Bitcoin Unfazed by Record Profit-Taking as BTC Price Resets for $9K

Bitcoin Unfazed by Record Profit-Taking as BTC Price Resets for $9K

Bitcoin price corrected 11.36% after setting a multi-month high at $9,400 but bullish investors appear intent on recapturing $9,000.

Thursday's Bitcoin (BTC) price action was relatively uneventful compared to the past 48-hours of activity that the top-rated crypto on CoinMarketCap pulled off on Tuesday and Wednesday. 

On crypto-Twitter, one will easily find analysts calling for the digital asset to rally to $10,000 before halving, and a few have even hinted that a new lifetime high is on the cards. 

Tether withdrawals soar with BTC price

Regardless of these predictions, Bitcoin’s $1,700 single day move made waves and crypto exchanges like Binance managed to handle $16 billion in trading volume, a new all-time high not seen since January 2018. 

Data from on-chain analytics provider glassnode showed that USDT withdrawals also reached an all-time high of $1,943,417 shortly after Bitcoin price topped out at $9,450. 

Crypto market daily price chart

Crypto market daily price chart. Source: Coin360

After reaching $9,450, the digital asset pulled back 11.36% to $8,394 before recovering to trade in the $8,600 range for the remainder of the day. As discussed in a previous analysis a pullback to retest former resistance levels was to be expected.

A retest of $9,000 back in play

The bounce at $8,383 also briefly touched the $8,300- $8,500 zone, which has functioned as a resistance and support since last September 2019. 

BTC USDT daily chart

BTC USDT daily chart. Source: TradingView

At the time of writing, BTC/USD is attempting to push above the $8,600-$8,800 zone where there is also a high volume node on the VPVR. A move above this level opens the door for a revisit to $9,200-$9,400. 

BTC USDT daily chart

BTC USDT daily chart. Source: TradingView

If Bitcoin is unable to hold at $8,600 a drop to the 61.8% Fibonacci retracement is expected but a golden pocket bounce seems unlikely since Wednesday’s daily candle swiftly cut through multiple resistance levels without building the levels of support which are usually the result of consolidation phases. 

Therefore, if Bitcoin doesn’t manage a bounce off the 61.8% Fib level, a revisit to stronger supports at $7,450 and $7,600 is more likely to occur. 

BTC USDT 4-hour chart

BTC USDT 4-hour chart. Source: TradingView

Currently, the price is attempting to set a 4-hour higher high above $8,876 but buying volume is just a sliver and there is a bear cross on the moving average convergence divergence. On the hourly time frame the MACD is curving up toward the signal line and the histogram is slowly working its way toward 0. The 4-hr RSI is also pushing back into bullish territory at 65. 

For the time being, traders should keep an eye on the 1-hour timeframe to watch for an increase in buy volume and 1 or 4-hr candle close above $8,876. 

The views and opinions expressed here are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Cointelegraph. Every investment and trading move involves risk. You should conduct your own research when making a decision.

Honor Among Thieves? Darknet Markets Refuse COVID-19 ‘Cures’

Honor Among Thieves? Darknet Markets Refuse COVID-19 ‘Cures’

Professor of Criminology Roderic Broadhurst found that some darknet market operators may have scruples after all.

Almost half of the darknet sites surveyed by the Australian National University do not offer COVID-19 ‘treatments’ or protective equipment. 

Researchers found that eight out of 20 markets do not sell any items related to coronavirus with another nine selling a very limited selection. Just three sites accounted for the vast majority (85%) of all unique items sold.

The study was commissioned by Australian Institute of Criminology and monitored 20  darknet markets on April 3 to conduct a census of COVID-19 related medical products and supplies.

The researchers found 645 listings on sale in exchange for cryptocurrency, including personal protective equipment (PPE), ‘vaccines’, diagnostic equipment, and one even claimed to offer a blood sample from a recovered coronavirus patient. The researchers were not permitted to purchase the item so were unable to assess the authenticity of such items.

Evidence of a darknet conscience?

Titled “Availability of COVID-19 related products on Tor darknet markets” the report stated that “crime follows opportunity and the COVID-19 pandemic offers profiteering arising from shortages and fear”. 

While some were quick to jump on the financial opportunities presented by the pandemic — the products surveyed were valued at $240,000 USD — the fact that almost half were devoid of such listings may suggest some darknet operators have more scruples than is commonly believed.

Speaking to Cointelegraph, study author Professor Roderic Broadhurst speculated on the absence of COVID-19 related products on certain sites:

“Basically different markets view risk differently. Many already ban products like child abuse materials and certain drugs/poisons/etc and so ethics [are] also relevant. Of course some markets have no such scruples and may consider themselves bullet proof.”

Free market on darknet

Of course many darknet markets happily sell drugs, weapons and trade in stolen credit cards and personal information. Some corners of the darknet are worse than others: Cointelegraph recently reported that over $900,000 in Bitcoin (BTC) went to the purchase of child sexual abuse material on the darkent in 2019.

Two Thirds of Users Support Taxation of Crypto Assets

Two Thirds of Users Support Taxation of Crypto Assets

The crypto industry’s attitudes toward tax are maturing, with a recent survey indicating that two-thirds of digital asset users are in favor of cryptocurrency taxation.

A recent survey conducted by South Korean wallet provider Childly found that 66% of respondents are in favor of crypto assets being taxed.

The poll of more than 5,750 crypto users worldwide revealed that only one-in-five crypto users are opposed to digital asset taxation.

Crypto community warms to taxation

48% of respondents strongly agreed that cryptocurrencies should be taxed, describing digital asset taxes as “a must.” 18% of participants expressed support for crypto taxes, however, on the proviso they were set “at an acceptable level.

20% of polled crypto users disagree with taxing crypto assets at present, with 9% asserting that it is “too early” and more time is needed to consider appropriate obligations for the sector. 11% expressed strong disagreement with taxation at all, stating that an “entirely new approach” is needed with regards to digital assets. 

“Although many countries have already begun its taxation on digital assets, voices of those asking for the more judicious approach to applying tax rules should be heard at all levels,” Childly chief executive, Eunti Kim, stated.

14% of respondents stated that they “don’t really have an opinion” regarding crypto taxation.

Despite acceptance, many crypto users owe taxes

At the end of March, crypto accounting platform Blox and tax software provider Sovos published the findings from a survey that encompassed a third of known, U.S.-based Certified Public Accountants that operate in a variety of capacities with cryptocurrency.

The report highlights significant issues pertaining to crypto taxation from the perspective of tax professionals — with 90% of CPA’s identifying missing data from clients as among their greatest challenges, and less than 50% of tax clients having access to their complete crypto transaction history. 

