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Sun Cryptocurrency https://suncryptocurrency.com Crypto News Sat, 21 Sep 2019 21:19:54 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=5.1.2 Two Firms to Build Blockchain-Based Solution for European Shipping https://suncryptocurrency.com/two-firms-to-build-blockchain-based-solution-for-european-shipping Sat, 21 Sep 2019 21:19:54 +0000 https://suncryptocurrency.com/two-firms-to-build-blockchain-based-solution-for-european-shipping Vakt, a blockchain-based post-trade platform for commodities, has signed a memorandum of understanding with essDOCS, a firm that develops paperless trade solutions, to put European shipping on the blockchain. As markets and technology-focused outlet Benzinga reported on Sept. 20, Vakt and essDOCS will work on a blockchain-based solution that will...

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Vakt, a blockchain-based post-trade platform for commodities, has signed a memorandum of understanding with essDOCS, a firm that develops paperless trade solutions, to put European shipping on the blockchain.

As markets and technology-focused outlet Benzinga reported on Sept. 20, Vakt and essDOCS will work on a blockchain-based solution that will allow digitization of post-trade process in Europe’s barge shipping.

Digitization of barge shipping data

While the parties plan to launch the product in northwest Europe initially, they are hoping to expand further to global markets. A joint statement stated:

“Trading parties would agree on information to send on to the terminal, which would add its own information before sending on to barge captains to agree and sign for the product and quantities loaded or discharged from the vessel. This lengthy process results in several paper documents including the barge receipt, which when physically signed allowed the barge to sail and the seller to invoice the buyer.”

In late February, Cointelegraph reported that Vakt signed up four new clients, which meant that Vakt would be used in about two-thirds of all oil deals in the North Sea region. At the time, Vakt’s CEO, Etienne Amic said that a significant level of adoption in the energy sector could motivate others to examine blockchain solutions.

Global supply chain and blockchain

Earlier this year, Russian authorities signed an agreement with Danish logistics giant Maersk to officially launch blockchain shipping platform TradeLens in order to adopt blockchain-powered digital documentation to replace current transportation operations, which are largely paper-based.

Swiss forwarding and logistics services company Panalpina also started blockchain pilot projects aimed at optimizing supply chains. One of the projects will investigate blockchain applications in high-tech industrial goods and the other will deal with office supplies.





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Real-Time Strategy Game for Mining ‘Crypto Gold’ Launches on WAX https://suncryptocurrency.com/real-time-strategy-game-for-mining-crypto-gold-launches-on-wax Sat, 21 Sep 2019 20:17:35 +0000 https://suncryptocurrency.com/real-time-strategy-game-for-mining-crypto-gold-launches-on-wax The online real-time economic strategy game, Prospectors, will be launching on the Worldwide Asset eXchange (WAX). Prospectors blockchain game lands on WAX In a Sept. 17 blog post, WAX announced that one of the largest dApps in the world, The Prospectors, is launching on the WAX blockchain, which users buy...

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The online real-time economic strategy game, Prospectors, will be launching on the Worldwide Asset eXchange (WAX).

Prospectors blockchain game lands on WAX

In a Sept. 17 blog post, WAX announced that one of the largest dApps in the world, The Prospectors, is launching on the WAX blockchain, which users buy physical and virtual items using WAX tokens.

This blockchain-based decentralized strategy game set during the 19th-century gold rush launched on EOS in late June 2019. Notably, the game’s designers plan for it to become fully autonomous over time. 

Arielle Brechisci, Content Manager at WAX said that the game will launch on the WAX blockchain within the next few weeks, so that WAX Token holders and millions of OPSkins Marketplace customers can start playing the game, adding:

“The exciting game of strategy gives players endless opportunities to earn crypto gold by utilizing blockchain technology, where they can start a business and explore a world teeming with resources there for the taking.”

WAX summoned to California court over 2017 ICO

Cointelegraph reported in August that the United States District Court for the Central District of California issued a summons to video game virtual goods company OPSkins Group and WAX in response to a complaint filed by Crypto Asset Fund.

The complaint included 12 charges — including fraud, unlawful business practices and violation of the Securities Acts of 1933 and 1934. In particular, these concerned the accused’s initial coin offering of WAX tokens.





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Justin Sun Reveals New Plan for TRON’s Proof-of-Stake Mechanism https://suncryptocurrency.com/justin-sun-reveals-new-plan-for-trons-proof-of-stake-mechanism Sat, 21 Sep 2019 17:54:09 +0000 https://suncryptocurrency.com/justin-sun-reveals-new-plan-for-trons-proof-of-stake-mechanism Blockchain platform Tron’s founder, Justin Sun, has announced a new plan for TRON’s (TRX) proof-of-stake mechanism. In a series of tweets on Sept. 21, Sun highlighted four key developments in the new plan for TRON’s proof-of-stake mechanism. Specifically, the developments will focus on the means of distributing staking revenues and...

