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Are Stablecoins the New Black?

The current highly volatile bear market is scaring many investors away. However, not all crypto is going through hardship. Stablecoins, which are fiat currency-pegged, have seemed to gain, according to a new report by Diar.

The group, which describes itself as “Weekly Institutional Publication and Data Resource Analyzing Digital Currency & Assets,” emphasizes that stablecoins’ popularity has grown immensely in the past few months.

“A whopping 1032% increase in on-chain transactions took place in November vs. September breaching the $2.3Bn mark at the close of last month,” its latest report reads.

For example, Paxos, which managed to raise over $93 million in total, has recorded over $1.8 billion on the Ethereum blockchain alone in the past three months. That is twice more than USDC which is backed by Coinbase and Circle.

The only stablecoin which was doing relatively unwell was TrueUSD: according to the report, it has seen a slight decline in the total on-chain transactions value. However, “it did indeed double in the number of transactions vs October.” Thus the coin managed to successfully secure significant market share since its public issuance in early March.

“To date, all four major stablecoins, USDC, TUSD, GUSD, and PAX, have breached the $5Bn in on-chain transactions within a short 3-month period,” the report indicates.

This is an impressive number, as GUSD, for example, was launched by the Winklevoss brother only two and a half months ago. Back then, the famous fraternal duo expressed hope that the crypto “will become a digital cash, bringing together the best of fiat and blockchain assets.”

Tether is losing its appeal

The report also mentions the controversial Tether (USDT) which has still not fully proven that it is USD-pegged since it was audited by a private Washington-based company. The authors stress that “concerns around Tether escalated last month which highlights a key-factor in users switching over to a different pegged cryptocurrency.” Indeed in October, the coin traded at $0,98-0,99 which is below its bottom price of$1. Also, rumors emerged that Binance was delisting USDT. The news turned out to be fake and in late November Binance in an endeavor to support more stablecoins’ trading pairs renamed its Tether Market to be a combined Stablecoin Market (USDⓈ). The coin’s current price is once again $1, so its popularity might soon increase again.

The report comes right after Bitfinex and its spin-off Ethfinex announced that it is listing USDC, TUSD, PAX, and GUS alongside USDT which had been the only available USD-pegged coin prior to that together with DAI.

During the announcement, Ethfinex representatives noted that stablecoins are a “fantastic opportunity” for the cryptomarket because they pave the way for a wider blockchain adoption.

Bithumb Launches Cryptocurrency Voting Platform

Crypto exchange Bithumb has launched a cryptocurrency voting platform to renew its token listing process. Users of the exchange will now be able to directly evaluate, validate and vote on cryptocurrency projects that will be listed on the cryptocurrency exchange. 

Founded in 2013, BitHumb is one of the most popular cryptocurrency trading platforms in South Korea. It is one of the largest exchanges based on trade volume and offers exchange, wallet and additional services like remittances. And, as of this week, a new platform can be added to that list: PickThumb. The platform is launched with the aim to screen tokens vying to list on the cryptocurrency exchange. 

Currently, PickThumb is in beta but is scheduled to launch soon after the beta has been shown successfully. With the platform, Bithumb wants to improve its overall transparency as well as streamline its coin listing process.

As per the official company website:

“Pickthumb is a platform for screening excellent coins based on your fair evaluation … users can directly evaluate, validate and vote on cryptocurrency projects that will be listed on global cryptocurrency exchange Bithumb.”

In regards to how the entire voting process works, platform users have the power to vote “for or against projects” in each round. What this basically means is that digital currencies that attract a lot of downvotes face the risk of being disqualified from listing consideration. Also, after each round ends, Bithumb carries out its very own “internal review” of the winning project.

To prevent vote manipulation, the platform is being monitored 24/7, and crypto projects identified with fraudulent activities will be immediately removed from the voting round. If a user is found impersonating others to vote, buying votes, selling votes, and motivating or recommending others to vote in favor of a project, the account may be permanently suspended.

You can Now send XRP with Siri!

First this developer made sending XRP with Amazon’s Alexa possible, now he made it possible with Siri.

Many people hate XRP, maybe because of its centralized features or because of its deals with banks. At the end of the day, XRP has some of the biggest partnerships and it’s a top 3 currency based on market cap value. Before you were able to send XRP with Siri, you could do it with Amazon’s Alexa. Thanks to Wietse Wind, the same independent developer that made the Alexa send function, has made Apple’s Siri send function as well.

