Cardano CEO Charles Hoskinson on Why Today’s Data Landscape is the Biggest Case for Decentralization

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data is biggest case for decentralization

Data is one of the most valuable resources in today’s digital economy. It drives the decision making for companies around the world, and the insights derived from big data determine everything from shopping trends to healthcare diagnosis. 


People’s unbridled participation in the internet economy – where every view, like, click, and retweet is collected into a veritable treasure trove of articulable insights – has created an incredible data deluge that is causing tension in 2019. 

Collectively, people are creating 2.5 quintillion bytes of data every day, big data is bigger than ever before, and this creates both risk and opportunity for the companies that possess it. 

Indeed, cybercriminals and bad actors know the value of these data stores, and they are targeting companies with sophisticated combinations of malware, phishing attacks, and other methodologies to wrestle this information free. 

This is expensive for companies, and it’s terrible for consumers. IBM’s 2019 Cost of a Data Breach Study found that companies can expect to shell out nearly $4 million for a data breach. At the same time, global privacy regulations are aiding with consumers, giving them more power and control over their information and charging companies to protect it.

AI and predictive analytics – two data-driven necessities in today’s globally competitive economy – grow in prominence, they are directly intersecting with these problems. 

To ensure a best-of-both-worlds approach in which companies get the insights they need without compromising consumer privacy, something has to change, and that functionality is occurring through decentralization. 

Decentralizing Big Data 

Today’s data sets are already established, and companies are now scrambling to protect this information while still garnering the critical insights that it reveals. Consequently, the case for decentralization has never been more apparent. 

While this term has taken on many meanings in the era of cryptocurrencies and blockchain technology, decentralization for the data economy represents disbursement and empowerment.

To put it simply, when no one controls data, everyone is empowered to glean from its insights without compromising security or privacy. Endor a platform providing AI-powered business is at the center of this transition towards decentralization. 

The company’s services, often compared to the Google of analytics, have already been applied at enterprise initiatives including The Coca-Cola Company and Israeli intelligence services. Their Endor Protocol strives to secure and improve data analytics by providing a fully-decentralized platform. 

Ethereum co-founder and Cardano CEO Charles Hoskinson recently joined the project as an advisor, and he conveyed recently discussed the importance of decentralization in an interview with Endor co-founder and CEO, Dr. Yaniv Altshuler. 

 

Noting that that today’s internet economy is dominated by middlemen that clog the process and create opportunities for compromise, Mr. Hoskinson advocates for decentralization as a methodology for empowerment that improves the experience for both companies and consumers. 

Describing them as “middlemen of necessity,” Mr. Hoskinson notes that “they take, and they take value out of the transaction, they aggregate large amounts of data they do whatever they need to do for their particular business model.”

Endor is disrupting this business model by allowing people to upload information directly to that platform. This data is encrypted and analyzed, protecting privacy at every step, essentially making it a GDPR compliant solution. Dr. Altshuler sees that “Whatever you want to know, you can ask, and you don’t need to disclose the semantics of your questions.”

In other words, it’s a powerful privacy initiative through and through. 

Capable and Secure 

Cryptocurrencies and blockchain technology are disrupting virtually every industry, but none may be as affected as big data. 

As companies increasingly rely on this information to make strategic decisions, they have to find a way to gain critical insights without compromising personal privacy or data security. 

Decentralization is the best way forward. 

Doing this without compromise is incredibly challenging. Endor is relying on its native EDR token to provide the incentive to create a dynamic platform that can meet this modern challenge, and already, the solution is being put to the test. 

A South African banking network is deploying the Endor protocol to make lending decisions. Moreover, Endor won Metlife’s 2019 Innovation Challenge, and they will partner with the insurance giant to bring a new approach to data analytics to reshape the insurance industry. 

Moreover, as Dr. Altshuler told Mr. Hoskinson, “we already work with several SMBs that can analyze their data or public data sets that we support with Endor Protocol in order to ask predictive questions.”

Today’s data landscape isn’t showing any signs of slowing down, but decentralization is the way to make it work for everyone, something that Endor is setting out to prove one metric at a time. 


