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South Korea e-commerce marketplace Ticket Monster (TMON) revealed it had closed a $32 million funding round for its new stablecoin Terra in a press release Wednesday, August 29.
TMON, which boasts a considerable $4 billion in total sales, is seeking to create an in-house cryptocurrency to compliment its existing token, Luna, which acts as collateral on its blockchain platform.
Contributing to the round are some of the cryptocurrency industry’s best-known names, including Binance Labs, OKEx and Huobi Capital, as well as funds including Polychain Capital.
“From experience, I know that faster, more secure transactions at a fraction of today’s fees could be a game-changer for many eCommerce platforms,” Terra co-founder Daniel Shin commented, describing the token’s potential as “immense”
“We foresee [Terra] being used for all types and forms of financial products like loans and insurance.”
Stablecoins are currently gaining popularity across various sectors of the global economy. Even banks, the first of which being Lichtenstein’s Union Bank earlier this month, have opted to issue their own token, which is usually tied to a fiat currency.
The TMON move marks a further conspicuous investment for Binance meanwhile, the exchange giant’s investment arm having signaled plans to create a huge $1 billion fund in June.
Explaining the impetus behind its contribution, Binance Labs head Ella Zhang highlighted TMON’s existing partner network of companies already waiting to use the token.
“While we see many stablecoins coming out, Terra’s journey is especially meaningful as they are designing one of the few price-stable protocols with existing, working, and strong go-to-market strategy and usage,” she said.
Shin forecast beta testing of theTerra payment system to begin in Q4.
The San Francisco-based financial institution, Stronghold, has been developing a trade-in payment ecosystem which is launched an asset backed token on the stellar network. Buyers will be able to deposit US dollars into the Stronghold partnering bank (Prime Trust), which will then enable Stronghold to issue a one-to-one ratio of tokens to USD according to this report by Reuters.
The company also announced a partnership with IBM Blockchain in order to identify uses for blockchain within their business network. The goal of the partnership is to test various ways that financial institutions as well as other companies, can achieve more efficient, faster, and safer transactions. Stronghold plans to use the Stellar protocol for their transactions as well as provide witty through their crypto exchange services.
The USD backed token, which will hold its reserves and estate charter trust, will provide liquidity for global foreign exchange settlements. In addition to this, the allow banks to provide credit to transactional networks and trading ecosystems.
These tokens offer the benefits of cryptocurrency a while reducing the inherent price volatility with stable monetary policy. Strongholds cofounder and CTO, Sean Bennett, stated “asset backed tokens provide seamless access to all currencies, thus improving the global transfer of money”.
Stronghold’s network will allow institutional investors to exchange US currency for Stellar Lumens as well as any other cryptocurrency or token on the stellar network, as noted by Tammy Camp, co-founder of the company.
According to Camp, this partnership delivers major implications to the blockchain industry as previous access to the Stellar protocol have impeded adoption. “In the past, traders have exchanged USD for Bitcoin and Ethereum with exchanges like Coinbase”. However, the trade-off for these partnerships have always resulted in longer wait times and increased transaction fees”, states Camp.
Those seeking to invest in Stellar have had to initially purchase Bitcoin or Ethereum and convert it to the XLM token, which requires numerous wallets, transactions, and wait times in order to access their network. Now that the platform can support USD, traders can now exchange XLMs without first transferring over to BTC or ETH.
Stellars’s protocol is very helpful with cross-border transactions as it provides the best choice for quick and low-cost transfer of funds. Other users besides traders and investors will also have direct access to XLM cryptocurrency, allowing them to take full advantage of the platform.
Stronghold recently opened enrollment to institutions for private beta. Tokens are not currently available to retail customers at the moment; however this will most likely change in the next few months. Retail customers can open a Stronghold account and provide KYC (know your customer information) if they’d like to receive updates on the service as it becomes available.
Stablecoin, a new stabilized cryptocurrency project that functions like normal money, has received new support and investments from Peter Thiel, Coinbase, Distributed Global, and 40 others according to the press release on June 20.
The development stage of the coin is dubbed “Reserve” and closed a collective of $5 million to develop a fully decentralized cryptocurrency which works by securing other crypto assets in a smart contract. Cryptocurrencies will then provide backing via the reserve token in order to stabilize its price.
