Daily News Digest Featured News

Friday April 6 2018, Daily News Digest

crypto bubble meter
Source: LeapRate

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News Summary

United States

Bitcoin exchange Coinbase launches early-stage venture fund (CNBC), Rated: AAA

Popular cryptocurrency exchange Coinbase is launching a new incubator fund for early-stage start ups, the company announced Thursday.

“We’re going to invest off our balance sheet into crypto companies,” Coinbase President and Chief Operating Officer Asiff Hirji told CNBC’s “Fast Money” Thursday. “We will invest in companies that are in the space and are aligned with our values.”

Profits from the fund will be “de minimis” in the scope of the entire company but the fund is already off to a $15 million start and set to grow, Hirji said.

Adding Support for Bitcoin Forks to Coinbase (Coinbase), Rated: A

We’re excited to announce our intention to support the withdrawal of Bitcoin Forks across Coinbase products in the coming months. We are announcing this both internally and to the public as consistent with our process for adding new assets.

Why Investors Are Betting Millions On Bitcoin Surveillance (Forbes), Rated: AAA

Tracking the myriad cryptocurrencies as they ping around the world en masse every day is no simple task. Ask 27-year-old British entrepreneur Jonathan Levin, co-founder and chief operating officer of Chainalysis, one of the hottest companies in the burgeoning business of digital currency tracking. In its early days, in 2014, Chainalysis would do its best to retroactively monitor transactions and follow the money of nefarious types on the blockchain, largely for the benefit of U.S. government investigators hunting fraudsters and launderers. Now Levin sees multi-billion dollar financial institutions who want to instantly know who they’re dealing with when interacting with millions of cryptocurrency owners every day.

That’s why a promising new industry has emerged, which attempts to guarantee trust in Bitcoin and other currencies by keeping a constant eye on the various blockchains of the world.

Bitcoin Tracker Chainalysis Raises $ 16 Million, Plans to Track 10 More Cryptocurrencies (Fortune), Rated: AAA

On Thursday, Chainalysis said it had raised $16 million from Benchmark in a move the firm says will help it ramp up its sales efforts and expand the number of cryptocurrencies it tracks. The Series A funding round will also see Benchmark’s Sarah Tavel, a Pinterest veteran and longtime crypto authority, join the Chainalysis board.

The company also used the occasion to unveil a new product called Know Your Transaction, which will make it easier for banks and exchanges to track suspicious activity and comply with anti-money laundering laws.

There’s a $ 25 billion reason bitcoin could stop plunging by mid-April (Business Insider), Rated: A

Tom Lee, the cofounder of Fundstrat, estimates that US bitcoin investors owe $25 billion in capital-gains taxes, or about 20% of all such payments due for 2017.

“The $25 billion would represent 20% of capital gain tax receipts (payments) to Treasury, which explains why the IRS cares so much about collecting crypto taxes,” Lee said in a note on Thursday. “Total receipts for capital gains should hit a record $168 billion (for income tax year 2017), exceeding the $137 billion of receipts in 2007.”

bitcoin price
Source: Business Insider

A ‘seismic shift’ is taking place in the cryptocurrency sector, analyst says (MarketWatch), Rated: A

The days of overnight bitcoin millionaires are fading fast. As the price of the No. 1 digital currency continues to fall — declining more than 40% in the first quarter — the crypto hall of fame is fast becoming a hall of shame.

In fact, evidence of fewer day traders is growing. Despite the falling price, which typically correlates with rising volatility, the 30-day volatility in bitcoin has fallen from 8% at the start of 2018, to below 5%. During this period, bitcoin fell more than 40%.

crypto volatility
Source: MarketWatch

Aliant Confirms Status as Litecoin’s First Official Payments Partner (NewsBTC), Rated: AAA

US based provider of merchant services and payment processing Aliant Payments Systems has confirmed that it has entered into an official partnership with the Litecoin Foundation.

