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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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Fundstrat’s Tom Lee: ‘Correlation’ Between BTC and Emerging Markets Is Sign of Upcoming Trend Reversal

Fundstrat’s Bitcoin (BTC) analyst Tom Lee has claimed that the cryptocurrency “could end the year explosively higher,” citing a correlation between it and emerging markets. Lee has made his new prediction in an interview during CNBC’s “Trading Nation” show August 25.

The Head of Research at Fundstrat Global Advisors has said that he “still think[s] it’s possible” that Bitcoin’s price could surge to as high as $25,000 this year. Lee has based this assumption on the relationship between the price of BTC and BlackRock’s iShares MSCI Emerging Markets exchange-traded fund (ETF), which tracks large and mid-sized companies in emerging markets.

The “important correlation,” according to Lee, lies in the fact that both markets are running somewhat parallel to each other, with both having “really essentially peaked” in early 2018, as well as “both [having been] in a downward trend” from then on.

Correlation between Bitcoin and MSCI Emerging Markets ETF

Correlation between Bitcoin and MSCI Emerging Markets ETF. Source: CNBC “Trading Nation”

According to Lee, recent trading activity shows that hedge funds have stopped buying into funds tied to emerging markets due to market sell-off risks, which, in turn, leads to reduced purchases of Bitcoin.

As Lee believes, a change in direction in emerging markets would signal a similar change in Bitcoin’s trend:

“Until emerging markets begin to turn, I think in some ways that correlation is going to hold and tell us that sort of the risk on mentality is those buyers aren’t buying bitcoin.”

In the interview, Lee pointed out that the “tide is changing” for both Bitcoin and emerging markets, especially if the U.S. Federal Reserve slows down its interest rate hikes.

In early July, Lee voiced his stance that Bitcoin could reach anywhere between $22,000 to $25,000 by the end of 2018.

Earlier this month, Tom Lee said that Bitcoin cannot be considered “broken” for as long as it keeps the current levels of price and volatility. Back then, he cited the numbers shown by Fundstrat’s Bitcoin Misery Index (BMI), a tool which measures how “miserable” Bitcoin investors are, based on the cryptocurrency’s price and its volatility.

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Cardano Co-Founder: Wall Street Will Bring ‘Tens of Trillions of Dollars’ to Crypto

Charles Hoskinson, co-founder of altcoin Cardano (ADA), tweeted June 20 that the entry of Wall Street into the crypto sector will bring in “tens of trillions of dollars:”

Cardano, which is currently ranked 8th on Coinmarketcap, has a market cap of around $3.5 billion. Charles Hoskinson was also one of the founding members of Ethereum (ETH), crypto startup Invictus Innovations, and crypto tech company IOHK.

When asked by a commentator what exactly the crypto community is building, Hoskinson answered “an entirely new world:”

The intersection of cryptocurrency and Wall Street has been welcomed by those who also see a potential influx in capital. In mid-May, cryptocurrency wallet and exchange Coinbase released a new suite of products designed to attract institutional investors by relieving security and regulatory compliance concerns. Speaking about the product release, the VP of Coinbase referred to “$10 billion” of Wall Street money that now had the potential to enter the market.

The “trillion” value has also been bandied around before, as Dan Morehead, CEO of $1 billion crypto hedge fund Pantera Capital said in April that a $40 trillion crypto market is possible, in part due to Wall Street’s increasing interest in clearing crypto trades.

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Tether Has Enough USD to Back Tokens, Says Law Firm in Unofficial Statement

Tether’s (USDT) long-contested assertion that its digital currency is backed by the appropriate amount of dollar holdings has been seemingly confirmed, Bloomberg reports June 20.

According to an interview with Tether’s general counsel Stuart Hoegner, law firm Freeh Sporkin & Sullivan LLP had access to two of Tether’s bank accounts for weeks and released the amount of dollar holdings as of June 1, although not as part of an official audit.

The bank accounts will not be named due to privacy concerns, Hoegner notes, adding that the firm had access to banks statements and employees, as well as contact with Tether executives.

Law firm Freeh Sporkin & Sullivan LLP, co-founded by former FBI director Louis Freeh, noted in their statement that their conclusions are specific to the close of business on June 1, 2018:

“FSS is not an accounting firm and did not perform the above review and confirmations using Generally Accepted Accounting Principles […] FSS has assumed, without further inquiry, that the bank personnel providing the confirmations were duly authorized to provide such confirmations, and that the confirmations were correct.”

