As Regulators Stonewall Libra, Facebook Rolls Out New Payment System

As Regulators Stonewall Libra, Facebook Rolls Out New Payment System

As worldwide regulators continue to stonewall the Libra stablecoin project, Facebook moves forward with Facebook Pay, a new fiat payment system.

As the Libra stablecoin project continues to face a hostile audience of regulators, Facebook launches a new fiat payment system called Facebook Pay.

Empower people everywhere to buy and sell things online

On Nov. 12, the social media giant announced that it is introducing Facebook Pay, a payment system that is designed to facilitate payments across Facebook, Messenger, Instagram, and WhatsApp. Deborah Liu, VP, marketplace & commerce at Facebook said:

“People already use payments across our apps to shop, donate to causes and send money to each other. Facebook Pay will make these transactions easier while continuing to ensure your payment information is secure and protected.”

In an apparent bid to avoid further regulatory scrutiny, the company clearly states that Facebook Pay is “built on existing financial infrastructure and partnerships.” The firm is similarly clear that the payment service will be kept separate from Facebook’s new Calibra wallet and the Libra network.

Facebook Pay will start rolling out this week on Messenger and Facebook in the United States for “fundraisers, in-game purchases, event tickets, person-to-person payments on Messenger and purchases from select Pages and businesses on Facebook Marketplace.”

Facebook concludes the announcement with the belief that the firm can “help businesses grow and empower people everywhere to buy and sell things online.”

Every major U.S. payment processor has left the Libra Association

At the beginning of October, the Libra Association lost seven partners out of the original 28. Namely PayPal, Visa, Mastercard, Stripe, eBay, Mercado Pago and Booking decided to leave the consortium.

However, not long after, Alfred F. Kelly, CEO of major payment processor Visa, said that the company is still in discussions with Facebook on the Libra project, adding that it believes that digital currencies provide safer payments to more people and places.

New Product Specialist Joins Fidelity to Focus on Crypto Strategy

New Product Specialist Joins Fidelity to Focus on Crypto Strategy

Fidelity Investments hires product specialist to oversee the company’s strategy on cryptocurrencies, custody and execution services.

Fidelity Investments has hired Michael Zinaman as its product specialist to further develop a range of products in the company.

Fidelity’s strategy on cryptocurrencies

On Nov. 12, the Block reported that Michael Zinaman had joined financial services company Fidelity Investments. Zinaman will reportedly oversee the company’s strategy on cryptocurrencies, custody and execution services.

Zinaman started his new position as product specialist at Fidelity just over a month ago, where he was hired to focus on the company’s cryptocurrency strategy, according to a source with knowledge of the matter.

His LinkedIn profile further reveals that before being hired by Fidelity, Zinaman worked as managing director of blockchain and digital assets at Canaccord Genuity. Prior to that position, he was senior vice president at Imperial Capital, a full-service investment banking firm.

Fidelity Investments rolls out crypto custody service

Zinaman could oversee the company’s strategy for its newly launched cryptocurrency custody service. In October, Abigail Johnson, CEO of Fidelity Investments, revealed that the company is ready to roll out its crypto custody business following a year-long preparation and accumulation of clients. 

Just days before the launch, Kathleen Murphy, personal investing president of Fidelity Investments, said that the firm does not offer crypto on retail trading platforms to protect its clients. Murphy added that Fidelity has a careful approach when it comes to trading cryptocurrencies:

“You know, we’re really careful about that. So while we embrace crypto in terms of trying to understand it and be innovative and thoughtful… We’re also very careful about where we offer those types of things, so they’re not offered broadly on the retail platform. We want to be very careful about making sure that investors who really aren’t institutional investors […] don’t make a mistake with cryptocurrency.”

Bitfinex Looks to Launch Options Trading As Soon As Q1 2020

Bitfinex Looks to Launch Options Trading As Soon As Q1 2020

Cryptocurrency exchange Bitfinex is considering launching options trading and a gold-backed stablecoin, dubbed Tether Gold.

According to an executive, cryptocurrency exchange Bitfinex is planning to launch options and a gold-backed stablecoin, among a host of new products.

