1inch Joins Ethereum’s zkSync Era for Faster DeFi Transactions

Decentralized finance (DeFi) protocol 1inch has recently made an important move to join Ethereum’s scaling solution, the zkSync Era. By deploying its aggregation and limit order protocols on zkSync, 1inch aims to tap into faster and cheaper transactions that the layer-2 scaling solution offers.

The integration of 1inch on zkSync is expected to improve the protocol’s performance and enable users to perform more DeFi transactions with greater efficiency. With the soaring demand for DeFi solutions, 1inch seeks to ensure that its users can continue to enjoy seamless and uninterrupted services while also reducing transaction fees.

1inch is just the latest Ethereum-based platform to join the zkSync Era. Other notable DeFi protocols that have already deployed on the zero-knowledge proof (zk-proof) based scaling platform include Uniswap, SushiSwap, Maker, and Curve Finance.

The adoption of zkSync by a growing number of DeFi protocols underscores the importance of layer-2 scaling solutions in addressing the scalability issues faced by the Ethereum network. As a result of its growing popularity, zkSync has emerged as one of the most promising scaling solutions for Ethereum, offering faster and more cost-effective transactions than the Ethereum mainnet.

For those unfamiliar with zkSync, it is a scaling solution based on zk-proof technology that allows Ethereum to process transactions off-chain while still maintaining the same level of security and decentralization as the mainnet. With zkSync, users can perform transactions at a fraction of the cost and at a much faster speed than what is currently possible on the Ethereum mainnet.

By deploying on zkSync, 1inch is positioning itself to better serve its users and tap into the full potential of DeFi. With faster and cheaper transactions, 1inch aims to provide its users with a seamless and efficient experience, while also attracting more users to the platform.

In conclusion, the integration of 1inch on Ethereum’s zkSync Era represents a major milestone for the DeFi ecosystem. With the growing adoption of layer-2 scaling solutions, the future of DeFi looks promising, as more users are expected to flock to these platforms, further driving innovation and growth in the DeFi space.


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European Commission Launches Research Unit to Investigate Algorithms Used by Big Tech

The European Commission has taken a significant step towards regulating Big Tech by launching a new research unit called the European Centre for Algorithmic Transparency (ECAT). The primary focus of ECAT is to investigate the impact of algorithms made and used by prominent online platforms and search engines such as Facebook and Google. The team will analyze and evaluate the AI-backed algorithms used by Big Tech firms to identify and address any potential risks posed by these platforms.

The European Union’s existing Joint Research Centre will embed ECAT, which conducts research on a broad range of subjects including artificial intelligence. The team will consist of data scientists, AI experts, social scientists, and legal experts. The group’s focus will be to conduct algorithmic accountability and transparency audits, as required by the Digital Services Act, a set of European Union rules enforceable as of Nov. 16, 2022.

AI-based programs are built using a series of complex algorithms, meaning ECAT will also be looking at algorithms that underpin AI chatbots such as OpenAI’s ChatGPT, which some believe could eventually replace search engines. The team will examine the algorithms used by Big Tech firms to ensure that they are transparent and that their operations do not harm users.

According to Thierry Breton, the EU’s internal market commissioner, ECAT will “look under the hood” of large search engines and online platforms to “see how their algorithms function and contribute to the spread of illegal and harmful content.” This move by the European Commission is a significant development in regulating Big Tech firms, and it will ensure that these companies are held accountable for the impact of their algorithms on society.

The development of AI has been a contentious issue, with nearly a dozen EU politicians calling for the “safe” development of AI in a signed open letter on April 16. The lawmakers asked United States President Joe Biden and European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen to convene a summit on AI and agree on a set of governing principles for the development, control, and deployment of the tech.

Tech entrepreneur Elon Musk also expressed his concerns about the development of AI. He argued on an April 17 Fox News interview that AI chatbots like ChatGPT have a left-wing bias and said that he was developing an alternative called “TruthGPT.” This move by Musk highlights the growing concerns about the ethical implications of AI and its impact on society.

In conclusion, the launch of ECAT by the European Commission is a significant development in regulating Big Tech firms. It will ensure that these companies are held accountable for the impact of their algorithms on society, and it will also help to identify and address any potential risks posed by these platforms. The team of experts at ECAT will play a vital role in conducting algorithmic accountability and transparency audits to ensure that the algorithms used by Big Tech firms are transparent and do not harm users.


