CoinMarketCap Opens Up On the Binance Acquisition

Executives of CoinMarketCap have released an open letter discussing the Binance acquisition. In it, soon-to-be CEO Carylyne Chan seeks to reassure users that the website will remain independent, and will put greater efforts into offering more services.


New Chief Executive Officer Addresses User Concerns

The reportedly $400 million purchase came as a surprise to the crypto community, yet Binance CEO Changpeng Zhao has stated that a deal had been in the works for a few months. In the letter, Chan addresses a number of concerns that the websites users may have. Most notably, she discusses fears that CMC may no longer operate independently. She states:

CoinMarketCap will continue to be run independently, as an independent entity, from Binance. Decisions will be made according to the best interests of CoinMarketCap, meaning that we will continue to develop products and services that benefit CoinMarketCap users, and continue working with partners and customers in a way that benefits them and brings the greatest value to them.

Chan also lists a number of new services that are under development. These include enabling user registration as well as the creation of watchlists and individual portfolios. A number of new data types may also soon be available.

Brandon Chez, CMC’s founder and current CEO has also announced in a separate letter that he is stepping down, and will “begin a transition to an advisory role.”

CoinMarketCap Clearly At A Crossroads

When Chez founded CoinMarketCap in 2013 it was the only player in the crypto data space. Today, there is no shortage of competition. Dozens of websites and apps offer highly detailed information on all-things-crypto. Thus, CMC must innovate in order to remain the go-to player for research and analytics.

Importantly, over the past year critics have accused CMC of providing unreliable data. The website relies largely on exchange self-reporting, which has resulted in wildly inaccurate liquidity and volume statistics. In fact, by some accounts as much as 95% of all cryptocurrency volume numbers are manipulated or false. CMC has acknowledged this problem and has created protocols to help improve reporting, but the challenge remains.

Data reliability issues notwithstanding, the new ownership by Binance is unlikely to cause serious concerns in the long-run. The exchange has a reputation for transparency and is widely trusted by most crypto investors. More notably is the fact that more than enough alternative data services now exist should CMC fail to deliver on its promise of independence.

Do you think CoinMarketCap will remain independent after the acquisition? Add your thoughts below!


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3 Reasons Why the Crypto Market is Flashing Green Today

Prices across the crypto space are moving into positive territory. Bitcoin is up five percent over the past twenty four hours and many alt coins are breaking weekly highs. Several factors are at play which are pushing up these values.


FEAR OF FIAT INFLATION IS PUSHING PEOPLE INTO CRYPTO

Last week, politicians across the globe went to great lengths to promise massive bailouts and stimulus programs designed to help alleviate the pain of increasing unemployment, and economic recession. The public felt relief, yet economists quickly pounced. Experts asserted that these moves were all but certain to cause massive inflation and much more financial pain down the road.

For days now the criticism of these bailouts has built. Most notably, analysts have made clear that the decision by the U.S. Federal Reserve to print USD $2 Trillion will significantly devalue the Dollar.

Not surprisingly, a greater number of investors are moving their assets into cryptocurrencies, which have a fixed supply and cannot be manipulated by a central bank. This activity reinforces the notion that the public increasingly trusts Bitcoin and alt coins to hold their value during times of economic stress.

PEOPLE ARE LOOKING FOR CRYPTO DEALS

In mid-March crypto investors liquidated millions of dollars worth of their holdings in a scramble to acquire quick cash. Most feared the work stoppages related to the growing economic meltdown.

It has now become obvious that this sell-off created deals aplenty across the blockchain space. With Bitcoin below $7k for the first time in months, the temptation to buy is very strong. The same can be said of many altcoins, some of which have not been this low in over a year.

PLATFORM FUNDAMENTALS REMAIN STRONG

Regarding Bitcoin, there has never been much doubt that 2020 would be a strong year. Before the onset of the COVID-19 crisis, the crypto market recovery was in full swing. Importantly, the block reward halving promised to drive prices much higher. These factors have not changed, and optimism is growing that the flagship cryptocurrency may end the year on a very strong note.

