Six Main Talking Points from London’s CryptoCompare Digital Asset Summit 2019

Finally, the 12th July 2019 CryptoCompare Digital Asset Summit went down. The event, attended by 700 crypto enthusiasts who included coin holders, institutions, crypto honchos and those from the regulatory space, happened at the famous Old Billingsgate market. It was a 6-session conference moderated by several individuals, all engaging different distinguished panelists.

Of course, coffee was in plenty and participants, keen on capturing all the essential information given out, couldn’t be separated from taking notes. But generally, it was worth remembering, mainly because of the lively discussion on pretty much everything in the cryptocurrency and the Blockchain industry.

The following are some of the major talking points during the meeting:

What’s in Store for Stablecoins?

This topic couldn’t have been ignored, especially with the head of CoinDesk as the chief moderator and Blockchain’s Garrick Hileman being among the panelists. Other in the list included Jennifer Senhaji from MakerDAO, Marcos Viriato from Parfin and Ekon Gold’s Simona Macellari.

They all spoke about Facebook and its GlobalCoin, the current Tether debate, the development that the MakerDAO platform is undergoing and the general need for stablecoins in the future. Basically, they talked about:

  • Why Facebook-powered ‘libra’ coin could mark another massive milestone moment in the history of the cryptocurrency industry. The team also touched on what the move could mean, especially with regards to moving all the Facebook’s 2.4 billion users into the crypto bandwagon. But although Facebook employees would get a part of their earnings in crypto, the team couldn’t help wondering if the coin would be tradeable. Further, the question they were asking was whether GlobalCoin would be a payment getaway and compete with PayPal or be another coin like Bitcoin.
  • If there’s a systematic risk in the crypto market presented by the ongoing Tether debate, especially at a time when it is getting even more explicit that there’s a need for greater transparency. Tether has greatly help stablecoins get more publicity, but as long as questions on auditing continue, regulators still have a reason to worry. Many of these institutional regulators believe that, even though a stable asset is essential, it is only through transparency that its adoption will grow.
  • The growing need for a trust-minimized stablecoin which would operate without a counterparty, and why MakerDAO is the best, most suitable candidate. DAI has been recording a 20% increase in its user base every month, which is great for its intended role. But even with that, the crypto industry hasn’t seen a solution which could extend evolution yet. Facebook’s Libra coin will most likely ‘compete’ with other stablecoins, although questions on whether everyone would accept GlobalCoin.
  • The fact that we should expect a stablecoins’ marketplace designed to smoothen the transition from the ‘traditional’ world of finance and the ‘new one.’ The market should also reach out to the underbanked.

Thoughts from Regulators’ Point of View

It was another important topic, moderated by Lawrence Wintermeyer of Global Digital Finance. Panelists internalizing the topic comprised of Martin Etheridge from the Bank of England, HM Treasury’s Gillian Dorner and Samantha Emery from FCA.

They covered diverse topic, including how institutions perceive cryptocurrencies, the role of the government-appointed Cryptoassets Taskforce, and the overall regulatory space. They mainly dwelt on the following:

  • A visible change in tune about cryptocurrencies in the mainstream world, especially amongst financial institutions; they used to see them as agents of ‘systematic risk.’ Today, they all sing a song about BTC being a hedge against traditional banking. This is clearly highlighted by major institutions creating their own digital assets, the way JP Morgan came up with ‘JPM Coin.’
  • The Cryptoassets Taskforce, which basically comprises of the Bank of England, the Treasury, and the FCA, is geared towards making the UK the go-to financial hub across the world. The task force has been reviewing risks as well as benefits associated with cryptos, especially with regards to:
  • The risks they have on average users
  • Their predisposition to aiding illegal activities
  • Chances they have in the market
  • How they could affect national stability.
  • The team also works to get rid of the risks and support the various benefits of cryptocurrencies. They are fighting to roll out EU’s anti-money laundering directive even as they haven’t noted down any benefits of the coins.
  • Some of the findings they have identified from their qualitative research were the minimal risks consumers across the UK face. They also noted that the general understanding of digital assets is still low.
  • The view of the Bank of England isn’t to perceive crypto assets as the alternative to money, primarily because of how volatile they are. Also, they pose no material threat to the country’s financial system, although the famous banking institution can’t dismiss the same happening in the future.

Challenges and Opportunities that Exist from Finance to Cryptocurrencies

Paul Gordon of Quantave moderated the talk, and panelists were made up of VanEck’s Gabor Gurbacs, Sam Chadwick from UBS, Pina Emirdag representing State Street and Pendo’s Ruth Wandhofer.

The discussion covered topics on how the mainstream financial institutions could be rallied to engage in cryptocurrencies, using Blockchain to settle stuff and the whole question of Bitcoin ETF. The talk mainly focused on:

  • Why the use of Blockchain in settlements is excellent for the industry’s progress. They talked about UBS and the whole Settlement Coin initiative, including its attempt to be a digital currency, but can’t quite guarantee both the liquidity and the velocity between parties. They also cited exchanges as places where the final value could be felt.
  • Blockchain and its role in creating the much-needed disruption in the traditional banking institutions – it is the new frontier. For them, however, the issue isn’t about adoption, but rather how they will find the balance between adopting it and maintaining their overall business operations.
  • According to the panel, all the accurate assets’ pricing, custody answers, and surveillance have to be in place if crypto ETF has to earn the approval. However, it might take a while since everything revolves around several service providers, mainly those whose reputation is unsurpassed in the traditional markets.
  • They also spoke about the crisis pitting Bitcoin and all it stands for and the various requirements of the corporate world. Bitcoin is self-sovereign and immune to censorship, which stops it from getting fully aligned to the needs of enterprises.

Investing in the Space and Getting Funded: what the VCs had to say

The topic was moderated by Teana Baker-Taylor from the Global Digital Finance and had Shane Kehoe from SVK Crypto, KR1’s George McDonaugh, Ami Ben David from Spice VC and James Roy Poulter from The Reserve.

