Bittrex, one of the most important exchanges in the United States and number 23 in the world, announced yesterday that they would be listing an ETH-USD FIAT pair to its trading platform.
The popular exchange tweeted about this decision, also adding a link to its official website for those who want more information: (https://t.co/n0RfkvUPYa)
According to the blog, the business move is a new stage in a general expansion plan that the company is developing.
By the end of May, Bittrex reported on the start of operations to support FIAT trading. This phase is particularly complex due to the regulatory framework that exchanges must comply with.
In fact, the addition of a FIAT pair would put Bittrex in a privileged position by being able to offer an option that most exchanges prefer to avoid, thuis being prone to attract corporate and institutional clients who require a certain level of security.
Bittrex CEO Bill Shihara, in addition to explaining how sensitive the issue is, also emphasized the company’s commitment to providing the best business solutions for its customers.
“Expanding fiat markets to the top digital currencies on our exchange should further drive adoption of this revolutionary technology by providing customers even more options for purchasing and trading digital currencies in a secure, robust and reliable environment with high liquidity.” - Bill Shihara
According to Bittrex, the expansion process is gradual. Initially, FIAT trading was available only to “approved corporate customers in qualified states and international regions.”
Now, with the announcement of the new stage, ETH-USD pair will be available to retail customers in Washington State, California, New York and Montana as well as qualified international regions.
ETH-USD Will Soon Have Other “Fellow” Pairs
Users are pleased with the news, most of the commenters on twitter ask for the addition of FIAT pairs for their favorite altcoins. However, in Reddit, the enthusiasm was even greater: Some users even pointed out that this strategy could give Bittrex the final push to become a serious competitor to Coinbase and even Binance.
Reddit user MrHinDoG said that this decision, besides helping boost the global adoption of cryptocurrency, could make Bittrex an all-in-one option for personal finance management in the future:
Bittrex mentioned that its expansion plan does not stop at this ETH-USD stage, subsequently planning to provide trading options to people located in other states. They also said the intention to list BTC, USDT, and TUSD, as well as the possibility of registering other altcoins later.
#Ethereum #ETH #USD #Bittrex
By Jose Antonio Lanz
The first version of the much-anticipated Casper update has been released — representing a critical step forward for Ethereum’s transition from Proof-of-Work (PoW) to Proof-of-Stake (PoS).
The v.0.1 Casper code was announced by developer Danny Ryan on GitHub, who said that the release will allow auditors and existing Ethereum clients to review the code and experiment with integrating it into their software. Ryan wrote on Reddit:
"More than just the research team is using the contract now — auditors, client devs, etc — so we wanted to start issuing clearer versioning and changelogs to help everyone stay organized."
Since Casper will not be compatible with earlier versions of Ethereum, the release gives Ethereum software clients an opportunity to “track changes” and integrate the updated scripts into their system before the event of a hard fork.
While there is no definite timeline for the transition, the move signals that Ethereum's race to reinvent its blockchain is gaining momentum. But as this is only the first iteration, it is likely to be followed by others before we see the launch of a fully-fledged Casper protocol.
Casper - the friendly consensus mechanism
Casper, which has been in development since 2014, represents a radical change in how the Ethereum network forms consensus. The upgrade is the amalgamation of two research projects - Casper the Friendly Finality Gadget (FFG), and Casper the Friendly Ghost: Correct-by-Construction (CBC), led by Vitalik Buterin and Vlad Zamfir respectively.
This release pertains specifically to Casper the Friendly Finality Gadget (FFG) —which is a hybrid PoW/PoS consensus mechanism that will assist in the transition to PoS. The mechanism aims to benefit the Ethereum network by securing it against would-be hackers, helping it to scale more effectively, and mitigating the “wasted electricity” used in mining.
The FFG (Friendly Finality Gadget) will not replace PoW, but will act as a stepping stone to the adoption of PoS. This is achieved by an overlay that positions a PoS mechanism on top of the PoW chain. In this way the Casper FFG makes use of both PoW and PoS to validate and create new blocks.
In the initial stages of the transition, Casper will retain Ethereum's current PoW protocol to process most of the demand, only using PoS to validate "checkpoints" periodically. In subsequent releases, we can expect the PoS algorithm to take on a heavier workload, until eventually the hybrid consensus algorithm moves to a completely PoS system.
