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Blockchain-for-Banks Startup Switches From Hyperledger to R3’s Corda

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MonetaGo, a software development company that builds private blockchains for financial institutions and central banks, has decided to change its underlying architecture from Hyperledger Fabric to R3’s Corda platform.

The New York-based firm, which has been testing its blockchain-based anti-fraud platform for receivables financing in India, cited concerns with how Hyperledger Fabric would scale up once large numbers of participants joined the system.

 MonetaGo CEO Jesse Chanard told CoinDesk,

“As we looked at the different scalability pieces of Hyperledger, we saw that it could get challenging, at least at the current throughput of Fabric. So we started doing some testing on Corda and realized, at least in this specific case, it made a lot of sense.”

Specifically, Hyperledger uses numerous channels, or “subnets,” to ensure the privacy of data shared between parties on the blockchain. It’s this facet of its architecture – which is evolving with each version of Fabric, it must be said – that Chenard is referring to. 

“Trade finance involves thousands and thousands of participants Looking at the scalability and load testing, you have to ask how will Fabric scale when you’ve got tens of thousands of suppliers with tens of thousands of channels,” he said.

Corda, on the other hand, tackles privacy in a different way: it only shares data between counterparties to a deal (and possibly their regulators) rather than broadcasting it like on a public blockchain, removing the need for partitioning.

Hyperledger declined to comment on MonetaGo’s change of platform choice.

India to Mexico

A former bitcoin exchange that pivoted to enterprise software, MonetaGo had already been working with Corda to automate the issuance of commercial paper, yet another reason to make the change, Chenard said.

The next version of MonetaGo’s receivables anti-fraud network, built on Corda, will go live early this year in Mexico, he said. 

David E. Rutter, R3’s founder and CEO, said in a statement: “We’re excited to see the network running in production on Corda Enterprise with a number of our member banks in Mexico.”

In April of last year, MonetaGo announced that its receivables financing blockchain on Hyperledger Fabric was being tested in conjunction with the Reserve Bank of India. The central bank licensed it to three so-called factoring exchanges –  RXIL, A.TReDS, and M1xhange – where small businesses bring invoices to obtain financing from banks.

Squaring off

This is not the first time organizations that have been building on Hyperledger have changed their minds and moved to R3 Corda.

It has happened on a rather large scale in the blockchain and insurance world, where both the B3i and RiskBlock consortiums migrated to R3 after kicking the tires of Fabric.

However, the trade finance blockchain space has remained evenly split with likes of we.trade on the Hyperleder Fabric side and Marco Polo and Voltron using Corda.

Chenard explained that interoperability with the Corda trade finance ecosystem was another driver for MonetaGo’s decision, concluding:

“The trade finance solutions we are really looking at are Voltron and Marco Polo and we began to think, ‘wouldn’t it be great if you were writing this stuff natively for Corda, rather than trying to figure out how to connect Hyperledger and Corda and vice versa?’”

David Rutter image from CoinDesk archives

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Banking Startup Launching Visa Card That Lets You Spend 7 Cryptos

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Banking startup 2gether is launching a prepaid Visa debit card that allows users to spend cryptocurrencies.

In an announcement, 2gether said customers will be able to use the card to pay with either euros or any of the following seven cryptocurrencies: bitcoin (BTC), ether (ETH), XRP, bitcoin cash (BCH), EOS, Stellar (XLM) and litecoin (LTC). The card “instantly” converts the cryptos to fiat currency and, it said, and can be used fee-free by customers in any of the 19 eurozone nations.

The company said the card would address the hurdles that come with making payments directly with cryptocurrencies. “Currently, spending crypto is a long and difficult process involving exchanges, personal keys, and lots of waiting,” it said.


2gether customers passing know-your-customer (KYC) procedures can also manage their balances in an Android and iOS mobile app that also lets them buy, sell and and hold cryptocurrencies. The firm said purchases are offered at “no mark-ups to exchange prices.”

Following a beta launch in Spain, the firm is now expanding across the eurozone. While it did not provide an exact date for the arrival of the service, it said that users can now download the app in expectation of the launch.

From March 27, the firm also plans a pre-sale of its native token “2GT” via the app, aiming to raise €5 million (or $5.65 million). All EU citizens can participate, it said.

“To date, there has been no consumer-owned, tangible application that connects crypto and the mainstream market,” said 2gether CEO Ramón Ferraz. “We’re proud to be one of the first companies in the crypto space launching a token sale with an already finished product.”

Founded in 2016, Madrid-based 2gether says it is advised by KPMG and A.T. Kearney, and takes the mission to “dramatically improve the personal economies of customers” using technologies such as big data and blockchain.