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Blockchain platform Tron’s founder, Justin Sun, has announced a new plan for TRON’s (TRX) proof-of-stake mechanism.

In a series of tweets on Sept. 21, Sun highlighted four key developments in the new plan for TRON’s proof-of-stake mechanism. Specifically, the developments will focus on the means of distributing staking revenues and greater engagement of the community.

Community engagement 

Sun revealed that the company will consider “a fair, decentralized distribution of staking revenues” to increase user participation and engagement with staking from industry players such as exchanges, wallets and partners.

To encourage the community to be more active and ensure a more robust network economic system, Tron is also planning to raise stake ratio across the network and reduce  unnecessary dividend distribution transactions. Sun continued:

“#TRON Partner Staking & Vote Reward: for each block, the most-voted 127 nodes (TRON partners) will receive TRX rewards in proportion to the votes they get. The total reward for one block is 160 TRX. We have optimized the way staking users can get returns.”

Coming update for the Sun Network

As previously reported, Tron is soon expected to release an update for the Sun Network that was officially launched on Aug. 11. The Sun Network is a sidechain scaling solution that is designed to deliver supposedly unlimited scaling capacity for the Tron network.

Additionally, the solution will purportedly allow decentralized applications to consume less energy and run with higher security and efficiency.

In August, Sun said that getting the TRX cryptocurrency listed on the American version of Binance or Coinbase is his company’s top priority.





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Bitcoin’s Dominance Drops as BTC Price Briefly Dips Below $10K https://suncryptocurrency.com/bitcoins-dominance-drops-as-btc-price-briefly-dips-below-10k Sat, 21 Sep 2019 17:21:18 +0000 https://suncryptocurrency.com/bitcoins-dominance-drops-as-btc-price-briefly-dips-below-10k Saturday, Sept. 21 — crypto markets continued to trade sideways, with the majority of the top 20 coins by market cap seeing losses at press time. Market visualization. Source: Coin360 Bitcoin dominance continues to slip After briefly dipping below $10,000 threshold, Bitcoin (BTC) has broken back above $10,000 to trade...

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Saturday, Sept. 21 — crypto markets continued to trade sideways, with the majority of the top 20 coins by market cap seeing losses at press time.

Market visualization. Source: Coin360

Bitcoin dominance continues to slip

After briefly dipping below $10,000 threshold, Bitcoin (BTC) has broken back above $10,000 to trade at $10,041 at press time. The major cryptocurrency is down 1.1% over the past 24 hours, also seeing a nearly 3% loss over the past 7 days at press time.

Bitcoin’s dominance on the market has continued to drop, down from 67.7% at the beginning of the day to 67.5% at press time, according to CoinMarketCap.

Bitcoin 24-hour price chart. Source: Coin360

Bitcoin 24-hour price chart. Source: Coin360

On the other hand, Ether (ETH), the second cryptocurrency by market cap and the top altcoin, is up 0.5% today to trade at $219 at press time. After seeing a bullish trend reversal earlier this week, Ether it up more than 18% over the past 7 days.

Ether 7-day price chart. Source: Coin360

Ether 7-day price chart. Source: Coin360

XRP, the third cryptocurrency by market cap, rose around 1.1% on the day to trade at $0.292. The second top altcoin is also seeing notable gains over the past 7 days, up 11.3% at press time.

Ripple 7-day price chart. Source: Coin360

Ripple 7-day price chart. Source: Coin360

Winners and losers

EOS, the seventh-largest crypto by market cap, is seeing the biggest gains over the past 24 hours at press time, up around 3.2%. As recently reported, EOS is expected to have its first hard fork on Monday, Sept. 23.

In contrast, privacy-focused coin Monero (XMR) slipped 2.6% over the day, which has led the coin to see the largest losses over the past 24 hours at press time.

Total market capitalization has seen a slight loss over the day, down from $269 billion at the beginning of the day to $267 billion at press time. Still, market cap is up on the week after crypto markets saw a notable sell-off to account for $261 billion earlier this week.

Meanwhile, the crypto community is eagerly anticipating a major industry event on Monday, Sept. 23, in the launch of Bakkt’s physically-delivered Bitcoin futures. On Sept. 19, Tom Lee, Fundstrat Global Advisors co-founder and major Bitcoin bull, expressed his bullish stance regarding the upcoming launch, claiming that it will lead to more trust in Bitcoin and crypto from institutional traders.

