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Bitstamp Crypto Exchange Sets Up Lightning Network Node

Bitstamp cryptocurrency exchange set up its own node for the Lightning Network, encouraging more participation from the industry.

European crypto exchange Bitstamp has set up its own Lightning Network (LN) node to boost the network’s capabilities, the company tweeted on July 8.

As a second layer over the blockchain of the biggest cryptocurrency, bitcoin (BTC), the LN is designed to enable fast and zero-fee transactions by creating payment channels between users. Specifically, the network aims to address bitcoin’s scalability problem by keeping the majority of transactions off-chain.

By launching its own LN node, Bitstamp aims to promote the growth of the network, as well as encourage the crypto industry to adopt the technology, the firm wrote in an official announcement.

Bitstamp said that bringing more nodes to the LN will keep the network active, describing the nodes as its basic building units. As more nodes generate payment channels, the total network liquidity increases, which in turn increases the transactions capabilities on the network, Bitstamp explained.

Most recently, LN services became available on major American crypto exchange and wallet service Coinbase through payment crypto recharge provider Bitrefill. In late May, Bitfinex crypto exchange revealed its plans to launch LN support for the USDT stablecoin operated by its sister company Tether.

At press time, Bitstamp is the 39th largest cryptocurrency exchange according to its adjusted daily trading volume of around $175 million, according to data from CoinMarketCap.

In May, Cointelegraph reported that Bitstamp launched an investigation after a large bitcoin sell order strongly affected its order book.

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Ripple CEO: Bitcoin and XRP Aren’t Competitors — I’m Long BTC

Ripple CEO argues that there will not be one single crypto “rule them all,” stating that each one should prove its own use case.

Bitcoin (BTC), and XRP, the third biggest coin by market cap, are not competitors, Ripple CEO Brad Garlinghouse claimed in a Fortune interview on June 20.

In the interview, Garlinghouse outlined the key difference of two major cryptocurrencies, arguing that bitcoin is a store of value or “digital gold,” while XRP is a “bridge currency” that enables an efficient solution for fiat-to-fiat transfers.

As such, Garlinghouse cited the difference between bitcoin and XRP in terms of transactions costs, claiming that Ripple can do a transaction for a tiny fraction of a cent while a bitcoin transactions costs roughly $2.30 on average.

However, such a difference “does not mean that bitcoin is gonna fail or something,” Ripple CEO noted, stating that he “[does] not view them as competitive.

Garlinghouse expressed confidence that there will not be one single cryptocurrency to “rule them all,” implying that each cryptocurrency should prove a certain use case.

Garlinghouse stated:

“I own bitcoin, I’m long bitcoin. I think Bitcoin is a store of value and people hold it.”

In the interview, CEO of Ripple also expressed his stance towards the current environment on crypto markets, pointing out that there is “a lot of bullshit in blockchain and crypto market,” and it is often hard for the industry to separate the signal from the “noise.”

In this regard, Garlinghouse spoke of the media overhype around Facebook’s recently officially unveiled cryptocurrency libra, which is expected for launch in the first half of 2020. Specifically, the Ripple exec cited a title of a recent article on CNBC “Facebook Launches Cryptocurrency,” arguing that Facebook has actually not launched any cryptocurrency so far, but just announced their intent to do so in a year from now. Previously, Garlinghouse considered that a cryptocurrency project by American banking giant JPMorgan Chase “misses the point.”

Recently, Ripple partnered with major money transaction service MoneyGram to develop cross-border payments, as well as foreign exchange settlements with digital currencies. As a part of the collaboration, MoneyGram is enabled to draw up to $50 million from Ripple in exchange for equity.

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Why Binance, the World’s Biggest Crypto Exchange, Is Enthusiastic About Stablecoins

Binance, the world’s biggest crypto exchange, is throwing its weight behind stablecoins amid growing speculation that it could trigger mainstream adoption.

Binance has unveiled a series of new products and features relating to stablecoins — with the world’s largest cryptocurrency exchange describing these digital assets as “an efficient fiat gateway into crypto.”

