Tron Fundamentals Continue to Strengthen With New Exchange Partnerships

There are very few crypto assets that have strong enough fundamentals at the moment to keep the bears away but Tron is one of them. Almost daily announcements from the team are keeping TRX buoyed while those around it continue to sink.

Two More Tron Exchange Partners Added

Several new developments and partnerships have kept Tron in the top ten while the likes of Bitcoin SV and Cardano have been floundering. This week a number of new partnerships have been announced by Justin Sun and his marketing machine which could keep the momentum going.

Coingate, which started out in 2014, has recently listed Tron and TRX payments for merchants. According to the company blog Lithuanian based Coingate is more of a payments gateway rather than a crypto exchange;

“By facilitating payments between TRX shoppers and online vendors, we aim to become a significant part of the TRON ecosystem and contribute to further growth of the community.”

In addition to Coingate, the ABCC exchange has just partnered with the Tron team to become the first exchange to list TRC-10 tokens;

TRC-10 is a technical token standard supported by the TRON blockchain natively without the Tron Virtual Machine according to the developer docs whereas TRC-20 uses the TVM and is ERC-20 compatible. The TRC-10 tokens have a thousand times lower transaction fee with an easier developer learning curve and accessibility via API.

Singapore based ABCC, like Coingate may not be one of the biggest exchanges on the planet but it is all good news for Tron adoption and expansion.

In addition to these new outlets for Tron and its tokens is the upcoming niTROn summit that is due to start tomorrow in San Francisco.

In addition to Justin Sun, speakers at the conference include former pro basketball star Kobe Bryant, Head of Binance Labs, Ella Zhang, former US Securities and Exchange Commission Officer, David Lahbart, and Tim Byun, CEO of OKCoin USA among others. The summit will be a showcase for all things Tron and is expected to attract thousands of attendees.

TRX has actually dropped back a little today and is posting a 4% decline during Asian trading to an ominous 666 satoshis or $0.024. Over the week it is down 7% but most other altcoins have fallen a lot further. The monthly view is much more promising with gains of over 85% for TRX which also hit a five month high last week and exceeded $2 billion market cap.

Image from Shutterstock

Review: HTC’s Exodus 1 Is an Impressive Phone With a Basic Crypto Wallet

Review: HTC’s Exodus 1 Is an Impressive Phone With a Basic Crypto Wallet
The Exodus blockchain phone

Reviews

After weeks of delays and hundreds of frustrated customer messages in its Telegram channel, HTC finally shipped its “blockchain phone” on Jan. 14. The HTC Exodus 1 promises an array of features for cryptocurrency users, but the manufacturer couldn’t keep its promise to ship the devices in December. With the phones finally rolled out, news.Bitcoin.com unboxed one of the semi-transparent devices and put it through its paces.

Also read: These Developers Claim They Can Crack Any Hardware Wallet

The Exodus 1 Is a Big Phone With Grand Aspirations

There’s no mistaking the Exodus 1 when it slips out of its protective wrapping and into the palm of your hand. Even if you’ve hands like baseball mitts, you’ll struggle to operate this phone with one paw. Thankfully it’s got a feature called Edge Sense 2 which enables one-handed convenience by shrinking the visible screen when you double tap on the side of the phone. At 157 x 74 x 9.7 mm, 188 grams, and $750, the Android O-powered Exodus 1 is a phone that’s as hard on the pocket as it is on the wallet. For that $750, however (or rather its BTC, LTC, or ETH equivalent), you’re getting a whole lot of smartphone.