In fact, many cryptocurrencies, Bitcoin included, are experiencing very solid network strength. For example, the growth of decentralised finance (DeFi) is pushing Ethereum activity to new levels. Even lesser alts such as Chainlink, VeChain, and Stellar are experiencing notable increases in real world application. It thus stands to reason that investors will take notice.

The overall crypto market will no doubt remain volatile in the days ahead. Nevertheless, today’s market demonstrates that on a core level it remains healthy

Why do you think the crypto market has turned bullish today? Add your thoughts below!


Images via Shutterstock, Twitter @MrWWolfe 

Anti-Crypto Bank Wells Fargo Wants its $384B Lending Power Back

Wells Fargo at it Again, Faces Suit Over 401(k) Plan Violations News

Anti-Crypto Bank Wells Fargo Wants its $384B Lending Power Back


US banking giant Wells Fargo has the capacity to provide about $384 billion of additional loans to small and medium-sized businesses (SMEs) and individuals, which is especially relevant during the corona crisis. However, the bank can’t help customers because of the asset cap imposed by the Federal Reserve (Fed).


Wells Fargo Asks Fed to Remove the Cap

The US has reported the most cases of coronavirus, and it seems the economic crisis is about to get even worse. President Donald Trump warned of the upcoming “very painful weeks,” while JPMorgan told investors that the stock market hasn’t bottomed out yet. In light of this, Wells Fargo could potentially help customers through its loans. However, it cannot unleash the funds because the Fed had previously imposed an asset cap.

Specifically, the central bank mandated Wells Fargo to keep its assets below $1.95 trillion. The Fed’s decision came in response to the bank’s fake account scandal. For years, Wells Fargo abused its clients by creating fake accounts on behalf of customers and forging documents.

Last week, the bank asked the Fed to remove the cap at least temporarily and let it support people and businesses during the crisis. People familiar with the matter told Bloomberg that the Fed didn’t feel Wells Fargo was ready.

While the bank hired a new CEO last year and announced massive restructuring, the Fed officials are skeptical about its potential to address regulatory concerns.

Wells Fargo didn’t clarify on the matter, but said in a statement:

While we cannot comment on regulatory matters, Wells Fargo is focused on satisfying the requirements of the consent order. During these challenging times, we are very focused on doing all we can for our clients while operating under the constraints of the asset cap.

The Fed’s skepticism shows how much in trouble the bank really is. The central bank has been calling major banks to boost lending at the expense of whatever excess cash they have in an effort to support the economy amid the crisis. Together, the biggest banks have enough capital to increase lending by $1.6 trillion.

We May Know Fed’s Position in Coming Days

The Fed imposed the cap in February 2018. At the end of 2019, Wells Fargo had only $24 billion free room to that level. Given that deposits are flowing in, the company has probably reached that limit and cannot lend any more.

Ironically, Wells Fargo has the most firepower among biggest US banks. The problem is that it cannot use the capital because of the Fed’s limit.

In any case, this is a difficult situation for the Fed, who has to maintain its role as a strict regulator of biggest banks on the one hand and boost liquidity amid the crisis on the other hand. Despite the economic collapse, the central bank doesn’t want to let Wells Fargo escape the sanction.

However, the Fed hasn’t provided any official comment yet. We may find more details about the situation in the coming days. Last Saturday, Maxine Waters, the head of the House Financial Services Committee, asked Fed Chair Jerome Powell to disclose more information on Wells Fargo’s request and what the central bank might be up to. Waters expects a briefing later this month.

Wells Fargo’s current CEO, Charlie Scharf, succeeds two previous CEOs who tried to fix the scandal but left the bank in a worse situation by frustrating regulators. Politicians and regulators accused the bank of failing to act promptly. Scharf is the first outsider among recent CEOs. He has taken even more radical measures to restructure the bank.

Nevertheless, Wells Fargo was the bank that last year prevented its customers from purchasing cryptocurrency with their own funds, citing “multiple risks associated with this volatile investment”. And now they are the bank with a forced asset cap due to mismanaging its 401k plan investments.

