Companies race to solve bitcoin’s security problem despite slumping prices 2051

Start-ups are driving ahead with plans to solve the issue of custody, or having a place to securely store cryptocurrency. For institutional investors that are used to having money safely stored or FDIC insured, where they would put their high-paying clients’ cryptocurrency is said to be the biggest question mark.

“Institutional investors are very interested in finding a solution, but they haven’t seen one that they think is perfect for various reasons,” said Monica Summerville, senior analyst at TABB Group specializing in financial technology. “They still self-custody, and manage all their own keys.”

Summerville works with one family office that stores clients’ cryptocurrency on tiny, USB drive-looking devices in order to guard against hacks. The devices they use are about the size of a baby carrot, and fund managers organize them in binders to keep money organized until there’s a better alternative.

Other smaller retail investors opt to keep cryptocurrency on an exchange or have their own offline, arguably safer methods called “cold storage.” But it’s more complicated for family offices and hedge funds. The Securities and Exchange Commission requires private funds to use a third party, like a bank or another regulated financial institution for those holding more than $150 million in assets.

In cryptocurrency, often the only thing standing between money and a hacker is what’s known as a “private key” or an alphanumeric code to access funds. Companies that manage these cryptographic keys are known as custodians, acting like traditional Wall Street custodians such as State Street and Bank of New York.

The race to custody

Crypto company BitGo is among the companies looking to fill that gap. On Thursdayit received a state trust company charter from the South Dakota Division of Banking, making it the only regulated custody offering that’s built just for storing digital assets.

“This is the missing piece for infrastructure — it’s a treacherous environment today” BitGo co-founder and CEO Mike Belshe told CNBC. “Hedge funds need it, family offices need it, they can’t participate in digital currency until they have a place to store it that’s regulated.”

BitGo is opening itself up to regulatory scrutiny that isn’t required for most cryptocurrency companies. The Palo Alto, California-based start-up will file financial audits, adhere to “know your customer” and anti money-laundering rules, and file monthly disclosures.

Belshe, who started as a software engineer at HP and Netscape, said BitGo will eventually look to become a broker-dealer, but he declined to give a timeline.

‘Plethora’ of opportunity

BitGo is not the only one plowing ahead on custody solutions. Coinbase, Gemini (run by the Winklevoss twins), Ledger and ItBit are also looking to be those trusted safeguards. Japanese bank Nomura announced plans in May to offer crypto custody. Goldman Sachs and Northern Trust are also reportedly exploring offering custodial services.

Sanford C. Bernstein is among the firms arguing that reputable custody is one of the biggest headwinds to institutional adoption of cryptocurrencies. Solving that problem could be one way to make money in the space, according to Bernstein.

“As the crypto-asset class seasons and institutional demand builds, there are a plethora of opportunities for traditional firms to engage in the eco-system,” Bernstein analyst Christian Bolu wrote in a note to clients in August. “These include the provision of custodial and asset management services as well as traditional brokerage functions like market-making.”

Part of the hesitation from institutional investors is headline risk. As of the end of June, $1.6 billion in cryptocurrency had been stolen from clients, according to CoinDesk’s 2018 State of Blockchain Report.

Hacks have also been an issue for bitcoin prices this year. Cryptocurrencies have lost more than 60 percent of their market capitalization since the beginning of this year, according to CoinMarketCap.com. Trading volumes of cryptocurrencies have also plummeted 65 percent while the price of bitcoin has fallen 50 percent this year. Despite waning interest, Belshe is betting that BitGo will at least still have cryptocurrency to store long-term.

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Hyland to Provide Strategic Support for Texas Blockchain Summit on Oct. 8 3246

Hyland, a leading content services provider, is a founding strategic partner of the Texas Blockchain Council, a trade association representing the blockchain industry in Texas. This year, the TBC is planning the first Texas Blockchain Summit on Oct. 8 in Austin.

The Summit is a first-of-its-kind event that will focus on digital asset policy, digital identity, Bitcoin mining and cryptocurrency’s implications for national security. Prominent policymakers and subject matter-experts headline the event, a group that includes:

  • Wyoming Senator Cynthia Lummis
  • Ohio Congressman Warren Davidson
  • Texas State Representative Tan Parker
  • Texas State Senator Angela Paxton
  • Texas Banking Commissioner Charles Cooper
  • Chamber of Digital Commerce Founder Perianne Boring
  • Venture Capitalist Nic Carter
  • Professor of Finance Nik Bhatia
  • Human Rights Foundation Chief Strategy Officer Alex Gladstein

The Summit will also feature CEOs of prominent Bitcoin mining companies, an industry with significant momentum in Texas, as well as leaders of startups and established companies working on applications of blockchain technology in digital identity, education and transportation/logistics.