New range of products

In a Nov. 12 appearance on the Scoop, Paolo Ardoino, CTO of Bitfinex and Tether, told the Block that Bitfinex is considering launching options trading, while also taking a closer look at prospects for a gold-backed stablecoin, dubbed Tether Gold.

Although Ardoino didn’t reveal any additional details about Tether Gold, he did reveal that the company is currently eyeing a Q1 2020 launch of options tradign, and that they are working with external market makers to ensure liquidity. 

Ardoino further mentioned that Bitfinex will enable its clients to buy a variety of items with cryptocurrency using a gift card. Reportedly, Bitfinex has plans to collaborate with a well-known partner who will provide the gift cards. He said:

“It’s important that people can see the farther value of having cryptocurrencies rather than just trading back and forth between Bitcoin and USD or whatever.”

Cointelegraph contacted Joe Morgan regarding these latest developments but had yet to receive a response as of press time. This article will be updated if new comments come in.

Bitfinex moves $1.5 milion to Bitcoin Sidechain

At the beginning of November, Ardoino announced that Bitfinex had moved 1 .561 million Tether (USDT) from the Omni Protocol to the Liquid Bitcoin (BTC) sidechain. The conversion reportedly increases the quantity of USDT available on the network after the stablecoin was first launched on the Liquid sidechain at the end of July.

Also in November, Bitfinex abruptly canceled its token sale for K.im, Kim Dotcom’s Bitcoin content sharing service. Executives said that they had agreed not to go ahead with the sale, an initial exchange offering with a planned fundraising goal of $8 million, due to the changing face of regulatory scrutiny over such tokens, posing potential difficulties for both issuers and investors.

Study: Chinese Blockchain Spending to Exceed $2B by 2023

Study: Chinese Blockchain Spending to Exceed $2B by 2023

Blockchain development in China will see a compound annual growth rate of 65.7% from 2018 to 2023, according to new research by IDC.

China’s spending on blockchain technology will exceed $2 billion in 2023, official state-run publication Xinhua reported on Nov. 10. The report claims that blockchain development in China will see a compound annual growth rate of 65.7% from 2018 to 2023.

China’s banking sector responsible for the bulk of blockchain spending in 2019

Citing a study by American market intelligence firm IDC published on Nov. 7, the report says that the bulk of China’s blockchain spending was geared to the banking sector in 2019. Other high-spending industries reportedly included manufacturing, retail, professional services and process manufacturing.

Xue Yu, a researcher at the IDC, claimed in the report that official recognition will push blockchain application and generate growth of spending in the sector.

Earlier this year, another report suggested that blockchain solutions spending in the Asia/Pacific region excluding Japan will hit $2.4 billion by 2022.

Xinhua calls Bitcoin the “first successful application of blockchain technology”

After forecasting a solid growth rate for blockchain over the next 4 years, Xinhua published another industry-focused article on Nov. 11. Xinhua, which is by at least one account the world’s largest news agency, exposed millions of Chinese people to Bitcoin (BTC) by claiming that Bitcoin is “the first successful application of blockchain technology.” Some online commentators considered the coverage the “first time Bitcoin got such positive exposure” from the Chinese government.

Xinhua’s reports follow a new wave of interest in crypto and blockchain in China that were purportedly triggered by Chinese president’s call to embrace blockchain tech. Other government-led media continue to reiterate the popular “blockchain, not Bitcoin” narrative despite new reports claiming that China will stop considering Bitcoin mining illegal.

Earlier today, the financial tech arm of Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba, Ant Financial, launched tests for its enterprise blockchain platform.

Justin Sun Confirms Tron’s Listing on Poloniex Cryptocurrency Exchange

Justin Sun Confirms Tron’s Listing on Poloniex Cryptocurrency Exchange

Justin Sun confirms that TRX, the 11th largest cryptocurrency by market capitalization, has now been listed on the Poloniex cryptocurrency exchange.

Tron (TRX), the 11th largest cryptocurrency by market capitalization, has now been listed on the Poloniex cryptocurrency exchange.

Sun confirms TRX listing on Poloniex

In a Nov. 9 blog post, Poloniex cryptocurrency exchange announced that it was readying to list the decentralized cryptocurrency on its platform, which Tron CEO Justin Sun confirmed on Nov. 12 by tweeting “it’s official now.”

