Proof of Reserves (PoR) To Avoid Future CEXs From Liquidation

Proof of Reserves (PoR) To Avoid Future CEXs From Liquidation

Binance and other big centralized exchanges plan to use the Proof of Reserves as an auditing technique to reassure their customers of the safety of their funds.

As trust in its accounting of billions in assets disappeared, crypto exchange FTX went bankrupt at the beginning of November 2022.

Some critics have slammed the existence of centralized exchanges, such as FTX. Its CEO, Sam Bankman-Fried, posted many messages on Twitter trying to convince his customers that he had made a terrible but honest mistake that he would try to repair. However, CEX customers are now all wondering just how safe their assets are on any of these exchanges. And the truth is that without total transparency from the exchanges, the FTX collapse could happen again at any given time.  

The controversy has brought back the debate about a possible solution. It is called proof of reserves, or PoR. This method shows, without any doubt or ambiguity, how many tokens are on each exchange that uses the technique. Proof of reserves, if in place at FTX, could have, in theory, stopped customers’ money from being moved to places it shouldn’t. In this case, the assets wouldn’t have moved to Bankman-Fried trading firm Alameda Research.

Binance, the largest cryptocurrency exchange in the world by volume, has shared its wallet accounts and said it would conduct a proof of reserves snapshot within the next few weeks. Other CEXs that made similar statements include Gate.io, KuCoin, Poloniex, Bitget, Huobi, OKX, Deribit and Bybit

What is proof of reserves?

Proof of reserves is an audit technique that confirms assets in custody. It is used by stablecoin issuers Paxos to show they have enough assets backing their tokens. Exchanges like BitMEX use the technique to prove that customer deposits correspond with assets in custody.

Sergey Nazarov, the co-founder of Chainlinks Labs, stated that the use of this auditing solution could have made it possible to avoid all of this: “It would have been quite a solvable problem if there had been more transparency in the balance sheet.” Chainlink offers the proof of reserves (PoR) auditing mechanism as a product. Their PoR solution already powers multiple stablecoins and gold coins. 

How does proof of reserves work?

An entity can prove its assets reserves in a variety of ways. These include traditional third-party audits that are performed by companies such as Armanino, to Merkle tree proofs (cryptographic verification using data structures called Merkle branches).

There are also methods that blockchain analytics companies employ. Chainlink is an example of a company that separates proof-of-reserve implementation into two categories: on-chain and off-chain.

An off-chain alternative is a third-party provider, such as Chainlink, that receives API access (application programming interface) from an exchange. This allows the auditor or custodian to verify the exchange’s holdings.

Proof of Reserves (Por) To Avoid Future CEXs From Liquidation

Off-chain proof of reserves (Chainlink)

On-chain routing is a proof of-reserves smart contract on one network (usually Ethereum). It receives data feeds from Chainlink’s Oracle network (on a block-by-block basis) about a provider’s on-chain wallet balances in another network (e.g., Bitcoin). This empowers users and allows them to check whether the company or the exchange actually has the assets they claim to have.

Proof of Reserves (Por) To Avoid Future CEXs From Liquidation

On-chain proof of reserves (Chainlink)

Should proof of reserves be used?

Investment brokers that offer services to retail customers are already producing regular reports to show the client’s assets and liabilities. But this is done because of the harsher regulations that are already in place for them. For the most part, cryptocurrency exchanges remain unregulated financial services, and customers have nobody to lean on when it comes to a lack of liquidity or bankruptcy. 

A first step may be self-regulating services that may regain the trust of customers. Authorities might also be willing to adapt their regulations to the crypto industry when existing exchanges collaborate. 

Over the last few years, many exchanges have collapsed, causing crypto investors to lose a lot of money. While many never got their funds back, this also caused existing services to practice much better security and transparency.  

New EU Rules for Crypto Exchanges and Russian Users

New EU Rules for Crypto Exchanges and Russian Users

Many popular crypto exchanges have stopped operating in Russia. However, some platforms continue to serve the region.

Nine months after the conflict between Russia and Ukraine, sanctions against Russia have grown at an aggressive rate. The European Union legislators announced that they would ban all cross-border crypto payments between Russia’s citizens and Russia.

