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Coinbase: $1 Billion Dollars Crypto Custody Achievement Could Trigger A Massive Shift in the Cryptocurrency Industry

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Consensus 2019 impact on the cryptocurrency industry is already being noticed especially in the way alts are reacting. Ethereum, Bitcoin, are seeing massive gains. With the top ten recording double-digit gains in price, another thing seems to be more important on how the future of the industry will play out and that’s the recent Coinbase 1 billion dollars Crypto Custody achievement.

Brian Armstrong, the founder, and CEO of the San Francisco based exchange Coinbase announced at the 2019 prestigious event that Coinbase now holds up to $1 billion in clients assets in its Coinbase Custody it launched barely a year ago. This has made headlines and showing how serious Coinbase is in the industry having cemented its since June 2012.

According to its website, Coinbase Custody operates as a standalone, independently-capitalized business to Coinbase, Inc. Coinbase Custody is a fiduciary under NY State Banking Law. All digital assets are segregated and held in trust for the benefit of our clients.

And for those who might not really be familiar with Crypto Custody Solutions, here is a definition according to Investopedia

Cryptocurrency custody solutions are third-party providers of storage and security services for cryptocurrencies. Their services are mainly aimed at institutional investors, such as hedge funds, who hold large amounts of bitcoin or other cryptocurrencies. The solutions generally incorporate a combination of hot storage, or crypto custody with connection to the Internet, and cold storage, or crypto custody that is disconnected from the Internet.

From the definition above, there are important things to take note of. One of them is the accommodation of the institutional investors which comes with a regulatory oversight burden. This burden births the second point which is the insurance of the funds owned by these institutional investors.

The fact that Coinbase in a little less than a year could achieve this feat brings to mind some thoughts.

The big guys are not going to keep watching from the rear

This has almost turned into a cliché. Institutional investors are coming. But exactly when? We have seen several applications of Exchange Traded Funds (ETFs) turned down by the SEC, Bitwise’s the most recent. This is not to say apart from the United States, there’s been no approved Bitcoin ETF. Of course, Canadian Securities Regulators approved Harvest Portfolio Group’s ETF application over a year ago now. Without the industry noticing much of an impact, the torch is waiting for United States to carry it judging by how powerful the United States whose power is largely dictated by the US dollar being the global currency for international transactions and clearing is a no brainer.

While it is expected for the United States to live up to its name and approving ETF proposals through its regulatory agency the SEC, others are making the move to outrightly outlaw cryptocurrency thereby extinguishing any chance of a Bitcoin or Crypto ETF being approved. Ben Sherman a US Congressman recently sought to propose a bill in the house to this effect.

With the likes of Goldman Sachs coming onboard, a massive shakeup is imminent. The fact that Coinbase is getting enough attention already should signal the boards of banks like Goldman Sachs to come in with a huge war chest of funds to make it a more enterprising sector for the budding cryptocurrency industry.

An Eventual Bitcoin ETF Approval by the SEC

As outlined in the earlier points on the non-committal stand the SEC has continually portrayed when it comes to approving several ETF proposals on its desk, it will eventually come around. Coinbase is already showing how effective their custodian service providing support services to top firms like Polychain Capital, Coventure and even Blockstack. Coinbase ensures adequate security is put in place to ensure funds are indeed safe from the prying eyes of hackers. It adopts segregated cold storage which is a
dedicated on-chain address whitelisting measure secured by battle-tested cold storage.

One of the core reasons for the SEC disapproval of all the Bitcoin ETFs brought before it is that bitcoin trading is largely dominated by non-US exchanges like Binance. This concern stems from the fact that should there be manipulations being carried out on bitcoin trading which of course impacts any listed Bitcoin ETF, the volume most US exchanges capture oa not significant enough to help the regulatory authorities from making sound judgements based on data shared with them as the non-US regulated exchanges like Binance are not under any obligation to share data with the authorities. However, Bitwise went ahead to prove how most of the trade volumes reported across several of these foreign exchanges outside the US only engage in fictitious trades.