Review: HTC's Exodus 1 Is an Impressive Phone With a Basic Crypto Wallet
Big phones come in big boxes

While this review will focus on the cryptocurrency elements of the phone, we’ll start with the basics. Given that you’ll be using the Exodus 1 as a smartphone a lot more than you’ll be using it to send or receive crypto, it’s imperative that you can abide what it has to offer when compared to flagship Android phones such as the Goggle Pixel 3 ($799) or the Samsung Galaxy S9 ($720). The Exodus 1’s features include:

  • 6.0” Quad HD+ display with 18:9 aspect ratio
  • 3500mAh battery
  • 12MP + 16MP main camera with high quality zoom
  • 8MP+8MP dual front camera with natural bokeh
  • 4k/60fps 3D audio recording quality
  • Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 processor
  • 6GB – DDR4x RAM
  • 128GB storage

The Exodus 1 has twice as much internal storage as the Galaxy S9, the same processor, and same resolution cameras. The Exodus 1’s battery is the same size as the larger S9+ and has the same 6GB of RAM, while both phones are of similar dimensions. Samsung’s S9 and S9+ are both 1.2mm slimmer than the HTC however. The Google Pixel 3 only has 4GB of RAM, a smaller battery and the same processor as the Exodus 1. The Pixel 3 does have some things in its favor though: its main camera, while lower resolution, is arguably better than the Exodus 1’s, it’s slimmer, at just 7.9mm, it has an eSIM, which some users may prefer, and runs a newer version of Android.

Review: HTC's Exodus 1 Is an Impressive Phone With a Basic Crypto Wallet
Unboxing the Exodus 1

With the Exodus 1, you’re getting a phone that can match Samsung and Google’s leading models pound for pound in most areas. Aside from being a little bulkier, there’s not much between the handsets performance-wise. The question, then, is whether the HTC’s exclusive feature – a built-in cryptocurrency hardware wallet, with the key stored in a secure enclave – justifies choosing the Exodus 1.

Take a Trip to Zion

Review: HTC's Exodus 1 Is an Impressive Phone With a Basic Crypto Wallet
Zion crypto wallet

Zion is the name of the wallet app that comes pre-loaded on the Exodus 1 and, while limited in functionality, it works just fine. It is beyond the scope of this reviewer to determine whether the “secure enclave,” separated from the rest of the phone’s operations, makes Zion more secure than the average crypto wallet app. “Theoretically” is the likeliest answer, though that’s probably a matter for the Wallet Fail team to resolve. The Zion wallet supports BTC, LTC, ETH, some ERC721 tokens, and ERC20s such as BAT, the latter the native token of the Brave browser, which also comes installed.

Sending and receiving cryptocurrencies is easy, and the UX is reasonable. The collectibles section of the wallet is less scintillating though; import a Cryptokittie and all you’ll get is a small thumbnail of the cat, with no ability to view it full-screen or read its “cattributes.” It’s all very meh. From a privacy perspective, the Zion wallet isn’t great either. There’s no ability to create new addresses, for instance, so you’re stuck with the same three wallets for BTC, LTC, and ETH unless you chose to create an entirely new 12-word seed and install a fresh wallet.

Review: HTC's Exodus 1 Is an Impressive Phone With a Basic Crypto Wallet
Crypto collectibles viewed in the Zion app

The social recovery option, enabling you to select trusted friends to help restore the wallet in the event of phone loss, is a welcome touch. While this presents an additional attack vector, it’s a trade-off cryptocurrency users may be willing to make in return for having access to crypto on the go. There are clear drawbacks to owning a blockchain phone of course. The very fact that you have one suggests you have crypto stored on it, which instantly makes you a target. If you’re lazy and have enabled fingerprint access to your wallet, a physical attacker or law enforcement could gain entry without too much trouble.

A Solid Phone That’s Likely to Get Better

iPhone owners are unlikely to swoon over the Exodus 1, but if you’re an Android user who’s due an upgrade, the mere act of switching to a new handset running a current OS and that’s fully equipped with the latest spec makes the Exodus 1 a pleasure to use. Features such as squeeze force, which will open the camera or shrink the screen when you grip or tap the side of the phone, are very nifty. Edge Sense will also ensure the phone doesn’t time out when held in your hand, and the rear fingerprint sensor is responsive and well positioned.

The biggest drawback to the Exodus 1 – the lackluster cryptocurrency wallet – could and likely will be improved through software updates. Even if advanced features were to be added, and the number of supported cryptocurrencies was to increase, however, you’re unlikely to hold much funds in the Zion wallet. Secure enclave or otherwise, it’s debatable whether the Exodus 1’s wallet is any more robust than the leading crypto wallet apps it’s competing against.  

