US and Singapore companies collaborating: Okcoin partners with Hodlnaut

“We are building the next generation of tools to help onboard the investors and traders who have been on the fence about crypto,” said Khairi Azmi.

Singapore-based crypto lending platform Hodlnaut will partner with United States crypto exchange Okcoin in an effort to drive adoption and crypto transactions among users.

In a Wednesday announcement, Hodlnaut said the partnership would allow its users and those on Okcoin to purchase cryptocurrencies and earn rewards on their holdings. The lending platform said Singapore-based users already use Okcoin as a fiat on-ramp solution to go from the Singapore dollar to Bitcoin (BTC) and Ether (ETH).

“We are building the next generation of tools to help onboard the investors and traders who have been on the fence about crypto,” said Okcoin’s Singapore general manager, Khairi Azmi. “We believe that this partnership will contribute positively to the crypto ecosystem for consumers.”

According to the announcement, Hodlnaut users will have the opportunity to earn $10 in Bitcoin — roughly 0.00022 BTC at the time of publication, based on a price of $44,524 — for signing up for the platform and fulfilling certain Know Your Customer and trading requirements. Okcoin users signing up for Hodlnaut will also be able to earn a bonus in fiat.

Related: Okcoin secures regulatory approval in Malta and the Netherlands

Founded in 2013, Okcoin is one of the world’s oldest crypto exchanges and has expanded to serve users in more than 190 countries. Though its headquarters are in the United States, Okcoin moved into Singapore in 2020 and allows customers to trade Singapore dollar pairings for BTC and ETH.

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Honduras gets its first Bitcoin ATM

The “la bitcoinera” machine allows crypto enthusiasts to purchase BTC and ETH using the local fiat currency provided they are willing to scan their IDs and disclose certain personal information.

TGU Consulting Group, a Honduran company based in the capital of Tegucigalpa, has reportedly installed the country’s first Bitcoin ATM.

According to a Friday Reuters report, TGU chief executive Juan Mayen led the move to install the Bitcoin (BTC) ATM in one of the capital’s office buildings. The “la bitcoinera” machine allows crypto enthusiasts to purchase BTC and Ether (ETH) using the local fiat currency, lempira, provided they are willing to scan their IDs and disclose certain personal information.

Mayen said this was the first automated way to purchase Bitcoin in Honduras, but many software developers had been accepting crypto for payments. According to the TGU exec, many Hondurans have had to exchange cash for crypto in person, an action he described as “very inconvenient and dangerous” in the country — data from crowd-sourced platform Numbeo shows the level of crime in Honduras as “very high.”

Lawmakers in some Central America nations have been taking more pro-crypto positions as the market continues to grow. El Salvador is currently installing Bitcoin ATMs across the country in preparation for the cryptocurrency being accepted as legal tender starting on Sept. 7. At least one member of Panama’s congress has also proposed legislation for the country to adopt Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies.

Related: Athena confirms plans to bring 1500 Bitcoin ATMs to El Salvador

Data from Cointelegraph Markets Pro shows the price of BTC is $48,976 at the time of publication, having risen more than 3% in the last 24 hours. The ETH price is $3,272, having increased more than 4% over the same period.

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Weekly roundup: Ark Invest, Edge Wealth Management, and Rothschild Investment accumulate crypto

Cathie Wood’s Ark Invest purchased more than 450,000 GBTC shares in two separate buys this week.

As the price of Bitcoin returned to more than $32,000 this week, some major firms announced they had increased their exposure to cryptocurrencies through Grayscale’s crypto trusts.

According to a Friday filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, or SEC, New York-based investment firm Edge Wealth Management currently holds 54,134 shares of Grayscale’s Bitcoin Trust (GBTC), valued at $27.13 at the time of publication, and 25,280 shares of the company’s Ethereum Trust (ETHE). The crypto holdings are worth almost $2 million at $1,468,655 and $466,668, respectively, roughly 0.3% of the $703 million total assets under management the company reported on Feb. 2.

Grayscale’s crypto trusts are not new investment opportunities for Edge. The investment firm held 37,605 GBTC and 17,300 ETHE shares in April, representing increases of 44% and 46%, respectively.

Some institutions’ exposure to Bitcoin (BTC), Ether (ETH), and other cryptocurrencies through Grayscale have increased as digital currencies seemingly play a larger role in the global economy. Similar filings with the SEC show Rothschild Investment Corp quadrupled its exposure to Bitcoin through Grayscale, owning 38,346 GBTC shares in April and 141,405 GBTC as of June 30. With a reported more than $1 billion in assets under management as of April 8, the Bitcoin trust shares represent less than 0.09% of the investment firm’s holdings.

