It is reported that from April 12 to April 25, the People’s Bank of China (PBOC) will expand the CBDC trial to Hainan province. This was the first event in an attempt to normalize cryptocurrencies across China. Now the People’s Bank of China has also conducted the test in other provinces.
Hainan Province announces its first-ever CBDC event in an attempt to normalize the digital currency across China
The Digital Currency Electronic Payment (DC/EP) is a fiat currency designed to replace a system of reserve money. Currently in the testing process, but CBDC is still gradually being adopted in China.
Members of the Sanya municipal government, including their employees, businesses, and permanent residents, will be the main participants of this trial. The trial will raise awareness for the digital yuan, foster secure transactions with wide accessibility. Additionally, participants in this trial will receive a 15% discount for every 100 yuan spent on the island.
While CBDC trials continued across China, cities like Chengdu and Beijing have shown promising success. The second batch of trials was announced in Shanghai, Trường Sa, Qingdao, Xi’an, and Dalian.
Currently, the digital yuan is in beta in China. It is being piloted as a retail CBDC. In the future, though, the central bank aims to be able to interact with other countries. The PBOC and the Hong Kong Monetary Authority are currently testing the digital yuan for cross-border use.
Besides, PBOC has included the affiliated banks of digital payments giants, AliPay and WePay, in their trials to increase adoption. Due to this partnership, users with WeBank and MyBank accounts can now access their money using PBOC apps running CBDC. AliPay and WePay together dominate more than 93% of the digital payments market in China.
There are currently 573.6 million users for digital payment platforms in China. This number is expected to increase to 618 million by 2025 showing huge potential for a shopping mall in this market.
CEX.IO, a leading international cryptocurrency exchange, launches its Savings service as the newest solution in the fast-growing Earn ecosystem. Available in 171 countries, CEX.IO Savings offers users up to 20% Annual Percentage Yield (APY) on 19 different digital assets with the flexibility to move funds in and out of their accounts without any restrictions.
Similarly to savings accounts in the traditional finance industry, CEX.IO Savings offers users a way to generate a passive return on the digital assets they hold. However, unlike a savings account, the international exchange’s Savings product allows customers to add capital or withdraw their funds at any time without fees, expiration dates, or the requirement to lock their holdings for extended periods.
Currently, CEX.IO Savings users can earn interest between 2% and 20% APY on 19 different cryptocurrencies, including multiple stablecoins and DeFi tokens. However, the company is soon expanding its list of supported digital assets.
Users can earn interest in their cryptocurrencies in two ways within CEX.IO Savings. While Flexible Savings provides customers access to their funds any time they need, Locked Savings is for those who are planning to hold their digital assets for a longer time period. While users have to lock their assets until the expiration date, they can utilize this savings type to achieve higher returns with fixed interest rates. On the other hand, the APY for Flexible Savings is fixed on a daily basis. It is reviewed every 24 hours and will respond to the market conditions based on supply and demand.
CEX.IO launched its Savings service as part of the greater Earn ecosystem, which is centered around crypto users seeking to generate an extra income on their digital asset holdings. As the first solution in the Earn suite, CEX.IO launched Staking in 2020, a service that allows customers to earn rewards for locking up their tokens and maintaining the blockchain networks of cryptocurrency projects utilizing the Proof-of-Stake (PoS) consensus mechanism. One of the USPs of CEX.IO Staking is that CEX.IO takes on all the complexities of staking node management and technical integrations.
This allows CEX.IO Staking to guarantee fast capital withdrawals for our users to the extent that users can even place limit orders on our exchange with the assets they staked. This unique feature allows our users to keep generating a passive return on their staked asset while waiting for the price to increase up to the level when they would like to exit from their position.
Founded in 2013, CEX.IO is an international cryptocurrency exchange that offers a wide range of digital asset solutions to over 4 million customers. With a fast-growing ecosystem of innovative products, the London-based company serves all participants of the cryptocurrency market – from retail traders to institutional investors. With a robust, enterprise-grade service, CEX.IO’s multi-functional digital asset solutions feature cutting-edge security while being regulated in multiple jurisdictions, including the United States, Gibraltar, and Cyprus.
In July 2020 and February 2021, CryptoCompare ranked CEX.IO among the top 10 cryptocurrency exchanges worldwide in its Exchange Benchmark Rating. In both reports, the London-based company secured an A grade as well as the third spot in terms of security.
