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Jack Dorsey-owned Square to acquire Australian fintech firm Afterpay in a $29B deal.

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Jack Dorsey’s cryptocurrency-friendly digital payments firm Square is expanding competition with global payment giants like PayPal by acquiring a major Australian lending company. Jack Dorsey-owned Square announced Sunday that the firm has entered into a scheme implementation deed to acquire all of the issued shares in fintech company Afterpay in a $29 billion deal. The transaction is based on the closing price of the Square common share and is expected to be paid in all stock in the first quarter of 2022.

Square continues to expand globally. 

The recent acquisition allows Square to accelerate its strategic plans for payment ecosystems further. The company is looking to integrate Afterpay into its Seller and Cash App business units to enable a “buy now, pay later” (BNPL) service. According to the announcement, the integration between these two firms will enable small businesses to offer BNPL at checkout, allowing Afterpay consumers to manage their installment payments directly in Cash App and discover BNPL offers directly within the app.

Square releases its quarterly financial reports for shareholders. 

The digital payment firm released its quarterly financial reports for shareholders on August 1st, reporting $4.68 Billion in total revenue in the second quarter of 2021. Square’s revenue grew 143% year-on-year (YoY). The firm mentioned it had seen a “significant growth in Bitcoin revenue,” estimated to be worth$2.72 Billion, seeing a 3X growth YoY. However, the gross profit from Bitcoin was only 2% of the total revenue at $55 million. In its Q2 shareholder’s letter, Square mentioned that the total Bitcoin revenue and gross profit declined in the second quarter compared to the first because of the price correction.

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Source: https://coinnounce.com/jack-dorsey-owned-square-to-acquire-australian-fintech-firm-afterpay-in-a-29b-deal/

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Watch Jack Mallers Send $10 To El Salvador Via Twitter’s Lightning Tips

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This man Jack Mallers has a way of finding himself in the middle of historic transactions. This time, the Strike CEO used the recently unveiled Twitter Tips Lightning integration to send $10 instantly to San Salvador. The person at the other end of the line then uses the money to buy coffee in a little-known independent coffee shop. We’re witnessing the fusion of one of the biggest social networks in the world with Bitcoin’s open monetary network.

In the linked blog post, Jack Mallers explains the transaction and its significance:

Related Reading | Jack Mallers Outlines Bitcoin Top Issues, How BTC Will Drive The Future of Payments

“In the above demo, I sent a $10 tip from my house in Chicago, USA to my friend David in San Salvador, El Salvador. The payment settled instantly for no fee. The singular, open, monetary network that allowed me to send an instant, free, cross-border payment to David is the same singular, open monetary network that allowed David to immediately use that money to buy a cup of coffee at Starbucks as soon as he got the Twitter notification that I had sent him money.”

BTCUSD price chart 09/25/2021 - TradingView

BTC price chart for 09/25/2021 on Exmo | Source: BTC/USD on TradingView.com

The previous time Jack Mallers found himself in the middle of a historic transaction

When Strike’s CEO sent $10 to Nigeria, he described that transaction in terms that also apply to today’s historic transaction. 

“If you don’t see how huge this is, think about it as Jack Mallers does. He “didn’t have to register the transfer through a financial intermediary such as Western Union, request private banking details of Bernard Parah, or wait days for the payment to settle.” On the other side, Bernard “didn’t owe any intermediary a percentage of the transaction, the payment wasn’t reversible and settled instantly.”

Bernard Parah’s Bitnob and Strike are interoperable because they both joined an open monetary network, Bitcoin and Lightning. This time, Twitter and its millions of users joined both of those companies. This is immense. 

Also, the previous time Jack Mallers proclaimed, “Today, Strike became the best remittance option from the US to Nigeria without even trying.” This time, he feels even more confident:

“Twitter’s integration with the Strike API turns Twitter into one of the best remittance experiences in the world, one of the greatest global creator marketplaces in the world, one of the greatest global payment experiences in the world, one of the best global micropayment marketplaces in the world, and allows an internet communications company to interoperate with the monetary standard for the world, enabling global payments for their users.”

Boom!