However, Cathie Wood’s Ark Invest is continuing to purchase GBTC shares at higher rate than the two aforementioned companies. This week, the investment firm reported it purchased more than 450,000 shares of Grayscale Bitcoin Trust in two separate buys, bringing its combined holdings to more than 9 million shares, or roughly 0.5% of its portfolio. At its peak in March, GBTC represented 0.9% of Ark’s portfolio.

Related: Grayscale ‘100% committed’ to turning GBTC into Bitcoin ETF — CEO

“The investment community continues to express interest in the digital currency asset class, and the crypto ecosystem more broadly, and as these assets gain mainstream adoption, we anticipate investors will seek new ways to access digital currencies to further diversify their portfolios,” said Grayscale CEO Michael Sonnenshein in a letter to investors.

The reports of GBTC purchases come the same week Grayscale unlocked 16,240 BTC worth of its Bitcoin Trust shares after six months. Though there was some speculation the price of the crypto asset could be adversely affected by such a large release in a single day, BTC saw a roughly 2.9% increase in price week-over-week and reached $32,457 at the time of publication.

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Harmony announces $1M hackathon aimed at merging traditional finance and DeFi

The hackathon will run for roughly six weeks from Aug. 15 to Sept. 30 and include four challenges from three different categories.

The Harmony blockchain has opened registration for a hackathon starting next month with more than $1 million in seed funding and prizes for participants.

In a Thursday announcement on Twitter, Harmony said the hackathon would be focused on bringing in more people from traditional finance for challenges bridging their fields and decentralized finance. The protocol said there would be four challenges in each category of social wallets and keyless security, cross-chain and trustless bridges, and cross-border with fintech integration.

“In blockchain, finance is where we are seeing product market fit,” said Harmony. “But most of DeFi was created by people who didn’t come from traditional finance. We want to bring more TradFi in to contribute to DeFi. We know they have much to teach us and we can help them understand and harness the power of DeFi and teach them a lot as well.”

SushiSwap core developer Omakase is listed as one of the featured speakers or judges for the event, alongside Earn.com co-founder Lily Liu, DeFi Alliance lead Imran Khan, and others. Sponsors include CoinGecko, Messari, Unstoppable Domains, DappRadar, SushiSwap, DoraHacks, news platform The Defiant, and Hummingbot.

Related: Hackathon challenges developers to build killer blockchain apps using JavaScript

A sharding protocol with a trustless Ethereum bridge that separates its chain into segments that process transactions and store data in parallel, Harmony’s mainnet first went live in 2019. The project has since announced multiple partnerships and integrations, including with stablecoin platform Terra for its token to migrate to Harmony and be used on applications in the ecosystem.

Harmony said last month it would be sponsoring the hackathon in its aim to reach 10 billion people. Teams for the event will be limited to 5 people, with registration closing Aug. 15. It will conduct the event over roughly six weeks from the submission deadline until Sept. 30.

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Crypto miner claims all major Yunnan operations shut down in advance of CCP anniversary

It’s unclear if the shutdowns are due to orders passed down from above or the result of China’s announced regulatory crackdown on crypto miners.

Reports alleged that cryptocurrency miners in China’s Yunnan province may be out of commission for a day if not longer due to the Chinese Communist Party’s 100th anniversary celebration this week.

According to Kevin Zhang, the vice president of mining infrastructure company Foundry Services, all major Bitcoin (BTC) mining farms in Yunnan have been shut down as of today. Zhang said he personally knew of at least two crypto mining sites in the southwestern region that had received orders to cut power.

The shutdowns are purportedly due to the impending Chinese Communist Party, or CCP, celebrations, which occur every year on July 1. Due to this year’s anniversary being a centennial, authorities seem to have taken stronger measures to ensure less pollution — China ranks as the 14th worst country in terms of air quality — traffic, and political demonstrations. Major industries including coal mining and steel production will reportedly be shut down for up to a week in an attempt to reduce urban smog and prevent accidents.

However, it’s unclear if the CCP anniversary is directly related to the shutdowns or Chinese crypto miners are responding to an ongoing regulatory crackdown. The State Council’s Financial Stability and Development Committee announced in May it would be curtailing BTC mining amid financial risk concerns. Several reports have surfaced since that time suggesting authorities are enforcing crypto mining bans in regions including Yunnan, Xinjiang, Inner Mongolia and Qinghai.

Related: China crackdown shows industrial Bitcoin mining a problem for decentralization

While some companies have said the mining ban is driving them to other provinces within China, a few may leave the country entirely. Many experts in the crypto space expect the regulatory crackdown will push mining firms to relocate to Texas, with abundant renewable energy and a highly deregulated power grid.

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