EPC Blockchain among 16 Startups Selected to Join EY Incubator

Big four accounting firm Ernst & Young (EY) has selected 16 early-stage startups to join its EY Foundry Cohort 5 program to propel disruptive solutions in four areas: sustainability, new enterprise, people and wellness, and services of tomorrow.

EPC Blockchain, a Malaysian-based firm, is among those chosen, and it utilizes blockchain technology to record energy investments needed when crowdfunding energy projects. As a result, it tackles the challenge of climate change through public mitigation.

EPC Blockchain also enables small project developers to monetize carbon credits from energy projects.

From this month, EY will conduct the six-month incubator program virtually, with participants benefitting from $150,000 in Microsoft Azure credits to enhance their technology stack. 

Eight startups are from Southeast Asia, whereas the rest are from Australia. Per the announcement:

“They will gain exposure to a wealth of industry knowledge and experience, including access to EY industry insights, subject matter professionals and technology collaborators. The EY Foundry program takes no equity stake, with participating startups maintaining full ownership and control of the business.”

EY sees the partnership with startups as a stepping stone toward boosting the pipeline of entrepreneurial talent and enhancing the creation of future jobs and businesses. 

Farah Rosley, Malaysia Tax Managing Partner, Ernst & Young Tax Consultants, added:

“We are looking forward to collaborating with these disruptive technology startups to continue supporting the future of technology and business growth and improve how we service our people and help deliver greater value to our clients and the future of talent.”

Nurturing talent is emerging as a favoured strategy needed to spur innovation. For instance, Ripple, a leader in enterprise crypto and blockchain solutions, recently opened a key engineering hub in Toronto, Canada, to enhance crypto innovation and growth, Blockchain.News reported.  

Image source: Shutterstock


Tagged : / / / / / /

Bitcoin Lightning Network Hits ATH, Signalling Heightened Grounds for Adoption

The Bitcoin (BTC) Lightning Network continues going through the roof by making historic highs.

As a layer two scaling solution on the Bitcoin network, the Lightning Network (LN) boosts the blockchain’s capacity to undertake transactions more efficiently through micropayment channels. It currently comprises more than 4,000 BTC.


Source: Glassnode

Therefore, transactions on lightning networks are more readily confirmed, cheaper, and faster than that processed on-chain or Bitcoin mainnet (layer one).

The growth witnessed on the Lightning Network is happening amid Bitcoin’s price being on shaky grounds, suggesting that the development for adoption is taking shape even if the price falls. 

Bitcoin has been hovering around the psychological price of $20K, with the leading cryptocurrency losing at least 70% of its value from the all-time high (ATH) of $69,000 recorded in November last year.

Tightened macroeconomic factors like increased interest rates have not benefited Bitcoin as the globe fights off heightened inflation.

Nevertheless, the Bitcoin Lightning Network is experiencing surging adoption because it attracts fees close to zero.

Leading investment bank Morgan Stanley noted that the LN would be more practical when undertaking small payments than a debit card. Therefore, it boosts Bitcoin’s narrative about being a medium of payment. 

Previously, a report conducted by Arcane Research acknowledged that the continuous micropayment architecture provided by the Lightning Network had the potential to revamp the business models of content providers in audio, video, and gaming, among others. 

Image source: Shutterstock


Tagged : / / / / / / /

Crypto Controls Needed in Lending Sector to Stem Depression, Expert Says

For depression and crashes to be averted in the crypto market, regulation and capital controls are needed to govern fast-growing trading platforms, according to Rand Low, a quantitative risk modeller and senior fellow at the University of Queensland Business School. 

Citing crypto lending platforms like Coinflex and Celsius and the collapse of Three Arrow Capital, Low noted that the uncertainty triggered was causing panic selling because investors were worried about their funds.

He pointed out:

“One reason why the contagion is so aggressive right now is that several protocols are funding and lending and borrowing from each other. It’s almost like you get HSBC, Citibank, Goldman Sachs and JP Morgan buying and selling each other’s products, so if one goes down that impacts everyone.”

Having an opaque backroom trading model, Low noted that Celsius was doomed for failure because it used excessive leverage in risky ways. He added:

“Crypto banks are the ones of most concern, mostly because they present themselves as the safer option for crypto investors but what they’re doing in the backend isn’t transparent.” 

A recent Wall Street Journal (WSJ) report echoed similar sentiments by disclosing that Celsius had bitten off more than it could chew because its Asset-to-Equity ratio was more than double the average for all the North American banks in the S&P 1500 Composite index, which is close to 9:1.

