Posted on

South Korea’s Biggest Credit Card Patents Blockchain Payments System

South Korea’s leading credit card firm Shinhan Card has been granted a patent for a blockchain payments system.

South Korea’s leading credit card firm Shinhan Card has been granted a patent for a blockchain payments system, English-language local media The Korea Times reports on July 15.

Per the report, with the newly patented technology the company has established a blockchain-powered credit transaction process allowing for setting spending limits, paying in monthly installments and carrying out payments. The outlet quotes an anonymous Shinhan Card official commenting on the development:

“Services using those key functions of credit cards will be extended to the blockchain-based system, a notable advancement from the status quo whereby most blockchain-based services available are limited to cash wiring or user identification for online transactions.”

The official also reportedly explained that the company has been awarded the patent about a year and a half after conducting a feasibility study, and that the firm is currently working to also obtain patents in European countries, the U.S., Japan, China, Vietnam and Indonesia. According to the article, the system could also soon allow for cardless transactions via a mobile app.

Per the report, the initiatives could result in a phase-out of the network of three intermediaries, namely credit card firms, a value-added network service provider and a Payment Gate. Value-added networks are service providers connecting credit card companies and member stores to verify and approve transactions, while the payment gate is tasked with carrying out the payment.

Company information website Crunchbase claims that Shinhan Card is South Korea’s leading credit card provider and corporate analytics service Owler estimates the firm’s annual revenue to be $841.6 million.

As Cointelegraph reported yesterday, a consortium of major South Korean firms partnered to launch a blockchain-based mobile identification system in 2020.

At the end of June, Crypterium, a crypto payment firm led by former Visa exec, revealed it shipped about 4,000 crypto debit cards in a week since the launch of the card.

Posted on

LG Applies for ‘ThinQ Wallet’ Crypto Wallet Trademark in the U.S.

South Korean technology behemoth LG applied for the “ThinQ Wallet” trademark with the United States Patent and Trademark Office.

South Korean technology behemoth LG applied for the “ThinQ Wallet” trademark with the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) on July 2, data published on the official office’s website shows.

According to the filing documents, the trademark is for services concerning transaction and settlement services, mobile banking, “issuance of cyber money,” and “payment application software for mobile phones” among others. ThinQ is a brand first used by smart refrigerator introduced by the company in 2011 at the consumer electronics show. Nowadays, also multiple smartphones have been launched under the ThinQ brand.

The trademark could signify that LG is aiming to compete with Samsung. In May, Cointelegraph reported that the latter firm intends to roll-out cryptocurrency and blockchain features — including a wallet — into its budget smartphones.

As Cointelegraph reported earlier today, LG CNS, a subsidiary of LG Corp., will apply its proprietary blockchain platform to foster supply chain transparency for school cafeteria lunches.

In May, Taiwanese consumer electronics giant High Tech Computer (HTC) launched out in-wallet ERC20 token swaps for users of its Exodus 1 smartphone as a result of the company’s partnership with Ethereum (ETH)-based decentralized exchange Kyber Network.

Posted on

Chinese Central Bank’s Blockchain Trade Platform Processed $4.36B

The People’s Bank of China blockchain trade finance solution processed $4.36 billion in foreign exchange transactions since its inception.

The  blockchain trade finance solution of the People’s Bank of China (PBoC) processed over 30 billion yen ($4.36 billion) in foreign exchange transactions, local finance news outlet SINA reports on July 8.

Per the report, the platform is supported at 483 branches of 28 banks in Shenzhen and is currently operating normally. Still, due to an allegedly uneven adoption of financial technology, the business volume is still proportionately small.

PBoC representatives explained in the report that blockchain technology avoids the slow paper trail between multiple receiving departments that is typical of trade finance in the traditional banking environment. 

On July 4, the Shenzhen Municipal Central Bank Branch of the PBoC and the Shenzhen Taxation Bureau of the State Administration of Taxation signed a strategic cooperation agreement. The aim of the cooperation is to realize automatic tax filing in the central bank’s trade finance blockchain platform.

The PBoC — which is China’s central bank — officially launched the testing phase of its blockchain trade finance platform in September last year. The platform aims to facilitate trade and financing activities such as accounts receivable and trade financing.

In May, the Shenzhen Fintech Research Institute — which the PBoC jointly organized with local government bureaus — posted several job openings for blockchain-related positions.