“The way the crypto market was developing in 2020 and 2021 provided digital asset holders a good deal of new options to earn. Staking, lending, and yield farming – to name a few. During the times we have spent in the DeFi sector, we noticed a demand among our users to earn passive income while holding crypto assets. For that reason, we decided to launch CEX.IO Earn, a new service within CEX.IO ecosystem allowing crypto owners to profit by contributing to the blockchain industry. After rolling out Staking and seeing the hugely positive market response, we are now launching Savings. With our new product, customers can earn interest after the coins they contributed on the platform while having the flexibility to withdraw their funds or increase their holdings to achieve better returns at any time,” Konstantin Anissimov, Executive Director at CEX.IO, stated.
Bitcoin broke past the $60,000 mark on March 13, 2021, to surpass Facebook in total market value. To learn more about this and other stories, keep reading this article.
Bitcoin Hits Over $60,000 and Surpasses Facebook in Value
On March 13, 2021, bitcoin recorded a high of $61,683.86. This is yet another milestone that the cryptocurrency has achieved after recording a series of several all-time highs in the past three months.
Institutional investors continue to boost bitcoin’s price with Chinese firm Meitu being the latest company to purchase crypto. The firm bought $22.1 million in ether and $17.9 million in bitcoin.
“Beeple’s $69 million [non-fungible token] record demonstrates the true power of crypto, adding curiosity and fuel to the retail fire. Expect volatility but a landing of $100K levels by Q3,” said Jehan Chu, Managing Partner of trading firm Kenetic.
Furthermore, bitcoin’s market cap has risen to the eighth position, surpassing Facebook. Currently, bitcoin has a market capitalization of about $1.07 trillion while Facebook has a market cap of $808.76 billion.
Luno Users Can Now Earn Interest on Ether and USDC Savings
Luno users can now add ETH and USD coin (USDC) to their savings wallet where they can earn 4 percent and 7.6 percent APR, respectively. The exchange introduced the savings wallet five months ago allowing users to earn up to four percent on their bitcoin savings.
“The addition of two new cryptocurrencies to the savings wallet gives customers even greater flexibility and potential to earn interest as they grow their crypto savings. A high percentage of Africans who own cryptocurrency do so for speculative investment purposes, with the majority holding their crypto for the long term. If your crypto investment strategy is holding your crypto long-term, the savings wallet earns you additional interest for what you were already doing,” said Marius Reitz, the General Manager for Africa, at Luno.
According to a Luno 2020 survey, more than a third of the respondents (35 percent) were not earning interest on their traditional cash savings. On the other hand, 54 percent were not earning interest on their current bank accounts. As a result, Luno wants to change these statistics with its crypto savings wallet.
The savings feature pays out interest monthly and users can access their savings 24/7. Moreover, 250,000 people are using the savings wallet since its launch.
South African Company Invests in Bitcoin
It is not large companies alone that are investing in bitcoin. According to an article on Tech Central, open-source software firm LSD Information Technology has purchased R2 million in bitcoin (about $135,570.70).
The company’s board agreed to invest in the digital asset on January 4, 2021. In the initial purchase, it bought R1 million in bitcoin then bought the other R1 million over the next two weeks. The firm used the crypto exchange BitFund to buy and hold the BTC.
“Our vision is to make the world more open, and bitcoin supports our philosophy on how we believe the world works best. Working in the open-source space seems to attract many crypto enthusiasts for whom the decentralised open nature of cryptocurrencies appeals,” said LSD founder and CEO Stefan Lesicnik.
The firm participates in running and maintaining bitcoin full nodes.
The text below is an advertorial article that was not written by Cryptonews.com journalists.
In traditional finance, financial regulation is intended to provide protection, safety and stability for institutions and consumers alike. Organisations such as the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) in the US and the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) in the UK are tasked with policing the conduct of banks, asset managers and other financial organizations to ensure that strict rules are followed and punishments applied when those rules are broken.
DeFi and cryptocurrency more widely has fallen outside the remit of regulation since Bitcoin was first launched in 2009. For more than a decade digital asset holders and service providers have largely been able to go about their business unfettered by the same rules and regulations that fall on the shoulders of JP Morgan Chase, for example; not least because the rules that are set for traditional financial institutions are extremely difficult to apply to digital assets.
Regulation across TradFi, CeFi and DeFi
As anyone who has ever applied for a credit card, bank loan or mortgage will know, the long-arm of financial regulation places a significant emphasis on data collection and suitability assessment. This requires collecting and storing vaults of customer information, running complex individual credit risk checks and ensuring detailed custody, anti-money laundering and transaction regulations are followed – and while this is achievable for JP Morgan, it is less so for many cryptocurrency organizations.