Review: HTC's Exodus 1 Is an Impressive Phone With a Basic Crypto Wallet
The back of the Exodus 1 is fully transparent

While a little industrial in places, the Exodus 1 is a significantly slicker device than Sirin Labs’ “Finney” blockchain phone and can stake a claim for being the leading smartphone in what is still a very small vertical. Whatever the fate of the Exodus 1, it’s likely this won’t be the last time we see a hardware manufacturer targeting the crypto crowd. In fact, with Samsung’s trademark filings suggesting it’s thinking of following suit, blockchain phones could soon go from being niche to the norm.

What are your thoughts on the Exodus 1 phone? Let us know in the comments section below.


Images courtesy of Shutterstock.


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Crypto Roundup – Crypto Regulation Discussed by Russia & Bitmain to Close Amsterdam Office

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Crypto Roundup – Crypto Regulation Discussed by Russia & Bitmain to Close Amsterdam Office

crypto-roundup-16-january-2019

MVIS CryptoCompare Top 100 IndexThe MVIS CryptoCompare Top 100 Index has raised 0.90% in the last 24 hours to 1,251.53

Nine coins from the top 10 coins by 24-hour volume posted negative changes, ranging from 1.44% to 6.03%. Crypto regulation bill to be discussed by Russian state Duma before MarchMining giant Bitmain planning to close Amsterdam office.

Top 10

CryptoCompare Top 10 Coins

Nine coins from the top 10 coins by 24-hour volume posted negative changes, ranging from 1.44% to 6.03%. TRON ($0.02) posted a 5.45% negative change, followed by  Litecoin ($31.30) with a loss of 3.48%. Bitcoin Cash ($127.69) dropped 3.13%. ZCash ($54.73) and Ethereum Classic ($4.33) revealed losses around of 2.20%.

BTC

Bitcoin BTC/USD CryptoCompare Chart

At the time of writing, the Bitcoin price is sitting at $3,627 representing a loss of 1.9% in the last 24 hours. More than 205 Mln worth of BTC were exchanged in the BTC/USD market representing a 17.01% share of the global daily volume. The BTC/USDT pair represents a 64.24% share.

ETH

Ethereum ETH/USD CryptoCompare Chart

The Ethereum price posted a negative change of 5.91% over the past 24 hours and is currently sitting at $121, with over $115 Mln worth of Ether exchanged in the past 24 hours on the ETH/USD pair, which has a 11.49% market share of the daily trading volume. The ETH/USDT pair represents a 38.85% share.

EOS

EOS EOS/USD CryptoCompare Chart

The EOS price is sitting at $2.44 representing a negative change of 1.21% in the last 24 hours. More than $5 Mln worth of EOS were exchanged in the EOS/USD market representing a 1.83% share of global daily volume. The EOS/USDT pair represents a 32.36% share. 

XRP

Ripple XRP/USD CryptoCompare Chart

The XRP price has dropped 1.41% over the past 24 hours and is currently sitting at $0.32, with more than $10 Mln worth of XRP exchanged in the past 24 hours on the XRP/USD pair, which has a 6.1% market share of the global daily trading volume. The biggest XRP pair is the XRP/BTC pair, that represents a 47% share.

Crypto Exchange Binance Enters European Markets, Launches Binance Jersey

Major cryptocurrency exchange Binance is expanding to European markets with the launch of a new platform for fiat-to-cryptocurrency trading, according to a press release shared with Cointelegraph on Jan. 16.

According to the release, Binance is launching a new trading platform, dubbed Binance Jersey, designed for fiat-to-crypto trading of the euro (EUR) and British pound (GBP) with Bitcoin (BTC) and Ethereum (ETH) within Europe and the United Kingdom.

Trading on Binance Jersey — including such pairs as BTC/GBP, ETH/GBP, BTC/EUR and ETH/EUR — will become available for the exchange’s users after account verification in accordance with the Know Your Customer (KYC) process.