“Hyland is excited to be part of the Texas Blockchain Summit, as the impact of the blockchain industry only continues to grow,” said Hyland Principal Advisor Natalie Smolenski, who earlier this year was appointed Chairman of the Board of the Council and is recognized as a leading blockchain expert, author and speaker. “We are in a unique moment in the history of human societies. For the first time, we have a form of sound money that is not issued by any nation-state, and the experts scheduled to address these trends at the Texas Blockchain Summit will provide unique insight into what that means for the American people and business community, as well as American foreign policy.”

The Council, founded in mid-2020, has quickly become a leader in blockchain innovation and advocacy, playing a role in two bills passed during the 87th State Legislative Session, which ended on May 31. Those bills created a Blockchain Work Group in the state and clarified the treatment of digital currencies under Texas law. Later, the state’s Department of Banking affirmed that banks chartered in Texas may custody virtual currencies.

KuCoin User Quarterly Growth Up 1144% With Accumulated Volume Over $400 Billion 5628

KuCoin, a global leading crypto exchange, are thrilled to announce that the total number of new users in Q2 2021 exceeded two million, with unprecedented quarter-over-quarter growth of 1144%, and a year-on-year increase of 709%. To date, KuCoin has executed 810 million transactions and the accumulated transaction volume attained a value of $400 billion. Over the past year, the average daily trading volume has grown by 791% and now stands at $4.3 billion.

In particular, the number of mobile users of KuCoin is also growing, as the number of installs experienced a growth of 755% compared to last year. In the second quarter of 2021, 1.07 million installs were made — a 178% increase quarter-over-quarter. In total, 54% of traders are currently mobile users of the platform. Mobile trading surpassed the metrics of the web version of the exchange for the first time. Such dynamics may be also driven by the growing demand for payment services among merchants around the world as well as the spreading use of mobile and contactless payments.

The number of women using the platform has tripled over the past six months. Quarterly growth of new female users stands at 120%, with annual growth being 350%, contributing to the rapid growth seen across the crypto market this year. Such a mass influx was made evident not only by the growth of accounts registered by women, but also by the growth of the deposits they made compared to the same period last year. If a year ago the share of female traders was only 12% versus 88% of men, today 38% of its users are women.

“Over the past year, we made immense progress in onboarding new users and creating an easy entry for both men and women. To achieve such growth KuCoin specifically has been providing its users with educational guides, 101 sections, as well as holding AMA sessions with the CEO,” said Johnny Lyu, CEO of KuCoin, “we have also launched a number of new crypto services allowing users with minimal understanding of crypto to get boarded in trading easily. We firmly believe that one day everyone will get involved with crypto, and we will contribute to making it happen.”

Based on an analysis of spot traders, it is found that every fourth (25%) user of KuCoin platform uses trading bots when trading on the exchange, and the trend continues to grow. A quarter ago the number of trading bots users was 23%, while a year ago, only 15% were using trading bots. The growth comes after the launch of KuCoin trading bot in January of 2021. Today, over 2.8 million KuCoin trading bots have been created. This number will likely increase with the growth of the number of users and their trading balances, and the increasing demand for automated trading tools capable of coping in the face of market volatility.

In 2021, KuCoin is continuing to spread into new regions and markets, adopting the technology on a national scale in developing countries of Latin America, Africa, and Asia, with QoQ growth of users — 171.93%, 130.16%, and 67.5% correspondingly. The exchange is seeing the fastest adoption rates in places with high inflation and easy access to mobile phones. The latest data shows that the African crypto market ushered in a major outbreak in the second quarter of 2021. The trading volumes contributed by KuCoin’s African users increased by 20 times in the second quarter of 2021 compared to the same period of the last quarter. Correspondingly, it has also launched highly localized services for African users at a very early stage.

ZHU Announces Plans to Build NFT-based Fan Community 23853

ZHU - Photo Credit: Joey Vitalari
ZHU – Photo Credit: Joey Vitalari

Today, ZHU reveals the details of his plan to build an NFT-based fan community. Beginning with the DREAMROCKS NFT Collection exclusive to Red Rocks concert-goers, an open Zhuman Community token will also be made available for fans worldwide. Fans who attended ZHU’s six-night sold out run at Red Rocks that concluded last night are able to register for community tokens as well as limited-edition moment tokens that include exclusive content from the show they attended. To redeem, showgoers should register using the same email they used to purchase their concert tickets.

Fans of ZHU worldwide will also be able to redeem an open Zhuman Community token. The Zhuman Community token will grant holders access to exclusive content and events to be announced in the coming weeks. ZHU adds, “The fans have shown up so hard these last two weeks at Red Rocks, I’m excited to give something special back to them while also making sure all of my Zhumans worldwide can be a part of the community we’re building.” All DREAMROCKS tokens will be minted and issued on Saturday, May 15th at 12 PM ET. All Zhuman Community tokens will begin minting in the coming weeks. Fans should visit ZHU’s page on the Yellowheart Marketplace for more information and to redeem.

