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South Korea to launch blockchain-based vaccine passports

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South Korea will introduce blockchain-powered vaccine passports via a smartphone app later this month, the country’s prime minister said Thursday.

South Korea is joining a number of other nations in introducing vaccine certificates that enable cross-border travel while mitigating the risk of infections.

Prime Minister Chung Sye-kyun suggested there could be substantial benefits for citizens at home too:

“The introduction of a vaccine passport or ‘Green Pass’ will only allow those who have been vaccinated to experience the recovery to their daily lives,” he said during a daily inter-agency pandemic response meeting.

The government developed the app using blockchain technology as a way to provide security against the possibility of identity theft. “[Systems] in other countries also do not store personal information while allowing the verification of vaccination statuses,” Chung noted.

While 77,000 people have been vaccinated against COVID-19 in South Korea so far, the country saw another 551 daily cases on Wednesday. The Government hopes to have vaccinated 12 million people by June.

Brazil is also using a blockchain-based system to track vaccinations, while IBM helped New York develop the Excelsior Pass, which uses blockchain technology for information security. The New York state government said of the pass:

“Businesses and venues can scan and validate your pass to ensure you meet any COVID vaccination or testing requirements for entry.”

China has implemented a system and the European Union plans to do so by June. The International Air Transport Association is developing an app called Travel Pass, which may become the standard for cross border travel.

Vaccine passports remain highly controversial, especially in the US and in parts of the crypto community. The Republican Governor of South Dakota’s Kristi Noem, called the concept “one of the most un-American ideas in our nation’s history” while Ron DeSantis, the Republican Governor of Florida, is trying to ban mandated COVID passes in the state.

Crypto may also play a small role in thwarting efforts to impose non-blockchain based vaccination certificates. The BBC reports that cyber security agency CheckPoint found 1,200 ads for vaccines and vaccine passports on the darknet:

“Check Point investigators found many sellers offering forged documents, including one supposedly from the UK, with a vaccination card for $150 using the hard-to-trace cryptocurrency Bitcoin as the payment method.”

Coinsmart. Beste Bitcoin-Börse in Europa
Source: https://cointelegraph.com/news/south-korea-to-launch-blockchain-based-vaccine-passports

Blockchain

$420M in leveraged long traders liquidated after XRP rallies to $1.96

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XRP holders couldn’t have asked for a better year as the cryptocurrency rallied almost 800% and flirted with a $2 level in the early hours of April 14. 

In addition to achieving its highest level since January 2018, this robust price increase signals that investors are not worried about the ongoing SEC “unregistered securities offering” dispute.

However, just 6 hours after rallying to $1.96, XRP price crashed by more than 20%. During an interview, DCG Group CEO Barry Silbert said it would be risky for exchanges and companies in the United States to relist XRP ahead of receiving the SEC’s blessing. These remarks may have contributed to the unprecedented $420 million long liquidations on derivatives exchanges today.

XRP price in USDT at Binance. Source: TradingView

Over the past couple of weeks, the primary catalysts for XRP’s rally have been victories in Ripple’s legal battles. Lawyers representing Ripple were granted access to internal SEC discussions regarding cryptocurrencies, and more recently, a court denied the disclosure of two Ripple executives’ financial records, including CEO Brad Garlinghouse.

Considering the recent rally, pinpointing a single reason for the price correction will likely be inaccurate. Nevertheless, the impressive $420 million long liquidations past 24-hours exceed those of Feb. 1 when XRP price crashed by 46% in two hours.

XRP futures aggregate liquidations. Source: Bybt

The only logical reason behind this staggering liquidation is excessive leverage used by buyers. To confirm such a thesis, one must analyze the perpetual contracts funding rate. To balance their risks, exchanges will charge either longs or shorts depending on how much leverage each side is demanding.

XRP perpetual futures 8-hour funding rate. Source: Bybt

The chart above shows that the 8-hour funding rate is surpassing 0.25%, which is equivalent to 5.4% per week. Although this is excessive, buyers will withstand these fees during strong price rallies. For example, the current upward price move lasted for almost three weeks, and prior to that another took place in early February.

Blaming the liquidations exclusively on leverage seems a bit extreme, although it certainly played its part in amplifying today’s correction.

Moreover, the record growth in XRP futures open interest was accompanied by a hike in the volume at spot exchanges. As a result, the eventual impact from more significant liquidations should have been absorbed by the increased liquidity.

Cascading liquidations will always take place in volatile markets. Thus investors should focus on how long it takes until the price recovers from it.