Starting today, customers will be able to start posting limit orders for TRX/Bitcoin (BTC), TRX/Tether (USDT) and TRX/USD Coin (USDC). Reportedly, full trading will be enabled “shortly after this date.”

The news comes almost a month after it was reported that the United States-based crypto exchange Poloniex was spinning out from Circle to form a new firm, called Polo Digital Assets. Poloniex said at the time that this will allow the exchange to focus on the needs of global crypto traders with new features, assets and services to boost its competitiveness in the market.

However, Poloniex will no longer be available for U.S. customers, and Circle will be shutting down operations for U.S.-based Poloniex clients.

“$100 billion megacorporation.”

The most significant news came at the end of October, when South Korean technology conglomerate Samsung announced that it was integrating TRX support in its decentralized app store, Blockchain Keystore. 

Sun, previously hinted at the move, describing it as a deal with a “$100 billion megacorporation.”

Before Polo Digital Assets acquired Poloniex, rumors suggested that Sun was leading the investment group behind the acquisition, which he subsequently denied.

Market Mostly Trades Sideways as Bitcoin Price Hovers Around $8,800

Market Mostly Trades Sideways as Bitcoin Price Hovers Around $8,800

The price of Bitcoin hovers around the $8,800 price mark as the market is mostly trading sideways today.

Tuesday Nov. 12 — Cryptocurrency markets are largely trading sideways with many changes among the top-20 coins not exceeding 1% on the day.

Cryptocurrency market daily overview. Source: Coin360

Bitcoin (BTC) has been trading sideways for the better part of the day and continues to circle the $8,800 price mark. The world’s largest cryptocurrency bounced off a local low of $8,705 earlier today before moving to its current trading price at around $8,750, showing a small gain of 0.27% on the day.

BTC daily price chart. Source: Coin360

Bitcoin continues its struggle to hold on to its current trading levels, but traders, including Cointelegraph contributor Michaël van de Poppe, are starting to wonder whether  BTC could drop further to around $8,400.

Well-known crypto industry figure Bobby Lee, on the other hand, doesn’t fear BTC’s current price struggles, as he recently said that Bitcoin will eventually surpass the market cap of gold and could ultimately be worth a whopping $1 million. 

Ether (ETH), meanwhile, is currently sitting at $186 per coin. The number one altcoin saw a small dip in sync with BTC to show a slight loss of around 0.1% at publishing time.

Cointelegraph contributor Rakesh Upadhyay recently reported that a breakout of $197.75 could be a positive move that will carry the price to the overhead resistance zone of $223.999 to $235.70. However, if the bears sink the price below the support at $173.841, Ether may decline to the $161.056-$151.829 support zone.

Ether seven-day price chart. Source: Coin360

XRP, the third-largest coin by market capitalization, is currently trading at $0.271 per coin, down 1.44% at press time. The recent annual Swell conference, where CEO Brad Garlinghouse said that he doesn’t think about the price of XRP in the short term, has failed to trigger any positive price action for the coin.

XRP seven-day price chart. Source: Coin360

Top-20 coins show mixed signals

Most of the top 20 coins are trading sideways, with many seeing movement of under 1% in either direction.

One of the only exceptions is NEO, which is showing an impressive gain of more than 10% in the last 24 hours, followed by Chainlink (Link), which is recording gains of 3.29% on the day.

Cosmos (ATOM), the number eighteen coin by market cap, took the biggest fall today with a loss of more than 4%.

The overall cryptocurrency market cap currently sits at $240 billion, with Bitcoin making up 66% of the total.

Keep track of top crypto markets in real time here

C++ Creator Laments C++ Use in Bitcoin Mining Operation

C++ Creator Laments C++ Use in Bitcoin Mining Operation

Bjarne Stroustrup, the creator of C++ programming language, has vented his frustration about the use of C++ in Bitcoin mining operation.

Bjarne Stroustrup, a Danish computer scientist and the creator of C++ programming language, has vented his frustration with use of C++ in Bitcoin (BTC) mining. Stroustrup made his remarks during an interview for Lex Friedman’s podcast released on Nov. 7.

