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Major U.S. universities including MIT, Stanford and UC Berkeley have teamed up to fund a new digital currency.
A group of researchers from top United States universities have announced the launch of a “globally scalable decentralized payments network,” according to a press release published today, Jan. 17.
The development of the cryptocurrency, dubbed “Unit-e,” is being funded by Distributed Technologies Research (DTR) — a non-profit organization based in Switzerland, whose official launch was also announced today in the press release.
DTR includes researchers from seven major U.S. universities, including the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Stanford University and the University of California, Berkeley, as Bloomberg reports.
The organization reportedly received backing from blockchain investment fund Pantera Capital.
According to the press release, the core team developing Unit-e is based in Berlin and consists of “open-source and distributed systems engineers.”
Joey Krug, a member of the DTR Foundation Council and Co-Chief Investment Officer at Pantera Capital, claimed that “a lack of scalability is holding back cryptocurrency adoption.”
As Bloomberg reports, DTR is planning to launch Unit-e in the second half of this year. The organization told reporters their goal for the cryptocurrency’s processing time is 10,000 transactions per second.
On Dec. 23, the capacity of the Bitcoin (BTC) Lightning Network (LN) surpassed $2 million in transactions, with node channels that support LN able to facilitate 496.8 BTC. With that, the number of channels connecting nodes has also significantly grown for the first time for the past two months, totaling 14,352 unique channels by late 2018.
In October 2018, post-trade financial services firm Depository Trust & Clearing Corporation published a study that found that blockchain technology is scalable enough to support day to day volumes of U.S. equity markets.
BitPay reports seeing over $1 billion in transactions this past year, along with record high transaction fee revenue.
Major cryptocurrency payment service provider BitPay has reported $1 billion in transactions this past year, according to a press release Jan. 16.
According to the report, the company also set a new record for itself in terms of transaction fee revenue. Among major new customers this past year, BitPay named Dish Networks, HackerOne, and the State of Ohio.
BitPay also reported that its B2B business has grown by almost 255 percent from 2017.
Despite a massive crypto decline in 2018, BitPay’s CEO and co-founder Stephen Pair argued that the firm saw growth over the year because its product is “cheaper and quicker than a bank wire from most regions of the world.”
While BitPay is reportedly still focuses on Bitcoin (BTC), the service reports that it has also added settlement support for other cryptocurrencies, namely as Bitcoin Cash (BCH), and stablecoins USD Coin (USDC), the Gemini dollar (GUSD) and Paxos Standard (PAX).
In April, BitPay secured $40 million in a Series B funding round that included major crypto and IT industry players such as Tencent co-founder Alvin Liu and Christopher Klauss Family Office, Founder of Internet Security Systems (ISS), a firm acquired by IBM in 2006.
In late 2018, BitPay’s CEO claimed that he expects mass Bitcoin adoption to come in three to five years. In November, BitPay’s chief commercial officer, Sonny Singh, predicted that Bitcoin’s price will soar to between $15,000 to $20,000 by the end of 2019.
Also in November, Cointelegraph reported on research from blockchain data firm Chainalysis stating that the use of Bitcoin for commercial payments has fallen significantly in 2018.
As reported, Huobi Global's wholly owned subsidiary, Huobi Japan Holding Ltd, acquired a majority stake in BitTrade last September. At the time, BitTrade was one of only 16 crypto exchanges in the country to have secured a license from national financial regulator, the Financial Services Agency (FSA).
Leon Li, Huobi Group Founder and CEO, has said that securing the license represents a significant milestone for Huobi, given the importance of the Japanese market.
Huobi’s press release takes pains to emphasize security provisions, outlining that Huobi Japan “features specialized distributed architecture, a Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attack countermeasures system, and A+ ranked SSL certification (the highest available).”
According to the press release, Huobi Japan supports trading of Bitcoin (BTC), Ethereum (ETH), Bitcoin Cash (BCH), Litecoin (LTC), Ripple (XRP), and Monacoin (MONA).
While a license has been mandatory for all crypto exchanges operating within Japan since the amendment of the country’s Payment Services Act back in April 2017, the FSA has continued to ratchet up requirements for applicants throughout 2018, in the wake of last January’s industry-record-breaking $532 million theft of NEM tokens from Coincheck.
Ahead of Huobi’s majority stake deal — BitTrade became Japan’s first FSA-licensed platform to be fully acquired by an international investor, the Singaporean multi-millionaire and entrepreneur Eric Cheng. The investor also acquired BitTrade’s affiliate company, FX Trade Financial Co., Ltd — one of Japan's leading forex trading platforms. Following the Huobi deal, FX Trade Financial retained 25 percent of the BitTrade’s shares.