Fundamentally, a 10% or 20% intraday drop should not be interpreted differently. The correction depends on how many bids were previously stacked at exchange orderbooks and is not directly related to investors’ bullish or bearish sentiment.

The views and opinions expressed here are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Cointelegraph. Every investment and trading move involves risk. You should conduct your own research when making a decision.

Coinsmart. Beste Bitcoin-Börse in Europa
Source: https://cointelegraph.com/news/420m-in-leveraged-long-traders-liquidated-after-xrp-rallies-to-1-96

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Garry Tan’s 2013 investment of $300K in Coinbase is now worth $2.4B

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Garry Tan, a prominent angel investor and the founder of Initialized Capital, was one of the first investors to provide seed funding to Coinbase eight years ago. 

Less than a decade later, and after today’s highly anticipated Nasdaq listing for Coinbase’s COIN stock, Tan’s 2013 investment of $300,000 into Coinbase is now worth $2.4 billion.

Coinbase debuted on the Nasdaq on April 14 at $381 per share, making it one of the most hyped listings in the U.S. stock market of the year.

How did $300,000 become $2.4 billion?

In 2013, when Tan invested in Coinbase, it was unclear whether Bitcoin would be recognized as a global asset and an established store of value.

At the time, there were not many reputable exchanges, and the few that existed were often hacked. Tan’s investment took place before the monumental Mt. Gox hack that saw billions of dollars worth of BTC stolen.

Even after launch, Coinbase was not always in an uptrend. According to Coinbase co-founder Fred Ehrsam, from 2014 to 2017 the company faced numerous hardships. 

Ehrsam said:

“Over time, crypto grew, and so did the company. A simple #Bitcoin wallet evolved into individual and institutional products to support a blossoming cryptoeconomy. 2 nerds who met on the internet (yes, @brian_armstrong and I met on @reddit ) turned into a company of 1000+. There was serious hardship. In the 3 years between 2014 and 2017, the outside world thought crypto was dead. Over a third of employees left. Yet crypto kept building. @ethereum came on the scene and showed that crypto native applications were possible, opening up a whole new world of possibilities.”

Even if the listing fails to impress, Coinbase has alluring financials

Coinbase is the first publicly listed major cryptocurrency exchange in the U.S. stock market and its availability on Nasdaq now provides mainstream investors with exposure to the crypto sector. Even if the listing fails to impress on day one, the company still has strong financials and user metrics.

Coinbase made $1 billion in the last quarter and has more users than every financial institution in the U.S. apart from JPMorgan, making it a highly compelling trade for investors in the traditional financial market.

Coinsmart. Beste Bitcoin-Börse in Europa
Source: https://cointelegraph.com/news/garry-tan-s-2013-investment-of-300k-in-coinbase-is-now-worth-2-4b

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German software developer donated $1.2M in ‘undeserved’ Bitcoin to political party

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A German national who reportedly sees his Bitcoin profits as “undeserved wealth” has donated more than $1 million to the country’s green political party.

According to Hamburg-based news outlet Die Zeit, Moritz Schmidt, a software developer from the northeastern town of Greifswald, has sent one million euro — roughly $1.2 million — to Germany’s green party, known as The Greens or Alliance 90. A party spokesperson said Schmidt had made significant gains during the Bitcoin (BTC) bull run but wanted to contribute to causes related to environmental and climate protection rather than HODLing his crypto.

“The donor has made it clear to us that he sees these profits as undeserved wealth that he does not claim for himself, but wants to use socially, for something that corresponds to his convictions,” said the Greens spokesperson. “In the meantime he sees the Bitcoin system critically, among other things against the background that the necessary arithmetic operations consume huge amounts of electricity.”

Records for the Greens show that Schmidt’s donation is the biggest the party has received this year, with the next highest contribution at 500,000 euro, or roughly $600,000. The funds will reportedly be used for the party’s federal election campaign and the state election campaigns in 2021.

The software developer is not alone in seemingly hoping the crypto industry will become greener. Many have criticized Bitcoin mining for its impact on the environment, with some estimates indicating the network consumes more energy than the entire country of Argentina. However, Mike Colyer, CEO of crypto mining firm Foundry Digital, said this week that he believes mining Bitcoin could eventually help the transition to a “world where 100% of our energy is produced from renewables.”

Coinsmart. Beste Bitcoin-Börse in Europa
Source: https://cointelegraph.com/news/german-software-developer-donated-1-2m-in-undeserved-bitcoin-to-political-party

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