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Winklevoss’ Gemini Launches U.S. Dollar-Pegged Cryptocurrency

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GUSD

Gemini, the cryptocurrency exchange founded by Cameron and Tyler Winklevoss, has announced the creation of a USD-pegged Ethereum token that looks to supplant tether (USDT) as the stablecoin of choice among bitcoin traders.

Announced on Monday, the Gemini dollar (GUSD) aims to become what the controversial tether token has not, a “trusted and regulated digital representation” of the U.S. dollar that can be transmitted across the blockchain and traded on cryptocurrency exchanges located throughout the world.

“To date, there has been no trusted and regulated digital representation of the U.S. dollar that moves in an open, decentralized manner like cryptocurrencies,” Gemini wrote in the announcement, which was attributed to Cameron Winklevoss. “The Gemini dollar (ticker symbol: GUSD) combines the creditworthiness and price stability of the U.S. dollar with blockchain technology and the oversight of U.S. regulators, namely, the New York State Department of Financial Services (NYDFS).”

As outlined in the Gemini dollar whitepaper, GUSD is structured as an ERC-20 token on the Ethereum blockchain. Gemini users can acquire GUSD by depositing USD into their exchange accounts and then converting them into tokens, which can then be withdrawn to any Ethereum address. Similarly, users can exchange GUSD for physical dollars from within their Gemini accounts.

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PNC Bank Becomes Latest to Adopt Ripple’s xCurrent

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PNC Bank
PNC Bank

American banking giant PNC has joined the growing number of financial institutions using payments products from blockchain startup Ripple. The bank’s Treasury Management division will begin accepting cross-border transactions using the firm’s xCurrent product, Ripple’s senior vice president, Asheesh Birla, told CoinDesk Wednesday.

One of the top-10 largest banks by assets held in the U.S., PNC has already successfully concluded a pilot phase and proof-of-concept for the payment rail, and will immediately begin using xCurrent in a production environment. For now, Treasury Management will only be accepting inbound transactions using the product. Birla said:

“I think the important thing is this is not a test. Ripple only signs production clients, so they are taking this product into production. There’s no pilot, there’s no proof-of-concept – that’s already been done. They’ve committed to [transactions] with other customers.”

Ripple’s SVP believes that small U.S. businesses signed onto RippleNet – the umbrella term for the firm’s several payment networks – would especially benefit from banking with PNC as a result of the new integration.

“Providing instant payments instead of waiting two to three days, that sounds like a short time, [but] that’s two to three days without access to capital. Having that is a real game-changer,” he said.

PNC apparently already has customers lined up to work with xCurrent initially, although Birla was not at liberty to provide any details on those firms. While the bank will start by using xCurrent, Birla hopes to ultimately help them begin working with Ripple’s xRapid platform as well, he said.

“With PNC, the idea is to get a few corridors lit up with xCurrent … When they’re ready to start talking about emerging markets, we’ll introduce them to xRapid. We’re working to get them started with xCurrent so it’s not a completely new feature to move to xRapid,” he explained.

More broadly, Ripple announced Wednesday that it has clients in 40 countries across six different continents now, having opened new payment corridors to parts of East and Southeast Asia, Africa, Europe and South America.

Birla said it is “exciting” to see Ripple’s efforts begin to be be implemented, particularly in emerging and under-served markets.

The executive also addressed reports suggesting Ripple’s xRapid product would be launched in the next month or so.

“We haven’t officially announced a timeline. I think we’re really excited about xRapid, I personally am really excited about how our customers in the pilot phase of xRapid like the experience,” Birla said.

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Ethereum Wallets are Enabling Transaction Scheduling

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Ether coins

MyCrypto, a non-custodial Ethereum and ERC20 token wallet created by the co-founder of MyEtherWallet, has integrated a feature that enables Ethereum users to schedule ETH transactions ahead of time.

On MyCrypto, an open-source wallet that is structurally similar to MyEtherWallet, users can connect hardware wallets like Trezor and other non-custodial wallets such as MetaMask to use their existing wallets on a better interface.

As such, the ETH transaction scheduling feature on MyCrypto can be used by any Ethereum wallet user by simply connecting their existing wallets with MyCrypto. MyCrypto is the first wallet platform to implement native cryptocurrency transaction scheduling by utilizing Chrono Logic’s debt smart contracts and temporal Ethereum-based innovation.