By contrast, only 55% of crypto accountants reported government regulation as their top hurdle.

The survey also found that over half of CPAs believe their crypto clients owe back taxes.

Judge Gives Preliminary Approval for $25M Settlement in Tezos Lawsuit

Judge Gives Preliminary Approval for $25M Settlement in Tezos Lawsuit

A judge has given preliminary approval for a $25 million settlement in the Tezos class-action lawsuit.

A Californian judge has given preliminary approval for a $25 million settlement proposed by the Tezos Foundation to end a consolidated class-action lawsuit.

The lawsuit dates back to shortly after Tezos’ $232 million initial coin offering (ICO) in July 2017, when investors started filing claims against the firm, accusing Tezos of issuing unlicensed securities in the U.S.

According to court documents from an April 30 hearing, the judge wrote, “the Court will likely be able to approve the settlement, subject to further consideration at the Settlement Hearing”. The date for the Settlement Hearing is yet to be set.

If the foundation is found liable in the suit, estimates of damages range from under $1 million to more than $150 million. The proposed $25 million settlement will provide class-action members damages equivalent to between 16%, to more than 100%, of the estimated damages.

Tezos denies any wrongdoing

The foundation denies any wrongdoing during their ICO, and wrote in a blog post they had chosen to settle out of court because lawsuits are “expensive and time-consuming” and they preferred a one-time financial cost:

“The Tezos Foundation chose to settle all claims because the Tezos Foundation believes it is in the best interest of the Tezos project and community as a whole. The Foundation continues to believe the lawsuits were meritless and continues to deny any wrongdoing.”

Making it hard for the SEC

The SEC has also investigated the firm in relation to their ICO but is yet to bring a case against Tezos. Should the current settlement be finalized, the SEC may find it more difficult to build a case that the Tezos Foundation has acted in bad faith. 

While the lawsuits may have scared some investors away from Tezos, supporters don’t seem too worried with one Reddit user saying “it’s water under the bridge…” and another saying they were “a lot more worried about the SEC than this class-action.”

Tezos’ assets have almost tripled in value since the ICO with the Foundation’s March 9 report revealing assets in excess of $630 million.

Grant Thornton Moves Intercompany Transactions to EOSIO

Grant Thornton Moves Intercompany Transactions to EOSIO

Accounting firm Grant Thornton will record intercompany transactions for its clients on the EOSIO blockchain, capturing a small slice of an area worth $40 trillion annually.

Major U.S. accounting firm Grant Thornton is moving all of its clients’ intercompany transactions to the EOSIO network.

Grant Thornton’s new inter.x platform uses blockchain technologies to provide transparency for intercompany transactions, including real-time data-analytics monitoring transfer-pricing compliance and treasury management.

A company representative told Cointelegraph that Grant Thornton had chosen EOSIO for "its speed, user experience and scalability.”

While a spokesperson said it was difficult to put a dollar value on the firm’s intercompany transactions, the company reported $1.9 billion in revenue for 2019. Intercompany transactions (between business entities within a company) typically “account for 30% to 40% of the global economy, equaling almost $40 trillion annually.”

Grant Thornton’s U.S company is part of the world’s sixth largest professional services network, Grant Thornton International.

Intercompany transactions are the fifth most common cause of corporate financial restatements. They are frequently the source of underlying fraud, manual errors, unnecessary bureaucracy and wasted time.

Jamie Fowler, chief transformation officer, said inter.x had been designed to provide a simple user experience that can red-flag missed opportunities “and identify instances when transactions may have fallen short of company policies.

The inter.x announcement said the platform allows companies to make real time decisions, rather than wait for a monthly or annual accounting cycle:

“More importantly, inter.x users can track and account for intercompany transactions with an audit trail that is ‘immutable,’ meaning the integrity of the audit data persists over time. The result is a permanent and unforgeable audit trail for consistent transaction information.”

EOSIO: fast and cheap

The EOS blockchain is currently running on EOSIO 2.0, an update released by in January, three months after a new version of the software was announced in October 2019. has claimed that EOSIO 2.0 offers improved speed for the blockchain network: nearly 16 times faster than the previous version, outpacing even Ethereum.

Though the network is generally praised for its near-zero transactions fees, it has received some criticism for not being decentralized enough and it experienced congestion issues earlier this year. Coinbase halted deposits and withdrawals of the EOS token in February when it reported the EOS network was experiencing “degraded performance.”

Ripple’s XRP Sales Fall to $1.75M as ODL Network Volume Triples

Ripple’s XRP Sales Fall to $1.75M as ODL Network Volume Triples

The XRP Markets Report for Q1 2020 shows the On-Demand Liquidity network is more popular than ever, while Ripple’s XRP sales have hit a new low.

Ripple’s On-Demand Liquidity (ODL) payments network tripled in transaction volume over the last quarter according to the just released Q1 2020 XRP Markets Report.

The dollar value transacted using ODL increased by more than 294%, which is good news for token holders with the report describing XRP liquidity as the “lifeblood of Ripple’s [ODL] for cross-border payments.”

In further good news, Ripple has again reduced its total XRP sales from $13.08 million in Q4 2019 to $1.75 million in Q1 2020. The company had been criticised for propping up its balance sheet with XRP sales. The report also notes the token was integrated into “a number of additional exchanges and liquidity instruments.” 

ODL increased by money transfer services

The report attributes part of the increase in ODL to cost-saving measures implemented by the network which eliminate the need to pre-fund international accounts. It highlights the partnership between Ripple and UK-based digital money transfer service Azimo as an example:

“Azimo launched its service to send payments to the Philippines and, within a few months, ODL saved the company 30%-50% when arranging currency transfers between customers in the Philippines and those in the UK and Europe.”

Numerous other transfer services worldwide use RippleNet’s ODL product including U.K.-based financial software firm Finastra, South Korean money transfer service providers Sentbe and Hanpass, and mobile and online based cross-border remittance services firm WireBarley.

Daily volume increases

XRP’s volatility doubled, from 3.1% in the final quarter of 2019 to 6.2% in Q1 of 2020. According to the report, “XRP’s volatility over the quarter was higher than that of BTC (5.8%), and lower than that of ETH (7.3%).”

Daily volume increased overall from $187.34 million in Q4 of 2019 to $322.66 million in Q1.

Correlation with other coins approached 100%

After looking as if it may pull away from a correlation with other major tokens like Bitcoin (BTC), Ethereum (ETH), and Bitcoin SV (BSV), XRP spiked towards a 100% correlation following the major crypto downturn in March. 

Source: Q1 2020 XRP Markets Report

3 billion XRP released from escrow

Those monitoring XRP whale activity may have noticed Ripple releases one billion coins every month, usually half at the first of the month:

The report notes that across Q1 2020, 3 billion XRP tokens were released out of escrow. However, 2.7 billion of these were “returned and subsequently put into new escrow contracts”.

