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Telegram’s TON Network 90 Percent Complete and Bakkt Finalizes RCG Acquisition Ahead of Launch

The excitement around the launch of Bakkt is kept going by the recent hires and the announcement that the firm is putting final touches before it can seal the deal to acquire some assets belonging to Rosenthal Colling Group, a futures commission merchant. Telegram’s investor update claims that Telegram Open Network is 90 percent complete and will be ready for testnet by March. The world’s largest cryptocurrency exchange by trade volume, Binance is launching a decentralized exchange soon and will charge a listing fee of $100,000. Bitfinex managed to restore full functionality on its platform after unexpectedly it went down for two hours amid market movement.

Market performance after an unexpected rally

Yesterday (Feb. 8), the crypto market pumped $10 billion in an unexpected rally that spurred interest from investors and traders alike.

However, many wondered how long the rally would last.

The rally has failed to last as the entire market cap has decreased from $121.2 billion in the last 24 hours to $120.9 billion. A minor drop indeed.

After a day of major greens going as high as double-digit figures, some assets are in the red today with Bitcoin losing 0.22 percent of its value. The same goes for Ripple and Ether which have declined by 1.36 percent and 0.15 percent respectively.

Litecoin, which enjoyed a near-30 percent surge yesterday is up by just over 2 percent while EOS is up 0.62 percent.

The top 100 is a mixture of gains and losses as the market tries to hold onto its yesterday’s gains.

On the offensive: Bakkt finalizes the acquisition of RCG and continues its hiring spree

Intercontinental Exchange’s Bakkt announced on Feb. 8 that it had completed all the necessary procedures required for the firm to officially acquire Rosenthal Collins Group (RCG). Bakkt has welcomed its new team members from RCG as they look forward to working together in building Bakkt’s platform for buying, selling, and storage of crypto assets.

“With today’s closing of our transaction with Rosenthal Collins Group, we welcome great new team members to Bakkt. RCG’s remarkable heritage, culture, and expertise will help us build out a trusted institutional infrastructure for digital assets,” tweeted Bakkt.

Bakkt CEO Kelly Loeffler announced in January that the firm was acquiring certain assets of RCG in a bid to build an ‘integrated, institutional grade exchange-traded markets and custody solution for physical delivery of crypto assets.’

Although Bakkt is waiting for approval by the U.S Commodities and Futures and Trading Commission (CFTC), the firm is on an offensive hiring spree, a clear indication that it means business.

The firm has made at least five hires in recent weeks and has acquired talent with a background in tech and finance.

The firm’s website shows that there are 10 positions spread across several locations as far afield as Hong Kong and Singapore that needs to be filled.

Bitfinex apologizes for unscheduled downtime

Bitfinex, a Hong Kong-based cryptocurrency exchange apologized on Feb. 9 to customers due to unscheduled downtime.

The platform’s customers were unable to access the full functionality of the exchange for 2 hours. The firm says the downtime was caused by connectivity issues. Bitfinex immediately identified the problem and worked hard to restore the exchange’s services to normal conditions.

The exchange assured its clients that it values the safety of its clients and said that all funds are safe. Bitfinex sympathizes with its customers who endured the downtime at a time when there were movements in the market.

“We can only apologize unreservedly for the downtime experienced today. The issue has been resolved, and rest assured we are investigating the cause thoroughly to prevent a repeat,” the firm apologized.

Bitfinex and its sister company Ethfinex suspended their services in early January when their parent company iFinex completed the data migration process from Amazon Web Services (AWS) cloud to self-designed infrastructure hosted in a Swiss data center.

The company said the data migration would result in increased speed and improved security.

Germany: Bitcoin miners arrested for stealing €220,000 in electricity

Electricity is an important factor in cryptocurrency mining especially now that the prices of Bitcoin and altcoins have dropped.

To minimize expenses and maximize profits, a group of six German miners illegally connected their Bitcoin mining machines since 2017 to an electrical power grid. Per the report, the miners would have paid over €220,000 ($250,000) in electricity costs had they had been using the power legally.

The mining operation was spread across eight locations which were all raided by the police. The authorities confiscated equipment ranging from computers, mining equipment, and devices used to bypass electricity meters.

There is a growing number of electricity thefts for the purposes of mining digital assets.  A Taiwanese man was arrested last year for stealing electricity worth $3 million.

Ever since the price of Bitcoin took a tumble, the cost of Bitcoin mining outweighs the price of Bitcoin. This is the reason why mining activities are concentrated in regions with low electricity costs.

Bitmain, one of the largest companies in the mining ecosystem closed down its Israeli data center due to the bear market.

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The bear market and its effects on token issuers

There is no telling how long the bear market will last. Companies that issued digital tokens over the last two years may be forced to sell more of its digital tokens in order to finance their operations. However, not everyone is exactly lining up to buy the tokens.

Initial coin offerings (ICOs) raised more than $6 billion in 2017 as the new fundraising model enjoyed a booming period. The prices of digital assets complemented the ICO boom and reached the peak highs before the bear market took over and wiped away more than 80 percent of their entire market.

