Can loyalty symbols put DeFi in front of the masses?

defi

DeFi was once a niche in the cryptocurrency segment, dominated by the creator of stablecoin with crypto support, and with mechanisms that few understood.

However, by 2020, DeFi became the driving force of cryptocurrency markets, reaching close to $12 billion in total value closed at the end of September. With an explosion of new projects in space, including loans, synthetic assets and automated market makers, the craze for decentralized financial products doesn't seem to go anywhere anytime soon.

A clear sign that any movement is expanding beyond its niche origins is when established projects and businesses begin to appear. GreenPower, a global reward currency, has been around since 2017. However, the project is now taking the opportunity to expand its offering by integrating DeFi innovations to help spread the phenomenon to conventional users.

GreenPower is the anchor currency in a decentralized system of next-generation market incentives. Designed to bring the benefits of decentralized finance (DeFi) to the mainstream, GreenPower acts as the main asset in this innovative set of market rewards.

GreenPower recently migrated to the Ethereum platform after more than 3 years on its main graphene-based network. GreenPower has a fixed stock of tokens, all already distributed and in circulation. Tokens are held by approximately 150,000 accounts in more than 180 countries.

GreenPower's mainnet blockchain (called powerchain) has been in continuous operation since March 2017 and was one of the earliest examples of what is now known in the industry as a "fair launch." There has never been an ICO or IEO. There has never been a pre-sale or pre-sale. No venture capital was accepted and no symbolic allocation or donation was made to the founders or the administrative team.

The new GRN token will serve as an association mechanism for an international market network called GreenAlliance. GRN will be used to determine the distribution of market benefits to members of the market network, as well as to confer voting and governance rights to their token holders.

This change involves several other significant developments for GRN holders. Graphene's migration to Ethereum means GRN holders can connect their Ethereum custody wallets to smart contracts. By doing so, they will become eligible for exclusive promotional discounts on products and can earn rewards by lending their digital assets to liquidity pools or borrowing against them.

GreenPower is also adopting a decentralized governance model, grnin smart contract holders can vote on proposals for the future development of GRN as part of a decentralized government body called PowerDAO.

Two additional market tokens are being released to work with GreenPower: GreenVolt and GreenAmp. GreenVolt is a universal "loyalty point" token developed based on blockchain technology. GreenVolt is not named and trades with other loyalty points in a blockchain-based loyalty point exchange. Point holders can also convert their collected loyalty points into market-traded values in the form of a new market discount currency called GreenAmp.

To illustrate the potential of this global loyalty network, imagine a scenario where someone could earn loyalty points when booking a flight they could view in a smartphone app. Using this blockchain point platform, they can redeem these points for points accepted by a merchant who sells clothes online or convert the points into cryptocurrency or even fiat currency.

The overall goal is for loyalty points to become exponentially more valuable to the consumer due to the ability to spend them virtually anywhere. From the customer's perspective, there is no need to buy or sell cryptocurrencies using a stock exchange or even have any knowledge or understanding of crypto or the underlying technology.

For merchants, the system opens up a world of potential by offering loyalty points to customers who are more valuable than a single-vendor loyalty system. In addition, they can end up with all the headaches of maintaining their own internal loyalty schemes.

As an established currency, GreenPower has already gained the support of brands within the healthcare industry, including Jivaka, a natural health supplement based on herbal and fruit extracts.

The team behind GreenPower has bold ambitions to bring DeFi to the masses. If the project works, it can be a powerful means of getting encryption up without users having to worry about what's going on behind the scenes. If the GreenPower team succeeds, 2021 may see the DeFi mania reach even more dizzying heights.

source: blockmanity.com

U.S. Immigration Wants to Automate With Bitcoin Transactions

US Immigration

The U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) technology division made a request for software information that the agency could use to bolster its financial audit management capabilities - and this includes the interactions of its employees with and use of bitcoin.

The agency is looking to build a financial management add-on for an existing open-source application, according to the request. The hope is to digitize existing functions and add a centralized accounting system to automate the workflow related to financial transactions.

Within the call, ICE detailed a number of sample scenarios it is trying to solve. Among them was a digital currency use case requesting software to track transfers, purchases and expenses in bitcoin.

