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World’s Largest Bank (ICBC) is “Focusing on Using Blockchain Technologies”

Blockchain technologies have revolutionized the way today’s society conceives business. The world of finance has been one of those that has benefited the most from this technological evolution, encouraging big players to think more and more about the moment in which they adopt the DLTs within their business scheme.

In the world of financial institutions, if there is any firm worth mentioning for having adopted blockchain technologies, it would undoubtedly be the Industrial and Commercial Bank of China. The ICBC is the largest bank in the world, with 4,009.26 Billion Dollars in total assets. Just to put things in perspective, that amount represents almost twice the total assets of JPMorgan Chase & Co. and 1200 Billion Dollars more than the total assets of MUFG, another major financial corporation using Ripple.

Having the most substantial amount of money in the world as a corporation, the business decisions tthat the ICBC takes have repercusions on a global scale. The number of financial transactions and international operations carried out by this giant easily exceeds those of any other major player in the world economy.

ICBC: Grasping The Application Scenarios for Blockchain Technologies

Do Not Miss Out - Blockchain is the New Revolutionary TechnologyLast weekend, the Chinese news portal Bia News published an article noting that ICBC Chairman Yi Huiman commented that the Bank is currently focused on adopting blockchain technologies to improve its financial services. He also said that they are currently “grasping the application scenarios” in which DLTs could have better results than contemporary techniques.

According to the press release, the ICBC is working hard on the development of an electronic platform known as e-ICBC3.0. They are also investigating different ways of applying blockchain technologies to achieve a better information ecosystem.

Another area in which DLTs are playing an important role is the area of Research and Development:

“In the cloud computing, big data, artificial intelligence, blockchain, and Internet of Things, the bank has formed enterprise-level technical achievements that can be opened to the outside world.”

Finally, the third point on which they are working hard is the “construction of smart banking application scenarios.”

So far ICBC has not commented on how developed such projects are; however confirmation by a chairman provides enough credibility, given the tradition of secrecy that has characterized the world’s largest bank.

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Stellar (XLM) Key-Points That are Hoisting the Coin to Further Success

Without any doubt Stellar Lumens (XLM) is one of the coins that has strongly stood against the erosion of time in the crypto-verse. Its a market of massive funds moving around, however as Stellar withstood the test of time so have various other contenders competing for the top.

Stellar’s Road

Its team’s constant work and upward movement in the number of partnership, has granted Stellar the sixth place by market capitalization passing by Litecoin (LTC).

Continuing with this work flow, the platform is targeting to become the favored bank solution offering crypto in the ecosystem. Parallel with that to demolish Ripple’s XRP.

With the ability to make cross-border transactions more efficiently and speedy with the help of its stable asset Lumens, the network has achieved respect throughout financial institution that need its support.

The relationship between Stellar and Stripe dates more than 4 years back. They are the pioneer partners on the blockchain. At press time, Stripe is said to be getting over 2billion Lumens which is plough back the profits to the Stellar ecosystem. This has opened up Stellar for increased partnerships since it left Bitcoin due to escalating transactions charges.

IBM’s StableCoin

IBM has long been known to be a solid partner of the Stellar organization and plans on using the blockchain to explore the option of creating a cryptocurrency pegged to the US Dollar (a Stablecoin). The computing giant has also been known to be running 9 Stellar nodes around the globe to aid in the settlement of cross border payments.


Ethereum World News had highlighted this project that is working on tokenizing the carbon credits economy using the Stellar blockchain. Veridium is partnering with IBM and Stellar to integrate their VERDE Token to simplify the tracking and auditing of carbon credits and the carbon market trading that follows.


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Spain's Securities Market Watchdog Completes Blockchain Test

Spain’s securities markets watchdog and a group of financial institutions including Banco Santander have completed a blockchain pilot aimed at testing the tech for registering stock warrant issuances.

The year-long Fast Track Listing (FTL) project saw participation from the Spanish National Securities Market Commission (CNMV) as well as banks such as Banco Santander, BBVA, BNP Paribas, CaixaBank, Commerzbank and Société Générale.

The idea is that shared databases can be used to more effectively register information about the issuance of warrants – contracts bearing the right to purchase new shares at a certain price before they expire – and filter that data to all parties. According to Banco Santander, the pilot showed that the time to register a warrant issuance was cut by more than 70 percent using the pilot platform.