They talked about the changing investment trends, advised cryptocurrency entrepreneurs as well as Blockchain growth labs. Some of the key points from the whole talk included:

  • They said that space is still open to all, only that VCs would need to be zealous with a track record of getting things done.
  • Even though space is still new to crypto, its essence couldn’t be underestimated. The new crop of talent has to significant on creating a reputation among them.
  • VCs are expected to take time while adopting new projects as this depends on how comfortable they get on a project, plus the fact that fewer VCs are already in place.
  • The next record-breaking IPOs will possibly come from a space-oriented investment, though it is hard to predict whether it will happen from the Silicon Valley, New York, London, or any other place.

The topic of Market Integrity and Protecting the Consumer

The talk also centered on the above-stated topic, with the moderator being FT Alphaville’s Jemima Kelly. The panel comprised of Binance’s Ted Lin, Ethfinex’s Will Harborne, Kraken’s Austin Alexander and Chen Arad from Solidus Labs.

They talked a lot about the whole issues of market manipulation, the essence of transparency in exchanges and well as ICOs and IEOs as they are today. The main points from the discussion, however, can be summed up below:

  • Fake exchange volumes, which less-established exchanges apply to give a false impression that they also trade high volumes and thus give investors a belief that they too have the liquidity. It is fraudulent activity, similar to wash trading and the only solution to it would be the use of data aggregation websites.
  • It is excellent to note that honest exchanges are pushing for the exposing of their dishonest counterparts, although regulators probably contribute to it. Data in the market hasn’t really pointed to where the problem is.
  • Traders also seem to be opting for exchanges they can only trust, a move which appears to be creating a competition between established exchanges. The popularity of IEOs further evidences this.
  • Crypto markets are a lot different and free more than the highly regulated traditional markets like equity markets. Tokens in the crypto space can be listed on multiple platforms, unlike the current market, and this enhances price discovery.
  • America isn’t doing much and only seem to be pushing exchanges offshore using the tight regulations it’s rolling out. Kraken and a couple of other exchanges located within the US seem to have felt it already.

What the Future Holds for the Crypto Assets Market, plus the whole Idea of Institutionalizing the Digital Assets

Isabel Woodford moderated the talk from The Block. Panelists selected were CoinShares’ Meltem Demirors, Max Boonen from B2C2, George Zayra from BeQuant and Caspian’s Chris Jenkins.

They spoke in depth about the infrastructure in the crypto space, the apparent institutional interests, Bakkt as well as BTC’s cypherpunk roots. From the discussion, the followed were the main highlights:

  • Who the “Big Guys” joining crypto are since a majority of prop traders, hedge funders and brokerage firms are already in it, even as the large asset management companies like the Schroeder’s are yet to. They, however, wondered if the industry needs them or whether there’s a retail opportunity beneath their involvement in crypto.
  • They said the big institutions’ involvement in crypto wasn’t due to the gaps that exist mainly in infrastructure or regulation and the risks involved. The panel called for an evolution, saying it should happen before the institutions become fully immersed into it.
  • There’s still an aura of doubt regarding Bakkt and its role as the ‘game changer’ is postulated to be. It even has a lot to prove, including whether its entry into space will be worth the hype or the whole move will damage the credibility of crypto future.
  • There are still questions on whether institutional involvement impedes on Bitcoin’s ‘anti-establishment’ concept. The panel argued that a more significant investment in crypto would benefit the community, even though the elephant in the room remains the coin’s self-sovereignty and its incompatibility.

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Bitcoin Pre-Paid Cards with a Conversion Option for 10 Fiat Currencies

Partnerships have continued to be a fundamental indicator of growth and stability for projects within the blockchain and cryptocurrency space. One recent collaboration by Paxful, a digital coin exchange, with The White Company (TWC) is expected to tap more unbanked individuals into crypto.

TWC which is a New York based Fin Tech firm specializes in developing blockchain-oriented products for both supply and demand stake holders interested in leveraging the new technology.

This move is a significant milestone for the crypto space as clients will have the option to convert their BTC to 10 different fiat currencies. So far, the most pegged currency (USD) is featured amongst others like the Australian dollar and Swiss Franc.

Elizabeth White, founder and CEO of The White Company, noted that the partnership is set to facilitate the inclusion of millions into the digital asset ecosystem through Paxful’s P2P market. She went on to add that;

“Together we can bring all the benefits of banking without the high costs to developing countries and the unbanked, as well as promote the usability of cryptocurrency worldwide.”

Bitcoin: The Game Changer in Banking!

The on-boarding process for this platform is quite simple, clients will only be required to provide an email address and in turn receive a card with virtual prepayments.

Users will then have to make a conversion from digital currency (BTC) to fiat so as to easily use their designed cards for online purchases and service payments.

In addition, the clients can also ask for a physical card delivered to them. These will be efficient in ATM withdrawals and physical purchases from retailers. This technology appears quite lucrative to big city folks but the main targets by Paxful and TWC are developing economies whose population is mostly unbanked.

Both entities noted through a statement that their collaboration will mostly have a positive impact in African and Latin American markets where a bigger part of the population is unbanked.

Ray Youssef, the Co-founder and CEO Paxful, echoed that the firm’s mission of liberating financial services around the globe just acquired new ground with this partnership;

“Many of our customers are unable to become banked. By allowing them to change bitcoin into prepaid debit cards we are giving them the chance to participate in both the current financial system and the digital economy.”

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US Government Seeking Extradition Of Swedish Man Who Masterminded $11 Million Bitcoin Scam

None of the world’s financial markets is free of fraud and none probably will be. Throughout history there has always been evidence of all kinds of schemes and plots to exploit people’s vulnerability and swindle them of their hard-earned cash. This is one of the many points some people have against cryptocurrency because it’s decentralized, irreversible and largely untraceable nature makes it easy for criminals to either get away with financial crime or at least move stolen money around. Cryptocurrency is already the preferred way to make and receive payments on the dark web, increasing the difficult law enforcement agencies already have with tracking and stifling illegal activity taking place there.

