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The Winklevii just made their first-ever acquisition — and they're buying a crypto firm run by another pair of identical twins

Cameron and Tyler Winklevoss — of Facebook founding fame — made their first acquisition, buying a crypto firm helmed by identical twins Duncan and Griffin Cock Foster, Bloomberg reported Tuesday. The Winklevoss' Gemini Trust bought Nifty Gateway, a company that lets users buy digital collectibles called "nifties" with credit cards instead of complex crypto wallets. Nifties can range from a game item to a token representing ownership of a physical asset, and are tracked on blockchain ledgers. The acquisition had "so many great parallels," Tyler Winklevoss told Bloomberg, and made for "just the right fit." Visit the Business Insider homepage for more stories. Cameron and Tyler Winklevoss made their first-ever acquisition, Bloomberg reported Tuesday, and the entrepreneurs involved have more than their crypto interests in common. The Winklevii purchased Nifty Gateway, a business that allows user to buy "nifties" — digital collectibles tracked on a blockchain ledger — with a credit card. The company's founders, Duncan and Griffin Cock Foster, are also identical twins.  "You can't make this stuff up," Tyler Winklevoss told Bloomberg. "There are so many great parallels, it was just the right fit." Nifties can range from an in-game item to a token representing a physical item like a painting or book. Such collectibles are typically purchased with digital-currency wallets, which require several steps and transfers to set up. The Winklevoss twins rose to fame for their role in Facebook's founding. They now run Gemini, a cryptocurrency exchange founded in 2015 that looks to bring government regulation and legitimacy to the volatile asset.  The Winklevoss' Gemini Trust acquired Nifty for an undisclosed amount, and the two crypto-related ventures will continue to work separately from each other. The arrangement could change, and Nifty services could find their way onto Gemini's platform, according to Bloomberg. The Cock Foster's platform currently allows users to buy nifties from OpenSea marketplace and the CryptoKitties and Gods Unchained games, according to Bloomberg. Duncan Cock Foster projects nifties to reach 1 billion collectors in the future. The Winklevoss twins are similarly optimistic, telling Bloomberg the nifties industry will eventually dwarf the art, gaming, and collectibles markets.  "All great companies, all great ideas there's a period where you see a truth and many other people don't, and you have to have that conviction," Tyler Winklevoss told Bloomberg. Now read more markets coverage from Markets Insider and Business Insider: A notoriously bearish hedge fund manager is more convinced than ever a crash is coming — and has pushed his short bets to a record Uber's former CEO Travis Kalanick offloads another $171 million in stock as his massive sell-off continues Sensor firm FLIR grabs first big Army unmanned systems contract since it bought Endeavor Robotics for $382 millionJoin the conversation about this story » NOW WATCH: A big-money investor in juggernauts like Facebook and Netflix breaks down the '3rd wave' firms that are leading the next round of tech disruption
Business Insider