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MetaMask Denies Involvement in Massive Wallet-Draining Exploit

MetaMask, a leading cryptocurrency wallet provider, has recently been accused of being involved in a massive wallet-draining operation that resulted in the loss of over 5,000 ETH, worth more than $10.5 million in crypto and nonfungible tokens (NFTs) since December 2022. However, MetaMask has strongly denied these claims, stating that the exploit was not specific to its wallet.

In response to a series of tweets by Taylor Monahan, the founder of Ethereum wallet manager MyCrypto, MetaMask issued a statement on April 18, saying that recent reporting on Monahan’s thread has incorrectly claimed that a massive wallet-draining operation is a result of a MetaMask exploit. The wallet provider confirmed that the 5,000 ETH was stolen “from various addresses across 11 blockchains,” adding that the claim that funds were hacked from MetaMask “is incorrect.”

MetaMask’s security team is currently researching the source of the exploit and is working with others across the Web3 wallet space. According to an official statement from the company, it is possible that there had been “some sort of private key or seed phrase leak.” There are also numerous independent security researchers who are investigating the incident.

Monahan, in her thread on the exploit, stated that “no one knows how” this massive attack was conducted, but her “best guess” was that a significant amount of old data was obtained and used to extract the funds. She also originally claimed that the attacker was draining long-time MetaMask users and employees by using the wallet. However, she later stated that the exploit is not specific to MetaMask, and “users of all wallets, even those created on a hardware wallet,” have been impacted by the exploit.

MetaMask is known for its strong security features, and the company has taken steps to address the issue. It is essential to note that users should always take precautions when storing their crypto assets in any wallet, as there is always a risk of theft or hacking. It is crucial to keep private keys and seed phrases secure, and to use multi-factor authentication whenever possible.

In conclusion, MetaMask denies its involvement in the massive wallet-draining exploit that has impacted many cryptocurrency users across different wallets. The company’s security team is currently working to determine the source of the exploit, and it is essential that all crypto users take necessary security precautions when storing their assets.


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Australia Surpasses Asia in Crypto ATM Installations

Australia has become a leading country in the adoption of cryptocurrencies, with a growing number of businesses and individuals recognizing the benefits of using digital assets for daily transactions. According to Coin ATM Radar, Australia has surpassed Asia in the total number of crypto ATMs installed, with 364 machines as of January 2023. This represents a significant increase since the beginning of the year, with the country climbing from fifth to third place in January alone.

Over the last eight months, Australia has consistently added Bitcoin ATMs, unlike leading European nations and the United States, which reported a reduction in ATM installations during the same period. This suggests that Australia is on a crypto ATM installation spree, reflecting the growing demand for fiat-to-crypto conversions in the country.

In contrast, Asia, which includes major economies such as China, Japan, Singapore, and India, hosts only 355 crypto machines, representing only 1% of the total crypto ATMs installed worldwide. Despite the vast population and economic power of these countries, Australia has managed to outpace them in the installation of crypto ATMs.

The increasing popularity of cryptocurrencies in Australia is not limited to the installation of crypto ATMs. Leaked internal documents from Australia’s Department of the Treasury reveal that the country is also considering the introduction of crypto legislation. This would provide a regulatory framework for the crypto industry, helping to legitimize and foster its growth.

Although the final submissions to the cabinet will reportedly come later in the year, it is clear that crypto legislation is on the horizon in Australia. This would bring the country in line with other leading crypto-friendly nations, such as Switzerland and Malta, which have established themselves as global hubs for crypto innovation and adoption.

In conclusion, Australia’s growing number of crypto ATM installations and its consideration of crypto legislation demonstrate the country’s commitment to fostering the growth and adoption of cryptocurrencies. As the crypto industry continues to evolve and gain mainstream acceptance, Australia’s proactive approach positions it as a leader in the global crypto landscape.


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Gate Pay and CityPay.io Partner to Bring Cryptocurrency Payments to Georgia

Gate Pay, the cryptocurrency payment service offered by the crypto exchange firm Gate.io, has announced a partnership with CityPay.io, a startup specializing in crypto payments in Georgia. The collaboration will enable more than 600 merchants in Georgia to enjoy the benefits of crypto payment alternatives for their products and services.

By partnering with CityPay.io, Gate Pay users can connect with numerous merchants across Georgia, facilitating a wide range of daily activities such as hotel bookings, supermarket shopping and restaurant payments. Notably, restaurant chain Wendy’s is one of the partners of CityPay.io, with customers now able to make payments using cryptocurrencies for their meals.