The Relationship Between Twitter And Strike

On the Strike API’s official site, they describe the product as:

“Connect your business to a global, instant payments network. Marketplaces use Strike’s API to enable payments between buyers and sellers or fans and creators.”

When Bitcoinist announced the integration of a Bitcoin and Lightning tip feature on Twitter, we said: 

“Twitter made the announcement today via an official company blog post, where it explained that Twitter users regularly add links in their bios so followers can help support them. Now this is built directly into Twitter.

Twitter has partnered with Jack Mallers’ Strike lightning wallet on the integration. As part of the Twitter Tips launch, Strike has debuted their Strike API platform to “serve marketplace and merchant businesses” like the social media company.”

And in the mentioned blog post, Twitter elaborates:

“In addition to the services currently enabled through Tips, people can now seamlessly tip with Bitcoin using Strike – a payments application built on the Bitcoin Lightning Network that allows people to send and receive Bitcoin. Strike offers instant and free payments globally.” 

In this first iteration of Twitter’s Tip feature, you need a Strike account to receive tips. That means, only people in the US and in El Salvador can receive at the moment. Everybody, all over the world can tip them via a Lightning Network invoice, though. 

Related Reading | El Salvador And Bitcoin: Jack Mallers Reveals The Inside Scoop

It’s a brand new world out there. Twitter’s Lightning integration might be as big as El Salvador’s Bitcoin adoption, as far as onboarding the next millions of users go.

Featured Image: screenshot from Jack Maller's video | Charts by TradingView

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Source: https://bitcoinist.com/watch-jack-mallers-send-10-to-el-salvador-via-twitters-lightning-tips/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=watch-jack-mallers-send-10-to-el-salvador-via-twitters-lightning-tips

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DeFi: Who, what and how to regulate in a borderless, code-governed world?

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Hold onto your hats, boys and girls! It’s a new world — a financial system without intermediaries, that anyone can access 24 hours a day with only a mobile phone and a wallet! As Julien Bouteloup said to me: 

“In DeFi, what we are building is fully decentralised technology, fully transparent, run by mathematics. No one can beat that.”

He continued: “We are building on research papers, 40 years of research, fundamental research, discrete mathematics being built and put on-chain that no one can beat. You cannot beat that. GitHub didn’t exist in the ‘90s. First, the fact that we’re going at the speed of light, is because everything is open source, and everyone can participate.”

Related: DeFi literacy: Universities embrace decentralized finance education

A Novum Insights report stated back in August that since 2020, the DeFi market has grown by a factor 40, with the total value locked in DeFi at around $61 billion at the time (while the current TVL stands at around $165 billion). Stablecoins’ capitalization, an important part of DeFi, grew in the first half of 2021 to $112 billion.

Massive gains are being made but, at the same time, DeFi investors are also losing money because DeFi is not regulated, moderated, intermediated, hosted or validated by a central authority, only driven by smart contracts. So if a smart contract fails or is attacked, consumers have no remedy. Loretta Joseph, global digital asset regulatory expert, said to me: “Regulators protect consumers and investors. In DeFi, you don’t have any intermediaries to regulate, so it’s totally P2P. The question is how it will be regulated in the future. People are going to get scammed. When people start to get scammed, the first thing they do is complain to the regulator.”

Related: Will regulation adapt to crypto, or crypto to regulation? Experts answer

Indeed, since 2019, DeFi protocols have lost about $285 million to hacks and other exploit attacks. And as the experts stated, the majority of hacks were due to developer incompetence and coding mistakes. That’s significant when the sector is entirely reliant on the code.

Related: The radical need for updating blockchain security protocols

The challenges of regulation

The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission’s Hester Peirce said in an interview with Forkast.News about DeFi back in February: “It’s going to be challenging to us because most of the way we regulate is through intermediaries, and when you really build something that’s decentralized, there’s no intermediary. It’s great for resilience of a system. But it’s much harder for us when we’re trying to go in and regulate to figure out how to do that.”

