HyperLinq : Weekly Digital Asset Digest 20

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Rohan Raman
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The HyperLinq Weekly Digest is the one-stop source for the HyperLinq community to access relevant news involving digital assets, where we essentially outline key industry updates that our members may have missed. We are always open to suggestions and feedback so please do not hesitate to let us know what you think!


Mark Cuban ‘Not a Big Fan’ of Facebook’s Libra : Daniel Kuhn | CoinDesk

Mark Cuban, billionaire "Shark Tank" co-host, raised concerns about Libra’s potential to disrupt global finance when speaking to CNBC on July 12. Cuban referred to the Menlo Park-based social networking company’s foray into distributed ledger tech as a "big mistake." He continued to discuss the danger of introducing a destabilizing force into already unstable economies or political situations around the world. Facebook’s project is intended to be a global initiative, a means to extend financial services and access to more than 1.7 billion unbanked people around the world. The Libra Association writes in their white paper:

"All over the world, people with less money pay more for financial services. Hard-earned income is eroded by fees, from remittances and wire costs to overdraft and ATM charges… When people are asked why they remain on the fringe of the existing financial system, those who remain "unbanked" point to not having sufficient funds, high and unpredictable fees, banks being too far away, and lacking the necessary documentation."

Cuban suggests he is "not a big fan" of Libra because of the potential, reactionary impacts of extending financial access to the underrepresented. "That’s where the real problems start occurring," he said.

Miami Dolphins to Endorse Litecoin as Team’s Official Cryptocurrency : Max Boddy | CoinTelegraph

American professional football team the Miami Dolphins announced that Litecoin is now the team’s official cryptocurrency, according to a press release on July 11. The Miami Dolphins and Litecoin have also partnered with Aliant Payments, a crypto merchant services and payment processing firm, to enable crypto payments for the team’s upcoming 50/50 raffle, which reportedly donates half of its revenue to charity. LTC and BTC are cryptocurrencies with similar technical underpinnings. Bitcoin remains the number one cryptocurrency by market cap with a total MC of over $201 billion at press time, while Litecoin clocks in at fourth with a cap of over $6.37 billion, according to data provided by Coin360. Charlie Lee, the creator of Litecoin and managing director of the Litecoin Foundation, hopes to use this partnership as a way to educate the public on LTC and cryptocurrencies in general. As previously reported by Cointelegraph, Portuguese sports club SL Benfica opened up payments via cryptocurrency for tickets and merchandise in June. The club partnered with cryptocurrency service Utrust to facilitate this new payment option.

Iran Plans to Allow Crypto Mining, Central Bank of Iran Governor Says : Helen Partz | CoinTelegraph

Iranian authorities are planning to authorize cryptocurrency mining, as the governor of the Central Bank of Iran declared, international Iranian news agency PressTV reported on July 10. CBI governor Abdol Hemmati reportedly claimed that the Iranian government has approved some parts of an executive law that would authorize mining of cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin in Iran. According to the report, Iran exports power to neighboring countries at prices from 40–100% higher than it provides internally. According to unconfirmed reports, Chinese miners have been present in Iran due to the cheap energy prices for cryptocurrency mining. Hemmati continued that cryptocurrency miners in Iran should contribute to the country’s economy, rather than letting mined Bitcoin escape abroad. The new announcement followed reports that Iranian authorities planned to cut off power to crypto mining due to an abnormal surge of electricity consumption, which was allegedly due to increased rates of crypto mining in the country. Accordingly, Iranian government subsequently confiscated about 1,000 units of Bitcoin mining hardware units from two mining operations.

110 Crypto Exchanges Are Reportedly Trying to Get Licensed in Japan : Daniel Kuhn | CoinDesk

Japan’s interminable winter for cryptocurrency exchanges seems to have thawed. The Financial Services Agency , Japan’s top financial watchdog, told crypto news site Bitcoin.com that 110 exchanges are in "various stages of registration". In 2018, the FSA, did not grant approval for any crypto exchanges to begin operating in the country. "BitFlyer, amongst other top exchanges in Japan, received the improvement order based on a changing regulatory climate in Japan", a bitFlyer representative said. The company voluntarily stopped opening domestic customer accounts for those looking to join the platform, as it worked to meet the FSA’s stricter identification requirements. Additionally, according to Bitcoin.com, in the first six months of 2019, the FSA has granted approval to 3 additional crypto exchanges, bringing the total amount of operators to 19. While details for the majority of applications for new crypto exchanges are scant, Bitcoin.com reports many are in a preliminary stage.