With the Bitwise reports submitted to the SEC going ahead with ample proofs to show how just ten exchanges out of the several hundred registered on coinmarketcap.com having real volumes, plus the fact that nine out of these ten is registered with the US certified by the Treasury Department with a FinCEN approval (Financial Crimes Enforcement Network). In addition to this, six out of the nine are also BitLicense certified. To operate in New York, (the financial capital of the world) virtual currency businesses must register with the New York State Department of Financial Services (NYSDFS) and receive a BitLicense, which enforces strict operating standards. And Coinbase is a proud holder of the BitLicense showing US-based exchanges are no small fries in the arena. Another reason this achievement could usher in the approval of future crypto ETFs filing especially the most valued digital asset the Bitcoin.

Coinbase Could be Journeying towards an IPO opening the doors to Several others within the Industry

In December 2017, Coinbase President Asiff Hirji told CNBC, “It is certainly in the interest of our investors … and the most obvious path of Coinbase is to go public at some point, but there’s a lot for us to do between now and then, whenever that date is.”. Several months later we are yet to get any news from official sources if Coinbase is still in considering this option. Even with rumours spreading by December 2018 of Coinbase gearing up its plans to possible pre-IPO listing which was eventually debunked by its President, Asiff Hirji in an interview on Bloomberg there seems to be a cloud of uncertainty about this move along with its roadmap. While it is safe to infer Coinbase could be biding its time waiting for the industry to recover from the long bear season, or even seeing the most possible horrific capitulation the market could face as some pundits keeps suggesting the bottom is not yet attained. However, with this $1 billion Crypto Custody attainment, Coinbase might just be baiting the public and institutional investors signaling how imminent the IPO journey for it is close by. Not quite long in April, research by Datalight showed the United States ranks top with the largest users of crypto exchanges and its services, this is coming after Brian Armstrong boasted the numbers of global bitcoin users could reach 1 billion in less than 5 years. Definitely before this prediction comes through, Coinbase is definitely preparing furiously to become the go-to firm in the industry both for retail and institutional customers. And if this IPO eventually happens, we expect that many others will follow suit. Binance should be watched closely as it is not relenting enriching its ecosystem, multiplying users while raking in mouthwatering profits in a time where others like ConsenSys, Bitmain, Kraken, Huobi, Shapeshift and more laying off to survive one of the most protracted Crypto Winter ever experienced.

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I am fascinated by Technology ranging from Blockchain, AI, AR/VR and the general IoT. I report on tech related news on startups and other mainstream firms.

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Adoption News

Adoption of Cryptocurrency: Taking Ripio in South America as a Case Study

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Cryptocurrency can never reach its potential until there is a massive adoption in various forms of our everyday life by various people, of different class and varying income levels

Generally, humans have a tendency to claim absolute truth based on their limited, subjective experience as they ignore other people’s limited, subjective experiences which may be equally true. Because we tend to see things in our limited knowledge

That’s the case of the perspective of different people on crypto today, where some have seen great opportunities others insist on seeing a scam,  risk and uncertainties, even some business savvy billionaires are still sceptical about the future of cryptocurrencies; the likes of warren buffet.

In South America, there is also a difference in opinion on cryptocurrencies, from enthusiastic adoption to total disinterest, the South Americans are seeing cryptocurrencies with mixed reactions. Their dispositions aren’t really different from other enlightened parts of the world.

The Southern American region

Argentina is a country in South America and a potential to be a hotbed of cryptocurrency activities, but the biggest challenge amongst other ones peculiar to the south American region rests on its fairly unstable economy. In Argentina, 32% of people are estimated to be living under the poverty line. This is due to the shortfall in salaries, that cannot match the annual inflation rate the peso of more than 50%. Many simply can’t afford to risk their keeping their savings in their local currency at the risk of watching it fall in value. Due to the high inflation

This is said to be one of the reasons why some south Americans are buying into the cryptocurrency ideas.

According to an ad in Buenos Aires subway tunnels by Ripio. It is said that “250,000 Argentines have already bought bitcoins with us,” claims

Ripio is said to be among several other beginners who are betting that the time is right for cryptocurrencies to cut across major areas in Latin America. And it appears that Argentina’s unique economy makes it the perfect place to lead a vast adoption of crypto

Other countries that its citizen use cryptocurrency to protect themselves from the depreciating value of their country’s currency include Venezuela that has been hit with various sanctions by America leading to great economic woes, like Argentina a lot of their citizens have turned to crypto to alleviate their predicament. Using it to protect their savings.

