Block by Block Weekly Newsletter #28

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News of the Week

🤔 ShapeShift Announces Membership Program

Cryptocurrency exchange ShapeShift has introduced a new rewards program (that includes a crypto token named ‘FOX’), which will eventually become a mandatory membership model for the exchange’s users, according to an announcement published September 4.

The program is currently optional, though it will become mandatory in the near future and requires the provision of “basic” personal information. Within the rewards program, users can reportedly experience better pricing and receive benefits in various forms across all ShapeShift products and services.

The move has caused some controversy in the crypto community as ShapeShift hasn’t required users to identify themselves in the past. With this new membership program, eventually everyone will need to identify themselves to ShapeShift before they’re able to use the platform.

👍 Bittrex Announces Formation of Bittrex International

Bittrex today announced the formation of Bittrex International Inc., an affiliate of Bittrex Inc., which will own and manage a global collection of innovative blockchain technology-focused businesses operating outside of the United States.

The mission of Bittrex International is to be a driving force in the blockchain revolution, increasing adoption of this innovative technology around the world. The company will own and manage Bittrex’s international businesses.

Interestingly, Bittrex International is also establishing Bittrex Malta that will be built on Bittrex’s trading technology. You’ll remember that Binance has been making moves in Malta over the last few months as the country is

💲 Gemini Launches U.S Dollar Backed Stablecoin

The New York Department of Financial Services (NYDFS) has approved Gemini Trust Company’s request to issue its first cryptocurrency.

Called the Gemini Dollar, the currency is already live on Gemini and uses the Ethereum blockchain. Every token issued will be backed by a U.S. dollar, in order to give it the stability of the fiat currency and the speed and borderless nature of a cryptocurrency.

Investing giant State Street will be holding onto the U.S. dollars in an FDIC-insured account, and multiple third-party audits will be conducted both before and after the launch.

Paxos also issued their own Ethereum-based stablecoin this week.

👊 Coinbase Seeking to Launch an ETF

Business Insider reports that the proposed crypto ETF is another attempt for diversification by Coinbase in its products and offerings, as the exchange continues to add new flavors to its already diversified business which currently spans across asset management, venture capital, trading, custody, and brokerage.

The crypto exchange has had discussions with BlackRock’s blockchain working group and expects to benefit from the latter’s expertise in launching exchange-traded products.

With the initiative, Coinbase joins the league of multiple other crypto firms, like the Winklevoss twins-led Gemini exchange, Bitwise Asset Management, and VanEck, who are awaiting SEC nod for their respective ETF.

🏦 Goldman Sachs Trading Desk Drama

Earlier this week, a report suggested Goldman Sachs was backing away from its plans to open a cryptocurrency trading desk, as it was rumored to have intended to do this summer. The news sparked a bloodbath in the market for Bitcoin and other virtual coins, as it signaled a weakening of institutional support for cryptocurrencies at an early and vulnerable stage of their development.

However, Goldman Sachs now claims the report was “fake news,” on the basis that the trading desk plans never had a timeline.

😢 Kraken Laying Off 57 Employees

Kraken, one of the largest cryptocurrency exchanges, is laying off 57 North America-based employees, according to Chief Executive Officer Jesse Powell.

The move represents roughly 10 percent of San Francisco-based Kraken’s client services team, Powell said in an emailed response to questions after speculation surfaced on social media platform Reddit that Kraken employees were laid off because of a security breach. The thread also mentioned the exchange was reducing staff after trading volumes had dropped.

Project Updates

Loom Releases ERC721x Spec

ERC721x is an extension of ERC721 that adds support for multi-fungible tokens and batch transfers, while staying fully backward compatible.

0x Welcomes David Sacks

David will be joining the 0x core team’s advisory board. He was an early COO of PayPal and the founder and CEO of Yammer.

0x and Harbor Partner Up

0x and Harbor team up to optimize a security token stack based on Ethereum open standards

Introducing CDx

CDx is an open protocol for creating tokenized credit default swaps that utilizes the Ethereum blockchain as its custodian, clearinghouse, and enforcement mechanism rather than centralized financial intermediaries and the legal system.

Aion Improvement Proposals Now Active

Aion Improvement Proposals (AIPs) serve as the formal process for the Aion community to suggest, debate, collaborate and come to a consensus on improvements to the Aion codebase and its surrounding ecosystem.

Connext Live on Mainnet

Spankchain, the first Connext Hub, is officially live on the Ethereum mainnet. A user of a Connext Hub can trustlessly pay any other user of the Hub without needing to pay gas or wait for block confirmation.

Prysmatic Labs Ethereum Sharding Update #12

Biweekly update from the Prysmatic Labs team covering research, github activity and their upcoming work.

Choose Your Own Golem

Golem introduces their ‘Use Case Pipeline’ which is meant to aid in their evolution toward general purpose computing, supporting a wide variety of use-cases from machine learning to scientific computing, and everything in between.

Project Spotlight


Dmunity is a platform that allows people to earn crypto by curating quality content for the community. The platform is similar to a forum, but with tokens to incentivize good behaviour.

The platform is currently in beta and you can link your Reddit account to get free tokens based on the amount of Reddit karma you have.

Website Updates

New research added to the site

New resources added to the site


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Disclaimer: None of the information outlined in this piece should be taken as investment advice. Please click here for more information.

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