Bakkt Announces Sept. 23 Launch of Futures and Custody Platform in US

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Bakkt Says It’s ‘Cleared to Launch’ Bitcoin Futures Next Month

Bakkt has been cleared to launch.

The Intercontinental Exchange’s young subsidiary announced Friday that it had acquired a New York state trust charter through the New York State Department of Financial Services (NYDFS). The approval clears the way for the company to begin offering its highly-anticipated physically-settled bitcoin futures contracts. The company intends to launch its products on Sept. 23.

Bakkt, first unveiled last August, has been working on regulatory approvals to begin offering the product over the past year. It intends to offer two types of contracts: a daily and a monthly contract. Both will be settled at the Bakkt Warehouse, a part of its New York-chartered trust company.

In a blog post Friday, Bakkt CEO Kelly Loefler wrote, “Our contracts have already received the green light from the CFTC through the self-certification process and user acceptance testing has begun.”

“With approval by the New York State Department of Financial Services to create Bakkt Trust Company, a qualified custodian, the Bakkt Warehouse will custody bitcoin for physically delivered futures,” she said. “This offers customers unprecedented regulatory clarity and security alongside a regulated, globally accessible exchange in a market underserved by institutional-grade infrastructure.”

She went on to add:

“Uniquely, Bakkt bitcoin futures contracts will not rely upon unregulated spot markets for settlement prices, thus serving as a transparent price discovery mechanism for the benchmark price for bitcoin. The importance of this differentiator is only amplified by reports of significant manipulative spot market activity, and other concerns such as inconsistent anti-money-laundering policies and weak compliance controls.”

Kelly Loeffler image via CoinDesk archives

Nobody Interested in Working on Litecoin Protocol, Says Charlie Lee

charlie lee litecoin Litecoin

Nobody Interested in Working on Litecoin Protocol, Says Charlie Lee


Leaked conversations between Charlie Lee and other principle actors involved with Litecoin show evidence of no significant work being done on the cryptocurrency code since the start of 2019.


Charlie Lee Dropped the Ball

According to a Reddit post submitted less than a week ago, the Litecoin code development arena is a ghost town. The post revealed a series of correspondence between LTC creator Charlie Lee and some members of the Litecoin Foundation.

Bitcoinist was able to obtain an HTML download of these leaked chat messages showing Franklyn Richards, the director of the Litecoin Foundation taking Lee to task on the absence of any progress being made to improving the crypto protocol.

An excerpt from Franklyn’s argument reads:

I was extremely disappointed to discover that no progress had been made on CT since the announcement, especially when I stand on stage telling everyone it’s happening and we are actively working on it.

CT above refers to Confidential Transactions — a protocol upgrade Lee promised via Twitter about eight months ago. At the time, the Litecoin creator declared that CT will be available before the end of 2019.

Last Sunday (August 11, 2019), Lee took to Twitter to address these speculations. According to Lee, even though the Litecoin GitHub shows no code commits in 2019, there is still work being done which doesn’t reflect on the master branch.

The Litecoin creator did, however, admit that he “dropped the ball” on the promised Mimblewimble (MW) and CT protocols. Lee chalked these up to being side-tracked by activities in the adoption arena neglecting core development issues such as fungibility.

Money Cannot Solve Litecoin’s Problems

While responding to criticism supposedly from Richards, Charlie Lee offered a seemingly startling admission about Litecoin’s pedigree, saying:

The honest truth is that no one is interested in working on Litecoin protocol development work. At least no one technically competent. You can’t just throw money at this problem. This is true for Litecoin since the beginning. It has only been me, Warren, and Thrasher.

Lee’s admission echoes similar findings recently published by Electric Capital in its Developer Report showing the latest trends in the crypto code development arena. According to the report, Litecoin has a lesser number of developers than other projects that command a far lower daily transaction volume.

Back in April, Mike Novogratz of Galaxy Digital called Litecoin a glorified testnet for Bitcoin. With a dearth of competent developers, Litecoin may well become obsolete long before protocols like the Lightning Network begin to make a significant impact.

Do you think LTC is dying a slow death? Let us know in the comments below.


