Ledger, the world’s most popular crypto hardware wallet provider, has unveiled its next-generation product: Nano X.
The Nano X is an upgrade from the Nano S which sold over a million devices and featured in our best cryptocurrency wallets of 2018 roundup. The Nano X offers a host of new, improved features for safe bitcoin storage.
Here’s everything we know so far.
Ledger Nano X: Bluetooth Enabled
Ledger’s new hardware wallet will feature Bluetooth connectivity, allowing users to connect to a mobile device. The previous Nano S only connected to a laptop or desktop via USB.
It improves usability in a mobile-first world and it means the Nano X can be used on the go.
Ledger Live Mobile: A New Mobile App
Ledger will launch a mobile app to integrate with the device, Ledger Mobile Live. The app will enable users to make transactions and check their balance quickly.
In the past, Ledger users could only conduct transactions on the desktop software.
The app will be available on Google Play and Apple App Store on January 28th.
The Ledger Nano X features a larger screen than its predecessor. That’s a crucial upgrade as most of Ledger’s security features operate right there on the screen (PIN code access and transaction confirmations, for example).
The larger screen makes this process easier and more user-friendly. The buttons have also been moved from the top of the device to the front for a more intuitive experience.
However, the big problem with the Nano S is the inability to hold more than about ten cryptocurrencies at once on the device.
The Nano X aims to address that by increasing the memory.
Increased Memory: 100 Coins At One Time
By increasing the memory on the Ledger Nano X, users can hold significantly more cryptocurrencies at once.
That’s because Ledger stores each different crypto asset on its own wallet, using a separate app. It’s a security feature. If you want to hold bitcoin on a Ledger device, you’re not just storing bitcoin, you’re using memory to store a bitcoin wallet. If you then add ethereum, you also store an ethereum wallet or app.
The Nano X drastically increases the memory, meaning you can hold up to 100 different crypto assets at once.
The introduction of Bluetooth might send alarm bells ringing for some. A wireless connection does increase the risk of an attacker hijacking the connection.
However, Ledger claims it is still highly secure due to Bluetooth’s short range and the device’s built-in security features. Speaking to Bitcoin Magazine, CEO Eric Larchevêque said:
“The Bluetooth connection is only used to send public data, such as your public key. The transaction itself is encrypted end-to-end while using the highest level of encryption and security on the Bluetooth protocol … no private keys are on the Bluetooth connection. It’s the same as the USB cable. Security-wise, the architecture is the same.”
The private keys are stored in a microchip that remains in the device at all times. Additionally, all the most important security checks (like PIN access) take place on the device or in the app. The device itself will only respond to the corresponding user app which should limit attacker access.
The Nano X will launch at $119 including shipping. Its predecessor, the Nano S, will get a price cut.
The Ledger Nano X is available to pre-order now and will ship in March. The app will launch on January 28th.
Size: 72mm x 18.6mm x 11.75mm
Compatibility: 64-bit desktop computer (Windows 8+, macOS 10.8+, Linux) or smartphone (iOS 9+ or Android 5+)
For $21,000, you can now buy a fraction of a student residence building, The Hub, in South Carolina. In exchange for your investment, you’ll receive a digital token that represents your share of the building’s ownership fund.
It’s part of a joint effort from Convexity Properties, a Chicago-based real estate investment firm and Harbor, the all-in-one tokenization platform.
This tokenization of real estate opens up the market to investors that might not be able to afford a full property or even the high minimums of traditional real estate investment trusts (REITs).
In 2018, an asset management company, Elevated Returns, sold tokenized shares in a luxury hotel in Aspen, Colorado. Investors received “Aspen coins” to denote their partial ownership in the project. The crowdfunding campaign, via Indiegogo, started on the 8th of August 2018 and ended on October the 1st, 2018, raising $18 million.
However, only accredited U.S. investors were allowed to participate in the sale with a minimum investment of $10,000. “Accredited investors” are individuals with “earned income that exceeded $200,000 in each of the prior two years” or has a net worth of over $1 million.
These experimental projects point to a possible new future in real estate investment and blockchain technology. But how close are we to the realization of tokenized real estate? Block Explorer dives deeper into the various projects in their space, tracks their progress, and outlines the opportunities available.
Why Put Real Estate on the Blockchain?
The real estate industry experiences some massive problems.
It could reach $5.2 billion in 2018, which is significantly higher than $1.3 billion poured into the field in 2014. And blockchain technologies are named amongst the 13 real estate industry disruptors.
