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Bitcoin to Be Worth ‘Great Deal More’ in Three Years, Circle Co-Founder Says

Circle co-founder Jeremy Allaire believes that crypto valuations will increase, and BTC will be worth “a great deal more” than it is now.

Jeremy Allaire, co-founder of crypto finance company Circle, told CNBC in an interview Friday, Dec. 14, that Bitcoin (BTC) will be worth “a great deal more” than it is now.

When asked about the Bitcoin price in three years, Allaire told Squawk Box host Andrew Ross Sorkin that he does not make “significant price predictions,” while adding, “I think it is certainly going to be worth a great deal more that it is today.”

Allaire also stated that while Bitcoin is attractive as a non-state store of value, a slew of other tokens will enter the space, and the bases of their valuations will be diverse. He further explained:

“I do not think it’s a winner-take-all [situation]. We have the phrase ‘the tokenization of everything,’ and we think cryptographic tokens are going to represent every form of financial asset in the world. There will be millions of them in years.”

Allaire claimed that the crypto sphere needs clearer regulation, while noting that the United States already has “more regulatory clarity than almost any other market in the world.”

The Circle co-founder cited the need for clarification of whether crypto assets are currencies or commodities, and which crypto assets should qualify as securities. Furthermore, he believes the industry needs to define whether it needs rules for secondary trading of digital securities or a “kind of commodity spot market supervision for the crypto space.”

Earlier this week, major crypto bull and co-founder of Fundstrat Global Advisors Tom Lee claimed that the fair value of Bitcoin is “significantly” higher than its current price and should be somewhere between $13,800 and $14,800. Moreover, he still thinks that the fair value of Bitcoin could reach $150,000 after it has been more widely adopted.

As for crypto adoption, a commissioner of the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) Hester Peirce, dubbed “Crypto Mom” by the community for her pro-crypto stance, thinks that the process might take a long time. She urged the public not to ‘hold its breath,’ waiting for a Bitcoin ETF, as it could be “20 years away from now or it could be tomorrow.”

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Top Crypto Exchange Binance Adds Circle’s USDC to Its Combined Stablecoin Market

Major crypto exchange Binance has added Circle’s USD-pegged stablecoin USD Coin as a quote asset in its combined Stablecoin Market.

Crypto exchange Binance has added Circle’s USD-pegged stablecoin USD Coin as a quote asset for several new trading pairs in its combined Stablecoin Market (USDⓈ). The exchange has announced this in an official post published Dec. 14.

USD Coin (USDC), first announced by Goldman Sachs-backed Circle this May, and released in September, is one of a host of new stablecoins notionally pegged 1:1 to a major fiat currency.

This November, Binance, currently the world’s largest crypto exchange by daily trade volume, had rebranded its Tether (USDT) Market as the combined USDⓈ market to allow for the support of more trading pairs with different stablecoins offered as a base pair.

Today’s latest development will add six new trading pairs with USDC as a quote asset: native exchange token Binance Coin (BNB/USDC), Bitcoin (BTC/USDC), Ethereum (ETH/USDC), Ripple (XRP/USDC), EOS (EOS/USDC) and Stellar (XLM/USDC). In addition, Binance is also adding a USDC trading pair with fellow stablecoin Tether.

According to the announcement, the exchange will replace and delist its former USDC/BNB and USDC/BTC trading pairs, which had just been launched mid-November.

Just ahead of Binance, major United States’ cryptocurrency exchange Coinbase had made USDC the first stablecoin available for trade on its platform in October.

With the proliferating issuance of fiat-backed stablecoins, major exchanges have stepped in to list the new coins: both OKEx and Huobi recently opted to list four USD stablecoins at once.

Earlier this week, Binance launched a collection of educational content comprising almost 500 articles in order to provide “unbiased” information about crypto and blockchain, as part of its Binance Academy initiative, which launched this summer.

According to CoinMarketCap, the exchange has seen $464,404,519 in trades over the 24 hours before press time.

