Thursday, December 3, 2020

Visa partners to launch USDC payments

Visa partners to launch USDC payments
Image for Visa earnings report

A major card payment service Visa announced its partnership with CENTER to offer USDC linked payments. The company wants to link its payment network of 60 million merchants worldwide to the USDT stablecoin.

The stablecoin was developed by Visa’s partnering company Center, a consortium launched by Coinbase and Circle. The move, according to analysts, could significantly reduce the entry barrier for the use of stablecoin.

The USDT can be easily stored in unhosted wallets and is issued on the public Ethereum blockchain.

Users can send and receive USDC payments after launch

The report reveals that Visa will soon issue credit cards that allow users to use their credit cards to send and receive USDC payments directly. However, the firm noted that it will be possible only Circle completes Visa’s Fast Track program next year.

Visa’s head of crypto Cuy Sheffield has commented on the development on Twitter. He said when the card is incorporated, it will be the first to enable transactions through USDC balance.

 “This will be the first, corporate card that will allow businesses to be able to spend a balance of USDC,” he stated.

The partnership allows card issuers to integrate the USDC software

Although Visa will not be a custodian of any USDC, the agreement means Circle will partner with Visa to enable credit card issuers to incorporate the USDC software into their platforms.

Circle spokesperson Josh Hawkins also commented on the development via email, saying both firms are looking at a possible launch by next year.

The firms will be developing a corporate card that would enable the cardholders to spend USDT at merchants and vendors that have the Visa logo. According to the announcement, all vendors who accept Visa cards will also accept the USDC transactions once the project is launched next year.

One of the rules of the card payment company in the United States is that cards should be issued by banks, which means Circle will have to partner with banks to launch the product. However, the rules in other countries allow non-banks to issue Visa cards. Hawkings did not disclose any further details about the arrangement.

Already, over 20 wallet providers have signed up for the Fast Track plan of the card provider, which has set the stage for the car provider’s USDC project.

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Waves calls upon blockchain developers to apply for grants

Waves calls upon blockchain developers to apply for grants
Waves grant applications

The Waves Association, a non-profit organization dedicated to the mass adoption of Web 3.0, has invited developers to apply for the first batch of grants under the Waves Grant program. The organization made this invitation on December 1 through a blog post. Reportedly, the program will let developers propose solutions to be integrated into the Waves ecosystem as well as bid for a total of 250,000 WAVES.

According to the blog post, the association will issue grants in the Web 3.0 Development Grant category, which seeks to incentivize developers to build products on the Waves protocol. In so doing, the non-profit hopes to address specific problems and encourage the mass adoption of blockchain-based solutions, with a key focus on inter-chain communications.

The publication went on to note that the Waves Association would accept grant applications starting December 1 up to February 1. The association promised to process all the requests promptly, adding that if its members deem an application valuable, it would issue the developer behind it a grant before the application deadline. Allegedly, the non-profit will determine the specific amount of each grant on a case-by-case basis, with the maximum amount of funds in a grant being 100,000 WAVES.

More application calls are yet to come

Per the organization, this is just the first batch of grants. Therefore, there will be more application calls in the same category at a later date. Through the next batches of grants, the association seeks to distribute grants totalling 1 million WAVES between 2020 and 2021. All grant decisions will be made via DAO, a community-powered tool that allows Waves Association members to announce grants and select eligible recipients.

The Waves Association went on to note that it encourages developers to propose solutions under the Web 3.0 Development Grants category. While the program appeals to developers to come up with solutions for specific use cases, it also welcomes ideas related to other aspects of blockchain technology. To check how their applications have turned out, developers will have to visit the Waves Association’s website.

This news comes after the Waves Association rolled out the Waves Grant program in October this year, targeting individuals blockchain developers, teams, and startups that can implement ideas that serve the interests of the Waves ecosystem.

At the program’s launch, Sasha Ivanov, president of the Waves Association subtly criticized some of the interoperability solutions in the market, saying,

“Waves Association aims to support independent developers working on interoperability solutions — especially those thinking outside the box. Solving interoperability by adding a dedicated blockchain and native token as an additional layer would only lead to more complexity, undercutting the potential of the proposed solution.”

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Ukraine’s draft bill on crypto passes the first parliamentary hearing

Ukraine’s draft bill on crypto passes the first parliamentary hearing
Ukraine draft bill on crypto

Ukraine’s efforts toward crypto regulation have seen its draft bill on crypto have a successful first hearing in the Verkhovna Rada, the nation’s parliament. A report unveiled this news on December 2, noting that the country’s lawmakers discussed and greenlighted the idea. Per the publication, the draft bill on virtual assets now has two more hearings before it becomes a law. If this happens, the country will join the short list of countries that have already implemented crypto regulations.

According to the report, the bill’s approval during the parliamentary hearing was not a smooth process. Some legislators lamented spending time on formulating virtual asset laws, whereas there are more important issues affecting the Ukrainian economy. Nonetheless, the bill received 229 yes votes out of 340, passing the first stage of the legislative process.

Reportedly, the bill defines cryptocurrencies as a set of data in electronic form. Per the bill, cryptocurrencies can be an independent object of civil transactions. Also, the bill details that virtual assets can certify property or non-property rights. However, the bill suggests that all digital assets should not be used as legal tender in Ukraine. The draft went on to focus on digital assets backed by goods or services, recommending that they have to be removed from the market once their backing stops existing.

Rules on crypto regulation

The draft defines the owner of virtual currencies as the entity holding them unless when stored by a custodian, forfeited by a court decision, or acquired illegally.

Ukraine’s Ministry of the Digital Transformation would be responsible for regulating cryptocurrencies if the bill passes into law. Under the proposed regulations, crypto service providers must register with the authority before launching operations in the country. Additionally, the firms must provide information regarding the ownership structure and beneficiaries. On top of this, they must ensure they don’t facilitate money laundering and that they protect user data diligently.

According to the Ministry of the Digital Transformation, deploying a clear regulatory framework would foster the growth of crypto businesses in Ukraine. The ministry drafted the bill alongside the country’s crypto community, although some of the members are opposed to the idea of crypto regulation.