And it’s not surprising. Distributed ledger technologies can potentially patch a lot of holes in the industry. Firstly, it could help create a fully-transparent real estate registry. Secondly, it can create buying opportunities for financially-limited investors, through fractional ownership.
The Biggest Real Estate Blockchain Projects Right Now
Numerous blockchain startups have flocked to the space, promising easy access to real estate investment to anyone curious to get in. And not only to accredited investors. Among the most noticeable are:
Atlant offers Ethereum-based peer-to-peer rentals and tokenized real estate ownership. However, even though the prototype has existed since September 2017, and the public beta of the product was launched in October 2018, there’s still a lot of work to do. The company is still struggling to acquire all the necessary licenses and there’s not much clarity on the timeframe.
Blockimmo is striving to facilitate “an accessible, streamlined real-estate market” through tokenized real estate shares. Their recent big news is the company’s business model approval by the Swiss Financial Market Supervisory Authority (FINMA). It also launched a testnet with two property listings samples.
Real properties supposedly will be available on the platform in 2019. It’s all sounds very promising. Yet, when digging more in-depth to the current company’s website, it appears to be clear that the team has a long way to go.
Some worrying discrepancies can be found in the “frequently asked question” section. It claims that “submitted real estate properties are carefully curated by our team of experts”, but the current number of employees is four, and three of them are developers. So, those are probably not a great fit when it comes to real estate evaluation. But let’s give it some time.
jointer.io is another startup in the field. With an attractive motto “using blockchain & AI to democratize commercial real estate,” they want to go one step further and offer tokenized real estate not as a form of investment in one property but as an index, combining several properties.
Sounds great, but so far the website itself doesn’t articulate much about the progress and it hasn’t launched yet. A popup announcement saying “50 investors viewed this offer” when someone is trying to check out what the company has to offer is also quite sketchy.
Meridio also promises to “democratize real estate,” boasting lower investment minimums, reduced transaction costs, and increased liquidity. It invites you to “browse the properties,” but to do so you have to register on the platform. We’ve requested the access, though at the moment of writing there was no feedback from the team (see below). And the project’s progress, judging by its corporate blog, hasn’t been very obvious recently.
Brickblock is one of the earliest players in the tokenized real estate field and seems like they are on the right track with legal, partnerships and overall progress. It’s yet not clear if the project truly meant to expose any investor to the possibilities of owning a fraction of a real estate. While writing this piece we tried to register on the platform and there were some roadblocks on the way (despite the claims that it will only take 15 minutes to register).
The link to verification application didn’t arrive via text message as promised, the verification code to launch the identity confirmation chat wasn’t working (screenshot below). But overall it feels like an excellent start with an actual perspective of getting somewhere.
What’s Next For Tokenized Real Estate?
Even though the true “democratization” of real estate and the ease of investing in tokenized assets might solve a lot of problems, there’s a long way to go in many regards.
Especially due to numerous regulatory issues related to tokenizing real estate, notably if we are talking about the global availability of such assets.
For now, it will be difficult to usurp the traditional securitized real estate investment trusts (REITs). Realty Income Corp., offers Retail Stores REIT investment and currently trades at around $62 per share with monthly dividends of about 0,3% – 0,4%. Simon Property Group also pays out quarterly dividends of 1%-1,3% and the price of approximately $164 per share at the moment of writing.
I can purchase it with a couple of clicks using the mobile application of my bank with no legal complications and even my taxes are paid automatically from the profits received.
There’s no doubt that tokenized assets are the future and it might be much more convenient and even possibly more profitable to the holders. However, there’s still a long way ahead for it. So let’s hope that an infinite number of passionate brainiacs invading the space will have enough energy and determination to figure it out. I keep my fingers crossed.
And what do you think of tokenized real estate investment? How long will it take us to get there? Go ahead and share your thoughts in the comment section below.
Crypto finance company Circle says institutional money is flowing into cryptocurrency, but adoption is coming slowly, not in “the major sweeping manner some in the industry had exuberantly predicted.”
In a Medium post, Circle reported $24 billion in over-the-counter (OTC) trades in 2018, attributing much of it to growing interest from institutional investors.
OTC trading takes place in private and usually involve enormous sums of money. The trades are facilitated by brokers or private trading desks like Circle.