Abra Rolls Out Seven Altcoins (PR Newswire), Rated: A

On the heels of the successful launch of its redesigned app, Abra, the first and only all-in-one app allowing users to buy, sell and hold across 20 cryptocurrencies and 50 fiat currencies, today announced the availability of the seven remaining altcoins to its platform. With Abra, users can exchange across any currency with no deposit or exchange transaction fees, at any time with no limitations.

Bitcoin Gold [BTG], Stellar Lumens [XLM], DigiByte [DGB], Augur [REP], Status [SNT], Stratis [STRAT] and 0x [ZRX] will now be available on the Abra app in addition to Bitcoin [BTC], Bitcoin Cash [BCH], Dash [DASH], Dogecoin [DOGE], Ethereum [ETH], Ethereum Classic [ETC], Golem [GNT], Litecoin [LTC], OmiseGO [OMG], Qtum [QTUM], Ripple [XRP], Vertcoin [VTC] and Zcash [ZEC].

SEC Chief Touts Benefits of Crypto Regulation (CoinDesk), Rated: A

At a Princeton University event Thursday, SEC chairman Jay Clayton went so far as to reject the idea that all ICOs are fraudulent, answering “absolutely not” to a question centered on whether his agency’s actions against the founders of blockchain projects amounts to such an admission.

Clayton continued: “I think if we don’t stop the fraudsters, there is a serious risk that the regulatory pendulum – the regulatory actions will be so severe that they will restrict the capacity of this new security.”

SEC Halts ICO Coin Offering Supposedly Tied to Visa, MasterCard (JDSupra), Rated: A

SEC v. Sharma, Civil Action No. 1:18-cv-02909 (S.D.N.Y. Filed April 2, 2018).

Defendant Sohrab Sharma is the founder of Centra Tech, Inc. He held various positions with the firm. Robert Farkas is the COO of Centra. From July 30, 2017 through early October 2017 Defendants raised about $32 million from thousands of investors through the sale of securities issued by Centra. The securities were issued as an ICO – an initial coin offering.

First, the representation that Centra Card would operate on the Visa and MasterCard networks was critical. This supposedly permitted holders to engage in transactions with their cryptocurrency holdings.

Second, Defendants used fictitious biographies to promote Centra. Michael Edwards was listed as the CEO of the firm. A LinkedIn profile stated the executive had a Harvard MBA and an extensive career in banking with prominent firms. Jessica Robinson was represented to be the CFO of the firm. She supposedly had substantial experience at another firm. The executives were fictitious, according to the complaint.

Third, the White Paper claimed that the Centra had spectacular growth potential. That growth would fund a dividend to investors. Defendant Sharma acknowledged that no dividend would be paid. When one investor demanded the payment, Mr. Sharma first declined; later he offered to pay it – but only for that investor.

My Big Coin Tells Court Tokens aren’t Regulated by CFTC Because they are Not Commodities (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: A

My Big Coin (MBC) was hit with an enforcement action by the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) back in January of this year. The CFTC alleged, among other things, that MBC’s initial coin offering represented to investors as being actively traded on cryptocurrency exchanges when in fact it was not. MBC also represented that the digital currency was backed by Gold when it was really backed by promotional prose.

According to the Defendants court filing, the CFTC does not have jurisdiction because it is not a commodity;

“Count I alleges that Crater and MBCPay violated Section 6(c)(1) of the CEA and 17 C.F.R.180.1(a)(2017) (CFTC Regulation 180.1) by engaging in Fraud by Deceptive Device. The CFTC claims that the CEA and CFTC regulation govern virtual currencies, such as My Big Goin, because virtual currencies are “encompassed in the definition of “commodity” under CEA and CFTC regulations. This definition is an essential element to the CFTC’s case, as it serves as the sole basis for the CFTC’s jurisdiction to bring these claims and it serves as the sole basis for the federal question that provides subject matter jurisdiction for this court. While cryptocurrencies on which futures are dealt are no doubt subject to CEA and CFTC regulations, there are no futures on My Big Coin so it is not a commodity as that term is defined in the CEA and CFTC regulations.”