To pile up on cryptocurrency exploitation, a Swedish man was recently arrested and charged along with his company for various financial misdeeds including wire fraud, securities fraud and money laundering. The man, Roger Nils-Jonas Karlsson along with his company Eastern Metal Securities (EMS), were charged for initiating and running a fraudulent scheme that sought to swindle people of money to the tune of $11 million and has been doing this since September 2006.

According to a publication by the United States Department of Justice, “Karlsson allegedly used websites to communicate false representations to victims in a scheme to defraud potential investors.” The official complaint disclosed that he asked his “investors” to make their payments using Bitcoin.

One of his websites which was registered to a non-existent person advertised a plan called the “Pre Funded Reversed Pension Plan” and with this plan, potential investors were asked to “purchase shares of the plan for $98 per share in exchange for an eventual payout of 1.15 kilograms of gold per share, even though as of Jan. 2, 2019, 1.15 kilograms of gold was worth more than $45,000.”

As part of the scheme, potential investors were also told that if something goes wrong with the regular plan to pay gold, they would all get at least 97 percent of whatever amounts they put in. Up until the point he was arrested, there were no accounts anywhere held by Karlsson or his company that would enable him to make the payments as promised as it was discovered that Karlsson diverted the money to his own personal bank accounts and used it to fund real estate dealings in Thailand.

On a different website, the alleged fraudster deliberately pushed some misinformation to his investors. Merging investors from the old site to the new one, Karlsson released more than a few messages that gave some information about why payments were being delayed. One of such messages alleged that the reason for delays in pay-out was an interest in the stability of the global financial market. He claimed that making a pay-out that large would have a very serious and unwanted impact on the world’s financial market. His solution to this was an ongoing parley with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission to figure out a solution.

At the moment, the United States wants Karlsson extradited so he can be tried in the Northern District of California.

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New Cryptocurrency Index To Be Integrated With Reuters, TradingView And Bloomberg

New Cryptocurrency Index To Be Integrated With Reuters, TradingView And Bloomberg

There has been a recorded interest from many investors in the cryptocurrency sector especially with the state of the market this year as compared to 2018. The cryptocurrency market in 2019 has recorded significant inflow from individual and institutional investors even from traditional financial markets. Some of the big players in the traditional markets have been unable to ignore the general success of the 2019 crypto market and seem to now want a piece of the pie. This is probably the reason why Bloomberg, Thomson Reuters and also TradingView will be adding a cryptocurrency index for the top hundred assets in the market.

CIX100

The index called the “CIX100” index will now be available on all three platforms. Designed by Cryptoindex – a platform powered by Artificial Intelligence (AI) to supply cryptocurrency indices – CIX100 will allow users of these three platforms see the first 100 of the best performing cryptocurrencies. The index will also only display cryptocurrencies who have been able to stay in the top 200 for at least three months consecutively. Other conditions state that the digital assets featured will have to be constantly traded on more than a few cryptocurrency exchanges and also have a “significant social media following.” The index is also going to be very accurate as it is designed to weed out fake or inflated data.

Speaking on the importance of Cryptoindex, CEO VJ Angelo explained that the AI powered service was necessary because there was an increased yearning from a lot of traditional players who had genuine interest in the cryptosphere. He said:

“The index is the culmination of three decades experience in the financial services industry building indices. I have witnessed first-hand the growing demand for high-quality insight into the traditionally opaque and misunderstood area of cryptocurrency, which led me to create Cryptoindex. Our index takes into account collective sentiments expressed on social media, in addition to complex data analysis of volume trades and predictive analytics.”

The index selects the best 100 based on in-depth analysis of more than 1,800 digital assets using an exclusive algorithm known as Zorax. Using Zorax, the announcement says that:

“Over 33 Terabytes of data is analysed to extract over 200 factors that create a refined ranking in the index, which is then put into a neural network to create a final rating of coins.”

The Chief Strategy Officer at TradingView, Stan Bokov, spoke about TradingView’s integration of the CIX100. According to Bokov:

“Integrating the CIX100 Cryptoindex demonstrates TradingView’s commitment towards moving fintech forward. Data is rapidly becoming a commodity in its own right, and access to it will define future companies’ success. We aim to ensure that this is maintained well for all.”

Other Indices And Analyses

Earlier this year, two important indices gotten from the popular crypto data provider, CoinMarketCap, launched on feeds from Bloomberg, Thomson Reuters, Nasdaq Global Index Data Service (GIDS) and also Börse Stuttgart from Germany. The two indices include CMC Crypto 200 Index (CMC200) and CMC Crypto 200 ex BTC Index (CMC200EX) with the former including Bitcoin and the latter without. The second was necessitated by the fact that Bitcoin’s dominance of the cryptocurrency market was at least 50 percent at the time.

In April, Nasdaq also added to its platform, the XRP Liquid Index (XRRLX) while Coin Metrics, earlier this month, acquired Bletchley Indexes, a cryptocurrency index firm, as part of its intention to make smart crypto beta indices available.

Also Nasdaq and CryptoCompare have entered an official partnership for the launch of a crypto pricing service with a focus on institutional investors.

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Financial Action Task Force Will Now Require Crypto Exchanges to Share Customer Data

Blockchain technology allows ledgers to remain honest and accurate. While there are multiple crypto platforms that offer a way for certain details to remain anonymous, new recommendations from the FATF are encouraging member countries to require this information to be exposed. What would this mean for the crypto industry? What happens to countries that opt out of imposing these rules?

  • Customer data will now be made available from global crypto exchanges, according to FATF.
  • Member countries that decided against imposing the new recommendations will be blacklisted for foreign investments.

Cryptocurrency is an industry that thrives on the way that customers can protect their identities, even if the transactions are on full display. However, the Financial Action Task Force recently released new standards on Friday that come with a highly controversial caveat.

According to this new change, the task for is recommending that “virtual asset providers” (VASPs) release information about their customers between platforms, whenever funds transfers occur between them.