Stablecoins are often pegged with a fiat currency, meaning one unit can equate directly to 1 euro or $1. With new coins emerging all the time, the industry is evolving quickly, prompting the company to launch a stablecoin market in which its consumers can benefit from pairings with other cryptocurrencies.

The crypto-only exchange now supports five stablecoins in total: Paxos Standard Token (PAX), TrueUSD (TUSD), USD Coin (USDC), StableUSD (USDS) and Tether (USDT).

As reported by Cointelegraph, Binance CEO Changpeng Zhao has been vocal about his support for stablecoins, as he believes they offer “far more freedom than traditional fiat for users” and help regulators maintain control. In November, the exchange introduced its combined Stablecoin Market, creating a place where a broader range of assets can be used as base pairs.

Binance asserts that “it is now often more efficient to buy cryptocurrency via stablecoins than through a fiat exchange” — not least because of how stablecoins are less susceptible to high transaction fees and market volatility.

The benefits

In explaining the rationale behind using stablecoins, Binance says that it can help eliminate the confusion that all too often swirls around conversion rates. Given how the prices of other coins and tokens can change dramatically in a matter of minutes, this increasingly popular form of cryptocurrency could help deliver the certainty that many everyday consumers want and expect. Over time, it could also enable the industry to build a compelling case for mainstream adoption — addressing some concerns that many digital assets amount to a store of value rather than a currency that can be used for everyday purchases.

Binance is available here

The financial plus sides may not end here, either. In a blog post on stablecoins, Binance explained that “there are minimal to no fees when converting US dollars to stablecoins and back.” The exchange explains that this is primarily because these transactions eliminate the cost associated with making wire transfers during the fiat-to-crypto conversion phase. There can also be advantages when cryptocurrencies are being changed back to fiat, as the use of stablecoins can help consumers avoid the higher withdrawal fees often levied by fiat-focused exchanges.

To help crypto enthusiasts make savings, Binance recommends that consumers convert their fiat into stablecoins by using the official websites of the five it supports — all of which have “straightforward, trusted channels” for helping the transactions run smoothly. From there, transfers to its crypto exchange can be “fast and traceable.” For those who then wish to buy the likes of Bitcoin or Ethereum using a stablecoin, Binance says the maximum trading fees associated with such a conversion are just 0.1 percent.

Chasing mainstream adoption

Binance’s move into stablecoins is in reaction to growing interest from the crypto community. Indeed, as reported by Cointelegraph, a study released in February predicted that stablecoins are going to play an instrumental role in the mainstream adoption of this technology — something that has proven elusive so far.

The report forecasts that countries that have suffered from hyperinflation in the past, when fiat currencies suffered devaluation to the extent to which everyday essentials become unaffordable, are the likeliest to embrace stablecoins first. And several nations are currently in the throes of hyperinflation, including Venezuela, Zimbabwe and Angola.

Learn more about Binance

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.

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Coinbase Pro Increases Fees, Updates Market Structure ‘to Increase Liquidity’

Major United States-based cryptocurrency exchange Coinbase announced a new market structure for its professional trading platform, Coinbase Pro.

Major United States-based cryptocurrency exchange Coinbase announced a new market structure for its professional trading platform, Coinbase Pro, in a blog post published on March 15.

Per the announcement, the changes aim to increase liquidity, enhance price discovery and ensure smoother price movements. The changes include a new fee structure, reportedly designed to increase liquidity, updated order maximums, new order increment sizes, the turning off of stop market orders and added market order protection points.

According to the post, Coinbase Pro and Coinbase Prime — the firm’s institutional trading platform — will cease their support for stop market orders. The announcement further explains that all stop orders must now be submitted as limit orders and include a limit price.

On the other hand, the market protection points that will be introduced both to Coinbase Prime and Coinbase Pro users will amount to 10 percent for all market orders. The statement explains that market orders that move the price more than 10 percent will stop executing and return a partial fill.

Lastly, the post warns the exchange’s user base that the platform will be offline on March 22 from 6:00 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. PDT.