Despite attempting to make positive changes regarding crypto regulation, Ukraine is still disadvantaged when it comes to global trading platforms. For instance, Bittrex, a renowned crypto exchange stopped offering its services to Ukrainians in September. While the exchange did not give any specific reasons for halting its services, it claimed that the regulatory environment in the country at the time was not suitable.

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KnowSeafood implements VeChain ToolChain to boost transparency

KnowSeafood implements VeChain ToolChain to boost transparency
KnowSeafood VeChain ToolChain

KnowSeafood, an online seafood marketplace has implemented StoryBird, a VeChain ToolChain-powered transparency application developed by Producers Market. VeChain unveiled this news through a blog post on December 1, noting that KnowSeafood made this move to facilitate the reliable supply of fresh seafood in the US. Through StoryBird, KnowSeafood will reportedly let its customers trace their seafood transparently from the time of capture to their plates.

Per the blog post, KnowSeafood chose VeChain ToolChain to help boost its strategy of directly connecting farming with consumers to using the blockchain. On top of this, the company seeks to curb seafood fraud and supply chain shakeups through blockchain technology.

Securing and enabling food safety through VeChain ToolChain

Reportedly, the VeChain ToolChain allows platforms to deploy blockchain technology with the fastest lead times as compared to other platforms in the industry. By leveraging the intuitive templates integrated into VeChain ToolChain, local seafood farmers will be able to seamlessly upload harvesting, processing, and shipping information onto the VeChainThor blockchain. The blockchain network will then integrate with the StoryBird data visibility module. The application then presents the data publicly for the end-users to verify product origin and trace logistics of delivery.

By deploying blockchain technology, the organization will be able to fill the gaps between all stakeholders in the trade. Through this implementation, KnowSeafood’s platform will begin tracing multiple seafood categories on VeChain ToolChain starting Q4 2020. These species include Norwegian Salmon, North Atlantic Haddock, Peruvian Mahi-Mahi, New England Sea Scallops, Maine Lobster, among others.

Per Daniel McQuade, KnowSeafood’s founder and CEO,

“Our groundbreaking experience working with blockchain has proven to us how powerful a solution it is to traceability and sustainability. The American consumer is demanding the kind of transparency and provenance that blockchain technology delivers. In working with VeChain and the Storybird application, we are bringing our customers the best technology in the market to have immutable trust in seafood from our KnowSeafood online marketplace.”

A unique opportunity for VeChain

According to research, US citizens spend more than £76.6 billion on seafood annually. However, the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) finds that about 80-90% of Americans still fail to meet the recommended level of seafood consumption. Per USDA, this is mainly due to the mislabeling of imported products and unfamiliarity with preparation methods.

To help improve this situation, the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) published guidelines and advice for US consumers regarding the purchase of safe seafood. The publication advised customers to look for the label containing information on where the fish was harvested, processed, and certified. As such, the agency compelled producers to find ways to improve transparency. This creates a unique opportunity for VeChain ToolChain to help more producers become transparent.

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Wednesday, December 2, 2020

Nation-state hacker group uses mining techniques to stay hidden

Nation-state hacker group uses mining techniques to stay hidden
monero miners

BISMUTH, a nation-state threat actor, is taking advantage of crypto mining techniques to disguise its attacks, according to the Microsoft 365 Defender Threat Intelligence team. The team unveiled this news through a report on November 30, noting that the hacker group is now releasing crypto-mining malware alongside its regular cyberespionage toolkits.

According to the report, BISMUTH has been running sophisticated cyberespionage attacks since 2012, leveraging both custom and open-source tools. The group has reportedly been targeting large multinational corporations, governments financial services, educational institutions, and human and civil rights organizations. However, BISMUTH’s most-recent attacks have taken on a new shape, according to the Microsoft threat intelligence team. For instance, the team highlighted the group’s July to August 2020 attacks, noting that the group launched monero (XMR) miners, targeting both private and government institutions in France and Vietnam.

Explaining how BISMUTH managed to carry out these attacks, the Microsoft 365 Defender Threat Intelligence team said,

“Cryptocurrency miners are typically associated with cybercriminal operations, not sophisticated nation state actor activity. They are not the most sophisticated type of threats, which also means that they are not among the most critical security issues that defenders address with urgency.”

As such, the group took advantage of the low-priority alerts of crypto miners to try to establish its persistence while flying under the radar.

Blending in to create trust with targets

According to the Microsoft 365 Defender Threat Intelligence team, BISMUTH’s operational goal of establishing continuous monitoring and extracting useful data when it surfaces remained unchanged. However, the use of XMR miners opened a gateway for other attackers to monetize compromised networks. The team admitted that the use of crypto miners was unexpected. Nonetheless, the team was quick to add that the move was consistent with the group’s method of blending in.

The threat intelligence team went to note that,

“This pattern of blending in is particularly evident in these recent attacks, starting from the initial access stage: spear-phishing emails that were specially crafted for one specific recipient per target organization and showed signs of prior reconnaissance. In some instances, the group even corresponded with the targets, building even more believability to convince targets to open the malicious attachment and start the infection chain.”

Per the report, the use of crypto miners allowed BISMUTH to hide more harmful activities behind threats that many systems passed off as commodity malware. The publication went on to advise that when dealing with commodity banking Trojans that bring-in human-operated ransomware, network operators should treat malware infections with urgency as they can indicate the onset of more sophisticated attacks.

Effective means of curbing such attacks

Outlining some of the ways that organizations can build up resilience against such attacks, the report noted that networks should educate their end-users about shielding their personal and business information on social media. The report also recommended that users should configure Office 365 email filtering settings, turn on surface reduction rules, disallow macros or only allow macros from known locations, and check perimeter firewall and proxy settings to restrict servers from making arbitrary connections to the internet.

On top of this, the publication suggested that users should enforce strong, randomized administrator passwords, use multi-factor authentication, and avoid the use of domain-wide, admin level service accounts.

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Visa and BlockFi set to launch a credit card to reward users with BTC

Visa and BlockFi set to launch a credit card to reward users with BTC
visa btc rewards

Visa Inc., a leading financial services company, has teamed up with BlockFi, a New York-based crypto startup, to launch a credit card that rewards users with bitcoin (BTC) instead of airline cash or cash. A report unveiled this news on December 1, noting that users of the new card will get 1.5% of all their purchases back in BTC. On top of this, the card will offer the users £187 if they spend more than £2,246 within the first three months of getting the card.