Images via Twitter @SatoshiLite. Shutterstock

China’s Digital Fiat Wants to Compete With Bitcoin – But It’s Not a Crypto

The Takeaway:

  • A review of over 50 patent applications submitted by the People’s Bank of China shows the design of its central bank digital currency will only resemble a cryptocurrency in limited ways.
  • A senior official at the central bank said the effort will be helpful to “restrain public’s demands for crypto assets and to strengthen the country’s sovereign currency.”
  • Far from emulating the decentralized aspects of ether and bitcoin, the official emphasized the issuance of the central bank’s digital currency will stick to a centralized management model.

China may be about to launch a fiat digital currency, but in all likelihood, it will only resemble a cryptocurrency on the surface.

And it probably won’t use a blockchain. While inspired to some degree by bitcoin and the like, the effort is explicitly framed as a strategy to beat them back.

The project was thrust into the spotlight last weekend when a senior official from the People’s Bank of China (PBoC) said at a closed-door conference that the country’s central bank digital currency (CBDC) is ready to launch.

In his speech, widely covered in the press, Changchun Mu, deputy director at the PBoC’s payments division, notably said:

“Since last year, the staff at the Digital Currency Research Lab have been working 996 to develop the system. We can say the CBDC is now ready to launch at one’s call.”

(996 is a phrase commonly used in the Chinese tech startup scene, referring to working from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m., six days a week.) 

The CBDC aims to replace M0, meaning cash in circulation, via a two-tier system: the central bank issues the digital yuan only to commercial banks, who will further issue it to the public, Mu said. This approach is perhaps unsurprising since Yao Qian, the former chief of the research lab, hinted at this design in an op-ed published in CoinDesk in 2017. 

However, one comment from Mu that got overlooked by many is that he believes “the two-tier issuance system will be helpful to restrain the public’s demands for crypto assets and strengthen the country’s sovereign currency.”

Mu did not elaborate on how everyday users would interact with this proposed mechanism or to what extent the CBDC really employs distributed ledger technology. And it remains unclear when the central bank plans to test and roll it out or, upon its launch, whether it will be optional or mandatory for Chinese consumers. 

But dozens of patent applications submitted by the research lab to China’s State Intellectual Property Office reviewed by CoinDesk offer a window into the PBoC’s thinking on how the system may function and its similarities and (more importantly) differences with crypto.

Crypto-inspired

The PBoC’s Digital Currency Research Lab was formally launched in the summer of 2017 and spearheaded by Yao Qian, although Mu indicated the work has been ongoing for five years. Yao left the position for a different agency around October 2018. 

To date, the lab has filed more than 50 patent applications, all either invented or co-invented by Yao, and about 20 of those focus on design specifications of a so-called digital currency wallet.

Each document covers a specific technology feature of the proposed system, ranging from how to apply for and create a wallet, how to transfer money to and from saving accounts, how a peer-to-peer transaction is verified, etc.

The goal is to build a wallet to store digitized yuan that is unlike the electronic wallets of any bank or third-party payments application. Those wallets, one patent document says, are “merely an extension of assets held in custody at a bank account.” As such, the approach borrows the idea from bitcoin of a peer-to-peer transaction system where users possess private keys to control the asset. 

One patent application, entitled “a method and system for enquiring digital currency transaction information” filed on Dec. 28, 2017, describes a digital currency wallet that aims to bridge the gap between existing electronic wallets and “private quasi-digital currency wallets, like that of bitcoin.” 

The former is not an independent wallet, which may incur security issues, and the latter, while allowing users to personally possess their assets, does so in an anonymous way with transactions of that can’t be reversed, the document further states. 

Another patent application added:

“The emergence of digital currency is an inevitable trend. So far, privately issued digital currency bears the features of anonymity and volatility. Central banks must take their impacts on the payments, monetary systems and financial stability seriously. As such, it’s inevitable for central banks to push for digitized fiat currencies to optimize their circulation.”

KYC-ed digital yuan

And one crucial way to optimize such circulation appears to be stripping the anonymity feature of cryptocurrencies and including a know-your-customer (KYC) process required by other payment methods.

So far, physical cash is arguably the only form of fiat money inside China that can remain anonymous, compared to bank wire or third-party methods offered by companies like Alibaba or WeChat – both requiring real-name verification authenticated by users’ IDs and banking information.