The changes were met with some skepticism and negativity from the crypto community on social media. Economist and trader Alex Krüger complained on Twitter about “Coinbase Pro raising fees for smaller clients by 33% while lowering fees for larger clients.” The same user also further commented that “in a rational world, most Coinbase users would now move to Binance.”

In the same Twitter thread, Krüger also questioned Coinbase’s decision to disable stop market orders, claiming that stop-limit orders sometimes fail to execute because of slippage, suggesting using far off limits on limit orders as a workaround. Still, Krüger also admitted that those changes should lead to increased liquidity and trading activity.

Another crypto trader on Twitter suggested that the new fee structure is seemingly targeting new users entering the cryptocurrency space, concluding:

“Pretty random day to hike all the fees up, Coinbase anticipating a new bull run perhaps?”

As Cointelegraph recently reported, Coinbase Pro announced support for altcoin Stellar Lumens (XLM).

Just yesterday news broke that publicly traded U.S.-based company Riot Blockchain has filed with the Securities and Exchanges Commission to launch a new regulated cryptocurrency exchange, called RiotX, in the U.S. by the end of Q2 2019.

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Ethereum User Who Accidentally Paid $365,000 Fee Splits Loss With Mining Pool Sparkpool

The agreement came following communication between the sender and Sparkpool regarding three transactions.

Ethereum (ETH) mining pool Sparkpool confirmed it had come to an arrangement with a user who accidentally sent it over $300,000 in mining fees on March 11.

The mix-up, which occurred on Feb. 19, involved an Ethereum user apparently confusing the fields required to send an ETH transaction.

Three transactions broadcast to the Ethereum network with a combined total mining fee of 2,730 ETH (currently worth about $365,800).

While the circumstances behind the event remain unknown, Sparkpool subsequently agreed to refund half of the the 2,100 ETH mining fee, which represented the largest of the three transaction fees.

The refund amount came from a suggestion by the sender, who wished to thank the pool’s developers for assistance in recovering the funds.

“Thank you SparkPool and your miners for helping us to recover our loss, we are willing to share half of 2100 ETH with the miners to thanks the miners’ integrity,” the sender wrote in a transaction to Sparkpool verifying their wallet identity.

Issuing the refund of 1,050 ETH, Sparkpool responded in Chinese and English, the latter message reading: “Thanks for your understanding and generosity. – SparkPool.”

The nature of many public blockchains means that transactions sent with errors cannot be altered after a sender confirms that they wish to execute them.

Others, such as EOS, contain a feature whereby certain parties can reverse transactions, something which has led to criticism from community sources.

As Cointelegraph reported, EOS saw a transaction fluke of its own this week after a user succeeded in broadcasting to the network a single payment of one trillion EOS tokens — several times more than the available supply.

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Ethereum (ETH) Lowest Fees Claimed on Decentralized Platform, Also Vitalik Buterin on the State of Ethereum

The team behind Blockonix, a decentralized exchange, has set a very major target in front of them. Crypto-verse market domination with a very attractive argument: having the lowest fees. The company promises that the platform will have top quality in being user-friendly and very low fees if their native token is used.

Ethereum Trading Exchange

The firm has made it public that if the user during the trades is not using the native exchange token then the fee will be one percent. If instead you choose to use it, will be 0.03 percent. This way the team wants to bring an environment very cost-effective in comparison to other popular platforms.

This platform is focused on trading Ethereum and Ethereum-based digital tokens and it has a worldwide reach. According to the team, the company is promoting a new wave of payment and futuristic apps that will help the clients. The exchange is fully decentralized and it does not store any of the assets of its clients.

One way of doing things, makes Blockconix stand out of other decentralized platforms. The individuals behind the exchange do not earn from the platform. The fees that are gathered by the use set to buy BDT tokens and burn. Taking it to another level, if you want to list a token in the decentralized exchange, you have to pay a 5 ETH stepping-in fee. Even these are burnt with the BDT tokens. So money is not hoisting the energy for the good team behind Blockonix but by the crypto-verse.

