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Ocean mining pool refutes claims of censoring certain Bitcoin transactions

Dashjr rejected blame for accusations aimed against Ocean and asked Samourai Wallet to fix the bug "on your end."

Bitcoin (BTC) wallet provider Samourai Wallet has accused Bitcoin mining pool Ocean of censoring Whirlpool CoinJoin transactions and BIP47 notification transactions from Dec. 6. However, Ocean’s top executive has denied the claims while asking the Bitcoin wallet provider to fix a bug in their software.

On Dec. 7, Samourai Wallet claimed that a new policy enacted by Ocean mining pool censors certain Bitcoin transactions. In addition, the wallet provider accused X (formerly Twitter) and Block co-founder, Jack Dorsey, who is also an investor at Ocean, of a “hostile action.”

Samourai Wallet continues to accuse Dashjr of lying and deceiving community members by shifting the blame away from itself as it asks the community, “Don’t let them get away with this.”

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Trust the best strategy in crypto bear market — Trust Wallet CEO

Cointelegraph sat down with Trust Wallet CEO Eowyn Chen to talk about how Web3 can become a better experience for everyone.

Bringing the global crypto and blockchain communities together in Istanbul, Turkey, the Binance Blockchain Week 2023 was a clear indicator that the Web3 ecosystem continues to grow regardless of price movements. 

Despite being a Binance event, the conference housed several key players from the crypto industry.

Among them was Trust Wallet, a decentralized Web3 wallet provider acquired by Binance back in 2018. Since its acquisition, Trust Wallet has been widely seen as “the wallet arm of Binance.” This is why the Binance Blockchain Week visitors were caught off-guard when the crypto exchange announced its own Web3 wallet.

Trust Wallet CEO Eowyn Chen — a former vice president at Binance — clarified that “Binance focuses on the centralized, while Trust Wallet works toward the decentralized ecosystem,” adding that Trust Wallet has a neutrality that can serve and partner with anyone in the crypto industry.

“We think that keeping that independence and distance is the best way to keep the culture and the talents running for its own mission.”

Trust Wallet was born in 2017 during the initial coin offering craze due to the need for an accessible mobile wallet, Chen said.

Cointelegraph sat down with Trust Wallet CEO Eowyn Chen during Binance Blockchain Week Istanbul. Source: Cointelegraph

“Recently, we became a sister company of Binance rather than operating under Binance because we can have a better playing field,” Chen explained.

“Scammers provide better customer support”

Compared to fixing the user experience, solving the security issues across Web3 is trickier, according to Chen.

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New Zealand dollar stablecoin goes live through local crypto exchange

Easy Crypto launched the aptly named New Zealand Dollar Stablecoin (NZDD) in partnership with an Australian blockchain development firm.

A New Zealand dollar-pegged stablecoin has gone live through a partnership with New Zealand crypto exchange Easy Crypto and Australian blockchain development firm Labrys.

In a Nov. 22 announcement, Labrys and Easy Crypto said the NZDD will be backed 1:1 with cash in trust and regulated by the New Zealand Financial Markets Authority.

It’s initially live on Ethereum but has plans to expand to Polygon, the BNB Smart Chain, Arbitrum, Optimism and Coinbase’s Base.

Easy Crypto was motivated to launch the stablecoin as it claimed it was harder for New Zealanders to maximize their profits when using U.S. dollar-pegged tokens.

Easy Crypto co-founder and CEO Janine Grainger said the NZDD bridges the gap with traditional finance and claimed it would “move NZ forward as a nation, giving us a digital, programmable currency that can do everything the NZD can do.”

Related: Binance launches New Zealand-based offices following regulatory approval

Alongside the stablecoin, Easy Crypto introduced a multicurrency self-custody wallet protected by multiparty computation cryptography by enlisting the user’s “trusted social circle” with parts of the key instead of a seed phrase.

An August report commissioned by the New Zealand’s parliament said the country has taken an “agile” approach to crypto regulation. It recommend that problems are "addressed as they arise and that the government creates "coherent and consistent guidance on the treatment of digital assets under current law.”

Earlier attempts to launch a NZ dollar-pegged stablecoin include the 2021 launch of $NZDs by Australian financial services provider Techemyny.

However, in 2022, the bridge used by the stablecoin was blacklisted after the hack of the DFX Finance protocol in November 2022 leaving a large portion of funds stranded on the Polygon blockchain.