In the world of CeFi, or centralized finance, we are seeing moves in this direction, with Coinbase – one of the largest CeFi exchanges – in regular discussions with the SEC as it seeks to list on the US stock market. However, in the world of DeFi, regulation is anathema to much of what the ecosystem stands for. Built largely on a decentralized, permissionless system of autonomous smart contracts, many protocols do not have the central management required to carry out regulation. Moreover, many DeFi applications don’t ask users for their information (or “KYC”), which is a key attraction for many DeFi users.
Regulation and the regulated
Governments and public-sector bodies often cite seven specific areas as being major goals of financial regulation: investor protection, consumer protection, financial stability, market efficiency, competition, the prevention of financial crime, and fairness. For end users, investor and consumer protection are the most important and refer to the way in which financial organizations should market investment products and communicate with their customers. Rules in these areas generally call for transparency (especially around potential risks of products and investments) and clear, open communication with customers.
This is, few would dispute, a highly laudable facet of regulation that should protect vulnerable customers. In practice, however, it frequently doesn’t. Aside from the sort of systemic failings the world witnessed in 2008/09, leading to USD 321 billion in fines dished out to major banks such as Barclays for LIBOR rigging, regulation often fails to keep out bad actors. In the UK, the “mini-bond” space has been a hotbed for fraud, with more than 11,000 people losing GBP 236 million in 2019 to a company claiming to offer property-backed savings accounts. These savers – largely inexperienced older people – suffered heavy losses and the scandal led to a widespread overhaul of a space with hundreds of similar cases.
Best practice should span all sectors
Despite its failings, however, regulation is important: many schemes such as the UK’s Financial Compensation Scheme (a fund paid for by banks that will reimburse savers in the event a regulated institution collapses) provide genuine protection for consumers, as do imperatives for clear, transparent disclosure about products and services and treating customers fairly. Most importantly, however, the onorousnes of regulation can also help to keep out some of the worst actors who may not have the conviction or capacity to comply with regulation.
As such, YIELD App seeks to emulate the key tenets of prudential regulation across its entire platform and customer service proposition. We provide clear and consistent public information including a product disclosure statement that details our structure, practices and principles and clearly states the risks associated with digital assets. On our site we also host a comprehensive set of FAQ’s along with a 24-hour customer helpdesk to ensure we can answer any customer queries quickly and accurately. YIELD App also seeks to mirror important system-level financial regulation, including well capitalized treasuries and the prevention of financial crime through level 1 KYC. We have also partnered with Merkle Sciences for chain analysis to ensure we comply with the FATF red flag rules and to adhere to our internal KYC/AML policies.
While DeFi is operating independently today, as one of the fastest growing areas in cryptocurrency DeFi is likely to fall under the scrutiny of regulators in the future: indeed, ita seems impossible that a market of 40 Billion USD that is expanding by the multi-millions every day would not. Therefore, it is essential that any organization truly serious about its long-term future as a DeFi service provider operates under the best practices already established in traditional finance. As highlighted above, regulation itself is no guarantee: it is only as strong as those that implement and comply with it, and you don’t have to be regulated to do so.
Widespread reports of a return of the kimchi premium appear to have been shrouded in confusion after bitcoin (BTC) prices plummeted briefly on a number of domestic exchanges before rising back above the USD 62,000 mark – while the market-leading Upbit platform suspended fiat withdrawals, possibly due to a banking issue.
The platform announced that it was conducting an “urgent inspection of KRW deposits and withdrawals,” but did not specify what the issue was in an official notice.
However, the Upbit operator Dumanutold the media outlet TechM that the issue was with a “fiat deposit and withdrawals service provider,” and “not with Upbit’s servers.”
The problem, however, may lie with the exchange’s banking partner. As previously reported, Upbit has partnered with the neobank K-Bank, with whom the crypto exchange’s customers are obliged by law to hold real-name authenticated accounts if they want to use Upbit services.
At around 7 AM UTC, BTC prices fell by 8% on leading platforms on yesterday’s prices, with some altcoins falling by 20%. But prices bounced back just an hour later. TechM stated that this sparked a massive rush in BTC buying. That made K-Bank “temporarily suspended related services and begin to inspect operating systems.”
But the issue may run deeper than this. Indeed, it may have been the straw the broke the camel’s back.
SBS reported that the K-Bank’s Upbit partnership may have become too successful for its own good. While business is booming with new crypto-related account creation and trading volumes via Upbit remain sky-high, the bank is not performing as well when it comes to doing what banks traditionally do – i.e. lend money.
The company’s mortgage products have experienced a much less positive uptake, the media outlet reported, a fact that has raised red flags. The latest surge in fiat-fuelled crypto buying may have tipped K-Bank’s payment model into dangerous territory.
The media outlet reported that the bank had lowered the interest rate of four new products “from today,” and had decided to stop new sales of one of its “preferential terms” deposit offerings from next month.
