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Liquid CEO Explains the Gram Token Sale Is ‘Natural,’ Disputes Conspiratory Theories



It was a “natural” development.

That is how Mike Kayamori, the CEO of Liquid described an exclusive deal with Gram Asia on public sales of Telegram Open Network (TON), a decentralized network being developed by privacy-focused messaging platform Telegram. Kayamori told Cointelegraph how Liquid came to agree with Gram Asia. He also claimed that Liquid was the pioneer of initial exchange offering (IEO) and explained which advantages Liquid has in the IEO market.

“Everything is between Gram Asia and Liquid”

The upcoming IEO at Liquid is a public sale of gram, which is the native token of TON. The Liquid deal was not made with Telegram, but with Gram Asia, the largest Gram holder in Asia. Kayamori confirmed this by saying that “everything is between Gram Asia and Liquid.”

He explained the process of reaching the agreement as follows:

“It was natural. We knew the Gram Asia people. We also believed in Telegram Open Network and its community. […] A limited scope compared with $1.7 billion. But let’s do a proper public sale so that Telegram users and greater community can participate in before the actual listing that will happen in October.”

Telegram conducted a private token sale to accredited investors last March, reportedly raising a total of $1.7 billion. The company released a testnet version of TON last month and is planning to launch the mainnet in October.

As to the timing of the public sale, Kayamori explained that Gram Asia made “conscious efforts  to try to expand that ecosystem prior to having it listed.” He also added, “I think they wanted to wait until the testnet happens.”

Kayamori acknowledged that some people are questioning why they are selling it now. He said that “there is a lot of conspiracy theories.” Liquid will be announcing a statement to clarify some misunderstandings by media reports as to the gram public sale shortly.

He also suggested Gram Asia’s role as an incubator that works on the TON project and how it is part of the robust community of TON ecosystem.

The public sale is scheduled for July 10. As to the price or the amount of tokens for sale, Kayamori said it would be released about a week before the sale.

The sale will be available everywhere except for some 50 countries, including the United States and Japan. But Kayamori sees a high potential in the powerful combination of the TON network and Telegram’s 200 million active users:

“If you are a distributed app vendor,  would you want to be listed on top of Ethereum? or EOS? Or do you want to be built on top of TON? Ethereum is great. It is a gold standard of ICO. EOS is decentralized and good but who has 200 million active users already? […] The TON network app vendors building their applications on it, when it integrates into Telegram, that is going to be special.”

Pioneering IEOs

In 2019, major crypto exchanges such as Binance and Bitfinex are getting attention with conducting IEOs and raising a huge amount of money. But, in 2017, Liquid already did it with their own token, Kayamori insisted:

“We were the first exchange to offer IEO. This was November 2017, when we listed our own token. I mean when we did a public offering of our own token, at the time it was called ICO. We conducted that ICO on the exchange”

He was referring to the qash token sale in 2017, which sold 350 million qash tokens, equivalent to $105 million.

Already in 2017, Liquid already realized the importance of doing a token offering and raising capital by “someone who can validate, someone who can verify, someone who can do due diligence.” One of the problems with initial coin offerings (ICOs) was that token issuers “would just do it on their websites with zero KYC” — i.e., Know Your Customer compliance. As previously reported, there are a lot of ICO frauds cases.

Moreover, while Kayamori welcomes the recent development of the IEO market, he thinks Liquid has advantages:

“As a group of companies, we are regulated in Japan. We also have fiat on-ramps and off-ramps. I don’t think any other exchanges that do IEOs have fiat on-ramps and off-ramps.”

Although the upcoming gram token offering is taking place on Liquid Global, Kayamori believes that it can bring the “best practices” that it has nurtured in Japan, which is “one of the most strict and the most conservative in the world.”

Japan recently passed revised crypto laws, one of which, among many others, asks exchanges to hold clients’ funds in a more secure way.

Moreover, Kayamori pointed out the advantage of using stablecoin USDC for the upcoming sale. All proceeds from the sale will be held in USDC in the custody of Liquid until October. Kayamori explained that, by using USDC, investors can always check how much they have on the blockchain.

“We bring the lessons learned,” Kayamori promised.

Having done the first IEO in 2017 and being regulated in Japan, known for strict regulation, Kayamori sees that proper IEOs conducted by regulated exchanges will attract investors in the future. How will the IEO pioneer stand out in the increasingly crowded IEO market? We might get some hints from the public gram sale on July 10.

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A New Bitcoin Exchange Point On the Colombian-Venezuelan Border Will Help Refugees




A new cryptocurrency exchange service is available on the border between Colombia and Venezuela and its aim is to help refugees traveling across the Simon Bolivar International Bridge.

Visitors are now able to use the point-of-sale service with cryptocurrencies to buy goods. The POS is located in Santander, Colombia, just across the border from Venezuela. Panda Group created the payment alternative with refugees in mind. The group, a Columbian-Venezuela joint venture, announced the implementation of the new service through their Twitter account.

According to the data published by, the service lets users exchange using bitcoin (BTC), bitcoin cash (BCH) and dai (DAI), and converts them into to Colombian Pesos (COP).

At the physical location – a small phone service provider in a mall called La Parada – customers can buy bitcoin with prices based on the Localbitcoins rate in pesos. The service will charge 10 percent above the market price and those who sell their bitcoins will do so for 5 percent more than the established market value.