Gate Pay’s director, Feng Zhou, stated that the launch of Gate Pay aimed to connect users with businesses, products, and applications that are friendly to cryptocurrencies. This partnership with CityPay.io allows merchants to offer their customers the option to pay with digital assets, bridging the gap between Web3 and people’s daily lives.

The collaboration between Gate Pay and CityPay.io offers a Web3 shopping experience to a broader audience of regional merchants and customers. Gate Pay’s user base and experience, combined with CityPay.io’s business network and coverage in Georgia, will facilitate this expansion.

Gate.io is no stranger to expanding its business coverage, having announced its intention to seek a crypto license in Hong Kong on February 22. The license would allow the company to introduce “Gate HK,” expanding its services to Hong Kong residents.

Georgia has emerged as one of the world’s most crypto-friendly countries, with its regulations attracting crypto companies to set up regional branches. The Georgian government has ambitions to make the country a major global crypto hub.

This partnership is a significant step towards achieving that goal. CityPay.io has already established a strong network in Georgia, and Gate Pay’s experience in the crypto industry will help expand the usage of digital assets in the country.

Gate Pay and CityPay.io’s partnership will enable merchants in Georgia to accept crypto payments, making it easier for customers to pay for goods and services. This collaboration will not only benefit the merchants but also attract more crypto users in Georgia and improve the shopping experience for both parties.

The use of cryptocurrencies as a payment method has been on the rise, with more and more businesses and individuals recognizing the benefits of using digital assets for daily transactions. The partnership between Gate Pay and CityPay.io is a significant step towards the widespread adoption of cryptocurrencies in Georgia.

As the crypto industry continues to grow, partnerships like these will become increasingly important in expanding the usage of digital assets and bridging the gap between Web3 and people’s daily lives. With the collaboration between Gate Pay and CityPay.io, Georgia is well on its way to becoming a major global crypto hub.


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Bank of England Tests DLT Settlement System

The Bank of England and the Bank for International Settlements (BIS) Innovation Hub London Center have successfully tested a distributed ledger technology-powered settlements system between the institutions. As a result, the Bank of England will use the insights from this project in its real-time gross settlement (RTGS) system.

The joint pilot project, called Project Meridian, was recently documented in a report published by BIS on April 19. The 44-page document highlighted the successful synchronization of distributed ledger technology (DLT) between the banks for the purchase of houses in Wales and England.

This synchronization network allowed for the transmission of messages between the synchronization network and RTGS system using APIs, providing a generic interface that could be “relatively easily” extended to other asset classes, such as foreign exchange. By extending this system to other asset classes, it could significantly reduce the time, costs, and risks of transactions.

The Bank of England and BIS have been exploring the potential of DLT for financial settlements and transaction processing for several years. They have been working on multiple projects, including a cross-border payments project called Project Stella, which was completed in 2019.

The Bank of England has also been developing its own RTGS system, which is set to be launched in 2022. The new system will be built on modern technology and will replace the current system, which has been in operation for almost 20 years. The integration of DLT technology into the new RTGS system could further enhance its efficiency and security.

DLT technology, also known as blockchain, has the potential to revolutionize the financial industry. Its decentralized and transparent nature allows for secure, efficient, and cost-effective transactions, without the need for intermediaries. It has the potential to streamline the financial system and reduce the risk of fraud and errors.

The successful completion of Project Meridian is a significant milestone in the exploration of DLT technology in financial settlements. The potential for extending the system to other asset classes could significantly enhance the efficiency and security of financial transactions, which would benefit the entire industry.

In conclusion, the Bank of England and BIS Innovation Hub London Center have successfully tested a DLT-powered settlements system through Project Meridian. The synchronization network allowed for the transmission of messages between the synchronization network and RTGS system using APIs, which could be extended to other asset classes, reducing the time, costs, and risks of transactions. This is a significant milestone in the exploration of DLT technology in financial settlements and could enhance the efficiency and security of financial transactions in the future.


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Microsoft Develops Secret AI Chips to Reduce Development Costs

In an effort to reduce development costs for in-house and OpenAI projects, Microsoft has reportedly been developing its own artificial intelligence (AI) chips in secret. The project, called “Athena,” has been in the works since 2019 and appears to be designed to reduce the company’s reliance on Nvidia’s GPUs. According to a Google search, Nvidia’s H100 GPU, one of the more popular options for training machine learning systems, can cost as much as $40,000 on reseller services like eBay.

