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Visa Makes Its Second Investment into a Crypto Startup

Visa co-led a $40 million funding round in crypto startup Anchorage, marking its second-ever investment in a crypto startup.

Global payment giant Visa has recorded its second investment in a crypto project by leading a $40 million funding round of Anchorage startup, according to a Fortune report on July 10.

Visa has reportedly led the round along with major cryptocurrency venture capital (VC) firm Blockchain Capital to support institutional-grade crypto custody service Anchorage, which previously raised $17 million in an investment led by Andreessen Horowitz.

In the new round, both the amount of Visa’s contribution and Anchorage’s private valuation were not disclosed, the report notes. Both Visa and Anchorage are founding members of Facebook’s cryptocurrency project Libra, which was officially revealed on June 18.

As Fortune noted, the recent funding round is the second known investment of Visa in a crypto-related firm, with the payment giant having participated in a $30 million funding round in blockchain startup Chain back in 2015 alongside with Nasdaq and Citi. In late 2018, Chain was acquired by Stellar-focused firm Lightyear.

The new funding will be used in Anchorage’s mission to provide an alternative to cold storage-based institutional custodies to ensure the security of customers’ assets. Instead, the company implements a system of multiple approvals and human reviews, as well as biometric-based software to provide a secure storage of crypto, the report notes.

In late May, Anchorage introduced its insurance coverage solution, opposing it to the majority of custodians that use a combination of cold and hot storage. Claiming that not all coverage of crypto custody insurance is equal, the company announced that they acquired a crime insurance policy, which covers both types of digital asset storage under one policy.

In mid-June, Visa launched “Visa B2B Connect,” a cross-border payment network derived from some aspects of blockchain technology.

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‘Future is Here’ Declares CEO as Binance Transfers $1.2 Billion For Under 2 Cents

On June 26, about $1.2 billion in binance coin has been transferred in 1.1 seconds with a $0.015 fee on the binance chain.

On June 26, about $1.2 billion in binance coin (BNB) has been transferred in 1.1 seconds with a $0.015 fee on the binance chain, reveals data published on WhaleAlert, a platform tracking significant transactions.

Earlier today, CEO of major cryptocurrency exchange Binace, Changpeng Zhao, warned that big transactions should be expected. He explained that the exchange intended to split its BNB cold wallet in multiple addresses. After the transaction took place, Zhao cited some data about its cost and speed:

“This transaction: cost $0.015 USD in fees, took 1.1 seconds, and $1.2 BILLION in value transferred. The future is here.”

The exact amount of binance coins moved is 32,888,888. As a Twitter user pointed out, 8 is a number like no other in Chinese numerology, to cite Wikipedia: “the number 8 is viewed as such an auspicious number that even being assigned a number with several eights is considered very lucky.” Zhao answered explaining a curious strategy internal to his company:

“It sort of signals it’s not a hack, hackers will drain a wallet and not go for a lucky number.”

Binance also recently moved 9,001 bitcoin (BTC) to back its BTC-backed token on binance chain.

As Cointelegraph reported earlier this week, trading pairs for USDSB have been listed on Binance Chain-based decentralized exchange Binance DEX.

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Galaxy Digital Purportedly Recruits Former Head of OTC at Coinbase

Tim Plakas has reportedly left Coinbase to join Galaxy Digital’s OTC team.

Tim Plakas has left the major United States crypto exchange Coinbase to join the cryptocurrency bank founded by Michael Novogratz, Galaxy Digital, an anonymous source purportedly told The Block on May 28.

Plakas’ departure follows four senior executive departures from Coinbase in approximately the last seven months.

Plakas reportedly held the position of over-the-counter (OTC) trading head at Coinbase from July 2018 to January 2019, and will be joining the OTC team at Galaxy Digital.

Novogratz’s crypto bank is a member of Crypto OTC Roundtable Asia (CORA) Network, a non-profit collective of companies that want to improve the Crypto OTC sector.

As previously reported on Cointelegraph, Coinbase Custody — the custodial arm of Coinbase — recently made its first trade from cold storage with Coinbase’s OTC desk.

Coinbase CEO Brian Armstrong discussed in February how cold storage does not necessarily sacrifice the agility of an investor’s assets that is provided by hot storage. Armstrong also notes that while hot storage security methods can be quite good, he does not think relying on them heavily as an attractive option:

“With hot storage there are a lot of details that you need to get right to keep the funds safe. Is it possible to get all those details right? Yes, and I’m comfortable using hot storage for reasonable amounts. […] Do I want to bet my entire business on all those details being right indefinitely? Probably not.”