Charlie Shrem Says QE, Halving Will Spark Bull Run … in 2021

Charlie Shrem Says QE, Halving Will Spark Bull Run … in 2021

Crypto pioneer Charlie Shrem told Virtual Blockchain Week the combination of the halving and QE will spark a major bull run … but it might take some time.

At Virtual Blockchain Week, crypto pioneer Charlie Shrem made a strong bull-case for Bitcoin, saying the combination of diminishing supply due to the halving, and wholesale quantitative easing, will drive prices higher over the next one to two years.

Bitcoin halving and QE

During a fireside chat with the VBW hosts on April 30, Shrem stated that, “It's kind of crazy that we have a halving during coronavirus because it was such a black swan event.”

“We have two trillion dollars of money printed in the United States, people are starting to get all that money,” he said. “Also, all these people are getting their unemployment benefits probably when they're about to go back to work [...] and they haven't been needing to spend much money while they're sitting at home for the past few months.”

“And then you have the halving where the selling pressure cuts in half all of a sudden at the end of next week [...] A lot of the miners are amazing people and they mine for the future, but they also have costs and they have to sell [...] So all of a sudden that pressure is cutting in half, just cut in half, and all this money. What do you think is going to happen?”

Charlie also took aim at the stock market, describing the S&P 500 as a metric that the government can manipulate “to let the people think that everything is ok”.

“The stock market, I don't have faith in it — it's very manipulatable. I don't know any stocks for that reason [...] You're telling me that half the country doesn't have a job, but the stock market is making all-time highs. How is that something that we can correlate to how our economy's actually doing?”

Halving impact unlikely to be felt for many months

Despite his bullish predictions for the halving, Shrem told Cointelegraph that it still may be many months before the impacts on supply are fully felt.

“I was looking at data, and it looks like around last halving it wasn't that the price doubled instantly, but the last halving was actually the start of the epic bull run in 2017 — which was a year and a half later. But the halving was definitely [when the] 'clock' started with the miners,” he said.

“[I]t was a bullish momentum that started because it was post-halving and the selling pressure had halved. So there were a lot of really good things that worked out around that time — and I think we'll see that again.”

Employees make industry leaders accountable

On the question of what Shrem looks for when looking for thought leaders in the space, Charlie argued that executives that lead sizable companies are typically accountable for their opinions

Shrem stated: “If you're ever wondering who to follow on crypto Twitter or who to listen to — a great metric that I like to use is how many people are working for this person? Are they building a company? If yes, how many people are there? [...] Because that means that this person's opinion could alter his company.

“If this person says something stupid, his company can get the s*** — if that happens, all of his employees are out of a job. So he's morally responsible [for] his opinion.”

Caitlin Long on Banking Backdrop, Stifled Regulation to Serve Crypto

Caitlin Long on Banking Backdrop, Stifled Regulation to Serve Crypto

Speaking to Cointelegraph during Virtual Blockchain Week, Caitlin Long predicted an oncoming wave of institutional investment.

During Virtual Blockchain Week, Cointelegraph spoke with Caitlin Long — the founder and CEO of the upcoming “crypto bank” Avanti Bank & Trust as well as the driving force behind regulatory changes in the state of Wyoming for allowing financial institutions to handle both crypto assets and fiat currencies.

A Wall Street veteran, Caitlin Long ran Morgan Stanley’s pension solutions for a decade after holding a number of senior roles at Credit Suisse prior to transitioning to focus on the blockchain and crypto sector.

Caitlin shared her perspective on the impact that the lack of crypto-friendly financial institutions has had on the development of the digital asset ecosystem, the intersection between mainstream and decentralized finance, and her prediction that major institutional investors will soon enter the crypto space.

Cointelegraph: How does a lack of access to financial services impact the development of the crypto ecosystem?

Caitlin Long: It was the lack of traditional banking services that actually prompted the creation of stablecoins. Necessity is the mother of all inventions. When the big banks stopped allowing crypto exchanges to have fiat on- and off-ramps, that’s when stablecoins got invented.

“So, the lack of availability of banking services has had a huge impact on this industry that few actually really recognize unless they really studied the history or were around that time and were watching.”

But the overhang of that continues. It has definitely been a challenge for the industry to continue to get traditional fiat on- and off-ramps. That’s especially true in the United States, but it’s not just true in the U.S., and Wyoming is attempting to solve that problem.

CT: What are some of the forces that have prevented banks from providing financial services to crypto companies?

CL: The vast majority of [crypto] banking services in the U.S. are provided by three, relatively small banks. Silvergate, Signature and Metropolitan are their names. The big guys like the JP Morgans and the Citis of the world have not touched it — and it is a function of regulation.

This overhang is something that the U.S. experienced called “Operation Choke Point,” which started in 2013 under the Obama administration. The FDIC targeted 30 different industries that were not politically favored. That’s the porn industry, the firearms industry, the gambling industry — you know, a list of the sort of “sin industries,” in some folks’ eyes. They were targeted.

It started with the payday lenders, and the regulators were giving [...] a much higher risk assessment for banks doing business with these 30 industries that were deemed risky. And the crypto industry got caught up in that as well. So what it means is that the regulators in D.C., at the FDIC especially, were dinging the risk assessments, and therefore requiring higher capital from the banks.

“I think in the absence of that, the banks would love to serve this industry. and if we had the compliance regime of the 1970s, we wouldn't be having these problems at all.”

CT: What are some of the major challenges facing the crypto industry right now?

CL: One of the challenges that this industry has is that we have a lot of unregulated companies that are trying to become regulated. And that’s difficult to do, especially because we’ve got a lot of people who don’t have experience working in the regulated financial services industry.

“That’s part of the charm of this industry, and that’s why this industry created stablecoins to solve the banking problem — that’s not something somebody who came from the traditional banking industry probably would have invented.”

But by the same token, it actually makes it hard for the unregulated businesses to become regulated. So one of the differences that you’re starting to see now is that there are a few businesses that are natively regulated from inception. 

I think it’s just a smoother process when you’re not trying to convert a business that may have some past footfalls, and probably every crypto business that’s been around for several years has Bank Secrecy Act footfalls — where they weren’t monitoring their customer base as strictly as they as they would have, had they been regulated. 

It’s a lot easier to deal with regulators when you are submitting to regulation from inception. We saw it with Fidelity, we saw it with Bakkt, we saw it with Ledger X, and Avanti just happens to be one of the bank examples of that.

CT: Can you tell us a little about what you have been working on in Wyoming?