Also, in Argentina the Governments relative openness to cryptocurrency has helped shaped Buenos Aires into an attractive zone of development, their government’s openness to blockchain projects has helped shape Buenos Aires into an attractive zone of development.

The general disposition of everyday people

Despite all the progress a lot still needs in convincing everyday people to adopt the use of cryptocurrency in that region, especially by creating more user-friendly, trustworthy systems with clear advantages over the traditional and familiar dollar notes.

What Repio seeks to achieve

Ripio is really putting enough effort in this one, for the Latin Americans, presently, he is developing what it hopes are easy-to-use tools for buying, selling, trading, investing, and spending cryptocurrencies.

Although cryptos are a bit fresh to travellers and sailors, Ripio’s six-year-old company, which was originally called BitPagos, has managed to make its mark as a market leader in this regard

In 2017, BitPagos moved its attention from merchants to consumers and rebranded it to Ripio. It now has 300,000 users in Argentina, Brazil, and Mexico (about 85% of them are in Argentina).

Today, Ripio offers users a cryptocurrency exchange and software “wallet” for storing their digital monies. Similarly, it has also started a service that uses smart contracts or blockchain-based computer programs which are useful for automation of complex financial transactions. This is in a bid to facilitate peer-to-peer lending based on the Ethereum blockchain. Allowing South Americans to have access to loans in local currency without having to pay high fees to a bank.

Education and its impact

To make crypto more adopted by people, a lot of work needs to be done in educating people on what it means also in providing resources to people on how they can going about using it, this knowledge will play a major role in sensitizing otherwise novices about what it’s all about increasing the potential  of them becoming users of these various platforms which in turn will make them bring more people into the system,

Ripio has made this their agenda as well especially in Argentina with plans to unveil a new system which would combine these packages and a few new ones alongside educational content like articles, videos, and tutorials.

According to them, “The service is born out of the goodwill in assisting Ripio users the access to “the new economy.”

Juan Mendez, the company’s chief brand officer, stated that “We understand that the economy is changing, that banks are digitizing, and we want to be there in that moment to offer access, financing, and investment options”.

The company is staking its bet that crypto-assets will play a major role alongside more traditional financial services. Hence it wants to provide a central place to find all the options.

Stablecoins and its impact

The use of stable coin has helped to reduce the issue of volatility that most new users have with crypto, these coins maintain their value with the USD this helps users to make their transactions without the fear that their hard-earned savings will be impacted during a bear season this has played a huge role in making more people to adopt crypto

All these Important moves have played a major role in boosting adoption, but it’s not a piece of new information that the battle is far from being won, because despite the making cryptocurrencies more appealing and user-friendly to the average consumer.

They’re still the issue of trust, the uphill battle convincing everyday consumers in South American to trust a ‘new form of money’.

Despite massively overcoming the challenge of making a lot of more people understand the technical concepts of crypto all the good work is still being truncated by the unpredictable price fluctuations of crypto

This challenge has been fixed by the use of “stable coins,” which are designed to maintain the value of stable government-backed currencies like the US dollar.

Platforms like Ripio, for instance, tackled this issue of the volatility of crypto through the availability of stablecoins to their users, Ripio added a stable coin called Dai to its exchange and wallet, to go alongside Bitcoin and Ether.

Now, South Americans have the option of making use of the easy-to-use, easily accessible digital version of the dollar which is readily available to everybody in the continent.

Having stable coins has reduced the need for South American to queue up to acquire and to physical dollars and also risk keeping large sums of it on other or in their houses which will make them vulnerable to being attacked by thieves.

Also, Customers of Ripio, for instance, do not have to endure the stress of going to the streets for dollar exchange, it’s as easy as just going to the nearest convenience store to load pesos into their wallet to buy Dai. Later on, they could even spend them online and also use Ripio’s service to change them back into their local currency and purchase items from the popular e-commerce sites.

This can easily be replicated in other parts of the world, especially developing countries.