Magazine: Unstablecoins: Depegging, bank runs and other risks loom

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Crypto wallet with zero connectivity: NGRAVE joins Cointelegraph Accelerator

NGRAVE, a digital asset security provider, offers user-friendly, self-custody solutions that combine offline key creation with advanced recovery options for crypto users.

Cryptocurrencies are digital-only assets that investors can delegate custody to a third party, such as an exchange, store in hot wallets, or rely on their own hardware wallets. Security concerns with online solutions and third-party risks (not your keys, not your coins) have increased the need for crypto investors to find offline, easy-to-use solutions to securely manage their crypto assets. This demand, along with a growing awareness of self-custody, is driving the expansion of the hardware wallet market, which is expected to reach 3.6 billion by 2031.

However, hardware wallet manufacturers need to overcome several challenges to compete effectively with software-based Web3 wallets. Unlike their software counterparts, hardware wallets require an upfront purchase and can be complex to use, especially for beginners. Additionally, like any physical wallet, hardware wallets are vulnerable to real-world security risks such as theft or structural damage — just like any physical wallet.

However, a well-designed hardware wallet can improve security without compromising accessibility. This is where NGRAVE, a digital asset security provider, steps in. The team believes that achieving air-gapped protection for cryptocurrency storage necessitates 100% offline usability, which hardware wallets and anti-tampering measures can provide. This means not having any connectivity like Bluetooth, NFC, WiFi or even USB to completely eliminate any hack or malware attempts.

NGRAVE applied this approach to its flagship product, the NGRAVE ZERO hardware wallet. As a fully offline wallet, ZERO only communicates with the outside world through verifiable QR codes. The device has a 4” touchscreen to help users create keys, manage wallets and sign transactions directly through ZERO’s swipe-and-tap user-friendly interface.

NGRAVE ZERO features its own interface for simple management of crypto assets. Source: NGRAVE

NGRAVE ZERO features its own interface for simple management of crypto assets. Source: NGRAVE

The anti-tampering protection protects the hardware wallet against physical damage and attacks, while the EAL7 certificate — one of the highest security levels in the blockchain and finance industry — ensures the keys stored on ZERO are safe against digital attacks.

The NGRAVE team is on a mission to help people “safeguard their wealth, so they are free to live the life they want.” Their security-first approach led to an end-to-end solution that combines security with ease of use. NGRAVE is currently raising a Series A round of funding.

The premise of a fully offline hardware wallet and the potential of NGRAVE’s tiered product line helped the team to get a seat at the Cointelegraph Accelerator — a program designed to boost promising Web3 and crypto startups. Down the line, NGRAVE plans to add more coins to its growing list of supported crypto assets and offer other wallet solutions that bridge the security of offline use and the flexibility of online connectivity. The team is also working on integration with Trust Wallet, MetaMask and other hot wallets, bringing passphrase support to its products as well as a portfolio tracking feature.

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Crypto Biz: Uniswap’s Android wallet app, Cboe to launch BTC, ETH margin futures, and more

Getting regulatory approval has been crucial for companies, particularly in a tight regulatory environment during the crypto winter.

As the final weeks of 2023 approach, it’s fair to say that one of the most dominant trends and drivers of crypto companies’ strategies over the past months can be summed up in a single word: licenses. 

In a tight regulatory environment, getting the green light from regulators has been crucial for companies, particularly during the crypto winter.

Some countries have taken a stand by developing a crypto-friendly environment. For example, the United Arab Emirates continues to attract major crypto companies to its shores, with digital assets exchange Crypto.com recently receiving a Virtual Assets Service Provider (VASP) license in Dubai. The license allows Crypto.com’s local business to offer retail and institutional trading, as well as broker-dealer and credit-related services.

Dubai also granted a similar license for institutional crypto custodian Hex Trust. The crypto firm has offices in Hong Kong, Singapore, Vietnam, Dubai, Italy and France.

Traditional players are also seeking crypto licenses. In Germany, Commerzbank has been granted a crypto custody license, according to a Nov. 15 announcement, allegedly becoming the first “full-service” bank in the country to receive the license.

Also, in this week’s regulatory headlines, Bitget dropped plans to obtain a Virtual Asset Trading Platform (VATP) license in Hong Kong, citing business and market-related considerations. As a result, the exchange is winding down its local operations in the coming weeks.

Although licenses are essential for crypto firms to operate, they also represent a new step in the growing connection between crypto and governments worldwide.

This week’s Crypto Biz also explores Uniswap’s Android app, Cboe’s move into crypto margin futures trading and Disney’s upcoming nonfungible token (NFT) platform.