Speaking with Friedman, Stroustrup provided an extensive insight into the evolution of C++, the language’s concepts, implementations and efficiency. Although Stroustrup noted that programming languages generally have large user bases that use them in ways they were not designed for, he expressed disappointment that Bitcoin’s creator, Satoshi Nakamoto, chose C++ as the fundamental language to write the original implementation of Bitcoin’s source code.

Outrageous amounts of energy and suspicious use cases

Stroustrup continued saying: “When you build a tool, you do not know how it’s going to be used. You try to improve the tool by looking at how it’s being used and when people cut their fingers off to try and stop that from happening, but really, you have no control over how something is used.”

Referring to C++ misuse, Stroustrup pointed out massive amounts of electricity used for the leading digital currency mining, as well as its purported deployment for illicit activities. Stroustrup stated:

“I’m very happy and proud of some of the things C++ is being used at and some other things I wish people wouldn’t do, Bitcoin mining being my favorite example — it uses as much energy as Switzerland and mostly serves criminals.”

Attempts to reduce BTC mining energy consumption

Some industry players have attempted to find a solution to energy consumption in Bitcoin mining. In September, Bitcoin mining infrastructure firm Northern Bitcoin AG completed tests for its new air-cooled mining container. The company operates BTC-focused mining hardware that uses renewable energy sources and aims to attain optimal efficiency and sustainability.

The same month, it was reported that Bitcoin energy consumption was becoming rapidly more efficient. Despite more computing power being dedicated to Bitcoin mining, less electricity was required to fuel it.

Two Former Circle Executives Co-Found Proprietary Crypto Trading Firm

Two Former Circle Executives Co-Found Proprietary Crypto Trading Firm

Two former executives at crypto finance firm Circle and former DRW executive jointly founded proprietary crypto trading firm CMS Holdings.

Two former executives at crypto finance firm Circle and former DRW executive jointly founded proprietary crypto trading firm CMS Holdings.

The new venture

Coindesk reported on Nov. 12 that the firm is the joint venture of former Circle executives Daniel Matuszewski — former head of the firm’s over-the-counter desk Circle Trade — and former technology executive Julien Collard-Seguin alongside a third partner. The third founder is the former head of trading at Cumberland (the crypto trading arm of brokerage DRW) Bobby Cho.

According to the outlet, the three decided to pool over $10 million. The firm started trading last month. CMS Holdings is based out of the Cayman Islands and does not manage the money of outside investors. Cho explained:

“We deploy strategies much like a hedge fund in the market, except that we’re not structured as such.”

Crypto is “a lot safer now”

CMS Holdings plans to invest 30% of its capital into the most liquid cryptocurrencies, like Bitcoin (BTC) and Ether (ETH), and 40% to 50% into less-traded digital assets, with remaining funds going into long-term equity in the cryptocurrency industry.

Matuszewski, who left Circle in August, admitted that he would not have started such a firm just a few years ago because of risk concerns. He reportedly explained:

“There was always a non-zero chance that bitcoin would gap down, die, and never come back. […] It’s a lot safer now, in that it’s probably not going to disappear.”

His statements resonate with increasing participation of regulated actors in the cryptocurrency space. In one recent example, Switzerland-based cryptocurrency bank SEBA launched its services for professional investors and enterprise clients.

What Is VeChain (VET) and Why Did it Pump 65% This Month?

What Is VeChain (VET) and Why Did it Pump 65% This Month?

VeChain broke above its long-term downtrend in a move which could be followed by a new bull cycle for the altcoin?

While the majority of crypto traders are discussing a variety of bullish and bearish perspectives on Bitcoin (BTC), many altcoins are jumping around and making significant moves. One of them is VeChain (VET), a blockchain-based platform focused on enhancing supply chain management processes. The project is primarily focused on providing solutions that allow consumers and retailers to check the authenticity and quality of products they have purchased. 

Now with that said, there are heaps of altcoins out there that all aspire to solve a problem through the use of distributed ledger technology so what’s all the fuss about VeChain? Well, the altcoin has surged more than 100% in a matter of weeks and for crypto traders, this is very notable.