Tether’s general counsel said that the number of USDT issued was equal to $2.54 billion on June 1, and Coinmarketcap data shows that there is now a total of about 2.8 billion USDT currently in circulation. As to why an official audit was not conducted, Hoegner told Bloomberg that large accounting firms would not take on clients who work with cryptocurrencies:

“The bottom line is an audit cannot be obtained […] The big four firms are anathema to that level of risk. We’ve gone for what we think is the next best thing.”

Tether and crypto exchange Bitfinex, which share a CEO, had reportedly received subpoenas from U.S. regulators on Dec. 6, 2017, with the impetus for them still unclear. The cryptocurrency again fell under scrutiny from the crypto community in the wake of dissolving their connection with an auditor before the official audit was released.

However, in February, a study from Bitmex research showed that Tether could have enough cash reserves, possibly in a Puerto Rican bank, to match its token issuance.

At the end of May, Tether had minted another 250 million USDT, rekindling the issue of their dollar reserves. Then, a study released this month by the University of Texas again brought Tether to the spotlight as it blamed both the cryptocurrency and connected crypto exchange Bitfinex for Bitcoin (BTC) price manipulation in 2017, specifically in regards to Bitcoin’s price rise to $20,000 in December of last year.

In response to the claims of Bitcoin market price manipulation, Tether CEO J.L. van der Velde told Bloomberg that the assertions were untrue:

“Despite speculation, we have consistently stated that Tether is backed by USD reserves at or exceeding the Tethers in circulation at a given moment, and we’re glad to have independent verification of this to answer some of the questions posed by the public.”

The suspected Tether Bitcoin manipulation had brought down Bitcoin futures prices 55 percent this week.

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Bitcoin Could Emerge As A ‘Threat’ To US Dollar In Future, Suggests St. Louis Fed Chief

A top US policy maker made mostly positive remarks about Bitcoin, also not ruling it out as a potential “threat” to the US dollar, in an interview with CNBC Monday, May 14.

Speaking to CNBC on the sidelines of the Consensus 2018 conference in New York Monday, St. Louis Fed president James Bullard also identified positive aspects of cryptocurrency, namely revolving around cutting costs in trade. He stated that crypto is “facilitating trade that would not otherwise occur. Some of that’s illegal, but some of that is avoiding costs that would otherwise be there.”

Asked whether Bitcoin was a threat to the US dollar, Bullard voiced uncertainty about the  potential competition the leading cryptocurrency could pose, saying, “I don’t think so at this point […]. We don’t know how the future’s going to unfold.”

“My idea is that there’s a lot of currency competition going on right now,” Bullard meanwhile continued on the topic of dollar supremacy, adding:

“The dollar has been the winner historically because it’s backed by the largest economy and a relatively stable policy in terms of low inflation and that’s going to be tough to beat. But a lot of people here want to beat it.”

On the topic of blockchain, Bullard was much more openly bullish, saying:

“we think blockchain technology is very interesting [..] we want to be very engaged and thoughtful as this proceeds.”

He also responded to a question of whether or not the Fed was considering issuing its own cryptocurrency, saying noncommittally, “we can certainly look at that as a possibility. And there are different parts of the Fed that look at all kinds of applications of blockchain technology. But I wouldn’t say there’s any plan at this point.

The comments continue the trend of general crypto support from the St. Louis Fed. In January this year, the reserve bank published a dedicated paper titled “A Short Introduction to the World of Cryptocurrencies” in which researches forecast it was “likely” that Bitcoin and altcoins would “emerge as their own asset class.”

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Marshall Islands Plans To Launch National Cryptocurrency And ICO, Gov’t Officials Report

The Republic of the Marshall Islands will release its own cryptocurrency complete with an ICO and free trading, according to two government officials that spoke with Bloomberg Wednesday, Feb. 28.

The two officials, one of which is house speaker and senator Kenneth Kedi, said that the Pacific nation’s parliament this week endorsed the creation of the currency, which will be called the Sovereign (SOV).

The Marshall Islands currently uses the US dollar as its official currency, and once issued the Sovereign will circulate alongside the dollar. The Sovereign will be distributed via an Initial Coin Offering (ICO) subject to final approval by council, with a rejection “unlikely,” Kedi told Bloomberg.