CL: Full disclosure — after watching how many people tried to start a bank and realizing how you actually get over the finish line, I decided to step up and actually try to create what is an industry consortium bank.

There will be others who will be [launching crypto banks] in Wyoming as well. We created a special purpose depository institution — which is a special fintech bank charter that enables companies to both custody crypto assets and have direct access to the Fed through a master account.

So that takes a significant risk away from this industry where crypto custody and exchange have to be separated from the dollar piece of this business. You’re going to see custodians and exchanges now actually have their own banks, and that’s going to de-risk banking pretty substantially.

CT: What are some of the major trends within blockchain and crypto that you see the industry moving toward in the coming years?

CL: More adoption! I think there are going to be a lot more institutions — and that’s a word that very many people agree on the definition of.

“Most people look at it and say, ‘Well, gee, if a small hedge fund or a small venture capital fund is a crypto, that’s an institution.’ And that’s technically true.”

When I’m talking about institutions, I’m talking about the gigantic pension fund managers, the CalPERS of the world — in Australia, the superannuation funds; in Canada, the Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plans of the world — these are the institutions that actually own a decent percentage of all the financial asset value in the country. These gigantic institutional asset managers are also subject to fiduciary standards that smaller hedge funds and venture capital funds are not. 

Traditional asset owners that have very high standards — we really don’t have very many of them in crypto right now at all. And if they come in, boy, the world will change pretty fast. Same thing with corporate treasurers. 

“The big businesses are just not touching any of these assets yet, and I see a huge opportunity for them to come in. In the next few years, I think that's where we're headed.”

I think the big institutions are coming in — and that wave started with the more risk-taking institutions like hedge funds and family offices that we’re willing to look beside the fact that they didn’t know whether their counterparty was credit-worthy or not because they were just speculating, and willing to take risks. The big pension funds can’t take risks like that. And that’s part of the reason why I’m challenging the industry to up our game in that regard and prove our solvency.

This interview has been edited and shortened for clarity.

Props Project Moves From Private Blockchain Over to Algorand

Props Project Moves From Private Blockchain Over to Algorand

The Props Project, which includes popular dating app, is moving over to the Algorand blockchain.

Props Project, a decentralized network of apps including, is migrating from a private blockchain to Algrorand (AGLO).

Props’ network of independent apps uses Props Token as a reward mechanism. Currently it has over three million users across various apps. The company developed PropsChain, a private fork of Ethereum that currently handles 50,000 transactions an hour. 

No need to sacrifice

However, to achieve greater scalability and transparency, the company decided to move to Algorand’s public blockchain. Algorand CEO Steven Kokinos told Cointelegraph that Algorand was unlike “first generation blockchains” in that it does not have to sacrifice scalability for security or decentralization:

“Up until now, people would have to really deploy private Blockchain in order to get the scale and throughput if they had large user bases. And if they didn't, then they could consider a  decentralized system. I think from the Props standpoint, it's an application or a group of applications that really make more sense on a public network, but they just didn’t have an avenue to do it. So we're really excited to see them deploy on Algorand and bring their users on to the network”

Integration with popular dating network, a conglomerate of 15 international dating apps that have more than 73 million registered users between them, invested in Props Project and intends to integrate Props into some of its applications.

Nick Grossman, a partner at Union Square Venture, which is another Props Project investor, said: 

"Props is bringing one of crypto's killer features — enabling participants to share in the wealth generated on the networks they help grow — to mainstream apps.”

Blockchain has often been criticized for a lack of adoption, so to see its adoption by a consumer-facing project with millions of users is a promising sign.

Chainlink Crypto Price Oracles Enter Tezos Ecosystem

Chainlink Crypto Price Oracles Enter Tezos Ecosystem

SmartPy and Cryptonomic are adding Chainlink price oracles to the Tezos network, filling a perceived gap in the ecosystem.

Two leading Tezos (XTZ) teams, SmartPy and Cryptonomic, are making Chainlink (Link) oracles natively available on the Tezos network.

The two teams received a grant from the Tezos Foundation to integrate Chainlink oracles into Tezos smart contracts. Cryptonomic co-founder Vishakh told Cointelegraph that their work has filled a key missing link within the Tezos ecosystem:

“Most of our core team has worked in finance for multiple years, especially derivatives finance. We’ve worked on mission-critical systems that handle very high notional financial trades. So that's why we're really attracted to Tezos because of on-chain governance and formal verification. But one missing piece of the puzzle, there have to be external inputs in order to build successful Tezos DeFi applications.”

An oracle is a prerequisite for decentralized finance

Speaking to Cointelegraph, Chainlink CEO Sergey Nazarov echoed the same sentiment, noting the importance of resilient data feeds for the decentralized finance — or DeFi — space:

“I think it's going to be used a lot for DeFi, maybe some decentralized insurance. But from what I can tell, there's a lot of interest in having DeFi on Tezos. And having a good oracle mechanism is basically now a prerequisite for having a well functioning DeFi application. And I think people are starting to realize that building oracle mechanisms is akin to building a blockchain.”

Nazarov said that the integration between the two crypto unicorns benefits other projects as well:

“It's a network effect that compels data providers to put data on-chain because there's more of a market share that they get access to with one integration. And while we will be on multiple chains, every additional chain that we're on creates a benefit to all the other chains, because now data providers have more of a market to sell data to.”

This news comes a day after an early Chainlink investor predicted that the price of Link will soon exceed $25 and Chainlink will overtake Ether (ETH) in market capitalization.

Recent vulnerabilities demonstrated by various DeFi projects seem to indicate that Chainlink will not run out of companies in search of an oracle.

Japan's Financial Watchdog Certifies Two Cryptocurrency Regulatory Organizations

Japan's Financial Watchdog Certifies Two Cryptocurrency Regulatory Organizations

Japan's financial watchdog has accredited two crypto-focused associations as Certified Financial Instruments and Exchange Associations.

Japan’s Financial Services Agency (FSA) has certified two local organizations as Certified Financial Instruments and Exchange Associations.

According to an April 30 announcement, the FSA has recognized the Japan STO Association and the Japan Virtual Currency Exchange Business Association (JVCEA) as self-regulatory groups for derivative transactions and security token offerings of crypto assets. JVCEA will subsequently be renamed the "Japan Crypto Asset Trading Business Association" on May 1. 

JVCEA is the official self-regulatory organization for the cryptocurrency industry in Japan authorized to create regulations and policies for cryptocurrency exchanges in the country.

Cointelegraph has reached out to JVCEA for comment but has not received a response as of press time. 

Recent crypto developments in Japan

As of March, there were 21 registered and licensed exchanges in Japan, with three additional companies registered as second-class members. These were major American crypto exchange Coinbase, Digital Asset Markets and Tokyo Hash.