In response to these high costs, several Big Tech companies, including Meta, Google, and Amazon, have all developed their own machine-learning chips in recent years. Microsoft’s Athena project is likely a continuation of this trend. While details remain scarce as Microsoft has not officially commented on the project, The Information’s report claims that the chips are already being tested by members of Microsoft’s internal machine-learning staff and OpenAI’s developers.

The development of in-house AI chips is becoming an increasingly popular trend among tech giants as they seek to reduce costs and improve the performance of their machine-learning systems. These systems require vast amounts of computational power, and GPUs have traditionally been the go-to solution for many companies. However, as the demand for GPUs has increased, so too have the costs, leading many companies to explore alternative solutions.

One such solution is the development of specialized AI chips that are designed specifically for machine learning tasks. These chips can be optimized for the specific demands of machine learning workloads, resulting in faster performance and reduced power consumption compared to general-purpose GPUs.

Microsoft’s Athena project is likely an attempt to gain a competitive edge in the rapidly growing AI market. As the generative AI arms race continues to heat up, companies are investing heavily in AI research and development. With its own in-house AI chips, Microsoft could potentially reduce costs, improve performance, and gain a strategic advantage over its competitors.

In conclusion, Microsoft’s secret development of AI chips is likely part of a broader trend among tech giants to reduce development costs and improve the performance of their machine-learning systems. The project, code-named “Athena,” is already being tested by Microsoft’s internal machine-learning staff and OpenAI’s developers, indicating that it may be close to production. As the demand for computational power continues to grow, specialized AI chips may become increasingly important for companies seeking to gain a competitive edge in the AI market.


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Kraken Irish Subsidiary Awarded VASP Authorization by Central Bank of Ireland

Kraken, one of the world’s leading cryptocurrency exchanges, has received some exciting news from its Irish subsidiary, Payward Europe Solutions. On April 18th, the Central Bank of Ireland awarded the company virtual asset service provider (VASP) authorization, making it only the third cryptocurrency outlet to be registered in the European Union (EU).

This authorization comes at a critical time for Kraken and other companies operating in the EU’s cryptocurrency market. The EU is set to conduct its final vote on the Markets in Crypto Assets (MiCA) regulation, which has been highly anticipated in the industry. The preliminary voting for the MiCA legislation showed overwhelming bipartisan support, indicating that it is likely to pass.

If the MiCA regulation is approved, it will require any company operating as a crypto assets service provider (CASP) in the EU to register with one of the union’s 27 authorized regulators. This means that any company that provides services like custody, exchange, or issuance of cryptocurrencies will have to be authorized by the EU regulators.

Kraken has positioned itself well by obtaining the VASP authorization for its Irish subsidiary Payward Europe Solutions. The company joins the ranks of other registered cryptocurrency outlets like Gemini and Coinbase. Gemini received its VASP authorization in July 2022, while Coinbase received its authorization in December of the same year.

Kraken has been one of the most successful cryptocurrency exchanges in the world since its inception in 2011. The company has a strong track record of providing reliable and secure trading services to its users. In recent years, Kraken has expanded its services to different parts of the world, with subsidiaries operating in different countries.

Payward Europe Solutions, which is registered in Dublin, Ireland, is one of Kraken’s most important subsidiaries. The company offers trading services for different cryptocurrencies, including Bitcoin, Ethereum, and Litecoin. With the VASP authorization, the company is now authorized to provide these services in compliance with the EU’s regulatory requirements.

The MiCA regulation is expected to bring significant changes to the cryptocurrency market in the EU. It will improve investor protection by setting high standards for cryptocurrency service providers. The regulation will also create a level playing field for all players in the industry, as it will apply to all companies that provide crypto services.

Overall, Kraken’s VASP authorization for its Irish subsidiary Payward Europe Solutions is a significant milestone for the company. The authorization shows that Kraken is committed to complying with the EU’s regulatory requirements and providing top-notch services to its users. It also positions the company well in the highly competitive EU cryptocurrency market.


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Intel to Discontinue Blockscale Bitcoin Mining Chips

Major United States-based technology company Intel has announced plans to discontinue its Blockscale Bitcoin mining chips. According to a Reuters report on April 18, Intel will stop taking orders for the Blockscale 1000 Series ASICs by Oct. 20 and end shipping roughly in April 2024. The move is aimed at cutting overall costs as part of a strategy of prioritizing the manufacturing of certain chips to outside customers.