David Paul minister-in-assistance to the president told Bloomberg that the new state-issued coin should appear before the end of 2018, adding it would be “specifically targeted for the long-term needs of the country.”

The move comes at the same time as Venezuela launches its oil-pegged cryptocurrency Petro, while across the globe in Iran and Turkey lawmakers also made known they are considering a national coin.

Sovereign will meanwhile address “needs” on a comparatively smaller scale — those of the islands’ 53,000 citizens. According to the report, some cash raised from the ICO will go towards healthcare for citizens who fell victim to consequences of nuclear testing by the US in the past.

“This is a historic moment for our people, finally issuing and using our own currency, alongside the USD. It is another step of manifesting our national liberty,” President Hilda Heine meanwhile said in separate comments on the plan.

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Bitmex: Tether ‘Possibly’ Has Enough Cash Reserves, Could Still Be Shut Down

Bitmex Research released an in-depth report on Tether today, Feb. 19, detailing the reasons why Tether is most likely backed by sufficient fiat reserves after all, and what problems with regulatory bodies Tether will most likely encounter in the future.

Tether is a digital token backed by fiat currency, supposedly pegged 1:1 with the US dollar. Due to Tether’s lack of enough publically released bank audits, there are rumors that Tether does not actually have enough fiat in reserves to redeem all Tether tokens with US dollars if the need would arise.

The Bitmex report attempts to refute those rumors by showing a possible correlation between the rising cash reserves of the International Financial Entities (IFE) banking category in Puerto Rico, under a section entitled “The lack of transparency may not indicate fraud.”

Cointelegraph recently reported that Puerto Rico may be emerging as a “crypto tax paradise.”

The Bitmex reports puts forward Puerto-Rican-based Noble Bank as a possible candidate for holding Tether’s cash reserves, mainly because it is the one of the two full-reserve banks in Puerto Rico that publicly operates with crypto.

However, there is no way yet to know for certain where Tether’s cash reserves are located despite the Bitmex report, for although their website’s “Transparency” page lists their current balances and claims they are “regularly audited” and “fully transparent,” the company actually dissolved ties with their New York-based auditor in January before releasing any full audits publicly.

The report also covers the Nov. 2017 hack of around $31 mln from Tether, which led to the company, in essence, demanding users upgrade their software in order initiate a hard fork and freeze the stolen funds.

The Bitmex report writes that this “demonstrated that Tether is effectively in complete control of the ledger, as they can force a hard fork at will and reverse any transaction — although there may not have been any doubt about Tether’s control beforehand.”

The report then questions why Tether “bothers to put the database on the Bitcoin and Ethereum blockchains at all,” arguing that it would be actually more cost-efficient for Tether to not pay miner fees and create its own public database.

The report also brings up the subpoenas delivered to Tether and the Bitfinex exchange in Dec. 2017, after which relationship between the two companies was officially disclosed, i.e. that they have an almost identical management team.

Bitfinex’s involvement with Tether had publicly been questioned by critics, most famously anonymous blogger Bitfinex’ed, who saw the arrangement as suspicious in part due to the fact that no third-party audit has yet been released of Tether’s reserves.

In response to the vitriol against Bitfinex posted online by Bitfinex’ed, the exchange has vowed to pursue legal action.

Bitmex’s research report writes that this relationship between Bitfinex and Tether actually was relatively public even before the temporarily-posted disclosure on Tether’s “About Us” page, citing Tether founder Craig Sellars’ Linkedin, which lists both companies.

The report ends with a listing of case studies of various online money-sending services that have been shut down by regulators over the years due to violations of money-laundering restrictions. This correlation drawn between these now-defunct services and Tether leads Bitmex to conclude that Tether “may also attract criminals and ultimately suffer the same fate.”

Bitmex has two concrete takeaways from their research into Tether, which it also recommends that investors do not hold onto long term:

“1. Reform the system to include KYC/AML procedures that allow the operator to easily block transactions or freeze funds. In order to do this […] Tether would just be turning into a traditional (or full reserve) bank.

2. Continue as is and risk being be shut down by the authorities at some point.”

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KFC Canada Introduces ‘Bitcoin Bucket’ Of Chicken Tenders

In the latest example of mainstream crypto adoption as a PR stunt, KFC Canada has introduced a new menu item, the Bitcoin Bucket, that customers can buy exclusively with Bitcoin (BTC).