Regulatory concerns tend to be around the volatility of crypto markets as contrasted with government-backed fiat currency, the risk of money laundering and terrorist financing, the unregulated nature of the market, and the absence of recourse for financial losses. Nonfungible tokens are exploding, generating excitement, confusion, legal questions and massive gains. NFT markets are also attracting large crypto transactions, which will likely bother regulators, who may see the big money moves in NFTs as money laundering. At a macro level, the decentralization of the financial system and the ability to manage economic stability and protect consumer interests poses a further challenge to regulators.

Related: Nonfungible tokens from a legal perspective

DeFi decentralized autonomous organizations (DAOs) are popular as a means of transferring cryptocurrencies across different blockchains. This supports crypto lending and yield farming. DAOs, by conservative estimates, oversee more than $543 million. In a DAO, information technology governance and corporate governance are one and the same. The organization is governed and operated by smart contracts, which are monitored and enforced by algorithms. The code both governs and executes. Should the algorithms fail, who then is responsible?

In a joint article, dubbed “Regulating Blockchain, DLT and Smart Contracts: a technology regulator’s perspective,” a group of researchers outline some key points to consider: (1) the importance of identifying central points which can be used to apply regulation to, such as miners, core software developers, end users. They even raise the potential for governmental or regulatory players to be potential participants; (2) issues of identifying liability — could core software developers be held to account?; (3) the challenges with the immutability and lack of update-ability of smart contracts; and (4) the need for quality assurance and technology audit processes.

It is expected that exchanges and wallet providers will be a focus for regulators. Decentralized exchanges allow users to trade directly from their wallets in a P2P manner without intermediaries. Global money-laundering watchdog the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) has exchanges in their sights. Christopher Harding, the chief compliance officer of Civic, noted that the FATF proposed guidelines which suggest that DApps will need to comply with country-specific laws enforcing FATF, AML, and Counter-Terrorism Financing requirements.

Related: FATF draft guidance targets DeFi with compliance

A recent review of 16 leading exchange platforms by the London School of Economics and Political Science found that just four were subject to a significant level of regulation related to trading, so there is a clear gap. Getting listed on any major exchange now requires a project to have passed auditing, but meaningful security doesn’t end there. Toby Lewis, CEO of Novum Insights, made the point:

“Also, remember that smart contracts can be attacked. Even if they are audited, it does not give you a guarantee that it will be exploit-free. Do your own research before you start.”

In an open-source environment where projects are developing at an average compound growth rate of 20% per year, finding just the right moment to regulate, wherein people are protected from risk but innovation is not constrained, is a classic problem to solve. Some governments have addressed achieving this balance by using regulatory sandboxes (U.K., Bermuda, India, South Korea, Mauritius, Australia, Papua New Guinea and Singapore), while some have gone straight to legislating (San Marino, Bermuda, Malta, Liechtenstein).

Far from resisting regulation, leading DeFi figures embrace it as part of the maturing of the industry. In an interview with Cointelegraph, Stani Kulechov, the founder of DeFi lending platform Aave, suggests that peer review will be the future: “Auditors are not here to guarantee the security of a protocol, merely they help to spot something that the team itself wasn’t aware of. Eventually it’s about peer review and we need to find as a community incentives to empower more security experts into the space.” In the same article, Emeliano Bonassi spoke about ReviewsDAO, a peer review forum for connecting security experts with projects looking for reviews. Bonassi sees potential for this to become a learning opportunity where people with specialized knowledge can contribute to improving the security of the ecosystem.

Tan Tran, CEO of Vemanti Group, suggested: “Going forward, I do see accelerated adoption of platforms with permissionless financial products and services that can be used by anyone anywhere, but each will be governed by a regulated-party with centralized control to ensure accountability and compliance. This is not about stopping innovation. It’s more about deterring bad actors from exploiting unsophisticated consumers.” Giving an expert opinion on DeFi to Cointelegraph, Brendan Blumer, CEO of Block.one, concluded: “The real winners in the digital economy will be those that think long-term and take the time to ensure their products meet jurisdictional and professional service requirements.”

It certainly looks like exchanges and software developers could be in the sights of regulators. We anticipate regulators will look for ways to improve technology quality assurance processes and DeFi governance, which can only be done in conjunction with the industry. Mark Taylor emphasized that regulators need to continue to work in partnership with crypto industry players to protect consumers.

