Značka: cryptocurrency exchange

Crypto firms ignore Africa at their peril as continent set for major adoption

Even though the digital asset market seems to be witnessing a bit of a lull at the moment, the adoption of crypto-centric tech has continued to move forward with a full head of steam globally. Africa, in particular, is a continent where a growing list of mainstream financial entities have continued to make their presence felt, as they have begun to realize that the economic opportunities presented by the region are immense.To put things into perspective, a recent report released by Singapore-based crypto data provider Triple A shows that the North African country of Morocco currently boasts one of the largest crypto populations in the region at nearly 2.5%. The kingdom currently leading many prominent countries in terms of daily Bitcoin (BTC) trades, trailing only behind Saudi Arabia across the entirety of the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region, an impressive feat, to say the least.What’s even more interesting is that Morocco’s existing legislative framework is largely anti-crypto, with the country’s Foreign Exchange Office giving no indication of softening its stance anytime in the near future. Despite these stringent regulations, people across the region have continued to find means such as peer-to-peer (P2P) and over-the-counter trading through which to make inroads into this rapidly-evolving ecosystem.Crypto firms entering Africa at unprecedented rateEmmanuel Babalola, the Africa director for cryptocurrency exchange Binance, told Cointelegraph that with each passing month, the number of cross-collaborations taking place between local blockchain/crypto firms and various mainstream entities has continued to grow. Babalola said that most forward-looking tech companies are vying to gain exposure within the region, all while trying to help people across the continent embrace and realize the true utility of blockchain. He further pointed out that Binance has recently partnered with the Confederation of African Football (AFCON) to sponsor the TotalEnergies African Cup of Nations tournament, a move which he sees as a small step toward a grander scheme, adding:“The AFCON sponsorship was a very exciting one. Football is the most popular sport in Africa, one that unites the entire continent and so, sponsoring the biggest football tournament in Africa was honestly a no-brainer. It corroborates our mission to take crypto mainstream across the continent.”Staying in line with his company’s ideal of widespread crypto adoption across the African landscape, he also pointed out that Binance recently collaborated with some of the stars participating in this year’s iteration of Big Brother Naija (Nigeria) — the biggest reality show on the continent — to help bring crypto education to a wider mainstream audience. “We are [even] sponsoring Nigerian Idol — the Nigerian version of a popular singing contest,” he added.Lastly, Babalola noted that in recent months, many unprecedented happenings have taken place across the global crypto ecosystem such as countries like El Salvador adopting Bitcoin as legal tender — something he believes was totally unfathomable just a few years ago — and thus it would not be surprising to see African nations follow suit:“I think this is only the beginning of things to come. In general, as institutional interest in cryptocurrencies continues to rise, more mainstream entities making their way into the region is inevitable.”Crypto can help redefine business across AfricaWhen asked about the continued growth of crypto across Africa, especially within the northern part of the continent, Adedayo Adebajo, Africa director for Jelurida, a blockchain software company that develops and maintains the Nxt and Ardor blockchains, told Cointelegraph that a vast majority of African countries like to consider themselves as one bloc, rather than being divided into regional categories.In this regard, he noted that one aspect that has united most people living in Africa is their lack of tangible business opportunities, as well as a clear lack of access to high-quality banking alternatives that they can use to send and receive funds from across the globe. Adebajo added:“African nations believed they were left out of the first three industrial revolutions. The 4IR (fourth industrial revolution) technology including blockchain and cryptocurrency has, for the first time in history, provided them with an opportunity to participate in making history. Most governments in the continent are now open to capacity building and localizing solution developments, among others. To do so, their doors remain wide open to foreign offers that will get them closer to their aim.”When asked about the challenges that may arise as a result of most nations in the continent (especially those located across North Africa) adhering to an Islamic way of life, Adebajo noted that the key issue preventing crypto-based banking services from reaching the masses is not religion but a clear lack of understanding of what the technology brings to the table. “As Muslims, we have learned from quotable religious scholars that we are not excluded from using crypto or participating in its offerings, although this stance may perhaps remain debatable,” he added.Related: Indonesia’s national Islamic council reportedly declares Bitcoin haramBlockchain-based banking solutionAfrica’s vast geographic size compounded by the presence of many small economies across the continent has led to many nations struggling with systematic infrastructure development, especially when it comes to financial services, something that has resulted in 57% of the continent’s population remaining unbanked. RJ Katunda, co-founder of African project World Mobile, a Cardano-based mobile network, told Cointelegraph that over the years, Africans have gradually become accustomed to using innovative payment systems such as Kenya’s M-Pesa.However, he pointed out that there are now newer blockchain-based alternatives beginning to emerge, setting the context for crypto and digital currencies that offer a more convenient and direct P2P channel for remittance payments, international commerce and savings. He added:“With many economies growing rapidly, crypto and blockchain-based projects will continue to enter Africa, where their proposition is relevant and where they can form partnerships with local entities. While many individuals use cryptocurrency in Africa, legislation in many countries lags. As in other jurisdictions, cryptocurrencies don’t fit within current regulatory frameworks.”In essence, Katunda believes that the core issue preventing widespread adoption of crypto-tech (especially from a financial standpoint) across the region is a lack of perceived central control from many governments, which creates difficulties for authorities to oversee and mitigate bad practices. “However, many governments have announced that they are working on regulatory frameworks to emerge in the near future,” he closed out by saying.Africa cannot be ignored any longerAkin Jones, a partner at Gluwa Capital, an Africa-based investment fund focused exclusively on fintech lenders using blockchain technology, told Cointelegraph that Africa’s growing population and adoption of cryptocurrency mean that companies ignoring the continent are either not serious about the technology in the long term or have failed to realize the massive financial proposition currently in front of them.In Jones’ view, Bitcoin could very well become legal tender across many African nations since most of these countries already find it quite hard to trade with each other because of constant currency fluctuations. Talking about North Africa in particular, he further opined that since the region serves as a bridge between Europe and sub-Saharan Africa, it would make a lot of sense for fintech firms to consider making inroads there, adding:“Identity management, land ownership and insurance are three key areas that could be improved on across North Africa which could help change the perception in the region. CBDCs [central bank digital currencies] could also help ease the acceptance of cryptocurrency in this regard.”Thus, it will be interesting to see how things shape out for the continent from here on out, especially since many of the nations within the region are known to suffer from an extremely high level of red tape. With many governments fast realizing the potential that crypto and blockchain possess, however, it would not be surprising to see countries making way for more foreign investment from established firms operating within this rapidly maturing sector.

