Posts by BitcoinCowboy

    Major Cryptocurrencies See Green While US Crude Futures Hit New High for 2019

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    Source: https://cointelegraph.com/news…res-hit-new-high-for-2019

    A DIY Bitcoin Lightning Node Project Just Hit Its 1.0 Milestone

    RaspiBlitz.jpg

    A project aiming to empower people to build nodes that can send and route payments on bitcoin’s in-development lightning network has officially released version 1.0 of its code.

    Announced this week, RaspiBlitz has published finalized instructions for building a lightning node on a tiny hobbyist computer called a raspberry pi. Often used for custom tech projects, the raspberry pi toolkit aims to enable the creation of nodes that can send and secure small bitcoin payments in a trustless way.

    Setting it apart from other lightning nodes, its final form is equipped with a LCD screen and software that boots up a colorful interface (showing a ASCII lightning symbol and the node’s public key). As such, the finished product arguably gives a more visual window into what’s going on with their lightning node.

    Project lead Christian Rootzoll told CoinDesk:

    “In general, the version 1.0 signals that I see the RaspiBlitz package is ready to be shared with friends and colleagues for its intended purpose: To set up a bitcoin and lightning node during a workshop, which takes about 3 hours, or as a do-it-yourself (DIY) project over the weekend when you order the parts from Amazon.”

    In total, the equipment, including a raspberry pi and memory, costs roughly $100. Some users have even been placing the pis in DIY 3D-printed cases, making the device look like a futuristic terminal.

    lightning, cryptocloakImage via CryptoCloaks

    A lot of lightning users already use RaspiBlitz since it’s the cheapest option for running a bitcoin node, with hackers carving out a corner dedicated to putting them together at the NYC lightning “hackday” last fall.

    The raspberry pi device has long been used to power the bitcoin nodes that store full copies of the bitcoin blockchain, making the small computers a vital part of bitcoin’s infrastructure.

    Still, Rootzoll admits that “plug-and-play” nodes like Casa are much easier to set up if less technical users want to give lightning a try. Though the disadvantage is they’re more costly at $400.

    He concluded:

    “For now if you like to have a little hands on and searching for a cheap starting point to become part of the lightning network – the RaspiBlitz project is the choice by a lot of people. And now with version 1.0 the package is ready to be spread across the world.”

    RaspiBlitz image via Christian Rootzoll

    Source: https://www.coindesk.com/a-diy…ust-hit-its-1-0-milestone

    Central Bank of Lithuania Issues Updated Position on Virtual Assets and ICOs

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    Source: https://cointelegraph.com/news…n-virtual-assets-and-icos

    Crypto Investment Services Firm BitGo to Add Support for TRON

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    Source: https://cointelegraph.com/news…o-to-add-support-for-tron

    A David vs. Goliath Battle Is Brewing in Ethereum Decentralized Exchange Race

    Galia-Benartzi-Bancor.jpg

    A project funded by one of 2017’s largest initial coin offerings (ICOs) is facing fierce competition from a brand-new competitor funded by a modest grant.

    Bancor, which raised $150 million during the ICO craze, was founded to make it easy to trade even illiquid ethereum tokens. That’s the same mission as Uniswap, which launched in November and is funded solely by a $100,000 grant from the non-profit Ethereum Foundation.

    Yet, despite the fact that Bancor has been live for over a year, and that it has more resources, new data from blockchain analytics firm Blocklytics reveals the two protocols are now locked in a tight competition to programmatically facilitate ethereum trades.

    Blocklytics found Uniswap first overtook Bancor in total ether trading volume on Feb. 13, when it had a daily trading volume of $541,408 – a full $196,478 more than Bancor for the day.

    But Uniswap’s advantage over Bancor was not permanent.

    The difference narrowed on Feb. 14 and Bancor reclaimed the lead on Feb. 15. On Feb. 17, the last day with complete data, Bancor’s $571,395 in trades amounted to $137,866 more than Uniswap’s, according to the firm’s findings, shared exclusively with CoinDesk.

    The data presents only a snapshot of how the two protocols aimed at offering market liquidity have fared in recent weeks. Still, the new competition has been enough to spur notice from market observers who feel that Uniswap may offer improvements on the Bancor model, particularly in its decision not to introduce or require the use of its own ethereum token.

    Robert Leshner of Compound Finance, a protocol for collateralized lending on ethereum, told CoinDesk that he’d been impressed with Bancor’s design, at least until Uniswap went live.

    Leshner told CoinDesk:

    “Uniswap ripped out the token and simplified the algorithm. It costs a fraction of the gas to trade, and incentivizes the community to add to the liquidity over time.”

    The findings have imbued the Uniswap team with a new confidence in their approach as well, leading them to suggest Bancor wasn’t able to build a moat around its service.