 

 

 

 

The post Cardano CEO Charles Hoskinson on Why Today’s Data Landscape is the Biggest Case for Decentralization appeared first on Bitcoinist.com.

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There Are Now More Ways Than Ever to Invest in Crypto

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Bitcoin’s recent price boom has spiked interest in crypto, hailing a new wave of adoption that creates a kind of snowball effect. The current bull run likely stems, at least in part, from the news that big tech firms are increasingly moving towards crypto. Facebook’s Libra announcement undoubtedly contributed to the price of BTC rising past $13k for the first time in 18 months. Apple announced the iPhone CryptoKit at the Worldwide Developers Conference in June, and Samsung has already integrated a crypto wallet into the Galaxy S10. 

The fact that these flagship companies are nailing their blockchain colors to the mast and pushing up the value of crypto is also helping to attract an influx of newcomers to the space. A recent survey by HBUS, part of the Huobi exchange, showed that awareness of crypto has more than doubled since 2018. Even the uber-rich are getting in on the act — Bloomberg recently reported that billionaire investor and philanthropist Henry Kravis had made his first foray into cryptocurrency investing. 

Fortunately for crypto newcomers, the options for entering the world of crypto are now far more diverse than they used to be. After all, even as late as 2017, the main entryway was to use Coinbase to buy one of the leading cryptos such as BTC or ETH. Anyone wanting to diversify their portfolio then had to send coins to a crypto-to-crypto exchange. Of course, Coinbase has now expanded its footprint into a broader range of altcoins. However, there are now also other avenues for getting into cryptocurrencies. 

Funds

Depending on how you want to invest in crypto or blockchain, there are plenty of options to choose from. One way is an index fund for cryptocurrencies. Crypto20, for example, tracks a basket of twenty cryptocurrencies including Bitcoin and Ethereum, but also many major alts including Stellar Lumens and Binance Coin. The fund is tokenized, so investors only need to buy the C20 token to participate in the full index. 

Of course, index funds just track the markets. For those who prefer an actively managed fund, AMFEIX may be a better choice. The fund actively trades a selection of fiat-to crypto and crypto-to-crypto pairings with a view of returning a profit to investors. One key advantage is that AMFEIX offers its own integrated wallet developed on the Ethereum blockchain, meaning that holdings are decentralized and completely secure. Another aspect, which may appeal to the privacy-minded, is that investors can create an account pseudo-anonymously. 

A third option is to buy into a fund which invests in blockchain and cryptocurrency projects and companies. There are many funds of this type, but perhaps one of the best-known is Pantera Capital. The fund has put venture capital into blockchain startups, including regulated futures exchange Bakkt, and privacy-focused web browser Brave.

Social Trading

One of the biggest challenges for newcomers entering the cryptocurrency markets is knowledge. Successful trading requires an understanding of the markets, which is where social trading can be an invaluable resource. Social trading involves traders sharing their tips and techniques, meaning that newcomers can benefit from more experienced traders. 

Perhaps the most well-known of these platforms is eToro, which started in 2008 with social trading in forex, commodities, and stocks but expanded into cryptocurrencies in 2017. Another example is BQT, which is currently building out its social trading ecosystem. This features a social trading exchange but also includes the BQT University, which offers courses on blockchain and trading for learners of all levels. This may be perhaps the most attractive feature for a new entrant to crypto. 

Derivatives

Cryptocurrency futures, or contracts for difference, offer a means of profiting from price fluctuations of cryptocurrency without having to hold the asset itself. This has the added advantage of being able to take a short position on crypto. 

Cryptocurrency futures are having something of a moment right now, with Binance having recently confirmed it will soon be launching a futures platform with up to 20x leverage. However, the current market leader in Bitcoin futures is BitMEX (Bitcoin Mercantile Exchange). It offers trading against several fiat currencies and a range of cryptos including Bitcoin, Ethereum, Monero, and XRP. 

Many other exchanges now also have a futures offering, including Kraken, OKEx, and Huobi. However, fees, margin, and the range of trading pairs can vary between platforms. 