Crypto market data daily view. Source: Coin360

VeChain breaks 200-Day exponential moving average for the first time since summer 2018

For the first time since listing, VeChain managed to break the 200-day exponential moving average (EMA), as can be seen in the following chart.

VET BTC 1-day chart. Source: TradingView

VET BTC 1-day chart. Source: TradingView

Some other notably entertaining keynotes can be found on VeChain’s daily chart. It’s not only moving above the 200-DMA and EMA, but it also broke a 14-month long downtrend. Similar to the breakout of the downtrend, a falling wedge pattern with bullish divergences marked the bottom during August and September of 2019.

Remarkably, bullish divergences and falling wedge patterns are one of the most reliable bottom indicators when trading, and once again, they managed to be strict in the call. Given that this occurred in the daily timeframe, it often takes a while before the divergences become ‘active.’

After confirmation, a slightly higher low was constructed before the breakout of the longterm downtrend. Notably, one can be seen that there was a massive increase in volume after the break of the downtrend, which is a strong signal.

VET BTC 6-hour chart. Source: TradingView

VET BTC 6-hour chart. Source: TradingView

The smaller timeframes give a clear view of VeChain’s price action. A regular breakout of the downtrend, including a retest at 0.00000041 Satoshis (sats) before the break upwards to 0.00000062 (sats), the next target. Only a slight retest and consolidation was needed to push the price further upwards. This breakout of 0.00000060 (sats) leads to a new increase in price, which is currently aiming for the range high at 0.00000080 to 0.00000082 (sats).

Meanwhile, the relative strength index (RSI) is showing its highest level since listing on several timeframes. This could indicate that some period of cool-off is ready to occur for the altcoin.

Similar price action is playing out across the altcoin market

Other altcoins across the field show similarities in the strengths of their price action. For example, is ZRX (0x), was one of the first altcoins to break out of a longterm downtrend.

ZRX BTC 1-day chart. Source: TradingView

ZRX BTC 1-day chart. Source: TradingView

As can be seen in the chart, a breakout occurred with high volume after a similar falling wedge with bullish divergence was constructed. Alongside the breakout, ZRX moved towards June 2019 levels, which led to a 170% increase since the bottom.

Furthermore, other altcoins are also beginning to take steps towards their longterm downtrend lines and some are currently trying to break out of it. Another good example is Ontology (ONT), which is now moving out of an 18-month long downtrend.

ONT BTC 1-day chart. Source: Tradingview

ONT BTC 1-day chart. Source: Tradingview

Ontology broke out of a 5-month downtrend earlier in November. This push shifted the price towards the primary downtrend (18-months old) which has currently broken upward. If it is going to show price action similar to ZRX and move back towards the June 2019 price levels, a continued move towards 0.0001500 – 0.0001900 (sats) is not off of the books.

VeChain against USDT ready for a retracement?

VET USDT 1-day chart. Source: TradingView

VET USDT 1-day chart. Source: TradingView

The USDT chart is showing some of the same signals as the Bitcoin chart. A heavy move upwards from the local bottom at $0.003 (which was also a falling wedge structure), slight consolidation, and eventual retracement of the range high of $0.006. This retracement leads to a strong bounce of the $0.0051 level which was previously a resistance that flipped support a few days ago.

The price of VET in USDT is currently hovering around resistance with the RSI in overbought areas. The price needs to continue to produce green candles to prevent it from creating bearish divergences, a usual top signal.

Bullish scenario

Given the movements of VeChain, a bullish scenario is more likely to occur than a bearish scenario, and there are several scenarios in place for the asset.

The first scenario would be a straight copy of the movements before the break of 0.00000060 to 0.00000062 (sats) a few days ago. In that scenario, the price will continue moving towards the range high, consolidate a little bit and continue its way towards the next level at 0.00000100 (sats).

VET BTC daily chart, bullish scenario. Source: TradingView

VET BTC daily chart, bullish scenario. Source: TradingView

The second scenario first requires a drop first, which is a short term bearish outlook.