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Reuters: Binance was withholding information from regulators, repeatedly shunned own compliance department

In a report published on Friday, Reuters laid out the findings of its investigation into the regulatory compliance practices of Binance, the world’s largest cryptocurrency exchange by trading volume.The authors suggest the existence of a recurring pattern whereby the company’s CEO Changpeng Zhao, while proclaiming its openness to government oversight, ran an organization that systematically denied regulators’ requests for financial and corporate structure information and shirked proper client background checks.The reported findings are based on the accounts of Binance’s former senior employees and advisers, as well as the review of documents such as internal correspondence and confidential messages between several national regulators and the company. According to the document, several high-ranking employees have repeatedly raised concerns of weak Know Your Customer/Anti-Money Laundering (KYC/AML) standards at the company but were ignored by the CEO.Additionally, the company reportedly acted against the recommendations of its own compliance department when it continued onboarding new customers from seven countries designated to be of extreme money-laundering risk.The big-picture takeaway that the authors of the report offered is that the described pattern of behavior allowed Binance to maintain ambiguous jurisdictional affiliation and opaque corporate structure while offering financial products that would normally require regulatory approval or licensing in many of its countries of operation.In response to Reuters’ inquiry, the company spokesperson said that the report’s findings were based on outdated or outright incorrect information. Binance CEO Changpeng Zhao later commented via Twitter saying:FUD. Journalists talking to people who were let go from Binance and partners that didn’t work out trying to smear us. We are focused on anti-money laundering, transparent and welcome regulation. Action speaks louder than words. Thank you for your unwavering support! — CZ Binance (@cz_binance) January 21, 2022As Cointelegraph reported, despite ongoing investigations into suspicious activity on its platform in several jurisdictions, Binance continues expanding into new markets, with the most recent move tied to a possible deployment in Thailand.

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Former Binance US CEO Catherine Coley is still missing, and no one seems to be talking

Around the time Binance.US announced former Comptroller of the Currency Brian Brooks would be leading the crypto exchange, former CEO Catherine Coley effectively dropped off the face of the digital world.Coley, who had regularly posted updates on Binance.US and her personal life to her Twitter account, has been inactive on the social media platform since April 19. Her job experience on LinkedIn ends with her two years as CEO of Binance.US, which she left in June 2021, and her online silence has led at least one news outlet to reach out to San Francisco authorities to determine if she had been reported missing — as of October, the answer was “no.”Major figures in crypto also noticed the absence of Coley. Ripple chief technology officer David Schwartz said in July that the former Binance.US CEO had not responded to his messages, but he had not tried to reach her by calling. Sam Fischer, a representative for Binance.US, told Cointelegraph said that the exchange had no information on Coley “beyond the fact that she left Binance.US.”Related: Most Crypto Users Think QuadrigaCX CEO Faked Own DeathNaturally, rumors have been floating around Crypto Twitter, speculating that Coley has met an untimely end, is alive and well and vacationing in Puerto Rico, or is forced to be quiet due to some kind of unsorted legal matter related to her departure from Binance.US — none of which Cointelegraph has been able to confirm. One of her last public statements on social media in April reported high levels of traffic on Binance.US, but she also addressed attendees of the LA Blockchain Summit in October 2020. Curious… Has anyone heard from Catherine Coley? We had a conversation last December before she left but nothing since and I have tried. I along with others have expressed concern about what happened to her. She also has listed her 2 yr experience with Ripple. I pray she’s okay.— Jackie P (@JackieP323) September 20, 2021Before her disappearance, Coley was one of the most prominent names in the crypto space. As a young female leader of a major exchange, she made Forbes Magazine’s list of 40 under 40 as an influential entrepreneur in 2020. Cointelegraph reached out to Catherine Coley, but did not receive a response at the time of publication.

