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Crypto News Updates

BitMEX Operator Continues Support Of Bitcoin Core Maintainer Fanquake With $100,000 Grant

Today, 100x Group, the operator of cryptocurrency exchange BitMEX, announced its third grant to Bitcoin Core maintainer Michael Ford, aka Fanquake. This latest donation is for $100,000, bringing 100x Group’s total support of Ford to $250,000 over three years.

The grant was made in conjunction with an additional $18,500 being given to Ford by Australian cryptocurrency exchange Independent Reserve.

“100x Group is pleased to provide long-term financial support for open-source developers like Michael, who build the infrastructure on which our business and many others depend,” said Alexander Höptner, CEO of 100x Group, per the announcement. “The grant is provided without conditions to ensure Michael is free to work on projects of his choosing.”

The grant agreement was posted as an open-source contract on GitHub.

“I really appreciate the continued financial support from 100x Group and now also Independent Reserve,” Ford said in the announcement. “The stable funding 100x Group has provided over the last three years has allowed me to focus full time on open-source development. I’m looking forward to continuing to work on Bitcoin Core full time over the next year.”

100x Group (then called HDR Global Trading Limited) teamed with cryptocurrency exchange OKCoin to make a $150,000 grant to Bitcoin Core Developer Amiti Uttarwar in June 2020. Its Open-Source Developer Grant Program has also provided grants to Bitcoin developers Gleb Maumenko, Jeremy Rubin and Calbin Kim, as well as the MIT Digital Currency Initiative.

The post BitMEX Operator Continues Support Of Bitcoin Core Maintainer Fanquake With $100,000 Grant appeared first on Bitcoin Magazine.

Source: Bitcoin magazine

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FastBitcoins Gifting Customers 50 Percent Of On-Chain Transaction Fees For Using Lightning

FastBitcoins, which allows users to buy bitcoin directly via their bank accounts or at physical locations quickly through the Lightning Network, will be rewarding its users with 50 percent of the transaction fees that would usually be charged on-chain.

“With this new incentive, FastBitcoins aims to proactively drive customer adoption of the Lightning Network, the payments layer that sits on top of the main Bitcoin blockchain, and make Bitcoin usable for people in real life,” according to an announcement shared with Bitcoin Magazine. “The Lightning Network allows near-instant Bitcoin payments with tiny fees. By sharing the cost savings, FastBitcoins is encouraging users to trial the Lightning Network and discover how it can be as easy and convenient to use as fiat currency.”

On-chain Bitcoin transactions include fees to incentivize miners to validate the blocks in which that transaction data is contained. But the Lightning Network creates channels between individuals on a second layer, allowing them to send BTC payments back and forth and only settle on the base layer once they close these channels. As such, Lightning transactions can be verified much quicker than on-chain transactions, and transaction fees are only required upon channel closures.

While institutions and retail investors continue to divert their treasury assets to BTC as a store of value, the Lightning Network is a compelling solution for micropayments and rapid transactions. This promotion from FastBitcoins is meant to remind or inform users of that potential.

“People all over the world are learning that Bitcoin enables them to keep their wealth safe from inflation,” Danny Brewster, the managing director of FastBitcoins, said in the announcement. “But what is less well known is that it can actually be used in small amounts, too… We want to help people experience Bitcoin’s full potential, and what better way to do this than by incentivizing them to take the leap and see how the Lightning Network transforms bitcoin from a store of value into something even more powerful?”

The post FastBitcoins Gifting Customers 50 Percent Of On-Chain Transaction Fees For Using Lightning appeared first on Bitcoin Magazine.

Source: Bitcoin magazine

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What Pushed Bitcoin Past All-Time Price Highs This Week (And What’s Next)?

It may be a milestone that is losing some of it’s novelty, but bitcoin once again eclipsed its all-time price high this week, reaching a USD value of $49,000 on Bitstamp today.

