Luno News RoundUp: Double trouble in crypto town as Gemini makes moves

Another day, another Satoshi. It’s been a lively week in the world of crypto, with acquisitions and mergers aplenty. There’s even been an answer of sorts to the age-old question – when Lambo? Read on to find out more.

Double trouble as twins join forces ?

The founders of Gemini crypto exchange, Tyler and Cameron Winklevoss have announced the company’s first ever acquisition.

The lucky winner is Nifty Gateway, a startup which enables customers to buy and manage non-fungible tokens (NFTs). NFTs are digital assets stored on a global blockchain. In a blog post published last week on Medium, Tyler Winklevoss explained the move and NFTs potential applications:

“There are many collectibles in the “real” world such as stamps, baseball cards, Magic: The Gathering cards, and Tamagotchi pets, to name just a few.

“There are also examples of digital collectibles inside popular online games such as Fortnite, Overwatch, and World of Warcraft, with multi-billion dollar economies emerging as players buy and trade skins, dances, and other in-game items. Over time, we believe that both real world and digital collectibles will migrate onto blockchains in the form of nifties.”

In a strange twist, Nifty Gateways founders are also identical twins – Duncan and Griffin Cock Foster. Duncan said of the move that “There is a lot of infrastructure that we need in order to build something on the scale that we are imagining. It would be time consuming and tedious to build on our own. But by teaming up with Gemini, we get instant access to a lot of critically important technologies that we would not have otherwise.”

Are NFTs the next big thing? Will the Winklevoss twins buy a company that isn’t run by identical twins? Let us know in the comments.

New Bitcoin mine set to dwarf competition ⛏️

German Bitcoin (BTC) mining firm Northern Bitcoin has entered a merger agreement with United States-based competitor Whinstone to jointly build what will supposedly be the world’s largest mining farm.

According to a Northern Bitcoin press release published on 18 November, Whinstone is already building the aforementioned facility which is expected to have a capacity of one gigawatt on an area of over 100 acres in Texas. The mining farm that the merger was based off of is already being built by Whinstone. Capacity will start at 300 megawatts (MW) and expand to 1 gigawatt by the end of next year, dwarfing Bitmain’s mine that aims to expand from 25 MW to 50 MW to only 300 MW in its largest phase. The mining farm in question will allegedly be the biggest data centre in North America.

“With this merger, we are catapulting ourselves faster than originally planned to the top of the world in Bitcoin mining. Whinstone’s team has done a great job over the past few years and is proving its leadership in the blockchain industry by building the world’s largest mining facility,” said Mathis Schultz, CEO of Northern Bitcoin AG.

“Together, we have a dominant leadership position in this fast-growing industry and are well-positioned to benefit significantly from the future development of blockchain technology,” he added.

When Lambo, now Lambo? ?️

Italian luxury sports car brand Lamborghini is using Salesforce Blockchain to authenticate heritage Lamborghini cars. Lamborghini will use the platform to trace, certify and authenticate heritage cars faster and more securely. It will create a trusted network between multiple participants for certification checks during a Lamborghini’s resale, so buyers can be assured they’re buying a genuine Lambo with genuine parts.

Paolo Gabrielli, head of after sales at Lamborghini, said the automaker has always been curious about new technologies despite its long history (it was founded in 1963). “Salesforce Blockchain will allow us to take our innovation a step further, accelerating the authenticity of our heritage vehicles faster than ever,” Gabrielli said.

“Blockchain is changing the way companies approach trust and transparency,” said Adam Caplan, Salesforce’s SVP of emerging technology. “Lamborghini is a perfect example of this – we’re excited to see how such an iconic brand is able to innovate and transform the vintage car market with a cutting edge technology like Salesforce Blockchain.”

Smart contracts are contracts in English law, claim UK legal body ?

The UK Jurisdiction Taskforce of the LawTech Delivery Panel this week published a legal statement recommending that crypto-assets be treated as tradable property, while smart contracts should be considered “enforceable agreements” under English law.

The 46-page statement said that: “Crypto-assets, including but not restricted to, virtual currencies, can be treated in principle as property […] smart contracts are capable of satisfying the requirements of contracts in English law and are thus enforceable by the courts. Statutory requirements for a signature can be met by techniques such as private key encryption.”

The LawTech Delivery Panel is a team of industry experts and leading figures from the UK government and the judiciary. Its aim is to help the UK legal sector grow and fulfil its potential. Chris Bushell, a partner in the disputes practice at Herbert Smith Freehills, the international firm, noted that the statement does not have legal status, but the clarification that crypto-assets were to be treated “in principle” as property does “take us one step further along in the legal analysis”.

There’s still a long way to go, though. Dorothy Livingston, chairman of the City of London Law Society’s Financial Law committee, agreed that the statement provided helpful guidance those looking to invest in crypto-assets, but noted that “there are a number of complex legal questions which have not been addressed which will ultimately need a response from the English courts or legislature”. Hopefully we’ll see those addressed soon.

LongHash debunks ‘one whale’ theory ?

You may recall claims made by researchers earlier this month that Bitcoin’s bull run in 2017 was the work of one whale manipulating the price. The study, carried out by John Griffin of the University of Texas and Amin Shams of Ohio State University, claims the run was largely reliant on Tether, a widely used digital token pegged to the US dollar. This week, LongHash researchers released a paper attempting to debunk the claims, citing gaping holes in their rationale. Indeed, they claim that on the contrary, Tether’s potential influence on Bitcoin prices to be maximal during bear, not bull, markets

The article, published on LongHash’s blog, states:

“The paper’s only evidence supporting that Tether is unbacked is a circuitous hypothesis related to how cash management works for Tether auditing. The authors hypothesise that since Tether is due to be audited each month, it needs to sell some of its Bitcoin holdings at the end of each month if large amounts of Tether have been issued that month, which then causes the price of Bitcoin to drop near the end of each month.

“The authors present evidence that out of the 24 months in their sample, the end of month effect is indeed found to be statistically significant. But the paper doesn’t seem to account for other possible reasons why this end of month effect might arise. And the authors admit themselves that once the two most significant months, December 2017 and January 2018, are dropped, end-of-month effect fails to be statistically significant. In other words, this part of their conclusion is based upon two outliers in a small sample size of 24. That isn’t particularly convincing.”

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