Keep track of top crypto markets in real time here





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Real Estate, Blockchain and the Quantity Theory of Money https://suncryptocurrency.com/real-estate-blockchain-and-the-quantity-theory-of-money Sat, 21 Sep 2019 16:47:51 +0000 https://suncryptocurrency.com/real-estate-blockchain-and-the-quantity-theory-of-money The concept of illiquidity discounts, how it relates to markets like commercial real estate, and the benefits that tokenization could bring to the industry are topics that I have already discussed in previous articles. In this article, I am taking a closer look at the relationship between liquidity preference and...

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The concept of illiquidity discounts, how it relates to markets like commercial real estate, and the benefits that tokenization could bring to the industry are topics that I have already discussed in previous articles. In this article, I am taking a closer look at the relationship between liquidity preference and the future demand for tokenized real estate investments.

Related: Tokenizing Commercial Real Estate and the Promise of Liquidity

Illiquidity discounts reflect the reduction in price that gets applied to an asset due to a shallow market and are particularly pronounced in real estate, sometimes reaching 30% to 50% of the asset’s true value. This occurrence is due to a number of factors, such as burdensome regulatory oversight, the unique nature of many assets, as well as the fact that most transactions take place in shallow private markets and that properties are often priced on an as-needed basis.

Blockchain technology offers the potential to address the sources of illiquidity discounts by accelerating efficient markets and price discovery, streamlining the transaction process, and facilitating instantaneous payments. The effects of these benefits will likely be further accelerated when it comes to commercial real estate, as the traditional formation of syndicates and other capital structures can be laborious.

If this indeed becomes the case, then the next question is, how will demand for real estate — especially at the commercial level — change based on these more liquid markets?

John Maynard Keynes and the quantity theory of money

In 1936, famed English economist John Maynard Keynes articulated his quantity theory of money in his book “The General Theory of Employment, Interest and Money,” whereby he divided the demand drivers for liquid assets into three primary categories:

  • Transactionary Demand — high liquidity for day-to-day expenses.
  • Precautionary Demand — liquidity to cover unforeseen expenditures such as an accident or health emergency.
  • Speculative Demand — demand to take advantage of future changes in the interest rate or bond prices.

In common vernacular, Keynes described how people need access to liquid funds to cover their daily expenses, fill a rainy-day fund, and keep some left over strictly to see if it may appreciate in value.

From this framework, Keynes theorized that governments could adjust the level of monetary demand based on interest rates in an effort to manage inflation and support broader economic goals. This is an interesting insight, and perhaps worthy of future study as blockchains seek to construct more sophisticated monetary policies.

It would be interesting to consider how Keynes’s quantity theory of money could impact the real estate industry and corporate finance in general.

Principles of corporate finance

At a very basic level, the job of chief financial officers is to ensure that their organizations have enough liquidity to cover daily and monthly expenses and invest whatever funds are left over to maximize returns. 

In fact, this requirement neatly breaks down into three demand categories that align very closely with Keynes’s 1936 theory. Specifically, corporate entities need access to liquidity for: 

  1. Day-to-day expenses.
  2. Repaying short-term debts.
  3. Engaging in long-term investments.

Explaining working capital management

The specific term often utilized to describe this balance is working capital management. Working capital typically consists of assets that can be converted into cash within a 12-month period. It is described in both gross and net terms — gross being the total value of all relevant assets and net being the remainder left after subtracting short-term liabilities, such as a firm’s accounts payable.

Typical short-term assets that qualify as working capital include cash on hand, accounts receivable, inventory (provided it is not too unique or illiquid), and certain highly liquid short-term investments. It is important to focus on what I mean by short-term investments, as these are considered to be “marketable securities” that can be directly converted into cash over a time frame of 3 to 12 months. These investments are typically listed on public exchanges and their sale does not have a major effect on the underlying asset’s spot price.

Real estate investment trusts 

Today, there are many types of real estate investment ventures and funds looking to take advantage of tokenization, and one of the most relevant use cases are real estate investment trusts (REITs), some of which are listed on the biggest exchanges in the world, while others are public but nonlisted or private. 

In general, a REIT is an entity that combines the capital of many investors to acquire or provide financing for a diversified portfolio of real estate investments under professional management. REITs are able to qualify as a real estate investment trust under the United States Internal Revenue Code for federal income tax purposes. REITs are therefore generally entitled to deductions for the dividends they pay and are usually not subject to U.S. federal corporate income taxes on their net income that is distributed to their unitholders. This treatment substantially eliminates the “double taxation” (taxation at both the corporate and unitholder levels) that generally results from investment in a corporation. REITs generally pay distributions to investors of at least 90% of their annual ordinary taxable income, making some types of REITs an ideal short-term investment. Furthermore, they focus on a wide variety of industries that pertain to real estate (commercial, residential, health care, timberland, malls, etc.).