Do you think the Fed will allow Wells Fargo to lend using the excess funds? Share your thoughts in the comments section!


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Former UBS Vice Chairman Joins Blockchain Firm

Former UBS Vice Chairman Joins Blockchain Firm News

Former UBS Vice Chairman Joins Blockchain Firm


Hong Kong-based Diginex, which provides cryptocurrency and blockchain services, has appointed a former UBS executive as head of Asia operations.


Diginex Hires Another UBS Executive

Diginex has hired Chi-Won Yoon, who held the position of vice chairman at UBS Wealth Management and retired from the investment bank last year. The appointment is another piece of evidence that traditional banking and the crypto space have many things in common.

Previously, Yoon held various roles at UBS, including president and chief executive of UBS AG, Asia Pacific. Besides his roles, Yoon was also a member of the UBS Group’s executive board from 2009 to 2015.

He supervised the banking giant in 13 countries across Asia and was responsible for the company’s three key divisions, Investment Banking, Global Asset Management, and Wealth Management. The executive joined UBS in 1997 and played a key role in the development of the equity derivatives business in Asia. He then led the Equities and Securities businesses in the Asia Pacific region.

Before UBS, Yoon worked for Lehman Brothers in New York and Hong Kong, and for Merrill Lynch in New York.

Yoon commented:

Digital assets and blockchain technology have huge potential for growth over the next decade and Diginex is a pioneer in this space.

He is not the first UBS executive to move to Diginex. Earlier this year, the blockchain financial services firm hired former UBS Investment Bank managing director Shane Edwards, and appointed him as head of Investment Products.

Interestingly, former UBS CEO Peter Wuffli now heads Swiss-based crypto bank Sygnum.

Diginex Blockchain Firm Seeking to Go Public in the US

Currently, Diginex is looking to go public in the US via a reverse merger with 8i Enterprises Acquisition Corp. When the deal with 8i concludes, Diginex will be listed on Nasdaq.

8i is a British Virgin Island firm incorporated as a blank check company that seeks to merge, exchange shares, buy assets and shares, and deal with other businesses to help them further grow or go public.

As for Diginex, it provides blockchain tools for governments, companies and financial institutions. It also provides infrastructure for digital assets, including exchange, trade, and custody, as well as offering custody and asset management services centered around digital assets.

Do you think that more banking executives will move to crypto and blockchain firms? Share your thoughts in the comments section!


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Egyptian Central Bank Limits Cash Withdrawals, Bitcoin Fixes This

First Bitcoin Exchange in Egypt Set to Begin Trading This Month News

Egyptian Central Bank Limits Cash Withdrawals, Bitcoin Fixes This


As panic and uncertainty mount due to the coronavirus, Egypt has become the latest country to limit bank withdrawals. Individuals can now only take out a maximum of $635 per day from their bank and just $317 from ATMs. Bitcoin fixes this.


Egypt Banks Limit Cash Withdrawals

According to the New York Times on Sunday, Egypt’s Central Bank has instructed banks across the country to apply temporary daily withdrawal limits and deposits.

This latest move is meant to control inflation in the country and prevent citizens from hoarding cash during the pandemic.

The daily limit for individuals has been dropped to 10K Egyptian pounds ($635) at bank branches and 50,000 pounds ($3,100) for companies. Only businesses that need to withdraw money to pay their employees will be exempt from the limits.

The restrictions come after a wave of mass withdrawals from banks in the country. Central bank governor Tarek Amer stated on Sunday that as much as 30 billion Egyptian pounds ($1.91 billion) were taken out of banks in the last three weeks. He said:

We found that individuals are withdrawing money from the banks although they did not need it … they withdrew 30 billion pounds in the past three weeks. We want some discipline. We live in a society and we have to think of others.

Bitcoin Fixes This

As Bitcoin advocate Vis pointed out on Twitter:

This is why Bitcoin was created

Egypt’s registered cases of coronavirus are currently just under 800. However, the country’s health service is vastly unprepared to treat a mass epidemic. Moreover, Egypt has a propensity for high inflation which could deepen the crisis further. According to sources cited in the article:

This could reduce hoarding and panic buying and contain prices

Perhaps it could. But it boils down to the same problem that is as old as banking institutions itself. If someone can restrict your money, it’s not your money.