With it, Ethereum users can now send transactions ahead of time on the Ethereum mainnet, which opens up the possibility of the types of payments that simply did not exist before.

For instance, with the feature, Ethereum users can send funds to an ICO in advance to refrain from being left out of the token sale, send payments to subscriptions ahead of time, and schedule transactions to business partners or suppliers.

“Maybe you want to get into that latest hot ICO but you’ll be away from your computer. Maybe you want an ENS domain name and don’t want to miss the reveal period Maybe you need to pay at a certain time for a subscription. Maybe you want to send yourself a reminder in the future (though there are probably better options for this),” the MyCrypto team said.

In an interview with the Chrono Logic team, Ethereum co-creator Vitalik Buterin stated that scheduling transactions is a feature that is very valuable, as he explained:

“I know there were a lot of interest in it [Ethereum alarm clock] way back when Piper created the alarm clock. It seems like something that would be very valuable.”

Taylor Monahan, the founder and CEO of MyCrypto echoed a similar sentiment as Buterin, stating:

“I think it just opens up the possibility for a lot of things. One of them is multi-step transaction. When you have to complete a step and then you wait for something to happen, whether that is something in the real world or just like with the ENS for example.”

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Ripple hints its cryptocurrency product will go live ‘in the next month or so’

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Ripple

Blockchain start-up Ripple could launch a commercial application of its cryptocurrency-focused product “in the next month or so,” an executive at the company has told CNBC.

Sagar Sarbhai, head of regulatory relations for Asia-Pacific and the Middle East at Ripple, said Monday that the firm was making significant headway with its xRapid product, which is aimed at helping banks speed up transactions by using the cryptocurrency XRP.

“I am very confident that in the next one month or so you will see some good news coming in where we launch the product live in production,” Sarbhai said of xRapid in an interview with CNBC’s Arjun Kharpal.

Ripple says its xRapid product uses the XRP cryptocurrency as a kind of “bridge” between currencies, allowing payment providers and banks to process faster cross-border transactions.

For example, a bank might want to process a transaction from U.S. dollars to Indian rupees. According to Ripple, this process requires pre-funded local currency accounts in order to take place. With xRapid, Ripple claims that process would be sped up by converting the U.S. dollars into XRP tokens, to then move the money overseas, converting it back into Indian rupees at the other end.

The company has struck deals with various high-profile financial institutions, including Santander, American Express, MoneyGram and Western Union. But those partnerships have so far either been unrelated to XRP or are strictly xRapid trial runs. Not a single bank has begun testing the cryptocurrency product yet.

Sarbhai said that more than 120 banks and financial institutions are currently partnered with Ripple, using its blockchain-based product xCurrent. Blockchain, or distributed ledger technology, is commonly defined as a decentralized database for recording transactions — like a ledger book, only shared across multiple locations and with no central authority overseeing it.

Ripple’s xCurrent is used by banks to settle international transactions. The company says the platform, based on distributed ledger technology, is used by banks to message one another, confirming each stage of a cross-border payment in real-time.

Earlier this year, Ripple Chief Executive Brad Garlinghouse said the start-up would have “dozens” of banks using xRapid by the end of 2019.

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The $1 Billion Tezos Blockchain Is Officially Launching Monday

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Tezos

Announced today, the Tezos Foundation will officially launch the protocol on Monday, at which point the platform, whose token supply is today valued at more than $1 billion, will no longer be in beta, meaning it will be fully operational and run by its community.

Still, the designation is admittedly a semantic one. Tezos launched a mainnet, or live blockchain version of its software at the end of June, and since then its XTZ tokens have been tradeable.

While the blockchain was being used as intended throughout that time – with the number of network participants and staked tokens on the rise – technically the blockchain could have been paused for maintenance at any time.

According to knowledgeable sources, the only outage that occurred on the network happened in mid-July when blocks weren’t properly validating for approximately an hour. The problem was addressed, and the blockchain has been running smoothly since.

When it first launched, only the Tezos Foundation validated transactions on the network, but on July 20 the foundation opened up to third-party validators.

Jesperson recently published a large update on the Foundation blog, detailing business updates such as auditing and grantmaking, as well as speaking to some of the turmoil that preceded his tenure.