SBS labeled the issue an “emergency in managing K-Bank’s loan-to-deposit ratio.”
On the kimchi premium issue, the CryptoQuant CEO Ju Ki-young claimed there was evidence of “arbitrage” as Upbit rival Bithumb had seen “BTC inflow mean” increase “while all other exchanges” had seen falls. “It seems some whales are depositing BTC to Korean exchanges,” he wrote.
But per EToday, opinions are divided on the matter of the kimchi premium. A researcher quoted by the media outlet stated that they doubted there would be any sharp rises in the discrepancy between South Korean and overseas exchanges, with experts claiming that medium to long-term, prices would likely correct, despite short-term “burdens” for South Korean BTC traders.
For those about to ring the alarm bells, it may be worth pointing out that at the peak of the kimchi premium (2017-early 2018), when South Korea accounted for almost 9% of the global BTC market, sustained premiums of 30% were regular, and the premium peaked at a whopping 55%. Experts have previously told Cryptonews.com that a return to these heady days are extremely unlikely.
Per Scolkg data at the time of writing (UTC 12:11pm), the kimchi premium is now back at around +12%, with a difference of about USD 6,400 in the price of BTC 1 on Upbit and Binance.
Right from the beginning of nuclear power – the first commercial nuclear reactor was built at Windscale in Cumbria in 1956 – it was controversial due to issues of safety, cost and the long-lived and toxic waste it produces. Even so, nuclear energy continued to expand globally until the 1990s, since when it has all but flatlined. Then, ten years ago last month, the disaster at Fukushima dealt its reputation a body blow. Within days Angela Merkel, previously a strong backer of nuclear energy, ordered all of Germany’s reactors to be phased out. In China the world’s biggest programme of new nuclear plants was put on hold.
How much energy does nuclear provide?
Globally, nuclear power produces around 10% of the world’s electricity, making it the second-biggest source of low-carbon energy after hydroelectric power. But that’s a sharp drop from a peak of 18% in the mid-1990s. According to figures collated by Bloomberg, there are 440 nuclear reactors currently in operation, with a combined electrical capacity of 392 gigawatts (GW). Another 50 are under construction, adding around 15% to current capacity. But that’s not even enough to make up for the 25% of reactors due to be shut down in advanced economies by 2025. Nuclear accounts for a bigger slice in advanced economies – 18% rather than 10%, according to the International Energy Agency (IEA), making it the largest low-carbon source of energy. In the UK, for example, about 20% of current electricity capacity is nuclear. However, half of that is due to be retired by 2025, and all but one of the existing fleet of nuclear reactors is due to be taken offstream in the next ten years. Meanwhile, only one new plant, the 3.2 GW Hinkley Point C in Somerset, is being built, replacing just under 40% of current nuclear capacity.
So it’s in decline?
In most of the world, yes, with advanced economies due to lose two-thirds of their nuclear capacity by 2040. Proponents of nuclear power (including the IEA) argue that it is vital to the overall drive for net-zero carbon emissions by mid-century. Despite the impressive growth of solar and wind power, says the IEA, the overall share of clean-energy sources in total electricity supply in 2018, at 36%, was the same as it was 20 years earlier due to the decline in nuclear since the 1980s. “Halting that slide will be vital to stepping up the pace of the decarbonisation of electricity supply,” it says. Advocates argue that nuclear-power plants aid electricity security by keeping power grids stable and limiting impacts from seasonal fluctuations from renewables, and cutting dependence on imported fuels. In other words, nuclear has a vital role to play as reliable “firm generating capacity” during the decarbonising shift to renewables, and winding nuclear down for misguided safety reasons would be folly.
But isn’t nuclear power dangerous?
The debate about that has long been a battle between those concerned more with climate-change warming (nuclear is carbon-free) and those worried about safety. For pro-nuclear environmentalists, the embrace of nuclear power by China and (to a lesser extent so far) India is cause for celebration. Advocates have long argued that, in terms of the number of people killed or harmed, nuclear power is far safer than other forms of power generation. Since its earliest days, nuclear accidents have killed one person every 14 years, proponents say. Indeed, in 2013, Pushker Kharecha and James Hansen calculated that, between 1971 and 2009, nuclear power saved the lives of 1.84 million worldwide thanks to reductions in air pollution.
But what about Fukushima?