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Binance Adds USD Coin (USDC) to its Combined Stablecoin Market (USDⓈ)

On the 16th of November this year, Binance announced that it was renaming its Tether (USDT) market to a combined Stablecoin Market (USDⓈ). The exchange explained that the move was to support more trading pairs with different stable coins as a base. The exchange went on to clarify that the new category is not a new stablecoin in itself.

Please note that USDⓈ is not a new stablecoin: it is the symbol of Binance’s new stablecoin market.

Since then, the exchange has added Paxos Standard Token (PAX) and TrueUSD (TUSD) to the new stablecoin market.

Binance Adds USD Coin (USDC) to Its Combined Stablecoin Market

This then left one stablecoin that is yet to be added to the new market: USD Coin (USDC). The exchange has now announced that it will be adding the following trading pairs with USDC as a base to its Combined Stablecoin Market.

  • BNB/USDC
  • BTC/USDC
  • ETH/USDC
  • XRP/USDC
  • EOS/USDC
  • XLM/USDC

Although the pairs are visible on the platform, the pairs will not be active for trading till the 15th of December, 03:00 am (UTC). Existing USDC pairs with BNB and BTC as a base will be removed and delisted by the 16th of December, 03:00 am (UTC). All existing orders of these pairs will be canceled at this time.

A Brief History of USDC

USDC was introduced to the crypto and trading community by the CENTRE Consortium: a joint venture co-founded by Circle and Coinbase. The main goal of the stable coin was to establish a standard for fiat on the internet and provide a governance framework and network to foster global, mainstream adoption of asset-backed stablecoins. USDC is an ERC20 token.

What are your thoughts on the new Stablecoin Market by Binance that gives traders extra options of stablecoins? Do you think it is a good idea? Please let us know in the comment section below. 

[Image courtesy of Centre.io]

Disclaimer: This article is not meant to give financial advice. Any additional opinion herein is purely the author’s and does not represent the opinion of Ethereum World News or any of its other writers. Please carry out your own research before investing in any of the numerous cryptocurrencies available. Thank you.

The post Binance Adds USD Coin (USDC) to its Combined Stablecoin Market (USDⓈ) appeared first on Ethereum World News.

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Major UK Charity Fund Executive Believes Crypto Market Crash Is ‘Just a Bump in the Road’

A major U.K. charity fund executive declared during a crypto summit that the recent market crash is just a “bump in the road.”

A major United Kingdom charity fund executive said at the Bloomberg Crypto Summit in London this Friday that the recent crypto market crash is just a “bump in the road,” Bloomberg reports Dec. 7.

James Bevan, the chief investment manager at CCLA, told the audience during a panel that he doesn’t see the recent decrease in the value of cryptocurrencies “as an existential crisis”; rather, he noted that he believes this is just “a bump in the road.”

Bevan then also compared crypto to traditional finance, stating that “institutional investors have had plenty of bumps in the road in conventional currencies and transaction systems.”

CCLA is self-described as “one of the UK’s largest fund managers” and claims to have £7,842 million (just slightly short of $10 trillion) in assets under management on the last day of March this year.

Bloomberg’s article on the news outlet’s Crypto Summit also predicts that “the future of cryptocurrencies will entail greater regulation, more involvement by large institutions, lower volatility and greater integration with traditional assets.”

The first signs of large institutions starting to interact with the industry are already present, with the world’s second-largest stock exchange, Nasdaq, reportedly having confirmed the launch of Bitcoin (BTC) futures in the first half of next year.

Bloomberg also cites Marieke Flament, the global chief marketing officer at blockchain-powered payments firm Circle Internet Financial Ltd., as noting that it is “beneficial to get the wheels in motion for crypto regulations so the industry can learn from potential mistakes.”

This is not the first time a Circle executive took such a stance. In late October, the company’s CEO, Jeremy Allaire, called on global economies to collaborate on the development of crypto regulation, as Cointelegraph reported.

