Coinbase Ventures Invests in Decentralized Ethereum Staking Pool Rocket Pool

Coinbase Ventures, the investment arm of the prominent cryptocurrency exchange Coinbase, has made a strategic investment in Rocket Pool, a decentralized Ethereum staking pool. The announcement was made on August 10, 2023, through a series of tweets by Coinbase Ventures.

Investment Details

Coinbase Ventures has acquired an undisclosed amount of RPL tokens from the Rocket Pool team. This investment marks Coinbase’s entry into the liquid staking sector, a move that aligns with their ongoing efforts to scale Ethereum’s infrastructure in a decentralized manner.

Despite the acquisition of RPL tokens, there was no noticeable increase in the value of the tokens following the announcement.

Coinbase’s Involvement

Coinbase Ventures has expressed deep admiration for Rocket Pool’s commitment to building one of the largest decentralized staking networks over the past six years. They will actively participate in Rocket Pool’s Oracle DAO and use ETH from their corporate balance sheet to operate several hundred nodes on the Rocket Pool network.

This involvement not only enhances the network’s decentralization but also contributes to the overall stability and security of the Rocket Pool protocol. The open-source code of the protocol undergoes regular audits, ensuring the network’s decentralization and security.

About Rocket Pool

Rocket Pool is a leading liquid staking network on Ethereum, allowing users to stake ETH while retaining liquidity. It offers up to 4.33% APR for ETH2 staking, with additional RPL rewards for those running their own nodes, amounting to up to 6.36% APR.

The network emphasizes decentralization, consisting of over 3,100 node operators with more than 780,000 ETH staked. Rocket Pool’s open-source and audited smart contracts guarantee fully non-custodial staking and a maximum degree of decentralization.

Coinbase’s strategic investment in Rocket Pool signifies a significant step in its expansion in the decentralized finance sector. It reflects a shared belief between the two entities in scaling Ethereum’s infrastructure in a safe, decentralized manner, aiming to bring the next billion users onchain. The collaboration between Coinbase and Rocket Pool is expected to support Rocket Pool’s long-term growth and contribute to the Rocket Pool community in the years ahead.

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Involved in Cryptocurrency and Cash Corruption, Regional Military Recruitment Heads Were Dismissed by Ukrainian President

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has directed Valeriy Zaluzhny to dismiss all heads of regional territorial centers for recruitment and social support. The decision was announced on the official Facebook page of the President’s Office of Ukraine.

During a meeting of the National Security and Defense Council of Ukraine on August 11, the issue of inspecting territorial centers for recruitment and social support was discussed. The council recommended that Commander-in-Chief Valeriy Zaluzhny appoint officers who have directly participated in combat actions to the positions of heads of regional centers, following a check by the Security Service of Ukraine (SBU).

The inspection of the centers revealed instances of corruption, particularly during general mobilization, posing a threat to national security and undermining trust in state institutions. Law enforcement officials have opened 112 criminal proceedings against military recruitment officials and announced 33 suspicions.

“Regional ‘military commissioners,’ city, district, medical commission workers, other officials. Abuses in various regions: Donetsk, Poltava, Vinnytsia, Odessa, Kyiv, Lviv. Some took cash, some – cryptocurrency. Our decisions are as follows. We dismiss all regional ‘military commissioners.’ This system must be managed by people who know exactly what war is. Warriors who have been through the front or who cannot be in the trenches because they have lost their health, lost their limbs, but have retained their dignity and have no cynicism – they can be trusted with this recruitment system. This decision must be implemented by Commander-in-Chief Zaluzhny. Before appointing new heads of the centers, the Security Service of Ukraine will check,” emphasized Zelensky.

In related news, law enforcement officers exposed a large-scale scheme for issuing military-medical commission certificates of unfitness for military service in the Lviv region and nine other regions of Ukraine earlier this month.

Additionally, in February 2022, Oleksandr Tishchenko, who was elected to the Lviv Regional Council from the “Servant of the People” party in the 2020 local elections, was appointed head of the Lviv Regional Territorial Center for Recruitment and Social Support.

The Ukrainian government has been active in soliciting donations, including those in cryptocurrency, since the start of the Russian invasion. On February 26, 2022, official Twitter accounts belonging to the Ukrainian government posted requests for donations in various crypto assets. They listed addresses for Bitcoin, Ethereum, TRON, Polkadot, Dogecoin, and Solana, inviting supporters to contribute to the cause.

Notable contributors from the crypto community include Polkadot founder Gavin Wood and Tron founder Justin Sun. The transparency and traceability of blockchain technology allow for public verification of these donations.

The Bitcoin donation address is: 357a3So9CbsNfBBgFYACGvxxS6tMaDoa1P

The Ethereum donation address is: 0x165CD37b4C644C2921454429E7F9358d18A45e14

As of the time of writing, the Bitcoin address has received a total of 648.19097723 BTC, of which 648.00967951 BTC has been used. 

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Gemini’s Weekly Update: PayPal Launches PYUSD Stablecoin, Coinbase Unveils Base Layer-2, and Aptos Announces Microsoft Partnership

In Gemini’s latest “Weekly Market Update” released on August 11, 2023, several significant developments were highlighted in the cryptocurrency industry, marking a week filled with innovation and collaboration.