According to the National Association of Real Estate Investment Trusts (NAREIT), there are about 1,100 REITs that have filed tax returns in the U.S., and collectively own more than $3 trillion in gross real estate assets across the country. About 20% of these are public REITs, which have registered with the SEC and trade on one of the major stock exchanges — the majority are on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE). The remaining 80% is represented by public but nonlisted REITs, which are not traded on any national stock exchange but are registered with the SEC, and private REITs, which are not traded on a national stock exchange or registered with the SEC and often can be sold only to institutional investors. 

The fundamental difference between nonlisted REITs and listed REITs is the daily liquidity available with a listed REIT. While some nonlisted REITs do traditionally offer limited redemption plans, for investors with a short-term investment horizon, listed REITs have historically been considered a better alternative.

On the other hand, nonlisted REITs can serve as a way for investors to deploy capital into a diversified pool of real estate assets, with a lower correlation to the general stock market than listed REITs. Additionally, listed REITs are subject to more demanding public disclosure and corporate governance requirements than nonlisted REITs.

The overall listed-REIT sector has been trading at all-time highs, with the FTSE NAREIT All REIT Index yielding less than 5% from Jan. 1, 2015 to Dec. 30, 2018. Such pricing suggests that a substantial portion of the price of listed REITs is attributable to a built-in liquidity premium, as recent unlevered capitalization rates on real estate transactions in the private sector have averaged 4% to 6%, according to the most recent publicly available report from CBRE, the U.S. Cap Rate Survey H1 2019 Advance Review.

While REITs are just one of many types of investment vehicles, and there is an entire galaxy of real estate ventures and investment funds looking to take advantage of distributed ledger technology, in my opinion, specifically nonlisted and private REITs may stand to reap the greatest benefits of tokenization.

Returning to blockchain technology

So, what does tokenization potentially mean for the real estate sector? This industry, more than most, falls victim to the illiquidity discount, which can invalidate the sector from investment companies that need a certain degree of liquidity in their investments.

There are two general reasons why blockchain technology could be a key enabler that unlocks a new set of opportunities for investment firms looking to maximize the upside potential on their working capital.

Firstly, through the utilization of blockchain technology, conventional and highly regulated real estate investment vehicles (like REITs) can operate at unprecedented levels of efficiency by making programmable governance and built-in regulatory compliance possible on the platform and/or the security token levels, as well as by automating cap table and investor management processes. This will, at least in theory, lower management expenses and increase the profits that get returned to investors.

Secondly, the symbiotic emergence of digital security issuance and secondary trading platforms brings with it not only the possibility to significantly reduce (if not eliminate) the traditional counterparty risk and transactional friction, but to also make the underlying assets more liquid. This suggests that, in the future, nonlisted and private real estate investment vehicles (like private REITs) — which once represented a highly illiquid section of the market — may no longer have that unfortunate distinction.

It remains to be seen when — or if — tokenization will help traditional types of private real estate investment vehicles to qualify as viable short-term investments, but there is a good chance that they could receive this distinction, especially in local economies, thereby bolstering the overall demand for real estate investments.

One thing is for certain: The timing for this opportunity is auspicious. The outlook for the real estate industry in the U.S., Europe and other regions abroad remains positive. As long as the demand for residential and commercial real estate assets stays strong, it is fair to speculate that, at least at a macro-level, demand for tokenized real estate investments will only increase compared to other types of private equities.

The views, thoughts and opinions expressed here are the authors alone and do not necessarily reflect or represent the views and opinions of Cointelegraph.

Nothing in this article should be construed to be legal advice, and all content is for informational purposes only. You should not act or refrain from acting on the basis of anything herein without seeking appropriate legal advice regarding your particular situation.

Alexander Kanen is a New York City attorney, speaker and entrepreneur, specializing in real estate, private equity and blockchain. He is the chair of the Real Estate Working Group at the Wall Street Blockchain Alliance, a member of WSBA’s Legal Working Group, serves on the New York board of directors of the International Real Estate Federation, and has special consultative status with the Economic and Social Council of the United Nations. Involved with distributed ledger technology since early 2013, Alexander pioneered the concept of “Bitcoin closings.”





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Global Blockchain Tech Market to Surpass $16B by 2024 https://suncryptocurrency.com/global-blockchain-tech-market-to-surpass-16b-by-2024 Sat, 21 Sep 2019 15:49:29 +0000 https://suncryptocurrency.com/global-blockchain-tech-market-to-surpass-16b-by-2024 The global blockchain technology market is estimated to surpass $16 billion by 2024, according to a recent report from market research firm Global Market Insights, Inc. The report In a Sept. 20 press release, Global Market Insights provided highlights from its 180-page-long report entitled “Blockchain Technology Market By Providers (Infrastructure...