In that regard, we still have to take note of the height of the RSI on several timeframes. That could indicate a retracement and retest of the range lows at 0.00000060 – 0.00000062 (sats) before the price is ready to move to the range high at 0.000080 – 0.00000082 (sats). Traders might prefer to look for a long entry in that zone or play the breakout if VeChain flips the 0.00000080 (sats) zone as support.

VET BTC daily chart, 2nd bullish scenario. Source: TradingView

VET BTC daily chart, 2nd bullish scenario. Source: TradingView

Bearish scenario

A bearish view could occur if the VET/USDT pair is unable to continue showing strength, which would confirm the bearish divergences on higher timeframes. In that regard, traders might look for a retest of the 0.00000060 (sats) zone and a possible drop below that area.

VET BTC daily chart, bearish scenario. Source: TradingView

VET BTC daily chart, bearish scenario. Source: TradingView

Given the strength of the altcoin and the volume behind the move, it’s less likely to occur. However, if VeChain retraces back to the range low and doesn’t find enough strength to bounce with volume, a possible retracement towards 0.00000050 (sats) is a real possibility.

There are several reasons for a possible retracement, one could be Bitcoin making volatile movements which would cause the market to become chaotic all over again.

At this point, powerful movements and more likely to continue to the range highs.

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.

Paxos Debuts Fiat Gateway With Binance Crypto Exchange as Its First Client

Paxos Debuts Fiat Gateway With Binance Crypto Exchange as Its First Client

Binance became the first cryptocurrency exchange to implement a new fiat gateway from stablecoin operator Paxos.

Leading cryptocurrency exchange Binance became the first cryptocurrency exchange to implement the fiat gateway of stablecoin operator Paxos.

On Nov. 12, Paxos announced the launch of its Fiat Gateway, a service that allows its users to swap between dollars and stablecoins on a one-to-one basis.

A deepening collaboration

While the service has been available to Paxos users since May, Binance has fully integrated it, making it available to all of its customers. Binance CEO Changpeng Zhao hinted that the two companies could deepen their collaboration further in the future:

“The new Fiat Gateway is the fastest, simplest U.S. dollar on/off ramp for our customers. We look forward to working more closely with Paxos to integrate additional solutions.”

The two firms have worked together in the past. In June, Paxos allowed its user to deposit fiat currency onto its platform and have the balance appear directly in PAX stablecoins in their Binance accounts.

In September, Binance partnered with Paxos to jointly launch a new U.S. dollar-backed stablecoin regulated by the New York State Department of Financial Services.

An interoperable, open system

In addition to its Fiat Gateway, Paxos announced a second application programming interface (API) dubbed Stablecoin Swap that will allow 1:1 swaps between Paxos-based stablecoins. Paxos CEO and co-founder Charles Cascarilla explained:

“We created these APIs so our technology can become more widely available and scalable. Our aim is to create financial infrastructure that others can utilize and build on, so together we can create a modern, open financial system.”

John McAfee: Authorities Should Not Expect Crypto Firms to Stop Crypto Crimes

John McAfee: Authorities Should Not Expect Crypto Firms to Stop Crypto Crimes

American entrepreneur and crypto advocate John McAfee has stated that it is not the responsibility of cryptocurrency firms to help prevent crypto’s use in crime.

John McAfee said that it is not the responsibility of cryptocurrency firms to help prevent crypto use in crime. McAfee delivered his remarks in an interview with Washington D.C.-based news agency The Hill on Nov. 11.

McAfee argued that authorities should not require cryptocurrency companies and trading platforms to help them control digital currency use in illicit activities. McAfee said he hopes that the “societal impact of giving people freedom from an overburden and corrupted government” prevails over “what small part criminals are going to play in this technology.” He added:

“You can’t put that responsibility on me as an entrepreneur. You can’t require me to assist you in preventing what might be a future crime.”

As Cointelegraph reported last August, the United States Financial Crimes Enforcement Network revealed that the agency had seen a surge in filings of crypto-related Suspicious Activity Reports, the number of which exceeded 1,500 per month at the time.

Industry players get proactive in fighting crypto use in crime

Despite McAfee’s assertions that cryptocurrency firms are not responsible for tracking suspicious behavior associated with digital currencies, other industry players are taking a more active role.