Top MBA programs beef up cryptocurrency courses to keep up with demand (CNBC), Rated: A

Some of the top MBA programs in the world are adjusting their curriculum after last year’s mania around bitcoin. Stanford Graduate School of Business, Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania and Georgetown University’s McDonough School of Business are expanding classes in digital currency and blockchain to keep up with demand from students and their future employers.

When the Israeli native realized there were no crypto courses listed for 2018, he rallied 12 classmates and sent a letter addressed to professors and associates of the business school.

Stanford agreed and added the course, which closed with more than 50 people on the waiting list, according to the university site.

Of the 32 percent of MBA graduates who chose to go into finance, 7 percent went to venture capital, according to the university’s 2017 employment report. VC was the second-most-popular choice behind private equity at 15 percent. Only 1 percent of graduates went into investment banking.

Venture capital investment in blockchain start-ups increased by 88 percent year over year in 2017, reaching $911 million, according to data from Pitchbook.

 

IBM Envisions App Testing Powered By Blockchain (CoinDesk), Rated: A

In a patent application released Tuesday by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO), the company describes a “blockchain test configuration” that could provide a “simple and secure infrastructure for testing applications” by allocating testing tasks to “miners” who could be rewarded with bitcoin or another cryptocurrency upon completing a given task.

The New E-Ticket Revolution using Blockchain Technology (The USA Commerce), Rated: A

With the cryptocurrency revolution still in its early stages, a new form of travel platform called Further Network (ATON) has been putting blockchain technology into use – and developing an ecosystem that has the potential to change how we all reserve and manage our travels.

This cryptocurrency organization is launching a platform called the Autonomous Smart Travel Ecosystem, which is a blockchain-based network where any sort of asset provider in the travel industry (large and small firms alike) can develop their own asset with their own structure using smart contract technology – all while getting paid in real time in whichever cryptocurrency they want.

Blockchain effort for mortgage market launched (Mortgage Professional America), Rated: B

Ranieri Solutions has announced a partnership with blockchain and smart contract company Symbiont to look into opportunities to use Symbiont’s platform to improve the mortgage industry.

Symbiont’s platform allows for institutional applications of blockchain technology.

XTRD.IO One of the First to Offer Bitcoin Futures Market Data (Newswire), Rated: B

XTRD, a technology company that is bringing proven, mature technologies from Wall Street and applying them to the world of cryptocurrencies, is one of the first market data vendors authorized to distribute CME Group bitcoin futures market data, along with other vendors.  XTRD will distribute Bitcoin futures data alongside a normalized, aggregated market data feed encompassing liquid crypto exchanges and will enhance XTRD’s competitive advantage in market data/execution services in the cryptocurrency space.

SinglePoint, Inc. Common Stock Expands Blockchain Technology To Automotive Industry (MMJ Observer), Rated: B

SinglePoint, Inc. Common Stock (OTCMKTS:SING) announced recently that it has acquired ShieldSaver to extend its blockchain innovation to the automotive industry. ShieldSaver is a leading firm the focuses on developing automotive repair and maintenance products and services.

Blockchain Network Treeti Partners With Independent Filmmaker Project (Variety), Rated: B

Treeti, a new blockchain network for entertainment business co-founded by former MGM, Sony, and Starz marketing executive Amorette Jones, is partnering with the Independent Filmmaker Project.

Treeti’s blockchain network – essentially a publicly shared spreadsheet, with time-stamped records, or blocks, recording various transactions – allows content creators to simplify crowd-funding, royalty payments, and distribution. Participants in the IFP Expanded initiative will work with IFP and Treeti and receive assistance with marketing, distributing, and finding an audience. The plan is for Treeti and IFP to work together on six projects over 12 months.

Film-industry startup hopes to raise $ 175M in ‘coin’ offering  (Atlanta Business Chronicle), Rated: B

Gramarye Media, which came out of Georgia Tech’s Flashpoint accelerator, plans to launch an “initial coin offering.”

International

Slava Rubin of Indiegogo talks ICO expansion and supporting entrepreneurs (Silicon Republic), Rated: AAA

The global platform has more than 15m monthly visitors and is now the first crowdfunding platform to expand the opportunity for participation in token offerings to anyone, including both accredited and non-accredited investors.