He wrote, “The turnaround was complex, occurred at high velocity and had us all intensely focused on success. To its credit, the entire team worked through the turmoil and produced exceptional work.”

The previous president of the foundation, Johann Gevers, stepped down in February, after a tenure in which many viewed him as stifling the launch of a protocol that set a record for the largest initial coin offering (ICO) of all time up that point – $232 million in July 2017.

Since Jesperson took over, along with a completely new board, the foundation has partnered with major auditing firm PricewaterhouseCoopers; actively funded academics, community members and entrepreneurs with interest in contributing to the ecosystem and set up the first set of validation nodes on which to launch the network.

Most recently, it announced funding for TezTech, a Tezos focused software shop with several projects underway, including a trustless scaling and custody solution, as well as APIs and software libraries.

The market capitalization for xtz currently hovers around $882 million, according to CoinMarketCap, with roughly $3 million in trading over the last 24 hours.

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European Central Bank: ‘No Plans’ for Digital Currency

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European Central Bank

The European Central Bank (ECB) has “no plans” to issue its own digital currency, President Mario Draghi told the European Parliament Wednesday, September 12.

Addressing a query by MEP Jonás Fernández, Draghi said “substantial development” was still needed in the underlying technology behind cryptocurrencies before the Central Bank would consider using them.

“The ECB and the Eurosystem currently have no plans to issue a central bank digital currency,” he summarized:

“Nonetheless, we are carefully analysing the potential consequences of issuing such a currency as a complement to cash.”

Explaining why no plans were afoot at the ECB, Draghi drew attention to those same factors.

“…The technologies which could potentially be used to issue a central bank digital currency […] have not yet been thoroughly tested and require substantial further development before they could be used in a central bank context,” he told Fernández, adding:

“With regard to the central bank administering individual accounts for households and companies, this would imply that the central bank would enter into competition for retail deposits with the banking sector and lead to potentially substantial operational costs and risks.”

He added there was at present “no concrete need” to issue an additional currency within the eurozone, saying demand for cash banknotes “continues to grow” in the EU28.

Draghi continues the wary stance the 28-member bloc has traditionally held on bank-issued cryptocurrency, in contrast to moves by countries such as Russia and China.

Earlier this year, a joint report from the ECB and Bank for International Settlements (BIS) highlighted “side effects” of a potential launch of such a currency, also considering the need for more research beforehand.

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BitGo Receives Regulatory Approval to Custody Crypto Assets

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Crypto Assets

Crypto security startup BitGo has received approval in the U.S. to act as a qualified custodian for digital assets.

The company, which has spent most of 2018 attempting to launch a regulated custodian entity, announced that the BitGo Trust had been approved by the South Dakota Division of Banking on Thursday, meaning it can now offer institutional clients a regulated storage solution for digital assets, said chief compliance and legal officer Shahla Ali.

Ali told CoinDesk that this may mark the first time a regulated custodian was designed and built from scratch specifically to target crypto assets.

“Currently … we offer an online hot wallet solution, which is available to anyone to download our software and store their coins. We also offer a custodial solution which is a combination of hot and cold wallet,” she said, although “that offering, though secure, is not regulated like the Trust.”

Although BitGo Trust was specifically approved by South Dakota regulators, Ali noted that “generally other states will give you reciprocity in the sense that other states have money transmission laws and they’ll exempt you from money transmission requirements.”

BitGo representatives met with state regulators during the process to approve the Trust, she said. Now that it’s been approved, “our hope is to build this platform out, to really demonstrate to regulators and customers that this model can work and we can really build a great trust company that safeguards assets.”

Although BitGo has customers who are ready to begin storing their assets with the Trust, under South Dakota regulations, the general public has 30 days to file an appeal against the decision. The company said it is set to begin operations on a technological level, and will do so once the 30-day period has expired if no appeals are filed.

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Gemini’s New USD Cryptocurrency Stablecoin

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Gemini

The Gemini cryptocurrency exchange, founded by the Winklevoss twins, announced on Monday that the company has launched a stablecoin built on the ERC-20 standard. Named “Gemini Dollar” (GUSD) the coin’s value will be “strictly pegged 1:1 to the U.S. dollar,” according to the whitepaper. Of course, many stablecoins exist that are pegged to USD, such as Tether (USDT) and Dai (DAI), though some pegs are reserve-based and other are algorithmic.