In January, the FSA officially proposed cutting the leverage cap for cryptocurrency margin trading. The FSA reportedly planned to put the order into practice in April once a revised version of the Financial Instruments and Exchange Act enters into effect.

JVCEA enacted a leverage cap of 4x last year, after which some cryptocurrency exchanges in the country reduced their rates. However, some local economic experts suggested that the rate should be further lowered to 2x in order to match those in other jurisdictions such as the European Union.

Porsche Backs Blockchain Platform for Vehicle Management in $6M Funding Round

Porsche Backs Blockchain Platform for Vehicle Management in $6M Funding Round

Blockchain startup Gapless has raised $6 million from investors, including world-famous car manufacturer Porsche.

Porsche has participated in a 5.5 million euros ($5.9 million) funding round for a German startup Gapless — the developer of a blockchain-based vehicle management system.

Among other contributors, Gapless saw FinLab EOS VC Fund, a joint venture between and FinLab, and insurance entrepreneur Kersten Jodexnis, reported on April 29.

Gapless is going to allocate the raised money to further develop its key product, an application that allows users to record a complete history of vehicles, as well as increase its user base. According to Gapless, it currently manages over 50,000 vehicles on its platform in Germany, the United States and the United Kingdom.

Investing in future technologies

Porsche told Cointelegraph that it is “constantly looking into and investing in future technologies and will evaluate case by case if such products or services can be deployed by Porsche to enhance the customer experience.” The company further stated:

“We evaluated and piloted several blockchain-based solutions. Blockchain can be a potential benefit for any trust-based interactions that requires a decentralized approach.”

Vehicle data migrates to the blockchain 

Tech companies and vehicle manufacturers alike have been developing blockchain-based solutions for tracking the life cycle of automobiles and improving driver experience.

Recently, Indian blockchain firm Smart Sight Innovation developed a blockchain app designed to improve maintenance and inspection of various vehicles. SSI’s app creates a summary of various issues — like repair work and compliance with inspection criteria — faced by a vehicle and allows users to share information with each other.

Earlier in April, General Motors filed a patent application for a continuously updating navigation map system. The system would use blockchain to integrate data from vehicle sensors and build a reliable map for autonomous vehicles.

Another leading car manufacturer, BMW Group, revealed plans to roll out its blockchain supply chain solution to 10 suppliers this year.

Portugal Chases Crypto-Friendly Status With New ‘Free Zones’ for Tech

Portugal Chases Crypto-Friendly Status With New ‘Free Zones’ for Tech

Building on previous advantages for traders and miners, Portugal continues to establish a crypto haven with Technological Free Zones.

In a bid to drive innovation forward and to stimulate the economy, Portugal has recently approved a nation-wide plan to encourage digitalization in several fields. Published on April 21, the “Digital Transitional Action Plan” puts forward multiple ways, in which the Portuguese government will provide infrastructure and incentives for innovation, entrepreneurship and competition, as well as internationalization for enterprises in the country.

Although digitalization is a recurring topic when discussing economic strategies, the COVID-19 pandemic has put the subject in the spotlight as private and public entities alike try to mitigate the economic downfall brought about by the mandated lockdowns. The plan focuses on three main strategies highlighted in a summary by a Portuguese law firm VdA Legal Partners: “Capacity-building and digital inclusion of people, digital transformation of businesses and digitalization of the State.”

Although the plan covers a broad range of strategies for digitalization, the creation of Technological Free Zones (ZLT) has sparked interest within the cryptosphere as Portugal continues to make provisions that incentivize cryptocurrency industry activities in the nation. 

According to Rémy André Ozcan — the CEO of Tozex, a tokenization platform, and the co-founder of the French Blockchain Federation — these initiatives put Portugal on the right track toward being one of the most attractive crypto capitals in the world. In a phone conversation, he told Cointelegraph:

“This initiative is great, and coupled with the tax breaks introduced a few years ago, it makes Portugal a very attractive place to start and manage a cryptocurrency-related business. This is an area where other countries like France can learn from Portugal. The creation of economical areas dedicated to encourage blockchain-based business is a major milestone for Portugal.” 

Indeed, following the tax breaks for cryptocurrency trading and issuance, the Portuguese government is now doubling down on its crypto-friendly position by facilitating research activity for companies using or testing blockchain, among other technologies. Helena Mendonca, a principal consultant at VdA Legal Partners, told Cointelegraph how important these ZLTs can be:

“ZLTs will allow, where possible, the flexibilization of legal and regulatory provisions for purposes of tests (such as experimentation or exemption laws that are test-friendly) or, at least, a mechanism where tests will be assisted and supervised by regulatory authorities (like regulatory sandboxes or innovation hubs). The creation of a framework for tests brings several benefits, as it will facilitate the performance of tests, which in turn, allows a better assessment of the technical and commercial viability of technical solutions.”

What do ZLTs mean for crypto business?

The creation of Technological Free Zones sets a positive tone for companies at the technological forefront of their respective fields, giving clear and practical advantages for companies experimenting with technologies, such as blockchain. These ZLTs create flexible regulatory provisions for testing purposes, include on-site testing in real-life environments, and assistance from regulatory entities with or without special legal and regulatory regimes.

Although these benefits apply to testing, they translate into advantages for companies once they go into financing and production stages. Given the regulatory and financial viability certified by the oversight of regulatory entities during the testing periods in ZLTs, acquiring investment or other forms of positive engagement is made easier. Sanja Kon, the CEO of Portuguese crypto start-up Utrust, told Cointelegraph:

“This type of government-led initiative will certainly incentive companies to ponder the use of blockchain tech. A sandbox and special economic zone will be especially beneficial to blockchain start-ups working in innovative fields involving finance and digital money.”

It’s important to note that the approach taken by the Portuguese government is a cross-sector one, which means that solutions that leverage several technologies do not suffer constraints observed in countries where sector-specific “regulatory sandboxes” were created. According to Mendonca, that’s a very important distinction that shows the level of commitment put on these technologies and on regulation to back it: 

“What is more, the creation of a legal instrument – the backbone law – (instead of only initiatives by regulators, as most countries have done) shows, in clearer terms, the commitment of the Portuguese Government with relation to testing activities, while at the same time is a more stable approach that gives more visibility to the investment made by Portugal in promoting an experimentation environment and culture.”

Initiatives like these help companies and can stimulate the creation of new ventures within the country while placing Portugal on the map for companies that may be facing challenges in other jurisdictions due to a lack of an aligned cross-sector approach for testing when experimenting with novel technologies. 