Sometimes bitcoin’s price movement can be difficult to parse but, in this case, there was a series of significant news items and events that likely propelled BTC to its current heights.

What Pushed Bitcoin To Its Latest ATH?

The bitcoin bull run that has been ongoing since early 2020 has had a seemingly synergistic relationship with major institutions — as these groups continue to divert their assets into bitcoin, the price rises. As the price risis, the asset is seemingly derisked for other such institutions. But there has never been an institutional buy like the one revealed by Tesla this week.

“Cryptocurrency prices are soaring after Tesla said yesterday that it had purchased $1.5 billion worth of bitcoin with company funds,” The New York Times reported. “Bitcoin’s price, which had already been climbing, promptly set records.”

But that wasn’t the only major institutional adoption coup for bitcoin this week. BNY Mellon, custodian of more than $41 trillion in assets, announced plans to issue, hold and transfer bitcoin on behalf of clients

“Bitcoin’s price soared past the $48,000 level for a second time this week, hitting a fresh all-time high as Bank of New York Mellon said it would provide custody services for digital assets,” per CNBC yesterday. “The world’s most valuable cryptocurrency hit an intraday record of $48,297.”

Meanwhile, this week also saw a commercial bank announced that it will sell bitcoin through its ATMs, the first-ever bitcoin exchange-traded fund for North America was given the greenlight, two U.S. politicians announced desires to make their cities bitcoin epicenters, a Nigerian politician all but conceded to hyperbitcoinization and more.

What Could Be Next For Bitcoin Adoption? 

It’s getting hard to predict what major adoption event will occur next for Bitcoin, as anything appears possible. Will a new country create a national mining program? Will Apple divert its treasury assets into BTC? Will Congress pass a major stimulus bill?

With $50,000 bitcoin prices imminent, any number of things could propel the feedback loop between gains and adoption. But this week has made it clear that even relatively minor adoption events can boost the price significantly.

As bitcoin reached its all-time highs, exchange trading volume was relatively low, per Blockchain.com data, at around $990 million worth on February 11. So, as the wave of adoption continues, it seems, that more record-breaking prices are inevitable.

The post What Pushed Bitcoin Past All-Time Price Highs This Week (And What’s Next)? appeared first on Bitcoin Magazine.

Source: Bitcoin magazine

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Acknowledging BTC Sovereignty, Nigeria Becomes Bellwether For Hyperbitcoinization

Today, the Senate of Nigeria —which has similar legislative powers to the U.S. Senate — shared notes from its daily proceedings. Among the presentations of bills and reports was discussion of a recent reminder from the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) that financial institutions are prohibited from facilitating any accounts transacting with cryptocurrency exchanges.

During that discussion, a Nigerian official made a concession that many Bitcoiners champion, but few governmental representatives have ever made. Senator Sani Mohammad Musa announced that Bitcoin has all but superseded Nigeria’s fiat system. 

Nigerians Seek Plan B

The reminder came after local groups aiding those protesting the actions of a controversial police unit, known as SARS, were cut off from institutional financial services and began leveraging Bitcoin as a sovereign alternative.

“Over the course of the past week, we’ve had restrictions placed on our bank accounts and many people who have donated to us or received donations from us have also alleged and complained of restrictions placed on their accounts by certain banks,” Dami Odufuwa, an organizer of one such aid group, told Bitcoin Magazine in October 2020. “This is what forced us to move to decentralized payment platforms and only accept donations in bitcoin using BTCPay.”

Some in Nigeria believe that the recent reminder of the cryptocurrency prohibition was motivated by these protest and aid groups switching to alternatives like bitcoin.

“There’s a direct line that can be drawn from the EndSARS protests — which carried on partly with funding from cryptocurrency even though CBN restricted several accounts — to these latest regulations,” Joachim MacEbon, a senior analyst at SBM Intelligence in Lagos, told Bloomberg. “This latest instruction will end up making the case for cryptocurrency adoption better than any other argument. One promises freedom, while the status quo only reinforces restrictions.”