Here's how RFI explains digital currency use cases, specifically mentioning bitcoin:

• The respective employee A transferred 0.03790587 BTC of retained digital currency from the F hardware portfolio to a software portfolio G. Fair market value was an exchange rate of $8,531.08. The transfer incurs a mining rate of 0.00021801 BTC.

The respective employee A bought 0.01487506 BTC through the Digital Currency Exchange E (exchange rate of $6,521.65) with a Coinbase fee of $2.99. The respective employee A transferred the total amount purchased from the Digital Currency Exchange e-wallet to a hardware portfolio F. Incorrida mining fee 0.00001409 BTC.

Expense of 0.0191111 BTC paid with the wallet. It incurs a mining rate of 0.00043663. The exchange rate at the date of purchase was $13,211.39. The remainder was transferred back to the G software wallet, which received 0.01777286 BTC. It incurs a mining rate of 0.00036727.

Companies with appropriate feedback and solutions can submit answers to agency questions by November 9. They can be selected for individual queries based on their responses.

source: theblockcrypto.com

What are the top three challenges of Bitcoin Lightning Network?

bitcoin-Lightning-Network

The inception of Lightning Network, which is a complementary layer for facilitating out-of-chain transactions in Bitcoin, has been termed as having a transformative potential.

Once the technology is deployed on all nodes, the network is expected to accelerate transaction processing and minimize related expenses on the BTC blockchain.

While all the talk has been focused on Lightning Network's game-changing potential, there are problems. This innovation has some challenges that need to be overcome to reach its full effectiveness.

Challenges include: unnecessary online presence; the possible inability to resolve BTC network issues; and the potential inability to fully address Bitcoin's transaction rate problem.

Challenge 1: Security Vulnerability

To facilitate the transfer of payments, nodes in this network should remain online at all times.

In addition, cold storage is considered impossible on Lightning Network. The problem with this development is that this type of storage is considered the safest way to maintain cryptocurrencies. Consequently, there is a chance that this network is open to hackers and theft.

On the other hand, where nodes go offline, a multitude of challenges arise. There are concerns that in a two-user payment channel, one party may close it and keep funds for themselves while the other is offline. This aspect is called “fraudulent channel” closure.

Alternatively, when a node goes offline, there is an enhanced possibility for the entire network to collapse. This issue is related to the concentration of funds on system-specific nodes.

From a practical perspective, this scenario can result in blocking user tokens if one of the nodes goes offline.

Challenge 2: Possible BTC Network Inability

The introduction of Lightning Network is designed to help Bitcoin achieve viability as a conduit for daily transactions, whether paying for clothes from an online store or renewing cable television subscription.

However, the BTC has much to accomplish before it is universally adopted. The recent increase in transactions is mainly related to the growth in trading volume. From this perspective, it can be argued that Lightning Network's net effect on minimizing BTC's transaction fees may be negligible.

Challenge 3: About Bitcoin Transaction Rate

Another issue Lighting Network must address is the increase in fees when it comes to performing BTC transactions. The argument is that rates will be reduced when this innovation facilitates transactions outside BTC's main blockchain because the current high rates are associated with the congestion experienced in the main blockchain.

However, congestion is just one of the factors contributing to the high rates. In addition, the digital currency rate itself is a significant part of Lightning Network's overhead.

Firstly, its costs are linked to two critical factors. First, its costs include a fee equal to BTC's transaction charges for opening and closing channels between the parties. The second cost is associated with separate routing charges for moving payments between channels.

While Lightning Network's routing rate, currently set to zero, may remain low due to its relative scalability, BTC's transaction charges may increase as a result of factors beyond the new technology.

The Facebook director says China’s cryptocurrency could take US power

crypto war china usa

"If we don't get a good answer, in five years China will be rewiring a large part of the world with a digital renminbi running on its controlled blockchain." The phrase is former Facebook blockchain industry director and current head of the Libra project, David Marcus.

According to an interview with Bloomberg, Marcus said China would create a digital currency system that could be totally beyond the reach of the US authorities.

"Chinese progress could pose a real threat to US influence," he said.

If that happens, and Facebook's currency fails, Marcus believes Washington risks having a part of the world completely blocked from US sanctions.