Takeaway

That today’s newcomer has a range of options open for investing in cryptocurrency is a testament to how far the ecosystem has been developed over the recent years. With innovation at an all-time high, who knows how many other avenues in crypto will open up over the years to come?


 

The post There Are Now More Ways Than Ever to Invest in Crypto appeared first on Bitcoinist.com.

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Wanchain Beta Testnet Goes Live, What’s Next?

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wanchain blockchain PoS

Wanchain – a blockchain project that aims to build the future of digital finance, has just launched its much anticipated Galaxy Proof of Stake Beta TestNet. Through the platform’s cross-chain communication protocol, the Wanchain beta launch takes yet another step towards solving the blockchain arena’s interoperability woes. 


In a nutshell, this centers on an inability for blockchain assets to communicate with blockchain networks outside of their own isolated infrastructure. Not only does the Wanchain protocol apply to the blockchain industry per-say, but the technology also has the potential to unlock opportunities for the traditional financial institution space.

Making the transition from PoW to PoS

The June 26th Beta launch features a number of new developments. First and foremost, the Wanchain blockchain is making good headway in its impending transition from permissioned proof-of-work (PPoW) to the more sustainable proof-of-stake (PoS) consensus mechanism created by its research and development team.

Not only will this spearhead a more efficient block validation process, but more importantly, the PoS upgrade will facilitate greater scalability levels. Although the PoS transition is still in Beta, the team at Wanchain have reported that their transactional throughput has doubled, with lab and private network results representing outputs of 3,000 and 1,000 transactions per second, respectively. 

These increased scaling capacity levels are important, especially when one considers the project’s aim of providing a financial marketplace for digital assets. 

Lightweight wallet and a birds-eye view of the entire blockchain

The Wanchain Beta launch has also unveiled a new light desktop wallet, the Wan Wallet. It is designed to alleviate the need for users to go through the cumbersome process of syncing the blockchain’s full node via desktop devices. Instead, the Wan Wallet is focused on speed, efficiency, and user-friendliness, while still enabling users to engage in PoS delegation.

Wan Wallet. Source: Wanchain

Recognizing that the Wanchain blockchain explorer was lacking certain features, the team have also made some notable improvements. This places a strong focus on increased statistical access, such as information pertaining to delegation fees, staking amounts and validator nodes. For those that require even deeper analysis of the blockchain, the Beta release showcases the WAN Stats platform. This will give users a birds-eye view of the Wanchain network in its entirety.

Wanchain searching for node operators

With the project aiming to conclude the PoS upgrade in Q4 2019, the Wanchain team is now in the process of recruiting node operators for the eventual MainNet launch.

In order to attract top-notch blockchain talent, the node operator TestNet phase comes with an incentivization program. TestNet operators can earn WAN tokens for completing tasks (such as setting up a validator node for 10 days), reporting network bugs and vulnerabilities, and generating security reports pertaining to potential network defects.

With up to 400 WAN tokens on offer for critical bug discovery, the TestNet node operator reward program is well worth considering. If you are interested in getting involved, you’ll need to download the WAN Wallet, and then create a wallet address for your TestNet reward tokens.

Cross-chain enterprise blockchain

Q4 2019 is set to be an exciting period for Wanchain, with the team also aiming to launch its cross-chain enterprise blockchain. In layman terms, this will allow the blockchain to take a digital asset from any blockchain infrastructure, and subsequently convert it into a proxy asset on the Wanchain blockchain. Not only will this alleviate the need for centralized third parties, but the enterprise launch will also be capable of facilitating cross-chain dApps.

By opening up the doors to cross-chain interoperability, the possibilities are endless. For example, those running Ethereum-based dApps will eventually be able to access Bitcoin – something that has long frustrated developers operating in the blockchain space.

The Verdict?

In summary, although the Wanchain project still has a long way to go to achieve its dream of building the future of financial infrastructure, the recently announced Beta TestNet launch brings with it exciting prospects. Notably, this centers on the eventual transition from PoW to PoS. Based on early lab and private testing results, the Wanchain MainNet will soon be capable of handling significant throughput levels. As such, the future is bright for those involved in the project.

