Bitfinex has launched an Ethereum-based hybrid cryptocurrency exchange called Ethfinex Trustless to give traders more security, privacy and control of their funds, marking the foundation of what the exchange hopes will be a completely decentralized trading model. The platform utilizes Ethfinex, which links centralized and off-chain orders books to gives users full control of their funds throughout the trading process.
Bitfinex Joins the DEX Fray
Introducing Ethfinex Trustless – an Ethereum based trading solution placing security, privacy and control in the hands of the user.
Ethfinex Trustless provides a liquid, off-chain order book that doesn’t require users to sacrifice the custody of their tokens or endure withdrawal and deposit delays. There are no signups or KYC requirements, and users don’t even need to provide their name, email, phone number, or address to begin trading.
Users are required to hold a minimum one Ethfinex Nectar token in an Ethereum wallet. Ethfinex distributes its Nectar token to traders every month.
Trading pairs will initially be ETH/USDT, OMG/USDT, OMG/ETH, ZRX/USDT, and ZRX/ETH, to be followed by at least 40 more tokens.
Improved Privacy And Security
Bitfinex believes Ethfinex will deliver a new level of security privacy and liquidity in digital asset trading.
The company noted in a Medium blog that centralized exchanges offer highly liquid order books that allow traders to quickly exchange tokens and currencies. The downside of centralized exchanges, however, is that they require the trader to give up control of their currencies along with a fair amount of personal data.
Trading on centralized exchanges also requires time-consuming deposits and withdrawals, which incur long waiting periods and in some cases subject users to losses caused by hacks.
Ethfinex presenlty uses Ledger and MetaMask to offer anonymous, trustless, liquidity trading of more than 57 Ethereum based tokens. Users can trade directly against the Ethfinex and Bitfinex orders books.
The platform will expand to include fee structures, user incentives, margin decisions, and profit distribution decisions.
Given that the global pension deficit is estimated to reach USD 400 trillion by 2050, people expecting to retire in the coming decades have plenty of reason to be worried. However, even though solving the pensions crisis is likely to require considerable societal, economic and political shifts, blockchain technology could provide a way of easing many of the factors that make the crisis worse.
It’s with Berlin-based startup Akropolis that the claims regarding blockchain’s potential are made most strongly. Established in 2017, its blockchain-based platform aims to “address the pressing pain points and prevent the mistakes of the old [pension] system from occuring in the future,” as CEO of Akropolis Anastasia O. Andrianova tells Cryptonews.com.
Initially, Akropolis’ “decentralized pension platform” should be based on the Ethereum blockchain once it launches in Q4 2018, although it aims to be a “blockchain-agnostic pension provider” in the long term. The main premise guiding its development is that pension holders suffer from having “no control over their own assets […] no visibility over fees charged on pensions and investment products (ref. fee erosion which can reach up to 80% of the final amount in some cases) [and] no portability of pensions contributions as they change employment,” as Andrianova says.
She also explains that Akropolis’ decentralization would provide pension holders with a clear and transparent ledger showing them their pension contributions, savings and records, which can all be transferred from one employer to the next seamlessly.
Blockchain tech could provide pension holders not only with tamper-proof records, but also with the ability to communicate with pension funds without having to go through value-sucking middlemen.
Ray Mody, Head of Technology Transformation & Investments at PwC, one of the Big Four auditors, tells Cryptonews.com that such simplicity could have big potential for the pensions industry.
“You can see how the whole process, and number of intermediaries involved, in managing a person’s long-term savings could be radically simplified,” he says. “As well as cost and time savings arising from that, it’s also likely to allow savers a more intuitive and trusted way of interacting with their savings status and decisions, which might well prompt better engagement and a commitment to save more.”
Auctus is a British Virgin Islands-registered company that’s also building a decentralized platform for retirement products that’s due to have its beta release in Q3 2018. It uses Ethereum-powered smart contracts to ensure that fees are paid transparently and only when the customer has been provided with promised services.
Another startup is the Netherlands-based NestEgg, which plans to use a blockchain-based crowdfunding platform to help individuals invest and save for their retirements. It also uses Ethereum-based smart contracts, although in its case it’s using them to enable groups of savers to collectively buy, own and sell various assets, thereby helping these groups to earn a post-employment income.
NestEgg, Auctus and Akropolis don’t represent the only attempts to reform the pensions industry via blockchains, with such financial service providers as APG, Deloitte and KPMG all trialling platforms that harness distributed ledgers in one way or another to improve the efficiency and value for money offered by pensions.
However, while Andrianova has stated that, by turning to blockchain, “our pensions community can tackle the pensions crisis and ensure a secure future for many,” she and other commentators admit that the use of distributed ledgers alone won’t be enough to significantly reduce the growing pensions deficit.
“On the subject of solving legacy pension deficits in defined benefit plans, I suspect there will be a limited role for blockchain,” says Ray Mody. “Beyond the second-order spin-off consequences from having faster and clearer access to asset information, the reality is that historic pension deficits are a function of major economic and demographic factors – the risk and returns on different assets and the consequences of changing life expectancies for example.”
Mody acknowledges that blockchain could streamline the industry and even give birth to some novel pension products, but he concludes, “as a technology by itself it won’t be a magic solution to solve deficits.”
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Author: Simon Chandler Image Credit: iStock/mediaphotos
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