Rubin told Siliconrepublic.com that the move into the cryptocurrency arena was a natural evolution of the organisation’s initial aim “to democratise access to capital for people to build their ideas”.

 

Aragon’s Luis Cuende on Blockchain Governance & Digital Jurisdictions (Coin Central), Rated: AAA

Coin Central’s Bennett Garner recently had the opportunity to talk with Luis Cuende, founder and project lead of Aragon. The project raised $25 million in its ICO last May. Last week, Aragon released its first testnet, available to the public at app.aragon.one.

What’s the origin story behind Aragon? When and how did the idea start?

So, Jorge and I were working on something called Unpatent, which was kind of a patent troll killer. Patent trolls are a huge issue in the world because the US patent system sucks. At the end we kind of realized that the underlying problem was governance: everyone agreed that the system sucked, but oligopolies made sure it didn’t change for the better.

What’s the biggest problem Aragon seeks to solve?

The lack of evolution in governance. We are using the same governance systems from millennia ago, and it doesn’t make any sense. This causes effects such as oppression, inequality, poverty, etc.

Today, we can iterate governance models at the speed that we iterate software. We can try new models out without people getting killed. It’s a new era.

How is a digital jurisdiction different from any other smart contract platform?

Smart contracts are wonderful. The issue is that encoding all of the human subtleties into code is unfeasible. That’s why having a court you can resort to makes sense.

If you think about nation states, they provide security. They own the land and they enforce that a set of laws are followed inside their land.

In crypto networks, blockchains ensure the security of crypto assets via immutability. However, blockchains and smart contracts sometimes need to amend themselves in order to evolve. The idea for the Aragon Network is that it will provide governance that will evolve and change over time. Therefore providing the same security a jurisdiction brings to the table, but in the crypto world.

AMD, Nvidia Face Reckoning as Bitmain Releases Ethereum ASIC Miner (Strategic Coin), Rated: A

Share prices for chipmakers AMD and Nvidia could face a reckoning in coming months as the cryptocurrency mining industry awaits the release of the first Ethereum ASIC miner.

A wide variety of cryptocurrencies are mined using GPU chips, but the most popular is Ethereum – the second-largest cryptocurrency by market cap.

The Antminer E3 is the first Application Specific Integrated Circuit (ASIC) miner compatible with Ethash, Ethereum’s the Proof-of-Work (PoW) consensus algorithm. These miners are significantly more efficient than GPU miners, but critics say they are less egalitarian since the components must be purchased from a small group of manufacturers, whereas GPUs are available from any computer hardware supplier.

GAIN Capital Expands Crypto Offering with Launch of Ethereum, Litecoin, Ripple and Bitcoin Cash (Business Insider), Rated: A

GAIN Capital Holdings, Inc. (NYSE: GCAP) (“GAIN” or “the Company”), a global leader in online trading, today announced the continued rollout of the Company’s cryptocurrency offering, with the recent launch of Ethereum, Litecoin, Ripple and Bitcoin Cash in the U.K., EuropeAustralia and Singapore on the Company’s FOREX.com and City Index services. GAIN has also expanded its Bitcoin offering, allowing customers to trade Bitcoin directly against the Euro (BTC/EUR), British pound (BTC/GBP) and Australian dollar (BTC/AUD), in addition to the U.S. dollar.

GAIN offers cryptocurrency trading either as an over-the-counter (OTC) derivative or as a future, allowing traders to speculate on price movements without owning the underlying asset.

There’s A Facebook Alternative, It’s Called Self-Sovereign Identity (CoinDesk), Rated: A

Self-sovereign identity puts people in charge their own digital identities. It means that individuals have choice and sovereignty over their digital selves to the same degree we have control over our physical selves. This aligns with the fact that we all have inherent dignity that does not come from being born in a certain place or with certain attributes other than being human.

With self-sovereign identity, individuals don’t rely on another party, such as Facebook, to issue them an identifier for their use. They create the identifiers and own and control them along with what information is shared with whom under what conditions.