In the press release, Binance highlighted that an expansion into the European markets could provide “freedom from looming Brexit uncertainty where the pound and euro are also in concern.”

In August, major crypto exchange and wallet Coinbase had opened an office in Dublin as reportedly part of a contingency plan for when the U.K. leaves the European Union.

Back in June, Binance had signed a memorandum of understanding with an independent organization that represents Jersey’s digital industries, Digital Jersey.

The collaboration is set to deliver training as part of the organization’s digital skills program with the purpose of promoting the blockchain industry in Jersey, as well as support Binance in discussions about compliance with anti-money laundering regulations.

As part of the expansion of its token offering, Binance opened trading of two pairs using Ripple (XRP) as the quote currency last month.

Prior to that, Binance added Circle’s USD-pegged stablecoin USD Coin as a quote asset for several new trading pairs in its combined Stablecoin Market (USDⓈ), including native exchange token Binance Coin (BNB/USDC), Bitcoin (BTC/USDC), Ethereum (ETH/USDC), Ripple (XRP/USDC), EOS (EOS/USDC) and Stellar (XLM/USDC). In addition, Binance also added a USDC trading pair with fellow stablecoin Tether.

Yesterday, Belarus launched a trading platform that allows users to buy tokenized versions of shares of gold and other traditional assets, reportedly receiving 2,000 registration applications within the first two hours of its launch.

Also yesterday, the ABCC crypto exchange announced a partnership with altcoin Tron in order to list tokens based on Tron’s TRC10 technical standard.

Bitfury Enters Music Industry With Blockchain-Based Open Source Platform Launch

Blockchain and Bitcoin mining manufacturer Bitfury announced the launch of a dedicated venture to open source the music industry in a blog post on Jan. 16.

The spin-off, dubbed Bitfury Surround, aims to tackle the complex and often unfairly proportioned flows of revenue between artists, fans and middlemen using blockchain technology.

The post explains,

“The Surround platform will enable the entire music entertainment industry to streamline operations through secure transfer of copyright assets, streamlined connectivity as well as better monitoring and management systems.

Surround marks Bitfury’s ongoing expansion into various aspects beyond mining. Within the Bitcoin (BTC) ecosystem, meanwhile, this week saw the company bring off-chain payments via the Lightning Network to their first exchange environment via a partnership with Poland’s BTCBIT.

Prior to that, in December 2018, Bitfury revealed plans to launch a blockchain accelerator in Russia in conjunction with global consulting giant PwC.

“The music entertainment industry has evolved into a complex, competitive, technology-driven environment that suffers from a severe lack of transparency,” Valery Vavilov, CEO of Bitfury commented about the Surround project. Vavilov noted:

“We want to champion artists and help incentivize the growth of the entire industry through the creation of this open, blockchain-based ecosystem.”

Blockchain entities have sought to tackle music industry transparency for several years, with ideas such as a blockchain-based streaming service being revealed in 2018.

Bitcoin ( BTC/USD) and Ether (ETH/USD) Market Update: January 16, 2019

Global crypto market cap is up with $4 billion since Monday and now stands at $121 as Top 10 currencies managed to avoid further loses. 

BTC/USD

Bitcoin briefly dropped below $3,600 on January 13, but successfully rebounded on the next day, January 14 gaining 4.4% in value. The BTC/USD pair erased all losses from the previous three days and closed the session at $3,750.

Yet another hack in crypto world. The New Zealand-based exchange Cryptopia announced that on January 14 it “suffered a security breach which resulted in significant losses.”  The company initially posted an “unscheduled maintenance” message on its official webpage, but 24 hours later informed about the attack on Twitter putting all services in maintenance mode with trading suspended. The exact figure of the heist is not known yet, but given the fact the exchange lists over 800 crypto assets, the amount could be significant.

On January 14 the digital assets platform Bakkt completed its first acquisition. In an official message from Kelly Loeffler, the Chief Executive Officer (CEO), the company, which is a subsidiary of the Intercontinental Exchange (ICE) informed they are “expanding Bakkt’s risk management, compliance and treasury operations”. Bakkt will acquire certain assets of Rosenthal Collins Group (RCG), an independent futures commission merchant with nearly 100 years of history.