Some of the crypto projects have failed while others have been abandoned. The projects still in the space can rely on the prospects of incoming supply – although it can pose a challenge to the businesses.

“Many people don’t fully understand the impact of new supply on this market particularly when there’s low liquidity. I don’t think anyone has any idea how much-hidden inflation there is in the form of token reserves that are going to be unwound gradually,” said Messari co-founder Ryan Selkis.

The pressure to sell more tokens also comes from early ICO investors who were given investment contracts that entitle them to future tokens.

Some cryptos such as Binance and Tron have burned their tokens to reduce the supply in circulation. This could make the tokens rarer and more valuable.

Telegram investor update says TON is 90 percent complete

Telegram, one of the most successful and secretive projects in the cryptocurrency sector claims that its much-anticipated Telegram Open Network (TON) is 90 percent complete. This is a significant growth as it was only 70 percent complete in September last year.

By all fairness, measuring technical development is an arbitrary process but this is an indication that Telegram is inching closer to completing TON. This is also another explanation as to why TON is delaying its testnet launch to March when it was initially scheduled for January this year.

The Block, a crypto publication says that Telegram is planning to have its token listing on several Asian exchanges including Binance, OKEx, and Huobi.

Telegram’s TON network will be used to host decentralized applications (Dapps). It will directly face off with projects such as Ethereum, EOS, and Tron.

Telegram raised $1.7 billion in its 2018 ICO which was only open to accredited investors. Benchmark, Sequoia Capital, and Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers are some of the investors that participated in the ICO.

Binance’s upcoming decentralized exchange to charge $100,000 in listing fees

The founder and CEO of Binance Changpeng Zhao (CZ) took part in an Ask-Me-Anything (AMA) session in which he revealed that the exchange’s upcoming decentralized exchange (DEX) will charge an estimated $100,000 in listing fees.

The new decentralized exchange will be known as BinanceChain. CZ said that the DEX will only list confirmed projects in order to avoid spam. The exorbitant listing price is an insurance policy against listing spam or scam projects. This high figure will only allow projects with strong financial backing to be listed on the DEX.

CZ hinted that the listing fee will be reduced in the future to make room for more projects to be listed on the exchange. He further said that the reduced listing is not a license to list poor projects.

The high listing fee has obviously been criticized by many stakeholders.

There is also a backlash as the decentralized exchange will not be fully decentralized at first because the Binance team will have influence over the projects that are listed on the platform. CZ confirmed that his Binance will have great influence over the network of the DEX.

The DEX will initially have a small number – 11 – of validator nodes

EU Commissioners and Ministers line up to speak at Austria’s blockchain conference

Europe’s commissioner for the digital economy and society, Maria Gabriel, Lichtenstein’s Prince Michael, and a minister from Austria are among the powerful line up of speakers set to attend Austria’s Blockchain Summit to be held in the capital Vienna between Apr. 2 and Apr. 3.

The organizers of the government-backed event are hoping to attract as many as 2,000 people to complement the 40 exhibitors, 100 investors, and 80 speakers expected to grace the summit.

Representatives from major companies such as Microsoft, Accenture, IBM, Bitmain, Hyperledger, Merck, Bitfury, Lufthansa, Binance, Raiffeisen Bank International, and Wien Energie will attend the event.

“This event is going to put Vienna on the map as one of the best places for business and blockchain to get together, network, communicate and build their visions of the future,” reads a statement about the event.

Austria’s Minister of Economy Harald Mahrer is in full support of the new technology and wants to see his country walk down on a new path and deal with technologies that can potentially change their way of living in radical ways.

Many European countries such as Malta and Switzerland have taken a pro-blockchain regulatory approach and they are reaping the benefits. Malta has already attracted a number of blockchain firms which create employment for the local people.

These kinds of blockchain events that are supported by governments provide a good platform for lawmakers to learn more about the market.

Dash CEO says the digital asset is a means of survival in Venezuela

The unfolding political and economic situation in Venezuela is a story to be told to future generations.

In an interview with CryptoSlate, Dash CEO Ryan Taylor revealed that they saw a market opportunity many years ago before the South American nation found itself in the dire economic situation it is in at the moment.

“We recognized that there would be demand there, and there would be an opportunity for us, so we laid the infrastructure to allow that to happen,” said Taylor.

According to the interview, Dash has gone on to be more than just a digital asset but a tool for survival as the country suffers from political and economic situations worsened by the U.S-imposed sanctions.

There are two main reasons why Dash has become popular in Venezuela:

  • Hyperinflation has reduced the native currency to a point where it is almost useless
  • The sanctions have imposed financial limitations on the government and its central bank

Taylor highlighted that Dash is popular in the country because it is a better alternative to the current payment system.

“They [the merchants] did it because it is not just because of the currency, the currency is a big reason, but what we discovered was there are other problems with the payment system there,” he said.

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