KFC Canada announced their new PR stunt promotion via Twitter on Jan. 11:

“Sure, we don’t know exactly what Bitcoins are, or how they work, but that shouldn’t come between you and some finger lickin’ good chicken.”

The Bitcoin Bucket, which sells for the Bitcoin equivalent of 20 Canadian dollars, contains ten chicken tenders, waffle fries, a medium side, a medium gravy, and two dips. Canadian citizens can order home delivery of the Bitcoin Bucket through Colonel & Co.’s website while the offer lasts.

KFC Canada also released a promotional Facebook live video for the Bitcoin Bucket, featuring a still graphic of a bucket of KFC chicken superimposed with the equivalent of 20 Canadian dollars in BTC updating every 5 minutes in real time for almost 4 hours. One Bitcoin Bucket costs about 0.001 bitcoin at press time.

In a similar PR stunt, on Jan. 9, Kodak announced the Initial Coin Offering (ICO) for their own cryptocurrency, KodakOne. KodakOne reportedly will be used to register and license images on the new KodakOne Platform.

Bitcoin had also already entered the fast food industry in July 2017, when the German food delivery company, Lieferando, began accepting Bitcoin for orders. More recently, in August 2017, Burger King Russia introduced its own virtual currency, the Whoppercoin, which is posited for use as part of a customer loyalty program.

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US Dollar Will End 2017 as Worst Year Since 2003, While Bitcoin is Up 1,372%

The US dollar has recorded the largest annual decline in value since 2003 and is forecasted to end 2017 at a three-month low against other major currencies like the Chinese yuan and Japanese yen.

Separating money and state

Meanwhile, Bitcoin, the most valuable cryptocurrency in the market with a $227 bln market valuation, is en route to ending the year recording a 1,341 percent increase in value, as one of the most profitable cryptocurrency in the global market behind Ripple, Litecoin, Dash and Ethereum.

Bitcoin Price

Several analysts such as Chris Gaffney, president of World Markets at EverBank, told Reuters that the value of US dollar would likely further decline throughout 2018, with no signs of short-term recovery.

“The dollar will face more headwinds in 2018. The Fed won’t be going at it alone in terms of taking off more gas from the stimulus pedal.”

Jens Nordvig, CEO of Exante Data, also told CNBC that while it would be normal for analysts to expect a recovery after such a large loss in value, this time, most analysts have a negative bias on the US dollar.

Nordvig said, emphasizing the rapid growth rate of the global economy and key players like China:

“We have a negative bias on the dollar, which is extraordinary considering that interest rates are going to rise at a very good clip. It got too strong before January, and the other factor is that global growth is very strong.”

Long-time Bitcoin investors and cryptocurrency researchers believe that the rise of cryptocurrencies as a new emerging asset class is playing a small role in the decline of fiat currencies across the globe, by separating money and state.

For many decades, governments have had absolute control over the global monetary system, especially of the fiat currency system with which they can easily manipulate the supply of circulating money.

In November, ShapeShift CEO Erik Voorhees noted that Bitcoin is continuing to grow in terms of market valuation, user base and user activity because as a decentralized currency and store of value, it is providing an alternative financial network to the fiat currency system. Voorhees said:

“Why does Bitcoin keep growing? Because it’s time to separate money and state.”

In response to a criticism of the abovementioned statement, Voorhees added that although short-term price bubbles in the Bitcoin and cryptocurrency markets are fueled by greed, long-term price growth demonstrates the demand for non-state finance. He explained:

“The short-term price bubbles are full-on speculation, agreed. But the long-term increase in value and price is due to the fundamental utility of non-state finance.”

Most important chart

Earlier this month, Zerohedge released a chart entitled “The Most Important Chart in the World,” which demonstrated the decline in the value of the US Treasury since 1987. While Bitcoin has recorded consistent gains throughout its eight-year history with the exception of 2014, since more than 30 years ago, the US Treasury has been on a decline.

UST

Consequently, analysts have started to evaluate the long-term bubbles in the traditional finance industry, and whether emerging assets like Bitcoin should be described as bubbles or traditional assets that have been on a decline for many decades should be considered as long-lasting bubbles.