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Binance US officially launches trading services in Connecticut

United States cryptocurrency exchange Binance US, which operates separately from the global Binance platform, has officially opened its trading services to residents of Connecticut. Beginning Jan. 20, Connecticut residents can register to buy, sell and trade digital assets such as Bitcoin (BTC) and Ether (ETH) on the Binance US platform, the company announced Thursday. Residents will also have access to the Binance US mobile app on Android and Apple devices. Binance US launched in 2019 to provide regulated crypto trading services to residents of the United States. Currently, the trading platform is approved to operate in 44 U.S. states and intends to secure approvals across all 50 states and territories. Binance US CEO Brian Shroder said his firm’s expansion reflects the growing demand for digital assets in the country. A new survey of Americans conducted by crypto platform Voyager Digital seems to corroborate that view. According to the survey, nearly two-thirds, or 61%, of Americans may purchase digital assets this year. Fifty percent of the survey participants said they would invest more in cryptocurrencies if they understood the asset class better. Related: Crypto mainstream adoption: Is it here already? Experts answer, Part 3Meanwhile, separate data from Arcane Research shows that the United States is dominating the Bitcoin trading arena. So far this year, U.S. trading hours account for 43% of Bitcoin’s average 24-hour trading volumes.Binance US wants to go public on the US stock market. Amid a myriad of regulatory concerns across the globe, is this a good idea for the brand? https://t.co/sREkorqjUh— Cointelegraph (@Cointelegraph) July 25, 2021As Cointelegraph reported, Binance US is eyeing a “mega funding” deal through an initial public offering. Binance CEO Changpeng Zhao expressed confidence in the U.S. firm’s ability to raise the funds even after investors reportedly backed out a similar initiative last summer over regulatory concerns.

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Crypto.com shares details on security breach: 483 accounts compromised

The Crypto.com security breach saga gets clarity with an official statement from the Singapore-based crypto exchange following a halt on withdrawals after detecting “suspicious activities” in user accounts.In a statement on Thursday, Crypto.com revealed that “4,836.26 ETH, 443.93 BTC and approximately US$66,200 in other currencies” had been taken from clients’ accounts without their permission. The overall loss is presently valued at around $33.8 million, as per the current market value.Following a security breach, several Crypto.com users have made complaints that their money had been stolen. However, the company’s previous responses had failed to quell concerns.Following the 17th of Jan security incident, we are sharing our findings below, together with enhancements we’ve made to our security infrastructure and the introduction of the Worldwide Account Protection Program. https://t.co/6q86r0o59V pic.twitter.com/ER7DkBoX1Z— Crypto.com (@cryptocom) January 20, 2022On Jan. 17, 2022, at around 12:46 AM UTC, Crypto.com’s risk monitoring systems detected “unauthorized activity on a small number of user accounts” where transactions were being authorized without the 2FA authentication control being entered by the user, according to the official document.The exchange proceeded by halting withdrawals and revoking all customer 2FA tokens, adding even more security hardening measures that required everyone to re-login and reactivate their 2FA token before allowing only authorized action, as detailed in the statement. The withdrawal infrastructure was down for a total of 14 hours.To safeguard against such an accident happening again, Crypto.com claims that they have implemented an additional layer of protection in which a new whitelisted withdrawal address must be registered within 24 hours before the first withdrawal.”Users will receive notifications that withdrawal addresses have been added, to give them adequate time to react and respond,” the statement reads. On Wednesday, Kris Marszalek, the CEO of Crypto.com, told Bloomberg that the exchange has not received any communication from regulators about the event. He went on to say that;”Obviously, it’s a great lesson, and we are continuously strengthening our infrastructure.”Related: Secret Network offers $400M in funding to bring others in on the secretAccording to PeckShield, over $15 million worth of ETH has been stolen. On Monday, the blockchain security firm tweeted that roughly half of the funds had been sent to Tornado Cash “to be washed.” Another analyst from blockchain data firm OXT Research stated that the heist may have cost the exchange $33 million in stolen assets.

