Bitcoin continues to linger around the $6,600 mark, where it's been since it touched highs of around $6,800 over the weekend. It's currently trading for $6,500.
The sideways trading should be no surprise to regular viewers, who will remember that bitcoin's volatility is the lowest it's been in well over a year. It's perhaps this relative stability that is seeing record numbers of Venezuelan bolivars being traded for bitcoin in an attempt to find a bastion of stability as their country's economic crisis worsens.
According to Coin Dance, the Venezuelan bolivar broke records last week with 600 million bolivars being traded for bitcoin, in the highest week of trading yet, based on LocalBitcoins data.
Ranked 17th by market cap, NEM is a token that often gets overlooked – but it jumped over 11% on the weekend, before retracing some of the gains in the last 24 hours. The XEM token is currently changing hands for 10 cents.
The crypto loan platform also had a good weekend, jumping up by around 25% after launching a new partnership with CoinMarketCap that adds a "Get Loan" button onto the site.
Ripple's xRapid is officially live
Our big story today comes from Ripple's Swell conference, which wraps up in a few hours. The most exciting news from the conference for cryptocurrency enthusiasts was undoubtedly the official announcement that xRapid, which uses the XRP token to transfer liquidity across borders, has gone live at last.
xRapid already has three financial institutions onboard ready to use the service and the cryptocurrency. Brad Garlinghouse stated that Caulix was the first to set the trend with a cross-border transaction to Mexico.
Alastair Constance of MercuryFX – another of the partners announced today – had this to say to Forbes back in May when they were testing the xRapid pilot.
“The exchange rates were very competitive, and the transaction times were unbelievable... It was lightning fast compared to using the correspondent banking network Swift,”
One of the things that makes today so important is that it sees cryptocurrency, not just blockchain, being used as intended at an institutional level – not as an investment vehicle by Wall St or for speculation by traders, but actually used as a more efficient solution to currency transfers .
For those unfamiliar with Ripple's xRapid technology, this excerpt from their latest quarterly report sums it up nicely.
"xRapid eliminates the need for a pre-funded nostro account when executing a cross-border payment. It sources liquidity from XRP on exchanges around the world. As a result, cross-border transactions occur in minutes and at a lower cost compared to traditional methods, which take days and incur high foreign exchange fees."
The price of XRP more than doubled in the weeks leading up to the Swell conference. It currently sits around 52 cents, suggesting that any growth due to this news was already absorbed in the September bull-run.
Decentralised exchanges are the new black
Good news for anyone who doesn't like handing over their funds or private keys to a central authority, such as a conventional cryptocurrency exchange. Decentralised exchanges are looking like they're going to have a big year in 2019.
For those new to the term, decentralised exchanges (or DEXs) allow you to trade directly from your wallet without having to store your cryptocurrency or private keys on an exchange's server. Instead, the DEX operates more like a middle man, facilitating trade between interested parties.
EOSfinex beta is live
Bitfinex, one of the largest exchanges by volume, has announced the beta release of their decentralised exchange on the EOS blockchain. Named EOSfinex, the exchange is intended to be completely trustless, meaning there will be no need to create an account or follow KYC procedures.
The exchange will start with only a handful of pairings involving EOS, BTC, USD and ETH. The platform looks a lot like the regular Bitfinex exchange, which will hopefully translate into ease of use for consumers.
The release follows the release of Ethfinex Trustless, which is another Bitfinex DEX built on the Ethereum blockchain.
Binance DEX due late 2018
Binance is back with more news about its hotly anticipated decentralised exchange. The world's most popular alt-coin exchange, Binance has announced that the DEX beta may begin as soon as the end of this year.
CEO Changpeng Zhao said in a tweet that the DEX would be built on the Binance Coin blockchain and that Binance Coin would be required by users to pay for network fees such as gas.
StellarX: zero-fee DEX
Speaking of network fees – the Stellar network is celebrating the fully operational release of its first zero-fee decentralised exchange, named StellarX. It was produced by Interstellar, the newly merged organisation which is a commercial entity that produces products for the Stellar blockchain.
StellarX is a fiat-to-crypto gateway and hosts a suite of cryptocurrencies, including Stellar's XLM as well as fiat currencies such as US dollars, which can be deposited straight from a US bank account. Other fiat currencies are collateralised by digital tokens backing currencies such as the British pound and Chinese yuan.
StellarX is able to offer zero-fee trading due to its commitment to refund all network fees to users, unlike Binance's proposed DEX and many others.
The exchange also hopes to host digital versions of other assets like bonds, stocks and real estate. Combined with zero fees and a fiat gateway, it looks set to become a seriously well-rounded exchange.
Before you go...
Deloitte outlines major hurdles to adoption
Before we go, here's one for you to think about. Consulting firm Deloitte has outlined five major hurdles, which it believes are preventing mainstream adoption of blockchain technology.
The two biggest issues it identified were
- Network delays and scaling issues
- Lack of standardisation between blockchains and protocols
And three lesser, but still serious issues were
- The cost and complexity of network operations (e.g. gas and network fees)
- The need for supportive regulation
- Collaboration between blockchain firms
And last of all, there was a special shout out to smart contracts, which do not fit easily into existing legal frameworks.