Stable Currencies Company Coin Shares Releasing New Gold-Supported Token

Stable currencies are all the rage as of late. However, most are allegedly backed by fiat money such as the U.S. dollar, the euro, the yen and the yuan. Less often do we encounter coins backed by precious metals or similar commodities, and Coin Shares Group is looking to change that. Stable Currencies Are Growing in Popularity Based in London, Coin Shares is a company that specializes in stable coins. The company has recently released a new product its dubbing DGLD, which is a form of gold that’s tied to bitcoin. Gold is widely considered one of the most stable assets in the world, and likely to retain its value even during times of economic strife. Many see it as a prime tool for retaining wealth. Thus, even though it doesn’t qualify as a form of fiat, gold works similarly with money like USD, and tying it to bitcoin creates a stable blockchain of sorts. The company plans to release as much as $20 million-worth of the new gold-backed coin. That $20 million will come in the forms of new tokens, each one representing approximately a tenth of an ounce of gold. At the time of writing, one ounce of gold is worth approximately $1,480 – roughly one-sixth the price of bitcoin. Meltem Demirors, chief investment officer at Coin Shares, comments: As the stable coin starts to become more popular, we’ve seen numerous attempts to create gold-backed coins. Over the past few years, the world has experienced a surge in stable coin popularity. Several new entities have been added to the mix, including Tether, the Gemini Dollar, and Coinbase’s USD Coin (USDC). In fact, even Facebook’s new cryptocurrency – Libra – is slated to be a stable currency, backed by a basket of different fiat including the euro and USD. Stable coins are designed to protect investors against volatility, which is a continuing problem in the crypto space. Currencies such as bitcoin, Ethereum, bitcoin cash and Litecoin, for example, are all more mainstream than your standard stable coin. The opportunity exists to make more money with these currencies as they can incur heavy price swings that bring their value up significantly. Volatility is a Problem Unfortunately, this trait also works in reverse. These coins, which can move high up the financial ladder at a moment’s notice, can also lose all their value without warning, meaning that those who’ve invested everything also stand to lose everything. As it stands, more than a dozen gold-backed cryptocurrencies exist within the space, and Coin Shares’ new product is looking to compete with all of them. The currency will be available soon via Blockchain Luxembourg’s SAs and MKS SAs platforms in the coming weeks granted the company can garner regulatory approval with the country’s legislators. The post Stable Currencies Company Coin Shares Releasing New Gold-Supported Token appeared first on Live Bitcoin News.
Live Bitcoin News

BitPay Adds Support For XRP Amidst A Myriad Of Positive News In The Ripple Ecosystem

BitPay a crypto payments behemoth with a huge presence globally announced that its merchants will soon start receiving XRP as payment for online goods and services. Recently, BitPay added support for ethereum. The platform also already supports Bitcoin (BTC), Bitcoin Cash (BCH) and stablecoins like Gemini Dollar (GUSD), USD Coin (USDC), and Paxos Standard Token (PAX). For XRP enthusiasts, BitPay adding XRP support was long overdue. Also, this news comes as Ripple is swimming in a plethora of other good news. Bitpay Adds Support For XRP; A Match Made In Crypto Heaven? According to a press release posted on October 2, BitPay has partnered with Ripple’s investment arm, Xpring to facilitate cross border payments. BitPay announced that their wallet users and prepaid cardholders will be able to store and make purchases with XRP via its network of merchants by the end of 2019. Speaking about the support for XRP, BitPay’s Director of Product noted that XRP payments are “fast, cost-effective and scalable”. In previous years, BitPay has processed payments made by big businesses like Microsoft, FanDuel, Avnet, and Dish Networks worth billions of dollars. Early in January, the payments company stated that it had experienced a 255% growth from the previous year as a result of multiple law firms, IT vendors and data center providers signing up to accept payments in bitcoin. With this BitPay partnership, these big businesses will, therefore, be able to turn on XRP support without the need for additional integration or enhancements. On the part of XRP, the Senior Vice President of Xpring opined that this partnership with BitPay will foster the adoption of XRP as a medium of exchange in a bid to help solve real-world problems. More Positive News A partnership with BitPay is huge, but it is certainly not the only positive development that has happened in the Ripple or XRP ecosystem in the last couple of days. Yesterday, Ripple’s Xpring announced a new platform – similar to Amazon Web Services and Oracle – which will support both fiat and crypto payments. This newly-launched developer platform will also integrate with BitPay Wallet, making it seamless for developers of all kinds to integrate money into their businesses. XRP Ledger wallet provider, GateHub, partnered with online monetization platform Coil on October 1 to facilitate real-time payments in XRP. With the partnership, Coil content creators will be able to monetize their work and receive payments with XRP. Also, they will have the option to convert their XRP into bitcoin, ethereum or fiat currencies like Euro and US dollar. On September 30, Ripple announced that it had onboarded Algrim, a team of six engineers based in Iceland. Per the official announcement, Algrim, which previously developed a crypto trading platform, will be assigned the development of Ripple’s ongoing On-Demand Liquidity product which utilizes XRP cryptocurrency to enable international payments. This acquisition is also important in expanding the presence of Ripple in Europe.  Also, Ripple recently rebranded the website, notably dropping mentions of xVia, xCurrent, and xRapid. On the new site, Ripple seems to push RippleNet which is the payment system that uses XRP to process and settle cross-border payments. RippleNet is now the major solution that encompasses the features of the previous Ripple products. All customers who have used the xCurrent product in the past, now automatically join RippleNet. xRapid has been replaced with On-Demand Liquidity. This rebranding is presumably an attempt by Ripple to differentiate itself from the digital asset, XRP. Finally, the annual Swell conference hosted by Ripple is around the corner. This event is often bullish for XRP before and after it happens. This year’s Swell event will be held in Singapore from November 7-8. The XRP army is excited about this event with hopes of a price rally for XRP like it has been the case every year.  What Do These Positive News Spell For XRP? Popular analyst-cum-trader Luke Martin took to Twitter to explain that this Swell conference, combined with strong fundamentals could allow XRP to surge throughout this month. Pointing to a chart, he noted: “$XRP moving higher, continuing to form rounded bottom. This is more than a technical story. The SWELL narrative should be a positive force for the next 30 days. My favorite major altcoin chart for October.” XRP has remained range-bound over the past few weeks, which may be an indication of consolidation before a huge move. At press time, XRP is valued at $0.249668 with little price difference over the last 24 hours. With a market cap of $ 10.76 billion, XRP remains the third-ranked cryptocurrency. However, with such positive fundamentals that show an increasing number of Ripple partnerships globally, XRP might be poised for lift-off. The post BitPay Adds Support For XRP Amidst A Myriad Of Positive News In The Ripple Ecosystem appeared first on ZyCrypto.