According to the cofounder of the Reserve, Nevin Freeman, the initial funding was intentionally kept small as the focus was more on partnership building rather than amassing capital.
Reserve token offers a solution to countries that have value decreasing fiat currencies and high inflation rates jeopardize citizens savings and security.
While cryptocurrency is currently decentralized and protects its citizens from government control, the price volatility of most crypto limits it from serving most retail uses.
|“Simply put, nobody wants to spend money on it token that may be worth less one month and then another value another month. Nobody wants to store their savings on a token that will be worth nothing in a year.”|
In related news, Circle is focused on creating a fiat stabilized coin which recently closed $110 million in fund raising. The company also partnered with the mining hardware manufacturer Bitmain with regard to the development of the stablecoin.
Tether, the most popular and infamous of all stablecoins, confirmed today that there Tether tokens (USDT) are proven to be back by the USD according to a major US law firm.
Cryptocurrency has always been an extremely volatile marketplace to trade in. Price swings of 10 to 50% within a 24 hour period can occur a few times a week and almost daily for lower volume coins.
Although these fluctuations may be great for both traders and investors (depending if your long or short), the volatility makes it very difficult to use in the real world. It not only hinders its adoption, but its fundamental ability to be utilized as a reliable currency.
Volatility plays a very important role in mass adoption as consumers want to be able to make transactions without having to worry about the value fluctuating overnight. Who wants to worry about getting paid for a product or service to only have that currency lose its value by over 30% next week?
From a business standpoint, merchants don’t want to accept transactions in a currency that includes a ton of risk. A great example of this would be employee payments. No one wants to work for a wage where you perform the same task every week but your paycheck is constantly fluctuating?
You’ll be happy to know that there is one emerging class of cryptocurrencies that are designed to tackle this exact issue. These are known as stablecoins.
Stablecoins are a type of cryptocurrency that presents itself as a price stable asset in an ever-fluctuating marketplace. It offers a medium of exchange, store of value, and unit of account.
Stable coins are universal and are not tied down to a central monetary authority. Its supply cannot be controlled and dictated under future influence.
There are different versions of the stablecoin however there are only 2 popular versions that are utilized the most. They are the IOU issuance model and cryptocurrency-collateralized model.
Let’s take a closer look at these two stablecoin models.
With this model, stablecoin holds a 1-to-1 ratio to an asset that resides within a bank account. As an example, a corporation could hold a physical asset like gold or silver in their bank, which could be tied to a particular stablecoin.
Each stablecoin, under this model, derives its stability from the fact that its value can be exchanged for a physical asset. A countries fiat currency or a particular metal like gold are generally the type of physical items that are tied to these types of coins.
One of the most popular stablecoins in existence today is Tether (USDT). The actual value of Tether is tied to the equivalent of one US dollar. To ensure the value of the Tether coin, it must be backed against a corresponding US dollar inside Tethers bank account.
This brings us to one limitation within the issuance model. It’s centralized, which means individuals must trust that the entity that holds the physical asset being represented by the stablecoin is held within the company’s account. As you can imagine, this requires a lot trust by owners of the coin.
With this model, stablecoins are not backed by centralized assets; they are backed by digital assets, for example Bitcoin. The main advantage to this asset is that it doesn’t require blind trust from participants in order for it to work.
For example: the asset that backs the stablecoin can be held in a smart contract. This way the amount of assets held are transparent and independently verified within the smart contract.
The problem with this model is that it’s tied to a cryptocurrency which is volatile in nature and runs contrary to stablecoins entire purpose. As a result the method may involve “over collateralization” so that price fluctuations can be absorbed
As an example of this, a smart contract can be created in order to hold $400 worth of Bitcoin. This would serve as collateral for say $200 worth of stablecoins. Now if an unexpected event were to occur (massive swing in price- “Black Swan event”) this would negatively impact the stablecoins value. This will result in the destabilization of the issued coin.
All major cryptocurrency enthusiasts are looking towards a catalyst that will result in mass adoption. There are a ton of factors that can contribute to such an event. We can all agree that overcoming market volatility is imperative to facilitating mass adoption.
Perfecting the stablecoin in order to bring about mass adoption can be a difficult task, however there is still a number of promising stablecoin projects that aim to overthrow these issues and bring about a non-volatile cryptocurrency within the crypto ecosystem.