Intel launched the Blockscale mining chips in April 2022, touting the ASIC hardware’s hash rate of up to 580 gigahash per second. Each chip could be combined and merged into a single mining unit, making it a popular choice for mining firms. Argo Blockchain, Block, Hive Blockchain Technologies, and GRIID Infrastructure were among the first companies to integrate the technology into their operations.

However, with the new announcement, Intel is discontinuing the Blockscale line of chips. The move is part of a broader effort by the company to cut costs and improve efficiency. Intel CEO Pat Gelsinger reportedly took a 25% pay cut in February, and the company is projecting annual cost reductions of up to $10 billion due to cost-cutting initiatives and efficiency gains by 2026.

While Intel plans to discontinue the mining chips, the company said it would continue monitoring “market opportunities” in the crypto space. This suggests that Intel remains interested in the cryptocurrency industry and could potentially launch new products or services in the future.

The Blockscale line of chips was a significant offering for Intel, but the company’s decision to discontinue them is not entirely surprising. The cryptocurrency industry is highly competitive, and mining firms are always looking for ways to improve efficiency and reduce costs. Additionally, the recent drop in Bitcoin’s price has made mining less profitable for many miners, leading some to scale back or even exit the industry altogether.

Overall, Intel’s decision to discontinue the Blockscale line of chips reflects the broader trends in the cryptocurrency industry. As the market continues to evolve, it is likely that we will see further consolidation and changes among industry players. However, with Intel’s continued interest in the crypto space, it is also possible that the company will launch new products or services that cater to the needs of the industry.


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Tribe Capital explores injecting capital into bankrupt FTX exchange

Tribe Capital, a San Francisco-based venture capital firm, is reportedly exploring the possibility of injecting new capital to revive the bankrupt cryptocurrency exchange, FTX. Bloomberg reported on April 18 that Tribe Capital is considering leading a $250 million fundraising campaign, with $100 million from itself and its limited partners. According to sources familiar with the matter, Tribe co-founder, Arjun Sethi, met with FTX’s Committee of Unsecured Creditors in January to discuss the informal proposal.

The venture capital firm’s proposal in January included an estimated 9 million customer accounts, FTX US, FTX Australia, FTX Japan, FTX EU, FTX International, and LedgerX. However, the proposal excluded a venture capital portfolio and crypto assets, among others. If the reboot plan is successful, the revived exchange would retain the name FTX.

On April 18, the Official Committee of Unsecured Creditors of FTX confirmed via Twitter that it was “working with the Debtors to evaluate all options to reboot or sell the FTX exchanges and create value for creditors.” However, the committee added that “there is no definitive timetable for a reboot or sale of the exchanges at this time.”

In January, the judge overseeing the FTX bankruptcy proceedings gave the troubled crypto exchange approval to sell some of its assets to help repay its creditors. According to a filing in Delaware Bankruptcy Court, Judge John Dorsey approved the sale of four key units of FTX – the derivatives platform LedgerX, stock-trading platform Embed, and the exchange’s regional arms, FTX Japan and FTX Europe.

Attorneys from Sullivan & Cromwell, representing FTX at a hearing in the United States Bankruptcy Court for the District of Delaware on April 12, stated that the exchange had recovered approximately $7.3 billion in liquid assets. This development offers hope for the future of the exchange, and it is possible that Tribe Capital’s proposed capital injection could be a critical step in FTX’s revival.

FTX was one of the fastest-growing cryptocurrency exchanges in the world, with a valuation of $18 billion in December 2021. The exchange was founded in 2019 by Sam Bankman-Fried, a former Wall Street quant trader, and Gary Wang, a software developer. The exchange’s meteoric rise was driven by its advanced trading infrastructure and innovative products, such as leveraged tokens and prediction markets.

However, in December 2021, the exchange suffered a massive blow when it was hit by a wave of liquidations caused by the collapse of its risk-management system. The incident resulted in the loss of over $4 billion in customer funds, triggering a chain of events that led to the exchange’s bankruptcy.

Tribe Capital’s potential involvement in FTX’s revival is significant given its previous investment in the exchange. The venture capital firm was part of a group of investors that participated in FTX’s $900 million funding round in July 2021. However, Tribe Capital was also an investor in Archegos Capital Management, the family office that triggered a $20 billion margin call in March 2021, resulting in significant losses for several banks. The firm’s involvement with Archegos led some to question its due diligence processes and risk management practices.


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