London-based Institutional Crypto Exchange By LMAX, The First In The World

LMAX Exchange

Fintech firm LMAX Exchange Group will be launching LMAX Digital, the first institutional cryptocurrency exchange which will let institutional investors trade Bitcoin, Bitcoin Cash, Litcoin, Ethereum and Ripple, five of the most established cryptocurrencies with the highest level of liquidity.

The move symbolizes the recognition of the crypto trade by the financial institutions as a legitimate industry, a long-awaited triumph of crypto enthusiasts who struggled with the stigma.

LMAX Exchange’s CEO, David Mercer, said: “The rise of institutional trading of crypto currencies will be a game-changer for the industry. We believe our new exchange will support the transformation of the crypto market from the fringes to the mainstream.”

The new exchange will be launched from LMAX’s data centre in London with plans of setting up in Tokyo and New York is being targeted in a few months.

Aside from the five top currencies, platform users of LMAX will also benefit from the public rulebook for all members, offer a full custodian solution and provide secure, multi-signature wallets offered by the company.

Looking to Issue an ICO? Look Outside the US

ICO around the globe

For ICO issuers, it’s starting to look better to set up shop outside the US.

In a market environment of uncertainty, where regulation is unsure and the United States Securities and Exchange Commission has started investigating ICOs, most issuers and stakeholders are finding other jurisdictions a more conducive place to launch their projects.

This was the hot topic over at Token Summit III in New York City.

Startup founders, attorneys and investors all had strong opinions about how far they can go in a market environment where regulators and enforcement agencies know how easy it is for malicious actors to take advantage of unwary investors and scam millions of dollars out of unwitting buyers.

“The reason there’s a thousand people here, it’s not blockchain technology,” Jason Fang of Sora Ventures said, noting that he’s been going to blockchain events for years and it was all the same people until the initial coin offering (ICO) boom. “The difference is money. The difference is speculation.”

However, not everyone felt that hype meant rushing would be the right approach.

For example, David Sacks, former Paypal COO and investor in Craft Ventures, spoke about how getting compliance just right led to Coinbase becoming “the first really successful company in the space.”

Sacks wasn’t the only person. Throughout the day, several speakers returned to the question of regulation, and from the stage it became clear that the rest of the world isn’t nearly as complicated as the U.S.

Securities laws in the U.S. are based around the Roaring ’20s, which led to the Great Depression, Lowell Ness of Perkins Coie explained during a panel on regulation,explaining that:

“Literally the securities law is intended to exclude the moms and pops from too risky investment.”

Other countries, however, have a more relaxed approach and this is luring some ICOs overseas.

While geography seemed a main concern for many ICO issuers, it isn’t the only kind of distance that could lower risk. Time could also serve a token issuer.

Several issuers are relieved that they had finished their token fundraisers before the ICO hype started.

All of this said, it is crystal clear that the ICO industry is keeping a wary eye on both the unclear guidelines throughout the world and the thought that regulators could create rules that make their businesses illegal at some point.

Speaking to the fear felt by many toward U.S. regulators, MME’s Thomas Linder said:

“The U.S. needs to learn that in a globalized, decentralized economy, they are not the center of the universe anymore.”

GoTenna: You Dont Need Internet To Send Bitcoin

GoTenna Device Bitcoin

GoTenna, a New York startup is launching an android app which will facilitate bitcoin transactions without internet.

Founded in 2012 by 2 Brazilian siblings, Daniela and Jorge Perdomo, goTenna will be collaborating with Samourai Wallet, a mobile wallet for Android devices.

The goTenna device can communicate to another same device in the mesh network up to 1-mile range. The system uses a free, unlicensed radio frequency allowing users to send or receive bitcoin payments without internet. The system which offers more privacy than internet transactions. The txTenna app syncs with the goTenna device that allows users access to their wallets to send bitcoin. If devices are within 1 mile of each other, a bitcoin transaction is transmitted through the “mesh network” until it reaches a user with an internet connection.

Priced at $179 per pair, GoTenna has already sold 100,000 units.

This proved to be very effective in disaster-stricken areas. In Puerto Rico, where the Perdomo siblings helped the Hurricane Maria victims, goTenna devices were very handy in reconnecting people. You only have to keep your devices charged to stay up and “meshed”.

The goTenna system is not the first to explore radio frequency as a possible way to communicate in a cryptocurrency network.

The U.S. Federal Communications Commission has abrogated the “net neutrality” rule and will expire on June 11. This means that the free and open internet that gave consumers equal access to web content may be a thing of the past as ISP’s are given the power to regulate content on their discretion.

