Finom AG’s cryptocurrency ecosystem shows high demand in first report

In an effort to document their progress and highlight key statistics, Finom AG, the blockchain holding company has released a new and their first quarterly report. Finom AG includes cryptocurrency companies TabTrader, Nanopool, FinCloud, Cryptonit, and Beetle (more about these services are down below).

Last year, the company completed a successful crowdsale of FIN tokens, raising $41 million from over 7,000 contributors. Finom issued the unique FIN security token and then did a second ICO for utility NOM tokens. The FIN security token made history as one of the first pursuant to Regulation D of the U.S. SEC.

The new quarterly report from Finom delivers some nice transparency for token holders. Eventually, the company may start to record detailed financial results. Although for now, there are no requirements to do so.

Finom AG's cryptocurrency ecosystem shows high demand in first report
Kirill Suslov, CEO of Finom AG

Kirill Suslov, CEO of Finom AG said, “With each new report we plan to disclose more information to you because we want you to know as much as possible about Finom. Deeper knowledge leads to insight, which in turn leads to trust.”

A fundamental statistic from the report shows users across Finom’s services doubling in six months. Users increased from 220,000 in Q3 2017 to 407,000 in Q4 2017, to now more than 530,000 at the end of Q1 2018.

Besides their five active services, Finom also has three products currently under development. Below is a performance overview of the company’s operating services.

TabTrader

Finom AG’s main service is TabTrader, now with over 250,00 users signed up. TabTrader is a mobile terminal that allows users to trade cryptocurrency and manage accounts on the world’s 24 leading exchanges.

Most users access Bittrex through TabTrader, with 44% using TabTraber to trade on the US crypto exchange. Rounding out the top exchanges after Bittrex include, Bitfinex (9%), Poloniex (9%), and Binance (8%). There is also active TabTrader users accessing HitBTC, EXMO, Kraken, and Mercado.

Finom has as one of its main goals to increase the number of supported exchanges.

Finom AG's cryptocurrency ecosystem shows high demand in first report
User growth on Nanopool.
Nanopool

Nanopool has over 140,000 registered users and is one of the largest Ethereum mining pools in the world. They report their share of global Ethereum production to be about 15%. Since November 2017 Nanopool has seen a steady increase in users and hashrate on all its pools.

The percent network share of mining activity for crypto-assets mined by Nanopool shows 23% Ethereum Classic, 15%  Ethereum, 84% PascalCoin 5% Monero. <1% SiaCoin, 12% Zcash, and 23% Electroneum.

FinCloud

FinCloud, a cryptocurrency cloud mining service opened for prelaunch orders in March last month and is Finom’s most recent service launch. FinCloud will allow users to rent mining power for Bitcoin, Litecoin, Ethereum, Ethereum Classic, ZCash and Electroneum

Cryptonit

Cryptonit.net is a cryptocurrency exchange owned and managed by the British company Cryptonit Solutions, Ltd. The exchange has been running since 2012 and “has a spotless reputation.” Finom showed the exchange now has over 7,200 active users as of Q1 2018.

Beetle

Beetle.io is a mobile app for purchasing Bitcoin and Ethereum with a credit or debit card, devised as a simple tool for entry into the crypto world.

There is both an Android (7,500 installations) and iOS (10,500 installations) version. Through Beetle, users can invest in any ICO and move funds onto an exchange or third-party wallet.

Employee Growth

With the importance of team members to Finom’s growth, they have also highlighted some impressive statistics. In September 2017, Finom had 10 departments and 42 employees. By March 2018, the company headcount grew to 103 over 17 different departments.  The charts below show the employee distribution among Finom’s departments, along with the growth occurring over six months from 10 to 17 departments.

Finom AG's cryptocurrency ecosystem shows high demand in first report

Blockchain genomics platform Shivom partners with Spherity for data privacy

Shivom, the blockchain genomics platform that is powering personalized healthcare, has partnered with Spherity, the decentralized platform provider to ensure the privacy of Shivom’s massive genome datasets as the popularity of DNA sequencing grows. Spherity, who supported Shivom’s technical whitepaper in advance of the blockchain genomics company’s planned token sale, will provide the identity layers that identify machines, humans, and datasets.

