In the Daily: Monero Upgrade, Revolut Auto Exchange, SETL Administration

In the Daily: Monero Upgrade, Revolut Auto Exchange, SETL Administration

In this edition of The Daily we cover the latest protocol upgrade to privacy coin monero (XMR), a new feature for traders using Revolut, and the blockchain-based corporate settlements platform SETL appointing administrators for the business. Also Read: Online Bank Swissquote to Add Crypto Custodial Services Monero Undergoes Protocol Upgrade The Monero development team has confirmed that its scheduled protocol upgrade was completed successfully. The hard fork introduced four main changes to the privacy-focused altcoin including an improvement to the dynamic block size algorithm, an introduction of dummy encrypted payment IDs as well as shrinking of the size of amount encodings and using deterministic masks. The most important update involved making the cryptocurrency more resistant to ASIC (application-specific integrated circuits) miners. A recent report showed that more than 85 percent of the Monero network was dominated by ASIC miners. The newly implemented Cryptonight-R algorithm is meant to tweak the proof-of-work mechanism used by XMR miners to deter using ASIC rigs, at least for a while. Revolut Launches Auto Exchange London-based alternative digital banking startup Revolut has added a new feature to the service it calls Auto Exchange, supporting both fiat and cryptocurrencies. Similar to market orders common on forex trading platforms, such as Entry and Stop-Loss, the new feature allows Revolut users to automatically exchange one asset into another when a target rate they set is reached. Revolut was launched in July 2015, and its services include pre-paid debit cards (Mastercard or Visa), fiat currency exchange, cryptocurrency buying and exchange, peer-to-peer payments, remittances, personal loans, travel insurance and international money transfers. In April 2018 the company raised a Series C investment round of $250 million and added support for bitcoin cash (BCH). SETL Goes Into Administration Permissioned blockchain-based platform SETL has recently announced the appointment of administrators for the company in a notice of corporate insolvency. This is the latest example of corporate blockchain technology projects struggling to deliver on the hype they generated. The newly appointed administrators, Quantuma LLP, are tasked with enabling the company to balance its holdings and continue its activities on a business as usual basis. Trying to put a positive spin on the matter, SETL refers to the move as a corporate reorganization following the completion of its Central Securities…

Barclays Analyst Predicts Billions in Additional Revenue From ‘Facebook Coin’ by 2021

Barclays Analyst Predicts Billions in Additional Revenue From ‘Facebook Coin’ by 2021

Facebook’s own cryptocurrency, if launched, could potentially generate $19 billion in additional revenue by 2021, CNBC reports on March 11. Barclays internet analyst Ross Sandler wrote in a client note that a cryptocurrency could establish a new revenue stream for Facebook, aiding its share price that tanked amid a series of high-profile scandals last year. In his forecast, Sandler pointed out that the crypto-based revenue option is something “sorely needed at this stage of the company’s narrative,” stressing that any advertising-free revenue streams are likely to be well-perceived by Facebook’s shareholders. Sandler said that his more conservative revenue estimate for the new coin is $3 billion. The Barclays analyst recalled Facebook’s original payment project that was similar to what cryptocurrencies are today. Developed by California-based firm The Menlo Park in 2010, “Facebook credits” represented a virtual currency that allowed users to pre-pay those credits using domestic currencies and then use them for in-app-purchases. Sandler added that Facebook will bear the brunt of interchange costs between fiat currencies and its possible new cryptocurrency, which could cut into the profitability of the business. Citing analysis from Barclays, Sandler stated that the first version of “Facebook Coin” may be a single purpose coin for micro-payments and domestic peer-to-peer (p2p) money transfer, which is considered “very similar to the original credits from 2010.” Sandler also assessed the scope of the project, noting that it is larger than previous ambitions of Facebook. The analyst pointed to David Marcus, the leader of Facebook’s blockchain and crypto team, who is former president of payment operator PayPal. Sandler also noted that Facebook has recently hired a number of employees from blockchain startup Chainspace. Following a Bloomberg report on Facebook developing its own crypto back in December 2018, The New York Times (NYT) published another article alleging that the social media giant is “hoping to succeed where Bitcoin failed” with its highly secretive crypto project. According to NYT, 50 new employees are working on developing a stablecoin that would incorporate Facebook’s three fully-owned apps — WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger, and Instagram.