At the end of June, a report by Big Four audit and consulting firm Deloitte claimed that as much as 73% of Chinese enterprises believe that blockchain is a top-five strategic priority.

Posted on

President Maduro Orders The Bank of Venezuela to Accept Petro Crypto

Venezuela’s President Nicolas Maduro ordered the country’s leading bank, Banco de Venezuela, to accept the nation’s cryptocurrency El Petro at all its branches.

Venezuela’s President Nicolas Maduro ordered the country’s leading bank, Banco de Venezuela, to accept the nation’s cryptocurrency, the Petro (PTR) at all of its branches, the country’s Finance Ministry tweeted on July 4.

According to the tweet, Maduro gave “the express order to open Petro desks in all the branches of the Bank of Venezuela.” The announcement apparently came during an event celebrating the tenth anniversary of the nationalization of the bank in question.

On June 19, Maduro announced that 924 million bolivars (over $92.5 million) were allocated to the Digital Bank of Youth and Students to open one million Petro wallet accounts for the country’s youth. José Angel Alvarez, president of the country’s National Cryptocurrency Association, commented to cryptocurrency news outlet CCN:

“It is a bold and correct decision to move forward towards a hybrid economy where the fiduciary currency of a country competes face to face with cryptocurrency.”

As Cointelegraph reported in January, Venezuela has taken issue with United States sanctions, including those levied specifically against transactions in the country’s national digital currency, the Petro. In March, President Trump banned US citizens from buying Petro.

In May, news broke that Venezuela is considering closing mutual trade settlements with Russia using the ruble.

Posted on

Economist Joseph Stiglitz: Only a Fool Would Trust Facebook’s Libra

Nobel laureate in economics Joseph Eugene Stiglitz claimed that “every currency is based on trust, but only a fool would trust Facebook’s Libra.”

Nobel prize-winning economist, Joseph Eugene Stiglitz, claims that “every currency is based on trust, but only a fool would trust Facebook’s Libra” in an article published on July 2.

Stiglitz also notes that “in just a few short years, Facebook has earned a level of distrust that took the banking sector much longer to achieve.” He appears to fear that Facebook’s cryptocurrency could be hospitable to a shadow economy:

“The last thing we need is a new vehicle for nurturing illicit activities and laundering the proceeds, which another cryptocurrency will almost certainly turn out to be.”

Still, the economist also acknowledges that the current financial system has a problem, which is the lack of competition in payments. A result of this lack of competition is that consumers — especially ones residing in the United States — pay multiple times what a payment should cost.

He notes that a possible business model for Libra would be simply to keep the interest paid on the assets underlying the stablecoin. Stiglitz also says that he expects that there are no good reasons to deposit one’s assets where they do not accrue interest:

“People who engage in nefarious activities (possibly including America’s current president) are willing to pay a pretty penny to have their nefarious activities — corruption, tax avoidance, drug dealing, or terrorism — go undetected. […] If this is Libra’s business model, governments should shut it down immediately. ”

Alternatively, he notes, libra could profit off of transaction data as Facebook does, which raises privacy concerns. Stiglitz has no trust in Libra’s management, since “Time and again, Facebook’s leaders, faced with a choice between money and honoring their promises, have grabbed the money.”

Meanwhile, the Bank of Japan Official today stated that libra exploits the financial system, English-language local media Nikkei reported on July 3. 

A Bank of Japan official noted that Facebook’s libra would be “piggybacking for free on a financial system that takes heavy costs” to maintain, and regulators fear its effect on financial stability. An anonymous official of the institution also commented on the project:

“It will move money into an absolutely virtual world, so it is completely different than other forms of digital payment.”

Japan’s central bank governor Haruhiko Kuroda added that he intends to “keep careful watch” for increases in cryptocurrency acceptance for payments and its impact on financial stability. The report further noted that when users buy libra, the funds go towards acquiring a combination of national currencies and short term government securities.

According to Nikkei, the choice of not tying libra to any particular fiat currency is meant to avoid any nation’s local regulation. Furthermore, since users do not perceive interest on the assets underlying their libra holdings, this would decrease the efficacy of lowering or raising interest rates for monetary policy.

As Cointelegraph reported earlier today, over 30 advocacy groups have appeared as signatories on a request that Congress and regulators implement an official moratorium on Libra development.

Also yesterday, financial services firm Jefferies’ recent survey found that American users will hardly use libra due to a lack of trust.