidity pool, unlike Ethereum’s On Demand Liquidity system.  The Ethereum network, like Bitcoin, has the potential for time lags, as well as unexpected glitches in block discovery and distribution. Both networks have had periods of instability, congestion, and problematic transactions. This is especially true of Ethereum, where high transaction fees can clog the network for days.  The Ethereum network is also an open market, meaning one entity can take over and consume most of the resources. The Ripple network can carry sufficient transactions to satisfy real-world demand.  Unlike Ethereum, Ripple’s protocol is also not amenable to gaming or distributed apps, and is tailored to serving finance solutions.  Ethereum has the advantage for now of having a higher market cap in comparison to XRP. But for years, Ripple was highly visible, and even hinted at displacing Bitcoin as the asset with the highest market capitalization. But for now, Ethereum has taken over the crypto-ecosystem, by allowing the creation of startups. Ripple, on the other hand, has targeted the world of business and especially banking. Ethereum, on the other hand, is a system that aims to disrupt finance with a nascent industry of grass-roots solutions, interest rate schemes, and fintech payment platforms. Why Ripple Rebranded Its Asset For years, XRP was known as Ripple. But in late 2018, the public profile of the asset worsened. For one, early investors started asking questions on what the use case was for the coins they received or bought.  Then, the US Securities and Exchange Commission moved in to question Ripple on the role of its assets. The connection between the activities of Ripple, Inc. and the market price of its native token was put under question. Investors realized Ripple had been using its token to raise funds, thus raising suspicions it was in fact selling a security.  Ripple, however, wanted to deny explicitly that the performance of XRP was tied in any way to the company, and represented a form of shares into its business. Hence, the asset used its ticker symbol as its name, and altered its logo for a new impression.  The asset was then framed as a form of goodwill and an airdrop to popularize the case for Ripple. While Ripple takes care to observe how XRP trades and is distributed, the company’s chief work is related to the RippleNet protocol, and not to directly supporting XRP and XRP owners.  Who is Jed McCaleb? Jed McCaleb, a serial entrepreneur who moved in from his other projects, has been a prominent figure in the crypto space. Previously the founder of eDonkey and Overnet, Jed McCaleb led the expansion of Ripple’s influence until 2013. Jed McCaleb served the company as CTO, and at the end of his term received a promised 9 billion XRP, with the stipulation of not selling the entirety on the open market. Jed McCaleb then went on to tweak the Ripple protocol, and create an open-source, widely accessible version he named Stellar. Stellar held more appeal within the crypto community, and even went out to compete with Ethereum. But soon, the project was also viewed with skepticism, as it became clear the network consensus was achieved by a handful of servers, making the project relatively centralized.  Jed McCaleb also left his position as Stellar CTO in 2019, leaving the future of the project to the Stellar Development Foundation.  Jed McCaleb is still a significant owner of XRP, sparking fears he may keep selling, keeping the price of the asset relatively depressed. Despite this, Jed McCaleb is viewed as one of the most influential figures in the crypto space. Is Ripple a Better Investment than Bitcoin? There is no certain way to say which asset will be a better investment. Bitcoin has a vast trading network with spot markets and futures, while Ripple’s XRP trades in much smaller batches.  There has been a narrative that in case of success, and if Ripple is adopted as the de facto standard of interbank payments, XRP may displace Bitcoin in terms of market capitalization, with an exorbitant price per unit of $589.  Other landmark prices by staunch supporters include a trek to $1, or even $5 as a possibility, which would make many XRP owners very rich. However, much of the valuation of XRP remains tied to the performance of Bitcoin. Without Bitcoin, the crypto market would falter, and Ripple would be transformed into another fintech company competing within the regular world of business.  Still, Ripple’s XRP now trades at just $0.21, after years of sliding. At that price, speculative interest and buying increase again, as XRP is accessible enough to merit a small investment, in expectation of future growth.  XRP has been less volatile than Bitcoin, but that is not an entirely positive feature. XRP has stagnated, moving within a small price range for now. But the asset is unpredictable and may rally again, based on renewed enthusiasm.  Ripple’s success lies in the mix between a traditional business model and a rootedness among crypto assets. Where XRP prices will go is anyone’s guess, but the project presents another chance for a speculative investment with the potential of a significant upside.  Where is Ripple Now?  Ripple has been a deft communicator, under the guidance of its CEO, Brad Garlinghouse. The company boosts its presence with bank partnerships.  Ripple has also expressed readiness to move onto a new form of fundraising, by performing an initial public offering. Thus, Ripple would tap on financing both from the crypto world, and from the world of traditional finance.  Ripple has also accrued a crowd of true believers and “hodlers”, some of which have acquired XRP during peak prices. The long period of prices falling has started to disappoint some of the holders. Ripple itself has become a holder, as it slowed down the selling of its escrow stash in 2019.  The Ripple project has also accrued an army of skeptics, especially derived from those supporting Bitcoin. For them, Ripple is an impostor within the crypto space, by merit of being guided by Ripple, Inc. and thus being more centralized than Bitcoin. For Bitcoin maximalists, Ripple’s attempt is futile.  But Ripple has attempted to support its growth, greeting the fact that XRP is becoming more liquid, as well as gaining derivative markets. The XRP asset was finally accepted as an offering on Coinbase in the summer of 2019, and Ripple has managed to connect itself to the biggest crypto exchanges. Following in Bitcoin’s footsteps, Ripple will also see the effect of XRP futures trading, offered by OKEx this year.  Holding onto XRP is also relatively easy, as Ripple’s native coin is supported by most widely used wallets, including Exodus. Ripple’s protocol also allows storage with Coinbase Custody. In 2020, investing in XRP is still risky, as Bitcoin has taken the lead. Ripple’s position is lumped with altcoins, and confidence in the asset is still relatively low. Did you find this guide to Ripple and XRP useful? Let us know below! Images via Shutterstock, Chart from Ripple Q4, 2019 report The post appeared first on Bitcoinist.com.