Namely, Allaire declared that “ultimately there needs to be normalization at the G20 level.” This request seems to have been recently answered this week, when G20 country leaders declared the start of work on an international cryptocurrency taxation system.

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International Crypto Standards: Will They Come From the Community or Governments?

International standards for crypto are coming, but at what cost to innovation?

There are over 2,000 different coins in existence right now, each with their own unique characteristics, uses and communities, while there are masses of different blockchains, platforms and exchanges — all of which answer to competing needs and values. On the one hand, this profusion is one of the key driving forces behind innovation in the crypto sphere. But on the other, it arguably acts as a block against widespread adoption, as the lack of unified standards means that some morally questionable endeavors give the rest a bad name.

The past year has seen an intensifying push toward producing international standards for the cryptocurrency industry. Groups such as Global Digital Finance have risen with the aim of fostering universal standards on how crypto platforms are run, just as groups like the Blockchain Association and CryptoUK are now focused mostly on standards at a national level. Such organizations count the likes of Coinbase, Bitstamp, Circle and others as members, despite often being less than a year old.

However, while holding the promise that crypto will avoid stringent government regulation by learning how to regulate itself, there’s also a concern that global standards might hamper innovation, and that crypto — almost by nature — is not meant to be standardized.

Global Digital Finance

As Teana Baker-Taylor, the executive director of Global Digital Finance (GDF), told Cointelegraph, the London-based association aims “to demonstrate that self-governance and driving best practice is critical for the industry’s consumers and their confidence in crypto assets, as the sector continues to mature, and in concert with developments in regulation.”

In other words, GDF is seeking to develop voluntary guidelines and codes of conduct for exchanges, token sales, wallet providers, cryptocurrencies and ratings websites, and while it was launched only in March, it already has a strong roster of members.

At the end of October, payments company Circle (and owner of Poloniex) joined it as a founder member, adding itself to a list that includes Coinbase, R3, ConsenSys and Diginex. Meanwhile, Baker-Taylor affirms that the association has also begun having dialog with lawmakers and public institutions.

“With over 250 individuals and firms, global regulators and policy makers have paid attention to the GDF Code and the commitment of the community, and this is an important start. Understandably, the signal from many regulators has been mixed, but most we are engaging with are supportive of maintaining an open dialogue to ensure they do not stifle this important innovation.”

Yet, GDF isn’t only working on codes of conduct for token sales and crypto-exchanges. They’re also busy devising a taxonomy of cryptocurrencies, which seeks to divide coins into three broad types: payment tokens, financial asset tokens and consumer tokens.

Given that there is plenty of confusion and conflict among the world’s governments on how to define crypto, this attempt to produce a clear taxonomy of cryptocurrencies is much needed. However, seeing as how such organizations remain largely averse to classifying cryptocurrencies as money and/or assets, there will remain the worry that GDF’s taxonomy (and codes) may simply be disregarded by governments and regulators.

Governments

Despite possible opposition or resistance from governments, the groups like the GDF could have emerged precisely because of increasing government interest in crypto regulation. Anyway, their emergence at such a time presents the crypto world with a golden opportunity to get involved in the shaping of government policy.

In October, the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) — an intergovernmental group established by the G7 to combat money laundering — adopted a variety of changes to its standards concerning the regulation of virtual assets. And encouragingly for the crypto industry, these new recommendations were focused specifically on preventing money laundering and the financing of terrorism, leaving plenty of freedom for exchanges, token issuers and crypto-services to operate in accordance with the needs of their users and own logic. It said in its recommendations from October:

“The FATF Recommendations require monitoring or supervision only for the purposes of AML/CFT [Anti-Money Laundering/Countering Financing of Terrorism], and do not imply that virtual asset service providers are (or should be) subject to stability or consumer/investor protection safeguards, nor do they imply any consumer or investor protection safeguards.”