Secure transaction scaling for Ethereum
Much of the Casper specification is aimed at mitigating the disadvantages of PoS, which critics argue depends on risky economic theory for network security—rather than the reliable computing power model of PoW. This is addressed by establishing explicit finality (as opposed to probabilistic finality). Finality in this instance means that once an operation is complete, it cannot be reversed.
Explicit finality allows the underlying chain to determine how final the transaction is, and enables the security of the network to be maintained while scaling through sharding. This should allow the Ethereum network to move away from the issues associated with mining, and securely scale beyond the current ~10 transactions per second.
Ethereum development stops for no one, and the transition to PoS will make Ethereum mining a thing of the past. While it might remain viable for a short time as the transition happens, it will already be less lucrative—the Casper specification states that the block reward will be reduced to 0.6 ETH from the current 3 ETH.
To prevent miners from rebelling and creating their own PoW fork, the developers have stated they will detonate a “difficulty time bomb” on the PoW chain shortly after Casper is implemented. This would exponentially increase mining difficulty until it becomes impossible—a scenario that has been termed the ‘Ethereum Ice Age’.
Because the updated network will only be able to handle so many validating nodes, those keen to support the Ethereum network in its new form will need around 1,500 Eth for staking as a solo validator— a cool $1.1 million at the current price. Alternatively they can join a staking pool.
Creator of Ethereum Vitalik Buterin is positive as ever, and addressed the upgrade at an Ethereum conference last week as what should be “hopefully one of the more joyous experiences in Ethereum in a fairly short time.”
Chicago Mercantile Exchange & Chicago Board of Trade (CME Group Inc) announced a partnership with Crypto Facilities Ltd to list the price of ether in real-time dollars. Information from major cryptocurrency exchanges Bitstamp and Kraken will be used to determine the CME CF reference rate. This could be a hint of things to come for the second most popular crypto in the world, including possible US futures.
CME Strikes Deal for Ether-Dollar Reference Rate
“CME Group’s experience and knowledge in bringing the Bitcoin Reference Rate and Real-Time Index to market,” Chicago Merc’s website pithily stated, “has enabled us to launch an Ether-Dollar Reference Rate and Real-Time Index […] and the CME CF Ether-Dollar rates will provide a standardized reference rate and spot price index to bring confidence to any trading strategy. Major cryptocurrency exchanges Bitstamp and Kraken provide the pricing data to bring our dependable rate to the market.”
In the final quarter of last year, to much fanfare and hype, CME, along with crosstown rival Cboe, created a first of its kind: crypto futures. The experiment in running bitcoin core (BTC) in more mainstream financial contexts has been decidedly mixed. Some analysts even believe futures were a significant drag on digital asset prices due to allowing speculators to short BTC.
CME’s Tim McCourt explained, “The Ether Reference Rate and Real Time Index are designed to meet the evolving needs of this marketplace. Providing price transparency and a credible price reference source is a key development for users of Ethereum.”
Aiming for Institutional Investors
CME is among the most trusted derivatives market makers in the world, as is a well-known player. Crypto Facilities Ltd is a crypto trading platform. The two have teamed to offer the CME CF Ether-Dollar Reference Rate (Ether Reference Rate) and Ether Real Time Index. Crypto Facilities will rely upon Kraken and Bitstamp order books as principal references. It hopes to add something like a daily benchmark in US fiat, real-time. Rollout is expected by CME Group and Crypto Facilities’ respective websites May 14, but formal CME market data platform distribution won’t begin until June 4th of this year.
London-based Crypto Facilities’ Timo Schlaefer noted, “Ether, the second largest cryptocurrency, experienced incredible adoption and growth in 2017, evolving into the leading blockchain for smart contracts. We are excited to be contributing to the strong community that has developed around the Ethereum network by providing a reliable reference rate and real-time Ether-Dollar price.”
Earlier this week, Crypto Facilities detailed its other partnership with Chicago-based Akuna Capital and London-based market maker B2C2 in an effort to make ethereum futures contracts. The triumvirate hopes it can bring liquidity to ethereum futures. Aimed at institutional investors, such futures would allow long and short positions without dirtying hands (having to hold the actual coin).
Akuna’s Toby Allen insisted his company is “looking forward to seeing this much-needed product fill a gap in the market. The addition of a futures product enables crypto traders to take both long and short positions in ETH and is another giant leap in the development of the crypto asset class.”
#ethereum #CMEGroup #CryptoFutures
Images: Images via Shutterstock, Pixabay, Ethereum, CME Group Inc.