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Switzerland’s Top Stock Exchange Lists XRP Exchange-Traded Product

Switzerland's No. 1 Stock Exchange Lists XRP Exchange Traded Product

Switzerland’s top stock exchange SIX today announced it would list a Ripple (XRP) exchange-traded product (ETP) as of 4 April.

The cryptocurrency derivative development company Amun is behind the product dubbed AXRP and claims it to be the only one of its kind on the market. Both AXRP’s fund and trading currency will be USD.

CEO and co-founder of the firm, Hany Rashwan, said the company has received approval from SIX for an additional four ETPs for Bitcoin Cash (BCH), Litecoin (LTC), Stellar (XLM) and Eos (EOS).

Amun has built a reputation for the progressive development of digital currency ETPs. Besides AXRP, the firm released an Ethereum (ETH) ETP last month in addition to a BTC-tracking ATP in February. Back in November 2018, Amun listed what they claimed to be the world’s first ETP to track an index of multiple cryptocurrencies using Bitcoin (BTC), XRP, ETH, LTC, and BCH.

The start-up firm raised USD 4 million to fund the projects, which they say are aimed at creating more simplified methods for traditional investors to enter the cryptocurrency space.


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Out of the Shadows: New Weiss Ratings Shine New Light on Crypto

Out of the Shadows: New Weiss Ratings Shine New Light on Crypto

The latest Weiss report on cryptocurrency is out with some favorable statistics, particularly for Bitcoin and Ethereum rival EOS, with the latter taking a 20% boost over 24 hours.

The Weiss Report which helps guide consumers, individual investors, and business professionals toward the best investment, banking, and insurance options also pick out Ripple’s XRP as most likely to succeed this year.

Bitcoin received its much-needed A grade due to infrastructure improvements such as its Lightning Network, boosting it from Weiss’s previous C+, and EOS also picked up an A, according to how Weiss measures projects showing the best combination of both adoption and technology.

The new ratings auger well for the industry at a time when it seems that it is poised to finally break the shackles that have kept it in a bearhug for the past year. The report illustrates this, noting, “With cryptocurrencies down sharply in price, many observers seem to assume there’s been an industry-wide decline in usage and practical applications. Nothing could be further from the truth.”

Many industry leaders and commentators have continued to get behind Bitcoin during this period, predicting its comeback, but this may not have been entirely necessary as it seems clear that Bitcoin hasn’t suffered a lapse in usage with transactions growing in number globally. Founder Martin D Weiss explained this in a press release:

“Despite lower prices since early 2018, our ratings model gives us hard evidence that a critical segment of the cryptocurrency industry has enjoyed remarkable growth in user transaction volume, network capacity, and network security. Equally important is our finding that these improvements are often powered by an evolution in the underlying technology.”

If ‘State of the Dapps’ statistics are accurate, another high flyer in the report, EOS is now seeing over 80,000 daily active users on its Dapps as opposed to Ethereum’s 19,000, which will clearly give Ethereum developers some cause for concern moving forward.


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Vitalik Buterin Concedes Ethereum’s Price Does Matter

Vitalik Buterin Concedes Ethereum's Price Does Matter

Ethereum co-founder Vitalik Buterin has conceded that the price of Ether (ETH) is important for the future of the ecosystem, despite past comments contradictory to this.

Speaking at the Columbia Journalism School earlier this week, Buterin admitted that in the early days of Ethereum the developers were not focused on the price of ETH. Instead, the efforts were focused on pushing forward the development of smart contracts. They even felt it gave them an edge over other cryptocurrency projects that were promoting ”lambo-ing”, as Buterin put it.

First @laurashin asks @VitalikButerin if he thinks the price of #ETH is important, and then she polls the audience. #unchained

— Columbia Blockchain (@ColumbiaCBA) March 20, 2019

Now, however, his outlook has changed. “I’m going to be really candid,” he told the full-house audience, acknowledging that the developers now see that “projects will be better if prices go up”.

ETH currently stands at around USD 135 — a 90% loss from its December 2017 peak, so it is perhaps not surprising that Buterin is concerned over funding for future Ethereum protocol development.