Qurrex, Andromeda Create New Crypto Exchange (Payment Week), Rated: A

For a commodity that’s been so maligned in recent days, and the recipient of so many metaphorical slaps to the face, crypto exchanges sure are cropping up quite a bit lately. One of the newest comes from a strategic partnership established by Qurrex and the Andromeda Group, a move that not only sets up a new exchange, but offers a little something new in the process.

With the new exchange, the two firms hope to step up over the counter (OTC) desk operations, listing exchanges, and bringing in new—or current—crypto investors.

Influencer marketing has hit cryptoworld (Digiday), Rated: A

It’s safe to say that influencer marketing has hit cryptoworld. There’s a growing number of influencers on platforms like Instagram and YouTube being paid anywhere from a couple hundred dollars to tens of thousands of dollars (if they’re being paid in crypto) to endorse some new coin or initial coin offering, according to Barbara Soltysinska, CEO of indaHash, a tech platform that connects brands with influencers and just completed an ICO, which it promoted by partnering with a number of “crypto YouTubers.”

 

European Union

How DLT can be used to achieve GDPR compliance (Bob’s Guide), Rated: AAA

The need to demonstrate secure data storage and consented data sharing has never been more pressing. Under GDPR, organisations need to keep records of all personal data usage, be able to prove that consent was given, show where the data’s going, what it’s being used for, and how it’s being protected. Failing to comply with GDPR could be devastating: fines of up to 20 million euro, or 4% of global turnover – whichever is higher. Add in reputational damage, and it’s clear that non-compliance with GDPR is not an option.

Under GDPR companies that collect personal data must obtain the individual’s provable consent based on a valid purpose for what the data will be used for. One of the many challenges of GDPR is being able to prove for any piece of personal data held, which legal basis for processing it is being used. It may be that multiple legal basis exist for any given data item, so controlling how that data can be used by different systems for different purposes must be managed.

A distributed ledger could hold information about who can do what, with what data, of an individual data subject. The distributed ledger shouldn’t hold that personal data, rather indicators of that data and the permissions on it. By using the technology in this way, we could end up with an immutable record of what permissions exist at any point in time but essential elements of personal data. This would serve as an excellent proof point during an audit, or if an individual challenges the legal basis for processing their personal data.

Major blockchain group says Europe should exempt Bitcoin from new data privacy rule (The Verge), Rated: A

Since people can store personal data in blockchains, the technology could fall under the purview of the upcoming European change to privacy law. But blockchain technology may be fundamentally incompatible with Europe’s new privacy rules, Washington, DC think tank Coin Center said today in a new post.

Research Suggests Nearly 40% of People Are Ready For Cryptocurrency Salaries (The Virtual Economy), Rated: A

Midex, the cryptocurrency exchange with a long-standing outstanding reputation has conducted a research which has revealed that over 40% of people are already prepared to accept their salary in cryptocurrencies.

However, perhaps the most surprising part of the results was that 36% of those who participated seemed content with the idea of having part of their salary paid in cryptocurrency, while a smaller number (of solely 4%) were opened and prepared to have it all paid in virtual currencies.

GMO Internet announced at the end of 2017 that it would be putting on the table the option of receiving Bitcoin-denominated salaries.

Startup Aims To Reduce Air Accidents By Creating Flight Log Records On Blockchain (CoinTelegraph), Rated: A

Having emerged with an idea of using Blockchain for aviation safety last year, Aeron, a Cyprus-based startup, has recently released a mobile app that records and verifies the pilot’s qualification. The application, which replaces the traditional pilot logbook (the manual act of logging flight hours on paper) is now available on Google Play and Apple App Stores.

ICO by France’s Talao demonstrates opportunity and risks policymakers must address (VentureBeat), Rated: A

Last month, the French government announced its intentions to develop a regulatory framework that would allow it to become a leading hub for ICOs and startups using cryptocurrencies.

By coincidence, as the government was announcing its regulatory push, a startup called Talao, based in the southwest city of Toulouse, was making preparations for what could prove to be the country’s largest ICO to date at $60 million.