The DREAMROCKS NFT Collection from ZHU is being issued by Night After Night and Yellowheart, the partners behind Kings of Leon’s NFT YOURSELF album release. These releases make ZHU the first artist to build a fan community by issuing free community tokens and the first to issue tokens tied to a live experience.

Casey McGrath, CCO of Night After Night adds, “With this offering, ZHU is setting the tone for how artists should enter the space and use NFTs to create a fan-first model that establishes a long term direct-to-fan pathway.”

“For YellowHeart, democratizing the modern live music experience is our mission. As in-person events start to come back, introducing the many ways NFTs can transform and amplify live music for both artists and fans, in a way that’s better for the environment, is all the more exciting,” said Josh Katz, Founder & CEO of YellowHeart. “It was important to ZHU to have both a carbon-neutral process, as well as offer tokens that are gas-free, so all of his fans could participate in this iconic drop. Since YellowHeart uses Ethereum Layer 2, which uses proof-of-stake, it is the most efficient blockchain solution in terms of gas fees and energy consumption.”

ZIM & Marius Nacht complete additional investment in WAVE BL, a leading provider of a paperless Bill of Lading solution 21970

ZIM Integrated Shipping Services Ltd. (NYSE: ZIM) and Marius Nacht, one of Israel’s leading serial entrepreneurs and investors, announced today that they have jointly invested in a Series B Financing round of WAVE BL, a developer of groundbreaking blockchain network supporting paperless trade in the shipping industry. The two investors co-lead a round of approximately $8 million that will accelerate global implementation of WAVE BL’s proven technology.

ZIM pioneered the first paperless electronic bill of lading pilot in the shipping industry in 2017 using WAVE BL’s platform and has since widely expanded its use to become the industry leader. Electronic bill of lading is currently offered to ZIM customers worldwide, requiring only a simple onboarding process which is supported by ZIM.

Digitization of bills of lading is revolutionizing shipping documentation, sharply reducing time, complexity, errors and costs for all parties involved, while maintaining a high level of security and, importantly, being far more sustainable than the traditional paper bill of lading.

Aligning with international rules, standards and insurance coverage such as IG P&I Clubs and eUCP 600, WAVE BL’s one of a kind decentralized, digital documentation solution is changing the shipping industry as it becomes the new industry benchmark enabling secure and efficient remote business continuity.

Proceeds will be used to support development of WAVE BL’s business and further implementation of its pioneering technology supporting paperless trade in the shipping industry, as well as in other sectors.

ZIM President and CEO Eli Glickman: “Our early adoption of WAVE BL’s blockchain based platform to promote paperless trade highlights our leadership in utilizing digital strategies to best serve customers and has proven extremely successful for ZIM and for changing the industry. Today, ZIM is an industry leader in paperless shipping processes, and we are seeing growing interest from others in our sector to adopt the platform reflecting the significant benefits it provides to both customers and carriers. This new investment in WAVE BL is a step forward in the path to a more digitized and sustainable future, in accordance with our vision and values.”

ZIM CIO Eyal Ben-Amram: “Since completing the integration of WAVE BL’s platform with our system, we can offer every customer the ability to enjoy the vast benefits of paperless shipping, which is especially crucial during COVID-19. We are pleased and proud to continue our support of this exciting and leading company.”

WAVE BL CEO Gadi Ruschin“Our partnership with ZIM has enabled us to introduce our pioneering technology to a vast audience as we endeavor to become the shipping industry standard in paperless trade. We are extremely pleased with the continued faith and commitment of ZIM and Marius Nacht in our company and look forward to leading the wave of the future in shipping.”

Ophir Shoham, who leads Marius Nacht’s investments in high-tech: “We are proud to continue supporting WAVE BL’s remarkable technology and believe in its disruptive potential, leading to a fundamental change in the way business is conducted across countless sectors and industries. We are very impressed with the great progress the team has made and excited to invest in WAVE BL’s trail-blazing platform.”

Play-to-Earn Game from Polker (PKR) Listed on BitMart Exchange – Endorsed by Akon 3684

Polker

The Play-to-Earn NFT based Polker.Game‘s native token $PKR has been officially listed on the popular centralized exchange BitMart. Polker.game has been in the spotlight recently as Akon, the American R&B superstar and record producer gave his official endorsement of polker stating that the “game is revolutionary” and that Polker is “hands down.. the best play to earn, NFT game in the space.”. “Watch Akon’s Video Here“. With the BitMart listing and celebrity endorsement from Akon, Polker is perfectly positioned to become a major player in the Play-to-Earn league.