Will Wanchain redefine the future of finance? Share your thoughts in the comments below.


Images courtesy of Shutterstock, Wanchain

The post Wanchain Beta Testnet Goes Live, What’s Next? appeared first on Bitcoinist.com.

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Want To Make It Big in the Next Bitcoin Rally? Use These 3 Tools

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Bitcoin currently dominates the cryptocurrency market. Its price movements often determine the price direction of altcoins. A rally in Bitcoin’s price often tends to lift prices of many altcoins, while a BTC price drop usually causes the altcoin market to bleed. Occasionally, you might see some coins move contrary to the direction of Bitcoin, but they are often the exception and not the rule.


Bitcoin entered 2019 at a depressing $3740 price point as weakness from the 2018 crypto winter continued to linger. However, the top cryptocurrency has managed to deliver an incredible 174% price gain to a high of $11,127 last week. More so, the market capitalization of the entire cryptocurrency market has climbed 161% from $125 billion to $327 billion YTD.

The last few weeks have been significant, especially w.r.t to Bitcoin’s YTD performance. BTC was trading in the $7700 to $8300 range for majority of June’s first two weeks. However, from June 12 Bitcoin began rallying massively. It registered an outstanding 43% gain and broke out above the $10,000 psychological resistance until it hit a 15-month high of $11,246.

The recent bullish trend in Bitcoin has been attributed to a number of factors:

  • Introduction of Facebook’s Libra,
  • Growing interest of Wall Street in cryptocurrencies,
  • An unintended consequence of the crackdown on Bitcoin in India,
  • FOMO as people came to the realization that Bitcoin is gradually edging back up

The role of technical analysis in cryptocurrency trading

While BTC scored 174% YTD gains, the chart below says a few things. It says that the number of Bitcoin transactions per day only increased by 46% year-to-date while the number of on-chain transactions appreciated by only 52% in the same period. Two possible explanations for this discrepancy are:

  • No new money is entering the cryptocurrency market,
  • Bitcoin whales are the biggest decision makers in the market

Disparity in the number of Bitcoin transactions during the rally from last few days and the sporadic flash crashes suggests that institutional traders and whales rule the market. Unfortunately, simple tools such as stop-losses and limit orders are becoming increasingly ineffective against large-scale market manipulations.

The cryptocurrency market has only been around for about 10 years, and technical analysis has consistently proven to be a better way to participate in the market than fundamental analysis.

For retail traders who want to compete effectively against whales, AI-powered automated trading strategies are becoming increasingly important to increase the odds of success in the cryptocurrency market. 

Below are three startups which are currently at the forefront of automated trading in the cryptocurrency market. 

Alphanu

Alphanu is a marketplace for subscribing to powerful trading algorithms created by professional traders, fund managers, and developers. Algo trading is becoming popular all over the world. More than 85% of trades in the U.S. are computerized and the Asian market is rapidly catching up too.

Alphanu is created to serve as a platform for traders to access trading algorithms (designed by professionals), without having to incur the huge costs which previously restricted algo trading access for institutional players.

Through Alphanu, retail traders and investors will be able to access an ecosystem of the best traders, investors, data scientists, and developers. This access will reduce the unfair advantage enjoyed by institutional investors and democratize the odds of success in the financial markets. Interestingly, the Asian market is in dire need of democratized access to tools for algo trading.

In the words of Paul Hsu, Co-founder, CEO at Alphanu “It is the most opportune moment to capture the niche market – governments in the Asian markets are currently on the fence with regards to how they want to regulate automated trading. It is difficult for them to decide as the automation of trading is inevitable, but openly allowing it at this point will create a harmful gold rush where the winners will be big corporations (over the interests of the overall public).”

The platform will also hasten growth of the crypto market by encouraging participation of retail investors who are sceptical about adding cryptocurrencies to their portfolios. The fledgling startup believes that it can destigmatize the speculative perception about cryptocurrency trading through algorithms that take care of the technical analysis aspect required for successful cryptocurrency trading.