The success of dai, which has Many in Argentina has begun to use Dai, majorly as a form of remittances or store value. Is lesson to everyone But MakerDAO does not intend to stop there according to them the vision is more elaborate than that they believe that “decentralized” banking could broaden access to financial services, not just in Argentina but all over the world.

Bitcoin ATMs and acceptability by retailers

Bitcoin ATMs are scattered across the continent, however, there is a little indication on the streets of Buenos Aires that a crypto-infused future will be here any time soon. Most merchants have added cryptocurrency stickers on their storefront windows alongside those for Visa, Mastercard, and American Express. This has eased the use of crypto as a means of payment since many Paying with cash is still common, and many retailers offer discounts for doing so. Though it’s becoming more common for merchants to also accept QR code payments via a service called Mercado Pago, all in South America.

Cryptocurrency is making a major progress in South America, despite its numerous challenges, but their success should serve as a motivation for other companies to invest and push for adoption in other developing continents like Africa, especially those with very high number of unbanked citizens by taking a cue from Ripio and its progress in South America.

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Exchange

Is Binance Set to Dominate The Cryptocurrency Industry With Its Platform Aggregation Business Strategy?

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As an industry, we have come so far yet there are thousands of planetary systems and galaxies far away we are yet to see and explore as astronomers.

We are yet to reach the promise land of cryptocurrency and blockchain application. The promise land is not a definitive point in time but a fluid position in time and this can be achieved by gradual step directed towards ensuring billions of lives are effectively impacted.

The past two years has been very eventful. We saw the historic rise in cryptocurrency and a great wave of awakening to what crypto is. Though of the thousands (millions) of new entrant, a good number were burnt as the market experienced an incredible loss of values across all cryptocurrencies. No one was left untouched. All cryptos saw great fall from all time high.

 

In spite of the market position, ICOs also went raging on. There were loss of funds as many of these projects raising millions of dollars are nowhere to be found today. As the once bountiful returns from ICOs diminish causing the ICO market to fall, there could never be vacuum in the world.

 

As a popular saying, “where there are problem, entrepreneurs see opportunities

 

The problem which the ICO market created as its’ flames went down necessitated the ingenious move of an Entrepreneur – A Crypto Entrepreneur. A move which saw the start of a new funding-raising means for crypto projects, the Initial Exchange Offering. A fund raising initiative similar to the ICO except the Exchange manages administration over the fund raising round and grant instant exchange listing unlike the former where projects handles the management and administration of fund raising rounds.

Binance reinvented the ICO days as it launched its’ first initial exchange offering on the Binance Launchpad. The success of this move necessitated other exchanges to create their own IEO Launchpads. Even Exchanges with insignificant trading volume and user base all went out to create their own Launchpad.

 

An exchange which started operations just over two years ago with the native token BNB as an ethereum based token with the popular ERC-20 standard now has its own blockchain – the Binance Chain. Since launch, Binance has been able to successfully onboard some projects unto its chain, some new ones while others moved from other blockchains.

 

In addition to the Binance Chain, it has also been able to released the Binance Decentralized Exchange. An exchange the industry greatly anticipated its’ launch.

As an exchange to be the first to create in-house insurance for loss of user funds in case of any eventuality, Binance has gathered trust and confidence amongst the parties of the cryptocurrency industry.

 

Haven been the target of cyber attacks in recent times, Binance has demonstrated commitment to remain a leader in the cryptocurrency exchange business.

 

Binance has also launched a margin trading service. It continues to add trading assets to the margin trading platform. As an exchange which serves millions of retail users, is this a move to gain platform dominance and someday be the leader in the cryptocurrency margin trading business?

Also, it set up it’s US cryptocurency trading service the Binance.je exchange.

 

 

Few months ago, Binance CFO in an interview with Bloomberg mentioned the intention of the exchange to launch their own stablecoin. This has been achieved as Binance has successfully launched its’ first stablecoin after it was certified by CertiK, a code auditing firm. A British Pound backed Stablecoin BGBP. This as usual has already been listed on the Binance Exchange. In the interview, the Binance exec also mentioned that Binance will also create stablecoins backed by other fiat currencies.