Thanks to Siri’s shortcuts, developers can create custom voice commands so that she can perform actions herself. The new voice commands are integrated into the XRP Tip Bot feature created by Wietse Wind. In order to send XRP, you must have the addresses integrated to the contacts you added onto the app and phone.

How does it work?

This is how you send XRP via Siri Voice commands.

  1. Download XRP Tip Bot.
  2. You must have an address attached to your contacts usernames. Scan a QR code or use your contact list. Click on their name after a voice command is initiated by you.
  3. Siri will then ask you how much would you like to send. Voice commands can be used here as well.

After that, a notification of a confirmed transaction appears and it provides the XRP value and the dollar value.

To watch the video example visit the dailyhodl article.

You Can Now Send XRP With Apple’s Siri – The Ripple Effect

Here is the Best Reason Why You Should Finally Get a Hardware Wallet

Having a bad day? Do not worry: There are people out there who are doing worse. Kerem Albayrak, a Turkish crypto enthusiast, will tell you all about it.

In his Reddit post, Albayrak recounted a misfortune which, according to his words, cost him $170,000 worth of Bitcoin. At some point in time, Albayrak decided to purchase “a new 27 inch iMac for our new office,” but received a lot of critiques which is why he opted for a Macbook instead. Then in an order which is not so clear-cut Albayrak went on a holiday, did some shopping, attended a supercar conference in London (because he is into cars). What is clear though that he had a bad feeling about the whole thing all along. And that he successfully managed to return the iMac to the store. That is when the peril struck.

“My wallet was newly transferred onto a Blockchain wallet created on the iMac after I had an incident with an offline wallet and got scared. I used auto generate password by apple with no iCloud to backup the keychain. When creating it i took a screenshot on the iMac of the recovery phrase which is also now gone,” Albayrak says.

In a panic, the investor called Apple support and even stood under the Apple store in search of a delivery truck with the iMac. However, an employee later informed him that it was formatted as it’s the standard return- refund procedure.

Tears, pain and sorrow conclude this post.

Just do it

Albayrak’s story is an unfriendly reminder of one overarching universal truth that a crypto trader needs to learn by heart:

USE a hard wallet!

Without a doubt, Albayrak’s story — regardless of whether it is fully authentic, slightly exaggerated or even made up — is painful to read, not only because you immediately feel the torture he is going through but also because just about anyone might accidentally become its protagonist. Carelessness, negligence, complacency and ignorance are usually the reason why.

Redditers were fast to lambast Albayrak for basically everything he did and/or considered doing. Indeed, he should not have taken screenshots of his passwords and store them on his Mac and smartphone. His regret about not transferring the information via iCloud is also wrong since it is simply unsafe.

The only right thing he should have done was to acquire “a hardware wallet and physical copies of backup seeds in at least two locations,” as barnz3000 rightly put it.

The same piece of advice is applicable to all crypto traders who trade online and use hot wallets. It is hardly a novelty that hackers fancy attacking exchanges. MyEtherwallet alone neutralizes 40 hacking attacks a week — more than banks listed in Fortune 500.  Coincheck, Coinrail, Bithumb were all subject to malicious attacks that deprived crypto traders of millions of dollars. Some like Bithumb have reimbursed their customers but others, like BitGrail, are not so willing. Only those who stored their funds on hard wallets managed to stay on the safe side all along.

Thus, whether you are a Turkish car enthusiast with lots of crypto or a regular trader, make sure to do your research on what hard wallets are out there as well as take basic precautions to secure your funds by sharing less private information with others.

NEWSFLASH: This was the NEWS

In “This was the NEWS” we take a look at the most important news of last week. What has happened in the crypto space over the last 7 days? News items that you may have missed and you really need to read. You will find it here!

1. G20 Once Again Pledges to Regulate Crypto

The leaders in the G20 have promised to introduce crypto-regulations that are fair and sustain development. While some people might not want any regulations, it is almost inevitable that this space will have some regulations. Having said that it is important that the G20 countries don’t over-regulate the space, use regulations to protect users/investors from outright scams, and to help adoption.

Read more about the G20 meeting here: https://altcoinbuzz.io/g20-once-again-pledges-to-regulate-crypto/

2. Analyzing the FUD: Why There Is No “Death Spiral” Coming for Bitcoin Anytime Soon

The importance of this article is to understand that while in most areas it isn’t profitable to mine Bitcoin, due to renewable energy, many Bitcoin miners are still profitable and there is no “precise point” in which Bitcoin will enter a death spiral due to unprofitability. Even if miners are mining at a loss, for the time being, the network is still running so miners appear to be comfortable.