When the Columbia Journalism School audience was polled over whether they believed Ethereum developers were focused enough on the price of ETH, only 13% said yes. About 28% said they believed they should focus more on ETH price, while 39% said they did not care.


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What is Ethereum?

what is ethereum

What is Ethereum?

Ethereum is an open software platform for decentralized applications (Dapps), allowing developers to build smart contracts and distributed applications and execute them, mitigating fraud, downtime or control by a third party. It is akin to programming language run on the blockchain.

One of its aspects is its own virtual currency, Ether. Ether is used for two main purposes: it is a digital currency like other cryptocurrencies and is also used within the platform to run applications and to monetize work. Ether is used by the application developers to make any kind of payment in the Ethereum network.

Smart contract

A smart contract is more or less like a self-operating computer code facilitating the exchange of money, shares, property or any unit of value. It can store information about an application such as domain registration and other membership details, provide utility to other contracts, manage agreements between users and function as “multi-signature” account so that funds are spent only upon the agreement of a certain percentage of people.  It is theorized that smart contracts will replace all kinds of contractual agreements at some point, as their implementation provides a level of security superior to any traditional contract law, also reducing transactions costs associated with these contracts. Thus, they establish trust between parties and reduce the overall costs.

Benefits of a decentralized Ethereum platform

  • A third party is not involved, preventing changes to data by intervention.
  • Censorship is avoided with the strong network formed around the principle of consensus. Consensus means all nodes in a particular system must comply with any change made in a system.
  • With the help of cryptography, applications are secured from hacks and frauds.
  • Apps never go down as they are being run by thousands of volunteer computers across the globe.
  • Cuts out middlemen and expenses associated with them.

Disadvantages of Ethereum

  • The code for smart contracts may have errors, giving hackers an opportunity to exploit the code. In such a case, the underlying code has to be rewritten on reaching a consensus but this goes against the very idea of making the Ethereum blockchain an immutable ledger.
  • The transactions are stored on the nodes. The problem is that with the increase in transactions, the developers are trying to increase the size of the nodes, which will consequently kick people off the network. Running a full node allows users to take advantage of privacy and security. Thus, denationalization and scalability are currently at odds.

Scope of improvement

  • There should be more focus on technical issues and security improvement to prevent disruptions of code which has a direct impact on the value of Ether and the public belief in Ethereum.
  • Sharding is a recommended possible implementation. It means moving away from full nodes. Thus, each node stores only a part of the data and verifies the transactions and if it requires information of transactions which it does not store, it approaches the node which has the data for the respective transaction.
  • Transactions can be made off-chain via micro-payment channels, which means, either party can kick the transaction to the blockchain any time they want, giving both parties a chance to end the interaction.

A comparison between Ethereum and Bitcoin

While Ethereum and Bitcoin are two vast projects which seem very similar, they are truly similar only in the cryptocurrency aspect. Bitcoin is a project which focuses solely as a means of payment and store of value, and has successfully established stability by being the most-used cryptocurrency enjoying robust development to date. Ethereum, on the other hand, has a wider scope as it is a multipurpose platform, with Ether being just one aspect of its multiple smart contracts. Therefore, the Bitcoin blockchain is mainly used to track the ownership of bitcoins while the Ethereum blockchain is focused on running Dapps.


Some experts believe that in the coming years, Ethereum will have the potential to completely revolutionize services and industries which have been operating for hundreds of years. The abundance of projects attempting to tokenize services and industries via Ethereum-based tokens shows a strong demand for a platform that makes it relatively easy to crowdfund or tokenize ideas. Its long-term success will rely much on how it handles scaling solutions, with an ongoing Constantinople hard fork making a major switch in algorithm.

On the other hand, others believe that Ethereum’s limitations will mean that it will not outlast other competing platforms, whose development teams appear to be more flexible and agile in responding to market demands and learning from Ethereum’s flaws.

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German Derivatives Exchange Supposedly Considering Crypto Futures Contracts

German Derivatives Exchange Eurex May Launch Crypto Futures Contracts

German-operated derivatives market Eurex is rumored to soon turn on the futures contract faucet, releasing its own set of cryptocurrency derivative contracts. If true, the first wave of contracts will include Bitcoin, Ethereum and Ripple (XRP) coin future contracts.