Facebook: The Rise of a Giant and the Libra Cryptocurrency

Facebook libra cryptocurrency
Facebook has wrapped up almost 16 years of history. Founded in 2004 chiefly as a social network company, Facebook initially launched to connect Harvard University students together. The company’s first steps happened at a notorious historical moment, with the first iteration starting off in a Harvard dorm room. Mission: Connecting the World The company’s initial mission sounded innocent enough, based on the idea of connecting people through a single platform. Mark Zuckerberg, the company’s founder, has mentioned in multiple variances. Facebook was not originally created to be a company. It was built to accomplish a social mission – to make the world more open and connected In late 2019, Facebook counted almost 2.5 billion users worldwide, once again making it the largest social network. The connectivity and invitation algorithms expanded the number of users, leading to global network of people.  In the early 2000s, Facebook arrived just as MySpace and other ways to connect online were unraveling. With the possibility of sharing multiple media, building a Facebook profile was immediately appealing.  The chief promise of Facebook is that its service is free, and always will be. Over the years, the company boosted its advertising revenues, while constant growth reflected on the market capitalization. Of course, the service did not go without revenues, as Facebook grew its ad outreach, harnessing algorithms to tailor content.  And it was precisely that tailored content, personalized tools and timelines which increased engagement. Facebook allowed each user to tweak the relevance of their information, honing in on the most important news from their own perspective. Zuckerberg has remarked on this phenomenon with a direct explanation on how he sees news relevance.  “A squirrel dying in front of your house may be more relevant to your interests right now than people dying in Africa,” Zuckerberg has mentioned. Facebook’s model is to apply this thinking to almost all news, in the end leading to constant engagement and user interest.  Facebook Stock Success Facebook went public in 2012, when it had accrued over one billion users, a milestone for any company. The company debuted with 421 million shares, and was considered one of the biggest tech IPOs in history. After negotiating on a per-share range of between $28 and $38, Faccebook went public with a price of $26.81, sparking hopes for an ultra-growth valuation.  But the months after the IPO were underwhelming, as prices on the open market slid to around $19. But in the years after that, FB stock became one of the stars in the new tech boom. Part of the FAANG group of companies (Facebook, Apple, Amazon, Netflix and Google), the shares were at the forefront of a new stock boom.  Facebook (NASDAQ:FB) now trades at $221.32, reaching new price records after a successful 2019. After the slump in the fall of 2018, which created fears the US bull market could break, the stock went on to have another successful year, climbing out of the lows near $124. Combined with user growth, and an expansion of 20% on earnings per share year-on-year, Facebook keeps itself in the spotlight.  Cambridge Analytica Scandal The Facebook stock price took off in earnest after 2016. But that was also the time when the influence of Facebook was being questioned. It was precisely the news-tailoring algorithms which were taken to talks.  It turned out the business model of Facebook was not just centered around tailored advertising. It was also a monster data collector. The Cambridge Analytica scandal pointed out that pattern. Facebook had accrued massive amounts of data, as well as experience in sifting through it. Users, at that point, were also comfortable with the platform and would provide a constant flow of all manners of data – including geolocation, news preference, and other types of information.  At that point, Facebook contained multiple tools to tailor one’s account, and this also produced more data.  In the end, it turned out Cambridge Analytica used the data to tweak news and stories, with accusations arising that this tailored campaign ended up swaying the US election results in 2016, which allowed Donald Trump to become President. The data collection happened at a time when regulations were lax on what could be done with user data. There was no explicit consent, and no regulation in place to make users realize that each one of their actions on Facebook generated data.  The harvesting also happened based on a private effort, as Cambridge Analytica was hired to gather data for US Senator Ted Cruz. But the effect of data collection and tailored content spread much further, possibly contributing to a narrative that led to voting in favor of Brexit.  The entire scope of the scandal was exposed in the spring of 2018, just in time to temporarily tank the FB stock price.  The data collection was done through an innocent-looking app, which curated users’ digital footprint. But the app also collected and stored data, which were later used within the scope of political campaigns. The final count held that more than 78 million user profiles were affected, with the majority belonging to US-based accounts. Seemingly innocent data like birthdays, locations and a few other data points were used to create profiles, and tailor advertising and stories to those users. Those stories matched and, according to accusers, amplified certain political moods, which had nothing to do with news about squirrels or cute cat pictures.  