Coinbase announced the expansion of its crypto Visa debit card service to six new countries across Europe. The expansion follows the card’s April debut in the U.K. and should see a rollout to more countries in the coming months.
Six more countries in the E.U. get access to Coinbase Card
The leading cryptocurrency exchange in the U.S., Coinbase, will see its Visa debit card service expand to six more European countries this month. According to the company’s official blog post, the Coinbase card will now be available to customers in Spain, Germany, France, Italy, Ireland, and the Netherlands.
Coinbase’s Visa debit card debuted in the U.K. in April this year after securing an e-money license in the country. After the launch, Zeeshan Feroz, the CEO of Coinbase U.K., told CNBC that the company was applying for a European e-money license and that it was hoping to expand to other European countries in the months that followed.
Paying with cryptocurrencies simplified
The Coinbase Card will be available in the 6 European countries as of June 12, the company said, with its CEO adding that it has seen “extremely strong take-up” since its U.K. launch.
While there is currently no official information on how many Coinbase Cards were issued in the past two months, Feroz said that the company “blew past” the initial 1,000 cards it offered users for free.
He also said that Coinbase plans on expanding the card into other markets as well, but is still searching for the right banking partners.
Users of the Coinbase Card are able to make fast, contactless payments everywhere where Visa cards are accepted. After syncing with Coinbase’s mobile app, users can select which cryptocurrency in their wallet they want to spend and switch seamlessly between Bitcoin (BTC), Bitcoin Cash (BCH), Ethereum (ETH), Ethereum Classic(ETC), Litecoin (LTC), and other ERC-20 tokens.
Customers interested in the Coinbase Card can request it through the Coinbase app by joining the waitlist. Once the waitlist closes, the users’ crypto balance will immediately be available through the in-app virtual card while they wait for the physical card to be sent through the post.
Coinbase-Backed ConsenSys Alum Aims to Build GitHub for Web3
Although most developers use GitHub to organize and share open-source code, funds like Coinbase Ventures, Distributed Global and Digital Currency Group are betting on a crypto-native alternative.
Former ConsenSys token guru Harrison Hines is now CEO of his own startup, Terminal, which closed a $3.7 million seed round in late 2018 for a developer hub specifically built for decentralized apps (dapps). The hub quietly went live over the summer and is undergoing a soft launch this week.
Unlike the Microsoft-owned GitHub, which requires a quick workaround in order to use smart contracts, Hines told CoinDesk Web3 developers will be able to deploy software directly from the Terminal platform. Projects like MakerDAO stablecoin loans rely on smart contracts (software that automatically executes business logic) to safeguard hundreds of millions of dollars worth of cryptocurrency.
“For a large ecosystem like MakerDAO with tons of smart contracts live, Terminal allows us to curate starting points for developers tailored exactly for their needs,” MakerDAO engineer Vamsi Alluri told CoinDesk.
Terminal CTO Janison Sivarajah told CoinDesk this platform was designed for Web3, the shorthand for an internet populated by applications that aren’t hosted or controlled by a single entity.
“Once that smart contract is actually deployed on the blockchain, it is a live object that lives on one of these decentralized protocols,” Sivarajah said. “People need an interface to surface them, view data about them and interact with them. You can’t do that on GitHub.”
Terminal also offers limited node services, for free, and direct conduits to external infrastructure providers like Infura or BlockCypher.
Stepping back, ethereum fans generally use “infrastructure” to mean an external party running nodes and offering blockchain data as a service. Unlike bitcoin, which has plug-and-play hardware node options, most experts agree it is cumbersome to run an ethereum node with full archives. In order for dapps to take off and hit the mainstream, token connoisseurs say, the industry requires more independent node operators and easier access to node data.
“You have to run nodes across all those [testing, production, etc.] environments,” Sivarajah said. “Someone could use the hosted nodes that we provide … because that’s a lot cheaper and easier to get off the ground. But then you can point the production environment to your own infrastructure.”
