Category Archives: BitGo

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Bitcoin to Be Available on Ethereum Network via Wrapped Bitcoin

Bitcoin will soon be available on the Ethereum network via a new Ethereum ERC-20 token called Wrapped Bitcoin (WBTC). This will allow users to exchange Bitcoin on Ethereum-based decentralized exchanges (DEXs), and use Bitcoin on Ethereum decentralized apps (Dapps). Every WBTC will be backed 1:1 by Bitcoin in a reserve operated by BitGo, a qualified cryptocurrency custodian.

Merchants affiliated with Wrapped Bitcoin will send Bitcoin to BitGo, who will store them in a secure wallet, and simultaneously create a smart contract that generates the token. Unlike stablecoins like Tether, Gemini Dollar, PAX, and USD Coin, audits will not be required to prove reserves, since all data about WBTC will be viewable on the blockchain in real-time. BitGo CEO Benedict Chan says, “The beauty of that is all we have to do is put up a webpage and show all the addresses that have the Bitcoins… and at the same time, people will be able to check how many WBTC are in existence just by looking… on the Ethereum blockchain.”

Merchants can also burn WBTC and redeem the Bitcoins and, therefore, users can deposit the tokens with merchants to receive Bitcoin. This will keep Wrapped Bitcoin pegged at a 1:1 ratio with Bitcoin at all times.

Users can obtain WBTC from merchants that are officially part of the network but users must go through know your customer (KYC) and anti-money laundering (AML) requirements before receiving Wrapped Bitcoin.

The decentralized exchanges Kyber Network and Republic Protocol spearheaded the WBTC project, but numerous other Ethereum DEXs have already jumped on board, in addition to some Ethereum Dapps. These include MakerDAO, Airswap, IDEX, Radar Relay, Hydro Protocol, Compound, Dharma, Set Protocol and Prycto.

WBTC is becoming an Ethereum-wide movement since a token that represents Bitcoin has been sought on the Ethereum network. This will allow Bitcoin to easily be traded on DEXs, which can lead to an increase in trading activity and liquidity. Additionally, Dapp users can use Bitcoin instead of an Ethereum token. Bitcoin is the most stable, most reputable, and most valuable cryptocurrency, and crypto users generally prefer it for business purposes, versus using other crypto which can be quite volatile.

WBTC seeks to constantly evolve under the guidance of a Decentralized Autonomous Organization (DAO), planning to progressively add more features, merchants, and custodians. Loi Luu, the CEO of Kyber Network, says, “One of the main reasons why many projects support this initiative is because there is a DAO that is going to govern the whole project including making major upgrades, adding more features, adding more merchants, even adding new custodians as well.”

 

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BitGo Becomes Officially Qualified Crypto Custodian in United States

BitGo has received approval from the South Dakota Division of Banking to be a public South Dakota Trust Company. This makes it an officially licensed crypto custodian in South Dakota, and the rest of the United States, because other states generally practice reciprocity when it comes to this sort of license.

BitGo claims to be the first qualified crypto custodian in the United States, although, there are certainly other major crypto custodians active in the United States such as Coinbase and Xapo. At the least, BitGo is probably the custodian with the most cryptos available – more than 75, including major cryptos like Bitcoin and Ethereum, and numerous Ethereum based tokens.

Mike Belshe, the CEO of BitGo had this to say:

“Custody has been the missing piece of cryptocurrency market infrastructure and this gap has kept institutional investors out of the market. Traditional custodians don’t have experience handling cryptocurrency. Exchanges that double as custodians present a conflict of interest and raise regulatory concerns. BitGo Trust Company is a qualified custodian, and therefore the only custody offering that delivers the highest levels of both security and regulatory compliance”.

In this statement is a direct jab at Coinbase, which runs both an exchange and a custodian service for crypto.

Indeed, crypto custodianship is an essential piece of infrastructure for institutional investors, and BitGo will be specifically targeting institutional investors with this new trust company. Institutional investors deal with large amounts of money in the USD 1 million to USD 10 billion range, and they need a crypto custodian to bank their crypto to ensure no chance of getting hacked or robbed. Crypto custodians are generally insured, leaving no chance of losing crypto for people using a true crypto custodian service.

Also, when dealing with large amounts of crypto, it is essential to follow know your customer (KYC) and anti-money laundering (AML) laws to ensure no violations of regulations. BitGo will make sure institutional investors don’t have any run-ins with the law.

