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  • Stellar’s Jed McCaleb Says His XRP Sell-Off Won’t Disrupt Crypto Market
    by Rachel Wolfson on February 19, 2020 at 1:00 am

    Jeb McCaleb says XRP’s price is not impacted by his sale of XRP. An analyst begs to differ, while Ripple weighs in on his contract. A recent Medium post from blockchain monitor Whale Alert showed that Stellar CTO Jed McCaleb sold off more than 1 billion XRP between 2014 and 2019. The post attempted to analyze whether or not McCaleb’s sale of XRP will affect the price of the crypto. Whale Alert noted that compared with other total trade volumes per day, the amount McCaleb is selling seems insignificant.Following up on this, McCaleb told Cointelegraph in an interview that it’s strange that so many people are focused on his recent trading of XRP, noting that others have sold much more in comparison. He said:“I have been transparent from the beginning. The market has known for years that I have been selling my XRP at a slow, steady rate. My investment decisions are not based on any desire to negatively impact other companies in this industry. I think the history to date shows there is no impact on the market, and I don’t see any reason why that will change.”McCaleb, who served as the co-founder of Ripple until 2013 and is now the CTO of Stellar (XLM), also responded to assumptions that he was dumping XRP to hurt Ripple. McCaleb mentioned that he doesn’t view different blockchain networks to be in competition with one another. He explained:“We’re all working towards making blockchain a viable, transformative industry. I think we can do that more effectively if we’re supportive of others in the space. For my part, I’m focused on growing the Stellar ecosystem.”Ripple comments on McCaleb’s seven-year agreementOn Aug. 14, 2014, Ripple wrote a post on a company forum explaining McCaleb’s settlement of his XRP earnings. The article details how XRP was distributed among Ripple’s original founders, noting that 20 billion XRP was divided among those individuals.McCaleb stated that his intention was to sell his portion of XRP. In turn, Ripple Labs engaged with McCaleb to enter a seven-year contract that would ensure the responsible distribution of his XRP stake in a way that would help grow the Ripple ecosystem. A Ripple spokesperson told Cointelegraph:“In 2016, we entered into a very structured agreement with Jed with the goal of ensuring distribution of his XRP holdings in service to a healthy, growing ecosystem without market disruption, with Ripple as custodian of Jed's XRP holdings. This agreement remains in place today. Much of this information is publicly available.”Interestingly, while Ripple posted about the agreement on the company forum in August 2014, Ripple told Cointelegraph that this was replaced with an updated 2016 agreement. This means that McCaleb’s seven-year agreement with Ripple won’t end until 2023.Whale Alert noted in its blog post that McCaleb’s agreement will expire this year (based on the 2014 blog post). Whale Alert also hypothesized that McCaleb’s XRP profits are being cashed out directly through Bitstamp. However, McCaleb told Cointelegprah that he is selling his XRP on Ripple’s internal exchange. XRP’s price analyzedWhile McCaleb claims that his recent selling of XRP has not impacted XRP’s market price, others beg to differ. Founder of Quantum Economics and senior market analyst at eToro, Mati Greenspan, told Cointelegraph that McCaleb’s XRP sales are likely a reason XRP has been underperforming lately. He said:“Price is a simple matter of overall volumes on the buy-side versus overall volumes on the sell-side. So, more tokens sold definitely causes downward pressure on the price, especially when we're talking about large amounts.”Although logistically this may be the case, an anonymous, well-informed source told Cointelegraph that McCaleb hasn’t been selling enough XRP to impact its price and that, overall, altcoins have been performing better than usual lately.

  • BitGo Gains Entry to Digital Securities World Through Acquisition of Harbor
    by Benjamin Pirus on February 18, 2020 at 11:08 pm

    Crypto custodian BitGo has acquired Harbor, allowing the firm to build out its digital securities capabilities. Digital asset custodial company BitGo recently unveiled its purchase of Harbor, an online platform for digitized securities. “Our vision has always been bigger than wallets and custody,” BitGo CEO Mike Belshe said in a Feb. 18 statement provided to Cointelegraph. “Acquiring Harbor furthers BitGo’s vision of building a new digital infrastructure for financial services.” Harbor’s website is also promoting the acquisition in a banner at the top of its homepage.  BitGo’s acquisition includes several othersPicking up Harbor also means BitGo gains control of the platform’s daughter companies, which include brokerages and transfer entities. BitGo also recently gained control of crypto staking infrastructure firm Hedge. Overall, BitGo reportedly processes more than 20% of the world’s Bitcoin movements. BitGo worked alongside Harbor prior to acquisitionBefore the takeover, BitGo had worked in partnership with Harbor since the digital securities platform’s beginnings, Harbor CEO Josh Stein said in the statement. “We’ve worked closely together to integrate BitGo Business Wallets and BitGo Custody into Harbor’s services,” Stein said, adding:“Harbor provides BitGo with a complementary technology stack for the lifecycle of digital securities, as well as important service capabilities through our digital assets broker-dealer and transfer agent subsidiaries.”Built in 2017, Harbor was the earliest blockchain business to gain FINRA broker-dealer registration in tandem with SEC licensing as a digital asset transfer entity, the BitGo statement said.  BitGo also continues to develop its wallet offerings as the firm announced custodial support for Tron and EOS in the latter half of 2019.