The technical specifications for Gemini coin are a large factor for improving trust, and below we will take a deep dive into the token’s whitepaper.

Gemini tokens and the amount in circulation can be viewed by the public on the Ethereum blockchain. An independent accounting firm will be retained to perform regularfull audits of the Gemini Trust Company to ensure that the tokens have the dollars to back them.

The blockchain will verify the overall supply of coins, while a third-party auditing firm will verify dollar amounts in accordance with auditing laws.

Gemini dollars are created on the blockchain whenever customers withdraw tokenized dollars from the Gemini exchange. They are destroyed or “redeemed” whenever users deposit them in their Gemini accounts.

Withdrawals can be sent to and stored on any Ethereum address as part of the ERC-20 protocol. The Gemini token retains all features in the ERC-20 protocol, namely smart contracts.

As the whitepaper states, Gemini wants to retain strict control over the token so that they can perform any upgrades. Gemini wants to:

  1. Resolve vulnerabilities;
  2. Extend the system with new features;
  3. Improve the system and optimize its operational efficiency; and
  4. Pause, block, or reverse token transfers in response to a security incident (i.e., catastrophic event) or if legally obligated or compelled to do so by a court of law or other governmental body.

They do this by laying smart contracts that perform different functions. The “Proxy” layer controls the rights for creating and transferring coins. As an assumption, this Proxy layer allows an easier mechanism to halt coin trading and issuance if there is a security incident. The Proxy acts as a governing layer for who and what can take place on the blockchain and execute the smart contract logic contain in the Impl layer.

The middle layer, called “Impl” (most likely an abbreviation for “implementation” ), contains the data and logic for smart contracts, whether that’s creating new tokens or transferring them under certain conditions. The Impl layer has smart contract features similar to most ERC-20 tokens. However, the idea is that the smart contract features only work assuming the Proxy has allowed the right to execute them.

The final smart contract layer is the actual ledger, called the “Store.” This layer maps token owners to their balances and serves as “the external and eternal Gemini dollar ledger.” This is where the public can view the ledger for Gemini coin transactions.

As a developer, the way I picture the smart contract layers is much like a web stack. The Proxy is the local server that allows files to execute. If the webmaster doesn’t want a file to execute anymore, they would remove it from the server. The files, or the “Impl” layer, need to store data in a database so it can be retrieved later at any time. The database is the “Store” of the essential information that is generated by the file’s logic.

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Ripple’s Former Legal Chief Joins Crypto Payments Startup

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Former Ripple

Former Ripple general counsel Brynly Llyr is taking on the same role for crypto payments startup Celo. Llyr, who left Ripple last Friday, will take charge of “all aspects of legal strategy at Celo,” the company announced Monday. These include policy, regulation, partnerships and intellectual property. Llyr will also play a role in Celo’s efforts to expand both within the U.S. and globally.

A spokesperson for the company told CoinDesk that she will specifically be involved in day-to-day operations as well.

The startup seeks to simplify the adoption process for using cryptocurrencies as a payment method. In pursuit of that aim, Celo intends to launch a money transfer and payment app geared toward developing markets in the near future.

In a statement, Llyr noted that “there are 1.7 billion people around the world that don’t have access to formal financial services.” She added:

“Celo is at the forefront of harnessing the blockchain and cryptocurrencies to empower them … I’m honored to join the incredibly talented team at Celo and look forward to bringing about positive change for financial inclusion to those who need it most.”

Celo chief executive Rene Reinsberg welcomed Llyr in a statement, noting that “she has great experience in virtual currency, fintech and the blockchain.”

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OKEx Launched Partner Exchange Program

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OKEx

The world-leading digital asset exchange OKEx has recently launched its Partner Exchange Program, which not only offers an opportunity for the far-sighted teams to own a world’s leading digital asset exchange like OKEx, but also offers an impetus to build an open and mutual-benefit blockchain ecosystem.

Initiated by the most trusted digital asset exchange

OK Partner Exchange Program is an exchange incubation program launched by OKEx, one of the top digital asset exchanges by trading volume which has long been ranking top on CoinMarketCap. OKEx provides advanced financial services to global traders by using blockchain technology and ranked the top digital asset exchange by trading volume, serving millions of users in over 100 countries.