Crypto custodians like BitGo Trust Company are essential for crypto hedge funds. There are at least 466 crypto hedge funds and that number is rapidly growing. Crypto hedge funds will link up with crypto custodians, creating optimal investment conditions for institutional investors that want crypto. This institutional investment infrastructure could lead to the next big crypto rally.

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BitGo Becomes Most Diverse Crypto Custodian After Adding 57 ERC-20 Tokens

BitGo has added 57 ERC-20 tokens to its cryptocurrency custodian service, making it by far the most diverse cryptocurrency custodian in the world. It plans on adding even more ERC-20 tokens. This rapid expansion of BitGo’s custodian service comes only two months after it launched the service in May 2018, following the acquisition of licensed qualified custodian Kingdom Trust regulated by the South Dakota Division of Banking.

Previously, BitGo only offered services for Bitcoin, Litecoin, Bitcoin Cash, Ripple, Ethereum, Royal Mint Gold, and Bitcoin Gold, and such a small selection of cryptocurrencies is typical for cryptocurrency custodians. Likewise, Coinbase’s custodian service, which caused a reversal in the Bitcoin bear market when it launched in July 2018, only offers support for five cryptocurrencies. Cryptocurrency custodians want to be sure that they only offer services for highly secure cryptocurrencies. Cryptocurrencies with low market caps and less mining power securing them are prone to 51% attacks, which causes theft and market crashes that scare away investors.

ERC-20 tokens are based on the Ethereum blockchain and, therefore, are extremely secure since Ethereum has a tremendous amount of mining power securing its network. This makes ERC-20 tokens an ideal addition for cryptocurrency custodians. Indeed, Coinbase announced in March 2018 that it was planning on adding support for all ERC-20 tokens, but it seems BitGo beat them to the punch.

The 57 ERC-20 tokens that BitGo has added include 0x (ZRX), Augur (REP), Golem (GNT), OmiseGo (OMG), Storj (STORJ) and Zilliqa (ZIL).

Even though these tokens all use the Ethereum blockchain, they are distinct cryptocurrencies, and many of them are top ranking cryptocurrencies. In general, it is expected that Bitcoin will be the first choice for institutional investment since it is considered the gold standard of crypto and has the most liquidity, leading to the least slippage.

 

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BitGo Offers New Crypto Custodial Products for Financial Firms

BitGo has released a new suite of cryptocurrency custodial products aimed at Wall Street financial firms. It is claimed that 15% of Bitcoin transactions occur through BitGo’s wallet services, with BitGo software processing over USD 10 billion of cryptocurrency transactions per month. BitGo is seeking to attract USD 20 billion that it expects institutional investors to commit to cryptocurrency.

Institutional clients like hedge funds and stock brokerage firms require a custodian service that follows all of the laws and is properly regulated before they are willing to invest money. This is why BitGo acquired the Kingdom Trust Company as well as Kingdom Services earlier this year.

Kingdom Trust is a licensed qualified custodian regulated by the South Dakota Division of Banking which has over 100,000 clients with over USD 12 billion of assets. Using Kingdom Trust’s infrastructure, BitGo will offer legal and trustworthy custodianship of cryptocurrency assets, giving big investors and firms peace of mind when deciding to add cryptocurrency to their portfolio. The acquisition of Kingdom Trust still has to be approved by government regulators, but that hasn’t stopped BitGo from launching services managed by Kingdom Trust.

Having a trustworthy custodian makes cryptocurrency investment easier for investors, since they don’t have to deal with any of the technical details. They simply send their money to BitGo with an order for which cryptocurrencies they want, and BitGo takes care of buying the cryptocurrency on an exchange and securely storing it in a wallet.

Currently, BitGo supports 20 different cryptocurrencies and is looking to add even more so that it eventually provides custodial services for every cryptocurrency it deems worth investing in. BitGo offers three tiers of service: qualified custody where cryptocurrency is stored and secured with Kingdom Trust, institutional custody where clients manage BitGo wallets, and completely self-managed custody. This range of services provides solutions from consumer to institutional needs.

The value of all cryptocurrencies combined is worth just over USD 400 billion as of this writing, and has been growing by orders of magnitudes the past several years. BitGo’s custodial services open up cryptocurrency to big investors like never before and will provide a conduit for money to pour into the cryptocurrency market from Wall Street. Trillions of dollars are invested in the stock market, and BitGo’s services will facilitate some of that money to be diverted into cryptocurrency.

 

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