Most crypto traders utilize the Tether coin, however there is a blockchain project that goes by the name of Basis, that claims to provide a stable cryptocurrency that is backed by a large number of US venture capital companies. This will likely be the closest competitor to Tether in the near future.
[UPDATE: There is a new stable coin on the market by the name of “Reserve” that has been gaining a lot of support from many major investors. You can read more about the coin along with other stablecoin releases here.]
One of the strictest cryptocurrency regulatory regimes in the United States has approved proposals from two companies under its oversight to issue cryptocurrency tokens whose values are pegged to the U.S. dollar.
In a statement published Monday, the New York Department of Financial Services (NYDFS), creator of the “BitLicense” framework for cryptocurrency companies, confirmed that it had given two chartered companies, Gemini Trust Company and Paxos Trust Company, permission to begin issuing these so-called “stablecoins” to clients.
At present, stablecoins — the most well-known of which is tether (USDT) — are most frequently used on cryptocurrency exchanges, where they function as proxies for actual USD on platforms that do not have regulatory authorization to hold fiat currency on behalf of their clients.
However, proponents argue they can serve an even large role in international commerce, since USD-denominated transactions executed with cryptocurrency tokens can settle in seconds, versus three or more business days when using actual dollars.
Stablecoin critics have argued that these tokens has been used to manipulate the bitcoin price and facilitate other financial crimes including money laundering, which is why the NYDFS said that it only approved these two applications after receiving assurance from Gemini and Paxos that their tokens will be subjected to “effective risk-based controls and appropriate BSA/AML and OFAC controls to prevent the Gemini Dollar or Paxos Standard Token from being used in connection with money laundering or terrorist financing.”
Maria T. Vullo, superintendent of the NYDFS, hailed the development as confirmation that a “strong state regulatory framework” does not inhibit innovation in the fintech sector.
“As the financial technology marketplace continues to evolve, New York is committed to fostering innovation while ensuring responsible growth. These approvals demonstrate that companies can create change and strong standards of compliance within a strong state regulatory framework that safeguards regulated entities and protects consumers.”
The NYDFS had approved a proposal from Gemini, the cryptocurrency exchange founded by Cameron and Tyler Winklevoss, to create a stablecoin called the Gemini dollar (GUSD).
However, Paxos — operator of institutional cryptocurrency exchange and custodial service itBit and another NYDFS charter recipient — also received approval to release a stablecoin, “Paxos Standard” (PAX).
Like GUSD, PAX is structured as an ERC-20 token on the Ethereum blockchain and is backed by physical dollars custodied in FDIC-insured U.S. bank accounts. Those reserves will purportedly allow PAX to maintain a $1.00 peg, no matter what happens in the wider cryptocurrency markets. Both tokens can be redeemed for USD from their respective issuers.
“Paxos Standard gives financial markets the power to transact in a fully USD-collateralized asset with the benefits of blockchain technology and oversight from financial regulators,” said Charles Cascarilla, CEO and co-founder of Paxos. “We believe that Paxos Standard represents a significant advancement in digital assets, leveraging the oversight and stability of the traditional financial system and enabling a frictionless global economy.”
“In the current marketplace, the biggest hindrances to digital asset adoption are trust and volatility. As a regulated Trust with a 1:1 dollar-collateralized stablecoin, we believe we are offering an asset that improves on the utility of money,” added Cascarilla.
IBM has brought its Blockchain World Wire (BWW) payment network out of beta this week, according to a ?? post on IBM’s website.
BWW, which uses digital currency on Stellar’s blockchain to facilitate international settlements between banks in “near real-time,” is the latest step forward for IBM and Stellar, which have been eyeing blockchain payment options since October last year.
“The solution uses digital assets to settle transactions — serving as an agreed-upon store of value exchanged between parties — as well as integrating payment instruction messages,” a new summary of the platform explains, noting:
|“It all means funds can now be transferred at a fraction of the cost and time of traditional correspondent banking.”|
As reported in July, IBM had partnered with Stronghold, a Stellar-based asset, to create the Stellar network’s first stablecoin.
“We see this as a way of bringing financial settlement into the transactional business network that we have been building,” the corporation’s vice president of global blockchain Jesse Lund said at the time.