CEO Ramon Ferraz and Visa card images courtesy of 2gether

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Crypto is Breaking Out, But Bitcoin (BTC) Still Needs To Surmount $4,400

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Crypto Breaks 1Yr+ Downtrend

Over recent weeks, the crypto market has embarked on a stellar rally. While some have described the price action as a “bull trap” or something of a similar nature, some evidence is pointing towards the fact that this market may be on the verge of a long-term rally, or at least a long bout of sideways movement underscored by a bullish trendline. The fact that Bitcoin (BTC) recently surpassed $4,000 has only somewhat cemented this theory.

Nik Patel, a popular content creator in this space, recently took to Twitter to lay out his thoughts on the market. Citing the recent movement seen in the value of all digital assets, he noted that this sum has finally broken out of a 15-month downtrend resistance line, and is holding well above a short-term uptrend.

Patel, much like many other crypto traders, then touched on the volume profile, explaining that the steadily rising increase has him slightly enthused. And with that, he concluded that more likely than not, bears are currently in a stage of disbelief, potentially setting a precedent for a further move to the upside. He adds that this ticker’s daily chart “does look bullish for the market.”

But, it isn’t exactly that cut and dried. Firstly, the cryptocurrency market capitalization (CMC) still remains under its 200-day moving average, which has acted as a pseudo-resistance in this bear market and a pseudo-support in 2017’s rally. To surmount this level, CMC would need to surpass ~$145 billion or so, currently 10% above current levels.

In a separate tweet, Patel touches on this, explaining that yes, we won’t be seeing all-time highs soon and that this budding market remains rangebound despite the casual trendline break.

Bitcoin Needs $4,400

In his most recent blog post, he touched on Bitcoin specifically, explaining what levels traders of the flagship cryptocurrency should watch in the near future. He notes that while there was a “bullish continuation” of last week’s positive-leaning momentum, and that BTC is holding above some key short-term supports, traders would be remiss to call for the moon.

Patel explains that Bitcoin needs to close above $4,400 on solid volume to confirm that it is not rangebound, setting the stage for a further move to the upside. But, considering that BTC topped out its last rally at around $4,200 or $4,300, there may be some key resistance levels in the region to move past.

Filb Filb, a preeminent trader, made a comment of a similar nature just recently. He explained that above $4,400 has a huge void in volume, and Bitcoin could thus move drastically higher from there if that auspicious level is reached.

Title Image Courtesy of Descryptive.com Via Unsplash

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Coinbase Pro Has Good and Bad News Regarding Fees for Traders

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Coinbase Pro is changing its fee structure later this week, with bottom tier traders seeing a hike and higher value clients paying less.

The San Francisco-based cryptocurrency exchange announced the news in a blog post on Friday, saying that, starting March 22, market makers and takers who fall under the pricing tier of up to $100,000 will be subject to total fees of 0.40 percent, as compared to up to 0.30 percent (taker only) currently.

The $100,000 to $1 million tier will stay with the current total fee of 0.30 percent, but that will be shared between makers and takers, while currently takers pay the full fee. The $10 million to $50 million bracket also sees the 0.20 percent total fee unchanged, but split between makers and takers.

For other tiers, though, there are fee reductions in store. Above $100 million and above $1 billion, total fees are being reduced by 50 percent, while tiers in between are benefiting from cuts of 20-30 percent (see image below). All tiers now see makers taking some of the fee burden.

The new fee structure is designed to “increase liquidity by reducing the delta between maker and taker fees,” Coinbase said.

Economist and trader Alex Kruger set out the changes in a tweet with the following comprehensive table:


Coinbase further announced that its Pro service, and the institution-focused Prime platform, will no longer support stop orders.

“All stop orders must now be submitted as limit orders and include a limit price. All currently open stop market orders will be canceled on Friday, March 22 @ 6:00 pm PDT,” the exchange added.

Both limit and stop orders are orders to buy or sell an asset when its price moves past a specified level. However, stop orders cannot be seen by the market until the trade has occurred.

Both Pro and Prime will also introduce a 10 percent market “protection point” for all market orders, according to the blog post, meaning that market orders that move the price in excess of 10 percent will “stop executing and return a partial fill.”

“Protection points help prevent large orders from causing more than 10% slippage,” the exchange said.

Coins image via Shutterstock; table courtesy of Alex Kruger

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Israeli Bank Policy Should Not Have Shut Down Bitcoin Mining Firm’s Account, Court Rules

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An Israeli court has ruled in favor of a Bitcoin (BTC) mining company after a local bank closed its account over money laundering concerns. Israeli daily business news outlet Calcalist reported the development on March 17.