Julien Bouteluop explained: “We are actually building, in DeFi, everything that traditional finance has, but faster, stronger, more transparent and accessible by everyone that’s here. It’s really different. It means that anyone in the world can access technology and doesn’t need to ask permission from anyone. I think it’s necessary to push for innovation, and to build a better world.”

Who, what and how do we regulate in this global 24/7, borderless market? This is a whole new ball game. Regulators and industry will need to work hand in hand.

The views, thoughts and opinions expressed here are the author’s alone and do not necessarily reflect or represent the views and opinions of Cointelegraph.

Jane Thomason is a thought leader on blockchain for social impact. She holds a Ph.D. from the University of Queensland. She has had multiple roles with the British Blockchain & Frontier Technologies Association, the Kerala Blockchain Academy, the Africa Blockchain Center, the UCL Centre for Blockchain Technologies, Frontiers in Blockchain, and Fintech Diversity Radar. She has written multiple books and articles on Blockchain. She has been featured in Crypto Curry Club’s Top 100 Women in Crypto, the Decade of Women Collaboratory’s Top 10 Digital Frontier Women, Lattice’s Top 100 Fintech Influencers for SDGs, and Thinkers360’s Top 50 Global Thought Leaders and Influencers on Blockchain.


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Source: https://cointelegraph.com/news/defi-who-what-and-how-to-regulate-in-a-borderless-code-governed-world

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Atlanta Reign qualifies for the 2021 Overwatch League Grand Finals

Meanwhile, last year’s champs and a top Western contender head home.

The post Atlanta Reign qualifies for the 2021 Overwatch League Grand Finals appeared first on Dot Esports.

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This year’s Overwatch League Grand Finals matchup is finally set in stone after one last day of playoff bracket competition. Over the past two days, four top teams have been sent home packing with their championship dreams dashed. On Sept. 24, two surprising teams joined them.  

Last year’s champions, the San Francisco Shock, were sent home alongside the league’s May Melee winners, the Dallas Fuel. An underdog coming into the lower bracket, the Atlanta Reign rose above and will join the Shanghai Dragons in the Grand Finals.  

In a do-or-die match, the Atlanta Reign and San Francisco Shock faced off first in the lower bracket. San Francisco had a solid start on Nepal, with Matthew “super” DeLisi dealing out main tank justice. Unfortunately for the Shock, the tide shifted on Atlanta’s second map pick, Hanamura, and the latter team evened the score.  

Reign DPS Kai Collins inspired snipers everywhere with a massive first pick on King’s Row, which allowed his team to steamroll through the map. This singular shot seemed to bolster the Atlanta squad, inspiring Oh “Pelican” Se-hyun and Blake “Gator” Scott to kick their skills into high gear. 

Though Shock off-tank Choi “ChoiHyoBin” Hyo-bin gobbled up ultimates throughout final map Havana, the Reign’s defenses were too much for the two-time champions to break. San Francisco went home after a 1-3 loss and the team’s “threepeat”championship dreams were shattered. 

The Atlanta Reign went immediately back into the battlefield against the Dallas Fuel, who looked crisp and clean on first map Lijiang Tower. Not even Dallas Fuel’s roster full of Role Stars could stop a confident Reign, though; Atlanta sailed through their map choice of Hanamura and the pace of the series was set. 

Dallas made the questionable decision to take Atlanta to King’s Row, one of the latter’s best locales, for the third map of the series. A sharp double-bubble composition looked good for the Fuel on attack, but the Reign stopped them short in overtime rounds. By the time Dallas took Atlanta to Dorado, another Reign favorite, the Fuel’s adventurous dives failed to land. 

With a 3-1 win against the Fuel, the Atlanta Reign clinched a spot in the Grand Finals. Tomorrow, they face off against the winner’s bracket champions, the Shanghai Dragons, in a first-to-four series to determine the 2021 Overwatch League champion. The action starts at 6:45pm CT, when the Watchpoint pre-show will include an exclusive look at Overwatch 2.

Source: https://dotesports.com/overwatch/news/atlanta-reign-qualifies-for-the-2021-overwatch-league-grand-finals

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