CFTC Requires Trading Platform to Pay $990K for Illegal Bitcoin-Related Transactions

CFTC Requires Trading Platform to Pay $990K for Illegal Bitcoin-Related Transactions

The United States Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) has announced Monday, March 11, that international securities dealer 1pool Ltd. and its CEO Patrick Brunner must pay a total of $990,000 for illicit Bitcoin (BTC) transactions with U.S. customers. The Marshall Islands-based startup, which was offering BTC-funded security-based swaps, and its owner have been fined for illegally offering BTC-margined retail commodity transactions to U.S. investors. Moreover, the CFTC states that 1pool Ltd. failed to register as a futures commission merchant and did not comply with the required Anti-Money Laundering (AML) procedures. The CFTC imposed a civil penalty of $175,000, while also obliging 1pool Ltd. to reimburse $246,000 of gains. Moreover, the company has to return approximately 93 BTC, valued by the CFTC at approximately $570,000, to all known U.S. customers. CFTC Director of Enforcement James McDonald has additionally warned intermediaries that the watchdog will hold them accountable in case they fail to comply with licensing requirements and U.S. trading policies. As Cointelegraph previously reported, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) were also involved in prosecution. During the investigation an undercover FBI agent purchased security-based swaps on the Marshall-based platform from the U.S., though he did not comply with the discretionary investment thresholds required by the U.S. securities laws. According to SEC, the users could also open accounts on the platform with their email address and a user name only, without providing additional information, which does not comply with U.S. customer identification regulations. The two parallel actions were filed by CFTC and SEC in September 2018. The chairman of CFTC Christopher Giancarlo explained that the CFTC charged the portion of the activity involving derivatives, the SEC charged the portion relating to equities, and the Department of Justice and the FBI secured an order to seize platform’s website and shut it down.

IBM Scores Deal With US Credit Union Group to Use Hyperledger Blockchain

IBM Scores Deal With US Credit Union Group to Use Hyperledger Blockchain

CU Ledger, a consortium of U.S. credit unions that’s been experimenting with a range of private blockchains, has added one more to the list: IBM’s Hyperledger Fabric solution. The consortium will use IBM’s tech to create “an immutable audit trail that can be used to create new business models and transform existing business processes for credit unions,” Big Blue said Monday. In particular, the new solutions will be built for such services as identity authentication, compliance with know-your-customer (KYC) regulations, lending and payments, the tech giant said. The first blockchain-based services will be available to CULedger members “later in 2019,” IBM said. However, the consortium told CoinDesk it will keep its relationships with previously announced partners R3, Hedera and Evernym. “The use of a specific blockchain platform will be dependent on each particular application or use case that is being developed. Our partners, such as IBM, Evernym and Sovrin, each play a role within our overall strategy and solutions,” Julie Esser, CULedger’s chief experience officer, told CoinDesk. “We are not replacing any of the relationships that we have previously announced,” she said. “CULedger is building a network of networks that will facilitate the peer-to-peer exchange of anything digital. As we continue to develop our solutions, there will be applications better suited for different networks, and CULedger will enable those networks to interact with each other.” For example, CULedger is building an identity solution for its members leveraging the Hyperledger Indy platform (the code for which was developed by Evernym and contributed by the Sovrin Foundation). But the new KYC-related product will use Fabric (which IBM contributed to Hyperledger), Esser said. Past partnerships Last May, the consortium announced it was going to use Hedera’s Hashgraph distributed ledger technology (DLT) to build a public system for cross-border payments. In December, CULedger also announced it was joining R3’s global network of companies building on the open-source Corda platform. The group also said earlier its identity solution MyCUID was developed with Evernym, an identity-focused blockchain company. At the moment, CULedger isn’t building on Corda, Esser explained, but “there is an opportunity in the future” for the consortium to leverage R3’s tech. Evernym remains a key partner, providing the front-end solution for MyCUID. As for Hedera, CULedger “doesn’t have a specific use case at this…