    Project creator Hayden Adams says Uniswap’s technology makes it easy for people who want to participate in market making to join in. “This has led to a massive growth in the liquidity pools, which allows for larger trades and a higher volume,” Adams told CoinDesk.

    However, Bancor emphasizes that focusing on ethereum trading misses the larger story: Bancor’s ability to trade tokens across more than one public blockchain.

    Examining the data

    Nevertheless, by either metric, the research by Blocklytics shows Uniswap, a smaller, newer application has quickly become competitive in facilitating ether token trading. From the start of 2019 to now, Uniswap’s trading volume is up more than 10x, according to Blocklytics.

    That said, it’s not exactly an apples-to-apples comparison.

    Caleb Sheridan, co-founder of Blocklytics, told CoinDesk that the nature of these apps makes comparing them complicated. In short, they each trade between tokens by first trading into a third, more widely traded token.

    On Bancor, a trade from REP to ZRX would trade REP for BNT and then BNT for ZRX. On Uniswap, ETH would be in the middle rather than its own token.

    “We avoid counting the same volume more than once by treating each order as one trade regardless of how many trades the platform actually made to fulfill that order,” Sheridan said.

    Although, the data compiled by Blocklytics shows that Bancor remains ahead on several other metrics. Bancor is running 76 more ERC-20 tokens than Uniswap as of this writing.

    Bancor told CoinDesk it did $3.67 million in volume from Feb. 3 to Feb. 9. The analysis from Blocklytics shows it running $2.89 million in volume over that period. (Bancor declined to provide daily volume, but Blocklytics’ report does not include EOS trades.)

    Additionally, much of Uniswap’s recent growth can primarily be ascribed to trades for MKR, the governance token for MakerDAO’s two-token system, with a healthy dose of DAI (MakerDao’s stablecoin) in there as well. Bancor currently sees more individual trades and hosts more accounts than Uniswap.

    From Bancor’s perspective, a key value add for its automated market makers is also the fact that it aims to offer its service to more than one blockchain (today, ethereum and EOS), something Uniswap cannot do. From Uniswap’s perspective, ethereum is the only blockchain it is interested in serving, so it could muddy the waters to compare Uniswap to Bancor.

    Nate Hindman, a spokesperson for Bancor, told CoinDesk in an email:

    “Creating a dependency on ETH or any blockchain-level token by utilizing it as Bancor’s hub token would dramatically reduce the flexibility and reach of the network and protocol.”

    ICO questions

    However, the data opens up old questions about tokenized business and fundraising models, particularly how effective they can prove to be against those that do not require a new token.

    Bancor, the largest token sale ever at the time, stirred controversy over its use of a token, BNT, drawing fire from prominent technologists, including researchers at Cornell University.

    Nevertheless, it quickly saw adoption once its product went live, proving its thesis was right: people wanted an easy way to trade between any two tokens. Further controversy would arise when Bancor suffered a 2018 security breach. But it continued to see usage and growth.

    Still, Bancor has had to continue to defend its use of a token. (For example, the Bancor team used a Twitter thread to defend its use of the BNT token last week.)

    “In total 1.2 million transactions have been processed through BNT across 40,000 wallets, totaling $1.5 billion in conversions,” the company wrote. “Around 10 percent of BNT’s total supply is staked in automated market makers facilitating these conversions, making BNT one of the most active utility tokens in the world.”

    Nevertheless, by either metric, the Blocklytics research shows the smaller, newer application has quickly become competitive, perhaps opening the door for competitors to emerge on Bancor that facilitate trading by using a protocol’s native token.

    For now, Uniswap’s Adams told CoinDesk he’s focused on improving the usability of the service.

    He wrote:

    “As Uniswap gains more users and integrations the trade volume (and fees generated) will increase. This increases the profitability of providing liquidity and will likely lead to even more liquidity.”

    Bancor co-founder Galia Benartzi speaks at niTROn Summit 2019. (Photo by Brady Dale for CoinDesk)

    Source: https://www.coindesk.com/bancor-uniswap-dex-competition

    Countdown Restarts Today for SEC Decision on CBOE-VanEck Bitcoin ETF

    gurbacs-e1550600997384.jpg

    The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) may make an initial decision on not one, but two different bitcoin exchange-traded fund (ETFs) proposals by April 5.

    A bitcoin ETF proposal submitted (for a second time) by VanEck, SolidX and the Cboe BZX Exchange is expected to be formally published in the Federal Register Wednesday, kicking off the initial 45-day clock for approval, rejection or extension. The proposal was first posted on the SEC’s website on Feb. 13.

    Once the proposal is officially published, the general public will have three weeks from Feb. 20 (meaning until March 13) to file their initial responses to it. Then the SEC will have another three weeks, until April 5, to make a decision or give itself an extension.