Spherity will also provide permission management services that ensure access to the data is restricted to people with the right permissions. In addition, the teams will work on joint research into privacy preservation for DNA data storage and analysis, which will allow Shivom to adopt the latest technology as soon as possible.

“Our partnership with Spherity is particularly important because of the auditable log component that it will enable. In the world of DNA sequencing, researchers need to be able to view a log of who has accessed the information before and when that access occurred. This is an important aspect of our collaboration with Spherity that will enable advances in the world of precision medicine for many years to come.”

Natalie Pankova, Chief Scientific Officer at Shivom

The storage requirements for genomic data are set to exceed all other fields in the coming years, as more and more people access DNA sequencing. With file sizes ranging from around 100-400GB per genome and a forecast that up to 2 billion people will have had their genomes sequenced by 2025, the way in which this data is stored and accessed will become increasingly important. With Spherity’s help, the Shivom platform will allow for the creation of a public identity, a human genome data vault, and a structure for using one-time transaction identities during the registration process.

This will provide a potential solution to the fear that many individuals currently have towards the storage of their genomic sequencing data. Access to the data in the Shivom ecosystem will be managed by each individual DNA data holder, through a public/private key infrastructure that is based on similar blockchain systems previously built by Spherity for the energy sector.

“We are partnering with Shivom to help them develop a high level of privacy and individual control for their blockchain genomics platform. Modern cryptography allows us to add privacy while preserving computation through processes like multiparty computation and homomorphic encryption. Also, zero-knowledge proof systems can be used for DNA matching and privacy-preserving solutions or customized for human genome analytics.”

Dr. Carsten Stöcker, Founder of Spherity

Spherity will provide added value to the architecture of the Shivom ecosystem and will comprise part of the components that are required to build an efficient and useable technology to advance the Shivom vision. With Spherity, the platform will allow Shivom to maximize the impact of decentralized DNA data storage, healthcare identity management, and data sharing.

Efficient Execution: Surveying the DEX Landscape

All decentralized exchanges share the same fundamental function: to enable wallet-to-wallet trading in a trustless way. Also known as an atomic swap, this model pushes two-party transactions through a smart contract to the blockchain to settle. Decentralized trading protocols, like the 0x Project, AirSwap protocol and Kyber Network, all use atomic swaps to facilitate trading — but it’s how traders find each other and how exchanges manage orders that vary considerably. This is a crucial point left up to DEXs, and we would argue that current design decisions limit the ecosystem’s ability to serve potential customers of all backgrounds, from retail and algorithmic traders to institutions and dApps.

We want to build a decentralized trading platform for a decentralized world. As a part of this mission, we need a best-in-class execution experience for all types of users. But what exactly does ‘best’ mean in this scope? Some questions to consider include:

  • Price: How can we guarantee the best possible price, especially for market orders?
  • Speed: How can we ensure speedy orders, cancels, and fills? How can we balance accommodations for both API-based and dashboard-based traders?
  • Scalability: As orders and traders increase exponentially, how do we safeguard against performance and settlement issues?
  • Reliability: How do we design a minimally complicated, elegant system to ensure a bug-free experience?
  • Safety: How do we protect traders against malicious actors?

The answers to these questions drive how efficient execution is on any exchange. And we’ve seen a number of different solutions in the DEX world, which we discuss in detail below. For the purposes of this article, we’ll be focusing on decentralized exchanges that use the Ethereum blockchain as the settlement layer and allow trading of ERC20 tokens.

Getting the best deal

Peer-to-peer exchanges like AirSwap are interesting in the sense that they resemble a traditional marketplace or bazaar. Orders are collected off-chain, counterparties are found, and trades are negotiated in real-time in private. Once a price is locked in, a smart contract handles the atomic swap and the traders go on their merry way. But while P2P is potentially simpler and more familiar than other DEX infrastructures, it’s important to note the costs of this trading model.