The earthquake and tsunami that flooded Japan’s east coast ten years ago killed about 18,500 people. But the destruction of the three reactors of the Fukushima plant – the worst nuclear disaster since Chernobyl in 1986 – killed only one person as a result of radiation exposure. Moreover, a report on Fukushima released last month by the United Nations Scientific Committee on the Effects of Atomic Radiation (UNSCEAR) concluded that “no adverse health effects among Fukushima residents have been documented that could be directly attributed to radiation exposure”. Future consequences for health “are unlikely to be discernible” and there was “no credible evidence of excess congenital anomalies, stillbirths, pre-term deliveries or low birthweights related to radiation exposure”.
The worst ever nuclear disaster was the result of human errors so “bizarre” that the scenario would have been “thought overambitious by a genuine saboteur”, says Dominic Lawson in The Sunday Times. The Soviet-era accident, which blew a 1,000-ton concrete reactor shield away in a mighty explosion, was the result of an insane experiment in which one of the reactors was made to run at a dangerously low level, the cooling unit disconnected and the safety mechanism switched off. It was feared deaths would run into the hundreds of thousands. In fact, “apart from the heroic Chernobyl emergency team, fewer than 100 deaths have been attributable to increased radiation – and no known birth deformities”, according to UNSCEAR.
So nuclear is safe?
It’s far safer than most people realise, says The Economist. China’s post-Fukushima pause on nuclear didn’t last long: it soon accelerated again and by 2019 produced four times as much as in 2011, with more expansion planned. There’s a strong case for countries such as Britain to follow China’s lead and import its technology. Moreover, modern smaller reactors with lower unit costs are a promising development that can make nuclear cheaper and more flexible. Nuclear power has its drawbacks, but to hasten its decline “is wilfully to hobble the world in the greatest environmental struggle of all”. The lesson of Fukushima is “not to eschew nuclear power, it is to use it wisely”.
(Mail on Sunday) B&Q and Screwfix-owner Kingfisher had an “extraordinary” 2020. The DIY group has benefited from “our desire to make the same four walls look nicer”. But the firm owes its success to more than the lockdown boom: CEO Thierry Garnier’s five-year plan has focused on improving performance in France, a key market, cutting some costs and investing in its digital presence. Turnover for the year to 31 January 2021 was up by 7.2% to £12.3bn and pre-tax profits grew from £103m in 2019 to £756m in 2020. The firm’s cash pile is “reassuring on the dividend front”, and its long- term strategy “seems to be paying off”. 325p
(Shares) Ford’s investments in electric and autonomous vehicles are yielding positive results. As activity recovers after the pandemic the car maker “should see increased sales for its cars and pickup trucks”. The group is suffering from the impact of the global semiconductor shortage, which could see earnings drop by $1bn to $2.5bn. But with a “clearer electric-vehicle strategy” the firm looks well prepared for the future. $12.85
(Investors’ Chronicle) Mozambique-based miner Kenmare Resources had a difficult year, but the firm has nonetheless managed to maintain its dividend. Production for the year was down by 15%, but higher ilmenite (a mineral-rich sand) prices “helped the bottom line”. Debt has risen sharply but the firm’s relocation of its WCP B plant was also the final step in a “multi-year growth programme” that should yield positive results. 407p
Three to sell
(Investors’ Chronicle) Kurdistan-based oil company Genel Energy saw its sales more than halve in 2020. Cashflow slumped to $4m from $99m in 2019. Production is set to stay flat at around 32,000 barrels of oil per day. The firm has previously struggled to get paid by the Kurdistan Regional Government and is still owed around $159m of oil sales, “equal to its entire 2020 revenue”. Profits were further harmed by a $320m impairment. All this adds up to a sell. 187p
Manchester & London
(The Daily Telegraph) The Telegraph tipped Manchester & London in 2017 when it switched from “largely British shares to a growth-focused fund” containing big tech stocks such as Amazon, Facebook and Alphabet. It has performed strongly over the last three years. But now a “basket of stocks” that should have returned 32% over 2020 only yielded an 8.4% gain. This is because the trust sold call options on the shares it holds, limiting overall returns. This approach has complicated “what should be a straightforward investment rationale”. The argument for the trust “no longer holds”. 586p
In The Style
(The Sunday Times) Online fashion retailer In The Style listed on Aim this month. It made a £2m profit on sales of £35.4m in the nine months to January 2021. FounderAdam Frisby ascribes last year’s growth to the firm’s “switch from selling dresses to lockdown-friendly jogging bottoms”. But it remains to be seen whether recent growth will “outlive the pandemic… Investors should wait for evidence [that it] isn’t just a passing fad.” Avoid. 235p
…and the rest
“Pent up demand” by homeowners spending their savings on improvements helped offset the lockdown-induced downturn at LED-lighting manufacturer Luceco. It looks “well positioned” for the recovery. Buy (266p). Speciality chemicals and personal care business Elementis “posted a predictably downbeat set of results after a pandemic-ravaged year”. Sales in its core divisions, personal care and coatings, fell by 9% and 7% respectively. The group also needs to reduce debt. “We remain cautious for now.” Sell (121p).