Zuckerberg’s public involvement increased in the spring of 2018. The company’s founder had to explain to a worldwide audience, and even apologize about its data handling practices. The company ended up paying a small fine of $653,000 for the trespass, which was specifically about not safeguarding user data.  But the real scandal that affected Facebook was that the social network had the potential to boost certain phenomena. Fake news, believably-built stories produced in content farms in third-world countries, spread throughout the social network, leading countries like Germany to openly attack the platform’s potential for disseminating harmful content. The social media giant was also accused of enabling foreign meddling in election results, and having a general potential in its very mechanisms to sway public opinion.  And that potential has been realized with only a handful of the users. Despite calls to boycott Facebook, the social network still hosts billions of new accounts, from vastly different cultures, making it a global force. Based on the most recent news, the data harvesting has not stopped. Data Propria, a company founded in 2018, has reportedly been tasked with working on the US election cycle in 2020, with the aim to boost the chances of President Trump’s re-election. Facebook and Cryptocurrency It was during the biggest crypto boom that Facebook set entirely different priorities. Initially, Facebook had little to do with Bitcoin or crypto assets, only exercising caution and banning crypto-related ads in early 2018.  At that point, Bitcoin and cryptocurrencies were going through their frenzy phase, and ads helped thinly concealed scams gather more users. Facebook moved in with an outright ban, which lasted for about a year.  For a while, the blowout of the Cambridge Analytica scandal took the forefront for all Facebook efforts. Cryptocurrencies were, at that point, a relatively minor issue.  The world of crypto was also going through a crunch, entering a two-year bear market that affected most assets. The entire 2018 was counted as a bad year in crypto, when the initial hype unraveled, and the promises of digital projects failed to materialize. Overall interest in crypto assets diminished, including a dissipation of social media groups and overall searches. Hence 2018 was not the ideal year for crypto interest, and Facebook stood on the sidelines. In the meantime, multiple crypto startups came up with the idea of combining a social media platform with a crypto-based coin or token.  However, none of those projects had the resources to build a highly usable, popular platform. The biggest platform, Steemit, ended up firing most of its staff. The Steemit ecosystem also held an unfair advantage for early adopters, essentially becoming a pyramid scheme.  Other similar projects failed to take off, lacking the resources and runaway funding, as the bear market diminished the potential of startups.  Additionally, token-based projects lost their credibility, and Bitcoin became the leading field of speculation. All of those factors meant no big company wanted to touch crypto assets with any seriousness.  Enter Stablecoins The biggest defect of crypto assets was their volatile price. Merchants soon found out Bitcoin was not the ideal tool for payments, as its price could be extremely volatile.  Soon, the idea of stablecoins appeared – an asset that kept its valuation intuitive at $1. At the same time, those assets allowed for fast, borderless transfers of value. Reportedly, their chief idea was to collect actual funds in dollars, store them in bank accounts, then issue the respective token that matches the value.  This initial idea was realized by Tether, Inc., one of the most notorious companies in the crypto space. Over the course of two years, Tether issued USDT tokens, claiming to reflect real interest in crypto investment. The growth of USDT supply also coincided with price booms for Bitcoin, leading skeptics to believe it was a direct effort to manipulate prices.  But the idea of stablecoins picked up, and was expanded upon by new startups. It was precisely the flaws of Tether which built the new generation of stablecoins. Those projects required customer screening and de-anonymization before taking in dollars and issuing new tokens. Projects like TrueUSD, Paxos, and USDC by Circle also tried to be compliant with the latest regulations.  Even the Winklevoss twins joined the stablecoin bandwagon. They are still supporting a relatively small stablecoin, Gemini USD (GUSD), mostly active on the Gemini exchange. The asset has shown that stablecoins can work even under the strict regulations of New York. This model turned rather successful for the crypto space, ushering in new forms of trading and access for both retail investors and large-scale buyers. Stablecoins had an international outreach, and relied on public blockchains to deliver the tokens anywhere around the globe.  In a world even more used to connectivity, stablecoins, especially USDT, were a lifeline. Those assets made it possible to acquire crypto coins and hold onto them without the price risk. Additionally, stablecoins offered a cheaper way to transfer funds worldwide, while avoiding some of the capital controls.  