Blockchain Bites: Coinbase Oracle, Gun Sirer’s Grants and Lightning-Powered Private Messages

Coinbase's new service may outcompete Chainlink while AVA Labs is looking to fund DeFi development on its public testnet.

AccessTimeIconApr 24, 2020 at 4:57 p.m. UTC
Updated Sep 14, 2021 at 8:33 a.m. UTC

A little-known technology startup has become the de facto designer of China's Blockchain-based Service Network, an internet platform that could have significant geo-political consequences.

Roger Ver is rumored to be in acquisition talks with the bitcoin startup Purse while Erin Gun Sirer wants to bring decentralized finance (DeFi) to AVA. Here's the story:

You're reading Blockchain Bites, the daily roundup of the most pivotal stories in blockchain and crypto news, and why they're significant. You can subscribe to this and all of CoinDesk's newsletters here. 

Top Shelf

The Belt-and-Road of e-Commerce 
A little-known company with fewer than 100 employees called Red Date is a critical player in the development of China’s Blockchain-based Service Network (BSN), a government-supported initiative scheduled to open for global commercial use Saturday. The BSN is a state-run platform with potential geopolitical ramifications, which provides the infrastructure for developers to build blockchain applications. Red Date is spearheading the network's technical design, and is among three founding companies that have invested roughly 200 million yuan ($28.5 million) combined in BSN and cut deals to use two Amazon Web Services data centers in China.

Purse Strings
Bitcoin startup has a lifeline after all. “Several interested parties” including “well-known Bitcoin investors” may acquire the firm, after it announced its intention to shut down last week.  

Advertising Copycats
The former CEO and CTO of Ethereum-based advertising company Bidooh have admitted to all claims they copied proprietary software for use in a new rival venture, misuse of confidential information as well as a breach of their fiduciary duties. Bidooh is a digital advertising company that allows companies to broadcast customized ads to anyone walking past their interactive billboards. 

Bakkt President Adam White will stay on in his role. (Credit: CoinDesk archives)
Bakkt President Adam White will stay on in his role. (Credit: CoinDesk archives)

Backing Out of Bakkt
Bakkt CEO Mike Blandina is stepping down from his role after four months. He will be temporarily replaced by David Clifton, vice president of M&A and integration at Bakkt parent company Intercontinental Exchange. Bakkt is most known for offering bitcoin futures and options contracts, and is developing a retail payments app.

Ether Futures
BitMEX is launching new ether/USD futures, which settle in bitcoin. (The Block)

Coinbase Oracle, Foresee Competition 
Coinbase unveiled a data feed for cryptocurrency prices, pulling data from Coinbase Pro on the exchange rates for both bitcoin and ether against the U.S. dollar. This oracle can be pulled into blockchain systems and paired with other data feeds for use by DeFi projects to carry out functions such as lending, margin trading, collateral liquidations, derivatives. As one of the largest firms in the space, Coinbase's oracle may outcompete other oracle services like Chainlink.

Private Messages
Software engineer John Cantrell released a beta version of the Juggernaut messenger app, built entirely on top of bitcoin’s scaling layer, the Lightning Network, which offers end-to-end encrypted, onion-routed, peer-to-peer messages. “It seems like we’re heading toward a type of world where the government may shut down communication channels,” Cantrell said. 

Build on AVA
Emin Gun Sirer’s AVA Labs has a new grant program for DeFi projects built on its public testnet. The firm’s new venture arm, AVA X, will provide financing of up to $250,000 to selected projects building with its technology.

Proof of Testnet
Blockstack launched a testnet for developers to simulate the Stacks blockchain's new, hybrid consensus mechanism called Proof-of-Transfer.

Bad Sign for Signature
Signature Bank, a crypto-friendly option, has reported a 30 percent drop in net income in the first quarter, due to an increased provision for credit losses expected from COVID-19. (The Block)

Banking Boost
Elsewhere in crypto banking, deposits from digital currency customers at New York-based Metropolitan Commercial Bank have increased for the first time in more than a year. The bank's overall deposit base grew by $231 million quarter over quarter, including a $25 million increase from the crypto sector, according to its earnings release.

Harry Halpin image via CoinDesk video
Harry Halpin image via CoinDesk video

Road to Consensus: Distributed
Harry Halpin is a speaker at Consensus: Distributed, our free and virtual event that starts on May 11. A philosopher of the web and all-around radical open-internet advocate, Halpin is the CEO of Nym, a privacy-tech startup. Here he talks to privacy reporter Benjamin Powers about what he's doing to see out the virus and why "holistic privacy" matters more than ever at a time like this.

If You Give Travelers a Cookie, They're Going to Ask for MiL.k
South Korean travel unicorn Yanolja is integrating with the blockchain rewards platform MiL.k, enabling travelers to trade the non-crypto rewards token Yanolja Coin for Milk Coin, a cryptocurrency that can be traded on exchanges or redeemed for rewards. (Decrypt)

CoinDesk Live: Lockdown Edition


CoinDesk Live: Lockdown Edition continues its popular twice-weekly chats with Consensus speakers via Zoom and Twitter, giving you a preview of what’s to come at Consensus: Distributed, our first fully virtual - and fully free - big-tent conference May 11-15. 

Zoom participants can ask questions directly to our guests. Register to join our fourth session Tuesday, April 28, with speaker Carlos Acevedo of Brave to discuss financial inclusion in the cryptocurrency movement, hosted by Consensus organizer Stephanie Izquieta.

Market Intel

Black Thursday Recovery

  • Bitcoin is now at the highest price since March 11 – the day before the "Black Thursday" plunge, when bitcoin tumbled 39 percent amid a flight to cash across both digital and traditional financial markets, as the devastating economic toll of the coronavirus came into view, according to CoinDesk's  First Mover newsletter. 
  • Prices found a floor at the 50-day moving average around $6,800, breached a resistance level at $7,300 and now appear on track to push toward the 150-day moving average around $7,800, said Joe DiPasquale, CEO of cryptocurrency hedge fund BitBull Capital. 

The Breakdown

Tracing Privacy Issues
Contact tracing may open a Pandora’s box of new privacy issues. Today’s episode of The Breakdown explores the crypto community’s response to contact tracing and why we don’t need big brother to beat the virus. 

Who Won #CryptoTwitter?



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