Ethereum Co-Founder

Vitalik Buterin – the much respected and for many role model to lead a crypto-verse project like that of Ethereum added his opinion on various topics related to the platform, decentralization and blockchain latest improvements. The thought-sharing took place during and event in San Francisco, hosted by Blockchain at Berkeley.

When asked what the mind behind Ethereum is working right now, he replied with having his hands full with the PoS and Sharding protocols.

“Recently, I am spending a lot of time working on the proof-of-stake and sharding protocols. This is what the Ethereum research community is focusing on more than anything else at this point. We think that proof-of-stake and scaling are both really important and there has been a lot of progress on improving the algorithms and the development of multiple limitations over the last couple of months, Buterin told me. I’ve also been looking at the economic analysis of transaction fees and how transaction fee algorithms can be improved to basically cut fees down and make the protocol alignment centers better and more efficient. Those are the main things I’ve been working on myself.”

When it comes to Casper Protocol, he spoke very highly and full of hype around it adding that it is truly making progress.

“I think that there has been a lot of frameworks for state channels coming out recently. The Casper protocol is getting much closer to being finalized at this point. It’s just pending review on academic analysis,”

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Crypto Exchange to Target African Market by Offering Low Transaction Fees

An “advanced and robust” trading platform is vowing to help emerging economies embrace cryptocurrencies and blockchain technology — in the hope that inclusion and education will bring economic freedom to the masses.

KuBitX claims that there is widespread reluctance to learn about crypto, compounded by a lack of knowledge and resources for those who want to discover more. The company believes this has enabled a small group of traders to dominate the market and even manipulate it at will — resulting in extreme fluctuations in cryptocurrencies.

Its white paper cites a study by Cambridge University, which suggests that Africa is home to just four percent of the world’s exchanges, even though adoption rates across the continent are on the rise. In time, KuBitX hopes its user-friendly platform will lead to the development of a diverse cryptocurrency marketplace for buyers and sellers — one that welcomes crypto enthusiasts even if they live in one of the remotest places on Earth.

Taking on market leaders

Despite being a new entrant to the cryptocurrency exchange industry, KuBitX believes its service can offer considerable service improvements when compared to the established market leaders. For example, the company claims it can process more than 12 million transactions per second — a rate which it says is well ahead of Binance and Bitfinex.

In another nod to its goal of becoming an accessible service for emerging economies, KuBitX says its transaction fees (0.05 percent) are considerably lower than its rivals.

The company has partnered with Modulus, a company providing financial software and hardware systems for exchanges, brokerages, hedge funds, financial institutions and traders.

The exchange, powered by Modulus, is planning to support fiat withdrawals and offer a mobile app, with its platform initially being available in five languages. To appeal to an international user base, KuBitX says it will offer online customer support 24 hours a day, in addition to a training platform where users can discover more about the exchange’s functionality in programs tailored to beginners, intermediate users and professionals.

When it comes to Africa, KuBitX argues that traditional banks are still struggling to reach adults who don’t have a bank account — with two out of three people across sub-Saharan Africa being unbanked. The company says the continent’s entire banking system has been hindered by a lack of financial literacy, small national markets, low incomes and political instability, but it believes that hundreds of millions of people could have a better future if they are given the chance to develop a strong financial footprint.

The exchange says it has a “huge” target market of 1.28 billion Africans to reach — and to do this, it plans to introduce channel ambassadors, whose mission is to raise awareness about cryptocurrencies and educate the public through meetup sessions. KuBitX is going to first reach out to people in Uganda, South Africa, Angola, Ghana, Zimbabwe, Nigeria and Kenya — all with the view of gaining up to 10 million users within the first three years of operation.

Suite of financial services

KuBitX says it has forged relationships with banks and payment providers to ensure that a range of services can be offered through its platform, including remittances, bill payments, fund transfers and merchant services. Customers are also going to be able to track and spend their cryptocurrencies from one account, and connect with other digital currency trading platforms.