Uniswap launches Android wallet app with built-in swap function

Uniswap Labs has publicly released an Android mobile wallet app on the Google Play Store. The new app allows users to make swaps through the decentralized exchange from within the app, eliminating the need for a separate web browser extension, Uniswap Labs vice president of design Callil Capuozzo told Cointelegraph. Uniswap added support for new languages and now supports English, Spanish, Japanese, Portuguese, French and Chinese — both traditional and simplified — and added a setting that allows users to view the value of their crypto in their local currency. The app’s iOS version was released in April.

Uniswap mobile app demo. Source: Uniswap Labs.

Disney launches NFT platform with Dapper Labs

Disney and blockchain firm Dapper Labs have teamed up to create a nonfungible token (NFT) platform. According to an announcement, Disney will tokenize its iconic cartoon characters from the past century onto its upcoming NFT marketplace, Disney Pinnacle. The platform will also include icons from Pixar and heroes and villains from the Star Wars galaxy, uniquely styled as collectible and tradable digital pins. The NFT platform will launch later in 2023 for iOS, Android and on the web.

Cboe to launch BTC, ETH margin futures trading in January with 11 firms supporting

Cboe Digital has announced the launch of Bitcoin (BTC) and Ether (ETH) margin futures trading on Jan. 11, 2024. The regulated crypto-native exchange and clearinghouse will become the first in the United States to offer both spot and leveraged derivatives trading on a single platform, it said in a statement. Eleven firms, including crypto and traditional financial firms, will support the new capability from its launch. They include B2C2, BlockFills, Cumberland DRW and Talos, among others. Cboe Digital provides trading for individuals and institutions. It received approval for margin futures trading from the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission in June.

Goldman Sachs leads $95 million funding round for blockchain payment firm Fnality

Global investment bank Goldman Sachs and French bank BNP Paribas have reportedly led a new funding round for Fnality, a blockchain-based wholesale payments firm backed by Nomura Group. Fnality has reportedly raised 77.7 million British pounds ($95.09 million) in a second round of funding. Other investors included the global exchange-traded fund firm WisdomTree and Fnality’s existing investor Nomura. The new capital will be used for setting up a round-the-clock global liquidity management network for new digital payment models in wholesale financial markets and emerging tokenized asset markets, Fnality said. Fnality was founded in 2019 as a UBS-led blockchain project aiming to build digital versions of major currencies for wholesale payments and transactions involving digital securities.

Crypto Biz is your weekly pulse on the business behind blockchain and crypto, delivered directly to your inbox every Thursday.

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Wallet crypto bot rolls out on Telegram in Colombia, SA and Kenya

The third-party crypto bot Wallet is debuting global rollout on the Telegram messenger in several countries in Latin America and Africa.

Cryptocurrency trading bot Wallet is debuting its global rollout on the Telegram messenger in several countries in Latin America and Africa.

The Open Platform (TOP), the Dubai-headquartered investment platform affiliated with TOP Labs and Wallet, announced the global rollout of the Wallet crypto bot on Nov. 10.

Wallet, a third-party Telegram bot allowing users to buy and sell crypto, is now available on the Telegram settings menu for users in Colombia, South Africa and Kenya.

The Wallet crypto bot has been accessible to global users for several months, but users were required to find the bot by clicking “@Wallet” on Telegram. With the latest update, users can see Wallet directly on the menu without needing to find the bot or even know much about crypto to start using it.

Wallet bot available on the Telegram settings menu. Source: Cointelegraph

In addition to the default custodial wallet, users can also use Wallet’s self-custody crypto solution called TON Space. Wallet’s self-custody sub-wallet allows users to perform decentralized swaps within TON Space and transfer nonfungible tokens, or NFTs, using the self-custody wallet.

TOP has chosen to start the Wallet global rollout in developing markets to help users access more financial tools and to benefit from its significant user base in related regions.

“Our main focus is on developing markets where the lack of accessible financial tools has generated an organic demand for crypto assets,” a spokesperson for TOP told Cointelegraph. “We know that Telegram has a significant user base in these regions, and so it was only natural to start our global rollout in these jurisdictions,” the representative added.

According to data from World Population Review, Telegram has 4.49 million in Colombia as of 2023. Statista data suggests that about 50% of internet users in Kenya and South Africa were using Telegram as of Q3 2022.