To be clear, Terminal isn’t looking to compete with ConsenSys-owned API provider INFURA, which served 5,000 daily users as of July 2019, according to INFURA product manager Michael Godsey. Hines told CoinDesk his legal complaint against ConsenSys founder Joseph Lubin, alleging the former employer owed Hines $13 million in unpaid profits and benefits, was resolved amicably out of court.
“We are planning to, hopefully, get every ConsenSys project onto Terminal and using Terminal,” Hines said. “I do think there are opportunities for us to work with several of them in the future.”
Terminal’s freemium business model is predicated on the hope that, like GitHub, some developers will eventually pay for premium support services.
“Alerting and notifications are just one feature in Terminal, but it is a feature we have been exploring the most to assist 0x developers,” engineer Jacob Evans, of the exchange startup 0x, told CoinDesk. “Terminal also has a number of great features that will help support developers at the prototyping and hackathon stage. It’s critical that developers can play around and experiment efficiently.”
With regards to such experiments, Sivarajah said Terminal is running roughly seven different nodes to support projects using blockchains like xDAI, Rootstock and POA, in addition to private testnets.
“A contract on ethereum can easily be deployed on any of the other networks that use the EVM [ethereum virtual machine] blockchain,” Sivarajah said, estimating two-dozen networks currently use the EVM. “We will also see which other frameworks are gaining traction.”
Traction will be the deciding factor. Dapp.com data suggests no ethereum-based dapp currently attracts more than 2,000 daily users.
If you build it, will they come?
From the perspective of Distributed Global partner Johnny Steindorff, a Terminal investor, part of this relates to how much manual work is required to maintain reliable Web3 applications.
“I think middleware is one of the biggest present-day opportunities to drive mainstream [blockchain] development and adoption,” Steindorff told CoinDesk.
Indeed, BlockCypher CEO Catheryne Nicholson told CoinDesk that “running ethereum infrastructure is really painful.” Yet her company has thousands of customers, ranging from rogue developer teams to enterprises, paying for such ethereum API access.
With more companies providing affordable support services across the ecosystem, Hines said, startups can avoid that hassle and focus on their core competency. He added that Terminal is currently raising a Series A, with aims to eventually offer self-hosted versions of the platform for developers who prefer not to rely on centralized websites.
“Most developers need redundancy,” BlockCypher’s Nicholson said, referring to how teams need backups in case one ethereum API provider has a hiccup. “It’s not one company eat all. You need multiple players to make that ecosystem work.”
Disclosure: CoinDesk is a subsidiary of Digital Currency Group, which has
Coinbase Pro Lists Dash in ‘Signal of a New Era for Altcoins’
Coinbase Pro is adding support for Dash (DASH), the world’s sixteenth-largest cryptocurrency, starting today at 10 a.m. Pacific Standard Time (PST). Dash, which is optimized for fast, easy-to-use, low-cost payments, joins Bitcoin, XRP, Ethereum, Bitcoin Cash and Litecoin among a total of 24 cryptocurrencies listed on Coinbase Pro.
The San Francisco-based exchange will roll out Dash in four stages by first allowing users to transfer Dash to Coinbase Pro accounts located in Coinbase’s supported jurisdictions, with the exception of New York State and the United Kingdom.
Next, users can start trading DASH/USD and DASH/BTC on or after 9:00 a.m. PST, if liquidity conditions are met.
According to the announcement,
“In the second stage, customers can post limit orders but there will be no matches (completed orders). Order books will be in post-only mode for a minimum of one minute.
In the third stage, limit orders will start matching but customers are unable to submit market orders. Order books will be in limit-only mode for a minimum of ten minutes.
In the final stage, full trading services will be available, including limit, market, and stop orders.”
Coinbase says Dash is not yet available on Coinbase.com or via its mobile apps, and it will not initially support Dash’s special features, including instant confirmations. If and when support for Dash is extended to the larger Coinbase ecosystem, an announcement will be made at that time.
Meanwhile, as Dash rolls out for US traders on Coinbase Pro, Dash Core CEO Ryan Taylor is defending his position, in spite of detractors, that Dash is the most popular cryptocurrency in Venezuela where it is solving real-world problems.
