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OCC Charter Makes Anchorage First Federal Crypto Bank

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OCC acting Chief Brian Brooks asserts that blockchain is the future of banking and that financial institutions will eventually be blockchain-based. 

The Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC) announced on Wednesday that it had bestowed a federal bank charter on crypto custodian Anchorage. The bank, which had previously been running as a registered trust company in South Dakota is now the first national cryptocurrency bank.

The OCC is a division of the Treasury Department with the directive to keep banks safe and competitive.

Financial institutions have been facing regulatory setbacks in terms of storage, management and trading of cryptocurrencies. The OCC, in a bid to remedy this, has issued three interpretative letters that facilitate the study of blockchain networks by banks. This will, in turn, enable them to participate in the technology.

Anchorage, will, of course, be expected to adhere to OCC standards.

“In granting this charter, the OCC applied the same rigorous review and standards applied to all charter applications. By bringing this applicant into the federal banking system, the bank and industry will benefit from the OCC’s extensive supervisory experience and expertise,” says a statement by the OCC.

Anchorage President Diogo Mónica stressed the fact that the institution was indeed a national bank, with the only distinction being that they deal in crypto as opposed to other assets.

OCC acting Chief Brian Brooks asserts that blockchain is the future of banking and that financial institutions will eventually be blockchain-based. He noted:

“I think what’s necessary is the creation of crypto banks that are able to hold stablecoins that reflect value of a fiat currency, but that doesn’t change the native asset, and you need to have real cryptocurrencies over here where they interact directly with each other, with no need to ever off-ramp. Fiat will ultimately be a legacy thing of the past.”

Brooks, former Coinbase legal counsel, has led the OCC since May 2020. In his assignment, he has steered the organization in a more crypto-friendly direction. He has also held that crypto-firms need to be regulated at the national, and not state level. He believes this federal charter will enable businesses to operate seamlessly around the country. Mónico agrees, noting that this will allow crypto start-ups to “be connected directly to the core of the financial system”.

The charter may well be Brooks last major action as OCC chief. This week might be his last. His pro-crypto decisions have, of course, been met with opposition from lawmakers with calls being made that President-Elect Joe Biden repeal some legislation approved during Trump‘s tenure. Key among these are all recent crypto regulations by the OCC.

While Biden‘s course of action in this regard remains to be seen, it is clear that a federal charter will not be easy for the new OCC chief to reverse.

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Mercy Mutanya is a Tech enthusiast, Digital Marketer, Writer and IT Business Management Student.
She enjoys reading, writing, doing crosswords and binge-watching her favourite TV series.



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7 Things You Need to Know about Bitcoin Wallet

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If you want to start buying, mining, or selling Bitcoin, the first thing you need is a Bitcoin wallet. Even if you’re not involved in the world of cryptocurrency trade, you might have already heard of the term and have a vague understanding of how it works. However, you might not know about all the Bitcoin wallet options and how they differ from one another.

Let’s take a deeper look into Bitcoin wallets and find out which one would work best for you.

The Basics: What Does a Bitcoin Wallet Do?

A Bitcoin wallet is your means of identification and transaction security. Each wallet will have a unique private key when you first open the account associated with the wallet. Usually called a seed, the wallet will use the private key for Bitcoin exchanges, and only you will have access to it. Additionally, the wallet generates a public key, also known as an address, allowing it to send and receive Bitcoin to other wallets.

When you want to send Bitcoin to another user, for example, the wallet will combine your private key with the recipient’s public key. This allows the blockchain structure behind Bitcoin operation to have authentication and confirmation of the transaction, as all cryptocurrency connects to their respective public keys.

Since your Bitcoin wallet stores your private and public keys, it also holds your Bitcoin, much like a regular wallet does with currency.

Types of Bitcoin Wallets

Considering a Bitcoin wallet is used to store one of the most valuable cryptocurrencies globally, there have been many developments and ways to increase both security and accessibility to wallets depending on how users want to use Bitcoin.

Desktop Wallets

Some of the most common and secure wallets that allow regular Bitcoin transactions are desktop wallets. These are installed on your PC and store all the necessary information inside your hard drive. They don’t rely on third-party data and use better encryption methods to save the files securely on the PC. The main benefit of desktop wallets is that they’re still connected to the internet (depending, of course, on your PC’s connection), and you can conduct Bitcoin transactions, making them perfect for users that trade small amounts of Bitcoin regularly.

Web Wallets

Web-based wallets, as their name suggests, store all your data and keys on a third-party (usually the operator’s) server. The main benefit of web wallets is increased accessibility, as they can be connected to either a PC or a mobile device to conduct Bitcoin transactions. However, you’re storing all your information, and Bitcoin, on someone else’s computer, so there is noticeable downshift in security compared to mobile and PC wallets. If you plan on using web wallets, do your research thoroughly to ensure that the company can be trusted with your data (and money).



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Assessing Altcoin Mood Music as Bitcoin Catches Its Breath

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While some altcoins have gained in Ethereum’s slipstream, others are plotting their own course while seeking to topple the front-runner itself.

Is alt season upon us? Many crypto commentators are predicting just that, after Ethereum (ETH) hit a record high of over $1,440 on January 19. Altcoins have traditionally taken a backseat when Bitcoin is in the ascendancy and appreciated only when BTC consolidates. At the time of publication, several top 40 cryptocurrencies have popped, while Bitcoin’s price is down over 10% since this time last week.

Although ETH’s price fell to around $1,265 on January 20, it’s since recovered, while defi tokens are making good running. So, what should we expect from altcoins in the near term?

