21.10.2020

New Crypto Bridge Will Make Tether Transactions Cheaper

Paolo Ardoino, who is also the CTO of Tether’s sister company, crypto exchange Bitfinex, told CoinDesk this is part of the reason he has been working with the team behind the token wrapper project, pTokens, to develop an interoperability bridge between the Bitcoin and EOS networks.

Tether’s CTO hopes a new EOS-Bitcoin interoperability bridge could one day make tether cheaper and faster because users will be able to make transactions on less-congested blockchains.

Launching Friday, the company will initially support a bitcoin wrapper on the EOS mainnet – pBTC. Essentially, a user will be able to deposit funds in one network, say Bitcoin, and pToken will issue the user the equivalent amount of “wrapped” tokens on the new network. The company hopes to support a bridge between litecoin and EOS, as well as EOS and ethereum.

An EOS wrapper for a tether ERC20 token is currently being planned, according to pTokens’ website. Founder Thomas Bertani told CoinDesk there were no plans yet to consider developing an EOS wrapper for tether on Omni, a secondary layer on top of the Bitcoin protocol.

A key benefit of interoperability is users can better leverage the different characteristics of different blockchains, Ardoino said. One of the initial reasons Tether created an ERC20 version in 2017 was so it could sidestep the congested Bitcoin network.

“Omni was costing a lot of money, up to $500, Ethereum wasn’t so saturated, so the fees were cheap. Every trader would have preferred to move the funds onto the Ethereum blockchain because it was cheaper and faster,” Ardoino said.

Ethereum speeds slowed due to network congestion by the end of 2017, however. Creating an interoperability bridge between it and EOS – which has higher throughput and much less chain activity – essentially provides users with a “backup” option, so they can continue to trade with minimal fees and quick settlement times, he claimed.

Many crypto exchanges, including Bitfinex, already offer users two different types of tether, so the ability to swap between protocols already exists in some form. However, interoperability bridges make it easier for users themselves to move between the different protocols.

Ardoino foresees Bitfinex and Tether will continue to perform chain swaps. Major exchanges looking to swap $10 million worth of tether between two chains will always be able to organize it with them directly, he said.

But, he added, greater interoperability will allow retail investors with smaller amounts of tether to also shift freely between the different blockchains.

Ardoino hopes his involvement with pTokens might encourage other developers to build bridges to other protocols, creating greater connections between all the different chains. Enhancing interoperability may one day act as the bridge for tether to launch on many other new protocols, he added.

New York Regulator Hires Former IRS Silk Road Investigator as General Counsel

The New York Department of Financial Services has appointed Richard Weber, a former chief of the Criminal Investigation Division of the Internal Revenue Service, as its new general counsel.

Weber, who led the IRS division during the agency’s investigation into the Silk Road darkweb marketplace during his time with the agency, has most recently headed financial crime prevention at UBS and Deutsche Bank. Weber has extensive experience overseeing financial crimes concerns, NYDFS announced in a press release Tuesday.

In a statement, NYDFS Superintendent Linda Lacewell said Weber brings “legal acumen and management experience” to the agency, which supervises and regulates crypto exchanges and other businesses interacting with cryptocurrencies in New York.

“His extensive leadership experience and depth of legal knowledge will be vital in helping the state emerge stronger and safer from this unprecedented crisis,” she said.

Weber was part of the team looking into federal agents who violated federal law in investigating the Silk Road marketplace, according to a 2015 FBI press release. At the time, Drug Enforcement Administration agent Carl Mark Force IV was accused of stealing from the U.S. government and targets of the Silk Road investigation. He later pleaded guilty and was sentenced to 78 months in prison.

“I look forward to joining the talented team Superintendent Lacewell has built that is committed to fighting for New York’s consumers and safeguarding our markets,” Weber said in a statement.

According to NYDFS’s press release, Acting General Counsel Kevin Bishop will stay on with the agency, but he will be moved to a deputy role overseeing the regulator’s regulatory and legislative work.

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