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Here’s how traders capitalize on crypto market crashes and liquidations

The first week of the new year saw a vicious pullback across all cryptocurrencies in the market. Ether (ETH) price dropped from its November peak at $4,800 peak to under $3,000 on Jan. 8 and Terra’s LUNA governance token also dropped from $85 on Dec. 31 to $67 on Jan. 8, 2022. These unexpected dramatic moves often cause liquidation cascades in the lending market, but they also create unique buying opportunities in the collateral liquidation markets.Kujira’s Orca protocol is a platform built on the Terra network and it allows investors to bid on bETH (bonded asset of Ether) and bLUNA (bonded asset of LUNA) at a discounted price when the at-risk collateral is liquidated. As a pseudonymous analyst at Kujira pointed out,“Liquidation has for so long been the ‘shady underbelly’ of lending platforms and monopolised by bots so much that the average user barely knows it’s going on, least of all how they could benefit from it”. Kujira allows anyone to participate in the liquidation process by grasping the opportunity to acquire these assets at a discounted price.In the recent crash on Jan. 8, the lowest price one could buy Ether (in its bonded asset bETH form) was $2,833, while the market price of Ether was around $3,000. Similarly, traders could buy bLUNA as low as $58.90 while LUNA’s spot price was around $67.Liquidation stats from Kujira. Source: TwitterLet’s take a closer look at the strategies for acquiring bETH and bLUNA at a discount during a market crash.Market structure provides unique opportunities to buy at a discountIn the Terra ecosystem, participants can borrow Terra USD (UST), the stablecoin of the Terra blockchain, from DeFi protocols such as Anchor to participate in high-yield liquidity pools, IDOs or any other profitable trading activities involving UST. In order to borrow UST, participants need to deposit bonded assets (bETH or bLUNA) as collateral to Anchor. The maximum amount each wallet can borrow is 60% of the collateral value, often referred to by DeFi protocols as the maximum LTV (loan-to-value).In a bull market where Ether and LUNA prices are on the rise, the LTV continues to decrease and no collateral is at risk. When the price of Ether or LUNA goes down, the collateral value decreases and if the LTV exceeds 60%, a liquidation event is triggered. This alerts Anchor to sell the proportion of the collateral that exceeds the maximum LTV at a discounted fire-sale price on Kujira Orca. This is where potential buyers on the other side of the trade can buy the collateral at a discount.How to capitalize on pricing anomalies in ETH and LUNAHere are some simple steps investors can follow if they want to purchase Ether or LUNA at a discount.After connecting the Terra wallet to the platform, an investor chooses the asset they would like to bid (currently only bLUNA and bETH are available), then selects the premium (the percentage of discount from spot) to receive.After clicking “Place My Bid” to submit the bid, the investor will see the “My Bids” window. It takes 10 minutes for the bid to be ready, and afterward, the investor needs to click “Activate” to include the bid in the bidding queue. Once the bid has been filled, the amount will be shown in the “Available for Withdrawal”’ window. The investor then needs to click withdraw and pay a fee to transfer the asset back to their Terra wallet.Kujira Orca home page demo. Source: Kujira LitepaperThere are three important things to remember when placing the bid:1. If the investor is not using KUJI (the native token of Kujira) to pay for the withdrawal fee, they should always place a premium (discount) percentage larger than 1%, as there is a network fee of 2 UST and a 1% commission fee. If using KUJI, the commission is only 0.5%.2. If there are multiple bids at different discounted rates, the investor should activate them all at once to save network fees.3. The bids are filled equally and proportionally between everyone bidding at the same discounted rate. There is no first-come, first-serve advantage or larger bids that get a filled-first advantage. The only sequence in which the bids are filled is based on the discounted rate — i.e., the lower-discount pool gets filled first. The mechanism of evenly distributing liquidation assets among each bidder ensures the fairest allocation to everyone. Ryan Park, co-builder of Anchor Protocol, said in an interview about Orca:“By evenly distributing the proceeds of liquidations amongst a greater majority, collateral isn’t going into a centralised point but back into the hands of other users. The implications are staggering and quite frankly, I don’t think enough attention has been given to just how big this is.”The example below shows that when there is a 100,000 UST liquidation to be executed, the 1% discount pool (61,000 UST in total) is filled first and the pool is fully emptied. The remaining 39,000 UST is subsequently passed onto the 2% discount pool to fill the bids. Each wallet in each pool receives a proportion of the allocated liquidation amount based on the size of their total bidding offer in the pool. It is a completely fair distribution with no priority given to the quickest clicker or the largest bidder.Example of 100,000 UST liquidation in 1% and 2% pools.Identifying the best time to buyFigure1: Number of liquidated borrowers vs. ETH price. Source: Kujira Orca, Flipside CryptoAs shown in Figure 1 and Figure 2, the best time to bid is when there is a dramatic drop in collateral asset price and many borrowers’ LTV goes below the 60% maximum level. This creates an increase in the number of liquidations (blue and purple line in Figure 1) and also the supply of liquidation assets on the platform (blue and purple bar in Figure 2).Figure 2: Liquidated amount in USD vs. LUNA price. Source: Kujira Orca, Flipside CryptoThe worst case scenario — in terms of number of liquidated borrowers — coincides with the time when bLUNA and bETH prices dropped significantly. The liquidation amount also spiked in early December 2021 and early January 2022 when Ether and LUNA prices breached major support levels as shown in Figure 2.These sudden rises in liquidation create unique opportunities for investors to purchase bLUNA and bETH at a great discount. As shown in the chart below (Figure 3), in the December LUNA crash, bidders could purchase bLUNA at a 11% to 12% discount on Kujira Orca at the peak. Figure 3: bLUNA liquidated amount in USD vs. purchase discount. Source: Kujira OrcaSimilarly (shown in Figure 4), when Ether price dropped from the $4,600 level to $4,100 on Nov. 16, bidders were able to purchase bETH at a 11% discount at around $3,700. Figure 4: bETH liquidated amount in USD vs. purchase discount. Source: Kujira OrcaLooking into the average discount bidders received in the past three months, it is very interesting to see most of the liquidations happened in the very high discount group (9 to 10%, or more than 10%) for November and December 2021. In January 2022, the concentration seems to have moved to the 6% to 7% discount bucket. However, January’s data is incomplete and only available until Jan. 10 at the time of writing. This means the concentration in the 6% to 7% bucket is only a reflection of the drop early in the year and could still change for the rest of the month.Discount bucket comparison for the past 3 months — January data is only until Jan.10. Source: Kujira OrcaTraders can earn while they waitThe historical discount data clearly shows that investors can buy bETH and bLUNA at a discount as high as 9% or 10% away from the market price but the bids might take a long time to get filled. Luckily, there will soon be a way to keep earning interest from UST while waiting for the bids.Investors can simply deposit UST to Anchor’s Earn and accrue interests at the current rate of 19% APY; and use the aUST token they receive as the IOU token to bid liquidation assets on Kujira Orca. This way, one keeps accruing interest until the bid is filled on Kujira and the aUST is converted to UST for the liquidation purchase.** Special thanks to Hans from Kujira for providing the data and insights needed to complete the article.The views and opinions expressed here are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Cointelegraph.com. Every investment and trading move involves risk, you should conduct your own research when making a decision.