According to Bloomberg, while US officials are buzzing over whether or not to regulate social networking cryptocurrency, Beijing is moving forward with a global digital payment system.

Libra vs China

China has been mobilizing for an electronic digital currency payment solution since Facebook's announcement of Libra in June this year.

The following month, experts predicted that if things went well, the Chinese government-backed digital currency could come out before the official launch of Libra, scheduled for 2020.

Of type ‘Central Bank Digital Currency (CBDC), it would be regulated and controlled by the central bank.

Last month it was revealed that the pound would be backed by the dollar, euro, pound, and yen fiduciary currencies and that the renminbi, China's official currency, would be left out.

At the time, a Reuters publication suggested that not including the renminbi in the Libra project may be associated with the US / China trade relationship.

Blockchain Exchange Secures $50 Million in Diamonds for ETF Launch

Blockchain-based trading platform CEDEX says it has now secured a supply of more than 6,000 diamonds ahead of its launch of a diamond exchange-traded fund (ETF). Announcing the news on Wednesday, CEDEX said that the diamonds – worth over $50 million – will provide traders with a variety of investment options prior to the launch of the ETF, which is currently in development. The supply comes from diamond holders registering their stock on the exchange for trading, the firm told CoinDesk. CEDEX claims to have used blockchain tech and a proprietary algorithm to overcome several hurdles that previously prevented diamonds from becoming a tradable asset class like gold: lack of transparency, liquidity and fungibility. CEDEX said its mission is to turn diamonds into a tradeable asset class, and it aims to enable customers to trade on its inventory and generate liquidity in the market. The exchange – which launched in beta in November 2018 – will use tokens to allow customers to trade in diamonds of different sizes and values with “low” carrying cost, according to the announcement. The platform has its own ERC-20 token too, CEDEX Coin, which CEDEX says on its website is compliant and can be used for trading and investment on the exchange. Its “DEX” algorithm gauges the value of diamonds based on their characteristics and shows sellers a DEX score and estimated market price, according to the firm’s website. CEDEX co-founder and CEO, Saar Levi, said:
“The vast inventory available combined with CEDEX unique technology opens up for traditional and digital markets the opportunity to develop financial instruments that will initially create the liquidity needed to jump-start our vision – transforming diamonds into a new asset class.”
“Bridging the gap between existing financial markets and the diamond industry will fuel this untapped market from a $90 billion industry to an estimated $300-$400 billion,” Levi added. The firm added that it’s currently in talks with commodity brokers, exchanges, banks and ETF issuers in order to offer them a software solution that will allow integration of its ETF products onto their trading platforms. CEDEX said it raised $20 million in March 2018 to develop its platform. Source: www.coindesk.com

Privacy Cryptocurrency Beam Experiences Blockchain Stoppage

Update 2 (09:10 UTC, Jan. 22 2019): Beam has now published a post-mortem of the blockchain failure, saying: “The root cause of the issue was that two cloned wallets (most likely created by copying the same wallet.db file) both sent the same cloned UTXO to the blockchain, which resulted in incorrect cut-through processing and ultimately to an invalid block.” While it had no blocks produced from roughly 09:00 UTC to 11:40 UTC, no funds were lost and “blocks are processed normally and hashrate returned to similar levels as before the incident.” Update (14:04 UTC, Jan. 21 2019): Beam has now announced: “The fix was commited on Github. We will be performing additional testing. We will release the binaries in the coming hours. Thanks for your patience.” Its GitHub page puts the error down to a bug involving “improper block generation upon cut-through of old-new UTXOs.” — Newly released privacy-oriented cryptocurrency Beam reported this morning that its blockchain is experiencing technical difficulties. Beam announced the information on its official Twitter account Monday, saying that its network “stopped at block 25709” and that it was investigating the matter. Within the last hour, the project tweeted an update saying:

“Issue identified and fix found. Funds are safe. Commit to GitHub in the coming hour. Binaries and detailed Post-mortem later today. Thanks for your patience and stay tuned.”