“The progress we made in Venezuela is real. We see evidence of it growing constantly. We’re managing to sign up larger and larger chains.
We just signed up our largest chain: 22 pharmacies in Caracas, and we’re in negotiations with point-of-sale systems at this point. None of that work would be possible without Dash Merchant out there having built up a couple of thousand initial mom-and-pop type merchants. I think that the work in Venezuela is going to continue.”
Dash News author Joël Valenzuela is characterizing the new listing on Coinbase Pro as a tipping point for altcoins.
“This breakthrough seems to indicate that things may be different around crypto land, for so-dubbed ‘altcoins’ in particular.”
Mapping out the road that once led to Dash being labeled as a “scam coin”, Valenzuela sees the Coinbase listing as a stroke of legitimacy and a clear enough sign to turn that narrative around.
“For the longest time, an acute discrepancy existed between the hyped and “respected” projects at the top and all others, completely regardless of innovation or technical soundness. Dash has been the flagship project for disparity between innovation and reputation, and its slow fight upwards may well pave the way for other projects which have been building amazing things without a shred of recognition.
Before, the markets lived and died by what the crypto good old boys said. Now that they have allowed their biggest foe to start breaking into the older and more respected institutions, it may open the doors for other overlooked altcoins. Or, in the parlance of our time: ‘When #altseason?’”
Coinbase Pro disappoints NYC DASH traders
Any cryptocurrency network and its underpinning code are subject to malicious intervention. This is especially true when it comes to smart contracts. Numerous projects offer this functionality, which exposes all of them to potential hacks and theft. For one EOS-based gambling dApp, a recent exploit cost them over 30,000 EOS in the process. It is not unlikely such an attack will be repeated in the future.
A bad day for EOSPlay
Most people are well aware how EOS is primarily used to build gambling dApps. That is a rather logical development, as the cryptocurrency community often flocks to gambling services, for some unknown reason. As of right now, the top EOS dApps mainly provide gambling services, which attracts a lot of users. Among those users, not everyone has legitimate intentions either.
For the EOSPlay team, a very problematic scenario has arisen. Not only has its smart contract code been exploited by a hacker, but they also lost over 30,000 EOS in the process. It appears the hacker was able to manipulate the smart contract in such a manner all of the bets placed would result in a profit. How or why something like that is possible in 2019, raises plenty of questions, for obvious reasons.
How was it Exploited?
The EOS ecosystem is quite intriguing in its own regard. Many different services and technologies are at play at any given moment. Not too long ago, users received the ability to rent and lease CPU and NET through the REX resource exchange. Although this is a welcome addition to the ecosystem, it was seemingly a matter of time until someone would sue for nefarious purposes. That day has now come, and the consequences should not be ignored.
The attacker staked CPU and NET for his own purposes, and attacked the EOSPlay smart contract. This allowed him to negate other users’ transactions, up to a certain degree. After a while, the EOS network becomes slightly congested, which let the attack initiate certain contracts to the gambling dApp in question. The winning conditions were manipulated, and over 30,000 changed hands in very quick succession. Even the developers could not halt this attack while it was in progress due to congestion.
An Inherent Flaw?
Issues like these only highlight the core weaknesses of the different cryptocurrency ecosystems. It is not an issue native to EOS, although the method through which it was exploited certainly is. Smart contract-oriented attacks have been in place on Ethereum for some time as well. In most cases, hackers successfully claim some funds in the process, which will only encourage more criminals to try their hand at this method in the future.
The bigger question is how the EOS community will respond to this new turn of events. The credibility of the project is far from an all-time high, primarily due to the high degree of perceived centralization. Additionally, the public figure of EOS – Dan Larimar – has made some remarks regarding Bitcoin and Ethereum which weren’t appreciated. Plenty of users wish ill-will upon EOS because of its public face being a persona non grata in the crypto world. A very troublesome situation indeed, albeit one that needs to be rectified as soon as possible.