According to the report, the Bitcoin Rewards credit card has an annual fee of £149.7. Allegedly, Evolve Bank & Trust will be responsible for the card’s issuance

Commenting on the upcoming launch of the card, Zac Prince, BlockFi’s founder and CEO said,

“We’re excited to add credit cards to our suite of products and expand Bitcoin’s accessibility to a broader set of consumers.”

The companies hope to roll out the card to the general public in early 2021. However, BlockFi account holders will be able to sign up before the official launch. Reportedly, BlockFi’s collaboration with Visa is part of the financial services giant’s Fintech Fast Track program. This initiative seeks to expedite the process of integrating with Visa, allowing nimble startups to leverage the reach, capabilities, and security of VisaNet, the company’s global payment network. In so doing, Visa aims to help FinTech startups become scalable quickly.

Visa’s evolving stance on crypto

This news comes as Visa continues underpinning the mainstream adoption of BTC. However, the firm has not always been pro-crypto. In 2018, Visa got into a public fight with Coinbase exchange over issues related to the exchange’s users making crypto purchases with its cards. Nonetheless, both firms ironed out the issues and entered into a deal that saw them launch the Coinbase card, which allows users to spend crypto through the visa-backed debit card.

Since then, the company has displayed great interest in the crypto sector. Earlier this year, the company joined hands with Fold, a crypto startup to offer a debit card that earns crypto-based rewards. At the time, Fold’s CEO, Will Reeves said that the card would be a game-changer as it would let its users accumulate BTC in a simple and smart way as compared to creating a virtual wallet on a crypto asset. Through this project, Visa helped boost BTC’s adoption, seeing as the card is usable on a plethora of renowned retailers, including Amazon and Starbucks.

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Crypto News Cast For December 2nd 2020 ?

Crypto News Cast 📮 2-12-2020

Welcome to The Crypto News Cast: A Complete Cryptocurrency News letter For Today

24hours Cryptocurrency Market Cap:

📈MarketCap:          $568 B
📊24h Mcap %:        2.95%
⚠️Bitcoin Dom:        62.50%
📌Active Coins:       4,769
📍24h Vol %:           -22.35%
💲24h Vol:                $204 B

Crypto News Updates :

  • Alfa-Bank In Russia Offers Blockchain Based Services
  • ECB President Christine Lagarde Praises Bitcoin Over Stablecoin
  • 17% of Paypal Users Has Already Bought And Sold Bitcoin
  • Gemini Donates $50K to HRF to Fund Bitcoin Devs
  • Visa and Blockfi teams up to launch Bitcoin reward credit card
  • CEO Of World’s Largest Asset Manager Bullish On Bitcoin As A Global Asset
  • Bitcoin Monthy Active Addresses Hits 19.6 million
  • Ethereum 2.0 Goes Live With Launch of Beacon Chain

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- Alfa-Bank In Russia Offers Blockchain Based Services

Alfa-Bank, one of the largest private commercial banks in Russia, explores Blockchain-based services for for self-employed like tutors, taxi drivers and repairmen to help them automate their services. Denis Dodon, director of Alfa-Bank’s research and development center, said it will ease remuneration for the freelancers. The new service consist of two applications: “Alfa.Corporate” for busineses and “My Income” for individuals. Blockchain technology will bring a secure exchange between the bank and the busineses. Read Full on cointelegraph.

- ECB President Christine Lagarde Praises Bitcoin Over Stablecoin

Christine Lagarde, European Central Bank (ECB) president expressed her view about digital assets especially Bitcoin as the future of money compared to stablecoins. She strongly shared her opinion that Bitcoin should be trusted and engaged in. She pointed out the benefits of Bitcoin and distributed ledger technology even though innovations like the blockchain comes with its risk and also opportunities. Lagarde also shared her opinion on Stablecoins compared to other cryptocurrencies and how Bitcoin is preferable to Stablecoins. Read Full on Bitcoin News.

- 17% of Paypal Users Has Already Bought And Sold Bitcoin

According to Mizuho survey, 17% of Paypal users have bought and sold Bitcoin through the app. The survey also showed that 65% of the 28 million merchants who use PayPal will use Bitcoin as currency. Also, Bitcoin users had higher balances compared to non bitcoin users. The report also showed that user engagement increased 3 times more than usual due to the Bitcoin excitement with the Bitcoin traders. Read Full on CoinDesk.

- Gemini Donates $50K to HRF to Fund Bitcoin Devs

Winklevoss’ Gemini cryptocurrency exchange donates $50,000 to the Human Rights Foundation to fund open source software which will improve the usability of Bitcoin. The funding from Gemini will sponsor new developers in first quarter of 2021. The Human Rights Foundation received this funding the same day they announced sponsorship for another Bitcoin developer, Gloria Zhao. She is an under grad and president of Blockchain at Berkley. Read Full on CoinDesk.

- Visa and Blockfi teams up to launch Bitcoin reward credit card

Visa and Blockfi teams up to launch Bitcoin reward credit card which will lead to increased digital asset adoption. The new reward credit card will reward purchases with Bitcoin rather than airline miles or other cashback rewards. Cardholders will qualify to receive 1.5% of their purchases back in BTC. The reward credit card will be available to the general public in early 2021, BlockFi account holders will be able to sign up beforehand. Read Full on cointelegraph.

- CEO Of World’s Largest Asset Manager Bullish On Bitcoin As A Global Asset

Larry Fink, CEO of BlackRock, world’s largest asset manager with over $7.4 trillion dollars in assets under management, said that Bitcoin has the potential to become a global market asset even though the cryptocurrency market is still at an early phase. He said that more people are becoming Interested in cryptocurrency and owning a digital asset will influence the value of fiat as a reserve currency. Read Full on CoinDesk.

- Bitcoin Monthy Active Addresses Hits 19.6 million

Active Bitcoin addresses nears all time high in November with about 19.6 million monthly addresses which sent or received Bitcoin. According to Glassnode, a Blockchain data provider, there is always increase in the number of addresses as the price of Bitcoin increases because Interest in Bitcoin also increases. As Bitcoin nears its all time high, active Bitcoin addresses also spiked. There are over 740 million active Bitcoin addresses According to Glassnode. Read Full on Decrypt.