The EU has initiated a ban on all “crypto asset wallets and accounts” in response to Russia’s continued annexes of Ukrainian land, its repeated mobilization of troops in the country, and threats of nuclear escalation.

In previous sanctions, cryptocurrency payments between Russian and EU wallets were limited to 10,000 euros. This new ban will deprive Russia of its military power and limit its industrial components.

Crypto exchanges apply bans on Russian crypto users

A number of popular cryptocurrency exchanges in the region, including LocalBitcoins and Crypto.com, sent emails to customers advising them to withdraw funds immediately to avoid being unable to use their services.

It’s worth noting that in September 2022, LocalBitcoins was responsible for 8% of Russia’s crypto trade volume. This makes them the largest client base on the exchange. Additionally, Russian users were responsible for facilitating 20% of all BTC trading volumes before the ban.

Binance, the largest cryptocurrency exchange in the world, is working to implement the new restrictions. A representative of the firm said that the changes could take time and would not be live until a set date. 

Bitfinex, an exchange that had opposed the increasing sanctions being imposed against Russian citizens, has recently changed its mind, saying that it may need to modify its policies if directed by the regulatory authorities.

Another ban faced by Russian citizens comes from Dapper Labs, who banned them from accessing the popular blockchain earlier this month. Users from this side of the globe will not be able to access the popular NFT marketplace, along with several other crypto products.

Read more: Best NFTs to invest in

The ban’s impact

It’s no surprise to anyone that most Russians can’t rely on their bank accounts anymore, and crypto provides a safe haven to guard their savings or receive money from abroad. The hard fact is that digital assets can be used to help citizens in war zones. And it’s the same with Ukraine, which has received billions in crypto donations. 

This last ban will cause pain to some Russian financial institutions and retail outlets. The fact that BTC saw a sharp increase in price during the conflict is something that the EU is much aware of. The European Authorities noticed this loophole in their strategy of suffocating Russia, and it’s also trying to sanction this.

However, these sanctions will be enforced through the EU’s Financial Action Task Force, and they can potentially redefine the region’s crypto landscape in the near future.

What happens to Ruble pairs that are held by these exchanges

The regulators have been strict with exchanges that allow blacklisted citizens to trade on their platforms in the past. This leads to the question: What will large volumes of Rubles trading pairs do when dealing with these assets? 

Nobody gave any indication of what exchanges should do, and they will be prudent this time. Now, the exchanges have no choice but to make major losses on their balances. The ban will put decentralized finance (DeFi) back in the spotlight because it provides a censorship-resistant and easily accessible infrastructure to people living in geopolitical turmoil. However, we’re already seeing censorship on the new PoS Ethereum blockchain.

It is unclear if exchanges will have to return funds to Russian users or block access to their accounts. This is something that each exchange will have to resolve on its own. 

Despite the ban, many exchanges are still functional

Binance is considering restricting its services to Russian users. However, Binance is operating as usual. The United States-based exchange Kraken, which is based in the United States, has not placed any restrictions on Russian customers, and there are no indications as to whether it will voluntarily comply with EU requirements.

Antigua and Barbuda’s FTX is another popular exchange that has not been subject to any kind of ban. Garantex, a popular Russian cryptocurrency platform, has not been banned. It still offers traders in the region a variety of advanced services like futures and derivatives.

Other popular platforms operating in the region include Seychelles-registered Huobi Global, OKX, KuCoin, and Mexc Global. Bybit, a Singapore-registered cryptocurrency exchange, stated that it would continue to adhere to its ethos and support transparency, freedom and decentralization. It will not impose sanctions on Russian clients. Many of these clients may not agree with the war or the stance of their leaders.

Last but not least, Exmo, a crypto exchange based in the United Kingdom, has sold its Russian business earlier this year to a local vendor. Its Exmo.me domain still allows the platform to operate in Russia and the neighboring countries of Belarus and Kazakhstan.

As the war between Russia and Ukraine continues, it will be fascinating to see how crypto companies operating in the region adapt and adjust to changing geopolitical realities.