A stablecoin can be sent in minutes, also serving as a form of fintech solution, while avoiding the waiting time for bank transfers.  The utility of stablecoins was established at the time of relatively stagnant trading. Nevertheless, stablecoin projects appeared and started to spread through exchanges. When the bullish attitudes returned in 2019, the usability of stablecoins was even bigger, as they had already spread through exchanges.  Enter Facebook’s Libra Facebook’s Libra project was announced in June 2019, just after a few months of significantly improving performance on the cryptocurrency markets. Around that time, the Cambridge Analytica scandal had blown over in its worst.  So Facebook suddenly announced it would copy the stablecoin model, and introduce Libra, a digital coin complete with an ecosystem and a wallet. David Marcus was put at the helm of the project.  Facebook, it turns out, had copied multiple ideas from the crypto space. Beyond the idea of an asset-backed stablecoin, Facebook also waited for more innovation in building networks.  Facebook’s Libra, it became known, would not copy Bitcoin. Instead, it would resemble coins like TRON and EOS, which used a series of delegates to produce blocks. This approach is known as delegated proof-of-stake, and goes beyond mining and democratic staking. Instead, it allows big players to support a network and allocate resources.  Facebook, with its big influence, went further. It enlisted 27 big companies to participate in the Libra Association. Among the listed were large telecoms, as well as VISA, MasterCard, and a handful of other payment processing companies.  The announcement of Libra was initially greeted by the crypto market, unleashing a rally in most assets which lasted for a few months. It seemed Facebook, of all companies, would be the entity to spread the usage of digital assets into the mainstream.  But instead, Facebook’s Libra opened a can of worms. Worldwide, regulators quickly recalled the big influence of Facebook, and its effect during the years of data gathering and targeted content. Almost immediately, Mark Zuckerberg had to visit Congress once again, and explain the case for Libra.  Zuckerberg conceded that Libra would not launch without regulatory green light.  …Some have suggested that we intend to circumvent regulators and regulations. We want to be clear: Facebook will not be launching the Libra payments system in any part of the world unless all U.S. regulators approve it. And we support Libra delaying its launch until it has fully addressed all U.S. regulatory concerns The initial plan was for Libra to launch in early 2020. But so far, there is little clarity on what regulators intend to do. Libra has been ready with a plan to base its value on a basket of global currencies, with a prevalence of the US dollar (50%), but also including the euro (18%), yen (14%), British pound (11%), and Singapore dollar (7%).  Where is Libra Now? Libra has been running as a testnet token, inviting developers to add use cases. The Calibra wallet has been created, though it is useless without the mainnet token launch.  According to David Marcus, the Libra project will aim to build a new protocol for money, and still sticks to its original purpose to give access to the unbanked.  The Libra Association is still gathering new members, with no strict timeline on when they would become block producers. The entity has gained regulatory approval in the canton of Zug, Switzerland, thus making use of the regulatory climate in what has become known as “Crypto Valley.” When it comes to adoption, skepticism about Facebook’s data gathering has created a backlash. Facebook has spoken multiple times about the company having no direct guidance on the usage of Libra, and has promised it would not gather transaction data.  Central banks in Europe and Asia have also spoken against Libra, suggesting it may lead to the formation of a grey economy and reduce financial transparency. So far, there has been no clarity on how funds would be transferred or exchanged for Libra tokens.  It is possible Libra may be used within the Facebook ecosystem, including within the WhatsApp chat. Libra has the potential to reach millions of unbanked in almost all world regions, but the acceptance may be a lengthy process with many more regulatory hurdles. Technically, the Libra network will use gas to pay for transactions, building on the idea of the Ethereum network and even using the very name for the resource. Unlike TRON and EOS, the network will not be free.  Additionally, the newly appointed Technical Steering Committee will oversee how Libra develops in the future.  The council of the Libra Association appoints an independent Technical Steering Committee to govern technical development for the Libra project. Meet the members: @diogomonica @JoeLallouz @ricoflan @nickgrossman @gc3tweets https://t.co/ytQj1NJKAf — Libra Dev (@LibraDev) January 17, 2020 The most optimistic news about Libra is that its development continues. And with crypto markets starting the year on a high note, there may be more demand for this digital asset. However, there is still no strict deadline for the launch. Do you think Facebook will have success with its Libra cryptocurrency? Add your thoughts below! Images via Shutterstock, Twitter @LibraDev The post appeared first on Bitcoinist.com.

