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OKEx to accelerate Bitcoin transactions with Lightning Network

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Global cryptocurrency exchange OKEx is moving to cheaper and faster Bitcoin (BTC) transactions with its upcoming Lightning Network integration.

According to a Tuesday announcement, OKEx’s Bitcoin Lightning Network will be integrated “in the coming quarter,” making OKEx a participant node in the Lightning Network.

The integration will allow OKEx users to select the Lightning Network option when depositing and withdrawing BTC, intending to decrease transaction fees and times.

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The Lightning Network is a second-layer scaling solution and payment protocol based on top of the Bitcoin blockchain. The protocol was suggested by Joseph Poon and Thaddeus Dryja in 2015 in an effort to solve Bitcoin’s scalability problem. According to data from crypto analytics website BitInfoCharts, the average Bitcoin transaction fee amounted to more than $15 on Monday.

As the Lightning Network is not a blockchain itself but rather a secondary layer, the solution was originally mostly used for small or even micro Bitcoin transactions. To solve this problem, Lightning Labs introduced so-called “Wumbo” channels in August 2020 in order to make it possible for nodes to service larger transactions while reducing on-chain fees. The word Wumbo, which apparently means “large,” is a reference to an episode of SpongeBob SquarePants. These channels are named as such because they are larger than the 0.1677 BTC ($5,800) limit.

OKEx is not the only crypto exchange to start experimenting with the Bitcoin Lightning Network. In July 2019, European crypto exchange Bitstamp set up its own Lightning Network node to boost the network’s capabilities. Another global exchange, Bitfinex, reportedly became the first crypto exchange to enable Lightning payments in December 2019. In September 2020, Bitfinex announced support of Lightning Network’s Wumbo channels to enable it customers to deposit and withdraw large amounts of Bitcoin.

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Amid Lightning Labs expanding the Lightning Network’s capabilities, more crypto exchanges have moved to integrate the protocol in recent months. In December 2020, major United States-based crypto exchange Kraken announced that it too will integrate the Bitcoin Lightning Network in 2021. OKCoin also recently announced its plans to integrate the network in the first quarter of 2021.OKEx

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CFTC slaps Tether and Bitfinex with $42.5 million fine over misleading statements

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  • Tether is hit with $41 million in fines to settle allegations of misleading statements. 
  • Bitfinex was fined $1.5 million for facilitating retail transactions for American citizens. 
  • Tether has been under the lens of financial regulators over claims of stablecoin reserves for years on end. 

Financial regulators have investigated Tether and Bitfinex for criminal probe into bank fraud and misleading statements. Currently, over $62 million worth of Tether is in circulation, which is likely to impact the broad cryptocurrency market. 

Tether and Bitfinex hit by CFTC fines; there may be an impact on the crypto market

US regulators have accused Tether of making untrue or misleading statements. The Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) slapped a penalty of $41 million on Tether and $1.5 million on Bitfinex. 

Bitfinex was fined for allowing American citizens to transact on its exchange. The CFTC announced the penalties earlier today.  

Tether has played a key role in the crypto ecosystem, and the US Justice department’s focus is on the stablecoin’s activity in nascent stages following its launch in 2014. Federal prosecutors investigated transactions that were linked to crypto, and banks were unaware of their nature. 

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Former probes remained confidential, according to sources close to the Department of Justice (DoJ). A criminal probe is one of the key developments in the crackdown on cryptocurrencies by regulators. 

Over $62 billion worth of Tether tokens are in circulation; proponents believe it is too big to fail. In a statement, Tether stated:

Tether routinely has an open dialogue with law enforcement agencies, including the DOJ, as part of our commitment to cooperation and transparency.

In light of recent events, however, Tether is faced with a more significant challenge, safeguarding the interests of the crypto community by not failing. Traders across fiat-crypto exchanges and peer-to-peer platforms exchange their fiat for stablecoins to access the cryptocurrency ecosystem. 

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If Tether fails, the inflow of stablecoins to exchanges could be impaired, triggering a drop in capital inflow to Bitcoin. 

In their concurring statements, CFTC was quoted:

The settlement with the Tether respondents finds that there were misrepresentations regarding the assets backing tether, specifically that the USDT tokens were backed 1-to-1 by US dollars. The evidence establishes that this assurance provided to tether customers was not 100% true, 100% of the time.

Tether officials are held accountable by the CFTC. Further, the CFTC has applied a commodities’ definition to stablecoins. Regulators are concerned that enforcement actions may confuse their role in cryptocurrency and stablecoin regulation. 

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The CFTC’s statement reads:

In a recent speech, SEC Commissioner Hester Peirce asked an important question when it comes to the US regulators’ review of stablecoins: Are we fighting for investors or are we fighting for jurisdiction? This question is front-and-center in my mind as I consider these settlements.

Tether believes that,

As Tether represented in the Order, it has always maintained adequate reserves and has never failed to satisfy a redemption request.

Tether has suggested that the CFTC’s findings regarding Bitfinex are related to its activities before December 2018. The stablecoin issuer is focused on resolving the matter and moving forward. 

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The statement reads as follows:

We are grateful that the market has consistently demonstrated its trust and confidence in Tether. We will continue to earn that confidence and lead the industry in innovation and transparency.