Data services group Relx has seen its shares fall behind “since the market shifted its focus to cheap value stocks”. But the share-price weakness represents an opportunity. Relx’s focus on organic growth, coupled with an “excellent track record”, make it a good investment for the long term. Buy (1,757p).
The Daily Telegraph
Record-low interest rates hit banks even before the virus. Lockdowns threatening customers’ solvency “make matters worse”. Sell Italy’s Intesa Sanpaolo(€2.30).
The Motley Fool
Hydrogen fuel cells “are increasingly being made obsolete by lithium-ion batteries”, which doesn’t bode well for green-energy hydrogen companies such as Plug Power. The company has also said it will have to restate accounts for previous years. Avoid ($35). Revenue at Nokia declined by 6% last year and is set to fall again this year. Consumers are ditching Nokia’s traditional 4G network for 5G, “to which the company has yet to fully upgrade”. Avoid (€3.50).
In the past decade, we have become increasingly dependent on the internet and the recent pandemic has solidified our dependence on the virtual ecosystem. Though this dependence has served us in a number of ways, it has also created the concepts of identity theft, arbitrary censorship, undue rent extraction (in the form of privacy cost), or sudden cessation of accounts. Thus, few conglomerates or authorities can control our behavior and conduct by controlling our virtual world.
Further, more time spent online has lead to the creation and consumption of more value digitally. To maximize this value, our society needs to allocate serious time and capital for virtual environments, and for this, the environment needs to be durable, secure, and robust. Blockchain has proved to be one such solution.
Blockchain has arrived in our lives as ‘the light at the end of the tunnel’ as it can save us from the control and censorship of the conglomerates and higher authorities while providing an ecosystem that is secure and durable. Blockchain has changed our mindset of security from “secure is Private” to “secure is Public”.
And thus with the power of blockchain and the internet, our virtual world is ready to take a new leap and converge with our real-world (augmented reality) in ways that were never thought of before. This in short can be termed as Metaverse.
Metaverse For Beginners:
Metaverse is a digital world in which anything we can imagine, can exist. The term ‘meta’ means ‘beyond’ and ‘verse’ means ‘universe’, and so the metaverse is the extension of the universe of physical and virtual reality.
The metaverse is that collective, shared virtual space that is created when the physical realm converges with the virtual realm, which includes virtual reality, augmented reality, and the internet. Metaverse has the potential to become a separate individual economy in the coming decade.
The concept of Metaverse can be better understood from Steven Spielberg’s 2018 adaptation of Ernest Cline’s Ready Player One (2011).
Though everyone is still contemplating how the metaverse ecosystem would look like, an author named Matthew Ball has tried to crystalize the idea of this ecosystem as follows:
Live and synchronous
A bridge between worlds
To read more on Matthew’s views about metaverse, click here.
It is important to understand that metaverse need not incorporate blockchain to exist, but to make the ecosystem fairer and securer to all the participants, blockchain will play a pivotal role in its development. With metaverse, humans will evolve as a fully grown digital species.
Now, let us discuss more on the integration of metaverse with blockchain and cryptocurrencies.
Crypto meets Metaverse
Digital assets and crypto seem to be the most imperative vertical in driving the emergence of a true Metaverse. Hence, we hear and see NFT everywhere.
Non Fungible Tokens are the first step to integrating individual ownership with digital assets. A Non-Fungible Token (NFT) is a digital item that can be created (minted), sold, or purchased on an open market, and owned and controlled by any individual user, without the permission or support of any centralized company.
In order for digital items to have real, lasting value, they must exist independent of an entity who might decide at any moment to remove or disable the item. What NFTs enable for the first time is a decentralized, universal digital representation and ownership layer through which scarcity, uniqueness, and authenticity can be transparently managed.
Therefore, crypto can be the foundation stone needed for the metaverse.
Why do you need to know about Metaverse?
Now let us address the elephant in the room, why am I dumping so much technical stuff on you. Simply, because I have identified an opportunity and would want you to see it as well.
Today, the 10 biggest companies in the world are the ones who adopted the internet when either no one knew about it or if knew, was very skeptical about it. We can be the early identifiers of the potential new-age internet.
There are a number of crypto projects which are trying to develop a full-fledge blockchain-based digital ecosystem. And because it is based on the blockchain, we can participate in the projects by owning their tokens. One such project that I am admiring these days is Decentraland.