However, not only can these benefits help guide companies through their testing stages they also present a learning opportunity for ventures that want to stay compliant, even when working with experimental technology. According to Mendonca, the learning process goes both ways, as regulatory entities can also observe these technologies at play first-hand and draw insights from the experience:

“Tests also give essential information for future laws applicable to novel technologies — this is all the more relevant for the fintech sector where the regulation of cryptocurrencies (and an aligned EU approach for crowdfunding) is being discussed: Hence, tests play a central role in the design of risk and outcome-based laws anchored in objective data and society needs.”

Crypto in Portugal

Cointelegraph previously reported on how the Portuguese government had introduced tax breaks for those trading and/or mining cryptocurrencies within the country. 

Related: No Tax for You: Why Crypto Traders and Miners Might Head to Portugal

Although further tax breaks are not the focus of the Digital Transition Action Plan, they have an important role to play when it comes to promoting the creation of innovative products or services leveraging these technologies. Mendonca told Cointelegraph:

“Portugal’s tax breaks already available for cryptocurrency traders and miners (prior to the Digital Transition Action Plan and ZLTs) are reliable and credible as they fit into the normal functioning of the European VAT system.”

Although the cryptocurrency scene in Portugal is not as lively as other countries like Malta, where regulation has also been known to be on the friendly side, the government is surely walking in that direction, lifting regulatory and legal constraints that can make or break new ventures, especially when working with such experimental technologies. Nevertheless, there are still some challenges ahead for the small European country. Ozcan told Cointelegraph:

“This initiative will work if those economic zones create a real ecosystem where you can find major SMEs, universities, research centers and public desks. [...] I believe that the development of this industry needs direct communication between entrepreneurs, lawyers, regulators, investors.”

Andreessen Horowitz Raises $515 Million for New Crypto Fund, Surpassing Initial Goal

Andreessen Horowitz Raises $515 Million for New Crypto Fund, Surpassing Initial Goal

Top venture capital firm Andreessen Horowitz forms its second crypto asset fund totaling $515 Million, surpassing the initial goal by $65 million.

Top venture capital firm Andreessen Horowitz is expanding its presence in the crypto sector. The United States-based company has raised $515 million for its second crypto-focused fund, according to an April 14 article on Fortune. 

Earlier reports suggested that Andreessen Horowitz, also called a16z, was hoping to accumulate $450 million in capital for the new vehicle, meaning that the firm has surpassed the initial goal by $65 million.

The new fund will focus on blockchain startups

Similarly to Andreessen Horowitz’s first crypto-oriented fund, which raised $300 million in 2018, the new endeavor will reportedly focus on blockchain projects, although the Fortune report does not mention startups working with digital assets.

Chris Dixon, general partner at the venture capital juggernaut, said of blockchain: 

"It's very rare that major, new computing paradigms come along, and we think this is on the scale of cloud and mobile for the Internet." 

Dixon added that he expects to see many new blockchains being launched in 2020. That includes Dfinity, a blockchain-based cloud computing project that a16z has already backed via its first crypto fund. 

Andreessen Horowitz’s previous crypto investments and projects

Being one of the first venture capital firms to enter the space, Andreessen Horowitz has invested in a variety of crypto projects so far, including Libra, Maker DAO (MKR), and Coinbase, among others. 

The company’s involvement with the crypto industry isn’t limited to investments. In December 2019, a16z announced a free, seven-week crypto startup school, scheduled to launch in February 2020, although there has been no update on that since. 

Cointelegraph has reached out to Andreessen Horowitz for additional details, but has yet to hear back from the firm. This story will be updated should we receive a response.

Chinese Internet Giant Tencent Launches Blockchain Accelerator

Chinese Internet Giant Tencent Launches Blockchain Accelerator

Tencent, the operator of major Chinese social media app WeChat, has opened applications for its new blockchain accelerator.

Tencent, the operator of Chinese social media app WeChat, is launching a blockchain accelerator. 

Announced on the company’s website on April 29, the “Tencent Industrial Accelerator” is open to both early-stage and mature blockchain startups, with a total of 30 places available. 

To qualify, projects must have at least one financing round behind them.  Applications are being accepted until June 6.

What does the accelerator offer?

Tencent’s blockchain accelerator will focus on a variety of recruitment areas including industrial blockchain solutions and blockchain applications for data sharing, supply chain financing and digital asset transactions. 

Other recruitment areas will focus on blockchain for sectors such as government affairs, energy, education, logistics, manufacturing, agriculture and public welfare.  

Successful applicants will be given four mentoring meetings throughout the year, a host of industry networking and business opportunities, and access to Tencent’s blockchain-as-a-service platform. They will also have a chance to make an overseas visit connected to their blockchain industry area of interest.

Development areas of interest isolated in Tencent’s announcement include smart contract security, trusted identity and computing solutions, multi-party governance mechanisms and consensus algorithms. 

Shortlisted projects will be announced for a second round of judging at the end of June. The cost per person for participation in the accelerator will be 100,000 RMB — just over $14,000.

The national scope of Tencent’s blockchain development

As recently reported, Tencent’s digital bank WeBank has announced plans to integrate the smart contract Digital Asset Modeling Language for the consortium blockchain “FISCO BCOS” —  the chain that will undergird China’s national Blockchain-Based Service Network (BSN).

BSN launched for commercial applications earlier this month, six months after it was first rolled out for testing. 

Alongside WeBank, Tencent Cloud, Huawei and Shenzhen Securities Communication are all founding members of the FISCO BCOS blockchain platform.

Bitcoin Price Slides Below $9K as Trader Suggests ‘Technical’ Retrace

Bitcoin Price Slides Below $9K as Trader Suggests ‘Technical’ Retrace

A choppy trading session sees BTC/USD shave almost $1,000 off its latest gains and major withdrawals come from exchanges.

Bitcoin (BTC) bounced off $8,500 on April 30 after fresh volatility saw the largest cryptocurrency shed 8% in hours.

Cryptocurrency market daily overview

Cryptocurrency market daily overview. Source: Coin360

BTC price tests reclaimed support

Data from Cointelegraph Markets and CoinMarketCap showed a swift reversal for Bitcoin on Thursday trading, diving from highs of $9,440 to lows of $8,530.

At press time, support at $8,500 — which as resistance proved weak during Bitcoin’s run-up this week — was holding. 

Short-term movements remained choppy, with jumps of $200 or more occurring over a matter of minutes or less. 

Bitcoin 1-day chart

Bitcoin 1-day chart. Source: CoinMarketCap

The action coincided with what could be speculative moves by large-volume traders. OKEx, for example, saw a string of $20,000 withdrawals in quick succession, something commentators suspected was related to maintenance.

The comedown from a day of wild gains was most likely a necessary consequence of such rapid progress for Bitcoin. On Tuesday, markets were still at $7,700, having already seen a major uptick the previous week.