“Existing M0 (banknotes and coins) are subject to counterfeit and money laundering risks. … The [CBDC] system should follow the existing rules about anti-money laundering and anti-terrorism financing imposed on cash, and should report to the PBoC on large amounts and suspicious transactions,” Mu emphasized during his speech. 

His note echoes the design specifications entailed by various patent applications for the proposed peer-to-peer digital currency wallets.

For example, the patent application on how to apply and create digital wallets filed on Dec. 28, 2017 stated that the system lets users apply through their banks and the creation of such digital currency wallets will be registered at the issuance organization. 

Another document detailing how to redeem the CBDC from saving accounts filed on June 26, 2017 explained that after a user sends a request to withdraw money from their saving accounts – similar to withdrawing from an ATM, except now it’s not cash but in a p2p wallet – the corresponding issuers will need to verify a user’s ID before granting the redemption.

And after that, when a user initiates a payment transaction from the independent digital wallet, a third party will verify who is sending how much to whom. 

A third document detailing this method states:

“A sender would authorize a payment deduction request to a receiver’s digital currency wallet. The receiver would verify such request, which will then be sent to the CBDC issuance registration system. The payment will complete after the verification of such request [by the system].” 

In addition, another document specifies a system that aims to customize a tracking solution to make the CBDC traceable even across multiple owners and layers. 

All of this, of course, is a far cry from bitcoin, where there is no central authority, anyone can download software and create a wallet without presenting ID, and payments can be made without any middleman’s permission.

Decentralized no more?

Another open question is to what degree the PBoC’s digital currency system may include the features of blockchain, if at all.

One of the earliest patent documents filed more than two years ago detailed that the central bank did at one point explore the idea of using a distributed network to manage nodes for verifying transactions.

“This technology would empower smart contracts on a blockchain infrastructure to dynamically manage nodes in the network to ensure they share and transact the same data with security and scalability,” the doc stated. 

Mu’s speech also alluded to this approach but added that the strategy has indeed changed over the years. At the very beginning, the research lab did build a prototype completely on blockchain infrastructure but later encountered the issue of scalability, he said, adding:

“Since we are using digital fiat currency to replace M0, to reach a retail-level adoption, the first issue that we can’t bypass is the demand for high-volume transactions.”

Mu used the example of a shopping holiday popular among young people in China to show how blockchains aren’t suitable for mass adoption:

“Our payments network during last year’s Singles’ Day sale at its peak handled 92,771 transactions per second. In comparison, bitcoin and ethereum handles seven and 10 to 20 transactions per second, respectively. [Facebook’s] Libra, based on its recently released white paper, is 1,000 transactions per second. For a country as big as China, it’s impossible to achieve high scalability by purely relying on blockchain. As such, we have decided to remain technologically neutral and do not necessarily rely on one fixed technological path.”

He concluded in his speech that although crypto assets have the natural feature of decentralization, the PBoC’s Digital Currency, under the two-tier system, must stick to a centralized management model. 

“Only designated organizations can operate the redemption and needs to be centrally managed to prevent over-issuance and to ensure the central bank’s management position,” he said.

Yuan image via Shutterstock

South Korea’s ‘Bit-Island,’ Jeju, Redoubles Crypto Efforts After Losing Regulatory Bid

After losing out to Busan in the competition to be declared Korea’s blockchain “regulation-free” zone, Jeju Island is redoubling its efforts to stay in the game, according to a report in the Jeju Island Daily News.

The island, which lies 282 miles south of Seoul and is also a province, announced on August 13th the establishment of the “Global Blockchain Hub City Development Research Service,” in which it will be investing 175 million won ($145,000) for research running through December.

The modest project will be carried out by Tilon, a Seoul-based company specializing in secure virtualization. Established in 2001, the company often works with local governments and a wide variety of public institutions.

Under the terms of the agreement, Tilon will analyze possible blockchain services suitable for the island and develop a model for blockchain on Jeju. A roadmap will be delivered. As part of the engagement, Tilon will examine advances in the U.S. and the U.K.

The goal of the project is to establish the island as another hub for blockchain in South Korea.