Citing people familiar with the development, media outlet The Block Crypto said that the exchange is meeting with market making experts with regards to the product.

Though no official comments have been made by the firm, the move, if true, comes as no surprise seeing how it had set its target on the crypto market since 2017. In 2018, a division was set up for crypto assets and distributed ledger technology. During that period, a Deutsche Börse spokesperson reportedly told German-based news media:

“We are thinking about futures, with which private investors and institutional investors can protect existing investments in bitcoin or set for falling prices of the cyber currency.”

More so, while Deutsche Börse acknowledged the fact that they have been in touch with the space for a while now, it had only been in the “ideation and exploration” phase but will need a “centrally steered approach” for a full-scale expression of the technology in their business.

The future of the crypto derivative market continues to take shape as new players are being introduced joining others in the queue for regulatory approval. Bakkt, Seed CX, and ErisX are among those seeking to introduce new settlement types into the US market – the physical Bitcoin settlements – adding variety to already established market place for crypto futures contract offered by pioneers CBOE and CME.

CBOE also wants to launch an Ethereum futures contract and is only waiting for the approval from the regulatory watchdog. So far, net sentiments from the idea of an Ethereum futures contract have been somewhat positive.

A couple of other cryptocurrency exchanges such as BitMex, CoinFloor, and Binance are already marking their space in the advanced cryptocurrency market to suit sophisticated investors. As the industry continues to mature, perhaps the market will take a complete semblance to that of the traditional financial market and may appeal to more mainstream traders and investors. Although regulation may be pivotal to this development, the CFTC has a workaround on how to allow the exchanges self-regulate in line with the stipulated financial laws, as an interim approach before a more constituted legal infrastructure is in place.

Moreover, the major contention lies in the security of services provided – the custody infrastructure and market monitoring instruments – constituting major impediments to the launch of other derivate market classes like the Bitcoin ETF, which has had many of its proposals declined or for many months under review by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).

Nonetheless, it behooves any financial service operator willing to engage in this emerging market class to do a proper groundwork before launching any product into the market. As there are currently a few products, yet only a handful of institutional investors have dipped a foot in the water, although this number may be increasing steadily, still it only proves that a more comprehensive market infrastructure may be the only key to unlock the market for a full-scale adoption by institutions.


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Bitmain IPO Dream Sinks Further After 2018 Q3 Earning Reports

Bitmain IPO Dream Sinks Further After 2018 Q3 Earning Reports

According to Coindesk, cryptocurrency mining rig manufacturer Bitmain lost USD 500 million during its Q3 financials due to a prolonged bear market, citing a recent update on its financial results to the Hong Kong Stock Exchange (HKEx).

According to a source, the company fell short of its quarterly earnings by as much as USD 500 million. In a previous report it submitted to the exchange, it reported earnings for the first half of the year as having USD 1 billion as profits.

The company’s portfolio had reportedly dropped in valuation by as much as USD 100 million at the end of the third quarter compared to the beginning of the quarter. Being a major stakeholder in the Bitcoin Cash fork, it held a lot of stake in the asset, however, the market downturn had severely traumatized the price of the asset to as much as a 70% loss. Its other major assets holdings like Bitcoin, Ether, Litecoin, and Dash had lost 39%, 67%, 42.68%, and 64.31% respectively.

Bitmain had filed for an initial public offering (IPO) with HKEx in August 2018 to allow it list its shares with the exchange which may possibly improve its financials. However, the company has experienced many constraints on all sides. On the part of the exchange, it had claimed that the industry is still immature for such a leap, and the resulting earnings report for Bitmain further buttresses its point.

For months, many crypto-related ventures have been up against an uphill battle of weathering the storm stirred by the bearish market of 2018. For the most part of the year, aspirations to return to the all-time high seasons gradually waned, instead, many companies began to adjust. For Bitmain, it had to deal with the internal restructuring that saw a reshuffling of management staff, office closures of subsidiaries, and layoffs of its staff.

The chances of Bitmain’s IPO to gain approval from HKEX gets slimmer with the numerous challenges besetting the mining hardware giant.