Popular market analyst Michaël van de Poppe was similarly unshaken by the volatility. He told Cointelegraph in private comments:

It’s probably just a vertical move on BTC through liquidating shorts and hitting resistance around $9,300-9,500, after which stops on longs got liquidated off the people buying high, so probably just technical.

As Cointelegraph reported, big trading volumes came from exchanges, while speculative options such as Bitcoin futures remained flat.

Even factoring in the most recent correction, returns for investors remain impressive compared to every other macro asset, now including gold.

Keep track of top crypto markets in real time here

The Case for a Surging Tokenization Demand Following the COVID-19 Pandemic

The Case for a Surging Tokenization Demand Following the COVID-19 Pandemic

Tokenization might be the best way for businesses to adjust to the new reality of the global coronavirus pandemic.

One of the most curious and subtle developments of the COVID-19 global pandemic is the surging demand for stablecoins. Their total supply hit an all-time high recently — roughly $7.5 billion — with demand for Tether (USDT) and USD Coin (USDC) soaring.

The development implicitly foreshadows financial disruption as desperate emerging market governments, foreign financial institutions and international businesses compete for a global shortage of dollars. The general consensus for the term of the development is called crypto or digital version of dollarization, and it represents a new take on the dollarization mechanics that have taken place across countries like Argentina and Ecuador before.

Unironically, the International Monetary Fund was apparently aware of the potential of such a development back in 2017, detailed by Christine Lagarde. The only defensive posture that governments can take against crypto-dollarization, especially in emerging markets, is an effective and responsible monetary policy.

But when the Federal Reserve is throwing the kitchen sink, worth trillions, at the economic fallout of COVID-19, don’t expect other countries to be more prudent in their monetary maneuvers. A looming solvency crisis, stoked by swelling global debt that is denominated in United States dollars, will cause geopolitical fractures in many regions.

Companies will likely lean on crypto-dollars, like stablecoins, for enhanced liquidity and access to the USD during the “dash for cash.” And governments may depart the USD reserve hegemony entirely with digital currencies.

Stablecoins — The crypto-dollars the world wants

Stablecoins operate with many of the same characteristics as eurodollars but retain the bearer-instrument quality of cash and the rapid, global settlement execution of cryptocurrencies. Additionally, they are often backed by one to one cash or T-Bill reserves, which makes them more appealing options for entities — like a global supply chain business — with better assurances that their dollars are not subject to the whims of fractional-reserve systems.

In the context of empowering citizens as well as companies, stablecoins are an ideal medium to bypass capital controls by obtaining a foreign currency analog (crypto-dollars) without going through the banking system.

Stablecoins are widely more accessible than eurodollars for most foreign companies right now. And since they don’t undergo issuance via the credit system, they are basically a more flexible version of the USD that doesn’t have a line of desperate companies and banking institutions lining up to access credit swap lines.

Even gold-backed stablecoins, like the new Tether Gold (XAUT) and Paxos’s PAX Gold (PAXG) versions, have been soaring in demand. What’s evident is that besides the dash for dollars, people have been looking for a stable store of value as a hedge against the volatility of markets right now. This leads to the conclusion behind the potential explosion in tokenization that we’re about to witness: Tokenized money or assets makes them widely more accessible, scalable, transparent and programmable.

Going back to Christine Lagarde’s comments, she identified how accessing virtual currencies is much easier for foreign institutions, businesses and people. 

If foreign institutions and businesses and want to dollarize their economy, like what Ecuador has been doing, digital currency is more readily accessible and flexible. For example, a basket of currencies could support a digital currency — e.g., Libra before they bent the knee to regulators — or the monetary policy could be fully transparent, with a programmable contract detailing how the policy adjusts within specific contexts — like a massive decrease in manufacturing output induced by a global pandemic.

It’s hard to imagine that governments would so easily forfeit their right to the monopoly over the creation of money, but they may have no choice.

People will naturally gravitate toward the hardest money. Whether that’s the USD, Bitcoin (BTC), some SDR-backed basket digital currency or China’s incoming digital currency, it appears that tokenized, digital currencies will be the highest in demand.

Crypto-dollars front-run tokenized assets

The widespread adoption of a digital currency or explosive growth in crypto-dollars would likely open the floodgates of tokenization for other assets.

Convex events like the supply/demand shock and the economic fallout of COVID-19 expose many of the faults within existing systems. While regulators and the financial sector have largely ignored these signals for decades, the scale of the problem in the real economy, such as small businesses and global supply chains, may require immediate amelioration.

To enter tokenized assets seems to be the most obvious decision. However, businesses are largely unaware of the advantages of tokenization nor have a notable amount of businesses dipped into the complex world of tokenization. That’s why it will take an exogenous event (like COVID-19) to provoke a large-scale transition to tokenized assets, which is best viewed through the lens of a global supply chain company.

For example, if company A is a private firm based in Singapore and invoices clients in multiple countries via USD, then recent events raise some interesting predicaments. Let’s imagine that company A is a shipping firm carrying commodities around the world’s oceans to various continents.

With supply chains virtually paralyzed right now and crude oil prices plummeting, company A may need to raise capital in USD to meet USD-denominated debt obligations. However, USD swap liquidity outside the U.S. is widely only available to central banks directly connected to the Fed — i.e., mainly G7 countries. Private foreign businesses traditionally accustomed to meeting debt obligations and other liabilities with USD cash flows are in a tough position — rapidly diminishing cash flows with no access to USD.

One of the fastest and most effective ways to solve company A’s dilemma would be to issue tokenized shipping capacity as redeemable assets that can be redeemed with shipping services, then use a third-party smart contract-based protocol to “transform” the redeemable token into tokenized bonds to investors. If company A has a history of good credit and cash flow, then investors would buy up the tokenized bonds via a global market, raising capital in whatever tokenized currency (e.g., crypto-dollars), cryptocurrency or other programmable assets the company desires.

Companies may consider raising money via tokenized bonds outside the confines of stringent regulatory regimes particularly because their desire to raise money in a foreign currency may be at odds with capital controls of the country that their firm is based in. For example, the central bank of Lebanon has recently prohibited firms from acquiring foreign currencies in bulk.

By issuing tokenized bonds, not only would secondary markets be liquid for investors on a global settlement layer but the company could quickly exchange the money raised between digital currencies and assets. Overhead costs, like regulatory expenses and fees going through multiple third-parties during the issuance process, would be vastly reduced, too. 

Access to USD, via crypto-dollars, would circumvent any problems through the conventional banking system that company A would typically be faced with during a dollar crunch.