Owner of Burj Khalifa, World’s Tallest Building, Plans ICO

Owner of Burj Khalifa, World’s Tallest Building, Plans ICO

The real estate firm in charge of the world’s tallest building wants to develop its own crypto token. Emaar Group, one of the the United Arab Emirates’ largest real estate developers and the firm behind the nearly 3,000 foot tall Burj Khalifa, announced Monday that it was planning to develop the “Emaar community token” for its customers and partners by the end of 2019, with an ultimate goal of launching an initial coin offering (ICO). The firm will partner with Lykke AG, a Switzerland-based crypto startup to build an ethereum-based token designed to comply with the ERC-20 standard. Once it is developed, Emaar plans to use the token as a referral and loyalty system, according to a press release. Customers will be able to use the token at any of Emaar’s holdings, including its malls, entertainment facilities, online shopping venues or other properties. With the community token, Emaar is targeting a potential user base of 1 billion internet users. Few details have been released about Emaar’s ICO, but the company intends to conclude it within 12 months of the token’s initial launch. It will be available only to European buyers. Emaar did not say how much money it intends to raise. In a statement, Emaar Properties chairman Mohamed Alabbar said the company is looking to “extend the Emaar experience,” adding: “We have embraced the digital world even as we continue to build the most advanced and innovative physical structures and we use both to delight and benefit our customers and stakeholders globally. The Emaar community token marks a significant leap in our digital transformation journey.” In addition to the Burj Khalifa, Emaar has developed and owns the Dubai Mall (second-largest mall by total area), the Dubai Opera, the Dubai Fountain and a number of other properties. Lykke CEO Richard Olsen said in a statement that his startup has already developed a “cutting-edge technology infrastructure” that is ready for mass-market use. “We are thrilled to leverage our experience and expertise to support Emaar’s mission to bring value and utility to millions of users globally,” he added. Burj Khalifa image via oneinchpunch / Shutterstock

Bitcoin, Ethereum, Ripple, Litecoin, EOS, Bitcoin Cash, Binance Coin, Stellar, TRON, Bitcoin SV: Price Analysis, March 11

Bitcoin, Ethereum, Ripple, Litecoin, EOS, Bitcoin Cash, Binance Coin, Stellar, TRON, Bitcoin SV: Price Analysis, March 11

The views and opinions expressed here are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Cointelegraph. Every investment and trading move involves risk, you should conduct your own research when making a decision. Market data is provided by the HitBTC exchange. Binance CEO Changpeng Zhao recently tweeted that sooner or later, almost everyone will be directly or indirectly connected to cryptocurrencies. This is a strong statement. If proven correct, the market capitalization of the digital currencies will shoot up, well above the current level of $133 billion. Zhao said that he is certain of a bull market in cryptocurrencies, but is not sure when it will start. We believe that most major coins have started the bottoming process and will soon start a new uptrend. The successful completion of a recent ICO by the crypto unit of South Korea’s largest internet conglomerate Kakao Corp shows that the demand for ICOs is gradually returning. Similarly, Binance had also completed a couple of ICOs in record time and is planning to introduce more tokens that have solid use cases. Investment management company Invesco has launched a blockchain exchange-traded fund (ETF) on the London Stock Exchange (LSEG) that will track 48 companies involved with blockchain technology. After launching the world’s first multi-crypto-based exchange-traded product (ETP) in November of last year, Switzerland’s largest stock exchange SIX will launch another ETP for the XRP token. These new launches show that the demand for the cryptocurrencies is likely to increase in the future and the companies are gearing up to benefit from it. So, what should traders do? Let’s take a look at the charts. You can also check out professional analysis of cryptocurrency markets on Cointelegraph’s Youtube channel. This week, crypto broker Patrick Heusser discusses Bitcoin, Ethereum and Litecoin performance. BTC/USD The up move in Bitcoin (BTC) is not convincing. It could not even challenge the psychological resistance of $4,000 on March 9. This shows a lack of conviction among the bulls. Currently, the price has pulled back to the 20-day EMA, which is an important support. If the bulls want to retain the advantage, they should defend the 20-day EMA. A bounce from this support will again try to break out of $4,000 and…