At its January launch, Beam became the first cryptocurrency based on Mimblewimble – a protocol that makes transactions confidential and virtually untraceable. Since then, though, Beam has faced some technical issues. On Jan. 9, the team discovered a “critical vulnerability” in its wallet software and asked users to uninstall the wallet app immediately and re-download a patched version from their website. While the critical bug was fixed, it could have put users’ funds at risk by allowing attackers to modify transactions and subsequently send funds directly into their own wallet, Beam’s developers said at the time. Last week, a second privacy cryptocurrency based on Mimblewimble – Grin – also went live. While it has seen high interest from cypherpunks, sources told CoinDesk at the time that several VC funds were planning to mine the crypto. Source: www.coindesk.com

Former NASDAQ Exec Joins Blockchain Startup Concordium

Hans-Ole Jochumsen, who retired the last fall as vice chairman of NASDAQ Europe, has joined the advisory board of Concordium Foundation, the Swiss non-profit developing a cryptocurrency with a built-in compliance function. Revealed exclusively to CoinDesk, Jochumsen will guide Concordium’s compliance efforts, providing expertise in taxation, know-your-customer (KYC) practices, and transaction provenance. The stock market vet told CoinDesk he was already interested in the blockchain technology while working at NASDAQ and was involved in “multiple activities and projects” related to the tech, for example, blockchain-based electronic voting for the shareholders of NASDAQ’s Estonian branch. He explained that he sees promise in blockchain technology to radically reduce the cost and time of global transactions for the industry he’s worked in for decades. “Many people forget that what we see with the financial institutions is that you have a very complicated setup, every county has its own approach, and if you need to do something globally, it’s extremely complicated, and even if in the end the task is solved, somebody has to pay for it, and it’s the customer,” Jochumsen told CoinDesk. “In Concordium, there is a great vision for something that financial industry worldwide needs.” Concordium, founded by former Saxo Bank CEO and founder Lars Seier Christensen, is working on a proof-of-stake blockchain and is planning to launch its testnet “within the next month,” Christensen told CoinDesk. The project aims to combine a built-in anti-money-laundering (AML) and KYC function with zero-knowledge cryptography and compliance with the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). The beta launch of the mainnet is scheduled for the third quarter of 2019, and Concordium is expected to go fully live in 2010, Christensen said. Despite entering the market late in the game, Concordium’s new cryptocurrency (GTU, or global transactions unit) can still gain traction for its identity-checking feature, Christensen told CoinDesk. “As a first mover with strong focus and expertise in this area (ID/KYC), we are not late, but really among the first to the real game, one that has not started yet, because early generations of blockchains and cryptocurrencies did not achieve real business use in spite of all the hype,” he said, adding:
“So the next era is beginning now and this will be the time when the real potential of public blockchains will finally begin to unfold.”
Concordium’s research team includes cryptography specialists from Aarhus University in Denmark and just added as cryptography lead Professor Ivan Damgård, a co-inventor of the Merkle–Damgård construction underpinning the principles of hashing algorithms.

From finance to fintech

Jochumsen spent nine years at NASDAQ, including almost three years as a president and a year as a vice chairman for Europe, responsible for the exchange’s European expansion. Before NASDAQ, he worked as president and CEO of Copenhagen Stock Exchange, leading it when it merged with its counterpart in Stockholm. He also served as president of the Scandinavian exchange OMX before it was acquired by NASDAQ in 2008. In October 2017 the NASDAQ announced that Jochumsen would retire that year, upon turning 60. NASDAQ’s CEO Adena Friedman called him “a true mentor, partner and friend” in the exchange’s internal memo. At the same time, Jochumsen told Reuters he was talking to a New York-based fintech firm about an advisory role. Indeed, soon he started advising Alkymi, a startup aiming to automate the documentation flow of financial services firms. Now Jochumsen works as chairman of Nordax Bank AB, a non-executive director of Nykredit A/S and senior advisor at Alkymi. Source: www.coindesk.com