The latest move provides fresh competition for entities such as Ripple, which has had a controversial few months as executives voice doubts over blockchain’s appeal to the banking sector.
While IBM claimed that blockchain could “revolutionize” the global financial system in an analysis published in January, the firm nonetheless considered the idea of banks themselves becoming obsolete as “not likely.”
In the article, Bloomberg noted that the allegations that Tether has been used to manipulate or stabilize the price of Bitcoin (BTC) — previously put forward in a paper from the University of Texas — are not holding true for the crypto markets this August.
The paper, published in mid-June, had claimed that Bitcoin reached its all-time high of $20,000 due to price manipulation involving both Tether and sixth largest crypto exchange Bitfinex, which is reportedly “the only direct client” of Tether.
In a June article, Bloomberg had noted that the research paper used 87 examples of the largest purchases of Tether with BTC from March 2017 to March 2018, finding that although they accounted for “less than 1 percent of the time period examined, they amounted to about 50 percent of Bitcoin’s compounded return over that year.”
In this week’s article, Bloomberg noted that the findings made in a recent research paper by blockchain research firm Chainalysis claiming that Tether has been increasingly impacting the prices of smaller cryptocurrencies, such as EOS and NEO, instead of major cryptos such as Bitcoin, Ethereum (ETH), and Litecoin (LTC), are not true for August.
Chainalysis Tether Price Correlation With Crypto Markets Chart. Source: Bloomberg
Bloomberg writes that Tether has issued over $500 million worth in new tokens in August, according to Omniexplorer data. However, “not even more than half a billion” in new USDT has been able to make any impact on the price of EOS and NEO this month, Bloomberg stated, citing that the altcoins have dropped 37 and 44 percent this month respectively.
In July 2018, Bloomberg had posted another article on Tether’s price manipulation, focusing on the Kraken crypto exchange and implying that daily tradings amounts on Kraken should be influencing the price of USDT. Instead, as author pointed out, the cryptocurrency remained relatively stable, which was considered by “experts on market manipulation” as a “red flag.”
Kraken refuted Bloomberg’s claims shortly after, stating that Bloomberg’s writers “fail to comprehend basic market concepts such as arbitrage, order books and currency pegs.”
Cryptocurrency exchange giant Coinbase might, as market research firm Bernstein recently said, be on the cusp of assembling an “unassailable” market share in the U.S., but that doesn’t mean that the San Francisco-based firm isn’t struggling to maintain consumer activity during the current downturn.
Citing data from CoinApi, cryptoasset research firm Diar reports that USD-denominated cryptocurrency trading has plunged in 2018, even as large cryptocurrency-to-cryptocurrency exchanges headquartered in other parts of the world have seen stable or even rising volumes.
According to the publication, Coinbase — the most well-known cryptocurrency trading platform in the U.S. — has seen volumes plunge by 83 percent from their all-time high in January. In July, Coinbase processed an estimated $3.9 billion worth of trades, down from a peak of nearly $21 billion. Bitstamp and Kraken, both of whom offer USD trading pairs, have also experienced significant declines, though they have been less-pronounced than those seen on Coinbase.
Binance, the world’s largest order-book cryptocurrency exchange, has also seen a moderate decline in volumes in its BTC, ETH, BCH, and LTC markets (the four cryptocurrencies that have been available on Coinbase throughout 2018), from $17.5 billion in February to a low of $9.4 billion in June. However, Binance volume jumped 21 percent the next month, reaching $11.3 billion in July.
Meanwhile, OKEx, generally the second-largest cryptocurrency exchange, attracted a surge in trading volume among these four-large cap coins between June and July, from to $5.7 billion from $2.9 billion. That not only signifies a month-over-month increase of 97 percent but also, Diar reports, represents a new monthly record for OKEx.
That’s particularly notable since volume on Coinbase and Bitstamp decreased between June and July, albeit slightly. Incidentally, neither Coinbase nor Bitstamp supports USD-pegged stablecoin Tether(USDT), while both OKEx and Binance do. Tether, whose solvency and credibility have been the subject of much debate within the cryptocurrency community, has issued hundreds of millions of dollars worth of new tokens over the past few weeks, which could help explain the discrepancy in volume between exchanges that support USDT and those that do not.