Decentraland is a 3D space where you can build virtual worlds, play games, explore museums packed with NFT art, attend live concerts, etc. It works in a standard web browser to give you access to the cryptocurrency and NFT features. You can buy and sell properties, create and sell virtual art for the art galleries, or build worlds. Several companies have invested in land in Decentraland, and some of them may be willing to pay skilled builders to develop it.
There are no limits to what all can be done in this space. Therefore, I am very intrigued with the idea of this new generation of tech which can change the world and our portfolios for good in the near future. I will keep you updated on such projects and will let you know about all the substantial changes.
Please note that I am not a financial advisor and nothing said above is a financial advice. Please DYOR before investing.
Today I have brought the review of one of the best crypto exchanges for beginners who need a hands-on way to buy bitcoin and start their crypto investment journey. With the most simplistic user interface, Coinbase can be your choice to initiate this journey. It is one of the most trustworthy and secure platforms to buy and sell crypto tokens.
Further, there are very few crypto exchanges that provide their services to US Residents and yet have all the features that are offered by other leading crypto exchanges (mostly not available to US Residents). At the time of writing, Over 45 cryptocurrencies are supported by Coinbase including Bitcoin and Ethereum (to refer to the list of cryptocurrencies supported by Coinbase, click here).
Please note that to use advanced features (such as trading charts, staking, etc.), you will need the pro version of Coinbase known as Coinbase Pro. In this article, we will not be discussing the features of Coinbase Pro.
Established in June 2012 in San Francisco, California, United States, Coinbase is one of the elephants in the crypto market and is currently the largest crypto exchange in the United States by the trading volume (second largest in the world after Binance which is the world’s largest crypto exchange).
It has 43 million verified users, over 1200+ employees, and operates in more than 100 countries (to check the list of countries supported by Coinbase, click here). The total traded volume on the exchange is USD 455 Billion with USD 90 billion worth of assets currently kept on the platform.
The founding team enrolled for the “Y Combinator Startup Incubator Program” in summer 2012 and raised USD 150,000 for the establishment of Coinbase. In October 2012, the company launched the services to buy and sell bitcoins through bank transfers. In May 2013, the company received a USD 5 million investment led by Fred Wilson from the venture capital firm Union Square Ventures. In December the same year, the company received a US$25 million investment, from the venture capital firms Andreessen Horowitz, Union Square Ventures (USV), and Ribbit Capital. In these past years, Coinbase has raised a total of USD 547.3 Million in funding over 13 rounds with the latest funding being raised on Dec 21, 2018, from a Secondary Market round.
Recently Coinbase Global, Inc. has filed a registration statement on Form S-1 with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission relating to a proposed public direct listing of its Class A common stock. The Coinbase share will be listed on the Nasdaq Global Select Market under the ticker symbol COIN. The listing is expected to happen in April 2021.
Before understanding the various features that Coinbase offers, we need to understand the diverse experience of the founding team that brought Coinbase together.
Brian was born and brought up near San Jose, California to engineer parents. He attended Rice University in Texas and earned a dual Bachelor’s degree in economics and computer science in 2005, followed by a Masters in Computer Science in 2006. Armstrong has a long list of employers, he has worked as a developer in IBM, consultant at Deloitte, and joined Airbnb in 2011 as a software Engineer.
While at Airbnb, he understood the difficulties of sending money to South America. Fortunately, in 2010, he came across the bitcoin white paper published by Satoshi Nakamoto. In 2012, he entered the “Y Combinator Startup Incubator Program” and received a $150,000 investment, which he used to found Coinbase.
After graduating from Duke University in computer science and economics, Ehrsam started his professional career as a trader for Goldman Sachs. 2 years later, he co-founded Coinbase with Brian Armstrong. After working in the core team for 5 years, Ehrsam left Coinbase in 2017 to pursue other crypto-related ventures while continuing to hold a position as a director. In 2018, he co-founded Paradigm with Matt Huang, formerly from Sequoia Capital, and Charles Noyes, from Pantera Capital.
Features of Coinbase Exchange
Now let us discuss and understand the various features that are offered to an individual Coinbase user.
Types of Trades
Coinbase offers spot buying, selling, and conversion of over 45 cryptocurrencies on its platform. However, it does not offer futures and margin trading. The simplicity of buying Bitcoin on Coinbase is what made is the top crypto broker of America.
Coinbase funding methods:
Funding of an account is an important factor before selecting an ideal exchange for our day-to-day usage. Coinbase offers various funding methods, and pick the option based on your jurisdiction and urgency.
Here is the chart that shows various funding methods available for US customers:
Here is the chart that shows various funding methods for European customers:
You can buy Bitcoin and various cryptocurrencies instantly using Debit card.