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Crypto Market Cap Gained $90B: Bitcoin Taps $60K, SOL up 8% (Market Watch)

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After a six-month hiatus, bitcoin met the coveted $60,000 level before retracing by roughly $1,000. Ethereum went above $3,800 briefly.

Bitcoin skyrocketed by roughly $3,000 in hours following positive reports coming from the US and touched $60,000 for the first time since April. Some altcoins have also joined the ride, with ETH exceeding $3,800 and Solana spiking by more than 8%.

BTC and $60K Met Again

Just two days ago, bitcoin had retraced hard and was close to breaking below $54,000. This came after an unsuccessful attempt to overcome $58,000 for the first time in roughly five months.

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However, the bulls hadn’t given up yet and initiated another impressive leg up yesterday, as reported. This time, BTC reclaimed the aforementioned level and kept climbing upwards.

BTC went as high as $58,500 before another brief retracement drove it back below $57,000. At this time, though, reports emerged claiming that the US Securities and Exchange Commission could greenlight a Bitcoin Futures ETF as early as next week.

The implications of such a significant development in the US led to an immediate price surge. BTC added more than $3,000 of value and touched $60,000 for the first time since April this year.

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As of now, bitcoin has lost around $1,000 of value, but its market cap is still above $1.1 trillion. The dominance over the altcoins has increased to just shy of $46%.

BTCUSD. Source: TradingView
BTCUSD. Source: TradingView

ETH Reached $3.8K: SOL Up by 8%

Ethereum struggled in the past few weeks as it was unable to break above $3,600 decisively. It even retraced by a few hundred dollars but went on the offensive yesterday and continued north today. As a result, the second-largest crypto broke above $3,800 for the first time in months but it was short-lived and is back below it now

Solana is another impressive performer on a 24-hour scale. SOL has surged by 8% in a day and trades well above $160. Uniswap’s 4% increase has driven UNI to $26, but the rest of the larger-cap alts have stalled or retraced.

Binance Coin, Cardano, Ripple, Polkadot, Dogecoin, Terra, and Avalanche are all slightly in the red.

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Cryptocurrency Market Overview. Source: Quantify Crypto
Cryptocurrency Market Overview. Source: Quantify Crypto

The top 100 largest coins have a new representative in the face of NuCypher. NU has exploded by more than 500% in a day and has neared $2, but many community members speculate on Twitter that it could be a pump and dump scheme.

Polygon has increased by 25% to $1.6. The total crypto market cap is above $2.4 trillion for the first time in months as well, after a $90 billion rise in a day.

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Crypto Top Voice Mr. Whale Shares Top BTC Price Predictions in One Tweet

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While the aggregated forecasts by crypto Mr. Whale spell a great hope for Bitcoin investors across the board, he himself is less optimistic, noting that the digital currency is closer to 0 than $100,000 earlier in the month.

The digital currency ecosystem has seen a lot of Bitcoin (BTC) price predictions from market experts including top financial institutions and analysts, and crypto top voice, Mr Whale has aggregated each of these forecasts in one tweet. Bitcoin has notably charted a very impressive growth course in the past 1 year, with an evidential 400% advancement in price.

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From the fourth quarter of 2020 to date, the Bitcoin ecosystem has witnessed the influx of institutional money, a trend that is contributing to the maturity of the industry. With more interest growing across the board, so is the regulatory terrain in major hotspots like China dragging the growth of the interest. While there seems to be a balance in the factors stirring growth, and those suppressing it, Mr. Whale’s tweet ended with a call to revisit the predictions in three months’ time.

BTC Price Predictions as Aggregated by the Self-Proclaimed Crypto Whale

With barely three months until the end of the year 2021, the forecast by Bloomberg comes off as one of the most ambitious for the digital currency. The financial media house said back in April that Bitcoin is on track to close the year at a $400,000 price valuation, citing the incremental growth the premier cryptocurrency printed in previous years as its yardstick.

“The technical outlook for Bitcoin in 2021 remains strongly upward if past patterns repeat. Common companions for strong annual rallies in the first-born crypto – low volatility and halvings – are aligned favorably. Our graphic depicts Bitcoin on similar ground as the roughly 55x gain in 2013 and 15x in 2017. To reach price extremes akin to those years in 2021, the crypto would approach $400,000, based on the regression since 2011 high. In September, 180-day volatility on the crypto about matched the all-time low from October 2015. From that month’s average price, Bitcoin increased a little over 50x to the peak in 2017,” the Bloomberg report highlighted.

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Forbes Magazine’s projection of $700,000 is even more aggressive, beating not just Bloomberg’s call, but also of Max Keiser which is pegged at $220,000. Other top voices include Stock-to-Flow creator PlanB who forecasts a $135,000 worst-case scenario price for Bitcoin by year-end, adding that in the best-case scenario, the cryptocurrency could see a $450,000 price valuation this year.

Other key projections include the $100,000 projections from Fidelity Investments, Nasdaq, Anthony Pompliano, as well as the $140,000 predicted by JPMorgan Chase & Co (NYSE: JPM). Bitcoin is known to possess the right amount of volatility to hit some of these ambitious price tops, however, the journey to highs as much as Bloomberg’s and Forbes is very steep and many factors will need to be aggregated to permit this.

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While the aggregated forecasts by crypto Mr. Whale spell a great hope for Bitcoin investors across the board, he himself is less optimistic, noting that the digital currency is closer to 0 than $100,000 earlier in the month.

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