The most popular cryptocurrency could not move above the important $3,800 level on January 15 and dropped lower to $3,655 instead. This is the fifth consecutive session in the $3,800-$3,600 zone.

 

ETH/USD

The price of Ethereum raised 12% on January 14 as it jumped back up from the $118 zone for the second time in the last 20 days. Bears already tried once, on December 28, to push the price below that level and now it has been confirmed as solid support. The second biggest cryptocurrency in terms of market cap closed the day at $131 ending a 7-day losing streak.

On January 15 the community was already preparing for the scheduled Constantinople hard fork at block 7,080,000. As per plan the smart contract platform upgrade was about to take place today.

Unfortunately, in the late evening on January 15, it was once again postponed, this time due to a security vulnerability. The smart contract audit firm ChainSecurity informed in a blog post that the Ethereum Improvement Proposal (EIP) 1283 could be containing a bug, which would provide attackers a loophole in the code to steal user funds. Leading developers and Ethereum partners agreed to delay fork execution given the fact the required fix could not be implemented fast enough to keep up with current schedule. A new date will be proposed coming Friday. Constantinople upgrade was delayed once in 2018 when issues were found while launching the upgrades on the Ropsten testnet.

The ETH/USD pair reacted immediately on the news and dropped 7% to $122 on January 15. It is critical for bulls to regain $130 and push the price above that level in order to initiate short-term recovery and confirm recent defend of $118-$120.

 

Binance Targets EU, UK Traders With New Fiat-to-Crypto Exchange

Binance, the world’s largest cryptocurrency exchange by adjusted trading volume, has launched a new fiat-to-crypto exchange on the island of Jersey, a British self-governing dependency.

The firm announced Wednesday that, through the new exchange, users are able to trade in pairs for bitcoin and ethereum against the British pound and the euro in Europe and the U.K.

“Binance selected Jersey for its highly developed digital infrastructure, robust regulatory framework, and world-class financial services sector,” the exchange’s chief financial officer, Wei Zhou, told CoinDesk.

He further clarified that Binance Jersey is an independent entity from its parent Binance.com, a crypto-to-crypto exchange, but is built using the same technology.

Binance Jersey is “hiring and will continue to hire” staff for different functions, including compliance, Wei said.

The exchange has been working with government-backed economic development agency Digital Jersey to develop the exchange, with the aim being to create around 40 jobs on the island.

Binance first partnered with the agency in June 2018. Changpeng Zhao, Binance CEO had said at the time, “With its local economy based on a major currency (GBP), and its close proximity to the U.K. and western Europe, we are confident the cooperation with Jersey will not only benefit the local economy, but also form a strong operational foundation for our expansion into the rest of Europe.”

Changpeng Zhao image via CoinDesk archives

South Korean District to Implement Blockchain for Administrative Transparency

A district in the South Korean capital has announced it will apply blockchain to its proposal evaluation system, privately owned local news agency Newsis reports on Jan. 16

According to the article, South Korea’s Yeongdeungpo-gu — an administrative district in southwest Seoul — aims to strengthen its administrative transparency by applying a blockchain-based evaluation system.

The system will also help to avoid falsifications within the various public service bidding company selection procedures, the publication notes. The blockchain-based application will be used throughout all proposal evaluation projects in the district in 2019, with plans to expand to the whole department, as well as other municipalities, in the future.

Last summer, the Yeongdeungpo-gu district had announced the building of the blockchain-based proposal evaluation system for increasing the fairness, transparency and integrity of administrative procedures, as Cointelegraph reported on Jul. 19.

Today’s announcement underlines the success of the Yeongdeungpo-gu’s experiment in the application of blockchain tech, Newsis reports.

Earlier this week, the South Korean Ministry of Strategy and Finance added blockchain to the fields of research and development eligible for tax credits, with the aim to support innovations within the ecosystem, as Cointelegraph wrote on Jan. 12.