BitPay Announced That They Will Add Support for XRP Later This Year

Coinspeaker BitPay Announced That They Will Add Support for XRP Later This YearJust recently, BitPay announced that they will add support for XRP later this year. This comes after Ripple’s Xpring launched a new platform with which it now becomes possible to integrate fiat and cryptocurrency payments into any application. BitPay says that they have partnered with Xpring to integrate XRP on their platform so that other businesses and merchants can accept the largely discussed cryptocurrency.Sean Rolland, the director of product at BitPay says:“XRP can offer a payment option that is fast, cost-effective and scalable.”With the help of this partnership and support, all the BitPay wallet users and cardholders will be able to spend and store XRP as they want. Last month they announced support for Ethereum and now all-together the payments provider accepts six plus one (XRP later this year) cryptocurrencies. These currencies include Bitcoin, Bitcoin Cash, USD Coin, Gemini Dollar, and Paxos Standard Token.Last year, BitPay processed a little over $1 billion in payments. These payments include global merchants like Microsoft, Avnet, and FanDuel.“BitPay’s B2B business continues to grow rapidly as our solution is cheaper and quicker than a bank wire from most regions of the world,” said Stephen Pair, the CEO and co-founder of BitPay.Ripple’s Xpring, on the other hand, just recently announced a new platform that enables to integrate fiat and crypto payments into any application. This includes a new SDK (Software Development Kit) that allows programmers to integrate XRP on lots of different programming languages. By doing this, Ripple tends to target crypto and non-crypto developers.“Xpring SDK allows you the developer to use the XRP ledger simply and in any programming language you want. […] What takes a developer today a 100 lines of code to do a transaction on XRP ledger, using Xpring SDK cuts that down by 80 percent.” says Ethan Beard, the senior vice president at Xpring.This looks like a big day to Ripple and XRP as they also announced that their currency will be available on the BRD wallet and Anchorage, a digital custody provider. With the help of BitPay, Ripple along with XRP hopes that their currency will be used by industry giants like Microsoft and AT&T.At the time of writing, XRP price makes $0,248, showing 0,46% over the last 24hrs. BitPay Announced That They Will Add Support for XRP Later This Year