No one can limit your Bitcoin. No central banker can step in and decide how much you choose to transact. As we’re starting to see from Cairo to New York, that is most certainly not the case with fiat.

Do you think the cash limits will drive Bitcoin adoption in Egypt? Add your thoughts below!


Images via Shutterstock, Twitter @Vis_in_Numeris

Binance Korean Cloud Exchange Adds Zero-Fee Trading

The leading crypto exchange quietly dropped the news that it was entering the South Korean market with Binance KR earlier this week. Not only will this be the first exchange to run on the Cloud but it will be zero-fee as well.


Binance KR to Leverage Core Functionalities

When Binance announced the launch of Binance Cloud in February, CEO Changpeng Zhao (CZ) said that he expected it to become the company’s biggest revenue source over the next five years. He also said he would favor markets in which the exchange doesn’t yet have a strong presence.

Now, starting from April 6, the team is entering the South Korean market, lending Binance KR all its core functionalities from the get-go. This means that traders can enjoy spot trading liquidity, the robust matching engine, and “state-of-the-art security.” 

While CZ also said that his Cloud services would favor fiat exchanges, as customers, the new platform comes shortly after the company’s acquisition of Korean fintech startup BxB Inc., the company responsible for launching the world’s first Korean Won-backed stablecoin (KRW). CZ said:

We are pleased to provide a digital asset platform for users in Korea to bring the trading depth, security and transaction speed of Binance.com to Binance KR. Our decision to list BKRW trading pairs will allow us to seamlessly connect crypto to the South Korean won in order to expand our local services.

Zero Fees for the First Three Months

It seems that CZ’s first foray into the South Korean market and first use case for its cloud services isn’t groundbreaking enough for the ambitious company. 

Today, Binance also announced that the exchange will launch with zero trading fees on all markets for the first three months. Binance KR will open with BTC, ETH, BNB, and BKRW and looks set to build its Korean base fast. World domination? We wouldn’t expect anything less.

What do you make of Binance’s latest exchange platform launch? Add your thoughts below!


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XRP Falls Behind Bitcoin SV, Dogecoin in Active Addresses

XRP falls behind Bitcoin SV, Dogecoin Altcoin News

XRP Falls Behind Bitcoin SV, Dogecoin in Active Addresses


Evidence suggesting a change in investor behavior continues to grow as XRP and a handful of other projects see serious declines in crypto wallet addresses over the past 4 weeks. 


XRP Investors Hodling or Losing Interest?

Analyst CryptoRand has posted a chart showing the number of dynamic addresses has decreased among many major platforms over the past month. According to Crypto Differ figures, XRP is by far the worst affected.

As noted in the Tweet, XRP dynamic addresses have allegedly fallen by 29,208 over the last month. This puts the project behind other less prominent competitors such as Bitcoin SV (BSV), Dogecoin (DOGE), and Decred (DCR). However, this number may not be entirely accurate, as it is compared against February which saw several major temporary spikes. This three month chart of XRP addresses from Coin Metrics perhaps offers a little more clarity.

Thus, when looking at a longer time frame, the number of XRP addresses has remained relatively stable, although it’s still far lower than other projects in the top 10.

A key takeaway from the overall data is the fact that investors are moving their coins from exchanges into personal wallets. There can be no question that interest in long-term cold storage is growing as the global economy declines. This fact further reinforces the argument that the public views cryptocurrency as a legitimate financial safe haven.

This collective move will likely put upward pressure on price, as the supply of coins for trading declines. It could also prompt more use of Bitcoin and other blockchain assets for real world purchases. As the market recovers the number of dynamic addresses across the crypto space will once again move up.

This chart clearly shows Bitcoin’s hegemony in the blockchain space, as its number of active addresses dwarfs all others. Its number has however, also marginally declined over the past few weeks.