- Ethereum 2.0 Goes Live With Launch of Beacon Chain

The much-anticipated network upgrade for Ethereum just launched. The first step of Ethereum 2.0—the massive upgrade set to revolutionize the Ethereum network—went live at 12:00 pm UTC today. Phase 0, also known as the Beacon Chain, is the first stage of this launch. The Ethereum 2.0 upgrade promises to make several major improvements to the Ethereum network, including the introduction of a proof-of-stake mechanism, which should solve some of Ethereum’s long standing scalability problems. Read Full on Decrypt.

Institutional demand for Bitcoin skyrockets while technicals point to a steep correction

Institutional investors buying Bitcoin

Bitcoin surged to a new all-time high for the first time since mid-December 2017. While interest among institutional investors skyrockets, a particular technical indicator points to a steep decline before further gains.

Institutional investors cannot get enough

Bitcoin used to be regarded as a speculative financial instrument used by retail traders to make a quick buck. This narrative was seen throughout the entire 2015-2017 bull run as prices skyrocketed nearly 10,000%. During this two-year period, the pioneer cryptocurrency went from a low of $200 to a peak of nearly $20,000. 

Now, it seems like the on-going bullish cycle is driven by institutional investors who are using Bitcoin as a store of value. 

Legendary American hedge fund manager Stanley Druckenmiller is one of the many billionaires who have confessed to owning a significant number of BTC. Druckenmiller believes that this new asset class presents better safe-haven characteristics than gold as it is thinner and less liquid, with higher beta. 

The rising demand for Bitcoin among big players can be seen from an on-chain perspective as well. Ever since the ongoing uptrend kicked off in early October, the number of large transactions with a value of $100,000 or higher has seen a steady increase.   

On October 11, there were roughly 9,800 large transactions on the Bitcoin network. Today, this metric is hovering around 20,000 large transactions, representing a 105% upswing within this short period. Such an uptrend is a clear signal that confidence in BTC is rising among institutional investors. 

Despite the growing demand for the flagship cryptocurrency, a well-known technical index on Wall Street suggests that a correction is about to begin. 

Technical analysis: Bitcoin looks poised to correct

The Tom Demark (TD) Sequential indicator presented a sell signal on Bitcoin’s one-month Heikin-Ashi chart. The bearish formation developed in the form of a green nine bar. This type of technical pattern suggests that Bitcoin could be bound for a one-to-four-monthly-bar correction before the bull run resumes.

Based on historical data, the TD setup has been extremely accurate at predicting local tops on BTC’s trend. It even presented a sell signal in December 2017, just before the 2018 bear market began. For this reason, the current forecast must be taken seriously, despite the bullish price action seen over the past few months.

By measuring the Fibonacci retracement indicator from December 2018’s low of $3,150 to the recent all-time high of $19,837, multiple targets can be defined.

Based on this technical indicator, a spike in sell orders around the current price levels could push Bitcoin to $16,300. But if the selling pressure is strong enough, prices may drop towards the next critical area of support, around $13,500.

Even though the TD setup suggests that Bitcoin is ready to retrace, the recent high of $19,837 must hold to validate the bearish outlook. Failing to do so will likely lead to a spike in upward pressure fuelled by a state of FOMO among investors. Slicing through this resistance barrier could see BTC aim for $24,500, or even $30,000. 

Key price levels to watch 

Given the high levels of speculation around Bitcoin, it is not clear when a steep correction will take place. Back in 2017, when BTC was trying to climb above 2013’s all-time high of $1,200, it shortly breached this milestone, only to then take a 32% nosedive. If history repeats itself, similar price action may develop now. 

A 30% correction from the recent high of $19,837 could see the bellwether cryptocurrency dive towards $13,000 as mentioned in the previous analysis. However, too many analysts are paying attention to this fractal, which lessens its effectiveness. For this reason, it is crucial to wait for a daily candlestick close above the overhead resistance, as it may help invalidate the bearish outlook.

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Bithumb announces the listing of SUN and JUST on its platform

Bithumb announces the listing of SUN and JUST on its platform
Bithumb partnered with Chainalysis after new Korean crypto regulations

One of the leading cryptocurrency exchanges, Bithumb,  recently announced the listing of two TRON-based cryptocurrencies — SUN (SUN) and JUST (JST). Apart from the listing, the company had also taken the opportunity to announce a new TRX Airdrop Event.

Two new listings on Bithumb

According to Bithumb’s announcement, both tokens were listed yesterday, December 1st, 2020, at 1 pm (KST). Deposits were made available only one hour later,

As some may already know, both cryptocurrencies are a part of the TRON-based DeFi sector, with SUN being a completely community-driven project that focuses on DeFi itself.

As for JUST, this is a stablecoin pegged to the US dollar, meaning that its price will always remain equal to $1.

Details about the TRX airdrop

Apart from the listing of the two tokens, the announcement also talks about a TRX token airdrop event, which started yesterday, and will end today, December 2nd, at around 6 pm (KST).

The airdrop will take place in four rounds, each of which will distribute 600,000 TRX for trading SUN and JST alike.

The first two rounds took place yesterday, with the first one starting immediately after the listing opening, and it lasted until 3 pm (KST). The second round lasted for two hours, between 5 pm and 7 pm, while round three started today, December 2d, and it lasted from 10 am to 12 pm. The last round starts at 4 pm, and it will end at 6 pm.

The remaining tokens will be distributed depending on the accumulation of transactions, with the account that takes 1st place receiving 100,000 TRX-worth for SUN, and just as much for JST. The accounts in second place will receive 65,000 TRX for trading SUN, and 65,000 TRX for trading JST.

The accounts in the 3rd spot will receive 35,000 for each of the tokens, while those who find themselves ranked between the 4th and 100th spot will receive a portion of 400,000 TRX for each token, depending on the transactions.

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Binance launches new ETH2 staking service

Binance launches new ETH2 staking service
BNB Uganda

Crypto exchange Binance revealed in a blog post that it will go live with the new ETH2 staking service his week. According to the exchange, the staking service will be launched today, as it plans to offer daily rewards to stakers in form of BETH tokens.

Binance said participants in the ETH 2 staking will be rewarded with BETH at 1 ETH to 1 BETH ratio. Additionally, the ETH 2 staking rewards will be issued daily in form of BETH, the statement continues.