How To Earn Bitcoin: The Definitive Passive BTC and Crypto Income Guide

How to earn Bitcoin passively
Have you ever wondered how you can earn bitcoin passively in the modern crypto age? Well look no further, here is the perfect guide to help you get started. Bitcoin has generated massive returns since it began publicly trading in 2010. BTC has had it’s bearish periods but the overall trend has remained very bullish. The graph below shows the market cap of Bitcoin from 2014 to date. It is clearly evident that Bitcoin has garnered much prominence as an investable asset. This can be seen from the various BTC- institutional grade offerings designed by key industry players like Bakkt andFidelity, to involve Wall Street market participants.  BTC has gone through quite some market cycles to achieve the market valuation it currently possesses. Hence, it may not be financially viable for a lot of traders to buy large amounts of Bitcoin. Even buying fractions of BTC would require shelling out of generous amounts of cash.  In light of this, here is a list of alternative ways to generate passive Income through earning free BTC just before the 3rd Bitcoin Halving in May 2020.  The master list Work for Bitcoin Earn Satoshis & accumulate BTC Shop & Earn BTC cashbacks Binance Referral Bitcoin Faucets Affiliate Programs Working For Bitcoin     Working in exchange for BTC is the easiest and most legitimate way of earning bitcoin. Whether you are a developer, designer, writer, translator, editor, internet marketer, freelancer or engineer, you can start working for Bitcoin right now. There are numerous platforms and websites that offer you bitcoin in exchange for your service. Some of these platforms include: Cryptogrind Jobs4Bitcoins Coinality Crypto.jobs Cryptocurrency Jobs Crypto Jobs List bitWAGE Angel.Co   Earn Satoshis and Accumulate Bitcoin   Each bitcoin (BTC) is divisible up to8 decimal places, so each BTC can be split into 100,000,000 units. Each unit of bitcoin, or 0.00000001 BTC, is called a satoshi. A satoshi is the smallest unit of bitcoin. One of the ways to earn bitcoin is to accumulate large amounts of Satoshis through trading altcoins/ all cryptocurrencies except BTC, and then convert them to bitcoin. Every trading pair is formed as ALTxBTC not ALTxUSD When you’re buying and selling an altcoin in sats (Satoshis), if you sell when it’s up in USD but not sats, you end up inadvertently trading away your bitcoin. You must learn to trade relative to bitcoin, as accumulating satoshis is the only way to win this game. The key is to value bitcoin individually and not relative to USD. Example Start: 100k sats is worth $5. Altcoin is worth 100k sats. You buy 1 altcoin at 100k sats. Scenario 1: 100k sats is now worth $4. Altcoin is now worth 100k sats. Scenario 2: 100k sats is now worth $6. Altcoin is now worth 100k sats. Scenario 3: 100k sats is now worth $5. Altcoin is now worth 120k sats. With #1, Altcoin is down 20% in USD but you’ve stayed the same in satoshi value. Which means you have the same value as Bitcoin. Which is good! With #2, you’re up 20% in USD but not Satoshi. Which means you have the same value as Bitcoin. Which is again good! With #3, you’re up 20% in satoshi, but the same in USD. Which is better! Since the value of BTC is higher than USD, always trade in Bitcoin or Satoshi and you reap more profits. This example highlights the issues in valuing crypto assets in USD. #3, you’d realize your Satoshi gains by converting to BTC. #1& #2 there are no conversions to be made as your sats are same, but #2, people trading USD value may make a trade, and see a gain in USD but with Bitcoin value they have neither booked a profit nor a loss. To people trading USD value for #2 & #3 are actually the same, even though the alt is going from $5 to $6 in USD. The difference is that in #3 the alt is outpacing BTC growth, which is the outcome we are looking for while in #2 it’s just pacing the same as BTC. #2 is not a trade to be made.#3 is the only trade to be made.   Shop and Earn BTC Cashbacks   Ebates, a popular Google Chrome Extension, offers customers cash-back for their purchases from thousands of websites. They work with almost all major online retailers, including everything from Best Buy, to Groupon, to Nike. Once you install the extension and create an account, Ebates will notify you if there are discounts available while you browse a retailer’s website. In one click you can activate the discounts. At the end of every quarter, you get a check from Ebates with your cash back balance. It’s that simple. In crypto, a company called Lolli is offering similar services. Make purchases on websites like Sephora, Macys,  CVS or any of the 500+ partner stores, and get cash-back in Bitcoin. Every store has a different incentive amount. Some offer as much as 9% cash-back. Others will offer a set amount of BTC.This is a very easy way to earn free Bitcoin while making your everyday purchases. Other similar apps are: Foldapp (Supports Airbnb) Pei Cryptocom (Offers a Crypto debit card with cashback features)  Affiliate Programs     Certain companies will pay you (in Bitcoin or fiat) if you invite paying customers on to their platforms. This marketing method, called “affiliate marketing,” has been around for a long time and allows users to establish an additional income stream. There are different structures provided by firms for their affiliate programs. With a lot of e-commerce brands, you can earn a percentage on your referred customer’s total order amount. For others, you may get a set fee for every person who signs up for a service using your promo code. Few referral programs offered by well-established Bitcoin and crypto trading businesses are worth looking into this regard.      