“Countries like Nigeria, Kenya, and Colombia have a very active Telegram user base, with a relatively high rate of crypto adoption,” the TOP spokesperson said, adding:

“The regions in which we plan to initially launch natively to all users offer a huge opportunity to onboard a massive audience to Wallet. This is just the start of our goal to accelerate the mass market adoption of TON-based blockchain technology.”

The representative also noted that the TOP preferred to roll out the wallet in smaller countries before scaling the operational side of the product, as well as the technical side of the integration. “This will ensure that we are able to efficiently scale to the additional demand generated as the rollout continues,” the spokesperson noted.

Related: TON raises 8-figure sum from MEXC to make Telegram a Web3 super-app

Following the initial rollout in Latin America and Africa, the Wallet crypto bot is expected to launch in Saudi Arabia, Nigeria and Turkey in Q1 2024. The TOP expects to finalize the global rollout of Wallet on Telegram by the end of Q2 2024, the announcement notes.

“These strategic enhancements to Wallet and TON Space underscore our continued dedication to simplifying the crypto experience for mainstream audiences while maintaining robust security features,” TOP CEO Andrew Rogozov noted.

Despite letting Wallet enter the Telegram settings menu, Telegram has actively denied any affiliation with Wallet or TOP, while Wallet also stressed that it was operating independently from Telegram.

Rogozov, CEO of TOP and Wallet companies, was once CEO of VK.com, a major social media platform created by Telegram founder Pavel Durov. Rogozov resigned from VK in January 2022 to join the TON Foundation as a founding member. He also then founded First Stage Labs, which subsequently merged with Wallet and rebranded to TOP.

Magazine: How to protect your crypto in a volatile market — Bitcoin OGs and experts weigh in

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Crypto Giant Binance Unveils New Self-Custody Wallet Compatible With 36 Different Chains

Crypto Giant Binance Unveils New Self-Custody Wallet Compatible With 36 Different Chains

The world’s largest crypto exchange by trading volume has introduced a new self-custody wallet that enables one-click access to the blockchain from the platform’s mobile app. Binance says the new wallet serves as a bridge between the exchange and decentralized finance (DeFi) ecosystems and allows users to take charge of their own assets, trade tokens […]

The post Crypto Giant Binance Unveils New Self-Custody Wallet Compatible With 36 Different Chains appeared first on The Daily Hodl.

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Progmat stablecoin platform takes shape as wallet, liquidity providers join

Progmat Coin hopes to issue yen- and dollar-pegged “trust-type” stablecoins next summer to accommodate around-the-clock settlement.

The Progmat Coin ecosystem is taking shape in Japan. With a market maker, wallet provider and cryptocurrency exchanges on board, Progmat and Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group (MUFG) hope to launch two stablecoins in the summer of 2024.

Stablecoin platform Progmat Coin, MUFG and wallet provider Ginco have begun a study with the goal of issuing a yen-denominated XJPY stablecoin and dollar-denominated XUSD stablecoin, Progmat said in a statement. This is in addition to the platform's function enabling stablecoin issuance.

Liquidity provider Cumberland and crypto exchanges Bitbank and Mercoin also figure into the Progmat plans, and other crypto asset-related businesses are invited to join. Binance Japan announced in September that it was conducting a joint study with MUFG on the issuance of stablecoins pegged to various currencies.

Related: Japan to allow startups to raise funds by issuing crypto instead of stocks: Report

The XJPY and XUSD stablecoins will beintended to improve the efficiency of settlements between crypto asset exchanges, with XUSD for use in cross-border settlements. Japanese crypto exchanges use banks for settlement, according to the Tokyo Fin Tech blog, causing delays that the Progmat system will eliminate.

MUFG introduced the Progmat platform in February 2022 in a consortium with other large Japanese banks. It is regulated under the revised Payment Services Act that came into effect in June 2023. The revised act provides for three types of stablecoin. Progmat would support the “trust” type coin, issued by trust banks.

Progmat Coin schematic. Source: Medium

MUFG said in June that Progmat would be used for banks to issue stablecoins on Ethereum, Polygon, Avalanche and Cosmos. Only banks are allowed to issue stablecoins under Japanese law, and stablecoins on Progmat will be required to undergo licensing ahead of launch.

Progmat Coin is not working in a vacuum. Blockchain startup Soramitsu is exploring a new stablecoin exchange for cross-border payments to Asian countries using Camboodia’s central bank digital currency as well as stablecoin. Tokyo-based startup G.U. Technologies is also reportedly creating a stablecoin platform.

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Binance launches Web3 wallet for its 120M registered users

The Binance Web3 wallet has been launched within the primary Binance app, which is predominantly used for trading cryptocurrencies.