When the ETH 2 phase is launched, BETH will enable holders to redeem their ETH reward at the ratio of 1:1.

Benefits accrued to users

Binance also listed the benefits of staking in the ETH 2.0, stating that the exchange will take care of all user validator operational expenses. It will also take care of all on-chain penalties as well distribute all on-chain staking rewards to users.

However, there are rules and benchmarks for the staking service. According to Binance, the reward calculation is based on user holdings, as it plans to distribute the BETH rewards daily. Also, users are allowed to stake 5%-20%, based on their on-chain staking income. The minimum staking amount is pegged at 0.0001 ETH and the reward period begins from 2020/12/02 at 0:00 AM (UTC).

Binance also said if BETH is offered in the future for trading, users will be allowed to trade between BETH and ETH without any charges or fees.

Users who have finalized their Know Your Customer (KYC) forms before the end of the activity period will also be rewarded with BETH.

Qualifying users can also double their rewards for a maximum of 5,000 staked ETH. Additional rewards earned from users who staked more than 5,000 will not be included in the BNB reward calculation.

The initial phase of ETH 2.0 went live yesterday

The announcement is coming barely 24 hours after Coinbase exchange listed its ETH 2.0 support plans. The plans include the introduction of a trading pair between the ETH and ETH2 tokens, as well as a planned staking service.

The ETH 2.0 project started the initial stage of its multi-stage rollout yesterday, as has already been planned. It came with the introduction of the so-called beacon chain, which will serve as the data backbone for the new network.

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Facebook’s Libra changes name to Diem

Facebook’s Libra changes name to Diem
Blockchain Capital Libra

Social media giant Facebook has announced a change of name for its digital asset Libra. The name change will happen today, as Facebook tries to win regulators hearts regarding the digital asset.

The much-publicized Libra has not seen the light of the day, as it has been facing severe regulatory disapprovals from various regulatory bodies. However, the parent company Facebook has taken another step to show that the project has “organizational independence”.

The Libra project was initially met with widespread pushback because its ambitious goal may threaten the existence of the mainstream government financial systems. Also, it received backlash for being a project coming from Facebook, as many feel it will give Facebook an undue competitive advantage.

Building a compliant payment system

 According to the report on the name change, the Libra Association, which is the independent organization that runs the project, will now be known as the Diem Association, with its currency known as the Diem Dollar from today.

While announcing the change of name, the “independent organization” said the goal of the project remains the same, which is to build a secure, safe, and compliant payment system.

The name change is coming when the Libra association is planning to roll out a single coin supported by one dollar, as reported by the media.

Libra Association trying to appease regulators

The regulatory hurdles and controversial nature of the coin means that it has shrunk significantly since its launch was first announced. However, major launch partners of the coin gathered around to offer full supports in quick succession last year. It was decided that a change of name would be the best for any progress the developers will make towards the coins.

Last year at the House Financial Service Committee, Congress members were not particularly supportive of the ambition of the Libra as they expressed distrust about the project’s goals.

They questioned Facebook’s Chief Executive Officer Mark Zuckerberg about the true nature of the project and whether it will not disrupt the financial systems of governments.

To gain back more trust from the regulators, the association said last year that the crypto coins will provide stable coins backed by a single nation’s currency, either in Euro or in Dollar. And last year, many of the top financial heavyweights denounced their support for the Libra Project. Companies such as eBay, Visa, MasterCard, and PayPal pulled out of the project. But the recent move by the Libra Association is aiming at gaining back more trust and support for the project.

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SEB bank creates its own part of a global blockchain platform

SEB bank creates its own part of a global blockchain platform
SEB global blockchain platform

SEB, a leading Swedish bank has created its own part of an international blockchain trade finance platform. The bank unveiled this news via an official press release on December 1, noting that it had set up its own production environment under Contour, a global blockchain-based platform for trade finance transactions, which went live at the start of October this year.

Per SEB, the production environment leverages blockchain technology, helping it ease bank processes. At the moment, the bank is running a test environment, which is entering its beta phase before the upcoming launch of the live production environment.

According to the press release, the project involves a platform that seeks to minimize the time consumed in processing transactions pertaining to Letters of Credit. Per SEB, the platform can potentially reduce lead times by up to 90%, reducing the amount of time needed to complete a transaction from an average of 10 days to less than 24 hours. According to the bank, the new platform would replace the current paper-based process with a digital solution.

Marina Sandquist from Trade Finance and a member of the team working on the platform’s implementation at SEB said,

“Using this technology, all parties get a common interface and can access all information simultaneously. This replaces SWIFT and the need to send each other physical mail.”

Developing a global platform

Per SEB, it has been involved in the development of the Contour platform since its outset. The first step in the platform’s development was five years ago when the bank partnered joined an international banking consortium comprising leading banks such as Bangkok Bank, BNP Paribas, CTBC, HSBC, ING, Standard Chartered, and Citi. This coalition resulted in the formation of R3, a US-based company, which later created a blockchain infrastructure platform dubbed Corda.

SEB has been a co-owner of R3 since 2017. Per the press release, a project started the development of a trade finance solution on the Corda platform. Reportedly, Contour put this solution into global operation. Kristina Söderberg, Venture Capital, and Helen Seeman, global product manager for Trade Finance, Transaction Services, will represent SEB on the company’s board.

A sector with vast potential

To date, more than 80 banks and firms in 17 countries have already tested the technology in simplifying transactions involving commodities, petrochemical products, energy, and metal among others. As such, SEB believes that the technology’s potential is massive.

Per Sandquist,

“The trade finance market is expected to amount to 79 billion dollars by 2026. According to the original estimates, about 40% of this trade will use Contour’s blockchain technology by then.”

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Tuesday, December 1, 2020

Crypto News Cast For December 1st 2020 ?