Binance Affiliate Program   Binance boasts of harbouring the globe’s most actively traded exchanges. It is one of the industry’s most trusted crypto trading platforms and regularly updates its services to give customers new trading opportunities. According to the Binance referral page, some of the top referrals have made commissions of 115 – 186 BTC.  How does the Binance Affiliate Program work? Step 1: Become a Binance Affiliate Submit your application by filling a form. Their team evaluates your application and decides whether to approve it or not  based on a certain criteria.  Step 2: Create and Share your referral links Create and manage your referral links from your Binance Account. You can track the performance for each referral link you share. These can be customized for each channel and for various discounts you would like to share with your community.  Step 3: Sit back, relax and earn commissions When someone signs up or registers an account on Binance with your referral link, you can get up to 50% commission every time they complete a trade.      Coinbase Affiliate Program    San-Francisco based cryptocurrency exchange Coinbase is one of the oldest, and most well known crypto trading platform. Coinbase will pay you $10 for every customer who signs up and deposits at least $100. You also receive 50% of your referees’ trading fees for the first 3 months Step 1: Become an affiliate After your application is approved, you’ll get access to promotional assets and Coinbase’s tracking software. Step 2: Promote Coinbase Link to Coinbase in articles, create new content, or place ads on your website. Step 3: Earn commissions When new customers join Coinbase through your promotions, you earn a commission.     Changelly Affiliate Program   Changelly  is one more known crypto exchange which provides a great affiliate program. The program gives you a 50% revenue share on all the transactions.  Step 1: Join the program Once you sign up for the affiliate program you receive a referral link that containing your referral ID.  Step 2: Promote referral link Share and promote your referral link in different channels. Step 3: Earn commissions When new customer joins Changelly and exchanges cryptos, you start earning commission. P.S. The 50% revenue share model works for 90 days since your referral’s registration.     Local Bitcoins Affiliate Program   Localbitcoins.com is an over-the-counter (OTC) Bitcoin exchange where users can trade BTC for fiat cash directly with each other. 20% of the user’s trading fee on each trade (trading fee is 1% of the total trade amount), so essentially .20% of each trade.  Commissions are earned over 3 months from the user’s registration date.  Payouts are sent automatically (daily) to your Bitcoin address and are accumulated in your LocalBitcoins account. There is no limit on the value of the payout.   Paxful Affiliate Program Paxful is a peer to peer marketplace for buying and selling Bitcoins (similar to LocalBitcoins). Its program offers 50% of all commissions paid to Paxful by your direct affiliates and 10% from your affiliates’ affiliates. You can earn commissions up to 1 year. Payout is initiated instantly with no minimum earnings for payout     BitMEX Affiliate Program    BitMEX s a Bitcoin derivatives trading platform that offers a margin-trading service for experienced, professional BTC traders. It offers upto 20% in commissions . The commision model is a life-time program.  Payouts are processed instantly with no minimum earnings for payout     TREZOR Affiliate Program   TREZOR is a hardware wallet that allows you to safely store your Bitcoins offline. The company offers 12%-15% commission from each sale.  It can be earned once per sale. Payout frequency is monthly with a minimum earning of 0.1BTC per payout     Ledger Wallet affiliate Program   Ledger is another hardware wallet that allows you to safely store your Bitcoins offline. It has a variety of commision models available. The most valuable is 10% of the net sale amount (excluding VAT and shipping). The commission can be earned once per sale. Payout frequency is monthly with the minimum earning of 0.1BTC per payout   eToro partners Program   eToro is an innovative trading platform in which you can trade stocks, cryptocurrencies, ETFs, currencies, indices and commodities. It offers  a commission per sale with  $200-$400 as a payout (depending on referral country). The commission can be earned once per sale. Payout Frequency is anytime (If you’re a trader), otherwise within 15 days from the end of the month.  Minimum earning for payout is 3 FTD’s. Wrapping Up With this exhaustive list of passive and semi-passive Bitcoin and crypto income sources, it is up to your discretion to choose what options work best for you. Most people usually start with a couple of these and then scale up.  Happy Earnings! Images via Shutterstock, chart by Coinmarketcap The post appeared first on Bitcoinist.com.