Read more about Bitcoin mining profitability here: https://altcoinbuzz.io/analyzing-the-fud-why-there-is-no-death-spiral-coming-for-bitcoin-anytime-soon/

3. Santa Can Be Off: SEC Delays the VanEck and SolidX Decision AGAIN

While this is exactly what everyone expected, it still isn’t good. The SEC has postponed their decision for the final time until February 27, 2019. At this time the VanEck and SolidX ETF will be either approved or rejected. To this point, the SEC has rejected every ETF proposal, although it is worth noting that even though the Winklevoss brother’s ETF was rejected, one of the SEC commissioner’s, Hester Peirce, did vote to approve it. In a recent talk, she stated that an ETF could take “days or years.”

Read more about the ETF delay here: https://altcoinbuzz.io/santa-can-be-off-sec-delays-the-vaneck-and-solidx-decision-again/

4. Crypto Exchange Gemini Adds Support for Bitcoin Cash (BCH) Trading and Custody, Coinbase is Looking Into These Coins!, & Robinhood Hints That It Might List TRON

While these are all separate articles, they are all about the same thing, more additions to fiat-crypto exchanges, which can help with liquidity and in the long run make adoption easier because there will be more onboarding places for investors. Coinbase potentially looking to add 30 new coins is probably the most important of the three articles since Bitcoin Cash (BCH) is already available on many exchanges and Robinhood doesn’t allow users to send their coins off of their platform. While there are many coins Coinbase is looking at, every investor is waiting on an XRP decision. There are rumors that it’s a matter of when XRP will be listed instead of if it will be listed, but as always only time will tell.

Read more about these three articles here: https://altcoinbuzz.io/crypto-exchange-gemini-adds-support-for-bitcoin-cash-bch-trading-and-custody/

https://altcoinbuzz.io/coinbase-is-looking-into-these-coins/
https://altcoinbuzz.io/robinhood-hints-that-it-might-list-tron/

“This was the NEWS” summary!

The past week we have seen a decrease of about $15 billion worth from the overall market cap.  Once again, it seems that no matter what the news, this market continues to move sideways/down, continuing the pattern in this bear market.

Having regulations in this space is most likely inevitable yet the important thing to keep an eye on is the type of regulation. The regulations put in place by the G20 countries should be regulations that will help this space grow and that aren’t too stringent. Hopefully, they will not over-regulate this space and allow it to grow and prosper.

Many people both in and out of the crypto space feel that Bitcoin wastes energy and it isn’t good for the environment, yet that couldn’t be farther from the truth. In order to continue to be profitable in this bear market, miners need to use renewable energy to lower their energy costs. So in reality, Bitcoin is using less fossil fuel burning energy than many other areas in our lives (driving cars, playing video games, etc…) and isn’t as harmful as people think.

Once again the SEC pushed back the decision on the VanEck and SolidX ETF, this time will be the last though. February 27, 2019, is the final decision date for them to either approve or reject the proposed ETF. According to Hester Peirce, SEC Commissioner, this ETF can be approved in days or it could potentially take decades but an approval is “definitely possible.”

XRP investors have been waiting over a year for Coinbase to list their token yet it seems it keeps getting passed over. Coinbase is exploring 30 other coins/tokens, besides XRP, to be listed on their platform. Coinbase is aiming to cover over 90% of all complainant digital assets yet only Bitcoin has been deemed not a security by the SEC, so it will be interesting to see what coins will be listed and are considered compliant.

“Adding new assets requires significant exploratory work from both a technical and compliance standpoint, and we cannot guarantee that all the assets we are evaluating will ultimately be listed for trading. Furthermore, our listing process may result in some of these assets being listed solely for customers to buy and sell, without the ability to send or receive using a local wallet,” Coinbase explains. It also notes that the company’s listing process envisages adding new assets “on a jurisdiction-by-jurisdiction basis.”.

PayPal Rewards Employees Using Own Blockchain and Cryptocurrency

Interesting news: PayPal has created its own Blockchain-Based Innovation Reward System including a cryptocurrency token to reward employees. The financial news channel Cheddar reported the launch of the reward system last Thursday.