Jeju is in a unique position to achieve the relevant developments. Under a special deal with the national government, it has been self-governing since 2006. No other province has that designation. Jeju has considerable freedom in terms of local administration and legislation and has ambitions to use its autonomy to become a “Free International City.”

In recent years, blockchain and crypto have become central to the island’s plans. The Modified 2nd Comprehensive Plan Jeju Free International City, published in February 2017, makes specific reference to the creation of a virtual currency.

Since South Korea’s Financial Services Commission banned ICOs in September 2017, Jeju has been attempting to use its special status as a way to circumvent the regulation and become the country’s only area for these offerings. In 2018, Governor Won Hee-ryong was reelected on a pro-ICO platform.

In March 2019, the island established the Jeju Blockchain Smart City Composition Association (JBCSCCA), and the possibility of a crypto exchange was discussed, to be called “Bit-Island.”

But little has come of the island’s many efforts, and Jeju was passed over as the country’s chosen blockchain hub just last month. Other areas, such as Seoul City, are also pushing their own programs and threaten to eclipse Jeju in terms of blockchain initiatives.

Image of Jeju via Shutterstock.

Don’t Trade Bitcoin, TexasWest Capital Analyst Tells Investors

The recent sell-off in the bitcoin market has brought the price down by more than 15 percent in just five days. The downside action has appeared against the backdrop of a dwindling global economy, shaking the beliefs of many who consider bitcoin as a safe-haven asset against gloomy macroeconomic sentiments. The absence of big hedging moves is strengthening the cryptocurrency’s bearish bias in the near-term.

But, says Scott Melker of TexasWest Capital, a downside move in bitcoin charts should not become one’s instinct of panic-selling their holdings. The cryptocurrency analyst stated today that it is time for investors to do nothing: neither sell nor buy – not until the market establishes a clear bias.

“Don’t get chopped up trying to trade bitcoin right now,” said Melker. “Best to wait for a clear move on a higher time frame and not swim with the whales while they’re playing games. This price action is likely to abuse bulls and bears alike.”

bitcoin, bitcoin news

“Nothing confirmed” as Bitcoin struggles near the $10,000 Level | Image Credits: Scott Melker

The analyst noted that bitcoin is making a Bear Flag, a bearish pattern reflecting an asset’s minor surges while pursuing a broader downtrend. An overhead resistance near the $10,300 level is capping bitcoin from declaring a stronger interim bull bias. Melker said he wants to see at least the cryptocurrency breaking above the midline of the Bear Flag. In the absence of such price actions, bitcoin will remain in a bias-conflict.

“I see no reason to trade this at the moment,” he added. “That said, watching a potential bear flag forming with price struggling to break above the EQ (midline). Also, I still view the $10,300 area as a key level that I would like to be above, not below. Nothing confirmed here for me.”

Bounce Back Calls

bitcoin, bitcoin price

Bitcoin trending inside bull pennant | Image Credits: TradingView.com

The broader price strokes in the bitcoin market show the asset trending inside a Bull Pennant structure. The pattern typically forms after traders catch their breath after a big upward move before they continue the price rally. Before the pennant formation, bitcoin had surged by over 200 percent in an aggressive bull run. As of now, the cryptocurrency appears to be catching a break.

That said, the price, like the previous times, is testing the Pennant support, awaiting a bounce back towards the Pennant Resistance. Bitcoin would likely bounce between the two trendlines until it reaches the apex of the Pennant structure. After that, the price could attempt a breakout at least equalling the height of the Pennant. That could take it much above this year’s peak of $13,868.44.

But, as Melker noted, it is wise to test the wait-and-watch approach. A break below the Pennant support can confirm the analyst’s bear flag theory, meaning bitcoin would likely continue its downside correction.

