Huobi has launched its first branch in Russia in partnership with local state-owned VEB bank’s blockchain and crypto center.
The Moscow-based exchange, dubbed Huobi Russia, is established in partnership with the state-owned Russian Development Bank’s (VEB) Digital Transformation Center and supported by Huobi’s regional exchange partnership program, Huobi Cloud.
The Center of Digital Transformation was created by VEB to promote blockchain and other crypto-related technologies, as its website states.
Back in September of this year, Huobi first joined Russia’s VEB Innovation Fund and became a resident of the Digital Transformation Center to share experience on crypto regulation, with the fund’s CEO claiming that Huobi’s expertise will assist in building a “legal basis that could compete with current promising jurisdictions.”
Speaking at a private event on Thursday, Huobi senior business director David Chen claimed that the launch of Huobi Russia will help to promote the company’s “leading technology and trading expertise to Russian users,” including such skills as “unmatched safety, stability, and user experience.”
Huobi Russia CEO Andrei Grachev also noted the increasing volumes of crypto trading in Russia, claiming that the volumes have “recently exceeded US $20 million in a single day,” regardless of the current bear market.
Russia’s VEB Innovation Fund, created in 2011, is reportedly the “first” Russian specialized center for support and development of disruptive technologies in the fields of management and the functioning of enterprises and government corporations, according to the center’s website.
The innovation center is exploring and implementing various blockchain projects, and houses more than 20 branches of major blockchain and tech companies such as the Ethereum Foundation, Bitcoin (BTC) tech company Bitfury, PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC), and others.
Vladimir Demin, chairman of VEB’s Innovation Fund, claimed that Russia is “actively promoting the blockchain market,” with VEB willing to play an “important role as a leader in blockchain research and legislation,” as reported in the press release.
Founded in 1922, VEB bank, or “the state corporation Bank for Development and Foreign Economic Affairs,” is the first international bank of the Soviet Union, originally named Roskombank. The bank is responsible for developing the Russian economy, as well as managing Russia’s state debts and pension funds.
Other Russian banks have also shown an interest in blockchain technology.
Recently, major Russian state-backed bank Sberbank conducted an over-the-counter (OTC) monetary repurchase agreement based on blockchain technology. And earlier in November, the Russian branch of Raiffeisen Bank International teamed up with local state oil giant Gazprom Neft to issue a blockchain-enabled bank guarantee.
After seeing another big sell-off, crypto markets are trading sideways, with total market cap hovering around yesterday’s levels.
Saturday, Dec. 8 — Amid a new collapse in the crypto markets yesterday, cryptocurrency ranks are continuously changing as various coins overtake each other by market capitalization. While green prevails among a number of top 100 coins, the markets are trading sideways, with the total market cap hovering at the same levels as yesterday.
Market visualization from Coin360
Bitcoin SV (BSV), Bitcoin Cash’s (BCH) hard fork that had been ranked fifth yesterday on CoinMarketCap, is now down on the list, with major stablecoin Tether (USDT) having taken over both BSV and Bitcoin Cash. Tether’s market cap now amounts to over $1.8 billion, while BCH and BSV are almost equal with market caps of around $1.8 billion, also trading at an equal price of around $100 at press time.
Recently, the Winklevoss twins’ crypto exchange Gemini announced the listing of Bitcoin Cash custody and trading, adding that their platform will “only be providing support for the Bitcoin ABC network.”
Top 7 cryptocurrencies by market cap. Source: CoinMarketCap
Bitcoin (BTC) is slightly down about 0.7 percent and is trading at $3,399 at press time. Yesterday, Dec. 7, the major cryptocurrency plunged to as low as $3,280, hitting a new record of its lowest price since August 2017. With a current market share of almost 55 percent, Bitcoin has been trading around the $3,450 threshold over the day.
As Cointelegraph reported yesterday, Bitcoin’s further lows have taken place following the recent decision of the United States Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) to delay its reconsideration of rule changes towards the first national Bitcoin exchange-traded fund (ETF) from investment firm VanEck and blockchain company SolidX.
After the announcement, SEC’s relatively pro-crypto commissioner Hester Peirce advised to not “hold your breath” over the ETF approval, claiming that it can take “20 years from now or it could be tomorrow.”
Bitcoin 24-hour price chart. Source: CoinMarketCap Bitcoin Price Index
Ripple (XRP), the second cryptocurrency by market cap, is down around 1.7 percent over the past 24 hours, trading at $0.29 at press time.
Ripple 24-hour price chart. Source: CoinMarketCap Ripple Price Index
In contrast, Ethereum (ETH), the third top cryptocurrency by market cap, is up around 3.8 percent, trading at almost $90 at press time. The major altcoin had dropped to a double digit threshold yesterday for the first time since May 2017.