This is not the first cryptocurrency service in the country. The Panda Group has already installed another five cryptocurrency exchanges in Colombia, most of them in the Colombian capital, Bogotá.

According to Panda CEO, Arley Lozano Jaramillo, their solutions are focused on helping the Venezuelan users and they announced the addition of a new service called Xpay.Cash to encourage adoption.

“This service is for all our brothers to pay directly in Cucuta with their cryptoassets and mitigate the loss of exchanging from BTC to COP, which represents a loss of at least 20%,” Jaramillo said.

Colombia has the highest rate of cryptocurrency investors in South America, next to Brazil. There are reportedly over 20 businesses accepting bitcoin payments in the country. The establishments are mainly focused in tourism, food and digital services.

Bitcoin At The Border

The ATM installed in Villa del Rosario City is connected to the Venezuelan border by the state of Tachira. The states are only separated by the Simon Bolivar International Bridge, one of the most heavily traveled borders used by Venezuelan refugees.

The refugee situation has also sparked a focus on the cryptocurrency, mainly for humanitarian aid purposes.

On the other hand, the last point of sale with cryptocurrency was implemented in Cúcuta, another border location with an growing Venezuelan population. The state also has a Bitcoin ATM, one of forty-two in the country.

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Fidelity-Backed Crypto Analytics Firm to Integrate Twitter-Based Crypto Sentiment Feed




Crypto analytics firm Coin Metrics partnered with Social Market Analytics (SMA) to collaborate on a feed of real-time sentiment towards cryptocurrency based on social media data, according to a press release on June 17.

The new partnership intends to collect and analyze data posted by crypto community on social media in order to provide a new tool to help crypto traders to track social media sentiment data to build their portfolio strategies.

The new product will initially target sentiment data solely on social media giant Twitter, Coin Metrics CEO Tim Rice confirmed to Cointelegraph, adding that the firms are currently not considering integration of the service into Facebook.

Specifically,Coin Metrics will incorporate the product into market data platform, called the SMA cryptocurrency Sentiment Feed, providing calculated metrics of data on Twitter, according to a report by crypto media outlet The Block. In the report, Rice said that the calculation algorithms would include relevant tweets and calculate “19 different aggregate sentiment metrics down to snapshots of one minute.”

Social Market Analytics is providing social media-powered predictive data analytics to traditional capital markets participants in various markets, including stocks, forex, Exchange-Traded Funds (ETFs), futures, among others. Since its establishment in 2012, SMA has been a Twitter Finance partner, the firm’s CEO Joe Gits stated in an email to Cointelegraph.

Meanwhile, Coin Metrics is backed by major American investment management company Fidelity in February 2019, which participated in a $1.9 million funding round in February 2019.

Earlier today, social media giant Facebook released the white paper for its long-anticipated cryptocurrency and blockchain-powered financial project known as Libra stablecoin.

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Bitcoin Falls Near $9,000 as US Stock Market Sees Gains




Monday, June 17 — most of the top 20 cryptocurrencies are reporting moderate losses on the day by press time, as bitcoin (BTC) falls Near $9,000 mark again.

Market visualization courtesy of Coin360

Market visualization courtesy of Coin360

Bitcoin is currently down about 3% on the day, trading around $9,045 at press time, according to Coin360. Looking at its weekly chart, the coin is up around 11%.

Bitcoin 7-day price chart

Bitcoin 7-day price chart. Source: Coin360

As Cointelegraph reported earlier today, bitcoin surpassed one million daily active addresses on June 14, according to blockchain statistics website CoinMetrics.

Ether (ETH) is holding onto its position as the largest altcoin by market cap, which currently stands at $28.2 billion. The second-largest altcoin, Ripple’s XRP, has a market cap of $18.1 billion at press time.

Coin360 data shows that ETH has seen its value decrease by about 2.27% over the last 24 hours. At press time, ETH is trading around $265. On the week, the coin has also gained almost 6.8% of value.

Ether 7-day price chart

Ether 7-day price chart. Source: Coin360

XRP is down by just over 0.43% over the last 24 hours and is currently trading at around $0.430. On the week, the coin is up about 6.7%.

XRP 7-day price chart

XRP 7-day price chart. Source: Coin360

Yesterday news broke that major money transmission network MoneyGram has entered into a strategic partnership with blockchain-based payments firm Ripple.

Among the top 20 cryptocurrencies, the only ones reporting gains are binance coin (BNB), which is over 1% up, and DASH, which is up over 2%.

At press time, the total market capitalization of all cryptocurrencies is $282.8 billion, over 11.6% higher than the value it reported a week ago.

As Cointelegraph reported earlier today, Social media giant Facebook has released the white paper for its long-awaited cryptocurrency and blockchain-based financial infrastructure project.

In traditional markets, the United States stock market is seeing gains so far today, with the S&P 500 up 1.17% and the Nasdaq up 1.73% at press time. The CBOE Volatility Index (VIX), on the other hand, has lost 0.46% on the day at press time.

Major oil futures and indexes are mixed movements today, with WTI Crude up 3.99%, Brent Crude up 2.43% and Mars US down 0.83% at press time. The OPEC Basket is up 0.57% and the Canadian Crude Index has seen its value increase by 5.57% in the 24 hours by press time, according to OilPrice.

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