Tokenization cases also extend far beyond the example of company A. The effects of tokenization foster a self-fulfilling prophecy: If more companies, investors and assets rely on digital assets, then the advantages of their interoperability, programmability and accessibility are further augmented.

The COVID-19 chaos has exposed the power of crypto-dollars during a liquidity crunch. With powerful tokenization tools already available, the further growth of crypto-dollars may unleash the full potential of tokenization on the other side of this crisis.

The views, thoughts and opinions expressed here are the author’s alone and do not necessarily reflect or represent the views and opinions of Cointelegraph.

Victor Zhang is the CEO and co-founder of AlphaWallet. He has spent the past five years working to transform the way banking and blockchain technology intersect. Prior to his venture into blockchain technology, Zhang worked for 17 years in international business in Asia and Australia.

Bitcoin Doubles Gold’s YTD Rate of Return in 1 Day as Gains Top 27%

Bitcoin Doubles Gold’s YTD Rate of Return in 1 Day as Gains Top 27%

Bitcoin gifts investors 27% rewards since January 1, more than double that of gold and infinitely better than stocks and oil.

Bitcoin (BTC) hitting almost $9,500 on April 30 was a boon for cryptocurrency investors — but gold bugs were left holding the buck.

As BTC/USD climbed to eight-week highs on Wednesday, the pair’s already handsome year-to-date returns began outshining its last major competitor — gold.

Schiff blames speculators as BTC launches

As Cointelegraph reported while prices aimed for $9,000, gold was still the best bet year to date. Now, however, Bitcoin has obliterated the precious metal’s rate of return.

Topping out at $9,440 on Thursday, BTC doubled gold’s 13.1% rate of return in less than 24 hours.

The surprising achievement means that out of a basket of macro assets, Bitcoin is now the easy winner — stocks, gold, the dollar, and crisis-hit oil have been left in the dust, data from monitoring resource Skew confirms.

Macro asset current year returns summary. Source: Skew

Reacting to events, notorious gold defender Peter Schiff was unimpressed — but not with gold. 

“Bitcoin is being bid up by speculators, just like other risk assets today,” he claimed on Twitter

#Bitcoin and #gold have nothing in common, so there is nothing confusing about today's price movements.

A $0 prediction too far?

As Cointelegraph mentioned earlier on Thursday, it was the exchanges that saw volume spikes overnight, rather than speculative arenas such as Bitcoin futures, which still have lower volume than before prices crashed in March.

Schiff is well known for his doomsday Bitcoin predictions, often claiming that the market will head to zero. Retaliating after his latest comments, Lightning Torch organizer Hodlonaut took him to task.

He tweeted:

I'm confused why you said it would drop 50% more on March 13th, and now it's up 70% instead. Pls explain.

Schiff was arguably correct in describing gold and Bitcoin as essentially different. At its core, Bitcoin represents absolute scarcity, something which humanity has never had before. 

As “The Bitcoin Standard” author Saifedean Ammous and others note, gold is not rare at all by comparison, and its supply is regulated only by the amount of time that humans can devote to mining it.

Italian Town Creates New Currency to Cope With COVID-19

Italian Town Creates New Currency to Cope With COVID-19

An Italian town has created their own currency to support local businesses in the Coronavirus lockdown.

A small southern Italian town of 550 residents, Castellino del Biferno, has started minting their own currency, called Ducati, as a method to support their local economy during the coronavirus Pandemic.

The town mayor Enrico Fratangelo, had been studying minting money for 12 years before having the opportunity to put his ideas to the test.

"We decided to mint money to make sure the local economy could withstand the impact of the situation. However small this economy may be, there are three or four businesses still open, without considering bars or pubs," Fratangelo explained.

Supporting the Economy

Ducati are distributed to residents based on their economic needs and can be spent on essential goods. In order to minimize any confusion, the value of 1 Ducati will equal 1 euro. The town council received €5,500 from the government to issue food stamps, and with the addition of their own savings, they were able to fund the solution.

The entire process is managed locally with watermarked paper, with special care to ensure the notes don’t transmit the virus, according to the copy shop owner Antonio Lannaocone:

"We start off with watermarked paper, then we print the banknotes — according to the design agreed with the administration — on one sheet of paper. We then laminate the sheet, so that the bills can be disinfected. Once it's laminated, we cut the banknotes with their final dimensions."

Every two weeks, the shops may return any Ducati to the town council in exchange for the corresponding amount in Euros. 

This isn’t the first time

The idea of a heavily localized currency has been tried before in Italy in 2016. Gioiosa, also in Italy’s south, is home to a group of asylum seekers and uses a local currency that is only accepted in local stores. Referred to as “tickets”, this approach helps to ensure that local businesses benefit, defusing any potential tension with the new arrivals.

Does this demonstrate the need for a digital currency?

The current situation facing economies around the world has brought to light the potential benefits of cryptocurrencies and this town’s solution is another step to that end. 

The Ducati, although an innovative solution, would only work in a very small scale economy due to risks of contamination and counterfeiting increasing with increased popularity, in addition to the high cost of production.

A digital version of the Ducati would look very similar to a Central Bank Digital Currency, and would not have the same costs associated with Ducati being minted, nor would it risk contamination or counterfeiting.

160 Million USDT Tokens Minted During Bitcoin's Rise to $9K

160 Million USDT Tokens Minted During Bitcoin's Rise to $9K

As Bitcoin pushed past $8,000 and began its ascent to $9,000, the Tether Treasury minted over 160 million new tokens.

With Bitcoin (BTC) ascending sharply in the last eight hours — over $9,100 at press time — U.S. dollar-backed stablecoin Tether (USDT) is on a minting spree. 

Whalebot Alerts has reported that Tether issued more than 160 million new coins in the last 24 hours in just two transactions. The first $60 million were minted when Bitcoin was valued at just over $8,000. A second transaction of $100 million USDT was issued just before BTC’s push past $8,500. 

At the same time, there has been significant USDT movement from whales between Binance and OKEx. In just under 12 hours, 91 million tokens were transferred from unknown wallets to the two exchanges, with the bulk — $85 million over two transactions — going to Binance. 

Only 22 million USDT was transferred out of the Tether Treasury.

Stablecoin without much stability

The Tether Treasury has been minting like mad since its creation, with nearly $7.8 billion in total USD assets. Though many suspected the firm’s seemingly flippant issuance of tokens — over one billion in the last month alone — may have been driving up other crypto prices, Cointelegraph has previously reported this type of market manipulation is unlikely.

However, USDT is still mired in controversy, with some arguing it shouldn’t be held for any length of time. The stigma may be partially due to a 2019 court case in which it was discovered the token could be backed up only 74% with fiat currency, rather than the near 1:1 ratio the stablecoin namesake implies.