Crypto Tidbits: Bakkt’s Bitcoin Futures Near, Facebook’s Libra Backed by Uber, Binance to Block US Clients

Another week, another round of Crypto Tidbits. It would be fair to say that the past seven days for Bitcoin (BTC) and its ilk have been rather spectacular. Aside from mostly bullish price action, which brought the cryptocurrency to $8,650 for the first time in weeks, instrumental industry developments were numerous.

Twitter’s chief executive Jack Dorsey doubled-down on his support for Bitcoin, again lauding it for its potential to become the world’s digital currency. Uber, Lyft, and Spotify were revealed to be backing Facebook’s impending cryptocurrency. And Bakkt finally announced that it will soon begin testing of its Bitcoin futures vehicle, which is believed to improve institutional adoption across the board.


Related Reading: Crypto Tidbits: SEC Still Wary of Bitcoin ETF, Facebook Crypto Inbound, Binance to Launch Stablecoin

Crypto & Bitcoin Tidbits

  • Ethereum-based Chainlink (LINK) Rallies by 50% as Google Launches ‘Partnership’: On Thursday, Google Cloud, the firm’s cloud computing services platform, released a tidbit of news titled “Building hybrid blockchain/cloud applications with Ethereum and Google Cloud”. While this was big news in and of itself, the crypto community focused on the article’s mention of Chainlink, a project that facilitates data from the Internet to be translated to and verified for blockchain. Chainlink’s claim to fame is its so-called “oracle” system, which is a recently-launched product meant to improve processes on something like Ethereum. This recent integration will allow for Chainlink, and thus Ethereum smart contracts, to interact with BigQuery, Google’s data analyzer and portal. Due to this news, LINK has rallied hard, sitting at $1.73 from ~$1.2.
  • Bakkt Finally Ready to Launch Bitcoin Futures ContractAccording to a recent blog post, Bakkt, the cryptocurrency exchange/infrastructure initiative mainly backed by the New York Stock Exchange’s parent (Intercontinental Exchange), is expecting to accept beta testers to its platform in July. It expects to allow investors to use its Bitcoin (BTC)-backed futures contract, which has been in the works with American regulators for months now. Many believe that the full launch of the exchange’s cryptocurrency investment vehicle will entice institutions to dive into this space, resulting in a price appreciation for BTC and its ilk.
  • Facebook Teams Up With Massive Backers in Uber, Spotify, Visa, and Coinbase to Launch Crypto: Reported by The Block on Friday, Facebook’s upcoming stablecoin cryptocurrency, dubbed “Libra” or “Globalcoin”, has secured investments from massive corporations. These include but aren’t limited to Visa, PayPal, Mastercard, Coinbase, Uber, Lyft, Spotify, a16z, eBay, Union Square Ventures, and Stripe. As reported by NewsBTC previously, Caitlin Long, a former executive at Morgan Stanley turned blockchain proponent, believes that the project will drive adoption. She explains that education efforts about Venezuela’s Petro (an ‘oil-backed’ digital asset meant to save the nation’s hyperinflating economy) seemingly resulted in a “spike in Bitcoin use in Venezuela”. The same could easily occur this time around, but with billions instead of millions.
  • Binance to Restrict U.S. Traders Amid Regulatory Turmoil: This week, crypto exchange Binance’s chief executive, the venerable Changpeng “CZ” Zhao, revealed that his platform had changed its terms of service. While the announcement didn’t make any specific noticings, users that scoured the updated document found out that United States-based traders would soon be disallowed from using the flagship platform, the most popular Bitcoin exchange site by traffic and “real volume”. To fill the gap, the big-name cryptocurrency startup has teamed up with a so-called “BAM Trading” to create a local exchange. The new platform, fittingly named Binance America, is partners with a company registered with financial regulator FinCEN and is expected to launch in the coming months.
  • Ubisoft Looking to Harness Ethereum for Blockchain Application for Gaming: According to a recent report French business outlet Les Echos, Ubisoft, a video game developer behind Rainbow Six, Far Cry, Just Dance, and other classics, has had a “dedicated team” for blockchain applications in gaming for a number of months. Citing sources familiar, Les Echos states that the Ubisoft-backed consortium is on the verge of launching its first blockchain use case. In fact, an insider source said that the venture is at an “advanced stage”. Ubisoft purportedly has plans to use the Ethereum blockchain, not Bitcoin or anything else, for this program. It is unclear if the network could handle Ubisoft’s user base, however, potentially implying that the company is looking to build a second-layer solution to make its integration work.
  • Coinbase and Circle Look to Boost Adoption of USDC Stablecoin: Circle and Coinbase are looking to improve the viability of their Ethereum-based stablecoin, the US Dollar Coin (USDC), via a “membership-based framework and governance scheme for the development and growth of money on the internet.” This will allow other companies in the fintech industry to join hands with the two aforementioned firms to push the creation of digital economies that are instant, global, open, and free to use.
  • Nasdaq Teams Up With Crypto Site to Entice Institutions: Announced Tuesday morning via a press release, CryptoCompare, a leading industry data provider, has joined hands with Nasdaq. The unexpected duo will be launching a new product to price and index cryptocurrency, the so-called “Nasdaq/CryptoCompare Aggregate Crypto Reference Prices.” The venture will be launched through Quandi, a Nasdaq-owned, well-regarded finance data outlet that services hundreds of thousands of professionals on Wall Street to its Asian counterpart. To do this, CryptoCompare and Nasdaq have created a system that will provide institutions with”minute-by-minute pricing data for the most liquid cryptocurrency markets (Bitcoin, for instance).”
  • Crypto News Outfit CCN Shuts Down, Resurrects Two Days Later: Early this week, CCN — also known as CryptoCoinsNews — revealed that it would be shutting its doors. The site’s founder, Jonas Borchgrevink, explained that when Google rolled out its “June 2019 Core Update” for its search engine, CCN’s traffic plummeted. In fact, according to SEO sites like Sistrix, the domain’s visibility had plummeted by 53% overall, and 72% on mobile. This meant that the outlet’s articles are not being shown as much when you search “Bitcoin” or “crypto”, for instance. Just two days after closure, however, CCN returned, revealing that it had worked with experts in the SEO and Google News arena to figure out a plan moving forward, thus ensuring it didn’t have to lay off 60 staffers. Industry publications across the board, including the big names, are still suffering traffic losses.
  • Crypto Ratings Agency Downgrades EOS For “Serious Centralization Problems”: In a recent tweet, Weiss Ratings, an investment advisory/research group that has taken a liking to crypto assets, slammed EOS. As seen below, the agency stated that it believes EOS has “serious problems with centralization”, and thus it has been mandated to “severely degrade its technology score.” As seen on the company’s website, EOS’s technology score is now an A-minus. This is seemingly in reference to the fact that at last week’s event, which was held to be the one-year anniversary of the launch of EOS, nothing was announced to increase decentralization. The blockchain developer also announced a new protocol, which they state will make the chain eight times faster than it currently is.
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