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Miner’s Jackpot! User Pays $560,000 Premium Fee for ETH 0.17

Miner's Jackpot! A User Pays Premium Fees of 3,990 ETH For 0.17 ETH Transaction

Over half a million dollars (ETH 3,990 worth over USD 590,000) was spent as a transaction fee in sending approximately ETH 0.17 ETH – a mere USD 25 worth as at press time.

The transactions did take place in a series of 5 transfers from a currently unknown wallet address to 3 different wallet addresses, each with exorbitant transaction fees considering the amount of Ether that was being transferred.

The first transaction was a transfer of 0.01ETH, with a fee of 210 ETH;

The second transaction was a transfer of 0.02 ETH with a fee of 420 ETH;

The third transaction was a transfer of 0.1 ETH with a fee of 2,100 ETH;

The fourth transaction was a transfer of 0.02 ETH with a fee of 420 ETH;

The fifth transaction was a transfer of 0.02 ETH with a fee of 840 ETH.  

The blockchain space is conversant with transaction fees peaking at different points in time, much more frequent on the Bitcoin network. Besides, a recent report suggested that Bitcoin transactions are healthy over the network as fees touched 2014 lows again.

Nonetheless, this anomaly doesn’t seem to be a general problem on the Ethereum network as only this account was reportedly affected. Besides, so far, the highest network fees recorded to date on the Ethereum network is USD 5.

While so many blanks are yet to be filled, however, the wallet seems to have had over 17,690 transactions logged as at press time and has been running for close to 3 months. More so, this anomaly occurred only today throughout its history. Could it be a network or software glitch or a developer’s error, probably while executing a program on Ethereum’s mainnet?

It remains to be known what may have caused the abnormal fees sent.


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Report Shows Healthy Bitcoin Transactions as Fees Find 2014 Lows

Report Shows Healthy Bitcoin Transactions, Fees Find 2014 Lows

According to a report by data resource firm Diar, Bitcoin transaction fees are at their 2014 lows again.

“Bitcoin transactions hit a one-year high last month nearing levels seen in the 2017 ramp up to the price boom,” says the report. Moreover, as at press time yesterday, the report finds that Bitcoin median fees had dropped to 2014 levels of USD 0.1 equivalents.

According to the report, these new fee levels have not been seen since 2015 despite on-chain monthly Bitcoin activities that have superseded those of 2018 in total, although the median transaction value in Bitcoins are lower compared to previous months and comparatively with those of 2015.

The report also highlighted transaction counts hitting a one-year high since the last bull-run of 2017. In another post referencing, Bitcoin’s network throughput may have improved hence the positive outlook on transaction fees. To that effect, cryptocurrency exchanges have been seeing increased transaction performances, with Coinbase reportedly seeing 21% of transactions in 2018 compared to 2017 and others like Kraken and Bitfinex as high as 192% and 50% respectively.

Nevertheless, Bitcoins moved on-chain in January 2018 are still higher than those of 2019. Earlier this year, Bitcoin News reported on Bitcoin transaction performance, referencing Jameson Lopp who said Bitcoin transaction volumes had dropped from a peak of USD 38 billion earlier in 2018 to a low of USD 3 billion (a staggering 92% drop).

Daily on-chain bitcoin transaction volume peaked at $38B in early 2018 and dropped 92% to around $3B.

— Jameson Lopp (@lopp) December 21, 2018

Bitcoin transaction volumes and fees among other metrics are important markers to determine the state of the network. During the hype drive of 2017 bull-run, while transaction volumes skyrocketed, fees went up as well; this made it hard for micro Bitcoin transactions to make it through the network on time, which ended up creating a backlog. However, since then so much has improved on the network, coupled with the introduction of the Lightning network (LN), moving forward so much is expected in terms of higher throughput should another peak in market activity occur.

The overall assessment of the Diar’s report was that Bitcoin transactions are healthy thus far, considering the on-chain activities maintained a 3-month higher average than the better half of 2018.


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Crypto Lender Completing $630 Million in 6 Months says Bitcoin Needs Killer App

Crypto Lender Completing 0 Million in 6 Months says Bitcoin Needs Killer App

Some blockchain firms have survived the so-called crypto winter, although many have been less fortunate but one blockchain-focused company thinks it has at least part of the answer to finding success in a bear market.