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Coinbase partners with Mastercard for NFT marketplace purchases

Credit card company Mastercard has announced users for Coinbase’s upcoming nonfungible token marketplace will be able to use their cards to make purchases as part of a new partnership.In a Tuesday blog post, Mastercard executive vice president of digital asset and blockchain products Raj Dhamodharan said under the agreement, NFTs would be considered “digital goods” and able to be purchased using a credit card. The measure is aimed at allowing non-crypto natives to get into NFTs without using a wallet and buying Ether (ETH) or other tokens. “Cryptocurrency enthusiasts are used to this process,” said Dhamodharan. “But for most people, it’s not simple, it’s not intuitive. We think it should be much easier. That will ensure NFTs can be for everyone […] Getting more people involved safely and securely is perhaps the best way to help the NFT market thrive.”Since Coinbase first announced its NFT marketplace — under the planned name “Coinbase NFT” — in October, more than 1 million people have signed up to be on the waiting list. The crypto exchange plans to make the NFT platform available to U.S. users before opening it up to ones in other countries. Related: AI-generative art predicted to be next trend for NFT sectorFollowing growth and interest in the NFT sector in 2021, major crypto exchanges FTX and Binance launched their own NFT marketplaces prior to Coinbase’s October announcement. In June, Binance launched an NFT platform aimed at “providing the highest liquidity and cheapest fees for users.” FTX followed in September with a platform exclusively for United States-based customers.According to a recent report from DappRadar, there may be a higher demand for NFTs in 2022 following the surge the previous year. The platform reported that NFT trades generated $10.7 billion in the third quarter of 2021 to $11.9 billion in Q4, with the first ten days of 2022 “looking strong.””Despite the volatile cryptocurrencies cycles, NFTs maintain a stagnant positive trend,” said DappRadar analyst Pedro Herrera. 