Therefore, Low believes that more regulation is needed in the crypto lending sector to restore sanity because crashes will become inevitable. He noted:

“This will just keep happening over and over again. Until there are capital requirements, those running these businesses will be enticed to take on more and more leverage to generate more returns. When the market turns we’ll see them wiped out again.”

The uncertainty rocking various crypto lending and DeFi projects like BlockFi, Voyager, and CoinLoan has sparked fear and concern among enthusiasts. As a result, calls for users to take self-sovereignty seriously continue making airwaves.

Image source: Shutterstock


Tagged : / / / / /

ECB to Warn Countries in the Eurozone about Crypto Regulation

The European Central Bank is reportedly on track to issue warnings to national authorities within the Eurozone about individual handling of the crypto ecosystem.


The European Commission, Parliament, and Council trilogy have agreed on the comprehensive cryptocurrency framework, Markets in Crypto Assets (MiCA), and a whole new set of concerns has been pointed out by the ECB.

This concern stems from the likelihood of national regulators within the Eurozone formulating and implementing a make-shift law to guide the interactions with the nascent asset class in the interim. While MiCA has been given the green light, its passage into law is scheduled for 2023, with implementation billed to commence 18 months after that. 

That time is a very long one for most countries who may feel the urgency to protect their consumers and investing public.

“It makes sense that the ECB would want to prevent a collection of national laws on cryptocurrencies. For one thing, it could lead to operators shopping for favourable jurisdictions. Beyond that, it will create confusion for multinational operators and create an uneven playing field within the EU. On the other hand, MiCA is so very far away. That it has come so far is a positive sign. However, eighteen months is an eternity in the crypto space,” said Richard Gardner, CEO of Modulus. 

The cryptocurrency ecosystem has witnessed many upheavals this year with the hacking of Crypto.com, the collapse of Terraform Labs LUNA and UST stablecoins, and the liquidations of Three Arrows Capital amongst others. Gardner noted that countries want answers to what will happen to investors who can be affected by the ongoing turmoil in the space, adding that he does not think countries will be waiting 18 months to get such answers.

In the ECB’s argument, only a unified implementation of MiCA will bring about the intended result of protecting investors and fueling growth across the board.

Image source: Shutterstock


Tagged : / / / / /

Puerto Rican Regulators Closes Peter Schiff’s Bank – a Case for Decentralization?

Puerto Rican authorities have closed down the Euro Pacific Bank, a local financial institution that belongs to Peter Schiff, the world’s most vocal Bitcoin (BTC) critic


Sharing his ideas on Twitter, Schiff said the closure of his bank was unjustifiable, given that the media knew about the closure even before he did. He, citing the banking regulators in the US territory, claimed the bank did not meet the required capital to continue operations, a rule he was not aware of from the start.

“Despite no evidence of crimes, Puerto Rico regulators closed my bank anyway for net capital issues rather than allow a sale to a highly qualified buyer promising to inject capital far in excess of regulatory minimums. As a result, accounts are frozen, and customers may lose money,” he tweeted.

Schiff said he has plans to sell the bank in which he will realize as much as $17.5 million in follow-up tweets from the proposed sale of the firm to a ready buyer who will inject the needed capital. He claims the regulator’s position became more complicated as they were more concerned about the bad press about him.

The regulator allegedly blocked the sale because there was a clause in which Schiff will own a 4% stake in the new entity that purchased the bank. The economist said the regulator’s actions were without consideration because he has invested as much as $7.5 million in maintaining operating costs over the past 2 years.

Many people on Twitter believe Schiff is being served a dose of what pushed many people to embrace decentralization and Bitcoin (BTC). As a prominent critic of all Bitcoin represents, many are admonishing Schiff to shun his pride and adopt a system that governments can seize or close up irrespective of their reach.

Image source: Shutterstock


Tagged : / / / /

USDC Enjoys Robust Reserve & Redeemed on 1:1 basis with USD, Says Circle CEO

Jeremy Allaire, the founder and Chief Executive Officer of USDC stablecoin issuer Circle took to Twitter recently to share updates about the firm and how it is in a better position financially despite the ongoing crypto market meltdown.


Allaire’s tweets were borne out of the need to clarify assumptions that the stablecoin is experiencing an economic turmoil, one that models what is currently being seen in the broader digital currency ecosystem. In response, Allaire said the USDC stablecoin has a very robust reserve and can easily be redeemed on a 1:1 basis with the United States Dollar.