Recently, blockchain analytics firm Chainalysis launched alerts for suspicious transactions across 15 major cryptocurrencies. The tool is meant to help cryptocurrency exchanges and other financial institutions mitigate their regulatory and reputational risks.

According to a Chainalysis report released this spring, 64% of ransomware attack cash-out strategies involved the laundering of funds via cryptocurrency exchanges, 12% involved mixing services and 6% involved peer-to-peer networks, while others used merchant services providers or dark web marketplaces.

However, in late August, Chainalysis revealed that stolen funds represented only 8.1% of all funds sent to cryptocurrency mixers.

Huobi Chain Blockchain Completes Planned Open Source Developer Rollout

Huobi Chain Blockchain Completes Planned Open Source Developer Rollout

Huobi Chain on schedule for Q2 2020 mainnet launch, encouraging regulators to participate in the innovation of financial services.

Cryptocurrency exchange Huobi has open-sourced the development of its Huobi Chain blockchain, the company has confirmed.

In a press release shared with Cointelegraph on Nov. 12, Huobi said that Huobi Chain, which it unveiled in June, was now available to any GitHub developer.

Huobi encourages regulator involvement

The aim, it explains, is further interaction between developers and regulators, Huobi Chain’s target audience.

“Since the start of this project, our goal was to create an inclusive ecosystem where all stakeholders from developers to regulators can collaborate and leverage the full potential of blockchain technology,” Leon Li, founder and CEO of Huobi Group, commented in the press release. Li added:

“In sticking to that vision, we’re now opening the code and inviting the greater blockchain community to help us shape and build the future of decentralized finance.”

Huobi Chain aims to provide a suitable incubator environment for various blockchain projects, including stablecoins, decentralized applications, or DApps, and decentralized exchanges, or DEXs.

The platform remains in the planning stages, with a testnet launch due in Q1 2020 and the mainnet the following quarter.

Chinese blockchain sentiment is at a high

As Cointelegraph previously reported, the Chinese blockchain space has seen new energy in recent weeks after a sudden endorsement of the technology by Beijing.

After President Xi Jinping urged for the acceleration of blockchain tech development last month, Chinese cryptocurrency tokens began climbing, while other businesses publicly spoke of confidence in the space going forward.

Blockchain application platform VeChain unveiled its latest product at a Chinese conference last week. 

“VeChain, being a global blockchain technology platform provider with significant resources in China and Europe will be a direct beneficiary of this bullish shift by the second largest economy in the world,” the company said in a post at the time.

Tunisian Central Bank Denies Reports of an ‘E-Dinar’ Digital Currency

Tunisian Central Bank Denies Reports of an ‘E-Dinar’ Digital Currency

The Central Bank of Tunisia denied reports stating that the bank is developing a CBDC in partnership with a startup.

The Central Bank of Tunisia (BCT) has denied reports stating that the bank is developing a central bank digital currency (CBDC). An official announcement from the BCT follows apparently false reports that Tunisia was the first country to start moving its national currency to a blockchain platform and was preparing to launch its “e-dinar.”

Central Bank of Tunisia is focused on the digitization of finance

In the statement, the BCT refuted all claims regarding the development of a digital money solution. The central bank clarified that it is now exploring various methods of digital payment alternatives, including a possible CBDC, but it has not moved forward with its implementation. The bank further stated:

“The BCT is currently focusing on the digitization of finance, in its digital currency dimension and not that on cryptocurrency. Its services are studying the opportunities and risks inherent in these new technologies, particularly in terms of cyber security and financial stability.”

Regarding the purported partnership with a foreign company to deliver a CBDC, the BCT declared that it does not have such a relationship with any domestic or foreign firm.

Confusion regarding proof-of-concept at the Forex Club of Tunisia

However, the bank admitted that the Forex Club of Tunisia — an event hosted by an “independent association connected to the BCT” — has featured talks regarding CBDCs. At the event, participants were offered to attend a demonstration on the theoretical feasibility of a digital currency initiated by a private startup. 

The startup has “no moral or contractual relationship with the BCT,” the bank emphasized. The BCT concluded that the proof-of-concept at the forum was taken out of context due to a marketing operation where the BCT’s name was improperly used. 