Everyone talks about crypto, while regulations fall behind

Everyone talks about crypto, while regulations fall behind

Crypto-specific jobs and standard finance businesses likewise have been ramping up their respective offerings to cater to the requirements of the particular client base.

Though a great deal of effort was put into building protected infrastructure and solutions to financial institutions to go into the cryptocurrency area, cloudy regulations remain a substantial barrier to institutional adoption.

Rising Interest in Institutional Cryptocurrency Investment

Last year has been marked by the entry of professional associations and traders to cryptocurrency, driven by the potential for value appreciation and portfolio diversification.

Boris Bohrer-Bilowitzki, the head of sales of digital assets custody and portfolio management firm Copper Technologies, sees institutional investors going into the cryptocurrency area: “From very public entrances like U.S. pensions and university endowments to European pension funds, family offices from all over the world, and sophisticated fund structures and strategies. There is also an increasing number of U.S. high-frequency trading getting into this space.

“If you’re technologically minded, there has never been a better time to be in finance. All the rules are being re-written as people begin to understand the potential of distributed ledger technology (DLT) for any asset class, traditional or digital.”

For Scott Freeman, co-founder and spouse of JST Capital, an electronic assets financial services company serving institutional investors, demand has accelerated over the last months:

“Whereas in the past many investors did not want to be the first to enter this space, we’ve now seen first movers enter the space, and now others are willing to invest in crypto as a diversified, uncorrelated investment. The market continues to evolve quickly. Clients are more comfortable than they were three months ago and will be more comfortable with investing in digital assets three months from now.”

JST Capital was set in January 2018 to deliver conventional and sophisticated financial instruments and options for banks, brokers and institutional investors coping with this fast-growing asset class.

Asian Markets: A Increase in Institutional Cryptocurrency Interest

According to Freeman, JST Capital has witnessed traction in both the U.S. and Asia, just two markets the company has operations inside. He explained the trend has been driven with these markets’ respective dynamic blockchain startup ecosystems and overall greater awareness of their technology.

“The Asian market tends to be more driven by retail investors, though we have seen an increase in institutional interest from Hong Kong in particular. We see a lot of blockchain innovation still coming out of Silicon Valley but more recently we’ve seen a lot of projects out of Asia gaining traction.”

Alongside JST Capital, Switzerland’s fintech startup Crypto Finance continues to be trying to serve Asian institutional investors attempting to acquire exposure to cryptocurrency.

On September 10, 2019, the business declared the growth of its professional electronic assets services offering into the Asia-Pacific area “a dynamic, vital region that plays a big role in both the traditional financial sector and the emerging digital assets markets.”

Crypto Finance provides controlled asset management, brokerage and storage options in electronic assets for top European and Korean banks and financial institutions, the business claims.

Need for Institutional Cryptocurrency Custodial and Trading Services

Until recently, one of the primary hurdles to institutional adoption of cryptocurrency has been custody, or the capability of financial institutions to maintain and secure cryptocurrencies on behalf of trading clients.

Without doubt, there are great reasons to worry, given the cyber threat connected with crypto-assets and their history of hacks and fraud.

Copper Technologies was founded in January 2018 to address only that. At the moment, services accessible only failed to fulfil customers’ safety criteria.

Copper’s standalone cryptocurrency custody program, Copper Unlimited, has many built-in safeguards and utilizes techniques like key sharding to guarantee maximum safety. Essential sharding is a procedure where a private key is divided into different bits, or shards, then dispersed between reputable third parties.

Copper also employs an Optical Air-Gap because of its cold storage, which offers an extra layer of security which prevents offline machines from becoming infected with malware.

Though safety is paramount for crypto resources, there is also a demand for rapid access. For this end, Copper Platform, a settlement and trade infrastructure firm, has been launched in June 2019. It joins custody with numerous exchanges such as Bitfinex, BitMEX and Binance, in addition to OTC desks.

Bohrer-Bilowitzki from Copper Technologies said:

“Having your private key locked in a mountain vault is all well and good, but it doesn’t help you execute a variety of trading strategies,” Bohrer-Bilowitzki said. “The safeguarding and trading infrastructure was developed specifically to marry the worlds of ‘hodlers’ and those that need constant, quick and secure access for trading purposes.”