This is one unique feature of Coinbase that is loved by the majority of its users. With the recurring buy or sell, you can do dollar-cost averaging to accumulate a coin (ex Bitcoin) or sell a coin as part of a paycheck. This process of DCA (Dollar cost averaging) removes the emotion out of the context and helps you to be more disciplined with your investment.
Staking – earn income on Coin holding
Coinbase also offers the staking feature on some crypto tokens. However, this feature is limited to the following locations:
The US (excluding New York (for Tezos and Cosmos) and Hawaii residents)
Currently, staking is available only on 3 tokens (Algorand (ALGO), Cosmos (ATOM), and Tezos (XTZ)). For more information on Coinbase staking, click here.
Earn while you Learn: Earn up to $37 worth of crypto
Coinbase has an “Earn while you Learn” model which gives you rewards for watching crypto videos and other resources on the website. This is an amazing concept as you make money while learning so much about the crypto space.
For more information on rewards offered by Coinbase, click here.
In addition to the Coinbase exchange platform, Coinbase offers a wallet to its users to keep their cryptocurrencies safer.
The Coinbase Wallet app is a separate, standalone app that allows users to store, or custody, their own crypto, and explore the world of Decentralised Apps (DApps) with a DApp browser. You can store all your digital assets in one place including the NFTs and explore the open financial system. You do not need a Coinbase account to use the Coinbase Wallet app.
Coinbase Wallet helps you to manage your own private keys and store your crypto assets directly on your device, not with a centralized brokerage or exchange. Moreover, you can download and use Coinbase Wallet anywhere in the world.
Coinbase also offers a Visa debit card, which is funded by your Coinbase balance. This is the easiest way to spend your crypto worldwide. You can choose the crypto (through the online app) which you want to use through the card. Thus, it helps you to use cryptocurrencies as money.
For more information on Coinbase Card, click here.
User Interface and Mobile Application
The USP of the exchange is the most simplistic user interface it offers you. It does not matter whether you are a beginner or an advanced trader, the trading experience is quick and delightful. The exchange also has a mobile application for android and iOS devices to keep the user updated on the go. The app is fully functional and if you enjoy trading on mobile, the app will keep you engaged. There are more than 10 Million downloads on the app store with an average rating of 4.4.
Coinbase is one of the safest and secure crypto exchanges in the world. Following are the security features that provide it more credibility:
Coinbase website traffic runs entirely over encrypted SSL (HTTPS),
98% of customer funds are stored offline,
Sensitive data that would normally reside on the servers is disconnected entirely from the internet,
Drives and paper backups are distributed in safe deposit boxes and vaults geographically around the world,
2 Factor Authentication is mandatory for all accounts,
Online funds are covered by insurance,
Wallets (and private keys) are stored using AES-256 encryption which is one of the best in the world.
Thus, you can rest assured that the exchange is sufficiently safe and secure.
Fees associated with Coinbase
Coinbase fee structure is variable and is substantially higher than most of the leading crypto exchanges in the world.
There is no fee for the Coinbase wallet service. However, the transaction fee is charged if any cryptocurrency is transferred to a non-coinbase wallet.
On a spot transaction, Coinbase keeps a spread as well as charges a transaction fee (in addition to the spread). Fees may vary based on your location, payment method, and other circumstances.
So, as we have understood the various features that Coinbase exchange offers, now let me summarise the pros and cons that you will have to consider while using its services.
Benefits of Coinbase Exchange
The various benefits of using Coinbase exchange are as follows:
Coinbase provides the simplest user interface amongst the various crypto exchanges in the world
With a high trading volume (being no. 2 in the world), Coinbase offers high liquidity to its users
It has a unique “Earn while you Learn model”
Coinbase wallet provides a secure way to keep your private keys safe
US residents (who are restricted by most of the crypto exchanges) can transact in cryptocurrencies through Coinbase
However, according to my understanding, Coinbase also has some limitations.
Limitations of Coinbase Exchange
The limitations of the exchange are:
Coinbase charges substantially higher than leading crypto exchanges. However, the fee is lower on Coinbase Pro
The variety of altcoins offered by Coinbase is limited and therefore, the exchange may not be a favourable option for an altcoin trader
Conclusion – Coinbase Exchange Review 2021
Finally, I understand that Coinbase is best for beginners as it is very simple to use along with being safe and secure. The exchange is highly liquid and has a good reputation in the market. You can earn many rewards through learning as well as the staling programs.
For any beginner, this is the best exchange to get started.
Now, it is your turn to let me know the feedback and review of the Coinbase exchange? What are the pros and cons of using Coinbase according to you? What are the new features you would want Coinbase to integrate in the days to come?