Celsius Network, an industry-leading cryptocurrency lending and borrowing platform, was created to leverage cryptocurrencies and blockchain technology to create a community which had the interests of the depositor at its heart, according to its CEO and founder Alex Mashinsky. He says he is achieving this through what he calls MOIP (Money Over Internet Protocol).

Clearly, he has found a successful formula, recording over USD 630 million in cryptocurrency loans in just six months, but he claims that “unbanking” should become a greater focus for depositors who are using the conventional banking system. The company’s approach is similar to the banks in only one aspect; it allows customers to take out loans or deposit coins, but there is a difference, as this banking alternative sees 80% of the income generated given back to the depositor every week. Mashinsky explains:

“When banks make a profit, they give it back to themselves or the shareholders, but nothing goes to the depositor. We are doing exactly what banks are supposed to do, but for the depositor rather than the shareholders.”

Now with over 16,000 registered users from over 100 countries the company claims to have paid Bitcoin (BTC) and Ether (ETH) interest to all its depositors every week since its launch. His hope for BTC is positive with quite a different spin on 2018 blockchain development statistics, arguing:

“And even after being down 80%, Bitcoin still proves to be the best performing digital asset class in the past decade. While 2018 was dominated with the dropping baton, Bitcoin continues to be adopted and new blockchain developers in 2018 have doubled.”

Mashinsky sees the future of Bitcoin in the hands of millennials, citing the swell of interest in South Korea with 90% of the country’s young already becoming cryptocurrency holders. He sees this future aided by the launch of a killer app which would attract the next 100 million people to crypto because, as he argues, “too many speculators have jumped in and there are not enough real users and institutions to get us to the next level of adoption and price”.


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Kraken Acquires Crypto Facilities in “Nine-Figure” Deal

Crypto Exchange Kraken Acquires Crypto Facilities In a 'Nine-Figure' Deal

In a report yesterday by news outlet Fortune, San Francisco-based cryptocurrency exchange Kraken made an M&A move towards British trading firm Crypto Facilities in a “nine-figure” deal, a reassuring gesture of the coming of high-profile investors into the crypto space.

Recently, Bitcoin News reported on how an expected full-fledged institution uptake has slowed down, most likely due to regulatory and infrastructural shortcomings. However, “institutional investment” clauses continue to pool millions of US dollars into the cryptocurrency market, as revealed by more frequent mergers and acquisitions (M&A).

According to Kraken CEO Jesse Powell, the deal had been in the works for about 10 months and was only awaiting approval from UK’s financial regulator, the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA).

Kraken, which is currently on the cusp of a USD 100 million funding round from its larger customers made up of accredited investors, has made this move in order to provide trading facilities for institutional clients. Although it made it clear that this service will not be available to the US customer base.

At press time, Kraken is #43 on a 24-hour volume rankings of exchanges and has seen over USD 42 million trading volume in the past 24 hours from 72 trading pairs, according to CoinMarketCap data. The acquisition move means Kraken has positioned itself to be the first cryptocurrency exchange with both a spot and futures trading service in Bitcoin, Ethereum, and Ripple, making it a one-stop shop for crypto trading and derivatives.

The report further highlights other acquisitions made in the past by the exchange to include smaller exchanges, crypto research, and digital wallet firms. This achievement puts it on par with other exchanges to include Binance and Coinbase looking to scale up operations for the prospective market.

The previous year saw quite a number of acquisitions and mergers such as BitGo’s acquisition of the Kingdom Trust Company as well as Kingdom Services to provide institutional clients with regulated custodial services. Early this year, Intercontinental Exchange’s Bakkt said it had acquired certain assets of Rosenthal Collins Group (RCG), an independent futures commission merchant.

The recent spike in mergers and acquisitions brings back memories from the age of the internet boom, which saw an instrumental bear market that reshaped the industry. Smaller companies were being absorbed by larger corporations and the consolidation of internet firms solidified the place of infotech in today’s economy.

Perhaps, similar occurrences await the crypto boom and bust as with the early internet days, and if so, there’s a fierce competition for the future-grade blockchain and cryptocurrency market – which so far, paints a picture with institutional investors being pivotal to that reality.


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