BitPay to add support for XRP cryptocurrency later this year

Blockchain payments provider BitPay will add support for XRP, the world’s third-largest cryptocurrency by market capitalization, by the end of this year. Revealing the news exclusively to The Block on Wednesday, BitPay said it has partnered with Ripple’s Xpring unit to integrate XRP on its platform so that businesses and merchants can accept the cryptocurrency. “XRP can offer a payment option that is fast, cost-effective and scalable,” said Sean Rolland, director of product at BitPay. With the partnership, BitPay’s wallet users, as well as its prepaid cardholders, will also be able to store and spend XRP via its merchants and businesses. Just last month, BitPay added support for ether (ETH) cryptocurrency. The firm also supports payments in bitcoin (BTC) and bitcoin cash (BCH), as well as three stablecoins - Circle and Coinbase-led USD Coin (USDC), Gemini Dollar (GUSD), and Paxos Standard Token (PAX). BitPay processed over $1 billion in payments last year from global merchants including Microsoft, Dish Networks, FanDuel and Avnet. “BitPay’s B2B business continues to grow rapidly as our solution is cheaper and quicker than a bank wire from most regions of the world,” Stephen Pair, co-founder and CEO of BitPay, said at the time.
The Block Crypto

Binance US Liquidity Surpasses Gemini Exchange After Just 9 Days

Binance US launched just over a week ago, but its liquidity is already above that of the Winklevoss Twin’s Gemini exchange. This fact was stressed by Binance CEO Changpeng Zhao (CZ). Binance US Liquidity Triples CZ cited data from to point out that Binance’s American branch saw its liquidity tripling in about a week. Small beginnings @BinanceAmerica, one week in, liquidity more than tripled. Grown faster than @Binance back in the day. — CZ Binance (@cz_binance) October 2, 2019 Liquidity is a term that refers to the ease at which traders can buy or sell a cryptocurrency. Trading on crypto exchanges with higher liquidity is more convenient since entering and exiting a particular market is more accessible due to the abundance of a given cryptocurrency held or circulating at the exchange. Despite the high liquidity, Binance US’ trading volume is still infinitesimal. However, don’t forget that the platform came out only a week ago, so we should stay patient until more traders join the exchange. Currently, the US branch generates a 24-hour volume figure of $2 million. For comparison, the same Gemini displays over $16 million while Coinbase Pro generates over $152 million. Binance’s global platform itself handles more than $740 million in daily trading volume. Currently, Binance US offers 28 markets to trade on, including 12 USD-based pairs, 11 USDT-based pairs, and 5 pairs that have Bitcoin as a base currency. American traders can sell their US dollars in exchange for Bitcoin, Ethereum, Bitcoin Cash, Litecoin, Stellar Lumens, Ripple’s XRP, Tether’s USDT, and the native token BNB, among others. More coins will show up gradually. Despite being around for several days, Coinmarketcap still shows no data for Binance US, though it has already prepared a page for it. Expanding at Fast Pace CZ said that the US branch was growing faster than Binance back in the day. Traders might feel motivated to join the platform for zero fees until the end of October. On a side note, Binance US announced through its Twitter profile that scammers were posing as official customer support agents. Scammers are posing as official customer support. There are NO official customer support agents on Twitter. If you have an issue, please submit an official support ticket here: Stay smart. Stay #SAFU. — Binance.US (@BinanceAmerica) September 24, 2019 We might find out more details about Binance US from Anthony Pompliano’s interview with CEO Catherine Coley. You might find the interview soon in another “Off the Chain” podcast. Do you expect the American branch of Binance to challenge US-based crypto exchanges like Coinbase? Share your thoughts in the comments section!  Images via Shutterstock, Twitter: @cz_binance, @BinanceAmerica The post Binance US Liquidity Surpasses Gemini Exchange After Just 9 Days appeared first on