    At the moment, the proposal appears in the Public Inspection section of the Federal Register website, meaning it has not yet been officially published. As the current page notes, “only official editions of the Federal Register provide legal notice to the public and judicial notice to the courts,” while the most recent version of the proposal itself says that it is scheduled to be published Wednesday.

    The VanEck/SolidX proposal will join one filed by Bitwise Investment Management and NYSE Arca, which was published in the Federal Register on Feb. 15, meaning the SEC has until the beginning of April to decide on it or postpone the decision.

    The VanEck/SolidX proposal was previously filed last year, and was widely expected to be the first proposal to be approved by the U.S. securities regulator. However, this proposal was withdrawn during the longest U.S. government shutdown in history and re-filed at the end of January.

    If approved, an ETF could potentially bring new liquidity into a bitcoin market that is starting to show signs of recovery. However, it’s important to remember that the SEC can give itself up to three extensions on any rule change proposal, meaning it could still be months before a final decision is reached on either ETF.

    Early feedback

    While the formal comment period has not officially opened yet, the VanEck/SolidX proposal is already receiving feedback.

    The filing’s first response, listed as from Sam Ahn at Hana Trading, asks how the companies are defining bitcoin’s intrinsic value. The question of intrinsic value is important for investors who may consider buying into the ETF, Ahn explains.

    Ahn’s response links to seven previous responses on different ETF proposals, all of which also question bitcoin’s intrinsic value.

    Gabor Gurbacs, VanEck’s digital asset strategy lead, declined to comment on this response.

    Correction (03:50 UTC, Feb. 20, 2019): This article previously said the Bitwise proposal was filed last year. The VanEck/SolidX proposal was first filed in 2018.

    Gabor Gurbacs image via CoinDesk archives

    Source: https://www.coindesk.com/count…n-cboe-vaneck-bitcoin-etf

    Galaxy Digital Backs $15 Million Raise for Crypto Analytics Firm CipherTrace

    code-analysis.jpg

    Blockchain and cryptocurrency security firm CipherTrace has raised $15 million in funding from investors including Mike Novogratz’s Galaxy Digital, the firm announced Tuesday.

    The round was led by Aspect Ventures, with Neotribe Ventures and WestWave Capital also participating.

    CipherTrace provides analytics and forensics products for cryptocurrencies and blockchains that it says are already in use by government, regulators, law enforcement and auditors to help enforce anti-money laundering laws and tackle crime.

    By collecting a range of data points and using machine learning to crunch that data, the firm says it can de-anonymize blockchain-based transactions and trace flows of funds to “legitimate entities as well as criminal enterprises.”

    As part of the funding deal, Aspect venture partner Mark Kraynak will join the CipherTrace board of directors.

    Kraynak said his firm believes that security and regulatory compliance will be “a key first hurdle to mass adoption.”

    Adding that demand for its products is growing, the firm said it will use the new funds to expand internationally and add more features to its products.

    Greg Wasserman, co-head of principal investments at Galaxy Digital, said:

    “Appropriate AML technology is critical for the mainstream adoption of digital assets. Institutional investors are increasingly looking to platforms like CipherTrace to monitor the integrity of transactions with their counterparties.”

    Galaxy Digital is already a CipherTrace customer, he added.

    Growth sector

    With cryptocurrency’s reputation (whether deserved or not) for use in criminal enterprise, compliance and security is a growing segment in the cryptocurrency space, and increasingly investors as a foundational part of industry as the technology gradually moves more mainstream.

    Just today, Solidus Labs – a crypto surveillance startup led by former Goldman Sachs fintech engineers – raised $3 million in seed funding. while Chainalysis, also a cryptocurrency sleuthing startup, announced a $30 million Series B earlier this month.

    Chainalysis CEO and co-founder Michael Gronager, said then that the round suggests a continuing appetite among investors to make a long-term bet on the foundations of the developing crypto ecosystem.

    “The investment and the timing of it shows that, despite fluctuating prices, there is quite a strong conviction among some very big VCs that this is not a short term play,” he told CoinDesk.

    Coinbase, too, has emphasized the importance of blockchain analytics with the acquisition of a startup called startup Neutrino last week. Made as part of its drive to offer more diverse crypto assets across borders, blockchain analytics-based compliance is “important as we work with regulators and agencies in different countries to bring new assets there,” the exchange said at the time.

    The news of the acquisition was timely, as it came several weeks after Israeli blockchain analytics firm Whitestream said a Coinbase account has been directing bitcoin donations to the Palestinian military-political group Hamas, which is deemed a terrorist organization by some nations.

