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Ethereum Dev Arrested After Speaking at North Korea Crypto Conference

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Ethereum

Ethereum

Virgil Griffith, a developer who currently works with the Ethereum Foundation, has been arrested upon arrival in the US after speaking at the Pyongyang Blockchain and Cryptocurrency Conference in North Korea in April.

The United States Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York announced on Friday that Griffith had been arrested at Los Angeles International Airport on Thanksgiving Day. The complaint against the Ethereum developer, which was made by FBI Special Agent Brandon M. Cavanaugh, alleges that he was in violation of the International Emergency Economic Powers Act for traveling to North Korea without authorization and providing knowledge on how the country can utilize blockchain technology to launder money and evade sanctions.

“Despite receiving warnings not to go, Griffith allegedly traveled to one of the United States’ foremost adversaries, North Korea, where he taught his audience how to use blockchain technology to evade sanctions,” John Demers, an assistant attorney general for national security, said in a statement.

Cavanaugh’s complaint alleges, “At the DPRK Cryptocurrency Conference, GRIFFITH and other attendees discussed how blockchain and cryptocurrency technology could be used by the DPRK to launder money and evade sanctions, and how the DPRK could use these technologies to achieve independence from the global banking system.” The Ethereum Association has said that it was not represented in any capacity at the events cited in the complaint against Griffith.

Taking to Twitter, Ethereum cofounder Vitalik Buterin defended his colleague, saying it was “admirable” that he traveled to a country that has been demonized in the US and added that he didn’t believe that Griffith had provided North Korea with “any kind of real help in doing anything bad.”

>> Ripple Releases XRP Worth $225 Million From Escrow

According to Griffith’s LinkedIn page, he has been employed by the Ethereum Foundation since October 2016 as a research scientist. Currently, in residence in Singapore, his most recent work has been focused on assessing whether Etehreum is compliant with Islamic Law.

Meanwhile, Ethereum’s own digital coin has seen its value drop significantly with altcoins in a sea of red in recent weeks.

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TRON (TRX) to Release Version 1.0 of the Sun Network on August 10

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TRON

TRON

According to TRON (TRX) founder Justin Sun, the company is planning to launch Version 1.0 of the Sun Network on August 10. The founder took to Twitter to make the revelations, indicating the Sun Network was one of the 100X scalability solutions of TRON. The network is expected to be optimized on September 15.

Scalability Solution to Enhance Transfers

The Sun Network is a fast blockchain solution for smart contracts, distributed apps, and cross-chain activity. Justin Sun indicated that the solution will also include the DappChain that will allow developers to use the 1.0 code in creating a sidechain system that enhances the speed of distributed apps.

Equally, it is expected that the chain will use DPoS mechanism, which will ensure there is quick verification of transactions. User security and fluidity of transfer of tokens between chains will be enhanced through the smart contracts on the sidechain and main chain. Also, another amazing feature about the Sun Network is its ability to support costless transactions.

However, despite this positive news, TRX price did not change, and it remained rooted around $0.022, trading even lower against Bitcoin.

>> Facebook Libra Faces Another Setback from Global Regulators

TRON Continues to Perform Poorly

It, therefore, remains to be seen whether the launch of the Sun Network will turn fortunes for TRX. Prior to the announcement, anticipations for the launch failed to enhance interest for the altcoin following the plunge of altcoins in recent Bitcoin surges.

Currently, the TRON Network has been working on the implementation of Tether (USDT) on its platform while providing a special incentive plan for holding onto TRON-based USDT. The incentives are relatively limited because the amount of TRON-based USDT that is held in user wallets is limited.

TRON also felt the effects of the recent Binance IEO, WINk, and it dropped immediately and has since been hovering around 3 Satoshis with very minimal activity. The project has raised skepticism because of its unusually large staking rewards and the possibility of breaking monitoring restrictions.

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Tether Launches New Gold-Backed Stablecoin on TRON

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Tether

Tether

Tether has launched a new stablecoin backed by physical gold reserves called Tether Gold (XAU₮), according to a press release published on January 23. One coin will be equal to one troy fine ounce of physical gold, currently worth approximately US$1,550. Tether Gold is available as a TRC20 token on the TRON blockchain as well as an ERC-20 token on the Ethereum blockchain.

As per the press release, the funds are said to be “safely held in a Switzerland vault;” however, the institution holding the reserves remains unclear, but Tether has assured investors that they have a “direct control” over the reserves. Tether’s CTO Paolo Ardoino said that the new coin will provide investors with the stability of gold and the speed of digital assets, effectively serving as a substitute for those who want to trade gold but do not have access to such storage facilities.