Opera’s Android Built-In Crypto Wallet Now Supports Bitcoin, Tron : Marie Huillet | CoinTelegraph

Opera has added support for Bitcoin and Tron blockchain-based tokens to the crypto wallet for Opera for Android. In an official blog post published July 10, the internet browser developer revealed that users of Opera for Android can now send and receive BTC, TRX and TRC-10 standard tokens and that webpages can also request and receive addresses for users to complete transactions with BTC. While Opera’s built-in crypto wallet had already supported Ether and ERC standard tokens, the company’s blog post implies that bringing bitcoin support to Web 3.0 will encourage the asset to be used not only for speculation and the storage of value, but for payments. In parallel, the firm has continued to explore the development of future blockchain applications within its other products and ecosystem, notably via a partnership with blockchain advisory and financial services firm Ledger Capital. Other major players in the blockchain-powered smartphone sphere notably include electronics supplier Sirin Labs — which launched its first blockchain-based smartphone last winter, offering a cold-storage crypto wallet and support for encrypted communications.

Goldman Sachs Ramps Up Development of New Secret Crypto Project : Marie Huillet | CoinTelegraph

A new job listing from investment banking giant Goldman Sachs reveals apparent intentions to pursue digital asset development at an unprecedented pace. In a summary of the role, the bank indicates that the future hire will be expected to "develop comprehensive road maps for distributed ledger technology development", "foster a deep understanding of relevant products, technology, and markets" and "maintain and iterate a complex project planning document with multiple stakeholders". While few details of the Digital Asset project are revealed in the listing, the job has notably been classified under the bank’s securities division. The listing reflects this urgency, underscoring that the hire will be expected to "work to demanding timescales in a fast-paced team environment", and that the broader ambition of GS Accelerate is to build out "brand new business ideas for GS, while offering employees the opportunity to work in a fast-paced, entrepreneurial environment". This is further indicated in the core desirable skills sought in prospective candidates, which include a "passion for and understanding of digital assets / blockchain / distributed ledger technology, capital markets, and financial services regulations". As reported, Goldman’s chief executive David Solomon has recently revealed that he believes global payment systems are heading in the direction of stablecoins — cryptocurrencies pegged to fiat assets such as the U.S. dollar.

Winklevoss Twins’ Gemini Exchange May Join Facebook’s Libra Project : Leigh Cuen | CoinDesk

Tyler and Cameron Winklevoss, co-founders of the New York-based crypto exchange Gemini, may soon join the Libra Association, the consortium governing Facebook’s proposed cryptocurrency. "We’re definitely looking at it in earnest and we’re excited about the project", Cameron told CoinDesk Tuesday. Joining Libra might be a surprise move to some, considering the Winklevoss brothers’ legendary fight over control of Facebook with its CEO Mark Zuckerberg, their former Harvard classmate. They recently applied for a broker-dealer license through the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority, which would allow Gemini to list digital securities. The Libra white paper, unveiled last month, envisions "a competitive network of exchanges buying and selling Libra", enabling holders to easily convert the coin, backed by a basket of stable government currencies, into local fiat. So far, only one crypto exchange, Coinbase, has joined the Libra Association, whose ranks also include traditional financial players such as PayPal, Visa and Mastercard and VC firms such as Union Square Ventures and Andreessen Horowitz. The Winklevoss' are also personally invested in both Filecoin and Tezos. Although U.S. lawmakers have so far given Facebook’s global cryptocurrency project an icy reception, even urging the association to halt development, Libra’s vision of a global currency otherwise aligns with the twins’ goals for their own exchange. Cameron said they want to expand internationally, starting with Europe and Asia. "Our marketplace will be virtual commodities, virtual securities, and on and on", Tyler said.

Justin Sun Invites President Trump For His Lunch With Warren Buffet : Dalmas Ngetich | EWN

The co-founder of Tron, Justin Sun, has invited the president of the United States, Donald Trump, for lunch where he would interact with notable figures in the cryptocurrency space and perhaps try to convince Warren Buffet otherwise. Sun’s invitation stems from Trumps Twitter post. On the social media platform, the US president said:

“I am not a fan of Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies which are not money, and whose value is highly volatile and based on thin air. Unregulated crypto assets can facilitate unlawful behavior, including drug trade and other illegal activities.”

In his reply, Sun invited Trump to have lunch with Warren Buffett among other leaders from both traditional and crypto circles.

"Mr. President, you are misled by fake news. Bitcoin & blockchain happens to be the best chance for the US! I’d love to invite you to have lunch with crypto leaders along with Warren Buffett on July 25. I guarantee you after this lunch; nobody will know crypto more than you.”

The crypto community rallied around Justin’s suggestion noting that the president is "never too old to learn new things" even though Trump is 44 years older than Justin. Unfortunately, not everyone is on Sun’s side. Some agree with Trump, arguing that crypto and no regulations is a faux idea. Apart from taking on Bitcoin, Trump had bashed Facebook’s crypto project, Libra. In his view, Facebook will need to seek a banking charter before it launches its Libra token.

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Rohan Raman

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