How to buy Ripple’s Native Crypto Token XRP?

how to buy ripple's xrp

Ripple’s XRP saw its value soar parabolically to an all-time high of almost $ 3.5. This happened during the massive bull run of 2017. Since then the token has lost 92% of its value. 


Even after the drastic depreciation in value, XRP is the 3rd largest cryptocurrency by market cap. Currently there are around 43 billion coins in circulation. 

According to Ripple’s policies, there will only be 100 billion XRP ever. All XRP tokens are meant to supplement payments and business transactions on the RippleNet. 

RippleNet

It makes sense for you as a potential XRP buyer to know that the coin’s existence is independent of RippleNet. The technology’s potential is promising with respect to redefining monetary settlements between banks, payment processing companies, and other financial institutions. 

Because of it’s market ranking and dirt cheap price, Ripple’s token still continues to generate a lot of buying interest. All the more, as people find it difficult to buy Bitcoin (or say one whole BTC) due to its exponential rise in value over the years. 

Choosing the Correct Crypto Exchange

Probably the easiest way to get some XRP is from a well-established cryptocurrency exchange operating in your country. 

Any crypto exchange, small or large will surely have XRP listed for buying and selling. 

crypto exchange

While locking onto a particular exchange, some preliminary research needs to be done. Cryptocurrencies by their very nature are assets that come with high risk and equally high rewards. Consequently, the fledgling space also attracts a lot of fraudsters. So, it is mandatory to do your due diligence before picking a platform to buy XRP. 

Crypto exchanges need to have well-established headquarters a genuine team (probably with a good Twitter, LinkedIn presence), well-responsive support, decent liquidity and security of trading funds, etc. Some well-recognized names are Binance, Bitfinex, Coinbase, Kraken, eToro. 

Registering and Depositing Fiat Balance

After choosing a suitable crypto trading platform, you should register yourself as a legitimate user. 

That means you will have to provide a few personal details as KYC (Know Your Customer) which confirms your status as a bonafide citizen of the particular country or state where you reside. 

crypto exchange kyc

Exchanges do this to stay in line with global Anti-Money Laundering (AML) regulations. 

After your details are verified by the exchange officials, its time to use your newly opened crypto trading account to buy XRP. But for that, you need to deposit some fiat currency first. 

Simply add money through your bank account or debit card on file. Cryptocurrency exchanges do not generally have high minimum investments so you can invest as little as $5 or as much as $1,000 or more. This is of course, based on the country or location of your residence, and the official currency in circulation. 

Funds generally can take a few minutes to several hours to appear in the ‘fiat account’ of your chosen crypto trading platform. This depends on the bank and exchange transaction processing speeds, protocols etc. 

After the fiat deposit, you can instantly use it to buy XRP after going through the current rates and trading volumes. 

Buying XRP with Stablecoins or Other Crypto Assets

In the past 2 years, there has been a gigantic upsurge in ‘crypto-to-crypto’ purchases. The proliferation of fiat-backed stablecoins like Tether (USDT) and rising bank restrictions on crypto purchases with credit/debit cards and wire transfers have led to the same. 

It’s very simple buying XRP in a crypto-to-crypto (C2C) arrangement. All you need is some Bitcoin or a US dollar-backed stablecoin like USDT or USDC (USD Coin) which is easily available on peer-to-peer trading exchanges. These platforms let users exchange actual fiat with fiat stablecoins, which you can use to buy Ripple’s token. 


Disclaimer: This article is for educational purposes only. The information presented here does not constitute investment advice or an offer to invest. The statements, views, and opinions expressed in this article are solely those of the author/company and do not represent those of Bitcoinist. We strongly advise our readers to DYOR before investing in any cryptocurrency, blockchain project, or ICO, particularly those that guarantee profits. Furthermore, Bitcoinist does not guarantee or imply that the cryptocurrencies or projects published are legal in any specific reader’s location. It is the reader’s responsibility to know the laws regarding cryptocurrencies and ICOs in his or her country.


Images via Shutterstock

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What is Ripple? How is XRP Related to Ripple?

what is ripple, what is xrp

Ripple is a financial settlement protocol to facilitate near-instant monetary transfers between two parties. 


It is a product of the San-Francisco based fintech company Ripple Labs. Chris Larsen and Stellar founder Jed McCaleb created Ripple to connect banks, payment providers, cryptocurrency exchanges for real-time, cost-effective, global money transfers. 

What is XRP

The protocol’s native crypto asset XRP powers all transaction activity on the Ripple Network or RippleNet. A shared public database/ledger called the XRP ledger records all XRP transactions. 

Independent validating servers maintain transparency in the XRP ledger by comparing these records. Ripple Labs’ patented Ripple Protocol Consensus Algorithm (RPCA) helps achieve consensus. 

But even with a consensus mechanism in place, Ripple is not a blockchain-based technology. 

The protocol doesn’t involve established blockchain practices like mining or staking. Pre-issued 100 billion XRP tokens fuel all transaction activities. 

Ripple facilitates peer-to-peer transactions, but that’s not the primary focus. Antithetical to leading blockchain projects, the system’s goal is to prove instrumental in large-scale financial transactions between major national and private banks across the globe.

ripple peer to peer

As of now, a currency that needs exchanging is spent to buy an equivalent amount of XRP. Upon being transferred it is converted into the final output currency. But a future isn’t a way where digital assets powered by banks themselves replace XRP for value transfer. 

What About XRP Supply

Ripple’s value proposition lies with the protocol itself, and not the XRP token. Ripple Labs claims that no more than 100 billion XRP coins will be issued. But is it under a restriction to issue more tokens? Nope.  

In 2017, the company locked 55 percent of the total XRP supply (55 billion XRPs) into a smart contract-based escrow account, which would release 1 billion of tokens per month for 55 months for sale to investors. 

XRP supply

At the end of each selling period, Ripple originally planned to return the unsold tokens to the escrow for distribution beyond the 55 months. To date, the company has not sold more than 300 million XRP per month, according to data gathered from 2016 to 2018. 

It is important to note that Larsen, McCaleb and another contributor retained 20 billion XRP collectively for starting the company. 

XRP transactions take a maximum of 5 seconds. The system itself can comfortably manage more than 1500 transactions per second. 