ADDRESS ANOMALIES DEMONSTRATE NETWORK GROWTH

As shown in the chart, some crypto platforms have seen a spike in dynamic addresses. Most notably, Ethereum saw a twenty-two percent increase. This fact reflects the growing use of the Ethereum blockchain, most notably in decentralized finance (DeFi). In fact, DeFi has come to dominate the Ethereum network over the past few weeks.

Stellar Lumens has also seen a major spike in network usage over the past few weeks, reflected by the large number of new addresses.

The eventual mass adoption of cryptocurrency will see value increasingly reflected by network usage. In other words, all cryptocurrencies, Bitcoin included, must prove their utility in order to survive long-term. The examination of alternate data can thus give a good insight into overall platform potential.

Do you think XRP’s drop in active addresses is a sign of hodling or lack of interest? Add your thoughts below!


Images via Shutterstock, Twitter @crypto_rand, Chart by CoinMetrics

OKEx to Host 11th IEO Amid Crypto Bear Market

OKEx IEO ONE Harmony crypto News

OKEx to Host 11th IEO Amid Crypto Bear Market


OKEx has announced its 11th exchange-based token sale coming soon on the Jumpstart platform. With the crypto market still in a state of decline, will investors be tempted to try and make quick returns? 


OKEx Helps Entertainment Platform Launch Token

Malta-based OKEx, which operates a spot and derivative trading platform, will launch the sale of DEAPCOIN (DEP) on April 8.

The token will fuel the DEPA platform, which is an entertainment ecosystem where users will be able to obtain token reward while playing free games and manga.

The platform will include several components, including DEA Bank, Gaming Company, Digital Art Auction, PlayMiner, and Creator. The latter is where is where users will be able to acquire DEP.

OKEx CEO Alysa Xu explained:

We are delighted to reach partnership with DEAP and become the only platform to sell DEP token. DEAP shares the same vision with us that blockchain technology will be massively adopted as an essential tool for many industries

He stressed that OKEx would focus to expand its reach in several sectors, especially supporting the integration of the distributed ledger technology (DLT) with existing industries to “generate larger synergies.”

After the token sale, OKEx will DEP/USDT and DEP/USDK on its spot trading platform. The total supply of DEP tokens is 30 billion.

IEOs Survive During the Crisis

Crypto startups are still counting on IEOs to raise funds. This form of crowdfunding succeeds initial coin offerings (ICOs), which have been compromised by a high number of scams.

However, it doesn’t necessarily mean that IEO tokens are different. Even decent exchanges can mistakenly or knowingly back low-quality projects. If the project fails, the exchange platform would likely delist the token, leaving the early investors stuck with potentially worthless coins. Thus, due-diligence is imperative before picking an IEO project.

The most popular crypto exchanges organizing IEO events on their platforms are OKEx, Binance, and Huobi.

OKEx’s recent announcement proves that the crypto market is active despite the general crisis amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Have you ever taken part in an IEO? Share your experience in the comments section below!  


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Why The Bitcoin Halving Will Change Everything

In six weeks the number of Bitcoins produced with each block will be reduced to 6.25. This reward halving has long been predicted to put upward pressure on the price. One analyst is demonstrating the significance of this move by comparing it to other limited commodities.


BITCOIN COMPARED TO PRECIOUS METALS

Analyst PlanB has tweeted a unique chart that looks at Bitcoin’s stock-to-flow ratio. This ratio is a metric that compares the available quantity with the production rate. It is often used with precious metals to predict production profitability.

This chart ties in with an article written by PlanB last year. The author notes that Bitcoin currently has a stock-to-flow ration of 25 (now 27). This means that at current production rates it would take 27 years to mine the present number in existence. However, the halving will cause this number to roughly double, as production is cut in half.

PlanB has demonstrated that over the past ten years a strikingly clear correlation exists between Bitcoin’s market price and its stock-to-flow ratio. He predicts that should this trend continue, the flagship cryptocurrency could soon have a market cap of USD $1 Trillion, or $55,000 per coin.