VASPs include cryptocurrency exchanges, among others. However, the FATF explained that, in the event that a VASP is a person, rather than an exchange or other firm, then:

“it should be required to be licensed or registered in the jurisdiction where its place of business is located – the determination of which may include several factors for consideration by countries.”

This recommendation coincides with the contentious part of a proposal that the FATF made in February, advising that the countries should keep a record of sender and recipient information.

Specifically, this recommendation stated that each country, whenever a business sends money, should:

“obtain and hold required and accurate originator [sender] information and required beneficiary [recipient] information and submit the information to beneficiary institutions … if any. Further, countries should ensure that beneficiary institutions … obtain and hold required (not necessarily accurate) originator information and required and accurate beneficiary information.”

With the new guidance, the FATF states that each transfer has to include information regarding the name of the sender, the account number used, the recipient’s name, and the account number of the recipient. Furthermore, the sender has to include their physical address, or:

“national identity number, or customer identification number (i.e., not a transaction number) that uniquely identifies the originator to the ordering institution, or date and place of birth.”

The FATF believes that the biggest threat against virtual assets is the potential for it to be used in criminal and terrorist activities, but they have decided to give 12 months for platforms to integrate the new rule.

The travel rule that has long required international banks to provide this information for customers, but many proponents of the blockchain industry have been upset by this change. As they see it, imposing this rule would be impossible for cryptocurrency, and would pose a threat to use privacy. These proponents also allege that the rule is counter-productive to the efforts made by law enforcement.

Even with these recommendations, FATF is putting them in the hands of the country’s jurisdictions, in that they have the option to impose a rule that VASPs in their area register with the authorities. Those authorities would then be in charge of stopping criminals from

“holding, or being the beneficial owner of, a significant or controlling interest, or holding a management function in, a VASP.”

The authorities would need to impose rules to require the VASPs to get approval them from for any changes in their operation, shareholders, and more.

FATF recommends that the countries offer open-source information and web-scraping tools to enforce these rules, allowing them to find any operations that are unlicensed or unregistered.

Furthermore, the authorities should gather their intelligence with the use of public feedback and details offered by reporting institutions, says the FATF. Furthermore, VASPs should be able to stop transactions with sanctioned parties.

Chainalysis, a data analytics company has warned that the rule would end up forcing many companies to cease operations, rather than creating more transparency in the industry. However, even with this advisement, the FATF did not withdraw their pursuit. U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin stated:

“We will not allow cryptocurrency to become the equivalent of secret numbered accounts [and] we will allow for proper use, but we will not tolerate the continued use for illicit activities.”

While the recommendations by the FATF are not actually required, any member country that opts out will end up being put on a blacklist to prevent foreign investments.

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Microsoft Ready To Collaborate With Icertis To Expand Its Blockchain-Based Contract Solution

Icertis, the leading provider of enterprise contract management, is currently working with Microsoft to expand blockchain technology use cases and increase transparency. This would help the companies build a more sustainable, ethical and open world.

  • Icertis works with Microsoft to increase transparency in different businesses
  • This is not the first time that Microsoft is involved in a blockchain-related activity

The recognized contract management company Icertis is going to be collaborating with Microsoft to expand its blockchain-based contract solution. The information was released by the company on June 11 in a blog post.

Icertis and Microsoft Work Together

The leading provider of enterprise contract management in the cloud, Icertis, is going to be working side by side with Microsoft so as to expand the Icertis Blockchain Framework. In this way, it will be possible for the company to create a more sustainable, ethical and open world.

The collaboration will be enhancing the connection between blockchain technology and contract management, which will help deliver more transparency, speed of execution and improved compliance in some of the most important business areas.

As reported by Icertis, one of the firms that have already been working with this technology is Mercedez-Benz Cars. They are working with it to create an immutable distributed ledger of transactions, ensuring global sourcing and contracting practices adhere to the requirements of the firm. Furthermore, customers will have the possibility to address other issues that require transparency.

Using Microsoft Azure Blockchain Workbench, it would be possible to use blockchain solutions on the Icertis Blockchain Framework for Icertis Contract Management (ICM) platform. Moreover, they will also be providing business solutions that leverage AI and ML and blockchain technology.

Monish Darda, the CTO and co-founder at Icertis, said:

“More than ever, enterprises must maintain sophisticated governance and contract compliance, and blockchain technology has a critical role to play. We are thrilled to work with Microsoft to extend the Icertis Blockchain Framework to solve the most critical contracting challenges.”

It is also possible for firms to deploy the IBF to track contractual requirements, obligations, commitments and many other things. This provides users with a new level of collaboration and accountability. It is worth mentioning that the IBF was built on Azure, Blockchain Workbench, Cognitive Search and also Cognitive Services.

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AlphaPoint Blockchain Asset Technology Firm Opens Switzerland Office

  • The AlphaPoint has just gone ahead to announce that they have expanded their current operations, this is thanks to their new office in Zurich, Switzerland.
  • The company is an asset tokenization software together with software and digital asset trading technology that has been licensed for the MTF, broker-dealers and the exchange operators.

The company is ensuring to position itself within the nation’s capital, as this will aid in servicing the large group of Europe clients getting into the crypto space. The company also went ahead to announce that after six years of providing issuance and adequate trading infrastructure, they have gone ahead to join the Trust Square business community.

A community that has been considered to be the largest tech hub that mainly focuses on the developments of crypto projects and blockchain technology.

The Swiss Government Making Life A Little Easier For The Blockchain Technology

The Swiss government has been continuously carving out the regulations that are present to be in favor of blockchain technology. But this is not all, they have also made life easier for the wide-reaching potential in both commerce and business.

Berger said, “I am looking forward to deploying the excellent tokenization and trading technology infrastructure of AlphaPoint to innovative financial services companies and fintech’s making them ready for the tectonic shift in capital markets that is about to happen. It is a privilege to not only represent AlphaPoint as one of the earliest and most prestigious companies in the sector, but to also lead the charge in the opportunity-rich European environment.”