As Nigerian Bitcoin Core Contributor Tim Akinbo explained on Twitter, Bitcoin is a peer-to-peer technology that cannot be shutdown by third parties like central banks. Such regulations may make it more difficult for people in Nigeria to use Bitcoin, but they cannot stop them altogether.

According to Coin Dance, bitcoin trading volume on peer-to-peer exchange LocalBitcoins has risen noticeably so far this month.

An Unprecedented Acknowledgement

Musa’s concession that Bitcoin is unregulatable and has left the Nigerian naira “valueless” was met with mixed reactions from colleagues.

Senator Abiodun Christine Olujimi similarly acknowledged cryptocurrency’s sovereignty and emphasized the opportunity to foster development but appeared to call for regulation all the same.

Ultimately, the Nigerian Senate resolved to mandate its banking committee to deliberate with CBN and report on the “opportunities and threats” of cryptocurrencies in the next two weeks. It seems unlikely that Musa’s candid realization that the government will lose (indeed, has already lost) any battle to reign in Bitcoin will dominate that report. But his acknowledgment, coming from the senate floor in a country that is seeing its citizens leverage Bitcoin to operate outside of financial restrictions, is still a remarkable one.

The post Acknowledging BTC Sovereignty, Nigeria Becomes Bellwether For Hyperbitcoinization appeared first on Bitcoin Magazine.

Source: Bitcoin magazine

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Swan Bitcoin Launches Service For High-Net-Worth Clients And Institutions

Today, bitcoin investment company Swan Bitcoin announced the launch of Swan Private, its dedicated service to help high-net-worth individuals, corporations and institutions invest in bitcoin and manage their funds.

“Swan Private helps clients establish and build their bitcoin position over time,” according to an announcement shared with Bitcoin Magazine. “Clients often make a large purchase to establish an initial position. Swan then makes it easy to smooth market volatility over time with automatic recurring buys. When clients have more capital to deploy than already planned, Swan can make one-time purchases of up to $100 million with no annual limits.”

Swan Private will offer clients access to a dedicated team, support for wire transfers with no purchase limits, guidance on how to maintain self custody of the private keys for bitcoin addresses, guidance on retirement accounts and assistance on completing tax forms, per the announcement. 

Its brokerage and custody services are supported by Prime Trust, a Nevada-regulated trust company. Clients can withdraw their bitcoin into self custody, or choose to hold it in cold storage through a legal trust account that they hold.

The new service comes in the wake of numerous major institutions and influential investors buying into bitcoin, along with a sustained bull run throughout most of 2020 and into 2021. This trend has been most notably pioneered by software intelligence company MicroStrategy, which diverted $250 million of its reserve assets into bitcoin in August 2020 and has continued to make significant investments since.

“Since MicroStrategy started the corporate Bitcoin standard trend, Swan Bitcoin has seen significant growth in the number of high-net-worth individuals and corporate customers,” Robert Breedlove, the managing director of Swan Private client services, said in the announcement. “This demand led Swan to launch Swan Private, a service dedicated to this demographic.”

The post Swan Bitcoin Launches Service For High-Net-Worth Clients And Institutions appeared first on Bitcoin Magazine.

Source: Bitcoin magazine

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Gemini Launches Interest-Earning Program For Bitcoin

Today, cryptocurrency exchange Gemini has launched an interest-earning program called Gemini Earn for select customers. With it, users can receive up to 7.4 percent annual percentage yield (APY) on the bitcoin or other cryptocurrencies they hold in their Gemini accounts. 

In a release shared with Bitcoin Magazine, Gemini called the program the first cryptocurrency-based, interest-earning product available in all 50 states. The exchange expects to roll Gemini Earn out to all users in the coming weeks.