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NCFTA onboards crypto exchange Binance to fight against cybercrime

The National Cyber-Forensics and Training Alliance (NCFTA), an American non-profit, onboarded its first crypto firm Binance to aid their ongoing battle against cybercrimes. Founded in 2002, the NCFTA partners with law enforcement and various business and academic entities to source threat intelligence to identify and mitigate cybercrime threats. By partnering with Binance, the world’s biggest crypto exchange in terms of trading volume, the NCFTA aims to tackle international cybersecurity investigations. According to Binance’s VP of Global Intelligence and Investigations, Tigran Gambaryan, the exchange aims to be the leading contributor in the fight against cybercrime, ransomware, and terrorism financing:“Joining the NCFTA is an important step in our joint fight against cybercrime, securing the cryptocurrency ecosystem for the entire community.”Through this partnership, Binance will gain access to NCFTA’s dedicated team of analysts along with trends related to emerging and real-time threats. The crypto exchange has also set up an in-house team to tackle blockchain and cryptocurrency fraud, namely the Binance Investigations Group. According to the press release:“To date, Binance has cooperated with hundreds of criminal investigations, which have led to high-profile arrests, including a cybercriminal group laundering $500M in ransomware proceeds.”Gambaryan also believes that securing the crypto ecosystem against cyber threats requires strong cooperation between law enforcement, government agencies and players within the ecosystem.Related: Pakistan to investigate Binance for multi-million dollar crypto scamOn Jan. 9, Pakistan‘s Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) issued a formal notice to Binance to identify links around a multi-million crypto scam in the region.KARACHI: Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) has detected an online fraud of Rs100 billion using a cryptocurrency and issued notice to the local representative of Binance, @cz_binance @binance @BinanceHelpDesk @BinanceUS pic.twitter.com/3oukwzmDqh— Innocent Pashteen✌ (@FighterDawar) January 7, 2022As Cointelegraph reported, the Pakistani government received numerous complaints against an ongoing scam that involved misleading investors into sending funds from Binance wallets to unknown third-party wallets — sparking a criminal investigation. Speaking to Cointelegraph, a Binance spokesperson confirmed the exchange’s intent to cooperate with the local authorities:“User protection is a top priority for us at Binance. Our law enforcement team also works closely with agencies and governments around the world to help educate teams on tackling financial crimes.”

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Propy rallies 227% as real estate NFTs become reality and PRO lists at Coinbase

Nonfungible tokens (NFTs) skyrocketed in popularity over the course of 2021 as the wider public became enthralled with projects like the Bored Ape Yacht Club and CryptoPunks, but these one-of-a-kind digital images are only scratching the surface of what NFT technology is capable of. One project focused on expanding the functionality of NFTs beyond the digital art space is Propy, a protocol focused on the integration of blockchain technology with the real estate sector by automating the closing process of home buying to make the entire process faster, simpler and more secure. Data from Cointelegraph Markets Pro and TradingView shows that after hitting a low of $1.12 on Jan. 12, the price of PRO moved 227% higher to hit a daily high at $3.67 on Jan. 14 as its 24-hour trading volume spiked 452% to $29.3 million. PRO/USDT 4-hour chart. Source: TradingViewThree reasons for the sudden surge in Propy price include the token being listed on Coinbase exchange, the successful completion of the first sale of a real estate NFT and growing potential of NFTs to be used in different use cases. The Coinbase bumpThe surge in the price of PRO on Jan. 14 was in large part due to the token listed on Coinbase, the largest cryptocurrency exchange in the United States. INV, LQTY, NCT and PRO are now live on https://t.co/iQARfimGvY & in the Coinbase iOS & Android apps. Coinbase customers can log in now to buy, sell, convert, send, receive or store.https://t.co/Yhm3KRFbAr pic.twitter.com/TFzIoqhQG4— Coinbase (@coinbase) January 13, 2022Prior to the Coinbase listing, the PRO token was only available on a limited number of exchanges including Huobi Global, Bitrue and the decentralized exchange Uniswap. Coinbase is the second-largest cryptocurrency exchange by volume globally and the main exchange serving U.S.-based investors who have historically conducted the highest volume of cryptocurrency trading. The first real estate NFT in the U.S.A second development that is helping to boost the price and trading volume of PRO is the upcoming sale of the first real estate NFT in the United States. According to Propy founder and CEO Natalia Karayaneva, the reason Propy chose Florida for its first U.S.-based real estate sales include a crypto-friendly state government, positive future price growth and demographic statistics, a growing job market and the state’s 0% individual income tax policy. While the upcoming sale in Tampa marks the first real estate NFT sale in the U.S., Propy completed the first-ever NFT sale back in 2017 when TechCrunch founder Michael Arrington sold his Kyiv apartment for 36 Ether. Related: NFT sales and blockchain games continue to grow despite the recent market slump: ReportRising popularity of NFTs and blockchain technologyAnother reason for the building momentum behind Propy is the overall growth in awareness of NFTs and blockchain technology. The promise of integrating NFTs with things like house deeds and corporate contracts has been a topic of discussion for years, and last year’s explosion in NFT interest and trading volume raised the level of public awareness to the point where the concept can gain more traction.On top of the usefulness of NFT technology, the increasingly dire state of the global financial system has investors looking for secure places to store their wealth, for which real estate has long been a preferred safe haven. Best hedge against all of the chaos in the world:1. crypto2. real estate3. investment in yourself— Natalia Karayaneva (@NataliePropy) December 29, 2021

Now, the process of buying and holding real estate is about to enter the 21st century with the integration of blockchain technology and NFTs because the influence of middlemen will be reduced, helping to lower the cost of the entire process. The views and opinions expressed here are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Cointelegraph.com. Every investment and trading move involves risk, you should conduct your own research when making a decision.