Crypto News Cast 📮 1-12-2020

Welcome to The Crypto News Cast: A Complete Cryptocurrency News letter For Today

24hours Cryptocurrency Market Cap:

📈MarketCap:          $563 B
📊24h Mcap %:       -12.59%
⚠️Bitcoin Dom:        62.50%
📌Active Coins:       4,763
📍24h Vol %:            42.69%
💲24h Vol:                $230 B

Crypto News Updates :

  • Tezos To Integrate Zcash Privacy Feature In Next Upgrade
  • Huawei Lists TRON's BitTorrent On Their Latest Devices
  • AllianceBernstein, Global Investment Giant Recommends Bitcoin In Investors' Portfolio
  • Niall Ferguson: US Should Integrate Bitcoin Into US Financial System
  • Winklevoss Twins Believes Bitcoin Will Eventually Hit $500,000
  • Venezuelan Army Turns To Crypto Mining As Their Economy Collapses
  • Coinbase To Support ETH 2.0 Staking In Early 2021
  • Ethereum Surpasses Bitcoin In Number Of Node Counts

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- Tezos To Integrate Zcash Privacy Feature In Next Upgrade

Key features of the Zcash blockchain are going to be merged onto the Tezos blockchain, giving its users optional privacy. Nomadic labs, Marigold, and Metastate (Tezos developers) said they are working hard on some improvements and upgrade tagged "Edo". Edo features will include implementation of Sapling (privacy feature), ticket system (allows contract to grant portable permissions to other contracts), fifth period (to help with future upgrades) and some minor bug fixes. Read Full on Decrypt.

- Huawei Lists TRON's BitTorrent On Their Latest Devices

Huawei partners with BitTorrent, TRON's project giving over 3 billion Huawei users access one of the largest decentralized network on their latest devices. With over 100 million active users globally and over 2 billion app installations, BitTorrent is the largest decentralized network in he world. An independent TRON community team is working towards building a protocol that will bridge Huawei and TRON network through BitTorrent in other to leverage its file sharing system. Read Full on BTCMANAGER.

- AllianceBernstein, Global Investment Giant Recommends Bitcoin In Investors' Portfolio

Inigo Fraser Jenkins, co-head of the portfolio strategy team at Bernstein Research, recognized Bitcoin as great store of value, a medium of exchange and a hedge against inflation just like gold. AllianceBernstein research recommends Bitcoin as core part of investor's portfolio taking up to 1.5% to 10% which is significant compared to allocations of other assets. Fraser Jenkins also saw the volatility in Bitcoin as a desirable advantage. Read Full on CoinDesk.

- Niall Ferguson: US Should Integrate Bitcoin Into US Financial System

British economic and financial historian Niall Ferguson said the United States needs to find its own path in adopting cryptocurrencies, rather than “building [its] own versions of China’s electronic payments systems. He said that U.S authorities should recognize the benefits of integrating Bitcoin into the U.S. financial system as it already have methods in place to deal with enforcement surrounding Bitcoin. He added pandemic has generally been good for crypto adoption, accelerating a “monetary revolution” around the world. Read Full on bloomberg.

- Winklevoss Twins Believes Bitcoin Will Eventually Hit $500,000

Tyler Winklevoss who run the United States-based cryptocurrency, Gemini told that investors’ will soon leave fiat and go all in Bitcoin because it’s definitely proving to be a major store of value. Cameron Winklevoss, his twin brother believes that Bitcoin needs to be better than gold to increase massively in value. The twins believe that Bitcoin will hit $500,000. Other crypto enthusiasts believe that the current Bitcoin market is different because of institutional investors. Read Full on marketwatch.

- Venezuelan Army Turns To Crypto Mining As Their Economy Collapses

Venezuelan army launches "Digital Assets Production Center of the Bolivarian Army of Venezuela" which contains diverse ASIC proof-of-work mining equipments. During the inauguration, General Lenin Herrera said that the mining operation will sustain and strengthen the Bolivarian Army, independent of the challenges the economy is facing. The machine will generate income for the army. Nicolás Maduro regime in Venezuela leans strongly on cryptocurrency to keep the economy afloat. Read Full on cointelegraph.

- Coinbase To Support ETH 2.0 Staking In Early 2021

Coinbase, digital currency exchange based in United States are making plans towards supporting ETH 2.0 staking in early 2021. This could lead to more adoption of smart contract. Coinbase said that they will enable trading between ETH and ETH2 including other currencies to provide more liquidity while the ETH2 tokens remain locked on the beacon chain. More updates will come as they draw close to the launch on the exchange. Read Full on cointelegraph.

- Ethereum Surpasses Bitcoin In Number Of Node Counts

The number of Ethereum nodes has increased over 50% since the ETH2 deposit contract address went live. With 11,259 nodes, Ethereum surpassed Bitcoin’s nodes which is 11,136, about 1% gap. Ethereum 2.0 genesis validators pushed the node counts higher than Bitcoin’s second time this year. Blockchain center’s flippening index showed that node count is the third factor Ethereum surpassed Bitcoin with aside from transaction fees and transaction count. Read Full on cointelegraph.

Chainlink (LINK) price prediction for December

Chainlink (LINK) price prediction for December
Up or down? Chainlink (LINK) price prediction for December

Chainlink (LINK) price is trading about 4% lower today after Bitcoin’s trip to record highs has been followed by a correction. 

Fundamental analysis: Platform to participate in Gitcoin Grants Round 8

Chainlink announced it will participate in Gitcoin Grants Round 8 as a matching partner to support projects that aim to enhance Ethereum infrastructure.

By financing infrastructure projects and developers selected by the community, Chainlink is making progress towards the collective vision of the Ethereum community as an open-to-public service that aspires to support more sophisticated smart contract apps, Chainlink said. 

“We believe Gitcoin’s quadratic funding model is worth supporting as a fair and decentralized way of ensuring that everyone in the Ethereum community has a voice in which projects are funded regardless of the amount of capital given by any individual donor,” Chainlink wrote in a blog post.

Chainlink wrote it plans to finance the Gitcoin Grants Round 8 in a bid to match individual donating support provided to popular projects. By doing this, Chainlink said it can boost individual funding support offered to projects that are widely accepted by the community. As a result, there would be broader funding towards open-source protocols.

“DeFi has demonstrated how open-source technology can enhance our financial system, and we are now seeing Ethereum smart contracts go beyond DeFi and start generating value in other markets like insurance, gaming, NFTs, asset tokenization, and more,” Chainlink wrote.

In the blog post, Chainlink added they believe it’s their mission as one of the major protocols in the blockchain community to take part in supporting the improving the open-source community projects across various markets, particularly the infrastructure that’s crucial to all of the protocols, including Chainlink. 