All-round support provided to OK Partners

Being a member of OK Partner Exchange Program, you will be able to own your OKEx equivalent top digital asset exchange with the world’s leading blockchain technologies, operation support, global customer service system and more, while zero tech investment required.

Leading tech support

OKEx’s global technical team will provide tech support to build your own exchange and share the core technologies like order matching system, wallet service, counter system, and clearing system developed in over five years, you can quickly build exchange website and own your personalized world-leading exchange with zero tech investment.

Experienced operation support

OKEx’s operation team will offer detailed instructions to guarantee that the operating systems can be quickly structured. By front-end support and the background operation system of Sass, partners will be able to operate exchanges more flexibly. Moreover, the professional global customer support will also be accessible to all OK Partners to reduce your cost of customer service.

Sharing high-liquidity

With the order matching system provided by the program, orders from OKEx and all OK partners will be matched in one system. You can share the order book and high liquidity with OKEx and all OK partner exchanges, which enables you to offer a world-class digital asset trading experience from the first day.

Sharing 400+ trading pairs

You can get any OKEx’s digital assets listed on your exchange with one click to support your customers to trade freely between hundreds of tokens in BitcoinETH and USDT markets. In addition, margin and futures trading service will be launched in the near future depending on the operation of partner exchanges, while Fiat Trading may possibly be available if the policy allowed in your registration place.

Autonomous token-listing

OK Partner enjoys the autonomous right to list tokens on their exchanges. Moreover, the qualified tokens can be recommended to list on OKEx exchange after the audit process.

Co-promotion in all channels

OKEx has massive user base on its platform, official accounts and communities, as well as established cooperation with dozens of media both home and abroad. Once your exchange been launched as OK partner, OKEx will give full support to promote in all media and channels together with you.

Appreciable Revenue& Distribution

It is for sure that all OK partners will enjoy appreciable revenue and up to 70% trading fee with the considerate revenue distribution proposal of OKEx. The revenue and distribution will be cleared and transferred to your designated account every day at a fixed time to ensure the high efficiency of operation.

How to apply for being an OK Partner

The program is now hotly ongoing, anyone interested in OK Partner Exchange Program can just send application email with the theme Application for OKEx partner + team/company name and leave the contact info including contact name, phone number and introduction of team to [email protected].

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You Can Now Send CryptoKitties with Opera’s Cryptocurrency Wallet

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CryptoKitties

Opera is not wasting any time polishing its built-in cryptocurrency browser wallet. The company is expanding its crypto-wallet beta program with two new functionalities: transaction notifications and the ability to send crypto-collectibles like CryptoKitties directly from your wallet.

It is a fairly minor update, but what is significant is that Opera claims it is the first app to offer the ability to send crypto-collectibles directly from your wallet (as opposed to via non-fungible token marketplaces coupled with wallet extensions like MetaMask).

“We have changed this and made sending crypto-collectibles as easy as sending money via Venmo,” a statement from Opera read. “We feel this makes them more tangible from a user’s perspective.”

Coinbase’s now-defunct Toshi wallet announced support for Ethereum’s non-fungible token protocol (more commonly known as ERC721) earlier this year, but it didn’t provide the ability to send crypto-collectibles directly from the browser. Not that this little convenience does much to make crypto-collectibles slightly more useful.

In addition to ERC721 support, Opera’s crypto-wallet will also ping you anytime your balance changes. “We are […] tracking the user’s transactions and notifying them about their progress and completion,” the company explained to Hard Fork. “The same applies if you are receiving a payment, a token or a collectible: you will get notified that there is something new in your wallet.”

Opera has gradually been adding more crypto-specific features to its browser over the past few months. Following the rollout of its native crypto-jacking feature, the company revealed it will be adding a built-in cryptocurrency wallet that would support Ethereum tokens and dApps.

Taking into account the dwindling market share of non-Chrome browsers and the booming blockchain market, it is not all that surprising that Opera is taking aim at cryptocurrency users. It will be interesting to see what Opera has to offer over competitors like Brave, which many have recently critcized for its seemingly flawed business model.

In any case, next time you need an easy way of selling your $170,000 digital kitties, now you know how to do it.

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