Founded in China in 2013, Huobi Group has been headquartered in Singapore since Beijing’s crackdown on domestic crypto-fiat exchanges in September 2017. As part of its ongoingoverseas expansion efforts, the platform has recently rebranded its United States-based strategic partner trading platform HBUS to the better known Huobi name.
Following Coincheck’s very recent acquisition of an FSA license, the total number of regulator-approved exchanges in Japan stands at 17.
Last fall, an executive from leading U.S. crypto exchange Coinbase made positive remarks about Japan’s crypto regulatory climate, saying that the FSA’s intense focus on security is “good for us.” Coinbase has had plans to secure a license to operate within the country in the works since June 2018.
Huobi has seen $299.6 million in trades over the 24 hours to press time, according to CoinMarketCap data.
A 21-year old American purported SIM swapper has been named as the main suspect in a $224 million lawsuit against telecoms giant AT&T.
A 21-year old American has been accused of stealing millions of dollars in crypto via a method known as SIM swapping, according to a press release shared with Cointelegraph Jan. 17.
As reported, plaintiff Michael Terpin — a long-time blockchain and crypto investor — first filed a lawsuit against AT&T last August, accusing the firm of negligence that allegedly allowed the suspect to gain control over Terpin’s phone number and steal almost $24 million worth of crypto.
SIM-swapping — also known as a “port-out scam” — involves the theft of a cell phone number in order to hijack online financial and social media accounts, enabled by the fact that many firms use automated messages or phone calls to handle customer authentication.
According to Terpin's declaration, which was filed with the United States District Court in Los Angeles on Dec. 31, 2018, Terpin and his legal team allege they have identified the primary suspect who initiated the SIM swap — 21-year old New Yorker Nicholas Truglia.
The suspect has previously been arrested on a separate SIM swap-related criminal charges involving the alleged theft of $1 million in crypto from Silicon Valley executives in the Bay Area. According to Terpin’s lawsuit against Truglia, filed Dec. 28, 2018, Truglia is currently incarcerated in Santa Clara County, California, in connection with this prior case.
The lawsuit alleges that Truglia, alongside a host of alleged accomplices, perpetrated the SIM swap against Terpin on Jan. 7 and Jan. 8, 2018, resulting in crypto losses estimated to be worth $23.8 million.
Amongst the evidence presented in the lawsuit are statements and text messages purportedly sent by Truglia on the date of the Terpin SIM swap, in which he is alleged to have explicitly told friends that he had stolen a cryptocurrency wallet with holdings worth $20 million.
In one purported text message, he texted an individual allegedly boasting “I’m a millionaire. I’m not kidding. I have 100 Bitcoin.” He is also alleged to have confessed to friends that the Terpin heist was his largest, deeming that day to be when “his life changed forever.” The lawsuit claims Truglia is estimated to have total stolen assets worth in excess of $80 million.
Terpin’s complaint notably includes charges against Truglia and his alleged accomplices under the The Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations (RICO) Act , which seeks penalties for the perpetration of repeated, organized criminal acts committed through mutual assistance, as part of a criminal organization.
As emphasized in the press release, the new criminal charges do not affect or diminish the lawsuit against AT&T, which will reportedly only be affected if any recovery from the alleged criminals will reduce primary damages accordingly. Terpin was moreover immediately granted a writ of attachment against up to $24 million of Truglia's assets on the date of the lawsuit’s filing.
SIM-swapping has become an increasing concern for law enforcement, and has accordingly brought telecoms firms — gatekeepers of user identity data — under the spotlight for their alleged complicity in the crime. Last summer, Cointelegraph interviewed Terpin, who remarked that the biggest risk to crypto investors “is that major phone companies promise you security and don't deliver it.”
A bill “authorizing corporations to issue certificate tokens in lieu of stock certificates” has been introduced in Wyoming.
A bill allowing corporations to issue blockchain-based tokens that represent stocks was introduced in Wyoming on Jan. 16, according to the official state legislature site.
House Bill 185 is sponsored by Representatives Olsen, Brown, Hunt, Lindholm, Western and Zwonitzer and Senators Driskill and Rothfuss. If passed, the bill will become effective on July 1, 2019. The current draft of the bill states:
“The articles of incorporation or bylaws of a corporation may specify that all or a portion of the shares of the corporation may be represented by share certificates in the form of certificate tokens.”
The bill lays the groundwork for storing so-called certificate tokens representing stocks on a blockchain “or other secure, auditable database,” and permit digital transfer of them.
As Cointelegraph recently reported, Wyoming passed two new house bills that aim to foster a regulatory environment conducive to cryptocurrency andblockchain innovation. One of the bills establishes a new asset class, defining “open blockchain tokens with specified consumptive characteristics [as] intangible personal property.” The other bill pertains to the creation of a fintech regulatory “sandbox” — a supervised and flexible testing environment that provides waivers for certain statutes and rules that would otherwise hamper innovation.