    Data analysis image via Shutterstock

    Source: https://www.coindesk.com/galax…nalytics-firm-ciphertrace

    Cryptos 'Not a Substitute' for the Precious Metal, Says World Gold Council

    shutterstock_703031917.jpg

    Cryptocurrencies are “no substitute for gold,” according to the World Gold Council (WGC).

    The WGC, a market development organization for the gold industry, published the report late last month, arguing that gold is “very different” from cryptocurrencies. It’s less volatile, has a more liquid market and trades in a regulatory environment, among other factors, it said.

    Gold’s price has appreciated 10 percent per year on average since the collapse of Bretton Woods monetary system (which pegged major currencies to the precious metal) in the 1970s, the WGC said, while its volatility has also reduced over the last four decades.

    Bitcoin’s price, on the other hand, the council said, has been “extremely volatile – some 10 times that of the dollar denominated gold price.” Therefore, it is not really a good as a currency, the WGC opined, “let alone a store of value, potentially limiting bitcoin’s use as a transaction token.”

    Bitcoin trading volumes are also “very low” compared to gold and other currencies. Giving the statistics, the WGC said, bitcoin trades $2 billion on an average per day – less than 1 percent of the total gold market’s volume of approximately $250 billion per day.

    The WGC said that gold demand is diverse, supply is “responsive” and is a “tried and tested effective” investment option in portfolios as a diversifier, as well as having performed well during periods of inflation.

    Further, gold prices and demand are not showing any signs of suffering from crypto competition, the council said, adding that cryptocurrencies compete more between themselves, as there are now thousands of tokens available.

    The WGC concluded:

    “[Bitcoin’s] performance has, until recently, been remarkable, but its purpose as an investment seems quite different from gold. Cryptocurrencies have yet to be tested in multiple markets.”

    On blockchain technology, the Council is taking a more positive stance, though. It said, the technology is “genuinely innovative” and could be useful across financial services and beyond, including within the gold industry.

    PayPal co-founder Peter Thiel argued last year that bitcoin is tantamount to digital gold. Much like gold, he said, the cryptocurrency is destined to be a store of value rather than a means of payment.

    “It’s like bars of gold in a vault that never move,” Thiel said. “It’s sort of hedge of sorts against the whole world falling apart.”

    Gold and bitcoin image via Shutterstock; chart courtesy of the WGC report

    Source: https://www.coindesk.com/crypt…l-says-world-gold-council

    US Advocacy Group Calls for National Action Plan on Blockchain

    US-Capitol.jpg

    The Chamber of Digital Commerce, a blockchain advocacy group, has called for the U.S. government to implement a national strategy for blockchain technology.

    The organization released its recommendations for the plan on Wednesday, urging the government to promote and support the blockchain industry through clear and supportive public statements.

    So far, most public statements from the U.S. government on cryptocurrencies have been in the form of warnings and enforcement actions, according to the chamber. Instead, there is a need for “clearly articulated statement of support for the private sector” on blockchain for the benefit of government, business and consumers, it said.

    The U.S. government agencies should also coordinate with each other to develop blockchain policies, guidance and regulations. There should be a “light-touch regulatory approach” and the industry must have clarity on what laws apply to blockchain-based applications and digital tokens, the group added.

    Chamber of Digital Commerce founder and president Perianne Boring said in a statement:

    “Other developed nations are promoting the adoption of blockchain and digital assets. It is imperative that the U.S. also recognize the power and potential of blockchain technology. …We can either step forward as visionary leaders or risk falling behind.”

    The U.S. government should also create an office to coordinate on blockchain strategy, the chamber recommended, given the “multi-tiered and multi-stakeholder structure of U.S. financial services regulation.”

    It argued that blockchain tech has potential to streamline processes across industries, including cybersecurity, financial services, healthcare, supply chain, and more, and that the lawmakers should reach out and cooperate with entrepreneurs in order to develop the national blockchain strategy.

    Some U.S. lawmakers have already been making legislative efforts in the crypto and blockchain space. Back in October, a bipartisan bill was introduced, proposing the creation of a “consensus-based definition of blockchain.”

    In December, two more bipartisan bills were introduced aimed to prevent crypto price manipulation and to boost acceptance of blockchain technology.

    And, just last week, lawmakers in the U.S. state of Wyoming passed three bills related to blockchain and cryptos.

    One bill is designed to recognize digital assets as property and clears the way for banks to act as crypto custodians, the others aim to enable securities to be issued in a tokenized form and create “special purpose depository institutions” to enable blockchain businesses to access traditional banking services. All three are now awaiting signature by the state governor to officially become law.

    U.S. Capitol image via Shutterstock

    Source: https://www.coindesk.com/us-ad…action-plan-on-blockchain

    SEC Set to Begin Fresh Consultation Period on CBOE-VanEck Bitcoin ETF

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    Source: https://cointelegraph.com/news…n-cboe-vaneck-bitcoin-etf