Just like any other bartering system, both traders must be present on the platform at the same time to negotiate. This poses a few problems for many different types of users, ranging from casual traders with not much time to seasoned professionals with an arsenal of automated trading bots. Furthermore, price negotiation doesn’t always mean you get the best deal. Without a ledger of prices to cross-reference, buying and selling gets a little bit stickier and more time-consuming. Two trades of the same token can occur at wildly different prices even at the same time. This is a model that simply doesn’t exist in traditional financial markets today. Trading floors instead operate on auction mechanisms which are efficient at identifying prices for liquid and illiquid products. How a peer-to-peer model might operate at scale remains uncertain.

More users, more problems

Unlike a pure peer-to-peer negotiated system, DEXs that use the 0x protocol manage an order book according to either an ‘open’ model or a ‘matching’ strategy. On an open order book platform like Radar Relay, users place orders as usual, but the smart contracts that facilitate trading are ‘open’ to be signed by anyone. In other words, anyone can reach for an order and take it to the chain to be settled. In an ideal world, this model would work efficiently and elegantly, and there would be no need for an organizing force. But these systems don’t always work out in the wild.

In the real world, especially one where the underlying blockchain settlement layers are still evolving, an open order book system can be prone to errors and mishaps. Accidental collisions — when many traders reach for the same order simultaneously, and orders are filled or canceled at the same time — are named innocuously but quickly result in double-gas spending and unhappy users. For deliberate market manipulation, like front-running, it can be as easy as dialing your gas prices up to prioritize your transaction and censor other trades. As these issues relate to time and activity, scalability problems only stack up as more and more users join the platform. Without a solid infrastructure, it’s difficult to envision millions of traders on open order book DEXs making consistent, successful trades.

Speed wins

At the other end of the spectrum, 0x relayers like Paradex (and us) employ a matching strategy that marries a traditional order book look and feel to the DEX experience. DEXs with an off-chain order book, in theory, can replicate the speed, performance, and transparency of order books on traditional asset exchanges. We think mirroring is critical to adoption — the more unusual mechanisms added to the trading experience, the less likely DEXs are to be widely adopted. And unlike open order books, front-running is eliminated as the relayer only pushes orders to the blockchain once the two parties have signed off on the smart contract.

But even with matching systems, there are key design decisions and engineering challenges that need to be solved to ensure that blockchain-based settlement occurs with minimal cost and maximum reliability. For example, most relayers do not allow what we would call ‘true’ market orders: the ability to immediately buy all the tokens you need at the best possible price and with minimal gas costs. When you’re running algorithmic or high-frequency strategies, knowing all your costs upfront is critically important — which is why we are not huge fans of price rebates of other ‘adjustments’ post-settlement. If the goal of the DEX world is to replicate the performance of traditional asset exchanges in a trustless way, that should mean embodying the looks, feel, and function of the fastest professional trading systems in the world.

Simpler solutions to complex problems

A bottleneck to the DEX experience is the speed of settlement of the underlying chain. In times of a CryptoKitties surge, it might be hard for DEX systems to settle trades. To solve that problem, IDEX (now one of the more popular DEXs) introduces an ‘arbiter’ to sit between their execution engine and settlement layer. The arbiter lists approved but not yet settled trades, almost like a parallel chain yet to be mined by the Ethereum network. This can be helpful to keep a tally of your balances or alleviate network congestion, but it also poses a greater likelihood of unexpected issues. Rather than build parallel systems from scratch, we think building an execution engine that’s maximally efficient and flexible — both in the costs people pay to trade in times of congestion and the underlying settlement chain — is a better way to evolve with the ecosystem. We want to make sure we build smarter, not harder.

Playing by the rules

There’s another design decision made by IDEX and other DEXs currently on the marketplace: anonymous trading. We think there is and will always be demand for people to trade anonymously. The question is, what’s right for the majority of people in the majority of cases? Do people want to trade in a Wild West manner, or do they want assurance that the platform, people, and protocols available for sale are operating in a fair and safe marketplace? Do they want to work with an exchange that prevents front-running, pump-and-dumps, and other malicious activity? Should exchanges be committed to protecting investors; maintaining fair, orderly, and efficient markets; and facilitating capital formation?