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The global blockchain technology market is estimated to surpass $16 billion by 2024, according to a recent report from market research firm Global Market Insights, Inc.

The report

In a Sept. 20 press release, Global Market Insights provided highlights from its 180-page-long report entitled “Blockchain Technology Market By Providers (Infrastructure Provider, Application Provider, Operators), Application (Smart Contract, Payment & Wallet, Digital Identity, Exchange, Compliance & Risk Management), End-Use (BFSI, Government, Healthcare, IT Service, Media & Entertainment, Transportation & Logistics), Regional Outlook, Competitive Market Share & Forecast 2024.”

Per the analysis, the key factor contributing to the global blockchain tech market growth will primarily be increasing adoption of blockchain by financial companies. Financial organizations will purportedly take up blockchain due to its ability to boost the efficiency of companies’ internal processes and cut the cost of operation in sectors such as trade finance, documentation and Know Your Customer.

Stakeholder segmentation of the blockchain market

A stakeholder segmentation of the blockchain market shows that application providers will see an 85% compound annual growth rate (CAGR) between 2018 and 2024, while digital identity application will purportedly register an over 90% CAGR throughout the same period. The latter will find its driver in the attempt to resist cyberattacks.

The report further states that the government segment of the blockchain market is expected to grow by 85% CAGR over the forecast period, and the market’s share from healthcare applications will register an 85% CAGR up to 2024 as well.

Other predictions

Earlier in September, Global Market Insights released a report that dove deeper into the blockchain tech in healthcare market, projecting that it will exceed $1.6 billion by 2025. Examination of medical outcomes, interoperability of health data and cost component reductions will further impact blockchain adoption, according to the assessment.

Tech market advisory firm ABI Research published its findings regarding global revenues from blockchain technology, in late August, the firm suggested that global revenues for blockchain tech are expected to hit $10 billion by 2023.





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NASA Looks to Hire Data Scientist With Crypto and DLT Background https://suncryptocurrency.com/nasa-looks-to-hire-data-scientist-with-crypto-and-dlt-background Sat, 21 Sep 2019 15:45:56 +0000 https://suncryptocurrency.com/nasa-looks-to-hire-data-scientist-with-crypto-and-dlt-background The United States’ National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) is looking to hire a data scientist with crypto and blockchain expertise. Crypto and blockchain considered a plus According to a LinkedIn job listing posted on Sept. 20, NASA is looking to employ a data scientist for its Jet Propulsion Laboratory...

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The United States’ National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) is looking to hire a data scientist with crypto and blockchain expertise.

Crypto and blockchain considered a plus

According to a LinkedIn job listing posted on Sept. 20, NASA is looking to employ a data scientist for its Jet Propulsion Laboratory in California, whose primary function is the construction and operation of planetary robotic spacecraft and conducting Earth-orbit missions.

Among the high number of required qualifications, NASA listed knowledge in one or more related fields including big data, machine learning, Internet of Things, analytics, statistics and cloud computing, among others. In a separate line, the agency listed experience with cryptocurrency and blockchain technology, stating that such qualification will be considered a plus.

The listed qualifications are supposed to be implemented by the data scientist in designing and implementing a program for analyzing complex, large-scale data sets used for research, modeling, data mining and predictive analysis at NASA, the agency wrote.

NASA on blockchain

The major global aerospace agency is not new to blockchain technology. In January 2019, NASA proposed an air traffic management blockchain framework in order to enable secure, private and anonymous communication with air traffic services.

In April 2018, NASA awarded a grant supporting the development of an autonomous spacecraft that could implement blockchain technology to make decisions without human intervention.





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WATCH: The State of Security Tokens in Asia https://suncryptocurrency.com/watch-the-state-of-security-tokens-in-asia Sat, 21 Sep 2019 12:12:50 +0000 https://suncryptocurrency.com/watch-the-state-of-security-tokens-in-asia CoinDesk’s Christine Kim sat down with Dalma Capital Management CEO Zachary Cefaratti,Director of Digital Assets at R3 Antony Lewis, and Philip Pang, the Associate Director at Colliers International this past week for a panel discussion entitled the “State of Security Tokens in Asia.” R3’s Lewis kicked off the event, speaking to...

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CoinDesk’s Christine Kim sat down with Dalma Capital Management CEO Zachary Cefaratti,
Director of Digital Assets at R3 Antony Lewis, and Philip Pang, the Associate Director at Colliers International this past week for a panel discussion entitled the “State of Security Tokens in Asia.”

