Long-time Grin coder “Ignotus Peverell” will receive financial support to work on the cryptocurrency, a move that makes him the nascent project’s third paid team member.
In a weekly governance meeting Tuesday, developers voted to fund Peverell for his work on Grin with roughly $10,000 per month. With 4,919,040 GRIN tokens in circulation, according to CoinMarketCap, the estimated market capitalization of the cryptocurrency is well over $13 million.
Grin, being a relatively new blockchain, went live in mid-January in a bid to implement the privacy-enhancing protocol “MimbleWimble,” designed to obfuscate transaction details such as amount and account addresses. Named after a tongue-tying curse in J.K. Rowling’s best-selling Harry Potter books, the name Ignotus Peverell itself is a pseudonym that references a character within the series.
In the context of the Grin community, Peverell was one of the original creators of the Grin project who back in 2016 started the first implementation of the mimblewimble protocol on GitHub.
A user by the name of “Antioch Peverell” – another Harry Potter character reference – was similarly voted up by the community in late February. Before this, user “Yeastplume” was the sole full-time funded Grin developer.
Yeastplume told CoinDesk:
“There’s no [official] roles. We just continue to work on what we see fit, which so far seems to be working okay.”
Emphasizing in a public Gitter channel that being funded for Grin development work was “risky employment,” Yeastplume later characterized the financial support as more akin to donations.
Tuesday’s governance meeting also confirmed the “contract and payment” of security auditing firm Coinspect.
Having decided to conduct a third-party review of Grin’s “cryptographic and consensus-critical code,” community members unanimously voted to employ Coinspect over other auditors such as Quarkslab and NCC last month.
Now, having paid a fee up-front to the company of roughly $17,000, Grin community members expect a draft report by April 20. “It’s going to come quickly. They’ve also already produced one excellent vulnerability report,” stated Ignotus Peverell.
As stated on a Github, the estimated cost of the audit is roughly $80,000.
Funds are sourced from the “Grin General Fund,” which back in December of last year raised 17.28 BTC, with an estimated worth at press time of $66,500 specifically for the purposes of this security audit.
Lawmakers Amp Up Pressure on Facebook to Halt Libra Cryptocurrency Development
U.S. lawmakers repeatedly pressed Facebook’s top blockchain executive to halt development of the Libra cryptocurrency during a contentious hearing on the project Wednesday.
They didn’t get far.
David Marcus, the CEO of Facebook’s subsidiary Calibra, reiterated his promise that Libra would not launch until regulators’ concerns were fully addressed. But he stopped short of committing to freezing technical work on the project, much to the chagrin of House Financial Services Committee members.
The committee’s chairwoman, Rep. Maxine Waters (D-Calif.), had previously called for a moratorium, and it was one of the first things she brought up in the hearing, asking the Facebook executive:
“Will you stop dancing around this question and commit here in this committee … to a moratorium until Congress enacts an appropriate legal framework to ensure that Libra and Calibra do what you claim it will do?”
Marcus responded with roughly the same talking point he’s been using for weeks.
“I agree with you that this needs to be analyzed and understood before it can be launched … and this is my commitment to you. We will take the time to get this right,” he said.
Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-N.Y.) raised the issue during her turn to question Marcus. He started to give a similar answer to what he said earlier, but before he could finish, she cut him off.
“I take that as a no,” she said.
Maloney then asked Marcus if he would at least promise to do a small pilot test of Libra, involving no more than 1 million users and overseen by the Federal Reserve and the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), before fully launching the currency. Again, he demurred, saying only that he would commit to working with regulators.
Not that a pilot would be her preferred outcome. “I don’t think you should launch a new currency at all,” Maloney said.
Like the previous day’s Senate Banking Committee hearing, Wednesday’s panel was wide-ranging, with lawmakers grilling Marcus on everything from money laundering to financial stability to whether Libra should be regulated as an exchange-traded fund (ETF) or a bank.
Rep. Brad Sherman (D.-Calif.), perhaps crypto’s loudest Congressional critic, suggested that Libra was somehow more dangerous to America than 9/11.