The pre-public round of its token generation event is taking place from July 16 to August 31. Its ambassadors in flagship countries will be deployed in the third quarter of 2018, and this is also when the exchange’s soft launch will take place. KuBitX aims to go live by the last quarter of 2018, paving the way for global promotions to spread the word about its platform.

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.

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Reddit CTO: ‘I Think Crypto Payments Will Come Back’ To Platform

Reddit’s CTO blamed “high fees” for the platform no longer accepting Bitcoin payments in an interview May 2, but hinted they may soon return to the platform.

Speaking in an interview with Cheddar, Christopher Slowe said that developers “didn’t have time” to update the Coinbase API used to accept BTC payments.

Coinbase is in the midst of retiring its Merchant Tools and replacing them with a new operation titled Coinbase Commerce, a move which has sparked mixed reactions throughout the cryptocurrency industry.

“They’re doing a great job, they’re doing a major revitalization of their payment gateway” Slowe said.

“We just didn’t have time to upgrade our current API integration, and once the redesign… is landing, I think we’ll see crypto payments come back.”

Reddit originally halted Bitcoin acceptance at the end of March. At the time, staff pointed to “the upcoming Coinbase change” and “some bugs around the Bitcoin payment option that were affecting purchases” as the company’s motivation.

In a curious addition meanwhile, Slowe said that Bitcoin network fees were another factor.

Despite fees drifting downwards to just one satoshi per byte in recent months, the CTO gave an example of a $10 fee on a $4 transaction as being a “hard proposition to users.”

Should Bitcoin return, however, it will be together with Ethereum and Litecoin payments, Slowe added.

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Lawsuit Alleges JPMorgan Chase Overcharged Crypto Buyers

A proposed class action lawsuit has been filed against JPMorgan Chase, alleging that the bank overcharged its credit card customers when they used funds to purchase cryptocurrencies.

Brady Tucker, the plaintiff named in the April 10 complaint, said that Chase Bank incorrectly charged him $143.30 in fees and $20.61 in interest stemming from purchases made using his Chase card in January and February.

Brady is being represented by Finkelstein & Krinsk LLP, a San Diego-based law firm.

The bank was one of a number of institutions to stop allowing its customers to make such purchases using their credit cards at the beginning of February.

According to the complaint, prior to pulling the plug on all purchases, the bank began treating such expenditures as “cash advances” in January, but did so “unbeknownst to Chase’s cardholders.” Attorneys for the plaintiff alleged that Chase Bank violated the Truth in Lending Act by not disclosing the policy shift.

“The complete lack of fair notice to Chase’s cardholders caused them to unknowingly incur millions of dollars in cash advance fees and sky-high interest charges on each and every crypto purchase,” the complaint says. Chase did not charge debit card users similar fees.

The plaintiff’s lawyers – who are seeking the return of the fees as well as “additional statutory damages in the aggregate amount of $1 million” – are seeking class-action status. While the complaint says that the size of the class cannot be determined prior to discovery, it argues that this group likely consists of “hundreds or thousands of members.”

A representative for JPMorgan Chase declined to comment when reached.

JPMorgan Chase image via Shutterstock.

The leader in blockchain news, CoinDesk is a media outlet that strives for the highest journalistic standards and abides by a strict set of editorial policies. CoinDesk is an independent operating subsidiary of Digital Currency Group, which invests in cryptocurrencies and blockchain startups.

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Vitalik Wants You to Pay to Slow Ethereum's Runaway Growth

Could adding a new fee help preserve ethereum in the long term?

It’s a contentious statement in light of the debates ongoing across blockchains over how and when users should pay to support what amount to global computing networks. However, the concept is now gaining notable momentum on ethereum, most recently from the creator of the world’s second-largest blockchain himself, Vitalik Buterin.

Buterin’s concept, described in a recent blog post, revolves around so-called “rent fees,” whereby users would be asked to pay to use the network based on how long they’d like their data to remain accessible on the blockchain.

The idea has recently seen interest generally, as ethereum developers have sought to cope with the platform’s increased adoption, and, in turn, the increased amount of data being added that all network nodes need to store.