R3’s Lewis kicked off the event, speaking to the Invest: Asia 2019 attendees on the current market trends in security issuance. Lewis said ecosystem readiness, regulatory harmonization, and the need for experienced investors stand at the top of the heap of concerns.

During the conversation, Kim covered topics ranging from why security tokens to what security token offerings are finding high yield.

Speaking on security token offerings, Dalma Capital’s Cefaratti said companies are more often than not shipping low-quality products with security token offerings.

“Why would you do a security token? There’s an adverse selection problem… Unfortunately, we get approached as an investment bank by so many companies that want us to do a security token of their not very high-quality asset and think that its gonna be a solution to magically raise them a bunch of money and get a bunch of liquidity,” he said.

Colliers Internationals’ Pang said Asia real estate firms are mostly seeing security tokens in high yield assets like apartment complexes or industrial warehousing.

Wrapping up the conversation, Cefaratti and Lewis spoke on the role of security token custodianship.

“There are some situations where you can not legally self-custody and you need to for because of regulatory reasons pay a third-party custodian,” Lewis said.

“The marginal cost of providing custody of an additional dollar of assets is zero. It’s next to zero,” Cefaratti responded. “Marginal cost determines the marginal price. Yes, we will need [digital asset custodians], but it won’t be a very profitable business.”

Dalma Capital CEO Zachary Cefaratti and R3’s Antony Lewis as Invest: Asia 2019 via CoinDesk archives



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DNA ‘echoes’ of ancient viruses could help to kill cancer, new research finds — RT World News – Satoshi Nakamoto Blog https://suncryptocurrency.com/dna-echoes-of-ancient-viruses-could-help-to-kill-cancer-new-research-finds-rt-world-news-satoshi-nakamoto-blog Sat, 21 Sep 2019 11:23:33 +0000 https://suncryptocurrency.com/dna-echoes-of-ancient-viruses-could-help-to-kill-cancer-new-research-finds-rt-world-news-satoshi-nakamoto-blog Fragments of ancient viruses that infected our ancestors over millions of years, and remain dormant in our DNA, offer a tantalizing opportunity to find and kill cancers effectively, according to new research. Some 8 percent of the human genome comprises such retroviral DNA, researchers from the Crick Group say, and,...

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Fragments of ancient viruses that infected our ancestors over millions of years, and remain dormant in our DNA, offer a tantalizing opportunity to find and kill cancers effectively, according to new research.

Some 8 percent of the human genome comprises such retroviral DNA, researchers from the Crick Group say, and, while it typically lies dormant, it can be reactivated when a cell becomes cancerous.




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Crack team of scientists discovers secret weapon to neutralize HIV… by accident



The scientists studied viral DNA for ways to draw on the reactivation phenomenon when tackling cancer, chiefly by honing in on ways to train the immune system to spot and target cancer cells. The reactivation can create ‘products’ which are visible to the immune system, and which, the researchers believe, can be exploited to fight cancer early.

The team looked at patient samples from 31 different cancer types to create an enormous catalogue of the elements produced by endogenous retroviruses, narrowing the field down to “nine unique peptides” visible to the immune system. 

“We hope this approach could form the basis of future cancer therapies, if we can vaccinate the immune system to recognise and attack cancer cells presenting these peptides,” Dr George Kassiotis, who led the study, explained.

The researchers have published their findings in the journal Genome Research. 




Also on rt.com
Putting on a brave face: ‘Denise’ offers us our first look at the long-lost Denisovan race (PHOTOS)



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Crypto and the Latency Arms Race: Crypto Exchanges and the HFT Crowd https://suncryptocurrency.com/crypto-and-the-latency-arms-race-crypto-exchanges-and-the-hft-crowd Sat, 21 Sep 2019 09:53:17 +0000 https://suncryptocurrency.com/crypto-and-the-latency-arms-race-crypto-exchanges-and-the-hft-crowd Max Boonen is founder and CEO of crypto trading firm B2C2. This post is the second in a series of three that looks at high-frequency trading in the context of the evolution of crypto markets (you can see the first here). Opinions expressed within are his own and do not reflect those...

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Max Boonen is founder and CEO of crypto trading firm B2C2. This post is the second in a series of three that looks at high-frequency trading in the context of the evolution of crypto markets (you can see the first here). Opinions expressed within are his own and do not reflect those of CoinDesk. 

The following article originally appeared in Institutional Crypto by CoinDesk, a free weekly newsletter for institutional investors focused on crypto assets. You can sign up here.


Carrying on from an earlier post about the evolution of high frequency trading (HFT), how it can harm markets and how crypto exchanges are responding, here we focus on the potential longer-term impact on the crypto ecosystem.

First, though, we need to focus on the state of HFT in a broader context.

