Visa dreams up plans to let you auto-pay bills from your crypto wallet
Visa has suggested tapping into Vitalik Buterin’s Account Abstraction proposal to combine Ethereum-based wallets and smart contracts into a single account to enable auto-payments.

Crypto-users may one day be able to automatically pay their electricity and telephone bills through their self-custodial crypto wallets, according to payments giant Visa.

In a Dec. 20 blog post, Visa’s crypto thought leadership team proposed a solution that would allow providers to automaticall “pull” funds from users’ Ethereum-powered crypto wallets, without requiring the user to manually sign off on every transaction.

Auto-payments for recurring bills are commonplace in the traditional banking world, giving users the ability to permit certain service providers to draw from their chosen bank accounts to pay off bills — such as a Netflix subscription or a monthly telephone bill.

Such a mechanism isn’t possible for owners of self-custodial wallets, said Visa, noting that automated programmable payments that pull payments from a user's account at recurring intervals "requires engineering work."

This is because in self-custodial wallets the user is the only person in control of the private keys, meaning they need to manually sign off on transactions as “a smart contract cannot initiate transactions on its own.”

In its technical piece, Visa said automatic recurring payments via crypto would be possible through a new type of self-custodial wallet called “delegable accounts,” which is based on the “Account Abstraction” (AA) concept.

Ethereum co-founder Vitalik Butering put forward the concept in 2015, which essentially allows for Ethereum-based wallets and smart contracts to be combined into a single account, among other use cases.

Through an AA-based self-custody wallet or delegable account, the Visa team states that user accounts would “function like smart contracts,” meaning that people can schedule transactions without signing off to initiate each transaction.

“This application could allow a user to setup a programmable payment instruction that can push funds automatically from one self-custodial wallet account to another at recurring intervals, without requiring the user's active participation each time,” the post reads.

The proposal is part of the crypto-friendly firm’s broader research into new avenues for blockchain innovation and to work around rigid requirements hardcoded into Ethereum transactions.”

The team does admit that while auto-payments can be integrated relatively easily via wallets hosted by other parties such as exchanges, this of course means the user would have to trust their funds will be managed appropriately by said parties.

This was proven to be a major risk this year, especially given the bankruptcies of FTX, Voyager, BlockFi and Celsius to name a few.

The post also highlights that AA has been proposed as part of multiple Ethereum Improvement Proposals over the years, but ultimately hasn’t gone through due to difficulty in implementation. This is due to it requiring many protocol changes and “security guarantees to be met.”

The Visa team stated that it has already successfully tried its delegable accounts on a private chain from layer 2 scaling solution StarkNet, as the network supports AA.

As such, the post concludes that auto payments are not far away, given the Visa team was able to implement delegable accounts within StarkNets’ “account model.”

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Binance.US set to acquire Voyager Digital assets for $1B
A hearing for the deal’s approval is set for Jan.5, 2023.

According to a new press release published on Dec. 19, cryptocurrency exchange Binance.US will acquire assets of bankrupt crypto lender Voyager Digital for $1.022 billion. After a review of strategic options, the firm said that Binance.US represented the “highest and best bid for its assets.”

The $1.022-billion bid consists of the fair market value of Voyager’s cryptocurrency portfolio at a to-be-determined date in the future, along with an additional consideration equal to $20 million of incremental value.

“The Company’s claims against Three Arrows Capital remain with the bankruptcy estate, and any future recovery on these and other non-released claims will be distributed to the estate’s creditors. The Binance.US bid aims to return crypto to customers in kind, in accordance with court-approved disbursements and platform capabilities.”

The deal is set to close by April 18, 2023. Binance has agreed to make a $10-million deposit in good faith and will reimburse Voyager for certain expenses up to a maximum of $15 million. A hearing will be held by the presiding bankruptcy court to approve the purchase agreement on Jan. 5, 2023. In addition, the sale is subject to a creditor’s vote and other customary closing conditions.

Voyager paused withdrawals in July and filed for bankruptcy amid liquidity issues arising from its exposure to a $650-million loan default from defunct hedge fund Three Arrows Capital. Cointelegraph previously reported in October that troubled cryptocurrency exchange FTX US secured a bid for Voyager’s assets for $1.4 billion. The previous deal enabled senior claims to be paid out in full and allowed unsecured creditors to recover approximately 72% of the value of their accounts.

In a Twitter post on Dec. 20, Voyager's committee of unsecured creditors said that it believes that the Binance.US bid "appears to be the best transaction at this time," though said it was "still evaluating" given a limited timeframe to evaluate the decision — having only been made aware of Voyager's intention to accept the bid on Dec. 8.

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$1.7M in Bitcoin tied to QuadrigaCX reawakens after years of dormancy
After lying dormant for years and believed to be inaccessible, five cryptocurrency wallets owned by the bankrupt cryptocurrency exchange QuadrigaCX have moved $1.7 million in funds to various addresses.

Five wallets tied to the defunct Canadian cryptocurrency exchange QuadrigaCX previously thought to be inaccessible have just been spotted moving around $1.7 million worth of Bitcoin after years of dormancy.

Crypto researcher ZachXBT alerted the crypto community in a tweet on Dec. 19, highlighting the five wallets that transferred around 104 Bitcoin on Dec. 17 to various wallets.

Blockchain records show the wallets had not sent BTC since at least April 2018.

Once Canada's largest crypto exchange, QuadrigaCX declared bankruptcy in April 2019 following the December 2018 death of its founder and CEO, Gerald Cotten, who was solely responsible for the private keys of the exchange's wallets.

Some 155,000 exchange users were owed up to $200 million in crypto at the time of its bankruptcy.

In February 2019, a report from Ernst & Young — the Big Four accounting firm overseeing the exchange’s estate — stated that on Feb. 6, 2019, QuadrigaCX accidentally transferred around 103 BTC  to cold wallets that only the deceased Cotten had access to. The sum is almost identical to the amount of Bitcoin that has just recently moved.

At the time, the firm said it would be working with management to retrieve the cryptocurrency from the cold wallets.

The mysterious death of QuadrigaCX’s founder and CEO followed by the collapse of the exchange had sparked conspiracy theories that the founder faked his own death as part of a fraudulent exit scam.

The story was the subject of a 2022 Netflix documentary.

In 2014, years before his death, Cotten said on a podcast that the best way to keep private keys was to print them off and store them offline in a safety deposit box, revealing that the exchange stored its private keys offline in the company’s safety deposit box at a bank.

It’s unknown if the movement of the BTC is related to Ernst & Young's recovery efforts. Cointelegraph contacted the firm for comment but did not immediately receive a response.

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This Daily Dose was brought to you by Cointelegraph.

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