Berger Brings More To The Table

Berger was first the interim COO at the currency.com just before he joined the AlphaPoint. The currency.com has been considered to be among the very first tokenized securities exchange that was regulated, and from this, he has been able to bring several experiences within the sector of crypto coins, blockchains, investment banking, and regulations.

But this is not all as Berger was able to lead the blockchain and crypto team to the Vontobel Investment Banking, this is where he was allowed to try the different blockchain initiatives. It is clear Berger is bringing a lot to the success of the platform.

As a result, the CEO of AlphaPoint is very proud of what the team has been able to accomplish in the past six years, and it is clear to him the future is bright and open to opportunities within the European market.

Blockchain Consortium R3 Partners With Brazilian Banks

There is news coming from Brazil that assures that blockchain consortium R3 has partnered with banks Bradesco, Itau and B3 to develop a blockchain platform. This information was reveled at the CIAB Febraban event in São Paulo.

R3 is an enterprise blockchain software firm working with a broad ecosystem of more than 300 participants across multiple industries from both the private and public sectors to develop on Corda, its open-source blockchain platform, and Corda Enterprise, a commercial version of Corda for enterprise usage. It is headquartered in New York City and founded by David E Rutter in 2014.

In fact rumors about Bradesco developing a blockchain platform was in the air for the past few days, thanks to VP Mauricio Minas. He uncovered the strategies of local banking organizations to soon adopt an unnamed blockchain-powered solution, adding that a number of Brazilian banks have been developing applications using distributed ledger technology. Minas even dispensed trust in blockchain technology notwithstanding its nascent character, saying that the technology is able to “break traditional barriers.”

R3 also stressed that B3, the company that controls the São Paulo State Stock Exchange (Bovespa), has been working on a blockchain platform using the String for Digital Identification. Participating banks are talking to the telecom sector and the number portability company in Brazil, ABTelecom, to refine information sharing. One of the possibilities being reflected is for operators to join as a “node” in the system

It is notable that R3 has recently opened an office in Brazil aiming to expand the consortium’s activities. However, the company’s executives have stated that before the development, it is imperative that blockchain reach more maturity and meet the security requirements of large corporations. Now, this partnership shows that the roadmap is headed that way.

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Is the Blockchain Automotive/Aerospace Sector Primed to See $20 Billion Mark?

As per a spokesperson for the IDC, blockchain technology can be used by various US federal agencies for things like asset management, identity management etc. He also added that technologies such as ‘smart contracts’ will allow the government to streamline its internal processes/ day-to-day transactions in an extremely hassle-free manner.

  • Last month, BEG reported that global spending on blockchain-based initiatives (across the globe) will scale up to the $2.9 billion mark by the end of 2019.
  • The aforementioned figures showcase an 88.7% increase in relation to associated numbers from 2018.
    According to an all new research study released by ReportLinker recently, the blockchain market that currently exists within the automotive/ aerospace sector is all set to surge beyond the $29 billion mark by 2029. To be a bit more specific, we can see that the author of the above stated article feels as though blockchain applications being used within the automotive/aerospace industry will grow at a “compound annual growth rate of 60.35% between 2019 and 2029”.The primary growth factors behind such a projected surge include things like:
  • Operational transparency
  • Quick transaction settlements
  • Reduction of risks associated with fraud

According to the report:

“The finance, payments, and insurance services for the automotive industry and manufacturing and supply chain for aerospace & aviation industry is dominating the blockchain in automotive and aerospace & aviation market and is anticipated to maintain its dominance throughout the forecast period. This is mainly due to a complexity in supply chain of the automotive industry, as automotive ecosystem is highly connected, and therefore the issues of cyber threat increases.”

The Study Also Highlights The Following Points

  • Private blockchain ecosystems will continue to gain more footing within the global finance market due to their security and speed related advantages over private, hybrid blockchains.
  • From an adoption POV, it is estimated that companies located within North America will lead the world in automotive blockchain adoption. However, the report also states that some of the problems that may stifle blockchain adoption moving forward could involve factors such as: unavailability of a proper regulatory framework, lack of technical expertise, etc.
    In closing out this piece, it should be pointed out that the US federal government is all set to raise its spending on blockchain-related ventures to a whopping $123.5 million by the end of 2022. This showcases a 1,000% increase in the US’ total blockchain associated expenditure when compared to 2017 — a time when the govt only allocated a meager $10.7 million towards blockchain research.

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Canadian University Blockchain Marketplace To Use DLT For Diplomas Issuance

Earlier this week, we reported a story about the University of British Columbia (UBC), launching Canada’s first blockchain and distributed ledger technology training path for graduate students. The aim of this program will be to train master’s and Ph.D. students which in turn will help with the scaling of blockchain and DLT programs in the country. Now, another Canadian university, Southern Alberta Institute of Technology (SAIT) seems to be going down the same path.

SAIT is partnering with ODEM (On-Demand Education Marketplace), which the premier blockchain-based education marketplace and they have promised to grant over 4,800 graduating students from Class of 2019 with digital diplomas and blockchain-based documents.

ODEM is a platform for exploring and providing education and employment. Built on the Ethereum blockchain, it offers a variety of courses and the opportunity to earn credentials, showcase skills, and connect with employers. They are working to make education and employment more affordable, accessible, verifiable, and transferable.

Their CEO, Richard Maaghul says:

“Education is one of life’s most valuable assets. We believe that students should have control over their own records, and blockchain technology makes that possible. By making valued SAIT credentials accessible through blockchain, our graduates and employers will continue to benefit from this innovative technology that’s responsive, authentic, and widely accessible.”

Their partnership with SAIT started back in December on the Ethereum blockchain to test the issuance of digital diplomas which resulted in 25 graduates from the Pre-Employment Automotive Service Technician program. Now the target of 4,800 will mark as the biggest diploma course for blockchain in Canadian higher-education institutes, leaps ahead of the target number of graduates from aforementioned UBC’s program.

