Tuesday, December 5, 2023
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Lightning Strikes Twice: Bitcoin Payment Network Growing Amid Liquidity Crunch

Lightning Strikes Twice: Bitcoin Payment Network Growing Amid Liquidity Crunch

This week witnessed major fluctuations in the cryptocurrency market, including a sudden drop of $1,000 in Bitcoin’s value. From Coinbase cutting ties with Silvergate to the state of Oregon is contemplating a universal basic income program that would provide $1,000 a month to homeless and low-income individuals, here are the most significant developments in the digital asset space you may have missed:

Block’s Revolutionary Plan to Solve Bitcoin’s Liquidity Problem

Jack Dorsey’s digital payment company Block Inc. plans to use its own Bitcoin reserves to provide liquidity to the Lightning Network. TBD, the Bitcoin-focused unit of Block, is launching a Lightning Service Provider named c= to reduce failed transactions on the Lightning Network that stem from a lack of liquidity. The Lightning Network is built on top of the Bitcoin blockchain and allows for faster and cheaper transactions compared to processing a transaction directly on Bitcoin’s blockchain.

First Fully Licensed Private Bank to Offer Lightning Payments Goes Live

Xapo Bank, a Gibraltar-licensed private bank, has partnered with Lightspark to integrate the Lightning Network and enable near-instant bitcoin payments for its customers. Xapo Bank members can now make small purchases of up to $100 USD at any vendor that accepts Lightning payments without high transaction fees or long blockchain confirmation waiting times. This integration makes Xapo Bank the first fully licensed private bank to offer Lightning payments.

Silvergate Gets the Boot from Coinbase

Coinbase, the largest cryptocurrency exchange in the United States, has announced that it is halting payments to and from Silvergate Bank. This decision was made out of an abundance of caution due to recent developments around the San Francisco-based crypto bank.

The move comes just after the parent company of Silvergate Bank, delayed its annual 10-K report, citing the possibility of unreported losses that could make the bank “less than well capitalized.”

Silvergate’s SEC filing earlier in the week also indicated that the bank was assessing the impact of these events on its ability to continue as a going concern. This action by Coinbase could have serious repercussions for Silvergate Bank, as it could potentially lose a large portion of its business from Coinbase’s users.

Could Oregon’s UBI Plan Solve America’s Homelessness Crisis?

The state of Oregon is considering a bill that would provide homeless and low-income individuals with $1,000 a month in universal basic income. The proposed legislation would establish a People’s Housing Assistance Fund Demonstration Program through the state’s Department of Human Services.

If approved, this program would provide 12 monthly payments of $1,000 to individuals experiencing homelessness, those at risk of homelessness, those severely rent-burdened, or those earning at or below 60 percent of the area median income. Additionally, the bill would require a study on who is receiving the money broken down by demographics, including race, veteran status, and risk of domestic violence.

Tether Companies Used Falsified Documents and Shell Companies

In late 2018, the companies behind the most widely traded stablecoin, Tether, were struggling to maintain their access to the global banking system.

According to a report by the Wall Street Journal, some of Tether’s backers turned to shadowy intermediaries, falsified documents, and shell companies to regain access to the banking system. These actions have come under scrutiny by regulators, and Tether has faced accusations of manipulating the cryptocurrency market.

Tether is often used as a way to move funds between different exchanges or as a way to store value in a more stable asset during times of market turbulence. It is also commonly used by traders to avoid the need to cash out of the market entirely and move back to fiat currency during times of uncertainty.

USDT has been subject to controversy and skepticism in the past, particularly around the transparency of the Tether company’s reserve holdings and whether they are actually holding enough US dollars to back up the number of USDT tokens in circulation.