The CEO noted that Circle has always preached transparency and accountability and that it not only has a verifiable reserve base, but he also released details about the company’s last audit which proved its assets held in reserves. The company said it has filed the audit reports for the years 2021 and 2020 with the United States Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) as it looks to build global trust further ahead of its listing on the New York Stock Exchange.

“It’s understandable why some users would be paranoid given the history of hucksters in crypto. We have always tried to hold ourselves to the highest standards afford to us. That’s enabled us to work with regulators, top-tier assurance firms, and leading FIs,” Allaire said in the Twitter thread, adding that “Circle is in the strongest position it has ever been in financially, and we will continue to increase our transparency. FWIW, we are also encouraged by emerging regulatory frameworks for stablecoin issuers, which should help further increase confidence in issuers like Circle.”

The collapse of UST stablecoin broke investors’ trust in the crypto ecosystem even though the model upon which UST was built and USDC completely differs. While Allaire’s reassurances can act as a mild palliative, continuous operational excellence will be required to maintain trust in USDC continually.

At the time of writing, the USDC stablecoin is maintaining its pegged price of $1 atop a $55,822,273,913.87 market capitalization per data from CoinMarketCap.


Image source: Shutterstock


Tagged : / / /

Vauld Suspends Withdrawals, Exploring Restructuring amid Market Downturn

Vauld, a crypto lending and exchange firm headquartered in Singapore, announced on Monday that it has suspended withdrawals, trading, and deposits on its platform, citing the current “financial challenges”.

Vauld admitted that it is witnessing financial woes amid the ongoing market downturn, which it said prompted customers to withdraw about $198 million since June 12.

Darshan Bathija, the founder and CEO of Vauld, said that the company is exploring restructuring options and so far, has engaged Kroll, a New York-based corporate investigation and risk consulting firm, for financial advisory services, and has hired Cyril Amarchand Mangaldas and Rajah & Tann Singapore LLP as legal advisors in India and Singapore respectively.

“We are confident that, with the advice of our financial and legal advisors, we will be able to reach a solution that will best protect the interests of Vauld’s customers and stakeholders,” said Bathijaand, adding that the firm will make specific arrangements for certain clients who need to meet their margin calls.

Vauld is a three-year-old crypto lending startup, which counts Peter Thiel-backed Valar Ventures, Coinbase Ventures, and Pantera Capital among its key backers. According to July last year, Vauld had raised a total of $27 million, from investors such as Peter Thiel’s Valar Ventures, Coinbase, Pantera Capital, and Cadenza Capital.

Vauld has been offering lending services and serving as an exchange. The platform enables clients to earn what it describes as the “industry’s highest interest rates on major cryptocurrencies.” On its website, Vauld claims to offer 12.68% annual yields on staking several stablecoins, including USDC and BUSD and 6.7% on Bitcoin and Ethereum tokens. The platform allows customers to borrow against their tokens and facilitates many other trading services.

Crisis in Crypto Lending Landscape

The announcement regarding Vauld’s suspension of customer withdrawals and trading comes after the lender laid off its employees by 30% one week ago.

The job cut came as a surprise. On June 16, Bathija assured Vauld customers that the platform had no exposure to prominent lending platform Celsius Network and high-profile crypto hedge fund firms Three Arrows Capital.

In recent weeks, crypto veterans, including Binance CEO Changpeng Zhao, have warned that many more DeFi platforms are in danger of collapsing amid the current market crash.

On 13th June, Crypto lending platform Celsius Network paused all withdrawals and transfers for customers as the firm faced insolvency and bankruptcy fears. Last Friday, Three Arrows Capital filed for Chapter 15 bankruptcy in New York after weeks of speculation that it was insolvent.

In addition, another major crypto lending platform, Maple Finance, recently halted customer withdrawals after facing liquidity-related issues.

Digital assets lending firm Genesis Trading is reportedly facing losses in the hundreds of millions after the company had significant exposure to financial woes facing Three Arrows Capital and crypto lending platform Babel Finance. BlockFi also experienced substantial losses related to its exposure to Three Arrows Capital.

Such lending firms normally collect crypto deposits from retail customers and invest them in the equivalent of the wholesale crypto market, including “decentralized finance (DeFi) sites that use blockchain technology to offer services such as loans, insurance, among others outside the traditional financial sector.

Image source: Shutterstock


Tagged : / / / / /

CoinLoan Announces Temporary Reduction of Withdrawal Limit

Crypto-backed loans provider CoinLoan has temporarily reduced the withdrawal limit for traders. The company explained that the move was made due to the current market turmoil.