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Crypto Custody Firm Ledger Vault to Provide Services to Crypto Broker Voyager Digital

Ledger Vault, the custody arm of French hardware wallet manufacturer Ledger, will provide its services to Canadian cryptocurrency broker Voyager Digital.

Ledger Vault, the custody arm of hardware wallet manufacturer Ledger, will provide its services to Canadian cryptocurrency broker Voyager Digital, according to a press release shared with Cointelegraph on May 21.

Per the release, Voyager Digital will integrate Ledger Vault’s multi-authorization cryptocurrency wallet management system into its trading platform with the aim to increase its overall cybersecurity.

Voyager CEO Steve Ehrlich said that Ledger Value ensures “security of our customer assets on the Voyager platform without compromising the speed and liquidity they’ve come to expect from Voyager. It’s also a crucial step in our efforts to deliver crypto wallet transfers.”

As Cointelegraph previously reported, Voyager Digital acquired crypto wallet startup Ethos in February. This acquisition builds on a strategic partnership between Ethos and Voyager, which was first announced in September last year.

According to the announcement, the Ethos Universal Wallet software, first released in July 2018, will be integrated into Voyager’s retail and institutional businesses enabling self-custody integrated with a brokerage solution. The announcement also specifies that this wallet solution is powered by Ledger’s cryptocurrency custody solution. Demetrios Skalkotos, global head of Ledger Vault stated:

“Ledger Vault is fluid, providing Voyager cold level security with the ability to become hot in a matter of seconds all through one secure interface.”

Ledger has also provided its crypto infrastructure to another Canadian crypto exchange, the National Digital Asset Exchange (NDAX).

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Digital Asset Finance Firm BitGo Announces Off-Chain Clearance and Settlement Service

Digital asset finance firm BitGo announced the launch of its off-chain clearing and settlement service.

Digital asset finance firm BitGo announced the launch of its off-chain clearance and settlement service in a press release published on May 14.

Per the announcement, the service will be available to clients of qualified custodian BitGo Trust Company, and assets are not moved from custody while reportedly allowing fast, compliant and secure settlement. The company explains that — since the funds never leave the custodian’s wallet — this method eliminates counterparty risk:

“Until now, in a digital asset trade, one party needed to assume all of the risk and act on the counterparty’s good faith, and this doesn’t really work for institutional investors.”

Furthermore, BitGo highlights that this method does not require moving assets from cold storage, which has a positive impact on security. Lastly, the company notes that after the settlement is complete, the crypto assets are redeemable on-chain.

As Cointelegraph reported in April, BitGo has gained a further security certification from an external auditor after a review of its compliance.

In March, the United States Securities and Exchange Commission called for industry input as it is potentially reconsidering existing custody rules in specific cases of digital asset trading and settlement.

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Ledger, Trust Company Legacy Trust to Offer Crypto Custody for Institutional Investors

French hardware wallet producer Ledger partnered with Hong Kong custodian Legacy Trust to offer institutional cryptocurrency custody services.

French hardware wallet producer Ledger has partnered with Hong Kong trust company Legacy Trust to offer institutional cryptocurrency custody services, according to a press release shared with Cointelegraph on March 28.

The announcement — which also claims that this is the launch of the first institutional-grade digital asset custody service — specifies that the new offering will be based on Ledger Vault, Ledger’s institutional wallet manager. In order to develop the Ledger Vault custody service, the company reportedly expanded to New York in November last year.

According to the service’s website, Ledger Vault supports Bitcoin (BTC), Bitcoin Cash (BCH), Litecoin (LTC), Ethereum (ETH), Zcash (ZEC), and 12 more cryptocurrencies. Furthermore, the release claims that the collaboration will enable Legacy Trust to also offer custody of Ethereum-based ERC-20 compliant tokens.

Lastly, the announcement notes that institutions’ confidence in a firm’s ability to safely keep client assets in this industry is at an all-time low because of recent exchange hacks and debacles, such as the QuadrigaCX case.

As Cointelegraph recently reported, Singapore-based cryptocurrency exchange DragonEx has notified its users that it suffered a hack that resulted in the transfer and theft of both “users’ […] and Platform crypto assets.”