Conventional markets are adopting anti-latency arbitrage mechanisms

In conventional markets, latency arbitrage has increased toxicity on lit venues and pushed trading volumes over-the-counter or into dark pools. In Europe, dark liquidity has increased in spite of efforts by regulators to clamp down on it. In some markets, regulation has actually contributed to this. Per the SEC:

“Using the Nasdaq market as a proxy, [Regulation] NMS did not seem to succeed in its mission to increase the display of limit orders in the marketplace. We have seen an increase in dark liquidity, smaller trade sizes, similar trading volumes, and a larger number of “small” venues.”

Why is non-lit execution remaining or becoming more successful in spite of its lower transparency? In its 2014 paper, BlackRock came out in favour of dark pools in the context of best execution requirements. It also lamented message congestion and cautioned against increasing tick sizes, features that advantage latency arbitrageurs. (This echoes the comment to CoinDesk of David Weisberger, CEO of Coinroutes, who explained that the tick sizes typical of the crypto market are small and therefore do not put slower traders at much of a disadvantage.)

Major venues now recognize that the speed race threatens their business model in some markets, as it pushes those “slow” market makers with risk-absorbing capacity to provide liquidity to the likes of BlackRock off-exchange. Eurex has responded by implementing anti-latency arbitrage (ALA) mechanisms in options:

“Right now, a lot of liquidity providers need to invest more into technology in order to protect themselves against other, very fast liquidity providers, than they can invest in their pricing for the end client. The end result of this is a certain imbalance, where we have a few very sophisticated liquidity providers that are very active in the order book and then a lot of liquidity providers that have the ability to provide prices to end clients, but are tending to do so more away from the order book”, commented Jonas Ullmann, Eurex’s head of market functionality. Such views are increasingly supported by academic research.

XTX identifies two categories of ALA mechanisms: policy-based and technology-based. Policy-based ALA refers to a venue simply deciding that latency arbitrageurs are not allowed to trade on it. Alternative venues to exchanges (going under various acronyms such as ECN, ATS or MTF) can allow traders to either take or make, but not engage in both activities. Others can purposefully select – and advertise – their mix of market participants, or allow users to trade in separate “rooms” where undesired firms are excluded. The rise of “alternative microstructures” is mostly evidenced in crypto by the surge in electronic OTC trading, where traders can receive better prices than on exchange.

Technology-based ALA encompasses delays, random or deterministic, added to an exchange’s matching engine to reduce the viability of latency arbitrage strategies. The classic example is a speed bump where new orders are delayed by a few milliseconds, but the cancellation of existing orders is not. This lets market makers place fresh quotes at the new prevailing market price without being run over by latency arbitrageurs.

As a practical example, the London Metal Exchange recently announced an eight-millisecond speed bump on some contracts that are prime candidates for latency arbitrageurs due to their similarity to products trading on the much bigger CME in Chicago.

Why 8 milliseconds? First, microwave transmission between Chicago and the US East Coast is 3 milliseconds faster than fibre optic lines. From there, the $250,000 a month Hibernia Express transatlantic cable helps you get to London another 4 milliseconds faster than cheaper alternatives. Add a millisecond for internal latencies such as not using FPGAs and 8 milliseconds is the difference for a liquidity provider between investing tens of millions in speed technology or being priced out of the market by latency arbitrage.

With this in mind, let’s consider what the future holds for crypto.

Crypto exchanges must not forget their retail roots

We learn from conventional markets that liquidity benefits from a diverse base of market makers with risk-absorption capacity.

Some have claimed that the spread compression witnessed in the bitcoin market since 2017 is due to electronification. Instead, I posit that it is greater risk-absorbing capacity and capital allocation that has improved the liquidity of the bitcoin market, not an increase in speed, as in fact being a fast exchange with colocation such as Gemini has not supported higher volumes. Old-timers will remember Coinsetter, a company that, per the Bitcoin Wiki , “was created in 2012, and operates a bitcoin exchange and ECN. Coinsetter’s CSX trading technology enables millisecond trade execution times and offers one of the fastest API data streams in the industry.” The Wiki page should use the past tense as Coinsetter failed to gain traction, was acquired in 2016 and subsequently closed.

Exchanges that invest in scalability and user experience will thrive (BitMEX comes to mind). Crypto exchanges that favour the fastest traders (by reducing jitter, etc.) will find that winner-takes-all latency strategies do not improve liquidity. Furthermore, they risk antagonising the majority of their users, who are naturally suspicious of platforms that sell preferential treatment.

It is baffling that the head of Russia for Huobi vaunted to CoinDesk that: “The option [of co-location] allows [selected clients] to make trades 70 to 100 times faster than other users”. The article notes that Huobi doesn’t charge – but of course, not everyone can sign up.