Dr. David Ross, SAIT’s President, and CEO states:

“SAIT graduates are well-positioned for success with employers in today’s rapidly changing digital landscape. By making valued SAIT credentials accessible through blockchain, our graduates and employers will continue to benefit from this innovative technology that’s responsive, authentic, and widely accessible.”

 

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Russia’s Largest Bank, Sberbank, Will Not Build Any Cryptocurrency-Focused Financial Services

Russia’s Largest Bank Will Not Accommodate Crypto-Related Businesses

  • Russia’s largest bank, Sberbank has reportedly decided not to provide financial services to crypto-related firms.
  • Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies may not be able to function as an effective medium-of-exchange (MoE).

Sberbank, the largest bank in Russia, has officially affirmed via its CEO Herman Gref that the institution will not create any service related to cryptocurrencies. The CEO, who is also a former Minister of Economics and Trade in the country, has affirmed that the bank never actually had ambitious plans for this area.

What really interests the bank right now is the blockchain technology, as the bank has several projects which are based on this technology. Gref made these statements live on TV during the Saint Petersburg International Economic Forum, an important conference in the region.

Hype Around Cryptos Appears To Have Gone

He deems as the main reason for the decision the fact that the bank was never really able to attract many crypto-related investors, as most of the clients are simply not too interested in the technology. Most of the banks doing it, he affirmed, are mostly doing it because they have a demand, something that the Sberbankdoesn’t have.

The CEO also affirmed that he is pretty glad that the hype around cryptocurrencies is basically gone from the market. He believes that the regular work with the blockchain, instead, is continuing, which is very important because the technology is useful, after all, mostly than cryptos, in his opinion.

During the announcement, he also affirmed that Bitcoin (BTC) is, to him, a technical instrument in order to make transactions, not really a new kind of investment.

Lack Of Regulatory Clarity

He bought Bitcoin a long time ago when it was trading around $5 USD and used it for payments instead of saving it, but he does not seem to regret his decision, as he is “not a casino player” and believes that holding BTC is akin to betting.

The problem with BTC, in his opinion, is that some products have just become too expensive because people are using the token as an investment rather than a currency. This way, one BTC is worth a “small fortune” and it is too expensive for people to properly use it.

While the CEO did not mention this information, part of the reason why the bank is abandoning cryptos may have something to do with the current legislation of the country, or rather the lack of a proper legislation.

The Russian government has still not regulated Bitcoin. This is turning into a sort of a problem because the government is creating a huge gray area of uncertainty for the investors. Some people have even affirmed that regulating cryptos and the blockchain is not a priority anymore, so the bank may have perceived that it could run into problems.

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Elon Musk’s Global Satellite Internet Dream

Elon Musk’s Global Internet Dream: A potential Boost for Blockchain Adoption

  • Elon Musk’s SpaceX has launched its first batch of 60 Starlinks out of the 4,425 it intends to have in space
  • This will bring cheap broadband internet to the global population
  • With that possibility, blockchain technology and cryptocurrency can become freely accessible as censorship becomes a thing of the past

The CEO of SpaceX Elon Musk has been working on a project to give the world an unlimited fast broadband internet. Well, it seems that dream is about to come true as SpaceX few days ago released its first batch of Starlinks that will revolve around the earth in its quest to have 4,425 starlink satellites revolving around the earth to provide cheap broadband internet with a speed of 1 gigabyte/second.

How Does SpaceX Tie Into The Blockchain Industry?

While this sounds very good and promising for the world in terms of accessing digital information fast and at the lowest possible cost, the question is how this technology ties into the blockchain industry and how it may help to further the adoption of the industry.

While Elon Musk has not expressed much interest in cryptocurrency or blockchain technology, the space science billionaire is most likely intrigued by the technology as he has in the past spoken about the future of cryptocurrency as well as shown sentiments for some coins.

If not anything, his vision of providing the world with cheap, unlimited access to the internet could be a major boost for blockchain adoption. So far, some economies such as China have placed restrictions on information access especially for those concerning things such as cryptocurrency or blockchain technology. This has been made possible by the central control of the internet by the socialist governments around the world.

Through anti-censorship which Musk’s technology stands to provide, information access can become as easy as breathing and blockchain technology access also can become easier as no government or central control will be able to censor content on the internet. With this in place, blockchain technology can become very accessible and cryptocurrency use will be easily available to mainstream users who are already showing huge interest in the technology, especially because the global economy is crashing.

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SL Benfica Football Club Accepts Bitcoin and Ethereum

The Portuguese football club SL Benfica is now accepting digital assets for tickets and merchandise on its website. The goal is to improve its e-commerce strategy. This is just one of the many different football clubs involved in blockchain technology

  • SL Benfica starts accepting Bitcoin, Ethereum and UTK for tickets and merchandise
  • This is just one of the many different football clubs working with digital assetsThe football giant team Benfica is currently accepting payments in Bitcoin (BTC) and Ethereum (ETH) for tickets and merchandise. The fans of the Portuguese Primera Liga champions can enjoy using their digital currencies to support their favorite team. In order to do so, the team had to sign a partnership with the UTRUST payment platform. The information was released on June 6 by Veredict.

SL Benfica Accepts Digital Assets For Tickets

Users of digital currencies will have the possibility to pay for tickets and merchandising using the two most popular cryptocurrencies in the market and the UTRUST token (UTK). The decision to accept digital currencies comes after the football club decided to upgrade its e-commerce strategy and expand its global audience.

The team has a fan base of 14 million individuals and it is the most decorated club in Portugal. Virtual currencies will play an important role in improving the company’s e-commerce strategy.

Domingos Soares de Oliveira, the CEO of Benfica, commented:

“We recognize that many of our supporters are now digital users first so we want to be ahead of the curve when it comes to adopting novel technologies and giving our supporters the best online experience.”

The football team is also going to get rid of chargebacks and fraudulent paymentsfrom credit card users. Moreover, the funds received by SL Benfica are going to end up on its bank account the same day they are received.