Additionally, both Binance and OKEx, are planning to set up shop in Malta after pro-industry regulations go into effect in the self-described “Blockchain Island” later this year. Binance, which heretofore has only offered crypto-to-crypto trading, has also unveiled plans to partner with a Liechtenstein-based company to begin offering its first fiat trading pairs.
On July 30, recognizing the declining momentum of Bitcoin by our analysts…
|“If BTC fails to maintain its volume and falls below the $8,100 mark, it is possible for BTC to test a major support level at $8,000 and eye a drop below the $8,000 mark. If BTC finds stability in the lower end of the $8,000 region, a short-term bottom will likely be found at $8,000, with expected recovery to $8,500.”|
Throughout the past 48 hours, Bitcoin struggled to demonstrate any sign of recovery in its volume and price, and ultimately experienced a significant drop in its value overnight.
However, despite its fall, Bitcoin has sustained its dominance over the rest of the crypto market, reaching a yearly high at 48.1 percent for the first time since January of 2018. The strengthening of the Bitcoin Dominance Index in a highly volatile period signifies the unwillingness of investors to take additional risks by investing in other major cryptocurrencies and small market cap tokens.
In the last 30 days, BTC has been the best performer amongst all cryptocurrencies in the market, and often outperformed both major digital assets and tokens on its upside. Hence, in consideration of the strong movement of BTC throughout July, it was obvious to investors that a drop in the price of BTC would cause other cryptocurrencies to fall by even larger margins
While BTC recorded a 7.5 percent drop, Polymath, Bitcoin Private, Pundi X, VeChain, Ark, Aelf, Decentraland, ICON, WanChain, Ontology, and WaltonChain, tokens with active developer communities that have demonstrated solid momentum in the first and second quarter of 2018, recorded 10 to 30 percent drops in the past 24 hours.
The four consecutive sell candles on the one-day price chart of BTC suggest that for BTC to initiate a quick recovery in the immediate term, a swift reversal with a spike in volume will be necessary. However, at least as of now, because of the overly strong downtrend of BTC, an instantaneous recovery to the $8,000 region is highly unlikely.
Some analysts expect a bottom of the recent drop in the price of BTC to be found in the higher end of $6,000, possibly at the $6,900 mark.
With investors utilizing stablecoins such as Tether that are hedged to the value of the US dollar to limit the losses of their investments in Bitcoin, and investors in tokens moving their capital back to major digital assets including Bitcoin and Ether, until the crypto market finds stability and establishes a strong base to initiate a mid-term rally, a short-term surge in the market valuation of tokens is difficult to envision.
The cryptocurrency industries largest crypto mining company, Bitmain, just opened their new office in Silicon Valley ahead of its planned Initial Public Offering (IPO) later in the year.
According to the Silicon Valley Business Journal, the China based cryptocurrency mining hardware manufacturer moved into a 20,000 square foot office space in downtown San Jose California. The company filled the last vacancy of the city’s Riverpark Towers office building, which is known to be the hub of tech startups like Cohesity, Okta, and WeWork.
The expansion of Bitmain’s company is not surprising after the firm was recently valued at over $12 billion following the end of last month’s $400 million funding round. This makes it the most valuable cryptocurrency company in the world as well as the most valuable privately held tech startup.
Cryptocurrency companies have centered themselves around the same geographic locations as other tech industries. This recent move will better position Bitmain to expand and manage its digital empire. The company has been targeting expansion into the United States and Canada due to the industry’s uncertain future in China. The company has currently opened mining centers in both Washington state and Québec , Canada.
Bitmain has started investing in other tech startups, so it’s moved to Silicon Valley would naturally benefit its investment capital arm of the company.
The crypto mining company recently led a $110 million funding round for well renowned cryptocurrency trading desk, exchange, and investing app Circle. Bitmain has also announced that they plan on creating a USD pegged stablecoin in the near future.
Recently, Bitmain invested $50 million in the Opera web browser, which allowed it a controlling stake in the company. Shortly after the investment, the company announced that it would integrate an Ethereum wallet into their web browser.
Just this week, Bitmain also funded a round for the launch startup Block.one (creator of EOS cryptocurrency), alongside PayPal cofounder Peter Theil. The investment capital size was not announced publicly.
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