Hedge funds, VC firms, and Family Offices
Circle outlines a core group of clients including miners, exchanges, project founders, and developers. However, it also points to a new wave of institutional clients.
Circle is seeing new volume from crypto funds, hedge funds, venture capital firms, and family offices.
Despite the downturn in price, Circle maintains that institutional adoption is growing. It now counts 1,000 institutional partners including asset managers, high-net-worth individuals, and endowments.
According to Circle’s medium post, “institutional involvement in crypto grew steadily and incrementally rather than in the major sweeping manner some in the industry had exuberantly predicted.”
The company expects the trend to continue through 2019, pointing to the growth of stablecoins, regulatory clarity, and custody services:
“We anticipate further incremental growth in institutional adoption catalyzed by stablecoin usage, advancements in institutional custody solutions, increasing regulatory clarity particularly in the U.S., and improvements and innovation in core crypto infrastructure.”
Circle facilitated $24 billion in over-the-counter (OTC) trading in 2018. The OTC platform, known as Circle Trade, processed more than 10,000 trades from 600 different investors.
Over the past few weeks of ‘Meme History’ we’ve covered the basics; Sminem, theWojaks, and Bobo the Bear. But in all the commotion, the lowest hanging fruit has yet to be plucked. What is probably the most well-known and mainstream of crypto-meme stories has yet to be told. And how poignant the story is in this, seemingly, never-ending bear market. The story of Carlos Matos or Bitconnect Carlos.
Figure 1. The Original Bitconnect conference video featuring Carlos Matos
Now defunct, Bitconnect was a cryptocurrency lending platform that operated like a pyramid or “Ponzi” scheme. Launched in December of 2016, the Bitconnect platform asked users to convert their bitcoin into Bitconnect coins and lend those coins out to other users. The lenders were rewarded with interest; the more you lent, the more interest you accrued. Bitconnect’s anonymous lending platform had people crying Ponzi from the start. It duped many bitcoin holders and in the process became crypto’s most iconic fraud. Carlos Matos was its most iconic sucker.
During the bull market that was Q4 of 2017, coins needed little merit to see a jump in price and early Bitconnect adopters like Carlos Matos were raking in the coins. His success on the platform led to his attending of an October symposium and appreciation ceremony in Thailand.During the event, Carlos made and ill-fatedly enthusiastic attempt at shilling Bitconnect. A coin many in the crypto-community recognized as a fraud. And ended like everyone expected.
Screaming “Bitcooooonect!!,” and “Wassup!” like a 1990’s beer frog, Carlos’ presentation struck a chord with the crypto-community and we all lol’d together for weeks. In no time, parodies started hitting YouTube, and Bitconnect became as close to a household name as any shitcoin has ever gotten. It even got as far as PewDiePie.
Figure 4. Pewdiepie’s Bitconnect video.
It’s probably the most ‘mainstream’ crypto meme out there. With good reason. Carlos is the embodiment of the dupe and everyone loves a dupe. Especially when you’re missing out on the bull run that was 2017.
Bitcoin is officially ten years old. On this day ten years ago, Bitcoin’s elusive creator Satoshi Nakamoto mined the first Bitcoin block. Known as the “genesis block” or Block#0, it marks the very start of the Bitcoin blockchain.
A decade later, there are now more than half a million blocks on the Bitcoin blockchain. And the price of one bitcoin has soared from almost zero to $3,900.
The block contains just one transaction: the 50 BTC reward for mining it.
The block also contains a pointed message about the existing banking system with a message written into the code:
The Times 03/Jan/2009 Chancellor on brink of second bailout for banks
The message refers to the headline in The Times newspaper on that day. You could argue it’s a simple time stamp. However, it’s more likely a comment on the failing banking system. British Chancellor Alistair Darling was considering a bailout for the banks after the financial crisis in 2008.
It’s no coincidence that Satoshi included this message as he ushered in a radical new monetary system of his own.
Satoshi was rewarded with 50 bitcoins for mining the first block. However, due to the way the bitcoin blockchain is coded, the reward for the first block cannot be spent. Over time, people have donated additional BTC to the block.
Even today, the Genesis block received a gift from the following address:
To celebrate the anniversary, crypto exchange BitMex took out an advert on the front page of The Times. It reads: “Thanks Satoshi. We owe you one. Happy 10th Birthday, Bitcoin.”
It’s a subtle nod to Satoshi’s hidden message on the genesis block which referenced The Times newspaper headline.