Initial results from the test were promising, the group indicated, setting the stage for further proofs-of-concept around the technology.

“After obtaining such good results, CNMV has decided to continue exploring the possible uses of this technology in its processes and carry on with the project. BME and all the national warrant issuers (BBVA, Caixabank and Banco Santander), as well as international warrant issuers (BNP Paribas, Commerzbank and Société Générale), are also actively contributing to this project,” according to statements.

Banco Santander bank image via Shutterstock

The leader in blockchain news, CoinDesk is a media outlet that strives for the highest journalistic standards and abides by a strict set of editorial policies. CoinDesk is an independent operating subsidiary of Digital Currency Group, which invests in cryptocurrencies and blockchain startups.

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This German Bank Prefers Bitcoin Over SWIFT for International Transfers

Cryptocurrencies are here to stay, and many adopters dream of a society in which they replace traditional centralized financial systems. For Bitbond, an online German bank founded by Radoslav Albrecht, that future seems to be getting closer and closer as they have been able to function successfully and normally by using bitcoin for international payments rather than requiring the services of omnipresent SWIFT.

SWIFT stands for the Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunications. It is a messaging platform used by financial institutions to transmit information regarding monetary transactions and operations using a standard coding system.

The robustness of the system combined with constant updates has made it possible for SWIFT to consolidate itself as the number one choice for interbank payment processing. However, for bureaucratic reasons inherent in the banking system, some transactions may take hours or even days to be completed.

A simplified graph of an international bank transfer using SWIFT. Credit CBInsights

To solve this problem, Bitbond uses cryptocurrencies to avoid the long waiting times that would exist through traditional systems. Similarly, the high fees that have to be paid due to a large number of intermediaries that may be involved in a SWIFT transaction could be overcome by the small – or nil – fees that are charged when using cryptocurrency.

In an interview for Reuters TV, Albrecht mentioned the apparent advantages for a bank of using blockchain over traditional systems such as SWIFT:

Traditional money transfers are relatively costly due to currency exchange fees and can take up to a few days… With Bitbond, payments work independently of where customers are. Via internet it is very, very quick and the fees are low.

Blockchain: A Powerful Tool for Traditional Banks

In order to circumvent the problems associated with the fluctuation in the value of cryptos, the clients hold the loans in digital tokens like Bitcoin only for seconds or minutes until they are exchanged back into the currency of their country avoiding the crypto’s exchange rates, having the confidence that the amount in FIAT will be the same even though the means of transfer have a fluctuating value.

The service has grown over time, managing a portfolio of over $1 million per month in loans for a clientele of mostly small business owners and freelance workers. In 2016, Bitbond was officially licensed as a bank leading to an important increase on the number of clients.

Bitcoin has been growing in popularity in the country. Right now, Germany has the most substantial number of Bitcoin nodes in the world (1939) after the United States (2538). This fact allows envisioning a near future in which the adoption of cryptocurrencies becomes a reality. And it is more likely that this future will be fulfilled in Germany than in any other country on the European continent.

The use of Blockchain technologies has already proven to be a valuable tool for banking. Ripple’s solutions have earned it specific strategic alliances such as SAMA and SANTANDER. But SWIFT does not want to be left behind in the race for technological innovation and is developing its own blockchain which in its preliminary results behaves “extremely well.” On an official Press Release early on March, Damien Vanderveken, Head of Research and Development, shared his optimism towards blockchain technologies:

The PoC went extremely well, proving the fantastic progress that has been made with DLT and the Hyperledger Fabric 1.0 in particular

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Barclays Is Talking to Clients About Opening a Crypto Trading Desk

Barclays, the second-largest bank in the U.K. by assets, is weighing the launch of a cryptocurrency trading desk.

A person with knowledge of the process told CoinDesk on Monday that the bank is gauging how interested clients of the bank would be in a crypto-specific trading desk. Bloomberg was the first to report that Barclays is talking to clients about cryptocurrency trading on Monday.

As it stands, the bank doesn’t have any concrete plans to begin trading cryptocurrencies, the person said, adding that the majority of – if not all – major banks are likely to be exploring that option. The person added that Barclays is considering whether to extend the trade offering to its entire suite of clients, including institutions and hedge funds.