In the statement, the BCT also specified that it is preparing to launch a regulatory sandbox for technological innovations in the banking and financial sector in early 2020.

As previously reported by Cointelegraph, one of the first reports on the BCT’s alleged e-dinar was delivered by Russian news agency Tass on Nov. 7. The report said that the Tunisian dinar would be digitized and issued on the Universa Blockchain, a platform created by a Russian initial coin offering startup.

CME Group Announces Launch Date of Options on Bitcoin Futures Product

CME Group Announces Launch Date of Options on Bitcoin Futures Product

The Chicago Mercantile Exchange Group has announced the date it expects to launch options on Bitcoin futures.

The Chicago Mercantile Exchange (CME) Group has announced the date it expects to launch options on Bitcoin (BTC) futures in a statement on Nov. 12.

“In response to growing interest in cryptocurrencies and customer demand for tools to manage bitcoin exposure, CME Group will launch options on Bitcoin futures (BTC) on January 13, 2020,” the company revealed in the announcement. The CME Group said that the upcoming product is still pending regulatory approval.

Contract specifications

CME Group specified that one Bitcoin futures contract will represent 5 BTC quoted in U.S. dollars, with a block minimum of five contracts. The announcement reads:

“Option exercise results in a position in the underlying cash-settled futures contract. In-the-money options are automatically exercised into expiring cash-settled futures, which settle to the CME CF Bitcoin Reference Rate (BRR) at 4:00 p.m. London time on the last Friday of the contract month.”

CME Group’s intentions and expectations on BTC futures options

In September, CME Group revealed plans to roll out options on BTC futures by Q1 2020. At the time, Tim McCourt — CME Group global head of equity index and alternative investment products — said that the new products are intended to help institutions and professional traders manage spot market BTC exposure, and enable them to hedge BTC futures positions in a regulated exchange environment.

In October, the company said it expected to see high demand in Asia for its forthcoming BTC options product. McCourt noted that options would likely enable Bitcoin miners to more accurately hedge the costs of their production.

At the same time, McCourt also stated that CME Group has no current plans to launch physically-settled Bitcoin contracts.

HTC Launches Limited Run of Smartphone With Crypto Exchange Binance

HTC Launches Limited Run of Smartphone With Crypto Exchange Binance

HTC’s Binance Edition Exodus 1 will support the Binance Chain blockchain and Binance’s decentralized counterpart Binance DEX.

Taiwan-based smartphone maker HTC will launch a limited edition of the Exodus 1 featuring services by major global crypto exchange Binance. The Binance Edition Exodus 1 supports the Binance public blockchain, Binance Chain, as well as its decentralized counterpart Binance DEX, the firms announced Nov. 12.

Exodus 1’s native crypto wallet is integrated with Binance DEX

HTC and Binance announced the news at a Binance Super Meetup in Singapore attended by Binance CEO Changpeng Zhao and CFO Wei Zhou, according to a press release shared with Cointelegraph.

The Binance Edition Exodus 1 smartphone is purportedly the world’s first blockchain phone to integrate the Binance Chain blockchain.

The Binance Edition Exodus 1 will integrate its native Zion Vault crypto wallet app with Binance DEX, allowing users to trade crypto on the platform from the smartphone. Additionally, the new smartphone will come preloaded with Binance’s app and its Trust Wallet, the firms stated.

Priced at $599, the HTC-Binance cryptophone will soon be available for purchase on the official HTC website. Customers will be able to pay the equivalent price in crypto.

Zhao notes major interconnection between smartphones and blockchain

Phil Chen, decentralized chief officer at HTC, said that the company shares Binance’s vision for borderless finance, adding that the firm is excited to support Binance Chain and DEX. Chen also expressed hope that the partnership will bring a “completely new paradigm of digital asset exchanges and corresponding interactions.”

Zhao noted the major interconnection between the global smartphone and blockchain industries, saying that smartphones will play a crucial role in the mass adoption of crypto, while crypto will make every smartphone both a point-of-sale terminal and payment device, cutting out most other middlemen.

Last year, HTC first launched the presales of its Exodus 1 smartphone in Bitcoin (BTC) and Ether (ETH).