‘Facebook Coin’ Could Generate Billions in Revenue: Barclays Analyst

‘Facebook Coin’ Could Generate Billions in Revenue: Barclays Analyst

Facebook’s reported stablecoin project could be a significant moneymaker for the social media giant, according to Barclays analyst Ross Sandler. In a note to investors first reported by CNBC and later obtained by CoinDesk, Sandler says Facebook’s cryptocurrency efforts could yield anywhere from $3 billion to $19 billion in additional revenue by 2021. To put that estimate in context, the Menlo Park, California, company brought in $40.6 billion in total revenue in 2017, with $39.9 billion from advertising. However, the analysis hinges on whether “Facebook Coin proves successful in reinvigorating FB’s micro-payment strategy for digital content distribution,” Sandler wrote. Sandler also sees two primary challenges for Facebook achieving its crypto goals: “demonstrating a value prop for users above what is available today in payments” and overcoming consumers’ “trust issues after 2018’s problems.” In an apparent bid to account for said trust issues, CEO Mark Zuckerberg issued a lengthy post last week calling for Facebook to become more privacy-oriented in the years ahead. While “cryptocurrency” isn’t mentioned, payments and encryption are frequently invoked. Face from the past Sandler of Barclays noted that much remains unclear about Facebook’s crypto project. However, there is a precedent for virtual currency on the social media site: Facebook Credits. “Facebook coin may simply be [looking] to process micro-transactions and re-invigorate the original business model that was in place in 2010-2012 under Facebook Credits,” Sandler wrote. “However, the scope of the project could be much larger, especially considering David Marcus (former CEO of PayPal) is heading up the project.” Indeed, Facebook has been on a hiring spree on the cryptocurrency front in recent months, with a hiring push and at least one startup acqui-hire. Underscoring the breadth of the recruitment program, Facebook’s careers website now lists 20 job openings related to the technology. Facebook image via Shutterstock

Indian Crypto Exchange Wazirx Taking Auto-Matching P2P Services Global

Indian Crypto Exchange Wazirx Taking Auto-Matching P2P Services Global

Cryptocurrency exchange Wazirx is expanding globally. “While India has a banking ban,” the CEO of the exchange told news.Bitcoin.com, “we realized there’s banking trouble in a lot more countries.” Over 40 cryptocurrencies will be available to all major countries, with the exchange’s auto-matching P2P services to launch one country at a time based on user demand. Also read: Indian Government Confirms Cryptocurrency Regulation in Final Stages Wazirx Going Global Wazirx has announced its plans to expand to international markets. CEO Nischal Shetty told news.Bitcoin.com on Sunday: We’ll be making our crypto-to-crypto markets available globally within the next week … All the 40+ crypto currently available on Wazirx will be available to all the major countries. As for its peer-to-peer (P2P) services, Wazirx plans to launch “one country at a time based on demand from the users of specific countries,” Shetty clarified. “Based on user signups, we’ll launch P2P services for the countries with [the] highest demand and expand to more countries accordingly.” The CEO detailed that “non-Indian users will have to provide their identity proof and also verify their mobile numbers” in order to “ensure that P2P services adhere to KYC and AML laws of the countries we launch in.” Auto-Matching Engine Wazirx celebrated its one-year anniversary on March 7. The exchange revealed at the time that over 30 percent of its P2P transactions are done in under five minutes, with an average completion time of 19.4 minutes. Furthermore, there have been “0% fraud cases” on its platform, the exchange claims, noting that only 2 percent of its P2P transactions “go into dispute and we’re constantly working on reducing this further.” Shetty explained to news.Bitcoin.com: Wazirx P2P is an auto-matching engine which automatically matches your P2P buy/sell order. He elaborated that “Unlike local classifieds type of website for P2P,” orders are automatically matched, emphasizing that “It’s completely automated and the experience is just like a regular trading experience.” Combating Banking Problems Sharing the reasons for Wazirx’s international expansion, the CEO described: While India has a banking ban, on researching we realized there’s banking trouble in a lot more countries. India’s central bank, the Reserve Bank of India (RBI), issued a circular in April last year banning banks from providing services to crypto exchanges. To combat…