Contrast this with one of the most successful exchanges today: Binance. It actively discourages some HFT strategies by tracking metrics such as order-to-trade ratios and temporarily blocking users that breach certain limits. Market experts know that Binance remains extremely relevant to price discovery, irrespective of its focus on a less professional user base.

Other exchanges, take heed.

Coinbase closed its entire Chicago office where 30 engineers had worked on a faster matching engine, an exercise that is rumoured to have cost $50mm. After much internal debate, I bet that the company finally realised that it wouldn’t recoup its investment and that its value derived from having onboarded 20 million users, not from upgrading systems that are already fast and reliable by the standards of crypto.

It is also unsurprising that Kraken’s Steve Hunt, a veteran of low-latency torchbearer Jump Trading, commented to CoinDesk that: “We want all customers regardless of size or scale to have equal access to our marketplace”. Experience speaks.

In a recent article on CoinDesk , Matt Trudeau of ErisX points to the lower reliability of cloud-based services compared to dedicated, co-located and cross-connected gateways. That much is true. Web-based technology puts the emphasis on serving the greatest number of users concurrently, not on serving a subset of users deterministically and at the lowest latency possible. That is the point. Crypto might be the only asset class that is accessible directly to end users with a low number of intermediaries, precisely because of the crypto ethos and how the industry evolved. It is cheaper to buy $500 of bitcoin than it is to buy $500 of Microsoft shares.

Trudeau further remarks that official, paid-for co-location is better than what he pejoratively calls “unsanctioned colocation,” the fact that crypto traders can place their servers in the same cloud providers as the exchanges. The fairness argument is dubious: anyone with $50 can set up an Amazon AWS account and run next to the major crypto exchanges, whereas cheap co-location starts at $1,000 a month in the real world. No wonder “speed technology revenues” are estimated at $1 billion for the major U.S. equity exchanges.

For a crypto exchange, to reside in a financial, non-cloud data centre with state-of-the-art network latencies might ironically impair the likelihood of success.  The risk is that such an exchange becomes dominated on the taker side by the handful of players that already own or pay for the fastest communication routes between major financial data centres such as Equinix and the CME in Chicago, where bitcoin futures are traded. This might reduce liquidity on the exchange because a significant proportion of the crypto market’s risk-absorption capacity is coming from crypto-centric funds that do not have the scale to operate low-latency strategies, but might make up the bulk of the liquidity on, say, Binance. Such mom-and-pop liquidity providers might therefore shun an exchange that caters to larger players as a priority.

Exchanges risk losing market share to OTC liquidity providers

While voice trading in crypto has run its course, a major contribution to the market’s increase in liquidity circa 2017-2018 was the risk appetite of the original OTC voice desks such as Cumberland Mining and Circle.

Automation really shines in bringing together risk-absorbing capacity tailored to each client (which is impossible on anonymous exchanges) with seamless electronic execution. In contrast, latency-sensitive venues can see liquidity evaporate in periods of stress, as happened to a well-known and otherwise successful exchange on 26 June which saw its bitcoin order book become $1,000 wide for an extended period of time as liquidity providers turned their systems off. The problem is compounded by the general unavailability of credit on cash exchanges, an issue that the OTC market’s settlement model avoids.

As the crypto market matures, the business model of today’s major cash exchanges will come under pressure. In the past decade, the FX market has shown that retail traders benefit from better liquidity when they trade through different channels than institutional speculators. Systematic internalizers demonstrate the same in equities. This fact of life will apply to crypto. Exchanges have to pick a side: either cater to retail (or retail-driven intermediaries) or court HFTs.

Now that an aggregator like Tagomi runs transaction cost analysis for their clients, it will become plainly obvious to investors with medium-term and long-term horizons (i.e. anyone not looking at the next 2 seconds) that their price impact on exchange is worse than against electronic OTC liquidity providers.

Today, exchange fee structures are awkward because they must charge small users a lot to make up for crypto’s exceptionally high compliance and onboarding costs. Onboarding a single, small value user simply does not make sense unless fees are quite elevated. Exchanges end up over-charging large volume traders such as B2C2’s clients, another incentive to switch to OTC execution.

In the alternative, what if crypto exchanges focus on HFT traders? In my opinion, the CME is a much better venue for institutional takers as fees are much lower and conventional trading firms will already be connected to it. My hypothesis is that most exchanges will not be able to compete with the CME for fast traders (after all, the CBOE itself gave up), and must cater to their retail user base instead.

In a future post, we will explore other microstructures beyond all-to-all exchanges and bilateral OTC trading.

Fiber threads image via Shutterstock



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