“We designed a program that allows our customers the ability to generate a real return on their crypto holdings without having to sell one of the best performing asset classes of the decade,” Tyler Winklevoss, Gemini’s CEO, said in the release.

The exchange indicated that use of Gemini Earn will require no minimum balance threshold and will not include fees for transfers or redemptions. Users can redeem their cryptocurrency holdings at any time.

The release did not describe how Gemini is able to offer interest on bitcoin holdings, but similar services generate interest by lending these assets to institutional or corporate borrowers. While accruing interest on BTC holdings can be a powerful savings strategy for retail investors, it should be noted that trusting any third party with your private keys carries some level of risk.

The launch of Gemini Earn has come shortly after the exchange announced the Gemini Credit Card, which will reward users with bitcoin back for their purchases.  

The post Gemini Launches Interest-Earning Program For Bitcoin appeared first on Bitcoin Magazine.

Source: Bitcoin magazine

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After Elon Musk Changes Twitter Bio To “#Bitcoin,” BTC Price Surges

Early this morning, Elon Musk, the CEO of SpaceX and Tesla, as well as the richest person in the world, changed his Twitter profile to read “#bitcoin” and tweeted a cryptic message that many in the Bitcoin space interpreted as advocacy for the technology or acknowledgment that his tacit endorsement was bound to happen.

Within minutes of the tweet surfacing, the price of bitcoin climbed sharply. It rose from about $32,000 at the time of the tweet to about $37,500 just an hour later, a 14 percent spike, per TradingView. The BTC price eventually reached a 14-day high of $38,300 on the day. This price gain caused more than $446 million worth of short liquidations across several cryptocurrency exchanges, according to the data aggregator Coinalyze.

Commemorating the moment, bitcoin mining pool F2Pool embedded Musk’s message into block 668,197.

While it isn’t possible to draw a direct line between Musk’s tweet and the rise in bitcoin’s price, it’s clear that it generated major interest. According to Google Trends, searches for the word “bitcoin” more than doubled within two hours of the message.
Some have also speculated that the price was moved by Musk himself making a significant investment in bitcoin. Last month, Musk publicly asked Michael Saylor — the MicroStrategy CEO who has diverted millions of dollars of treasury assets into bitcoin — about the feasibility of making large bitcoin transactions.

The post After Elon Musk Changes Twitter Bio To “#Bitcoin,” BTC Price Surges appeared first on Bitcoin Magazine.

Source: Bitcoin magazine

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Soteria To Launch Bitcoin-Backed, USD-Pegged Stablecoin

Soteria has announced the forthcoming launch of USDS, a USD-pegged stablecoin that is 100 percent backed by bitcoin, meaning that users can issue or redeem it in exchange for BTC. Testing of the product has concluded and Soteria expects to launch it in the near future.

Stablecoins are digital currencies built to retain stable value, usually be pegging them to a fiat currency, collatorizing them with other cryptocurrencies or algorithmically balancing their circulating supplies. Soteria envisions USDS as solving inherent problems with each of these approaches.

“Fiat-backed stablecoins suffer from censorship and audit problems,” per a Soteria release shared with Bitcoin Magazine. “Cryptocurrency-collateralized stablecoins can be unstable during extreme market volatility and are capital inefficient. Algorithm-based stablecoins are also unstable and do not hold their pegs. Soteria proposes to solve these problems by eliminating the need to convert to fiat currencies and to be stable under any market volatility.”

Soteria shorts bitcoin futures contracts to hedge the BTC/USD exchange rate risk and maintain an unchanging position in respect to the bitcoin price — this ensures the stability, or consistently pegged value, of USDS. The arbitrage between exchanges and Soteria will be used to keep the stablecoin’s value pegged to the value of USD.

But because USDS is cryptocurrency-backed, as opposed to fiat-backed, users don’t have to interact with the banking system or incur the censorship tradeoffs that come with it. And Soteria also promises that users can earn 10 percent annual percentage yield (APY) interest on USDS without staking or lending the tokens.