The minimum transaction fee is 0.00001 XRP which is in turn destroyed to avoid RippleNet from being spammed. 

What advantages does Ripple have?

ripplenet

Not all consensus-based platforms have a blockchain base and are totally in-line with the ‘decentralized ideals’ put in place by Bitcoin. Ripple is one of those platforms and has its fair share of pros and cons. Here are the pros: 

  • Almost forgery-proof
  • Fast transactions within seconds
  • Open standard
  • Can act in its final stage as a universal translator of any currency
  • Enables quick lending and borrowing of money amounts
  • Loans by IOU (a type of promissory note)
  • Simple connection of payment networks
  • Many new possibilities due to maximum compatibility

And the cons:

Lately, Ripple has been in the news for the wrong reasons and has been criticized for various business practices. One of the claims states that although the company promised to pass on a large proportion of the XRP to the users of the network, so far only small amounts have been transferred. In addition, Ripple Labs has held on to nearly half of all existing XRP in circulation to benefit from future value creation.


Disclaimer: This article is for educational purposes only. The information presented here does not constitute investment advice or an offer to invest. The statements, views, and opinions expressed in this article are solely those of the author/company and do not represent those of Bitcoinist. We strongly advise our readers to DYOR before investing in any cryptocurrency, blockchain project, or ICO, particularly those that guarantee profits. Furthermore, Bitcoinist does not guarantee or imply that the cryptocurrencies or projects published are legal in any specific reader’s location. It is the reader’s responsibility to know the laws regarding cryptocurrencies and ICOs in his or her country.


 

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What is EOS? How is it different from other blockchains?

what is eos

EOS is a blockchain-based network with an open-source MIT software license. Powered and maintained by Block. One, it is one of the newest and swiftly growing projects in the cryptocurrency space. 


EOS blockchain and the people behind it have a purpose. To fuel the development of highly-efficient, and scalable enterprise-grade decentralized applications (dApps). 

Chief architect, Dan Larimer is a prominent industry figure in the cryptocurrency space. He is the leading technical force behind Block. One, Steemit, a blockchain-based social media platform, and BitShares, a peer-to-peer decentralized cryptocurrency exchange. 

Block. One essentially owns 10 percent of all the EOS network tokens. 

The ICO

The EOS project came to life through a widely publicized year-long token offering which started on June 26th, 2017. 

eos ico

The Initial Coin Offering(ICO) concluded in the consecutive year. Block. One ended up selling 1 billion tokens.

The company raked in a massive $4 billion dollars. The token sale was one of the largest crowdfunding events in the history of the cryptocurrency industry. 

Without giving few the leverage of lapping up vast portions of tokens in a private-sale like an arrangement (something which ICOs had become notorious for), the EOS ICO was carried out as follows with an aim to spread tokens far and wide throughout the whole ecosystem at realistic market prices: 

  • 200 million (20%) tokens distributed from June 26, 2016, to July 1, 2017
  • 700 million (70%) tokens sold at a rate of 2 million per day for 350 days.
  • 100 million (10%) held in escrow for Block. One to keep their incentives in line with that of the EOS community. Block.one’s tokens will vest over a 10-year period at 10 million tokens a year.

EOS, the Blockchain

One of the objectives of EOS other than becoming an operating system like a platform for building commercially viable, Avant-grade decentralized applications, is to be able to process millions of transactions per second. 

This could be quite a possibility. How? Only 21 nodes spread over the EOS network. Block formations need consensus only amongst these 21 nodes. 

blockchain nodes

This is not possible on Ethereum millions of nodes present on the network. 

A delegated proof-of-stake (DPoS) model is at the heart of the EOS ecosystem. 

Essentially, stakeholders in the EOS network get to resolve consensus issues pertaining to block production through voting which makes the entire arrangement democratic and fair. Depending on the number of coins, each EOS holder has a right to call the shots on the proceedings of the network. 

EOS, the Coin

eos coin

EOS tokens help developers use network resources and build dApps. Coin holders who don’t run apps can rent computing power to others. Mining doesn’t happen on the EOS network. Block producers generate the required number of blocks and collect new EOS tokens as rewards.

They have the flexibility to publish the desired figure for their expected pay. The number of tokens created is calculated on the basis of the median value of the expected pay published by all block producers.

The mechanism has a cap in place already to address high reward payment demands. The total annual hike in the token supply remains well below 5%. Token holders, who are voters on such matters, have the authority to vote out block producers who demand more inflation, as deemed necessary.

This mechanism acts complementary to EOS storage, as all token holders will pay for the storage of files on the EOS network through a portion of annual inflation. Storing a file on the network leads to EOS tokens being held up. 

More storage requirements result in more blocks demanded by block creators. They can ask for a higher price for their work through higher pay inflation which can be approved by token holders. In the case of decreased storage demand, inflation will be lower, thereby leading to smaller degradation in loss of value of EOS tokens held up.


 

 

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