At the same time, the English Premier League football team West Ham Unitedpartnered with the blockchain firm Socios.com in order to create a

“fan token ecosystem.”

Back in September 2018, Juventus announced that it was launching a new crypto token to increase the number of fans by allowing them to

“be heard.”

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Solve.Care Partner to Develop Blockchain Network for Helping Diabetics

  • Pharmaceutical firm Boehringer Ingelheim to work with Solve.care to develop distributed ledger technology (DLT)-enabled solution for diabetes patients.
  • The DLT-powered software is reportedly being developed to improve data sharing, while also enhancing various other processes related to patient care for diabetes patients.

A recent announcement revealed plans for a distributed ledger technology (DLT)-based network that would better healthcare reports Cointelegraph. In particular, Germany-headquartered pharmaceutical company, Boehringer Ingelheim has partnered with blockchain-focused healthcare platform, Solve.Care for said service, which is tailored to meet the needs of diabetic patients and promoted data sharing.

Diabetes Care Administration Network (DCAN)

Details regarding the partnership was supposedly shared with the news outlet, in which it was disclosed that the network being developed will be called, ‘Diabetes Care Administration Network (DCAN).’ Besides data sharing being an aim for the project, the DCAN will also serve as an educational and communicative platform.

More specifically, users will learn about the condition along with facts on remaining healthy and also have something to rely on in terms of finding the right practitioner or acquiring the help needed. The assistance aspect of this respective network will be founded on Solve.Care’s care system, ‘Care.Wallets.’

The team at Solve.Care has also taken the time to update consumers on the endeavor. The CEO, Pradeep Goel has reasoned that this partnership would,

“help bridge a knowledge gap by providing a platform which offers vital information on diabetes and cardiovascular diseases in an easily accessible manner.”

“Most Innovative Patient-Centric Network In The World”

Goel has also expressed gratitude in being able to work alongside the German pharma company considering that it is a global leader in offering innovative solutions. He remarked:

“We are honored by [Boehringer Ingelheim’s] trust and multi-year commitment to launching one of the most innovative patient-centric networks in the world.”

The VP at Boehringer Ingelheim, Graham Goodrich has since expressed a similar sentiment, emphasizing on the significance of the DCAN:

“Recent changes to diabetes treatment recommendations have prioritized managing cardiovascular risk and this program will help ensure both patients and providers are proactively addressing life-threatening conditions […]”

As for the launch of the DCAN, the duo has since set a soft timeframe – indicating that it would take place either at year end or closer in range.

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Anheuser-Busch InBev Expands Partnership With BanQu Blockchain Project

The parent company of Budweiser, Anheuser-Busch InBev recently announced that they are investing more in the Series A investment in BanQu.

BanQu is the first ever blockchain Economic Identity technology that enables a secure and immutable platform for creating economic opportunities for people around the world living in extreme poverty. It uses a proprietary method to create a mashup of selfie plus iris scan for people with no access to technology or banking. This Economic Identity then can be augmented by critical pieces of information such as land rights, voter registration, relationship-based credit profiles, and health records, etc.

It was founded in 2016 and has connected over 15,000 last-mile farmers, displaced and refugees to the platform across eight countries. The company aims to help lift 100-million people out of extreme poverty through the use of blockchain technology by the year 2028.

The platform is 100-percent translatable by supporting any language in the world, and it is fully configurable to global brands, micro, small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), government and philanthropic organizations, as well as financial services (KYC/AML).

Maisie Devine, a director at AB InBev said:

“Through this work, we are helping to create a digital ledger of farmers’ transactions that will create an economic identity and enable access to financial services. This will ultimately allow farmers to grow their business and improve the livelihoods of their families and communities.”

The partnership between these companies is almost a year old when they worked to connect 2,000 Zambian farmers to the mobile platform as they harvest and sell a projected 2,000 tonnes of cassava, producing a high-quality starch used in beer—by the end of Zambia’s growing season.

Ashish Gadnis, the CEO of BanQu,had earlier stated:

“The BanQU platform is now live in 12 countries across multiple brand supply chains, impacting nearly 200,000 last mile beneficiaries to date.”

The company had transactions in Brazil, Costa Rica, India, Indonesia, Jordan, Malawi, Somalia, South Africa, Syria, Uganda, the United States, and Zambia.

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Blockchain Credit Union Consortium to Use R3’s Corda

CULedger, a blockchain consortium and credit union service organization (CUSO), has chosen enterprise software firm R3’s Corda blockchain to underpin its forthcoming cross-border payments product. The news was reported by fintech news outlet Finextra on May 21.

As reported, CULedger joined the R3 global blockchain ecosystem in December 2018.

The blockchain CUSO implements the technology to improve cybersecurity and mitigate fraud risks, as well as to streamline administrative and operational processes for the credit union industry. CULedger also provides a specific blockchain-based identification solution for credit union members.

CULedger’s forthcoming product, dubbed CU Pay, has reportedly been designed to enable connectivity between payment networks and thus reduce friction in cross-border electronic funds transfers.

Slated for launch in 2020, CU Pay will reportedly be integrated with R3’s open source Corda-based decentralized application “Corda Settler.”

Corda Settler enables payment obligations raised on the Corda blockchain to be settled via any parallel payment rail that supports cryptocurrencies or assets, or otherwise any traditional payment rail that can provide cryptographic proof of settlement.

CULedger and R3 have reportedly stated that the implementation of Corda Settler will allow credit unions using the CULedger network to choose from a range of cost- and time-efficient, secure payment solutions — whether domestic or cross-border.

As Cointelegraph has reported, CULedger has also partnered with tech giant IBM to jointly develop new solutions using permissioned blockchain networks which will innovate existing business models and processes for the credit union industry.

Over 260 million credit union members — with over $1.7 trillion of circulating assets — are estimated to exist worldwide.

In December 2018, R3 added Ripple’s XRP token as the first cryptocurrency to be supported by Corda Settler.

