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Coinbase Pro Adds Support for Stellar Lumens


on – Coinbase Pro, the professional offering of United States-based crypto exchange and wallet service Coinbase, has announced support for Stellar Lumens (XLM) in a blog post on March 13.

Per the post, Coinbase Pro will now accept deposits of XLM for around 12 hours before enabling full trading. Coinbase notes that after establishing sufficient supply of XLM, it will open trading pairs in U.S. dollars, euro and Bitcoin (BTC) in phases.

XLM trading will go through three stages before enabling full trading, including limit, market and stop orders. The stages involve “transfer-only,” “post-only,” and “limit-only.” The first two stages will allow users to transfer XLM to Coinbase Pro accounts and post limit orders, while the subsequent one will enable customers to match limit orders.

XLM trading will be initially available for customers in Coinbase’s supported jurisdictions, expect the state of New York. Coinbase may add additional jurisdictions at a later time.

Last month, Coinbase Pro added support for Ripple (XRP), that joined already listed Ethereum Classic (ETC), Basic Attention Token (BAT) and privacy oriented altcoin Zcash (ZEC). In the past, these tokens were added to Coinbase Pro, before support for them was eventually extended to and its apps for Android and iOS.

The recent addition of XRP to Coinbase was long-awaited by the crypto community. The coin reacted promptly to the news about its listing on Coinbase Pro, turning out to be one of the biggest winners on that day.

However, a report by blockchain research firm Diar stated that XRP breaks one of Coinbase’s requirements to be listed on the platform. In its “Digital Asset Framework,” Coinbase stipulates that “the ownership stake [in a token] retained by the team is a minority stake,” while, according to Diar, Ripple holds around 60 percent of the supply in escrow with a release schedule. (cointelegraph)

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Hacked Crypto Exchange Zaif Resuming Full Services Under New Owner


on – Japanese cryptocurrency exchange Zaif, which was hacked for about $60 million last year, is under new management.

The exchange announced on its corporate website on Friday that, as of Monday, April 22, the firm will have signed over its business to publicly listed Japanese investment firm Fisco and full operations will be reinstated Tuesday.

The plan for the takeover was first aired in October 2018, and sees the exchange pass from its previous owner, Tech Bureau, to an existing crypto exchange owned Fisco. Friday’s post indicates that the deal cost Fisco 5 billion Japanese yen ($44.675 million).

In its September 2018 hack, Zaif lost approximately 7 billion yen ($62.5 million) in the bitcoin (BTC), monacoin (MONA) and bitcoin cash (BCH) cryptocurrencies.

Since then, Zaif said Friday, registration of new members has been suspended, while trading, depositing and withdrawing MONA has been on hold since October 10, 2018. As of tomorrow, those services will be reinstated.

As pledged previously, the exchange has now refunded users that lost holdings in the breach. The firm explained that holders of BTC and BCH were refunded in their original cryptocurrency, but, due to liquidity issues with the token, MONA holders received about 60 percent in the crypto and the remainder in Japanese yen for compensation at a rate of 144.548 yen per MONA.

As reported last November, cybersecurity experts at Japan Digital Design, a subsidiary of Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group (MUFG), working in conjunction with other security firms, said they had found possibly revealing information on the Zaif hackers.

After investigating the outflow of monacoin from the exchange soon after the hack, Japan Digital Design said it was able to identify the “source” of the attackers. While the details of the findings were not disclosed, the team said it had shared this information with the authorities. (coindesk)

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Stablecoin USDT Launched on Tron Blockchain


on – Tether has started issuing its stablecoin USDT on the Tron (TRX) blockchain. The development was announced in a blog post published on April 17.

The development is an upgrade from the OMNI protocol-based USDT —  which is pegged to the United States dollar on a 1:1 basis — that now enables users to hold and transfer the cryptocurrency through smart contracts on Tron ensuring instant delivery.

“It enables interoperability with Tron-based protocols and Decentralised Applications (DApps) while allowing users to transact and exchange fiat pegged currencies across the Tron Network,” the announcement explains.

Tron will reportedly be settling the matter with digital currency exchanges including Singapore-based Huobi, Hong Kong-based OKEx and others, starting from April 30th until the beginning of August.

Tron and Tether initially announced a partnership to introduce USDT to the Tron network in early March. A press release then read that USDT on Tron will make the blockchain as a whole more amenable to enterprise-level partners and institutional investors.

The stablecoin previously faced controversy after critics had suspected the coin of operating a fractional reserve while issuing more tokens than they have backing for, and sending them to Bitfinex cryptocurrency exchange. Following a subpoena by United States regulators to both Bitfinex and Tether, the company ordered an unofficial audit, which found that stablecoin had the appropriate amount of backing dollars.