What is Play-to-Earn?

Although not a new concept, play-to-earn has become a trending term due to the popularity of the NFT game AXIE infinity. In the past, previous play-to-earn games have also achieved success – however, thanks to the huge amount of development in the blockchain space in recent years the gaming experience is now massively improved.

Play-to-Earn games are essentially free to play and open to anyone and everyone. By simply using the platform players can earn native platform tokens or NFTs – both of which have real-world value. Allowing players to earn tokens and NFTs that can be sold or traded has created a paradigm shift in online gaming – Polker is leading the way with the Play-to-Earn poker platform.

Why Polker.Game?

With Play-to-Earn blockchain gaming growing at an unprecedented pace, Polker.game is poised to change the world of online poker with its unique approach to gameplay. Since the chips used in Polker have no value – the game removes the gambling aspect of poker whilst maintaining prizes that have real-world value. Polker’s play-to-earn poker platform is about competition and skill instead of gambling. Although still in the early days, Polker NFTs have already sold for $10,000 (3.8ETH) on OpenSea.

Growth Potential of Polker (PKR)

With Akon supporting the platform and Polker’s play-to-earn poker platform being live, Polker and $PKR have a huge amount of growth potential. The fact that $PKR is now being listed on centralized exchange BitMart increases this potential massively.

The business model that Polker follows is similar to that of AXIE INFINITY (AXS) which has a fully diluted market cap of $19.4bn at the time of writing. Polker (PKR) currently has a fully diluted market cap of $40.2m. If PKR were to reach the same market cap as AXS then the current value would increase over 482x. Simply put, a $1000 investment in PKR today would be worth over $482,000 if Polker were to grow to the same market cap as AXIE INFINITY.

Even reaching half the market cap of AXS in the short-term which is a much more reasonable expectation would allow for a 24,000% increase in value – an ROI that is too good to miss out on for any investor, especially with Akon backing the platform.

Polker Listing on BitMart

Polker (PKR) is a cross-chain token with a functional bridge between Ethereum, Binance Smart Chain (BSC), and Tron – with a Polygon bridge under development. Until now, $PKR has only been tradeable on decentralized exchanges UniSwap, and PancakeSwap. Now listed on popular and centralized exchange BitMart, Polker (PKR) can be traded by a much larger demographic with the newly listed USDT-PKR pair.

With BitMart listing $PKR and Akon shouting out the play-to-earn poker platform offered by Polker the potential of this platform is unrivalled.

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Hashflow Announces $3.2M Seed Round To Bring Professional Market Makers to DeFi, Backed By Dragonfly Capital and Electric Capital 21467

Hashflow, a decentralized exchange connecting DeFi traders with top crypto market makers, has closed a seed funding round of $3.2 million from leading venture capital firms and angel investors. The round was led by Dragonfly Capital and Electric Capital, and joined by IDEO Ventures, Alameda Research, Metastable, Galaxy Digital, Unanimous Capital, and angels including Balaji Srinivasan, Kain Warwick, & Ryan Sean Adams.

Decentralized exchanges on Ethereum have seen rapid growth over the past year with over $215 billion traded on DeFi alone in Q1 2021. This growth can be credited to the popularity of Automated Market Makers (AMMs) which catalyzed DeFi’s explosive growth by offering a simple and permissionless on-chain trading experience. Hashflow builds upon this foundation laid by AMMs, by connecting DeFi traders with top crypto market makers. Using Hashflow, traders can receive price quotes directly from market markers and broadcast trades on-chain using Web3 wallets in a fully trustless manner. By replacing AMM bonding curves with professional market makers, Hashflow offers traders better prices, zero slippage, & the lowest gas costs of any decentralized exchange on Ethereum.

For market makers, Hashflow provides access to the expanding DeFi market while allowing full control over their inventory and pricing strategies. Until now, market makers have had to deploy capital in public liquidity pools, use pre-defined pricing functions, and pay heavy gas fees to change strategies on-chain. With Hashflow, market makers can use bespoke pricing strategies and bridge them on-chain using digital signatures. This gives market makers full control over their capital, and flexibility to adapt to market conditions, using strategies informed by years of experience in centralized markets.

Jon Kol, Director at Galaxy Digital, a leading cryptocurrency investment firm and market maker, commented: “Hashflow is the first project we’ve backed that seamlessly allows market makers to quote prices effectively to DeFi traders.”

Hashflow launched its closed private alpha product this week, with market makers offering price quotes to traders on Ethereum mainnet. In the coming weeks, Hashflow plans to integrate more market makers, and add additional asset pairs that dominate on-chain trading volumes. General audiences will be able to access Hashflow and trade on-chain with market makers by the end of Q2.