When reached for comment, Barclays spokesman Andrew Smith told CoinDesk:

“Barclays has no plans at this time to build a cryptocurrency trading desk. We constantly monitor developments in the digital currency space and will continue to have a dialog with our clients on their needs and intentions in this market going forward.”

Other banks have reportedly been weighing a similar launch, most notably Goldman Sachs, which was the subject of speculation back in December. Yet weeks later, CEO Lloyd Blankfein shot down the rumor, though he left the door open to opening a crypto-focused trading desk during remarks in January.

Hedge funds are increasingly interested in trading cryptocurrencies, providing a growing client base for investments banks carrying out cryptocurrency trading.

Around 245 crypto-focused funds are currently operating, according to data provided by Autonomous Research. Despite an intense drawdown in cryptocurrency prices, only around nine of these funds have reportedly closed.

Barclays image via Shutterstock.

The leader in blockchain news, CoinDesk is a media outlet that strives for the highest journalistic standards and abides by a strict set of editorial policies. CoinDesk is an independent operating subsidiary of Digital Currency Group, which invests in cryptocurrencies and blockchain startups.

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Lawsuit Alleges JPMorgan Chase Overcharged Crypto Buyers

A proposed class action lawsuit has been filed against JPMorgan Chase, alleging that the bank overcharged its credit card customers when they used funds to purchase cryptocurrencies.

Brady Tucker, the plaintiff named in the April 10 complaint, said that Chase Bank incorrectly charged him $143.30 in fees and $20.61 in interest stemming from purchases made using his Chase card in January and February.

Brady is being represented by Finkelstein & Krinsk LLP, a San Diego-based law firm.

The bank was one of a number of institutions to stop allowing its customers to make such purchases using their credit cards at the beginning of February.

According to the complaint, prior to pulling the plug on all purchases, the bank began treating such expenditures as “cash advances” in January, but did so “unbeknownst to Chase’s cardholders.” Attorneys for the plaintiff alleged that Chase Bank violated the Truth in Lending Act by not disclosing the policy shift.

“The complete lack of fair notice to Chase’s cardholders caused them to unknowingly incur millions of dollars in cash advance fees and sky-high interest charges on each and every crypto purchase,” the complaint says. Chase did not charge debit card users similar fees.

The plaintiff’s lawyers – who are seeking the return of the fees as well as “additional statutory damages in the aggregate amount of $1 million” – are seeking class-action status. While the complaint says that the size of the class cannot be determined prior to discovery, it argues that this group likely consists of “hundreds or thousands of members.”

A representative for JPMorgan Chase declined to comment when reached.

JPMorgan Chase image via Shutterstock.

The leader in blockchain news, CoinDesk is a media outlet that strives for the highest journalistic standards and abides by a strict set of editorial policies. CoinDesk is an independent operating subsidiary of Digital Currency Group, which invests in cryptocurrencies and blockchain startups.

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First Bank To Make Crypto-Trade Available: Bank Frick

A family-run financial institution based in Liechtenstein – Bank Frick, has declared on Wednesday [Feb 28] that the bank will be open to digital currencies investments. The pairing will be only available [maybe for now] on US Dollars, Euros and Swiss franc.

Its a historical mark in the ecosystem as this is the first time a bank makes transactions and trades directly available – in this case for Bitcoin, Litecoin, Bitcoin Cash, Ripple and Ethereum.

Chief Client Officer of Bank Frick – Hubert Büchel added:

“With our new offering, financial intermediaries such as asset managers and trustees can successfully differentiate themselves in the market and offer their customers added value. Intermediaries and their clients can easily get to know a new, exciting universe with these direct purchases, diversifying them and investing them without correlation to other asset classes. Investments in cryptocurrencies are highly speculative, which is why only a small amount of admixture in the portfolio is advisable.”

Based on Ether and Bitcoin in Sep 2017, it is the first financial institution to commence a virtual currency basket tracker certificates. From Jan this year, the value has gain to 238 percent.

Traders and investor have the opportunity to pair their digital currency of choice directly from the bank, however only once/day using the platform.

Various banks throughout Switzerland do deliver quite close to Bank’s Frick services, like IG Bank, Leonteq, Falcon, Cornerbank, Vontobel and Swissquote, but they do not readily accept trades on the coins.