Tether has also invited crypto exchanges that would like to support the coin to contact the company. Blockchain information for the Ethereum contract shows that there is an outstanding supply of almost 4,000 tokens, which would be equivalent to a $6.2 million market capitalization. Issued by TG Commodities, Tether Gold can be transferred to any on-chain address from the purchasers’ Tether wallet and is the only product among the competition that offers zero custody fees.

The launch of a new gold-backed coin has raised some skepticism in the crypto world given longstanding allegations against Tether, and its sister firm Bitfinex, which claim that both were involved in creating “the largest bubble in human history.” These allegations are centered around claims that Tether essentially printed billions of dollars worth of tokens in order to inflate prices and stimulate increased demand.

>> Ripple Eyes Aggressive Expansion of Payments Network This Year

Multiple lawsuits were brought against Tether, claiming that it played a key role in defrauding the crypto market out of up to US$1.4 trillion. Those cases have now been consolidated into one single suit, which will be heard in the US District Court for the Southern District of New York next month. Both Tether and Bitfinex have consistently denied all allegations; however, it has flip-flopped multiple times on its claims that its coin is pegged 1:1 with the US dollar, with one lawyer saying its coin was only 74% backed by cash or cash equivalents.

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Binance Coin (BNB) Tumbles Amidst Growing Competition

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Binance Coin

Binance Coin

Binance Coin (BNB) is one of the notable losers in the crypto space over the past three months.

The tremendous growth experienced by the cryptocurrency space over the past five years has seen the development of several new tokens related to a wide range of projects. The sheer interest and buzz about the sector led to the development of plenty of new tokens. While many failed, a large percentage of them succeeded and survived.

One of the more interesting projects was the one started by Binance, the giant crypto exchange. It launched its own cryptocurrency known as Binance Coin, and during the crypto rally during the first half of 2019, the token recorded impressive gains.

BNB tumbles 50% in Three Months

Back in June, when the rally was at its height, Binance Coin hit record highs of about $39, up from $6 at the start of the year. However, since then, it has come down significantly and is currently trading at around $20 per token.

The crypto space lost a lot of its momentum since July, and along with Bitcoin, Binance Coin was one of the many altcoins that lost a considerable amount of value. One of the biggest reasons behind the meltdown in the crypto space was the announcement of Facebook’s Libra back in July, and since then, most cryptocurrencies have failed to regain the momentum that took them to record yearly highs.

>> Mastercard Teams Up with Blockchain Firm R3 for Cross Border Platform

The scrutiny from regulators regarding Libra created a lot of uncertainty among crypto traders and investors, which is why many decided to cash in their profits. That being said, Binance is still the biggest crypto exchange in the world by trading volume, and the company continues to make improvements that could see it becoming the world’s preeminent exchange.

Hence, the promise of the project is still there, but the price of the token is a case of wider market sentiments. Recently, Binance announced that it is also going to have an Initial Exchange Offering platform, and it goes without saying that this is another progressive move. It remains to be seen how the price of Binance Coin reacts in the coming months to this news.

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TRON Partners With Metal Pay to Enable Instant Purchase of TRX

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TRON

TRON

Over the past few years, TRON (TRX) has emerged as one of the more promising cryptocurrencies in the market, and today, there was another landmark announcement regarding the token. According to the announcement today, TRX has partnered with Metal Pay, a cryptocurrency service provider, and the agreement is expected to be beneficial for the cryptocurrency.

Major Details

By way of this agreement, users on the Metal Pay mobile application will be able to purchase TRX with fiat currency. This is a major development because it opens up TRX to a far bigger pool of investors and could have an effect on its price as well.

In this regard, it should also be pointed out that people who hold TRON can also earn 5% cash back in the form of MTLs, which are Metal Pay’s very own tokens. The Metal Pay platform offers other useful services as well. Users who hold TRX will be able to use the platform’s exchange to turn it into 20 other cryptocurrencies.

Cryptocurrencies like Ethereum (ETH) and Bitcoin (BTC) are included among those. Metal Pay has emerged as one of the more promising platforms in recent times, but it remains to be seen if TRX can manage to benefit from this partnership.

However, there are some things that need to be kept in mind by potential users of Metal Pay. A spokesperson for the company stated that identity verification will need to be completed in order to sign up for the service. Users need to make a bank account that is insured by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation in order to use Metal Pay.

>> Bitcoin (BTC) Soars 10% on Strong Momentum: A Change Coming?