Ethereum Price Pump Brings Altcoins with It

In noting that altcoin season may have arrived, analysts at Bybit observed that large and small caps are “outperforming Bitcoin by miles” and that traders should brace themselves for increased volatility in the near term.

In analysis published January 20, the platform’s researchers showed that Ether had outperformed Bitcoin by posting 35% growth in the previous seven days. One reason for this appears to be the upcoming ETH futures listing on the Chicago Mercantile Exchange (CME).

While some altcoins have gained in Ethereum’s slipstream, others are plotting their own course while seeking to topple the front-runner itself. Polkadot, for instance, has been heralded as a rival to the smart contract network thanks to its unique sharding architecture and parachains. In the past week, Polkadot’s DOT token has outperformed most of the crypto market, rising by over 28%.

Polkadot currently sits fourth in the league table of cryptocurrencies, with a market cap of $16.5 billion and 24-hour volume of $3.4 billion. Not bad for a project whose mainnet is less than a year old. A single DOT token is priced at just under $20 at present, up 450% since August and with plenty of room for growth given Polkadot’s expanding defi ecosystem. Created by Ethereum co-founder Gavin Wood, the blockchain has often been touted as an “Ethereum killer” due to its strong fundamentals, talented developer team and scalability.

2017 Feels Are Spreading Fast

As for other altcoins, it’s starting to feel like 2017 when curious investors began making enquiries about abstruse tokens issued by emerging (and often bizarre) projects. Hedera’s HBAR, for instance, has pumped by over 80% in the past week. Brave’s Basic Attention Token (BAT) is up 37.81% while Celo (CELO) is up over 45%.

It’s not just altcoins outside the top 30 either; some of the most liquid tokens are enjoying impressive rallies. Cardano (ADA), for instance, is up over 15% in the past week while Chainlink (LINK) is up 24%. The digital assets are ranked sixth and eighth respectively. Outside the top ten, Uniswap’s native UNI token is trading for close to $10, an increase of over 21% since seven days ago. Defi protocol Aave (AAVE) is performing even better, with one token costing around $240 after its value rose by almost a quarter in the same period.

A cursory glance at altcoin returns since December 1 shows that a handful (DCR, DOGE, ADA) have posted greater returns than Bitcoin, despite the latter more than doubling its previous all-time high with a run to $42,000 earlier this month.

Of course, it hasn’t been plain sailing for alts; the likes of Ripple (XRP), Litecoin (LTC), Bitcoin Cash (BCH) and Stellar (XLM) have all fallen in the past week. Monero (XMR) also slid by over 11%, following the news that digital asset exchange Bittrex was withdrawing support for all privacy coins.

Ultimately, it’s too early to say whether open season on altcoins has commenced – though many traders are already rubbing their paws at the prospect of green candles galore. As for Bitcoin, aggregated open interest indicates rising speculative interest in its next move. Even the world’s largest asset manager, BlackRock, wants to bet on its direction. To say the market is getting interesting is an understatement.

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Big Cities in China Plans to Conduct More Pilot Testing of CBDC in 2021

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Shanghai Mayor Gong Zheng also declared the city’s support for the development of the digital yuan.

In an effort to promote the development of the central bank digital currency (CBDC) in China, several cities in the country are planning to undergo pilot testing. The digital yuan testing by the Chinese cities will help promote the use of digital currency in 2021.

In a report published on the 24th of January, Global Times revealed the cities’ plans on the pilot testing. The report also cited “observers” who said that the CBDC trial is a good start for the new year and could eventually accelerate the official launch of the CBDC.

Furthermore, the observers noted that the support by these Chinese cities signifies that there may be large-scale testing of the Digital Currency Electronic Payment (DCEP) later in the year.

Pilot Testing for CBDC in China

Beijing Mayor Chen Jining commented on the tests during the 15th Beijing Municipal People’s Congress. As stated in the Global Times report, the Mayor said that the capital would also support fintech and professional services in 2021. The Mayor further noted that the capital would also promote the pilot application for digital currency.

In addition, Shanghai Mayor Gong Zheng also declared the city’s support for the development of the digital yuan. The Shanghai Mayor commented on the digital currency while delivering a government work report on the 24th of January. The governor of South China’s Guangdong Province, Ma Xingui, has also joined Shanghai and Beijing in declaring support for the development of China’s central bank digital currency.

Already, the third round of pilot tests for digital currency occurred on the 20th of January in Shenzhen. For the test, about 20 million digital yuan was issued to people residing in Longhua District.

The Global Times report also cited a Shenzhen-based veteran industry finder, who said:

“The pilot testing is only the first step of a ‘long march.’ Once launched, the digital yuan will reshape China’s financial industry and unleash a promising digital finance service sector worth billions of yuan.”

Other Central Bank’s Effort on CBDC

The Central bank of France recently released the results of its CBDC pilot testing held on the 17th of December. The French central bank further noted that it would continue to conduct more tests in 2021.

2020 was a year of huge expansion for cryptocurrencies. Central banks globally reported progress in their efforts to create CBDC with encouraging results from trial tests. Several Chinese cities conducted tests for the CBDC in the past year. The cities include Shenzhen, Shanghai, Suzhou, Chengdu, and Xiongan New Area, North China’s Hebei Province.

As stated in an earlier report by Coinspeaker, the introduction of a CBDC would facilitate cross-border digital transactions among other benefits.

The crypto space also advanced last year as a result of the coronavirus pandemic. Several crypto assets surged significantly and recorded new highs. The top cryptocurrency, Bitcoin, continuously recorded highs and eventually all-time highs.

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Ibukun is a crypto/finance writer interested in passing relevant information, using non-complex words to reach all kinds of audience. Apart from writing, she likes to see movies, cook, and explore restaurants in the city of Lagos, where she resides.



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