At press time, USDT is the eighth largest cryptocurrency in terms of market capitalization, according to CoinMarketCap. The coin is currently trading at around $1.00, having lost 0.20% over the past 24 hours. (cointelegraph)

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Bitstamp Granted BitLicense, Will Expand Crypto Services in US


on – Bitstamp, one of Europe’s largest cryptocurrency exchanges, is looking to expand its U.S. operations, having just been issued New York’s latest virtual currency license.

The New York Department of Financial Services (NYDFS) awarded Bitstamp the 19th BitLicense Tuesday, allowing the exchange to offer bitcoin, litecoin, bitcoin cash, ether and XRP trading pairs to the state’s residents. Bitstamp first applied for the license in June 2015, when NYDFS created the state’s landmark law.

The exchange was among the first set of 22 applicants for the license, CEO Nejc Kodrič told CoinDesk.

While the regulator only issued a handful of licenses in its first few years, awarding BitLicenses – which NYDFS has recently taken to calling “virtual currency licenses” instead – appears to be “becoming more routine to them,” Kodrič said. “This year we are the [fifth] that was granted so I guess the pace is picking up.”

So far in 2019, prime brokerage Tagomi, stock trading app Robinhood and bitcoin ATM operators Cottonwood Vending and LibertyX have received the coveted license.

To get to this point, Bitstamp and NYDFS have discussed various aspects of the exchange’s operation, Kodrič said, explaining:

“There were questions all around how the matching engine works, how we store crypto, how we [conduct] audits. The license is a set of rules and procedures you have to follow on a daily basis, so once you do that you can [receive a BitLicense].”

The CEO likened the approval process to Europe’s standards: the exchange already has a payment institution license in the EU, allowing it to operate across all 28 member countries.

“The [BitLicense] is not that much different than our financial services license that we have in Europe,” he said. “We didn’t reinvent the wheel.”

Now the exchange, which already offers some services within the U.S., is looking to expand its operations. Kodrič explained that the company primarily operated in European markets to date, but has been “passive” so far in America.

However, he noted, Bitstamp’s U.S. operations began before the BitLicense was finalized (the exchange was first founded in 2011), and as such, did have a presence in the country.

“We were providing services in the [US] including New York before there were any licenses out there,” he said. “We have many customers from the States, but we plan on going more active.”

While right now the license only allows Bitstamp to offer the five listed cryptocurrencies to U.S. customers, he hinted that this is not a firm limitation.

The exchange is primarily a crypto-to-fiat platform, though it does offer crypto-to-crypto services. At present, though, the majority of its volume comes from its fiat on and off ramps.

According to asset manager Bitwise’s list of exchanges with legitimate volume, Bitstamp ranks within the top four, though according to CoinMarketCap’s list of exchanges by reported volume, it weighs in at number 56. (coindesk)

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NYT Reporter: Facebook Seeking $1 Bln in Venture Capital for Crypto Project


on – Facebook is reportedly seeking support from various venture capital (VC) firms to develop its supposed digital token, New York Times (NYT) tech reporter Nathaniel Popper tweeted on April 8.

Citing sources familiar with the matter, Popper states that Facebook is seeking a $1 billion sum to develop its cryptocurrency project. He states that seeking outside investment could keep the project more in line with the crypto community’s decentralized ethos:

“Given that one of the big allures of blockchain projects is the decentralization, getting outside investors could help Facebook present the project as more decentralized and less controlled by Facebook.”

Popper added that the reported project is a stablecoin that would be pegged to a basket of foreign currencies held in bank accounts.

Rumors of a “Facebook Coin” surfaced last December in a report from Bloomberg. The publication then reported that the token would be used for money transfers made within the WhatsApp messenger service, and would focus on the remittances market in India.

In February 2019, NYT reported that the token would be usable across the Facebook Messenger App, WhatsApp and Instagram, which would give it exposure to some 2.7 billion users each month. Anonymous sources told NYT that Facebook employed over 50 engineers to develop its cryptocurrency. Additionally, Facebook has reportedly started shopping the “Facebook Coin” around to unnamed crypto exchanges.

In regard to venture capital, founding partner of Future Perfect Ventures Jalak Jobanputra said in February that the crypto bear market had deeply affected VC firms. When asked whether there is a trend of discounted venture evaluations across the digital currency space, Jobanputra said that “given how much the volumes have decreased in the last year, I wouldn’t be surprised if we are seeing valuations come down on the secondary markets for some of these companies.” (cointelegraph)

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