“Users of USDS earn interest automatically every day without lending cryptocurrency,” per the release. “This is possible because the interest generated by the futures basis on cryptocurrency derivatives exchanges goes to the users. We currently set the interest rate fixed at 10 percent APY but we will periodically review it since the futures basis fluctuates.”

Soteria’s website indicates that it will allow for instant conversion between BTC and USDS while maintaining a 0.1 percent issuance fee and a 0.2 percent redemption fee.

The post Soteria To Launch Bitcoin-Backed, USD-Pegged Stablecoin appeared first on Bitcoin Magazine.

Source: Bitcoin magazine

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Coinbase Announces Intention To Go Public With Direct Listing

Cryptocurrency exchange Coinbase announced its plan to become a publicly-traded company via a proposed direct listing of its Class A common stock, according to a post on its corporate blog.

As one of the largest and longest-standing cryptocurrency exchanges, a public listing for Coinbase would mark a significant step toward mainstream financial inclusion for the Bitcoin industry and its related businesses.

In December 2020, Coinbase announced that it had submitted a draft registration statement via Form S-1 with the U.S. Securities And Exchange Commission (SEC), a filing used by companies to register their securities before going public. Today’s announcement further clarified that Coinbase plans to list its stock directly, as opposed to conducting an initial public offering (IPO). When companies conduct IPOs, they create new shares that are underwritten and sold to the public. A direct listing sells only existing, outstanding shares without involving underwriters.

The post Coinbase Announces Intention To Go Public With Direct Listing appeared first on Bitcoin Magazine.

Source: Bitcoin magazine

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Blockstream Buys $25 Million Of Bitcoin Mining Hardware From MicroBT

Bitcoin infrastructure company Blockstream has announced a $25 million purchase of the latest Whatsminer bitcoin mining rigs from MicroBT to be run across Blockstream Mining’s facilities in North America.

Blockstream Mining was launched in 2019 with an intention of bringing more of the global hash rate to the West. The largest mining rig manufacturers and mining pools are headquartered in China, which some see as a dangerous geographic centralization of Bitcoin’s most critical industry. Today, Blockstream Mining offers colocation services for institutions interested in entering the space, maintaining facilities in Quebec and the State of Georgia.

“The WhatsMiner purchase cements Blockstream Mining’s position as one of the largest Bitcoin mining operations in North America,” Adam Back, the CEO of Blockstream, said in a release shared with Bitcoin Magazine. “With over 300 megawatts in capacity available and fast-growing demand from institutions looking to get involved in the Bitcoin gold rush, we’ll continue to grow aggressively throughout the year.”

According to the release, Blockstream led the testing of the Whatsminer M30S series outside of China, so this large order can be interpreted as a sign of confidence about its performance.

“Right now, there’s no better mining hardware on the market than MicroBT’s Whatsminer miners,” Samson Mow, Blockstream’s chief strategy officer, said in the release. “We’re excited to continue our relationship with MicroBT and this latest batch will provide our hosting clients with an extremely reliable foundation to contribute to the security of the Bitcoin network.”

A rise in the bitcoin price and growth of mining operations around the world has meant that mining rig manufacturers maintain months-long waiting lists for new equipment. But MicroBT’s partnership with financial services firm Foundry Digital means that North American mining groups Compute North and Hut 8 are poised to receive new Whatsminer M30S rigs soon as well.

$11.8 million in financing allowed Hut 8 to purchase 5,400 new Whatsminer M30S rigs, adding 475 petahashes per second to its mining capacity. It would stand to reason that Blocksteram’s $25 million purchase would yield it more than twice that, but the release did not include specifics about the number of rigs or hash rate increase it is expecting.

The post Blockstream Buys $25 Million Of Bitcoin Mining Hardware From MicroBT appeared first on Bitcoin Magazine.

Source: Bitcoin magazine