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3 reasons why Harmony (ONE) rallied back to its all-time high this week

Bitcoin price is still a ways from its $69,000 all-time high but this isn’t stopping altcoins from moving toward new highs. Data from Cointelegraph Markets Pro and TradingView shows that since hitting a low of $0.13 on Dec. 4, the price of Harmony (ONE) has risen 163% to establish a new all-time high of $0.38 on Jan. 14 ONE/USDT 1-day chart. Source: TradingViewThree reasons for the growing strength of Harmony include an expanding ecosystem, the launch of multiple cross-chain bridges and developers interest in finding Ethereum network alternatives.ONE benefits from Harmony’s $300 million ecosystem development fundOne of the biggest boosts to the overall health of the Harmony ecosystem began back in September when the project launched a $300 million developer incentive program designed to help fund bug bounties, grants and the creation of 100 decentralized autonomous organizations (DAOs) on Harmony. Since the launch of the program, 23 DAOs have been funded and launched on the Harmony network with more currently in development. The incentive program has also helped attract multiple protocols to the Harmony blockchain in some of the most popular sectors of the ecosystem, including DeFi, payment platforms and nonfungible token (NFT) projects. 1/ @harmonyprotocol approves 21 more proposals for its $300M Ecosystem Fund DeFi: @epnsproject @AnChainAI @perpprotocol @freyalacryptoPayments: @Allbridge_io @MIM_Spell @klever_io @Trustee_WalletNFT: @TheDeFimons @KangaFinance @StoreyTheApp @NiftyRow And more ⬇️ pic.twitter.com/zxyl4Z3wWJ— Harmony (@harmonyprotocol) January 13, 2022Cross-chain bridges help raise Harmony’s prospectsAnother reason for Harmony ‘s recent strength is the launch of several cross-chain bridges that connect the Harmony network with other Ethereum Virtual Machine compatible networks like Celer and Polygon. 1/ We are excited to announce that @CelerNetwork has extended support to @harmonyprotocol.ONE users can now use the multi-chain ‘cBridge’ to transfer $USDC and $WETH instantly and at a low-cost. More ⬇️— Harmony (@harmonyprotocol) January 12, 2022

On top of the most recent integration with the Celer c-bridge, which enabled the cross-chain transfer of USD Coin (USDC) and Wrapped Ether (wETH), Harmony launched a cross-chain NFT bridge as part of the Horizon bridge back in November of 2021. Most recently, the project revealed a collaboration with the L1 protocol Cosmos to create a bridge between the two rapidly growing ecosystems in an effort to further expand its interoperability and help scale cross-chain finance. 1/ We are glad to announce that we have approved a grant for @datachain_en to build a bridge between Harmony & @cosmos.Datachain’s experience in building interoperability solutions using trustless intermediaries is peerless. ONE step closer towards scaling cross-chain finance pic.twitter.com/27ueWWUkT0— Harmony (@harmonyprotocol) January 12, 2022

Harmony is also in the final stages of creating a native bridge to the Bitcoin network which is expected to be released before the end of Q1 2022.Related: ICON commits $200M to interoperability incentive fundNew users and ecosystem growth back record high TVLAnother bullish metric backing Harmony’s growth is its rising TVL, which is now at an all-time high of $1.25 billion according to data from Defi Llama. Total value locked on Harmony. Source: Defi LlamaSeveral DeFi protocols are thriving on the Harmony network, including DeFi Kingdoms (JEWEL), which accounts for $747 million of the TVL, Tranquil Finance with $201.85 million and Viperswap with a $54.4 million TVL. VORTECS™ data from Cointelegraph Markets Pro began to detect a bullish outlook for ONE on Jan. 8, prior to the recent price rise. The VORTECS™ Score, exclusive to Cointelegraph, is an algorithmic comparison of historical and current market conditions derived from a combination of data points including market sentiment, trading volume, recent price movements and Twitter activity.VORTECS™ Score (green) vs. ONE price. Source: Cointelegraph Markets ProAs seen in the chart above, the VORTECS™ Score for ONE spiked into the green zone on Jan. 8 and hit a high of 75 around 48 hours before the price proceeded to increase 50% over the next four days. The views and opinions expressed here are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Cointelegraph.com. Every investment and trading move involves risk, you should conduct your own research when making a decision.