Technical analysis: LINK wants higher

LINK price closed nearly 8% lower last week as the price action has returned to $13.50 to retest the broken resistance line. Bitcoin’s move higher overnight dragged LINK price higher as well before a correction took place to push LINK about 4% in the red for today.

LINK price daily chart (TradingView)

It is now apparent that investors looking to buy LINK are concentrated around the $12.20 mark, where the ascending trend line and 100-DMA are located. Another leg lower and we’re likely to see renewed interest to invest in LINK with a first target on the upside seen at $16.35.


Chainlink said it will take part in the Gitcoin Grants Round 8 as a matching partner finance projects and protocols that can significantly improve the Ethereum infrastructure. In the meantime, the LINK price action has corrected lower.

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Bitcoin (BTC) price corrects after hitting a new all-time high

Bitcoin (BTC) price corrects after hitting a new all-time high

Bitcoin (BTC) price touched an all-time high on Monday to continue its impressive rally this year thanks to a surge in demand from retail and institutional investors.

Fundamental analysis: Increase in institutional demand

The world’s largest cryptocurrency surged over 170% year-to-date, boosted by an increase in demand for safe-haven assets as a result of unprecedented fiscal and monetary stimulus from central banks around the world, and thanks to its appeal as a hedge against inflation.

“Bitcoin is a natural safe haven for those seeking shelter from rapidly increasing central bank money printing and the inflation that everyone agrees is already increasing,” said Sergey Nazarov, founder of decentralized platform Chainlink.

Christopher Bendiksen, head researcher at CoinShares, said elevated interest among corporate and institutional investors were also one of the factors that boosted Bitcoin’s rally.

“While circumstantial, price action really started picking up speed when the U.S. woke up this morning, which could reflect buying pressure from retail-oriented platforms such as Square’s CashApp, Robinhood and PayPal,” said Bendiksen.

The Bitcoin market has seen significant progress since 2017 as it now boasts a well-performing derivatives market and custody services by notable financial companies. 

Technical analysis: New all-time high

Bitcoin price surged to a record peak of $19,918, about three years after it set its previous record. Other major cryptocurrencies including Ethereum and XRP also gained 5.6% and 6.6%, respectively, after Bitcoin set its new high.

Bitcoin (BTC) daily chart (TradingView)

BTC price has, in the meantime, corrected about 5% from the highs to trade below the $19,000 mark on profit-taking. This is similar to a drop of more than 8% last Friday after hitting its peak on Monday. It is likely that Bitcoin investors will still want to push to force the price action to trade above the psychologically-important $20,000 handle in the coming days. 


Bitcoin set a new all-time record on Monday, extending its rally in 2020 as investors view the cryptocurrency as a hedge against inflation and thanks to an increased interest among institutional and retail investors.

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Russia’s Sberbank plans to launch a crypto-buying service

Russia’s Sberbank plans to launch a crypto-buying service
Sberbank crypto-buying platform

Sberbank, Russia’s largest state-owned bank is planning to roll out a platform that will allow its approximately 96 million clients to purchase cryptocurrencies. A report unveiled this news on November 30, citing German Gref, the bank’s CEO, who first disclosed this information during the Investor Day. According to him, the amendments to the law on Digital Financial Assets (DFA) will come into effect in January 2021, allowing the bank to dive into the nascent sector.

In the report, Gref said,

“From January 1, the law comes into force, we want to bring to the market our new blockchain platform, which will provide services for the purchase of digital financial assets. And there we are going to realize the possibility of acquiring green instruments from the very beginning.”

Gref went on to note that Sberbank is considering the possibility of issuing a digital currency dubbed Sbercoin. According to him, the bank can start experimenting on this project in the coming year.

A ruble-pegged stablecoin

This news comes after Sergei Popov, the director of Sberbank’s Transaction Business Division first announced that the bank could issue a digital token in August this year. Per Popov, the digital token will be a stablecoin pegged to the value of Russia’s ruble. He added that the coin would serve as a settlement tool in transactions involving other digital currencies. Popov made this announcement during an online discussion dubbed Digital Financial Assets in Practice.

Explaining why Sberbank is mulling over launching a ruble-pegged stablecoin, Popov said,

“From the point of view of the bank, it is also interesting for us. Probably, we can issue on the basis of the law that was adopted, a token that we can peg to the ruble, such a corresponding stablecoin, which can become the basis, a tool for settlements for some other digital financial assets.”

At the time, Popov said that the bank would decide on when to issue Sbercoin in the future. He added that the bank’s consideration to develop the coin is based on its customers’ wishes and the upcoming implementation of the amendments to the law on digital financial assets. While these changes support ruble-pegged stablecoins, they define BTC and other cryptocurrencies and forbid their use in Russia as a means of payment.

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Venezuelan Army dives into BTC mining to generate unblockable income

Venezuelan Army dives into BTC mining to generate unblockable income
Venezuelan Army crypto mining center

Venezuela’s army has rolled out a crypto mining center containing BTC-mining rigs. A report unveiled this news on December 1, noting that the army seeks to generate unblockable income through crypto mining. Per the publication, the mining center is backed by Superintendencia Nacional de Criptoactivos y Actividades (Sunacrip), Venezuela’s crypto regulator.

According to the report, the 61st Agustín Codazzi Engineer Conditioning Brigade of the Venezuelan Army inaugurated the mining center on November 19. The commander of the brigade, General Lenin Herrera of the Bolivarian Army led the ceremony. General Herrera presided over the ceremony alongside Major General Domingo Hernández Lárez, the commander of the Bolivarian Army. Representatives from Sunacrip and Crypto & Trading, a private crypto company also graced the event.

The 61st Agustín Codazzi Engineer Conditioning Brigade posted a video on its Instagram handle saying,

“For the sake of strengthening and self-sustainability of our Bolivarian army, the harvesters of the 61st Agustín Codazzi Engineer Conditioning Brigade, proudly present the technological [blockchain] project of the Army’s digital asset production center.”

Leveraging crypto to bypass US sanctions

The brigade added that the project has the support of more than 26 national legal norms. These include, but are not limited to Venezuela’s new anti-blockade law, Sunacrip, and the civic military-alliance, among others. The brigade went on to note that the era of crypto production starts in all units of the military component, which will be unblockable income.