Talao, which offers a blockchain platform for finding talent for a variety of projects, has started presales of its ICO and will open the process to the public in June. The ICO will serve two purposes: raising money to build a new version of the platform, but also distributing the tokens that participants can exchange through the system for goods and services.

WHY THE BRAVE NEW WORLD OF CRYPTOCURRENCY NEEDS THE SAD OLD WORLD OF FIAT (Irish Tech News), Rated: B

Is there an easy answer to this confusion? The result is a resounding yes in the form of the upcoming Tokpie ICO. It addresses the issue of exchanging alt and fiat coins, any of them, as well as taking zero commission. Yes, you heard that right – zero commission.

 

United Kingdom

A 200-YEAR-OLD IDEA OFFERS A NEW WAY TO TRACE STOLEN BITCOINS (Wired), Rated: AAA

In a paper published last week, the Cambridge team argues for a new way of tracing “tainted” coins in the blockchain, particularly ones that have been stolen or extorted from victims and then sent through a series of transactions to hide their ill-gotten origin. Rather than try to offer any new detective tricks to identify the source of a Bitcoin transaction hiding behind a pseudonymous address, their idea instead redefines what constitutes a dirty bitcoin. Based on a legal precedent from an 1816 British court decision, they posit that the first coin that leaves a Bitcoin address should be considered the same coin as the first one that went into it, carrying with it all of that coin’s criminal history. And if that coin was once stolen from someone, he or she may be allowed to claim it back even after it has passed through multiple addresses.

The Cambridge researchers have gone so far as to code a proof-of-concept software tool, which they plan to release later this year, that can scan the blockchain and, starting from known instances of Bitcoin theft, theoretically identify the same tainted coins, even if they’ve hopped around the blockchain for years.

Read the full paper here.

Bitcoin is ‘worthless’ and will perform worse than stocks in the coming months, analyst says (CNBC), Rated: A

Bitcoin is likely to fare worse than other assets in the coming months because it has no fundamental worth, an investment research firm said in a note Thursday.

London-based Capital Economics explained that the cryptocurrency has been quite closely correlated to the S&P 500 since the price started to fall from its record high at the end of last year.

But the correlation has been coincidental and related to specific factors. For bitcoin, the recent fall in value has been due to a plethora of factors including rising concern over regulation, a ban on cryptocurrency advertising from major internet platforms and some banks banning customers from buying it via credit cards.

Forex broker Admiral Markets launches crypto ‘Bubble Meter’ analysis tool (LeapRate), Rated: A

FCA regulated Retail FX and CFDs broker Admiral Markets has just announced the launch of its Cryptocurrency Bubble-O-Meter.

The Cryptocurrency Bubble-O-Meter is a brand-new analysis tool which allows clients to compare the value of all existing cryptocurrencies and tokens through adjusting their prices by supply and volume relative to Bitcoin. This can helps clients with the analysis for the underlying assets of the broker’s cryptocurrency CFD offering.

crypto bubble meter
Source: LeapRate
China

Binance coin (BNB) has outperformed the market in Q1: What’s driving it? (CryptoRecorder), Rated: AAA

Binance coin (BNB) has seen a consistent value growth in the last 3 weeks. In fact, it is one of the few coins that have performed extremely well in Q1 of 2018, even as the rest of the market plummets.

So what’s giving it this momentum? There are several factors, but the most important one was the announcement that Binance would be launching its own blockchain. Through this blockchain, Binance intends to launch its own decentralized exchange, and Binance coin (BNB) will be the power behind it.

Australia

The Ripple network is getting a cryptocurrency ICO (Finder), Rated: A

A new cryptocurrency has two choices. It can create its own ledger, which means finding its own miners, stakers or other means of securing a network. Or it can simply launch a new token onto a suitable existing network.

Ripple has never been a popular option for this, and it has never tried to be. And while other platforms are happy to embrace projects, Ripple has been much less enthusiastic.

A Brazilian startup named Allvor hasn’t been deterred, and now aims to launch a new project onto Ripple. It was drawn there by the high transaction speeds and a design that might prove to be a good option for ecommerce, which is what Allvor is all about.