Israminers, which sued Bank Igud (the Union Bank of Israel Ltd.) in May 2018, had faced problems with cash flow due to the bank blocking deposits which it said was against its terms.

Following a lengthy appeals process, a Tel Aviv district court judge argued that the bank’s policy on cryptocurrency clients was too broad, and should not include automatic rejections.

“I believe that the sweeping policy, which does not distinguish between different types of activity, scope of activity and different types of customers — in the field of digital currencies — is unreasonable,” Calcalist quoted judge Limor Bibi as saying.

At the same time, however, Bibi said banks were within their rights to refuse deposits which originated from cryptocurrency trades.

The episode continues the patchwork regulatory attitude to cryptocurrency trading as it impacts the legacy banking system. As Cointelegraph has reported, various banks have taken issue with servicing businesses and private investors who trade cryptocurrency.

Often, the hostile stance contradicts other activities at the same bank: United Kingdom-based Barclays, for example, also shut down accounts prior to developing a relationship with major cryptocurrency exchange Coinbase to conversely speed up deposits and withdrawals.

In the case of Union Bank, it would appear senior executives had benefited from education in the emerging sector, with local startup Bit2C conducting a seminar on its workings last November.

Earlier this month, a dedicated committee from Israel’s securities regulator issued final recommendations for governing the cryptocurrency economy, something which could see banks’ treatment become more uniform in future.

“The committee recommends considering adjustment of the existing regulation to create more suitable regulatory infrastructure for this trading activity in order to better cope with the risks incurred in this activity,” an accompanying report explained.

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An Old Resistance Hurdle Is Back and Could Stall Bitcoin’s Price Rally

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  • Bitcoin clocked highs above $4,000 over the weekend and closed last week on a positive note, strengthening the short-term bullish outlook.
  • The ongoing recovery rally, however, could pause around $4,000 or fall back to key support levels lined up at $3,775 and $3,658, as the bearish (downward sloping) 21-week simple moving average (SMA) is currently lined up at $4,073. That SMA served as a stiff resistance last year.
  • Bitcoin’s outlook as per the daily chart would turn bearish if prices see a UTC close below the Feb. 27 low of $3,658. That would open the doors for a re-test of lows near $3,300 seen at the end of January.

Bitcoin’s (BTC) four-week price rally now faces a former support-turned-resistance level that repeatedly capped gains in 2018.

The crypto market leader closed (UTC) yesterday at $3,965 on Bitstamp, representing a 1.73 percent gain on a weekly basis, according to Bitstamp data. That was the fourth straight weekly gain and the longest winning streak since April 2018.

With strong volumes backing bitcoin’s move to a three-week high of $4,040 over the weekend, the case for an extension of the ongoing recovery rally from January lows looks strong.

However, a long-term bearish-to-bullish trend change above $4,236 may remain elusive for few weeks, as the 21-month simple moving average (SMA) – a technical line which acted as strong resistance in 2018 – is currently located at $4,073.

More importantly, the average line is still trending south in favor of the bears, and bitcoin is not likely to breach it with a 90-degree rally.

Further, with BTC struggling to hold on to gains above $4,000 for the third day running, the bullish momentum is beginning to wane.

As of writing, the BTC is changing hands at $3,955 on Bitstamp, having hit a high of $4,016 earlier today.

Weekly chart

On the weekly chart, bitcoin printed bullish higher lows along the 21-week SMA throughout the 2016-2017 uptrend. The average support was breached on Jan. 29, 2018, and has reversed rallies ever since.

As such, a convincing move above that SMA, currently at $4,073, could be considered an early sign of a long-term bullish reversal.

It is often observed that markets tend to consolidate post-break above a downward sloping MA and pick up a strong bid once the average has shed bearish bias (bottomed out).

For instance, BTC jumped above the descending 100-day MA on Feb. 19, but the follow-through quickly fizzled out near $4,200 and prices fell back to the long-term MA on March 4. More importantly, bitcoin lacked clear directional bias and rose back to $4,000 only after the average turned flat on March 14.

Thus, any break above the 21-week SMA needs to be viewed with caution as long as the average line is trending south. A repeated rejection at the average line could invite selling pressure, as seen in November.

Daily chart

On the daily, BTC closed above $3,950 (Mar. 9 high) on Saturday, bolstering the short-term bullish setup as indicated by both the ascending trendline and the upward sloping 5- and 10-day MAs.

So far, however, the follow-through has been anything but bullish, which adds credence to the possibility of a pause in upward momentum suggested by the weekly chart.

Disclosure: The author holds no cryptocurrency assets at the time of writing.

Bitcoin image via Shutterstock; charts by Trading View

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