The company says it has created the first platform where buyers decide when and how they want to see advertisements.
A company intends to change the ways of traditional advertising by creating a platform called WeBuy. The idea is to allow what the company calls "buyers" to decide when and how the sellers of different products can reach them on-demand.
Shopper in the center
WeBuy believes that annoying online ads are one of the problems of the modern advertising market. Instead of increasing the interest of potential buyers, they get the opposite effect. The company believes its product can change the way buyers and sellers currently communicate by putting the prospective buyer in the center of the process.
The company says that the potential buyers are able to choose whether or not they want to see an ad on the WeBuy platform. They create a SellMe profile and specify the products or services they might want to buy.
The feature called “SellMe” enables sellers to localize potential buyers who have expressed interest in a seller's products. Users create a profile when they want to purchase something, and the information is then sent to WeBuy sellers. The sellers located in the buyer’s geographical area will receive the SellMe profile of the potential buyer and can then reach out to them. The company can communicate with the potential buyers in real time.
With no commitment needed to actually buy the product, the buyers get rewarded in WBY tokens just for being contacted by the seller. The users are encouraged to create and manage their own Buyer Referral Network (BRN). The buyers invite stores to join the platform and, after accepting this invitation, the sellers join the BRN. Every time a seller pays for advertising on WeBuy, the user who invited this company will get a share of this payment.
The platform will be linked to the public Stellar network and the WeBuy blockchain. The sharing model is based on a smart contract. The users can verify their transactions by a cryptographic key.
The startup assures that users have full control of their privacy and the information about them is never revealed to the sellers or any third party. The data and the operation records will be stored on a public, decentralized blockchain.
Geolocation and targeting
WeBuy highlights that the platform allows the sellers to reach their audience faster. When the users choose to see the ads by themselves, it helps the sellers target the right market.
Moreover, the sellers get rewards of their own, too. They are encouraged to join BRNs through a special grant, which is valued at $500 in advertising credits.
“Revolutionizing the token sale format”
In Q1 2019, the company plans to release a full-scale pilot of the platform itself. The first version will have basic functionality. The launch of the platform’s full version is scheduled for Q2 2019, together with adding social network features, anti-fraud systems and full Stellar integration. WeBuy has also announced adding seller-extended features, such as desktop support, networks of stores, community-based stores, Know Your Customer identification and customer-relationship management. WeBuy plans aim at additional platform integration, including Google Home, WIX and Shopify.
The startup says it is revolutionizing the token sale format by creating Production Oriented Token Sale (POTS) instead of traditional initial coin offerings (ICOs). The company is currently generating and distributing WBY utility tokens. The token sale will be split into several sales based on crowdfunding. There will be specific tasks defined for every POTS stage, which needs to be completed during a certain time frame. Applying POTS is supposed to help reduce the challenges that the companies and their investors face during an ICO. For example, there can be a lack of transparency regarding capital spending or raising capital that is not directly related to the startup’s current business needs.
The total supply of the WBY tokens will be 1 billion. Eight million are already on sale on the Stellar Decentralized Exchange for POTS Stage 1. The users can buy WBY with fiat and cryptocurrencies.
The tokens will “belong to the public,” so the majority of WeBuy’s digital currency won’t be controlled by any legal entity. WeBuy aims to be “completely open source” and to operate autonomously.
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.
Cryptocurrency company Circle has released its third audit attestation of the USD reserves backing its USDC stablecoin.
Cryptocurrency finance company Circle has released the third audit attestation of the reserves of its fiat-backedstablecoin, USD Coin (USDC), according to an official statement Jan. 16.
The third-party audit of Circle’s United States dollar reserves was issued by independent accounting firm, Grant Thornton LLP.
According to the report, as of Dec. 31, 2018 at 11:59 p.m. UTC, 251,211,148 USDC tokens were issued and outstanding, while the firm holds $251,211,209 in custody accounts, a $61 surplus in USD reserves. Circle’s statement concludes:
“As of the Report Date and Time, the issued and outstanding USDC tokens do not exceed the balance of the US Dollars held in custody accounts.”
The USDC stablecoin is an Ethereum (ETH) based ERC20 token, first announced in May last year, shortly after the company raised $110 million in an investment round. Circle CEO Jeremy Allaire described USDC at the time:
“It’s a version of fiat that can move at the speed of the Internet with global reach, with much less cost, with high levels of security. It’s a huge improvement for how fiat money transmission can work around the world for consumers and for businesses who might want to collect digital payment with tokens.”
As Cointelegraph reported in December, the company released the stablecoin’s second third-party audit — also issued by Grant Thornton — showing the firm also held a surplus of U.S. dollar reserves to back the circulating coins. The first audit was published Nov. 20 and provided information through Oct. 30.
Inxeption, which began operations in 2017, aims to use blockchain technology to improve various processes for businesses, including product design, manufacturing and supply chain management.