As a response to this, people who are fund of Ethereum are now flocking to mesh networks. It is a good time for txTenna, and its censorship-resistant tools for bitcoin transactions to fill the gap.

BlockChain Startup Enigma to Demo New Privacy Tech

Enigma Machine

Enigma announced they plan to conduct the first public demonstration of its privacy-oriented, blockchain-based protocol at CoinDesk’s Consensus 2018 conference on Tuesday.

Former MIT researcher and Enigma co-founder and CEO Guy Zyskind first introduced the technology in 2015. He sought to rebuild the foundational layer of ethereum to address the blockchain’s privacy-related shortcomings.

Enigma essentially allows nodes to compute using encrypted fragments of the smart contracts without having to decrypt them, which other blockchains cannot do. Dubbed “secret contracts,” it also facilitates “coin mixing” – a tactic that obscures the original source of ether used within the protocol.

Enigma stands apart from similar privacy-guarantee mechanisms like zk-SNARKs in which one party can prove its possession of information to another party without revealing the information or interacting with the other party. Enigma’s protocol instead uses a trusted execution environment in which the cryptography is relied upon for certainty and neither party has any information on their respective data inputs and outputs.

Enigma, which plans to launch its test network on June 15, claims that the data privacy furnished by the protocol is crucial for the widespread adoption of decentralized applications (dapps).

In particular, the Enigma tech can be utilized for use in industries like healthcare and finance that frequently handle sensitive data and must comply with legal measures like the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR).

Co-founder and chief product officer Can Kisagun said in a statement that “It also solves real-world problems with data sharing, data matching and other important, complex issues facing global organizations.”

Due to the fact computations are done off-chain, Enigma argues that the protocol will also enable the use of dapps at a larger scale than current iterations – such as CryptoKitties, for example.

“With Enigma, decentralized applications will move from novelty to necessity,” Kisagun claimed.

Amber Baldet Announces Her Startup is a DApp Store

Amber Baldet

Decentralized application development has always been harder than it should be.

That is the guiding framework behind the much awaited Clovyr, the startup just launched by two former JP Morgan blockchain employees. Clovyr seeks to provide a new layer of enterprise-driven services between blockchains and user-facing applications.

Clovyr - Start-Up Blockchain Dapp Store

Founded by Amber Baldet and crytographer Patrick Mylund Nielsen, the startup has been the subject of much speculation since Baldet announced her resignation from JP Morgan last April.

Finally unveiled today at Consensus 2018 in New York, Clovyr is a decentralized application store. It will host a selection of vetted applications alongside some in-house developer tools designed to simplify app development for enterprises.

While maintaining a “blockchain agnostic” approach to an application design, Clovyr aims to provide tooling to build on both public and enterprise versions of ethereum, specifically, Quorum, Geth and Parity clients.

The Clovyr team plans to launch a public beta later this year, and they intend to provide an initial developmental framework for enterprises looking to build on Clovyr’s tech, as well as other potentail applications, such as tooling for data analysis on private datasets, which is something Baldet anticipates will be a popular product.

“Right now there’s no way to keep data private at its point of origin and also enable big data analytics, but there could be,” Nielsen said in their press release.

Moving forward, the Clovyr team plans to launch a full tech stack for privacy-protecting decentralized application design that would achieve compliance with upcoming data protection law, the GDPR.

Clovyr believes that while the tech is available, there is a large gap in app design that has been stifling innovation. Companies looking to integrate decentralized tooling are faced with the confusion of digging through a lot of open-source development platforms. This makes it easy to miss useful new tools.

With Clovyr, devs and enterprises won’t need to go through the whole process of building the tooling from scratch that may have already been executed.

The app store will also enable the development of hybrid blockchain formats, such as enterprise chains that can link up to public network’s to publish attestations or transactions.

According to Baldet, the latter will benefit enterprises looking for the scalability and control of a permissioned system combined with the security parameters of a public blockchain.

But it will feedback into the public ecosystem as well, Baldet said.

In the future, Baldet expects that the public and enterprise-focused applications will blur into a much more user-oriented experience.

Baldet and Nielsen wants Clovyr to result in tools that can help people build in a way that protects user data.

“We want to provide very clear privacy-preserving stacks [that] we recommend you go with if you don’t know where to start,” Baldet said.

While Baldet and company have yet to fully expand on what such a privacy-preserving system would look like, Baldet hinted that such applications should be more conservative about what information is shared, and suggested using the shared ledger merely as a coordination device.