Asia

India Considers Its Own Digital Currency, Even as It Cracks Down on Crypto (Bloomberg), Rated: AA

The Reserve Bank of India has set up a panel to study the desirability and feasibility of introducing a virtual currency, and the group will submit its report by the end of June, the RBI said in a statement on Thursday. However, it also said it is banning banks and other regulated entities from providing services to users, holders and traders of cryptocurrencies.

The central bank also ordered payment service providers to store data on servers in India, and gave them six months to comply. Detailed instructions will be issued within a week, the RBI said.
India payments

Bitcoin Payments In Asia Hold Strong As Cryptocurrency Prices Continue To Plummet (Forbes), Rated: AAA

While many of the top cryptocurrencies are down in the dumps, BitPay has raised a total of over $70 Million in capital and processed over $1 Billion in Bitcoin Payments in 2017 .

Asia in particular has found an enormous amount of value in using cryptocurrencies to facilitate low-cost payment solutions for both cross-border and local commerce. In general, Asia has been an early innovator in developing an ecosystem for digital payments.

For instance, the popular Chinese multi-purpose messaging app, WeChat, has become a leading payment provider for local commerce in China. “WeChat Pay” is a payment feature integrated into the WeChat app that allows users to scan a QR code to make quick transactions on smartphones. WeChat Pay is accepted in almost all major restaurants, bars and retailers throughout the region. Walmart in Western China also just recently started using WeChat Pay for its digital payment system.

Trade between South Korea with Europe and America is expected to reach $200 billion this year. By implementing Bitcoin and Bitcoin Cash payments, businesses pay a fee of 1% per transaction and can receive cross-border confirmation in one business day.

Asian Conglomerate Tencent Set To Inject Huge Sum into Ripple (Global Coin Report), Rated: AAA

In the backdrop of this financial status that Tencent has earned, it is planning to make an investment of around 2 billion dollars into the Ripple project. The primary objective behind this could be that the financial conglomerate wants to assimilate their already popular apps and services with the digital payment strategies offered by Ripple.it is also likely that Tencent plans to purchase some coins that could enable transaction on their platforms of messaging.

Sources have confirmed that Tencent will offer the quoted sum of 2 billion dollars and transform them into XRP coins over the period of upcoming 12 months.

Q1 Review Shows Korea to Blame for XRP Woes (Profit Confidential), Rated: AAA

At the start of January 2018, the XRP to USD exchange rate reached as high as $3.84. It seems like a distant memory given the bloodbath of the last few months, but it’s important to recap how we arrived at the present situation.

The bearish turn began when CoinMarketCap.com, a leading web site for cryptocurrency prices, removed South Korean exchanges from its XRP price calculation.

Ostensibly, this was done because Korean prices were miles above everyone else’s, but it had the side-effect of scaring investors out of their wits. Many woke up one morning to find $20.0 billion erased from Ripple’s market cap. This led to a rapid sell-off.

Before the market could rebalance, rumors started trickling out of South Korea about a China-like cryptocurrency trading ban. A second round of selling began, after which there was little anyone could do to stop the bleeding.

Ripple
Source: Profit Confidential and CoinMarketCap

Korean Cryptocurrency Exchange Executives Detained in Embezzlement Probe (CCN), Rated: A

South Korean authorities have reportedly detained four executives from two cryptocurrency exchanges in relation to the alleged embezzlement of customer funds in the ‘billions of won’.

Two of the four executives are the heads of two domestic cryptocurrency exchanges. One of them is identified as Kim Ik-hwan, chief executive of Seoul-based Coinnest, Korea’s fifth-largest cryptocurrency exchange by trading volume. The other suspects have not been identified.

Shares of Japan’s Monex spike after it agrees to buy troubled cryptocurrency firm (CNBC), Rated: A

Japanese online brokerage firm Monex Group said on Friday it would buy hacked cryptocurrency exchange Coincheck, acquiring full ownership of the Tokyo-based firm for 3.6 billion yen ($33.59 million).