Crypto Exchange Giant Binance Finally Launched US Trading

Coinspeaker Crypto Exchange Giant Binance Finally Launched US TradingMalta-based cryptocurrency exchange Binance has finally opened up it’s long-awaited “store” in America’s part of the crypto-space, by launching trading on its new exchange for U.S. users. Today, on September 24, Binance.US has been officially launched. Opens Trading For BTC, ETH, XRP, BCH, LTC, BNB and USDT— Binance.US (@BinanceAmerica) September 24, 2019The company hopes that by doing so, it could enlarge its influence on the world’s largest economy and become one of its leading cryptocurrency trading locations. Until now, in the U.S. we could find only Coinbase and Gemini that are both still very much recognizable options available to U.S. traders.In an announcement, Binance.US said it would have 13 inaugural trading pairs across the cryptocurrencies of Bitcoin (BTC), Bitcoin cash (BCH), Binance Coin (BNB),Ether (ETH), Litecoin (LTC), XRP, and the Tether stablecoin (USDT).Had a small deployment glitch at the beginning, fixed.— CZ Binance (@cz_binance) September 24, 2019In their separate announcement, the exchange said support for the second wave of projects would be rolled out on September 25, just one day after launch. The list of the coins to be added includes Basic Attention Token (BAT), Cardano (ADA), Ethereum Classic (ETC), Stellar (XLM), and 0x (ZRX), and they are now able to be deposited onto the platform.The company’s disclosure of BNB support when it opened deposits last week, came as a surprise to some users, because there were certain speculations in some circles that Binance might avoid doing so, at least at the start (before CZ confirmed that BNB would be supported), over the possibility the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) might consider BNB a security.Until November 1, 2019, Binance.US will offer zero fees and additionally, all new users who complete Fiat Verification will receive a $15 sign-up bonus once they reach $100 in trading volume (buy and/or sell, any trading pairs).Also, you can earn yourself an extra $15 for every new sign-up you refer to Binance.US.Introducing the Referral Program💵Get $15 when you complete $100 in trading volume.💰Get an additional $15 for each friend you invite who does the same.— Binance.US (@BinanceAmerica) September 19, 2019Catherine Coley, CEO of Binance.US. said:“Binance.US is tailor-made for Americans at every step of its development. We are thrilled to establish Binance.US as a distinctive marketplace with roots in America, as we aim to educate and foster the American community to adopt crypto with purpose.”She commented that in their partnership with Binance, they plan to work together on increasing the freedom of money worldwide while bringing their unmatched trading technology platform to the U.S. and supporting the expansion of a globally recognized brand in a key market.Coley added:“We look forward to providing more security and accessibility to digital currencies and the blockchain projects behind them for the American Binance community.”It’s worth mentioning that a new CEO, Catherine Coley, is a former head of XRP institutional liquidity at Ripple and has previously worked for Silicon Valley Bank and Morgan Stanley, managing foreign exchange business, before joining blockchain startup Ripple in 2017.As Binance.US will grow, it is planned that it will serve as an innovative, affordable and approachable venue for users to buy, sell and hold digital assets within the U.S., including an easy-to-use fiat on-ramp.Also, as part of its US launch, Binance partnered with BAM Trading Services, a little-known Californian-registered firm. to “serve the U.S. market in full regulatory compliance” as it was noted by Binance CEO CZ last month.Crypto Exchange Giant Binance Finally Launched US Trading

Is BitPay Support The Catalyst That Catapults ETH Price Past $200?