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Blockchain-Based Platform Cuts out Middleman in Collectible Card Games

For those who are already in the milieu of digital card gaming and trading, the fact that it is a high-potential multi-billion dollar industry is not news. This is especially true for early adopters and enthusiasts who have been involved in this since Collectible Card Games (CCGs) first emerged back in the 1990s. It is news, however, that digital Trading Card Game (TCG) platforms are getting a radical overhaul manifested in the new blockchain-based Nova Token Platform.

CCGs: brief history and business model

The evolution of collectible card games in the past few decades goes roughly like this: Magic: The Gathering was invented by Richard Garfield in the early 1990s and was an instant smashing success. Shortly thereafter, towards the end of the same decade, CCGs went digital with a couple of games. Heatherstone was a game changer in the Digital Collectible Card Games (DCCG) realm, garnering a lot of popularity and success.  

So it is safe to say that in the same way that technology has changed many other industries, CCGs have caught the tech wave. It is also safe to say, that while there have been remarkable advancements in the technology, the core business model has persisted with little to no change. That is to say; most industries operate within a centralized framework, where the middleman rakes in most of the benefits. In the DCCG industry, this has affected card collectors, card game players and developers alike, who are all too familiar with the downside of digital gaming in general and CCGs in specific.

Blockchain and Nova Token Platform

It is not an overstatement to say the Blockchain technology has spurred a revolution that spans many industries today. At first, most of the innovation was restricted to the financial industry. However, this is all changing for two main reasons. First, the transparency and trust created by the Blockchain are much sought-after features far beyond finance. Second, the Ethereum Blockchain ecosystem enables building of decentralized digital projects of all sorts.

There is quite a bit of momentum for digital card games and esports in general at the moment. Platforms for digital games will slowly but surely migrate to the Blockchain. This is where Nova Token Platform, a Blockchain-based Trading Card Game (TCG) platform, comes in. The Nova Token team members are highly skilled pioneers in this arena who are merging Blockchain technology with card trading, gaming and tournament holding. And one of the team’s key advisors is none other than Richard Garfield himself.

Blockchain and the Card Exchange

The first application of Blockchain technology is the Ethereum-based Card Exchange, where cardholders are able to buy and sell cards securely and transparently. In addition to having a low fee, this framework eliminates third-party meddling and fraud. This means that traders can exchange cards directly and fairly. For now, there are traders can only put in buy/sell orders, but in the future, the exchange will support and auction/bid system.

Proof-of-Stake

The proof-of-stake concept within Blockchain is based on the idea that the amount you own of a particular asset is directly proportional to the amount that you could own of that very asset. On the Nova Token Platform, that translates to the more Nova Tokens (NVT) you own, the more cards you could own. So if a player owns many NVTs, they will receive hundreds of copies of Legendary cards, which they are free to sell for 100 percent profit. Considering that scarcity is a crucial factor in keeping cards valuable, the proof-of-stake process makes NVT holders guardians of the cards and in turn the cards’ values.

Developers

Developers stand to gain a lot from Nova Token Platform. First, they are able to fundraise using NVT for their projects. Second, the platform allows integration their games. Third, they are able to tap into the established player base. Last and most important, developers can take in 90 percent of the revenue from NVT purchases against only 70 percent of the revenue on the iOS and Android app-stores.

Nova Blitz

The Nova Token Platform team has already produced a real-time trading card called Nova Blitz that is live on Steam and in beta on iOS and Android. Playing this game, players will have no wait times, quick games, simultaneous plays by opposing players and continuous interaction with them, smart packs and the opportunity to use strategy and bluffing. The platform supports tournaments that are based on a smart contract that handles entry fees and prizes.

Nova Token Platform ICO

The Nova Token Platform  ICO will be launched on Dec. 11 of this year. The team is combining Blockchain technology with card gaming and trading, in doing so, allowing seamless peer-to-peer transactions for traders, players and developers thereby cutting the middleman completely out. With a fully viable product and consultation from some of the best names in the industry like the aforementioned Garfield and the creator of the Magic Pro Tour Skaff Elias, Nova Token Platform is well worth exploring. Make no mistake, the decentralized Nova Token Platform is the next evolutionary step in TCGs.

Zeina, Guest Author

Disclaimer. Cointelegraph does not endorse any content or product on this page. While we aim at providing you all important information that we could obtain, readers should do their own research before taking any actions related to the company and carry full responsibility for their decisions, nor this article can be considered as an investment advice.