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Honda and GM to Research Interoperability With Blockchain Tech

Major automobile manufacturers Honda and General Motors (GM) are jointly conducting research on electric vehicle and smart grid interoperability using blockchain tech, Japanese news outlet Nikkei reported on May 20.

As part of the project, Honda and GM will investigate whether electric vehicles can be used to stabilize the supply of energy in smart grids. Specifically, the companies intend to develop data retrieval methods between electric vehicles and smart grids, which will purportedly enable electric vehicles owners to earn fees from storing power in car batteries and exchanging it with the grid.

The parties will work within the international technology consortium Mobility Open Blockchain Initiative (MOBI), that aims to make mobility services more efficient. The platform was launchedin early May and is the brainchild of over thirty participants including Bosch, HyperledgerIBM and IOTA.

As previously reported by Cointelegraph, GM filed a blockchain patent for a solution to manage data from autonomous vehicles. The system aims to provide “secure” and “robust” data distribution and interoperable exchange between multiple automated vehicles and other entities, such as municipalities, regional authorities, and public facilities.

The American automotive giant also became the joined blockchain startup Spring Labs’ partner project to enhance data security.

Among other leading car manufacturers that are embracing blockchain technology, Mercedes-Benz developed a blockchain platform that allows for the storage of documentation and contracts in complex supply chains.

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Alibaba To Introduce Blockchain Technology To Their Intellectual Property System

Chinese news media Sohu reports that Alibaba is going to integrate blockchain technology in its IP system. The main purpose of introducing the blockchain is to enhance an intellectual property protection system. Implementing better intellectual services to businesses at a global level is also a purpose behind the system upgrade.

Small-sized enterprises can benefit from these better intellectual services. Not only the small-sized enterprises can benefit, but also medium-sized enterprises can benefit from these better intellectual services.

The company’s director of intellectual property protection, Ali Xizhi said that Ali is in the process of upgrading the filing of intellectual property rights by utilizing the openness, transparency, and inability to modify the blockchain. In this upgrade, Ali Platform Management introduced the financial grade commercial blockchain technology of Ant Financial Group.

On the Ali platform, more than 30 million new products and 1.5 billion stocks of goods are served by Alibaba’s intellectual property protection system every day. The application of blockchain technology will enable the platform to tens of millions of small and medium-sized enterprises, brands and entrepreneurs

Notably, Alibaba has applied for 262 blockchain patents, and Chinese internet titans Tencent and Baidu have applied for 80 and 50 such patients, sequentially, as recorded by the Intellectual Property Center of China Information and Communication.

From the timespan that goes from 2013 to 2018, Chinese companies were able to file a total of 4,435 blockchain-related patents. The United States was a runner up in this regard, as the company filed for 1,833 patients during the same time, occupying 21% of the patents.

It recently emerged that Alibaba Group was considering blockchain implementation for cross-border supply chains. Alibaba Group VP, Liu Song, said that the company was looking at using the technology in complex supply chains to create a closed-loop ecological system that could be linked with local governments.

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FedEx Sees Teamwork as Key to Developing Blockchain Business Models

A senior executive from American delivery services company FedEx is unconvinced about the benefits of blockchain technology in its present form, Memphis-based local news outlet Commercial Appeal reported on May 20.

In a new interview, the firm’s dedicated blockchain strategist, Dale Chrystie, said FedEx remains pragmatic about blockchain despite its previous efforts to integrate it.

As it stands, conventional processes covering the shipping database aspect of its operations are superior, at least in part due to the nascent stage of blockchain.

“To kind of burst the bubble, it’s not our only database, it’s not our best database, it’s not currently very fast or very scalable and it’s not very mature, right?” Chrystie said.

His words echoed those of both FedEx CEO Fred Smith and CIO Rob Carter, whose previous comments on blockchain Cointelegraph reported on last year and last month respectively.

While advocating for industry-wide standards and acceptance of the new technology, Carter understands the majority of progress is yet to occur.

“This technology is still in its early days but has immense potential to transform cross border commerce by reducing friction and increasing integrity in how things move around the world,” Carter wrote in an April LinkedIn post.

Chrystie agreed on the need for cooperation.

“Yes, everyone wants to monetize this technology, but we’re all going to have to work together to get it built. That’s why I refer to blockchain as a team sport,” he added. Chrystie continued:

“Once it is built, a lot of people will be able to figure out a business model for it. Right now, it’s not built.”

As Cointelegraph reported, various large scale trials are underway — or have already completed — focusing on blockchain’s role in international shipping and supply chains more widely.

For its part, FedEx joined enterprise blockchain ecosystem Hyperledger in September 2018, while a year previously, it became a member of the Canada-based Blockchain Research Institute.

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Seoul to Implement Blockchain in Citizen Cards

The South Korean city of Seoul will implement blockchain technology in its citizen cards, Korean publication Queen.co.kr reports on May 20.

Park Won-soon, the mayor of Seoul, has participated in the ongoing event “Korea Future Forum (KFF) 2019 & Blockchain Tech Show,” reporting on the city’s achievements in embracing major technologies including blockchain and artificial intelligence.

The mayor highlighted the role of blockchain in storing data, noting that the value of data “has become even more important than before.” According to Park, the city of Seoul will implement blockchain in collecting urban and administrative data to enable new services such as integrated authentication system of citizen cards, as well as tools for easy access to various administrative services.

Park emphasized that Seoul authorities have already provided blockchain-enabled administrative services, including mobile e-voting and car sales.

Park has expressed confidence about blockchain technology in the past. In late 2018, the mayor introduced a five-year plan for developing the blockchain industry in Seoul, with the city government planning to invest around $12 million into a $88 million blockchain fund.

In February 2019, the Seoul Metropolitan Government announced an initiative to invest over $1 billion in blockchain and fintech startups by 2022.

Recently, South Korea’s financial regulator, the Financial Services Commission, authorized nine fintech companies to operate in the country as part of a regulatory sandbox.

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