He states:

Bitcoin is the first scarce digital object the world has ever seen, it is scarce like silver & gold, and can be sent over the internet, radio, satellite etc . . . A statistically significant relationship between stock-to-flow and market value exists. The likelihood that the relationship between stock-to-flow and market value is caused by chance is close to zero.

DEVELOPMENT WILL CHANGE THE BLOCKCHAIN SPACE

The analysis put forward by PlanB is compelling. It reinforces arguments from other analysts that have predicted a big price spike due to the halving. Worth noting, however, is the fact that Bitcoin remains a work in progress. In order to continue to hold value it must continue to achieve mass adoption and fend off competition from rival alt coins.

Importantly, the Lightning Network has yet to gain significant traction and remains very much a work in progress. This second layer scaling solution is a critical link in Bitcoin’s future, and its development will have a significant impact on future usability.

Thus, Bitcoin exists within a much larger blockchain ecosystem. Whereas its hegemony in the space is presently unrivaled, it must continue to advance on a technical level to remain strong. For now, however, data continues to indicate that it will continue to be a sound investment moving forward.

Do you think the Bitcoin halving will change everything next month? Add your thoughts below!


Images via Shutterstock, Twitter @100trillionUSD

Bitcoin Creator Also Founded Monero, New Research Suggests

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Bitcoin Creator Also Founded Monero, New Research Suggests


While no one knows who’s behind the Satoshi Nakamoto name, a research document suggests that the Bitcoin creator might have also developed another cryptocurrency – Monero.


Nakamoto Had Motives to Improve Bitcoin’s Algorithm

New research by Monero Outreach concludes that Bitcoin and Monero might be the creation of the same person or entity.

Monero is a cryptocurrency that came out in 2014 to address Bitcoin’s privacy issues. While the former uses a public ledger, no one can trace transactions on it, which makes XMR the most used coin among dark web users.

Monero’s whitepaper was published on December 12, 2012, about three years after Bitcoin’s genesis block. The author of the whitepaper is Nicolas van Saberhagen. As you might guess, this is also a pseudonym, so no one knows who created Monero.

Monero Outreach suggests that Satoshi Nakamoto and Nicolas van Saberhagen are the same entities. The main argument provided by the research authors is that Nakamoto had a clear motive to release the CryptoNote whitepaper, the document laying out the Monero concept. In a Bitcointalk forum post from August 2010, Nakamoto shared the first concepts of privacy that would later show up in Monero’s whitepaper, including stealth addresses and ring signatures, which hide receivers and senders of XMR.

Besides this, when CryptoNote 1.0 came out, Nakamoto had already observed Bitcoin’s block size changes and mining reward halving. Monero’s blockchain addresses those issues. It also improved the proof-of-work to make mining more available to anyone using typical GPUs.

Stylometry Theory Also Supports this Conclusion

When analyzing the writing style of both whitepapers, one can notice a style connection between the two. The authors of the research used stylometry, a software program called Java Graphical Authorship Attribution Program (JGAAP), and figured out that the author of the CryptoNote whitepaper was more likely to be Nakamoto than the author of any other 15 leading papers picked from the Monero literature.

Some similarities are visible with the naked eye. For instance, both whitepapers used the spelling of “favour/favourable,” the contraction “can’t” instead to the typical style observed in academically formatted papers, and the wording “In this paper, we…” Also, both documents used black-and-white line drawings with solid and dashed lines.

Nakamoto's whitepaper vs Monero whitepaper

Thunderosa, Monero Outreach Creative Lead, commented:

When you first look at those two documents side by side you can get floored by the crazy similarities. Maybe we should start calling the author Satoshi van Saberhagen.

However, research authors don’t expect that the Bitcoin or the Monero community would embrace this revelation.

Xmrhaelan, Monero Outreach Organizer, said:

Like many, I’m still processing this. I will, though, say with confidence that if Satoshi Nakamoto is Nicolas van Saberhagen, Monero was Satoshi’s greatest work.

All in all, the main conclusion is that Craig Wright must be a genius…

Do you think Monero was created by Nakamoto or is this an April Fool’s Day joke from Monero Outreach? Share your thoughts in the comments section!


Image via Shutterstock, Monerooutreach.org