Neither party has revealed the scope of the deal, which will reportedly see Inxeption and the UPS Strategic Enterprise Fund work in tandem in future to develop new features for Inxeption’s platform.
“Business customers need secure platforms that protect their customer data and proprietary information, while making it easy for them to interact and even collaborate more effectively with their customers,” Inxeption CEO and co-founder Farzad Dibachi commented in the press release.
Describing its product as an e-commerce platform for the B2B market, Inxeption joins a steadily increasing pool of blockchain initiatives focused on using distributed technology to make complex corporate systems more transparent.
UPS CMO Kevin Warren stated in the press release that “Inxeption’s technology is attractive to UPS because it helps unlock new efficiencies for customers using B2B e-commerce platforms.”
Supply chains have proved a particular area of interest amongst firms developing blockchain solutions in 2019. Several blockchain-based supply chain projects have been announced in the past week alone, as diverse as cobalt supplies and food for the upcoming World Economic Forum (WEF) in Davos.
The Inxeption partnership reveals UPS’ belief in blockchain’s potential, despite cautionary words from a senior executive last month that forecast little impact from the technology in 2019.
“We have a small team looking at blockchain, but we are still searching for the killer use case,” the company’s executive vice president of technology and chief digital officer Linda Jojo told mainstream media in December.
Crypto markets are stable today, with most top ten coins seeing mild losses over the 24 hours to press time.
Thursday, Jan. 17: crypto markets are stable, with major coins seeing negligible price change over the 24 hours to press time. Most of the top ten cryptocurrencies seeing only mild losses, capped within a 2-3 percent range. Almost half the coins in the top ten-twenty range have tipped slightly into green, as data from Coin360 shows.
Ripple (XRP), which has recently regained its rank as largest altcoin by market cap, is down fractionally more, shedding 1.4 percent on the day to trade at ~$0.33 to press time. Ripple’s market share is currently $13.5 billion — as compared with Ethereum (ETH)’s $12.7 billion.
After a volatile and jagged week, Ripple is about 5 percent in the red on its 7-day chart, with monthly gains nonetheless at a solid 13 percent.
The second largest altcoin, Ethereum (ETH), is down a slightly less mild 2 percent on the day, and is trading at ~$122 to press time. The alt has correlated closely with Bitcoin’s trading patterns, seeing an intraweek low of ~$116 Jan. 13, and recovery to ~$131 Jan. 15.
On the week, Ethereum is down a hefty 9.6 percent, but monthly gains are at an impressive 41 percent.
The remaining top ten coins on CoinMarketCap are all in the red, but losses are capped at 2-3 percent. Seeing the most volatility is Litecoin (LTC), down 2.86 percent at $31 to press time, and recently-forked Bitcoin SV (BSV), which is down 1.83 percent at $77. Bitcoin Cash (BCH), too, is down 1.6 percent at about $128.
The remaining coins in the top twenty by market cap are seeing more scatterings of green, capped at 2 percent, with the highest losses capped under 4 percent.
Among alts seeing some growth are Cardano (ADA), up 1.9 percent on the day at ~$0.05, privacy-focused alt Monero (XMR), up 0.75 percent and NEM (XEM), up 2.06 percent.
Seeing the most losses are altcoin IOTA (MIOTA), which is down 3.7 percent, followed by NEO (NEO) with 2.8 percent losses on the day to press time.
Total market capitalization of all cryptocurrencies is around $121.4 billion as of press time, down around 5 percent from one week ago, Jan. 10.
7-day chart of the total market capitalization of all cryptocurrencies from CoinMarketCap
In Australia, meanwhile, the World Wildlife Fund-Australia (WWF-Australia) has just announced the launch of a supply chain tool that uses blockchain to allow businesses and consumers to track food items.
Chronicled — which will use blockchain technology to power a platform helping clients secure and automate supply chains — saw its round led by Hong Kong venture capital firm Mandra Capital.
Streamlined Ventures, The Perkins Fund, Frank Fiore and David Aho also participated in the funding round The company reports it is planning to launch its platform this year.
“While many companies in the space are conducting ICOs — fueling speculation and hurting the legitimacy of the space — Chronicled has stayed disciplined and pursued traditional funding while focusing on developing needed applications with quantifiable (return on investment) value,” Mandra’s Principal Song Yi Zhang commented in the press release.
Chronicled’s platform, dubbed MediLedger, will support client firms from a range of industries, including pharmaceuticals, precious metals, agriculture and electronics.
The move comes as supply chains form a major target for entities looking to introduce blockchain across global structures.
As Cointelegraph reported previously, from cobalt mining in Congo to food served at next week’s World Economic Forum (WEF) in Davos, many actors aim to demonstrate that the technology can form the backbone of transparent and accessible supply chains.