Since the beginning of Bitcoin, payment providers like MasterCard, Visa, and other similar internet-based payments systems have become nervous about the explosion of blockchain-based cryptocurrencies. Trying to stop the explosive growth of Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies, a war was started by a lot of governments and payment providers.

A few months ago, the former PayPal CEO, Bill Harris, said on live Television that Bitcoin is useless as a payment mechanism and ridiculous as a store of value. Continuing, Harris claimed that cryptocurrencies are useless since the world already has digital currencies that are more stable, more widely accepted and have intrinsic value like the dollar, the yen, etcetera. The harsh words from Harris were meant to scare off investors.

The irony is, however, that despite all this, Harris his previous company, PayPal, has now developed its own internal blockchain and cryptocurrency token to reward employees. According to news channel Cheddar, the program was prepared by PayPal’s innovation team, which is based in San Jose, California, over a six-month period and was launched in mid-November.

Apparently, the token can be used by employees for purchasing goods and services within PayPal’s own office environment. PayPal created the token as rewards to employees who make positive contributions to office productivity or who contribute innovative ideas which help to improve the quality of life of its employees.

Cheddar stated:

“PayPal’s tokens are redeemable for more than 100 experiences offered on the platform, including poker tournaments with a couple of their vice presidents, a trail run and coffee with CFO John Rainey, and morning martial arts with CEO Dan Schulman.”

PayPal, which has been exploring blockchain for two years already, is also interested in crypto payments. In March, the company filed a patent in the U.S. describing the ways to speed up crypto transactions using secondary private keys.

BCH Payments Spreading, Thanks To Cointext

Cointext is a cryptocurrency wallet that aims to utilize SMS messaging in order to send and receive cryptocurrency payments. The company has been focused on the ability to send Bitcoin Cash without internet access for some time now, and utilizes three basic commands: “balance”, “receive”, and “send”. The service is currently most active in the U.S., Europe, and South America.

Steadily Growing

The company seeks to provide the service around the world, and is now available in 35 countries. Several days ago, it added Ukraine and Italy to the list. One of the unique ways that Cointext has established itself is the fact that cryptocurrency can be sent without requiring a smartphone. In fact, any phone that is able to send and receive texts can utilize the service, which is obviously advantageous to countries where internet access is not universal.

The Cointext founder and CEO, Vin Armani, stated: “Cointext allows anyone with a cellular signal to access cryptocurrency. This includes all brands of smartphones and about two billion people with basic feature phones.”

Immense Potential

He elaborated on how this is particularly useful in the two countries most recently added: “Ukraine is experiencing political instability and Italy is facing a sovereign debt crisis. Cryptocurrency provides residents with a way to opt out, and Cointext provides them with the easiest tool to begin using cryptocurrency.”

Blockchain technology has been praised as an option for those without access to traditional financial services, such as banks. There is still an estimated two billion people without access to banks, and blockchain would allow them to send and receive payments without exorbitant transaction fees. Many have pointed out that this is an untapped market that could prove to be a demographic that truly help propels blockchain technology towards mass adoption, as well as economically empowering communities in less developed countries.

Ripple Gets Praise

Ripple, which is one of the hottest coins this fall, has managed to draw attention from multiple market players. The latest company to express its support for the coin is the multinational financial services corporation American Express. 

During Wings of Change Europe conference in Madrid that was held this week Carlos Carriedo, general manager of corporate payments at American Express, made it clear that he is fond of Ripple. Why? Because it secures ultra fast and efficient transactions around the globe.

He went on elaborating that the company is currently testing blockchain to the full in its fintech laboratory in order to increase transactions’ speed. During one of the tests, the company used Ripple. That is when magic happened: clients from different parts of the world transferred funds seamlessly in a matter of seconds.

While Carriedo was indeed highly enthusiastic, he admitted that the promising technology still needs time for large-scale adoption. 

“The future is definitely digital. Digital is the way payments will continue to be across both the consumer part of the business the commercial part of the business,” he noted.

The statements made by American Expresse’s general manager of corporate payments show that partnership aimed at enhancing the speed of worldwide transactions between American Express, Santander and Ripple struck in 2017 is beginning to bear fruit

It is also noteworthy that despite the current bear market, Ripple continues to thrive. Recently, the company, which has earned a dream employer title, was added by Coinbase Custody. Besides, the rumor has it that the company is planning to sign a partnership with Bank of America.