We think the answer to all these questions is yes. We’re strong believers that crypto exchanges need to follow best practices and be thought leaders in terms of self-policing and regulation. Going for quantity over quality, whether it be tokens or users, leaves the system open to exploitation and regulatory liability. Without user accounts, malicious actors can’t be punished for unethical behavior. And by listing any token without proper due diligence, retail and institutional traders can’t be sure that what they are buying meets the standards that any investor in any marketplace would expect. We think The Ocean X can provide a fair, safe, and efficient market for traders of all types, and make user accounts, onboarding, and other parts of the experience as seamless and painless as possible, without sacrificing speed or performance of our marketplace.

Crypterium integrates first bitcoin exchange with API of Kraken

Crypterium, who recently completed a successful $50 million token sale with the goal of providing services that will bridge the gap between cryptocurrency and their use in everyday life informed that they have kick-started their platform by choosing the API of bitcoin exchange Kraken as the first for Crypterium SX.

The aim for Crypterium SX is to ensure the most efficient bid-offer matching across natural peer-to-peer flow, as well as third-party crypto-exchanges. Users will always see in real time the amount of cryptocurrency they are going to spend, and also the value of their crypto funds in their preferred fiat currency.

The team says that integration with at least 10 more exchanges is planned for the near future.

All historical transactions on Crypterium will be stored in dedicated data-warehouses that continuously analyze data to enhance risk management, identify predictive behaviors, and enable Crypterium to optimize the cryptocurrency exchange process and better educate the customer on possible payment strategies. For example, the app may highlight different payment mixes depending on the current cryptocurrency valuations.

The Crypterium team said:

“Our algorithms will be analyzing order books of the most popular crypto exchanges in real time predicting how our order could influence the market, and which exchange is optimal in each case for making the transaction.”

“So we chose Kraken as the first exchange to be integrated with Crypterium SX. The technical part is complete: our servers can already derive the going rates from Kraken, as well as send and receive transaction requests. This is a crucial step towards the creation of a fully-fledged crypto-fiat payment system, and we are absolutely delighted to tell you about it.”

Founded in 2011, San Francisco-based Kraken is one of the largest Bitcoin exchanges in euro.

“We’ve obtained 3 out of 4 licenses that we need for the full launch, and we’re very happy with the progress. It shows the inherent quality of our product. And each step forward grants us a chance to add new features to the Crypterium cryptobank,” — says Gleb Markov, co-founder of Crypterium.

The CRPT token

All the Crypterium solutions will only be accessible is holding the CRPT  token, that will be used as ‘gas’ for the transactions. Every time someone makes a payment, a fee equal to 0.5% of the value of the transaction in CRPT is taken from the CRPT token holder’s account and burnt as fuel. This means the number of CRPT tokens will be reducing over time.

 

Mexican bitcoin exchange Bitso gets prices integrated on Reuters

Bitso, a Mexican-based bitcoin exchange announced that the various cryptocurrency markets the company supports (BTC, ETH, XRP, LTC, and BCH) are now available for consultation on information platform Thomson Reuters Eikon.

The Bitso team stated, “the increasing interest of our users and financial institutions for the Bitso market and the cryptocurrencies, has motivated us to create an alliance with Thomson Reuters Eikon, with Bitso being the financial information provider of cryptocurrencies for the Mexican markets.”

Through the integration, the profile of Bitso can be consulted and a series of RICs (Reuters Identification Code) with information on available crossings has been assigned.

The following Mexican Peso markets can now be viewed, with the price coming from Bitso.