Once identity verification is completed, a user can buy cryptocurrencies worth as much as $3,000 per day, $12,000 each month, or $40,000 a year. This is a service that will allow users to buy TRON tokens easily in exchange for fiat.

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Ethereum Futures Already Gaining Significant Support in the Industry

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Ethereum futures

Ethereum futures

Ethereum (ETH) is the second largest virtual currency in terms of market cap, and for quite some time investors have been expecting Ethereum futures that seem to, at last, be happening. However, these expectations have faced interest concerns and regulatory uncertainty regarding the crypto asset.
Ethereum Futures Realized

The expectations for Ethereum futures appear to have been realized with The Block reporting that one of the largest global exchanges, CME Group, was preparing to release a futures product for Ethereum. The Chicago-based CME Group was the institution that launched Bitcoin futures during the cryptocurrency boom in 2017.

What this means according to The Block is that CME is changing Ethereum’s reference rate and Index, which is an indication that Ethereum futures are imminent. According to an industry source, the alterations that are being made are for the “preparation of an Ether” vehicle. However, the source indicates that the cash-settled futures such as the CME’s crypto contracts can be altered and thus need a strong index to help in risk mitigation. The latest changes are seen as a way of boosting the confidence of regulators to accept Ethereum products.
Ethereum Futures Gaining Support

The development comes at a time when Ethereum futures are gaining support from a number of cryptocurrency users in the industry. For instance, Thomas Chippas, the CEO of ErisX, has emphasized the need of having an Ethereum vehicle since ETH has a very vibrant and real community, appropriate institutional involvement, and precise use cases, as well as other good tenets in the industry.

>> Stablecoin Market is Showing Signs of Solid Growth

Early in the year, a CFTC official claimed that government officials at the CFTC were friendly to Ethereum after they claimed that the body was content with the crypto asset. He added that when a derivative exchange wants to launch a derivative that meets the CFTC requirement, they will be certified.

The news of the Ethereum futures comes at a time when various crypto exchange startups have received licenses to begin listing physically-delivered Bitcoin vehicles.

What do you think of the news?

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Ethereum Gets Solid Support from Ernst & Young

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Ethereum

Ethereum

The past few days have been quite difficult for the crypto space due to the continuing poor performance by some of the leading tokens; however, major cryptocurrency Ethereum received some boost today. In a new development, consultancy giant Ernst & Young announced a new source code that could make the ETH blockchain far more efficient and secure.

How Important is This?

The development comes at an interesting time since ETH is all set to upgrade its network in order to control costs significantly and promote efficiency. This is a development that could have a far-reaching effect on the project and eventually on the crypto token.

It needs to be mentioned, though, that despite the significant technical improvements that have been made to the network, Ethereum has not seen positive price movements so far. That is something that should be at the back of the mind of most ETH traders and supporters. However, at the same time, it cannot be denied that the ETH network has slowly but surely made great strides in the real world.

Some of the biggest names in the world, including Ernst & Young use the network for a variety of purposes. The ultimate aim is to make life easier for the biggest companies, and E&Y is also looking at the way to introduce the usage of ETH for big businesses.

Earlier on this year, E&Y had released a minor update in Ethereum technology that was supposed to enable ETH transactions in privacy. The firm made a small update to the technology that is known as Nightfall. However, according to the latest development, the consultancy firm has upgraded the scope of the tweak and now allows as many as 20 transactions at one go with zero knowledge.

>> Poloniex Delists DigiByte (DGB) After the Founder Criticizes TRON

The announcement stated, “This includes both batching and a new tool for reducing Merkle tree updates called (appropriately) Timber developed by the EY Blockchain research team.”

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Tether Becomes the Most Used Cryptocurrency in the World

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Tether

Tether

Over the past few years, the fiat-backed stablecoin Tether has become the subject of fevered discussions among those in the crypto sphere as well as those outside of it. It is a crypto token that is used across a range of crypto exchanges in order to facilitate trading, and it goes without saying that the stablecoin has become extremely popular among plenty of crypto traders.

Most Widely Used Cryptocurrency

However, data from Coinwidely using cryptocurrency market cap has now shown that Tether is actually the most widely used cryptocurrency in the world. Many believed that the most widely used token must have been Bitcoin, which is the biggest cryptocurrency in the world by market capitalization. But it seems that this is not the case.