  • Cloud Giant Microsoft Azure Embraces Commercial Blockchain
    by Ting Peng on February 18, 2020 at 10:01 pm

    Microsoft is integrating Lition blockchain to its Azure cloud marketplace and continuing in leading the blockchain adoption among the major cloud providers. Lition, a commercial blockchain, announced on Feb. 18 that Microsoft has officially brought Lition blockchain solution to its Azure cloud marketplace.  This makes Lition one of the few public/private blockchains currently supported by a major cloud provider like Microsoft. Microsoft also became the first to bring blockchain to the cloud and continues to remain at the cutting edge of blockchain adoption.Enterprises worldwide to benefit from blockchain adoption Integrating Lition blockchain into Azure allows Microsoft Azure’s worldwide enterprise clients to develop, test and deploy Lition side chains and applications with a click of a button on its platform, according to the announcement. Dr. Richard Lohwasser, Lition’s CEO added that: “Lition is committed to providing an accessible onramp to blockchain for all organizations. We believe that making integration as seamless as possible is vital to bridging the gap to adoption. Azure will be a tremendous asset for our customers..”Azure cloud dominating the public cloud marketAccording to the announcement, Azure is the driving force behind Microsoft’s cloud business. The platform currently has the second-largest share of the $229 billion public cloud market, primarily catering to large enterprise clients. Azure’s clients include over 95% of Fortune  500 companies, including Walmart, Coca-Cola, Boeing and Samsung. Cointelegraph has tried to reach out to Lition’s online marketing manager Benni Woerpel for comment but had not received a response as of press time.

  • Crypto Hedge Funds See Best January on Record
    by Michael Kapilkov on February 18, 2020 at 9:56 pm

    Crypto hedge funds see best January returns on record, a promising beginning to 2020. Crypto hedge funds that make up Eurekahedge's index of crypto hedge funds have experienced a 21.15% return in January 2020.  Eurekahedge Crypto-Currency Hedge Fund Index2017 vibes?This is not only the best January on record (the Index goes back to July 2013) but the first positive return for the month of January since 2017, when it posted a modest 4.85%. 2017 happened to be the most successful year for crypto hedge funds to date. That year, they posted a whopping 1,708.50% annual return.Market sentimentThe Index doesn’t include all crypto hedge funds, but still, it is indicative of the overall market sentiment and seems to closely correspond to the market. Good results for the funds should make fundraising easier for fund managers and lead to more investments in the space. Times have changed since 2017 when one could generate copious returns by throwing darts at the board. Since then, crypto funds have either evolved to become “smart money” or have perished. The fact that the Index has posted such positive returns last month is a sign of the maturation of the crypto ecosystem as a whole.

  • European Space Agency Funds Blockchain Project Recording Satellite Data
    by Helen Partz on February 18, 2020 at 9:47 pm

    The European Space Agency, a major organization dedicated to space exploration, is funding a new blockchain project to boost the world’s mining industry. While Bitcoin (BTC) might not be ready for the moon yet, its underlying technology of blockchain is being increasingly adopted in space.The European Space Agency (ESA), a major intergovernmental organization dedicated to space exploration, is funding a new blockchain project aiming to boost the world’s mining industry.A known contributor to blockchain technology applications, the ESA has now co-funded a joint project with Scottish startup Hypervine to improve data transparency for the mining industry by combining satellite data and blockchain. The news was reported by oil and gas-oriented publication Oil & Gas Middle East.Preventing potentially fatal accidents in mining workThe project has the ambitious mission of preventing miscalculations and potentially catastrophic or fatal accidents in the mining industry by providing a unified and immutable database of mining data. The project is based on Hypervine’s technology, which enables mining teams and their subsidiaries to clearly record data on an unchangeable ledger, eliminating the risk of the smallest data alterations being magnified down a chain.Specifically, the initiative aims to record satellite-sourced information on a distributed ledger to provide mining firms with a trusted and coordinated source of data, replacing paper-based sources that need to be cross-checked by multiple teams in different locations. As mining companies may spend months in order to obtain the right data from often-fragmented sources, the blockchain-powered satellite database project is also designed to cut costs of the mining industry.Positive environmental projectionFinally, apart from boosting accuracy and reducing human error and potential risks, the ESA-supported project will also positively impact environmental conditions by reducing carbon emissions powered by operational efficiencies.Beatrice Barresi, technical officer at ESA Space Solutions, outlined that the use of satellite-based data for mining is seeing rising investment, while expanding such initiatives with technologies like blockchain is expected to provide better commercial outcomes. Barresi continued:“It is a core goal of ours to make industries such as quarrying safer, cleaner and more accountable. Working with companies such as Hypervine allows us to achieve these goals whilst improving the standards across multiple industries. It has been great working with Hypervine on this project and we look forward to the next phases to come.”Cointelegraph contacted both Hypervine and the ESA for additional comments on the initiative and will update if we hear back.The ESA has been actively exploring the blockchain industry alongside space research. In September 2019, the agency granted blockchain startup SpaceChain about $66,000 to commercially develop a multi-signature satellite wallet. Previously, the ESA issued a white paper on a potential future roadmap for blockchain implementation for Earth observation.

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