As the business evolves, better alternatives will emerge.

Scott Freeman, co-founder and partner of JST Capital:

“The market is more advanced than it was six months ago and we expect to see better and more robust solutions to solve this issue over the next three to six months,” Freeman said. “There is a tremendous amount of energy going into improving custody solutions to match the needs of institutional investors, as well as the accountants and auditors who need to make sure the solutions are compliant with current standards of financial reporting.”

A Booming Institutional Cryptocurrency Industry

JST Capital, Copper and Crypto Finance are a portion of this expanding list of businesses targeting institutional gamers.

In reality, because 2018, the institutional-grade trading of cryptocurrencies and tailored custody solutions have escalated in number, together with recognized crypto startups such as the trades Coinbase, Gemini and itBit, in addition to blockchain security firm BitGo, all launch services.

Coinbase introduced its own suite of institutional products in May 2018, which it has since enlarged through tactical moves such as getting Xapo’s institutional companies in August 2019. That’s how it became the world’s biggest crypto custodian, with more than $7 billion in assets under custody. It claims to serve over 120 customers in 14 distinct nations.

BitGo obtained the green light out of South Dakota labs in September 2018 to produce and run a cryptocurrency custody support. In May 2019, the business expanded its institutional offering together with the launching of a new clearing and settlement system running off-chain.

However, this booming sector is going to get much more crowded, as conventional players have started entering the distance.

In October 2018, American multinational financial services company Fidelity Investments established an electronic advantage arm to manage crypto custody services in house and execute transactions for investors like hedge funds and family offices.

Legacy Trust, a conventional retirement and household citizenship founded in 1992, lately pivoted to function the cryptocurrency community, starting exactly what it claims is the world’s first voluntary retirement plan encouraging electronic resources on September 4, 2019.

Regulatory Landscape Requires Improvement

Institutionalization is a crucial next step for cryptocurrency to attain mainstream worldwide approval, and while startups and conventional financial institutions alike are building out the infrastructure and resources required for professional dealers and institutional customers to engage, an integral challenge hampering institutional adoption stays: regulation.

JST Capital’s Freeman said:

“Institutional Investors are eager for more regulatory clarity, particularly in the U.S. Crypto has not been around for very long and there are also some investors who simply want to see crypto-assets continue to be adopted and traded.”

Copper’s Bohrer-Bilowitzki noted that progress was made concerning cryptocurrency regulation within the last year. Undeniably, Facebook’s contentious Libra project has included a feeling of urgency into the job, but there is still a very long way to go.

“I think the technology is there, but what is still lacking is an understanding at a regulatory/industry level about what custody means for digital assets,” Bohrer-Bilowitzki said. “The regulatory landscape still needs to improve. The lack of agreement among national/regional bodies is still discouraging to some. But this too is changing rapidly for the better.”

CoinDeal is giving 50 million tokens for free!

CoinDeal is giving 50 million tokens for free!

CoinDeal is a cryptocurrency exchange released in  March 2018 and has gained worldwide recognition, especially after their partnership with the Premier League football team, Wolverhampton Wanderers. Their daily volume places CoinDeal as one of the very best cryptocurrency exchanges according to the CoinMarketCap ranking.

All you need to do to receive CDL, the CoinDeal free token, is to become a fully verified member of the CoinDeal community, and you will receive 100 CDL tokens for free.

CoinDeal’s goal

The team behind CoinDeal is all about the blockchain technology and is in for the long run. Their vision for the future is fuel by the endless potential of the blockchain technology, not just in finance, but in any other business branch.

CoinDeal provides access to over 40 cryptocurrency pairs, such as the most well-known ones, Ethereum, Bitcoin or Litecoin, but also many FIAT currencies: Euro (EUR), Dollar (USD), British Pound (GBP), Polish Zloty (PLN), Rouble (RUB) and Korean Won (KRW).  In the current crypto world, CoinDeal aims to bring the community together and get their fans involved in the decisions they make. They allow their customers to vote for new cryptocurrencies to be added to their trading platform.