Crypto exchange Binance announced the launch of its new Web3 wallet at the Binance Blockchain Week conference in Istanbul, to be made available to all users via the Binance mobile app.

During the launch, Changpeng “CZ” Zhao, CEO of Binance, revealed the intent behind launching the service:

“Web3 wallets represent more than just storing digital assets — they are an integral part of the Web3 framework, empowering individuals with the ability for self-sovereign finance.”

For the purpose of simplicity, Binance’s Web3 wallet launches within the primary Binance app, which is predominantly used for trading cryptocurrencies. The wallet uses multiparty computation (MPC), which is used to break a user’s private keys into three smaller parts known as key shares. 

“Having the key shares split across three different locations mitigates the risk of the keys being compromised and reduces the vulnerability of the system.”

Two of the three key shares will be controlled by the user at all times, allowing for self-custody. Binance spokesperson confirmed with Cointelegraph that the Binance Web3 Wallet is not available to users in the US as Binance.com is not available in the US. CZ added:

“Binance’s Web3 Wallet lowers the barriers of entry for users to achieve full self-custody of their assets, and it is an important, convenient bridge towards DeFi empowerment. Ultimately, our priority is to ensure users can explore Web3 with us within a user-friendly and protected environment.”

According to Richard Teng, head of regional markets at Binance, the MPC technology removes the fear of losing one’s seed phrase. “We want our users to be assured that they are interacting with Web3 within a secure and protected ecosystem. That is why we have incorporated MPC technology as well as Binance’s trusted security infrastructure within the Web3 Wallet,” he added.

Speaking to Cointelegraph, a Binance spokesperson clarified that users should still safeguard their wallet’s assets and access. 

"If a user forgets their recovery password AND loses their device/delete the Binance app, they won’t be able to access their Web3 Wallet and Binance will not be able to restore it for them."

The three shares of the keys will be held in three places — the first part will be with Binance, the second part will get stored locally on the user's mobile phone and the third part will get encrypted by the user's recovery password and backed up to their personal cloud storage such as iCloud or Google Drive.

Related: Binance France director resigns, adding to list of exits from crypto exchange

Binance’s decision to delve into other crypto services comes at a time when its spot trading business appears to be struggling to retain investors. A report from blockchain analytics firm 0xScope suggested that Binance’s spot trading market share fell to 40% in 2023. According to the researchers:

“Binance’s spot trading volume has seen a significant decline in the past year, perhaps due to its listing strategy. Most popular coins experienced a downturn immediately after being listed on Binance.”

On the contrary, Korean crypto exchange Upbit saw the most significant increase, with its spot market share increasing from 5% to 15.3% during the same period. CZ, too, saw his net worth slashed by 38% amid a slump in exchange volumes, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index.

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South Korean telco to launch Web3 wallet with Aptos and Atomrigs Lab

SK Telecom aims to expand its “affiliations with customer-preferred mainnets and decentralized applications (dApps)” using this tripartite agreement with the blockchain companies.

South Korean telecom giant SK Telecom (SKT) announced plans to launch a Web3 wallet service, T wallet, in partnership with layer 1 mainnet Aptos Labs and Atomrigs Lab.

SK Telecom’s vision to launch a blockchain wallet for cryptocurrencies and nonfungible tokens (NFTs) dates back to July 2022. The initiative at the time kicked off with SKT’s blockchain arm collaborating with AhnLab Blockchain Company and Atomix Lab to develop and operate a Web3 wallet.

According to the latest announcement, SKT aims to expand its “affiliations with customer-preferred mainnets and decentralized applications (dApps)” using this tripartite agreement with the blockchain companies.

“Through the collaboration with Aptos, which marks our first non- Ethereum Virtual Machine (EVM) blockchain integration, SKT is committed to delivering a seamless and secure Web3 experience for our users.”

In an official tweet, SKT committed to delivering a seamless and secure Web3 experience for users.

The partnership will also see T wallet’s integration into Aptos’ decentralized application (dApp) ecosystem and adoption of its MoveVM blockchain technology.

Related: South Korea passes bill to make officials disclose Bitcoin holdings

South Korea’s National Tax Service (NTS) recently revealed that residents hold more than 70% of their overseas assets in cryptocurrency.

According to the official data, 5,419 entities reported their overseas financial accounts, holding a total of 186.4 trillion won ($140 million) in assets like cryptocurrencies and stocks, as well as deposits and savings.

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