This week began with Ethereum as the center of attention in the crypto market. In the past couple of days, ETH has been surging without the influence of the king crypto calling the shots. Today, ETH is registering gains again boosted by both technical and fundamental bullish news. In the morning hours today, ETH hit $200 for the first time in months before experiencing a slight pullback. At present, ETH is trading at $198.90 with 2.37% gains on the day. BitPay announcement is the latest bullish fundamental occurrence in the ETH ecosystem. The giant payments provider revealed on September 16 that soon it will be possible for their clients to accept Ethereum (ETH) payments from ETH holders worldwide for goods and services. BitPay Adds Support For Ethereum (ETH)  In a press release sent to ZyCrypto, the blockchain-centric payments processor announced the great news for ether holders. Before this development, BitPay only supported bitcoin, Bitcoin Cash and a few stablecoins such as USD Coin (USDC), Paxos Standard Token (PAX) and Gemini Dollar (GUSD), for its payments program. In a press comment, BitPay CEO Stephen Pair said: “As one of the largest cryptocurrencies by market cap and one used by thousands of companies, Ethereum is the next logical choice.” Other than receiving ETH payments, it will also be possible for wallet users to store and use ETH in a BitPay wallet and BitPay Prepaid Visa Cardholders will be able to seamlessly top up their debit cards. Ethereum Co-founder Vitalik Buterin expressed his excitement stating that this development will create more opportunities for the ethereum ecosystem particularly by increasing real-world use-cases of cryptocurrencies. This news adds to the list of recent positive news in the Ethereum ecosystem. Yesterday we reported that Ethereum’s network utilization has hit an ATH based on the daily gas usage. Besides that, last week, Ripple-backing Spanish bank Santander announced that it had issued and settled a $20 million bond with a one-year maturity on Ethereum public blockchain. It’s Not All Rainbows And Unicorns For BitPay Although this news of integration of Ethereum comes as good news for Ethereum holders, BitPay has been under attack recently. Editor in chief and founder of Hong Kong Free Press (HKFP) Tom Grundy put BitPay on the spot on September 11 after stating in a Twitter thread that bitcoin donations sent to HKFP had been withheld by BitPay without any good reason.  In another tweet, Grundy explains that BitPay had held the donations merely because banks in Hong Kong depend on SWIFT and not IBANS: “Funds held for weeks simply b/c HK banks use SWIFT not IBANS Never use @BitPay, folks. Truly the worst experience you can imagine- poor reputation, abysmal communication, horrible customer service, *very* high fees. Almost any alternative will be better.”  Grundy concluded by demanding that BitPay co-founders Tony Gallippi and Stephen Pair see to it that the donations are released lest he takes legal action: “@TonyGallippi – I’ve sent you & Steve a LinkedIn message. Am ready to go to war with publicity and legal action – sort it out guys.” What Analysts Have To Say About Recent ETH Rally Many are hoping that this surge by Ethereum while bitcoin remains in the red could trigger an altcoin-wide rally. This is partly because bitcoin’s dominance had reached 71.2% last week, but has since dropped to 68.8% as per CoinGecko.  Analysts believe this downward correction of bitcoin’s dominance is likely to continue in the near-term. Renowned trader Dave the Wave observed that the Moving Average Convergence Divergence (MACD) trend indicator has begun rolling over, depicting that altcoins are showing more strength compared to bitcoin. Dave the Wave is not alone. Analyst-cum-trader Escobar also thinks an altseason is around the corner. He said: “$ETH 1D TF- ETH leading alts to glory in September begins. See you at FourFiddy.” However, an analyst by the name Etherdamus observed that the total market cap has remained constant despite the rally, showing that there’s no fresh money that has flowed into ethereum. He opined: “ETH is up but total crypto market cap still staying flat, price increase could just be money being moved around from other crypto’s rather than fresh money. Waiting for TMC to pass $260B.” Bitcoin is posting 1.3% losses on the day to trade at $10,169.03 as per CoinGecko’s data. Most of the top altcoins are in the green apart from Bitcoin SV, Monero, and Stellar (XLM) which are registering 0.8%, 0.5%, 0.3% losses on the daily scale. The post Is BitPay Support The Catalyst That Catapults ETH Price Past $200? appeared first on ZyCrypto.

BitPay is bringing Ethereum payments mainstream

BitPay, the largest crypto payments provider, which facilitates over $1 billion in Bitcoin transactions annually, will add support for Ethereum. Companies which use BitPay for payment processing can now accept Ethereum for purchases.  Moreover, BitPay will provide users with the ability to store Ether in a BitPay wallet and provide access to Ether on BitPay prepaid Visa cards. Stephen Pair, the CEO of BitPay stated: “BitPay is consistently at the forefront of using cryptocurrency to solve real-world problems and offer our global customers the best options to accept and pay with multiple blockchain assets. As one of the largest cryptocurrencies by market cap and one used by thousands of companies, Ethereum is the next logical choice.” Previously, BitPay was processing payments with Bitcoin and Bitcoin Cash. BitPay also offers stablecoin settlement with USD Coin, Gemini Dollar, and Paxos Standard token with support for 12 currencies and direct bank deposits to 37 countries. Vitalik Buterin, co-founder and creator of Ethereum, also commented on the development:  “It is exciting to see BitPay leading the way in integrating Ethereum into global payment systems. This truly opens up a new world of possibilities for the Ethereum ecosystem, and together we can continue to be a leading innovator for real-world use cases for cryptocurrencies.” BitPay’s existing merchants, such as Microsoft, Newegg, Dish Networks, FanDuel and Avnet, will be able to turn on support for Ethereum seamlessly, with no additional integration will be required. In the coming weeks, BitPay plans to go live with Ethereum support for its other services, including BitPay merchants and BitPay wallet holders. In Bitcoin alone, BitPay processes approximately $1 billion in transaction value. Less than a month ago, the Bitcoin wallet and blockchain explorer provider Blockchain announced a partnership with the payment processor. With another meaningful way to pay with Ethereum, BitPay’s integration will help ETH achieve its goal as widely-accepted programmable money. The post BitPay is bringing Ethereum payments mainstream appeared first on CryptoSlate.