HTC Blockchain Smartphone To Use Brave Browser As Default

 

There are various companies that are racing to bring the best blockchain smartphone to market, and HTC is one of them. Sirin Labs is already officially selling Finney, the world’s first blockchain smartphone, at its website. However, HTC does seem intent on appealing to the cryptocurrency community with its upcoming Exodus 1 smartphone product, as it will incorporate Brave, the free and open-source browser that many in the cryptocurrency community believe is the best browser in terms of privacy, which is a main principle of blockchain technology in general.

About The Exodus

The Exodus 1 was available for pre-order since October in over 30 countries around the globe. Many in the cryptocurrency community have pointed out that HTC seems to certainly be attempting to appeal to the niche market, as the only way to pre-order the HTC Exodus 1 was to pay in either Bitcoin (BTC) or Ethereum (ETC).

The phone also now can be purchased using Litecoin (LTC), and incorporates a “Zion” wallet, intended to securely store BTC, ETH, LTC, and ERC20 and ERC70 tokens, as well. Charlie Lee, the founder of Litecoin, has also joined the HTC Exodus team as a consultant, and tweeted about the new development.

As announced at @SlushHQ today, you can now purchase the @htcexodus crypto phone with Litecoin. It costs a fixed 19.84 LTC. #PayWithLitecoin #BigBrother #Bitcoin 😀 pic.twitter.com/jqViS3gjPc— Charlie Lee [LTC⚡] (@SatoshiLite) December 6, 2018

Browsing With Brave

For those that are unaware, Brave is a browser that aims to reward publishers and content creators through cryptocurrency – its own Brave Attention Token (BAT) – while also ensuring for maximum privacy to make for a safer online browsing experience. The Brave browser also allows users to customize the way that they browse, and also allows for the option to block malware and ads. This optimizes the browser – which often means that Brave is faster than the competition, and protects your information from being utilized or sold, which would happen with corporations such as Google.

Brendan Eich, the founder of Brave, has apparently announced that Brave will be the default browser for the HTC Exodus phone, indicating that the company is more dedicated to appealing to true cryptocurrency enthusiasts and proponents than the competition. He tweeted about the news on December 8, 2018:

We are very happy to have @Brave as default browser & to be working with HTC on their Exodus phone: https://t.co/J5WQrqODKa— BrendanEich (@BrendanEich) December 8, 2018

Ethereum Constantinople Hard Fork Planned For Mid-January

Ethereum

According to recent news, members of the Ethereum core development team have reached an agreement to activate the Constantinople hard fork on block 7,080,000. If everything goes according to plan, Constantinople will go live between January 14 and 18 of 2019. Exciting

Ethereum (ETH) core developers have agreed to launch the long-awaited Constantinople. If the hard fork is not going to be postponed, then January will be a BIG month for Ethereum. Constantinople is one of Ethereum’s largest upgrades to date, which will change the infrastructure of the Ethereum blockchain. 

The upgrade aims at increasing the efficiency of the Ethereum blockchain while decreasing the mining rewards from 3 ETH to 2 ETH per block. This, of course, has a huge impact on the mining business, making it less profitable to mine Ethereum for miners. 

The upcoming Constantinople hard fork includes five separate Ethereum Improvement Proposals (EIPs) in order to soften the transition from proof-of-work (PoW) to more energy efficient proof-of-stake (PoS) consensus algorithm.

The hard fork was originally planned for release in November of this year. However, issues on the testnet release forced developers to delay the upgrade. That a new date has been set, does not mean that this will also be the date that the hard fork will happen. Péter Szilágyi, a core developer at Ethereum, said:

“We can just say mid-January, it doesn’t make a difference if we decide on a date or not. We can always postpone.”

Proof-of-Stake

The current Ethereum token economy is going to change drastically when the Casper protocol is introduced a few months later, of which Constantinople lays the foundation. With Casper, Ethereum is starting the transition from a Proof-of-Work to a Proof-of-Stake system. Where Proof-of-Work requires energy-consuming calculations to minimize Proof-of-Stake offers an alternative with a number of major advantages. At Proof-of-Stake, it’s not the miners but the ‘stakeholders’, or owners of tokens, who are able to get the merits of the network.

Currently, the block rewards at Proof-of-Work are paid to the miners, Proof-of-Stake also pays out to the users who are staking. Because no complicated calculations are carried out, unlike with Proof-of-Work, it is possible to stake Ethereum with virtually any computer, making it much more energy-efficient and transactions can be executed at lightning speed.

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