Hsu goes on to observe that “blockchains due to their nature as a public ledger create the necessary trust factor for a marketplace to step in and democratize algorithmic trading without becoming a “middleman” just like the hedge funds. Tokens offer a great solution to the problem of how to price limited resources on a marketplace, such as buyer attention.”

Mudrex

Mudrex is a marketplace to find, build, and use algorithms in trading strategies, for traders without prior knowledge of data science or coding. Through a simple layout, Mundex provides traders with an opportunity to choose trading strategies using different factors such as type of cryptocurrencies, past performance, duration of use, and volume of previous trades.

Mundex also allows traders to build their own trading strategies as a mashup of other strategies through a drag and drop feature. Traders can then backtest the efficacy of their strategies against historical data to provide them with valuable insight for optimizing the strategies for the best results. 

A differentiating factor between Alphanu and Mudrex is that Alphanu seems to only list trading strategies from professional developers whereas any user can submit their trading strategy for listing on Mudrex. On one hand, Mudrex could have large number of listed strategies and on the other, potential users might be concerned about the quality of the listed strategies.

Capitalise

Capitalise is a tool for automating trades across different financial markets using natural human language and syntax without any prior knowledge of coding or data science. Trades on Capitalise uses everyday words to turn ideas into fully automated trades using ‘If This, Then That’ protocols. 

A typical trade could be written as “Buy 2.1 BTC if price breaks above last day high and 24 hours volume is above the daily average volume by 50%. Close position if the profit is at 25% or if the RSI is below the 5 days MA

Capitalise is designed to be integrated with trading accounts on different third-party exchanges, brokers and trading platforms so that traders can manage all their trades in one place and take control over their trading. Capitalise also allows trading strategies to run in a loop, which in turn serves as a long strategy for automating entries and exits. 

Amir Shiovich, CTO and cofounder of Capitalise observes that “the future of trading will see the consolidation of crypto and traditional markets . . . By bringing traditional trading and crypto trading onto a single, all-in-one platform, Capitalise allows users to automate their strategies based on data from both the crypto and traditional markets, then execute those strategies.”


Images courtesy of Shutterstock, YCharts 

The post Want To Make It Big in the Next Bitcoin Rally? Use These 3 Tools appeared first on Bitcoinist.com.

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Indian Crypto Companies Are Now Helping Thailand’s Banks Instead

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Indian tech multinational, Wipro, has developed a blockchain-based solution for banks in Thailand to settle dues. This comes as Indian government and banking authorities look to enact a blanket ban on all non-state-issued cryptocurrencies back home.


Thai Banking System Embraces Blockchain Technology

The settlement solution is a part of the first phase of Project Inthanon, which launched in August 2018.  The initiative, led by Bank of Thailand, aims to ultimately implement a national Central Bank Digital Currency (CBDC). Phase one focused on rolling out the interbank payments infrastructure.

Wipro, a member of the R3 consortium, partnered on the project with Bank of Thailand and 8 commercial Thai banks. According to a May 7 statement from Wipro:

the solution will enable de-centralised interbank real-time gross settlement (RTGS) using wholesale Central Bank Digital Currency (CBDC) to prove that the technology can perform key functionalities of payment and enhance efficiency.

Indian Authorities Creating a Hostile Environment

In contrast to the blockchain-centric initiatives taken by Thai banking authorities, policy in Wipro’s native India remains in total disarray.

After initially toying with its own CBDC, the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) got spooked and started wielding the ban hammer with gay abandon. The Indian government spent much of 2018 fighting their corner against the RBI, with the Supreme Court acting as mediators.

India's Supreme Court to Issue Final Ruling on RBI Cryptocurrency Ban in September

However, earlier this year, Indian commercial banks threatened to (and allegedly did) close the accounts of personal banking customers who had any dealings in Bitcoin or other cryptocurrencies.

Now it seems that the government is falling into line with the RBI, allegedly due to fears that cryptocurrencies could destabilize the Indian rupee.

Not two weeks ago, Bitcoinist reported that a new FinTech regulatory sandbox would exclude cryptocurrency firms. This amid reports that the government is preparing to enforce a blanket-ban on Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies in the country.

