The Latest Tech News in Crypto and Blockchain

Dec. 8: Flare, a layer-1 blockchain compatible with Ethereum’s EVM standard, has onboarded Ankr, Figment, Restake, Luganodes and NorthStake as both validators and data providers for the network’s native oracles and for the first time in crypto, according to a web post. “With this move, Flare becomes the first smart-contract platform for whom these institutional validators also provide decentralized data feeds for builders on the network and provide a far wider variety of decentralized data,” based on a message from the team. The press release added: “Flare currently has a total of 91 network validators across the globe, all of whom also act as data providers for the Flare Time Series Oracle (FTSO).”

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Tether Provides Tech Support to El Salvador’s ‘Freedom Visa’ Program

Dec. 8: Tether, issuer of USDT, the world’s biggest stablecoin at $90 billion, is participating in El Salvador’s new “Freedom Visa” program as a tech provider. CEO Paolo Ardoino said in a press release: “It represents a unique opportunity for us to utilize our technological capabilities to foster growth and innovation in the region. Being chosen as the tech provider underscores the importance of robust infrastructure in driving meaningful change. This partnership reinforces our dedication to advancing technology, empowering nations, and enabling individuals to invest in a future where innovation and progress go hand in hand.”

SKALE Wins Vote to Approve Chain Pricing

Dec. 8: SKALE is the first blockchain to embrace an appchain infrastructure with zero gas fees for the end user, based on a vote by the community. According to the team: “The SKALE Chain Pricing proposal brings sustainability to the blockchain, where chain owners’ subscription payments offer validators an additional revenue stream and eliminate user gas fees. This vote will propel the network into the next phase, making it one of the only blockchains to run in an economically viable manner where without inflation. The network runs at a profit for decentralized workers and stakers.”

Engineering Association IEEE to Issue Credentials on Avalanche C-Chain

Dec. 8: The Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, with over 426,000 members in more than 160 countries, plans to issue credentials and certificates on the Avalanche C-Chain, according to a tweet. The effort will “make the verification process tamper-proof, instant and secure,” the post read. The team wrote in a message: “As a leader in setting technical standards, IEEE’s embrace of the blockchain for credentialing marks a significant milestone in the adoption of Web3.” (AVAX)

Blockaid Releases ‘Transaction Safety’ Feature for Rainbow Wallet

Dec. 8: Blockaid, a provider of Web3 security tools, announced a new “Transaction Safety” feature on Rainbow wallet, according to the team: “This security upgrade will provide millions of Rainbow wallet users with real-time protection against malicious sites and apps, and full transparency into the path of each Web3 transaction before signing any confirmations.”

Lantern Launches Staking Platform in 15 U.S. states

Dec. 7: Lantern Finance, a Web3 startup, has launched its user-friendly staking platform in 15 U.S. states, including major markets like California, Pennsylvania, Illinois, Virginia, and Massachusetts, according to the team: “Inspired by the cofounders’ experiences with the 2022 crypto bankruptcies, Lantern aims to redefine the crypto landscape with an emphasis on clarity, security, and regulatory adherence. The platform’s goal is to democratize access to crypto banking services, making complex tasks like staking and taking on loans accessible and intuitive for everyday users, while upholding the highest standards of safety and compliance.”

Blocknative Releases New Ethereum Mempool Explorer, to Help With MEV Protection

Dec. 7: Blocknative, a blockchain infrastructure company that cut staff in October after suspending work on a major business project, is releasing a new tool to examine the “mempool” of pending transactions awaiting processing on Ethereum, an effort that could ultimately help to reduce instances of block-level manipulation and protect users from front-running bots. The real-time explorer tool is called ethernow.xyz, which gives insights into Ethereum mempool data and the block building process, and Blocknative CEO Matt Cutler described it as the Etherscan for pre-chain data.

Slide from a Dec. 6 presentation by Blocknative CEO Matt Cutler at a Columbia University blockchain conference in New York. (Blocknative)

Orchid, Decentralized Bandwidth Marketplace, Could Expand to Data Storage With ‘Storchid’

Dec. 7: The community supporting Orchid, the decentralized bandwidth marketplace and VPN app, has a new open-source initiative, “Storchid,” which expands the Orchid to include data storage and address the trust and security holes in the current centralized data storage standards, according to the team: “The initiative builds on existing core technologies such as erasure coding, bonded commitments and stake-weighted random selection for incentive alignment. A core component is the Orchid Directory Mechanism where clients and providers alike are incentivized to maintain marketplace security.”

Jack Dorsey’s Block Bitkey Bitcoin Wallet Comes to Market in More Than 95 Countries

Dec. 7: Jack Dorsey’s fintech company Block (SQ) has unveiled its self-custody bitcoin wallet Bitkey for pre-order in more than 95 countries. Bitkey consists of a mobile app, hardware device and a set of recovery tools, Block announced on Thursday.