Online Bank Swissquote to Add Crypto Custodial Service

Online Bank Swissquote to Add Crypto Custodial Service

Lack of access to custodians that institutional investors know and trust is seen as a major hurdle for growing the sector. Thankfully, the demand has caused a flurry of companies to enter the business, with the latest being online bank Swissquote. Also Read: UK Regulator: 3% of Brits Have Bought Cryptocurrency Swissquote to Use Services of Crypto Finance AG Swissquote, a provider of online financial and trading services from Switzerland, announced its yearly results for 2018 on Friday. The report included an update about an upcoming expansion of the bank’s crypto services. Starting March 21, it will be possible to transfer cryptocurrencies from external wallets to a Swissquote account and vice-versa. “Swissquote will therefore become a secure and technologically fully integrated cryptocurrency trading platform and depositary for private and institutional clients alike,” the company explained. For the purpose of adding these custodial offerings for digital assets investors, the Swiss bank will use the services of Crypto Storage AG. This fintech startup was founded in June 2017 and provides blockchain-related services in three main categories: asset management, brokerage, and storage. It offers a proprietary infrastructure solution developed in Switzerland to manage private keys, both physical and digital, on high grade hardware security modules with configuration options for individual and role-based access control. Crypto Finance has offices in Zurich, and is based at Crypto Valley in Zug. Online Swiss Bank Supporting Crypto Since 2017 Swissquote first begun offering cryptocurrency trading in mid-2017 in partnership with Bitstamp, and the service was then expanded further at the end of the year to cover five popular digital assets, bitcoin core (BTC), bitcoin cash (BCH), ether (ETH), litecoin (LTC), and Ripple’s XRP. In addition, the bank launched Swissquote Bitcoin Active Index (SQXBTQ) on the SIX Swiss Exchange in November 2017. In October 2018 the bank also expanded the service to support its clients participating in initial coin offerings (ICOs) through the platform. Swissquote is a member of the Swiss Bankers Association, holds a banking license issued by the Swiss Federal Financial Market Supervisory Authority (FINMA), and its parent company is listed on the SIX Swiss Exchange. What do you think about this Swiss online bank adding crypto custodial services? Share your thoughts in the comments section below. Images courtesy of Shutterstock.…

The Tipping Point: Kroger, Starbucks May Ignite Retail Crypto

The Tipping Point: Kroger, Starbucks May Ignite Retail Crypto

It’s no secret that cryptocurrencies don’t receive many plaudits in the mainstream media as reliable means of payment. Critics have even claimed that Bitcoin “sucks” as a payment mechanism. Yet, despite that blinkered skepticism, cryptocurrency payments actually grew last year. Payment processor BitPay reported a “record” $1 billion in transaction revenue in 2018, with its business-to-business (B2B) operations increasing by 255 percent compared to the previous year. Meanwhile, the use of cryptocurrencies in such economically unstable countries as Venezuela and India has surged, as people turn to the likes of Bitcoin and Dash to escape from increasingly worthless national currencies. These are all encouraging developments, and they’ve become more encouraging in recent months, with growing interest in crypto payments from major retailers. From Kroger to Starbucks and Rakuten, big corporate names have begun flirting with Bitcoin and the Lightning Network as a payment channel, as well as with other cryptocurrencies. Their interest comes amid rising disenchantment with legacy payment systems, stoking hopes that a few more big converts to crypto payments could provide an all-important tipping point toward widespread adoption. However, while events appear to be moving in the right direction for crypto payments, experts agree that it will take more than a few isolated use cases before the industry will see adoption on a larger scale. Added to this, payment interfaces need to be improved and made more consumer-friendly. It’s only with the combination of technological effectiveness and corporate adoption that the global public will begin using crypto as money. Kroger struck by lightning? At the beginning of March, supermarkets giant Kroger — the 17th-largest company in the United States — revealed that it would stop accepting Visa credit cards at over 250 of its stores. “Visa has been misusing its position and charging retailers excessive fees for a long time,” said Kroger executive VP Mike Schlotman in a statement, with the retailing giant also explaining that Visa’s fees were the highest of any of the credit cards it accepted. What’s interesting about this episode is that members of the crypto community quickly swooped in to make the case for Kroger to accept Lightning Network payments. On Twitter, Morgan Creek Digital founder Anthony “Pomp” Pompliano reached out on March 2 to the retailer’s leadership team, stating that the…