As of Friday, August 11, 2023, PayPal has become the first significant US financial firm to introduce its own US dollar-backed stablecoin, PayPal USD (PYUSD). The extension of PayPal’s crypto services, which currently include trading in Bitcoin (BTC), Bitcoin Cash (BCH), Ether (ETH), and Litecoin (LTC), includes this latest addition.

Stablecoins are now the “killer application” for blockchain, according to PayPal Senior Vice President and General Manager of Blockchain, Crypto, and Digital Currencies Jose Fernandez da Ponte, and are “something we cannot just sit out.”

Other Notable Market Updates

Inflation for July 2023 Was Lower Than Expected: Inflation for July 2023 was lower than expected, with both the headline and core consumer price statistics recording a minor rise of 0.2%. This results in annual increases for the corresponding categories of 3.2% and 4.7%. Market experts predict that interest rates will likely stay steady for the rest of the year as a result of the lower inflation statistics.

Coinbase’s Base Layer-2 Network Goes Live: Coinbase launched its Ethereum layer-2 network, Base, to the general public, with data showing $175 million USD locked on the blockchain as of Friday. This follows Coinbase’s better-than-expected second quarter earnings of $708 million USD in revenues.

Aptos Surges on Microsoft Partnership: Aptos (APT), a layer-1 proof-of-stake blockchain, saw a ~15% surge in price on Wednesday after announcing a partnership with Microsoft to work on AI and web3 products and services. The collaboration will leverage Microsoft’s Azure OpenAI services.

Bitcoin and Ether Continue Range Bound: Bitcoin traded in the $29k to $30k USD range for the second week, possibly boosted by PayPal’s stablecoin launch. Ether has been struggling to move back above its 100-day moving average of $1,850 USD.

Crypto Custody Explained

The update also touched on the importance of crypto custody, outlining different options for investors, including self-custody via private keys, partial custody with third-party assistance, and third-party digital asset custody. The latter offers high levels of security and is suitable for individual and institutional investors.

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Gemini Is Giving Away 4,000 Ripple XRP Every Day at 3 pm EST

Gemini, a leading U.S.-based exchange, has unveiled a limited-time giveaway of 4,000 XRP tokens each day. The announcement, made via an official tweet that reads, “We’re giving away 4,000 XRP! Every day at 3pm EST. Introducing: The XRP Faucet,” has already seen its first giveaway close just two hours after being made public.

Dubbed the “XRP Faucet,” the giveaway began on August 11, 2023, at 3:00 pm ET and is slated to conclude on August 18, 2023, at 11:59 pm ET. According to the terms and conditions delineated on Gemini’s official website, eligibility for participation requires being a legal resident of the United States, a minimum age of 18, and possession of a verified Gemini account. The offer, restricted to one per verified customer per day, operates on a first-come, first-serve basis.

The decision by Gemini to relist Ripple XRP for trading emerged as a strategic response to Ripple Labs’ partial triumph against the United States Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) on July 13, 2023. This marketing initiative aligns with the exchange’s broader strategy, as underscored by the Twitter announcement that “$XRP is now available for trading on Gemini.”

The relisting’s impact on XRP’s price on Gemini was both immediate and pronounced, propelling it to $50 from a paltry $0.636, a phenomenon that stood in stark contrast to the stable price of $0.63 on other exchanges, including Binance and OKX.

Gemini’s terms and conditions for the giveaway articulate the right to modify or terminate the offer at their discretion. Furthermore, the exchange holds exclusive authority over the timing of the offer’s inception and conclusion, as well as any affiliated promotions. The offer stands void in jurisdictions where it is either restricted or deemed unlawful.

The XRP giveaway by Gemini is more than a fleeting marketing event; it marks a significant moment in the exchange’s strategy to engage users and leverage the renewed interest in XRP following recent legal developments. Those intrigued by the giveaway would be well-advised to scrutinize the terms and conditions to ascertain their eligibility.

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Shiba Inu’s SHIB Price Up Nearly 10% and Trading Volume Doubles Over Last 24 Hours

The Shiba Inu’s SHIB price surged around 10% in the past 24 hours, while Bitcoin remains stuck at around $29,400. This surge makes SHIB one of the hottest cryptocurrencies, raising interest among traders. On Binance, 1000 SHIB are grouped together as one trading unit, symbolized as 1000SHIB.

In the meantime, according to Coinglass, 1000SHIB’s trading volume on Binance exchange increased over 100% to $1.32 billion, ranking third behind BTC and ETH, with trading volumes of $4.48 billion and $1.76 billion, respectively.

Additionally, the open interest in Shiba Inu increased over 33% to $101.65 million.

With the upward trend of SHIB token price, the funding rate has turned negative, meaning that short traders will pay fees for longer trading. Funding rates are periodic payments between traders in perpetual contract markets, based on the difference between these markets and spot prices. This alignment prevents lasting price divergence in crypto markets, with platforms like Binance Futures recalculating the rate multiple times daily.