Monex’s shares spiked 20 percent following the announcement, as of 11:35 a.m. HK/SIN.

Japan explores ways to formally regulate cryptocurrency ICOs (MarketWatch), Rated: B

In a proposal by Tama University and the Center for Rule-making Strategies, the members set out guidelines that would create rules needed to “establish ICOs as a sustainable financing method.”

The research group, which included Japanese lawmaker Takuya Hirai, presented two principles aimed at addressing misunderstandings around ICOs.

The first principle would require issuers to disclose conditions around, and any changes to, the distribution of funds, profits and residual assets to investors.

Second, issuers should provide a means for potential investors to track the progress of the venture set out in the so-called white papers, which outline the purposes, goals of the project as well as technology and financial details of the ICO.

Eurasia

New Local Crypto Street Exchange Shop Trades Bitcoin for Cash in Central Moscow (Bitcoin.com), Rated: AAA

Russian authorities have not regulated cryptocurrencies yet, but Russians are already adopting them. A new bitcoin change has been opened recently, not far from one of Moscow’s main railroad stations, Kursky Vokzal. According to media reports, the bureau is the first of its kind in the Russian capital.

The exchange is trading only bitcoins for Russian rubles in cash.

Latin America

An XRP ICO? It’s On Whether Ripple Likes It or Not (CoinDesk), Rated: AAA

It turns out, you can launch crypto tokens on Ripple’s XRP Ledger, and a small group of coders are seeking to be among the first to do it.

And for Allvor, a small Brazil-based company focused on streamlining digital payments, the XRP Ledger is proving an attractive option for running what it hopes will be a significant token-based business.

Ripple seems less thrilled about the idea. In statements, the company sought to emphasize that by nature it can’t prevent even exotic uses of its technology due to its open, public codebase.

Allvor is creating 100 billion ALV tokens – with 5 percent being sent to current XRP holders (if they opt-in) based on the amount they held as of March 27.

MENA

Litecoin, Ripple, And Bitcoin Cash Receive Major Boost In Middle East (Ethereum World News), Rated: AAA

The Abu Dhabi based international financial services company said the three cryptocurrencies added are Litecoin, Ripple and Bitcoin Cash, and are complementing Bitcoin and Ethereum that have been added since last year.

Speaking on the development, Head of Retail Sales at ADS Securities, Jason Hughes, said: “We are delighted to be expanding the offering on our OREX platform to include these key cryptocurrencies. OREX enables users to access the crypto markets with ease, and the flexibility of CFDs allow our clients to take long or short positions, helping their management of exposures and positioning during the current volatility in these markets.”

Startups Want to Use the Blockchain to Take Our Data Out of Uber’s Hands (Motherboard), Rated: A

It sounds futuristic, but an Israel-based non-profit called the DAV Foundation is aiming to accomplish this drone-charging-delivery scenario by the fourth quarter of 2018, according to its new chief communications officer, John Frazer.

With at least 2,000 blockchain-related startups all promising to disrupt and revolutionize whatever industry they cater to, blockchain technology is extremely overhyped. Yet some say transportation is an area where it can thrive, for two particular reasons: automation of vehicles and the growing importance of shared mobility and resources.

Canada

North Vancouver woman loses $ 6K to bitcoin tax scam (Vancouver is Awesome), Rated: A

Another North Vancouver resident found that out the hard way recently, after scammers convinced her that if she didn’t pay $6,000 to the Canada Revenue Agency through bitcoin instantly, police would come knocking at her door.

Panicking over the thought of being arrested over an alleged bill for back taxes, the middle-aged woman drove to a bitcoin location and sent the money transfer.

Africa

UN WFP Is Leveraging Blockchain Technology To Track School Lunches (ETHNews), Rated: AAA

The United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) is working with the Tunisian Ministry of Education and Devery, an open-source protocol for verification services built on the Ethereum blockchain, to track food safety for school lunches that will be distributed to 1,500 primary school students in Tunisia.

Authors:

George Popescu
George Popescu
Allen Taylor
Allen Taylor

About the author

Allen Taylor

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