Safety concerns

CoinDeal uses the innovative SSL standard integrated with Cloudflare safety attributes. Users must comply with sophisticated password requirements, mandatory 2FA and email confirmations required for warnings and withdrawals regarding login efforts made from different IP than generally. Exchange funds are saved in 90% in the cold wallets shielded by Multisignature.

CoinDeal’s team

The founders or CoinDeal are Kajetan Maćkowiak, Adam Bicz and Filip Dzierżak.

Kajetan Maćkowiak is engaged in the introduction of jobs from the blockchain technology sector for several decades. The expert experience helps to develop the company efficiently, in addition to managing marketing actions. He created the global umbrella manufacturer, which will be BlockchainHouse. He’s a co-creator of international brands like Paycoiner and BuyCoinNow.

Adam Bicz is the mind of CoinDeal, the primary programmer and head of the group responsible for creating a very stable and protected cryptocurrency exchange. Adam not only works under the brand BlockchainHouse but is also the founder of BuyCoinNow and Paycoiner payment gateways.
Filip Dzierżak is in charge of producing, communicating and executing the company’s vision, mission, and general management.

coindeal cdl free token

CDL is the CoinDeal token they are giving 50 million CDL for free!

Over the past 12 months, CoinDeal has developed CDL utility token on the EOS blockchain, which will be available for trading once the distribution is complete. By releasing the CDL token, CoinDeal wants to step closer into creating the bridge between the fintech and the power of cryptocurrencies.

The aim of this cornerstone action of the cryptocurrency exchange is to keep the business moving forward and to come to aid to smaller customers. The new CDL token can be used to lower trading fees, vote for the addition to the market of new crypto, access additional trading features and more.

CoinDeal is the first cryptocurrency exchange to offer such a treat for their customers. They are giving away, for free, 90% of the total CDL generated tokens. That is, only 450 000 users can get it, and after the distribution is complete, the token will be available for trading against BTC, EUR, USD, GBP, CHF, KRW, PLN, and more!

All you need to do to receive the CoinDeal free token is to become a fully verified member of the CoinDeal community, and you will receive 100 CDL tokens for free.

Are you looking for other ways to complete your portfolio or get free crypto? Check out these other platforms offering free cryptocurrency.

The best cryptocurrency exchanges for beginners (updated 2020)

The best cryptocurrency exchanges for beginners (updated 2020)

Beginner exchanges are exchanges that offer a simple way to buy bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies, with as little confusing jargon and setup time as possible. Here are 6 cryptocurrency exchanges that are fairly easy to use by a new cryptocurrency investor.

Coinbase

Coinbase is one of the best options for a new crypto investor. Coinbase is the best-known cryptocurrency exchange in the US. It is the simplest and easiest on-ramp for crypto beginners.

Coinbase is the most trusted place for all things crypto.

It allows you to deposit fiat and crypto, offers a small variety of crypto (Bitcoin and Ethereum included) and has never been hacked before! As for security, you can activate the two-factor authentification and it is available in 100+ countries around the world (January 2020).

coinbase best cryptocurrency exchange

As any entity operating with fiat, there will be some fees, especially for deposing fiat. Coinbase Fees vary based on location and amount.

The user interface is intuitive, and the design is clean and simple. You can link up your bank account or pay with a card. There’s also a deep library of guides and explainers for newcomers.

Coinbase has a limited choice of cryptocurrency options to keep things simple. However, they consider the addition of more altcoins.

As for security, Coinbase stores 98% of customer funds in cold storage, in safe deposit boxes and vaults around the world, making it relatively secure. The remaining 2% is insured in case of hacks.

Lastly, there’s a handy mobile app to buy and sell cryptocurrency on the go.

Get started on Coinbase.

ShapeShift

Shapeshift is a crypto-only exchange. You can’t buy cryptocurrency with dollars or euros. You can only trade between cryptocurrencies. However, due to its simplicity, we still recommend it for beginners.

The crypto offer is vast, and you can trade anything for anything and it is available all over the world. Make sure to switch on the two-factor authentification, in case of a future security breach. The exchange rate shown is exactly what you’ll receive, minus only the “miner fee.” There is no exchange fee, or service fee.