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2021: A year of mass adoption for cryptocurrencies in Brazil

Throughout 2021, the Brazilian cryptocurrency market managed to distance itself from the police pages and finally win acceptance with the general public, whether in the financial market or even in the greatest national passion: soccer.Last year, Bitcoin (BTC) acted as a strong alternative to the Brazilian real that ended 2021 by breaking negative records and reaching a devaluation of 6.5% by December, making it the 38th worst currency in the world.In a year of ups and downs for Bitcoin, the biggest cryptocurrency hit a bottom of 167,000 real in January and soared along with global markets to 355,000 real in May. Faced with Bitcoin’s dip, the BRL/BTC pair was stuck below 200,000 reals until August, when it began to rise to a new historic high of 367,000 real on Nov. 8.Faced with the need for economic protection, Brazilians turned to crypto. 10 million Brazilians now participate in the crypto market, according to CoinMarketCap.In traditional financial markets, the Brazilian Stock Exchange debuted exchange-traded funds (ETFs) linked to Bitcoin and Ether (ETH). There are already five ETFs listed on B3, some of them positioned among the most profitable in the entire Brazilian stock market in 2021.The Central Bank of Brazil also announced new developments in the digital real, a central bank digital currency (CBDC), which could be launched as early as 2023. The Brazilian Central Bank also announced that it will continue working to incorporate blockchain technology into its services by carrying out a series of tests through a dedicated team at the monetary authority.In the Federal Congress, discussions on the regulation of cryptocurrencies in Brazil dragged on throughout the year, until in December, federal deputies approved Bill 2303/15, which establishes criteria for the regulation of cryptocurrencies in the country. The bill will be further discussed in 2022 in the House’s plenary session and later in the Federal Senate.There was tension among major players in the cryptocurrency market in Brazil in 2021, but also some good news. Brazilian exchanges went head-to-head with major crypto exchange Binance. Exchanges around the country worked with the Brazilian Cryptoeconomy Association to comply Binance to follow rules established by the Brazilian Securities and Exchange Commission, Federal Revenue Service and the central bank. The global exchange is still negotiating with Brazilian market regulators and the country’s financial authorities.Related: ‘Mecca of mining’: Brazil considers zero tax on green Bitcoin miningOn the other hand, Brazil’s largest exchange, Mercado Bitcoin (MB) — today one of Latin America’s crypto unicorns — expanded its operations in the country, entering the sporting world once and for all. MB also worked alongside Chiliz to make fan tokens more accessible to Brazilian fans, a novelty that was adopted by national football giants such as Corinthians, São Paulo, Internacional, Atlético-MG and Flamengo.The nonfungible token (NFT) market also reached Brazil with wide adoption and presence of Brazilian players in play-to-earn games, collectible platforms and even in the arts, being adopted by visual artists and renowned names in Brazilian music such as André Abujamra and Zeca Baleiro.For the next year, we can expect even more major Brazilian and Latin American firms to enter the cryptocurrency market. The Brazilian Stock Exchange hopes to expand its offering of cryptocurrency-linked investments, with experts targeting decentralized finance (DeFi), NFTs and the Metaverse.It’s also worth remembering that 2022 is an election year in a country that has been polarized since 2016, with the Bolsonaro government suffering from low popularity and being defined by social tension. The elections could affect not only the direction of the digital real but also the future of the Brazilian economy, including cryptocurrency markets.

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Bitfinex advises Ontario-based users to close accounts before March 1

In a Friday announcement, Bitfinex said it would be immediately closing the accounts for Ontario-based customers who have no balances on the platform. In addition, it planned to restrict access to those who do not have open positions in the exchange’s peer-to-peer financing market or open margin positions. Users who have balances or open positions on Bitfinex and are one of the roughly 15 million residents of Ontario — which includes Toronto and the nation’s capital city of Ottawa — “will no longer have access to any services” starting on March 1. The exchange advised customers to withdraw funds before the effective date.Though Bitfinex did not mention the Ontario Securities Commission, or OSC, the region’s financial watchdog has been responsible for cracking down on crypto exchanges operating in the area, including OKEx, Bybit, KuCoin and Polo Digital Assets. In December, the OSC issued a notice that Binance was not authorized “to offer trading in derivatives or securities to persons or companies located in the province” after the crypto exchange reportedly told its users it would be able to continue offering services in the region. Binance reportedly said there was a miscommunication on the issue.Related: Amid ongoing legal proceedings, Bitfinex announces Tether loan repaymentBitfinex has also been the target of U.S. regulators. In October, the Commodity Futures Trading Commission fined the crypto exchange and its sister company Tether $42.5 million, with Bitfinex allegedly facilitating “illegal, off-exchange retail commodity transactions in digital assets with U.S persons.” The Office of the New York Attorney General previously ordered the two firms to pay $18.5 million in damages and submit to periodically reporting on their reserves.Crypto exchange Bitfinex has announced users based in the Canadian province of Ontario will no longer have access to many of its services starting on March 1.

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