比特币被“大户”控制?分析人士:你想多了 那是山寨币

近日有关“80%的比特币被2%的钱包控制”的消息被广泛讨论,另一位专家表示,比特币不存在财富分配问题,业内的争论仍在不断升温。

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图片来源:Pixabay

BTC所有权“似乎很平衡”

投资管理巨头VanEck的数字资产策略师兼董事Gabor Gurbacs在8月15日的一条推特上声称,比特币的供应是集中在一起的。

此前,Civic首席执行官文尼•林汉姆(Vinny Lingham)等人也曾发表过评论,他对2%的钱包掌控着80%的可用比特币的说法表示担忧。

正如报道的那样,其他人认为这个指标没有什么意义,因为大量的钱包地址几乎没有资金,几乎被废弃。

尽管如此,随后出现了反复,技术指标来源最终指向的证据表明,随着时间的推移,比特币整体供应正变得越来越分散。

Gurbacs表示同意。“比特币的所有权分布似乎是平衡的,”他总结道,并指出持有比特币最多的地址“往往属于拥有数百万客户的交易所”。

他补充说,62%的比特币供应被大约1.4万个钱包持有。他指出,这一衡量没有考虑到一个用户控制着多个钱包。

中心化是竞争币的问题

随着比特币供应量的减少,未来比特币分布的现状可能会发生有趣的变化。

正如之前报道的那样,即将到来的2020年5月区块奖励减半,将开启比特币发行过程的最后也是最长的阶段。截至本月,总供应量的85%已被开采,剩下的15%要到2140年才会全部进入流通。

在之前可用的大约1780万比特币中,有很大一部分可能因为钥匙放错地方或其他意外情况而永远被锁定。

据统计,“丢失”的比特币的比例高达20%,这意味着随着越来越多的圈外用户加入,争夺剩余比特币的竞争将变得越来越激烈。

与此同时,本月有关比特币供应的讨论出现在一个引人注目的时刻,有关比特币被集中控制的影响的争议正在发酵,甚至扩散到了对其他竞争币的中心化控制的讨论。

具体来说,瑞波(Ripple)及其相关的XRP成为猜测的焦点,在该公司于2019年对XRP的抛售创下了记录。

现在,本已持怀疑态度的评论人士对XRP的信心似乎已荡然无存,资深交易员彼得•勃兰特(Peter Brandt)声称,Ripple的做法最终将导致XRP遭受重大价格损失。

“许多、许多个月以来的图表模式显示了Ripple对XRP的分布——它操纵价格以保持支持。但是如果支持让步,Ripple将被迫大规模抛售。”

火星一线 | 火币公布Prime五期项目开盘补偿方案,用户需8月18日18:00前反馈信息

文 | 文学

火星财经APP微信hxcj24h一线报道,火币发布公告称,火币全球站就EMOGI Network(LOL)在自由交易开盘保护期间与保护期后一分钟内短时盘面异常问题,考虑到可能导致部分用户受损,将针对此期间成交用户做出补偿,补偿范围包括新加坡时间2019年8月15日21:00:00-21:05:59期间内买入LOL的用户:

1.开盘限价保护期内(8月15日21:00:00-21:04:59),在USDT盘成交(买入)的用户;
2.受影响阶段(8月15日21:05:00-21:05:59),在HT/BTC/USDT盘内全部成交(买入)用户。

具体补偿细则如下:

根据火币提供的补偿通道,用户需在8月18日18:00之前,提交自己当日在火币全球站交易LOL账号的UID以及注册火币全球站的手机号或邮箱。


火星财经APP微信hxcj24h此前报道,火币全球站CEO翁晓奇今天中午在朋友圈发文表示,火币将全额补偿因Prime五期LOL短时盘面异常问题造成的用户损失。

截至发稿,HT报价4.9864美元,24小时下跌0.05%,LOL报价0.005572美元,24小时下跌6.81%。

杨民道畅谈“DeFi 在中国”:CeFi 比 DeFi 发展更迅速

pow'er北京峰会

去中心化金融 DeFi 和货币协议平台 dForce 创始人杨民道近日在 Global Coin Research 组织的「DeFi 在中国的发展趋势」发布了一次在线推特直播分享,对中国 DeFi 市场的发展状况进行了梳理和总结,其中提到了一些有趣的洞察和关键数据。

杨民道指出,和美国市场相比,中国 DeFi 呈现一定的中国特色,混种属性明显,通常是 CeFi (中心化金融)和 DeFi (去中心化金融)的结合,深度的整合了代币模式,且以平台为导向,这些平台提供包括资产管理、借贷、交易等服务在内的全方位服务。