The Long/Short ratio on Binance is 0.8907, indicating an increase in short traders. However, be warned: market makers and manipulators may pump the SHIB price to liquidate short traders.

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CFTC Charges Fundsz and Individuals for Fraudulent Cryptocurrency and Precious Metals Solicitation

The Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) has filed a complaint against Rene Larralde, Juan Pablo Valcarce, Brian Early, Alisha Ann Kingrey, and their unincorporated entity, Fundsz, in the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Florida. The complaint, announced on August 2, 2023, charges the defendants with fraudulent solicitation from clients to purportedly trade in cryptocurrencies and precious metals.

According to the complaint, from approximately October 2020 to the present, the defendants solicited participants with claims that Fundsz has historically produced over 3% returns per week using a “proprietary algorithm” for trading cryptocurrencies and precious metals. They described this as their “secret sauce” and claimed that a one-time $2,500 contribution to Fundsz could grow to $1 million within 48 months with no additional deposits.

Furthermore, the defendants pitched Fundsz as if it had a charitable purpose, using the tagline “Fundsz For Your Cause” and falsely implying that contributing to Fundsz would support various humanitarian efforts. However, the complaint alleges that Fundsz does not trade customer funds at all, and any customer gains are illusory, as the defendants simply make up fictional weekly returns to report to customers.

The CFTC’s complaint was successful in obtaining an ex parte statutory restraining order, signed by U.S. District Court Judge Wendy Berger, which freezes the defendants’ assets, preserves records, and appoints a temporary receiver. A hearing on the CFTC’s motion for a preliminary injunction is scheduled for August 23, 2023.

As part of its ongoing legal actions, the CFTC is pursuing compensation for deceived investors, the return of unlawfully acquired profits, financial penalties, enduring bans on trading and registration, and a lasting order to prevent any more breaches of the Commodity Exchange Act (CEA).

Director of Enforcement, Ian McGinley, commented, “The CFTC remains steadfast in identifying and taking action against those who deceive clients in the realms of cryptocurrency and precious metals. Even if the offerings and tactics of these fraudsters evolve — as seen with their use of social media in this instance — the timeless wisdom that ‘when an offer seems too advantageous, it likely has a catch’ still holds true.”

In addition, the CFTC has disseminated guidance and resources, such as the Precious Metals Fraud Advisory, aiming to inform the public about the risks of fraud in precious metals trading and offering strategies to recognize, sidestep, and report potential deceit.

The public is encouraged to confirm a firm’s registration status with the CFTC prior to investing and to alert the Division of Enforcement about any dubious activities or potential breaches of trading regulations.

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Cardano ADA Ecosystem Q2 2023: DeFi Growth, Stablecoins, and NFT Trends

Cardano ($ADA) ecosystem has witnessed significant growth and development in Q2 2023, according to Messari’s recent report. From the rise in stablecoin value to the expansion of decentralized finance (DeFi) and non-fungible tokens (NFTs), the network has seen remarkable progress.

Key insights from the report include a 34.9% QoQ growth in the total stablecoin market cap on Cardano, reaching $13.5 million, with Indigo Protocol leading the stablecoin and synthetic asset issuance.

Protocols created in the last ~6 months accounted for 47.4% TVL dominance in Q2. Cardano’s TVL (USD) was up 9.7% QoQ, moving from 34th to 21st in TVL ranking across all chains. Average daily dapp transactions were up 49% QoQ, with Minswap leading the growth.

In the DeFi sector, Minswap remained the liquidity king, ending Q2 with a TVL of $48.8 million. New protocols like VyFinance, Liqwid Finance, Djed, and Optim Finance also grew. Indigo and Djed emerged as the main stablecoin issuers, with Indigo witnessing a total liquidation volume of $3.6 million from 870 liquidations in Q2.

NFT transactions were down 35.7% QoQ, with total quarterly trading volume falling 41.9% QoQ to $46.2 million. Notable initiatives included the UN Refugee Agency using NFTs for charity. Milkomeda C1, launched in early 2022, brought EVM compatibility to Cardano, with daily unique contract callers surging 279.9% QoQ, driven by the gaming sector’s growth.

Project Catalyst, a decentralized fund for innovative projects, funded 1,163 proposals in nine rounds, with Fund 10 allocating 50 million ADA (~$14 million) among 13 Challenges. Cardano developers are building tools to support languages like Marlowe, Aiken, Plu-ts, Helios, and OpShin.

IOG launched a toolkit for building custom sidechains, and Wanchain announced its bridge on the Cardano preview testnet. Hydra, a family of scaling protocols, opened its first Head on the Cardano mainnet in March 2023, marking a significant step in scaling solutions.

Cardano’s ecosystem is expanding rapidly, with DeFi owning the spotlight in Q2. New protocols are emerging, and incumbent ones are building and maintaining a presence. The growth in stablecoins, NFTs, gaming, and Layer-2 solutions indicates a vibrant and evolving ecosystem.

With Project Catalyst Fund 10 in progress and continuous development in various sectors, Cardano’s future looks promising and filled with opportunities for innovation and growth.

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