Today, Cointelegraph reported that data scientists at blockchain infrastructure firm Elementus have published details of recent transactions from crypto exchange CoinBene that they consider to be suspect, beginning with $105 million in crypto swiftly being moved out of the exchange’s hot wallet.

The top-ranked exchange had just yesterday reassured users that its prolonged maintenance downtime is not due to a hack after customers made it clear that they believe the exchange to have been breached.

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Coinbase Custody Conducts First OTC Trade From Cold Storage

Coinbase Custody has conducted its first OTC trade directly from cold storage.

Coinbase Custody, the custodial tool of United States-based crypto exchange Coinbase, has completed its first over-the-counter (OTC) trade from cold storage, according to a blog post published on March 13.

The post reveals that Coinbase Custody is now directly integrated with Coinbase’s OTC desk, which enables customers to use the OTC desk to price and confirm trades prior to moving funds.

The product purportedly provides easy and immediate liquidity on users’ offline funds, meaning that it now takes less time for Custody users to get access to their funds and avoid the waiting period to access them.

In February, co-founder and CEO of Coinbase Brian Armstrong outlined what he believes to be four common misconceptions about crypto custody solutions. Armstrong’s arguments tackled the perception that hot storage is always necessary to provide the flexibility and speed required to execute trades.

Armstrong noted that participating in a Proof-of-Stake (PoS) network and earning returns on staked coins does not necessarily imply the latter need to be stored in a hot wallet. He also disentangled the relationship between single-key holders and whether storage is hot or cold, and mentioned hardware security modules, arguing that they can come close to the security of cold storage.

Coinbase launched OTC trading last November. At the time, Christine Sandler, head of sales at Coinbase, pointed out an increased demand for OTC crypto trading from institutional players. Sandler said the availability of both exchange and OTC business was a “huge benefit” to their customers.

Sandler then revealed that the OTC service was likely to be combined with Coinbase Custody at a later date.

Yesterday, Cointelegraph reported that Coinbase introduced a service to link users’ accounts on its main platform to its Coinbase Wallet app, allowing  quicker transfers from the main account to the wallet. In future, the company plans to allow customers to send crypto back to their main account from the wallet.

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QuadrigaCX Reportedly Stored ETH on Kraken, Bitfinex and Poloniex, Research Finds

QuadrigaCX probably stored a significant quantity of Ethereum in other cryptocurrency exchanges, the evidence shows.

Cryptocurrency exchange QuadrigaCX probably stored a significant quantity of Ethereum (ETH) in other crypto exchanges, according to new evidence. This claim was made in a report published by crypto research and consulting platform ZeroNonCense on Feb. 28, which obtained corroborating information from Kraken CEO Jesse Powell and MyCrypto CEO Taylor Monahan.

More precisely, the author of the report reportedly “believes that there is a very strong possibility” that nearly 650,000 ETH belonging to QuadrigaCX were stored on the Kraken, Bitfinex and Poloniex crypto exchanges during QuadrigaCX’s operations. The report claims that the fact that QuadrigaCX had accounts on all those exchanges is established and proven, and that at the time they were sent, the funds were worth over $100 million.

As Cointelegraph reported in February, following the sudden death of its founder Gerry Cotten, cryptocurrency exchange QuadrigaCX was reportedly missing CA$190 million dollars ($145 million) in digital assets.

ZeroNonCense explains that — given the affidavit of the founder’s widow Jennifer Robertson that neither she nor other individuals involved with the exchange knew where Cotten stored the crypto assets — it is possible that they were not aware of these storage practices.

According to the report, Robertson also claimed in the affidavit that Cotten may have stored some of QuadigaCX’s funds on other exchanges. A report by Big Four audit firm Ernst & Young, which claimed that the exchange’s cold wallets have been empty and unused since April 2018, could be explained by the possibility that the assets are instead stored on those exchanges, ZeroNonCense hints.

The report concludes that if QuadrigaCX’s funds are still on the aforementioned exchanges, their retrieval should be trivial and could allow the platform to regain solvency and resume its operations.

As Cointelegraph reported at the beginning of February, ZeroNonCense previously released a report claiming that QuadrigaCX never had the $190 million in Bitcoin (BTC) it supposedly lost access to when its CEO unexpectedly died.

Also in February, news broke that Canadian banks have shown hesitation concerning the management of insolvent cryptocurrency exchange QuadrigaCX’s assets because of money laundering concerns.