Yesterday, Ethereum core developers agreed to launch the coin’s long-awaited Constantinople hard fork at block 7,080,000, which is estimated to happen after Jan. 14, 2019.
Ethereum all-time price chart. Source: CoinMarketCap Ethereum Price Index
While the markets are attempting another consolidation, some cryptocurrencies have managed to see some sufficient growth over the 24 hour period. ZCash (ZEC) and Dash (DASH) are up the most among top 20 cryptos, both having seen growth by more than 7.5 percent and trading at about $57 and $67 respectively, according to CoinMarketCap.
Total market capitalization is equal to $107 billion at press time, seeing a slight drop over the past hour. Earlier on the day, market cap had dipped to as low as $103 billion, which is the lowest record since August 2017 — similar to Bitcoin’s price dynamics. Daily trade volume amounts to more than $16 billion.
Total market capitalization chart. Source: CoinMarketCap
Ethereum core developers have decided to activate the Constantinople upgrade at block 7,080,000.
Given the press-time ETH block time of 14.3 sec, and the number of remaining blocks of around 234,431, the Constantinople upgrade is likely to become active in around 38 days from press time, or around Jan. 14, 2019, according to the data from the Ethereum blockchain explorer Etherscan.
Ethereum’s last block and blocktime at press time. Source: Etherscan
The upcoming Constantinople hard fork encompassses five separate Ethereum Improvement Proposals (EIPs) in order to soften the transition from proof-of-work (PoW) to more energy efficient proof-of-stake (PoS) consensus algorithm.
Once activated, the upgrade is supposed to fundamentally change the Ethereum blockchain, with the synchronous nodes update to the entire system.
Ethereum is a public, open-sourced blockchain platform featuring smart contracts and its native cryptocurrency Ether. Launched on July 30, 2015, Ethereum is now the third biggest cryptocurrency by market cap at around $9.7 billion and is trading at $95.88 as of press time, according to data from CoinMarketCap.
Recently, Ethereum co-found Vitalik Buterin was granted an honorary doctorate from the Switzerland’s oldest university, the University of Basel, for “outstanding achievements in fields of cryptocurrencies, smart contracts, and the design of institutions.”
In November, analysts from Northeastern University and the University of Maryland claimed that the alleged existing lack of diversity in Ethereum smart contracts threatens the whole Ethereum blockchain ecosystem.
The SEC has delayed its decision on rule change proposals to list a VanEck, SolidX Bitcoin ETF until Feb. 27, 2019.
The United States Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has again postponed its decision on a Bitcoin (BTC) exchange-traded fund (ETF), according to an official document published Thursday, Dec. 6.
The SEC set the new deadline for Feb. 27, 2019 in order to further review the rule change proposals to list a Bitcoin ETF by investment firm VanEck and blockchain company SolidX on the Chicago Board Options Exchange (CBOE):
“The Commission finds it appropriate to designate a longer period within which to issue an order approving or disapproving the proposed rule change so that it has sufficient time to consider this proposed rule change.”
Under the Securities and Exchange Act, the commission must “issue an order approving or disapproving the proposed rule change not later than 180 days” after the date of publication of notice. If the commission deems it necessary, it may subsequently extent that period by 60 days.
As the proposed rule change was first published in the Federal Register on July 2, 2018, the maximum period of consideration falls 240 days later, on Feb. 27, 2019.
The commission then requested further comments regarding the decision, claiming that the agency has not “reached any conclusions with respect to any of the issues” on the rule change.
In early October, the commission set a deadline for submitting comments about proposed rule changes related to a number of applications for Bitcoin ETFs.
Last week, the SEC published a memorandum on a meeting with representatives from VanEck, SolidX and CBOE. The applicants claimed there was precedent for a Bitcoin ETF based on other commodities with ETFs — like gold and crude oil.
“Don’t hold your breath. Look, it took a long time for [the] SEC even to establish Finhub.”
Coinbase has applied to register a trademark for the word “BUIDL,” to refer to SaaS for crypto transactions.
The word is the intentional misspelling of “build” and is analogous with the word “hodl,” the crypto community’s misspelling-turned-term that indicates holding cryptocurrencies, instead of selling them. In the crypto space, the “BUIDL” moniker refers to focusing on building products as a way to support the industry, as opposed to only holding crypto assets as an investor.
According to the application document, the company seeks to trademark the mark “BUIDL” itself, which it clarifies “consists of standard characters, without claim to any particular font style, size, or color.”
The mark’s identification in the filing states that the term relates to software as a service (SaaS) “featuring software for transactions using virtual currency.” Specifically, “BUIDL” SaaS services would include “software for managing, buying, selling, storing, transacting, exchanging, sending and receiving virtual currency.”