It is interesting to note that the stablecoin has a market cap that is a fraction of that of Bitcoin and is, in fact, 1/30th of it at this point in time. However, data from CoinMarketCap has revealed that Tether experiences the highest trading volumes both on a weekly and monthly basis. It is a significant achievement for a stablecoin that is often the subject of extreme debates among members of the crypto community.

The data has revealed that it was back in April this year that the stablecoin managed to surpass Bitcoin by trading volume for the first time in its lifetime and managed to extend the lead since the start of August.

>> $6.4 Million USD Worth of FSN Tokens Stolen in Fusion Network Hack

Its daily trading volume stands at $21 billion per day, according to the data. It is interesting to note that it was back in April that Bitcoin was surpassed. At the time, Bitcoin had been in the middle of its remarkable rally, and so its trading volume was huge.

The monthly trading volume of Tether is higher by as much as 18% compared to that of Bitcoin. In this regard, it is also important to point out that the stablecoin has now become an extremely important part of the whole crypto ecosystem.

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Ethereum (ETH) Soars 35% in a Month

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Ethereum

Ethereum

Ethereum (ETH) continues to gather pace after an impressive start to the year. The second-largest cryptocurrency by market cap has already risen to a two-month high of $165 after a 13% rally this week. Over the past month, the cryptocurrency has rallied by more than 35% and is showing no signs of slowing down.

Ethereum Price Gain

Price gains have coincided with an uptick in trading volume, affirming renewed investor interest in crypto after a roller coaster 2019. Trading volumes have more than doubled to highs of $17.9 million over the past month.  Ethereum is not the only one experiencing gains in the market. Many other altcoins have also rallied by an average of 5% as bullish sentiments continue to boost the sector.

When it comes to ETH price action, the $155 area is its immediate support level. The bulls, on the other hand, will have to break the $165 resistance zone, if the cryptocurrency is to continue powering high. Above $165, the next hurdle is at the $170–$172 level.

Ethereum Price Catalysts

Gains in trading volume and price stem from a number of factors that continue to work in favor of Ethereum. Growing economic uncertainty in Venezuela has once again continued to fuel demand for cryptocurrencies. Likewise, reports that a cryptocurrency bull run is on the horizon has seen investors start jostling for positions.

>> Bitwise Withdraws Bitcoin ETF Application with SEC

The launch of Ethereum 2.0, often referred to as Serenity, is another development likely to shape Ethereum sentiments and prospects in the market this year. Set to be rolled out in phases, Ethereum 2.0 should bring about Shading, proof of stake, and a new virtual machine, among other things.

Ethereum 2.0 will trigger the proof of work consensus algorithm, which Bitcoin has already integrated. Likewise, the upgrade will bring about Beacon Chain, shard Chains, and State Execution. Ethereum co-founder Vitalik Buterin has already released a block explorer that will support Beacon Chain and track a testnet version.

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Tether (USDT) Dominance Persists Amidst Mainstream Adoption

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Tether

Tether

Tether (USDT) popularity in the cryptocurrency space is unmatched. Immediate data indicates it is the most widely used stablecoin by virtue of trading volume. In November, for instance, USDT accounted for as much as 79% of Bitcoin trading between fiat or stablecoins. Likewise, a total of 9.69 million Bitcoins were exchanged in favor of the Tether stablecoin.

Popularity

The popularity stems from the fact that Tether is one of the most stable cryptocurrencies, given that it is pegged to the US dollar. USDT popularity and trading volume are expected to continue rising as cryptocurrency mainstream adoption continues to gain traction. Likewise, the stablecoin looks set to benefit from increased usage in derivatives such as crypto exchanges like Okex, which has already unveiled USDT futures.

The stability aspect brought about by stablecoins should continue to benefit the broader cryptocurrency market. Gone are the days when people shunned the market on fear of the high levels of volatility as well as the lack of liquidity. With the likes of USDT being pegged on stable assets such as the US dollar, investors are now able to use stablecoins to hedge against market volatility.

Headwinds

While USDT looks set to continue dominating the stablecoin landscape, it has had to contend with a fair share of challenges. There were ownership concerns in 2017 after it emerged that Bitfinex and Tether Ltd might be backed by the same owners, for example.

>> Bitmain Co-Founder Starts Legal Battle to Regain Control

Tether has also had to contend with supply concerns amidst fears in 2017 that there might have been a large supply of USDT relative to demand.

Uncertainty continues to surround Tether. The Commodity Futures Trading Commission has asked for proof to show if there is sufficient US dollar backing the 2.3 billion Tether coins in circulation. While Tether has provided a financial audit, inconsistencies have cropped up, especially with ties to Tether holdings.

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