Comparatively sober colleagues wondered if the project would become “systemically important,” Beltway-speak for “too big to fail.”
The Republicans on the panel were less hostile but nevertheless asked pointed questions.
Rep. Sean Duffy (R.-Wis.), for example, complimented Marcus for Facebook’s innovation but asked if Libra would ban controversial speakers like Milo Yiannopoulos or Louis Farrakhan from using the platform, as Facebook has done in its flagship social network.
“Personally, I believe we shouldn’t be in the business of telling people what they can do with their money,” Marcus responded, adding a caveat that such policies would be up to the governing council of the Libra Association consortium.
AOC weighs in
Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.), the young lawmaker known for her social media savvy and socialist economic positions, brought an interesting bit of monetary history into the discussion.
She suggested that the Libra currency would be a digital version of scrip, a type of private money that corporations once used to pay employees. (Coal miners and loggers, for instance, were paid in scrip they could use to buy goods at the company store.)
Marcus, a former president of PayPal, said he was not familiar with the term.
Ocasio-Cortez also questioned the governance of this aspiring global currency. “Were the members of the association democratically elected? Who picked them?” she asked Marcus.
He replied that the membership is open, subject to certain requirements.
“So we’re discussing a currency governed by private corporations,” Ocasio-Cortez went on. “Do you believe the currency is a public good? Do you believe Libra should be a public good?”
Marcus answered that “it’s not up to me to decide.”
Inside the basket
Marcus also provided more detail than before about the makeup of the basket of fiat currencies that would back Libra.
He told the lawmakers (several of whom were concerned about Libra’s threat to U.S. financial dominance) that the reserve will “mainly” be backed by the U.S. dollar. The Facebook executive later specified that it would be 50 percent dollars, with euros, British pounds and the Japanese yen also included in the collateral.
Regarding Libra’s collateral, Rep. Katie Porter (D-Calif.) seized on another historical comparison: the wildcat banks of the early 19th century, which issued their own notes purportedly redeemable for gold and often failed to deliver on their promises to pay noteholders.
“How is it fundamentally different from wildcat banking?” she asked Marcus.
“A very important difference is the one-to-one reserve,” he said.
Porter then asked what’s to stop the Libra Association from swapping out the reserve from 50 percent greenbacks to, say, 100 Venezuelan bolivares.
Marcus answered that the Libra Association would be regulated. By whom, Porter asked. Marcus said it would be an oversight group of the Group of Seven (G7) nations that he’d mentioned Libra was working with several times before.
The first part of the hearing wrapped up around 18:45 UTC. After Marcus, a panel of expert witnesses, including former Commodity Futures Trading Commission chairman Gary Gensler, is scheduled to testify.
OceanEx completes successful funding round
OceanEx, one of the fastest-growing and reputable cryptocurrency exchange in the world, today announced that it has raised millions of dollars in Series A funding. The round was led by Fenbushi Capital, with participation from several other investors.
Bo Shen, Founding Partner of Fenbushi Capital said,
Fenbushi Capital identifies with OceanEx’s development concept and core value of building an infrastructure that enables the freedom of value exchange globally and accelerates the inevitable future of blockchain economy. We are excited to work together with OceanEx to bring the highest quality exchange to the market.”
Xiaoning Nan, Founder & CEO of OceanEx stated,
“Our vision of providing global users a secure and transparent digital asset exchanging platform fully aligns with Fenbushi Capital and other investors. Joining hands, we seek to make a remarkable impact on industry growth. Moving forward, we will plow into achieving global compliance proactively, and our users can expect fiat-to-crypto trading very soon.”
While constantly improving its institutional service, OceanEx is sparing no efforts in delivering innovation into financial products, such as contract trading, perpetual contract, and upgraded CryptoFarm product. The next-generation asset management platform and fastest-growing cryptocurrency exchange will also be offering solid blockchain project IEO on OceanEx GO in the nearby future.
Founded in 2018, OceanEx has become one of the fastest-growing cryptocurrency exchanges within six months. As of today, OceanEx is ranked at top 60 on CoinMarketCap’s Top Cryptocurrency Exchanges by Trading Volume.