Shapeshift best cryptocurrency exchange

ShapeShift allows you to transfer currency between addresses of your choosing, rather than between accounts on its platform. It means ShapeShift doesn’t hold any customer deposits, making it relatively safe.

ShapeShift has been hacked three times, which all occurred in the same month due to internal sabotage. The exchange was extremely transparent in what happened over the hack, with the CEO going so far as to write a blow-by-blow explanation of what exactly happened.

Get started on ShapeShift.

Gemini

Gemini was founded by the Winklevoss Twins. It’s a US-based exchange noted for being a licensed platform (Regulated by NYSDFS). Gemini gained headlines in 2019 by announcing full insurance coverage for funds on its exchange and in custody.

We believe that crypto investors deserve the same protections as investors in other asset classes, so we’ve built a rules-based marketplace with security at its core.

They operate in all U.S. states except Hawaii. Other countries in which they operate are Canada, Hong Kong, Singapore, South Korea and the U.K. Gemini has never been hacked before and the few selected trading pairs are perfect to start your journey as a crypto investor.

gemini best cryptocurrency exchange

Gemini and the Winklevoss Twins pride themselves on being fully compliant and working within existing regulations. As such, there’s a decent amount of safety from fraud and insurance coverage on this exchange. Of course, that comes at a cost: handing over a lot of personal information.

Gemini offers a decent chunk of volume, though few trading pairs compared to other exchanges. Security wise, aside from the standard 2FA, withdrawal address whitelisting is a welcome sight.

The Gemini app is also slick and easy-to-use for beginners.

Get started on Gemini.

Changelly

Changelly is a crypto exchange similar to ShapeShift. It is address-to-address so Changelly never holds your funds. You can exchange crypto to crypto or fiat to crypto. A vast number of trading pairs are available.

Changelly is a cryptocurrency exchange with the most favorable rates and the fairest terms.
Your exchange has never been so smooth.

Changelly accepts users from any country in the world. As well, they will accept payments in any currency, but it will be converted to either the Euro or USD. They have never been hacked before and it supports two-factor authentification. There is a flat fee of 0.25% for each transaction made via the service.

Changelly best cryptocurrency exchange

There’s a simple frontend for buying bitcoin and converting it to whatever cryptocurrency you would like. Much like ShapeShift, Changelly transfers happen between addresses you own, rather than between accounts that the exchange controls.

It’s super fast and efficient. There’s a mobile app too for making transactions on the go.

Get started on Changelly.

Luno

Luno offers a great platform for African and European traders looking to get started. Alongside their exchange, Luno offers a wallet service with a companion mobile app. The exchange has been around since 2013 and has never been hacked, giving it a fairly solid reputation for security.

Luno makes it safe and easy to buy, store and learn about cryptocurrencies. Upgrade your money today.

Luno supports fiat/crypto exchanges on a few selected pair, which will be fairly easy to use by a new crypto enthusiast. They have never been hacked before and the platform supports two-factor authentification. Fees Maker / Taker. Makers fees are a flat 0% and takers fee range from 0.20% to 1.0%.

luno best cryptocurrency exchange

It’s designed to be as simple as possible, including an “instant buy” feature.

Get started on Luno.

Coinmama

Coinmama is a good choice for those looking to buy crypto using a credit card or other fiat sources. Coinmama is a broker so you’re buying directly from the company itself which makes transactions fast.

Trusted by over 1,800,000 people across 188 countries since 2013

However, there are some things to be aware of. Coinmama is “buy only” so you cannot sell cryptocurrencies on the platform. There is also no wallet feature on the exchange, so you need to withdraw directly to a wallet. This is no bad thing as keeping your funds on an exchange is risky, but you will need a wallet set up first.

Unfortunately, Coinmama’s simplicity is offset by the incredibly high fees charged for every transaction. Coinmama’s market rate is based on the XBX + 2%. In addition, there is a commission fee of up to 3.90%.  For credit/debit card transactions, there is an additional 5.00% processing fee. This fee will be added after choosing your method of payment.

Get started on Coinmama.

We hope you have found the best cryptocurrency exchange that works for you. And if you ever decide you are serious about the cryptocurrency world, then remember there are ways to earn free cryptocurrency and Bitcoins.