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Sweden’s central bank concludes first phase of digital currency test

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Sweden was one of the first nations worldwide to test the CBDC waters. In 2019, it announced a pilot platform for its e-krona, with the country coming a long way since. In fact, Sweden has now published the outcome of its first pilot phase, one that primarily encapsulates all the key discoveries and points of concern. 

The central bank of Sweden, the Sveriges Riksbank, came up with several issues that need to be dealt with before the digital version of the Krona can be officially launched. In the said report, the central bank also announced the conclusion of its first trial leg. 

The Riksbank incorporated all the fundamental aspects of a potential CBDC system during the test, including end-users, participants, and payment applications. However, one aspect that this novel technology needs to cater to, according to the central bank, is the “scalability” factor. The report said, 

“Further investigation is needed to see whether it can manage retail payments at the scale and fulfil the requirements of digital central bank money.”

Catering to the legal aspect, the report explicitly pointed out that the state would act as the guarantor of the value of the e-krona. It also highlighted how the presence of a parallel payment network would make the entire financial landscape even more robust.

It’s worth underlining, however, that a couple of months back, bankers in Sweden had voiced their concerns with the CBDC project, pointing to its direct impact on their deposit base. Now that the report has been published, industry-based comments are awaited.

Even though the performance requirements were met in the first phase, the limited test environment calls for further testing, the bank added. Riksbank also stated that it noticed discrepancies with respect to the transaction history. It would improvise on the same in the next phase.

Shedding light on money laundering, the report finally highlighted how the system would have room for anonymous payments. It said, 

“Anonymous payments are only permitted to a limited extent according to the current anti-money laundering legislation, and only smaller amounts can be transferred anonymously at present.”

It added, 

“It is possible that there may be anonymous e-kronor, but they would have a very limited area of use.”

The central bank will also be extending its agreement with Accenture, with the same assisting the institution as a technical supplier to carry forward e-krona testing. 

The next phase would be more inclined towards addressing the uncatered aspects of the first phase and they would primarily revolve around the potential distributers of e-krona, off-line functionality, the performance of CBDCs in retail payments, and integration with pre-existing point of sale terminals.

It would also accommodate network infrastructure evaluation. In fact, different storage methods of keys and tokens would also be experimented with in the upcoming phase. 


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Source: https://ambcrypto.com/swedens-central-bank-concludes-first-phase-of-digital-currency-test

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.

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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.

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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.”

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

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