Put simply, the FATF sees no reason to do anything about the volatility or decentralization of cryptocurrency, which implies that it wants to leave the much of decentralized nature of crypto intact. That said, other governmental groups want to do more than simply prevent crypto from being used for crime or terrorism.

For example, Felix Hufeld — the chairman of the German Federal Financial Supervisory Authority (BaFin) — affirmed his view in October that the global community needs to produce international standards governing the handling of ICOs:

“The number (of ICOs) and the volume (of money) per ICO are both getting higher. Investors have mostly minimal rights.”

Still, while this could foreshadow a push for intergovernmental standards that dictate what ICOs can and can’t do, such moves remain at a very preliminary stage. And because governments have been slow to act here, this provides an empty space which groups like GDF – or the newly formed Blockchain for Europe association (which includes Ripple and the NEM Foundation as members) – could advantageously fill to the benefit of the wider crypto industry.

National beginnings, international endings

And while the world’s governments and governmental bodies slowly wake up to the idea of regulating cryptocurrencies at a global level, the crypto industry is increasingly producing new trade institutions that are beating them to punch when it comes to developing standards.

In March, CryptoUK was established, with the aim of producing self-regulatory standards for the United Kingdom’s cryptocurrency industry. But its chairman, Iqbal V. Gandham, tells Cointelegraph, there’s also an appetite at CryptoUK for international coordination.

“CryptoUK’s focus since our launch earlier this year has been on the U.K. — securing proportionate regulation here is our priority, but we support collaboration on regulatory approaches internationally, in particular learning the lessons — both good and bad — from other jurisdictions.”

Given that most other self-regulatory trade bodies — such as the Blockchain Association, the Japan Virtual Currency Exchange Association and the Blockchain Foundation of India — are working primarily at the national level, global collaboration on regulatory approaches will be vital if the crypto industry is to enjoy uniform international standards.

And to an increasing extent, there does appear to be a growing willingness among crypto-related companies to work with each other on developing (international) standards. In August, the Gemini, Bitstamp, Bittrex and bitFlyer exchanges announced the formation of the Virtual Commodity Association Working Group. And like Global Digital Finance, its aim is to devise global industry standards on how crypto-exchanges are run and cryptocurrencies are traded.

Standards equals less innovation?

There is, then, every reason to believe that the crypto industry will, sooner or later, develop international standards and adopt them at large scale. But the question remains: Will such standards simply give the public greater confidence in crypto, or will they also have the unfortunate side effect of constraining innovation?

“In many industries, regulation and standards are seen as stifling innovation. However, in the crypto-assets market, regulatory and legal ambiguity poses challenges for growth.  Clarity around the ‘rules of the road’ will better enable innovators to access new ways of accessing global capital and support emerging nascent business models with greater confidence.”

– Teana Baker-Taylor, executive director of Global Digital Finance

Similarly, there’s a risk that standards could put compliant companies at a disadvantage compared to those corporations or cryptocurrencies that simply (and perhaps illegally) flout them. Given that the decentralized nature of cryptocurrency provides people and groups with greater scope to disregard centralized authority, this is a real danger.

However, once international standards are in place and recognized, it becomes much likelier that the companies that do observe them will have a much better chance of working with and influencing regulators — something which will ultimately put them at a competitive advantage. And as Teana Baker-Taylor concludes, there’s a very strong appetite among crypto-related firms to foster and follow strong universal standards.

“GDF’s community is made up of hundreds of individuals and businesses from around the world who share a vision of growing a mature, stable, transparent and fair crypto-asset industry. The desire and commitment of the community to instil and drive sound business practices is enormously compelling and in our experience, is far more prevalent than those who do not ascribe to this mindset.”

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Circle Taps Former US Homeland Security Official as New Legal Chief

Circle Internet Financial has announced the hiring of a former U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) official as its chief legal officer.

As reported on the company’s blog, the cryptocurrency startup has welcomed former DHS acting general counsel Gus Coldebella to its legal and senior leadership team. Going forward, Coldebella will oversee all of the firm’s legal, compliance, regulatory and government affairs in this capacity.