Bitkey includes a mobile app, hardware device, and a set of recovery tools, according to the company. (Block/Business Wire)Bitkey includes a mobile app, hardware device, and a set of recovery tools, according to the company. (Block/Business Wire)

Uphold Launches Vault for ‘Assisted Self-Custody,’ Starting With XRP

Dec. 7: Uphold, a Web3 financial platform, on Thursday launched the beta version of its new assisted self-custody wallet, Vault, which uniquely addresses the UX issues that plague users of typical crypto wallets and self-custody solutions, according to a press release. “The first digital asset that will be supported on Vault is the XRP token, the native token of the XRP Ledger, a decentralized layer 1 blockchain. Vault will expand to offer additional chains starting with BTC in Q1,” according to the release.

Neon EVM Integrates With Web3 Marketing Protocol Tide

Dec. 7: Neon EVM, a smart-contract program on the Solana blockchain that accepts Ethereum-like transactions, integrates with Tide, a Web3 marketing and data analytics protocol, according to the team: “Tide’s approach incentivizes repeated community and product engagement, tracking on-chain transactions and fostering vibrant decentralized communities. With Neon’s cutting-edge dApp ecosystem and Tide’s features like building brand awareness, learn-to-earn incentives, Web3 quests and referral programs, users can participate in the first Neon EVM campaigns on Tide to earn badges and tokens on the newly launched chain.”

Aori Launches, Aims to Bridge ‘CEX/DEX Gap’

Dec. 7: Aori, an off-chain orderbook protocol with permissionless settlement, launches today to create more capital efficient peer-to-peer markets on Ethereum, according to the team: “Aori uses MEV ‘searchers’ as market makers for quicker settlements, bridging the CEX/DEX gap. It focuses on gasless order creation, fair pricing and speedy settlements. Aori is intended to feel like a CEX experience but is entirely self-custodied. All transactions clear through Seaport, also utilized by OpenSea. Aori seeks to move existing on-chain infrastructure off-chain, to minimize smart contract risk wherever possible.”

Safe, Sygnum Bank, CoinCover Launch ‘RecoveryHub’

Dec. 7: Safe is joining forces with Sygnum Bank and CoinCover to launch Safe{RecoveryHub}, offering a suite of crypto recovery options ranging from fully self-custodial to fully custodial, catering to individual and institutional needs, according to the team: “With Safe{RecoveryHub}, users can recover access to their accounts through designated recoverers, which can be personal backup devices, family members and collaborators, also known as social recovery. In addition, trusted third-party services like Sygnum and CoinCover can be designated as recoverers to facilitate the recovery of assets in the case of lost keys.”

Namada Makes Initial NAM Token Allocations Under Retroactive Public Goods Funding

Dec. 7: Namada, a protocol that introduced to the world the concept of privacy as a public good, and scheduled to launch early next year, has initiated the Retroactive Public Goods Funding (RPGF) program, allocating 6.5% of its total NAM token supply to acknowledge and reward the invaluable contributions of individuals in the privacy, zero-knowledge (ZK) technology, and related ecosystems, according to the team. This distribution extends to:

– Developers of Zcash infrastructure.

– Rust dependencies vital for Namada.

-Contributors to various cryptographic protocols.

– Decentralized privacy solutions.

HyperOracle Integtes zkOracle Protocol With Polygon CDK

Dec. 7: HyperOracle integrates its zkOracle protocol with Polygon CDK, enhancing DeFi and on-chain AI capabilities, according to the team: “This collaboration enables the creation of advanced dApps, including decentralized stablecoins and AI-powered applications. Polygon CDK’s launch of ZK-powered layer-2 chains on Ethereum is augmented by HyperOracle’s zkOracle, offering verifiable compute and historical on-chain data access. The collaboration aims to drive innovation in DeFi, with HyperOracle co-developing a new zk-WASM based proving backend for Polygon CDK.”

Bitcoin Project Babylon Raises $18M to Bolster Development of Staking Protocol

Dec. 7: Bitcoin-focused project Babylon raised $18 million in an investment round led by Polychain Capital and Hack VC. Babylon is a marketplace offering bitcoin (BTC) as a staking asset, allowing proof-of-stake chains to acquire funding from the swells of capital stored in the largest cryptocurrency. Babylon will use the funds to advance the development of the staking protocol, according to an emailed statement shared with CoinDesk on Thursday. Framework Ventures, Polygon Ventures, Castle Island Ventures, OKX Ventures, Finality Capital, Breyer Capital and Symbolic Capital also participated in the fundraise.

Beam to Launch on Immutable zkEVM, Gaming-Focused L2 With Polygon Tech

Dec. 6: Beam, an open-source blockchain specialized for gaming and run by Merit Circle DAO, will now launch on Immutable zkEVM, a groundbreaking scaling solution powered by Polygon, according to the team: “Beam is an ecosystem and a blockchain. We want to remain chain-agnostic. Where we started as a subnet on Avalanche, we don’t want to limit ourselves to the Avalanche ecosystem. Right now, we’re working with Immutable to launch some of our products on the zkEVM, and integrate that network into our products as well.”