According to the Liechtenstein and European (EU/EEA) law, Bank Frick is a completely automated and regulated bank. The strict standards also state that only identified and audited clients have the opportunity to invest in cryptocurrencies in their bank, and the origin of the client funds have to be reviewed and speculated in the process.

“Our services are in high demand from companies across Europe. The companies know that we reliably support them in implementing their cryptocurrency and blockchain business models in accordance with existing European regulations. Our goal is to bring crypto banking at least to the level of quality of classic banking.” – continued Hubert Büchel.

Another introduction by the financial institution that is taking major first steps are the so called ‘cold storage wallet’ that are isolated from the world wide web which conclude not being able to be accesses outside the bank servers.

The main goal is to bring in both quality and security, the crypto banking level like that of traditional banking. The event opened gates for a wide range of opportunities of cryptos and the technology behind the coins [blockchain] aiming the professional market part-takers.

As mentioned above, it is much likely that the bank will be adding more cryptocurrencies in the future those becoming a dreamy development ground for ICOs and startups due to their proactive effort on these emerging technology.

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Crypto-Exchange to be Launched by Russia’s Largest State Bank

According to a report released by a local Russian media group RBC on Tuesday Jan 30, Sberbank – the largest state bank, will be opening up a digital currency exchange in Switzerland – more precisely in its Swiss branch Sberbank Switzerland AG.

Andrey Shemetov – the bank’s Head of Global Markets, stated that Switzerland was decided to be the location because of the Russian officials not allowing crypto-operations, in contrary to Switzerland where crypto-exchange is legal.

“We wish to serve our customers’ interests, that’s why we think that we need to have strategic access to all kinds of products and services,” Shemetov claimed.

Based on the press, for the moment the bank is working on the infrastructure of the exchange but there is not time specified out when will the platform be ready to start engine.

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The target of the banks i institutional level of investments and not retail investors.  “Cryptocurrency exchange operations will be available for legal entities only,” Shemetov stated, adding that cryptocurrency investments are high risk due to market volatility.

Earlier this month, the head of Sberbank, Herman Gref, declared that cryptocurrency should not be banned “under any circumstances”, calling both cryptocurrencies and Blockchain

Almost a week ago [Jan 25], Russian authorities introduced the Digital Assets Regulation Bill which create a regulatory system for cryptos, mining, trading and initial coin offerings.

Concluding from the latest updates of the above mentioned bill, the Ministry of Finance targets to legally adopt virtual currency trading because of increase of the gov tax revenue and reduce risks of fraud.

The final form of the will be presented on July 1, 2018, before going full law effect, which means there still could be changes and it might be altered until then – according to Forklog.

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Warning Related to Digital Currencies: Bank Indonesia

The constant attempts of officials and financial entities to crack down cryptocurrencies is always present. Not having the ability to control taxes and individual wealth of a user or citizen is what makes the above mentioned systems scared of decentralization. That is why, as time has passed – many regulations, laws, bans – mostly on the bearish side of cryptos are coming from organizations and nations.

Bank Indonesia [Central Bank of Indonesia] has issued a warning recently trying to push away individuals from digital assets and cryptocurrencies. It looks like the entity is worried about the trading and investing into such a speculative market with a volatility of its like claiming – ” digital assets are prone to forming asset bubbles”.

Another concern, mentioned by the BI, is that the assets could be used for money laundering  or terrorism funding. The idea might originate from  the Silks Road era when BTC was used to purchase weapons, drugs and so on.

Indonesia and the Central Bank had previously come out against bitcoin and other currencies, declaring that they were not regulated, high-risk and highly speculative. As a result, the Indonesian government has banned cryptocurrency payments and any form of transactions to buy or sell items, claiming that they were not a “legal medium of exchange”. However, exchanges and trading are still authorized in the country. One of the biggest crypto exchanges in Indonesia is called PT Bitcoin Indonesia.

Other countries like South Korea, China, India and members of the European Union have claimed similar statements in the recent weeks regarding cryptocurrencies. These nations are becoming increasingly worried and want to avoid individuals losing by investing in these markets. Money-laundering, illegal activities, and terrorism are also main concerns that these governments have. Taxation is also a critical issue faced by these countries, as they still struggle to find efficient ways to tax and regulate cryptocurrency-related income. As expected, 2018 is already a crucial year for crypto as multiple entities are looking to either enter the market, regulate it, or control it.