He will also be tasked with helping Circle in its global expansion, as the firm works with lawmakers and regulators internationally to begin providing services, Circle co-founders Sean Neville and Jeremy Allaire wrote.

Coldebella comes with not only legal expertise but is an acknowledged authority on cybersecurity policy. While at the DHS, he co-led implementation of the Comprehensive National Cybersecurity Initiative under President Bush. That effort was aimed to protect government networks from cyber-attack and to promote cooperation between the public and private sectors, according to the George Washingto University where he is a senior fellow.

Prior to joining Circle, Coldebella was a principal at law firm Fish & Richardson, where he helped firms address cyber security planning and incident response, government and internal investigations, and more.

Circle, which offers a variety of crypto services including an investment app, closed a Bitmain-led $110 million Series E fundraising back in May – a figure that valued the startup at nearly $3 billion. Part of that funding was said to be directed into hiring new staff at the firm.

At the time, Circle also revealed a plan to bolster its products and services by launching a “U.S. dollar coin,” a regulated blockchain asset that would be backed by fiat currency.

A previous $50 million round in 2015 notably saw the firm receive backing from investment bank Goldman Sachs.

Bitcoin and gavel image via Shutterstock

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Can Ethereum (ETH) Triumph over Tron (TRX) and Zilliqa (ZIL) with its own Sharding and Plasma?

The wonderful concepts of Darwinian evolution and survival of the fittest not only apply in the world of flora and fauna, but also in the industries of blockchain technology and cryptocurrencies. Crypto projects that forget that blockchain technology evolves faster than a speeding bullet will find themselves obsolete for other up and coming projects will offer a similar solution but in an efficient manner. This is where Ethereum (ETH), Tron (TRX) and Zilliqa (ZIL) come in.

The Ethereum (ETH) platform has been proven to have security vulnerabilities as well as scaling issues. In the case of security, the Parity incident will forever be used to reference how one user can lock away indefinitely, millions of ETH in a smart contract. In the case of scaling, the Ethereum platform currently only handles 25 transactions per second. A fact that has caused the network to slow down when a new ETH DApp becomes popular such as the famous crypto-kitties.

The security vulnerabilities on the ETH platform are being solved by the teams at both the Tron (TRX) and Zilliqa (ZIL) projects. Tron uses the Java programming language whilst Zilliqa has come up with its own Scilla programming language that was created with smart contract security in mind. The Tron network currently does 2,000 tps (transactions per second) with the ZIL’s testnet currently capable of 2,828 tps with only 6 shards.

Now this is where the Ethereum platform has to evolve or it will die a natural death. There are currently three scalability solutions being explored on the ETH network: sharding, raiden and plasma. The concept of sharding allows for nodes and transactions to be divided into smaller groups rather than having the entire network to validate the transaction. This is the same concept currently being used in the Zilliqa platform.

Raiden is another method of increasing the throughput of the ETH network by scaling it off-chain using state channel technology. Off-chain transactions allows a collection of nodes to establish payment channels between each other to facilitate transactions without involving the Etherem network. The off-chain transactions are cheaper because fees are only paid to forward transactions between nodes.

Plasma on the other hand, uses a series of smart contracts to create hierarchical trees of sidechains. The sidechains can be governed using thier own set of rules and only relay information back to the parent chain of Ethereum.

Perhaps it is the possibility of these scalability solutions on the Ethereum network, that lots of crypto-enthusiasts are still bullish about ETH in the crypto-marekts. Similar sentiments have been echoed by the  CEO’s of Circle, Coinbase and other major Crypto firms.

Circle co-founder and CEO, Jeremy Allaire had this to say about ETH:

One of the things that really catalyzed the [cryptocurrency] market last year was actually that Ethereum, in particular, kind of got to a place where you could build apps on top of it. You could issue new tokens on top of it; you could create new kinds of financial contracts, using the smart contracts technology. It also catalyzed a lot of competing infrastructures to Ethereum.