 

According to Binance, they want to give options to traders to use. As Tether is currently on top of the stablecoin business, Binance is yet again getting into a new market with the British Pound backed stablecoin.

 

The stablecoin market has seen some new entrants in recent times, however, none has been able to shake the amarket for Tether but, Binance is known to be ingenious and smart. With this move into the stablecoin business, Binance could shake up the market for Tether and other stablecoin.

 

 

Having successfully created multiple businesses within it’s ecosystem, Binance continues to expand at an incredible rate, as a pace setter in the industry, the next line of action or business Binance will get onto would only a guess to the industry but we could try.

 

What will be the next move? Maybe it is to get into the Cryptocurrency Mining business

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Altcoin News

Bitfinex’s LEO Smart Contract Unusual Code: An Intentional Move to Defraud?

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A software “Bug” was discovered recently in the Bitfinex Smart Contract for its LEO token. The bug grants any holder of the LEO token unusual levels of administrative privilegdes. Such priviledges are entirely unusual, though errors in smart contracts has been seen before, this is the first time these types of concerns has been raised concerning smart contracts codes.

Softwares are always with bugs. No matter how much care is put into writing the codes and rechecking, codes are written by humans who unintentionally make mistake. Mistakes which could cause untold damages financially and in other areas of life. In financial applications or softwares, one tiny vulnerability could allow bad actors to take undue advantages of systems and do what they are good for. Damage.

The Bitfinex ERC-20 smart contract code contains permission to enable owners of the Token to mint unlimited new tokens, they also have to ability to delete tokens of other people both in their personal wallets irrespective of the type of wallet. LEO owners are empowered via the vulnerability in the Bitfinex smart contract code to delete anyone’s coins both in centralized and decentralized exchanges.

Bitfinex, one of the world top cryptocurrency exchange was in the news some months ago and for a long time now owing to its shady behaviours as an exchange and also by its relationship to the stable coin Tether (USDT). Owing to financial challenges it was having since its funds were frozen, the embattled cryptocurrency exchange decided to host an Initial Exchange Offering were it aimed at raising xx billion dollars. A move which saw some reactions, however, the exchange later announced it has raised sufficient funds via other means and thus there will be no public sales of the LEO tokens.

In a tweet by the CTO of Bitfinex and Tether Paolo Ardoino, which was a reply to the call out made on the Bitfinex exchange, it appears this “bug” wasn’t in fact one rather it was coded into the contract with Paolo saying “For security and future reasons we left the ability to upgrade the Token Contract. That’s really a key feature for a contract that might live lot of years. Minting more tokens would not just make sense for Finex…like shooting our foot.”

In reaction to this, some twitter users were expressing their opinion on the issue.

https://twitter.com/will_harborne/status/1146507539170897920

 

With its reputation in times past, the Bitfinex exchange has a whole lot to contend with at this time however, this revelation presents an important reminder to everyone in cryptospace to not just Trust but Verify.

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OPINION

ETH Will Be 1000x More Scalable Within 24 Months,  Brags Lubin

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In a recent interview by Cointelegraph with Joseph Lubin, founder of ConsenSys and also Co-founder of Ethereum, he hints that Eth will be 1000x more scalable Serenity dubbed Ethereum 2.0 is finally rolled out within 24 months

 

“In a small number of months, we should have a fully operational Testnet and possibly, by the end of this year we’ll have a fully operational phase 0 Ethereum 2.0,” Lubin said in the interview. With 8 groups already working on the development and designing the client software, Ethereum will see a radical improvement in its scalability.  

 

He further examined that implementation of Serenity is to come in 4 stages, there are several ways the new chain could connect with the old chain giving either the ability to move in bidirectional mechanisms” with both chains.

 

He also took out time to explain the issue of Proof of Stake citing the several hurdles this migration of Ethereum network might encounter. These have all been critically analyzed before the team started working on its implementation, he assured.

 

Ethereum is expected to be a more robust network as new features such as private transactions making it compatible with more use cases.

 

This is a bold statement coming from Lubin judging by the fact that the last upgrade to Ethereum network, Constantinople had to be postponed severally before it was finally implemented. Several other notable stakeholders had predicted that this implementation might take as much as 2021 before it can be finally achieved.    

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