In short, it’s a tragedy of the commons issue – if too many people use the resource for free, the network starts taking on the costs itself. And there’s plenty of evidence to suggest that there is already reason to worry.

With rising use spurred by popular apps and ICOs, notable developers, including ethereum researchers Vlad Zamfir and Phil Daian, believe the problem needs to be addressed now.

“No one likes talking about rent, but we need to have this conversation,” ethereum developer and Thiel fellow Raul Johnson recently tweeted.

“Core developers need to relay this information to the smart contract developer community ASAP to get their opinions on the matter,” he continued, adding:

“The current system as it stands is unsustainable.”

Fees, explored

Still, Buterin’s backing could be a sign that momentum might build around the idea.

So far, he has broached the idea with a pair of proposals on the subject, including a succinct possible solution he calls “a simple and principled way to compute rent fees.” And Buterin’s first proposal is as simple as its title suggests.

The idea is to compute fees based on a long-term limit on the “state,” a slice of special ethereum data that node operators need to store, which tracks who owns the current information about all apps (including user balances, who has posted so much data in, say, a Twitter replacement app and so on).

Under the proposal, state data stored in a node computer’s RAM – now about 5GB – will never be allowed to exceed 500 GB. To ensure this, users will have to pay fees based on how long their data is stored. In this way, data is kept in check, since fees will grow if storage creeps toward that limit.

One notable part of Buterin’s proposal is that he tries to incorporate a scaling change that ethereum developers have long wanted to add to the platform.

Although the most recent roadmap claims deployment is still years away, “sharding,” as it’s known, could potentially boost the amount of resources a database can handle by splitting up the data. In ethereum, the idea is, each node wouldn’t have to store all of ethereum’s historical data – just a slice of it.

“With sharding, the maximum acceptable state size would be per-shard, so the above fees would be decreased by a factor of 100,” Buterin said.

Buterin also tries to address another key problem with rent: its bad user-experience. Most rent proposals today would require users to know how long their data will need to live ahead of time, which would be prone to error.

His second proposal explores a way of quashing this annoying guessing game by letting users use their state even after it has expired. Essentially, they would prove that their state existed at a previous point in time, with the help of a cryptographic technique called a “Merkle proof.”

Deep-rooted problem

One problem with all this, though, is that fees, kind of like taxes, are never popular.

Bitcoin’s years-long debate, for example, mostly centered on fees and the trade-offs associated with them. If fees are increased, less data will be stored, making full nodes easier to run. The downside, of course, is it would make the cryptocurrency more expensive to use.

One question is whether ethereum users and developers will react the same way, arguing “the rent is too damn high.” In this way, Johnson worries that suddenly adding extra fees would alarm developers who have already deployed apps on ethereum.

Johnson argues for changes that aren’t so knee-jerk and should be phased in slowly to give developers time to adjust.

Not to mention, some believe a similar rent needs to be applied to all cryptocurrencies. Indeed, scaling problems – and the associated fees – are a problem across blockchains.

Daian went as far as to argue that bitcoin needs to apply the same model. Like ethereum, bitcoin currently doesn’t charge for the lifetime of a coin.

“Bitcoin is not free of these issues,” he said, arguing that its simpler model incentivizes state bloat in a variety of ways, “exposing users to a variety of other consequences of mis-priced storage.”

Pricing resources to the right degree is such an important area of research, Daian believes, that he and others at IC3 have set up an institution called Project Chicago dedicated to the effort.

Even if this is a lesser-explored area and researchers haven’t yet found a concrete solution, he’s optimistic.

Daian concluded:

“No cryptocurrency has figured out good models for pricing these resources thus far, and ethereum’s storage rent represents a step in the right direction towards these goals.”

Hard drive image via Shutterstock

The leader in blockchain news, CoinDesk is a media outlet that strives for the highest journalistic standards and abides by a strict set of editorial policies. CoinDesk is an independent operating subsidiary of Digital Currency Group, which invests in cryptocurrencies and blockchain startups.