Additionally, the brigade noted that the local mining farms and the miners’ refurbishment line will allow the real-time production of crypto. In so doing, the army seeks to facilitate the downfall of the fiat system, which it claims to be blocked and managed by colonialist interests, which have for a long time affected the Venezuelan people. This news comes after the Venezuelan National Constituent Assembly (ANC) approved the anti-blockade bill in October this year. The country’s president, Nicolas Maduro announced this legislation, claiming that it is a legal tool to fight US sanctions against Venezuela’s economy. Reportedly, the bill enables the Venezuelan government to launch programs that will allow investments from technicians, academics, businesses, workers’ councils, popular organizations. The bill, if passed into law would also allow the government to suspend legal norms, that sanctions have rendered inapplicable or counterproductive.

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Thanos hardfork causes a rise in Ethereum Classic (ETC) hashrate

Thanos hardfork causes a rise in Ethereum Classic (ETC) hashrate
NEM (XEM) price on the rise again

Ethereum Classic (ETC) recently saw a successful implementation of the Thanos hard fork. The move was made only days ago, on November 29th. Interestingly, the hard fork was followed by a significant surge of the ETC blockchain’s hashrate.

Thanos hardfork was an important move for Ethereum Classic, as it increased the project’s network security. After ETC hacking attack earlier this year, the new hard fork was meant to increase the project’s hashrate, thus making it less vulnerable to 51% attacks. As it turns out, the fork achieved its goal.

The project’s hashrate climbed up from 3.3 terahashes per second (TH/s) to 5.75 TH/s in only a few hours after the fork.

Why was Thanos hard fork needed?

As some may know, Ethereum Classic’s blockchain uses DAG (Direct Acyclic Graph), which was introduced to prevent the centralization of hash power. With some professional miners using ASICs instead of CPU and GPU miners, there was a major issue of hash power centralization, where these miners would dominate the blockchain, leaving no room for those who cannot afford equipment worth thousands of dollars.

Developers say that the strategy was a major success, but it did come with some downsides. For example, DAG parameters were overly aggressive, which eventually also rendered GPU miners obsolete.

This is why Thanos fork was necessary, as developers planned to reduce the DAG file size from 3.95 GB to 2.47 GB. That way, ASIC miners would still be out of the game, while GPU miners would be able to return to the network.

The fork had one more proposal, which is to make the ETC mining period twice as long, in order to buy GPU miners at least three additional years.

The fork was finally implemented early on November 29th, after the blockchain hit 11.700,000 blocks. More than 90% of the project’s miners have migrated and the hashrate has gone up considerably in hours that followed.

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Zcash (ZEC) privacy features to arrive at Tezos (XTZ) with the new upgrade

Zcash (ZEC) privacy features to arrive at Tezos (XTZ) with the new upgrade
Japanese cryptocurrency exchange set to delist Zcash (ZEC)

Tezos (XTZ) is preparing to receive a new big upgrade named Edo, according to a recent announcement published by the project’s developers. However, another thing that was revealed is that the upgrade will also bring several privacy features from Zcash (ZEC).

Tezos is preparing to add a new upgrade

The new announcement published by Metastate, Nomadic Labs, and Marigold, revealed a number of new improvements to the Tezos project. The release explained that, while no other major smart contract platform can support such functionalities, Tezos’ unique architecture allows for the addition of exciting new features.

The new upgrade was announced only a few weeks after Tezos received its previous upgrade, Delphi. which went live on November 12th, 2020. The developers said that they were hard at work, wishing to improve Tezos’ core software further.

These improvements will come in Edo.

What improvements can be expected in Edo?

According to what is known, one of the biggest features that will arrive with Edo is the integration of Sapling. This is a Zcash blockchain’s library, which will allow shielding transactions.

Next, Edo will also bring a ticket system, which is a smart contracts mechanism that allows portable permissions to other smart contracts. In addition, it can also be used for token issuance.

Of course, Tezos’ existing mechanisms can already allow something similar, although the new upgrade will make the process much easier.

Next, Tezos will receive the so-called ‘fifth period,’ which is basically a proposal to extend the upgrade period for new versions of Tezos’ protocol. As things are now, it only takes a single block (60 seconds) for the new versions to go live after the voting, which is not enough time for network participants to assure seamless upgrades of their nodes.With the fifth period, this time will be extended.

Lastly, Edo will also bring a few smaller bug fixes and improvements regarding gas prices and performance.

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Coinbase announces support for Ethereum 2

Coinbase announces support for Ethereum 2
Arca’s Ethereum-based fund

US-based cryptocurrency exchange, Coinbase, recently revealed plans to add support for the upcoming Ethereum 2.0 staking. Some theorize that, by doing this, the exchange might be setting the stage for the wider adoption of Ethereum’s platform.

Coinbase to add ETH2 staking support

Coinbase made its announcement in a recent blog post that explained that the exchange aims to introduce ETH 2.0 staking, conversion services, as well as trading. The exact date when these new features might be introduced is not known. However, Coinbase did point out that it will come early in 2021.

As soon as Ethereum 2.0 is supported, Coinbase users will be able to convert any ETH coins that they may already own into ETH2. After that, they can start earning staking rewards.

Coinbase did not wish to reveal too much information at this time, noting that additional details will be released as the launch of each new feature comes closer.

Ethereum’s Phase 0 was confirmed

The exchange’s announcement came at an interesting time — right before the Ethereum Beacon Chain launch. The launch will bring a multilayer upgrade to Ethereum’s network, eventually leading to Ethereum’s transition from PoW to PoS.

In doing so, Ethereum (ETH) will improve its security and speed, become more resistant to 51% attacks, and it will reduce centralization. The transfer comes in several phases, with Phase 0 already confirmed last week.

This phase consisted of launching Ethereum’s deposit contract, which was supposed to be up for a limited time, and it needed to gather a minimum threshold of 524,288 ETH. While at first, it seemed like the move will fail due to the lack of interest, the contract soon started filling up with coins.

At the time of writing, there are over 855,260 ETH coins sent to the contract. As for those who opt to stake their cryptos — they will not be able to withdraw or use them until Phase 1 is finished. However, it is worth noting that this is a process that could, in theory, take years to complete, which explains why some ETH users were hesitant regarding joining the move.

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