Webp.net-resizeimage - 2022-07-05T130508.393.jpg

Following the announcement, customers have been restricted to a maximum withdrawal limit of $5,000 every 24 hours.

“The interest we pay on the Interest Accounts is yielded by issuing overcollateralized loans to other platform users. Hence in some instances, the estimated date of a complete withdrawal of assets from the Interest Accounts comes before, not after, loan closure,” CoinLoan stated in the announcement.

The company has imposed the withdrawal limit “to balance the flows of funds and prevent liquidity-related interruptions.”

According to The Block, the European crypto lender’s restriction of withdrawals has been the latest case among a series of recent high-profile crypto businesses that have restricted withdrawals due to various forms of financial distress following the recent turmoil in the market.

The issues that have affected Celsius, Voyager, BlockFi, and Three Arrows Capital have triggered a wave of withdrawals, CoinLoan stated.

Image source: Shutterstock


Tagged : / / / /

Central African Republic Launches National Crypto Hub Project Sango

The Central African Republic (CAR) has doubled down on its plans to embrace the technology underpinning Bitcoin (BTC) with the recent launch of Project Sango, a National crypto hub.

Webp.net-resizeimage (89).jpg

Having been teased for a while, Project Sango was finally launched by President Faustin-Archange Touadera who posited that the initiative is billed to foster financial inclusion and lower the barriers to entry which is a major bottleneck in the country’s banking sector.

“Gold served as the engine of our civilization for ages! In this new age, digital gold will serve the same for the future! @SangoProject is the foundation that we will build on, together as one!” President Touadera said in a Tweet on Sunday.

Project Sango comes off as one of the country’s ambitious moves following its adoption of Bitcoin as a legal tender back in April, the second country after El Salvador. Project Sango is designed to bring out the potential of blockchain technology on various fronts and among many things, it will aim to attract businesses into the country as it looks to re-establish economic boom and global connectivity.

Per the President:

“The citizens will gain at every level, they will live in a country in full economic development, which means employment and prosperity. Moreover, they will benefit from virtual transactions which, in contrast to traditional banking, have the advantage of rapid access, fast execution, lack of bureaucracy, and low cost.”

As an offshoot of the initiative, a cryptocurrency, dubbed Sango Coin is bound to be released as well as a metaverse platform dubbed Crypto Island. While many have seen the moves from the country as ambitious ones, a number of Bitcoin maximalists have advised the country to stick to the tenets and capabilities of Bitcoin only.

Economically, CAR is one of the poorest countries in Africa, and it believes the opportunities Bitcoin and its accompanying technologies will offer will help it retrace its path to prosperity. 

Image source: Shutterstock


Tagged : / / /

WonderFi Completes $30m Acquisition of Canadian Crypto Platform Coinberry

Crypto marketplace WonderFi has completed the $30 million acquisition of Canadian crypto trading platform Coinberry. The acquisition was closed after being admitted to trading on the Tronto Stock Exchange last week.

wonderfi1 (1).jpg

Following the admission, the company’s shares rose over 9% on the opening day.

According to WonderFi, the deal was approved by Competition Bureau Canada, Ontario Securities Commission and other provincial regulatory boards.

WonderFi also said that future plans to purchase other crypto companies are possible since the crypto sector’s instability continues. 

CEO Ben Samaroo said he thinks other nonregulated crypto trading platforms might have similar issues as Voyager Digital as it has had to limit withdrawals following the exposure to troubled hedge fund Three Arrows Capital. In relation to that issue, WonderFi has begun looking at potential deals for nonregulated exchanges both in Canada and globally.

“As we’ve seen over the past few weeks, the crypto market downturn has had a massive impact on the viability of unregulated crypto trading platforms and WonderFi’s value proposition as one of the few regulated crypto businesses makes us well-positioned to continue our growth,” Samaroo said in a statement Monday ahead of the market open. 

“This acquisition further solidifies WonderFi as a leader amongst crypto companies in Canada, and along with our acquisition of Bitbuy, establishes a great foundation for our expansion into global markets,” he added.

The acquisition also led to a 20% staff layoff at both WonderFi and Bitbuy – a crypto trading platform acquired by WonderFi in January. The company stated that the cut in jobs was executed to streamline and deliver shared services across compliance, customer service, product engineering and executive functions.

Image source: Shutterstock


Tagged : / / / /
Bitcoin (BTC) $ 27,570.39 2.60%
Ethereum (ETH) $ 1,663.42 3.84%
Litecoin (LTC) $ 66.38 2.21%
Bitcoin Cash (BCH) $ 241.87 0.86%