Committed to achieving regulatory compliance globally, OceanEx has been deploying bank-level SSL secure technology and advanced machine learning algorithms to actively detect attacks and safeguard users’ assets and transactions. In May 2019, OceanEx was invited into CoinMarketCap’s Data Accountability & Transparency Alliance to provide “greater transparency, accountability, and disclosure from projects in the crypto space” alongside other top exchanges including Binance, OKEx, and Huobi.
Launched by BitOcean Global in 2018, OceanEx is an AI-powered digital asset trading platform. The platform is fortified by deploying cutting-edge AI technologies, providing an actively protected and ultra-liquid cryptocurrency trading market, full-fledged quantitative trading capabilities, a rich set of investment tools and products that meet a wide spectrum of investment strategies from all types of investors. For more information, please visit the website.
About Fenbushi Capital
Founded in 2015, Fenbushi Capital is the first China-based venture capital firm that exclusively invests in Blockchain-ended companies. With a mission of accelerating the inevitable future of Blockchain economy by supporting as many companies as possible, Fenbushi strongly believes Blockchain technology will play an important role in bringing much more transparency, efficiency, and robustness into the global economy. For more information, please visit the website.
It’s Not Up to Facebook to Decide What Libra Is, Ex-CFTC Advisor Says
“Is it a security? Is it a commodity pool? Is it a payment token? Is it a utility token? It’s a particularly important question … not just domestically, but also internationally.”
So said Jeff Bandman, a former fintech advisor at the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC), speaking to CoinDesk about Facebook’s Libra cryptocurrency in a live broadcast on Tuesday.
Stressing, “one of the most important question about Libra is what it is,” Bandman suggested there could be a long way to go before a decision is made by regulators over Facebook’s Libra, and how it’s classified will not be Facebook’s call in the end.
“It’s not as if Facebook can just select the category itself identifies with … and regulators will just agree to it. They [the regulators] will look behind the scenes, not just the form [of Libra], but the substance and function, and they will decide what it is.”
While an advisor at the CFTC, Bandman founded LabCFTC, the agency’s in-house unit dedicated to emerging technologies including cryptocurrency.
His comments come just a day after former CFTC chairman Gary Gensler argued in prepared remarks to the U.S. House of Representatives that in his view, Facebook’s Libra appears to be an investment vehicle, is thus a security, and should be regulated as such.
However, Bandman argued that, given Facebook’s ambitious is to reach its customers at a global scale, definitions of the token will likely vary.
“If Libra is a payment system, the payment system regulators are typically the central banks,” Bandman said. “And then you have to look at all the countries Libra is potentially being used or deployed. They may all have slightly different definitions. Maybe in the U.S., Libra is considered as a security, but maybe not in Switzerland.”
The types of regulators that are most concerned with the Libra project are those whose mandate is to look after financial stability, Bandman indicated.
“For the last a couple of years, different groups have looked at crypto assets and generally concluded they are not a threat to financial stability because they are small,” he said.
“But now all of a sudden you have a platform with 2.5 billion users. Anything that it does will necessarily be large. That doesn’t automatically mean it becomes a threat to financial stability. But because this is on such a scale that if this thing gets off the ground and launches, there could be financial stability implications on day one.”
Elsewhere in his remarks, Bandman also raised concerns over Facebook’s banning of crypto-related ads on its social media platform while developing its own token behind the scenes.
Facebook unveiled a policy in January 2018 to ban ads related to initial coin offerings and cryptocurrencies. It eased the ban by requiring a pre-approval process for certain types of ads in June 2018 and further softened the policy in May this year (just weeks before its unveiling of Libra).
“Something I personally find troubling is, Facebook, for a period of over a year, banned crypto ads while working on their own cryptocurrency,” he said, concluding:
“Instead of investigating on Libra, maybe people should investigate on that. That sounds to me like a … uncompetitive behavior.”
Bandman joined other speakers talking with CoinDesk in a live broadcast to unpack Facebook’s hearing at the Senate Banking Committee on Tuesday where the firm addressed lawmakers’ concerns over its ambitious Libra project.