US Department of Energy to Fund Blockchain Research Projects

The U.S. Department of Energy has announced federal funding of up to $4.8 million for universities working on R&D projects, including those related to blockchain. Announced Monday, the funding is being made available through the department’s Office of Fossil Energy as a part of the “University Training and Research” initiative aimed to develop fossil energy applications. Projects under the initiative are aimed at achieving various objectives, including the development of early-stage technologies for more affordable domestic energy resources and improved electric grids, the department said. One of the areas being targeted for funding is blockchain technology that would “secure process signal data and other information flows within distributed sensor networks for fossil-based power generation systems.” Other potential projects not necessarily including blockchain include those that would explore advanced computing resources for coal plants to generate analytical results, improve water reuse processes, and investigate physical and biological sciences to measure chemical elements within coal fly ash. The department said it funds research and development projects to reduce the “risk and cost” of advanced fossil fuel-based energy technologies and make more sustainable use of fossil resources in the U.S. This is not the first time that the department has looked to explore blockchain for technological improvements. Last January, it partnered with BlockCypher to develop solutions allowing energy transactions to be settled across multiple blockchains. And, in July 2018, the department awarded a grant of nearly $1 million to a Colorado-based blockchain startup Grid7 in a move aimed to advance the development of a decentralized energy grid. Source: www.coindesk.com

Pakistani Bank Teams With Alipay for Blockchain Remittances

Pakistan-based Telenor Microfinance Bank, a subsidiary of Norwegian telecoms multinational Telenor Group, has launched cross-border payments using blockchain technology from payments firm Alipay. Claiming it as Pakistan’s first blockchain-based international remittance service, the bank announcedTuesday that the product is a joint effort between Telenor Group’s Malaysian fintech subsidiary Valyou and its Pakistani mobile banking arm Easypaisa, offering real-time money transfers between the two nations. Blockchain will “significantly boost the speed and efficiency” of payments, the bank said in a statement, adding that the money transfers will be “highly secure and transparent.” “Currently, Pakistan receives about $1 billion in home remittances from Malaysia and this Easypaisa-Valyou collaboration is going to change it for the better,” said Roar Bjærum, senior vice president at Telenor Financial Services. “Home remittances contributed to over 6 percent in GDP, equivalent to over 50 percent of our trade deficit, 85 percent of exports and over one-third of imports during FY 2017-18,” added State Bank of Pakistan governor Tariq Bajwa. Alipay, operated by Alibaba Group’s Ant Financial, is said to have waived transaction fees for use of its technology during an initial one-year trial period. “By eliminating intermediary costs, the new remittance service reduces transactional cost for end-users,” the bank said in a statement. While Pakistan appears to be keen on the potential of blockchain technology, it has taken a negative stance of cryptocurrencies to date. Back in April, the country’s central bank, the State Bank of Pakistan, issued a statement barring financial companies in the country from working with cryptocurrency firms. “Any transaction in this regard shall immediately be reported to Financial Monitoring Unit (FMU) as a suspicious transaction,” the central bank said at the time. source: www.coindesk.com

Blythe Masters, CEO of Blockchain Startup Digital Asset, Is Stepping Down

Blythe Masters, the CEO of distributed ledger technology provider Digital Asset Holdings, has stepped down after three years running the firm. The company announced Tuesday that Masters will remain as a shareholder, strategic advisor and member of the company’s board of directors, but that she would vacate her position as chief executive for personal reasons. The departure was first reported by Fortune. In a note to employees sent earlier today, Masters wrote that “working as part of the DA family means the world to me, but I also work for my family’s future and I need to focus on this for a while.” Masters will be temporarily replaced by AG Gangadhar, who joined the firm’s board this past April and has been appointed as its chairman. He will serve as acting CEO while the company looks for a new chief executive, according to a press release. In a statement, Masters said the company has “evolved” from being an idea to operating as a technology firm worldwide. She praised Gangadhar, saying:
“We are fortunate to have a deep bench of accomplished executives on the management team and Board, including AG, who have the requisite experience to take the company to the next level. Having come to know and trust AG as an advisor and Board member, I am convinced that he brings what’s needed to guide the company through its next phase.”
Gangadhar has previously worked at Google, Microsoft, Amazon, Cruise (GM) and Uber, according to the release. Masters began leading Digital Asset in 2015, the year after it was first founded. The firm has since grown to work with companies including the Depository Trust and Clearing Corporation, Google Cloud and the Australian Securities Exchange. Michael Bodson, president and CEO of the Depository Trust and Clearing Corporation and member of the Digital Asset board, thanked Masters in a statement, saying “her leadership and vision … has propelled the company from a promising startup to a globally recognized leader in DLT. We are excited to have a world-renowned technologist like [Gangadhar] to help take the company forward.” Source: www.coindesk.com