Will Indian blockchain firms move to other jurisdictions? Share your thoughts below!


Images via Shutterstock

The post Indian Crypto Companies Are Now Helping Thailand’s Banks Instead appeared first on Bitcoinist.com.

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Nasdaq Unveils Vetting Process for Bitcoin Exchanges

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DX Exchange, the NASDAQ-Powered Cryptocurrency Exchange Platform to Launch in June 2018

Nasdaq has unveiled its comprehensive onboarding process for Bitcoin exchanges looking to use its proprietary surveillance tools as part of efforts to combat wash trading and other forms of market manipulation. The stock exchange operator says that it has already on-boarded seven platforms.


Rigorous Vetting Needed for Bitcoin Exchanges

Nasdaq has a team of 20 people conducting due-diligence checks on Bitcoin exchanges that want to start using the company’s trading surveillance technology, reports Forbes.

This team tries to examine if each applicant has the technical capacity to employ the tools as well as a commitment to best practices.

The process covers the examination of three main areas; business model, KYC/AML protocols, and exchange governance/controls, explains, Tony Sio, Exchange and Regulator Surveillance chief. He adds:

Historically, we don’t do such a large vetting process for our clients because they are much more well-known. But as we started working with less well-known names, startups, then we realized we needed to do this check process.

Combating Bitcoin Wash Trading

SBI Virtual Currency and Gemini, along with five other unnamed platforms have already scaled through the vetting process.

Back in July 2018, Bitcoinist reported that Nasdaq was already working SBI, Gemini and three other unnamed exchanges, meaning the stock exchange giant has added two new client platforms.

In November 2018, the company declared that it could lead the fight to combat market manipulation through the use of its trading surveillance technology.

Market manipulation is indeed a concern and is often cited as one of the biggest reasons the Bitcoin ETF has not yet been approved. A 2018 report by the Blockchain Transparency Institute (BTI) alleged that more than 70 percent of the top 100 exchanges listed on CoinMarketCap were engaging in wash trading.

Nasdaq’s Crypto and Blockchain Technology Aspirations

Nasdaq’s crypto aspirations also extend beyond policing the trading space. According to reports confirmed by VanEck at the back-end of 2018, Nasdaq plans to launch Bitcoin futures trading before the end of Q1 2019.

The company is also delving into the spot trading arena, joining Fidelity Investments to raise $27.5 million for a new Bitcoin exchange back in December 2018. Adena Friedman, the Nasdaq CEO, stated several times that the company would consider creating its crypto exchange platform once more clear-cut regulations emerged.

While the regulatory landscape continues to evolve, Nasdaq seems intent to capture the cryptocurrency trading surveillance market. Elaborating on the company’s approach, Sio said:

The objective that we’re trying to work with crypto is we see this as a growing asset class. So we’re working to help provide our technology, it could be around matching, it could be around surveillance, to help our customers as they grow their marketplaces.

On the blockchain front, the company participated in funding rounds for startups like Symbiont and Linq.

Will Nasdaq’s efforts yield significant results in a trading arena as fragmented as cryptocurrency currently is? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.


Image courtesy of Nasdaq, Shutterstock

The post Nasdaq Unveils Vetting Process for Bitcoin Exchanges appeared first on Bitcoinist.com.

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McAfee Labs finds a new scam

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McAfee Labs, Internet provider and research laboratory, found a new malware programme which secretly uses device’s power to mine Monero (XMR). Originated from Russia, the so-called “WebCobra” virus is uploaded by one in two clients. It uses the hardware power of the infected device for mining. WebCobra acts as a classic cryptojacker but hardly leaves […]
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XRP is now available on Coinbase Custody

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XRP has been officially added on Coinbase Custody Service which enables institutional clients to safely store big volumes of cryptocurrencies. In October the New York State Department of Financial Services approved the placement of Ripple (XRP), Bitcoin (BTC), Litecoin (LTC), Bitcoin Cash (BCH), Ethereum (ETH) and Ethereum Classic (ETC) on the platform, opening gates for […]
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