  • BTCMXN = BTSO (Bitcoin-Mexican Peso)
  • ETHMXN = BTSO (Ethereum-Mexican Peso)
  • XRPMXN = BTSO (Ripple-Mexican Peso)
  • LTCMXN = BTSO (Litecoin-Mexican Peso)

Plus the following non-Mexican Peso based markets:

  • XRPBTC = BTSO (Ripple-Bitcoin)
  • LTCBTC = BTSO (Litecoin-Bitcoin)
  • BCHBTC = BTSO (Bitcoin Cash-Bitcoin)

The app that concentrates all the information available from Bitso within Eikon can be consulted from the Search Book using the words BTSO or BITSO.

Bitcoin and crypto trading platform NakamotoX beta launches

NakamotoX, a bitcon and digital asset trading platform has officially beta launched.  The beta release comes after months of alpha testing by the community. Throughout the course of the beta release, all users have a trading fee of 0%.

The team says safety is its top priority for customers, they have instituted top-level DDOS protection, 2FA, multisig cold storage and regularly undergo penetration tests. The exchange platform was built in a modular fashion, so the situation where the whole platform collapses and is inaccessible, cannot happen.

The following assets are available with the beta release (with more to be added later): XMR/BTC,ETH/EUR, LTC/EUR, XMR/EUR, ETH/BTC, LTC/BTC, BTC/EUR, XVG/BTC.

While the team who developed the platform mostly come from the Czech Republic, NakamotoX is registered in the United Kingdom as Nakamotox Ltd. The UK company acts as the corporate vehicle that houses investor’s interests, the exchange platform itself and customer activities.

Bitcoin and crypto trading platform NakamotoX beta launches
Security features of NakamotoX

Yahoo Japan subsidiary confirms 40% stake in new bitcoin exchange

Z Corporation, a wholly owned subsidiary of Yahoo Japan confirmed today after weeks of rumblings that it has signed a contract with BitArg Exchange Co., Ltd., a subsidiary of CMD Lab.

The Yahoo subsidiary will complete the transfer of shares this month from CMD Lab and the third party allotment from BitArg Exchange Tokyo, which will become an equity-method affiliate of Z Corporation.

Z Corporation, established to challenge areas different from Yahoo’s existing business, will capital participate in the new BitArg Exchange Tokyo which was authorized as a virtual currency exchanger from the Kanto Local Finance Bureau.

The Z Corporation said:

“We will enter the blockchain related area where the application is expected and the virtual currency business. In addition, by utilizing the service operation and security expertise of the Yahoo group, we support the operation of the exchange operated by BitArg Tokyo and the operation after the start, we aim to offer service that is easy and safe to use.”

After the acquisition of shares CMD Lab will own 60% and Yahoo’s Z Corporation 40%.

Bitcoin ATM network Coinsource expands into Washington DC

Coinsource, a U.S. Bitcoin ATM network, today announced its first expansion into the Nation’s capital. Coinsource will install 20 machines across the District of Columbia and Maryland after receiving significant demand from local users.

Currently, Washington D.C. has five machines being serviced by five different operators. With this deployment, Coinsource will be the largest Bitcoin ATM operating network in the D.C. metropolitan area. D.C.’s 20 new Bitcoin ATMs (12 in Washington D.C., 5 in Baltimore, 1 in Towson, 1 in Oxon Hill, and 1 in Takoma Park).

“We are meeting Washington D.C. at an inflection point, where regulators are looking at the value and potential of decentralized currencies and blockchain technology,” said CEO of Coinsource Sheffield Clark. “All innovation over time has passed through our Nation’s Capital in one way or another, and we are happy to be now servicing Washington D.C. and the surrounding communities so that they can have easy access to buying and selling Bitcoin.”

Washington D.C. is no stranger to cryptocurrency and its implications. Earlier this month, a subcommittee of the U.S. House of Representatives Financial Services Committee held a hearing examining cryptocurrencies and ICO markets, while The Chamber of Digital Commerce hosted its third annual D.C. Blockchain Summit. Additionally, several local restaurants, bookshops, and record shops have been accepting Bitcoin as payment since last year.

