Bittrex Acquires 10% Stake In Malta-Based Blockchain Firm Palladium

  • US-based cryptocurrency exchange Bittrex has acquired a 10 percent ownership stake in Malta-based blockchain startup Palladium.
  • Palladium aims to built a "unified" platform that bridges the gap between fiat and crypto-based payment systems.
  • Bittrex's stake in Palladium has been announced shortly after the two companies launched the very first Initial Convertible Coin Offering (ICCO), an effort to improve the current ICO model.

US-based cryptocurrency exchange Bittrex has reportedly acquired a 10 percent share in Malta-based blockchain startup Palladium. In July, Bittrex and Palladium had partnered to launch the world’s first Initial Convertible Coin Offering (ICCO), which aims to be an improved version of the current initial coin offering (ICO) model.

Improved, Regulated Crowdfunding For Crypto

As covered, the ICCO was developed to “give investors peace of mind” as there have now been many scams associated with ICOs. Each token issued to investors using this improved crowdfunding model is referred to as a “convertible warrant” which can be exchanged for shares in Palladium “three years after [its] issue date.”

Through its partnership with Bittrex and e-sports betting platform Unikrn, Palladium had also announced its plans to raise €150 million through the sale of its tokenized securities which started on July 25th and will end on September 30th.

According to the Times of Malta, Unikrn has a 15 percent share in Palladium and Investar Holding Corporation owns 85 percent of the Malta-based blockchain company. Investar Holding is fully owned by Paolo Catalfamo, the CEO and founder of Palladium.

Bridiging The Gap Between Fiat And Crypto

In order to bridge the gap between traditional finance and digital currencies, Palladium aims to become the world’s “first regulated unified platform.” As described on its official website, the company plans to develop a blockchain that “bonds banking with cryptocurrency.”

Palladium’s platform will be designed to offer its clients a “single, unified interface” for managing a diverse set of asset classes while also allowing them “to access a wide array of services denominated both in fiat and cryptocurrencies.”

Other services the platform intends to provide include paying for everyday purchases and bills with crypto or fiat currencies. Commenting on Bittrex’s role and recent investment in Palladium, Catalfamo said that:

“We are excited to have such a global player on board. Bittrex’s investment in Palladium is a confirmation of Malta’s sound decision to be at the forefront of regulating blockchain technology.”

Paolo Catalfamo

Self-Regulating Organization

Notably, Bittrex joined the newly established Virtual Commodity Association (VCA) Working Group on August 20th, which is an “industry-sponsored, self-regulatory organization” (SRO) that aims to monitor “virtual commodity marketplaces.”

Other crypto firms participating in the VCA include the Winklevoss-owned Gemini Trust Company, Luxembourg based bitcoin exchange Bitstamp, and US-based crypto exchange bitFlyer.

As CryptoGlobe reported on August 16th, the Ripple company named Bittrex as one of its first three “preferred” digital currency exchanges for Ripple’s xRapid transactions involving USD.

Bittrex and Ripple have also partnered in order to work collaboratively on an initiative that aims to develop a “healthy” business environment for cryptocurrency exchanges. As covered, other partners involved in this project include Mexican digital currency trading platform Bitso and Philippines-based crypto exchange

Coinbase Commerce Now Lets Merchants Accept USD Coin (USDC)

On Monday (May 20), Coinbase announced that "Coinbase Commerce", which provides non-custodial cryptocurrency payment solutions, now allows businesses to accept fully dollar-collateralized stablecoin USDC.

History of USDC

As CryptoGlobe reported on 26 September 2018, "USDC Coin" (USDC for short) was launched on that day by Goldman-funded FinTech startup Circle Internet Financial (better known as "Circle"). This is a regulated fully-collateralized dollar-backed stablecoin that was originally announced on 16 May 2018. USDC is based on an open source fiat stablecoin framework developed and governed by the CENTRE project.

Circle said at the time that the problems with existing fiat-backed solutions (such as Tether's USDT) were that they "have lacked financial and operational transparency, have operated in unregulated jurisdictions with unknown banking and audit partners, and have been built as closed-loop ecosystems and closed proprietary technologies."

In contrast, Circle's USDC stablecoin deals with these issues by "providing detailed financial and operational transparency" and "operating within the regulated framework of US money transmission laws, reinforced by established banking partners and auditors." USDC tokens are ERC-20 compatible (meaning that they run on the Ethereum blockchain); they are minted, issued, and burnt/redeemed based on network rules defined by CENTRE. 

Coinbase's Previous Involvement With USDC

On 23 October 2018, Circle announced that Coinbase (another member of the CENTRE consortium) was making USDC available to its customers on Coinbase Consumer and Coinbase Pro, and that customers could "tokenize dollars into USDC and redeem USDC into dollars through both Circle and Coinbase."

Then, on May 14, Coinbase said via a blog post titled "Expanding USDC crypto trading globally" that:

  • It was making USDC trading available on Coinbase Consumer and Coinbase Pro in 85 countries.

  • It was doing this to help "accelerate the global adoption of crypto trading" and to provide wider access to "a stable store of value."

  • There are more than 300 million USDC tokens currently in circulation today, and that USDC is supported by 100+ ecosystem partners.

  • Stablecoins "have the potential to materially improve the lives of people in countries where inflation is eroding wealth." 

  • Coinbase serves customers in 103 jurisdictions.

Coinbase Commerce and USDC

Coinbase Commerce was launched on 14 February 2018. Coinbase described Coinbase Commerce as a new service that "enables merchants to accept multiple cryptocurrencies directly into a user-controlled wallet," and that in contrast to its previous merchant products, it was "not a hosted service, so merchants have full control of their own digital currency." Four cryptocurrencies were supported back then: Bitcoin (BTC), Bitcoin Cash (BCH), Ether (ETH), and Litecoin (LTC).

Coinbase Commerce can be "directly integrated into a merchant’s checkout flow or added as a payment option on an e-commerce platform." Initially, the only e-commerce platform supported was Shopify, but on 6 August 2018, support for WooCommerce was added.

Yesterday's blog post said that now Coinbase Commerce has added support for stablecoin USDC, thereby allowing "businesses to accept payments online in the same way they’re able to accept cash in-store." 

Here are a few things to note about Coinbase Commerce:

  • "Coinbase Commerce doesn’t charge any fees to process payments."
  • "Coinbase Commerce accounts are completely separate from Coinbase accounts."
  • "You can use the withdraw functionality to send cryptocurrency to an address associated with your Coinbase account."

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