Naldet and Nielsen also hinted that such privacy-preserving features could come with data-analysis capabilities as well.

Quite notably, the startup’s applications intend to provide compliancy for the GDPR, a strict data-protection law that comes into force in Europe this month that some have worried may cause problems for public blockchain data.

Baldet added:

“Privacy isn’t just a law, it’s also just a human rights issue for users of the system.”

Former JP Morgan Blockchain Lead Hints at Startup

It looks like everyone’s waiting with bated breath for Amber Baldet’s big reveal.

Since quitting her role as blockchain lead at JP Morgan, Baldet has been rather tight-lipped on the new company she plans to launch. Her presentation at the Ethereal Summit last Friday , hosted by Consensys, may have hinted at what she wants to accomplish.

In her presentation, Baldet criticized the tribalism that typically occurs between builders of open blockchain networks and institutions, stressing the importance of hybrid technologies that can deploy verifiable, open-source code resistant to single points of failure but that can be adjusted should exceptions happen.

Hybrid blockchains have claimed the interest of many executives at major companies and Baldet’s interest comes after the two largest public protocols have been trapped in a bitter online feud.

Baldet has framed permissioned blockchains as perhaps offering a well-intentioned contrast to a model that’s seen no shortage of critiques over the years. Baldet said during the talk:

“You can change the rules of the game without fighting on Twitter for two years. So, choices matter.”

Baldet echoed the narrative of inclusion that the Ethereal Summit wanted to illustrate, while touching on the need for a better security models and poking fun at bitcoin’s strategy for its security model and its emphasis on inclusion through node ownership.

Baldet framed herself as an etrepeneur who wants to forge a path toward a “pragmatic internet of value. In other words, something that works,” she said.

And Baldet believes privacy is crucial for the future of blockchain technology.

“Fundamental strong encryption is a requirement for these systems,” Baldet said, emphasizing that such cryptography should be open source and intensely vetted.

While permissioned blockchains are often criticized for their management by central authorities, Baldet notes, public blockchains tend to put the onus on the individual, and as such, aren’t perfect solutions for users.

Though bitcoin is ideal as a peer-to-peer, censorship-resistant payment network, Baldet also thought that builders of other blockchains might need to seek alternative strategies concurrent with their visions.

Building a system that has properties of both public and private blockchains, she seemed to stress, could prove beneficial for all parties concerned.

Finally, Baldet also thinks that while interoperability is often cited as integral to blockchain adoption, Baldet said that forging connections between protocols could open up creating security vulnerabilities.

She believes that instead of chasing interoperability, blockchains should be used for simple attestations that something has occurred, with the cryptographic hashes giving a compressed, yet computationally-verifiable sequence of what happened.

Baldet finally concluded:

“We need to dumb down what it is on blockchain – fewer smart contracts and more dumb coordination.”

Goldman Sach Exec Quits to Chase Crypto Fortune

Former Goldman Sachs banker Chris Matta shocked his former company by doing something considered inconceivable: just days after being promoted to Vice-President, he quit.

After 6 grueling years working at Goldman, the 28-year-old had made Vice-President. Matta was on the fast track for more pay and status.

But Matta had other plans in mind.

After watching Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies boom in 2017, Matta and two colleagues became intrigued and decided to create their own cryptocurrency-focused investment vehicle. in an Interview with CNBC, Matta said:

“It’s safe to say, you leave a good amount of money on the table walking away from Goldman. But I saw it as a calculated risk.”

That calculated risk actually meant that he was waving goodbye to his yearly bonus. He further explains:

“They called in the CEO of my organization, and he said, basically, ‘Are you crazy? Do you realize the risk you are taking here? You are giving up on your bonus!'”

While it sounds unconventional, the young man’s exit from Wall Street serves as an example of how the brightest and sharpest financial minds are leaving traditional financial institutions in favor of the new frontier that is cryptocurrencies.

In Matta’s cae, he and his partners and co-founders-Ali Hassan and Michael Kazley-actually spent their holiday vacation setting up their company, Crescent Crypto Asset Management, instead of catching up with some R&R. Explained Matta:

“In the crypto world, every month is like a year in the equities space. The amount of things that would change in that time, the number of funds that would come to market, it would just be a much more difficult landscape for us if we were trying to get things up and running in February.”

Despite rough goings in the first half of 2018 thus far, Matta and crew remain faithful that their new venture will work out. “It’s either going to zero, or it’s going magnitudes higher,” he told CNBC, adding:

“I don’t regret it at all. It’s been the most exciting few months of my life, honestly.”