With the crytpo and blockchain industry still in its infancy, we will continue to see the evolution of projects as the need for faster and secure blockchain solutions arise. As a result, only the fittest crypto projects in the crypto-verse will survive and at the benefit of the end user and/or investor.

Disclaimer: This article is not meant to give financial advice. It is an opinion piece. The opinion herein should be taken as is. Please carry out your own research before investing in any of the numerous cryptocurrencies available.

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Wells Fargo Files Patent for Tokenization System to Protect Sensitive Data

San-Francisco-based bank Wells Fargo has outlined a patent for a tokenization system that would protect data, according to a filing published by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) July 17.

The newly published application details a system in which any type of data element — whether a document, graphic, or database value — could be located, accessed, and protected by means of tokenization.

Tokenization, as the patent filing outlines, uses encryption methods to process an originally unrestricted data element into a corresponding restricted token that can subsequently only be retrieved — or ‘detokenized’ — by a specified user. The system harnesses cryptography to bind specific values to data under an authenticated digital signature.

The tokenized system can thus be used to both control access and confidentiality, authenticate data origins, and maintain data integrity by detecting any undue modifications to an element.

Wells Fargo explains that tokenization can be used to protect data “even when it is stored in a publically accessible environment, such as the cloud, within a blockchain…in a flexible way that is file and data element neutral”:

“Unlike the limited, anonymous signatures supported by existing systems, this tokenization manifest supports single signers, multiple signers, or co-signers to store information publicly without loss of confidentiality of any sensitive content.”

The proposed system would furthermore flexibly allow content owners or managers to select a desired output for tokenization — which can be used for any file in part or in its entirety — and select how it will be manifest for restricted users, e.g. through blurring, randomized text, or blacking out.

Just last month, Jeremy Allaire, Co-Founder & CEO of payments company Circle spoke at MoneyConf Dublin of an unprecedented “crypto-revolution,” suggesting that global society is “at the beginning of a tokenization of everything” that will extend to “every form of value storage and public record.”

While evidently embracing the technology that underlies cryptocurrencies for its own purposes, Wells Fargo has recently moved to prohibit its customers from purchasing crypto using credit cards issued by the bank due to perceived investment risks.

The bank was nonetheless an early pioneer of the first-of-its-kind international freight shipment to China back in 2016, in what was the world’s first reported interbank trade using a blockchain system.

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Coinbase Retracts Announcement of Regulatory Approval to List Coins Considered Securities

Crypto exchange and wallet Coinbase has retracted its previous statement that it received approval from the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) to trade in securities, Bloomberg reports July 18.

Last week, Coinbase reported that it could now operate as a broker dealer, offering digital tokens considered to be securities, after its acquisition last month of Keystone Capital Corp., Venovate Marketplace Inc., and Digital Wealth LLC.

As reported at the time, the acquisition occurred with the blessing of two regulators: the SEC and Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA).

Coinbase has since reversed its statement, telling Bloomberg it had not in fact received any such regulatory endorsement.

In emailed comments to Bloomberg, Coinbase spokeswoman Rachael Horwitz wrote that it is “not correct to say that the SEC and FINRA approved Coinbase’s purchase of Keystone because SEC was not involved in the approval process.”

While FINRA “declined to comment” on the matter, the SEC confirmed that they did not give Coinbase “explicit approval” for the deal. Horowitz wrote that Coinbase’s communication with the SEC had instead been of an “informal” nature, noting

“The SEC’s approval is not required for the change of control application. Coinbase has discussed aspects of its proposed operations, including the acquisition of the Keystone Entity, on an informal basis with several members of SEC staff.”

Several other crypto-related companies have also reportedly begun the process of seeking similar licenses with U.S. regulators.

At the beginning of June, stock and crypto trading app Robinhood was rumored to be in talks to obtain a U.S. banking license. Peer-to-peer payments app Circle has also been pursuing both a banking license and registration as a brokerage and trading venue with the SEC.