此外,杨民道还表示,自 2017 年以来中国的借贷市场大幅增长 ,但 Dai 和 USDC 在中国并未实现真正的普遍采用。目前,虽然 Dai 占据主导地位,但随着时间的推移和更多玩家进场,Dai 正逐步失去市场份额。在中国,人们对稳定币 USDT 表现出强大的信心,大部分都是溢价交易。同时,去中心化借贷的规模相对很小,体量仅仅是中心化借贷的 1%。

以下是链闻对此次直播进行的关键性整理:

1. 2017 年 9 月 4 日成为中国稳定币的市场拐点,当时,央行禁止 ICO,投资者纷纷转向 USDT 交易,USDT 市值猛涨 10 倍。2017 年 7 月左右,币安交易所推出,并迅速崛起。

数据显示, 2017 年第四季度,USDT 开始上涨。

2. 与此同时,OTC 市场开始起飞。自 2017 年以来,中国借贷市场大幅增长 ,但 Dai 和 USDC 在中国并未实现真正的普遍采用。

目前,虽然 Dai 占据主导地位,但随着时间的推移和更多玩家进场,Dai 正逐步失去市场份额。

3. 在中国,人们对稳定币 USDT 表现出强大的信心,大部分都是溢价交易。

4. USDT 是中国市场中最大的 DeFi 玩家,体量最大,且基于信仰😂

5. 然而,相对中心化借贷,去中心化借贷规模很小,仅占中心化借贷的 1%。

6. 和美国市场相比,中国 DeFi 呈现一定的中国特色:

  • 混种属性明显,通常是 CeFi 和 DeFi 的结合,包括币安、火币和 OKEx 这样的主流交易所纷纷涉足 DeFi,开发自己的公链。
  • 中国 DeFi 项目往往整合了代币模式
  • 平台为导向,这些平台提供包括资产管理、借贷、交易等服务在内的全方位服务。

7. 在中国,Staking 是一种新的挖矿模式,前景无限,被认为是下一代 PoW,且 90% 的新公链提供 Staking 模式。


Staking 主要玩家有:

  • 矿池(星火矿池、Bitfish):其中,星火矿池不仅占领了 Cosmos 前 5 名验证者席位,同时也是以太坊最大算力矿池 ;而 Bitfish 也是顶级比特币矿池 。
  • 交易所:火币、OKEx、币安和 Gate,其中,币安通过整合数字资产钱包 Trust wallet ,增加了加密资产的 Staking 功能
  • 钱包:imToken、 Cobo、Wetez,其中,Wetez 专注做钱包,真 . 本聪同时也是 cosmos 节点
  • 加密资产管理平台:Hashquark、Blockpower
  • 社区 KOLs 和媒体:真本聪

8. Ethereum 2.0 发布之后,民道预计以太坊会占据 50% 以上的 staking 市场份额

9. 展望未来,一系列稳定币试验将会在中国展开,比如可能会出现中国版的 Libra 或 CBDC,CeFi 和 DeFi 的混种在会在很长一段时间内存在,交易所会成为 DeFi 主要竞逐者。

来源链接:twitter.com

匿名币 Beam 完成首次主网硬分叉升级

匿名币项目Beam区块链在北京时间8月16日凌晨3点左右,区块高度321321成功完成第一次硬分叉升级。 

在这次升级中,Beam工作量证明算法从Beam Hash I切换为Beam Hash II,官方还在发行说明中提醒Beam钱包的用户,需要在将钱包更新为3.0或以上版本才可继续使用资金。 

Beam首席技术官Alex Romanov在接受采访时表示,Beam正在朝着最初的目标迈进。他表示,该算法使Beam更加高效和可扩展: 

“新的算法, BeamHash II比BeamHash I的效率高30%左右。在分叉中,我们还增加了对Laser Beam的支持(Beam中的闪电网络版本)。”

Beam的硬分叉发生在Beam向Grin捐款几小时后,Grin是Beam的竞争对手,同样使用Mimblewimble协议。Romanov表示,两个团队是朋友,有趣的是,他们没有与其他隐私币团队联系。 

展望未来, Romanov表示,基金会将重点放在消费者方面。待办事项包括原子交换、与Trezor集成的硬件钱包和通用钱包改进。