CMO of Coinsource, Bobby Sharp, said, “We are expanding the Bitcoin ATM market further than it’s ever been in D.C., offering the lowest rates, exclusive remote enrollment and allowing for at-home account registration.This installment is especially significant to Coinsource, as the philosophy behind decentralized currency is and has always been about giving freedom back to the people. As a company, I feel that we have been able to provide financial freedom to the underbanked and unbanked, and I am happy to bring our services to D.C.”

During the first quarter of this year, Coinsource installed 10 new machines in Rhode Island, New Hampshire, and Massachusetts. Additionally, Coinsource introduced eight new machines in Denver, Colorado last week.

Coinsource services 164 million residents across the country and currently has 182 machines in 19 states; California, Oklahoma, Nevada, Texas, Louisiana, Missouri, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Arizona, Georgia, Rhode Island, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Colorado, Maryland, Delaware and the District of Columbia.

NetCents launching settlements to protect cryptocurrency transactions

NetCents Technology today announced the launch of Instant Settlements, to provide merchants guaranteed protection against market-volatility and liquidity issues associated with processing cryptocurrency transactions.

NetCents will initially offer instant settlement for Bitcoin, Ethereum, Litecoin, with additional cryptocurrencies to be added over time.

Through Instant Settlements, merchants will now be able to take advantage of all the benefits of lower fees, faster processing, and leverage the liquidity of ‘crypto-to-fiat or crypto-to-crypto’ settlement without being exposed to the risks or the price fluctuations inherent with cryptocurrencies.

Clayton Moore, CEO of NetCents Technology said:

“With our risk-free platform, merchants and payment processors will be able to accept these next-generation cryptocurrencies while behind-the-scenes, seamlessly and instantly settle of the purchase amount in the local fiat or digital currency of their choice. NetCents Technology removes all liability and merchant risk of cryptocurrency transactions.”

Vaultbank partners with Gordian for compliant securities token exchange

Vaultbank, a cryptocurrency exchange platform for buying, selling, and trading asset-backed tokens, today announced it has raised over $3 million in funding, reaching the soft cap for its VB token sale. VB tokens are currently being distributed to Vaultbank token sale backers.

Vaultbank has also partnered with Gordian Compliance Solutions, a compliance consulting firm, headquartered in San Francisco, CA. Vaultbank and Gordian Compliance Solutions are in the process of registering with the SEC as an Alternative Trading System (ATS) and with FINRA as a registered broker-dealer for the issuance of security tokens and the trading of security and utility tokens on the Vaultbank Exchange.

Vaultbank is a global investment firm that provides a comprehensive suite of financial solutions including a secured asset fund, its proprietary Vaultbank Exchange, and traditional investments securities that include Mutual Funds and Hedge Funds. The Vaultbank Exchange will offer a fully securities-compliant platform supporting KYC, AML, FATCA, and Accreditation.

The company further announced the launch of the Vaultbank Fund, which provides the main asset-backing of each VB token and intends to pay quarterly dividends in Ethereum (ETH). Of the $3 million raised in the VB token sale, $1.3 million has been allocated to the Vaultbank Fund, providing the main yields to be used for potential dividends which are expected to be distributed at the end of Q2, 2018.

“At Vaultbank, we’re building a suite of financial services to support the evolution of cryptocurrency trading and investing, and the Vaultbank Fund is a major feature of this effort,” said Christopher Cummock, Co-Founder, and Chief Compliance Officer. “We are pleased by the support from our backers in the VB token sale, and look forward to continuing to build out our platform and fund offerings.”

Built on the Stellar platform, Vaultbank Exchange offers lightning-fast transaction times at a fraction of the cost of other exchanges. While many exchanges have come under scrutiny for providing insufficient security protocols, Vaultbank has been engineered to provide enhanced security via compulsory triple-factor authentication. Vaultbank further mitigates security risks inherent in other centralized exchanges by providing traders total control over their private keys.

Vaultbank board of directors includes former BlackRock CIO Ken Kroner, former Third Point Capital partner Keri Findley, former MasterCard Head of Digital Commerce (MEA) Aaron Oliver, Gyft co-founder CJ MacDonald, and former Bank of America Managing Director Mike Gay.