BitPay to launch Ethereum support in coming weeks

BitPay is expanding its capabilities to Ethereum, allowing merchants across the world to accept the currency. The payment provider announced today that customers will be able to securely and compliantly accept the currency in the coming weeks. The launch will also allow wallet users to store Ethereum in their BitPay wallets, in addition to allowing BitPay Prepaid Visa Card holders to add to their debit cards. Stephen Pair, CEO of BitPay, said in a statement that integrating Ethereum was the "next logical choice" for the company. Ethereum joins BitPay's payment mechanism offerings of bitcoin and bitcoin cash. The company also supports stable coin settlement with Circle CENTRE USD Coin, Gemini Dollar and Paxos Standard token in addition to 12 currencies and direct bank deposit in some countries.  Merchants like Microsoft, Newegg, Dish Networks, FanDuel and Avnet will be able to support the currency without any additional integration effort on their end, according to the company. They'll also be able to process cross-border transactions. Ethereum support will go live very soon, according to the company. However, an official launch date has not been specified within the announcement.
The Block Crypto

Gemini expands into custody with instant trades from cold storage

Gemini is diving deeper into the market for cryptocurrencies with the launch of a new qualified custody unit, the firm announced Tuesday.  The firm, founded by Cameron and Tyler Winklevoss, announced the launch of Gemini Trust Company, which will serve as a qualified custodian, offering the ability to instantly trade 18 cryptocurrencies from offline storage including bitcoin, bitcoin cash, ether, litecoin, and 14 ethereum-based tokens, including Basic Attention Token and Bancor. It is a striking number of coins considering Gemini's conservative listing approach — the exchange has only added support for six assets since launching in 2015. The launch of the new business comes at a time of increased competition in the custody landscape. Recently, Coinbase has expanded its offering via the acquisition of Xapo's institutional arm. At the same time, new players such as Anchorage and Fidelity Digital Assets have come online to offer investors a new way to store assets in what is known to be a volatile market. Still, investors have been crying for solutions that will balance security and the ability to move assets quickly to trade.  In response, earlier this year Gemini rivals Coinbase and BitGo released products that offer direct trading from offline storage by bringing together OTC services and custody offerings. In January, BitGo, in partnership with Genesis Global Trading, started testing same-day settlement from cold storage and in March, Coinbase Custody began offering instant trades. Amidst an increasingly competitive landscape with industry titans, Gemini has sought ways to differentiate its product offerings. To get a better understanding of its market positioning, The Block spoke with Jeanine Hightower-Sellitto, Gemini’s Managing Director of Operations who joined a year ago from Nasdaq’s International Securities Exchange.  The following is an edited transcript of our discussion: The Block: How are you differentiating Gemini Custody instant trades from your competition? Hightower-Sellitto: I believe that our offering for Gemini instant trading is unique in the crypto space for custody. We’re providing liquidity from cold storage for the exchange account for trading on the Limit Order Book that Gemini operates. There's a big difference between trading OTC and trading on a regulated listed order book.  The Block: Can you explain how Gemini Custody’s instant trades work? Hightower-Sellitto: For custody instant trades, we allow customers to trade on the exchange using the balances they have for those particular assets in cold storage without sacrificing any of the security in the withdrawal process. This provides customers immediate liquidity to their holdings that are held offline without having to miss any market opportunities for which they would want to be trading as assets on a real-time basis. So if there’s a price dislocation coming to market, you don’t have to wait the hours or longer for those assets to be actually physically delivered into the exchange account. We can credit your exchange account for the assets that you hold in cold storage and you’re able to initiate trading on those balances right away while we follow the full security feature set for withdrawing your assets from cold storage. We can give you the advance because we have a super liquid hot wallet for the exchange. The Block: Is this a full rollout or are you in test mode? Hightower-Sellitto: It’s a full rollout. The Block: What’s new in the feature set? Hightower-Sellitto: The user interface has been live for a short period of time but the ability to initiate the transfer to the trading account for Gemini Custody instant trade is new. The ability to create unlimited sub-accounts for both custody accounts and exchange trading accounts is relatively new, we put out that release last Tuesday. The ability for customers to self-manage view-only access for account activity is new. Gemini Clearing for OTC trades was announced last Friday. Expanded custody support for the 13 ERC-20 tokens is new. [Gemini does not support ERC-20 tokens on the exchange, other than its stablecoin GUSD] The Block: Are there additional fees for instant trades? Hightower-Sellitto: There are no additional fees for instant trades. The trading fees follow the same fee schedule as those available on our website. The Block: How many assets under custody does Gemini have? [BitGo claims more than $2 billion, CoinBase claims to be the world’s largest crypto custodian with over $7 billion resulting from its acquisition of Xapo’s institutional business in August] Hightower-Sellitto: We’ve never disclosed our assets under custody but it’s pretty meaningful in terms of size. We think customers should be evaluating their custodian based on the quality of their offering, their security profile and their operational procedures, and not necessarily because others have put assets there. It should be a thoughtful vetting process by each customer. The Block: How does your instant trades announcement tie into the opening of Gemini’s Chicago office? [Gemini opened their Chicago office in June as Coinbase exited the region and laid off a pool of engineers.] Hightower-Sellitto: They’re not necessarily tied. Chicago came about because there were qualified candidates we were seeking to hire in the Chicago area and it made sense for us to expand there based on that talent available in that area. It’s a really great place for us to draw talent from the traditional financial markets and trading environment. The Block: Do you see something special about the Chicago market? Hightower-Sellitto: Personally, I do because I worked in the options markets for many years and Chicago is the home of options trading. There are a lot of options market participants that have migrated to crypto so I’m happy to see us with a presence there and catering to that customer base. The Block: Are there other markets that you’re looking at? Hightower-Sellitto: We just announced that we’re expanding into Australia so international expansion is at the forefront of our minds. We already operate in 49 of the 50 U.S. states as well as Washington D.C., Puerto Rico, Canada, Hong Kong, Singapore, South Korea, United Kingdom. Bigger cities have large groups of individuals that may have an interest in crypto so we’re focused on those. There’s activity going on with ad campaigns in Miami, Austin and Santa Monica. The Block: What do you think is causing the rise in institutional investor interest in crypto? Hightower-Sellitto: There are many things that help to increase an institutional investor’s participation in the market. Rising prices is always one of the biggest drivers. The Block: What obstacles are standing in the way of mass adoption of crypto for the institutional investor? Hightower-Sellitto: A clear regulatory framework would do wonders for spurring adoption. Who the regulator will be? What their expectations are? When those standards are met? I think we’ll get there but there is more work to be done. This post was written by Martine Paris, a freelance reporter on technology and cryptocurrencies. 
The Block Crypto

Flexa brings cryptocurrency payments to over 7,500 Canadian merchants

Cryptocurrency payment processing service provider Flexa is coming to Canada, the company announced in a blog post on Tuesday. This is Flexa's first offering outside the U.S. According to the startup, through its partnership with Canadian cryptocurrency exchange Coinsquare, Canadian customers will be able to make payments in bitcoin, ether, bitcoin cash, litecoin, zcash, and Gemini dollar in over 7,500 merchant locations across Canada by the first week of September. Additionally, Canadian customers visiting the U.S. can use the SPEDN app to make cryptocurrency payments at U.S. merchants and vice-versa. In May, Flexa announced the launch of its cryptocurrency mobile payments app SPEDN and a partnership with New York-based crypto exchange Gemini to enable its users to spend cryptocurrencies with major U.S. retailers including Starbucks. Flexa was founded in 2018 and has raised $14.1 million from investors including Pantera Capital, 1kx, and Nima Capital through a private token sale.
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