Also this week, South Korea’s defense arm announced a pilot for developing blockchain applications.

Record US Government Shutdown Prolongs Crypto Winter

If things were not bad enough in crypto land the US government is adding to its woes. The longest shutdown in history is taking its toll on the economy, innovation and the crypto industry.

The Waiting Game Continues

Regulators are no friends of those in the blockchain and crypto industries but they have come to accept that some form of regulation is necessary for the nascent ecosystem to flourish. As observed by the MIT Technology Review this prolonged shutdown is delaying vital decisions that could make a huge difference to crypto markets.

The shuttering of the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) for a record fourth week has hampered the launches of key crypto products and services. The most prominent one is the NYSE owned Bakkt crypto asset exchange which was originally set to launch on January 24.

The company failed to secure approval before the shutdown began on December 22 so it is now in a holding pattern awaiting action from government regulators to open a 30 day public comment period. Bakkt has not been sitting around though and has recently announced the acquisition of assets from Rosenthal Collins Group (RCG) to power its back office.

CEO Kelly Loeffler acknowledged the delays in her end of year article stating “Clearing firms and customers have continued to join us as we work toward CFTC approval. We made great progress in December, and we’ll continue to onboard customers as we await the ‘green light.’”

Bakkt is not the only company in the queue, others are also in a state of suspense including trading platform ErisX which has successfully raised $27.5 million. The futures market and clearinghouse is currently waiting for staff at the CFTC to return to their offices. CEO Thomas Chippas spoke to CoinDesk, stating:

“ErisX’s interaction with the CFTC has been both positive and productive. During this government shutdown we have continued our platform development efforts. We look forward to this current impasse being resolved and re-engaging with staff on our DCO [derivatives clearing organization] application.”

Hands are tied at the moment as the bears keep eating away at crypto markets. According to the New York Times the record breaking shutdown could send the US economy into a contraction. It added that the White House is showing no signs of relenting, blaming the Democrats for economic damage as the standoff over Trump’s border wall continues. An estimated 800,000 federal employees are currently twiddling thumbs while crypto, innovation and the wider economy continues to suffer.

Image from Shutterstock

New Zealand Police Confirm Investigation Into Alleged $3.6 Million Hack of Cryptopia

Police in New Zealand confirmed they are investigating what appears to be a major hack of local cryptocurrency exchange Cryptopia worth at least $3.6 million, a press release stated on Jan. 16.

Cryptopia, which abruptly shut down its website and exchange services on Jan. 14, subsequently said it had detected malicious activity.

“The Cryptopia exchange suffered a security breach which resulted in significant losses,” officials wrote in a statement uploaded to the company’s Twitter account.

As users and the media learned of the hack, Cryptopia has since said it will not comment further on the ongoing proceedings as it is now in the hands of an official law enforcement investigation.

“We are unable to update anyone at the moment as it’s now a police matter,” one of two similarly-worded tweets published earlier on Tuesday, Jan. 15 reads.

According to the police, the investigation is still at the stage of ascertaining the sequence of events.

“The inquiry is still in its very early stages and police are continuing to work with Cryptopia to establish what has happened and how,” the press release confirms, adding:

“Police are not yet in a position to say how much cryptocurrency is involved, other than it is a significant amount. A large team, including Canterbury CIB and specialist staff from the police High Tech Crime Unit, have been assigned to the case.”

The police note that they have a physical presence at the firm’s headquarters, but have not rushed the building, as had been misreported by local media. Cryptopia is fully cooperating with the investigation, the press release states.

In the aftermath of the reported breach, a lawsuit has been relaunched involving traders who claim they lost funds held on the exchange over a year ago.

According to local media and radio outlet Radio NZ, up to forty Cryptopia users have come forward to demand an explanation as to why their funds are inaccessible.

“We were contacted initially by about three people [last year], including a South African lawyer, who were complaining that they were having trouble transacting using their wallets and couldn’t withdraw funds,” the lawyer handling the case told the publication.

Maintenance issues had been thought to be the cause of the problems.